The Problem with Blue-Doggism (Hint: It isn’t the Blue Dogs)

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101 Responses

  1. Avatar Scott says:

    Jamelle:

    I might take you seriously but you say things like, “Yes, your average Blue Dog is a corporate lackey.” Who besides some soviet cold war era political officer actually says such things?Report

    • Avatar Jamelle in reply to Scott says:

      I don’t think it’s particularly shocking to the conscience to say that some Democrats vote reliably in favor of corporate interests. So much so, in fact, that you might accurately describe them as “lackeys.”Report

    • I’ll cheerfully defend Jamelle’s use of ‘corporate lackeys’ to describe the Blue Dogs. Sure, it’s leftover Marxist language that I was already ridiculing 40 years ago, when some activists in my g-g-generation were making indiscriminate use of such terminology.

      But you know what? It fits. It’s hard to see a convincing reason why Blue Dogs so consistently want to screw over their own constituents, other than to please their corporate contributors. They get beaucoups of campaign money (and the prospect of cushy, big-bucks jobs once they leave Congress), and they vote the the way the big-money boys would like to see them vote. Occam’s Razor says they’re the corporations’ errand boys, if you don’t like the word ‘lackeys.’

      Which I do: the word’s had a long enough rest that it doesn’t hurt to dust it off and use it for emphasis. Lackeys they are.Report

  2. Avatar jetan says:

    As a democrat from red, red Oklahoma, I think you will find that many of those districts are comprised heavily of populations that are already served by medicare. That takes some of the edge of off the hunger for health care reform. Here, Indian Health care takes even more off. The cultural issues….Gays, guns and abortion….give the right a great deal of traction.Report

  3. Avatar Kyle says:

    Shorter: Dog bites man.

    Of course the more honest restatement here is that the problem is that some people have a different set of values and priorities than you do. Really, I don’t what to say about it. As far as problems go it’s practically Kipling-esque, the educated man’s burden, perhaps?

    What I have a hard time not believing you’re saying here is, “the problem is that these poor people value things they ought’n and if only they would value money and things(materialism) the way enlightened people do, they would join in the politics of resentment and support redistributive policies that would improve their well-being.”

    The funny thing here is that if conservative districts – largely in the south and west, were a different country, the retro “for their own good” cultural snobbery here would be far more apparent.Report

    • Avatar Jamelle in reply to Kyle says:

      What I have a hard time not believing you’re saying here is, “the problem is that these poor people value things they ought’n and if only they would value money and things(materialism) the way enlightened people do, they would join in the politics of resentment and support redistributive policies that would improve their well-being.”

      Sure, that’s exactly what I’m saying.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jamelle says:

        exactly, when conservatives talk about who and who isn’t a “real American” thats peachy.
        when a liberal says he thinks liberal policies are a good thing, then he is looking down on others.

        so what is it when a libertarian says that everybody else doesn’t appreciate freedom just right?

        and somewhere a straw liberal sip their latte while driving her volvo to french ballet recitals.Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to greginak says:

          Well that’s not quite, right? You’re not separating normative and positive statements.

          The offence isn’t that Liberal A says Policy X is a good thing. It very well could be. The offence is when Liberal A defines what good is by his/her own standard. In the spirit of Broderist bipartisanship, this is something that Conservatives do all the time too. It often involves the phrases “Judeo-Christian” and “family values.” The thing it is most, however, is neo-imperial cultural snobbery.

          It absolutely reeks of Great Britain’s Christianizing Empire of the 19th century. “We of education and civilization know what you need, even if you say differently. Therefore we shall coerce you into ceding your freedom, take power for ourselves and then make you better in our own image, according to our own ideas of what we think you ought to want.”

          Just because your weapon of choice is taxes, mandates, and subsidies – in other words money – instead of guns, does not change the nature of the political and cultural motivation.

          WRT Jamelle’s example, if people in these conservative districts value a less intrusive government or perhaps less rapid change on social issues, or even more deference to localities and states, then voting Democrat to get health care would be an exceptionally bad bargain for them. If you only analyse the situation in terms of what you think would be good for them, you see “problems” and voting against their own interests. If you analyse the situation in terms of what they think would be good for them, the problem goes away and things make far more sense.

          The problem – as I see it – is that what Jamelle is saying (and you’re defending) is not so obvious moral universalizing. You believe quite passionately in helping people and making certain trade-offs to accomplish that goal. However, by externally developing a conception of what “help” is, you impose your own moral code onto others and in this case extrapolate it out as the basis for government action/intervention.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Kyle says:

            oh sure we’re trying to have a nice little conversation and you have to mention Broder. Did you have to go there???

            I don’t disagree with you. But I would add that everybody does that when discussing their own preferences. Everybody defends their own preferences from their own frame of reference. Everybody’s policy preferences is based on their own moral code and would impose that on others if it was put into place. that is the reality of democratic society.

            What J is saying, and i am defending, is we think a set of policies are a good idea. we think it would benefit some people who don’t agree. I don’t see that as any different from what conservatives, as you point out, or libertarians, or anybody else does. We all propose ideas and wonder why the rest of world doesn’t agree with us.

            It is one of the odd ticks of modern discourse that when liberals do this they are somehow looking down on others.Report

            • Avatar Kyle in reply to greginak says:

              To be honest, it doesn’t help that there are liberals who are looking down on others when they do this. I also don’t think it’s terribly different from the religiously self-righteous, who certainly are looking down on others.

              I imagine part of it is perception, liberals are keenly aware that they’re being talked down to by religious busybodies but just don’t complain about it in the same rhetoric or to the same degree, though the feeling is similar.

              I guess my point is, if you have to wonder why others don’t agree with you, you’re going to make a pretty poor salesman for why they should (agree with you). If the left spent half as much energy understanding scepticism and opposition as they did mocking it to feel more clubby with one another, I think they’d be less resented. If they actually addressed those concerns as opposed to cherry-picking reasons not to, they’d probably be more political successful. Incidentally, if the GOP took this advice wrt young people and minorities, they’d find their way out of the wilderness.

              But, of course, nobody persuades in politics any more, it’s all about shouting down, shouting up, and just plain shouting and we wonder why nothing gets done.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

              Watch the movie “Rabbit-Proof Fence” some afternoon when you’ve got some extra wiskey sitting around and ask yourself the following question:

              “Would those kids have been better off getting a real Western education than being raised like savages by their savage parents?”Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kyle says:

      All of this is apropos of low-tech cyclist’s discussion of “Blue Doggism” or the tendency on part of Blue Dogs to adopt positions and support policies that hurt their districts economically.

      Yeah. I agree, Kyle. You were a lot nicer than I would have been.Report

  4. Avatar jetan says:

    Like I said, I is a hardcore Dimmycrat. But Kyle has a point. What do you do when the dogs won’t eat the dogfood? Not all of these rednecks are stupid. What do they fear about the Democratic platform? Well, I think it’s the old joke that the scariest words in the English Language are “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.” True, that. There is a liberty cost associated with Democratic initiatives. In the case of health care, I think it’s worth it. But it seems absurd to say that the opposition doesn’t have a point.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to jetan says:

      yes Jetan, a line Reagan made up for speech truly are the scariest words. I’m guessing “sorry your health insurance has been canceled, you’ve used up your lifetime limit” or “sorry you have a preexisting condition, so we won’t give you health insurance” are somewhere in the top 100 though.

      Jamelle’s post is basically the thesis from the book What the matter with Kansas? Kyle has reasonable point that some people value cultural issues over economic ones, which is the common response to the issue Jamelle raises. But many conservatives are open about THE CULTURE WAR and all. to some of us it appears they are just waving a bloody shirt to rile up people to avoid issues they either don’t want to face or think they will get whacked on. The undie bunching about socialism and tyranny re: health care reform seems to be right out of that play book.Report

  5. Avatar jetan says:

    Well, greginak, as a Cherokee I actually get something close to socialized medicine. And, as I said before, I am quite in favor of that for everyone.

    I think, however, that Kyle’s point went a bit beyond “undie-bunching.”Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to jetan says:

      undie bunching was referring more to stuff like ” keep the governments hands off my medicare” and health care reform is a hitler inspired socialist takeover of american society that will enslave us all.Report

  6. Avatar jetan says:

    That’s fair enough. And the reference to “What’s The Matter With Kansas ” is quite timely.

    I agree that the public face of the GOP does not want to face up to the harder issues. In fairness, I must concede that a lot of the left would prefer to ” do the shirk” as well.Report

  7. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    A lotta folks in rural America neither need or want the gummint teat. Some understand the moral cost of that teat.Report

    • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Then why can’t we cut off their farm subsidies already?Report

      • Avatar Kyle in reply to JosephFM says:

        Well in part because the biggest supporters of continued farm subsidies are Big Agriculture and the restaurant industry giants. Also, because it keeps food prices in America relatively low, which makes it easier for poor people to eat.

        I’m no fan of the subsidies but I understand why we keep them around and it’s not just because Iowa can make or break a presidential campaign.Report

        • I oppose subsidies in general but agricultural subsidies are a necessary evil.Report

          • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

            Well okay, but then you’re acknowledging that sometimes y’all DO want and need the “gummint teat”, even if only grudgingly.Report

            • I consider it a matter of national security – that’s a long way from welfare checks.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                Isn’t it almost identicle to welfare checks for large farms? Except of course they can get them even when they’re working.

                I find it difficult, no impossible, to believe that without subsidies the farming industry of the US (a country with an absolutely massive quantities of arable land, excellent transportation systems and orderly lawful business environments) would dissappear. I am skeptical even that it would shrink much. I do think we’d probably end up growing more varied crops and probably less corn but it’s inconceivable that our agriculture sector would vanish or that we’d lose the capacity to feed ourselves.Report

              • Subsidies mitigate risk and guarantee over-production, both of which are vital to a national food supply. Without them you would lose more and more farms to overseas production which is extremely harmful to the security of the country.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                They surely do but I still am unconvinced that the USA (and Canada) could actually drop below the ability to feed themselves when faced with overseas competition without subsidies. This is not manufacturing televisions or plastic toys. You only have so much arable land on the planet and North America has a huge amount of it. Cheaper labor has an impact on the margins of some kinds of crops, yes, but the staples that the country would be dependant on in the event of a national security event are almost completely machine harvested. We could drop all subsidies and I imagine we’d still end up growing most of the world’s grains. Our sugar, fruit and vegetable production might migrate offshore but there’s no national security threat represented by being dependant on foreign sweets and lettuce. And if we let other countries grow our luxury crops for us then they’d develop and end up buying more of our products in turn. Not to mention the fact that our agricultural subsidies have been pretty much the primary reason for the third world maintaining similar trade barriers against our manufactured and financial products.
                Just a moment, I’m feeling a bit of vertigo, I never thought I’d be arguing anti-wellfare and pro free markets with you Mike.Report

              • Avatar Kyle in reply to North says:

                North and Mike, but what you’re arguing over here isn’t at all why we keep the subsidies around nor is it what the people who want to keep them around are arguing.

                The subsidies do help smaller, independent farmers stay afloat and yes, agribusiness has gamed it to secure a fairly sizeable chunk of “subsidies” for themselves. Without the subsidies, it’s far more likely that small-scale farming would go from difficult to untenable and industrial giants will swallow the industry whole. North is right, it wouldn’t substantially effect the total output, however, composition would certainly change.

                The biggest effect would be further downstream in the economy, prices on staples would go up. Next, restaurant prices, and non-produce foods that use grain (like corn-fed beef) would rise in price. Then, the fast food giants would see an enormous increase in their costs. Without offsetting measures, the poor would be slammed.

                I’d wager the result would probably be slimmer waistlines and a healthier diet overall, but also more hunger and fewer options for the economically disadvantaged.

                If there were to be one resultant national security threat it wouldn’t be from lack of production but from lack of biological diversity.

                That said, an under-appreciated fact in life is that while Americans may pay more for health care than the rest of the industrialized world we pay substantially less for food.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North says:

                Maybe Kyle, I suspect I’m approaching the point where my expertise is outstripped by my assumptions so I can’t go making any sweeping statements. I am skeptical, however, that an end to agriculture subsidies would end cheap food. Very skeptical. I’m even more skeptical that the end of subsidies would mean less biological diversity. I also think we’re giving really short shrift to the costs of our subsidies. The third world absolutely hammers us with trade barriers in many other sectors due to our agricultural subsidies and we spend millions to billions of dollars to grow crops that our climate is not ideally suited for and lure hundreds of thousands of people from Mexico to provide cheap labor to harvest the same. I think that if we dropped the subsidies and let those products be grown for us in climates that are suited for it and where there are populations that would benefit from the jobs we’d probably end up with better cheaper food and more prosperous neighbors (who’d in turn buy our products).

                Now perhaps the end of subsidies would spell the end of small farms, or perhaps it would spell the end of the non-hippie small farms. I don’t know how much the current organic whole food bunch benefit from subsidies. But those small farms are in no consequential manner essential to national security. So lets call a spade a spade small-subsidized farms are just rural equivalents of Regan’s welfare queens. Which means that rural right-wingers are wagging their fingers around large timbers in their own eyes when they’re squawking about welfare specs in the eyes of their opponents.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North says:

                Oh and while we’re talking about subsidies creating cheaper food we might want to consider sugar. In America we pay the sugar producers to sell us overpriced sugar using price floors and other such nonsense. There’s a reason so much of our candy is made in Ontario or why all our soda is flavored with corn syrup instead of actual sugar. So in the case of sugar our agricultural policy is actually increasing the cost (and by encouraging the use of corn based substitutes it’s diminishing the quality) of our food.Report

              • Avatar Kyle in reply to North says:

                The point about subsidies wrt global trade is certainly worth thinking about, though I don’t see many people across the spectrum being particularly thrilled about the prospect of importing food from abroad.

                I don’t think food would cease to become cheap, at least relatively, but it would be more expensive. So as a policy, ending subsidies is pretty solidly regressive. You’re right that ending subsidies and biodiversity concerns aren’t directly related, but to be honest, ending subsidies would almost certainly kill off non-hippie (I would say niche) small farms, which would lead to more industry consolidation.

                Industry consolidation, thanks to the wonders of genetically modified foods, has resulted in “better” plants but a trend away from crop diversity. So as far as I’m concerned, they might as well be directly linked. I haven’t looked into the issues much since researching the topic a few years ago but very little leads me to believe that Monsanto and ConAgra have decided to embrace crop diversity as a corporate value in the interim.

                You can feel free to correct or dispute this but my understanding of the grassroots support for subsidies came from a.) people employed in agriculture who think it’s free/deserved money and b.) so-called Reagan Democrats. Which is a convenient term for people who are socially conservative and fiscally liberal, aka Iowans and Kentuckians. IIRC some of the best known research showing that large farms receive most of the subsidies has come out of Heritage.

                Personally, I’d favor doing away with agricultural supports (though maybe not cotton, after all the poor should have access to affordable breathable material) and simply replacing a supply-side subsidy with a demand-side one and maybe making sales from food production tax exempt (sales & income, w/federal rebate to states) for small businesses/farms.

                If the right supports corporate welfare, I’d say defence and privatized prisons are their fiscally irresponsible albatrosses. Among other industries….

                (this is actually a fun discussion – agricultural policy doesn’t come up that often.)Report

              • Avatar Kyle in reply to North says:

                that was wayyy too long.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North says:

                Length is an asset not a liability in my book Kyle. We’ve pretty much plumbed the limits of my own knowledge on agriculture subsidies. So for me to make further assertions would involve me venturing into almost pure conjecture which I try to avoid doing unless it’s a subject I’ve read a lot about. Plus the thread layers are all played out. That said I think that there is a lot of ideas to be explored on the subject. Perhaps one of the League will stumble across an interesting article on ag policy to comment on and we can chat it up anew.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                Man, I read the part where someone complained that a comment was way too long and I started salivating.

                Then I saw it was barely bigger than a full monitor screen.

                Y’all are Methodists or something.

                My official libertarian view on farm subsidies is that we need to end them all yesterday, end the Cuban embargo, and bring back Pepsi Throwback for real this time.

                But since we’re all friends here, I’ll say that Agricultural policy strikes me as *EXCEPTIONALLY* sticky. One thing that I didn’t see hammered was that AG subsidies result in, among other things, exceptionally cheap food. Who benefits the most from this?

                The people for whom 50 bucks/week vs. 60 bucks/week at the supermarket is a dealbreaker… which means, pretty much, the poor.

                I’m going to quote Megan McArdle again. A few months (years?) back she was talking about flipping through her mom’s 1950’s Betty Crocker Cookbook and noticed that some recipes were described as “economical”. This is because they only needed two eggs, as opposed to three.

                Imagine living in a world where you said things like “I’m going to make this recipe instead of that one because of that extra egg…”

                That’s a world before farm subsidies. Farm subsidies (in a perfect world, of course, where the laws are written by Congresspeople for the benefit of the Americanpeople rather than examples of regulatory capture on the part of ADM) result in one of the best forms of “welfare”. It makes food affordable for the people most likely to see food affected by changes at the margins.

                In practice, of course, there’s *FAR* too much emphasis on corn, too much emphasis on soy, too much emphasis on beef… which results in the “wrong” foods becoming too cheap (that is to say, nutrition isn’t subsidized at this point but “favorites” are). And we still need to lift the Cuban embargo.

                Getting rid of agricultural subsidies will undistort the market in such a way that will bring a sledge down on a lotta people… and most (all?) of them will be lower-middle class or lower than that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                Oh, crap. Of course it was hammered on. Sigh. Sorry Kyle.

                Thinking about it some more, I also wonder if there weren’t some “unintended consequences” from exceptionally cheap food.

                For example, we (Maribou and I) could eat out every night of the week (not at a classy place, mind) for cheap. Hell, there were weeks that we had. Going to the grocery store takes time, cooking takes time even if we’re just talking Stouffer’s lasagna, food prep of nutritious food takes even longer than that… “How much is your time worth?” and if the answer comes up more than, oh, $20/hour (and there are evenings where it is, lemme tell ya), it’s more economical to run out to Chipotle and pick up a couple of burritos than to make a salad and grill some chicken.

                Getting rid of food subsidies would result in a lot more people cooking at home, which would (I presume) result in them preparing food together, which would result in a strengthening of the family, etc.

                (Again, sorry Kyle. I didn’t read up far enough.)Report

  8. Avatar Herb says:

    Bob Cheeks may be right about the rural folks not wanting the gummint teat, but that doesn’t explain their willingness to vote for politicians who have no problems with corporations sucking on the gummint teat. Farm subsidies anyone? How about a nice tax break for the new Wal-Mart?Report

    • Avatar Mr. Prosser in reply to Herb says:

      True, Herb. It seems to me that often times the teat isn’t even recognized. Tax breaks or the easing of a permitting process, the relaxing of well water quality standards, etc. The teat isn’t always federal either, the state or county employee who agrees with the “feeding at the trough” retoric of the local politician often doesn’t see the irony.Report

  9. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    I think some rural folks interpret the gummint teat, not as a helpful, sustaining nipple, rather as the symbol of corruption regardless of whether that corruption is brought to us courtesy of our local, state, or federal gummint.
    Perhaps, for reasons not all that clear, rural folks inherently know that corruption, no matter who’s interest it serves, inevitably leads to the collapse of culture, civilization, and order.Report

    • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Or….maybe they’re just as corrupt if not more than the rest of us?Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Perhaps they think corporate sucking on the gov’t teat has a logical basis.

      I’ll explain it from my view of abortion. From what I’ve seen, the women most likely to get an abortion are also the women most likely to be willing to limit abortion.

      As a liberal, I feel it’s important to protect choice for them; I’ve seen too much damage done to people made criminal by our drug laws to want to make abortion illegal.

      I sincerely doubt my own children will ever be in the position of an unwanted pregnancy, they’ve lost a family member to AIDS, and are well versed in their own sexual and reproductive health. But they’ve got friends who aren’t. Too many times, I’ve sat with their friends, helping them sort out their lives after developing an STD or an unwanted pregnancy. (Partner abuse, too.) My first response is always, ‘Talk to your parents.” Always, they’ve felt they can’t; one has had me go with them for the conversation.

      So protecting choice, to me, is protecting it even for the people who don’t want it.

      I see much of the same logic in blue-dog and red places. It’s a notion of protecting wealth — what’s yours — in case you ever stumble upon wealth. (Is there a correlation with lottery ticket sales and blue-dog/red congressional districts?)Report

    • Avatar PresbyterArius in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Ah, so a broken political system, damaged economy, flagrant corruption in the DoD, unnecessary wars, ruined communities without jobs and with cheap meth.. no, they don’t matter. But moral corruption, ah, that’s the true destroyer. If we could only preserve the Purity of American Womanhood, ensure that men are Manly Men.. why then, all those pesky problems would just vanish overnight. We better begin distribution of old John Wayne movies stat!Report

  10. I think the best point Jamelle makes is this one:

    “Yes, your average Blue Dog…also represents a conservative district and in all likelihood, is reflecting the preferences of his constituents.”

    I’ve long argued that Blue Dogs are currently the most in-touch with their constituents of any members of Congress. They simply have to be, knowing that their jobs are always hanging on by a thread. Liberals like Jamelle may not like the conservative policies that those voters demand, but at least it’s real democracy.Report

    • hence, dog bites man.

      I don’t think they’re the “most in touch,” but they’re definitely the most concerned members of Congress.Report

      • Avatar PresbyterArius in reply to Kyle says:

        It might be more valuable to see what polls say about policies before we decide that the Blue Dogs do represent their constituents faithfully. My recollection is that a good number of Blue Dogs opposed a public option against the will of their constituents. It’s also noticeable that said Blue Dogs have a way of switching rationales when challenged that leaves their bona fides in distinct question.Report

  11. well, don’t worry — Obama commiserated with the Democrats this morning and let them know he’s aware he’s asking a lot of heavy lifting, but assured them that the ignorant American people will like what’s being forced on them. Thank God for congress and the president and the courage they are showing going against popular opinion in order to do the right thing for us all — Obama even said, “I’ve seen the polls.” — so, even against public opinion, this president is willing to put his career on the line to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. I’ve never been so proud of our government.Report

    • It sounds an awful lot to me like Democrats have determined that they are the ‘Deciders’ and all of us with dumb, redneck, contra opinions should be quiet.

      Translation: If we have Republican president he should listen to the people and do what they want. If we have a Democratic president he should ignore popular opinion and do what he thinks is best for the country.Report

      • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

        Do what he campaigned on you mean.Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

        I think rather the Democrats have determined that for most the contra opinions are the product of a massive onslaught of misinformation and that following passage, when people discover that their healthcare insurance is still sold by a private insurer and yet their coverage has gotten better (no limits and no recision) and Grandma’s not been killed by the state, public opinion will change. Republicans can then run on returning things to the way they were and we’ll see who’s opinion of what is best for the country really is most in line with the populace.Report

        • Hey – you must have read the President’s speech this morning too!Report

        • Avatar mike farmer in reply to 62across says:

          I’m just so glad we have someone in office who is looking after our interests, so that we don’t have to think or give our opinions. This political stuff and healthcare junk is just sooooo confusing. We can all go back to fishing and watching NASCAR.Report

          • Avatar 62across in reply to mike farmer says:

            Perhaps you could walk me along the train of thought that gets you from a President who doesn’t base decision making on the daily tracking polls and one who doesn’t believe people should have opinions. Take it step by step, because I’m not as prone to feeling victimized and oppressed as you tend to be, so I’m apt to get lost along the way.

            I think the Democratic position says quite the opposite. The government (or gummint, if you want to be cute and stir the pot) makes the laws, then the people get to see the laws for what they really are, rather than what Glenn Beck or mike farmer say they are. If the people find the law does not achieve what was promised, they have the capacity to think that through and decide for themselves, then share their opinion by voting the bums out. Isn’t that what happened in 2006 and 2008 after people got to see what Republicans did when they made the laws?

            As for me, I sincerely hope you think and give your opinion to your heart’s content (as will I). I hope you bang your drum loud and proud for no income tax and anti-statism and that over time you can convince enough people of the rightness of your positions that you manage to get enough people elected to office that the laws get made the way you want, so we might have an actual example of how anti-statist governance serves people’s concerns. Then people will be able to see what they actually think about the absence of the state and you’ll have more to argue on than “if only”.Report

      • Avatar PresbyterArius in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

        Would you like to provide some evidence of this, rather than asserting it?Report

  12. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Help me here; am I outta line, engaging in hyperbole, when I say that it appears that the president’s economic policies are designed to cripple/destroy the economic base of the country? Are his radical, leftist policies the vision of the current Democrat party?Report

    • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Bob, you’re engaging in hyperbole, actually, even saying his policies are at all “radical leftist”, and you know that full well.Report

      • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to JosephFM says:

        Thanks, JFM.
        Is he a ‘moderate?’
        Ha, ha!Report

        • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          Not so much a moderate as an left-leaning establishment incrementalist. He’s too cautious and respectful of preexisting power structures to be a radical regardless of what his goals are. I mean, actual leftists are mostly pissed at him for not pushing socialism enough and his administration for being too friendly with Wall Street.Report

          • Avatar mike farmer in reply to JosephFM says:

            The best way to judge whether he is radical or not, in relation to our historical form of government, is what he would if he had the power to do it.Report

            • Avatar JosephFM in reply to mike farmer says:

              The way he’s governed so far though, there is no way whatsoever to tell what that is. Which is sort of the point I was making: what he would do seems entirely dependent on what everyone else wants to do.Report

              • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to JosephFM says:

                Mike has a point. With the power he and the commie-dems do have they’re trying to ram through ‘socialized medicine’, cap n’ trade, global warming legislation, and the rest of the leftist agenda that I’m to lazy to look up.
                Now for this old paleo, that’s ‘radical.’ And, while I realize we gotta a generation gap going on here, you guys DON’T think that’s radical?
                Hello?
                Do you have any idea how deeply this clown’s spending has buried this country…Bush the Younger was a amatuer commie-wanna be compared to our first Kenyan president.
                It’s imperative the gutless Republicrats get enough votes to stop this legislation, assuming they have the backbone to fight…which they usually don’t!
                Thanks guys…I feel better now!Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                Kenyan president? Come now Bob my old shoe, your hyperbole is fun and all that, hell I indulge myself, but you’re straying into birthirsim and once you get yourself mired in there it’s going to be tinfoil hat time. Step away from the ledge my friend!Report

              • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to North says:

                Thanks, North, good morning and I needed that!
                However, my hyperbole tends to ignite the thread and that’s always fun.
                And, you know of course that I do have legitimate questions for the Enlightened One in those areas…what with his commie background (sorry, couldn’t help myself!)
                Hey, I’m taking the Mrs. to see Denzel’s latest, I’ll let you know how it is!Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                Is that Book of Eli or something? Tell us how it is. I’m anticipating schlock but Daybreakers turned out to be a nice surprise.Report

              • Avatar mike farmer in reply to JosephFM says:

                He stated in his campaign what he would do if he could — single payer, tax and trade, financial management of banks through strict regulation, redistribute the wealth — he was transparent, then.Report

              • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to mike farmer says:

                North and anyone else interested, my blog of Denzel’s Book of Eli is here: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/postmodernconservative/2010/01/16/the-book-of-eli/
                Feel free to bitch slap me around but gentlemen, this is the most important movie ever made…I was shaken to my aging core, I wept like a child, I was moved by the power of my God, and when it was over I stood and applauded and the entire theater joined in.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                Thanks Bob, I’ll go see it today.Report

              • Avatar JosephFM in reply to mike farmer says:

                All of which would be so preferable to what we’ve actually got by far, to the point that I don’t believe he really meant it.

                And in light of where we are today, I see none of that as radical whatsoever. BTW Mike, when did you ever care about our “historical form of government”? you mean the one you want to destroy? psh, you calling anything radical is a joke.Report

              • Avatar mike farmer in reply to JosephFM says:

                There’s nothing, necessarily wrong with “radical”, but Obama is radical compared to our original form of government. So was Bush, actually. And Clinton, and Bush, Reagan, sort of, Carter, definitely, so on and so forth since around the time of Wilson.Definitely since the 16th Amendent.Report

              • I’m all for radical peace and radical protection of individual rights.Report

  13. Avatar Nazgul35 says:

    Daily Kos did exactly that (Polled the districts via Research 2000) and found that, in fact, many of these folks are NOT representing the interests of their constituents on this particular interest. They did in fact raise large sums of cash from the insurance lobby, so I guess we need to clarify what you mean by constituents.Report

    • Avatar Kyle in reply to Nazgul35 says:

      Of course that’s with Daily Kos determining what is/isn’t in their interests…so really how is this useful at all?Report

      • Avatar PresbyterArius in reply to Kyle says:

        How about providing proof that the Kos polling was unfair or asked misleading questions? Would specifics be too much trouble for you?Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to PresbyterArius says:

          Missed point much?

          I could poll the residents of San Francisco on support for crime and find that unsurprisingly most don’t support crime. Then I could use the results of that poll to say, well their elected officials aren’t acting in the interests of their constituents on this issue.

          The problem isn’t the poll, it’s with my substituting my definition of “interests and what is for or against them” instead of the subjects’ definitions, which makes my interpretation and allegation functionally meaningless.

          I wasn’t alleging that the Kos polling was unfair or asked misleading questions. I was disputing the accuracy of the external evaluation of what is or is not in someone’s interests.Report

          • Avatar PresbyterArius in reply to Kyle says:

            Kyle, you suggested that Kos somehow determined what was or wasn’t in their interests. How about some proof of this rather grandiose and entirely unsupported statement?Report

            • Avatar Kyle in reply to PresbyterArius says:

              I’m responding to Nazgul’s assertion/premise “Daily Kos did exactly that (Polled the districts via Research 2000) and found that, in fact, many of these folks are NOT representing the interests of their constituents on this particular interest.”

              I didn’t suggest it, Nazgul did and if you have a problem with that, bring it up with them. Frankly, I’d appreciate a link, but I’d also appreciate it if you’d respond to the actual point I’m making or something that I’ve actually said rather than continuing to misread things.Report

              • Avatar PresbyterArius in reply to Kyle says:

                Since I quoted your words, perhaps you could respond to the question, rather than hiding behind snark.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to PresbyterArius says:

                Let’s rewind.

                “Daily Kos did exactly that (Polled the districts via Research 2000) and found that, in fact, many of these folks are NOT representing the interests of their constituents on this particular interest.”

                The response: “Of course that’s with Daily Kos determining what is/isn’t in their interests…so really how is this useful at all?”

                Your argument seems to be that Kyle can’t argue that Nazgul can’t argue that Kos doesn’t know what is/isn’t in the constituents’ best interest without first demonstrating that Kos doesn’t know what is/isn’t in the constituents’ best interest.

                Am I getting that wrong?

                It seems to me that Nazgul made the foundational assumption here and questioning it is fair game.Report

              • Avatar Kyle in reply to PresbyterArius says:

                I can’t really add much to Jaybird’s breakdown (thanks btw) except to say I thought I did address your question. I didn’t suggest the thing you say I am.

                The funny thing here is I couldn’t definitively provide the proof you seek because I don’t know which poll Nazgul was referring to, hence the “it’d be nice to get a link” comment. Even so, your original question addressed an issue I wasn’t, namely the integrity of the poll itself. Which I hadn’t considered an issue at all – (so again, I don’t see how you can ask for proof of assertions I’m not actually making).

                What I took issue with was the analysis of the poll, as presented by Nazgul, which could’ve been their own, or it could’ve been Kos’, I presumed the latter from the wording but am open to correction.

                I can be snarky but in this case I haven’t been and didn’t mean to convey that, only clarity and critique.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to PresbyterArius says:

              I’ve determined that their *REAL* interests and their *STATED* interests are two different things.

              Their *REAL* interests overlap with mine. Their *STATED* interests, where they differ with their *REAL* interests, represent a “false consciousness”, if you will. Manufactured consent on their part. Poor dears.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to PresbyterArius says:

          Would specifics be too much trouble for you?

          That wasn’t necessary. I suggest you read our commenting policy if you haven’t.Report

          • Avatar PresbyterArius in reply to Dave says:

            Dave, are you really so delicate? It was a perfectly polite request, in the context of much windy assertion.Report

            • Avatar Dave in reply to PresbyterArius says:

              Delicate is not a word to describe me and my fellow brothers would laugh at the assertion. I just happen to find windy rhetorical questions to be the sort of thing I expect from the run-of-the-mill internet smacktard, the type of person we don’t want commenting here.

              While you’re feeling excellent and your stress levels are low due to your coffee not spoiling, you’re more than entitled to vigorously attack whatever ideas you please but do so in the spirit of our policies.

              We don’t police every comment but if the first comment from a commenter I have never seen before is what I quoted, I’m going to say something. It has nothing to do with delicate and everything to do with attempting to maintain some level of civility. Assuming you stay and regularly contribute the way others do, a comment like the one you made may have slipped because I don’t want to police every comment (and I don’t) and I know our regular commenters are (mostly) good about keeping it clean. Those who don’t typically get run off and we’re all better off for it.

              Just saying.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Dave says:

                Mr. Civility’s most recent offering on the subject of contemporary disputes over matrimonial law read, in toto, thus:

                People have a low tolerance for the stench of bullshit.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Art Deco says:

                Hokay, fine.

                Art Deco! If you will consent to a debate about gay marriage, I would love to have one. You vs. me. I will be civil as heck. Redstate (before I got banned) civil.

                All you have to do is agree to answer any direct questions I provide. In exchange, I will answer any and all of yours.

                Dave can set up the sidebar thread for it. I’ll probably also agree to any rules you want to throw out there, so long as they aren’t rules like “you aren’t allowed to talk about religious freedom” but, instead, rules like “no swearing, no explicit descriptions of sexual acts, no accusations of perversity”, that sort of thing.

                Deal?Report

              • Avatar Kyle in reply to Jaybird says:

                The only thing missing here is a gif of a tumbleweed.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Kyle says:

                maybe we can wager quatloo’s on the victorReport

  14. Avatar bcg says:

    What happened to Freddie? Is he okay?Report

  15. I think Freddie is working on books or something. But I would lay low right now, too, until Obama does something spectacular.Report

  16. Avatar Trumwill says:

    I once did some work for a Democrat running against a pretty entrenched Republican in a heavily Republican district. Getting the candidate to realize that their district hadn’t been hoodwinked by the right into only thinking that they agree with the Republicans on the issues and that if there is any hope of winning she would have to address their concerns as they were rather than as she believed they were. I was shoved out of the campaign relatively early. She barely got 30% of the vote in a 60/40 district. The Republican was booted a few years later by a Democrat that wanted to win.Report

  17. Avatar JosephFM says:

    Um, question. Anyone here actually vote for, support, even at one point consider oneself a Blue Dog Democrat?

    *raises hand*

    Anyone else? Mark or Erik maybe?

    I honestky think, Jamelle, that there generalizations don’t really add up when you get down to it. It’s not just that Kyle is right about the Thomas Frank argument being condescending, though he is. Some of us thought that the Blue Dogs would attempt to rectify the fiscal recklessness of the Republicans, not consistantly attempt to undercut actual cost-saving measures because they would reduce corporate welfare. There are also quite a lot of people in this country who are anti-abortion but otherwise liberal, yes. As I think Mark reminded us a while back, liberalism and conservatism etc exist as tendencies within all of us and I think relatively few people think ideologically or systematically enough to be consistently one way.

    (incidentally, I also think they’re some confusion of terms here, where you’re lumping conventional or moderate liberals who’ve been “bought out” in with the Blue Dogs, which isn’t exactly right.)Report

  18. The problem with the Blue Dogs is that they are frauds. Most, if not all, of them claim to be fiscal conservatives. How many of them voted against Bush’s wars because he didn’t pay for them? None!! That’s how many. So they are frauds.Report

  19. Avatar jetan says:

    Yeesh. The thing I liked about this blog was, as with Larison’s joint, folks of differing ideology could disagree politely. Based upon what is showing up in my e-mail box it appears I was mistaken. No sweat.Report

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