Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Relativistic Nature of Victory

As a writer of fiction, I like to study all the different little conventions and standard plots, so I spend a lot of time at TVTropes.org. I just happened to be going through one of their indexes, Victory and Defeat, which had tropes relating to that. One of them is We Win Because You Didn’t, and reading it gave me some perspective on the GOP.

We are reward driven creatures, but part of the rewards we seek rely on how our leaders set our party and movement's goals. It not only effects what satisfies us, but also, what leaves us wanting more. Set wrong, you can lead people to hammer away at goals that leave their time and efforts wasted. Set right, and you can lead people to victory with intimidating regularity.

The trope I cited in the intro basically revolves around what it takes for a certain side to declare victory. I think one example would be when James Bond hurled a encrypted guidance system the Russians were looking for off a cliff. His line sounds magnanimous: "Détente, comrade. You don't have it; I don't have it." But in reality, we know Bond wins.

Why? Bond's conditions for victory weren't simply mirror images of his opponent's. Retrieving the unit was necessary for the Soviets to win that engagement. For Bond, it was optional. He only had to keep it out of their hands.

A certain Republican on the Red column keeps on telling me that if the Republicans are able to frustrate Democrats when they have such numbers, such control of the apparatuses of government, then they must be brilliant, and the Democrats inept. I think that's crap, for the same reason its crap to say James Bond didn't win that engagement on that mountaintop. Simply put, Republicans have lesser objectives than the Democrats. In the short term, that gives them the advantage of having to do less to win.

Republicans spent much of the last decade basically fattening up their political advantages, pushing their agenda to the limit. While you could argue this is a huge part of the reason they're no longer in power, it isn't arguable that they set the new default by doing this. The tax policy, the military policy, the regulatory policy. Fact is, Democrats have to actually change things and get laws passed to win.

Republicans, on the other hand, only have to obstruct, and do so fiercely, to keep many of the default policies going. Like Bond (a comparison I don't make to flatter them), they don't have to preserve anything but what's already the case. At least if we're talking the laws. Obamacare was a defeat, Dodd-Frank was a defeat, as was the Stimulus. Any deviation they can't knock down undermines them. If enough pile up, what can they do?

Democrats have a higher standard necessary to win, at least if they're playing the game in terms of the power to legislate.

See, the problem the Republicans have unfortunately failed to reflect upon is just how easy it is for Democrats to get in their way. What they've created is paralysis for the Democrats, but also paralysis for themselves. They have far less freedom to compromises, are much more subject to restrictive litmus tests. Republicans can't adapt so well to suit their constituents, nor can they really do them favors on a consistent basis.

If and when they take back power, there's nothing they can do that doesn't stink of raw hypocrisy to assert their power that cannot be countered in the same way. So, when their appointees come up, they get filibustered, too. When they try to pass their legislation... Well, that's happening already, isn't it? Ah, but that's good old fashion constitutionally based failure of a bill to pass. But what if Republicans somehow get the Senate? Well, everything they try to pass can be filibustered, too.

Today's Republicans might consider it a brilliant idea, but it's not as if the filibuster hasn't existed in this form for quite a few decades now. The real question is, why weren't people so enthusiastic about it before, whether Republicans under the Democrats, or Democrats under the Republicans?

Well, simply put, they had the brains, and the lack of desperate stupidity, to look ahead, to see that what was good for the goose, that is, their opponents, could end up being good for the gander. That is, them.

Wouldn't that be wonderful? You spend what will likely be at least eight years trying to get back in charge of the senate, only to have just about ever opportunity to legislate just snatched away, by people who they spent the last eight years obstructing and rubbing their faces in the obstruction.

So, what might seem like win now, or a great idea now won't seem so nice later. Heck, as it is, if Republicans won't compromise, if they won't approve things the Senate passes. or allow things to pass the senate on account of the filibuster, there's nothing the Democratic majority there is obligated to promote on the Republicans behalf.

Now, this doesn't seem like victory to me. It's nice to have people in the way so Republicans don't get what they want, but two things bother me about that. First, unlike the Republicans, I don't despise the functionality of my nation's government. Having my country's government weakened, and the fortunes of my nation that depend upon them suffer as a result seems like a problem to me. Second, I don't see long term stagnation and paralysis as a good thing either. Whatever else the Framers had in mind, they wrote up the Constitution so that they could have a government that functioned in their young nation's time of need. They knew, in Benjamin Franklin's words, that if they did not hang together, they would surely hang separately.

That's what I think is missing from the modern Republican Party: a sense of our nation as a whole. Oh, they're quite willing to promote patriotism when they're trying to promote a war or a foreign policy, they're quite willing to slander their opponents as having no loyalty to their country, but when you look at their policies, it seems like they are quite willing to otherwise divide, fragment, and frustrate the fortunes of the nation as a whole in order to promote what was once a destructive set of notions they opposed.

For people who want to weaken the federal government, and revert this nation back to antebellum times, who carry on the misguided political traditions of the old south, it might seem better to break things down, but we're no longer living in times where either communications or transportation are so primitive that a nation our size can exist that way. Its not that we shouldn't have a federal system. Actually, you can't really manage a system this size without delegations of power of some kind. State, local, and federal levels all serve their purpose. But we face, compete with, and sometimes war with nations who have their act much more together than that. They've advanced past the last century.

So, when people paralyze and undermine our government, when they leave this country's economy sucking air because the remedies the dominant political party proposes run against their political ideology, they're not doing this nation any favors. They're winning a short term, limited political victory, but at the cost of wreaking havoc that makes us all losers, including them.

I took care as part of the loyal opposition to oppose tactics which undermined my nation as a whole, even when it meant having to compromise with those whose policies I disagreed with. I didn't waste my breath on constant conspiracy theories about the victor, and I didn't throw around the word "fascism" as a cheap tactic to discredit my opponents. I wanted to defeat my rivals on the merits, and in the meantime, maintain the function of the government.

I think today's Republican leaders are real losers, no matter what they win. They are leaning on one particular set of tactics to avoid facing the position the voters put them in. They can rationalize things all they want to, but it really comes down to the leaders being so greed for power, and so opposed to being accountable for its use, that they are willing to do everything in their power to put a united front against even the will of the voters to keep it.

That was never what the framers intended. That's what the framers fought: an unaccountable elite who could impose their will no matter how badly they screwed things up, no matter how badly they alienated everybody else.

They did not set up a perfect plebiscite, but a representative government. They did not set up an absolute Democracy, but the Republic they did put together was built on Democratic principles. Where they wanted supermajority votes, they said so, and laid out the standards explicitly. They did not give the Senate minority a veto on legislation they didn't like.

How the Republicans put on their tricorner hats and lecture us about freedom after pulling all that crap is beyond me. Freedom isn't a minority forcing ALL its decisions on you. You can't turn exceptions in terms of civil liberties into a blanket right to roadblock the agenda of the party that won the last election. You are supposed to win the next election, and then stop whatever you don't like that way. This several year campaign by the Republicans is an act of political cowardice. Rather than take the political risks necessary to bring enough of the center and their right wing together, the Republicans are using procedural tactics to preserve their ability to go perpetually to the right on issues, and still maintain control.

Such cowardice, I believe, is repaid in time, because what they're doing sets up a strained state of affairs. Sure, they can keep things how they like it, but if like in the thirties, or in 2006 and 2008, they resist dealing with a major problem on ideological grounds, they're going to get more than just the normal resistance, they'll get a backlash from all the more disinterested citizens, whose experiences of the policy failures will make them far less sympathetic.

In short, I believe the Republicans are tempting fate. At some point, enough of the old-line Democrats, unwilling to play hardball, will retire, and in their place will be newer Democrats who find Republican tactics intolerable. At some point, Republicans might choose the wrong crisis to keep America paralyzed under, or worse, as with 2011, inflict on of their own. At some point demographics will weaken their position further, meaning that all the advantages they stacked up, even if they can maintain them, will be insufficient to keep them in power. And if I'm wrong? Long term, they're still screwed, because of the precedents they set by their own behavior!

Am I of the belief that the Republicans are dead, that they're going to lose no matter what?

Not quite.

My thinking on the matter is quite a bit more sophisticated. All functioning major parties are coalitions of smaller factions. The challenge for the GOP is that it is inordinately dependent on their fringe elements. They became so reliant on the notion that this base would not be so fickle as a center-based, non-ideological set of members might be.

Ah, but they're fickle in their own way, these bases. They have their litmus tests and their hardline positions. When they think they're in control, they will demand absolute obedience to their agenda.

But of course, there aren't enough of them, or the others who could live with these people getting what they want to win all the elections they want to win.

Like many political factions throughout world history, they believe their causes are just enough to justify using hardball tactics, even cheating the system, in order to win. After all, they believe, if the other side wins, the nation goes flaming into decline.

The framers, though, did not design this government to serve the interests of a small faction who thinks any deviation from their agenda spells apocalyptic doom for the country. They didn't even design it with some future party in mind. They designed it with a mind that all the myriad of factions, of Senators from the States and Representatives from their districts would all have to compromise on their own special interests, while looking to the nation's general interests. They designed it so that the little things that only work to the advantage of one part of America were filtered out or moderated, so what people could agree was best for everybody, by a majority, would pass.

This was not a government designed to flatter the sensibilities of the fringe, but which was put together to encourage a moderate middle. I believe this tendency towards rewarding those who put the general interest first is a fundamental part of why this nation's government has survived so long. Where in France, Germany, and other lands, we have seen dramatic shifts in political systems, America's government has remained fairly stable, with one major exception.

I don't think this is because the framers formed the perfect government. Far from it. It's had its share of headaches. No, I think it's because the framework acts against quick takeovers by small factions that don't care about the interests of society as a whole, or the opinion of most people. It forces people to bend towards the populace they seek to govern, rather than simply allowing them to run away with control without any constraints.

That's part of why I treat civil liberties as integral to the system. In essence, any government that can shut people up when they say something they don't like is one that can hold on to power even when they're misgoverning the nation. If you can ban other parties, if you shut down newspapers and news channels that present a rival message, you can hold on to power far longer, even in a Democracy. Same thing if you let police powers get too profound. We may not like who the fourth Amendment sometimes helps, but protection against arbitrary search and seizure helps keep police powers necessary to keep order in society from becoming diverted to the service of destroying political enemies.

Ultimately, there's another layer to all this, one that goes beyond the immediate elements of a government constrained to stick to its proper business. Simply put, when we go out there and speak our mind, when people are able to see reforms done and successfully influence the system, a certain tension in society is relieved.

If it isn't? It doesn't get relieved. It stays there. It builds up until it finds some other release. Governments existed for thousands of years, and for much of that time, a certain kind of game was played, where rulers did their best to stay on top of those they ruled, shifting between dominating them, and mollifying them with some gesture, or God forbid, actual change. But this system was always more inefficient than a Democracy at dealing with the needs of the average person.

There were always grand designs by the crown or the leader, or whatever, designs that nobody got a check on, simply because some guy was born lucky enough to inherit the position, or might enough to take it by force. The good rulers made sure their countries had the infrastructure and the law and order necessary to thrive. The bad? They didn't care. They thought the whole apparatus beneath them would keep them in power. And often enough, they did.

For people like us, lucky enough to be born into the constitutionally governed nation like our own, a great privilege has been granted, and a great burden as well. We have no one else to blame, but also, we have fewer people in the way of our doing what we can know, or figure out to be in our best interests. Since we cannot always agree on everything, we work with a system that mainly requires supermajorities for special occasions. Any other supermajority requirements are the result of procedures created by Congress itself. But even there, we cannot count the procedure that the GOP now uses to block things as having originally had that purpose. Just look how it was really used all those years.

The purpose it now has is a product desperation by folks who did not want to pay the political price for their failures. They, like the kings and queens, warlords and dictators of old, want to use the apparatus beneath them as insulation between them and the will of the people. They want to pretend that they can sit on what people want indefinitely, and that they are right to do this.

This is their victory: they've ground a system working against them to a halt. But part of that system is a population of people who remain dissatisfied with them, who continue to not want what they have to give. Ah, they might have been able to panic, stampede, and dishearten enough people to win one election, but as tempers have cooled and results have come back, the people have taken back part of that power they gave, and their own political documents tell us that they've only kept part of that because they were able to manipulate the maps of their districts to get the kind of voters they wanted.

A real victory would have been gaining the support of the people on a sustainable basis, but instead, their Congressional majority rests on a popular vote minority.

Conservative leaders have become like hothouse flowers, weakened by their dependence on so many procedural advantages. They have let what you could call their social skills atrophy, and have taken up a defiant, patronizing attitude towards the increasingly dominant demographics. Will that end badly tomorrow? Perhaps not. The graph goes both up and down, even if the trendline is mostly in one direction or another. But I think it ends badly eventually, with a profound loss of power at some point. Why? The dependencies.

Take your rabid hardliners away, and Conservatives don't win so many elections, not unless they get closer to being liberals, or at least further away from being what many today consider conservative. That, or seeking out the center will lead them to do things that will gut hardliner morale, or soften their insistence on their points. One way or another, the political pressures will wear down on the hardliner. A price must be paid for the distance between the right in this country and the center, especially when they seek to govern the middle.

Take the ability to filibuster indefinitely away, and whole bunches of appointees and laws can get through that end up changing the political landscape. Having squandered the majority of the last decade being obstructionist, Republicans will be in a worse bargaining position. They poached seats from their former allies in the Democratic Party, in order to try and win back the Senate. Same in the House. The result is that the Senate and House Delegations from my party have considerably fewer people willing to make deals with them, and those that do try to make them have come to look increasingly naive. How do you justify trying to make deals with people when results are never forthcoming. Poorly chosen victories have a way of setting up later defeats.

Take the advantage of redistricting away, and the seats becomes substantially less safe, and hardliners who enjoyed such safer seats will be forced to compete in normal electorates that skew much further to the center or the left. Democrats, having had to compete on such ground, will be much better equipped to appeal to the middle and the moderates. Republicans, mainly concerned with avoiding Tea Party primaries, will not be so flexible or even willing to cater to what those people want.

And of course, with hardliners in place, those already in power, whether they believe in the dogma or not, end up having to make more big decisions based on litmus tests. This already has had serious consequences for the Party, as the litmus test happy Bush Administration and the Republicans in Congress already made a number of catastrophically dumb decisions, trying to maintain the kind of foolish consistencies that Emerson talked about. That alone was able to overcome quite a bit of redistricting in the GOP's favor, and deliver Congress to the Democrats for four years. Further dumb behavior probably was the main reason we saw them lose this last election.

And with the Republicans still in charge of the house, there's more stupidity to be had, more dumb decisions that folks with more common sense and less "political savvy" would be better able to avoid. You want an example? The Debt Ceiling gambit. It's a no-win for them, really. Threaten to crash the economy, having just lost the last election after you made that threat before? Or actually do crash the economy, see how that goes down with voters. The sequester, though gentler, can easily be pinned on the Republicans. They can say the Democrats signed onto it, too, President included, but there's just one problem: it's a budget policy that came as a direct result of their Debt Ceiling fiasco. We wouldn't have inflicted those kinds of cuts on the military or on the rest of the government without them.

People will not remain loyal voters to the Republicans forever. They're probably even easier to knock loose from such attachment than they were six years ago. I mean, can we really say that trust in the GOP's actually recovered to what it once was? If the Republicans play their games of paralyzing this country once again at the wrong time, they will find the voters in a less than forgiving mood.

Winning isn't everything, even to winning. There are ways to win in the short term, in the small fights that end up undermining the larger victories. Like a Tea Partier who takes a probable pick-up or a competitive race, and turns it into a seat the Democrats keep. Or a party that's grown so dependent on redistricting giving them favorable districts, that when some shift causes those winds to shift against them, they're unable to keep the seats they had locked up for so long. Or votes won, like the one for the original TARP bill, that helped convince millions of people that the Republicans could not be trusted with the economy, right before an election.

Or the debt ceiling fiasco. Arguably, Republicans got a lot out of that that they wouldn't have otherwise achieved. But at what price? Republicans look less attractive to voters. The Congress they're a part of isn't going to make re-election for its members easier. The resulting compromise will be raining down consequences for the next decade, and if people decide that the economic troubles that come with austerity are too much, then Republicans will have lost that debate for quite some time to come.

Republicans are winning some victories through sheer force of will and discipline, but the hardline politics required to maintain all that, the sheer blindness to the public's desires, I believe, is exacting a cost that will eventually cause a greater defeat to the party. That is why I won't congratulate them on brilliant maneuvering, or superior political skills, because all they've learned to do is exploit flaws in the system that let them amplify their diminished political power. Their dependence on that is a weakness, a defeat in and of itself, one that leads to greater defeat later.

Or put another way, in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, you cannot truly enjoy victory indefinitely without their help. The system is going to work against you, frustrate you, even as you work against and frustrate others.

At best the Republicans have engineered a stalemate. They haven't actually nailed us down in any kind of unbreakable move. They haven't succeeded in getting people to rush back to their side. Nor do they have much legislation to prove they were doing something constructive with their time. They can warp the way we count the votes so more of their people get elected than are deserved by the numbers, but what does that do? What is the ultimate victory in a democracy of being so carefully balanced on such a contrived stack of artificial advantages?

The advantages they gain are vulnerable to single points of failure. Lose the gerrymandering, and things swing significantly in the Democrats' favor. Pull another policy disaster out of the hat, and the party already low on the benefit of the doubt will likely find itself trounced in the next election. Lose the filibuster, and the leverage the GOP has goes down dramatically.

Fail to tempt fate with this and other power grabs? Well, that's another point of failure. The Republicans have sold their soul to the extreme of the party, and while that got them enough momentum to overwhelm the Democrats in 2010, it means that the party is now obligated to sell a set of policies that are not popular with the mainstream. Resist that, and they lose their momentum. Fulfill that, and people outside the party begin to reject them.

Long story short, the Republicans have fewer choices as to how to advance their party's fortunes, and the way they win political fights nowadays is indicative of that. That's why I've got little admiration for them. They've bought their present at the cost of their future.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 11, 2013 10:51 PM
Comments
Comment #361557

A couple of things…

A certain Republican on the Red column keeps on telling me that if the Republicans are able to frustrate Democrats when they have such numbers, such control of the apparatuses of government, then they must be brilliant, and the Democrats inept.

You keep missing C&J’s (and mine btw) point. It’s not about really thinking that Republicans are better and Democrats inept, it is how it looks when Democrats are simply unwilling, or incapable, of admitting when they are wrong, responsible or hypocrites.

The point is trying to make people like yourself understand that in order to try to sell this fairytale that Democrats are good, Republicans are bad, they have to contort themselves so much to take credit for any success and blame others for any failures that it makes them LOOK like they are an inept bunch of fools running around Washington.

Today’s Republicans might consider it a brilliant idea, but it’s not as if the filibuster hasn’t existed in this form for quite a few decades now. The real question is, why weren’t people so enthusiastic about it before, whether Republicans under the Democrats, or Democrats under the Republicans?

You missed the obvious answer, Stephen, and instead posited your own theory that fits into your narrative. Unfortunately it fails both Critical Thought and Occam’s Razor…

The Filibuster has existed in ‘this form’ for about a decade and a half. It was then that BOTH sides of the aisle, worried that a filibuster of a single piece of legislation could potentially block all other pieces of legislation while it was sorted out. In order to prevent that, the Democrats (in control) and the Republicans agreed that all they had to do to issue a filibuster was for one single senator to say ‘I oppose this legislation’ and it was taken as read that the filibuster was in place, the legislation was ‘shelved’ and the senators would go on about their business.

Soon after this occurred, the number of filibusters started growing. It grew steadily after Democrats were in the minority and again when the Republicans were in the minority. It is simply too easy to ‘threaten’ a filibuster and until it is no longer this easy, it will continue to be a problem.

You also have to determine how many times in the recent past that one party or the other had a filibuster majority, so filibusters were pointless… Having such a closely divided country is what makes them even more possible.

Of course, the rules have changed. Just a few days ago the Senate bipartisanly agreed to alter some rules. Unfortunately, the real culprit has been left intact.

The new rules remove the requirement of 60 votes in order to begin debate on legislation and allow the minority two amendments to measures that reach the Senate floor, a change implemented as a standing order that expires at the end of the current term. In the new rules, the amount of time to debate following a cloture vote has been reduced from 30 hours to four. Additionally, a filibuster on the motion to proceed will be blocked if a petition is signed by eight members of the minority, including the minority leader. For district court nominations, the new rules reduce the required time before the nominee is confirmed after cloture from 30 hours to two hours. Under the new rules, if senators wish to block a bill or nominee after the motion to proceed, they will need to be present in the Senate and debate. Following the changes, 60 votes are still required to overcome a filibuster to pass legislation and confirm nominees and the “silent filibuster”—where senators can filibuster even if they leave the floor—remained in place.
Posted by: Rhinehold at February 12, 2013 1:34 AM
Comment #361558
The framers, though, did not design this government to serve the interests of a small faction who thinks any deviation from their agenda spells apocalyptic doom for the country. They didn’t even design it with some future party in mind. They designed it with a mind that all the myriad of factions, of Senators from the States and Representatives from their districts would all have to compromise on their own special interests, while looking to the nation’s general interests. They designed it so that the little things that only work to the advantage of one part of America were filtered out or moderated, so what people could agree was best for everybody, by a majority, would pass.

MMmmm, not exactly Stephen. You forget the best part. Yes, things that were voted on should be done as part of a majority. EXCEPT for the fact that this was only in areas deemed necessary for the government to intervene in. EVERYTHING ELSE was to be left to the people to live their lives and decide for themselves. It was also designed that even if the majority decided that wasn’t what they wanted, the minority was still protected from their overreaches.

We’ve long since left those ideals behind, because the majority pushed and pushed and marketed on emotion and fear until eventually the minority is barely a consideration on any piece of legislation. Being concerned about civil rights is ‘passe’ so much that even the party that used to defend them has made it part of their platform to squash them in order to provide ‘positive’ rights to people.

The real issue is going to be that one day the people are going to get pushed to far and the ‘forgotten man’ that mke up this country’s backbone are going to have had enough and revolt against this. I’m just afraid it will become bloody. I would endeavor that one party or the other actually consider the real point of America and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and change their ways before it is too late. That is my wish.

Unfortunately, I doubt I will live to see it. No, the terrorists have done their job, winning the war on terror in 2001 as surely as drones fly over our heads looking for the boogeyman in everyone’s closets.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 12, 2013 1:42 AM
Comment #361565

Rhinehold-
I think you miss my point entirely, especially because you miss the point of all these articles I write.

This is about function, not just when Democrats are in charge, but Republicans, too. When some were saying that Democrats should be doing exactly what the Republicans are doing now, I opposed that! And why? Because I knew it would just as easily boomerang back on us when the tables were turned, and we were the majority.

Your prejudice against me leads you to think that I see government in a purely partisan fashion. But really, I’m not. My big concern is that the other party just won’t acknowledge that they’re no longer wanted in charge, that they have a job of persuasion to do, if they want back. No, they’re wanting to have power regardless of whether voters gave that to them.

The Framers went through a lot of trouble to try and create a government that at the very least could function. They more clearly delineated powers than the Article of Confederation did, they more clearly delineated the limits. They set in the constitution thresholds for different things like amendment and treat ratification, but for all other things simply allowed the default of majority rules. And really, that’s not something that’s been question until recently. Now Democrats might have done things wrong in the past, may have relied on filibusters to get at the worst of what they say coming from the GOP, but mathematics alone tell us that what the Republicans are doing is considerable worse, more wholesale, more complete than anything the Democrats have done.

So, if you wade in with your typical hypocrisy argument, you still have have two problems. One, if you do proclaim the Democrats hypocrites for complaining, you still end up with this function-sapping behavior on the part of the Republicans undermining the constitutional function of our government. And two? The Republicans are wrong to do this, in my mind, just as the Democrats would be wrong to do.

More to the point, yes, the Democrats in the Senate, if they are cast from the majority might end up deciding to obstruct the Republicans in such a way. I’d think that sooner or later, they would, simply because people got tired of the Republicans playing hardball while the Democrats played softball.

To my mind, this is a ridiculous path to go on, and what’s more, it’s one that ignores the obvious intent of a system where the leaders are elected to bodies of this kind. It’s a perversion of the system and that is what bothers me.

The real question now, with the changes (insufficient in my opinion) is whether Republicans will take the hint, or whether the next opening of session will end with the Harry Reid finally chucking today’s version of the filibuster altogether.

As for your next comment?

Your definition of what is to be intervened in and left alone seems kind of self-serving. Not to mention rather limited in its imagination.

One reason why I never bought into the sixty vote majority being truly filibuster proof, is that I knew my party’s divisions. Democrats in the old days didn’t bother with civil rights legislation because of concerns about their party’s Southern wing. Republican of today find it difficult to reach any compromise with the Democrats on key issues because the Tea Party Faction basically threatens primaries and removes their critical voting bloc from consideration.

On subjects like guns, abortion, environmental issues, I think if you look closely, you will see different voting blocks within different parties.

As for that last part?

Look closely at what you’re talking about. You’re asking most people in this country to endure having to see the government act differently than they want it to. You think this is justified because what you believe is so fricking important! And having followed your “Forgotten man” and “civil rights” notions as far as you have, you’ve failed to recognize the inherent tyranny in your support of these extraconstitutional tactics.

See, this is the thing. Look at the Bill of Rights. What’s the purpose of what the framers put there?

Persuasion. That is how free citizens change government they don’t like. Remember, parties weren’t integral to this design. They instead envisioned the different factions that would naturally arise having to negotiate with each other in order to get the majorities necessary to pass laws.

They did not envision, nor want the minorities in these legislatures paralyzing them, and I don’t think they gave Congress these powers so that one party could blackmail the rest of the nation and force policies like the debt ceiling deal on us. I hardly believe that they gave Congress the power to take out debt so that one day, a group of idealistic Congresscritters could force America to default to teach it a lesson on debt.

The Framers were extremely focused on the functionality of the national government. That is part of why they listed explicitly so many of the powers.

But what’s happening here? You have this minority party, hell, a minority faction within this party trying to force its will on the rest of the nation.

How do you defend that, apart from a certain level of ideology arrogance? The framers did not set up this system to allow a minority to rule over the majority. They set up means by which the minority could make itself the majority. They set up protections that would prevent the current stewards of government from becoming the permanent ones by means of legislation that would outlaw other opinions, other parties, a critical press, and the use of police powers to imprison and impugn those in the political opposition.

I think that’s a critical part of why this country has been spared the troubles of so many democracies, where one side simply rewrote the rules to make their side the permanent victors.

Even though it sometimes works against me, I like that this system requires constant effort on the part of the leaders in order to keep on top.

If you asked me whether I want the filibuster to become a talking filibuster, like you once saw in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, I’d say sure. I’d say Harry Reid didn’t go far enough.

If you ask me whether I would mourn if the parties became looser, less disciplined, I’d say no.

If you ask me what overreach means, let me tell you what overreach is: Overreach is 41 people being able to tell 59 what they must do with their lives. Democrats might exceed their mandate, but if so, the consequences of that are plain to see: they lose elections! That’s what’s supposed to prevent overreach!

But the Republican party, in my opinion, has exceeded it’s popular support on many levels. People are not looking for Washington to remain in dysfunction. They do not agree, in the majority, with the failure of the Tea Party to compromise. They’re not pleased with what this last Congress did. Not at all.

What should be happening is that the Republicans drive a hard bargain, and some sort of impure policy emerges from the confluence of what Democrats want, and what Republicans do. But instead, using all these manufactured advantages, the Republicans are trying to turn back the clock, trying to freeze their former advances, and make others besides, despite the fact that they simply don’t have the numbers to do so.

Put another way, my general sense of politics is that the Democrats a bit slack, while the Republicans are, in a word, strained. They’re too aggressive. By being so aggressive, they’re selecting out the Democrats that are more compromising, leading other Democrats to push for guys with stronger spines. They’re corroding the soft power the Republicans built within the Democratic party as Reagan Era went on. That’s the price of no compromise.

We are in an era, in my opinion, that marks the fundamental consequences of the overreach of Republican Party power. They took things too far, and now they’re paying for it. Only, they’re so far gone in this political fantasy of theirs, they don’t even recognize they’re paying for it, so they end up hurting themselves even worse.

Your problem, I would say, is that you don’t want to see this as overreach. You want to see what the Republicans do as justice, a balancing of the scales.

What I’ve learned is that there’s a reason we have to do the whole dog and pony show to get the kind of power we want to shape the government the way we want it to be shaped. We can’t, and shouldn’t be, trying to do things alone, because that’s where true tyranny comes into play. Minorities must try to become majorities, if they want a change. Persuasion, not the twisting of law and force, must be the means by which consensus is created. In that is true freedom. In that, the interests of the average person are remembered. If we do it the other way, yes, the forgotten man you like might get the government he needs, but at the expense of creating another victim of neglect somewhere else.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 12, 2013 8:11 AM
Comment #361566

Harry Reed and the Senate Democrats had an opportunity to change the rules of the Senate to their liking. They did not change the 60 vote margin, or make actual filibuster require someone reading (e.g., Strom Thurmond). This means they like the Rules as they are. Your arguement is with them, not Republicans, who should not be expected to vote for things they don’t agree with.

Posted by: Mike in Tampa at February 12, 2013 8:29 AM
Comment #361567

Stephen

I don’t really think Republicans are brilliant. I just postulate that if they were indeed able to control the course of events as you say, even when in minority, YOU must believe that they are brilliant.

I would say, however, that a stalemate might be better than allowing rapid movement in the wrong direction.

Finally let me ask again - I apologize if I missed an earlier answer.

Is there any time in the last 50 (i.e. since 1963) years at least ONE five year period where you think that Democrats mostly got their way and so were responsible for results? You don’t get to cherry pick within the period. For example, I know you might want to take credit for the boom of the late 1960s w/o taking blame for Vietnam.

To give you a little help - Democrats held Senate, House and Presidency 1963-9; 1977-81, 1992-5 and 2009-11. Republicans held all three only 2003-2007. You see why it is hard to understand how Democrats can be such victims.

Re seeing government in partisan terms - I am morally certain that you DO. Look back on what you write. Have you ever said anything good about a Republican, except perhaps when they went over to the Democratic side?

I have praised at times, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, even Nancy Pelosi. Even in opposition, I generally credit good motives. You never do.

I praise or deploy behaviors not matter who does them. You praise behaviors by Democrats that you deplore in Republicans.

You are the most consistently partisan writer who comes here. It is really interesting if you don’t see it.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2013 8:40 AM
Comment #361568

Stephen

Deploy should be deplore in both cases above.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2013 9:06 AM
Comment #361569

Stephen, other than the normal “Democrats good, Republicans bad” crap, all you are saying is that you believe Republicans should compromise their principles and move even further left.

Here is what you are intentionally ignoring:
There is no doubt that we as a nation never stop moving left, year in and year out. The size of our government and the control that gives it over our individual lives is constantly increasing.
Have you ever given any honest thought to the fact that half of the country believes we have gone far enough left and that it is now time to moderate some? That the reason people vote for Republicans now is to stop, or at least slow down, the constant movement left?

You want Republicans to sit back and do nothing while you transform the nation into what you want it to be, and you are pi*&^ed off because half of voters are trying to preserve what is left.

Posted by: kctim at February 12, 2013 9:58 AM
Comment #361575

Mike in Tampa-
No, it couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Senate Republicans threatened to make things even worse if they pushed through that filibuster reform.

Question is, how long do you think they can continue to tempt fate? If they manage to make Harry Reid look like enough of a Moron, he might get replaced. Then, what would his successor think?

As for my argument being with the Democrats? Republicans chose to obstruct. Why should I ignore them in favor of the Democrats. Without Mitch McConnell making this obstructionism his policy, and punishing Republicans who make deals he doesn’t approve of, there wouldn’t be obstructionism. I mean, without absolute lockstep agreement, much of what Republicans obstructed would have gotten through.

How many filibuster votes, might I ask, were lost despite the fact that Democrats had better than fifty votes in favor of cloture?

And no, I don’t think Republicans should have to vote for bills they don’t like. The key difference here is, you want to continue a strategy that basically allows Republicans to win despite their minority numbers, while I support allowing the votes on the final bills to take place, which Republicans are free to vote against (though not able, if Democrats vote in the majority, to block)

C&J-
You keep on postulating this “Steve thinks they’re brilliant” idea in spite of the fact that I’ve repeatedly argued otherwise. My argument in this last part has been mutually exclusive of that.

Why don’t you acknowledge that? You’re not stupid. I know you can read. When a person lists reasons, like the possibility of reciprocity, the loss of mutual tractability in future negotiations, and the dependence on the Democrats not chaning the rules, they’re not congratulating people on their brilliance, they’re trying to warn them away from their foolishness!

As for responsibility? Jesus Christ. I have defended great society policies, true. But I’ve also acknowledged the troubles in Vietnam, in fact once used them as a cautionary argument against many of Bush’s policies in Iraq, which were similar.

You forget these things, or fail to look for them. I acknowledge the problems of my party’s past, the racism of Jim Crow, the treason of the Civil War. I take Abraham Lincoln’s side of that debate. If you say Woodrow Wilson screwed things up after WWI, I’d say, yes!

Function for me means more than some whitewashing of the past. I acknowledge the imperfections of my party, their complicity in many of your policies.

As for your question?

God. You really think you’re more clever than me, don’t you?

From 1980 to 1986, Republicans had control of both the Presidency and the Senate. That’s not nothing, in terms of hard power. You had some filibustering, but nothing too harsh. You also had a significant increase in soft power, because many Democrats took Reagan’s election as a cue to move to the right. This became even more pronounced later, but we get ahead of ourselves.

Republicans remained in the White House until 1992. For the six last years of that, Democrats controlled Congress again, but with their party edged towards the right and Republicans in the White House, Republican policies still dominated. Clinton then had a brief period of one-party government, from 1993-1995. This was when many of his critical fiscal policies were put in place.

Clinton then remained president until 2000, with Republicans maintaining absolute control of Congress. In 2000, the Republicans split the Senate with Democrats, but had effective control, thanks to Dick Cheney becoming Vice President. That ended with the defection of James Jeffords, which pretty much threw the Senate to the Democrats, just barely, for that period.

From 2002 to 2006, your people had absolute power, and you weren’t shy about using it, especially in the case of the “nuclear option” Remember that? Remember all the heated talk about how it was anti-democratic to have so much decided by the filibuster?

Of course, Bush got much of what he wanted anyways, no wholesale blockage. He got many of his appointments as well, unlike Obama.

Then we spend the next two years with Democrats in charge of Congress, but with Bush as President. It was amazing how fast he found his veto pen!

And equally amazing, how quickly Mitch McConnell got around to filibustering anything the Democrats tried to pass.

I guess it’s only worth preaching for things to be more democratic when your side is in charge. Funny how that works.

As for having anything nice to say?

When I start seeing civil negotiation, without extortionary tactics, or bad faith proceedings meant to cover for obstructionism, I’ll have something nice to say.

When Republicans stop relying on the filibuster to gut liberal legislation, when Republicans start allowing Obama’s appointees to get through without a fight that has broken with tradition, I might have something nice to say.

When they’re not pulling stunts like threatening not to renew the debt ceiling, or threatening to shut down the government, I’ll have more respect for them.

As long as I can’t see real negotiations taking place, as long as your party has decided to be the boat anchor dragging the rest of the country down, I don’t have anything nice to say.

What’s nice to say about a party that accuses my President of being a foreigner, and makes up the nastiest of crap about Healthcare Reform?

What’s nice to say about a party that decides an economic crisis is the best time to start trying to balance the budget?

Your people have given me next to nothing to work with. And you know what? I’m not going to flatter you, simply to look bipartisan. I don’t mind praising Republicans, but I’m not much of a fan of praising screw-ups and belligerents, so don’t ask.

kctim-
First, what if that’s what the voters want? Sure Republicans are not obligated to follow, but neither are voters obligated to re-elect them.

Second, I spent the decade and a half after the Republicans won getting used to having to compromise, having to accept less than everything I wanted. Boo-hoo, I’d say. Your turn, I’d say. Nobody gets to stay perfect and pristine if they want things done.

Third, though, I don’t necessarily think that’s the only thing that can be done. You can find some way to clothe old Republican/Conservative ideas in newer, better policies. You can also find places where you and the Democrats have common interests, where it’s not inconsistent with conservatism to agree with a Democrat.

Most of what I’m arguing against is a mindless reliance on opposition, and oppositional logic. That can be abandoned without abandoning Conservatism.

As far as half the country thinking we’ve gone too far left?

1) Are they thinking that, or getting taken in by false claims that the reforms are socialism- that is, is the political leftism being exaggerated beyond what it actually is?

2) There are all kinds of polls that say that the Democrat’s positions are mainstream. How then does one justify the notion that Democrats have overstepped their mandate? It could even be argued that Democrats were dinged more by voters for falling short, than for going too far.

3) Wouldn’t the last election argue against Democrats overstepping? After all, the Republicans are the ones who lost members, doing what you would say they were supposed to do.

In short, I think I have good reasons for believing that mine is the party with more popular support

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 12, 2013 1:54 PM
Comment #361578

Stephen
Boo-hoo? I vote for candidates to stop or slow down the onslaught of liberal policies. That means they are obligated to do so. You are the one complaining about Republicans preventing you from transforming the country.

“You can also find places where you and the Democrats have common interests, where it’s not inconsistent with conservatism to agree with a Democrat.”

You are not listening Stephen. We have reached the point where the only real option left for people on the right to have “common interests” with liberals, is for us to compromise our values and beliefs.

“1) Are they thinking that, or getting taken in by false claims that the reforms are socialism- that is, is the political leftism being exaggerated beyond what it actually is?”

The “political leftism” is on display for all to see and for all to be forced to live by, Stephen. And you are lying to yourself if you say you do not see the leftward trend the nation has been on for the past maybe hundred years.

“2) There are all kinds of polls that say that the Democrat’s positions are mainstream.”

Polls about your positions mean nothing if they do not include your solutions. Like your poll that 70% wanted government healthcare, but less than half of that 70 were willing to pay for it?

“How then does one justify the notion that Democrats have overstepped their mandate?”

The simple fact that you wrongly believe that you have some kind of liberal mandate, is what justifies that notion.
You should know by now that I believe in the rights of ALL, not the desires of a simple 51-49 majority.

“In short, I think I have good reasons for believing that mine is the party with more popular support”

Of course it is. The last election shows that. But that slim lead in support that you bought does not justify your complaining and demanding that everybody roll over and accept an even further leftist nation.

I will give you this though:
If the people are not willing to fight for what’s best for the country and stop the liberal destruction of the 2nd Amendment, you win. The Republicans will either become the new Democratic Party or they will fade away.

Posted by: kctim at February 12, 2013 3:19 PM
Comment #361579

Stephen

It is implied. You say a minority, unsupported by the American people, can consistently over the course of half a century thwart the will of the majority AND do so in plain sight. That sure implies either that minority is brilliant or the majority is really stupid.

Re being cleverer than you - I am cleverer than you are. We both know that. But it is not my cleverness that trips you up. It is the reality of your positions.

But you answered my question as I thought you would. There is no time in your lifetime when you think the Democrats were really responsible for anything bad.

Re your admitting Democratic mistakes - yes, Jim Crow, WWI, the Civil War - but never in your lifetime.

And evidently never in your lifetimes when you can praise a Republican w/o significant reservations.

Now that’s more partisan than even I thought you were.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2013 3:34 PM
Comment #361584

C&J-
Hold on for a second. Have you really understood what I’ve been saying?

First, I have repeatedly conceded that Republicans had majority support during their heyday, and also conceded the events that lead up to the downfall of the long-term Democratic majority in 1994.

Second, I have often spoken of the rise of the Republican’s minoritarian tactics occuring after 2006, and intensifying in the wake of 2008. And now I’m talking about the results of the redistricting and voting “reforms” that were pushed after 2010.

So, your impression that I was talking about that long term of a subversion of majoritarian politics was an erroneous one.

Republicans did once have a growing advantage, were successful in the Reagan years in beginning a rightward shift in both policies and politics, and ultimately did succeed in casting the Democrats down into minority status in 1994. And then, they spent the first half of their time consolidating power, and ultimately succeeding in completing the shift in power as far as it was going to go.

Then, through a combination of high-grade policy errors and tin-eared politics, they blew their advantages. They alienated the younger generations. They alienated women and minorities. They fractured their own coalition.

But faced with the consequences of that, rather than get together and recognize their trouble state, their reaction is instead to try and prevent the rise of their rivals.

That is where my critique is mainly focused, where the concerns about minoritarian tactics are largely concentrated.

You can’t be too terribly clever if you failed to realize that was what I was talking aobut, or perhaps you were wasting that cleverness outwitting yourself.

Your attempts at traps call too much attention to themselves. You talk about five year periods or whatever. You neglect both the soft/sociological shifts created by movement conservatism over time, and the parallel shifts in the Democratic Party. I’m well aware of both, as I grew up during these times.

And having grown up during these times, you know what I’ve seen, for the most part? Deterioration and broken promises.

Your people promised that if we loosened the constraints of big government, everybody would prosper, things would go wrong, like they did before we instituted the changes that were being undone. That promise was broken. Things just didn’t happen as promised.

Your people promised that if we all just believed, we could endure another long-term insurgency in a war, and outlast it. We didn’t.

In my lifetime, the manned space programs gone from being the envy of the world to non-existent. In my lifetime we’ve gone from being a leader in manufacturing and a scientific powerhouse to falling behind on both. The introduction of Bush’s standardized testing regime hurt, didn’t help our education system.

I could go on, but the point is, I began my life pretty much willing to put my faith in policies like this, and have found that the faith has been misplaced.

I don’t feel like being complementary. The successes simply aren’t there to merit it, and nowadays, the radicals in your party seem more inclined to try and destroy our nation as we’ve known it, than bring it back to any kind of glory. Infrastructure deteriorates, and they do nothing. Chronic unemployment remains high, and they suggest the same solutions that did nothing to make your former boss a big job creator. Your people slip what are essentially irrelevant ideological wishlist items into legislation, and call that a jobs bill. Yeah, right, as if abolishing the EPA or privatizing Social Security and Medicare are anything else than transparent gobs of red meat for the right.

I wish I could have something nice to say about your side. I wish I could say that your people decided to revises your battle plans in Iraq when it became clear that an insurgency was on the rise, not wait until the whole thing blew up in your faces three years later.

I wish I could say that you saw the warning signs about the energy market and the trading desks in 2001, with all the corporate malfeasance. I wish I could say you folks realized that letting the housing lenders have free rein to essentially prey on consumers was a bad idea.

I wish I could say that Republicans were quick enough to put politics aside that we avoided a catastrophic crash.

I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish. I didn’t start out this decade viewing things this way. It’s just that over the last decade, Republicans have ignored warning signs, castigated those who didn’t, and forced us to endure repeated, unnecessary object lessons in why they should have paid heed to the problems in the first place. I’ve come to the judgment that until Republicans show signs of repenting of all this, until they start conceding the mistakes, there’s no point in encouraging them or willingly ceding territory to them. The events following the 2010 takeover of the house just confirm this for me. The debt ceiling debate alone confirms this, much less the do-nothing attitude of that Congress.

Why should I give in to this? If there’s going to be bipartisanship, it’s going to set at a new normal. Republicans will have to concede more to get me to support bipartisanship with them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 12, 2013 5:59 PM
Comment #361585

Stephen

So Republicans are responsible for all these bad things and nothing good happened during your lifetime?

You are one sad puppy.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2013 6:18 PM
Comment #361590

Stephen

“First, I have repeatedly conceded that Republicans had majority support during their heyday, and also conceded the events that lead up to the downfall of the long-term Democratic majority in 1994.”

So this means that you do indeed take responsibility for stuff that happened up until 1994, but what happened after that is on the Republicans?

I am sorry if it is hard for me to understand what you write. You tend to throw lots of words out there that don’t get to the point.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2013 8:02 PM
Comment #361591

C&J-
The Republicans were once willing to govern and negotiate like adults. I never said the Republicans never did anything right. They did plenty right, and were willing to moderate their policies when things didn’t turn out as expected. Reagan raised taxes, helped save rather than scuttle the entitlements, and took an internationalist approach to foreign policy, rather than the neo-con’s approach. They were willing to save capitalism from itself, when the necessity arose.

Today’s Republicans have cocooned themselves in a shell of propaganda that doesn’t allow them to recognize failures and move on, that convinces them that they can go on, without compromising, and not lose further support for it.

Your party has gone downhill in more than just it’s electoral fortunes. You aren’t losing the Presidency, losing seats in Congress because you’ve hit the nail on the head of what Americans want, and there’s just some conspiracy that prevents people from realizing this.

And really, I couldn’t discuss much of what Republicans did right long ago, without it coming across as an implicit criticism of what they’re doing wrong now.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 12, 2013 8:06 PM
Comment #361595

Stephen

So we all like Ronald Reagan?

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2013 8:45 PM
Comment #361597

I’ve pointed out Reagan’s weaknesses quite explicitly, so this is a sort of a transitive argument of inequality.

Which is to say that if these guys are worse than Reagan, and Reagan is not all that splendiferous, they’re really sucking air.

But it’s also to answer your argument that somehow I can’t give Republicans credit for doing good things. I can give Reagan some credit for realizing where he was wrong, and correcting/moderating his policies.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 12, 2013 11:25 PM
Comment #361607

Don’t you see what you say? You just cannot praise any Republican and leave it at that.

You have that old binary brain and are unable to see nuance. People like you are part of the problem.

When I was in Iraq, I worked with people who I believe might have tried to kill me months before. You really have to look forward if you want to make progress. You are looking for revenge for the past; never a good idea.

I would point out to you that both of us are intelligent people. (I score one percentile above you on those standard tests, but let that go for now.) We disagree about the accomplishments and challenges of past years. I disagree with most of your formulation as you disagree with mine. But you are 100% convinced that what I believe is stupid or evil. I am neither of those things. Your world outlook does not allow for this.

Moral absolutist like you cannot really work with people in free societies. You really need to get your head right. If I could drink tea with people who tried to kill me, I think you could work with people who disagreed with your policies. Of course, maybe you just are not a good man.

Posted by: C&J at February 13, 2013 5:16 AM
Comment #361613

SD

“Mike in Tampa-
No, it couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Senate Republicans threatened to make things even worse if they pushed through that filibuster reform.”

I think you make C&J’s point, that the R’s must be political wizards to consistently out-manuver the D’s; or you make my point that Harry Reed likes things as they are.

Posted by: Mike in Tampa at February 13, 2013 8:25 AM
Comment #361617

C&J-
I can certainly praise Reagan for evolving a foreign policy that led to the end of the Soviet Empire without the onset of WWIII. I can praise him for not being as uncompromising on taxes as Dubya was.

At the same time, I can blame both for supporting bloody right-wing movements abroad. I can say that overall, Reagan’s tax policy was harmful to the fiscal balance of the country.

The nuance of my understanding doesn’t always come through. Much of the time, you’re asking the wrong questions, taking too confrontational of angle for me to get that nuanced. Nuance comes out better in discussions than arguments.

Another factor in this is that my thinking is fairly instrumental. Which is to say, if we have a certain problem, the first question I’m asking is, does this proposal solve the problems at hand.

The tax cuts, for example, have not produced the gangbusters economic improvements promised. What’s the use of nuancing that? If you don’t even really measure an improvement in the spending habits of the wealthy, then it’s a policy that doesn’t have anything to recommend it, and much to recommend against it.

Nuance is useful to me where it coincides with the means to make a proper decision.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2013 12:47 PM
Comment #361619

Stephen said, “As a writer of fiction”.

Stephen, have you published anything? I would be interested in reading some of your work.

Posted by: Kathy at February 13, 2013 1:46 PM
Comment #361622

Stephen

You are coming along. No president is perfect and few leaders come out of this sort of power with reputation intact. So Reagan did lots of good things and some bad ones.

Re confrontational - Look to your language. You often say things like “you people” and imply that “we” should take blame for many things and just let “your people” take over.

Re nuance - tax cuts have not produced great growth but so far they have done better than the stimulus spending. The fact of the economy is that you have to try lots of things. But the basics are usually the same. Government cannot force economic growth either through stimulus of cutting taxes or stimulus of spending big money.

Posted by: C&J at February 13, 2013 1:59 PM
Comment #361624

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “Republicans can’t adapt so well to suit their constituents, nor can they really do them favors on a consistent basis.”

Wow…finally, something I can agree with totally. Conservative Republicans don’t adapt well to those voters who are fickle and ever changing as they must also maintain the principles espoused by our founders and which have built and maintained this great Republic for generations.

Liberal Democrats are not challenged with morals and principles and thus can do favors for anyone and any group that can be bought with government money and influence. Liberal democrats are all “carrot” and no “stick”. We all recognize the child who is spoiled, and made useless, by adults who mistake “things” for love.

When liberals can no longer offer any more “things” to the spoiled child-voter, what remains? Hatred, disobedience, and estrangement.

Daugherty’s beloved liberalism lasts just as long as the money does. He is like the fool and his money who are invited everywhere.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2013 2:22 PM
Comment #361627

Daugherty asks C/J; “God. You really think you’re more clever than me, don’t you?”

Clever…NO. Honest…YES. For Daugherty, clever seems to be his unfailing ability and proclivity for parsing. Unfortunately for Daugherty, he is not clever enough to parse convincingly.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2013 2:56 PM
Comment #361628

Stephen…

You are one sad puppy.
Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2013 6:18 PM

So true. And, a liberal lap dog.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2013 3:10 PM
Comment #361636

Royal

More clever too.

Posted by: C&J at February 13, 2013 4:40 PM
Comment #361637

C/J, you’re right, I confused your cleverness with Daugherty’s nefariousness…lol.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2013 4:58 PM
Comment #361639

C&J-
You know, this would be considerably easier if I didn’t have to correct the words you’re stuffing into my mouth. Why don’t you allow yourself the more restful option of arguing your side of the argument, while I argue mine, instead of trying to do that work for both of us? :-)

As for my language?

Here’s the thing. I could refer to Republicans, but apparently most people on this site who say exactly the same thing as Republicans identify as independents. (A phenomena that confuses me, since if I were them and believed all those things I would just admit I was a Republican) Anyhoo, they get really mad at me for misidentifying them, so I don’t call them Republicans.

However, I can’t avoid the fact that, in general, they still cluster together with folks like you. So, it’s you people. Folks like you. Vague words like that, so I can treat them as the strongly similar political group they are.

As far as the tax cut goes? Part of the irony here is that about a third of the Stimulus was tax cuts! That includes the making work pay credit that unfortunately your blanket opposition prevented from being renewed in its original form. We took care, though, in those instances, to focus on putting money in the hands of those who would spend it, or using the tax breaks to reward those who would hire people.

But otherwise?

Look, The stimulus managed to save or create 1-3 million jobs according to some estimates. It did just fine reversing the trend on the economy. You claim it didn’t work, but it did, and Obama managed to create more net jobs in his first term than Bush did in his. That, from a much deeper economic hole than bush dealt with. You tell me, how does that work. How is Bush’s policy better when his results are not?

As far as your conclusion goes, I think there’s plenty of evidence that fiscal stimulus can promote growth, can create jobs. Simply asserting otherwise is not good enough. We’ve seen the disproof of this principle in the mutually exclusive proof of the success of government spending as stimulus in the Depression and WWII. It can work, under the right circumstances.

Royal Flush-
It seems nowadays that your entire argument consists of ragging on me.

You know what my reaction to your first assertion is? You come across as insufferably arrogant.

This is a government designed for people who think for themselves. It is designed to be more receptive to common sense and/or rational insight than some monarchy, aristocracy, or other authoritarian form of government. It’s not meant to be based on some finalized, stubborn interpretation of the intentions of the founding figures of the past. The Constitution is not meant to be thrown away, nor disregarded, but its interpretation must be relevant to the concerns of the here and the now, not kept in perpetual stasis as if it were some kind of impossibly perfect law handed down by God.

We changed the style of government for a reason, and that reason is, this nations gone from being 95% rural to being 80% urban, and it’s getting more urban all the time. We are not a nation of farmers anymore. We are not separated by days worth of travel, not condemned to wait weeks for any communication to come through. Interstate commerce has gone from being the exception to how business takes place, to being the general rule. Look at all the businesses around you now that get their goods from out of state. Where do you get your food, your clothes, your electronics?

You folks sit in this constant state of denial, replacing reason with nostalgia, an authoritarian worship of our framers for vigilant consideration of the Present.

We are meant to govern ourselves.

But you should realize something here: Madison specifically formed this system as a way to pit factions against each other, the separation of powers and the deliberative nature of Congress denying those factions the power to get what they want up until they come up with the necessary compromises.

So let me put this to you bluntly: I do not think the framers intended that if a party were to be able to gain the White House and the Senate that what they wanted would be disregarded. I think they’d be telling folks like you to man up, quit getting all high and might about your principles, and try and figure out the compromise that is most consistent with your principles. Having principles isn’t an excuse to cause the system to crash. It seems like the framers had a better sense of the need to to put their egos aside, and compromise for the good of the country.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2013 5:20 PM
Comment #361641

Daugherty writes; “Royal Flush- It seems nowadays that your entire argument consists of ragging on me. You know what my reaction to your first assertion is? You come across as insufferably arrogant.”

That really doesn’t surprise me as anyone who disagrees with you is being arrogantly disagreeable. Obviously you don’t have the capacity to understand nuance so directness must rule the conservation. My directness is offensive to you so I become arrogant in your mind.

You are singled out by many conservatives for a little tougher treatment as we find your hypocrisy and predilection for calling your beliefs “facts” to be so outrageous that strong language must be applied to get your attention.

I am confident that you have no idea how bullying you are. I am confident that what you believe has become factual in your mind. I am confident you believe that the ends always justify the means in liberal politics. I am confident that you would have succumbed to the rhetoric of many of the world’s greatest dictators if you had lived during and under their rule. I am confident that you will complain the loudest when the goose stops laying the golden eggs of entitlements. I am confident that you are doomed to mediocrity for as long as you are dependent upon the largess of government.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2013 5:47 PM
Comment #361642

Stephen, Conservatives may have the same ideology as some republicans but the same goes with conservative democrats which are far and fewer than conservative republicans, so saying we are independent conservatives means we can vote either party or neither depending on what the candidates stand for. So saying we sound like republicans dosen’t mean we will vote republican, GET IT.

Posted by: KAP at February 13, 2013 5:53 PM
Comment #361643

Stephen

Doesn’t it ever occur to you that it is possible to disagree with Obama for reasons other than party loyalty?

Look at what happened. Obama was more popular four years ago than he is today. Four years ago, many of those independents you identify with Republicans were on Obama’s side. After experiencing more of Obama, they changed their minds.

re the words I am “stuffing” in your mouth - Those are YOUR words. YOU wrote them. I give you credit for remarkable consistency. When Republicans win, you blame Republican for all the problems and advise they give in to Democrats. When Democrats win, you blame Republicans for all the problems and advise they give in to Democrats. If space aliens landed on earth you would blame Republicans for all the problems and advise they give in to Democrats.

There are no conditions under which you believe Republicans have a legitimate right to advocate policies significantly in opposition to Democrats, or maybe they can advocate as long as they don’t stand in the way of Democrats.

Re the Depression - stimulus did not create economic recovery.

Re WWII - most of the world’s productive capacity was destroyed. 60 million people were killed. In the U.S. more than 400,000 workers were killed. Those things tend to stimulate rebuilding and lower unemployment. But it is a high price to pay.

It was not the stimulus of spending. After the war, we cut spending very rapidly and the economy boomed for twenty-five years.

Our leaders, including Harry Truman, did a brilliant political jobs post-war. They also did a decent economic one by LOWERING drastically spending.

Posted by: C&J at February 13, 2013 5:56 PM
Comment #361644

Daugherty wrote; ” Having principles isn’t an excuse to cause the system to crash.”

Absolutely correct. And the lack of principles isn’t an excuse to cause the system to crash either.

Is it principled to insist that nearly $17 Trillion in debt, and growing, is not concerning? That it should not be addressed by government immediately? That there is no end of our ability to print and borrow money. That there is not a day of reckoning coming soon? That liberals are not intent upon destroying our traditional family values, our religious life, our work ethic, the sensible us of the natural resources gifted us by our Creator, and the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness that doesn’t come at the expense of another citizen?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2013 6:00 PM
Comment #361645

“apparently most people on this site who say exactly the same thing as Republicans identify as independents”

That’s only because you believe your own partys lies, Stephen. You guys have convinced yourselves that anybody to the right of Bill Clinton is a radical right-wing extremist. Don’t like paying for abortions or birth control? You’re a religous fanatic. Believe marriage is between a man and a woman? You’re a homophobe. Don’t believe in special treatment based on race or gender? You’re a racist or hate women. Don’t believe liberals should grant 2nd Amendment right? You’re a dumb redneck racist gun nut.
The disgusting truth is that you guys have intentionally created a stereotype to pit people against each other and it is now clouding your ability to have logical thoughts.

People like C&J and Royal are conservatives, IMHO, you just lump them in with independents to justify your stereotype.

Posted by: kctim at February 13, 2013 6:01 PM
Comment #361646

Perhaps Daugherty would like to defend obama’s insistence of increasing the minimum wage to increase jobs. That will make fun reading.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2013 6:14 PM
Comment #361648

I would just like to read some of Stephen Daugherty’s published fiction; I have read plenty of it on Watchblog.

Posted by: Kathy at February 13, 2013 6:40 PM
Comment #361649

Kathy…are you fond of comic books?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2013 6:52 PM
Comment #361650

One of Daugherty’s favorite topics is the elasticity of our Constitution. For him, it has become a bungee cord with nearly infinite stretchability to provide cover for the most outrageous liberal schemes.

He writes; ” It seems like the framers had a better sense of the need to to put their egos aside, and compromise for the good of the country.”

Where exactly does that opinion originate? One issue I do recall that required a compromise was the issue of slavery. And yet, we often hear Daugherty denigrate our founders for that compromise.

Daugherty fails to recognize that our founders, in their great wisdom and from much experience, allowed only the House to initiate all bills for revenue. The entire government is hinged upon money and the founders believed that only those members, closest to the voters and subject to election every two years, be trusted with such enormous responsibility.

While liberals beat their breasts in frustration about the reluctance of the majority of house members to vote for more money bills, knowledgeable and caring citizens understand from where the revenue comes…their own pockets and purses; and why restraint is necessary.

Under a Daugherty wet dream the constitution should be rewritten to allow any and all (Democrat) presidents to write all the checks they wish to be cashed by working Americans. Daugherty finds the House control over money bills to be old fashioned and simply out of date and fashion. He is convinced that he is modern and fashionable and that our founders simply didn’t understand how complex our world would become. Nonsense and balderdash. These men were very mindful and cognizant of a fast changing world.

They also knew the minds and hearts of men and the abuse of power very well. They knew that power corrupts. They knew that the fasted route to power was money. That they restricted the raising of revenue bills to the House was inspired and we should all thank them for their wisdom.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2013 7:26 PM
Comment #361651
I think you miss my point entirely, especially because you miss the point of all these articles I write.

No, I don’t miss the point of them, you just base your points on invalid assertions which lead to faulty conclusions. I’m pointing out the flaws.

Your prejudice against me leads you to think that I see government in a purely partisan fashion.

I have no prejudice against you Stephen. I do not prejudge anything you say.

The Framers went through a lot of trouble to try and create a government that at the very least could function.

And they did a good job, one that the current progressive in the US want to ignore.

They more clearly delineated powers than the Article of Confederation did, they more clearly delineated the limits.

Yes, they did a very good job of that.

They set in the constitution thresholds for different things like amendment and treat ratification, but for all other things simply allowed the default of majority rules.

OOO, and you just went off the rails.

No, they did not. The founders were VERY VERY clear that the federal government was to be limited, strictly, within the confines of the Constitutional powers they were provided. As the 10th amendment states quite clearly:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Both Adams AND Jefferson have addressed this in their writings

“It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It [the Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.” - Thomas Jefferson

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in State governments are numerous and indefinite.” – James Madison

Does the Constitution need to change from time to time to allow for more powers by the federal government (or removal of some powers)? Most definitely. But this was to be done by the constitutional amendment process, not simply by whoever is in charge to decide to do it with a simple majority.

And really, that’s not something that’s been question until recently.

Again, your understanding of US History seems to be very much lacking. This has been the central question of the US since it was founded… Remember something called the Civil War? National Bank? Theodore Roosevelt? The unconstitutionality of the New Deal (until a switch in time)? This has only been a recent trend that the Federal government had powers at the level that has been taken by them, before the 20th century it was understood that the federal government was limited to the powers listed in the Constitution.

One, if you do proclaim the Democrats hypocrites for complaining, you still end up with this function-sapping behavior on the part of the Republicans undermining the constitutional function of our government

You have to actually understand the constitutional function of government if you want to make that argument, Stephen. And your words are clear that you do not.

And two? The Republicans are wrong to do this, in my mind, just as the Democrats would be wrong to do.

I suggested in November 2008 that the Republicans not use these tactics on these very pages. I have never said that I thought they were ‘right’ to do what they are doing. It just plays in to the Democrat’s hands. But they are doing what they are being charged with doing by the people that have voted them in and they are doing so by the rules that both parties have agreed to. The Democrats have several courses at their disposal to ‘stop’ the actions, but they choose not to for a variety of reasons. Therefore, they are not doing anything ‘unconstitutional’ and are doing what almost half of the voting public want to be done.

Your being bent out of shape over it is because you don’t feel like you are getting your way and you want to blame others than your own party for the problem. The Democrats can stop this ANY TIME THEY WANT. They just don’t want. It’s a great talking point for them, they can claim to be hampered by the ‘evil Republicans’ and try to avoid any blame for anything bad that happens. It doesn’t help move anything forward, but it helps their election chances, which is the real key here.

Your definition of what is to be intervened in and left alone seems kind of self-serving. Not to mention rather limited in its imagination.

It’s never been self-serving, that is the ideals of progressive and conservative views, sorry. Sure, I would like to get more money from other people, etc, but I don’t because it isn’t right. A good example is that I am a disabled veteran. I COULD ask for and get a monthly stipend from the government for that disability. I choose not to. It would be in my self-interests, but it would be against the principles I believe in, that people should not put a gun to other’s head to get what they want. It is MORALLY WRONG.

Nor is it ‘limited in it’s imagination’, it is precisely the views that our founding fathers had. They were derived from philosophers such as Locke. The understanding that government was just the legal authorization of the use of force against another. And unless it is needed to protect the rights of those people, it should NOT be used. It is not a ‘new’ idea, nor is it ‘passe’ or outdated. It is how any free people should act.

On subjects like guns, abortion, environmental issues, I think if you look closely, you will see different voting blocks within different parties.

Yes, that is what you get when you vote self-interest instead of what is principally right. Both parties are full of unprincipled individuals.

Look closely at what you’re talking about. You’re asking most people in this country to endure having to see the government act differently than they want it to.

Oh nO! If the overwhelming majority want to change it, they have the means though constitutional amendments. But a simple majority should never be able to override the rights of the minority. Ever. Otherwise, we have no rights at all, unless we agree with the majority. How senseless is that?

An example, the MAJORITY of people in the US are christian. If they got together and passed a bill to say that you have to give 10% of your paycheck to a church. According to you that would be just ok, since that is what the majority wants. But it ISN’T ok. And you probably agree that it is not ok, but you can’t merge that with what you say. That’s where the hypocrisy thing comes into play, it highlights when people are deciding on things because of reasons other than basic principles and being self-serving as opposed to doing what is right.

You think this is justified because what you believe is so fricking important!

As did the founding fathers when they said the same things. Because it *IS* so fricking important, because without that view we are not free men.

And having followed your “Forgotten man” and “civil rights” notions as far as you have, you’ve failed to recognize the inherent tyranny in your support of these extraconstitutional tactics.

There is no ‘inherent tyranny’ in any of those views. None. It’s as simple as that. If people want to get together and do something, they are free to do so without government, but to do it with government requires the use of force. Of putting guns to people’s heads. And that is wrong unless they are doing so to defend their rights (life, liberty, property, etc).

The problem is you can’t fathom a world where people aren’t forced to live their lives as YOU see fit. The horror! That, by definition, is AUTHORITARIAN. Not doing something for someone because of a choice you make is not authoritarian. Making someone else do something for someone else because you have enough people agreeing with you *IS* authoritarian.

See, this is the thing. Look at the Bill of Rights. What’s the purpose of what the framers put there?

Easy enough, let’s see what Madison said when he introduced them?

“The prescriptions in favor of liberty, ought to be levelled against that quarter where the greatest danger lies, namely, that which possesses the highest prerogative of power: But this (is) not found in either the executive or legislative departments of government, but in the body of the people, operating by the majority against the minority. It may be thought all paper barriers against the power of the community are too weak to be worthy of attention… yet, as they have a tendency to impress some degree of respect for them, to establish the public opinion in their favor, and rouse the attention of the whole community, it may be one mean to control the majority from those acts to which they might be otherwise inclined.”

“It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration, and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the general government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the 4th resolution.” (10th amendment)

“In Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by power. America has set the example… of charters of power granted by liberty. This revolution in the practice of the world, may, with an honest praise, be pronounced the most triumphant epoch of its history, and the most consoling presage of its happiness.”

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.”

You see, many knew that one day someone may say ‘hey, the constitution is a document detailing the rights of the citizens, everything else is up for grabs by the government’. This was CLEARLY not the case and Madison thought he had prevented against it by introducing the 10th amendment. Without the 10th amendment, the bill of rights would not have passed and, quite frankly, the constitution would not have been ratified.

Little did he know that just over a hundred years later, people would just ignore that part of the constitution and move forward with what he tried to prevent.

Persuasion. That is how free citizens change government they don’t like.

Provided they follow the proscribed rules and do not violate the rights of the minority.

The Framers were extremely focused on the functionality of the national government. That is part of why they listed explicitly so many of the powers.

Not ‘so many’. ALL.

But what’s happening here? You have this minority party, hell, a minority faction within this party trying to force its will on the rest of the nation.

How do you defend that, apart from a certain level of ideology arrogance? The framers did not set up this system to allow a minority to rule over the majority.

It’s not about the minority RULING the majority, it is about the minority being DEFENDED from the majority. And it is PRECISELY the way it was designed. The minority cannot make laws. They can only prevent laws from being enacted. You seem to miss this distinction because you want your way and like a petulant child you rail at anyone who prevents you from getting your way.

They set up means by which the minority could make itself the majority. They set up protections that would prevent the current stewards of government from becoming the permanent ones by means of legislation that would outlaw other opinions, other parties, a critical press, and the use of police powers to imprison and impugn those in the political opposition.

Wow, you really don’t understand the constitution at all, do you Stephen?

Tell me, do we have a right to privacy? It is not specifically spelled out in the Constitution, where does this ‘right’ come from? Do you have an understanding at all the Constitution was not a listing of the rights of the people, but as a listing of the limited powers that the federal government had?

Your problem, I would say, is that you don’t want to see this as overreach. You want to see what the Republicans do as justice, a balancing of the scales.

I am against as much of the Republican platform as I am against the Democrat platform, Stephen. I don’t want to see either party have the power you seem to think they have.

What I’ve learned is that there’s a reason we have to do the whole dog and pony show to get the kind of power we want to shape the government the way we want it to be shaped. We can’t, and shouldn’t be, trying to do things alone, because that’s where true tyranny comes into play. Minorities must try to become majorities, if they want a change. Persuasion, not the twisting of law and force, must be the means by which consensus is created. In that is true freedom. In that, the interests of the average person are remembered. If we do it the other way, yes, the forgotten man you like might get the government he needs, but at the expense of creating another victim of neglect somewhere else.

You don’t have a clue what being ‘free’ means, Stephen. To you, being free is having the power to make others do what you want them to do. That isn’t freedom, except to the ones who are wielding the power.

But you should realize something here: Madison specifically formed this system as a way to pit factions against each other, the separation of powers and the deliberative nature of Congress denying those factions the power to get what they want up until they come up with the necessary compromises.

So let me put this to you bluntly: I do not think the framers intended that if a party were to be able to gain the White House and the Senate that what they wanted would be disregarded. I think they’d be telling folks like you to man up, quit getting all high and might about your principles, and try and figure out the compromise that is most consistent with your principles. Having principles isn’t an excuse to cause the system to crash. It seems like the framers had a better sense of the need to to put their egos aside, and compromise for the good of the country.

Try re-reading the quotes I provided and say that again with a straight face…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 13, 2013 8:15 PM
Comment #361652

Democracy is the most vile form of government… democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention: have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property: and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. — James Madison

“Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution.” — James Madison

“With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” — James Madison

Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government. — James Madison

“It is very certain that [the commerce clause] grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government.” — James Madison

“Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” — James Madison

“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power
than by violent and sudden usurpations.” — James Madison

“Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the Constituents.” — James Madison

“There is no maxim, in my opinion, which is more liable to be misapplied, and which, therefore, more needs elucidation, than the current, that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong.” — James Madison

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 13, 2013 8:30 PM
Comment #361669

Royal Flush-
You’re not direct, you’re offensive. Calling me doughboy is not direct, it’s an insult, and so is most of your argument. To me, being direct means I confront your arguments, which you barely even deal with, except to issue a flat, featureless denial.

KAP-
I don’t remember the last time any of the people who called themselves independent on this site actually exercised that independence. And if so, it’s to support folks well to the right of those I would support. To me, independence means you aren’t constrained by partisan concerns of any kind, but are free to consider ideas and policies that don’t fit into one party’s vision or another.

C&J-
You keep on trying to make it look like I love Reagan! I have some respect for him, but I also see the flaws and disagreements. But you take even the slightest hint of that respect, and turn that into me just flat out loving the guy, agreeing with the guy.

You also take arguments that recognize the procedural difficulties the Republicans have made, cut out all the long explanations I make for why their choices are unwise, and try and make it seem like I think they’re brilliant, or might as well be saying that they’re brilliant.

But really, I don’t think it is. I really, truly think that the way the Republicans have gone about things is painting them into a tighter and tighter corner, so even if they realize that a policy stance is wrong, and must be corrected, they end up having to take a massive political risk in order to do the right thing.

You say that FDR’s measures didn’t create economic recovery. I think you’d have a hell of a time proving that, both in GDP and in Employment terms. I also think the notion that 400,000 men dying would lower unemployment is simply absurd. First, they didn’t die all at once, and second, I don’t know whether this crossed your mind or not, but there was a hell of a lot of industrial capacity that was put online during the war! People had actual jobs, producing actual things. And all that talk about the competition being wiped out didn’t become relevant until they were back in a position to buy our products, which means, after the war.

As for cutting the spending? Yeah, and we raised taxes considerably. What you don’t account for is that we also spent a hell of a lot of money paying back the people who bought the war bonds and the treasury bonds to fund the war. Even so, we had a number of recessions in the fifties due to what was being done. Fortunately, though, the freed up industrial capacity and higher consumer spending soaked up the necessary austerity.

That’s a lesson you don’t learn. You continue to indulge in these arcane economic theories that presuppose that the obvious results of cutting taxes on the people who already don’t spend all they get, of reducing revenues, of removing government economic activity from a weak market, don’t follow through.

We had a stronger economy after the war, because people had been employed long term, because of pent-up consumer demand, because we had increased industrial capacity, and because we had neighbors who couldn’t produce the goods themselves that wanted to trade with us. In other words, it didn’t just happen magically, because we conformed to the will of the magic market fairies. There was some place for the dynamics to go. People had money to spend. They don’t now. People had trading partners willing to take our exports. We’re a net importer now. People had been employed long term during the war. Many aren’t now. It’s one of the reasons why we had a rather profound recession at the end of the war which nobody remembers, because it was really about the demobilization of the war machine.

I admire Obama for reasons that go beyond simply the notion that I would have to support him because he’s a Democrat, and not a Republican. I support him because he is a very effective communicator, a fairly thorough policy thinker, a man whose reasonableness provides a nice counterpoint to his stiffnecked opponents.

Your side thinks it doesn’t have to bend or change for anybody, and that’s killing it, one step at a time. Folks want stability, consistency, yes. They also want things to be run well. They want people who can govern, rather than just endlessly demand that others let them have their way.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2013 8:41 AM
Comment #361671

Stephen, Being an independent means I am not constrained to one party as you are by declareing you are a democrat. As far as my being a conservative does not mean I am a republican because my ideology resembles theirs. By being an independent I can rag on either party, I didn’t vote for Bush neither did I vote for the Idiots YOUR PEOPLE offered. As far as Obama, I didn’t think he had enough experience to be President and it is showing, IMO Clinton would have been the better choice because of the 8 years of experience at her side.

Posted by: KAP at February 14, 2013 11:05 AM
Comment #361672

Royal Flush-
I think every Republican who quotes that 17 trillion dollar figure should have to quote the national debt that existed when Reagan Started, and then what existed when Bush 41 left office, and then do the same for George W. Bush. Then they should have to tell every American how much of that current deficit owes itself to the Bush and Reagan Tax cuts, not to mention the cost of the two wars and Bush’s other spending.

You folks state that figure as if Obama personally put us in that debt. You consistently oppose anything else but cuts to promised Medicare and Social Security benefits as a way to pay for it.

And you know what’s even more inconvenient? The deficit’s gone down under Obama. Spending is growing even more slowly than under Clinton.

It’s just that you folks keep moving the goalposts to avoid facing the embarrassing truth that it’s your folks, with your magic Laffer Curves and ill-timed austerity efforts, that can’t actually balance a budget. Why? Because you’re mindless zealots on taxes.

As for what you say the liberals do? More propaganda. Most Democrats are like most Republicans. You keep on trying to exaggerate the difference to keep your extremism justified and motivated. We’re not intent on destroying anything, your people just need the voters of your movement to remain scared so they don’t rebel against their incompetence and corruption.

As for the minimum wage?

You know, here’s what I don’t get: Why is it a bad thing to provide people more incentive to do their job? The minimum wage, adjusted for inflation has fallen far short of what it’s value was in the sixties.

You are essentially asking people to work for less than it takes for cost of living. The hidden side of that is that many people are made dependent on government to make up for the shortfall.

You’re selling big government and the welfare state better than you’re selling reliance on private enterprise. A person who works should prosper.

kctim-
Why should the whole system be set up to suit the religious attitudes of a few, not merely so they wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket, which is what the law already allows them to avoid, but to even be able to force that standard on everybody else the insurer services, no matter what their beliefs are, just so you can be absolutely certain that none of your money circulates around to do what you don’t like.

As for marriage? What you fail to say is that you essentially want the government to enforce a religious definition of marriage. The truth of the matter is, your church will still be able to refuse to perform a ceremony for marriages it does not recognize as legitimate. The Catholic Church has long refused, for example, to recognize divorces that are otherwise legally binding. It can and has refused to perform the ceremony for divorced folks.

Should the Catholic Church, by your logic, be able to enforce it’s religious ban on marriages involving the divorced through the government, in order to maintain its sense of the sanctity of marriage? Or can it manage perfectly fine on that end without the government’s help?

The Catholic Church is free to refuse to do services for gay couples, as is the mormon church or any other, for that matter.

As for believing in special treatment?

We’ve engaged in a long period of giving white males special treatment. That’s had an economic and social effect that doesn’t simply stop on a dime. Any special consideration is aimed at bleeding away the momentum of years of racist and sexist policy and behavior.

And even so, we don’t yet see equal treatment.

As far as guns go? Most liberals are only willing to support limited gun control measures. You’re being overly dramatic, pushing an absolutist position that can’t function in reality.

It’s amazing how much breath you waste bemoaning how much other people don’t like your attitudes. The solution in many of these cases is to just go and do what you like. In too many cases, though, your response to rules that would increase the freedom of your rivals to live their lives the way they want, is to clamp down.

As for stereotypes? Republicans and conservatives have done an excellent job of converting themselves into just that. Rather than nuance your positions, so, say, some tax increases might be acceptable, you insist on NO tax increases at all. Instead of compromising and saying civil unions might be acceptable, it’s a flat-out refusal of any parity at all in marriage, combine with attacks so old fashionly homophobic, so clearly tilted towards the old notion that homosexuality is a kind of sexual deviance, that it’s not funny.

When you won’t even allow un-offset spending for a ****ing disaster, or for traditionally acceptable unemployment benefits, you are going to look like a ****ing stereotype.

I could go on, but let me make a point instead: What makes a stereotype a stereotype is the flatness, the lack of nuance. When every policy decision you make is measured against an absolute litmus test, when you won’t let any compromise past you without a bitter fight, when you do stuff that is so damn antisocial and mean-spirited that it goes beyond the pale of normal society, you will become a walking stereotype of your own accord.

Don’t blame me because you won’t make reasonable concessions to reality or to other people’s interests, because you won’t go along to get along. If you don’t like the fact people don’t see more complexity in you or your attitudes, maybe it’s time to actually demonstrate some break from mindless conformity and ideological inflexibility.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2013 11:24 AM
Comment #361674

Royal Flush-

He writes; ” It seems like the framers had a better sense of the need to to put their egos aside, and compromise for the good of the country.”
Where exactly does that opinion originate? One issue I do recall that required a compromise was the issue of slavery. And yet, we often hear Daugherty denigrate our founders for that compromise.

Well, many people criticize that compromise. Just as many people recognize that while it does represent what some call the “original sin” of our nation’s founding, that alternative solutions just weren’t politically tenable.

But that was far from the only issue. There were so many issues. Would it be population or size of territory that got better represented? What would the Congress be able to do? What would the executive have the power to do.

The Bill of Rights tells us that these issues were so contentious that even after being written, additional amendments had to be made to satisfy people enough to get universal ratification.

You know why they went through all this trouble? Because the more one-sided, more decentralized version of this didn’t work. Of course, simply creating a more powerful government brought with it its own problems. So what did they do? They divided government up, such that the interests would compete and interact, rather than simply surge one way or another unilaterally.

Conditional power, you could call it. With no warrant, a police officer can’t search you without probable cause to justify it, not and have it hold up. With a warrant, he can do what he wants.

Government has great power, but only under certain conditions. That’s how we avoid the consequences of a government that can just arbitrarily run people over.

Daugherty fails to recognize that our founders, in their great wisdom and from much experience, allowed only the House to initiate all bills for revenue.

Royal Flush fails to realize that I know this perfectly well, just as I know this: no bill concerning revenue that originates in the house can pass without the help of the Senate and the President! The framers didn’t want it to start elsewhere, but they made no requirement that it had to end there.

Royal Flush, in his less than infinite wisdom, fails to see the way Madison’s framework was meant to do. The zealotry of the Tea Party has made them so profoundly unconnected to even their own party on policy, so unable to find common ground necessary to get policy passed, that it’s actually become routine to circumvent them by getting Democrats to vote for the bills. Of course, in order to do that, the Republicans have to make extra concessions.

See how it works, Mr. Flush? Even though Madison didn’t forsee the advent of the parties, or even much want them, the nature of a deliberative body like ours remains the same.

Or, let me put it this way: The Tea Party, in its arrogant refusal to compromise, actually become part of the majority that votes against the most uncompromising version of the bills that can actually pass the Senate and be signed by the President!

Shocking, I know! But that’s the way a deliberative body works. Further irony means that what does pass requires Democrats to be part of the majority, and in the most recent cases, for the majority of the yes votes to come FROM the Democrats!

See, because of the way the Constitution structured our legislative branch, it doesn’t matter whether one party nominally has the majority or not. Theoretically, Republicans could simply vote on a party line to stop things, just as Democrats do.

But because the Tea Party Republicans require any legislation they sign onto to be politically pure, they set up a situation where the only party-line vote they’ll take part in is one for legislation that won’t pass the Senate or gain the President’s signature. The Republicans can only function as the majority in cases where they don’t plan to actually get something passed!

Sure, they can occasionally extort a policy shift, but overall, they’re neutering their own party, not to mention their own faction, putting themselves in a situation where they are unable to effect change.

Meanwhile, the Democrats become the deciding votes in these matters, which means they have leverage to undermine the intent and the structure of what your folks are trying to do.

Ironically, the supposed constitutional savants of right, like Royal Flush here, have positioned their party into a tortured position where the constitution essentially drains them of most of the ability to implement actual policy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2013 12:14 PM
Comment #361675
Even though Madison didn’t forsee the advent of the parties

Huh?

“In every political society, parties are unavoidable. A difference of interests, real or supposed, is the most natural and fruitful source of them.” — James Madison

Stephen, I wonder sometimes if you have actually ever read anything that the founding fathers have written… Perhaps before debating politics you should spend some time doing that instead of trolling around on TVTropes.org?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 14, 2013 12:23 PM
Comment #361676
You know, here’s what I don’t get: Why is it a bad thing to provide people more incentive to do their job?

1) There is a difference between incentive and force. You apparently are unaware of this difference.

2) The majority of people on minimum wage are not the main worker of a household. Over 70% of the people on minimum wage are doing those jobs for a little extra cash (students) or gaining some working experience.

3) Almost no one is going minimum wage work for very long. As workers demonstrate their abilities, they advance their pay and/or move to other higher paying jobs.

4) Raising the minimum wage eliminates jobs that could be used by people who are currently unemployed to advanced into better paying jobs, rejump their careers, assist a family by allowing a second or third worker to bring in additional income, etc.

5) The minimum wage is mostly arbitrary and set based on poverty levels of 4 person families.

6) The minimum wage is further disparate because as a NATIONAL wage it is entirely inadequate to handle the different costs of living in the myriad of places within the country. A 9/hr income in LA is not going to cut it, but a 9/hr income in rural IOWA would be much more sustainable.

7) In the end increasing the minimum wage does nothing but move the goalposts. As companies have to pay more for minimum wage workers, they have to raise their prices. This hurts more people who may be ‘borderline’, so they have to cut back, causing a drain on the economy. Further, anyone who was making a few dollars more are now at the minimum wage level and will demand (and deserve) to get their pay increased as well. Many union contracts, for example, have clauses in them that increase the pay of everyone in the union if the minimum wage increases. Labor costs increase and businesses pass those increases on to the customers, many of whom are those same people. In a short period of time everything shuffles around and nothing is gained.

If you want to combat poverty, the best way to do so is through mentoring programs, showing people how to increase their income through their own work. A shortage of available workers will increase those ‘minimum wage jobs’ much more effectively than an arbitrary national forced wage.

Instead, we like to deal with what we ‘feels good’, making the minimum wage at some new higher number, thinking we have accomplished something. When in fact, we have done nothing to combat the problem. It is used by politicians to gain votes by preying on emotion, anyone using logic can see how ineffective the idea is.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 14, 2013 12:36 PM
Comment #361677

Rhinehold-

“They set in the constitution thresholds for different things like amendment and treat ratification, but for all other things simply allowed the default of majority rules.”
OOO, and you just went off the rails.
No, they did not. The founders were VERY VERY clear that the federal government was to be limited, strictly, within the confines of the Constitutional powers they were provided. As the 10th amendment states quite clearly:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

I don’t see how the Tenth amendment does anything else but reflect a truism. Within the delegated powers of the national legislature, majority votes should suffice for most bills.

You’re just flinging self-serving piety my way, rather than answering the fundamental question I pose on the justice of trying to rule a country from the minority.

You seem to be also essentially asking, “why don’t you just automatically agree with me before we even start the argument?”

Why don’t I see it? Because you rush past trying to justify the basic foundations of your politics, and then expect everybody to just agree with your more advanced outgrowth from that.

Me, I start from a simple notion: that for the most part, the framers wanted majority votes to rule the day on legislation, as was the tradition for Republics. That they wanted this nation run by its own citizens, even if that meant that the resulting government wouldn’t always agree with them.

I value the constitution more than your pernicious stereotyping of my position would let you believe. I don’t interpret it like you do, like you expect me to. You simply don’t get that the Framers expected disagreements on the meaning of the nation’s law, which is why they had a judicial branch set up. Law in our system is intepreted, not merely implemented, as it is in something like the Napoleonic Code.

We need wisdom about our laws, just as much as knowledge of them. The Framers built in room for judgment, room for future Americans to consider their circumstances and act accordingly. Unfortunately, many people like you want to constrain everything to a rigid interpretation, regardless of whether it works, or is even just. The cult of literalism overwhelms the methods of common sense.

That breeds monsters. The government was meant to be responsive first. If it’s not responsive, the gap between the government that people need and want, and the government they have will grow. It’s not up to you alone to decide how this government will work. That’s something we must all be involved in.

Even if you could get what you want, if it’s not supported by the majority, what would be its fate? You can impose political order on people by force, by trickery, but ultimately the pressures of public opinion would buckle the structure of such a political structure.

If you cannot convince others, you may be right for all we know, but you won’t carry the day. Only when you have agreement and consensus on your side can you actually get what you want.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2013 12:37 PM
Comment #361678

“Stephen, I wonder sometimes if you have actually ever read anything that the founding fathers have written… Perhaps before debating politics you should spend some time doing that instead of trolling around on TVTropes.org?”

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 14, 2013 12:23 PM

Stephen is like many liberals; it’s not a case of reading what the founding fathers wrote. It’s a case of hating what they wrote. Liberals like Stephen are the enemies of a free republic; they hate the Constitution and the Bill of Right. These documents stand in the way of their socialist agenda. Obama has NEVER done anything to promote the American republic and Stephen has never done anything but defend Obama.

To prove this, we simply have to read Stephen’s ignorant comments:

“But because the Tea Party Republicans require any legislation they sign onto to be politically pure,”

There are no absolutes; to believe legislation must be politically pure is a violation of everything Stephen has learned. The modern humanistic thinking is there are no absolutes. The Obamacare legislation is a good example of legislation which is impure. As time goes by, we see more and more problems arising from Obamacare; to the point where unions will also hate the outcome. Was it too much to ask that we understand what was written in Obamacare/ Or do we accept the language of Pelosi, “we will know what is in the Bill, after we pass it”. Gun control is another flawed legislation of the Democrats; after it is passed, we would see what intrusion the government makes into our 2nd amendment rights.

Posted by: Geoge at February 14, 2013 12:44 PM
Comment #361679

George-
Why am I being called ignorant?

See, here’s the thing: you folks push this agenda with the Tea Party that no sane Democrat can sign on to. We happen to control the White House, happen to control the Senate.

So, if you know your Constitution, you know exactly what consequences to expect!

But still, people like you and Royal Flush and others expect others to flatter your self-serving expectations.

But reality intrudes. However much you love your absolutes, you haven’t quite spread that love of those absolutes far enough, so you don’t have the support to get all those wonderful bills through that you like so much!

I mean, really, when the House fell to the Republicans, I didn’t expect anything good to come of it. I knew the way the system worked. I adjusted my expectations accordingly.

Your people haven’t. You still think of things in terms of how you could push things as the majority during the Bush Administration. Perish the thought that you might have to sacrifice purity to draw policy closer to what you want!

But the math works against you. Without those Tea Partiers, the GOP isn’t a majority in the House! And without the Presidency or control of the Senate, it ain’t getting passed as law.

Just a basic reading of the Constitution should tell you this! But no. What makes it worse is all this piety about the Constitution, even as you strain against it’s actual intent and meaning.

You know the rules of the game, yet you do everything you can to avoid the consequences of having lost the game. You haven’t gotten used to the idea that your feelings, your ideology isn’t absolutely in charge anymore.

It’s pathetic. But worse, it’s keeping both your party and this country from moving on, from fixing the mistakes and redeeming the problems that haunt us.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2013 1:10 PM
Comment #361682

“George-
Why am I being called ignorant?”

Webster defines “ignorant” as:

“1. a : destitute of knowledge or education ; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified

b : resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence

2: unaware, uninformed”

This is why you are called ignorant. There have been many responses to your comments, showing your complete lack of knowledge or comprehension of the founding father’s documents.

You make a consistent mistake of lumping all opposition together. I am not a member of the Tea Party and have never been so; I simply answered your quote. Does that make me a TP member? But I made this accusation and would you care to deny it:

“There are no absolutes; to believe legislation must be politically pure is a violation of everything Stephen has learned. The modern humanistic thinking is there are no absolutes. The Obamacare legislation is a good example of legislation which is impure. As time goes by, we see more and more problems arising from Obamacare; to the point where unions will also hate the outcome. Was it too much to ask that we understand what was written in Obamacare/ Or do we accept the language of Pelosi, “we will know what is in the Bill, after we pass it”. Gun control is another flawed legislation of the Democrats; after it is passed, we would see what intrusion the government makes into our 2nd amendment rights.”

Stephen, you consider the Republican’s ability to block socialist bills by Democrats as a violation of the Constitution and yet you DID NOT consider Democrat blockage of Bush era Republican bills as being unconstitutional.

The simple question is; are we seeing flawed laws coming out of, in your mind, a pure Obamacare Bill?

Posted by: George at February 14, 2013 1:42 PM
Comment #361683
I don’t see how the Tenth amendment does anything else but reflect a truism.

*sigh*

If that truism is ‘if the power is not explicetly given to the federal government then it does not have any power to pass any laws in that area’, then yeah, it is a truism. It is also a law of the land, a hard set limit on the powers of the federal government. Not something to simply be ignored because ‘the majority’ wants something.

You’re just flinging self-serving piety my way, rather than answering the fundamental question I pose on the justice of trying to rule a country from the minority.

No one is trying to ‘rule from the minority’, it is about defending against the majority. You keep failing to grasp that notion. The senate can make whatever rules it wants to pass laws, it decided on allowing the minority a way to block the laws that the simple majority passed if the majority didn’t get some minimal buyin by the minority. If you don’t like that, then call your senators and get that rule changed. If they passed a law saying that all bills had to pass with 75% approval, they would be entitled to do that.

Your suggestion that the minority is ruling the majority is flawed on so many levels. I’ve pointed many of them out to you and you simply ignore them. You don’t counter them, or admit that perhaps they have merit, you just pretend they never were stated.

You seem to be also essentially asking, “why don’t you just automatically agree with me before we even start the argument?”

No, Stephen, I am wanting you and I to agree that blue is blue before we start talking about how blue to paint the sky. You are trying to tell me that blue is red and then getting incensed that I don’t see how the sky looks like it is on fire.

It’s not a difference in nuance or vaugerities, we are talking about historical facts that are written down and there for everyone to see. I’ve shown them to you and you just say ‘well, times are different’. Yes, times are different, but the laws are still there and until they are changed they are the laws. Either follow them all or agree that no laws exist and that our government is a failure, we are simply living in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government, as James Madison stated.

Me, I start from a simple notion: that for the most part, the framers wanted majority votes to rule the day on legislation, as was the tradition for Republics. That they wanted this nation run by its own citizens, even if that meant that the resulting government wouldn’t always agree with them.

That’s nice, but it isn’t related in anything factual. I’ve already pointed out to you many times how this ‘simple notion’ isn’t accurate or correct, with quotes and examples from the people who wrote the documents themselves. Your response? You just ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. You say ‘Madison didn’t forsee this’, when I show you a quote that he did, you ignore it. You say that they wanted the majority to rule on all of these things, when I show you that they didn’t, that they feared that tremendously and that they purposely put something into the constitution to prevent it, you simply ‘ignore it’ and call it a ‘trusim’, as if it is a nice thing to say but holds no weight.

Perhaps the 1st amendment is just a ‘truism’? Why does one hold more weight to you than another?

I value the constitution more than your pernicious stereotyping of my position would let you believe. I don’t interpret it like you do, like you expect me to. You simply don’t get that the Framers expected disagreements on the meaning of the nation’s law, which is why they had a judicial branch set up. Law in our system is intepreted, not merely implemented, as it is in something like the Napoleonic Code.

You are so out in left field that I am not sure where to begin with this…

First, I am not stereotyping your position, I am repeating what you say.

Second, I don’t want you to interpret the constitution ‘the way I do’, I want you to interpret the constitution the way the WRITERS OF THE CONSTITUTION WANTED IT INTERPRETED.

Third, interpreting the constitution was NOT why the judicial branch was created. I have shown you the writing of Madison and Jefferson and others who have said this quite clearly. This was a power that they took on themselves years after the ratification of the Constitution. That it exists now is fine, but it leads to some problems, namely that we now have situations where a single person can decide the ‘constitutionality’ of something, even the more horrendous things, even overriding the will of the majority. Isn’t that WORSE than what you claim the Republicans are doing by following senate rules re: the filibuster?

Finally, the notion that ‘law should be interpreted’ is moronic, the say the very least. As Madison himself has said: “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” The laws should not be ‘lawyer-ed’ to contort around the limitations placed upon it by the Constitution. Having that mindset obliterates the POINT OF THE CONSTITUTION.

Please detail for me in simple terms as possible what is the single main point of the constitution. If we can agree on that, then we can get past that perhaps. But I don’t think we agree on that because I use the words of those who created the document and you invent some meaning that they never vocalized because it fits in with your worldview.

The Framers built in room for judgment, room for future Americans to consider their circumstances and act accordingly.

Interesting, so show me the proof of your statement, Stephen. Because that is not what I get from reading the words of the framers. Since you seem to think it is true, all you have to do is provide the evidence of that.

Shouldn’t be too hard, should it?

Even if you could get what you want, if it’s not supported by the majority, what would be its fate? You can impose political order on people by force, by trickery, but ultimately the pressures of public opinion would buckle the structure of such a political structure.

If something is ‘supported by the majority’ then the constitution can be amended to allow for it. If it isn’t amended to allow for it, it cannot be supported. The majority cannot override the RIGHTS of the MINORITY or the INDIVIDUAL. Ever. For any reason. It is what DEFINES us as free men.

Your view, based on nothing, allows for the authoritarian utopia you seek. It is not congruent with freedom by any stretch of the imagination.

Defending the right of someone against the views of the minority is hard (and right). Buckling against the rights of someone because you don’t want to stand up to the majority when they are violating those rights is easy (and wrong).

But there is one more thing I want to address…

You say I am being ‘inflexible’. And you are right, when it comes to the rights of the citizens, I am inflexible on that (as I think all Americans should be). But let’s test your flexibility.

Let’s say the right were to convince the majority of people that Roe V Wade should be overturned. They pass a law stating that throughout the country all abortions are now illegal. Is that ‘ok’? Occording to your views on government?

Or, more close to home, when we get to YOUR personal rights, let’s say that to fight terrorism and treason, anyone who writes against any politician on a blog can be put into prison. Would you say ‘well, ok then, I’ll just stop doing that’? Or would you be incensed, demand that justice be returned and continue voicing your opinion? (btw, you do realize that something like this is actually being discussed in Washington, right? Not really something from out of left field).

See, it’s easy to play with other’s rights if you don’t share their views. But when it hits close to home, that is when people get vocal. I, however, fight for everyone’s rights, whether they affect me personally or not.

But, my prediction is that you will just ignore these inconsistencies within your view because they are too uncomfortable…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 14, 2013 1:44 PM
Comment #361684
What makes it worse is all this piety about the Constitution, even as you strain against it’s actual intent and meaning.

Please, Stephen, EDUCATE US. What is the ‘actual intent and meaning’ of the Constitution? I would be very much happy to hear you state it for the record so we can compare it with the framers and what they said about it…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 14, 2013 1:48 PM
Comment #361685

George-
Funny how you fail to demonstrate a lack of knowledge as one of your premises for calling me ignorant. Perhaps it’s ignorance of the high holy dogmas of conservatism I lack. In which case, that’s just my tough luck.

But I know enough about the constitution and the House and Senate rules to temper my expectations. You? You don’t seem to register the true nature of your situation, so you are worse than ignorant. You know something to be true, yet do not adjust your perceptions accordingly.

The world is not so simply divided between my opinions and your opinions as you might think. I might be very firm about what I believe, but I’m prepared to go any number of unorthodox routes to get there. I’m prepared to be incremental, to accept small victories and small changes in policy.

You? You seem to expect the nation lurch all the way to the right, without any real cooperation on their part. I will get more of what I want, in the long run, because I’m prepared to accept cases where conservatives have their little victories, yet I get them, too. I may believe strongly in my politics, but I understand a critical secret: that often politics is how you slice up the world with your perceptions. Because I don’t consider things in absolutes, but in their native complexity, I can see solutions that promote my agenda, but can get past conservatives, get past centrist voters.

I’m more flexible about how I win.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2013 1:55 PM
Comment #361687

Stephen, you answered nothing from my previous post; therefore I stand on my conclusion that you are ignorant. Your claims to knowledge are simply that. You say, “But I know enough about the constitution”; but you can’t tell us what the Constitution is. You claim to be an expert and interpreter of the writings of the founding fathers; but to you, these writings are not absolutes. It’s like saying, “yes, I believe the Bible is the Word of God, but I don’t believe the Bible is actually God’s Word”. You say you believe and are an expert interpreter of the Constitution, but the documents of the founding fathers are not really what they were trying to say. This is not only ignorance; it’s arrogance and hypocrisy.

Posted by: George at February 14, 2013 2:14 PM
Comment #361689

Stephen

Your people have created false sterotypes just so as to forward their leftist agenda and you have fallen for it hook line and sinker. You take the extreme position of the minority and attribute it to the majority.
You are told that everybody against leftist policy on any issue is evil and you believe it. You scream for compromise, but your answer to any idea that dares question your beliefs is met with cries of homophobia, woman haters, racists, selfish, religious fanatic, gun nut etc… Hell, you guys even label people reading and believing in the US Constitution as ‘radical extremists.”
But yet, you somehow claim that it is the non leftists who are not willing to work with you? You don’t want people to work with you, you want people to agree with you. By force if neccessary.

You prey upon fears and twist the meaning of words. Religious people aren’t paying for abortion or BC because the premiums they pay goes into a huge pot.
We’re not infringing on your 2nd Amendment right, we are allowing you to have guns we have approved.
So on and so on.

You know what’s funny? Your people were all too happy to support the tens of thousands of people who don’t want Wal-Mart running their lives, but you do nothing but condemn the tens of millions who don’t want government running their lives.

Something else that is funny, is that leftist concerns, protests, marches etc… all deal with wanting something to be given to them, but such actions from those on the right all deal with being left alone.

Your people have been given and taken enough, it’s time to leave the rest of us alone.

Posted by: kctim at February 14, 2013 2:20 PM
Comment #361691

Rhinehold-
Look, when the framers wrote the Constitution, this filibuster, these holds that we’re talking about? Didn’t exist. They became added later. I think they would be horrified to see somebody who has a majority of people willing to confirm him, but who is denied his appointment by a minority of the Senate.

I think they’d be flabbergasted that somebody would be willing to let America go into default to teach its citizens a lesson about accumulating debt.

I think they set up the system to require majority approval on bills, and if somebody is going to hold something up by refusing to even start debate, or end it, I think they would be puzzled if that didn’t involve somebody continuing to talk.

They didn’t have a real choice about making America work. The Republic we started out with was overloaded with debt, vulnerable to attack from it’s coast and its frontier, and not yet the civilizational, technological or international powerhouse it is today. So they chose to work together, to create a plan that could get the things done necessary to keep our nation running.

As for minorities versus majorities?

What strikes me is that you don’t see that symmetrically seen, the question is not about a minority defending against a majority, it’s about the interests of that majority competing against the interests of the minority. So the question becomes why one should triumph over the other.

In the case of the Bill of Rights, it should be obvious: just about every idea that changes the thinking of the majority, from civil rights laws to deregulation, to the opposition to the War in Iraq starts out as the idea of a minority, working against a majority. We need the majority to be held off, because we need the turnover of political ideas, of policies, the responsiveness and the emphasis on creating law from persuasion, rather than force that this creates. Civil liberties help keep the winners of a current debate from forever freezing their victory.

Different constraints, like those on the Federal Government’s control of local and state matters, helps create another couple layers of variability, accountability, and responsiveness. You’ve bull****ed yourself into believing otherwise, but I really do think the division of power between the states, local governments, and the Federal government work for the best. I just have a different notion of the relative balance.

But there’s limits to this, and should be, because then you have something worse. It may not register to you, but if the minority is too successful in being able to protect what it perceives as its interests, it’s going to imposing them at the expense of everybody else’s interests.

I mean, you take your ideas far enough, and you can justify an individual taking over an entire country, and ruling it, for the sake of his own rights.

I think the simple truth is, there has to be a point at which being in the minority on an issue makes you lose! If there’s not, then calling this country Democratic is a joke, and we’re no more a real Republic than China is.

As for the rest?

The Constitution isn’t a ****ing oracle. It’s general, binding principles of how the government is supposed to work. These guys do this, these guys do that, the states have these powers, the federal government has these.

Real life is not at all simple, and often different principles come into play. One case, and this gives Democrats headaches, is the matter of what we do with Americans who join up with, and become major figures of al-Qaeda. How do we honor that citizen’s rights (available to even scumbags) of due process, while at the same time acknowledging that somebody who becomes an al-Qaeda terrorist is becoming a danger to this country?

How do we interpret the Fourth Amendment, in an age that features computers and cell phones not mentioned in the Bill of Rights? Does the fact that the Internet is not literally mentioned in the Fourth Amendment mean we exclude it from protection from unwarranted search and seizure?

When you get even something as simple as the Constitution out in the real world, complexities simply emerge. You can bury your head in the sand and just dictate that legal tradition should blindly disregard new developments in society and technology, or you can face the fact that the principles in that document have to be reinterpreted in order to properly apply their meaning in the new era.

Which is to say, for example, that we might look at computer communications as being as sacrosanct as the mail we are delivered on a daily basis, despite the fact that the constitution doesn’t explicitly say that. We can support what we say on the basis of the fact that the Framers obviously meant to make private communications of individual citizens off limits to snooping authorities, without a warrant. We can use our brains and extend the underlying principles, the real meanings, without requiring that all the incidental details line up.

I am not for disregarding the constitution, not at all. But when I get into arguments with folks like you, this sort of hysterical insult gets flung again and again. Please, just stop. That’s not our real attitude, that’s your overheated arrogance about how right your policies are talking.

The point of something like a judicial branch, to follow that point up, is to resolve the kinds of disputes that come from people interpreting the laws differently. But as we decide those things, the wise criteria is not so simple as, “just take everything you see to mean precisely that and nothing else”. The wise criteria recognizes that there is a functional necessity underlying these things, and it doesn’t really do much good to interpret things in ways that defeat the purpose of the rules and principles in question.

We need to acknowledge that reality must constrain the law, and its interpretation. And if the conflict becomes unresolveable by new interpretation? Well then it’s time to look at amending the constitution.

If you want to suggest creating a libertarian oligarchy, where people like you get to defend your interests all you want to, no matter what the cost to any of the rest of us, be my guest. But if you prefer there to be an elemtn of actual respresentation and democracy to this republic of ours, then there has to be some point at which you admit and allow your own defeat.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2013 2:32 PM
Comment #361692

kctim-
blah, blah, blah.

Just more and more crap about how I’m such a horrible person who wants to destroy everything.

Really, this crap just bores me. What do you say to somebody who’s decided that this whole thing is some adolescent good vs. evil fight?

This is self-governing. If you want things to go smoothly, if you want the authority the voters give your people to mean something, you have to conceded the meaningfulness and authority of those who are elected against your wishes, because the kind of tolerance you would ask for the power and the presence of your leaders is identical to that needed for my leaders, my people.

I’m not going anywhere, you’re not going anywhere, and neither of us are going to see the other side just magically disappear and let us do exactly what we please.

Good thing is, though, the framers designed a mechanism for coming to an agreement, for settling differences and ensuring that no matter how disagreeable the debate got, there was a workable result to keep the country going.

The question is, are you and I mature enough to make this work? Can we put the function of this country ahead of our fantasies of how things would work, if only we were in charge?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2013 2:38 PM
Comment #361696

Stephen

“We had a stronger economy after the war, because people had been employed long term, because of pent-up consumer demand, because we had increased industrial capacity, and because we had neighbors who couldn’t produce the goods themselves that wanted to trade with us.” In other words, the war changed things. How was any of this the result of New Deal policies?

Economies recover.

If you look at the data, the U.S. GDP did not recover to 1929 levels until 1942.

The big stimulus came in 1939 when the war started in Europe and belligerent powers wanted lots more U.S. stuff as their productive capacity was literally blown up. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1920_1950USb_13s1li011mcn__US_Gross_Domestic_Product_GDP_History#view

The New Deal failed to get a recovery. Unemployment was still significantly higher in 1940 than it had been in 1930.

World War II saved the reputations of both FDR and government intervention. It was the war that pulled us out. As you admit, BTW.

Posted by: C&J at February 14, 2013 4:06 PM
Comment #361699

Actually, it was more of the easing up of the Trade war that took us into the Great Depression and the end of WWII that did it, just spending on WWII wasn’t enough. If after the war the trade war was put back into place, we would have seen what Keynes predicted would happen, once you end stimulus the benefits of the stimulus disappear. It is interesting that Kensyians these days forget that part of his economic view and tell us that stimulus spending creates growth, that was never his belief…

And C&J, it was very likely that FDR was not going to win reelection in 1938, but with the war broiling in Europe, people didn’t want to ‘switch horses’ at that time. It’s an interesting study for people who want to actually study it, and not just regurgitate what their government education system has told them during a couple of weeks (at most) that our schools spend on the timeperiod.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 14, 2013 4:56 PM
Comment #361701

Doughboy writes; “But still, people like you and Royal Flush and others expect others to flatter your self-serving expectations (referring to the TEA party).”

Yes, I am considering my self interests when I support the notion that we are Taxed Enough Already.

How generous are you with your own money Doughboy? Tell us what percentage of your income you are personally paying in Federal Income Taxes and also tell us how much more you would like to pay.

You are suggesting that those who believe we are Taxed Enough Already are selfish. How selfish are you?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 14, 2013 5:15 PM
Comment #361702

I forced myself to read the entirety of Doughboy’s comments regarding our Constitution and the rebuttal by others.

One thing is crystal clear from that reading.

Doughboy’s copy of our founding documents is heavily redacted. What remains legible in his copy of the document is…”promote the general, welfare”.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 14, 2013 5:24 PM
Comment #361704
Look, when the framers wrote the Constitution, this filibuster, these holds that we’re talking about? Didn’t exist. They became added later. I think they would be horrified to see somebody who has a majority of people willing to confirm him, but who is denied his appointment by a minority of the Senate.

And I have stated that I am not a fan of it either. So let’s ask the Senators who’s decision it is to eliminate it. But if you don’t eliminate it, as the Democrats have refused to do, they lose the ‘high road’ of complaining about it. If you should be looking to anyone as the problem, it should be Harry Reid, not those who use the system as it is laid out to their advantage and as their voters want them to use it.

As for the founders being ‘flabbergasted’, I don’t think I share that view. Otherwise, why require 2/3 majority to override a veto? Or why require 2/3 of the states to pass a constitutional amendment. In fact, there is some documentation telling us that some of the founders would have been ok with all bills requiring unanimous consent…

Personally, I say majority on bills the federal government is legally allowed to pass (ie, constitutional), 2/3 on vetos and 2/3 on amendments. Seems reasonable to me. But the senate has made this rule and they now have to live with it. Either change the rule or shut the hell up.

They didn’t have a real choice about making America work. The Republic we started out with was overloaded with debt

‘compared to today’?

vulnerable to attack from it’s coast and its frontier, and not yet the civilizational, technological or international powerhouse it is today. So they chose to work together, to create a plan that could get the things done necessary to keep our nation running.

And they, in their wisdom, chose a path that was not one of least resistance, but one that would work for all times and eras, one that required people to live as free men, not wards of the state. They recognized, even during these ‘difficult’ times that a free country like they were proposing required the protection of individual and minority liberties against the desires and whims of the majority. They didn’t just intimate this or suggest this, this is precisely what they said as I have shown.

it’s about the interests of that majority competing against the interests of the minority. So the question becomes why one should triumph over the other.

Because it was clear in the Constitution and other writings at the time where that was. People should be free to live their lives as they choose as long as they are not preventing another from doing the same.

How is stopping a law prevent people from doing anything? You’ll have to give me an example. You also have to remember what a law is, a legal authorization of force. Not having a law prevents no one from doing anything. What it prevents is some people telling another person what to do.

In the case of the Bill of Rights, it should be obvious: just about every idea that changes the thinking of the majority, from civil rights laws to deregulation, to the opposition to the War in Iraq starts out as the idea of a minority, working against a majority. We need the majority to be held off, because we need the turnover of political ideas, of policies, the responsiveness and the emphasis on creating law from persuasion, rather than force that this creates. Civil liberties help keep the winners of a current debate from forever freezing their victory.

Different constraints, like those on the Federal Government’s control of local and state matters, helps create another couple layers of variability, accountability, and responsiveness. You’ve bull****ed yourself into believing otherwise, but I really do think the division of power between the states, local governments, and the Federal government work for the best. I just have a different notion of the relative balance.

Of course you have a ‘different notion’ of the relative balance, because you reject part of the Constitution as just a ‘truism’, a guideline we should look at once in a while when it suits our needs and ignore it when it doesn’t.

You ignore the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution, reject the knowledge that there was no need in the Constitution for a ‘bill of rights’, it was just wanted by people to make doubly sure that people understood that these particular rights were to never ever be touched. Other, many other rights existed but were not necessary to ‘list’ because without the ability of the federal government to act on something, because they weren’t implicitly given that power, then there was nothing that the federal government could do to affect those areas.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

For the Constitution to work the way you want it to work, you have to ignore not just whole parts of it, but also ignore the writings of those who wrote it. You have absolutely nothing on your side to back up your view of the Constitution as a vague guideline we should occasional consider.

But there’s limits to this, and should be, because then you have something worse. It may not register to you, but if the minority is too successful in being able to protect what it perceives as its interests, it’s going to imposing them at the expense of everybody else’s interests.

Give an example so I can show you how much twisting of words you have to do to come to that conclusion.

I think the simple truth is, there has to be a point at which being in the minority on an issue makes you lose! If there’s not, then calling this country Democratic is a joke, and we’re no more a real Republic than China is.

Stephen, you aren’t listening. Of course being in the minority means you lose on points which the government is legally allowed to act. But being in the minority does NOT mean you lose on points where the government is legally not allowed to act. They cannot override your rights. I don’t know why this is so hard for you to comprehend…

The Constitution isn’t a ****ing oracle. It’s general, binding principles of how the government is supposed to work. These guys do this, these guys do that, the states have these powers, the federal government has these.

And if it is isn’t explicitly spelled out in the Constitution, then NO ONE has those powers. That’s the part you leave off, Stephen.

And isn’t a ‘general guideline’, it is a hard set of basic rules that cannot be violated. If you violate part of it, the whole thing becomes invalid.

Real life is not at all simple

Actually when it comes into many of the things we are talking about, it is actually that simple.

and often different principles come into play. One case, and this gives Democrats headaches, is the matter of what we do with Americans who join up with, and become major figures of al-Qaeda. How do we honor that citizen’s rights (available to even scumbags) of due process, while at the same time acknowledging that somebody who becomes an al-Qaeda terrorist is becoming a danger to this country?

Of course it gives them headaches. Because they have no guiding principle to govern buy other than how to gain more power. The correct answer, if the Democrats had any understanding of the laws of the land as they are spelled out in the Constitution, is that no one can be denied due process no matter how ‘dangerous’ they are. Killing a US Citizen who tells others that they should attack the US but has committed no actual acts against anyone and who has no arrest warrant out for him while he is sitting inside of a restaurant with his son and his son’s friend without attempting to arrest him is 100% unconstitutional. Period. It’s not ‘hard’ to understand. It may not be easy to acknowledge that due process extends to every single citizen, but it is the law. It is there to stop people like Obama who ‘find it hard’ to figure out what to do, to prevent the majority from violating that person’s rights.

How do we interpret the Fourth Amendment, in an age that features computers and cell phones not mentioned in the Bill of Rights? Does the fact that the Internet is not literally mentioned in the Fourth Amendment mean we exclude it from protection from unwarranted search and seizure?

By having a real understanding of what the Fourth Amendment is. Yes, anything we do/say/write, unless it is done in public, requires warrants. The ‘technology’ doesn’t matter, if you understand the purpose.

When you get even something as simple as the Constitution out in the real world, complexities simply emerge.

Only by people who want to subvert the purpose of the Constitution to fit their own whims. It’s not hard, as I have explained.

If you want the government to have a new power that didn’t exist before because of some new technology (like the internet) then get a fucking amendment pass to give them that power. Why is that so hard to understand? The Constitution *IS* changeable, but it cannot be simply IGNORED because you don’t like what it says.

Which is to say, for example, that we might look at computer communications as being as sacrosanct as the mail we are delivered on a daily basis, despite the fact that the constitution doesn’t explicitly say that. We can support what we say on the basis of the fact that the Framers obviously meant to make private communications of individual citizens off limits to snooping authorities, without a warrant. We can use our brains and extend the underlying principles, the real meanings, without requiring that all the incidental details line up.

I am not for disregarding the constitution, not at all. But when I get into arguments with folks like you, this sort of hysterical insult gets flung again and again. Please, just stop. That’s not our real attitude, that’s your overheated arrogance about how right your policies are talking.

Actually, I’m sorry Stephen, but you are. You even admit to it when you deny 10th amendment limits on the federal government. When you support progressive views that BY DEFINITION require the violation of individual rights protected by the Constitution. You may not like it, but until you can merge what you want with what exists in the actual world, you are going to be hit with this time and time again.

If you want to suggest creating a libertarian oligarchy

You do realize that those two words are mutually exclusive, right?

It would be like me saying ‘democratic dictatorship’… If you want to be taken serious, stop being purposefully obtuse.

The fatal flaw you have, Stephen, is that you don’t understand that not passing a law is not the same as ‘ruling’. Making someone do something is not the same as not being able to do what you want (unless what you want is to make someone do something).

If 60% of the people in the US wanted to eliminate free speech, for example, they can’t. That doesn’t mean that the 40% are controlling the 60%, it means that the 40% are defending against the overreaches of the 60%. If 60% want to make everyone eat fish in friday, stopping them from passing that law does not mean that those 60% can’t eat fish on friday, it just means that they can’t tell the other 40% that they have to.

Until you understand that difference, you are going to be confused about the whole topic. You are going to be accused of wanting to disregard the constitution, because that is what you are doing.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 14, 2013 5:38 PM
Comment #361705

Stephen, do you not realize that in order to have the type of government you claim to want, you have to ignore 1/5 of the Bill of Rights?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 14, 2013 5:39 PM
Comment #361707

Good article about Obama’s new secret courts:

http://reason.com/archives/2013/02/14/obamas-secret-court-for-killing

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 14, 2013 5:57 PM
Comment #361717

C&J-
Evidently, when you look at a chart of GDP, you ignore all those years of growth in between 1933 and 1941.

There’s too much convenient gainsaying here, too much hermetically sealed away as an impossibility. You know, I’m willing to admit that trade barriers coming down helped. I’m willing to admit that some of the trade started up during the war, even before it.

But I believe the New deal played a role as well. Yes, recoveries happen. Not everything must be artificially imposed. If this shocks you that I say this, you haven’t been paying attention. I’m much more of a pragmatist than your politics would allow you to believe.

You’re wanting to stuff me down in a socialist pigeonhole, but I’ve always been a proponent of hybrid approaches that deal with things on more than one level.

Rhinehold-
The election was in 1936, then again in 1940, and then in 1944. Funny thing is, he tried austerity in 1937. Didn’t work. contraction came back in a hurry.

See, the thing you don’t tend to acknowledge is that primary effects can lead to secondary, and that both have to be judged.

What Republicans here would have us believe that dumping billions upon billions of dollars into the economy has no effect, while dumping billions upon billions of dollars into the bank accounts of the rich has a huge effect.

The irony seems to be that there is more real growth associated with Keynesian Stimulus than with Laffer’s kind. But why let evidence get in the way of idea you like repeating?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 15, 2013 12:41 AM
Comment #361719

Rhinehold-
I have nothing to do with eliminating the filibuster, as I’m not in the Senate. I can differ in my opinions from my leaders, one reason I’ve never struck out as an independent. I know what I believe is fairly consistent, if not totally, and I know who I tend to vote for, and why, so what would be the point of pretending to be what I’m not?

I still reserve the right, though, to hold another opinion, and I think it would be a good thing for people to do, rather than jet when the litmus test gets failed. Parties don’t change to suit those who leave, they change to suit those who remain.

On the subject of the Constitution, the Tenth Amendment?

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

In other words, if some literalist ****head comes up to you and says, “these rights you’re enjoying here, or putting in this legislation aren’t listed in the constitution, so you don’t have them.”, they would be wrong.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Of course, which that clause, here’s the question: what do you believe is delegated to Congress by the constitution? If I happen to believe that, say, healthcare reform is constitutional as an exercise of the regulation of interstate commerce, then the Tenth Amendment doesn’t come into play, because I believe the power to do that has been delegated.

It’s a circular argument on your part, really. You hide the premises of what you consider to be delegated to Congress within the tenth amendment argument. Then you’re shocked, shocked to see gambling going on in here, and me not buying your transparently obvious ploy to intimidate me with the Tenth Amendment. More in the morning.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 15, 2013 1:05 AM
Comment #361724

Rhinehold-
Okay, more now. Yes, the founders would be flabbergasted at what the Republicans are doing now. First of all, they didn’t invent the filibuster. That came later, as a mutation of rules on debate. It was a loophole. And until the 1970s, it required people to actually sit up there and talk at length, like you see in Mr. Smith goes to Washington. The final form, which is basically a sixty vote requirement to end debate and have an actual up or down vote was quite alien to what is in the Constitution, and what the framers intended to occur.

You cite the examples of constitutional amendments, overrides on vetoes, and I would submit treaty ratification as part of that. But do you know what it is that binds all these different cases together, aside from the extraordinary cases they represent?

That’s right: the framers explicitly stated that those votes should be supermajority votes.

Look at the advise and consent function. Do you see a sixty vote requirement there? Look throughout the document. Any sixty vote requirement for simple legislation?

No. Since the Filibuster didn’t arise until the middle of the next century after the ratification of that document, we can also infer that for that time, it wasn’t even a informal understanding of the Constitution.

You can kiss the collective ass of the framers, but I think if you look at history, you’ll find that the legislative body for the Articles of Confederation did have a supermajority requirement, which was abandoned, most likely, because with that requirement it was incredibly difficult to get things done. Majority rules for a reason, because however hard it is to get better than fifty percent on a subject, it’s often even more difficult to get sixty or even sixty-seven percent. That’s part of the reason that even proposing an amendment, or overriding a veto required two-thirds votes. These weren’t things the framers wanted to be easy.

They didn’t impose a constitutional requirement of sixty votes for legislation because that would have meant a paralyzed body, unable to respond very quickly to much of anything, and the framers understood that.

More to the point, years of Congresses before the last one didn’t dispense with filibusters, because they were a fairly rarely used procedural tactic. Folks weren’t spamming the other side with it, as a way to compensate for lost elections.

That’s what they’re doing now, and that’s what you’re defending, more or less.

As for questions of law: The enforcement of the law might be by force but at least the creation of the law can be a matter of public debate, and so can its uncreation. Folks have already tried doing things with just absolute freedom, and typically what happens is that the stronge and the charismatic gather informal power around themselves. You claim that if there is no law, then folks can’t tell another person what to do. Well, that’s wrong.

In the absence of law, force can still be applied. In fact, it can be applied to a much greater degree. An abuser could dominate his or her children. A street thug could dominate a community with his gang. A mafia boss can corrupt a police force, a political system, etc, through bribes, intimidation, and other means.

Law and government are not the only means by which people can be pulled or even forced to do what other people want. That is a fundamentally naive view, and it’s part of why the whole Reagan/Gingrich Revolution has failed to do what it promised.

Folks love their political principles. But as I’ve observed over time, across the board, it is one thing to espouse them, it is quite another to actually carry them out, and have the result of the policy actually resemble what you hoped and dreamed it would be in the first place. I have a healthy respect for the disparity between how laws are envisioned, and how they actually operate.

For example, you can be one-hundred percent sure that somebody like that American we killed was unconstitutional. But if the first explicit sign of his involvement is an attack on the homeland, then people are going to ask why he was given special treatment, unlike all the others we killed.

I don’t claim to have a clean answer on that. It would take a better legal mind than mine to come up with one. For my part, though, I will say that it does trouble me, and I do think we need something better than what the Administration’s currently offered. It’s not that I approve of “we need to go to the dark side” mentality. It’s just that I appreciate that you get into some massive grey areas, where pat answers to questions like these become dangerously naive things. I allow for the truth that sometimes one has to play a little dirty to keep bad things from happening.

But at the same time, I acknowledge another truth: that sometimes playing dirty to prevent bad things from happening makes sure bad things will happen. Also, some varieties of these shortcuts just simply do not work as well, even though they have the charisma around them of being edgy, tough ways to cut the gordian knot.

Do you understand my approach? I don’t believe in perfect political principles. I don’t believe in the notion that we can always avoid having to stretch, bend or break the rules to get things done. But I also don’t believe that we can function too well without rules, without resisting the stretching, bending, or breaking of them.

I don’t have a simplistic answer to the simplistic political rules many have.

As for the fourth amendment?

Do you realize what you did there?

As much as you can say that we have to pay heed to the literal meaning on the page, you yourself said the purpose mattered more than the text. But if we’re being literal, then we would have to say the purpose is in the text, and nowhere else.

But such an approach would defy common sense interpretations of the Constitution.

And that’s no simple matter. If a crime occurs, who has jurisdiction? If a plant is polluting on a river that goes through several states, whose laws apply? If a corporation pulls deceptive trade practices, is it a federal case, given that it does business in multiple states, or is it a case for the state in which the corporation is domiciled. That is to say nothing about the laws that the legislature writes to carry out Constitutional duties.

You think I think this is about whims and stuff. But, no, it’s about a world where the interaction of laws is complex all by itself, and naively pat answers can create dangerous miscarriages of justice. The question is not of ignoring or not ignoring the constitution, it’s of how to interpret the one we got, without either destroying its meaning by not heeding it enough, or making a travesty and a parody of its meaning by interpreting it without sufficient common sense and wisdom.

You claim that I just deny the tenth amendment. No, I simply say that if you believe that the extent of the commerce clause to the extent I do, then you and I will have different opinions about whether the tenth amendment enters into it.

If you believe a law is made in the proper spirit of the commerce clause, the tenth Amendment would simply say that it’s a delegated power, and therefore, reserved to the federal government. It wouldn’t bar the way. If it doesn’t, as you say, then it does operate, given that you believe that commerce clause powers have been exceeded. Which is why we have a judiciary branch, because not everybody’s interpretion of the law square, and we still have to resolve disputes.

Your fatal flaw is that you are so wrapped up in your political perspective that you cannot imagine the need to mediate between your point of view and somebody else’s. I acknowledge that my point of view is going to have to compete and interact with everybody else’s. To me, that is a natural thing to expect from a decent interpretation of the constitution, if we are taking it all at face value.

You need to realize that this is not a government built to suit the views of a few, but instead to mediate between the many in a self governing nation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 15, 2013 9:03 AM
Comment #361726

Aw Stephen, resorting to childish blabber already?

And talk about the boring good vs evil crap, all of your posts are nothing but Dems good, Reps bad. And any time somebody states their reasons behind not wanting their Representatives to compromise away their principles to all of your demands, you do what your people do best and try and pass the blame.

Now listen carefully for once. IF an elected official wants “the authority the voters give them to mean something,” that elected official represents their constituients, not the hopes and dreams of others.
We demand our Representatives fight against things we do not agree with, so when they bring up repealing the ACA, they are doing what we demand from them. When we tell them that the so-called ‘gun problem’ is a liberal urban problem, they vote against your fear based anti 2nd Amendment legislation.
Just because your people are not responsible enough to take care of themselves or exercise their 2nd Amendment right, doesn’t mean others are not.

We don’t want you to “let us do exactly what we please,” we want you to stop trying to force us to live as you say. THAT is the cause behind the countrys divide right now and IF you really give a crap about doing what’s best for the country as you “say” you do, you will start thinking about the rights of the people opposed to leftist rule, instead of only thinking about getting their money.

“The question is, are you and I mature enough to make this work? Can we put the function of this country ahead of our fantasies of how things would work, if only we were in charge?”

No, your people are not “mature enough.” You base the function of this country on fear and money, and others like myself base the function of this country on individual rights.
This is why I have been telling you that people are at the end of their rope when it comes to “compromising” with your leftist demands. We have nothing left to “compromise” away without totally flushing our principles away.

Unlike you, I have no “fantasies” of how great things would supposedly be if a certain party was in power. My “fantasies” are all about individual rights and freedoms, and people like you leaving me the hell alone so I can live my life as I see best, not how you think is best.

But by all means, you go right on ahead in believing that the rights and concerns of others are “boring” and nothing but blather unworthy of your almighty ‘intellect.” I’m sure that will get you the “mature debate” that you pretend to support.

Posted by: kctim at February 15, 2013 10:05 AM
Comment #361732
More to the point, years of Congresses before the last one didn’t dispense with filibusters, because they were a fairly rarely used procedural tactic. Folks weren’t spamming the other side with it, as a way to compensate for lost elections.

Because it was much harder to do then than it has, as I have already pointed out and you even agree with. Not because the Republicans are ‘evil’, but because they are given more freedom from the rules changes to do that. And yes, they are being hypocritical.

That’s what they’re doing now, and that’s what you’re defending, more or less.

You confuse pointing out that the Democrats have the power to stop what is going on so they should stop their whining and showing that what the Republicans are doing is well within the rules that the body of congress have agreed to with defending what they are doing. You make a leap of ‘logic’ here, Stephen, that you know better than to do.

Well, that’s wrong. In the absence of law, force can still be applied.

Wow, obtuse much?

First, let’s be clear what I said. A law is the legal authorization of force. No one else can do that. Period. If a ‘gang’ tries to force people to do something, the laws in place combat that. If a company tries to force someone to do something, the laws in place combat that. Because it is illegal to force someone to do what they do not want to do.

Second, you come very close here to suggesting I say there should be no laws. You know better than that, if you want to start going down that road you are signalling to me that you have lost this debate and don’t want to continue anymore. If that is what you want, just be a man and say it, throwing in straw man arguments does little to help make your point.

For example, you can be one-hundred percent sure that somebody like that American we killed was unconstitutional. But if the first explicit sign of his involvement is an attack on the homeland, then people are going to ask why he was given special treatment, unlike all the others we killed.

And the answer is because the law states it very clearly. It is also wrong. We have things in this country called due process and burdeon of proof for reasons, they are not to be trifled with. We let OJ and Casey Anthony ‘off the hook’ for thier wrongdoings because of this very core principle. If we don’t adhere to this principle 100%, we are less of a country for it. We are less of a people for it. We are no better than the people we say we are fighting against.

I don’t claim to have a clean answer on that.

And that is a very sad thing indeed. And very telling.

Do you understand my approach?

Yes, you have no principles that you stand behind, you just support whatever feels right to you that day, regardless of who it hurts or what damage it does or whether it is morally right to do or not. You are free to believe the way you believe, but don’t expect people to see that as anything other than selfish authoritarianism.

As much as you can say that we have to pay heed to the literal meaning on the page, you yourself said the purpose mattered more than the text. But if we’re being literal, then we would have to say the purpose is in the text, and nowhere else.

Apparently you DIDN’T see what I did there.

The 4th amendment spells out certain rights, but not all of them. If you are going to make a law that violates our right to privacy (found in the 9th amendment, btw) then you have to show where the federal government has that power. It doesn’t. So therefore, the right is still retained by the people.

To further back that up, we can look at the reasons why these words say what they do. I have never, once, suggested we don’t do that. In fact, I have tried to get you to look at the words of the founders several times to point out where you were wrong.

However, NO WHERE have I suggested we manipulate the words to make them fit what we want to do, even if they are at odds with what the meanings of the writings were. I even quoted James Madison when he said “Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.” This is what you are trying to do, Stephen. And what has successfully happened in most cases in this country. The government we have now is an illegitimate bastardized distorted government. One you support.

And that’s no simple matter

Actually, again it is a simple matter, one that has been backed up by the writings of the Framers…

You want it to be more ‘complex’ because you know if you can convince people that it is, you can subvert the Constitution, and the intent of the framers, to fit your own desires, as they are opposites of each other. You are arguing that blue is red.

But, no, it’s about a world where the interaction of laws is complex all by itself, and naively pat answers can create dangerous miscarriages of justice.

One example of that would be?

The question is not of ignoring or not ignoring the constitution, it’s of how to interpret the one we got, without either destroying its meaning by not heeding it enough, or making a travesty and a parody of its meaning by interpreting it without sufficient common sense and wisdom.

But that is exactly what has been done, Stephen, what you support, time and time again. I’ll just give an example now…

You claim that I just deny the tenth amendment. No, I simply say that if you believe that the extent of the commerce clause to the extent I do, then you and I will have different opinions about whether the tenth amendment enters into it.

If you believe a law is made in the proper spirit of the commerce clause, the tenth Amendment would simply say that it’s a delegated power, and therefore, reserved to the federal government. It wouldn’t bar the way. If it doesn’t, as you say, then it does operate, given that you believe that commerce clause powers have been exceeded. Which is why we have a judiciary branch, because not everybody’s interpretion of the law square, and we still have to resolve disputes.

Stephen, you have to clear up your views that the spirit of the commerce clause is as you describe in order to not be accused of subverting the Constitution.

Let’s look at what Madison said of that clause…

There are consequences, sir, still more extensive, which, as they follow dearly from the doctrine combated, must either be admitted, or the doctrine must be given up. If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their Own hands; they may a point teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit of the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare.

The language held in various discussions of this house is a proof that the doctrine in question was never entertained by this body. Arguments, wherever the subject would permit, have constantly been drawn from the peculiar nature of this government, as limited to certain enumerated powers, instead of extending, like other governments, to all cases not particularly excepted. In a very late instance — I mean the debate on the representation bill — it must be remembered that an argument much used, particularly by gentlemen from Massachusetts, against the ratio of 1 for 30,000, was, that this government was unlike the state governments, which had an indefinite variety of objects within their power; that it had a small number of objects only to attend to; and therefore, that a smaller number of representatives would be sufficient to administer it.

Arguments have been advanced to show that because, in the regulation of trade, indirect and eventual encouragement is given to manufactures, therefore Congress have power to give money in direct bounties, or to grant it in any other way that would answer the same purpose. But surely, sir, there is a great and obvious difference, which it cannot be necessary to enlarge upon. A duty laid on imported implements of husbandry would, in its operation, be an indirect tax on exported produce; but will any one say that, by virtue of a mere power to lay duties on imports, Congress might go directly to the produce or implements of agriculture, or to the articles exported? It is true, duties on exports are expressly prohibited; but if there were no article forbidding them, a power directly to tax exports could never be deduced from a power to tax imports, although such a power might indirectly and incidentally affect exports.

In short, sir, without going farther into the subject. Which I should not have here touched at all but for the reasons already mentioned, I venture to declare it as my opinion, that, were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America; and what inferences might be drawn, or what consequences ensue, from such a step, it is incumbent on us all to consider.

For a like reason, I made no reference to the “power to regulate commerce among the several States.” I always foresaw that difficulties might be started in relation to that power which could not be fully explained without recurring to views of it, which, however just, might give birth to specious though unsound objections. Being in the same terms with the power over foreign commerce, the same extent, if taken literally, would belong to it.

Yet it is very certain that it grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government, in which alone, however, the remedial power could be lodged.

You want the power to manipulate the words of the Constitution to fit your desires. When those desires are in direct opposition to what the framers wrote, you are subverting the Constitution to do that. If you don’t want to be accused of wanting to ignore or subvert the constitution you have to stop supporting views that do just that.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 15, 2013 12:59 PM
Comment #361740

Stephen
Gdp shrunk in FY 1938. The next year Europeans were gearing up and then fighting a war, for which they were desperate to buy American goods.

If you can convince the world’s leading countries to destroy much of their industrial base and then buy American, I suppose you have a great stimulus.

But you know that Obama has already spend about as much in stimulus and we still have unemployment knocking around 8%.

I agree with you on a hybrid approach. We have had such a thing ever since the New Deal and there has been no time in our subsequent history were government levels even approached those of 1928.

I think that some spending was an is good. But like medicine, a little is helpful; a lot might kill you. Obama is spending a lot.

Posted by: C&J at February 15, 2013 4:14 PM
Comment #361741

Stephen, no one is saying that a limited temporary stimulus doesn’t affect anything, it does. It can even be a temporary good thing, as it helps us get over bumps and hurdles. But that effect is temporary, it can’t be used to improve the economic system in any real meaningful way.

Real lasting improvement requires constraining the businesses less so that they can grow more organically and then need to hire more people and provide better goods at a lower cost. This needs to be done in a way that doesn’t allow for abuses to occur, but if you are suggesting in some way that the amount and type of regulations we have on business isn’t too much now, you haven’t really tried to start your own business recently…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 15, 2013 4:19 PM
Comment #361742

BTW, it’s interesting that you blame the double-dip recession during the Great Depression on ‘austerity’, when you ignore all of the other factors. Such as:

Herbert Hoover’s own version of a “New Deal” had hiked the top marginal income tax rate from 24 to 63 percent in 1932. But he was a piker compared to his tax-happy successor. Under Roosevelt, the top rate was raised at first to 79 percent and then later to 90 percent. Economic historian Burton Folsom notes that in 1941 Roosevelt even proposed a whopping 99.5-percent marginal rate on all incomes over $100,000. “Why not?” he said when an advisor questioned the idea.

After that confiscatory proposal failed, Roosevelt issued an executive order to tax all income over $25,000 at the astonishing rate of 100 percent. He also promoted the lowering of the personal exemption to only $600, a tactic that pushed most American families into paying at least some income tax for the first time. Shortly thereafter, Congress rescinded the executive order, but went along with the reduction of the personal exemption.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve again seesawed its monetary policy in the mid-1930s, first up then down, then up sharply through America’s entry into World War II. Contributing to the economic slide of 1937 was this fact: From the summer of 1936 to the spring of 1937, the Fed doubled reserve requirements on the nation’s banks. Experience has shown time and again that a roller-coaster monetary policy is enough by itself to produce a roller-coaster economy.

Economic historian Robert Higgs draws a close connection between the level of private investment and the course of the American economy in the 1930s. The relentless assaults of the Roosevelt administration — in both word and deed — against business, property, and free enterprise guaranteed that the capital needed to jump-start the economy was either taxed away or forced into hiding. When FDR took America to war in 1941, he eased up on his anti-business agenda, but a great deal of the nation’s capital was diverted into the war effort instead of into plant expansion or consumer goods. Not until both Roosevelt and the war were gone did investors feel confident enough to “set in motion the postwar investment boom that powered the economy’s return to sustained prosperity.”[42]

This view gains support in these comments from one of the country’s leading investors of the time, Lammot du Pont, offered in 1937:

Uncertainty rules the tax situation, the labor situation, the monetary situation, and practically every legal condition under which industry must operate. Are taxes to go higher, lower or stay where they are? We don’t know. Is labor to be union or non-union? … Are we to have inflation or deflation, more government spending or less? … Are new restrictions to be placed on capital, new limits on profits? … It is impossible to even guess at the answers.”

http://www.mackinac.org/4035

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 15, 2013 5:51 PM
Comment #361988

Stephen

“You’re just flinging self-serving piety my way, rather than answering the fundamental question I pose on the justice of trying to rule a country from the minority.”


There is a difference between ruling and governing. Governing is done through consent of the people. Ruling is done through the force of gov’t tyranny. You either don’t understand the difference, or it was just a poor choice of words.

Our gov’t has two legislative branches, the house of representatives, and the senate. Your party currently is only the majority in one of those bodies. To to claim those in the other body are ruling from the minority is a false statement.

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Comment #378751

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