Democrats & Liberals Archives

It's All Part of the Plan...

I don’t get it, really. Obama as the Joker from The Dark Knight I mean, that nasty fellow sure looks evil, and making Obama look evil seems to be what the Republicans want to do these days, but could your comparison be more off? (a note before we go further: Plot spoilers for the movie in question will be part of the entry here, so you are warned!)

Somebody at the GOP fundraiser thought it would be a good idea to put this cruel cariacture of a man who is describe by most as calm, empathetic, earnest and likeable, an image whose last appearance had been on the posters of fringe Tea Partisans looking for shock value. Pelosi become Cruella DeVille, and Harry Reid ScoobyDoo. Democrats become the new "evil empire." I'm surprised they didn't call them the axis of evil.

And of course there are those other problematic slides.

The presentation explains the Republican fundraising in simple terms.

"What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House, or the Senate...?" it asks.

The answer: "Save the country from trending toward Socialism!”

Not what can you do, what can you sell. But isn't that a holy mission here?

Not necessarily:

The most unusual section of the presentation is a set of six slides headed “RNC Marketing 101.” The presentation divides fundraising into two traditional categories, direct marketing and major donors, and lays out the details of how to approach each group.

The small donors who are the targets of direct marketing are described under the heading “Visceral Giving.” Their motivations are listed as “fear;” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration;” and “Reactionary.”

Major donors, by contrast, are treated in a column headed “Calculated Giving.”

Their motivations include: “Peer to Peer Pressure”; “access”; and “Ego-Driven.”

The slide also allows that donors may have more honorable motives, including “Patriotic Duty.”

But I think the part that should be most disquieting to those Republicans who thought the days of their party's corruption were over, that they'd turn over a new leaf should be this.

On page 70, we see, under the heading of Citizens United v. FEC the following formulation, in regards to campaign finance:

Significant holding: Access and Gratitude [does not equal] Corruption.

"Access and Gratitude does not equal Corruption."

Whether you are a Democrat who wants your Congress working for the people, or a Republican who doesn't want Congress inflating budgets with little Tchotchkes for their friends in the business world, that formulation should give you pause. If Access and gratitude for money given is not corruption, what is?

Americans are supposed to all have equal access to their representatives, senators, and Presidents, in terms of access. That's one reason for the first Amendment right to petition. You didn't have to be a courtier, a lord or a lady to ask something of your government.

I know Republicans might step in to defend this on the grounds that the decision meant even corporations had free access.

Problem is, that's not how it works in the real world. In the real world, the one thing the rich and the poor, and all in between have equally is their vote. That vote is what should buy access, their equal share in the franchise of this country. With campaign finance, though, naturally the rich and the corporations have more than their equal share of access.

And what of gratitude? In the world of Medieval Europe, you could buy a title, buy your way into government. That said, we are not Medieval Europe, and the gratitude towards those financing the campaign should not have as strong an effect on those politicians as their gratitude towards those who elected them.

The essence of corruption is that a system, a person does not operate as they should. Instead of remaining accountable to those who vote, they choose to be accountable to those who finance. Instead of granting access to all equally, they show preference for those who pay their campaign bills.

I am not claiming Democrats are pure of this, but what we have here is the Republicans essentially celebrating and rationalizing their own future prostitution. Access and Gratitude do equal corruption, when they are not directed mainly towards voters, to whom the constitution holds them accountable.

This is obvious. It should go without saying. Trouble is, we've gotten used to a certain level of corruption, so what is obvious and should go without saying becomes secondary to what's normal. We could say that's corruption in the scheme of things, where normal procedure deviates, even in the face of the worst kind of policy disaster, from that which is sought, to that which is simply the accepted, degenerated state of affairs.

As a Democrat, I have to deal with Representatives and Senators who have forgotten that liberals vote, too. I have to deal with elected officials who forget who electedthem to office. If you're a Democrat, chances are, your people wanted the Public Option. But it didn't get through. Why? Because many Senators and Representative thought the good old insurance companies shouldn't have to compete against the government.

Never mind whether these insurance companies really have to compete against anybody else. Never mind that Medicare has them beat on administrative overhead, despite the fact that it's government healthcare.

More than a year after one of the worst economic collapses in US history, our Congress has still yet to address the matter of the corruption of the markets, which took our financial sector from being a useful promoter of American prosperity to being a casino-like purveyor of games of chance for those with the money to gamble on relentless, recursive, and byzantine games of speculation.

So, many Democrats have deep concerns as to whether their people are listening. But that doesn't stop them from shouting the louder, or lead them to reject their ambitions to see a more responsive, responsible government working on the people's behalf.

Why would Republicans be the alternative? At best, they are enabling the corrupt on the other side, giving them the cover through an unyielding filibustering effort to disregard their voter's wishes. And at worst, they are keeping Democrats who actually do respond to their people's wishes from carrying those wishes out.

What the Republicans are doing gets excused as the typical Washington way of doing things. But don't both sides agree that the typical Washington way of doing things is dysfunctional?

So, coming back to that poster of Obama, we should recall what the character that sign is based on said:

I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan." But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!

All part of the plan. Despicable as the man is, he's right in a way, and for Republicans making the vicious comparison of our nice, calm President to this whacko, the comparison between them and the guy with the clown makeup is more problematic. They seem to be playing both sides of this, being the follks for whom American's pain and suffering is just all part of the plan, and the agents of chaos, fair, unbiased chaos.

For the last two election cycles, they've been doing their obstruction, paralyzing Congress's ability, in many cases, to respond to their nation's needs. For somebody like me, it's utterly horrifying to see this behavior, because I, like many Democrats, care what comes of policy, comes of events, more than we care about creating some political utopia where everybody does things our way.

The Joker's diatribe on the hypocrisy of society contains a grain of truth. We've taken to accepting some pretty horrible outcomes in the years the Republicans have been determining policy, because in essence, it's all part of the plan.

Hell, like the Joker said, when a truckload of soldiers got it in Iraq, the response of many Republicans during the Bush Administration was that we should stay the course, in effect making the soldier's deaths part of the plan. That much of this was done in the name of keeping Iraq a politically popular war should not escape attention; we can accept a war plan that costs lives if that plan seems to be working, making things better, but most Americans lack the stomach to sacrifice soldiers for the sake of politics, and rightly so.

Now we face economic hard times, and to be blunt, the Republican's plan is to cut back services. If this causes problems, the Republicans choose to tell us that reducing the deficit will help America economically, and that this would be part of it. If you listen to most economists, though, you'll find though that what the Republicans propose isn't that well received, at least not while we still are crawling back out of the hole of the collapse.

The problem dogging us is not inflation, it's the fact that balance sheet problems at the banks are making the banks stingy, either out of necessity or greed, in terms of lending money to consumers and businesses, and that this stinginess came with such suddenness, such catastrophic speed, that employers and others seeking finance had no opportunity to adjust in the marketplace. When Obama got into office, he was dealing with two trillion dollars worth of economic demand that had just walked away, walked away and took jobs, profits, and business opportunities with them.

With the Fed prime interest rate at zero, there was no opening up the coffers to flood the market with existing money supply. Part of the fed's response was to actually print new money to flood the market, and prevent further tightening. But that wasn't enough.

With Banks either unwilling or unable to lend, who was left to fund recovery? Americans were tightening their belts as it was. The Fed couldn't help more than it was.

That left Government. But of course, admitting this, much less voting for this would mean Republicans admitting that government could do people good through additional spending. So, even if it meant that there was going to be pain and suffering if this didn't go through, the Republicans opposed it, vilified it, wrongly enough, as unnecessary. It wasn't. It worked.

The Republicans continue to oppose that, and other methods, vilifying it at the top of their lungs. They do it not because it does not work, but because it does, and gets in the way of their claiming that their kind of agenda is the only way Americans can prosper. They warn people that deficits will come and get us if we continue with policies like this, but the fact remains that despite moves that in ordinary times would have kicked inflation sky-high, inflation remains stable, if not trending towards the negative. We're still in the hole, in other words, as far as demand goes.

But it must be opposed, regardless of what it does to people, regardless of the fact that the real long term drivers of deficits are economic hardship and healthcare, the two issues Republicans are most unwilling to deal with by government intervention.

Privatize Social Security, Privatize Medicare, push all the costs and responsibilities for the economy back onto the people. Let the market decide everything.

The same market that has allowed costs to spiral out of control with healthcare, despite more than a decade and a half of GOP promises.

The same market that collapsed, taking half of all American's retirement savings with them.

Literally, it's all part of the plan.

Republicans might claim that their alternative vision reduces the budget, but their budget essentially takes Seniors, and caps their medicare reimbursement, not indexing it for inflation, for the next few decades. Their plan does little to curb the rapid increases that insurance companies would impose, so your average american will pay the difference, and be paying it to the same insurance companies whose excesses the Republicans refuse to let America confront.

I was surprised that the Republicans would offer this kind of radical proposal, but not shocked. Republicans have long taken an approach that callous disregard for the consequences of their policy is a good thing, separates them from the bleeding-heart liberals who actually care what the decisions government makes do to people.

Correct me if I'm wrong, though, but isn't it a bad thing to have elected officials who are callous about the effects of their policies on people? The folks from Jim Bunning's home state seem to think so. Democrats weren't capitalizing on Bunning's comments for nothing. If there is one think I think most Americans are agreed on, it's that they don't want a government that doesn't watch what it's doing when it handles policy.

Whether the Republicans want to face it or not, there is a real movement out there in America to have government intervene on American's behalf, to help them through these tough times, an anger with a government that seems to consume our tax dollars without doing real good for the people.

The Republicans are trying to twist that dissatifaction around to increase the hatred of big government, but really, did that profit us any, as Wall Street was robbing people blind? Did it help us as Republicans in Congress dismantled decades worth of safeguards and obligations for big business? The Republicans claim big government is the problem, yet what people see out there is not a problem of too much governing, of innovation stifled and regulations keeping businesses from moving ahead, but not enough governing.

The derivatives that got us into this mess have been the subject of more than a decades worth of a hands-off approach to governing Wall Street. Folks in Washington, whether Republican or Democrat, pushed a law through Congress, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush, which actually made it illegal to regulate derivatives markets. The last decade has been an experiment in small government, in less governing in that respect. It was all part of the plan, a plan people only now have rejected because of the spectacular failure it produced.

Right now, Republicans claim that Wall Street needs more of the same plan in action.

That's not the only business that Republicans refuse to govern more, to moderate. Healthcare companies, insurance companies have run costs out of control, with little interference from them. If the Republicans wanted to prove that private healthcare would reform itself, they failed utterly.
It's not for nothing that the Republicans are not much better trusted on the subject than the insurance companies they come to the defense of. Whatever mistrust or antipathy Republicans have created against the current healthcare bill, and those pushing it through Congress, they have not earned the trust of the American people on the subject.

In fact, despite everything, Obama still polls 49% on trust concerning the subject. That's down, but you would expect to see Republicans numbers rise to compliment that, instead of remaining seventeen points behind. The Republicans are losing the political battle against reform, and ironically, the best they can do is make it a loss for everybody else, if they can manage it.

They can't even manage to keep their different stories straight. To wit, from the transcript of one commercial:

As a mom I know one-size-fits-all clothes don't fit, aren't comfortable and are seldom a bargain. So why does Harry Reid want to force one-size-fits-all government health care on us? Harry Reid thinks Washington knows best, but I think we the people know best. Harry Reid's big government health care plan will raise taxes, put a bureaucrat between you and your doctor, weaken Medicare, kill jobs, push us further into debt. I'm Sue Lowden and I approve this message because government run health care is wrong."

There are two rather disturbing conclusions you can come to from the wording here. The first disturbing conclusion is that Sue Lowden is unclear on the concept of Medicare, or unclear on the concept of Government-run Healthcare. The second is that Sue Lowden not only knows the difference, but also thinks that many of her potential voters don't, and is prepared to exploit that ignorance and misunderstanding for her own gain.

It gets even better. You know that Republican Budget that was supposed to cut taxes, raise revenues, and somehow solve the deficit? Not exactly working as sold. a quote from the linked article says it all:

"It’s difficult to design a tax plan that will lose $2 trillion over a decade even while requiring 90 percent of taxpayers to pay more," says CTJ acerbically. "But Congressman Ryan has met that daunting challenge."

What we're faced here with is politics for people who don't check the facts, who don't think things through. Politics from a party that thinks you're stupid and is waiting for you to prove them right.

Logic is for argument that intend to work through people's rational minds, that intend to let people make rational decisions. The Republicans simply want every person to be grabbing for their wallet, even as they help support all the folks who are picking it while the marks out there aren't looking.

Old folks regularly have to deal with end-of-life medical care. There was a provision in healthcare reform to take care of it, to help seniors and others on Medicare express their rights on making those tough decisions. Unfortunately, the Republicans needed a convenient issue to demagogue, so that became the Death Panels, a fictional tribunal before which Old people and Sarah Palin's little Down Syndrome baby went to be disposed of. A Responsible, reasonable piece of legislation was essentially destroyed because some folks needed something else to make people scared of healthcare reform with.

Obama as the Joker isn't about apt portrayals. It's about equating him with a villain, an absolutely destructive psychopath that people thought was real scary. But who really is more like him, at the end of the day? Those who are willing to let terrible things happen to make a point? Who prey on folk's fears and anxieties, or those who reason with people, who call for America to deal with the policy problems it's put off facing far too long?

Or a President noted for his calm, thoughtfulness, and trustworthiness?

We should be quite clear on who the real Jokers on are in Washington. Who they've been for decades. What they've been promising, if only we let them tear down Washington further, as it once was. No more deliberative Democracy, just a Congress that rubberstamps a Republican President, or obstructs a Democratic one. No answering the clear regulatory problems, just more catering to the special interests.

Because, after all, they do not think that granting access and showing gratitude towards contributors is corruption. Why bother doing what the people want? They're just there to be stampeded in a convenient direction, aren't they?

Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!

That's been, more or less, the clarion call of the right: Let the market decide everything!

Now, don't get me wrong, market economies are better than command economies at dealing with complexities. However, they're not fire and forget solutions to the problems of society. Somtimes they help, sometimes, they don't. Chaos cannot be our definition of fairness.

The fact is, the market can decide some pretty perverse things, if you don't configure the rules and regulations right. The market is about gains vs. losses, and the rules and regulations of that market are about how you can gain and how you can lose. While it's not a good idea to micromanage an economy from up on high, given how complex the market is, it's also not a good idea to let the damn thing run wild.

At the height of the crisis in the fall of 2008, stock prices, particularly of financial companies, were in a free fall. Some observers believe that CDS figured into that decline. They contend that, as buyers of credit default swaps had an incentive to see a company fail, they may have engaged in market activity to help undermine an underlying company’s prospects. This analysis has led some observers to suggest that credit default swap trading should be restricted or even prohibited when the protection buyer does not have an underlying interest.

Though credit default swaps have existed for only a relatively short period of time, the debate they evoke has parallels to debates as far back as 18th Century England over insurance and the role of speculators. English insurance underwriters in the 1700s often sold insurance on ships to individuals who did not own the vessels or their cargo. The practice was said to create an incentive to buy protection and then seek to destroy the insured property. It should come as no surprise that seaworthy ships began sinking. In 1746, the English Parliament enacted the Statute of George II, which recognized that “a mischievous kind of gaming or wagering” had caused “great numbers of ships, with their cargoes, [to] have . . . been fraudulently lost and destroyed.” The statute established that protection for shipping risks not supported by an interest in the underlying vessel would be “null and void to all intents and purposes.”

For a time, however, it remained legal to buy insurance on another person’s life in England. It took another 28 years and a new king, King George III, before Parliament banned insuring a life without an insurable interest.

America should be well on its way to dealing with this, but this is not a conversation ideologically driven Republican leaders want to have. It might put them in the uncomfortable position of having to cross their own contributors, rather than give them gratitude, shut them outside the office, rather than offer them the access to write the laws.
The Republicans say, never mind the catastrophic results, let's do things our way! Introduce a little chaos, chaos is fair!

Oh, but it's become obvious that some Republicans are just corrupt, even to the Republicans that long supported their parties. Might the Republicans lose votes to the Democrats, or at least lose enthusiasm?

Not if the Tea Parties can help it. They're there to ensure that the Republican's misgivings are properly channeled. Like Zion in the Matrix, they just represent another layer of control, for those who ache to take the red pill and see the real world.

But these are the Tea Party Folks! Patriots! Everymen!

Stockbrokers? Wall Street Bond Traders? CNBC Reporters (that is the folks who fawned over the folks that got us in this mess?)

I'm sure some of the Tea Partisans are nice, decent folks, but as Bill Maher pointed out, they're caught up in a movement where 90% of the members don't realize that taxes went down for 95% of Americans. And it's a movement about taxes. Now, I'm not so inclined to use Bill Maher's harsh words (he didn't have a show called Politically Incorrect for nothing.) but the feeling I get is the same: these people are not clued in, and the main reason is that they are surrounded by a media whose primary job is to make sure they remain blissfully unaware of how duped they've become.

The point of the Tea Party Movement is to just entrench the same old sneaky, power-grubbing bastards back in power, this time by essentially BSing everybody and their dog about what's really happening in American policy and why.

When we talk about how terrible Washington is, we have to realize that it's more than just a matter of where the numbers in Congress are, it's a matter of how things are proceeding through the Senate. And things are not proceeding through the Senate because the Republicans are intent on filibustering or otherwise blocking most legislation. Simple as that. It's no excuse. It's fact, and if we don't consider facts, if we only let emotion dictate our notion of what the solution might be, we might just run ourselves into the problem further.

The fact of the matter is, any reduction of Senate Democrat numbers will just feed the problem further. It's likely to happen, no doubt, but what I think people will find out is that Democrats are not the prime movers of gridlock. Their friends on the right are. And it's not some response to Democratic Policy run amok.

The Republicans started filibustering at their record rate in 2007- when the Democrats were just getting in. No big policy dispute, besides perhaps everything. The Republicans simply did not want the Democrats in Congress. So, they did their best to try and filibuster the Democrats into being seen as the Do-Nothing Party.

Now you might say the Republicans had the people on their side, but there's one problem: Americans elected more Democrats in the 2008 elections.

Did the Republicans see the light? No, they saw red. Last year, they filibustered 67 times. To put that in perspective, if the record hadn't been broken in the previous two year Congress that ended in 2009, it would have been broken last year, in just half of a Congress. The other half doesn't look that promising, since the Republicans have already invoked cloture votes 20 times in the first two months. The Republicans never bothered to wait for the Democrats to push objectionable policy, to shut them out. There was never a breaking point, nor did it all begin with a popular movement against Democratic policies.

Instead, all this BS started with a popular movement towards Democratic Party Policies, and hasn't stopped since.

The Republican's plan is essentially to strangle folk's hopes that the Democrats will do better, get them blamed for the government's failure to get things done, and then return to power, having changed little of the policies, or the political myopia that got them into trouble in the first place.

In otherwords, the Republicans are looking to manipulate people into voting to keep things in Washington the way they've been for the last generation, to prolong and promote the same policies that people are raging against, as those policies degrade and debase the country. They're not looking to solve problems or deal with objective realities. They're looking to chaotically twist people's honest, heartfelt emotions towards policy outcomes they wouldn't favor if they understood the full implications of their actions.

So we have to ask, finally, When the Republican Finance Committees were painting the Joker's "war-paint" on Obama's face, were they looking at their own in the mirror to make sure they got it right?

The Republicans have demonstrated their willingness to do anything to win, and that is read in some parts as a sign that they are stronger than the Democrats, and therefore better candidates to lead. But that is only an illusion. The Reality is that Republicans aren't interested in leadership. No, the politicians are interested in power, and just four bare years has done little, in fact nothing to curb either the interest, or the ends-justify-the-means attitude towards getting it.

And unfortunately, that attitude infects all the people that look to them for the leadership that should be there, and folks who are honestly working for the interests of their country get roped into continuing the status quo that even they are beginning to sense is toxic to them. The Tea Party Movement, at it's grassroots, is about that. But the unfortunate fact is that it's become another smokescreen, another trap of ideological confusion, set there to perpetuate the power of the elites that prey on their constituents, their customers, and their clients.

The Republicans out there, if they know what's good for them, need to wake up. All their party is doing is alienating them from the mainstream, forcing greater division in a nation being anchored to a failed past through those divisions. I don't care if Republicans become Liberals, moderates or stay conservatives. That's their decision, and I can't take that away from them, even if I wanted to.

The question is where the Republican party goes from here, transforming further into an engine of callous political self-justification, or whether Republicans finally get the perspective on what their leaders are doing to them and their country to finally throw the real Jokers of American politics out.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 10, 2010 7:46 PM
Comments
Comment #297011

Stephen

Look at what liberals say about Sarah Palin and how they even make fun of her baby. Barack Obama faces nothing like that. Remember what Democrats said about Bush. They said he fought a war just to make oil firms rich. Liberals have no standing to complain about attacks.

Re other things, Democrats have near complete control of the government. Sorry if you guys cannot get it done, but don’t blame Republicans.

Posted by: Christine at March 10, 2010 9:05 PM
Comment #297013

To be honest personally I don’t like his policies, and what goes around comes around.

Posted by: KAP at March 10, 2010 9:19 PM
Comment #297016

Christine,
You write: “Remember what Democrats said about Bush. They said he fought a war just to make oil firms rich.”

No. That was Alan Greenspan.

News flash! This just in! A wild coincidence was revealed today. Although conservatives disavow ‘blood for oil’ as the primary motive for the war in Iraq, it seems the previous oil corporations in Iraq, which came from other countries, lost their contracts, and the oil corporations from the invading ‘the alliance of the willing’ replaced them. Wilder yet: the reasons given for invading, such as the threat of WMD’s, the cooperation of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaida, and so on, all turned out to be false.

During the Bush administration, Exxon logged the most profitable year in the history of the world for a corporation.

However, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the wounding of uncounted more, the two million refugees that fled the country, and an addtional two million internal refugees, are never, ever, ever mentioned.

Posted by: phx8 at March 10, 2010 10:00 PM
Comment #297018

phx8

I recall that Iraq recently had an election where the outcome was not pre-ordained. Now that is something different.

My point re Bush and others, however, is objectively true. Just google these guys and see the trash Democrats talk. Obama has it easy in comparison.

Posted by: Christine at March 10, 2010 10:14 PM
Comment #297019

Christine-

Look at what liberals say about Sarah Palin and how they even make fun of her baby.

Very few Liberals make fun of her baby. What they do remember is Palin claiming that Obama and the Democrats would convene a Death Panel to kill her baby.

Oh, that, and millions of other Grannies. He’s had to weather criticism that has him pegged as the next Stalin, the next Hitler.

We at least had the decency to go after Bush mainly for what he actually did. Folks on Daily Kos shun the Truthers. Folks on RedState embrace the Birthers, embrace all the nuts.

Mainstream candidates of the Republican Party flirt with Secessionists, folks who claim the Tenth Amendment guts federal power over the states, with the harshes of racial stereotypes, but don’t even begin to see the kind of flack and controversy in the mainstream media such fringiness warrants. You’re so busy apologizing for the party, you hardly see what you’re apologizing for anymore.

As for complete control? Well, if it’s so complete, what do the filibusters matter? If the Republicans have no power, they’re just an illusion, and we can have majority votes on each and every measure. What a relief!

Seriously, when we set the last record, we reached 58 in the space of two years. We didn’t even get near that when the Repulbicans threatened the Nuclear Option. You guys passed that up easily with sixty-seven last year alone, and it would have been a record, if you hadn’t hit 112 with the Congress that preceded this.

Look, your people literally never let the debates end so votes can be had. Under the current rules of the Senate, which we can’t change mid-session without 67 votes, a filibuster stops any bill dead in its tracks, if a cloture vote of sixty can’t be won.

Perfect party-line votes every time, simply to legislate. And that’s when we had sixty. Now we have to have a Republican defection each and every time to pass legislation.

I’d ask you to name one other majority forced to do this in American history, but I know full well you couldn’t find it.

But since it’s to the disadvantage of the Democrats, who you resent for taking the majority, I guess it’s alright. The ends justify the means. Doesn’t matter whether America’s future is held hostage, and opportunities are missed to solve the problems that need solving. You guys get to block all the things you don’t like.

You know, you’d better enjoy this while it lasts, because there is serious talk among Democrats of simply doing away with the filibuster when the Senate comes back in January.

What, you think the Democrats would willingly cooperate with their own political demise forever? Let the Republicans drag them down to irrelevance with them?

If you don’t kill the Democratic Party Majority dead in the Senate with the Next election, you will know the actual meaning of the term powerless. It won’t just be a political affectation insinuated for the sake of driving liberals like me nuts.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 10, 2010 10:20 PM
Comment #297020

Christine,
You know full and well that the Iraqi government is one of the most corrupt governments on earth, and that is saying a lot. The chances of an honest election are precisely nil.

Posted by: phx8 at March 10, 2010 10:22 PM
Comment #297021

phx8

All I know is that the election had a great turnout and it was not possible to predict. This is a good sign. The usual Middle East MO is something else. Not bad.

Posted by: Christine at March 10, 2010 10:26 PM
Comment #297022

Stephen

It is hard to go after Obama for what he actually did, because he hasn’t succeeding in doing very much. That is why we have to judge him on what he says he might do and hope he cannot do it.

Re the tough Democrats - we have heard this too many times. I usually don’t like what Mike Moore says but he has it right this time. To quote Mike - “Democrats Are a Bunch of Wusses…It’s Disgusting… I’m Sick of Them”

Posted by: Christine at March 10, 2010 10:32 PM
Comment #297034

Stephen, I agree with you about the Republicans as to their rhetoric although some Republican politicians have distanced themselves from some of the worst of it. I think it is true that many of them are intimidated by and actually scared of Rush, Glen, Shawn and Ann. I also think it is quite evident that the tea party are a conglomeration of right wing dissidents that are in reality more angry with Republicans for not fulfilling their right wing fantasy’s even though they attack Obama and the Democrats ferociously.

I disagree with you about the reality of what is happening in Congress. Unless the Democrats in the Senate kowtow to the blue dogs, they can lose a cloture vote even with a couple of moderate Republicans voting with them. Have you noticed how many committees are run by blue dogs and corporcrats like Dodd?

Then there is the House, they practically put a boot up Rahmie’s rear today and told him to deliver a message to the Whitehouse. The message was quit butting in, stay out of our business and stop delivering time ultimatums. Rham said he would deliver the message.

Then there is Pelosi and her problem, either getting the blue dogs or the progressives on the liberals side to pass their corpocratic health care bill and she is having real trouble getting a majority.

Phx8, I think the Republicans would rather focus on the perception of democracy rather than the corruption. Corruption of government is a mainstay of corporate capitalism, so to is the illusion of democracy.

Christine, I would rephrase Moore’s comment and say that liberals are a bunch of wusses. The blue dogs lead them around by the ring in their noses and there aren’t enough progressives to make a difference in or even influence their policies.

The liberals gave away the farm with their supposed bipartisanship during the Clinton and Bush Administrations and now they are stuck between the conservatives who won’t budge an inch and the progressives who darn near despise them for their compromises to the corpocracy

Posted by: jlw at March 11, 2010 1:06 AM
Comment #297036

jlw,
True enough, it’s all about perception of democracy. The same situation is replaying in Afghanistan. It’s like a farce, only people are getting killed and it’s costing $180 million/day. Total waste of time and money and lives. General McChrystal will declare the ‘surge’ worked and we actually won… er… something.

It’s ridiculous to approach negotiations with an opening position that starts out giving away everything in the name of bipartisanship, yet that is what Obama and the Democrats did with health care. Universal health care was never even put on the table, and it’s absurd, because all of the wealthy countries already use universal health with better results than the US system. The health care corporations won the battle before it was even fought.

Having said that, it does not help that the GOP is bent upon blocking any and every piece of legislation. They want Obama to fail, and no price is too high for the country to pay if it means conservatives can regain power, even if the country itself fails. The next Congress will rewrite the rules to prevent this abuse of the system from ever happening again.

The Teabaggers are a joke. It’s a bunch of conservative Republicans who are pretending they weren’t Bush supporters, whipped up by a few talking heads and FAUX news, along with the support of racists who ‘want our country back.’

Posted by: phx8 at March 11, 2010 1:29 AM
Comment #297039

Christine
Hammas was freely elected. If you believe that A.the outcome is not known,or B. that the oil trust that gained from the war risk their sweet deals in the election, you are being naive, most likely for rehtorical reasons.

Palin? Us librals just hate her because we are so afraid of her brilliant thinking. She doesn’t even use a teleprompter unlike BHO who thinks he’s such a great big shot speaker,just writes on her hand. We hate her because she could so easily win,win win, in an election against Obama or any other Democratic Mr. Smartypants. I sure hope you all never ever nominate her. We are just ever so scared,scared,scared, I tell you.

Posted by: bills at March 11, 2010 6:14 AM
Comment #297040

It is evident that BHO,who ran on a platform of unity, did try to fulfill his promise. Its also evident that with the current Republican leadership,its just not possible.A return to power is all they are interested in. Change time. Change we can believe in? Time for the Dems to start acting like the troop supply trucks in WW2, The Redball Express. The red circle on their bumpers let everyone know,”We are not stopping and if you get in the way you will get run over.”The stakes are too high.

Posted by: bills at March 11, 2010 6:29 AM
Comment #297044

Christine-
Your party hasn’t learned, has it? You can count out some Democrats, but don’t count us all out. That’s how you lost the last two election.

The Republicans should realize that even if the Democrats in Washington are weinies, the folks back home who they are accountable to aren’t. Republicans have a bad habit of underestimating those Democrats, and the pressure they put on their politicians, the accountability they demand.

I mean, they’re willing to use their disappointment as a political wedge against the Democrats, true enough, but what makes you think disappointment with the Democrats in Washington on those folks part will ever mean added support for Republicans? You can get your people enthusiastic long enough to walk right into the blame in 2012 for things not getting done, that’s what you can do with such hasty and panicked effort to get back into power.

That’s why I don’t understand the Republican’s wish to return to power so quickly, on an intellectual level. I understand the emotions behind it, but the political failures of your party are not distant memories, and whatever reprieve you have from the voters is fragile as a result. And if you don’t deliver? Well, then what you’ve been doing for the last four years is burning your party’s ability to use appeals to bipartisanship to its advantage, which means that you’ll return to a much weaker minority, power-wise than if you had just bided your time, purged the party of extremists, appealed to the center, made deals with Democrats to moderate their policies, etc.

Here’s the thing: sooner or later, when your response is always to beat up on your political opposition, and everything’s ramped up, you either end up killing the political careers of those who are too weak to stand up to you, or raising the profile of those who will.

Your party might win back some territory this time around, but at what cost? So they can get the blame for nothing being done in Washington? So they can repeat the self-destructive partisanship, the political corruption, the frivolous use of oversight powers to drum up false scandals? (remember File Gate? recently dismissed by a Federal Judge)

The Republicans are all set to remind voters why they loved Clinton more than the Republican Congress that supposedly represented them. And that’s if they succeed. The Republicans have resolved none of their long term problems, and I guarantee you, they will waste whatever opportunities to lead, because they prioritize political victory over doing the things it takes to reassure people that they belong in power.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2010 7:44 AM
Comment #297045

KAP-
“What goes around comes around?”

What is this, a schoolyard scuffle, or the leadership of this country?

You’re essentially apologizing for the Republican Party governing like a bunch of punks, a bunch of adolescents.

The Republicans cannot stay in power for long if they don’t give in to what people want. But if they give in, people like you will abandon them. They can’t satisfy both the people who believe that Government should be shrunk, and those who think government should actually govern and help the average person corral the predators in the markets, without lying to both.

Democrats can satisfy their base and the center in this country without lying to both. We’re moderate enough as a party, close enough to the political consensus that we can act without duplicity to do what helps our party get re-elected. Our only real problem are a remnant population of Democrats who try to act like Lite Republicans.

And thanks to the Republican Party, those are the people who will take the brunt of the Democrat’s losses. Your party is thinning the herd of the uncommitted Democrats.

The Joker’s first line in The Dark Knight can be paraphrased as, “whatever doesn’t kill us, makes us stranger”. The Republicans certainly have gotten stranger, and they can’t hid the crazy and the stupid they’ve bought into to keep their base. They can only BS people that what they believe is somehow normal, somehow appropriate.

The Democrats are being strengthened as a party long term by their trials. The folks who kowtow to the Republicans are receiving their gratitude by losing votes with their constituents and facing primaries, and their friends on the right are eyeing their seats, and may get quite a few.

What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger, and worse for the Republicans, more insistent on getting our way. If we don’t lose either majorities, the Republicans are screwed.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2010 7:55 AM
Comment #297047

If health care passes, it’s because of the ruthless chicago style mafia politics of Obama. If it doesn’t pass, it’s because Obama is so weak he can’t even control his own party.

Obama is pushing health care reform for purely political reasons. The American people do not want health care reform shoved down their throats.

Does anyone even notice the talking points are contradictory?

Posted by: Schwamp at March 11, 2010 9:10 AM
Comment #297048

Just what I expected from you Stephen. Republicans are evil Democrats are saints. I remember back when the campaigns were going on You wrote saying Palin’s baby Trigg was really her daughters and all the bad mouthing you do about republicans. Now you cry about the bad mouthing of Democrats. How pitiful. You talk about school yard scuffle, the BS happens whenever a party is the minority. Some in your party do realize that the people back home are not weenies and most in your party don’t care about the people back home and are going to do what they want. Both parties need to realize who elects them and who they work for. So far what I see is an arrogant Democratic party not doing the will of the people.

Posted by: KAP at March 11, 2010 9:36 AM
Comment #297049

KAP-
I hate it when people put words in my mouth, and you have put words in my mouth.

No, Republicans are not evil. Their behavior, though, should speak for itself. This is not the behavior of a responsible party leadership.

When the subject of whose child Trig was came up on Daily Kos, I came down against the assertion that he was Bristol’s until there was solid evidence that he was. I fought entrenched battles, complete with multiple YouTube videos, against 9/11 Truthers, when they showed up with their BS.

I would ask you to prove that the Republican obstruction is nothing new, but I know you can’t.

You can’t look to this Congress or the last to say that Republicans have only followed Democratic precedents in the use of the filibuster, because the Democrats never used the filibuster as much in one Congressional session as Republicans have used it last year. The Republican obstruction is literally an order of magnitude worse.

You leave this question of magnitude out, leave the question of moderation out. To you, it is simply enough that Democrats used this tactic. If so, you argue, you can claim that the Republicans can do the same no matter how harshly they abuse this minority power.

You talk about the will of the people, but what was it that brought the Democrats their majority, and what justified the Republicans blocking things from the very beginning, especially when the Public underlined their shift with that devastating 2008 election?

Your people imagine themselves the standard-bearers on this issue, imagine that your discontent is shared by a silent majority, which justifies your bitter obstruction.

But is the problem people have with the Healthcare Bill what you think it is?

Republican Politics has become self-serving to itself. You talk about an arrogant party not doing the will of the people. Look at the numbers, though: who is more popular right now? Well, Obama’s more popular than Congress, and the Democrats in Congress are more popular than the Republicans.

If the Republicans are on the right track, why are they not better regarded?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2010 10:50 AM
Comment #297063

Nobody is putting words in your mouth you do a good enough job of that yourself. Republican obstruction is nothing new and neither is Democrat obstruction. Both parties practice it but you seem to be blind to that fact. You say your party has responsible leadership,LOL. The republicans are using filibuster because your party is pushing an unpopular bill. Your party is not listening to the people, from the President on down. Congress’ approval ratings are down in the toilet and the Presidents’ approval is falling. Yet you claim it is the Republicans fault, Pitiful.

Posted by: KAP at March 11, 2010 5:27 PM
Comment #297065

KAP-
On the tactical front, it’s true that we’re comparing apples to apples.

The difference is, the Democrats used a bag, the Republicans have used a barrel. If you fail to differentiate between a moderate use of a parliamentary procedure, and the Nation’s most excessive overuse of it ever, then it is you who is blind.

As for that claim that your party is using the filibuster because it was an unpopular bill, the trouble with that assertion is that this behavior started with the 2006 election that swept the Democrats to power, went past the 2008 election that swept even more Democrats to power, and was used long before the Republicans had an unpopular bill to protest.

But okay, you explain this to me: how come these filibusters long preceded the supposed cause in both time and tempo. Explain why these filibusters didn’t start after Democrats lost popularity, but instead before it.

As for the President’s approval rate falling? They’re remaining rather stable. Look to your own Congress. Oh, and look to Reagan’s approval ratings in 1983. I’m sure you’ll find the numbers of both were in the thirties.

Quit trying to intimidate me with polls. I probably know them better than you do.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2010 5:49 PM
Comment #297067

That’s rather doubtful.

Posted by: KAP at March 11, 2010 6:22 PM
Comment #297068

Regan’s polls are ancient history, besides I didn’t vote for him. Stephen HCR is an unpopular bill if it were a republican bill your party would be doing the same and I’d be praising the Democrats for doing it.

Posted by: KAP at March 11, 2010 6:27 PM
Comment #297083

Stephen,

I agree with your damnation of the fund raising posters. It is despicable. Democrats are the opposition not the enemy, and it is important that we always remember that. I believed and respected Obama during the last election cycle when he supported this sentiment (and I believe and support that he still does).

I also agree with you when you say, “That’s why I don’t understand the Republican’s wish to return to power so quickly, on an intellectual level. I understand the emotions behind it, but the political failures of your party are not distant memories, and whatever reprieve you have from the voters is fragile as a result.”

I don’t understand it either. The Republican Party still needs to regroup and refocus on what it is that they are going to do to develop a reasonable agenda for governing and developing a more inclusive vocabulary and ethos that will speak to moderates and independents.

However, I don’t believe that you are being completely honest in your self-assessment. You have called Republican’s the enemy and certainly intimated that they are evil. Your actions are nowhere nearly as bad as what this link shows, but it is well worth remembering the admonition to, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Posted by: Rob at March 11, 2010 9:56 PM
Comment #297092

KAP-

Regan’s polls are ancient history, besides I didn’t vote for him.

His poll numbers were down in the thirties. He recovered and won a landslide. Obama’s in nowhere near as bad of shape, and neither is the economy he deals with. Therefore, your claims that Obama is doomed are nowhere near so guaranteed. Obama, in fact, is doing much better than Clinton.

People trust him more than the Republicans in Congress.

The Republicans made the bill unpopular through their rhetoric. They didn’t, though, manage to make the provisions unpopular. The provisions make the bill, so your claim is more about an image cultivated by your own party, than it is about truly responding to the will of the people.

In fact, as past poll results have emphasized, The people who don’t want Congress going as far as the Democrats have gone are in the minority. The majority either is satisfied with the current bill, or want one that does more.

The low support for the bill may indeed come from the fact that it it’s too conservative, not from it being lacking in that department. In fact, as Obama has sold the virtues of the bill, it’s popularity has become greater.

Go figure. Maybe Republicans misinformed people successfully.

Rob-
I don’t believe your average Republican walking down the street is evil. But I think some of the people leading them are scum, and what they’re doing to this country to get back up on top is unconscionable.

The Joker is a symbol for a nihilistic manipulator who brings chaos and disorder. Republicans use him on Obama to try and paint him as a dangerous, sociopathic radical. However, Republicans have used methods and are engaging in behavior that sadly much more closely resembles the Joker’s pattern of behavior. They ssem to just want to watch liberalism burn, rather than formulate an identity separate from what they simply oppose.

I won’t claim Democrats are not guilty in part of this, but I’d say that we are taught to care about the consequences of policy, and about government remaining in good working order. We aren’t nihilists about policy, for the most part, and in this situation, this is a bit of a weakness. How do you negotiate, govern, when most of your opposition just works for a breakdown of what you want, regardless of the consequences? The Bunning case is illustrative about this problem.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2010 10:53 PM
Comment #297097

Stephen, If BHO keeps going the way he is, his popularity will be below Regan’s and Bush’s. Why do you keep linking back to one of your older posts that to me proves nothing. Link to Rasmussen, politico, or Gallup then you might have some credibility.

Posted by: KAP at March 11, 2010 11:20 PM
Comment #297099

I forgot real clear politics to Stephen.

Posted by: KAP at March 11, 2010 11:22 PM
Comment #297115

KAP-

Stephen, If BHO keeps going the way he is, his popularity will be below Regan’s and Bush’s.

Well, first, let’s have some fun with the numbers. You say Gallup is trustworthy? Well here’s what Gallup has to say: 49, 50, 46, 49, 68.

Or, Obama, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, and Bush 41.

That’s right! Bush beat everybody! 68%! Woohoo!

And he still shared Carter’s fate. But Obama is doing no worse than Clinton, and three points better than Reagan, who despite poll numbers that would dip into the thirties, would recover and win a landslide election against Walter Mondale.

But aren’t Obama’s poll numbers falling?

Again, according to Gallup Obama’s poll numbers are hovering around 50%. They’ve been stable for the last three months.

As for Rasmussen? They’re the only ones who I know of who have an approval index. You know what that is? They take the strongest supporters, and the strongest detractors, and subtract the detractors from the supporters.

Of course, since the Republicans disapprove of the President by an incredibly lopsided margin, and have been drilled to just hate him on sight, Obama, of course, loses on that index, even if his numbers are better than fifty percent. in the real poll.

They are also the only pollsters that have Obama upside down. The ONLY one. In the polling business, this makes them an outlier. They’re using a likely voter screen, which is problematic when you’re months distant from an actual election, but also when you’re operating with Rasmussen’s rather conservative assumptions about who they are. For the longest time, Rasmussen had McCain winning the election, before they did some last minute changes to their likely voter model.

Also, no poll actually polls cell phone users. Youngsters disproportionately favor Obama, and Obama is doing a great deal right now to rally them.

Polling is not as simple as you think. You have to weight your averages to make them consistent with the population- otherwise social effects would skew your results.

The question you should ask is not whether Rasmussen is listened to enough, the question is where the President is in every other poll, and how Rasmussen skews the average with their exceedingly pessimistic view of Obama’s prospects.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 12, 2010 8:58 AM
Comment #297146

Stephen,

You said, “Rob-
I don’t believe your average Republican walking down the street is evil. But I think some of the people leading them are scum, and what they’re doing to this country to get back up on top is unconscionable.”

And there goes any moral highground you had on this issue. You walk out an exhibit of morally repugnant behavior, and then you turn around and complete one of your own.

You would be well served to follow your leader on this who has claimed and embodied the idea that the Republican’s are his opposition. He disagrees with them on what is right for the country, but he respects that they have their own opinions on this as well.

You just chided me on the other thread that, “It’s better to comment on the quality of the logic rather than the honesty of the source. Honesty has more moral connotations. Logic is a more rational enterprise, so a reasonable disagreement becomes less perjorative.” Yet, here with the statement above, you have thrown that out the window.

Before I go, let me reemphasize, the actions of teh Republicans were wrong, repugnant, and unAmerican. I believe that your statement quoted above is equally so. While you didn’t put masks on them, you made exactly the same kinds of value judgements about the persons and not their actions. I personally believe that every member of the Congress beleives that they are there to serve their constituents and their country. I believe that the violently disagree with what is right for the country. I believe that many act in ways that run contrary to their beliefs on a regular basis because the power of the Office and the sausage making has a corrupting influence. But I do not believe (isoloated examples of the worst to the side), that they are evil. I do not believe that they are unpatriotic, I do not believe that they set out to ruin America.

You evidently do. You have no moral authority left to judge your enemy for their transgressions.

Posted by: Rob at March 12, 2010 3:54 PM
Comment #297210

Rob-
You’re a good man, and your views are reasonable. But that is not what your leadership has encouraged. The average Republican is not evil, but they are lead by folks who encourage them to be callous, to fear dark conspiracies, and to hate people like me.

I have suffered the slings and arrows of that hatred for a long time. I would love it if that got set aside, if I didn’t have struggle to justify my own moral standing as I debated my ideas.

Unfortunately, what your leadership deliberately encourages is an environment where folks like me, and leaders like Obama don’t get a fair hearing. Instead, there’s a constant stream of hateful rhetoric and ad hominem exclusionism. How are Republican views and thinking going to get moderated, when the party leadership and political leaders out there so strongly discourage the examination of other views in good faith?

They are the targets. The people I believe have failed their constituents, yet like cowards, refuse to take responsibility for that failure, and act to confuse and mislead people out of believing that there was even a failure to begin with.

That strikes me as a particularly cold example of evil. The gravity of their failures is such that this country’s safety and prosperity may not long survive their continuation. Yet they refuse to face up to them. Worse, they use a particularly Orwellian kind of public relations gambit to redefine their errors as the only sane policy alternative.

I have Asperger’s Syndrome, which means I think of right and wrong in very concrete terms. Not always, right, but very concrete. To me, such a continuation of error is an incomprehensible, even frightening thing. If the Democrats had tried and failed, a return to non-ideal strategies might be understandable, but the whole point of the blockade strategy the Republicans have used since their loss in 2006 is to prevent Democrats from ever presenting a viable alternative to the American people.

Can you understand what this looks like to a concrete thinker, to somebody who finds the notion of this kind of deliberate political nihilism morally offensive? To not only screw up, but to lie to make it look like the right thing; to not only fail to accept responsibility for the failure, but to refuse to accept the verdict of those they are accountable to; to not only offer no good or serious alternative in policy, but to hamstring anybody else from trying things a different way?

That’s my moral authority, as far as I’m concerned. The Republicans have not repented, so why do they deserve forgiveness so quickly? They have not changed their minds about what’s the best policy, despite that policy’s abject failure, so why give them a second chance they’ll waste like the first? Worse yet, they fight to close the minds of people against and burn the bridges to all alternatives, having put themselves in no position to do right by the average American.

I am willing to compromise to allow a bill to get through Congress. My first impulse would not have been to do things Max Baucus or Kent Conrad’s way, but that’s what was necessary.

I am willing to compromise to give the bill a broader base, taking good ideas from the Republicans and incorporating them. I have no problem with serving more than just the interests of a few, compromising so that more people would be satisfied with the result, comfortable with supporting it.

But the line I draw is a pretty simple one: will it work, will it do good? I think there is a good bit of reasonable evidence to suggest that Democratic Party policies have done good, and will do some good. I also believe, though, that Republican Policies have been demonstrated to have done a lot of harm, to not have worked. If Republicans chose different policies, If Republicans were willing to work with us rather than constantly trying to win back power through political manipulation, I might be willing to compromise.

But for now, I fight, because I cannot truly find practical reasons to support what the Republicans suggest as policy. I have personally paid the cost of the failure of our healthcare system in more than one way, so I don’t see the point in shooting down a comprehensive healthcare package for the sake of your party’s troubling lack of sound policy. It’s far from perfect, far from what I wanted, but I would rather people like me have some chance, some hope of living normal lives, rather than being prematurely struck down by healthcare problems that this society is more than capable already of treating and dealing with.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 13, 2010 10:04 AM
Comment #297215

Stephen,

Not good enough. You can fault the policies and the politics without taking on the people behind them. You are willing to give those you support that lattitude on a regular basis. Those you disagree with you do not. You are just as guilty for your characterization of the Republicans as they are of your party.

The bigger problem is that the ad hominem attack of Republicans leaves you unable to review the successes and failures of policies without the lens of admiration or hatred.

Posted by: Rob at March 13, 2010 12:02 PM
Comment #297220

Rob-
The claim could be easily turned around on you. You are, in fact, saying that I should be ignored on account of my obvious discontent with the Republicans.

Look again, though: Does that change, for example, my claim that Republican Paul Ryan, given the chance, put out a worse budget than the Democrats he berates? No, that still should be judged on the facts, even if I’m not completely neutral on them.

Does it change that the woman in question advocated for Medicare, which is a government run healthcare system, and just a few lines later, against the very concept of a government healthcare system?

Does it change the fact that Republicans failed to translate record breaking tax cuts into either economic dividends or the long promised Laffer Curve concept of revenues going up thanks to reduced taxes? No.

Does it change the fact that Republicans made provably erroneous claims about the Democrat’s healthcare plans, including the infamous claims about Death Panels?

Fallacies are poor or improper logical constructions. But a claim or conclusion can be true in spite of a fallacy. I think you can remove my biases from the argument and still have cause for concern.

For example, the wall to wall filibusters. Isn’t there a danger Democrats could employ this in return? Could the Democrats be pushed after the next election to essentially eliminate it, robbing the Republicans of their last hardline method of resisting the Democrats?

You can take or leave my attitude. Question is, are my facts in dispute, and how? I answered the objection to my use of CBO numbers in one case, and my dismissal of that agency’s numbers in another case. But I didn’t do it through perjorative argument, I did it mainly by saying that one source of tax data was less susceptible to partisan bias than the other,

I don’t like to rest arguments on easily contradicted insults. If I’m going to disparage a particular group, I’m going to make a case against them, and what they are doing, and that case needs to be dealt with on the facts, not swept under the rug because you don’t like my attitude.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 13, 2010 2:49 PM
Comment #297393

Stephen,

First off, sorry for the late reply; I was distracted by work and never got back to this.

You said, “Rob-
The claim could be easily turned around on you. You are, in fact, saying that I should be ignored on account of my obvious discontent with the Republicans.”

No, I think that if you follow my postings here it is clear that I do not ignore you on the whole. Rather, I believe you should be ignored when you speak about the “evil” that resides within the Republican party or their motives.

I believe Rob-
The claim could be easily turned around on you. You are, in fact, saying that I should be ignored on account of my obvious discontent with the Republicans.

When you base your arguments on the facts, I’m happy to read and respond. However, when you try to compare and contrast the moral purity of the two parties, as you have here, you have left the realm of government and entered the realm of politics. Here you are no better than your opposition. You have belittled and otherized them to the same level as the Linbaugh’s of the world have your party. When you appeal not logic but to moral outrage, you are no better than those on the other side.

Posted by: Rob at March 16, 2010 9:38 PM
Comment #297817

Rob-
Look, the realms are not pure. Some people really do think like the Joker. I’m not saying that about the Republicans.

What I’m saying is that what the Republicans say to people, do to people, treat people like is what’s otherizing them.

They are making themselves seem like fools by trying to elevate candidates like Sarah Palin, and others who act like buffoons and boors.

They are making themselves seem callous and indifferent, even hostile, with people like the Tea Partiers, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and others.

They are making themselves seem positively insane with folks like Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, and Michael Savage, among others.

And guess what? When people tell them about the excesses of this kind, the Republicans attack those people, and do their best to apologize for them and elevate them further. It’s become a badge of honor, even, for members of Congress to become hecklers in formal meetings and assemblies where decorum is important.

The Republicans are setting themselves apart, alienating others. Democrats like myself are merely pointing out just how far these people are going from reasonable, intelligent behavior, and hoping Republicans like yourself will grasp that this separation is helping to wreck your party further.

The Republicans are giving the Democrats plenty of fodder for this, as this letter helps demonstrate.

You should start asking yourself, why am I jumping to this person or another’s defense? Or, alternatively, Are my critiques reasonable, or are they made simply in the moment, in response and contradiction to the Democrats, with little effort made to see whether a policy started with your own people.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 24, 2010 6:14 PM
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