What Not Getting It Looks Like

Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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65 Responses

  1. Burt Likko says:

    “Obama supports gay marriage and abortion. Do you? Vote Republican.”

    A pitch reminding me of policy areas where I agree with Obama makes me more likely to vote for him and less likely to vote for a Republican Romney. The GOP would have had much, much better luck with:

    Obama raised the national debt by $5 trillion.
    There’s nothing to show for it.
    Vote Republican.

    (Maybe it’s not exactly true, maybe it’s more true than it isn’t. But that hardly matters.)Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I agree, Burt. Playing the parlay on two 50-50 issues makes no mathematical sense.

      Unless this ad is in a black neighborhood, where it makes perfect sense.Report

        • How nice to see you, Dr Saunders, especially in reply to one of my comments!

          However, if you do the math, since the GOP is starting with >10% of the black vote, they have nowhere to go but up.Report

          • That billboard will hardly help.Report

            • Actually, I wonder if the hard push on those issues by the GOP is what has pushed those numbers.

              Could the dislike of the GOP for that demographic be stronger than previous anti-SSM and anti-abortion sentiment?Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Interesting, RTod: But Barack Obama is The Mule. The only one and last of his kind.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                I’m being elliptical, Tod, but interactivity is half the fun. In a “comment culture,” virtually all the fun. Think of it as a Burt/Will puzzler. The game’s afoot, Watson!Report

              • RTod in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                First and last Kenyan plant?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                To be perfectly honest, I don’t know that I’d be able to tell the difference between Romney and Obama if sufficient hints were hidden.

                “A bill raising the debt ceiling was signed by the President.”

                “Fourteen innocent people were killed by a drone attack.”

                “The DEA busted seven medicinal marijuana dispensaries that were operating within state law yesterday.”

                “A former prosecutor from Harvard was nominated to the Supreme Court over objections from the opposite party that the pick was partisan. In the judge’s first case, the judge overturned the Fourth Amendment entirely.”

                “The President reported golfing a two under par.”Report

              • Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                You do have to look hard, Jaybird: the Mexico City policy, DADT, and in 2012, if not in 2009, continued support for health care reform. Otherwise, there’s not much of a difference. Of course, this is the case for pretty much every major Republican and Democrat: abortion, gays, maybe health care, a sliver of difference on taxes, some slight differences on labor, and maybe a bit of difference on race (affirmative action, e.g.).Report

              • No, that’s not it, Tod.Report

              • Robert Greer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                I’m also puzzled. At first I thought it was a joke about the hybrid infertility of mule-attos.*,**

                *(Dude, NOT the preferred nomenclature.)

                **(I don’t actually think TVD would intend this kind of racial remark.)Report

              • I confess confusion too. The Mule was a game-changer, a completely unpredicted and unpredictable phenomenon That Changed Everything. A Great Man, even if he was not particularly praiseworthy in a moral sense.

                Barack Obama is a remarkably skilled campaigner, an adequate-to-mediocre technocrat, and an ideological chameleon. I see no evidence that he is either especially striking as compared to his predecessors nor does he seem to have either the ability or the inclination to divert the flow of history’s river to a direction it would not otherwise have gone. Nor can I appreciate what is meant by “the only one and last of his kind,” since as far as I can tell, he’s pretty much a politician.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Burt Likko says:

                “Fortunately for the Plan, the Second Foundation, which had been formed to correct any damage the Plan sustained, managed to defeat the Mule and was able to reconstruct the Seldon Plan.”



              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I got it.

                I don’t think the GOP is the Second Foundation, here. But I understand why you do. 🙂Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Actually, PatC, it’s been way too long since I read it. But I think without Obama at the top of the ticket now or in a few years, a lot of forces and alignments we take for granted are gonna be up for grabs.

                I could be wrong, but I doubt it. The speakers at the Dem convention are nothing but the 60+ yr old Leftover Left and some utero-activists.

                I think Barack Obama just postponed the inevitable for a few years.Report

              • Well, I’m interested to see how this plays out, because that prediction strikes me as pretty wildly off-base. It’s totally unclear to me how Obama can be seen as having any responsibility for the large structural demographic changes taking place.

                Of course, if your contention is that the GOP is going to do an about-face on immigration policy and gay rights, then sure, I could see some alignments being open to movement.

                Also, “utero-activists” is a term that made me grind my teeth. I’m doing my level best to remain civil, but fair warning.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Google sez I just coined the term. Cool.

                As for the rest, what I’m saying is demographics doesn’t necessarily equal political destiny—or at least soon won’t after Barack Obama passes from the scene. This is the high-water mark for that, I predicts. And although utero-activism = Democrat, if you’ve been following Gallup, the pro-life/pro-choice equation has been trending toward gender neutrality.


              • Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Ryan, potential comebacks:

                “Favors Cells Over People”
                “Forced Pregnancy Advocates”
                “Reproductive Slavery Advocates”
                “Anti-Choice Activists”

              • ktward in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                The speakers at the Dem convention are nothing but the 60+ yr old Leftover Left and some utero-activists.

                I suppose there’s plenty of room for examination viz the collective age/specific ideological bent of Convention speakers.

                But I see nothing remotely “cool” about coining an offensive term that is demonstrably misrepresentative of the general and altogether reasonable principal that what happens in any given woman’s body should be between herself and her Doctor and, if she chooses, her family.

                I mean, we can have honest debate in terms of what pregnancy circumstances should maintain the right to seek legal and safe abortion. I am always willing to have that convo.

                But the GOP today has gone to the furthest gonzo extreme with their Personhood initiatives. Hell, if that ridiculousness can’t pass in MS of all states, I think it’s time for the Personhood folks to cop a f**king clue.

                That there remain plenty of dudes around, like Tom, who still delusionally believe they not only can but should dictate to women what is best for women isn’t, really, much of a revelation.

                We’ve come a long way, baby, just not yet far enough. Working on it.Report

          • Kimmi in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            thank you, Mark Penn.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    I am so very tired of the culture wars.

    I wish that a firm grasp of the 10th Amendment by both parties would resolve them but I know that someone would point out the 14th and thus explain how Team Blue/Red must win the culture war in all 50 states, lest rights be violated.

    When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I’m here a week now… waiting for a mission… getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger. Each time I looked around the walls moved in a little tighter. Report

    • gregiank in reply to Jaybird says:

      yeah it really sucked when the D’s and Liberal’s declared a Culture War. I’m sick of it all also.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to gregiank says:

        sell the house sell the car sell the kids find someone else forget itReport

      • Burt Likko in reply to gregiank says:

        Well, gregiank, you do bypass the fact that liberal artists and academics did initiate the culture war, using their scholarship and their expressions in public media to assail, criticize, subvert, and change the status quo. They started doing this in the Italian Renaissance — arguably, even before that. And they haven’t stopped since.Report

        • gregiank in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Ushhay onway ethay enisanceray ingthay.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

          More Michaelangelos, please.

          Fewer Duchamps. Hell, the worst is that we’ve reached the point where a real Duchamp would be preferable to the cohorts he inspired and the legions inspired by them.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird says:

            The worst aspect of art has always been the Old Trouts whose tastes are marching headlong into the last century. Michaelangelo had a few unkind words for Pope Julius II

            Signor, se vero è alcun proverbio antico,
            questo è ben quel, che chi può, mai non vuole.
            Tu hai creduto a favole e parole,
            e premiato chi èl del ver nimico.

            My lord, if there’s any truth to the ancient proverb
            it has to be this, those who are able, don’t want to.
            You gave credence to fairy tales and blabbering,
            and rewarded those who were the enemies of the truth.

            -translation mineReport

            • Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

              The fact that Michaelangelo complained about Popes not understanding him doesn’t exactly map 1:1 with Duchamp laughing about folks not understanding Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy?.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird says:

                The Old Trouts ran the show for long enough. Popes and prelates and princes commissioned soft-core porn and contemplative statues for their tombs and all manner of sugary flub-dubs to adorn their palaces and churches and gardens.

                Here’s the key to Why Not Sneeze:

                Duchamp was having a bit of fun. The cubes look like sugar. They’re not. They’re made of marble. Rose Sélavy was Duchamp’s transvestite alter ego.Report

    • Ryan Noonan in reply to Jaybird says:

      I don’t understand this sentiment at all. The history of American politics – if not all of politics ever – is culture war. And the only thing the 10th Amendment does is fracture the exact same argument into 50 pieces. I understand why we might prefer 50 tiny tyrannies over 1 large tyranny, but that’s an operational argument, not a moral one. At the end of the day, the Republican Party is wrong about gay rights, and refusing to push back against that because it upsets swing voters is a pretty fucking shabby way to treat gay people.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

        The argument is *ALWAYS* for one of local control when there is an overwhelming majority against… thus allowing for pockets of progressive thought. Then, when progressive thought has a sizable minority, the discussion turns to one of human rights, and then if we’re lucky enough to turn into a majority, it turns into the importance of representing the will of the people, without which, government is unjust… which, of course, the argument embraced not even decades before in this case becomes an argument that only bad people would use for bad reasons.Report

        • Ryan Noonan in reply to Jaybird says:

          That sounds like what I said it was: an operational argument. It doesn’t refute the bare fact that we have a culture war because culture matters. Frankly, when it comes down to an argument about whether we’re going to balance the budget vs. whether we’re going to respect the humanity of gay people, it’s amazing you can even find a sizeable minority who gives a shit about the budget.

          And, as I’ve said about a hundred times, when gay marriage comes to Mississippi, it’ll be because the federal government orders it. With guns, I guess, if you like the libertarian approach to freaking about things in the dumbest way possible. No amount of local control is going to secure the equal rights of gay Mississippians.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

            Frankly, when it comes down to an argument about whether we’re going to balance the budget vs. whether we’re going to respect the humanity of gay people, it’s amazing you can even find a sizeable minority who gives a shit about the budget.

            Watch what happens in Europe over the next few years. Keep a “more progressive vs. less progressive” checklist.

            While it’s certainly true that culture is the sea we swim in, there is stuff that culture itself rests on as well. But I won’t be able to explain that half as well as Italy will.Report

  3. Tom Van Dyke says:

    Heh, MarkT, that stretch of I-95 is exactly where I’m from. That Bucks County—Levittown—congressional district has been swinging 50.5-49.5 for years. This could hardly help.

    Good essay. We call it the Stupid Party without irony.Report

    • Thanks, Tom. One of the pair is sort of on the edge of North Philly, which is increasingly a black neighborhood, but far enough out that the overwhelming majority of eyes that will see it are going to be heading to or through MontCo and Bucks, with the majority of those going “through” heading for Hunterdon, Somerset, and northern Mercer counties in NJ.

      The other one is a few miles north of the city limits, on the southbound side, so you’re looking almost entirely at suburban commuters.Report

  4. Dan Miller says:

    “I remain hopeful that at some point before 2016, the GOP will start actually listening to its new breed of Northeastern politicians about what actually matters to the rest of the country.”

    Why would you be hopeful of that? After all, this would lead to better fortunes and more electoral wins for people who, whatever their emphasis, are opposed to gay marriage, or at least are coalition partners with those who do. President Christie may not be as outspoken as Senator Akin, but a Christie win is surely more congenial to Akin and grants him more influence than President Deval Patrick would.Report

  5. Kitty Cahalan says:

    I’m a former resident of Montgomery County, proud home to tiny but exceedingly liberal colleges like Bryn Mawr (my alma mater) and Haverford, and Villanova up the road (not quite as liberal, but it’s no Oral Roberts U.), and a ton of smaller colleges (and Swarthmore isn’t too far from Montgomery County, either). The Main Line’s affluence does lend itself to more fiscal conservativism than Philly proper, as you say, but I’m pretty flummoxed at the tone deaf nature of this ad. Someone in Bob Kern’s office is probably doing a as we speak.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to Kitty Cahalan says:

      Hello fellow Seven Sister!

      I am a Vassar alum. Of course we are the Seven Sister that went co-ed. I still get surprised looks when I tell people I went to Vassar though.

      But overall, your post is spot on. Montgomery and Bucks County are the type of formally Rockefeller Republican suburbs that the GOP is losing because of archly right-wing social policies.

      Of course the best thing about the Mainline is still Uncle Willy doing weird and wonderful things in the pantry.Report

  6. Honeyboy Wilson says:

    They may have gotten it wrong in 2004, but I’m pretty sure Pennsylvania voted for the winner in 2000, if you know what I mean (5 to 4 coups don’t count).Report

  7. Kitty Cahalan says:

    That last line again:
    Someone in Bob Kern’s office is probably doing a *headdesk* as we speak.Report

  8. BachFan says:

    One of the biggest hospitals in Montgomery County, Abington Memorial, just had a merger completely torpedoed by the community — only 3 weeks after the merger announcement — because its much smaller (and unprofitable) Catholic merger partner was forcing AMH to discontinue abortion care.

    If the national GOP thinks that the way to get more votes in MontCo and Bucks is to whine about abortion rights and gay marriage … well, they’re sadly mistaken.Report

  9. RTod says:

    Damn it, Mark! You said what I was saying below better!Report

  10. Will Truman says:

    I will defer to your judgment on the politics of Pennsylvania and the lack of wisdom in putting the sign there, but…

    And so, nationally, it would seem, the Republican Party* remains fairly uninterested in what actually matters to voters outside of the party’s rural strongholds. […] I remain hopeful that at some point before 2016, the GOP will start actually listening to its new breed of Northeastern politicians about what actually matters to the rest of the country.

    I can interpret this in a couple of ways, and so I may be misinterpreting, but the juxtaposition of these things lends me to believe that you’re looking at a Rural Voters vs. The Rest of the Country. In Pennsylvania, it strikes me as credible that this is a Rural Pennsylvanian vs Rest of Pennsylvania issue, but nationally speaking, these are issues with solid mainstream support for each party’s position on both of these issues.

    So, while I think it’s a fair statement on the politics of Pennsylvania and Philly, I just want to note that it is a different picture nationally. This comment is more critical than I want it to be. It just touched on something of a nerve and I can’t quite frame my response the way that I want to in my mind.

    (Happily, the GOP is losing ground fast on gay marriage. On abortion, the anti-abortion movement is either improving its position or staying constant.)

    (There is the question of whether or not it’s fair to say that Obama “favors abortion” – I would argue it’s unfair – but that’s a separate question to me.)Report

    • In Pennsylvania, it strikes me as credible that this is a Rural Pennsylvanian vs Rest of Pennsylvania issue, but nationally speaking, these are issues with solid mainstream support for each party’s position on both of these issues.

      Actually, I should have phrased that to say “Opposition to abortion and gay marriage is a mainstream position and not just in rural areas, just as support for abortion rights and gay marriage are so outside liberal enclaves.”Report

      • True, Will. As 50-50 issues, each side can claim the “mainstream.” And do.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yes! This sign goes in PITTSBURGH, not in Philly.
        Might still lose you votes, but DAMN, put it where people are Catholic!Report

        • bookdragon in reply to Kimmi says:

          I’m in the middle of Montgomery County. Believe me, people are Catholic here – however they’re not Rick Santorum!Catholic. My Catholic neighbors are more Nuns-on-the-Bus!Catholic. Of course there are also a fair number of ‘stay at home on Sunday but send a check in so the kids can go to the nice parochial school nearby’ type Catholics.

          Putting all RC’s in one box is about as sane as thinking all Episcopalians are the same.Report

    • This actually is, more or less, something I’ve been kicking myself for not being more clear about. I wasn’t trying to portray this as something where there is of necessity an adversarial, inter-regional relationship. It’s more that someone who is pro life or anti-SSM in the suburbs is more likely to view those issues as relatively low priorities that aren’t going to affect their vote much one way or another; that is probably less likely to be the case for someone in the suburbs who holds the opposite position.

      For instance, outside of Philly and suburbs, most of PA is fairly conservative, socially speaking (and here I admit, I’m speaking more outside my knowledge), even in areas where the Dems tend to perform reasonably well. I’d even go so far as to wager that the Philly suburbs, despite being a “swing” region, are the most socially liberal places in the state.

      So Dems are historically able to do well, or reasonably well, in urban areas even when they are socially conservative neighborhoods (I think this may be starting to change, but that’s another issue, and a fairly ugly one at that), while Republicans very much dominate the rural areas.

      The point is that it’s as much or more an issue of prioritization than it is an issue of any kind of antagonistic relationship.

      And so, I think it’s broadly true nowadays that in any given state, the suburbs are the battleground, even if in a given state it’s a battleground held primarily by one or the other party, while it’s also broadly true that in any given state, urban areas will be Dem strongholds, while rural areas will be GOP strongholds.Report

      • IANAP (where “P” stands for “Pennsylvanian”) but I am assured by actual Pennsylvanians that a substantial portion of the state has quite a lot in common in a cultural sense with Appalachia. In my travels to places like Harrisburg, Bethlehem, Gettysburg, and Pittsburgh I have felt a lot like I have felt in parts of Kentucky and Virginia. While the bulk of the area is rural, it is a relatively densely-inhabited kind of ruralia, as the inhabitants have had hundreds of years to figure out how best to use and live on the land, and there is considerable pride of place developed from that. This is distinguished from my visits to Philadelphia and its surrounding areas, which are very much East Coast urban/suburban in feel, and to Lancaster County, which stuck me as mainly a tourism playground after I saw the allegedly Mennonite carriage-driver was wearing a digital watch and the roller coasters at the Hershey theme park.Report

        • NewDealer in reply to Burt Likko says:

          “Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama inbetween”-James Carville.

          I have friends from both the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia-metro areas, the nickname that they give their homestate is “Pennsyltucky”

          That being said, the Amish make some of the best ice cream I have ever eaten in my life, the Barnes Foundation is an A plus collection of art, and Bucks County is quite lovely in the Autumn. I really like the Philadelphia area.Report

          • Kimmi in reply to NewDealer says:

            That’s from a “pennsyltucky politics” column in the Patriot-News (which publishes out of the midstate).

            my friend the political… isn’t allowed to call it Pennsyltucky anymore (I think that was after Obama won.)

            Philadelphia style icecream is indeed an American treasure.Report

          • Pinky in reply to NewDealer says:

            I think that misses the urban/rural divide that you find everywhere in the US. There are parts of rural Connecticut that would remind you of Kentucky. There are also parts of Louisville that would remind you of Philadelphia. I think that Northerners can fall into the trap of thinking rural=Southern=inferior, and in so doing they miss a lot of nuances.Report

        • Kimmi in reply to Burt Likko says:

          There’s real amish north of pittsburgh. The amish in Lancaster county are real assholes, to hear the locals talk. (everybody loves the mennonites…)Report

      • Mark, I completely get what you’re saying now. Thanks for the clarification.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Will Truman says:

      This article misses one of the quirks of Pennsylvania politics. For a number of reasons, the state never sorted out pro-choice D / pro-life R like the rest of the country. Just because there’s a 50/50 split on a social issue, that doesn’t mean that 100% of Democrats in PA are going to be on the liberal side, and 100% of Republicans on the conservative side. Downtown Philly, maybe. The rest of the state, no. I’d go so far as to say that this is probably the only stretch of I-95 north of Virginia where this sign makes sense.Report

  11. damon says:

    The “culture war” will continue as long as everyone who thinks the other guy should be doing/acting like they want him to act and is willing to impose their will via force. In other words, for the forseable future.

    I refuse to support this model.Report

  12. bookdragon says:

    It is baffling and would certainly work against the Republicans in my part of Montgomery Co.

    Otoh, our Dem Senator is Catholic and moderately pro-life (opposes abortion personally, doesn’t think he should force his religious views on others politically – I wish there more like him on that).Report

  13. KV says:

    One of these billboards is about half a mile from my house in Northern Virginia. Every time I’m stopped at that light and look over and see it on my left, I read the “Do You?” and find myself yelling aloud, “F$%^ YES, I do!”

    Idiots. Thanks for continually firing me up to vote against your sorry asses, Republicans!Report