10 Fun Facts from the Values Voter Summit

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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206 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    6. President Obama sided with the terrorists is Libya, cheering them on. (Basically, everybody that got up to talk except Rand Paul

    This is not as ridiculous as it may initially seem. Let’s abstract the key point from the inflamatory politically motivated rhetoric. Gadaffi was not a very nice guy. The rebels were apparently worse. Just as Reagen armed and assisted the Mujahedeen, Obama armed and aided the Benghazi Rebels, many of whom were extremists. That aid has come back to bite the US back in the butt in a very similar manner to the way helping the mujahedeen bit the US in the butt.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Murali says:

      I’ve been paying attention to the Benghazi rebels. They are not apparently worse: their structure and motivations are no different than any rebellion at this stage of the game, including the American rebels.

      Benghazi is changing. The old line Sunni hegemony is in direct conflict with a rising Salafist element. America’s siding with the Sunnis, therefore the Salafist jihaadis attacked the Americans.

      You don’t quite get this: let me try to lay this out for you. Al Qaeda is a badly managed franchise operation: anyone can call himself a jihaadi. Such operations spring up where the government can’t enforce its writ, as in Benghazi. Look at anywhere Al Qaeda has appeared and you will find the same situation. Al Qaeda has adapted to urban settings and adopted the techniques of urban fighting.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Murali says:

      Um… no.

      There may well be an argument to be made about what side of a foreign civil war is the one we should have backed. That argument, however, has nothing to do with claim that the sitting President of the United States cheered the killing of US citizens by terrorists.

      Such claims are cynical, specious and inexcusable, and the people that made them in exchamge for applause, votes or donations should be judged accordingly.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Also, for Murali’s argument to make sense, it’d have to be the case that conservatives are arguing by analogy: that Obama is a terrorist sympathizer just like Reagan was!.Report

      • Murali in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        There may well be an argument to be made about what side of a foreign civil war is the one we should have backed. That argument, however, has nothing to do with claim that the sitting President of the United States cheered the killing of US citizens by terrorists

        I read the “sided with the terrorists in Libya” as “sided with the terrorist side in the Libyan civil war” and was therefore instrumental in them gaining power. (or at least enough power that the new puppet government is unable to seriously curtail their actions”. I certainly don’t know what exactly was said, but I presume it was along the lines of this statement by BachmannReport

    • Liberty60 in reply to Murali says:

      The conservatives have painted themselves into a corner of incoherence.

      Their logic under GWB was that overthrowing Mideast dictators would allow freedom and democracy to flourish; yet when we overthrew Hussein, it allowed Iran to rise to power;
      when we helped overthrow Mubarak and Gaddafi, this allowed Islamists to rise to power;

      So what is the official conservative position on the dictator Assaad in Syria? Who should we support? Who should we bomb?Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Liberty60 says:

        The conservatives have painted themselves into a corner of incoherence.

        Only by the standard of liberal logic, Liberty. Conservalogic is different.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Liberty60 says:

        The conservatives have painted themselves into a corner of incoherence.

        These guys don’t strike me as any less coherent than the Occupy crowd.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          Never mind. I didn’t realize that this wasn’t a top-level comment and thought this was about the Values Voters.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          When Ocuppy has a convention in DC where all the “leading lights” of Occupyism who are also happen to be avowed members of the Democratic Party, and who glad hand and make speeches affirming those values, we might have something to about.Report

        • KatherineMW in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          There’s a difference between “organized” and “coherent”.

          The Occupy protestors don’t have a highly organized agenda, and include a broad range of ideological perspectives, but seem to have some common understanding of their basic principles (inequality is too high; corporations have too much influence within government; banks shouldn’t be given vast amounts of money for screwing up).

          The conservative movement does have an organized agenda and common ideology; their issue, that Liberty60 points out, is that they are taking positions which directly contradict both each other (democracy promotion in Iraq but not Libya, despite the latter having much lower costs to the US and attracting less international opprobrium) and the facts.Report

          • This shoe belongs on the other foot. It’s Obama who’s the neo-con with a Democracy Project. There’s your irony.

            Realpolitik would have left Gaddafi and Mubarak in place for stability’s sake.

            “Look where we’re at today,” Bachmann added. “Remember again, Barack Obama said we were going into Libya for humanitarian purposes. It wasn’t humanitarian purposes, it was regime change and what’s the result? We don’t know who the next leaders will be…it could be a radical element. It could be the Muslim Brotherhood. It could be elements affiliated with al Qaeda. We don’t know yet who that regime will be. But worse we’ve seen the MANPADS go missing and those shoulder fired rockets that are very dangerous that could fit in the trunk of a car. … This is a very bad decision and it’s created more instability in the region, not less.”—Michele Bachmann, Values Voter, 2011


            • KatherineMW in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              And yet, it’s simultaneously the Republican Party, still dominated by the neocons, that’s also claiming Obama’s at fault for not putting enough emphasis on democracy in places such as Russia and Iran.

              So that’s the ideological incoherence you’re providing an example of. Do you advocate more democracy promotion, and fault Obama for not taking more action to back the Iranian Green movement (regardless of whether that would have had a positive or negative effect on the movement, and regardless of the question of whether the movement’s aims were actually any closer to American wishes for Iran than the aims of the current Iranian government) and for not being more hostile to Russia? Or do you recognize Iraq as a fiasco and Bush’s democracy promotion project as a failure that the Republican Party should repudiate, and advocate realpolitik and restraint and reducing foreign entanglements that don’t benefit the US?

              Or do you, like the rest of your party, simply criticize Obama for whatever he does from whatever angle is convenient?Report

              • DRS in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Or do you, like the rest of your party, simply criticize Obama for whatever he does from whatever angle is convenient?

                Bingo! Also: it would be helpful for Americans to realize that there are a great many things that are outside the President’s control, and when a populace is determined to overthrow an unpopular leader (and the military is willing to at least acquiesce in it), there’s not a lot that a country on the other side of the world can do.

                American discussions on foreign policy tend to bog down in the “magic wand fallacy”: why didn’t President Whover just magically make something happen? Answer: because he can’t. Other forces are at work, that have their own interests, agendas, grievances, goals.

                If the attacks on American embassies right now are part of an effort by impatient wings of the Muslim Brotherhood with a strong assist by al Queda, then Obama is doing the cautious thing by not rhetorically attacking Libya and Egypt and by extention their entire populations. Jihadists only benefit from war-on-civilization kind of speeches, and trying the lower the temperature is not what they want. Bombastic words are not what we want right now.Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              Nonsense. Ideology, not Realpolitik, left the old crocodiles in place. The USA periodically chivvied Mubarak about human rights but they liked him because he kept Camp David in place and took our money like a good boy and was a Reasonable Arab.

              Gaddhafy got out of line and blew up airliners and bombed our troops in discos in Germany, we whacked him and isolated him. Realpolitik would have beaten his skinny ass with the Ugly Stick, taken his oil, installed a puppet regime.

              At few points in American history have our leaders ever been Realpolitiker. You might say Kissinger played that game, but the Cold War was not Realpolitik by my lights. Our hatred of Communism led us to run-of-the-mill alliances with assholes and dictators, as our alliance with Stalin during WW2 had been on the basis of common cause against the Fascists. It was a disastrous policy which would crash in Southeast Asia, crash all over Central America, Africa, the Middle East — in short, everywhere it was tried.

              The USSR tried the same stupid un-Realpolitik approach. Didn’t work for them, either. Kolonialismus ohe Ursache, Colonialism without a Cause. Not colonialism as it was before WW2, where the colonialists at least wanted to make money and put in well-oiled puppet regimes to keep the whole exploitative engine running, this was the worst of both worlds: crippled economies and bad government both. Nobody made any money doing it and those who tried went broke pursuing it.

              And still, a certain species of pie-eyed idiot really does believe Reagan ended the Cold War because he was a Fierce Warrior. No. Gorbachev and Reagan had the good sense to realise they were both good-natured Cold Warriors and not cynical Realpolitiker.

              Michelle Bachmann’s intellect is pitifully underpowered. She doesn’t understand how democracy works. We tried it her way in RSVN, where we did know who the next leaders would be. We helped murder Diem for this exact reason. Kolonialismus ohne Ursache didn’t work then and won’t work now.

              Rest easy, Michelle, the big problem coming out of Libya isn’t a few missing MANPADS. It’s the southern Libyans, the Tuareg and the West Africans, now suddenly disenfranchised and prone to affiliation with Genuinely Bad Guys. They’re the threat now. They’re moving south across the desert. The prize is the oil of Nigeria and they’ve been making great strides reducing northern Nigeria to a wreck. There’s your instability, bee-yutch. The best thing which might come of the Libyan situation is a reorganised Arabic-speaking regime based on the Realpolitik of tribes and not the Ideological Idiocy of Strong Men.Report

    • MikeSchilling in reply to Murali says:

      I’m missing the analogy.

      Benghazi Rebels ->Mujahadeen
      Ghadaffi -> Afghan Communists

      And it was Ghadafiiists who attacked the embassy and murdered those people. The current Libyan government, whom we support, have condemned the killings and are helping us find the culprits.Report

      • Murali in reply to MikeSchilling says:

        No, they were Islamist extremists who attacked in response to some silly video. Ghadaffi was by comparison a seularist.* The current Libyan government, though perhaps more moderate, is still very weak and has been unable to rein in their more extreme erstwhile allies.

        *Not necessarily by our standards, but relative to the general attitude in Libya.Report

        • Foxrepublcian in reply to Murali says:

          You are wrong, the attack on the embassy has nothing to do with the video as silly as it was. See if you listen to Romney you might think that, but he didn’t get the facts right.Report

          • Murali in reply to Foxrepublcian says:

            . See if you listen to Romney you might think that, but he didn’t get the facts right

            Most mainstream news sources including the one in my country seem to be saying that it was a response to the video. There are of course rumours that it was planned, but again according to said rumours it was planned by Islamic extremists. There is no evidence to suppose that Ghadaffi supporters planned the attack and tried to make it look like Islamic extremists. I don’t think the mainstream news source in Singapore is particularly beholden to the pronouncements of an American presidential candidate; especially one who doesn’t seem likely to win.Report

            • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Murali says:

              The Obama admin proved Romney right alternately by condemning the embassy’s screwup and compounding it.

              I wrote a draft on the affair but decided it wasn’t worth it. How Romney gets blamed for the Obama admin having its head up its butt I don’t know, but that’s the media narrative. I wouldn’t even know where to start with people who so thirstily swallow it.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                How Romney gets blamed for the Obama admin having its head up its butt I don’t know, but that’s the media narrative.

                Wait. For a guy who claims to understand everything said on these virtual pages, you seem to be in error here, Tom. Romney isn’t being blamed for anything Obama did or didn’t do. He’s being criticized for making an incorrect and odious statement in the immediate aftermath of the Libyan attack, and for doubling down on that statement after his mistake was made clear.

                Halperin called it “craven”, as I recall.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                When all around, the world seems dark and stinky, Tom, my advice is always to pull your head out. Romney could have confined himself to a statement of condolences and an earnest wish for the peace of Libya. He might have added, however illusory such a promise might have been, that under his administration the world would learn to fear and respect America, for there would be dire consequences for such actions if he was running the show.

                But that’s not what he said. Here’s what he did say:

                “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.”

                And that’s not all he said. Perhaps, in the Van Dyke Bizarro World, the press would have censored such a stupid statement, rather like it once discreetly avoided showing FDR in a wheelchair, back here in the Real World. But in those days, such information wasn’t publicised out of respect for a sitting president. Such decency is entirely lacking in the Romney Camp. It’s disgraceful beyond words, a contemptuous and boorish display of asinine partisanship from a man who’s already demonstrated a captious disregard for what he says about foreign policy overseas.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Murali says:

              The notion that it was an impromptu demonstration in response to the movie is losing credibility. The protests and/or riots? Yeah, seems in response to the movie. The embassy assault in particular? It’s seeming not that way.Report

        • MikeSchilling in reply to Murali says:

          The details are still in dispute, but it seems clear at least that the demonstrations were at least escalated by a well-armed militia, which might have had the attack planned well in advance. If you believe the Libyan government, the attackers weren’t Libyans.Report

          • wardsmith in reply to MikeSchilling says:

            The first victim in war is the truth. I fault Tod’s otherwise excellent writing here because IF someone of consequence said Obama cheered on the KILLING OF AMERICANS he damn well could and should have noted that in his point 6. If on the other hand, what was said was (correctly) along the lines that the Obama administration backed rebels who themselves could be construed to be terrorists (by the FBI definition of same) then indeed Obama backed the terrorists. When said terrorists come along and decide to attack the embassy and kill the Arab speaking diplomat (itself a horrible indictment of our ambassadors, most of whom cannot speak the native tongue of the country where they work), that falls under the too bad, so sad category.

            Fact, there were a CONSORTIUM of rebels, some fanatic Islamists and some moderate secularists. They all fought to overthrow Gaddafi, but the “moderates” got the backing of our dead ambassador and the attack and his assassination was intended to send the message that we had backed the wrong horse. There will be other fallout from this attack, such as the painfully obvious fact that in a volatile neighborhood that had just undergone a horrific revolution we were renting a run of the mill villa with zero hard point defenses as the ambassador’s residence. That was abysmally stupid and in a fair and competent world, heads would roll. This being the US Government, the incompetents in charge will no doubt be promoted instead because the incompetents who hired /them/ don’t want any of the brown stinky fallout to land their way.

            BTW like Blaise I have my own sources with .mil addresses. I suspect the difference is that Blaise’s contacts are GS-6 and mine are GS-15’s. Doesn’t mean they know more, but it does mean they know different.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to wardsmith says:

              Those who know, don’t say, and those who say, don’t know.Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to wardsmith says:

              Ward, please don’t play Urinary Olympics with me. It’s unseemly. It’s like some kid in the playground, my brother can beat up your brother. I said I worked with J-5 and J-6 types, not G-6. We all have our little part to play in these things. Those that talk don’t know and those that know don’t talk. Report

              • wardsmith in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Not getting into a pithing match with you Blaise. We’ll agree about some things and disagree about others. The rules of engagement in intel are simple. If someone’s tasked with say, North Korea, he won’t say boo about it. But that doesn’t mean he can’t talk or speculate about Kuwait. Is he privy to information not publicly available about Kuwait? Perhaps, but he can also speculate based on no more information than is available to the public at large. The difference of course being that he’s better trained on what to look for than the public at large. And that’s all I have to say about it. If you want to dispute a SINGLE point I’ve made above do so, otherwise leave the playgrounds to the children.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to wardsmith says:

                That’s good. Such games are for ninnies. Everyone has a role. High or low or in-between, everyone relies on other people doing their damned jobs.

                I’d confine the use of ROE to a rules framework for how politicians and military find common and legally defensible ground. Contrary to Hollywood stereotypes and Tom Clancy bullshit, not even the president can do everything he wants, hence the need for asshole lawyer types like John Yoo to invent excuses for them.

                As for Better Trained, ecch, Sun Tzu says nobody makes headway on enemy ground without a local guide: the best intelligence operations build up local networks. They, not the operators, know what’s important.

                Missionaries’ kids end up either in the ministry or in the intelligence community if they’re not careful. It’s not a particularly ambitious choice, intelligence. There’s lots of deadwood in the intelligence community. It’s the CIA’s worst problem.Report

            • Nob Akimoto in reply to wardsmith says:

              There will be other fallout from this attack, such as the painfully obvious fact that in a volatile neighborhood that had just undergone a horrific revolution we were renting a run of the mill villa with zero hard point defenses as the ambassador’s residence.

              You do realize the Ambassador’s residence is in the capital of Tripoli, whereas this particular attack took place at a Consulate (distinct from an Embassy) in Benghazi, right? Now the question is what the heck was an Ambassador doing at a consulate rather than his embassy on the anniversary of 9/11, but that we’d have to ask the honorable Mr. Stevens, who is not available for comment anymore.Report

    • North in reply to Murali says:

      Looking at Libya and the way things have gone there since Gadaffi departed I’d opine that the idea that the rebels were worse than Gadaffi is not only wrong but also knee slapping hysterical laughter wrong. I sure don’t see how we can look at what so far appears to be an opportunistic attack by a group that is the enemy of the Libyans (now democratically elected) government and say that this action is evidence of malfeasance by the Libyans who overthrew Gadaffi and replaced him.Report

    • Mr. Harris in reply to Murali says:

      It sounds a little like you’re insinuating that the U.S. was funding freedom fighters who becam terrorists. The people who we were funding were freedom fighters, some of whom became adicalized and later became terrorists. Read Peter Bergen’s book, “Holy War, Inc.” no one at the CIA knew who Bin Laden was when they were helping fund the Afghan rebels. There’s also evidence that the Chinese were funding and training Mujahideen leaders before the U.S.Report

  2. Mike Schilling says:

    The greatest challenge to our security and our Constitution we face in the 21st century is gay soldiers being able to marry

    While the taxpayers pay for their contraception!Report

  3. Rufus F. says:

    Most of the religious conservative people I’ve encountered were salt-of-the-earth nice people too. They just had a vague and foreboding sense that something’s gone wrong somehow in modern life. I’ve had it too. I think most of us have. The appeal of these Pecksniffian hucksters seems to be that they give them a clear explanation of what went wrong and what must be done. It doesn’t exactly add up, but it fills a need.Report

    • Well, I’m just glad I’m here to give them a handy explanation.Report

    • ktward in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Most of the religious conservative people I’ve encountered were salt-of-the-earth nice people too. … The appeal of these Pecksniffian hucksters seems to be that they give them a clear explanation of what went wrong and what must be done. It doesn’t exactly add up, but it fills a need.

      I think maybe you’ve touched upon a good point: despite the waving banners, I suspect the allure has less to do with religion and more to do with mentality.

      I mean, it’s not just certain groups of religious folks who crave pat explanations/solutions. There are plenty of non-religious folks who are convinced our country is going to hell in a handbasket because of A) lazy welfare queens and/or B) stupid people who can’t conduct their lives responsibly. I personally know a few of them.

      That said, I’m unconvinced that today’s SoCon/RR leaders–many of them elected pols–are all hucksters. In fact, I’m way less concerned about the obvious hucksters (a la Limbaugh) and far more concerned that a good many of these pols are very much True Believers (a la Bachmann) who, thanks in no small part to Reagan, have been conscientiously groomed for the public stage.

      They’re filling a need, yes, and thanks to “legitimizing” venues like the VVS, they’ve become quite effective at it.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to ktward says:

        I am also more concerned with the Bachmann’s of the world than the Limbaughs. Though I think there are a lot of true believers.

        And I agree with your first paragraph with the idea that a lot of these people think that something went wrong and are wondering what it is. Though I think it is mainly confusion over the complexity of life and the grayness of life and wanting to view the world like children with rose-colored glasses. They yearn for a world that never existed.Report

      • MFarmer in reply to ktward says:

        “Most of the votes for Democrats in Presidential elections come either from people on welfare, or people committing voter fraud. (Gary Bauer, American Values President)”

        I don’t care for Gary Bauer’s worldview, but did he make the claim that most of the votes for Democrats in Presdiential elections come either from people on welfare, or people committing voter fraud? I’ve looked and I can’t find this statement that most votes for Democrats come from these two sources. I saw where he said there are people waiting on a government check who will be afraid the checks won’t come unless they vote for the Democratic Party, and he made a humorous statement alluding to votes found from dead people in past elections, but I didn’t read where he made the claim you claim he made.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to MFarmer says:

          The correlation between government checks and voting Democrat[ic] is a poll question they mysteriously never ask. They ask every stupidass question imaginable like would you rather have Barack Obama be the captain of a ship in a storm or Romney*, but they can’t ask an actual relevant question.
          *No, I’m not frigging exaggerating.


        • MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

          And although I don’t agree with Bachmann’s worldview, this — “The Obama administration has begun secretly plotting with the Organization for Islamic Cooperation. They have begun to “brainwash” FBI and other security agents to be receptive to the messages of Islam, so that Sharia law speech laws can be enforced unchallenged after Obama’s reelection. ” — doesn’t seem to be correct either. I listened to Bachmann’s speech and she was referring to a request by Muslims to the WH to remove all mention of Islamist terrorists, or something like, and said if this were to happen, it would be like brainwashing, and it would be at the hands of our President. I think she was concerned because it hasn’t been rejected, that it’s under consideration. I would have to listen again and catch up on the request sent to the WH, but what you wrote is misleading when compared to what Bachmann actually said. Bachmann was making implications that are a stretch, but you are doing no better. You are creating hyperbole, acting as if it’s verbatim, then calling it nutty. Your reporting is a little nutty it seems. You should do better reporting than this if you want to be taken seriously.Report

    • captain dan in reply to Rufus F. says:

      You evidently have not met the religious conservative nuts in Texas! They are far from being nice and are far from being reasonable. That also goes for most of the ‘baggers in old confederate states.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to Rufus F. says:

      What do you mean that something has gone wrong with modern life?

      I think that there is plenty wrong (largely in terms of social and economic justice) but if you are talking about the stuff that gives the Value Voters heebee jeebees, that stuff is largely a boon. There has always been pre-marital sex and probably a lot of it, now we are not ashamed of it. There has always been homosexuality and people with gender issues. As we learn more, society and culture changes.Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to NewDealer says:

        The issues they focus on are not necessarily the sum total of what may make a cultural conservative uncomfortable with modern trends.

        Modernity (and urban environments, which ‘values voters’ also seem to dislike) often brings with it increasing alienation, a greater focus on the individual and less focus on community. As bonds of community and family weaken (on the latter point, people who only marry once in their lives and stay married seem to have become the exemption rather than the norm), government steps in to do their jobs, making social relations more institutional and bureaucratic, further increasing alienation. At the same time, secularization and general decline of religious beliefs weaken other major parts of community life. People become disturbed at these trends; they turn against modernity and seek scapegoats for the collapse of family and community.

        This isn’t just America. It’s happened in every country that underwent modernization; it’s happening in the Middle East now, with far greater impact than US social conservatism has. When change works to the detriment of what’s comfortable and familiar, people who are accustomed to and content with the status quo will revolt against it.Report

        • Liberty60 in reply to KatherineMW says:

          And ironically, the most powerful engine of modernity is capitalism hitched to industrialism.Report

        • …and urban environments, which ‘values voters’ also seem to dislike…

          This doesn’t get as much play as it should. The values of this group are those of small-town America. The red/blue divide is much more a rural/urban divide than a regional one. Romney’s problem with the Republican “base” is that he’s the urban/inner suburb candidate, and the base is a rural/exurb bunch. Look at the maps that show what counties Romney won in the primaries before everyone dropped out. For example, Newt Gingrich won Georgia, but Romney won Atlanta. A big problem for the “values voters” is that small-town America is shrinking in relative terms, and in absolute terms in many places. The Great Plains is a good example. The population has been shrinking for decades as people retreat back to the few rivers that provide reliable water supplies, to the transportation corridors, and to the small cities along the edges of the GP.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to NewDealer says:

        KatherineMW did a really good job of answering this below. I’d just add a few things to what she said. I’ve said this before here and people have taken it as crypto-Marxism, but I think it’s really just a statement of fact: we live in a culture that is steeped in and largely defined by consumer capitalism, and there’s really no such thing as truly “culturally conservative” capitalism. It just wouldn’t work. Now, look, I don’t particularly have a problem with that, which is probably why I’m neither a Marxist nor a conservative, but the ethos that allows a consumer culture to function (and bring all of the boons that it does bring) is going to slam up against more “traditionalist” values pretty hard. Traditionalist cultures, particularly religious ones, tend to emphasize self-control and suppression of the individual will for the good of the soul and the community, including the metaphysical community. But these values don’t make a lot of sense in a culture steeped in a consumer ethos, which stresses the easy satisfaction of individual desires, after all.

        If you want evidence of the clash, talk to someone who immigrated here from a more traditional society and are struggling to maintain those traditions and values in their kids. They see a sort of brash and vulgar mass media and consumer society and they feel their way of life is being washed away. Then you add how difficult it’s become for people in certain professions to maintain even a lower middle class lifestyle, and what you wind up with is a certain simmering feeling of alienation. Finally, I can tell you that there may be a definite decline in crime, but if you live in a place like I do, it sure doesn’t seem that way. So, some pundit (probably fairer than huckster) comes along and tells them that things really have gone astray and it’s just like what happened to every other tribe of Israelites in the Old Testament, and it’s just easier to focus on these little temporary causes than accept that their way of life is going to be marginalized within modernity.Report

        • Rufus F. in reply to Rufus F. says:

          Well, or she did a great job of answering it above…Report

          • Michelle in reply to Rufus F. says:

            Both you and Katherine hit on something important–the discomfort with modernity felt by members of traditional communities and the extent to which consumer capitalism has played in undermining traditional values of deferred gratification and self-restraint. It seems very few analysts, especially modern conservative ones, managed to connect the two stands of discontent.

            The whole ideology of consumer capitalism is buy now, buy often, and never be content with what you have. Yet, Republicans, with their fetishism of the allegedly free market, have no avenue to approach this issue and the pernicious effect it has on traditional mores. As a result, you have someone like Bush exhorting Americans to show their togetherness and resolve in the aftermath of 9/11 by going shopping.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Rufus F. says:

          …we live in a culture that is steeped in and largely defined by consumer capitalism, and there’s really no such thing as truly “culturally conservative” capitalism. It just wouldn’t work.

          I think I sort of agree with half of your conclusion here, but would describe it differently. A consumer-oriented economy requires the economies of scale and technology and wealth that will only be developed in an urban setting. Urban settings are largely incompatible with “culturally conservative” values. Capitalism per se would seem to be an orthogonal issue.Report

        • NewDealer in reply to Rufus F. says:


          This is a good answer. However a lot of Evangelicals have managed to make consumerism fit sort of nicely with their churches. Even Ross Douhat at the NY Times bemoans many mega-churches for being theologically shallow despite their social/cultural conservatism. Most mega-Church preachers try and stay away from the ascetics and/or fire and brimstone stuff.

          Our psychological issues with consumer culture are interesting. You also see a lot of upper-middle class college students earnestly railing against consumerism and accusing their parents of being corporate sheep. I think that a large aspect of the DIY-Etsy crowd (aka as the people who make 9 dollar jars of jam and haute food truck cuisine) are a reaction against corporate life and consumerism. Or at least making it more about a hand-crafted product instead of mass produced stuff.

          The problem is that consumerism is sort of at the heart of what it means to have a vast middle-class. The Victorian Industrialists made their enormous wealth by taking luxury products (tea, coffee, bananas, chocolate, soap, etc) and making them affordable and accessible to the masses.

          To answer the consummerist problem from the left or right is going to cause a vast change in what it means to be middle class.Report

  4. greginak says:

    Hmm missed Santorum…so where would his best quote ” Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, told the audience at the Omni Shoreham hotel. “We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.” fall in the top 10 list?Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to greginak says:

      I had wondered about that quote. Do you suppose there are implied quotation marks around the word smart, giving the whole phrase the intended meaning of “those elitists who think they’re smart but we know they aren’t really”?Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Michael Cain says:


        That’s why the media doesn’t go along with us. You have to understand that. They don’t like conservatism. They like the other side, not necessarily, I would argue, because they necessarily agree with them. It’s because they can influence the country more. You see, if just a few people make decisions about what this world looks like and what this country looks like, well, then you can have people sitting in offices in the major media outlets and in Hollywood who can – they can deal with a small group of people and influencing them, getting them to jump through the hoops they want to. It’s much harder if all of you collectively build America. It’s much harder to influence you.

        We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country. We will never have the elite smart people on our side, because they believe they should have the power to tell you what to do. So our colleges and universities, they’re not going to be on our side. The conservative movement will always be – and that’s why we founded Patriot Voices – the basic premise of America and American values will always be sustained through two institutions, the church and the family.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

          Reading that part of the speech again, it strikes me that Santorum is trying to create a new politically motivated social division akin to class and race: intelligence. It almost sounds like he’s advocating an “intelligence” war, pitting dumb people against the “smart elites” who want to “tell them what to do”.Report

          • NewDealer in reply to Stillwater says:

            There have always been people who did this in American politics. A large aspect of right-wing populism is anti-Intellectualism.

            Hence the right-wing economic populism that evokes blue-collar imagery and praises manual/physical labor. The talk about a job being something you can have pride in usually meaning that it worked the bones tired. There is a strong implication that any job that requires intellectualism or office work is not something one can be satisfied about. Santorum tried this before with his remark about how Obama was snobby for wanting everyone to go to college which was incorrect anyway.Report

            • Michael Cain in reply to NewDealer says:

              The talk about a job being something you can have pride in usually meaning that it worked the bones tired.

              Message to this group — if your job pays anything resembling a living wage, your boss is thinking, more days than not, about how he/she can automate it. When you read about a Taiwanese outfit like Foxconn (who are secretive but have between a quarter- and a half-million workers on the mainland) making plans to deploy a million robots from 2011-13, you know how cheap automation has become.Report

              • KatherineMW in reply to Michael Cain says:

                I remember from one Atlantic article on China that generally, when China’s using sweatshops and exploited labour for production, it’s because wages are so low that they’re cheaper than automation. (Which completely cuts the ground out from under the ‘outsourcing is stealing our jobs’ argument, unless you’re worried about the jobs of American robots.)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

                One of the outsourcing stories we told each other in the 90’s was that managers in India had secretaries instead of computers because secretaries were cheaper.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

                Keep in mind postwar Japan where a generation worked themselves like dogs to turn things around. Remember, Japan, Inc., that was soon to own the world?

                What happens—and it will happen and is in China and India—is that eventually people want the lifeboat rules to end, and something resembling a life. Water seeks its own level.Report

          • MikeSchilling in reply to Stillwater says:

            Read it again with “smart” in quotes, or in its somewhat older sense of “fashionable”. Now you get typical class war: the people against the out-of-touch elites. In this case, the people are identified by their traditional values and the elites by their willingness to throws those overboard for trendy nonsense they learned from their left-wing professors, which can included evolution, gay marriage, Keynsianism, Christianity not being the one true religion, or your other favorite culture wars issue.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to MikeSchilling says:

              Mike and Fnord: yes, I think you guys are right. There are implied quotes around “smart”, and he’s re-hashing old themes. Same old class war, same old cultural divide.Report

            • NewDealer in reply to MikeSchilling says:

              Isn’t more of a traditional culture war than a class war?

              I suppose class and culture are interlinked but I try to keep class war meaning wage, working condition, and economic issues.

              But that was a good catch to use smart in the archaic way of meaning “cosmopolitan” or “fashionable” like The Smart Set. H.L. Mencken would have a field day at the Value Voters summit. In fact, you can probably see a lot of comparisons between our politics/culture wars and those of the 1920s.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to NewDealer says:

                Yes, “culture” is more accurate than “class”. And I’d love to be able to read HLM on the subject. (Not that Tod isn’t awesome, but he’s constrained by being so nice.)Report

    • NewDealer in reply to greginak says:

      Yeah, I saw that too and have been puzzling over it since.

      It basically goes back to the Protestant Revolution (despite Santorum’s Catholicism, his religious dogma is very much anchored in the Protestant Revolution). There has always been an anti-Intellectualist aspect to the idea of not needing an intermediary to understand the bible.

      I think this translates into a broader anti-Intellectualism. These people are simply resentful of needing to listen to any sort of educated elite. And they think education is what makes someone elite, not riches. Hence the Koch brothers being non-elite but an actor/waiter in Brooklyn being elite.


      • Mo in reply to NewDealer says:

        Which is odd, since the Kochs went to MIT.Report

        • NewDealer in reply to Mo says:

          The great irony is that most of the conservative elite went to the same institutions that they decry.

          Eric Cantor also went to MIT and Columbia. Mitt Romney went to Harvard Law and Business School and spent sometime at Stanford as an undergrad. Alito went to Princeton. Thomas to Yale Law, Scalia to Harvard Law, etc.

          I think elitist or elite is a word only used by the other side. If you go to the elite schools and end up Republican, you are okay, a survivor of the temptations. If you end up liberal, you are a member of the elite regardless of income or job.Report

          • ktward in reply to NewDealer says:

            If you go to the elite schools and end up Republican, you are okay, a survivor of the temptations. If you end up liberal, you are a member of the elite regardless of income or job.


            Which I think circles neatly back to my original point: today’s SoCon-at-large masses are driven less by religion (or even ideology, which is religion-ish) and more by a specific mentality.

            Ilch. Not my intention, but I feel like I’m making a sweeping generalization that can be easily disproved. A Venn would perhaps better illustrate my point. (Especially one made of coffee rings.)Report

  5. Peter says:

    Of course HBD blogospherians worship the “value voters.”Report

  6. Kyle Cupp says:

    As Spock would say, “Fascinating.”Report

  7. Brandon Berg says:

    Planned Parenthood is an organization created for the purpose of killing off the white race.

    I heard that it was created for the purpose of killing of the black race. Assuming that both of these are true, La Raza must be behind it.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      A cultural conservative won’t necessarily view those things as mutually exclusive BB.

      That’s what gives the movement its power.Report

    • MikeSchilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Or by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own.Report

    • MFarmer in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      :Planned Parenthood is an organization created for the purpose of killing off the white race. (Rep. Tim Huelskamp, US Rep-KS)”

      This is the most dishonest claim, Huelskamp said it’s designed to kill off children that look like his — he has adopted a black child, a hispanic child and , I think, an Asian child. What poor reporting this is.Report

      • Chris in reply to MFarmer says:

        In this case, Farmer’s right. Huelskamp pretty explicitly says that Planned Parenthood is a racist organization whose sole purpose is killing minority children.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to Chris says:

          While no longer true, that actually does have a basis in historical fact.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            In what way? It may be true that PP’s services are taken advantage of disproportionately by people of color, but we cannot conclude from that what the “sole purpose” of the organization is. And it is particularly hard to accept that fact given that only a small percentage of the services offered are abortions. Kind of hard their sole purpose is abortion when something like 90% of their funding goes to preventing the need for abortions in the first place.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

              In what way?

              Now, of course, we know it’s about the rights of women to control their own sexual destinies in the face of men who would oppress them.

              Way back when, however, Planned Parenthood was all ’bout eugenics. Nice eugenics, mind. Not Nazi eugenics or anything. If you have a kindle and an hour to kill, pick up “Women and The New Race” and/or “The Pivot of Civilization” (both my Margaret Sanger) and see for yourself.

              Of course, Planned Parenthood isn’t about eugenics anymore. It’s much more progressive than it used to be.Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

                The Republican Party’s sole purpose is to enforce racial segregation.

                While no longer true, that actually does have a basis in historical fact.

                Fortunately, it’s much more conservative than it used to be.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Chris says:

                The Democrats used to have the Racist Vote locked up. I wouldn’t say the GOP has a lock on the Racist Vote any more: the old racists are dying off. They were always a disgrace to the Conservatives. Nowadays, the GOP, wretched sailors that they always were, are nursing nasty bumps on their heads as the mainsail boom swept across the deck. The contrary winds of the Tea Parties have blown up and now they’re not sure who they are.

                The Tea Parties aren’t racist. I’ve seen plenty of black people at their rallies. They’ve seized the megaphone and show no inclination to give it back to the Wiser, Older Heads. Look at Romney, no racist he, forced to Publicly Repent of all his Moderate Sins and Trespasses. And that mendacious Paul Ryan, now obliged to recant his allegiance to Ayn Rand — coz she was an atheist, doncha know. I’m not worried about racism in the GOP. I am worried about the Unscientific Types and the Religious Ranters among them.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

                My original comparison was to Byrd’s membership in that one organization and how tacky it is that others kept pointing it out.

                I thought that would gild the lily, however.Report

            • Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

              The historical basis is based on a character assassination of Margaret Sanger, the founder of the organization. She opened the first Planned Parenthood clinic in Harlem, which was already a heavily-black neighborhood, and once gave a speech about birth control to the women’s auxilliary of the KKK.

              There are alleged quotes credited to her about how contraceptive abortions in particular would reduce the numbers of black babies and create a future in which white people would be more dominant. I’ve no idea of these quotes are authentic.

              Nor do I think they’re relevant to any decision we might make today. Assuming arguendo that Ms. Sanger indeed did want to kill all the black babies and let the white ones live, that’s clearly not the sort of policy that Planned Parenthood has espoused within anyone’s living memory.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Margaret Sanger had the support of every notable black thinker in her times. Martin Luther King approved of her work. She was invited into Harlem and staffed her clinics with black personnel. In fact, all this mendacious crap about how she wanted to abort black babies is the absolute inverse of what she intended. For in those times, there was a movement afoot to sterilise black people.

                At any rate, her letters to Clarence Gamble are a matter of record. Clarence Gamble wanted every child to be a wanted child.Report

              • Chris in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Sanger’s eugenic ideas weren’t really race-based, but intelligence-based (she didn’t think people with severe mental limitations should be allowed to breed), and she believed that contraception should be a choice for people who were intelligent enough to breed (under her view).Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Chris says:

                It’s a debate which continues to this day. Should mentally-handicapped individuals who can’t raise a child on their own and can’t be relied on to use birth control effectively be denied a sex life? We can look back to the era of Margaret Sanger and decry the politics of eugenics but that’s the first error of the bad historian, that he looks at the past through the lenses of the present.

                Margaret Sanger was not a racist. That much seems clear from the historical record. When politics meets biology, the combination is as explosive as the union of politics and religion.Report

              • Glyph in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise –

                that’s the first error of the bad historian, that he looks at the past through the lenses of the present.

                I completely agree with this statement, and I have no wish to assassinate the character of Sanger, who was a feminist pioneer who wanted to give people more control over their own lives, and was not even an abortion supporter, believing abortion immoral and readily-available legal birth control to be the ‘cure’ for it. Sanger’s aims and actions were largely noble and commendable.

                But your comment still sticks out to me, because of past statements you have made regarding other historical figures.

                As Chris points out, Sanger supported an intelligence-and-physical-fitness based eugenics with a goal toward ‘eliminating the unfit’. True, she did not support euthanasia, though she did support coerced sterilization for severely mentally handicapped people. She proposed strong immigration restrictions, for pretty much why you think she did. She associated with people like Lothrop Stoddard, and made common cause with others in the eugenics movement, who pushed policies that we’d call questionable at best.

                Her wikipedia page says ‘Sanger believed that lighter-skinned races were superior to darker-skinned races, but would not tolerate bigotry among her staff, nor any refusal to work within interracial projects’. I have been trying to track down the original source for this statement online but have not yet found it; if true and not just wikipedia garbage, I’d say belief that lighter-skinned races are ‘superior’ is the very definition of racist, even if she commendably forbade her staff to act on it.

                Yet we are advised to look past these things, to see the good she (unarguably) did, and to judge her in the context of her own time and place, not by what we know and believe now. And that is fair enough.

                My point is simply this. IIRC, you have jumped on Tom and other conservatives here in the past when you say they are unjustifiably engaging in hagiography of the Framers and painting them as infallible saints, correctly pointing out that the Framers were in fact racist slaveowning hypocrites.

                I’d simply ask that the next time that that topic comes up, that those men – revolutionaries and yet still products of their milieu and subject to the blind spots of their day, much the same as Sanger was in hers – get the same careful consideration we give Sanger.

                I am not proposing sainthood for the Framers, but their blind spots no more disqualify them or their good ideas or works from praise, than Sanger’s disqualify her.

                I hope this doesn’t come across as criticism, it was just something that stuck out to me.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Glyph says:

                It’s not criticism. It’s well-written critique. I live for such comments, frankly.

                The Founders suffered from all the besetting sins and shortcomings of mortal men. The hagiography obscures what we know to be true from the historical record, that slavery was a hugely contentious issue. It was understood to be an ethical problem at the time. In the case of the Founders, we can see them through the lenses of their own time. We have the Anti-Federalist Papers, which people don’t know as well as the Federalist Papers @ 54,

                “We subscribe to the doctrine,” might one of our Southern brethren observe, “that representation relates more immediately to persons, and taxation more immediately to property, and we join in the application of this distinction to the case of our slaves. But we must deny the fact, that slaves are considered merely as property, and in no respect whatever as persons. The true state of the case is, that they partake of both these qualities: being considered by our laws, in some respects, as persons, and in other respects as property. In being compelled to labor, not for himself, but for a master; in being vendible by one master to another master; and in being subject at all times to be restrained in his liberty and chastised in his body, by the capricious will of another, the slave may appear to be degraded from the human rank, and classed with those irrational animals which fall under the legal denomination of property. In being protected, on the other hand, in his life and in his limbs, against the violence of all others, even the master of his labor and his liberty; and in being punishable himself for all violence committed against others, the slave is no less evidently regarded by the law as a member of the society, not as a part of the irrational creation; as a moral person, not as a mere article of property. The federal Constitution, therefore, decides with great propriety on the case of our slaves, when it views them in the mixed character of persons and of property. This is in fact their true character. It is the character bestowed on them by the laws under which they live; and it will not be denied, that these are the proper criterion; because it is only under the pretext that the laws have transformed the negroes into subjects of property, that a place is disputed them in the computation of numbers; and it is admitted, that if the laws were to restore the rights which have been taken away, the negroes could no longer be refused an equal share of representation with the other inhabitants.

                but it’s the Anti-Federalist Papers which go into the ugly fight over slavery in the Constitutional Convention.

                But with Margaret Sanger, we also have the record. She did care for the plight of black people, not as we might today: she was in the now-discredited eugenics camp and that can’t be denied. But in present times, amniocentesis is providing genetics testing, allowing women to make a choice about bringing a profoundly disabled child into the world. With Margaret Sanger, we’ve sorta cast her into the pit with what came of eugenics but the issues she raised haven’t gone away. That’s the difference.Report

              • Google “The Negro Project.” Not character assassination on Margaret Sanger atall, Burt. She was a eugenicist, and up to the eyebrows.

                No, she didn’t want to eradicate the Negro race. That’s an unfair accusation. I spent the day reading on the “Sanger papers” website at NYU.


                But she did want “Negroes” in particular to stop reproducing at such a high rate—not just for racial perfection purposes, but class reasons too.

                She has nothing resembling a clean slate, she has nothing resembling

                Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

                Margaret Sanger’s life was spent in defiance of the proposition that all men are created equal. Let’s be clear about things here, no whitewash.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tom, Lincoln was a liberal in his era. He was not a conservative. The conservatives were the people he went to war against.

                So Sanger has dirt on here hands, yes? So do all the conservatives who seceded out of devotion to the institution of slavery.

                I don’t see anything useful emerging from this other than an academic point. Or convoluted and inappropriate political point scoring.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

              Thanks to JB, Burt, and others for shedding light on BB’s statement. I knew nothing of the history of PP.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            Curiously, most abortions are performed on white women. Overwhelmingly, abortions by income trend to low-income women. While it’s true more black and hispanic women have abortions, this is irrelevant, as race always is. It’s poor women who abort children.Report

            • Brandon Berg in reply to BlaiseP says:

              Actually, in 2007, non-Hispanic whites accounted for about a third of all abortions (PDF), down from a bit over half in 1990.Report

              • Margaret Sanger, eugenicist:

                “[T]he unbalance between the birth rate of the “unfit” and the “fit”, admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit though less fertile parents of the educated and well-to-do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.”


              • Michelle in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                That kind of thinking was pretty prevalent at the turn of the 20th century. You see it in the work of Thorstein Veblen and other thinkers concerned with the survival of the WASP. You see it in Supreme Court decisions. You see it in the anti-feminists writings of the era, where men expressed concern that providing college educations to women caused blood to rush from their reproductive organs to their brains rendering them less fertile, and bemoaned declining birth rates among white women, while immigrant women were reproducing like rabbits. Sanger was a product of her culture, hardly alone in her sentiments. It doesn’t make them right, but they were fairly commonplace.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Michelle says:

                Michelle, perhaps William Jennings Bryan @ the Scopes Monkey trial makes more sense now.


                Forget that stupid lying movie, OK?

                William Jennings Bryan stepped off the train at Dayton in July of 1925, ready to fight for a “righteous cause.” For thirty years the Great Commoner had been a progressive force in the Democratic Party. As a congressman from Lincoln, Nebraska, his eloquent “Cross of Gold” speech won him the first of three presidential nominations. He supported women’s suffrage, championed the rights of farmers and laborers and believed passionately in majority rule.

                In 1921, when he was 61 years old, Bryan began a new campaign — to ban the teaching of evolution in public schools. Many wondered if Bryan had given up his progressive ideals. Had his religious faith turned him against science, education and free speech? Few understood his reasons for opposing evolution.

                As a young man, Bryan had been open-minded about the origins of man. But over the years he became convinced that Darwin’s theory was responsible for much that was wrong with the modern world. “The Darwinian theory represents man as reaching his present perfection by the operation of the law of hate,” Bryan said, “Evolution is the merciless law by which the strong crowd out and kill off the weak.” He believed that the Bible countered this merciless law with “the law of love.”

                Bryan was progressive in politics and a conservative in religion. According to biographer Lawrence Levine, “Bryan always mixed religion and politics. He couldn’t conceive of one without the other because religion to him was the basis of politics. Without religion there could be no desire to change in a positive way. Why should anyone want to do that?”

                The eight-day Scopes trial took a toll on Bryan. He suffered from diabetes. The stifling heat of the courtroom depleted his energy. The national press depicted him in an unflattering light. Reporter H. L. Mencken came to Dayton expressly to “get Bryan.” In daily reports to The Baltimore Sun Mencken mocked Bryan as an “old buzzard” and a “tinpot pope.” “It is a tragedy indeed,” he wrote, “to begin life as a hero and to end it as a buffoon.”

                On the seventh day of the trial, Bryan fell into a trap when the defense team led by Clarence Darrow called him to the stand as an expert witness on the Bible. Attorney Phillip Johnson says “The idea of the defense lawyer calling the chief prosecutor as a witness is absurd. But Bryan thought it was an opportunity to have the debate — to make his case.” One of the nation’s greatest public speakers took the stand to be interrogated by another rhetorical champion.

                Snapping his suspenders, jabbing his finger at Bryan, Darrow peppered Bryan with questions: “When exactly was the earth created? How many days did it take? Where did Cain get his wife?” The judge tried to stop the grilling, but Bryan pounded his fist, refusing to step down: “I am simply trying to protect the word of God against the greatest atheist or agnostic in the United States!”

                Finally, the judge called a halt to the spectacle. The next day the jury pronounced John Scopes guilty. William Jennings Bryan had won the case, but history would not look kindly on his last crusade. The Scopes trial would cast a long shadow over his remarkable career.

                Five days after the trial ended, Bryan died in his sleep in Dayton. His death triggered an outpouring of grief from the “common” Americans who felt they had lost their greatest champion. A special train carried him to his burial place in Arlington National Cemetery. Thousands of people lined the tracks. Historian Paul Boyer says, “Bryan’s death represented the end of an era. This man who had loomed so large in the American political and cultural landscape for thirty years had now passed from the scene.”

                In 1930, in memory of William Jennings Bryan, a fundamentalist college began classes in Dayton, Tennessee. Bryan College now accepts students from all over the world.


              • Michelle in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                And your point is what, Tom? Just because the eugenicists were wrong that Bryant was right about evolution?Report

  8. b-psycho says:

    2. Most of the votes for Democrats in Presidential elections come either from people on welfare, or people committing voter fraud. (Gary Bauer, American Values President)

    The implication behind the whole “voter fraud!” line is ridiculous. If someone wants to steal an election these days, organizing a bunch of people to make multiple or otherwise unauthorized votes isn’t the way to go. Being in position to program electronic voting machines to give a false result, whether internally or by a hacker injecting software to do so (there’s been examples of being able to do so from a USB thumb drive) makes way more sense.

    It’s as if they think the days of buying people liquor for their vote (which turned out to be the reason I couldn’t buy a beer on election day in 2008: the gas&liquor place was up the street from two voting locations) are still around.Report

    • wardsmith in reply to b-psycho says:

      Psycho, I take it you don’t live in, for instance New Mexico?Report

      • b-psycho in reply to wardsmith says:

        Missouri here. Lemme read that…

        Geez, really?!? People still try that shit?? Fishin amateur hour…Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to wardsmith says:

        This is easy enough to fix. Just ensure that that kind of person doesn’t get an ID.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          I believe I’ve told this joke before around here: forgive me the repetition if I have. It was one of my grandfather’s (an erstwhile missionary to China and he who started Carver College) favourite jokes. I have reason to believe it was told in the presence of MLK Jr. It was certainly told in the presence of MLK Sr.

          A young black man comes to the county clerk’s office in Atlanta, Georgia. The clerk at the counter snarls at him. “What you here for, boah?”

          “I’se here to register to vote.”

          The clerk pulls out a ball point pen and a sheet of wax paper. “Write your name and address down here, boah.” Of course, the pen won’t work.

          “Looks like you cain’t write, boah. Reckon can you read?” With that, the clerk holds up the front page of the Shanghai Daily, written in Chinese.

          “I b’lieve I can make out de headline, suh. See here… No.. nigras.. to vote.. in Gwinnett County… dis year.”Report

      • Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

        This is one of those things.

        I’m well and truly convinced that it’s reasonable to put some small protections into the legal code to dissuade people from selling their vote. However, some people value their vote less than horse piss.

        If they want to take a bottle of horse piss for their vote, there isn’t going to be much one can do to stop them. In any event, it’s not precisely voter fraud, since those people are presumably legitimate voters casting a legal vote. It is probably election fraud, depending upon your local laws and whatnot, but those things that people claim will reduce voter fraud are usually not the things that will reduce more generic election fraud.

        This is not the first thread upon which you’ve made this conflation error, Ward.Report

  9. Karl Dubhe says:

    They’re trolling everyone. Right? They’ve got to be. No one can be idiotic enough to believe people believe what they’re saying.

    Right? Lie to me if you have to. I’m not a citizen of the USA, it’s not illegal for you to do that. 🙂Report

  10. Brandon Berg says:

    Most of the votes for Democrats in Presidential elections come either from people on welfare, or people committing voter fraud.

    Do you mean that he actually said “most” or “the majority,” and not just that he was overhyping these factors to the point where one might easily draw to the conclusion that they account for most Democratic votes?Report

    • wardsmith in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      “Sixty percent of Milwaukee’s black voters have disappeared”. Now there’s an obvious way to look at this, but we can’t invoke the term “fraud” because then we’d be thinking that 200,000 votes for Obama (and “Senator” Franken) in Wisconsin in 2008 were fictitious.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to wardsmith says:

        Well, a certain amount of turnover is to be expected, especially give the wave of foreclosures since 2008. It would be interesting to see what they found using a different set of records (not voting-related) over the same time period.Report

      • clawback in reply to wardsmith says:

        No, we can’t invoke the term “fraud” because there’s no evidence of it. And it would take some impressive voter fraud in Wisconsin to elect Franken in Minnesota.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to clawback says:

          They’ve been making tremendous advances in voting fraud technology in the last decade or so. If you haven’t been keeping up with the trade journals, you have no idea what we’re capable of these days.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            Not really. The technology is poorly-designed. I read the trade journals, too. The latest boondoggle is chip and pin ghosting. Oh, don’t worry, said the banks. At least it’s better than magstripe, oh yeah, we’ve got this situation under control. No they didn’t.

            I do security first. My stuff works because it’s based on three humans being physically present when an ID is issued: an internal security manager, the grantee’s manager and the grantee himself. The old hierarchical CA mechanism is broken.

            The USA will never eliminate voter fraud, not until it goes to a better ID scheme. The current bunch of Nervous Nellies, shrieking and hollering about Voter Fraud are the same species of idiot complaining about the government intruding too far into their personal lives. They can have one or the other but not both.Report

      • MikeSchilling in reply to wardsmith says:

        Franken was declared the victor in fully legal fashion. Gosh, don’t conservatives believe in process?Report

    • Michelle in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Apparently a view that Mitt also shares, although he also adds in deadbeats and anyone who depends on government as comprising the core 47 percent of Obama voters:


      Ayn Rand is alive and well in the Republican Party.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Michelle says:

        He’s basically correct, if exaggerating a bit. If you pay no income tax and you’re getting benefits (including public goods) from the federal government other than Social Security, then you’re a net recipient of taxpayer money and to some degree dependent on government to provide for you.

        I’m not sure why this is supposed to be damning. I like him quite a bit better after listening to those videos.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          That said, it’s not actually true that everyone in that 47% is a Democrat. The mistake he’s making is in not accounting for the fact that a big chunk of that 47% is retirees. Not having been lifelong dependents of the government, they’re not uniformly Democratic.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          Romney’s using ditzo numbers. Of course lots of people aren’t paying taxes just now. They’re unemployed or underemployed or they’ve got enough deductions to put 0 on the Taxes Owed line of their 1040.

          That doesn’t mean you’re not paying taxes. You can’t avoid paying federal taxes if you buy gasoline. Romney’s just playing dumb. He’s talking to a bunch of idiots and he’s playing the crowd.

          Now, this video was made at a Romney fund raiser event. The inadvertent hilarity of this video shouldn’t escape folks here: Romney’s out there, begging for money from these people and telling them he’s going to lower their taxes. Sounds like a bit of quid pro quo to me, if not to you.Report

        • Michelle in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          A large percent of the 47 percent who pay no income tax vote Republican, especially in the South. He’s basically calling anyone who doesn’t earn enough to pay income tax a freeloader, without considering all the other taxes they pay–state, local, sales, social security. It seems obvious to him that nobody who pays income tax will vote for Obama. Pretty smug attitude if you ask me. But I’m hardly surprised that a lot of Republicans , you included, believe it. I hear this kind of nonsense all the time from my family. It would certainly surprise a lot of my friends, who pay a far higher percentage of their income in federal taxes than Mitt, and nonetheless vote Democratic that they’re only in it for the entitlements.

          Mitt’s so blind that he can’t see the many ways in which he’s entitled. Is it any wonder so few people actually like the guy?Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Michelle says:

            A large percent of the 47 percent who pay no income tax vote Republican,

            Is there any data on this? There must be lots of rural and even urban whites who make income below the federal income tax threshhold yet still vote GOP. {{{Trumwill, are you out there?}}}

            Damn deadbeats.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

              There must be lots of rural and even urban whites who make income below the federal income tax threshhold yet still vote GOP. {{{Trumwill, are you out there?}}}

              There are, of that I have little doubt. I have nothing in the way of statistics, though. Some of it depends on how you parse it. The crude 47% figure (assuming that we’re talking about the opposite of the “We are the 53%”) would almost certainly include groups that Romney would not want to include. Retirees, for example. It would also almost certainly include young people and young families that are just starting out, which is also problematic and definitely going to include a significant number of Republicans.Report

  11. superdestroyer says:

    Reagan is beginning to fall out of favor. Reagan raised taxes, Reagan ran up huge debts. Reagan signed off on amnesty.

    Do you really think that is a country where California is no longer in play during presidential elections and the Republicans are irrelevant in California that too many people would want to agree with the long range vision of Reagan.Report

  12. Bob2 says:

    Is this starting to make you rethink your party registration yet Tod?Report

    • MFarmer in reply to Bob2 says:

      I’m sorry, but the integrity of this place has been greatly damaged. Someone needs to fix this before the entire site is seen as a partisan joke. Hell, even if it’s not fixed, it should at least be acknowledged so that it’s clear that this type of dishonesty is approved by management.Report

      • Chris in reply to MFarmer says:

        I don’t think it’s dishonesty, in the case of Huelskamp (the only glaring error I see). I think it was ignorance. He heard one part, didn’t hear the rest, and assumed that Huelskamp’s kids were white. That doesn’t make it excusable, but there’s no evidence that Tod knew the truth and intentionally said something counter to it.

        Also, he changed it in the text.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to MFarmer says:

        I don’t claim to be “management,” MFarmer, but I have shared cockails with most of the people who are so let me offer this perspective:

        In a blog that has as its raison d’etre the serving-up of opinion and commentary, one ought not to be surprised to find posts and comments containing opinion and commentary. The standard is not whether a poster, or a commenter, is opinionated. The standard is whether or not those opinions stand up to argument. In order to test that, there must be argument.

        Do you notice how Tod appended the OP to correct a misunderstanding he had concerning Congressman Huelskamp? That’s the result of a combination of his intellectual honesty meeting new information that he had not previously possessed. An intellectually dishonest or partisan author would either not have bothered to issue a correction, or would have tried to spin the correction to make the subject look even worse.

        In any event, you are part of the solution. If someone drops a whopper, call them on it. Substantively. That’s one of the things that comments are for.

        If “management” didn’t want to have room for dissenting opinions or contrary facts, comments could be abolished entirely and only the original essays could be published.

        If “management” wanted to create a monolithic ideology, certain controversial front pagers could find their names removed from the masthead and their posting privileges revoked. These things have not happened and there is no indication whatsoever that they will happen, either in front of or behind the scenes.Report

  13. Mike Schilling says:

    The next biggest cheers went to a picture of Limbaugh

    Bubububububu he’s just an entertainer!Report

  14. Kazzy says:

    One Fun Fact I Learned from Tod’s Attendance at the VVS? His voice is much deeper than I had imagined. It is not that I thought he had a high voice. It’s just that whenever I read his comments, I read them in a voice that didn’t nearly match his real tone. Now when I read them, I can match the actual voice. It doesn’t really change the experience, outside of making it more authentic. I learned this, of course, because Tod was kind enough to venture back into the doldrums of Adam’s Morgan for a second consecutive night to meet me for a drink after I had missed out on the original shebang. Ryan Noonan and his lovely wife were also kind enough to pop in. I’m sorry to have missed those who were only available Friday but am glad I got to meet RyNo and Tod and to put names to faces and voices to names. I am most glad that I emerged with all my skin and hair… I had a couple of friends worried I wouldn’t be so lucky with the whole “meeting strange men from the internet” thing.Report

  15. Barry says:

    Tod Kelly: “and the attendees I was fortunate enough to meet – who were, to a man and woman, incredibly salt-0f-the-Earth nice people.”

    They eagerly suck up lie after lie after lie, no matter how many lies are revealed to be lies.

    That’s not salt-0f-the-Earth and not nice. It’s a bunch of nasty people who are polite when they need to be.Report

    • ktward in reply to Barry says:

      It’s late in the thread, Barry, prolly no one but you will catch my comment.

      But seriously dude, for folks who participates in any part of non-political society –think PTA– your assertion is just plain wrong. I know plenty of genuinely nice folks who have literally gone painfully out of their way to help me with this and that, even though if we were to talk politics we’d clearly be at odds.

      You seem intent on being part of the problem. But you don’t have to be, as Mr. Kelly graciously illustrates. I’ll leave it at that.Report