Democrats & Liberals Archives

Republicans and Boiling Water on the Stove

Sometimes we’d like to do without pain, without fear and shame. So often, it makes us vulnerable to those we’d rather not be vulnerable to. However, despite the fact that this is often true, and as a Democrat I’ve had to deal with such issues in my party, I find that it’s useful to have a sense of where your limits are, and what behaviors you should not repeat.

The pain we feel from social screw-ups is actually mediated in roughly the same places as physical pain. That's one of the revelations in this book, which I recommend people look into. Why would we need our shame and hesitation from making social screw-ups to be so much akin to that of the reticence we would display towards a pot on a hot stove we once were burned by?

Whether we like to admit it or not, we're social creatures. As somebody with Aspergers Syndrome, my life has been an indefinite experiment in what happens when you fall out of synchrony with other people's understanding of things.

That has its advantages to be sure, and I'd state right out that this world, this country, and society in general need the offbeat minds, the people who can walk down the pathways other people can't even consider, because their thinking is too similar to everybody else's.

However, there's a reason we're born with these social capabilities. The first is to avoid unnecessary disagreements, disagreements founded mostly on a misunderstanding of what others mean. Establishing common understanding of meaning is necessary for communication to really work. The second is the need for cooperation, for help in getting the necessities of life, but also in shaping the social environment towards what we want. The third, I would say, is to help shape the tribal units that ensure our protection from enemies without, and help moderate the behavior of those within.

I recently read of Glenn Beck saying he regretted dividing the country with his rhetoric, a statement that had me rolling my eyes. Beck, and folks like him couldn't possibly have missed the social aspects of what they were trying to do.

You cannot set somebody as an enemy, the enemy, without driving a social wedge in there. You can't sow conspiracy theories, promote canards about how the other half is just looking to mooch off the working people, etc. without causing such divisions.

They worked overtime doing this, did their best to make Republicans and independent voters who bought into these narratives practically unreachable by the Mainstream Media or their fellow Americans. They did all this to fight back against the post-Bush liberal resurgence, to resolidify their fractured party with common enemies, and to keep their people paying attention to the right news outlets, but as time has gone on, it's evolved into something else, something that's come to control the party, rather than be controlled by it.

See, without real social outreach towards others, opinions have a way of evolving towards a new species of thought, one that can develop in utterly alien and bizarre ways, as far as everybody else is concerned. In my most alienated days, I got some real eccentric beliefs about what other people thought and understood. When you don't have friends to guide you, a social structure to moderate your behavior, when you don't get into the give and take of real world relationships, the person you become can be very off-putting.

I came to realize over time that I wasn't coming across the way I thought I would, and that there was a difference between being honest and straightforward (a good thing), and being abrasive, rude, and arrogant. Yes, you think you know best. No, you don't always.

Of course, I still don't modify my opinions just to fit in, but I've learned that if you can better explain, better communicate those opinions, if you can concede where things are falling short of expectations, you might waste a lot less time in unnecessary conflict with other people.

I think Republicans are going through a phase similar to mine, one where they've become alienated from the mainstream, are confronted with hostility, and have decided they'll just exist according to their own standards.

To a certain extent, that's what we have the freedom to do. Thing is, though, the freedom to do something a certain way is not the necessity, nor is it any protection from the fact that what you're free to do might just be a mistake.

This is sort of the problem with the anti-political correctness movement among Republicans. Sure it's unfair if you intend no harm nor malice, and you say something that offends you and you suffer a backlash for it. But then in ordinary life, we often run into situations where we offend people unintentionally. Is the solution in those cases typically to double down on the insult, double down on that language?

Ted Nugent, after getting a visit from the Secret Service for saying things that seemed to amount to a threat to the President, seems to think so. He's not an isolated example. Practically the whole point of the Tea Party, it seems, is to provide a club for people who want to let loose with offensive talk and behavior. Mark William's Massa Letter, Sharron Angle's Second Amendment Remedies, Her primary rival Sue Lowden's Chickens for Checkups, all are examples of people talking as if they have no clear idea of what actually is acceptable in mainstream society these days.

The Republicans have strategically walled themselves off from news sources and social circles that even remotely smack of the liberalism they despise, even while their own news sources work to flatter and reinforce a view of the world that is quite out of step with it. Why wouldn't they fail to understand the norms and mores of modern society?

I think that's where you get the"Uncle Sugar" and "slut" comments from, really. If we were talking about the mainstream thought of the fifties and sixties, such talk might get traction, but we're not simply one generation beyond it, we're three generations beyond the world where that was acceptable. Maybe in certain closed off portions of society this is bracing, encouraging, but for most people, these comments seem like a rather ugly flashback to less progressive times on the social front.

I'm not saying that Republicans need to abandon any editorial, academic, or whatever outlet of their own. It's the dependence on that separate media system that's the problem. You don't see quite so many media screw-ups by Democrats not because the media doesn't cover them, but more because Democrats have learned that making bad or nutty comments brings them pain. Obama, for example, learned that with the "Clinging" comment he made about rural voters.

Republicans, on the other hand, tend to associate more among themselves, less among mixed company. So they don't get the social messages on who they're insulting and alienating. They don't feel the social pain when they push a policy that everybody else can't stand. They fail to realize that whatever the actual count of conservatives going nuts with guns, the message their "cold, dead hands" rhetoric sends paints a rhetorical target on their back for opponents to aim their outrage.

There's a conflict here I know all too well: you value your unique, integral way of thinking, and you believe you're sacrificing some part of yourself to concede the need to synchronize with the thinking of others.

When I was a kid, and other kids would invite me to play cops and robbers, I would often declare myself invulnerable. While my belief that I had made myself invulnerable meant I wouldn't lose when the other kid pointed at me and said "bang", it also meant I wasn't really playing. Only when others can inflict their imaginary damage will they consider being subject to yours.

Republicans don't want to be subject to the changing rules of a changing society. They don't want to admit that in some places, they've lost the debate. So, they declare themselves invulnerable, and shut themselves off in a walled garden of opinion that's solely their own.

But declaring themselves invulnerable just means they're no longer playing the game with other people, they're no longer as strong of an influence as they once were. The world not only moves on without them, it's arguable it moves on faster, because Republicans don't allow themselves the synchrony with others necessary to create that meeting of the minds necessary to slow things down..

All these brute force methods like filibusters and holds on nominees aren't the mark of a strong party. Neither is the utter unwillingness to negotiate, to make unforced deals with Democrats. No, they are the mark of a party that's lost much of its ability to persuade.

The price of the Republican's social mistakes being painless, is that Republicans won't shrink from the ideas and the actions that will make them more unpopular, that will lose them elections even as their rivals make the kind of mistakes and experience the kinds of scandals that often allow such success. Just look at Harry Reid's last election. He wasn't popular going in, but the nutty behavior of the opponents handed him the success he otherwise might not have earned. Republicans there taught each other there was no price to pay for speaking your mind too freely, too obnoxiously, for being belligerent and making threats of what would happen if you didn't win. They were wrong.

There are people born without the ability to feel pain. While this might seem like a fantastic thing, it's really quite dangerous, because pain lets us know we're being injured, tells us to stop doing whatever it is that's injuring us. By numbing themselves to social pain beyond the conflict within their party, the Republicans have made it difficult to impossible for them to realize just how much harm they're doing to their own party.

That is why they are considering having another go at the Debt Ceiling. That is why they got themselves into that mess last year. They no longer have enough connection to what people think beyond the pure political core to really feel it when Americans turn against them, or even sometimes to care.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at January 23, 2014 7:35 PM
Comment #375803

Following is the best sentence in Daugherty’s piece.

“They no longer have enough connection to what people think beyond the pure political core to really feel it when Americans turn against them, or even sometimes to care.”

True enough for some Republicans and Democrats alike. Now…if only Daugherty could detect this same non “connection” in obama he would truly have an epiphany.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 24, 2014 2:01 PM
Comment #375806

Obama’s approval ratings are abysmal. But it is even worse than that. It is getting so lots of people don’t so much hate him as simply distrust and want to ignore him. The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference. Obama is making himself irrelevant. This is very hard for a sitting president to do. You get the feeling on both left and right that we are just waiting for this to be over. Unfortunately, we still have three years to go on our sentence.

Meanwhile, Hilary is already measuring the drapes for what she thinks will be her triumphant return. So sad that people are more interested in her than in a president who still have more than half his term to serve.

As for Republicans - they will do okay. It looks like they are taking Stephen’s advice and rejecting the more extreme voices. They will field a more mainstream team in November. Somehow, I think this will make Stephen and his friends less happy than they led us to believe.

Posted by: CJ at January 24, 2014 4:01 PM
Comment #375812

Royal Flush-
I’m sorry, I know you’re out of real arguments, so you’re resorting to mimicking mine. However, Obama at least has the brains to know when people are getting ticked off at Washington, and to recognize that he’s in the line of fire.

But you and him think the Republicans are immune to this, despite the fact that they’re playing a hugely visible role.

You talk about his abysmal approvals, but I don’t read any mention there of CONGRESS’S approvals, much less the GOP Congress. Those are far worse!

The truth of the matter is, any victory you have is Pyrrhic, and thus the exhaustion. Sure you’ve wrecked much of the Obama Presidency with your Senate Blockade and House takeover. But to what end?

You’ve managed to torch much of your centrist ranks, or they’ve wrecked themselves. Your former Governor’s been indicted, and old Christie is facing some serious scandals that aren’t going to do his chances for 2016 much good. The rest of your field are the exact same twits who have gone out of their way to lead your party further into hyperpartisan obliviousness, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and the like.

As for anything being over? I remember the same sort of blind hatred from the 90’s, the same sort of scandal-mongering. I’m old enough to have mature memories of all that horsecrap. So long as the whole point of being a Republican is to defeat liberalism at every turn (as opposed to promoting conservative policy that actually works), then it’s NEVER going to end. Never. Why? Because anybody who ended it would look weak, would look like a RINO. So long as blind opposition and political purity are top priority, Obama’s just going to become the next Democrat who gets compared favorably to the Democrat currently in office, like Clinton is these days.

Yes, some of your people realize that the party’s getting strangled by it’s activist base. Sure! I’ve heard about the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations shifting around their support. But here are the questions: first, will they actually be able to displace the Tea Partiers? If so, will that make an actual difference in terms of what these folks HAVE to support, and finally, will Republican voters actually stick around for the general, if these more moderate candidates win the primaries?

That’s your challenge there.

As for whether I’m happy? Oh, that all depends. Happiest outcome for me, of course, would be for my people to sweep. But short of that, if we get Republicans who actually understand that having these moronic debt ceiling confrontations every few months is harming the economy, that this constant, gridlock-producing obsession with trying to force their will is getting nowhere, then I might be a little happier than I am right now.

To put it bluntly, though, Republican are going to have to find a way to deprogram their voters, so they’ll leave the cult of the Tea Party as the Republican Party’s last, best hope.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 24, 2014 5:53 PM
Comment #375813

What would your side do if it swept, Stephen Daugherty?

The last time your side swept it was because it lied thru it’s teeth to get elected. And when it did get the sweep you long for it squandered it with 2 years being dominated by a healthcare bill the majority of people didn’t want. Your side wouldn’t know that because of the cowardly way they treated their constituents at the townhall meetings. Healthcare dominated and your side ignored a faultering economy. Your side made excuses and slandered opponents to get what it wanted.

I asked you before, Stephen Daugherty. What would your side do if it had no opposition? What would a Democratic utopia look like?

So far I have no reason to believe a Democratic, but it would be interesting to hear them say what they really believe.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 24, 2014 6:11 PM
Comment #375814


I am reading a very good book called Days of Fire. You shouldn’t read it, because it is too balanced for your world view. But the part I was reading today was talking about how unpopular Bush was. You would like that. It talked about the hatred against Bush. Books and a movie were made about him being assassinated. He was often portrayed as Hitler. His great achievements, such at PEPFAR, were completely ignored.

More recently, the Democratic governor of New York told conservatives that they have no place in his state. Imagine the governor of your state of Texas saying that to you. Now you may understand the degree of hate on the left.

My challenge is what it has always been. I resist the hate mongers on the left and on the right. There are plenty of both. I prefer a government that works, which means a government that focuses on what it can do and doesn’t push into areas where it has no competence.

I believe we will see significant Republican gains this year and we will be in a good position to take back the presidency in 2016. We can beat Hilary. She is old news, with no great accomplishments and no recent accomplishments at all. I don’t think going from first lady to first woman will be enough. But Hilary is like a big old truck on a narrow winding highway. She cannot move very fast herself, but nobody else can get around her. She is like Bob Dole was in 1996, entitled to the nomination but not able to use it properly.

Anyway, how will you explain a Republican victory? What happens when Democrats are filibustering and obstructing? I have no doubt you will be able to turn on a dime to defend the rights of the minority, but it will be fun to watch.

Personally, I like Scott Walker. I know that you hate him with a passion, but consider that he won in Wisconsin, which is mostly blue and he won in Milwaukee County, which is very blue. The thing you will learn to hate about him most is that he can indeed appeal the middle while still keeping the conservatives on board.

Posted by: CJ at January 24, 2014 6:19 PM
Comment #375815


We saw what a predominant Democratic governments looks like 2009-11. They held all the cards and they gave us cash for clunkers, Solyndra and ObamaCare. Working out great.

Posted by: CJ at January 24, 2014 6:21 PM
Comment #375816

Daugherty writes; “Royal Flush-
I’m sorry, I know you’re out of real arguments, so you’re resorting to mimicking mine.”

Good one…he is arguing that his arguments aren’t “real”! lol

Please provide the polls to prove that Americans favor obama policies in a majority way.

Daugh writes; “You talk about his abysmal approvals, but I don’t read any mention there of CONGRESS’S approvals, much less the GOP Congress. Those are far worse!”

Bullshit. Pick my congressman and his district approval rating is over 80%. Only a dunderhead would compare the approval rating of one person with that of 535 people and expect a meaningful comparison.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 24, 2014 6:23 PM
Comment #375817

Weary Willie-
What would we do?

Let’s start with the small stuff. An actual budget would be drafted and passed. It would likely include provisions to better fund science, green energy, increase manufacturing here at home. There would be no debt ceiling confrontations. The markets could rest easy knowing that the morons who were screaming in the townhalls are no longer threatening to wreck the economy to force their policies on Americans.

We’d also likely revise the healthcare reform law in order to get more people insured, and fulfill what Obama originally promised. We’d extend the reforms of Wall Street, and probably pass a raise for the minimum wage, something most people are in favor of. It wouldn’t be utopia. Man cannot achieve utopia. But maybe we could get enough Americans to stop worrying about their economic situation so they’ll start doing great work, instead of doing their best just to avoid destitution.

As for ignoring a faltering economy? You have the guts to talk about that, while your people have deliberate induced austerity in a time of economic downturn? The estimates of all the havoc you’ve caused in the job market run about 2.1 million jobs. And that’s not including all the state and local austerity your people used to respond to the downturn in it’s initial phases.

Don’t even dare to pretend you actually care about doing anything but furthering your own vision of utopia, the one you believe with all your heart will bring the promised return to prosperity! Your jobs bills were just re-labeled versions of all the right wing policy you were pushing BEFORE the downturn.

What you really want to tell people, what you think will magically increase productivity, increase jobs and everything is just everybody doing things your way.

I understand something you don’t: my people are going to make mistakes. Just because a policy fits politically, doesn’t mean it will work as intended. As far as that goes, I’m perfectly willing for our people to revise things as necessary. Only problem is, your people rushed your way into office and then decided to sit on any kind of policy changes that didn’t work in favor of that utopia you’re always talking about. That’s the ransom your side was demanding for the debt ceiling hikes.

Thing you should ask yourself is, why did you need to demand those changes at gunpoint?

Simple answer: because there was neither the political will nor the raw congressional numbers to enact any such policy the legitimate way. Your people bullied this austerity into existence. Yet you turn around and bellyache about how the Healthcare law was shoved down your throats. Well, sorry, but we actually elected the necessary majorities to enact that law. We didn’t take Bush and threaten government shutdowns or debt ceiling defaults if he didn’t pass healthcare reform! You EXTORTED your way to seeing your agenda carried out, yet have the gall to call our majority votes in Congressional chambers we controlled “shoving the bill down America’s throat.”

If America really wanted your austerity, they would have elected your people in the numbers to achieve it. And they would have elected Mitt Romney and a Republican Senate the last time.

It never occurs to you that your policies, at the strength you want them, aren’t wanted, that if you do succeed, thanks to House Gerrymandering and the peculiarities of this Senate Seat cycle, in fully taking over Congress, that you might get the same reaction from the wholehearted push of that policy that you got in 2006.

No, that doesn’t occur to you. Me, I can understand that not everybody is on board for my agenda. Much of it, in my opinion, is conservative politics twisting people up. Relieve some of that fear, tone down the rhetoric, return to some kind of respect of folks of different political persuasions, and you’ll get people who, if not in entire agreement, can be reasoned with to some kind of halfway point.

I don’t need utopia. I want improvement. I want the middle class to be a place of relative economic comfort once again.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 24, 2014 6:50 PM
Comment #375819

Royal Flush-
No, I’m not out of real arguments, you are, so you take my real arguments and you make hollow, fake versions of them.

As far as polls favoring Obama policies?

Stop right there: you aren’t grasping what’s really important. 49 to 45, the American people want the government to do something about income inequality. That’s a 68% majority of Democrats, and a 50% majority of Independents.

Most people want a raise in the minimum wage by a large margin, even larger when you talk about a specific raise from seven bucks an hour to ten.

Most people, by a wide margin, support exchanging a lifting of sanctions off of Iran for a limitation of their nuclear program.

They support extension of unemployment benefits by a large margin. They support the increase or maintenance of labor union party power, and support Labor Unions themselves by a majority.

They support same sex marriage by a majority.

They support abortion remaining legal, by a majority up to 20 weeks into the pregnancy.

You need to look at the polls more closely.

As for your Congresscritter? I wonder what the shape of your district is. Sure you can get up to 80% support in the right district, but if things had to be drawn up more organically, I wonder how much of the current majority the Republicans have would go away.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 24, 2014 7:07 PM
Comment #375820

A majority of Americans desperately seek good government not more government as Daugh implies.

The dem party lives off fear and spending other peoples money. They don’t govern as much as they simply spend. That’s not even a political philosophy…it’s simply a hunger for power.

55 million abortions are not enough lost citizens…the left wants ever more.

Rick Perry has a message for Daugherty. Help Texas from becomming just another broke, or soon to be, liberal state. Stop whining and work towards good government not bigger government.

I suggest Daugh and his buddies put their hands in their own pockets for a change.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 24, 2014 7:17 PM
Comment #375821

Roosevelt started the minimum wage way back in the ’30s. Guess what, it didn’t work then, it hasn’t worked since, it isn’t working now. What’s your side’s solution? Do it some more! Minimum wages don’t work. It’s a reaction, not a solution.

Obama lied like a rug to get reelected. It’s not Romney’s fault half the American people believed his lies. 47% of them were bought and paid for.

The Democratic controlled senate are sitting on jobs bill after jobs bill in an effort to stonewall. Don’t be a hypocrite. Quit lying to us about how you think the Conservatives are thwarting the will of the majority.

It also appears your idea of good government is to keep spending money we don’t have. Don’t lie to us about defaulting on the debt if the ceiling isn’t raised. Conservatives are only trying to make government live within it’s means. The only extortion going on is Democratic tax hikes. Taxes that go to new spending. We’re not even treading water any more.

Government doesn’t create jobs. Government policy determines if people create jobs. So far this government is not providing the environment to create jobs. You can ignore the many reports of business not hiring or people’s hours being reduced because of the ACA, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s happening.

How dare you talk about reason and respect and meeting half way when you have governors and mayors telling conservatives to get the hell out of their state!

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 24, 2014 7:30 PM
Comment #375822


“An actual budget would be drafted and passed.” As it was when Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress? This is risible. You were alive during those times. Did you forget?

“We’d also likely revise the healthcare reform law in order to get more people insured” - you guys wrote this one that is working out so well.

RE electing Mitt Romney - if Obama has not successfully lied, they probably would have done that.

You guys were in control and you did none of the things you advocate. That is why you got the slacking a couple years later and why you will get it again this year.

Posted by: CJ at January 24, 2014 7:40 PM
Comment #375826

I had a charming enough time wading through a whole bunch of material the first time. I’m not that eager to revisit the Bush Administration. As for that cheapshot, whatever. I like to keep things balanced on concrete, not rhetorical terms. I disliked Bush because the guy was too interested in defeating us politically, in being invulnerable to criticism that he’d gone down the wrong path, to actually correct his mistakes while there was time to avoid greater complications. I never cared for Hitler, I never cared for conspiracy theories about 9/11. For me, it was bad enough that he lead us into a elective war on unreliable information, I didn’t have to accuse him of having deliberately lied us into a war.

As for what Pataki said? I’d much prefer to read the full context. As it is, though, I’ve heard much more vile things coming out of your side for years, so I’m somewhat unsympathetic.

You have this idea about what government is competent about, but in my mind, competence can be variable even where government SHOULD intervene. You just decided that wherever your people were incompetent, you would say government in general is incompetent, and I don’t think that necessarily follows.

You talk about the degree of hatred on the left, but you do so not to launch into any extended critique of your own side, but to head of criticism of your side.

As for Hillary? Classy metaphor. You know, here’s the thing about Republicans and Hillary: You’ve pretty much dug up everything, used everything before. And who will she have on her side? The last two Democratic Presidents, both of which successfully won two elections apiece despite everything your people threw at them.

As for Republican Victories? Well, the thing is, if you do get the Senate, it will largely be because of a peculiarity of this years election cycle.

As for Scott Walker? Well, I despise him, but Wisconsin is not California or New York Blue, it’s about half and half if I’m not mistaken, but that was when you started. And no, he didn’t go in selling himself as a union buster. He appealed to the middle by failing to mention his hard right policies. Doesn’t really count. Stealth candidates circumvent, rather than earn public approval for their policies.

As far as the budget goes, it’s not a joke. We actually managed to pass one, and what didn’t pass didn’t pass because it was filibustered by Republicans.

As for healthcare, we’ve got three million people getting healthcare that weren’t. Not perfect results, but definitely better than neutral.

As for Romney? If you want to believe that Obama won just on Obamacare, be my guest. You seem to insist on avoiding the fact that there were many other liabilities carried with Mitt Romney

You can talk about Democrats being in full control, but you destroyed that at the start of this decade, and we’ve had your people running a critical part of Congress ever since. We are in the FOURTH YEAR now. We can’t get positive revisions of Obamacare past you, we can’t get any real stimulus past you, we can’t even keep you from strangling funding for critical science projects and missions. You fantasize about infrastructure projects, but the only infrastructure your people fight for is pipelines carrying TAR SANDS FROM CANADA.

You got your wish, but you haven’t absorbed that yet. You guys really don’t notice when you win, the better to Continue to play the victim. Every time you get what you want, you ratchet things up. Being closed off helps you avoid noticing that what you’re asking for isn’t merely another compromise, but complete capitulation of people whose willingness to accept such compromises is at an end.

Royal Flush-
How many retread observations do we have in this comment of yours, interchangeable observations mined from Republican talking points and perpetuated as a way to avoid a real debate? Democrats as big spenders (Though the last two Presidents of ours were more restrained than your last two) Democrats as moochers, despite the fact Republican states siphon more money from the Federal government.

As for good government? You don’t care for it. You’ve defined it according to a narrow set of fairly irrelevant policy dogmas.

Weary Willie-
America seems to have prospered since those days. You can talk about the 47%, but the people who have bought and paid for your political movement are the one percent. They’re the ones whose mishmash of priorities is what’s replaced legitimate conservatism.

The Democratic Senate is not obligated to help you destroy everything their movement’s built over the last several decades. They are not obligated to be a rubberstamp that gives your people whatever they want. The so-called jobs bills aren’t funding anything, they’re typically rolling back things conservatives don’t like with the creation of jobs as the pretext.

I’ve provided you with multiple examples of where your people are on the wrong side of public opinion, but of course, you don’t care. Where you defy the will of the people, you always have an excuse.

But the excuse hides you from the truth: you failed to get necessary consensus, and you’re trying to run against that. The extortionary methods you use flow from that contempt you have for those you aren’t persuading people properly.

As for government creating jobs? Look, it can. Your view is this flat denial of its ability. I’m willing to nuance things with the fact that It’s not always the best means to create jobs, nor always the most lasting. But there are times where it can help, and I, unlike you, haven’t eliminated that option before we ever stop.

You can use what one governor said as a pretext to continuing your own rather broad contempt of liberals, but the truth is, your side is wrapping itself around itself, and doing everything it can not to empathize with us, figure out our real, underlying motives and ideas.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 24, 2014 11:36 PM
Comment #375833

Re the book about Bush - It is well researched. You would hate it because it gives a nuanced view. This is not a cheap shot; it is simply my assessment of you through your writings. It talks about PEPRAR, for example. Or that Bush was pushing for climate change legislation. He did not succeed, but he had as much success as Obama.

I also lived through those times, but as you read the books written about the period, you find lots of things you didn’t know and or things that were obscured or distorted by the passion of the time that can be seen more clearly with the perspective a few years.

One of the interesting vignettes in the book is Bush talking to Dana Perino after Scott McClellan betrayed them in a book. Bush told her that Scott must have thought he needed to do that and that she should just understand that was how things go in politics and forgive him. This is not the Bush you know.

You judge liberals based on their good intentions, or their stated goals. You judge conservatives on what they couldn’t accomplish. It is a common problem. You cannot emphasize with the other side, so your mistakes are due to bad luck or are honest attempts. Those of the other side are calculated and often evil.

Re the governor of New York - the current guy is Andrew Cuomo. In my post on the other side I link to his response and the actual comment. You can judge it as you wish.

Re extended critique of my own side, you do such a good job with the vitriol that I could not compete. Again, I refer you to what I wrote on the other side. In a recent response to Phx8, I wrote 100 words from the liberal point of view. I invited him to try it from the conservative view. I don’t think he can and neither can you, but I invite you to try too.

Re the metaphor - it is exactly the same one used with Bob Dole and for similar reasons. Do you think we should be nicer to Hilary because she is a woman and a Democrat?

The problem with Hilary is not so much what she has done, but what she failed to do. After a lifetime in the public and twelve intense years “on her own” she has no significant achievements. My resume is better than hers, and I certainly am not qualified to be president. Neither is she.

Re Wisconsin - It has voted Democratic in every election since 1984. Back in that election every state except Minnesota, voted Republican, so it is a long time.

Walker won there and then won the recall with an even higher margin. It is early, but I think he can win nation-wide. Like Reagan, he will be attacked in the first term, but more widely loved after that.

Re being in charge - if you cannot manage with such overwhelming control that Democrats had and the control they still have, you are not competent to manage, period. Talk about playing the victim.

You know the Superbowl is coming up. Do you think that the team that wins will have expected the other team to set up its touchdowns or that the losing team will complain that their bad performance was due to the other side’s bad attitude and lack of cooperation?

RE the pipelines - most Americans support it. It will create lots of jobs. John Kerry’s State Department couldn’t find reason to reject it and neither could Hilary. But if you think it is a Republican project, that is your business.

Posted by: CJ at January 25, 2014 6:02 AM
Comment #375837

It always pays to read the full quote. I still think it was a dumb thing to say, but it’s not reflective of zero empathy with the Republicans. This is a Democracy, and so you have to take the people as they are. There is a place for extreme conservatism in New York. If I were him, I would have phrased it like, “but if they’re positions are anti-abortion, against restrictions on dangerous assault weapons, against LGBT rights, then I feel obligated to oppose those positions, because the majority of New York voters are for a woman’s right to choose, for sensible gun regulations, and for equality.”

Just so our readers know, Cuomo’s comment was included among a lot of language about the schism between moderate Republicans and what he called extreme Republicans, and it was the Extreme Republicans he was saying had no place in New York Politics. Dumb comment, you should never say somebody has no place in a Democracy, and I can admit that.

Can you say that all the paranoid declarations about Democrats being socialists who must be opposed on all fronts is equally deserving of scorn?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 25, 2014 10:14 AM
Comment #375840


I read what you wrote on the other side. Your first four paragraphs are a good characterization of conservatism. Congratulations. I didn’t think you could do it. I was a little confused by the rest, as I wrote over there.

I suggest some of Stephen’s opponents take a look. In his first paragraph, I think he hits the basic conservative idea. Give the man some credit.

“I believe, as matter of course, that the ties of family and friendship that bind us together are important, and that too much in the way of experimentation with new social orders is not a good thing. I believe there are virtues in the past that need to be preserved, and that not everything that the past represented, in terms of religious tradition needs to be thrown out. Americans need to be proud of themselves, proud of their country, not chasing after every other culture’s supposedly superior aspects. No, we shouldn’t be afraid of looking at what they have, and picking out what’s best, nor should we be afraid of making the decision that something they do is offensive.”

Posted by: CJ at January 25, 2014 11:14 AM
Comment #375845

Daugherty writes; “There would be no debt ceiling confrontations. The markets could rest easy knowing that the morons who were screaming in the townhalls are no longer threatening to wreck the economy to force their policies on Americans.”

“Fiscal crises triggered by ballooning debt levels in advanced economies pose the biggest threat to the global economy in 2014, a report by the World Economic Forum has warned.

Ahead of next week’s WEF annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the forum’s annual assessment of global dangers said high levels of debt in advanced economies, including Japan and America, could lead to an investor backlash.

This would create a “vicious cycle” of ballooning interest payments, rising debt piles and investor doubt that would force interest rates up further.


Posted by: Royal Flush at January 25, 2014 1:20 PM
Comment #375855

WELL *****as a dem I see very few candidates for potus here, being Mr. Daugherty’s piece seems to be one of sheer malaise o’er mallady as oppposed to topic.
Hilly’s over-rated and Kerry’s too goldern crazy,
what do we have?
Let’s face it the Dem’s are loser city with whatever we put up or come in with.

I’d be alright with Bush senior again or even Dubya, I had so much fun during “W” I can’t even express it.

I Miss (sob-sob) the conservative in potus—and I mean that as a stalwart dem—it was a laugh a minute.

Posted by: simpleheaded at January 25, 2014 3:02 PM
Comment #375902

S.D. writes:

“I’m not saying that Republicans need to abandon any editorial, academic, or whatever outlet of their own. It’s the dependence on that separate media system that’s the problem. You don’t see quite so many media screw-ups by Democrats not because the media doesn’t cover them, but more because Democrats have learned that making bad or nutty comments brings them pain. Obama, for example, learned that with the “Clinging” comment he made about rural voters.” [emphasis mine]

Wow, Stephen, that’s a ludicrous claim (‘screw-ups’). It seems that your new-found introspection for seeing things more clearly hasn’t changed your same tired claims that Republicans or “Tea Party” types are a scourge on our society.

You simply wrote the same article here that you’ve been writing for mucho años. You simply re-package your message.

Surely you can do better. And btw, you seem to suffer from an affliction that I call Liberal Blindedness.

Symptoms: A visceral inability to see reality because of a psychological blind spot that exists and is contrary to the truth as well as to one’s self-congruence. Heavy doses of Liberal biases are generally seen, and the root cause of their intractable position against conservative points of view are not tethered to reality. Instead, these ‘biases’ are furthered by the very MSM that said sufferer extols the virtues thereof.

Cure: None.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at January 27, 2014 5:49 PM
Comment #375905

Try some conservative compresses on the government to bring down the swelling of the budget.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 27, 2014 9:31 PM
Comment #375959
Each week, it seems another Democrat lawmaker announces their retirement from Congress. On Thursday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) joined the growing list. It is only January, but 11 Democrat lawmakers have said they are quitting at the end of this current term.

Sen. Max Baucus (MT)

Sen. Tom Harkin (IA)

Sen. Carl Levin (MI)

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (WV)

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY)

Rep. George Miller (CA)

Rep. Jim Moran (VA)

Rep. Jim Matheson (UT)

Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC)

Rep. Bill Owens (NY)

Rep. Henry Waxman (CA)

All the lawmakers, with the exception of Owens had a lot of seniority and would have been in line for Chairman gavels on important committees if Democrats took control of Congress. The retirements could be an indication of how unlikely they think that is.

Two of the House seats, in UT and NC, are almost guaranteed to flip to the Republicans. Romney won those districts by 40 and 19 points respectively. That means Democrats need to flip 19 seats now, rather than 17.

I can’t wait to here Daugherty explain this one…

Posted by: DSP2195 at January 30, 2014 1:58 PM
Comment #375967

Royal Flush-
Debt is what you take out when you don’t have the money to do things on a paying basis. The failure to prioritize economic recovery over debt reduction is what’s put us in this position.

Tell me something, how much of your posts is actually your own writing, much less your own thinking?

Kevin L. Lagola-
Well, yes, there are plenty of variations on the theme, but repetition doesn’t make the point false.

I saw it during the Bush Administration, and it’s continued. More and more, the standards for both what is politically desired by the base, and for the kind of behavior that’s reasonable fore getting it, have parted ways with acceptable behavior in the mainstream. I think some of the people who are down on the Congress for not doing it’s job are actually the people who have been so drenched in your propaganda, that they can’t even look at the Constitution, and recognize that there are good reasons why things aren’t working like planned.

A lot of those people, though, are down on Congress, because it doesn’t seem to have a clue. It seems to be working for the rich, the majority of Americans are saying. It seems to be focused on priorities that aren’t that of most Americans.

You think the media is in the tank for Democrats, but if you saw what I did of that sector of the media, you’d wonder what the relief there is. Democrats get hit from both the left and the right in the Mainstream media, and the Republicans are no more special in getting hit than the Democrats are.

But if you accepted that narrative, then you’d begin to realize that perhaps you are the ones caught up in a conspiracy of bias. Not the most self-flattering of thoughts, really, which is why you avoid it. You are in control, the thinking goes, you’re not dependent on FOXNews, or these other sites. You just can’t go on these other sites and watch these other networks because they’re too biased.

You’re trapped by your partisanship.

Weary Willie-
I haven’t seen much in the way of deficit reduction from the Republicans. They’ve taught themselves some very ridiculous “facts” on how the budget works, rather than approach it in terms of a math equation where one side must equal or exceed the other to eliminate deficits. You can’t sell tax cuts if you acknowledge that they nearly always increase the deficit, while you’re selling people on austerity at the same time.

I haven’t said that it won’t be a tough year. I just don’t have great faith that the Republicans will either take all they need, or keep them for long. How can you really sell Republicans beyond being antidotes for Obama. Republicans want to do NOTHING that Americans want Congress to do. They’re too wrapped up in their own world to notice what a divergence has occur. Republicans are the beneficiary of American’s becoming apathetic about government after years worth of negative outcomes. The moment people become convinced something has to be done, and the Republicans don’t do it, it’s 2008 all over again. People will not stand for the GOP to sit still in a crisis, or create new problems, like it seems they’re bound to do.

You need to tell your people to stop messing with the Debt Ceiling before it bites them on the ass again. It’s not a tool for stopping debt issuance, it’s a means of keeping America on top of its finances. It’s moronic to keep tempting faith, especially with millions of jobs in the balance.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2014 6:36 PM
Comment #375968

Royal Flush,

The article you linked to was talking about private sector debt (“the level of private domestic credit in China has risen from $9 trillion to an astounding $23 trillion.”

I would agree with that concern. It was private sector debt in the US that ballooned in the 2000s and imploded in 2008.

Posted by: Rich at January 30, 2014 8:24 PM
Comment #375971

How can you really sell Republicans beyond being antidotes for Obama. Republicans want to do NOTHING that Americans want Congress to do. They’re too wrapped up in their own world to notice what a divergence has occur. Republicans are the beneficiary of American’s becoming apathetic about government after years worth of negative outcomes.

The same exact things can be said for the Democrats:

Democrats and Obama were sold, for the past 6 years, as the antidotes for Bush

Democrats have done everything the American people didn’t want Congress to do.

Democrats are the beneficiary of 7 years of dem congressional control and 5 years of Obama.

The only thing that can possibly hurt the Republicans is if the cave to Democrat failures.

Tell us Stephen, why are Democrats running away from Obama’s successes?

Posted by: DSP2195 at January 30, 2014 9:51 PM
Comment #375972

The Black Community Of Chicago responds to the SOTU

…Enough Said.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at January 30, 2014 10:17 PM
Comment #375983

Not as many states lean Democratic in 2013

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2014 9:38 AM
Comment #375986

Yukon Jake-
First, The black community of Chicago measures in the hundreds of thousands, so a video with a few black people (who I doubt got anointed as representatives of anybody besides themselves) telling Obama to quit is not proof of anything.

Especially when it comes from what’s essentially the Parent organization of WND! An organization that proudly promotes this conspiracy theory on its site:

It first made its mark following the suspicious death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster during the Clinton presidency. Officially ruled a suicide by authorities, reporter Christopher Ruddy-with assistance from the Center for Western Journalism-unearthed evidence that shouted, “cover up!” No matter how hard they tried to conceal the real cause of Foster’s death, Ruddy’s dogged investigations clearly showed that the suicide ruling was phony.

Seems like they have a thing for attacking Democratic Party Presidents. Who knew.

Okay. Demonstrate that they don’t get together and discuss their questions for President Obama. To demonstrate real bias you have to establish a difference.

What’s more, FOXNews demonstrates this bias for real on a regular basis, and you never call them on it, not even when Bill Sammon told his reporters to take the Republican’s position on Climate change as part of a memo.

As far as everything else goes, you know what? Ask people whether they hate big government, they’ll say yes. Ask them whether they want government to intervene to reduce economic inequality, and they’ll say yes. Practically every time they are asked whether they want government to intervene to deal with something they’ll say they do, in the majority.

It seems to me that specifics tend to tell you where people’s hearts really are. You can ask them, apropos of nothing, whether they think big government is good or bad, and they’ll say it’s bad. Why? Because it’s a focus grouped buzzword drilled into most people’s head since they were kids!

But ask them what they actually want their government to do, and they’ll contradict what you think they mean when they say they oppose big government. It’s easy to get them to say that they don’t want somebody intruding into their affairs, that they don’t want big brother looking over their shoulder, but ask them whether they want the people who crashed the economy constrained, whether they want their food and drugs to be kept safe, whether they want the government working for them, and they’ll say yes.

I subscribe to a theory of mind that relates to the work of Marvin Minsky, an artificial intelligence pioneer. He pointed out ways in which you could put networks together that, while in the majority support taking one approach, inhibit that in favor of a minority position. You can apply such a model to our society as a whole, or you can apply it to the person’s mind, in the way their agents of mind work.

You assume that people have come to see the light on libertarianism. I would submit that this is wrong, and what has instead happened is that Libertarians and Republicans have been clever about how they psychologically manipulate people with wedge issues and divisive rhetoric, but not successful in fully converting people. Thus the disparity.

The thing is, if you push people hard enough, what they think in detail, in specific, will overcome these blocks. That would explain how Obama got elected, how the Democrats took back the majority (and lost it!), and how Republicans could still lose, despite everything, even if they win.

One thing, for instance: the next generation is going to be a very angry one, as far as opposition to conservatives go. I started out the last decade being a proponent of dealmaking with the right, but after years of people being as nasty as Republicans have been to me, to Obama, to the basic order of things that people like me grew up on, I’d have to say, we want to defeat the Republicans in a way that liberals haven’t in a long time. You’ve made enemies of us, and all this pointless twaddling around about killing Obama’s poll numbers just reflects how clueless the right is these days. They’ve identified him as the enemy, even as they’ve made enemies of WHOLE DEMOGRAPHICS. And this with a Party and a set of movements that don’t have much support to spare.

Republicans want to think that if they defeat Obama, if they take back Congress, they have it made. Trouble is, they’re still peddling the same **** policy, which I don’t expect to work. Trouble is, the Demographics still figure against them, and they’ve profoundly alienated everybody.

Trouble is, they’re so up their own rear end about what the things they say mean to everybody else, that they’ll keep on saying it, keep on scaring people with policy that sounds great to their politically pure, and awful to everybody else, and ultimately turn voters away.

There’s a reason Republicans couldn’t beat Obama. They couldn’t field a sympathetic candidate. They couldn’t field a moderate candidate, at least not without butching him up with less than moderate positions. And they couldn’t keep their big mouths shut.

You’ve armored yourselves very well against mainstream media negative reports, done a lot to slant everybody’s news to the right, and encourage laziness in reporting. You’ve taken your media, quarantined it from that political interaction…

…and by doing that severed the connection that would allow your people to keep up with what people are concerned about, and most important, feel compelled to do something about it, even if it’s a private or conservative solution.

If you want to run your politics as if it’s a college debate club, where there are no consequences for being wrong, and ideas can be spun without any idea of how they actually work, or get logistically supported, fine. But the truth is, practical and social connections to the real world are necessary, even as they may strain and undermine the pure politics some prefer to keep. Man proposes, and God disposes. The plans we lay are just a preliminary to the way we have to do things to get things right, to get right with others.

I don’t like that the tide has shifted against us, or that we’re at a disadvantage at the moment. But I’ve never been one to quit, nor am I one to think that all good change comes in singly, monumental movements. I don’t think the Republicans or Libertarians are prepared to properly exploit their victory, if they get it, and I think it might just help destroy them if they do. Don’t forget, 2004 was a dramatic victory on their part. 2006 followed.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2014 11:04 AM
Comment #375988

Stephen I made a comment in the thread that is in the red column and would like to post it here also:

I’m pretty sure I know how you (C or J), Stephen and Roy feel about things and I admire your ability to put that out there and then defend yourselves against the slings and arrows of commenting made.

Anyway thanks for putting it out there. No need to respond.

Posted by: Speak4all at January 31, 2014 11:36 AM
Comment #375996

Daugh writes; “Royal Flush-
Debt is what you take out when you don’t have the money to do things on a paying basis. The failure to prioritize economic recovery over debt reduction is what’s put us in this position.

Tell me something, how much of your posts is actually your own writing, much less your own thinking?”

Gee, thanks for telling me what “debt” is. I understand out national debt is over $17 Trillion…do you?

Most of my posts are original thinking unlike yours which simply rework something you read in liberal circles.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 31, 2014 2:40 PM
Comment #375997

The article you linked to was talking about private sector debt (“the level of private domestic credit in China has risen from $9 trillion to an astounding $23 trillion.”

I would agree with that concern. It was private sector debt in the US that ballooned in the 2000s and imploded in 2008.

Posted by: Rich at January 30, 2014 8:24 PM

Read it again…it addressed both private and public debt.

“Comment #375972

The Black Community Of Chicago responds to the SOTU

…Enough Said.
Posted by: Yukon Jake at January 30, 2014 10:17 PM”

Thanks for the link Jake. Were those folks being racist?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 31, 2014 2:55 PM
Comment #376001


Since Governor Scott Walker took office the state has gone from a debt of over $3.6 Billion to a surplus of over $900 Million. Thousands of new private businesses have opened and employment has substantially increased.

We can find the same success in many other states with Republican leadership. We need a Republican governor for president.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 31, 2014 4:50 PM
Comment #376003
What’s more, FOXNews demonstrates this bias for real on a regular basis, and you never call them on it

Never? Please, you know better than that. I have stated repeatedly that I don’t watch Fox News because it is biased, I don’t know anyone here who doesn’t agree with it, it is easily provable. Just this morning I was writing an article that I’ve not yet published about Krauthammer making a comment about an executive order that was issued regarding the Dream Act, yet in my research no such EO has been issued… (BTW, if anyone reading this can find that Executive Order, not just the chain email that mentions it, let me know).

However, it is countered with ABC News, MSNBC, CNN and CBS News which are all biased to the left. That’s the problem, not that Fox is biased, it is. But that the left can’t accept that those other news outlets and newspapers like the NY Times are politically biased towards the left and have been for decades. In fact, it was that bias that resulted in Fox News coming into existence in the first place as a response. If there hadn’t been a need for it, it wouldn’t have become so popular.

In fact, you do a LOT of assuming in your response and have done the thing you typically do, want to use your talking points against Republicans and attempt to apply them to me, when it just doesn’t fit. I don’t expect you to change, as I said it is your modus operandi. It’s a fallacy you just can’t help yourself with because it makes it easier for you, you don’t have to step outside your already constructed neat ‘us versus them’ world. All I did was show you where you were wrong and you assume that it means that I am now ‘one of them’ and that I think everything you think is wrong and everything ‘they’ think is right. It’s not that simplistic, and you know that, but you just can’t seem to help yourself. I’ve been subjected to the ‘your guys’ and ‘you all’ comments for years from you with never once a recognition of any kind that you are stepping out of bounds in your deflective responses.

One thing, for instance: the next generation is going to be a very angry one

I can’t imagine why, could it have something to do with the way both parties have been treating them? Using them to finance their good times, keeping them from succeeding to support not having to fix things before they got out of hand? You mistakenly think that they are being harmed only by Republicans… The facts are that younger voters are extremely pissed at Democrats right now. Not because they watch Fox News (they don’t) but because they have been getting a raw deal and lied to for years by Democrats. Democrats have displayed their hypocrisy time and time again and simply attempt to shrug it off. They were told how bad Bush was and then have done a 180 and are supporting those same policies with an even worse zeal. Spying, torture, killing innocent civilians, executive authority, spending, etc…

And if Obama thinks he can fix any of that by making a power grab with Executive Orders that go beyond the powers limited to him by the constitution (as he has done already in other areas) it is not going to bode very well for the reaction that it is going to have on the Democratic Party.

BTW, the reason I am a Libertarian is not because I’m a conservative, but because the Democratic Party sold it’s soul to the progressive movement and are now taking it down one foundation after another, it is imploding on itself by making asinine comments, implementing extremely flawed policies and building on proven failed policies by trying to build on them. The foundation is too weak… The success you think that you have enjoyed the past few years is built upon lies and in the end those lies will become the party’s downfall. I wanted nothing more than for the Democratic Party to stand for something, but all it stands for now is anything the Republians don’t want and fixing every problem with some sort of federal response whether they legally can or have any chance of fixing.

BTW, I noticed you got your ‘income inequality’ comment in. It’s hilarious to watch this unfold, perhaps I will write a study on how these talking points work and make their way through even those who weren’t originally in on it. It’s kind of like watching an internet meme spread. Of course, the real issues are harder and more complex than anyone like yourself or the politicians want to make it, they think they fix something when they enact some policy to try to resolve some issue like this when all they do is spread the money around and end up making ‘the rich richer’…

But that’s the problem, no one wants to have the hard discussions, look at root issues, because they are only looking to capitalize on the partisanship and the politics of personal destruction. The examples are occurring every day, you just have to look at the headlines with a critical eye.

To demonstrate real bias you have to establish a difference.

This is possibly the most idiotic thing I’ve seen in some time. It isn’t possible that both sides are biased? If both sides are biased then there isn’t any bias?


But ask them what they actually want their government to do, and they’ll contradict what you think they mean when they say they oppose big government. It’s easy to get them to say that they don’t want somebody intruding into their affairs, that they don’t want big brother looking over their shoulder, but ask them whether they want the people who crashed the economy constrained, whether they want their food and drugs to be kept safe, whether they want the government working for them, and they’ll say yes.

Yep, everyone has their pet projects… Most people agree with the libertarian ideal that everyone should be free to live their lives as they choose as long as they don’t violate another’s rights to the same.

Except there is always a ‘but’ isn’t there? The question is, just because we allow a but here or a but there, do we just eliminate the thought altogether? Do we just rip up the Constitution because people are human and want to violate it when it suits their views? Or is that the reason we SHOULD have those limits? It’s obvious that you don’t think so. It’s ok to implement the desires of the majority against the rights of the minority when you want it to be done… But when someone else wants to do it, you cry foul.

It also explains how we got into the trouble we are in today.

You assume that people have come to see the light on libertarianism. I would submit that this is wrong

Seen the light? No, I assume nothing of the sort.

But, remember some of the libertarian views that the party has held since it was formed.

1) Gay Marriage. Libertarians have been supporters of gay marriage (if marriage as a governmental institution were going to exist) since the early 1970s. In fact, the first presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party was himself gay. All of that hard work is now finally paying off, the Democratic Party finally supported it in 2012 (40 years later) and we are seeing it occur without any real hope of stopping it now for those still opposed. As wikipedia notes “Gay activist Richard Sincere has pointed to the longstanding support of gay rights by the party, which has supported marriage equality since its first platform was drafted in 1972 (40 years before the Democratic Party adopted marriage equality into their platform in 2012). Many LGBT political candidates have run for office on the Libertarian Party ticket,[79] and there have been numerous LGBT caucuses in the party, with the most active in recent years being the Outright Libertarians.”

2) Drug Law Reform. The efforts can be seen in today’s society. It’s not just about marijuana, the illegality of it being moronic, as well as the incarceration of millions of people today for simple non-violent drug offenses.

3) DODT. As wikipedia notes “In September 2010, in the light of the failure to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (which banned openly gay people from serving in the military) during the Obama administration, the Libertarian Party urged gay voters to stop supporting the Democratic Party.[81] The policy was repealed at the end of 2010.”

You can dismiss the LP as having no power, but to do so is at your own peril.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2014 5:18 PM
Comment #376005

…Enough Said.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at January 30, 2014 10:17 PM

YJ…great link! The gentleman’s comment at the 5:30 mark is Priceless!!!

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at January 31, 2014 6:16 PM
Comment #376009

BTW, I will amend my comments previously, I do now watch Fox Business News at 9:00PM EST for an hour when I can to catch The Independents, hosted by Kennedy (of MTV fame). That is the only time my tv touches a Fox News channel. Even they get something right some time.

You can watch the show and on demand aftershow (an off the air discussion recorded after the show ends) here:

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2014 6:35 PM
Comment #376010

BTW, I love how Stephen is acting as if the Democrats are victims in the whole thing… They took control of congress in 2006 and then proceeded to proudly obstruct the president at every turn. The only things that congress passed during that time were bills that they were able to get huge concessions on (because Bush was willing to do compromise) like Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind, both things that they pushed their agenda into before they would pass and then hammered him over the head on, much like when Bush Sr went back on his no new taxes plan to work with congress and then was voted out of office for it, hounded by the very people who wanted him to change his pledge in exchange for spending cuts (that they never delivered).

The only difference now is that we have a president who won’t compromise at all. Clinton, Bush, Bush Jr and Reagan all compromised with opposing congresses while they were in office. But not this one.

Reid has hundreds of house passed bills sitting in an inbox in his office that he refuses to bring to a vote or even a debate.

Yes, Stephen, the big mean Republicans are playing the game that you set up and you don’t like that, are you threatening to take your ball and go home now?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2014 8:22 PM
Comment #376012
You cannot set somebody as an enemy, the enemy, without driving a social wedge in there. You can’t sow conspiracy theories, promote canards about how the other half is just looking to mooch off the working people, etc. without causing such divisions.


“God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States — a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject,” Pelosi told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an exclusive interview.

The comments came two days after the president sharply criticized Congress over what he described as relative inaction over the course of the legislative term. At the White House on Wednesday, Bush noted that there were only 26 legislative days left in the fiscal year and said Congress would need to pass a spending bill every other day to “get their fundamental job done.”

“This is not a record to be proud of, and I think the American people deserve better,” Bush said. Video Watch Pelosi respond to criticism of Congress from the president »

In the interview, Pelosi said the president was in no position to criticize Congress and brushed aside the criticisms as “something to talk about because he has no ideas.”

“For him to be challenging Congress when we are trying to sweep up after his mess over and over and over again — at the end of the day, Congress will have passed its responsibility to pass legislation,” she said.

Or where we find that over half of the Democrats in 2011 still think that Bush knew about 9/11 beforehand.

Or Where we see just some of the myriad of examples of people burning Bush in effigy and calling for his death.

Or where we see an entire movement based on hatred of a small class of people they don’t like or trust but envy?

Or where we find that Democrats think half of the country is racist…

Is that the kind of divisive politics that the Republicans should be staying out of? I’m guessing you just want a one sided fight then? Or perhaps you are just so blind to what your party has been doing for so long that you can’t objectively see it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2014 8:52 PM
Comment #376014

BTW, love MSNBC punditry…

“MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Thinks Iran was a US Ally Until Bad Old Bush Came Along,” Bryan Preston writes, linking to this Mediaite post from Noah Rothman along with video of Mitchell’s astonishing gaffe:

Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza said that the “Axis of Evil” address was among the most important State of the Union addresses delivered in recent memory. “That speech, arguably, turned this country in a direction on foreign policy,” Mitchell concurred. “Those words, Axis of Evil, I was standing there in Congress and called the control room, I said ‘This is a big deal.’”

“State Department, with all due respect, Colin Powell did not focus enough on those words and get them taken out of the State of the Union,” she continued. “Up until that moment, Iran was cooperating with the United States on the border of Afghanistan, it was post 9/11, Iran was more or less an American ally.”

“But being included in the Axis of Evil, it turned the Iranian government in a completely different direction,” she concluded. “And it was a turning point in American politics and foreign policy.”

As Bryan adds, “Iran had been an enemy of the United States since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. What part of ‘Death to America!’ and ‘Death to the Great Satan!’ do Mitchell and Cilizza not understand?”

To be fair to Mitchell, she’s long been an employee of NBC, and ABC’s Nightline had the lock on coverage of the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979-1980. Since it was on another network, perhaps she simply missed that minor news story…

Somewhere on the Great Golf Course in the Sky, Gerald Ford, who was pilloried mercilessly by NBC’s Saturday Night Live, including over his “There is no Soviet dominance of Eastern Europe” gaffe in his 1976 debate with Jimmy Carter must by enjoying Mitchell’s epic facepalm moment right now.

At Big Journalism, John Nolte adds: “As you can see, no one is playing gotcha with Mitchell. She wholeheartedly believes this:”

Mitchell then attributed the quote “The era of big government is over” to Ronald Reagan. In reality, it was Bill Clinton who said it.

It is not very comforting to know that the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for a major television news network was and is under the delusion that Iran was an American ally in the War on Terror for a period of time.

MSNBC is going even further off the rails. You have their serious people blaming Obama’s problems on unicorns named “Washington” and “cynicism,” as opposed to “no” and “jobs,” and Andrea Mitchell just making stuff up.

A fun exercise would be for Sarah Palin to tweet something out about Iran being our one-time War on Terror ally and then watch MSNBC lose its mind pounding her over it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2014 9:13 PM
Comment #376018

LOL, just thought I would share…

“That moment, when you piss a conservative and leftie off simultaneously, by proclaiming that you believe in gun rights for married gay couples to defend their homes and marijuana plants”

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2014 10:06 PM
Comment #376019

What makes you so sure Iran has not been cooperating with the US in the War on Terror? The US War on Terror was conducted against Al Qaida and its affiliates in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq, where the initial invasion overthrew the Sunni government of Saddam Hussein. It has always targeted predominantly Sunni extremist groups, including the Pashtun Sunnis of Afghanistan and their Taliban. These fundamentalist Sunnis dislike the Shias every bit as much as they dislike the US.

Even before the War on Terror, Reagan worked with the Shias in Iran. The release of hostages was delayed until Carter lost the election and Reagan was inaugurated, and this cooperation continued with the Iran-Contra Scandal, when the US sold the Khomenei regime weapons, including what was, at the time, the state-of-the-art Hawk missile.

I do not care one way or another about Mrs. Alan Greenspan, better known as Andrea Mitchell. But the fact is, Iran and the US have worked together in the War on Terror. The goals overlap, namely, opposition to Sunni fundamentalism.

Posted by: phx8 at January 31, 2014 10:12 PM
Comment #376020

Royal Flush,

You conveniently failed to include California and New York as states that have turned deficits into surpluses under Democratic leadership.

Posted by: Rich at January 31, 2014 10:24 PM
Comment #376021

phx8, your comments make my mind hurt much like it does when I try to watch Ancient Aliens with my wife (she loves the banality).

The United States contends that Hezbollah has been involved in several anti-American terrorist attacks, including the April 1983 United States Embassy bombing which killed 17 Americans, the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing which killed 241 U.S. peace keepers in Lebanon, and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. An American district court judge ruled in 2003 that the April 1983 United States Embassy bombing was carried out with Iranian support.[48]

United States District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth declared that the Islamic Republic of Iran was responsible for the 1983 attack in a 2003 case brought by the victims’ families. Lamberth concluded that Hezbollah was formed under the auspices of the Iranian government, was completely reliant on Iran in 1983, and assisted Iranian Ministry of Information and Security agents in carrying out the operation.[49] An American federal court has also found that the Khobar Towers bombing was authorized by Ali Khamenei, then ayatollah of Iran.[50]

In April 1995, a total embargo on dealings with Iran by American companies was imposed by Bill Clinton. This ended trade, which had been growing following the end of the Iran–Iraq War.[63] The next year, the American Congress passed the Iran-Libya Sanctions act, designed to prevent other countries from making large investments in Iranian energy.

The U.S. indictment of bin Laden filed in 1998 stated that al-Qaeda “forged alliances … with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies.”[66]

On May 31, 2001, Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “Officials of the Iranian government helped arrange advanced weapons and explosives training for Al-Qaeda personnel in Lebanon where they learned, for example, how to destroy large buildings.”[67]

The 9/11 Commission Report stated that 8 to 10 of the hijackers on 9/11 passed through Iran and their travel was facilitated by Iranian border guards.[66][68] The report also noted that “a senior operative of Hezbollah” (Imad Mughniyah) was on the flights that convoyed the future hijackers from Saudi Arabia to Tehran, along with associates that Kenneth Timmerman describes as “Iranian agents”.[68][69]

Judge George B. Daniels ruled in a federal district court in Manhattan that Iran bears legal responsibility for providing “material support” to the 9/11 plotters and hijackers in Havlish, et al. v. Osama bin Laden, Iran, et al.[70][71] Included in Judge Daniels’ findings were claims that Iran “used front companies to obtain a Boeing 757-767-777 flight simulator for training the terrorists”, Ramzi bin al-Shibh traveled to Iran in January 2001, and an Iranian government memorandum from May 14, 2001 demonstrates Iranian culpability in planning the attacks.[70] Defectors from Iran’s intelligence service testified that Iranian officials had “foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

I’m not sure how you take that information and say that Iran wasn’t an enemy to the US before 9/11 and somehow suggest that the two countries have worked together in the War on Terror (which is irrelevant in any respect since the suggestion was that they were our ALLIES before the 2002 SOTU address).

I suppose anything is fair in the name of partisanship…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2014 10:40 PM
Comment #376022

BTW, I love the suggestion that Iran has been helping on the War on Terror with this list:

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 31, 2014 11:01 PM
Comment #376023

Hezbollah did not exist when the attack against the Marines happened in Lebanon. However, the same people who backed that attack probably backed Hezbollah when it later came into existence for a very good reason; the southern Lebanese are Shias, and have been natural allies of Iran for some time. At that time, Israel invaded southern Lebanon, and in a terrible political miscalculation, Reagan sent troops into that area to support the Israeli occupation, as well as somehow interfere with the civil war going on between various factions in that country. Note the attack in Lebanon did not stop the Reagan administration from later selling them arms- and not just a box full of rifles, either, but Hawks, the only missile at that time capable of penetrating USAF electronic warfare countermeasures in B-52’s and other US aircraft.

Al Qaida never worked with Iran or Hezbollah. There was propaganda in the late 90’s and early 2000’s put out by US Neocons. We found, to our profound regret, that most of what those Neocons said was wrong. The Sunnis of Al Qaida and the Shias of Iran & Hezbollah have a long history of being very hostile towards one another.

There are many examples of hostility between the US and Iran, but there are many other examples of cooperation. Time and again, the Iranians have directed harsh language towards the US, “Death to the US” and that sort of thing, yet they also demonstrate a willingness to act rationally and practically in advancing their interests. When US and Iranian interests have overlapped, we cooperate.

The Israelis and the Iranians do not get along, so the Israelis make it a practice to do everything in their power to prevent the US and Iran from cooperating. Détente between the US and Iran is the last thing the Israelis want to see. As a result, their foreign policy goal has been to isolate the US and set up a dynamic, the US & Israel against the world, while promoting hostility towards Sunni and Shia regimes whenever possible.

Iran became a stronger power in the Middle East when the US took out its biggest counterweight, Saddam Hussein. Since then, we have seen the strange sight of Israel and Saudi Arabia cooperating against the interests of Iran. Neither wants the US to lesson tensions with Iran because that is in their interests.

But that is NOT in the best interests of the US.

Posted by: phx8 at January 31, 2014 11:52 PM
Comment #376024
Hezbollah did not exist when the attack against the Marines happened in Lebanon.

They were operating in 1982, a full year before the attacks, they just hadn’t become public as an organization yet because it was better for their cause to remain in the shadows while it could.

“In 1982, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was based in Southern Lebanon and was firing Katyusha rockets into northern Israel from Lebanon. Israel invaded Lebanon to evict the PLO, and Hezbollah became an armed organization to expel the Israelis.”

“After some years of investigation, the U.S. government now believes that elements of what would eventually become Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, were responsible for these bombings as well as the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut earlier in April. It is believed that Hezbollah used the name “Islamic Jihad” in order to remain anonymous. Hezbollah eventually announced its existence in 1985.”

Al Qaida never worked with Iran or Hezbollah.

That’s interesting, since it completely contradictory to the investigations and legal proceedings that have found differently. As I said, partisanship seems to be more important than facts to some…

But let’s talk about the obvious flaws in your logic…

The Sunnis of Al Qaida and the Shias of Iran & Hezbollah have a long history of being very hostile towards one another. There are many examples of hostility between the US and Iran, but there are many other examples of cooperation.

So, let’s sum up.

Al Qaeda and Iran could NEVER work together because they hate each other.

Al Qaeda and Iraq could NEVER work together because they hate each other.

Al Qaeda, Iraq and Iran all hate the US, but have worked with the US when it suits their needs.

However, it is UNTHINKABLE that Al Qaeda, Iran and Iraq could work together in any way, shape or form, even when they are operating at similar goals…

I just wanted to get that straight, that’s what you are saying right? That the Muslims sects couldn’t possibly join up to help each other attack the US, a non-Muslim country?

That’s an interesting thought, phx8…

Sometimes I wonder if people understand human beings at all.

But that is NOT in the best interests of the US.

Never said it was, I am a member of the party that thinks we shouldn’t have any military presence anywhere in the world, allowing countries like the UK and France to not spend their wealth on protecting themselves and acting as some sort of police force, including (especially) Israel. But you wouldn’t get that because you are too busy trying to toe some inane line about sunnis and shias never ever ever helping each other even when their goals align…

You are being completely ignorant, your fairy tale doesn’t exist.

And btw, it wasn’t the NEOCONS who pushed those ideas in the 1990s, it was Clinton and Clarke et al.

For example:

This brings together Iraq, al Qaeda and Sudan, operating together. While some may question the intelligence on this, the Clinton administration including Clarke, Cohen and others retained their faith in the intelligence, including when they testified to the 9/11 commission. The US never apologized. It was the REPUBLICANS that questioned the operation, calling it a ‘Wag the Dog’ moment.

In what should have been bombshell news late last year, a federal U.S. district court judge named George Daniels ruled after eight years that Iran, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda all worked together to perpetrate the 9/11 attacks.

That news fell on relatively deaf ears in western media circles.

Now, Sky News is reporting that Ayman al-Zawahiri is working with Iran to – you guessed it – perpetrate terror attacks against the United States to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden

Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and author of the book Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, says that by dwelling on the inherent differences between fundamentalist Sunnis and Shias, Western governments and media have overlooked an obvious similarity.

Radicals on both sides believe “that the world should be under a caliphate,” or Islamic state, he says.

“The difference is, will it be under the Islamic doctrines of the Shia or the Sunni? That’s a long-term division. But both agree on the doctrine of jihad.”

Fatah says that many people in Western institutions such as government, academia and the media have fallen for the “narrative” that because of a history of sectarian bloodshed, radical Sunnis and Shias couldn’t possibly collaborate.

He says it’s true, for example, that bin Laden viewed the Shias as non-Muslims, but bin Laden also considered the establishment of a global Islamic state more important than dwelling on sectarian differences, which is why he never fought the Iranians.

“Osama might never have collaborated with Iran, but the Iranians were co-operating with al-Qaeda,” Fatah says.

In an article for the U.S. news site PJ Media in 2011, former CIA operative Brian Fairchild wrote, “One of the key aspects of Iran’s foreign policy has been to undermine the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East by supporting Sunni terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

Despite some philosophical ideological differences, Harris says that Iran and a group such as al-Qaeda have a common cause in their defiance of the West and opposition to the state of Israel.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 1, 2014 11:45 AM
Comment #376025

“Al Qaeda and Iran could NEVER work together because they hate each other.”


“Al Qaeda and Iraq could NEVER work together because they hate each other.”


“Al Qaeda, Iraq and Iran all hate the US, but have worked with the US when it suits their needs.”

True for Iraq & Iran, not for Al Qaida. Why? Al Qaida is not a country. It is an organization based on Sunni religious fanaticism.

The Neocons and right-wing Israelis will put lots of misinformation out there about Iran, among others. (And I should clarify- not all Israelis or American Jews feel the same way as the extremist right-wingers in Israel, or the American Neocons). The Iranians have their own interests, supporting like-minded groups in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and some in Afghanistan which receive little attention. The Sunnis, led by Saudi Arabia, likewise have their own interests.

Understanding what is happening requires judgment. Conflicting groups will put out misinformation. Opposing sides will issue statements saying the opposite of one another. Who is right? That is where judgment comes in. Just because a judge in NY, or a Bush or Clinton Neocon says something, and someone puts it on the internet, does NOT mean it is true.

Posted by: phx8 at February 1, 2014 12:24 PM
Comment #376026

phx8, seriously think about what you are saying… That two groups who both agree that there should be a one world Muslim society would never work together to reach that end because they disagree with each other on how that would look like once they achieved that goal…

If you actually believe that, then you are subjecting yourself to a religious view, devoid of logic and built upon faith (the absence of logic), unwilling to look at any evidence presented to you as impossible. Like a flat earther or ID proponent.

As a result, you immediately stop any actual debate about the topic, you can’t debate logically with anyone who holds such a religious POV.

Do you really consider Tarek Fatah a neocon? Or do you just reject what he is saying because you don’t like what he has to say out of hand?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 1, 2014 12:34 PM
Comment #376027

North Korea hates the U.S. and never could work together with them on, say, nuclear reactors or food.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 1, 2014 1:40 PM
Comment #376029


Your Comment #376023 was a very good post. I agree with most, but not all of your conclusions.

That said, Al Qaeda and the Taliban have been warming up towards Iran, even though each see one another as anathema.

The reason is simple: a resolute hatred towards the West — namely the U.S.

While this relationship is tumultuous — it does exist. Similarly, I think you underestimate Iran’s position with respect to Israel. It is beyond hatred (this dynamic goes both ways, of course).

Again, good comment. The history of ‘when’ Hezbollah incorporated is a minor detail. It is safe to say, as rhinehold points out, Hezbollah probably existed prior to the Marine base bombing, but without the fanfare that we see today with respect to the so-called ‘Axis of Evil’ that this area once was prior to Saddam’s demise.

Posted by: Kevin L.Lagola at February 1, 2014 2:23 PM
Comment #376031

Royal Flush,

You conveniently failed to include California and New York as states that have turned deficits into surpluses under Democratic leadership.
Posted by: Rich at January 31, 2014 10:24 PM

Rich, I love success stories where ever I find them. Can you post some facts and figures?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 1, 2014 3:18 PM
Comment #376033

A majority of states will post surpluses, due to capital gains and dividend payments by companies doing well in the bull market.

Posted by: phx8 at February 1, 2014 5:06 PM
Comment #376034

From the link px provided…”Still, with revenues rising more rapidly than spending, deficits are evaporating in state capitals. “It’s likely most states will end the year with a slight surplus,” said Brian Sigritz, director of state fiscal studies at NASBO.”

Yup…it’s amazing what conservative policies can produce.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 1, 2014 5:15 PM
Comment #376035

Royal Flush,

According to Bloomberg, California has gone from a 26 Billion dollar deficit to a 4.2 Billion dollar surplus under Democratic governor, Jerry Brown.

Posted by: Rich at February 1, 2014 6:37 PM
Comment #376036

The policies resulting in state surpluses come from the Obama administration. Not sure? I posed this in the middle thread about Walker, but if you would like, compare the unemployment and non-farm payroll performance of states such as WI with the national average. They are virtually identical. What is happening has nothing to do with conservatives or liberals at the state level. It has everything to do with the Obama administration and the national level of the economy. The biggest driver is the unexpected payment of capital gains and dividends to the states, due to the bull market of the past two years.

Conservatives have spent the past years denouncing the economy, dismissing the bull market, and downplaying virtually every good piece of economic news. Not only that, they have been obstructing the Obama administration at every turn, setting all-time records for filibusters, blocked nominations, passing the fewest pieces of legislation in American history, and these same Republicans have been receiving the lowest approval ratings on record. They have sent over 40 bills to the Senate to repeal Obamacare, and passed numerous anti-abortion bills and personhood bills with no hope of getting through the Senate- an utter waste of time. In addition, they shutdown the government! The last time we saw the stock market correct more than 10% was when conservatives threatened to default over the debt ceiling.

“We should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.”
Speaker John Boehner

And now you think conservatives should receive credit? Really?

I have said before, the conservative focus on the debt and deficits was always a mistake. It is just a symptom of problems with the economy, a result, not the cause. As imposing as those debt numbers may be, an improving economy will make those go away fast, just as it has done on the state level.

Posted by: phx8 at February 1, 2014 8:09 PM
Comment #376038

phx8 is trying to tell you a story, but not providing all the facts, or even enough facts to make his case. He is just expressing his faith…

Let’s take a close look at California. So, why do they have a small surplus?

phx8 wants you to believe it is because of the ‘bull market’ (artificially bull because of QE3, which is ending and we are seeing the market adjust appropriately now) which is a direct result of Obama’s leadership, even though QE3 was a FED plan that the president has no control over, by design.

But is it?

Take a look at the outlays of California for the past few years.

2005-2006, the spending was 91 billion
2006-2007, the spending was 101 billion
2007-2008, the spending was 104 billion
2008-2009, the spending dropped to 90 billion
2009-2010, the spending dropped to 87 billion
2010-2011, the spending was 91 billion
2011-2012, the spending dropped to 86 billion
2012-2013, the spending was 96 billion.

The tax revenues were

2005-2006, the income was 93 billion
2006-2007, the income was 96 billion
2007-2008, the income was 96 billion
2008-2009, the income was 85 billion
2009-2010, the income was 86 billion
2010-2011, the income was 93 billion
2011-2012, the income was 83 billion
2012-2013, the income was 100 billion

So, we see that revenues are now about what they were a couple of years ago and before the recession.

However, what did change dramatically was the amount of spending and rate of spending increases (decreases). What you see is the ‘austerity’ plan that progressives are fighting hard against at the federal level.

phx8 can keep preaching his fairy tale of the stock market bringing everything out of dire straights, but if that were the case then why did the spending drop so much? Why is the income just a few percentage points higher than it was 6 years ago?

So phx8 tells us that the focus on ‘debt’ and ‘deficits’ was a mistake, but that is precisely what happened in California, not the mysterious Obama recovery that is tied to an inflated bubble stock market.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 2, 2014 12:50 AM
Comment #376039

BTW the numbers come from the California state controller offices at

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 2, 2014 12:51 AM
Comment #376041

A state budget does not work the same way as the federal budget. A state is supposed to project revenues & spending, and balance them each year. A state does not possess its own Federal Reserve, control of its own currency, or the luxury of intentionally using deficit spending, QE3, or other methods of controlling its economy. Some years, there is a deficit for a state, and in other years, a surplus; for most states, an adjustment has to be made each year. Spending must be kept in line with revenue.

What states can not predict is the amount of revenue that will come from taxes on capital gains each year. This past year generated a lot of capital gains revenue, and the strong economy generated more taxable income and sales tax than expected.

More than most states, CA is affected by the variable revenue generated from capital gains.

The point is, the policies of the Obama administration resulted in a stronger economy than expected, and that turned into a windfall for the states. Nothing wrong with that; in fact, it is a good thing!

Posted by: phx8 at February 2, 2014 2:02 AM
Comment #376043
What states can not predict is the amount of revenue that will come from taxes on capital gains each year.

Where do you get this from?

Let’s look at California’s budget.

From the section entitled “Revenue Estimates” it details that the expected revenue for 2012-2013 from capital gains was to be at 9.1%, in 2011-2012 it was expected to be 5.4%. We’re talking about 5 billion dollars added to the general revenue fund, which was then allocated within the budget.

This idea that the states ‘cannot predict’ is patently false, they do predict just as they predict personal income tax, licensing fees, etc.

From the 2012-2013 budget:

Beyond the natural economic growth, a shift in revenue is expected into 2012‑13 from  2013‑14, resulting from the sunset of the lower federal tax rates on regular and capital  gains income that is scheduled for the end of 2012. The scheduled higher rates in 2013  are expected to cause some taxpayers to shift some of their capital gains, dividend,  and wage income from 2013 into 2012.

And when you look at the capital gains income, the 9.1% is actually less than in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The state new very well that the capital gains taxes were changing last year and the budgeted for it with that knowledge.

But in order to pull California out of a deficit, the capital gains tax increase WASN’T ENOUGH. They needed years of spending cuts, cuts that closed the deficit so that they could push into the surplus when they had gotten their house in order. Had they not cut spending as they did (not just decrease the increases to spending) they would still be in a deficit despite the increases in taxes on capital gains.

the policies of the Obama administration resulted in a stronger economy than expected

No, the policies of the Obama administration resulted in higher federal taxes on capital gains through the sunset provisions in the law. What, exactly, did Obama do to cause the stock market to increase as it has? If you are going to make that claim, you have to show causation. As I have said to you repeatedly, you have to show your work if you are going to make assertions and expect people to accept them as valid.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 2, 2014 3:09 AM
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