On why I registered to be a Republican this morning…

[Note: Post updated below]

Like so many other broken camel backs, for me the last straw was shockingly minor:

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

The above is the response by the Romney team to the terrible and senseless killings in Lybya this morning; it was issued immediately after the tragedy.  Predictably, the section I highlighted turned out to be a complete fiction, rendering the entire statement void of any value other than a continued push to win power by presenting the President as an America-hating terrorist sympathizer.  Worse, it was irresponsibly done in the middle of an emerging international crisis.  Same old, same old, right?  Probably.  But for me, it was that last grain of sand that tipped the scales. It moved me to go online, download a voter registration card, and change my party affiliation.

By sometime next week, once that registration has been processed by the State of Oregon, I will officially be a member of the Oregon Republican Party.

Let me explain.

Since I have been of voting age, I have been a registered Democrat.  Initially, that actually meant something to me.  As a young man I thought of the Democratic Party in a manner similar to the Los Angeles Dodgers: They were my team, and I was backing them regardless of their chances, their play or their roster.  Years of watching the Party eventually cured me of that; over the years I came to realize that they were as self-serving and corrupt as the party they opposed.  Their actions since I have come to that realization have only confirmed this observation. [1]

Over the past decade or so I have considered myself an Independent; I have voted for Democrats in two of the last three Presidential elections, and Republicans in two of the past three Gubernatorial elections.  I have never been willing to officially register as an Independent, however, because by doing so in Oregon I would not be permitted to vote in the primary elections.  So while I have not necessarily felt like a Democrat, remaining so has simply been the path of least resistance.

So why oh why, you might be forgiven for asking, am I now – after all of these years – opting to throw in with the GOP?

Simple:

Being a principled pragmatic, I do not believe that it is the purity of a particular ideology that leads our nation to its greatest moments; rather, it I believe is that tension between conflicting points of view, toward a common goal, that brings out the best in us.  The modern-era United States has always worked best, in my opinion, when the progressives’ push to reach for the stars has been tempered by the conservatives’ grounding in fiscal reality.  Or, if you prefer, when the conservatives’ recognition that traditions anchor us to a sense of community and shared values is challenged by the progressives’ Quixotic and inspirational insistence that we can be better.  I want a John F. Kennedy to tell us we can – and should! – put a man on the moon; I want a Ron Paul to ask us how exactly we plan to pay for such a venture.  I want a Ralph Nader to show us where we are falling down on our promise to our most basic ideals; I want a Ronald Reagan to show us where we shine brighter than all those that have come before us.  For much of my adult life, I’ve usually been able to count on the two major political parties – corrupt, money grubbing whores though they may be – to ensure that these yins and yangs unwittingly steered our ship toward something worth sailing to.

Today, however, I feel like we only have one side that’s keeping up their end of that bargain.

This November I will be asked by the GOP to vote for Mitt Romney to be the next President and lead us into the future.  And though that candidate drops lots of soundbites about limited government and fiscal restraint, the platform he has been forced into by his party is both expensive and radical.  Though he harps on the deficit, he is proposing to increase military spending $1 trillion, and is promising lush benefits with social security and Medicare – all while cutting taxes.  His method for making the math work is a Dukakis-like assurance that with a few tax loopholes cut here and there it will all just kind of work itself out – all the while refusing to identify even one of those loopholes.  He’s been hawkish on the concept of a pre-emptive war with Iran.  Though he campaigns hard on the country’s inability to afford Obamacare, he has stated that there are some parts he finds terrific, such as the pre-existing conditions sections – the very sections that make it cost so much.

In fact, almost everything Romney campaigns on strikes me as endemic of today’s GOP: heavy on tactics, light on values.

For example, since the Catholic-employer contraception kerfuffle, the GOP has been telling anyone that will listen that it takes the position it does because an American’s religious freedom is the most sacred and bedrock of all liberties.  For them, abandoning even an ounce of religious freedom is the non-starter, the hard line that they must draw in the sand.  You hear this so often these days, in fact, that you’d be forgiven for not remembering that it was just a year ago that these same Republicans were the ones that called for government interference to stop houses of worship being built all over the country.  From the GOP’s perspective, religious freedom was less important prior to last winter because putting the government’s power over that freedom led to votes; it’s been the most important thing ever since last winter because opposing the government over the faithful led to votes.  (I think it’s a good bet that in the aftermath of what happened in Libya this morning, we might well see yet another reversal on the foundational importance of religious liberty before November.)

That’s not holding dear the first amendment as a fundamental value – it’s using it as an expedient political tactic.

I could go on and on, (and onand on…) but I won’t.  Suffice it to say that I agree with Tim that our country needs a force to back due process; likewise we need a force to fight for fiscal restraint in actual deed and not just rhetoric.  We need a conservative party that looks to curry favor from those scientists, mathematicians and economists that temper the grand ideas of the Democrats, not one that panders to attorney groups that attack public libraries because Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire promotes witchcraft.  The lofty schemes of progressivism need to be honed by sound opposing reason, not bumper stickers and talk radio.

Because of this, I have decided to join the Oregon Republican Party.

My effect will be miniscule, and because I’m me and today’s GOP seems more concerned with driving out “RINOs” than building consensus… well, lets just say I’m not exactly waiting for a Thank You card.  But I’m tired of watching the party that should be anchoring my state and my country in a badly needed realism jetting lightspeed in bat-shit crazy trajectories as they attempt to chase birth certificates, magical lady parts and some de jour version of the illuminati.

So I’m going to be a Republican, and I’m going to cast my primary vote for the most fiscally conservative, grounded in reality, non-magical believing candidate that’s thrown his or her hat into the ring.  I trust the Democrats in Oregon to put up a quality candidate with Big Ideas, even if many of those ideas are terrible.  I don’t trust Republicans in Oregon to put up a quality candidate to be the adult voice of reason that demands careful consideration of those Big Ideas.  So I’m going to make sure that someone who would be that candidate gets at least one vote.

Mine.

 

[1] For example: I don’t know that it was a story of note outside of the Pacific Northwest, but for decades the most popular and powerful mover and shaker in Oregon’s democratic party was a man named Neil Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt’s resume highlights include serving as Mayor of Portland, Governor of Oregon and the US Secretary of Transportation under Carter.  In 2004 local reporters, investigating a series of Goldschmidt’s conflicts-of-interests, uncovered information about crimes far worse. Goldschmidt, it turns out, had been caught having coerced a 14-year old neighborhood girl into sex for at least a year in the 1970s.  Worse, it turned out that this information was well known to many in the Democrat Party of Oregon, including Bernie Guisto, the county sheriff at the time of the rape, and Ted Kulongowski, the Governor of Oregon at the time the story broke.

________________________

Update: I said in this post that I wasn’t exactly sure exactly how welcome I’d be, what with me being me and all.  Yet hours within posting, Allen Alley – Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party – took the time to comment below and welcome me.  As my father would say, Mr. Alley is a gentleman and a scholar.  Kudos to him, and many thanks as well.

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180 thoughts on “On why I registered to be a Republican this morning…

    • Being a principled pragmatic, I do not believe that it is the purity of a particular ideology that leads our nation to its greatest moments; rather, it I believe is that tension between conflicting points of view, toward a common goal, that brings out the best in us.

      Once again, Tod has laid out why I consider myself a principled pragmatic as well. Though, like you, I’m unlikely to follow Mr. Kelly into the chaos that is the current Republican Party, this grand project will always require people on the Democratic side equation working to ensure they are as true as possible to their part of the balancing act.

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  1. I left the Democrats in 2008 despite liking Obama, never considered the Republicans (because doing so would be insane), and now vote for Independent local candidates whenever the opportunity arises, not because they’re necessary goood – I may have once cast a vote for some lunatic who ended up being a vague 9/11 truther I think – but at least I wasn’t voting for any of the big ticket losers.

    Your idea is more under-handed, which is why I endorse it wholly.

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  2. Nader’s a great example of how we fall down on our most basic ideals. fucking scab.

    Other than that: great piece. I’ll join if there’s ever a reason (a competitive primary), and I mean it. Until then I’m in the “vote out our mayor” party, along with the rest of my ward.

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  3. A) That is an awesome picture, and would be worth reading the post whatever you had actually said (since you’re constitutionally incapable of writing anything so bad that it could possibly offset such an awesome picture). So thanks for the pick.

    B) Second, I admire and respect your decision. Since there’s no way in hell I’d ever join out local libertarians, maybe I should join our local Republicans. I doubt I will, since I’m just not really a joiner, and I know exactly how much they will infuriate me, but maybe I should. (Our local Dems are, in fact, not too bad–the benefit of living in a heavily Republican county tends to be well-grounded Dems.)

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  4. Here’s the thing: your description of Republican mirrors mine almost perfectly.

    But I worry that is too simple. I worry that the conservatives/Republicans amongst us will point out the echo chamber we inhabit and are recreating here, where we don’t know any real Republicans and instead overstate the importance of bit players and “infotainers”. That we are somehow missing the forest for a few gnarly trees.

    I worry about this in part because I do fear living in bubbles and echo chambers. I also worry about this because if this post is indeed right, at least in it’s description of the Republican Party (and not necessarily all Republicans or conservatives), then things are a lot worse than I want to pretend they are.

    The problem is… try as I might… I can’t find much real evidence to the contrary. Sure, there are quality politicians within the GOP and a great number of intelligent, rationale, reasonable Republicans who do exactly what you argue the GOP should be doing. And my hunch is you’ve tried even harder. And you still come to this conclusion.

    What the fish, man?!?!

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    • I know people situated relatively high up. And they know other people.
      A good portion of the Republicans in Congress are dingbat crazy.
      As in “whatever preacherman says is better than the subjectmatter experts.”
      As in “economic terrorists” (I love quoting republican treasury secretaries!)

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      • A good portion of the Republicans in Congress are dingbat crazy.

        My perception is that there’s a growing disconnect between the Republicans involved in the federal government and those in state government. With the disconnect peaking in states that are competitive about which party is going to run things (so California’s state Republicans and Texas’ state Republicans are also dingbat crazy, but for different reasons). Here in Colorado, where control has gone back and forth over the last decade, there seem to be a substantial number of Republicans in the state government who are at least sane. If I use the state budget process as a gauge, the two parties here both recognize the restrictions and end up in pretty much the same place when push comes to shove.

        I attribute it to the fact that at the state level, the Party has to deal with the realities of actually governing. It’s one thing to vote for cutting Medicaid in Congress; it’s another thing entirely to be in a state legislature that’s having to make hard decisions about what services will be cut and for whom. A friend in Texas tells me one of the hot rumors there is that the major hospital chains have spoken unofficially with Gov. Perry and the legislative leaders, and told them that if the state government decides to turn down a billion dollars per year of federal money, a good portion of which would reimburse hospitals for what is now “charity” care, the chains will have to think seriously about whether they want to continue to do business in Texas.

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        • It seems to me that, post the GOP’s 2010 “wave”, GOP-led states (GOP guv, GOP-majority legislatures) are now enacting wherever possible National GOP batshit policy.

          You’re in CO, and I’m not sure CO’s a good example of your point since it has a Dem governor.

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          • Respectfully, I disagree. IMO, states have done little or nothing with the truly dingbat crazy policy proposals, even when it was within their power to do so. None that I know of have made big tax cuts. None that I know of have threatened to default on their debt, trashing their credit ratings. None that I know of have withdrawn from any of the welfare programs — and TTBOMK, food stamps (excuse me, SNAP) is the only such program that is mandatory. Several have looked at withdrawing from Medicaid, and decided to stay in. Yes, they’re pushing around the edges; but they’re not doing the truly insane stuff.

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            • Poor wording on my part. You’re right, of course, that the extremist policies in question on the national level are different from those at the state level, simply because Fed and state laws do largely different things. More correctly, my point was that all of these policies are strategically part of overall GOP policy. And much of it is nuts.

              For instance, unlike at the Federal level, nearly all states are compelled by their own state laws to have a balanced budget which is why they aren’t cutting taxes. In fact, some number of states took Fed stimulus money and instead of using it for econ projects as intended, they used that money to get themselves out of the red.

              Among GOP-led states is where we’re seeing the controversial Voter ID laws and roll purges, union-busting, refusing to expand Medicaid under ACA or refusing to set up the exchanges, personhood amendments or other extreme assaults to reproductive rights, etc. I don’t keep up on CO state politics (even though my son lives in Boulder), but I do know that you have a Dem gov so it’s unlikely y’all are experiencing much of this state-level craziness even if your legislature is perhaps GOP-led. http://www.alternet.org/why-gop-getting-away-extremist-laws?paging=off

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              • CO is exactly the kind of state where my thesis says that there should be maximum separation between the state and national Republican actions. Going into the 2010 elections, the D’s held the House, Senate and Governorship. The CO Republicans started with a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor who was, from my left-center perspective, someone I could live with and I thought he was likely to win. Instead, they made a series of moves, each descending farther into dingbattery (is that even a word?). Despite the national mood, they got crushed in the race for Governor, nearly losing their major-party status, got a one-seat majority in the House (by a few hundred votes), and left the Senate in D hands.

                Since then, the Republican House has compromised on things like a tougher state air-pollution plan and on setting up a PPACA health exchange. This is a state they can win; but 2010 demonstrated that they can’t do it unless they put up enough sane candidates and deviate from the national party position on a number of issues.

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                • How’s about PA? Ohio? Wisconsin? Sorry, just because you’ve got decent folks don’t mean that the dingbats aren’t in crazytown.
                  My governor extorted money out of folks for the favor of covering up for a pedophile.
                  He’s not well liked anymore.

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                • Maybe we’re simply misunderstanding one another.

                  My point was this: CO is not a GOP-led state. (Thanks for the confirmation.) Consequently, CO is not seeing the kind of nutty legislation that seems to be the hallmark of post-midterm GOP-led states.

                  If your Gov and Senate had flipped to Red (especially the Gov), I suspect you’d be seeing a very different version of the “bipartisan cooperation” you are now applauding. And I bet you wouldn’t like it.

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            • Michael, suggest you look at Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin and about a dozen other states with Republican governors before you make that statement. Or do I have to point the specifics out to you one by one? If so I’ll concede the point, not because I’m wrong (I’m right) but because I don’t have the time to spoon feed you information.

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        • It’s not so much about “defaulting” to the batshit viewpoint, it’s about recognizing the states where said batshit is being legislated into state law. It’s proving problematic for the batshit crowd on some levels, yes, but it seems that, post 2010, extraordinary vigilance is now required when it comes to watching GOP-led states.

          Look. I’m no more fond of echo-chambers than you are. But facts is facts, and there’s some crazy stuff going down in many of our states right now. It’s perhaps an homage to the States Rights crowd that State laws affect our individual well-being every bit as deeply as Federal laws.

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          • Oh, I don’t doubt that crazy stuff is happening. But if the best we can come up with is, “Well, dems people be crazy!”… where does that leave us? I want to believe that many of them, ideally most of them, are not crazy but simply see the world through such a different prism that I can’t understand it. Which doesn’t mean I’m incapable of understanding it, only that I have a long way to go. And I’d like to move down that path, if at all possible.

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            • But if the best we can come up with is, “Well, dems people be crazy!”… where does that leave us? I want to believe that many of them, ideally most of them, are not crazy but simply see the world through such a different prism that I can’t understand it.

              Is that really the way you view the positions of folks like Tod? That we’re all just saying without any basis, “dems people be crazy!”

              GOP legislators all over the nation–in States and in D.C.–are advocating positions that are decidedly anti-science and anti-rights. There’s no reason for me to outline the details here, on my little comment, it’s already been outlined to death at this very blog among a gazillion other places.

              Look. I’d like to “understand” too. But some shit simply defies understanding. We have every good reason to expect that our legislators, at every level, are making decisions that are highly informed. Collectively, that is not happening among our GOP electeds on either the state or national level.

              You can try to “understand” these folks all you want. I simply want them out of office.

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              • KT-

                I certainly don’t think that Tod or most other reasonable folks here are simply saying, “Dem’s be crazy,” and dismissing the GOP out-of-hand. And I applaud Tod for his efforts here, as I think implicit in his approach here is somewhat of an attempt to understand from within. Maybe. Even if not, I don’t mean to criticize Tod or that which he does here. I just think that the best way to get the GOP back to doing what they ought to be doing does not involve referring to them at “bat shit crazy”. Even if they are bat shit crazy.

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                • I just think that the best way to get the GOP back to doing what they ought to be doing does not involve referring to them at “bat shit crazy”. Even if they are bat shit crazy.

                  I get that. I do. But here’s how I see it:

                  If we’re talking about describing today’s GOP-at-large, I have no problem with using the term batshit crazy. I mean, the sky is blue.

                  If we’re talking about ways to nudge the GOP back to sanity, then admittedly that’s a much longer conversation that requires more substance. (Right here and right now, to my mind, it means sending them into the wilderness for a good long while so they can get their dang act together. After all, if they win elections in their current incoherent state, then there exists no reason for the GOP to change anything, right?)

                  Tod’s re-registration as GOP is useful: whatever change happens within the GOP, it’ll have to come from inside the party. In the long term, I’m totally rooting for the GOP. Short term? Not so much.

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            • Nobody has to troll Palin. She’s such a media whore that whenever she’s not getting enough attention, she posts something outrageous on Facebook or makes some kind of ridiculous statement on Fox or undertakes some kind of USA bus tour where she demonstrates how little she knows about American history.

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              • Just windows, KT, and lots of ’em. And no, I don’t troll the worst of the left to make my side look better. I look at the best of both, not the worst. When Barack Obama beat John McCain, I was like, sure.

                I think the left is wrong on principle and that their vision of the good society is unaffordable. But besides their obsession with demonizing their opponents [say, me] and moral self-aggrandizement, I think were all the same, that we all have feet of clay, all just people.

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                    • My point is that you don’t recognize that your criticisms of the left can just as easily be used to criticize the right. Heck, the right has practically made a cottage industry out of painting the left (and especially our President) as Un/Anti-American.

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                    • KT, I do recognize your point in the larger human sense, that we all suck fairly equally. I feel very strongly about that, that we lie, cheat and steal [and worse] regardless of party. Of course. We need only view the tabloids or the lawsuits to see that the preacher is a sinner just like everyone else—there is no moral superiority.

                      But Republicans are conducting a war on women, Obama opponents are racist, people alarmed at terrorism are Islamophobic, gay marriage opponents are bigots, black conservatives are Uncle Toms. Ad nauseum.

                      C’mon, KT. This isn’t about policy or even the “un-American” bleat [which I might stipulate your way in a separate discussion]. It’s about questioning the human decency of the other fellow. It’s a separate category, a specific type of slander, and the door does not swing equally both ways on it.

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                    • It’s about questioning the human decency of the other fellow.

                      Yes, Tom. That’s just right. You’ve got it now. Here’s one way to look at it: if a large swath of people think that another group aren’t decent people, then what’s the best explanation to account for that? Is it, a) that lots of people of all stripes thinks that the war on women, the appeals to racial resentment, the institutional obstructionism when Dems are in power, the hypocrisy, whining, lying, bullshitting, etc., are relevant evidence on the human decency evaluation, or b) that the whole distrust and dislike of the GOP is a constrict of the liberal media?

                      I mean, conservatives are turning on the GOP at a regular clip. Hell, even Tod is so pissed off he’s decided to go on a suicide mission to salvage whatever dignity the party might have once had.

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                    • No, I should think not. Unless you want to dig deeper into what you mean by “human decency” than an assertion that others ought to attribute it to you because you say you’re decent.

                      Aren’t there any criteria here, Tom? Some minimal conditions that can be clearly articulated with supporting evidence that they are met?

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    • “I worry that the conservatives/Republicans amongst us will point out the echo chamber we inhabit and are recreating here, where we don’t know any real Republicans and instead overstate the importance of bit players and “infotainers”. That we are somehow missing the forest for a few gnarly trees.”

      I think you’re missing an important part of context here. The problems with the lib echo chamber do relate to their misunderstanding of the GOP, but that’s just a small part of it.

      What’s much worse is their misunderstanding of the world, and frankly their lack of curiosity in the matter, which is odd for how worldly they like to consider themselves (at least the sort who is likely to post here).

      You watch the Obama campaign, and basically his conduct in office since the midterms. You would never know unemployment or debt is a serious problem in America or anywhere else, and accordingly no idea about what to do about it. But the one thing I didn’t anticipate is how much the libs here are unbothered by the whole thing, like it’s kind of a minor distraction from free contraception or gay marriage.

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      • “You watch the Obama campaign, and basically his conduct in office since the midterms. You would never know unemployment or debt is a serious problem in America or anywhere else, and accordingly no idea about what to do about it.”

        Increased funding for fire-fighters, police and first responders, so cities can hire more — defeated by the GOP

        Increased support for in-sourcing, with funds taken from companies that out-source — defeated by the GOP.

        Who doesn’t take unemployment seriously?

        (Before you say that either measure was too small, the GOP was free to create their own version that was larger. They chose not to. Please spare both of us that nonsense. Thanks.)

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    • It doesn’t really matter.
      The whole world is all one really big echo chamber anyway.
      We rarely, if ever, can really step outside of our little bubbles.
      It’s enough, in most cases, to realize the existence of the bubble and to respond accordingly.

      I’m somewhat struggling with terms here. Things like “belief” and “non-committal” are a bit inappropriate for what I’m grasping at.

      It’s really an instrumentation error, in a way.
      You have to be aware of the tolerances of your instrumentation.

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  5. As a young man I thought of the Democratic Party in a manner similar to the Los Angeles Dodgers:

    Me too, assuming we’re talking about the Democratic Party of 1857.

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  6. Huh. Interesting.

    I read Tim Sandefur’s posts explaining why he, a hawkish, Objectivist libertarian, is voting for Obama for similar sorts of reasons. http://sandefur.typepad.com/freespace/2012/04/why-i-will-be-voting-for-obama-for-president.html.

    He’s a principled guy. We disagree on much, but probably mostly agree on issues that matter in this election. And I’m a principled guy, too, I tell myself. So why am I in the bag for Romney?

    So now you, too, Tod? It’s all starting to make me question my principled conservative bona fides.

    So. Huh. Interesting.

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    • “So why am I in the bag for Romney?”

      Why indeed? He’s an unprincipled, lying sack of scum. What does he have to do to get you to see how toxic he is? I seriously want to know.

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        • That’s a pretty dumb-ass school of thought, if you ask me. Why not look at the qualifications of the incumbent and any challengers and decide on the basis of something a little more meaningful?

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                • I’m not getting you. Why would my voting for the better candidate leave a bad taste in my mouth? It would seem to me that following an arbitrary rule (never vote for the incumbent, vote for the person who’s listed first, vote party line regardless of circumstances[*]) is more likely to backfire.

                  [*] I have voted for Republicans before, and if the party ever regains its sanity, I might again in the future.

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              • Depends on the equation. Political leaders on a national level?

                “Throw the bums out” is a conclusion that is reached often enough that, even when it doesn’t happen (or the equivilent when it comes to the 10% that aren’t “safe” seats), it still feels like being ahead of the curve rather than having picked the wrong bum.

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                • No, it doesn’t depend on the equation. The other value always matters.

                  1. I Think I won’t eat the leftovers, since I didn’t like them that much the first time around.
                  –Sorry, there’s nothing else in the house but birdseed; enjoy.

                  2. No, I don’t think I’ll jump out the window, since it’s far enough down I might get hurt.
                  — Sorry, ma’am, your husband died in the fire.

                  There is literally no decision in these world in which you can justify ignoring the actual value of the alternative you’re choosing.

                  If you’re argument is, I can safely do that, since someone is going to cram he leftovers down my throat anyway (which is how it appears to read), then it seems more self-indulgent than sophisticated.

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                  • If you’re argument is, I can safely do that, since someone is going to cram he leftovers down my throat anyway (which is how it appears to read), then it seems more self-indulgent than sophisticated.

                    I admit to not being a fan of foie gras. If, however, I have the choice between self-indulgent gavage or sophisticated? I’ll take the self-indulgent gavage, thanks.

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                  • “So why am I in the bag for Romney?”

                    Why indeed? He’s an unprincipled, lying sack of scum. What does he have to do to get you to see how toxic he is? I seriously want to know.

                    REPLY
                    40 Jaybird September 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm
                    There’s a school of thought that says “Never vote for the incumbent”.

                    Forget the cost of the losing the good in the reality you’re forgoing. That reason simply doesn’t get a person to the position you were trying to show how someone might get himself to.

                    Granted, an objective J stated a comment or two later (“Throw the bums out”) potentially does, depending on how important it is that you maximize your action’s effect in promoting that end, rather than just taking an action that makes some contribution toward it. But, as a response to why you might vote for a particular person, “Because I don’t want to vote for this other person” doesn’t really get you there. Like, at all. There is no forced choice if all that’s important is just not to vote for person X.

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                  • Hanley, you’re confusing values and variables.
                    Procedures are made up of variables, and are confirmed by values.
                    “Throw the bums out” is a value. The result remains a variable.
                    The procedure is unconfirmed.

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                    • Will,

                      No, I don’t think so. The point is that in each decision-making process we want to improve from the status quo, so we not only have to have an estimate of the value of the status quo but an estimate of the value of the alternative. Without the comparison, a rational choice is not possible.

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                    • Humans are not rational creatures, but semi-rational at best.

                      I have no doubt that what you say here is true. I believe it to be non-applicable.
                      There are two other positions to which value may be assigned which are not accounted for: that of negative value, and of unknown value (a variable).
                      Where the value is unknown, no comparison is possible. It is at best an estimate, and may involve little rationality.
                      Certainly negative value (or perceived negative value) would incline one to favor an unknown value somewhat more.

                      Pick example, I have two thoughts, one of which I will think of tomorrow and the other I will think of next week.
                      Which thought do you like better?

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  7. A little too much Colbert double whammy here for my puddin’ head. But if you’re saying you have a better chance of reforming the party of John Boehner than the party of Nancy Pelosi, I agree.

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  8. I think your initial mistake lies in taking anything Mitt says as a sincere expression of his views instead of shameless pandering to the base and right-leaning insependent voters. Remember, Mitt Romney was the moderate governor of Massachusetts whose most enduring contribution to that state is the healthcare system that has served as the model for Obamacare. If Romney is elected, expect a continuation of Obaman policies, then a renaissance of Breitbartian word salad four years from now.

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  9. Intetresting post Tod. As someone who has been on the inside since Clinton’s impeachment (the reason I joined the GOP) you may be signing up for a good amount of heartburn. I very nearly switched to Independent during the primaries and decided to hang on for one more cycle. Assuming Romney loses, 2016 will be a good test of where the party is going. I never thought I would say this but I think the Yankee Republicans are the best chance of saving us.

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      • James,

        Not much to it. Sitting President lies under oath + party defends him = gross. I don’t care what he did, only that he lied about it and let the nation go through all of that. Looking back I am still glad I made the call because I was already mostly conservative but the GOP can be a cruel bitch.

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        • Sitting President lies under oath + party defends him = gross.

          Indeed. I had already left the GOP to vote for Clinton, so it’s not like I was predisposed to hate him. Hell, I not only liked him, I wanted to like him. Lord knows I liked Hillary for a host of reasons.

          But then he went and lied under oath. That shit can’t be tolerated from anyone, but especially from a sitting Pres.

          Gah. I really hated the petty vitriol of right-wing politics that drove them to publicly indict a sitting president on adultery, of all things. If there was a single event that finally severed me from the GOP, that might have been it.

          But no one gets a pass to lie under oath.
          Pols lie to us all the f**king time, and we can debate how that happens and why we allow it to continue, but there’s one sacred spot where we can all agree it’s not acceptable. For any reason. If we compromise that one little sacred spot, we deserve to be doomed.

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        • Meh. Reagan and Bush got a pass for out-and-out treason (I don’t know what else to call Iran-Contra). Avoiding a “perjury trap” seemed like small potatoes to me.

          I think Slick Willie is a sleaze, but the whole process was a bag of sleaze. Note that this was right at the time that Clinton was making an all-out effort to track and kill bin Laden (he missed by about 10 minutes when several Tomahawk missiles hit a training camp). He wanted to send Special Forces into Kandahar, but couldn’t with the Lewinsky mess going on. (Yes, his fault for the affair, but didn’t Republicans on Intelligence committees know what was going on?)

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  10. When your fellow Republicans ask about your political persuasion, you should tell them “subversive,” then laugh, like your kidding, but conclude with a grin, indicating you’re up to no good.

    Seriously, though, I applaud your reformational spirit and commitment to pluralism.

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  11. For once we did it right in CA: Independent redistricting, open primaries and automatic runoffs between the top 2 candidates – regardless of party.

    At least, I think that law survived long enough to be in effect still. Good laws have a way of silently bleeding to death in the legislature here.

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    • Between these laws we haven’t abolished parties. But we have made them close to meaningless, at least as to voters.

      If a similar effect could be achieved within the legislature, we might be able to solve a few problems in Sacramento.

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      • If the laws survive long enough, we can achieve the effect in Sacramento.

        That is, the law will, hopefully, push more moderate politicians into Sacramento, and we can actually Get. Stuff. Done.

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    • I think it’s far too early to say that the jungle primary is a good law. Political scientists mostly believe parties are necessary for good democracy. California will provide the test case. But since so much else that y’all have done has worked to screw things up and this flies in the face of democratic theory, I see little reason for optimism.

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    • I think this is going to create more extremism, not less.

      You are going to see a lot of GOP on GOP races and DEM on DEM races.

      In a GOP v. GOP race will they go after Democrats or try and convince the Democrats to stay home by each playing “more Republican than thou” Same in a DEM v. DEM race.

      My guess is that both parties are going to play “More than thou”

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      • I don’t think it would play out like that.

        In a GOP v. GOP general election campaign, the largest pool of voters would lie to the left of the left-most of the two candidates. The inverse would be true in a Dem v. Dem race. The moderate in either case would have an advantage, I would think.

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        • That depends Oman the distribution of voters in the district. If it’s well gerrymandered, that won’t be the case. If the redistributing commission creates competitive districts (very difficult to do in CA), then you might be right, except that multiple moderate candidates might distribute the majority vote among themselves while a sizable minority clusters around an extremist who has a devoted following. E.g, 5 moderates could split 80% of the vote, and all lose to two extremists getting only 20% each.

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        • Daily Kos on CA: “The second contest was, in its own way, more absurd than the first. In the newly drawn and marginally Democratic 31st district, Republicans accounted for 52 percent of the vote and Democrats accounted for 48 percent. And yet, there will in all probability be two Republicans on the ballot in November.

          How did such a catastrophe occur? Because there were only two Republicans on the ballot (incumbent Rep. Gary Miller and state legislator Bob Dutton), and a quartet of Democrats. Because there was little real estate between the two Republicans, they scored at 27 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Even though Democrat Pete Aguilar actually got about half of the Democratic vote, the three remaining Democrats in the mix claimed the rest. This left Aguilar at 23 percent, and out of the running.

          And herein lies an institutional problem with the “top two” structure, one which might actually counteract one of the stated goals of the new system.”

          And herein lies an institutional problem with the “top two” structure, one which might actually counteract one of the stated goals of the new system. If one of the rationales for this system was to weaken the influence of political parties, it may have failed miserably. Because one has to assume now that parties in 2014 will be working double time to clear the decks for their preferred candidates in the filing process. Whether it is indirect “take one for the team pressure,” or a raft of party assistance being dropped in the laps of the favored horses in the field, one has to guess that the sting of losing a winnable district will compel the Democrats (and the GOP, if they were paying close attention) to interfere more in the primary process, not less.

          It will be interesting to see what, if anything, might be done to rectify this particular malady. The nightmare scenario of both parties running “fake” candidates of the opposite party, in an effort to enlard the ballot and split votes, seems to demand some kind of a fix. That fix could still work within the confines of the “open” primary structure—it could simply be the top two candidates, but moving on to the third candidate in the queue if the top two came from the same party, for example. Whether it will happen or not is an open question, but you can bet after the debacle in the 31st, people in party headquarters are going to be talking about it.

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          • I think this the kind of result we SHOULD be getting. Pete Aguilar obviously wasn’t centrist enough to attract Republican votes, and neither Dutton or Miller were so extreme as to scare away votes (from a glance, it looks like Miller is a bit better than Dutton, but neither comes across as a Tea Party op).

            I’m not happy about losing a House seat to the GOP, I can’t get too upset over the system working the way it should.

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            • I expect single anecdotes of badness. I think it will be a while before both the parties and the electorate adjust to the new system.

              After that, we can assess if it is worse or better. In the meantime, it’s like playing basketball when the refs are having an off night, or boxing. You can’t leave it to the last minute, you gotta knock your opponents out. That alone might give different results.

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  12. On why you registered Republican, you could’ve just said, “Because I slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

    Hispanics could point out that their registering as Democrats will restore solid social conservatism in the Democrat Party, but I doubt most liberals consider that when they’re out conducting registration drives.

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  13. To truly subvert the GOP the strategy seems to push the party farther rightward, farther into the realm of magical thought. In a truly astonishing case of life imitating hypothetical performance art, this seems to be happening organically. I think the party will have to hit rock bottom before its leaders realize they’ve gone down a poorly-chosen path.

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    • This is a typical sentiment. I always wonder what people could possibly mean when they right stuff like this. We are in the middle of a terrible period of Demo unemployment, visualized by a chart Glenn Reynolds periodically posts on his blog.

      http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/OBMAUNEMPLOYMENTFAILCHARTSEPT.jpg

      Especially bearing in mind the brain-numbing imbecility of the current Demo campaign, what has happened since President Obama has been elected would plausibly lead a Republican to believe that we weren’t right the whole time?

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      • At the risk of repeating myself, 2002-2008. I watched the RNC convention.

        Cheers for increasing military spending, cheers for medicare, cheers for cutting taxes, and cheers for a balanced budget.

        Somewhere in there, there’s a giant hole they’re missing.

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        • Pat, you’re not doing a very credible job of relating a premise to a conclusion. Ok, I gather there was something about the Republican convention that you didn’t like. On the other hand I suspect you don’t make a complete argument because you wouldn’t believe your own argument if you tried. Applause during political conventions has very little power as a logical premise.

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          • Koz, you keep telling me the GOP is the Great Hope.

            And the GOP is telling me that they’re not going to cut any of the major expenditures of government, and they’re going to cut taxes, and that this will produce a balanced budget.

            They’re full of crap.

            Now, Tom might chime in and say of course they’re full of crap, they’re actually going to cut something. What?

            Medicare? Not effin’ likely. The last time some major Medicare legislation came down the pike it ballooned the thing. The boomers just got older. You can’t fix Medicare, the public w0n’t stand for it.

            The Defense budget? Not effin’ likely.

            Social security has its own revenue stream.

            There isn’t enough discretionary spending to cut to balance the budget with our tax revenues bein’ what they’re at *now*. So either the tax cuts are baloney (not effin’ likely)… or we’re looking at a Romney presidency that will balloon the budget.

            Or, they’ll be out of office in 2016 in a colossal landslide. I don’t see the GOP being so principled as to hand their political opponents a 30 year golden age.

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            • “And the GOP is telling me that they’re not going to cut any of the major expenditures of government, and they’re going to cut taxes, and that this will produce a balanced budget.”

              Pat, it hasn’t been much more than a year ago since the Republicans instigated a debt limit standoff to force the libs to cut $1T from projected government expenditures (including $300-400 B from defense) over the next ten years.

              Frankly this is illustrative of the whole thing. Your position looks like savvy or skeptical response to Republican moves, it’s not. It’s just knee-jerk anti-Republican confirmation bias, and not a particularly subtle one at that. (The same goes for Jaybird downthread btw).

              And at least for the moment, that’s the real issue of this campaign season. The confirmation bias against Mitt Romney as a defense mechanism against coming to grips with the basic nature of this recession. There’s been a fair bit of commentary about how the Republicans and trying to give undecided voters “permission” to vote for Romney, a la Clint Eastwood. But for some of the participants here, it works the other way around. They’d like to vote for Obama and somehow still maintain the pretense (to others and to themselves) that they are not enabling our current economic strife. Like it’s somebody else’s fault.

              But it’s not. There’s another thread about the embassy attacks with several hundred comments in it. I haven’t read the thread, but it seems that the complaint is that Romney politicized the issue, or maybe that he unfairly accused President Obama of being responsible for a tweet that a lower-level State Department employee sent in duress. I can’t think of a reason why this issue shouldn’t be politicized. If President Obama wants to disclaim responsibility for this tweet, let him explain himself.

              In any event, the whole complaint is embarrassingly shallow. The establishment media (and a good number of the participants here) want to clutch pearls at Romney’s criticism at President Obama, and they also want to ignore the recession raging through the whole of the President’s term. But objectively, that’s crap. We can pursue different policies than what the President is offering, based on what the Romney-Ryan campaign is proposing, and what the Republicans have offered in Congress since Obama has been President. Those plans can change our course, they can restore our economy, and if we don’t vote for that it’s not the Republicans’ fault, it’s ours.

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              • It’s not permission to vote for Obama or Romney, Koz. I’m just trying to explain to you what the Repubs are doing wrong and why they’re doing it wronger than the Demos (which, if you believe in two party races, is important).

                For my part, I aspire to have the difference between Team Red’s and Team Blue’s votes in Colorado to be smaller than the number of votes cast for Team Gold. As such, I will be the change I want to see and will be voting for Gary Johnson come November.

                Ideally, whomever loses come November will look at the EV count and those votes from Team Gold and wonder. Maybe even wonder enough to talk to the party guys and point those possible pickups out.

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                • Ok, in that case my train of argument still applies, but the persuasive force of it is a bit weaker or at the very least different. Ie, it the depends on the argument that that voting for Gary Johnson is enobling Obama, which I do believe, but does muddy the water a little bit.

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      • Koz, I want you to imagine a Republican Party who focused on unemployement, taxes, the deficit, and stability.

        Now I want you to look at Romney. No, no. Not Obama. Look at Romney.

        Remember what you were imagining earlier?

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        • Jaybird, fortunately I wasn’t in the middle of your little dustup with James. That said, I do find your Socratic style to be frustrating. Not on an a priori basis, but when you are directly asked to make a point with simple declarative sentences and you still won’t do it, it becomes more difficult to communicate than it should.

          In any event, I have no problems picturing Mitt Romney as the leader of the Republican Party committed to low unemployment, cuts in government spending, and the stability of public finance in general.

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          • I can’t begin to imagine true it myself, and I can’t fathom how you can picture it, and yet I have no trouble fathoming that you do in fact picture it.

            That’s why I think a heavy handed explanation is more useful. We’re left not having any clear picture of what Jaybird sees that Koz doesn’t see. I guess I’m supposed to imagine it, but then it seems to me there’s a hell of a risk I’m only going to imagine my own thoughts and never really have a clue what Jaybird’s thoughts are, do that we’ve never actually communicated, despite all the words we’ve typed.

            But at least this time there wasn’t really any doubt about what he was doing.

            (OK, JB, I’ve come to realize it; I’m feeling quite pissed. Used, frankly. But I’ll get over it quickly, because I know you weren’t intending to use me (although I think you should consider that your style functionally can work out that way.). If I avoid conversations with you it won’t be out of holding a grudge but just out of real discomfort with the style.)

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            • When it comes to Romney, I see an empty, plastic shell who has no real convictions of his own, no real viewpoints of his own, just advisors, polls, and a… not a lust, not a desire… a inclination to accrue power as his role models did before him. He’d talk about protecting abortion rights and gay rights if he thought it would win him votes, he’d talk about limiting abortion rights and gay rights if he thought it would win him votes.

              He’d do what he thought he was being told to do.

              He’s not a leader, he’s a plastic shell who is used to following directions and one of the best things you can say about him is that he follows directions well.

              If he’s talking about anything, he’s talking about it because he was told to.

              When it comes to what Koz communicating his vision of the Republican party, it’s always a party that has firm conviction, that believes things about the economy, about culture, about America!

              And I was asking him to compare the Republican party in his head with the Republican Party of George W Bush (most importantly the party as it existed between 2002-2006) and with the hollow plastic shell that stands in front of the Republican party today.

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              • I like this style better. Now Koz knows what you see. If he sees a different Romney maybe he’ll try to clearly explain it to you. You may not convince each other, but you may be able to see how the other person sees.

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              • “And I was asking him to compare the Republican party in his head with the Republican Party of George W Bush (most importantly the party as it existed between 2002-2006) and with the hollow plastic shell that stands in front of the Republican party today.”

                This plastic shell business is disconcerting, and it goes along with the same sort of frustration and distaste you and the libs have expressed about the Republicans (libs on this thread and you elsewhere). “Why can’t the GOP be punished hard for blah, blah, and maybe in 2016, 2020, whatever, we’ll finally have two legitimate major parties.”

                The problem is that you and the libs can’t appreciate that I have the apprehensions toward you or the libs. Ie, it’s very difficult for libs to think “I, as lib, who has created so much ill will and economic agony in America, I have the chance to disengage from politics and give America the chance to heal itself.”

                The difference between me and libs is that I can deliver and they can’t. If President Obama campaigned on the theme of Stay The Course, I don’t think anybody would have a clear idea of what that’s supposed to mean. But the libs insist on it anyway.

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                • The difference between me and libs is that I can deliver and they can’t.

                  This is one of those wacky things, Koz. Remember what the best indicator of future performance is? Past performance.

                  When it comes to whether Republicans ought to be given another (I almost said “a second” but we’re in “another” territory) chance, one of the important things that they’d need to do is come out and say something to the effect of “I/We know that you have reasons to not believe our sincerity when it comes to the things we say about fiscal conservativism. That’s why it’s very important for us to hammer out the following: A, B, C” (where those variables can be discussions of how jobs will be created, budgets balanced, and perhaps even debts paid down to a merely unhealthy (rather than AW HELL NAW) level).

                  Republicans have never communicated that they understand that they messed up, let alone how, let alone thought to maybe apologize for betraying the trust of people who thought that even if Republicans couldn’t be good at stuff that Republicans aren’t good at, maybe they’d be good at stuff that Republicans are good at.

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                  • NYer: “In 2006 and 2008, many of Ryan’s older Republican colleagues were thrown out of office as a result of lobbying scandals and overspending. Ryan told me recently that, as a fiscal conservative, he was “miserable during the last majority” and is determined “to do everything I can to make sure I don’t feel that misery again.”

                    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/06/120806fa_fact_lizza#ixzz26K0IQyli

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                    • > he was “miserable during the last majority”
                      > and is determined “to do everything I can
                      > to make sure I don’t feel that misery again.”

                      I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a hard time reading that as anything other than “We must win at all costs, and retain that majority at all costs!”

                      That spells bread and circuses, to me.

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                    • JB said he saw no evidence the GOP knew it screwed up. Read the article.

                      Ryan won his seat in 1998, at the age of twenty-eight. Like many young conservatives, he is embarrassed by the Bush years. At the time, as a junior member with little clout, Ryan was a reliable Republican vote for policies that were key in causing enormous federal budget deficits: sweeping tax cuts, a costly prescription-drug entitlement for Medicare, two wars, the multibillion-dollar bank-bailout legislation known as TARP. In all, five trillion dollars was added to the national debt. In 2006 and 2008, many of Ryan’s older Republican colleagues were thrown out of office as a result of lobbying scandals and overspending. Ryan told me recently that, as a fiscal conservative, he was “miserable during the last majority” and is determined “to do everything I can to make sure I don’t feel that misery again.”

                      In 2009, Ryan was striving to reintroduce himself as someone true to his ideological roots and capable of reversing his party’s reputation for fiscal profligacy. A generation of Republican leaders was gone. Ryan had already jumped ahead of more senior colleagues to become the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, and it was his job to pick apart Obama’s tax and spending plans.

                      At the table in his office, Ryan pointed out the gimmicks that Presidents use to hide costs and conceal policy details. He deconstructed Obama’s early health-care proposal and attacked his climate-change plan. Obama’s budget “makes our tax code much less competitive,” he said, as if reading from a script. “It makes it harder for businesses to survive in the global economy, for people to save for their own retirement, and it grows our debt tremendously.” He added, “It just takes the poor trajectory our country’s fiscal state is on and exacerbates it.”

                      As much as he relished the battle against Obama—“European,” he repeated, with some gusto—his real fight was for the ideological identity of the Republican Party, and with colleagues who were content to simply criticize the White House. “If you’re going to criticize, then you should propose,” he told me. A fault line divided the older and more cautious Republican leaders from the younger, more ideological members. Ryan was, and remains, the leader of the attack-and-propose faction.

                      “I think you’re obligated to do that,” he said. “People like me who are reform-minded ignore the people who say, ‘Just criticize and don’t do anything and let’s win by default.’ That’s ridiculous.” He said he was “moving ahead without them. They don’t want to produce alternatives? That’s not going to stop me from producing an alternative.”

                      Ryan’s long-range plan was straightforward: to create a detailed alternative to Obama’s budget and persuade his party to embrace it. He would start in 2009 and 2010 with House Republicans, the most conservative bloc in the Party. Then, in the months before the Presidential primaries, he would focus on the G.O.P. candidates.

                      If the plan worked, by the fall of 2012 Obama’s opponent would be running on Paul Ryan’s ideas, and in 2013 a new Republican President would be signing them into law.

                      Sitting in his office more than three years ago, Ryan could not have foreseen how successful his crusade to reinvent the Republican Party would be. Nearly every important conservative opinion-maker and think tank has rallied around his policies.

                      Nearly every Republican in the House and the Senate has voted in favor of some version of his budget plan. Earlier this year, the G.O.P. Presidential candidates lavished praise on Ryan and his ideas. “I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan,” Mitt Romney said on March 20th, in Chicago. The following week, while campaigning in Wisconsin, he added, “I think it’d be marvellous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan’s budget and adopt it and pass it along to the President.”

                      Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/06/120806fa_fact_lizza#ixzz26LdnPHMq

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                    • as a junior member with little clout, Ryan was a reliable Republican vote for policies…

                      That demonstrates how little that particular NewYorker writer knows about Congress. Compared to most of the world’s legislatures, party leaders in Congress have minimal control over their members. If Ryan went along, it wasn’t because he was made to. It could have just been callow youth that led him to be afraid to buck his elders, and he could have frown out of that. Or he could have been giddy at being in the majority and seeing his party dominating, so that he didn’t think much about what he was voting for. Or he might have truly believed the tax cuts would spur the economy enough to pay for the spending, and belatedly had a David Stockman moment. Who knows? But all of those make more sense than the implication by the NYer that as a junior member he was forced to go along.

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                    • Or he might have truly believed the tax cuts would spur the economy enough to pay for the spending…

                      Until we see some specific spending cuts to go along with the specific tax cuts in the current Romney/Ryan proposals, I’m going to go with this one.

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                    • The Ryan Plan: You’ll have to elect him to find out what’s in it. ;-)

                      PatC, I’m not campaigning ala our Mr. Koz but I think that saying the GOP—at least the reform elements—didn’t get the message of 2006 is not a valid criticism, is all. And Ryan is that reform element, and that’s why Romney put him on the ticket. Otherwise, he’d have gone with a less easily maligned running mate.

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                  • Very, very true. And I’m not sure I understand how taking a condescending attitude like Koz’s helps him convince anyone. Looks like pure defensiveness to me.

                    But then I’m a real conservative, not a right-winger.

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                  • “I/We know that you have reasons to not believe our sincerity when it comes to the things we say about fiscal conservativism. That’s why it’s very important for us to hammer out the following: A, B, C”

                    The Republicans don’t say that, among other reasons because they don’t believe it. They know damn well they’ve been fighting in the trenches for fiscal stability and they know damn well who’s been on the other side.

                    If you voted Republican for a two or three elections in a row, we might give some credibility to your enthusiasm for fiscal conservatism and limited government. As it is, there’s no point, even if the GOP would say something like “We should have limited government policies and expenditures while George W Bush was President” because even if they did you’d find some other bullshit reason not to vote for them anyway. The problem was never them in the first place, it was you

                    (Can you think of anything a left-libertarian ever did for limited government between 2002 and 2006? I can’t.)

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                    • (Can you think of anything a left-libertarian ever did for limited government between 2002 and 2006? I can’t.)

                      More recently, there has been minor victories for gay marriage. The argument has been made that there is reason to believe that the 2nd term will be better wrt the WOD. There is as much reason to snicker at that as actually feel hope (if not more) but the left-libertarians can actually point to a single, solitary thing that they achieved.

                      How did the Republican party do on gay marriage between 2002 and 2006?

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                    • The GOP stood solid with the American people against gay marriage during that time, because gay marriage is not an expression of limited government, fiscal stability, low taxes, self-determination, or anything else anyone would legitimately be a libertarian for.

                      It’s an irrelevant distraction for people who want to get off fighting culture wars.

                      But this culture war distraction is allowing people to pretend that President Obama is plausible choice to be reelected as President when anybody who’s looking can clearly see that the man is in over his head for everything he touches.

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                • “I, as lib, who has created so much ill will and economic agony in America, I have the chance to disengage from politics and give America the chance to heal itself.”

                  I, as a liberal, have helped save lives. The autistic woman with epilepsy who can get insurance to cover her cancer treatments — the PPACA probably saved her life. The people who need Food Stamps to survive because out-sourcers (such ats the CompanyThatShallNot BeNamed) sent their jobs to China — I helped them get through the day. I support the stimulus — a HUGE one — to put people back to work repairing the bridge that will collapse soon, killing any number of people.

                  You’ve helped Mitt save money on his taxes.

                  Thanks.

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          • In any event, I have no problems picturing Mitt Romney as the leader of the Republican Party committed to low unemployment, cuts in government spending, and the stability of public finance in general.

            Of course, that’s the Romney of your imagination as opposed to the Romney who’s running for president promising massive tax cuts, huge increases in military spending, and unnamed budget cuts and tax loophole closing. We’ve heard this story before. From Bush II. Didn’t work then; won’t work if Romney wins.

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    • To truly subvert the GOP the strategy seems to push the party farther rightward, farther into the realm of magical thought.

      This is right. To do this with the motive Tod describes (if he really did it, and did it with those motives), given his overall relationship to the ideological profile of the party and the limits on the extent of the reform that would be realistic inside the fantasy universe in which that kind of reform of this party is a moderately likely possibility, would constitute an act of profound good faith and magnanimity on his part.

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    • Very gracious, Mr. Alley. I hope you will actually listen to Tod and people like him.

      I left the Democrats about 10 years ago, but I don’t have Tod’s courage, I just registered “decline to state” [Californian for “a pox on both your houses”]. The Democratic Party will let me vote in their primary if I want to, but the Republicans won’t. Wonder why?

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      • “Very gracious, Mr. Alley. I hope you will actually listen to Tod and people like him.”

        I don’t. The best outcome for this little experiment is if Tod listens to the Republicans instead.

        All the Republican jabs about Hopenchange obscure a very important point that we ignore at our peril. It’s not just that the Obama Administration has been competent, but also that the Republicans, today, under the leadership of Mitt Romney, offer real hope for America. Hope that we can maintain a standard of living somewhere above severe privation, and from there we can take chances with a legit shot of real success.

        Today is just another step in the Carterization of the Obama Administration. If we don’t do anything to stop it, it will be the Carterization of America as well. Between the Administration’s feckless Middle East policy, the Chicago teachers and the Chicago pols, it’s pretty clear that today’s libs have no hope to actually deliver on anything valuable. For that matter, you can look at the rioters in Egypt and it’s not too much of a stretch to see them as just another bunch of useless libs.

        There’s really only one group who can do something meaningful on the other side of this cultural decline: the Republicans. We need them more than they need us.

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        • There’s really only one group who can do something meaningful on the other side of this cultural decline: the Republicans. We need them more than they need us.

          Koz, I look forward to you trying to explain why Obama won.

          I honestly expect you won’t have a clue.

          Unless, of course, you’re performance art.

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          • You’re talking about how Obama will win this November, right? I gotta admit, I misread a great deal of this race. One thing I got wrong, as I mentioned above, is the unwillingness of the center-Left (or the hard left for that matter), to care about the key bread and butter economic issues of the election season. Clearly they are not pressing the Obama Administration, or the Obama campaign, for any kind of real answers.

            The thought process is, when the shit hits the fan all the flyover idiots out of contention will have to find a way to make do. But I have a job as a CFO of some dinky company and that’s going to save me:

            huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/adam-smith-chick-fil-a-drive-bully_n_1735357.html

            No, I really did not see that one at all.

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            • I don’t see Romney winning Ohio, Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania… and, as such, I don’t see him hitting 270.

              One thing I got wrong, as I mentioned above, is the unwillingness of the center-Left (or the hard left for that matter), to care about the key bread and butter economic issues of the election season

              Can you offer a guess about why they might not see the Republican party as being particularly credible when it comes to economic issues?

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              • Because they’ve taken some hits already and figure from this point their professional stature makes them immune to further economic deterioration and they really don’t care about anybody else’s unemployment. From there, they get worked up over culture war crap.

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            • September 10, 2012
              Flashback, September 14, 2000: “Why Bush Is Toast”
              Via . Something to keep in mind.

              http://ace.mu.nu/archives/332738.php

              Since Labor Day, the media have released about 20 polls on the presidential race. Three show a dead heat, one shows George W. Bush leading by a single percentage point, and the rest show Al Gore leading by one to 10 points. In the latest polls, Gore leads by an average of five points. It’s fashionable at this stage to caution that “anything can happen,” that Bush is “retooling,” and that the numbers can turn in Bush’s favor just as easily as they turned against him. But they can’t. The numbers are moving toward Gore because fundamental dynamics tilt the election in his favor. The only question has been how far those dynamics would carry him. Now that he has passed Bush, the race is over.
              Yes, in principle, Bush could win. The stock market could crash. Gore could be caught shagging an intern. Bush could electrify the country with the greatest performance in the history of presidential debates. But barring such a grossly unlikely event, there is no reason to think Bush will recover. Ultimately, reasons drive elections. For months, pundits yapped about Bush’s lead in the polls without scrutinizing the basis of that lead. Now they’re doing the same to Gore. But look closely at the trends beneath the horse-race numbers, and you’ll realize why it’s practically impossible to turn those numbers around. Gore doesn’t just have the lead. On each underlying factor, he has the upside as well.

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              • Who cares? Mitt Romney can win the race whether he’s down by one point or six today. But it’s horrible news nonetheless. We’re seeing a mass version of Stockholm Syndrome that’s going to have bad consequences even if Romney wins.

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        • Republicans, today, under the leadership of Mitt Romney, offer real hope for America.

          Thanks for the laugh. That’s one of the funniest jokes I’ve heard in a while.

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        • Are you for real? Does anyone not on a party payroll actually talk like this? That’s just…sad.

          As a Canadian and therefore having an outside perspective on this, I think Obama has done as well as can be expected after the global meltdown of 2007/08. Nobody’s got a magic wand although everyone claims it exists, and there really isn’t a lot government can do to influence economic indicators such as job creation and encouraging demand. Confidence does count a lot in a successful economy, and FDR was more right than even he knew when he said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

          In Canada, the governor of the Bank of Canada (our top financial gun) recently scolded private business for sitting on billions of cash reserves while not investing in updating their companies or returning the money to stock holders through dividends. Either way the money would be spent, which would be good for the economy, rather than just sitting in accounts. Good advice needs to be heard. But of course the government can’t do anything more than make speeches on this.

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        • Oh! For the carter years!
          My dear dimwit, you do so fail to understand the precipice you walk along.
          Take care lest the winds blow thy self-centered skull off the edge
          and take the rest of you along with it.

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  14. So basically, because Oregon has a Closed Primary system, you’ve re-registered as Republican so that you’re now able to vote in the GOP primary in order to have a say in who Oregon’s GOP nominees are.

    I totally get that.

    For reasons not dissimilar to your own, I did much the same thing. But IL has an Open Primary system so, unlike you, I wasn’t forced to embrace either Party in order to cast a meaningful primary vote.

    Following the Republican tradition of my family, I became a registered Republican in 1979. I voted for Reagan both times along with Papi Bush– I was straight-ticket in those days. Somewhere along the way, I became a better-informed voter and decided that the GOP’s direction wasn’t a good fit for me –the batshit factor of today’s GOP was, back then, some scribbles on the wall that had me concerned– but I never could bring myself to register as a Democrat. For sound reasons, imo. Fortunately for moi, IL’s Open Primary system meant I didn’t have to embrace the Dems in order to reject the ‘Pubs, so in 1989 I re-registered as an Independent: doing that allowed me to purge myself from a Party I no longer felt much affinity with, but I could vote in whichever primary I deemed more critical. (No, I never cast a mischief vote.)

    In my 20+ years as an official Indie voter, I rarely voted a straight ticket until 2006ish. Truth is, IL has had some good GOP Governors, and plenty of good local GOP pols. (A few of which I’ve been fortunate enough to count as personal friends.)

    The 2008 Senate race was a hard choice for me: in an earlier decade, I could’ve easily seen myself casting a vote for a moderate like Mark Kirk (R) and eschewing a questionable candidate the likes of Alexi Giannoulias (D). But times being what they were in ’08, I simply could not bring myself to cast a vote for any national Republican candidate. The GOP was, finally, too deep into the batshit zone.

    Like you, Mr. Kelly, I pine for the days when we had two sane parties: when the tension between their respective ideals served as the very grease that kept the gears of government in motion; when policy was born of opposing yet viable perspectives. No grease, the gears grind to a halt. And here we are. A “debt ceiling” vote becomes a crisis only when there’s no grease in the gears.

    I’m not a Republican, but I’m not a Democrat either. And because I’m ultimately a pragmatist, I don’t feel at home in any of the fringe Parties, like Green.

    I am a Progressive.
    Today, that largely means I’m a liberal and that I vote Dem. Guilty as charged, but only because neither pragmatism nor Progressive ideals hold a place of persuasion among conservatives or Republicans. (Except, apparently, the altogether anomalous Mike Dwyer. More power to him, but he’s a lone fish in a teeny tiny puddle.)

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    • Man, I wish I had time to go find a comment I made about the actual meaning of the term Independent (vis-a-vis Swing and Undecided) and how it’s misused and misunderstood (and overemphasized and overvalued) by analysts, either sincerely or tactically. You are an object lesson in what I was trying to point out, and I applaud your clear understanding of the simple, not-that-significant real meaning of the term Independent as relates to voter affiliation. People from Wisconsin and Illinois have reason to understand this. (I actually didn’t know Illinois had an open primary, shame on me, and if I’d have had to bet I’d have bet it didn’t). It’s incumbent upon us to advertise this understanding to all who will listen, and you’ve done it well here. Kudos.

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      • Thanks right back atcha– I love being objectified. (yuk yuk)

        Technically, IL has a semi-open primary, but I think the distinction that separates it from a bona fide open primary is largely inconsequential.

        You’re absolutely right about the term being too often misunderstood. For a host of reasons, I rarely take polls at face value- I always dig into the crosstabs. Ideological lean is way more informative than party (non)affiliation: there are a whole lot of Tea Party folks who self-identify as Independent.

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  15. I’ve been enjoying my time among the local libertarians immensely. Such nice, simple people. I think I’ve convinced them to sign up for red t-shirts saying What Would Ron Paul Do, while emphasizing the impurity of the local GOP. Which, admittedly, doesn’t take much doing. My aim is to build my little libertarian cohort up enough and make it sufficiently .. shall we say… dualistic… that no Republican will hold office here for decades to come. All it takes is an admiring reference to Ayn Rand, a little airbrushing of the old sexual predator’s record, seasoned with a pinch of Hayek and much talk of the brutal inhumanity of taxes and the actual record of the GOP, all blended with snippets of TVD – and away we go!

    Yes We Can!

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  16. Tod, you seem intent on quest. A spiritual quest. First it was attaining at-one-ment with the dogma of The Church. Now it’s reforming the dogma of the GOP. I detect some sort of symmetry in these things, tho I can’t quite put my finger on it.

    What gives, brother?

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  17. Tod,

    One downside–that is, from what you hope to get out of it–to joining the GOP is that the GOP can count you when they include the number of registered Republicans. They will spin it–and many, GOP and non-GOP alike, will interpret it–as an endorsement of where the party is now. In the count of GOP registrees, I assume there’s no asterisk for those who, like you, are going to try to make the GOP saner.

    The cost of doing what you’re doing, then, is to make it seem to others as if what the GOP has done in the last four years or so is praiseworthy.

    At the same time, I understand what you’re doing and why. But this is a tradeoff you’re making.

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  18. I see tvd once again goes off into a world of fantasy and makes up his own reality. Rather than address the fact that Romney has lied and shown himself to be a craven coward trying to exploit the deaths of brave Americans, he goes off into his strange aluminum foil hat world of “The dangerous lefties are worse”. Pathetic.

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  19. On what the Democrats oppose the Republicans?

    On everything. Why? Because they are the opposition!

    I think this particular view is pretty ridiculous. It happens in a lot of places, not just on the US, but over there it is much more pronounced because you only have 2 parties.

    Democrats propose cost reduction and tax increases to deal with the mounting debt? Republicans oppose! Republicans propose cost reduction and tax increases to deal with the mounting debt? Democrats oppose! Why? Because they are the opposition!

    Instead of actually figuring a way to make things work they keep being contrary to each other like two 8 year old children.

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  20. Tod,
    Your post clearly demonstrates that there is not one significant difference between the two parties-the two candidates are two sides of the same coin and avoid discussion of the same topics and their “plans” are essentially mirror images.

    What’s to vote on?

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  21. As a disengaged and disenchanted Republican, I wish you well, but it will be a hard road. I’ve seen too many folks come in bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and wanting to reform the GOP. And I’ve seen those same folk become disenchanted when they realize changing the party from within means having to put up with the crazies. And then I see those disenchanted folks leave the party in disgust.

    I applaud your courage, but take note from someone who spent years trying to buck the GOP system: you are going to be frustrated and disgusted. You will get upset and be tempted to lose hope. If you can keep your eyes on the prize then maybe change can happen, the record is pretty poor when it comes to “moderate” Republicans trying to stay in the party. Most people just give up because they can’t take it.

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    • Yanno, I knew someone who worked for Gingrich, way back in the day (about the only person who had fun doing it, or so he says)… I believe he’s concluded that the most efficient way to reform the Republicans right about now is to give them a couple of good solid crushing defeats.

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      • I think you’re right Kimmi. Political Parties tend to make changes after a string of defeats. The old Democratic Leadership Council came into being after the the Dems lost two Presidential elections in a role, and it gained prominence after the third loss in ’88. One loss isn’t going to change the Republicans, but a number of losses in a row tend to make a party want to change.

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