The Apocalyptic Bobby Jindal


Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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318 Responses

  1. Avatar DRS says:

    Looks like someone’s running for something big.Report

  2. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Andrew Sullivan covered this yesterday. Josh Barro’s response was interesting. Barro is right that the Republican Party will probably continue to shoot themselves in the foot as long as they don’t see why people could legitmately like aspects of the Welfare State, Liberalism, and the Social Safety Net.

    The problem is that a lot of the head honchos and base of the GOP really do think that liberalism has no appeal at all. You saw this after the end of the 2012 election. IIRC Rick Lowry at the National Review wrote “But we want to make people be self-sufficient and independent and people want free stuff.” He seemed sincerely gob-smacked that people could like a social safety net.

    As someone who has been freelancing and paying his own insurance for over a year. A social safety net seems rather nice. But I don’t know what it is going to take to make a lot of the GOP realize this. This is no different than Hoover talking about Rugged Individualism during the early days of the Great Depression. This has been the thoughts of the GOP for decades if not over a century.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      It’s a LOT easier when you’ve got an opponent so vile, so evil, that all you need to be is “against them”. Saves you a lot of work on the whole “What I am for” aspect of your political career.

      Plus? You never have to make hard choices. Don’t have to compromise. Don’t have to look at the folks voting for you and think “These people want mutually contradictory things” because it doesn’t matter if half your base wants one thing and the other the opposite, because you can tell them both how bad them liberals are.

      And man, does that make the primaries easier. No hard calls. Just “Who hates Democrats the most?”Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        Interesting but tragic thing is that I think a lot of them sincerely believe it about the Democratic Party and its membership.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          Demonizing the other has a long history. It’s a useful little took in the social toolbox.

          Of course, it breaks down wherever groups meet. You could demonize gay people when few people were openly gay, for instance. Or — historically — Jews, because they were a tiny minority with limited interaction.

          It only works as well as it does because of closed feedback loops, and even there it’s fraying — there’s a reason the “liberals” keep getting more vile in these rants. Stupider, more evil, more venal — got to get the anger, the rage, the fear up high enough to get passed “Wait, I know several liberals and none of them are like that…”Report

        • Avatar Will H. says:

          Remove the belief and accept it as fact.Report

    • Avatar Todd C says:

      Did you know that 13 of the 15 richest states by GDP per capita went for Obama in 2012? And the two (R) states on that list are Alaska and Wyoming, which are oil & gas states that don’t need to rely on productive businesses to grow their economy. It’s a wonder why people would consider the Republicans “the party of business” or trust them on the economy at all. At the state level, they are very clearly worse than the Democrats.Report

  3. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    the Israelis are unreasonable

    Y’know, I also heard liberals believe water is wet.

    And on this mark, I wish Jindal was right about what he thinks liberals believe, but I’ve seen few signs of it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      This is one of those wacky things. Liberals have started being proud of how much like Dubya they are… why, those people who accuse them of being all lefty are obviously lying!

      Unless they’re attacking from the left. At which point they’re concern trolls. (Who ought to know that the Republicans would be worse.)Report

  4. Avatar Pinky says:

    This is the funny thing. Republicans are popular in the press only when they’re Republican-bashing. Jindal’s “stupid” comment was carried far and wide. But when he lays out Republican principles, he’s suddenly gone off the reservation.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      You’re welcome to provide them right here, a far better rebuttal then cynicism.Report

    • Avatar Michelle says:

      What Republican principles is Jindal laying out, aside from gross mischaracterization of liberals? Or do I need to watch Fox News to find out?Report

      • Avatar Cletus says:

        I’m waiting for the day that a GOP mouthpiece says that non-conservatives drink human blood. Which I don’t, because it’s way too fattening. I really prefer Blood Beaters or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Blood.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Being in favor of trans-fats is a Republican principle?Report

      • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

        You can have my trans-fats, when you pry them from my cold-dead hands, after my heart attack.Report

      • Avatar trumwill mobile says:

        Being in favor of the legality of them is of significant symbolic importance to many.Report

        • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

          Dear God, why would this be an important symbol?

          What about health inspections for restaurants? Should they be necessary? Are they leading us down a slippery slope? Is being against restaurant health inspections something that holds symbolic value?

          “I should have the right to serve dirty and rotten food and you should have the right to eat it.”

          “I should have the right to serve trans-fat filled food and you should have the right to eat it.”

          What’s the symbolic difference?Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            why would this be an important symbol?

            The tight to serve and be served kinds of food that other people don’t approve of.

            I can personally take or leave transfats, but just as you don’t see a difference between those two, others won’t see a difference between those two and:

            “I should have the right to serve salty foods and you should have the right to eat it.”Report

            • Avatar NewDealer says:

              Things will certainly be tight with too much trans-fat 😉

              But seriously police powers have been a historic government power and it has always included health, welfare, and safety.

              This kind of “Fuck You” cultural war fight is often very head scratching. Is there any scientifically sound medical advice that the GOP base is willing to accept and feel is a larger issue than personal preference?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                There is a fair amount of support among Republicans and conservatives for the regulation of tobacco products and smoking. It’s just a question of how much of such regulation.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                scientifically sound medical advice that the GOP base is willing to accept and feel is a larger issue than personal preference

                The problem is that given the recent propensity of some of the extremists on the left to say “the 17th ounce of that drink is a larger issue than personal preference”, I’m willing to say that, at this point, the pushback is more reasonable than the push and questioning whether there’d be any unreasonable pushback on their part is a less essential question than “are you freaking serious?”Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                I suppose it is an unanswerable debate about when a personal preference becomes part of a larger public policy issue.Report

              • Avatar The Spanish Inquisition says:

                The question is not when it does, but whether it should be. It’s not that there aren’t public health implications. There are public health implication to almost fishing everything. The idea is that public health implictions does not always give us over-riding grounds for regulation. Hell, it probably doesnt do this nearly as often as left liberals think it does.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                But seriously police powers have been a historic government power and it has always included health, welfare, and safety.

                Yes, but other than drugs and drink, it’s usually been reserved for indisputably collective issues, like clean water, waste management, and traffic control. Other personal, between-you-and-me, choices have been left alone. And the too-strict regulation of drugs and drink has never turned out particularly well, so why we’d want to follow that model with yet more between-you-and-me choices is not entirely clear.

                Fortunately, as it turns out, there’s lots of liberals who agree with me on that, and don’t line up as Bobby J. wants them to do.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                When transfats are outlawed, only outlaws will have transfats. Which, if you think about it, is a good thing.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                It will make them easier to recognize…and chase down on foot!Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              Nothing is so important to you as something you just got told you couldn’t have.

              Old-style lightbulbs. Dishwasher detergent with…whatever that stuff was. larger capacity toilets. CFC’s in your hairsprays. Whatever the drama de jour is.

              Give a man a shiny, high-tech lightbulb for the same cost as an Edison-special, and he’ll cheerfully buy it from you. Take away the choice? He’ll horde up on Edisons and curse you like you were King George.

              Seriously, people will do that even over stuff that’s actively killing them. I think there’s a buried part of the human psyche that difficult or impossible to acquire items and instinctively labels them as high-value.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                whatever that stuff was.

                Phosphates. And I’m still bitter over that one.

                I’ve gotten over the toilets, though I think there is a third way on that one. Ditto light bulbs (actually, I’m very much down with the newfangled ones, but they bother the wife a great deal).Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                They bother me a great deal, too. They make me really sick really fast. A few seconds, and I cannot speak clearly. A few minutes, and I cannot think clearly. A few hours and I get an intense migraine headache which will keep me down for two or three days.

                I also find we often use lights too bright; 100-watt bulbs where a 40-watt will do nicely.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                You can just go down to Lowes, Home Depot, or Walmart and buy TSP (trisodium phosphate) as a powder or a liquid. Walmart link, which shows Savogran (what I use), Red Devil, DAP and Klean Strip brands, usually found in the cleaning or painting sections.

                About a teaspoon or two per load of dishes or laundry is what got removed from the general detergent products.Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile says:

                Yes, but alchemy used to not be required (on my part).Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Oh come on. It’s like making soap from coconut oil, sodium hydroxide, and essential oils and herbal essences, a hobby enjoyed by many people. But instead your making something even better, a new and improved detergent. While you’re at it you could add some borax from DoItBest hardware and perhaps some Fabreeze or a nice pine scent.Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile says:

                But I don’t have to make my own soap. I can buy soap that works. Without alchemy.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                You can for now, but who knows when they’ll pass a new soap ban? They’ve already eliminated the phosphates from most detergents, making them far less effective at cleaning your clothes and dishes. They’ve restricted PCB’s, which were useful, leaded gasoline, which allowed much higher engine performance, DDT which killed bugs more effectively than anything else, many of the good weed killers, most of the really good high explosives, and a whole host of drugs from morphine to anabolic steroids.

                So you have to learn how to make all that stuff yourself out of things like bear fat, wood shavings, and engine degreaser.Report

              • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

                Luckily, you’ll have a few more cancer-free years for your soap-making…Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Are you seriously attempting to attack the bans on phosphates and tetraethyl lead in gasoline?

                It must be a wonderful world, the one you live in. I thought Conservatives were all about Accepting the Consequences of our Decisions. Some decisions are seemingly exempt from such thinking. You need to return to the 1960s, when summers on Lake Erie smelled like an open sewer, which for all practical purposes it was — and tetraethyl lead was stacking up in the brains of everything in the goddamn food chain. Magical thinking still holds in some quarters, it seems.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Clearly a nationwide 30-year crime wave is a small price to pay for better engine performance.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                “You can for now, but who knows when they’ll pass a new soap ban?”

                I want Glenn Beck to do a show on the associations between these groups:

                1. People who smell bad
                2. The French
                3. Socialists
                4. Environmentalists
                5. Hippies

                I smell (pun intended) a conspiracy to purge us of our bodily cleansers and to poison us with commie body odor.

                Also, “B.O”. is not just short for “Body Odor” but also “Barack Obama.” Coincidence? That’s up for you to decide. I’m just asking the questions.

                We’re through the looking glass here, people. I bet that PigPen from Peanuts is at the root of all of this.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:


                What are you washing that over the counter soaps and detergents won’t clean?

                I am afraid it is blood stains from explosions with your homemade dynamite, made while on morphine, and juiced on roids.Report

            • Avatar Shazbot7 says:

              There are objective differences between salt and trans-fats.

              Whether your food contains artificially added trans-fats or not almost certainly doesn’t effect the taste. (As long as deep-frying oils are changed regularly)


              Moreover, you can’t ban salt from food, because we need some amount of salt in our diet.

              And there is evidence now that the trans-fat ban was successful.

              I wouldn’t be against limiting the amount of salt sold in certain kinds of foods, but when you do that there is a tradeoff between taste and health. That is a tricky balance.

              But there is no tradeoff with taste and health with trans-fats. Or if there is, it is so obviously an easy tradeoff, just like the tradeoff that is made when yout require restaurants to undergo health inspections.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                You could probably have people eating healthier if you forced restaurants to cut down on salt. Heck, if it made the food less tasty and people ate out less often, it’d be a double-win!

                Provided that nutrition is the goal.

                I get the distinction you’re making, but I see a more important similarity: transfats and salt are both things that restaurants and food sellers put in their food rather intentionally, and that a lot of people would read “This product contains transfats” or “this product contains excessive salt” and eat it anyway. I think the number of people who would do that with dirt is considerably lower.

                Like I said, on transfats I don’t care much one way or the other. Probably a good thing that restaurants are moving away from it, in the overall.

                Salt, though, I do care about. Less for restaurants and more for packaged goods. And as bright a dividing line as you see, I can nonetheless easily see “Hey, we established that we can modify ingredients for the public good when we banned transfats, so what’s your problem?”Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                The heavy salting of packaged food puzzles me. Once it’s in, it’s impossible to get out, and even Will wouldn’t call salting your own portion “alchemy”.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:


                I could imagine a salt regulation that I’m in favor of that penalized companies for adding too much salt to prepackaged foods and restaurant foods, though not some salt.

                Unfortunately, given the differences between salt and trans-fat, I think it would be too hard to enforce and would create too much confusion. It is easy (and effective we now have evidence to show) to ban trans-fat.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Truthfully? If they had a low-salt version, I’d probably get it. I get low-sodium crackers as a matter of routine. And I almost never add salt to food that doesn’t come with it.

                But I don’t want food producers to have to reconfigure how they make the stuff that they do because somebody else objects.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                But it wasn’t just an objection. Ir was a fact that trans-fats are incredibly unhealthy, entirely unnecessary in any quantity, and can be replaced with minimal effect on taste or gustatory pleasure.

                That is different from salt which is necessary in some quantity. cannot be replaced without large effects on taste or gustatory pleasure, and is healthy depending on the degree to which you take it in.

                Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose it is discovered (may already be true) that non-stick pans are a fairly major causal contributor to cancer rates. Should we pass a law requiring health inspectors to fine all restaurants that continue to use carcinogenic non-stick (not that many do, I think) cooking materials when the alternative makes no difference to taste or gustatory pleasure?

                To further the analogy in a fun way, hydrogenation of oil is in a way more of a chemical process that aids in cooking (like Teflon pans) than it is a food product. The original process for creating trans-fats that became Crisco was originally created to make fat that was solid at room temperatures for soap and candles. In a sense, by banning trans-fats, or the selling of hydrogenated oils, you aren’t really banning a food product, but a process done to food that is toxic to heart health, in the way some chemicals are carcinogenic. Maybe that’s just a semantic distinction, but it might matter to some who are okay with banning carcinogenic or poisonous chemicals but not foods. Hydrogenated oil could be seen as more the former than the latter.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                “because somebody objects”

                Would you say that we banned driving without seatbelts just because somebody objected?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                My comment was about salt, not transfats. I am not going to go to the mat for transfats. On its own, I don’t really object to the transfat ban in restaurants and the like. So long as accepting the logic behind that doesn’t oblige me to agree on salt. (The same way that one might argue that accepting the logic behind seatbelts obliges one to be on board with transfats.)Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                Yeah, maybe we agree.

                Salt is hard to regulate in a good way. Maybe impossible.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Would you say that we banned driving without seatbelts just because somebody objected?

                I think I understand the question. Is it this: does even one person objecting to a prohibition or requirement make that law unjust? If so, that question cuts down pretty deep into a lot of these disputes, it seems to me, since the person who objects feels (perhaps correctly!) that they’re rights are violated.

                OK, that last line isn’t very helpful. They feel that other people are telling them what to do via the mechanism of government. And people – rightly, I think – get pissed off about that.

                The issue is decided based on any of a number of metrics. Freedom, facts, rights, consequences, collectivism, etc. And I’m not sure (well, I’m pretty doggone sure) that any one metric can consistently carry the day.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                And to continue on with that thought after a cocktail ….

                The issue I mentioned is exactly where Roger’s arguments in favor of (his view of) libertarianism enter the fray.

                Where is that guy? I miss him.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                If enough of us object to overly-salted food, you’d expect the market to provide alternatives. And the objectors are three out of three of us, so far. So where is all the low-salt stuff?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                This is one of those things where I can’t help but point out that one of the original arguments for trans fats were that they were healthier than saturated fats.Report

              • Avatar Russell M says:

                and when the evidence came in and judged trans-fats bad, people who are able to absorb new information changed their minds.

                knowing when to change your view when new evidence comes in is a good thing. of course it also makes you a flip-flopper, a waffler, a flim-flam man. sadly the consequence of bending to reality can be public death.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                My problem isn’t the “I’m changing my view now that I’ve received new evidence”, it’s the “Even though the evidence has taken me to new conclusions, my certainty in my ability to make decisions on your behalf has not changed.”Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Who decided on your behalf that you had to use margarine instead of butter? (Besides your Mom, I mean.)Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                That would have been due to shortages of butter durring the World Wars. It was rationed, and magarine was sold as an alternative to butter. My mom told me that it used to be white, like palm oil, and came with a capsule of yellow food coloring that you broke and kneaded into it to make it look like butter. This was to prevent unscrupulous grocers from selling it to customers as butter.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Actually, that was lobbied for by the dairy industry, to make margarine less appealing. Honestly, would you even confuse margarine with butter?Report

          • Avatar KatherineMW says:

            Most people don’t deliberately buy dirty and rotten food, but they do deliberately buy margarine.Report

            • Avatar trumwill mobile says:

              Very well said, Katherine.Report

            • Avatar Shazbot7 says:

              But margarine can be made without trans-fats and is required to be that by law in many countries.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW says:


                As I understand it, the purpose of trans fats is to make plant oils solid, so that they can be used for things like putting on toast. If you try to make margarine without trans fats (i.e., without adding hydrogen atoms to the molecules of vegetable oil), you should get oil.

                And my view is that even if trans fats are significantly less healthy than either butter (saturated) or oil (unsaturated), the primary problems with fats and oils is that most people in the developed world eat too much of them. And there’s plenty of things on store shelves that are less healthy than margarine. The US isn’t going to ban Twinkies, we’re not going to ban restaurants from serving deep-fried foods, there’s no reason why we need a specific focus on banning trans fats. The problem is unhealthy eating habits (along with corn subsidies that incentivize the creation of unhealthy food), and it’s not going to be solved by scapegoating and banning a few specific foods, whether it’s trans fats or large sodas.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                You don’t need trans fatty acids to make solid margarine. You need straight fatty acids, which means either trans-unsaturated fatty acids or saturated fatty acids. The partial hydrogenation process used to produce margarine for most of the 20th century produced a mixture of saturated, trans-unsaturated, and cis-unsaturated fatty acids with a butter-like texture.

                But there are other ways to do it. One way is to use tropical oils like palm oil or palm kernel oil, which naturally contain high levels of saturated fatty acids. Another way is to fully hydrogenate vegetable oil. This produces a solid fat with 100% saturated fatty acids. You can then add cis-unsaturated fatty acids (the kind found in vegetable oil), through a process called interesterfication, to reach the desired texture.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                Well said.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                along with corn subsidies that incentivize the creation of unhealthy food

                As much the idea of government interference in the market being the source of all our problems appeals to me, I don’t think this is actually true in any meaningful sense. For one, the corn subsidies, as I understand it, were mostly subsidies for ethanol, and actually made corn prices slightly higher.

                That aside, grains are dirt cheap. In the neighborhood of a quarter a pound for industrial quantities. All the money is in the processing and branding. The commodity prices could triple and you’d barely notice the difference in a package of processed food.

                I don’t want to get in the way of bashing a perfectly bad government handout program, but I think that this particular angle is hugely overhyped.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Heh. Guess your diet doesn’t feature corn tortillas, as does mine. The price has damned near tripled. The ethanol subsidies have hugely distorted the markets:

                I’m writing from Wisconsin, big corn producing state. Here’s the big deal: Enogen is GM corn tailored for ethanol production. Enogen can’t be used to make standard corn-based food products. General Mills is freaking out over it: if one kernel of Enogen gets into their feedstock, it screws up everything.

                Hugely overhyped? I don’t think so. The facts say otherwise. Ethanol subsidies have made it possible for farmers around here to plant fencerow-to-fencerow corn, to the exclusion of other crops. Lot of dairy around here, too. A gallon of fuel costs more than a gallon of whole milk. That’s a problem.

                In a world where there’s a finite amount of arable land, we’ve inadvertently created a situation where we’re preferentially feeding our cars and not ourselves. Best for you to return to your idea of government interference in the market being the source of all our problems.Report

            • Avatar Shazbot7 says:

              I’d say people want trans fats almost less than they want dirty food.

              I can imagine somebody saying they want cheaper food and they don’t mind if health standards aren’t met in making their food. But we ban that.Report

              • Avatar Murali says:

                Which is odd and not so obvious a tradeoff that it would be unreasonable for people not to make.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                So you are against banning restaurants from having unclean (but maybe cheaper) kitchens?Report

              • Avatar Murali says:

                I might have different grades, such that people would know how clean their eating place was. I don’t know that I would put a floor beneath which I would ban a restaurant from operating. I do think that there is a range of hygienic standards that it is sensible to make tradeoffs against.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      This is so odd, people asking me to write about Jindal’s policies, or saying that he doesn’t have any. The tough thing with him is getting him to stop talking policy specifics. Education reform, tax reform, health care reform, the guy won’t shut up.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        Using public funds to teach creationism is not education reform. Neither is eviscerating the public school system in favor of vouchers because it busts teacher’s unions.Report

        • Avatar Pinky says:

          So, only policies that you agree with count as reforms? I mean, whatever your politics, you’ve got to recognize that that concept is juvenile.Report

          • Avatar Michelle says:

            Apparently his constituents aren’t particularly down with Jindal’s “reforms.” My understanding is that he’s pretty unpopular in his own state these days.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          Neither is eviscerating the public school system

          What’s wrong with eviscerating monopoly enterprise shot through with addle-pated credeantialism, fads, and predatory unions?Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP says:

            What, pray tell, is credeantialism? Is is anything like Creationism? Yeah buddy. They teach that Adam must have been riding dinosaurs down at Lilywhite Christian Academy, a privately run school now greedily eyeing the much-ballyhooed Voucher System.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Thomas Sowell. Now there’s one scarily righteous dude, fer sher, fer sher. The guy who said Barack Obama was Adolf Hitler.

                Sowell in his own words:

                Meanwhile, a law has been passed in California that mandates teaching about the achievements of gays in the public schools. Whether this will do anything to stop either verbal or physical abuse of gay kids is very doubtful. But it will advance the agenda of homosexual organizations and can turn homosexuality into yet another of the subjects on which words on only one side are permitted. Our schools are already too lacking in the basics of education to squander even more time on propaganda for politically correct causes that are in vogue. We do not need to create special privileges in the name of equal rights.

                On the slippery slope to tyranny, we must never forget that many of the people who climbed the ladders of Affirmative Action are usually the very people intent upon burning them down lest anyone else climb them. Cases in point include Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell. It’s an established pattern in American history: nobody hates the current generation of immigrants or newly-un-oppressed minorities so much as the previous beneficiaries of what were then called Special Privileges for them.Report

      • Pinky, I’m willing to believe Jindal won’t shut up (he is a politician, after all), I just haven’t come across his policies… but being Canadian I’m less inclined to follow all the policy proclamations of potential 2016 presidential candidates (and certainly not of every Governor).

        However, if it comes up on LOoG or some other American blog I tend to visit, I’ll certainly give it a read.

        So, yeah, maybe I was just asking for information that the rest of you are all well aware of. [Slowly slinks back into the shadows]Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      Republicans are popular in the press only when they’re Republican-bashing.

      The press is a component of the political opposition.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      Republicans are popular in the press only when they’re Republican-bashing. Jindal’s “stupid” comment was carried far and wide. But when he lays out Republican principles, he’s suddenly gone off the reservation.

      I like how you’re implying there’s something wrong with that.

      The actual fact is, people who are not the Republican Base are tired of the Republicans pandering to that base with complete nonsense. Even other Republicans are tired of it.

      Thus they enjoy people calling them out on it, especially other Republicans, which raises hope the Republican party is not entirely made of morons.

      They don’t care a flying fuck when yet another Republican says a bunch of completely idiotic stuff. Why, it’s almost as if that has become _expected_!(1)

      But, go ahead, pretend that this situation somehow is the _slightly_ bit confusing, that you can’t understand how a group of nonsense-speaking loons that everyone is tired of only get press when they do something that shows the slightest bit of self-awareness that they _might_ understand how crazy they sound. And they get no press when they’re rambling complete gibberish like Jindal has started doing.

      1) Holy fuck…wait a second. Are you saying that Jindal’s long rambling nonsense _are_ Republican principles? I thought you were a Republican? You actually want the press to _cover_ his statements? Seriously?

      You did notice how no one here seems to think his statements were a good thing, right?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        You did notice that when invited to lay out all those wonderful policies Jindal talks about, we get this response:

        This is so odd, people asking me to write about Jindal’s policies, or saying that he doesn’t have any. The tough thing with him is getting him to stop talking policy specifics. Education reform, tax reform, health care reform, the guy won’t shut up.

        It’s the appearance that you’re talking about policy that matters, not the actual policy discussion. Talking about actual policy is odd.Report

  5. Avatar Michelle says:

    Jindal is 2016’s Tim Pawlenty. A nice concept on paper but too geeky and lackluster to gain any traction.Report

  6. Avatar j@m3z Aitch. says:

    Jindal, like many of the rump Republican Party, has forgotten the essential political truism that you can’t beat something with nothing. It’s not good enough to just be against; you have to give people something to be for.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      I would argue that the rump Republican Party does truly think they are offering the American public something and something good.

      The problem is that the American public increasingly does not want their goods and the GOP still thinks that they can get the public back via clever marketing campaigns. It might work for an election cycle or two more but beyond that probably not.

      Of course it also hurts that they can’t understand why a lot of Americans prefer the competition’s goods/shop.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I hate to be a broken record, but this is not necessarily evident at the state/local level.

        Not evident at all.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer says:

          I would argue that it depends on the state and locality but in general I agree with you.

          Burt has covered this before for his sub-blog but the Republican Party in California is in shambles. They lost control of both the Assembly and Senate. They don’t hold any state-wide offices except minority seats on the State Board of Equalization. Who knows when the next Republican will be elected to the US Senate? San Diego is the last remaining major city that is slightly-Republican (lots of retirees and old people.) The problem with the California GOP is that the Republican Congressional Districts have more in common with Alabama than they do with the rest of California.Report

          • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

            Yeah, and the state-level Republicans sort of belong to parties that are kind of distinct from the national Republican party, depending on the state.

            State-level Republicans in more liberal-leaning states can more easily respond to changes in demographics or ideology because they don’t need to keep the national-level base happy. So you can see Texas, state-level politicians being more moderate on immigration, for example.

            The problem at the national-level is that the Republican base is very polarized and very able to exert control on Republican politicians, partially through fundraising, grass roots activism (the far right is really great at this, IMO, the world champions of it), and through the right wing media machine (which has become a remarkably powerful political force). But the base wants policies that aren’t always helpful to getting a majority of American’s votes, especially when most of the generally popular aspects of the right’s policy preferences have already passed: less regulation, low taxes, welfare reform, aggressive and expensive defense policy, conservative judiciary, no federal funding for abortion, etc.

            The only solution is for the party to tell the base that we will always be better for you than the other guys, but you won’t get much of what you really want with us in charge, because we don’t think like you think. The party doesn’t want to do that (and doesn’t have to yet), but if demographic changes persist, they may have to.

            The media is protecting the Republicans by not being clearer with the American people about how extreme and in the pocket of their base the Republicans are. But that is changing too, slowly, IMO.Report

            • Avatar NewDealer says:

              I think this depends on the state and is probably still largely locked to the old Northeast with their more moderate suburbs.

              But this is not so true in Oregon, Washington, and California.Report

          • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

            But in Michigan the GOP controls the executive and both houses of the legislature for the first time in a generation. And that’s a direct response not to love for social conservatism but utter failure by the Democrats to translate their traditionally favored economic policies into an economic recovery for the state. (Of course it remains to be seen whether the GOP policies accomplish that, either.)

            But also, as in Wisconsin, the party has overplayed its hand, misinterpreting its public mandate, and risks being repudiated, if only the Dems can come up with compelling candidates (their last gubernatorial candidate, the mayor of Lansing, was among the least compelling candidates to ever grace the statewide scene…that is, at least since the prior GOP gubernatorial candidate!) .Report

            • Avatar NewDealer says:

              I would argue that Michigan and Wisconsin are more purple than the Western Coastal and Northeast states with a different set of economic issues and social-cultural concerns than California, Oregon, Washington.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                The Rain God came very close to winning the governorship in Washington (and was a sitting Attorney General). As did Dino Rossi (who arguably did win). Both probably would have won if Washington had off-year elections.Report

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                I thought Washington’s gubernatorial elections were off year.Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile says:

                By “off-year” I mean “years that presidential elections are not taking place.” Washington state elections coincide with presidential ones, in contrast to most gubernatorial elections.Report

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                I wasn’t in the state long enough to vote in a gubernatorial election. I was thinking the gubernatorial election was the year before the presidential one. Oops!Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Well, as long as you didn’t show up to vote a year early and wonder why you were being disenfranchised…Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                Yep. But that means that however the GOP struggles to win the Presidency, it’s going to have a rock solid position as a serious player–even if never a consistent majority–in these states. And since the parties are actually organized from the state level up, that suggests the GOP isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I think it unlikely that a party that can’t win the presidency – and in general has a poor national-politics profile – will be able to maintain success in the states. I mean, they’ll do fine in Idaho, but I think it’s a mistake to believe that the party apparatus can shrug off the presidency for very long. (And I don’t think that’s lost on the party apparatus, even if it is lost on many safe-seat officeholders.)Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                Possibly, but I’m not sure I agree. The old saw that all politics is local is still pretty true.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                A lot less true than it used to be, I think. Especially when you run into circumstances where the same guy can run as a Republican or a Democrat (the distinctions being less key at local levels). Except with a higher ceiling for the latter.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                Maybe this can be our supper discussion. 😉 (And I’ll admit to not being a specialist on state and local government–I’m pretty persuaded that you’re more qualified to teach that class than I, and I taught it 3 or 4 times before I managed to dump it off on an adjunct prof.)Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                Is Tip O’Neil’s old saw still true? I thought the new was all politics is national because of the Internet. This is how the Democratic National Committee and Think Progress make gold every time a Republican member of a state legislature says something stupid. This is how remarks Todd Akin made for a Missouri TV show became national news. Long with the out thereness of Michelle Bachmann, Christine O’Donnell, etc.

                This also seems to be why state legislative politicians are making statements increasingly connected to the national kultur-kampf over really local issues.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


                You still have to reach people where they live, and the concerns they face. And even if deep-out-of-state-pocket interest groups can knock a candidate out of the running, successful candidates still need local connections. My congressman, for example, is a southern-style moral crusading social conservative who first won office by getting an out-of-state interest group’s help in knocking his own party’s incumbent out in the primaries, on the grounds that he wasn’t a true Republican (heh, a Gerald Ford Republican in the district where the GOP was born, not a true Republican, sure). But his success since then has depended on his local ties. I can’t stand the guy, but I have friends who are friends with him, and it would be the easiest thing in the world for me to meet him, if I wanted to. And the issues he runs on are issues that folks around here care about–pro-life, pro-gun, pro-business, anti-tax. Nobody here gives a shit about his position on U.S. intervention in Syria (whatever it is), or even on immigration (we’re not too worried, here in Michigan, about illegal Canadians swimming across Lake St. Clair!).Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                I think it is more likely that they would walk across the lake most of the year 😉Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                More seriously but the Southern-style moral politics is hurting the GOP in many places like California.

                In theory, Silicon Valley should be ripe territory for GOP fundraising. A socially liberal but economic free-marketer should be a fairly easy win for tech money. Instead you have a lot of big tech companies giving money to the Democratic Party, Peter Thiel being iconoclast, and Meg Whitman catering to people who are much further to her right instead of running for governor as a Javits/Rockefeller Republican. A true moderate Republican might have been able to beat Jerry Brown in 2010. Instead California, Oregon, and Washington became Democratic sandbars. But moderate Republicans like this have been drummed out of primaries for decades.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                More seriously but the Southern-style moral politics is hurting the GOP in many places like California.

                Exactly, it’s not locally appropriate. The California GOP seems to have made the mistake of taking the all politics is local idea a little too far, appealing to particular neighborhoods, rather than to whole districts.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                I think it is more likely that they would walk across the lake most of the year 😉

                Sara Palin was right about one thing, at least. 😉Report

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                A true moderate Republican might have been able to beat Jerry Brown in 2010. Instead California, Oregon, and Washington became Democratic sandbars. But moderate Republicans like this have been drummed out of primaries for decades.

                Very true. Moderate Republicans used to do quite well in statewide races. Witness the success of folks like Pete Wilson. Even The Govenator was fairly moderate but, by the time he got elected, he never could have won a Republican primary. As the party moved ever farther right, it alienated the moderates and independents it needed to win statewide races.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                The Governator’s election is a great case in point for how the Republicans pooched California. Gray Davis had dismal approval ratings when he ran for re-election, well under 50%, and over 50% disapproval. He could have been an easy target for a moderate Republican, but the primary process–and this is what’s currently killing the GOP–selected a much more conservative guy, who lost.

                Then they turned to the recall, in a rather despicable refusal to accept that they’d lost, and finally got their “Republican,” the moderate Schwarzenegger. And yet many still haven’t learned the very obvious lesson, and think their failure lies in not finding conservative enough candidates to get the silent majority off the couch and to the polls–even though conservatives as a group have a higher turnout rate than liberals and especially moderates.

                They’re like kids choosing teams in gym class who are intent on selecting their friends for a team, without regard for their talent for the game.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                As you say, Schwarzenegger is the textbook case for a RINO. California’s become a mob-ocracy: exactly what Federalist 10 addresses.

                California needs a new constitution. These asinine Propositions, enacted by gibbering rabble are no way to govern a state of that size. Look at the succession of clowns elected governor of that mismanaged state. Hell, I’d argue California, being larger than many nations, ought to be a sub-republic of its own. Two US senators for all those people, it’s bananas.

                California’s problems are structural. They need a government structure suitable to their needs and they just don’t have it.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                California’s problems are structural. They need a government structure suitable to their needs and they just don’t have it.

                Yes. And your criticisms of the initiative system are spot-on. The place is too damn big for direct democracy. The country most notable in the world for using direct democracy is Switzerland, with less than 1/4 California’s population, roughly a 1/3 of it’s GDP (although more than twice Cali’s, on a per capita basis), and only a tenth of it’s area. Additionally, Swizz initiatives are required to have a double majority to pass–a majority of the vote and a passing vote in a majority of Cantons, which minimizes the potential to push through issues whose benefits are narrowly concentrated.

                But even there the system has some notable imperfections, including low turnout, frequent confusion stemming from the public voting on complex and poorly understood policy proposals, and of course the recent vote to ban minarets–a fine example of how democracy is no guarantee of protection for civil liberties.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                The Swiss Confederation features a strong cantonal system and a weak central government. That’s changing somewhat, but as a general rule, it’s true.

                I’ve often thought the Swiss cantonal system would be a fine starting point for these wretched Sykes-Picot countries, the majority of Africa too. It’s not perfect but the Swiss system does manage four major languages and wildly disparate state economies. I contend, and I suspect you agree, the human race is better served with buffet-style allegiances to multiple entities: tribal, regional, national, even religious identities. Why limit ourselves to merely one?Report

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                Oh yes, the initiative system is utterly ridiculous. There are always tons of them, most poorly written, and a few that obviously contradicted each other. It takes hours to decipher a California ballot.

                State government is badly in need of restructuring. The state probably needs to be divided into two or three separate states.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


                Agreed in full. Switzerland is a very interesting case study in federalism, and I’m a devout federalist.

                But without arguing, I do have some doubts whether it would work in Africa. In Switzerland the cantons essentially all joined voluntarily, over a period of years, seeking the benefits of membership. In Africa, disparate groups were lumped together involuntarily, as well as often being involuntarily severed from kindred in their group. I suspect under those circumstances the centrifugal forces in a federal system would overwhelm the centripetal forces, so that the only way to keep these countries together–in their present form–is to have a unitary political system.

                Of course you know the details of African ethnicity and state drawing better than I do, so that’s not meant to lecture you on that. And it’s not to argue that the African states ought to be kept in their present geographic/ethnic forms–the state-by-state details there are beyond my knowledge, but I know a good number are less than ideal.

                I have a half-baked conception that if allowed to split up along more coherent ethnic lines (recognizing, of course, that those ethnic lines are not always coherent and discrete), whether that might not in time enable them to develop more trusting relationships so that they could more toward an EU-style arrangement. Possibly a very long time, but with the comparative success of the EU as a model, perhaps less than a pessimist might fear.

                On that, as on all matters Africa, I would be interested in your response.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                The Swiss system is full of holes.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                @J@m3z: Yeah, (scratching my beard stubble over here) you’re making some useful points. To hear the Swiss tell the tale, (well, one Swiss doctor of my acquaintance) though it’s probably as larded with pseudo-patriotic hooey as Parson Weems — the Swiss Confederation formed quite unwillingly as they were squeezed together by outside forces, finding common cause only in common enemies.

                When I write a Use Case document, it comes in three big chunks:

                First chunk outlines Actor, Scope, Stakeholders, Preconditions, Minimal Guarantees, Success Guarantees, that sort of thing.

                Second chunk is called the Main Success Scenario, or what I usually call the Happy Path. It’s rather like a little play. Sometimes it looks like a recipe.

                1. Go to school.
                2. Get degree.
                3. Get job.
                4. Purchase Kraken Rum with proceeds.

                But the third chunk is called Extensions. It’s all the horrid little things which cause grief on the way to a nice tasty glass of Kraken Rum. They follow the Happy Path steps. Here’s a problem with Step 1.

                1a. No money for college.

                So Africa, Switzerland, hell, any country, can be reduced to a set of use cases. Each of the Actors and Stakeholders has a role to play. In Africa, take Nigeria, we have tribes, Hausa, Yoruba, et al. We also have religions: Sunni, Sufi, Shi’a, Protestant, Catholic, various native religions.

                But even then, it gets quite confusing, for though most Hausa are Muslim, not all of them are Sunni. When that poor soldier was beheaded in the UK, the suspect’s name was Adebolajo, I thought “That’s a Yoruba name, what the hell is he doing shouting Allahu Akhbar?” Turns out his parents were devout Christians, as are most Yoruba — the family moved to the UK and the boy converted to Islam there. All these overlaps in Africa.

                But they’re the same problems faced by the Swiss: French Geneva, German Zurich, Italian Ticino — if Africa were to reorganise, it would be on the basis of their own self-described identities. The cantons only provide regional governance and yes, there is some majority language spoken. I would speak French in Geneva, German in Zurich — the Yoruba don’t need their own nation. They would be far better served by a series of Yoruba-speaking cantons.

                The Hausa, they’re all over West Africa. Most people who speak Hausa speak it as a second language, though millions do speak it as a first language. But there’s no internal Hausa identity, they, too would be better served by a series of cantons. All the smaller tribes, there are thousands in Nigeria alone: give them some little homeland canton and they’d be quite happy. Let the cantons decide how they want to confederate: Nigeria should have been turned into at least three countries — the French at least had the good sense to better organise their own colonies, though they did screw up Mali, failing to really account for the Tuareg…..Report

        • Avatar Patrick says:

          Largely, the thing I see being successful at the state level is, “We will charge you less taxes” and “we’re like you”.

          That second message is particularly effective in some states, but in the states where the legislature changes hands… the ones that are in play… it’s all about “make me pay less, give me the same services, make somebody else pay more if you have to.”Report

          • Avatar zic says:

            In Maine, the legislature is now under Democratic control again.

            They’ve already begun the Gov.’s race entertainment cycle. Should be a doozy; our 33% Governor LePage, the independent Eliot Cutler, who’s not charming but people like his policy, and a comfortable Democratic candidate, Rep. Mike Michaud. who has long represented District 2, the northern, more conservative half of the state.

            Me, I’m wishing for ranked balloting in my beloved state.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          40% of Americans still refer to themselves as conservative so the GOP does appeal to a sufficinet number of us.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            Significant, though not necessarily sufficient.Report

          • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

            But “conservative” does not mean for all of them what the Jindals of the party think it does. For many it just means they respect the police and the military, salute the flag, and don’t want S&M in their local gay pride parades. But they’re not necessarily anti-union, anti-SSM, anti-abortion, etc.

            I have a good friend who’s a former Republican party official in one of the most conservative counties in the country (until he moved out of state), and he’s pro-SSM, pro-choice, and open to considering legalization of marijuana, but he absolutely calls himself a conservative, because he’s a hawk, pro-business, pro-gun rights, and favors low-tax, low-benefit governance. But he’s blisteringly angry at the conservatism being pushed by the Jindals of the party.Report

      • Avatar Michelle says:

        The problem is that the American public increasingly does not want their goods and the GOP still thinks that they can get the public back via clever marketing campaigns.

        I think they do understand it, which is why they’re working that whole voter suppression thing in swing states.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        I would argue that the rump Republican Party does truly think they are offering the American public something and something good.

        I agree. They certainly do think that. But they’re not actually articulating what that something good is. As I said to BlaiseP recently, whenever you’re against something, it means there’s something different that you are for. But of course there’s the trick of being clear about just what alternative you’re offering (and that may be his real criticism of libertarians (allegedly, at least) emphasizing what they’re against). To say “I’m against X,” doesn’t tell if what you want is strictly anti-X, or Y, or Z, or Q37XB. The Republicans currently are just in “I’m against X, R, S and T ” mode, but it turns out more and more Americans want R (say, SSM), want at least some solution to the problem X responds to even if it’s not X itself (say, health care), and are ambivalent about S and T, so that they’re willing to listen to alternative proposals, but aren’t strongly moved just by claims that S and T are horrible (say, although I could be wrong, gun control and the federal debt).

        For example, count me in among those who aren’t remotely Democrat stalwarts, and who think PPACA sucks, but who don’t think the status quo ante is anything to long for, either. When they tell me PPACA sucks, I say, “yeah, but have you got a proposal that’s less sucky?” I’m a capturable guy for certain issues, but at present they’re not even coming close to even enticing me, much less capturing me.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          For example, count me in among those who aren’t remotely Democrat stalwarts, and who think PPACA sucks, but who don’t think the status quo ante is anything to long for, either. When they tell me PPACA sucks, I say, “yeah, but have you got a proposal that’s less sucky?” I’m a capturable guy for certain issues, but at present they’re not even coming close to even enticing me, much less capturing me.

          Quite so. One of the more infuriating things about the whole debate was the lack of a Reublican or conservative alternative. They have the framework for one, if they could just get across the “and it will require subsidies” bridge.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            The problem is that there really can’t be a Republican or conservative alternative to the PPACA. American conservtives have been arguing that market based healthcare is better than government based healthcare for generations. They ranted against Medicare when LBJ first introduced it into Congress and they have been proven wrong every time. Government based healthcare works and nobody has really created a market-based healthcare system that does work.

            There can’t be a conservative alternative to the PPACA because I’d argue that the PPACA is the most conservative form of universal healthcare that will kind of work thats possible. Any alternative that would work would be more socialist and not less socialist in nature.Report

            • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


              I disagree. We didn’t really have market-based healthcare before. That’s one of the great misnomers. So pushing for a more market-based health care system than before would be more conservative. Now, I’m not saying it would be a better health care system (certainly not in the eyes of liberals like you), or that it would necessarily even be a politically successful idea. I’m just saying it’s actually a conservative plan that they could promote, if they were serious about telling the public what they are for, instead of just what they are against.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              There are countries in Europe that have a more fluidly market-based system than we do, in my opinion.

              That’s not the issue. The issue is the extent to which Republicans cannot cross the aforementioned bridge.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Which ones? The most conservative form of healthcare coverage in the rest of the developed world is the Bismarckian system, which is kind of the inspiration of the PPACA. In Bismarckian system, the insurance companies are much more regulated than their American counterparts and basically operate more like utility companies than insurance companies.Report

              • Avatar Trumwill says:

                The Swiss.

                Some of it comes down to how we define “market”… I don’t define it simply by “unregulated” or “conservative” or “the government isn’t chipping into it.”

                For example, I consider PPACA’s exchanges to be the most Market part of our health care system, when it kicks in. Far moreso than the employer-based side, despite the increased regulation. Why? Because it primarily attempts to harness market forces. The employer-based system we have is primarily corporatist. It may not be funded by the government (directly), and it may be less regulated, but the interaction between the person and the insurance company they have is negligible.

                The American system is neither market nor socialist. It incorporates both, along with corporatism, selecting for the worst qualities of each.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:


                This is the Swiss healthcare system. It seems to be a fairly typical Bismarckian system. Everybody has to purchase health insurance, every health insurance company has to offer the same basic services and has to register with the government. Insurance companies can not earn profit from mandated services but only for supplementary services. The only difference between the Swiss system and other Bismarckian systems is that the Swiss system involves co-pay.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Or bluntly, the Swiss system doesn’t seem fairly market oriented. Its actually further to the left of the PPACA since the insurance companies are much more regulated under the Swiss system.Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile says:

                You’re equating regulation with anti-market. I’m not. Regulated or not, the Swiss system has market-incentives that large segments of our system doesn’t. Krugman and Klein have both commented on this, as has Avik Roy.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            I also think its debatable about whether the GOP really wants an alternative to the PPACA. Jonathan Chait made a very important point when he noted that conservative really don’t believe in luck. They believe that peopel deserve their good fortune or bad fortune, nobody is simply lucky or unlucky. To more than a few conservatives, not being able to afford healthcare is simply something that people deserve.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco says:

              Jonathan Chait made a very important point when he noted that conservative really don’t believe in luck. They believe that peopel deserve their good fortune or bad fortune, nobody is simply lucky or unlucky.

              That is not an ‘important point’, or even credible.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain says:

            At the risk of getting my head handed to me, I thought their alternative was basically, “There’s nothing seriously wrong with the present system.” Some tweaks here and there — more flavors of HSA, perhaps; make more low-maximum coverage policies available; do away with some of the state restrictions on health insurance products like, for example, lists of things that must be covered. But big changes such as guaranteed issue or community ratings weren’t necessary. How wrong am I?Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              That’s basically right, except that they never even bothered to try to package it. I think because the packaging would have exposed how anemic it was.

              They could make a market case for some of the European models. They could have tried a program with subsidized HSA’s. Or they could have tried to influence PPACA itself by keeping or expanding the HSA component of our system.

              Instead, they didn’t, because nothing is easier than something, and they thought they would be able to defeat it outright.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                I still think the Democrats moved too soon on the issue, and the PPACA is a mess as a result. For the last decade I’ve been saying that I thought the issue would be “ripe” in 2015 — in combination, the big insurers, big pharma, and big hospital chains’ behaviors were going to get so egregious that some sort of reasonable reform that managed universal coverage, community ratings, and subsidies for the poor could waltz through. I was hoping TPTB would take the opportunity to realign federal health care programs in a more sane fashion — rather than preserving Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, Tri-care, VA, federal employee benefits, and so on, all as separate programs.Report

              • Avatar Barry says:

                No, because we’ve been waiting since the early 90’s; the same forces against it would still be against it. And as it was, it took an extraordinary line-up to get it through.Report

          • Avatar Barry says:

            “Quite so. One of the more infuriating things about the whole debate was the lack of a Reublican or conservative alternative. They have the framework for one, if they could just get across the “and it will require subsidies” bridge.”

            Obamacare is a modifation of the GOP alternative back in 1993. Of course, once the Clinton proposal failed, it was shelved, because it was n’t a real alternative, just a fake one.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC says:

            One of the more infuriating things about the whole debate was the lack of a Reublican or conservative alternative.

            But the _most_ infuriating thing about the whole debate was that we did have a Republican alternative. It was just being pushed by the Democrats.

            In a universe where Fox and Koch brothers didn’t stab the Republicans in the back with the Tea Party and death panels and other such bullshit immediately after Obama’s election, the Republicans could have stood there and claimed the Democrats had finally come around to_their_ proposal from back in 1992.

            Instead, the Republicans shifted into reverse so fast they ripped out their transmission, and have been stuck coasting backwards ever since.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          Well put. Merely opposing something is a grossly insufficient argument. It’s insulting, really, when you get down to it. So someone’s gone to the trouble of taking a position on some topic, someone else sneers and says “That’s dumb.” — with no further explanation of why it’s dumb.

          Standing in opposition with no alternative is half an argument. Eventually, pressed hard, that half-an-argument can be expanded, redeemed, issued in a new and improved edition.

          But there’s another complaint: the opposition which presumes nobody’s thought through the problem before. Amusing old municipal ordinances, no driving goats down the high street — at one point, goats on the high street were a problem. We can afford to laugh at such laws, thinking about the outraged carriage drivers complaining to the town councillors. It’s not so funny when old financial regulations, such as the ones separating investment houses from retail banking — are repealed.

          Outside Fukushima, Japan, there are a line of stone markers, left from the time of an ancient tsunami. “High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants,” the stone slab reads. “Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point.” Years went by and the townspeople returned.

          The GOP complains of excessive government regulation. The Libertarians complain of excessive government, period. The Liberals complain of excesses within government. We all want alternatives, we all want reasonable discussion, but always on our terms. Down on the Sacred Cow Ranch, all the cows are happy cows. And nothing gets done.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Thats only an issue if you want to win power. The goal of the GOP might simply be to let the Democratic Party from implementing their policy goals. The American polticial system and our parliamentary rules gives the minority party means of gumming up the works without being in power. All they need is one house of Congress or even just a plurality of Senators and nothing gets done.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Power without responsibility is actually worth holding onto.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          The behavior of the GOP in office is strong evidence that they want power without responsibility. Otherwise, they’d govern better.Report

        • Avatar zic says:

          Sounds too much like shock doctrine and war profiteering for my taste.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Thats what it is. All the benefits of power and none of the downside.Report

            • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

              Beats its converse, responsibility without power, hands down.

              (For the record, I’m only talking about the POV of the person in that position–from an objective perspective, both responsibility without power and power without responsibility are ridiculous, and should never be given to anyone.)Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              I think there’s a degree of confusing the consolation prize for the actual prize. There are advantages to being in a situation where you get to scream loudly and block legislation, but it’s still a consolation prize. While you can have power without responsibility, you’re still secondary with the guy that has responsibility and more power.

              Harry Reid would rather be in Harry Reid’s position than McConnell’s. McConnell would rather be in Harry Reid’s position, too. And though it’s been nothing but headaches for the guy, Boehner cried when he became speaker and wouldn’t trade it for a second.

              And, of course, so many people spend 24/7 running for the most cumbersome, responsibility-laden job on the planet.

              Jim DeMint is something of an oddity.Report

    • This is true, to an extent. 2016 is a long ways off (hell, in politics next week is a long ways off). He has a long time to tell people what he’s for. I imagine right now, he’s more worried about telling people why they should give him money. Simple red meat sloganeering might be useful.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      The rump Republican Party in question has held the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 of the last 20 years, the U.S. Senate for 10 of the last 20 years, currently holds 30 of 50 governor’s chairs, and 60 of 99 state legislative chambers.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        As Josh Baro pointed out, the GOP House candidates received 1.5 million fewer votes than respective Democratic candidates in 2012.

        It is only gerrymandering that keeps the GOP in the majority in the House. Is that really something to be proud of?Report

        • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

          Correct, ND. Additionally, the Senate does not equally representation the public. Unlike some folks here, that doesn’t bother me at all (I rather prefer to keep it the way it is), but it remains a fact, nonetheless, that the GOP’s control of the Senate is partly–not at all totally, but in significant part–a function of that disproportionate representation.

          (Keep in mind that I’m not pro-Dem and anti-GOP. Each party has aspects I like, and currently I rather like my GOP state senator and GOP governor, both of whom I voted for, and miss my former Dem state rep, whom I voted for. I’m not writing to gleefully bash the GOP, but as one of the more objective observers you’ll find on the issue.)Report

          • Avatar NewDealer says:

            The Senate is more or less working the way it was designed to work. The House is supposed to be the People’s chamber. Gerrymandering and the 2012 results show that the House is not working the way it is supposed to work.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                Way to miss the point, AD. Boo hoo is correct, to the extent we’re saying, “yep, that’s how politics works.” But to the extent you’re arguing that the GOP is still popular at the national level, the gerrymandering of the House undercuts your use of the House as evidence.

                We need some good conservative commenters here at the League. I’d really like to see that good part in your participation. Really really.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                I’d argue that in a republican or democratic system, gerrymandering is not how politics are supposed to work. If the minority rigs the game so they win even when they do not get the majority of votes than you aren’t really dealing with functioning representative government. The people aren’t getting to choose you represent them.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                Oh, I don’t like gerrymandering of House districts myself, and I support it’s elimination. (In fact I support elimination of districts, which are not constitutionally required.) But I have little sympathy for idealistic politics, and the idea that it’s “not supposed to be that way.” Politics is who gets what, when, and how. It is, and always has been, about beating one’s opponents within–at least relatively within–a certain set of rules. Well, gerrymandering is well within the current set of rules, so while I’m all for changing the rules to disallow it, I can’t agree with the claim that our system is not supposed to work that way. It has, since the beginning, without interruption, and we’ve made only the most minimal attempts to change it–sounds to me as though we’re talking about something that is the way it’s supposed to be. But then, as I said, I’m not sympathetic with political idealism.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I like the existence of districts, because I think it’s good to have people devoted to more local interests rather than statewide (which I assume is where you’re going with that). Though it would work better without the gerrymandering and, more importantly, with more congresscritters (to go in the new capital in Nebraska).Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                Without districts I think we’d have actual third party representation in the House, as a straightforward application of Duverger’s (not really a) law. I think that representation would in itself be more valuable than micro-regional representation, plus I think it would mean we’d have to have coalition majorities in Congress, which could help break down the current hyper-partisanship.

                I do value local representation, though, and see it as a cost of getting rid of districts, not a plus.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                James, I don’t think that getting rid of districts would have the effect that you want without really changing how the House seats are distributed. In states that have lots of Representatives, non-district based voting would work. In states with one representative than the state is just a giant district. In states where you have a only a few representatives than things get confusing, especially if you use some form of proportional voting.

                I also think that multiple parties work better in parliamentary system where the executive power is more closely aligned with the legislature. In our system, a multiple parties would either increase deadlock by making legislative compromise even harder or turn the House into a rubber stamp because nobody can agree and just differs to the Presidency.

                I’m not really talking about idealism, so much as words have meaning. A representative democracy thats functionally controlled by the minority political party is not a representative democracy. Its a kind of oligarchy.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                James, you don’t really have to do away with districts in order to have a multiparty system. Multi-member districts are really all that you need.

                That said, I prefer the devil I know (the two-party system, more-or-less) over the devil that I don’t know. I am also skeptical that the electoral college (or a popular vote without run-offs, for that matter) would ever allow for a really multi-party system.

                It could, however, lead to permanent coalitions. The Red Libertarian Party and Red Christian Party fielding a unified presidential ticket in November but running against one another in heavily red districts. That would have some advantages, if it occurred. I’m skeptical that it would, though, because I think there is little interest in it.

                If there were interest, I’d prefer to go about it a different way. I am a fan of the fusion ticket system (for the executive), along with IRV. Then again, if we can’t count on voters to punch the chad thoroughly, I’m not sure if we can count on them to understand the IRV.

                Anyhow, I think I generally value the notion of districts more than I want to see a challenge to the two-party system.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


                Technically the states would themselves be multi-member districts (other than the very small ones, and we really do need to increase the size of the House, but that’s an issue for another day).

                But the value of districts vs. multiple parties in Congress is a base value discussion, not amenable to proof of correctness or error.

                (Lee, I’m sticking with Duverger on this one. No offense intended, though!)Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                But the value of districts vs. multiple parties in Congress is a base value discussion, not amenable to proof of correctness or error.

                That’s what I was trying to get at with the last paragraph, that the tension between multiparty and districts is one of priorities and not of correctness or error.

                That said, I am actually with Lee on the likelihood of (the converse of) Duvurger’s Law panning out without a constitutional change, with the exception of a few more Bernie Sanders types or coalition parties (like National/Liberal in Australia).

                If the baby permits it, I think I will explore this in a post.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                The Patron Saint of Lost Causes goes out again…..Report

  7. Avatar Shazbot5 says:

    “government run health care is high quality”

    I’ll cop to believing that one.

    I also believe Benghazi was handled about as well as could be expected given the difficulty of the situation. So I believe that one. But the rest is lies.

    I’d say the Israeli government sometimes immoral, but the situation is difficult and is causing everyone involved to act immorally in a way that is not unreasonable, but terribly tragic. I don’t want the government to explode, because I believe in good government. But since I like Social Security, I do want the government to pay everyone, but not in the sense he is implying. 32 ounce sodas aren’t evil, but childhood obesity is, and small (almost unnoticeable) restrictions on what fast food (and other) companies can sell could be tried as an experiment to reduce obesity rates. I am pretty sure money does not grow on trees but is printed by the government and I have views accepted widely by economists about the value of stimulus.

    I’m tired of writing about this. It is obvious to everyone how it is all lies and semantic tricks to paint liberals as something they’re not.

    What is interesting is everyone knows this article is a lie. Newspapers arpund the country should run the headline, “Prominent Republican Jindal Lies and Lies about Opposition” because that is an undeniable, completely uncontroversial truth. But they don’t and that tells you a lot about what is wrong with the political system in this country.Report

    • I’d say that government-run health care can be high quality (which isn’t really much of a quibble). I wouldn’t support major changes to Canada’s health care system.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

        Yes, it is not a logical necessity or analytic truth.. It is a contingent and empirical truth.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        One of the conservative tropes that I hate the most is the one about Canadians coming down south for healthcare because of how horrible the Canadian system is. Its simply not true, the Canadian healthcare system is popular with most Canadians and provides pretty good healthcare. Worse, a lot of conservatives seem to really believe this trope. They always invoke. They never have any evidence or statistics of it but they always invoke it.Report

        • Avatar zic says:

          Here in Maine, a lot of people go to Canada for health care. Particularly people without insurance. They have to pay for it out-of-pocket, and typically when services are rendered, but it’s much cheaper.

          And of course, it’s a crime to fill your medical subscription in Canada and bring it home; even though it’s the same drug, made in the US, and sold to Canadian pharmacies. Reimporting them to save money is a big no-no; and the Customs Man will ask you about it, one of the regulatory captures that screw the every-day patient without insurance that will cover the prescription. Senator Collins once submitted a bill to allow for the re-importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada; it went exactly nowhere.Report

        • I would say that most Canadians prefer our system, but there are still times that people travel to the U.S. to get treatment (and sometimes elsewhere for experimental treatment). This usually relates to specialized procedures and long wait times (or no specialists to perform them).

          However, there was a Supreme Court case a few years ago that decided that the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) had to foot the bill for someone’s treatment in the U.S. because they couldn’t get that treatment up here in a reasonable amount of time. So, essentially, we get the best of both worlds. Socialized health care and government-funded access to the U.S. system!

          Go us!Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            I can verify that, while it’s perhaps not remotely as commonplace as conservatives like to suggest, coming to the US for care does happen. Clancy gets some of that business (usually in the context of referring somebody to a specialist).Report

          • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

            This usually relates to specialized procedures and long wait times (or no specialists to perform them).

            This gets to one of the concerns about a national health care system. If the structure actually diminishes the incentives for specialists, and particularly for vigorous development of new procedures, that’s fine, perhaps, as long as some other country is still rewarding that. So Canada, in a way, is riding the U.S.’s coattails there. But if every country moves that direction, do we all end up forgoing some of those new and specialized procedures?

            That in itself is not dispositive evidence against national health care, of course, it’s one value that has to be set against the value of more comprehensive basic health care for everyone. But I’m always a bit worried when I see it handwaved away.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      I think Benghazi was a disaster. A tragic one. But it’s painfully funny to see the guys who gave us Gulf War II to talk like it’s the the worst screwup ever.Report

  8. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Bobby Jindal — that which annoys us in others, annoys them about us. Yes, the GOP needs to quit being stupid. That said, Bobby Jindal needs to be the Good Example that party needs — and quit saying Stupid Shit, like right away. Every time than man opens his mouth, it’s only to exchange feet.Report

  9. Avatar John Wiser says:

    Nothing here to get excited about. It plays well in Louisiana.Report

  10. Avatar Cletus says:

    When Jindal argued that the GOP needed to stop being the stupid party, he was arguing for his own ouster.Report

    • Avatar Cletus says:

      I’d also like to point to this Politico Article and ask an honest question, if I may. At what point does this group of people cease to be the minority of the GOP and become acknowledged as their majority or base? And if so, what are the implications?Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        When Politico can run the numbers.
        Which will be next to never.

        Can’t fight if you’re deaf, dumb, and blind in one eye.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Never, that would be unsporstman-like and conduct not befitting for a gentleman. Gentleman do not say unpleseant things about their dining companions.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      The stupid man in question was a Rhodes Scholar. Unlike our former president / cigar aficionado, Mr. Jindal actually earned a degree at Oxford.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Stupid is as stupid does. Nobody’s arguing that Jindal actually has subpar intelligence–they’re just arguing that in this particular domain Jindal is acting stupidly. And you’ve made no substantive argument that he hasn’t.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          That was not Cletus’ assertion. Re-read.Report

          • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

            I have, and I still read it my way, since his comment was clearly focused on politics, not on intelligence outside politics. Perhaps I’m wrong, but we’d need Cletus to tell us which of us is right. Your assertion that I’m reading him wrong is no more persuasive to me than my assertion that you’re reading him wrong will be to you.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        Barack Obama was the editor of the Harvard Law Review and yet conservatives seem hell-bent on believing that he was a stupid, stupid man who only benefited from Affirmative Action?

        Are Republicans secret long-term Tory Loyalists? Do you not think our educational institutions can match with Oxford?Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          He was the ‘president’ of the Harvard Law Review, an elective office political position distinct from that of ‘editor’.

          Someone with the resources might attempt a content analysis. Spending too much time on starboard blogs, I do not think the complaint that the president is unintelligent is particularly common. ‘Stupid’, as in habitually makes bad judgments, might be more so.

          I suspect a more common complaint about the president is that he entered office devoid of serious accomplishments (other than winning elective office when his opponents’ divorce paperwork gets published).

          IIRC, the president’s appointment to the (peripheral) faculty at the University of Chicago Law School was not according to the usual protocols – he was imposed from above. He taught boutique courses and never published anything in professional journals during his 12 years employed there. His wife’s curriculum vitae is…interesting.Report

          • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

            Constitutional Law in law school is not exactly a boutique course.

            According to the school, Obama was also invited to join the faculty in a tenure track position but declined.

            For the record, I held my nose and voted for Obama in ’08, expecting to dislike him. Having disliked him, I did not vote for him in ’12. I think he’s been an appalling president. But facts are facts.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco says:

              He has been billed as a ‘constitutional law’ instructor. IIRC, he usually taught courses lawyers sometimes refer to as “___ & the Law”. Beldar had this to offer: constitutional law can be done well, but it is the easiest of the subdisciplines of law to fake it in teaching and he would have been more impressed if Obama had taught commercial law or tax law.

              Interesting that he declined a tenure track post. At the time, he was an associate at a modest firm (12 attorneys) which did a mix of labor law and landlord-tenant law. Not exactly a happenin’ practice.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                Jesus, you’re scratching in the dirt for pebbles to throw aren’t you? Obama taught Con Law III, covering due process and equal protection. Pretty important constitutional issues. As tough as teaching tax law? No, but what does that mean? Just that he didn’t teach in an area that wasn’t his specialty or his interest. He taught law at a top law school and was invited to accept a tenure track position there–people of only average intelligence don’t get those offers.

                And turning around the admirable fact that he was offered a tenure track position into suspicion about the fact that he declined it? You don’t know his reasons, but you’ll insinuate it’s to his discredit? There’s no argument there, just partisan spin.

                Imagine we did the same thing with Jindal. Ivy League? Well, he only went to Brown, which is considered the weakest of the Ivies, so…you know. He turned down medical school to get a degree in political science? Interesting; not exactly as tough as med school. Had a chance to get a Ph.D. but turned it down? Hmmm–why did he keep turning down the tough educational opportunities? What does that mean?

                An exercise in pure bullshit, of course. Jindal’s an intelligent and accomplished guy, and these insinuations mean shit. So’s Obama, and likewise the insinuations about him.

                If all you’re interested in is just playing partisan spin, without any regard for truth or honesty, please just let us know so we can write you off and disregard you. If you’re interested in real debate, in presenting a serious and thoughtful conservative voice here–and the place could use some more of that–please step up your game.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                “Imagine we did the same thing with Jindal. Ivy League? Well, he only went to Brown, which is considered the weakest of the Ivies, so…you know.”

                And my undergrad was filled with people who really wanted to go to Brown but did not get in, we were a second choice for a lot of wannabe Browners. What does that say about me? 🙂

                Though my undergrad alma mater was my first choice. Clearly I am showing something… 😉Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                Hey, I went to a regional public, so you’re still many levels above me!Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                I was self ejucated.Report

          • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

            I have a comment in moderation here, because it has two links. Would anyone with power be kind enough to give me their stamp of approval?Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          Some discussion of the president’s tenure at the Harvard Law Review is here:

  11. Avatar Herb says:

    If Stephen Covey were still alive, he’d advise Jindal to seek first to understand, then to be understood. If he did that, he’d be a more effective spokesman for his political philosophy… which has its own problems.Report

  12. Avatar Shazbot5 says:

    Last point.

    I think the best thing for the Republicans would be if the Tea Party finally split and formed its own political party, with a presidential candidate and a slate Congressional candidates. The vote splitting (and do ation and organization splitting) of the right wing would hurt at first, but it would allow the Republican party to swing more to the center and sop up more votes than it would lose, and could drive the Dems to be a more liberal party by forcing them to distinguish themselves from the new centrist R’s, which could cost the Democratic party its centrist votes.Report

  13. Avatar Art Deco says:

    I think it’s pretty hard for a liberal to see herself in the above bit of textual vomit.

    Not his problemReport

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

      Actually, it is. Because the list only looks right to conservatives, to the choir. And preaching only to the choir is the GOP’s problem now, especially since the demographics show a shrinking choir (at least as a percentage of the voting population, it not necessarily in absolute numbers). Trying to turn around losing electoral fortunes without reaching out to draw in new voters? Yes, that’s his, and the GOP’s problem. Hell, it wouldn’t matter if it was false if it was at least persuasive to folks outside the reliable vote crowd. But it’s not, so it does matter.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        This. The GOP’s problem isn’t that its turning off liberals but thats its scarring a lot of people who don’t consider themselves liberal. Many apolitical, non-political, moderate, and even conservative people are increasingly finding the GOP as not offering any practical solution for the problems facing society. The GOP is never going to attract people but they need to get more than conservatives to vote for them.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:


        Look, I’m never going to agree with say, Ross Douhat’s or Reihan Salam (sp?)’s policy proposals. But, I can see how even though I think they’ll lead to bad outcomes that they’d be politically popular in broad swaths of the population.

        The GOP shouldn’t care that I think they’re a party largely consisting of rich misogynistic bigoted xenophobes. The GOP should care that the soccer moms in suburban Ohio and Hispanic small business owners in Florida are beginning to believe that.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Agree with Lee, Jesse, and James (how often do I get to say that?!) on the politics of the situation.Report

        • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

          So, a libertarian, a conservative, a liberal, and a progressive walk into a bar…Report

          • Avatar NewDealer says:

            Does it have good microbrew?Report

            • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

              The libertarian and the liberal think it’s good, the progressive complains that it’s not organic, and the conservative is mad that he can’t get a Bud.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                I’m still relatively unsure of the difference between a liberal and a progressive. As far as I can tell, a progressive is only liberal that doesn’t want to refer to him or herself as such for some reason.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                I think the distinction is whether they insistence on organic foods.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                I can live with that. I’m not very sympathetic to the foodies. I kind of agree with their message but the ahistoricism in much of the writing is a real turn off. A lot of foodies imagine a past that never was, when people ate the seasonal bounty of the land. We actually have a good idea what people ate like in the past and and it wasn’t the seasonal bounty of the land. It was mainly grains or tubers of some sort and maybe some salt meat, dairy, or vegetables. It was industrial agriculture that led the world of varied diets and increased fruit and vegetable consumption.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                There were some very large changes in food preservation techniques in the late 1800’s and 1900’s; one was the invention of canning. Before that, most vegetables that couldn’t be kept (root cellaring, etc.) were preserved through lacto-fermentation; and like all fermentation, this is a pre-digestive process; it makes a lot of the nutrition in those pickled vegetables available in ways that modern salt-brine pickling doesn’t. People also tended to eat a lot more stock, made from bones, then we do now; and stock is rich with glucosamine, which helps maintain joint health and helps prevent inflammation. Grains tended to be the whole grain, so rich in omega 3, not imbalanced to the omega 6 fatty acids typically consumed now. Finally, the meat consumed wasn’t an experiment in hormonal manipulation and antibiotic resistance.

                So while you’re right, there wasn’t as much fresh fruit/vegetable in diets outside of the growing season, the total profile of what was eaten is actually pretty hard for modern Americans to envision. I agree, the vision of land-of-plenty is misleading. But the modern version of plenty, while better at providing fresh fruit and vegetable year round, has plenty of nutritional concerns.

                And at the bottom of this debate is a much larger debate about soil fertility and health, water quality, and the well-being of agricultural workers; you know, this migrant workers from Mexico. What we now call ‘traditional farming,’ is a byproduct of WWI & WWII efforts to find a new use for materials to make bombs, defoliants, and chemical weapons; it isn’t traditional. It’s literally making war on the communities of microbes and insects that both harm and help, without much consideration for the helpers.

                In my yard, there’s a sequence of blossoming; we’ve already had the apple trees come and go; the blackberry are just finishing blossoming, and the wild roses are about to begin. For the first year since we’e lived here; I’m afraid. This series of flowers is usually loaded with pollinators, honey bees #1 in the buzzing crowd. I could count the number of honey bees I’ve seen this spring on my hands and toes. The blackberry patch is silent instead of buzzing. It’s really frightening.

                These discussions go way beyond ‘organic’ and trendy shopping at Whole Foods.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            And collectively say ouch.Report

    • Avatar Herb says:

      No, his problem is that he’s attacking a straw man….Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        Nope, it is just less of a description of the attitudes of working politicians than it is of the attitudes of opinion journalists.Report

        • Avatar Herb says:

          No, it’s a cartoon. It’s a description of attitudes no one actually holds. It lacks knowledge, generosity, attachment to reality, and any sense of usefulness.

          But it is embarrassing.Report

          • Avatar NewDealer says:

            I personally appreciate your answer but you are falling on deaf ears with Art.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco says:

            Nope. It compresses a description into a paragraph for that reason loses detail and qualification. It is not false.Report

            • Avatar Michelle says:

              Oh please. It’s a BS caricature. I’m sure I could come up with something equally noxious to describe conservatives in a nutshell but it wouldn’t make it anymore true. Jindal’s simply spewing fact-free disdain. It’s much easier to do that than actually describe a Republican program that will appeal to a wide-swath of voters under the age of 50 or so.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Michelle, m’dear, he said this:

                The government to explode; to pay everyone; to hire everyone; they believe that money grows on trees; the earth is flat; the industrial age, factory-style government is a cool new thing;

                That actually is a caricature. Problem, the interest and willingness of the main body of those in the Democratic Party (bar Jimmy Carter) to define the boundaries of public sector activity or boundaries between the central government’s activity and local activity approaches nil. The willingness to actually dismantle any extant piece of bureaucratic architecture approaches nil. (Public housing was gradually abandoned in favor of vouchers, but that’s about it). There were some initiatives during the Carter Administration to deregulate the transportation sector, but that about exhausts the subject. Democratic politicos are compulsive about manufacturing patron-client relationships between pols, public agencies, and organized appetites. Republican pols are able to liquidate a few of these tar babies (LBJ’s Office of Economic Opportunity, &c), but it is never enough.

                debts don’t have to be repaid;

                Krugman has been apoplectic about anyone suggesting fiscal consolidation. BTW, since 1960 the federal budget has been balance three (3) times.

                people of faith are ignorant and uneducated;

                The leftoids who routinely dissent from this are employed in the church-o-cracy. Their preferred formulation is that the orthodox adherents in their own communions are crude.

                unborn babies don’t matter;

                Sorry, Michelle, you cannot hide behind Peter Steinfels and Dennis O’Brien and Nat Hentoff. “Don’t matter” is the bog-standard left view.

                pornography is fine;

                Except for some venomous characters like Andrea Dworkin, this is also bog-standard, starting with William O. Douglas.

                traditional marriage is discriminatory;

                Cannot hide behind Dennis O’Brien here either. This is now standard. Read Rod Dreher on his erstwhile colleagues in the newspaper business: they can hardly process any other view. Better yet, read some of the characters who post here.

                32 oz. sodas are evil;

                That’s Nurse Bloomberg’s bugaboo. Point to Michelle.

                red meat should be rationed;

                A subcultural view. Point to Michelle.

                rich people are evil unless they are from Hollywood or are liberal Democrats;

                What was all that blather about the ‘1%’?

                the Israelis are unreasonable;

                That’s opinion journalists, not working politicians, and more characteristic of the palaeo nexus than the left. 3/4 point to Michelle.

                trans-fat must be stopped;

                Again, Nurse Bloomberg. Point to Michelle.

                kids trapped in failing schools should be patient;

                Bog standard. Nothing which injures the interests of the education apparat – from the teacher training faculties to the administration to the credentialed union teachers to the labor meatheads – is to be tolerated.

                wild weather is a new thing;

                That’s reporters, not politicians (other that Mr. Gore, who increasingly resembles Ted Kennedy). 1/2 point to Michelle.

                moral standards are passé;

                Actually, the left is quite officious in insisting on its various shticks. Moral standards which require incremental daily observances and respect for authorities other than the helping professions are passe.

                government run health care is high quality;

                Bog standard.

                the IRS should violate our constitutional rights;

                Characteristic of the nutroots, not people who sign their name to thing. They regard the opposition as criminal. 3/4 point to Michelle.

                reporters should be spied on

                This is false.

                Benghazi was handled well;

                More precisely, don’t give a damn what happened.

                the Second Amendment is outdated;

                Bog standard when they even acknowledge it refers to a personal right.

                and the First one has some problems too.

                Only when it inhibits efforts to muzzle the opposition. Deduct 1/2 of a point, Michelle. He credits you all with being less sectarian than you actually are here.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Kenneth Waltz once said: Once socialism replaces capitalism, reason will determine the policies of states.

                Certain amount of truth in that statement. Louisiana is one of the largest recipients of federal largesse, taking in at least 1.40 USD for every dollar it contributes. It’s a Loser State. Red States, being rural, contribute less than they take.

                Every time I hear a GOP governor getting up on his piggy hind legs to loudly declaim that money does not grow on trees, I know I’m listening to a bog standard liar. It grows on sugar cane stalks, a mighty subsidy for Louisiana.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Louisiana’s relative position sees some flux because of its extractive industries. Assessed over the period running from 1997 to 2012, Louisiana’s domestic product per capita was a median of 101% of the national mean. ‘Loser state’?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Yes, a loser state. I come and go to both Baton Rouge and NOLA areas, spent seven months in Metairie. It’s a damned old wreck of a state. The only state where I’ve heard “nigger” used in casual conversation both in local bars and breakfast joints in over 20 years.

                Art, I just gotta say this: your charms are — how can I best express myself here? — evanescent. As pungent and piquant as whiskey farts.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                I might add, just returned to Wisconsin from Metairie. Metro NOLA is right up there with metro Houston in competition for the shag-nastiest burg in America.Report

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                I did read what you wrote above and it seems like even you thought much of what Jundal said was either BS or misrepresentation. Other stuff was misrepresentation on your part.

                Take for instance abortion. The liberal position is not that unborn babies don’t matter. While most liberals support abortion on demand during the first trimester, many do not support it past that point unless the health of the mother is at risk. All know that abortion is a balancing act between the right of the mother and those of the fetus. Since pro-life people see all abortion as murder, there really is no point of compromise, but it’s a gross misrepresentation to say that liberals believe that the unborn don’t matter. It’s an equally gross misrepresentation to say for conservatives it’s only the unborn that matter. Once a kid is born, if you need public assistance to help raise it because conservatives just want to slash the safety net to shreds.

                Moral standards are passé. Liberals don’t buy into this idea. However, moral standards are not universal and I don’t believe you should be able to impose your moral standards on me or vice versa.

                The IRS should violate our constitutional rights–completely false.

                The second amendment is outdated. Conservatives invariably gloss over the well-regulated militia part of the second amendment. I guess they think that part is outmoded.

                Benghazi–liberals do care but don’t think it rises to the level of scandal as Republicans, anxious to bring down Obama, do. Republicans were pretty unconcerned about the 12 or 13 incidences when Americans were attacked and killed at American embassies during W’s term. They were also unconcerned enough about security prior to the attack to vote down requests for increased funding for security. But feel free to beat that dead horse.

                The First Amendment–it seems to be conservatives who have the most problems with that one, especially the no state establishment of religion clause.

                Again, Jindal’s list and your half-assed defense of it have no more basis in the reality and complexity of liberal beliefs than the standard Limbaugh rant.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                Michelle. 100% awesome. Thank you for this comment. I’m sick and tired of being defined by negative space.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Take for instance abortion. The liberal position is not that unborn babies don’t matter.

                Oh yes it is, or they would have at least minimal legal protection and they have none.

                While most liberals support abortion on demand during the first trimester, many do not support it past that point unless the health of the mother is at risk.

                No one seems to have clued you in as to the actual state of the case law as well as the agendas of Democratic politicos. Abortion is lawful until a child is nearly term. This was done by judicial ukase in 1973.

                Once a kid is born, if you need public assistance to help raise it because conservatives just want to slash the safety net to shreds.

                AFDC, its successor TANF, and sundry means tested programs are regarded with antagonism due to the perverse incentives associated with them. That’s the authentic trade-off.

                Moral standards are passé. Liberals don’t buy into this idea. However, moral standards are not universal and I don’t believe you should be able to impose your moral standards on me or vice versa.

                Than repeal the penal code. It’s a terrible imposition. While we are at it, can we unload the civil rights laws as well?

                The second amendment is outdated. Conservatives invariably gloss over the well-regulated militia part of the second amendment. I guess they think that part is outmoded.

                They do not and they do not. The ‘well regulated militia’ clause makes plain that the personal right in question is to keep and bear military arms.

                Benghazi–liberals do care but don’t think it rises to the level of scandal as Republicans, anxious to bring down Obama, do.

                1. The administration concocted a cock-and-bull story about an inflammatory video. The President and the Secretary of State were both personally responsible for that. Why?

                2. Someone told the military stationed in Italy to stand down. Who and why?

                There has been absolutely no transparency on this issue.

                Republicans were pretty unconcerned about the 12 or 13 incidences when Americans were attacked and killed at American embassies during W’s term.

                Can you name the incidents without Googling?

                The First Amendment–it seems to be conservatives who have the most problems with that one, especially the no state establishment of religion clause.

                Tu quoque again? Since no one has proposed instituting fines for recusancy or having the Internal Revenue Service collect tithes, exactly why is discussion of an ‘establishment of religion’ relevant to any contemporary disputes over public policy?Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

                Can you name the incidents without Googling?

                No. But maybe if the right-wing media had seen fit to rant about the Bush administration’s embarrassments 24/7 we could.Report

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                No one seems to have clued you in as to the actual state of the case law as well as the agendas of Democratic politicos. Abortion is lawful until a child is nearly term. This was done by judicial ukase in 1973.

                I’m well aware of the case law from Roe v. Wade on. And the case law stresses that the rights of the mother must be balanced against those of the fetus. It’s not that the fetus has no rights. But in both common and criminal law, the fetus is not recognized as a person until after it is born, a position that long predates Roe.

                Moreover, as I said above, given that people on the pro-life side believe that all abortion is murder, there is not going to be compromise on this issue; nor do I expect you to concede that there’s any nuance to liberal positions because the issue is black and white for you.

                Once a kid is born, if you need public assistance to help raise it because conservatives just want to slash the safety net to shreds.

                This quote is taken out of context in that I said it would be just as much a gross mischaracterization of conservative thought as Jindal’s characterization of the liberal position on abortion.

                I think we’ve reached the point where further discussion is fruitless.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                There is not any ‘nuance’ in the ‘liberal positions’, just variations in spin.

                I think we’ve reached the point where further discussion is fruitless.

                Tetchy tetchy.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                I miss TVD.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                You can do better than Mother Jones.

                While we are at it, what do you mean by ‘federal largesse’? People commonly retire to warmer climates, taking their Social Security checks with them. Some loci have branches of important inter-regional water courses running through them (e.g. Louisiana), some do not (e.g. Vermont). Some are good loci for naval bases (e.g. San Diego), some are not). Over the course of the last 70-odd years, about 10% of domestic product has been accounted for (on average, each year) by the military and the central government’s domestic discretionary spending. A certain amount of that is misapplied due to considerations of political patronage. That is regrettable, but I am not sure how that is supposed to discredit Mr. Jindal’s conception of proper political economy.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                You can do better. Period. You can shoot the messenger but not his facts. One in five Louisiana households qualify for food stamps. My landlady qualified for food stamps.

                In Louisiana the percentage of persons below poverty level for 2007-2011 was 18.4%. The national average is 14.3%. Median household income for Louisiana, 2007-2011 was 44,086 USD with national average 52,762 USD. Louisiana is a poor state, heavily subsidised and heavily Republican.

                Just talk to anyone down there and they’ll tell you Jindal’s a chump. His popularity numbers are dropping like a stone: last I heard he was at 38% and falling fast. His nostrums might sell well elsewhere but they aren’t going over so well in his own state.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                BlaiseP, you make it sound like Jindal’s trying to fail up.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Failing up. That’s it, precisely. A prophet hath no honour in his own country, we are told in John’s Gospel, Chapter 4. But elsewhere, it’s a different story. These GOP prophets preach about the Sin of Taxation but when they try to Enforce Righteousness on those who elected them, as in Louisiana, where Jindal’s trying to repeal the state income tax, they don’t fare quite so well.

                Didn’t someone around LoOG just mention Tip O’Neill’s old maxim about “all politics is local” — except where it’s not? Yon Jindal hath that that lean and hungry look. Not sure if he Thinks Too Much, but he’s dangerous and perceived to be so in his Own Country.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                One in five Louisiana households qualify for food stamps. My landlady qualified for food stamps.

                You might ask the political appointees in the USDA why that is. If I am not mistaken one in five is actually below the national mean.

                Louisiana is a poor state, heavily subsidised and heavily Republican.

                Perhaps you do not understand the term ‘gross domestic product per capita’. Louisiana’s hugs the national mean, as noted. Personal income per capita has been lower than the national mean (generally around 16.5% below) and disposable personal income has also tended to be below the national mean (~13.5% below). I do not think these three metrics taken together are consistent with being ‘heavily subsidized’ as a lower proportion of the state’s product is sluicing into its households than is usually the case, both before and after the collection of taxes and the distribution of transfers. In 2000, 1.58% of the country’s population was in Louisiana and in 2010, 1.47% was in Louisiana. Per the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the share of federal transfer payments sluicing to Louisiana over the last 15 years has been between 1.42% and 1.62%, depending on the year. This is ‘heavily subsidized’???Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Failing up. That’s it, precisely. A prophet hath no honour in his own country, we are told in John’s Gospel, Chapter 4

                He was elected governor with 54% of the vote in a four candidate race and returned to office in another four candidate race with 66% of the vote. None of the half dozen candidates who have challenged him (five Democrats and one non-partisan) received more than 18% of the vote. He appears to be slow-walking this ‘failing up’ business.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Fred Astaire you’re not, Art. Tap dancing around Louisiana’s poverty and backwardness, you need to at least smile while you’re doing it. I love Louisiana more than anywhere else on God’s Grey Earth but you’re not convincing me, not when my own landlady flushed crimson with embarrassment when she furnished her SNAP card at Rouse’s when we went shopping together. Call it anecdotal if you want. I’ve seen poverty in Baton Rouge, NOLA, out in Lafayette, all the way to Mamou and Shreveport and the Texas line. Hug that.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Those are the actual numbers, BlaiseP, even if it bothers you. Personal income per capita is somewhat lower than in this country but is around the west European mean. The place lost a mess of physical capital in 2005 and it has a high crime rate, but these are different problems than ‘poverty’.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Maybe you need to spend more time reading the Louisiana newspapers. Try Times-Pic or Advocate, especially Advocate. So Jindal tries to repeal the state income tax, thereby creating a three billion dollar hole in state revenues which must somehow be replaced. The legislature in Baton Rouge sounded like a troop of monkeys up a tree with a leopard looking up at them.

                To put this in perspective, Kip Holden the Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish scornfully told Jindal “We’re big boys and girls.”

                Bobby Jindal has crapped on his dinner plate.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Heh. Art, you don’t bother me. It’s mind over matter. I don’t mind. You don’t matter. Louisiana is what I’ve said it is, a poor, benighted, soggy piece of real estate, full of Pore Folks and Reprobates who are getting sick of Bobby Jindal. You go down to Metairie like I did and drink a hundred gallons of their water, you’ll get a level-set on what they think of his dumbassery.Report

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                There is not any ‘nuance’ in the ‘liberal positions’, just variations in spin.

                And this is the reason, m’dear, why engaging with you is fruitless. Black and white thinkers never see nuance in positions with which they don’t agree. But that’s okay, brother. I’m sure it’s nice to have all the answers and the sense of moral superiority that goes along with it.Report

  14. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    There’s some hyperbole and silly stuff in there (“the earth is flat?”), but I would say that about 80% of the claims here accurately characterize a significant part of the left. You can say that you’re right to believe these things, and in many cases I agree that that’s true, because I believe them, too. But allowing for some hyperbole, this is pretty accurate for the most part.Report

    • Avatar Michelle says:

      Which parts are accurate? As opposed to a gross exaggeration of liberal positions?Report

        • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

          Yeah, liberals believe that wild weather is a new thing. Totally not a gross lie.

          The fact that you do not see how this is all lies Art shows that you are unreachable.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        Do I really need to anti-fisk this?

        The government to explode: The left does in fact want large increases in government spending.

        to pay everyone: Universal basic income. Social Security, too, though to be fair most Republicans support that, too. Allowing for some hyperbole (i.e., not literally everyone), this describes a much wider range of government transfer programs endorsed primarily or exclusively by the left.

        to hire everyone: “Everyone” is hyperbole, but much of the left does indeed support more government hiring. I’ve also heard calls to pay stay-at-home mothers, i.e., hire them. And under single-payer health care, doctors would essentially be employees of the state.

        they believe that money grows on trees: Most leftists are remarkably sanguine about the costs to high-income taxpayers of increased government spending. When parents complain that their children think money grows on trees, they’re not saying that their children literally think money grows on trees, but rather that they don’t appreciate the sacrifices made to get the money.

        the earth is flat: Your guess is as good as mine.

        the industrial age, factory-style government is a cool new thing: Not sure what he means here, either.

        debts don’t have to be repaid: This is actually true. National debt can be rolled over indefinitely. That said, since they installed their guy in power, the left has been pretty cavalier about the costs of servicing an ever-increasing national debt. And on a personal level, support for student loan forgiveness and lax bankruptcy law can be described as a belief that debts don’t have to be repaid.

        people of faith are ignorant and uneducated; unborn babies don’t matter; pornography is fine; traditional marriage is discriminatory: Check; check; check; check.

        32 oz. sodas are evil: My perception is that support for the big soda ban came mostly from the left, but I’ll grant that it was not along strict party lines.

        red meat should be rationed: This one’s a bit of a reach. Opposition to eating red meat comes primarily from the left, but it’s not really mainstream.

        rich people are evil unless they are from Hollywood or are liberal Democrats: Kind of, yeah. “Evil” may be an exaggeration, but I hear a lot about those rich assholes who won’t vote to raise their own taxes.

        the Israelis are unreasonable: Check.

        trans-fat must be stopped: Check. I mean, it’s not a great hill to die on, because they really are unhealthful, but trans-fat bans are a left-wing thing.

        kids trapped in failing schools should be patient: Check. Vouchers aside, I have literally seen people propose that private school be banned, so that parents who care about their children’s educations would have no choice but to work to make public schools better.

        wild weather is a new thing: It is an ironclad law that any unusual weather event will be cited as proof of anthropogenic climate change. If P implies Q and Q is new, then P must be new, too.

        moral standards are passé: Conservative moral standards, anyway.

        government run health care is high quality: Check.

        the IRS should violate our constitutional rights: Not entirely sure what he means here, but I have some ideas. When you fill out your tax forms, you’re being compelled to testify against yourself. I suspect that the left would like the IRS to have more access to private bank records to make sure the evil 1% are paying their taxes, but I’m not 100% certain of that.

        reporters should be spied on: I assume there’s some specific incident he’s referring to, but I have no idea what it is. Certainly this is not something the left approves of in general, because most reporters are playing for their team. I’ll give you this one.

        Benghazi was handled well: Not sure. I haven’t really been following this, but this poll said that only 23% of Democrats said that Republicans objecting to the administration’s handling of Benghazi were raising legitimate concerns.

        the Second Amendment is outdated: Check.

        and the First one has some problems too: Check. Citizens United, for one.

        Almost every single one of these is very clearly based on an actual component of the left-wing agenda to which a conservative might object—though not necessarily correctly, mind you. No, he doesn’t state them as charitably or as rigorously as he might, or acknowledge the arguments for these positions—and it’s pretty rich for Elias to be complaining about that—but he’s not just making stuff up out of whole cloth.

        And if this were a debate, or an academic paper, that sort of thing would be totally unacceptable. But it’s not. It’s a call to arms. He’s preaching to the choir, trying to get his fellow Republicans fired up about throwing the bums out. There’s license to take some rhetorical liberties in that context, like saying that the left wants the government to “hire everyone” when they really just want to increase government hiring significantly.Report

        • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

          I stopped reading after this:

          “Everyone” is hyperbole, but much of the left does indeed support more government hiring.”

          At a certain point, hyberole becomes a lie.

          If I said “All conservatives believe all black people are stupid criminals” it isn’t just an exageration, as you would surely point out. It is a lie.

          I’m assuming the rest of your comment is a willfull refusal to see this same problem over and over, that there is so much mischaracterization, it is just lying.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

            I stopped reading after thisReport

            • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

              Hopefully next time you’ll just stop.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

              Well, not really.

              A lie is an attempt to deceive someone. If a literal interpretation of a statement is so obviously false that it’s clearly not intended to be taken literally, then it’s not a lie. I knew exactly what he really meant, and I’m pretty sure that every other member of the intended audience did, as well.

              What would be a lie is making a claim that is false but intended to be plausible. For example, if I were to say that 55% of all workers in Sweden work for the government, that would be a lie, because it’s really around a third. Ironically, a more extreme claim like “In Sweden, everyone works for the government,” would be more honest, because the blatant exaggeration clearly signals that the claim is not meant to be taken literally, but rather as a nonspecific claim that a large percentage of Sweden’s population works for the government.Report

        • Avatar Michelle says:

          And if this were a debate, or an academic paper, that sort of thing would be totally unacceptable. But it’s not. It’s a call to arms. He’s preaching to the choir, trying to get his fellow Republicans fired up about throwing the bums out.

          Except that, if Jindal is hoping to appeal to folks other than the 40 percent or so who reliably vote Republican, stringing together a list of largely incomprehensible insults isn’t the way to go. When even the people on your side can’t make sense of what you’re saying, you’re obviously doing something wrong. Moreover, you’re not going to attract independents or undecideds to your cause.Report

          • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

            Except that, if Jindal is hoping to appeal to folks other than the 40 percent or so who reliably vote Republican, stringing together a list of largely incomprehensible insults isn’t the way to go.

            That’s the key point. If Jindal was just another Limbaugh, etc., this would pass unnoticed because they are clearly not trying to appeal to folks outside their 30% (sorry, Michelle, I’m going to revise downward a bit; feel free to scoff). But Jindal is the guy who said they need to not be the party of stupid–the stupid that is driving away folks outside the 30%. So by delving into the stupid, into the rhetoric that appeals, as Brandon says, to the choir, he’s engaging in exactly the behavior that he criticized.

            I’m a bit puzzled that several folks keep missing that point–it’s not so much what Jindal said, since it’s familiar boilerplate, but the fact of who said it; the very guy who recognizes what a problem it is.

            To be fair to Jindal, anyone in his position is playing a difficult two-level game. To help his party prosper in national politics he needs to transform/reform it; but to be in a position in his party to do that he needs to work with it as it is, not as he wishes it to be. To maintain visibility and support within the party he has to throw out some red meat, even if he knows that the party needs to cut back on that diet. As Machiavelli wrote, the end will justify the means.

            And it would be a much simpler task in the old days, when few people outside the crowd paid any attention to what a regional politician with national aspirations said two years before the primaries. But today, no politician’s speech is that relatively private. There are thousands Elias Isquiths out there* just itching for the chance to be the bug in your ass.**
            *Which means Elias isn’t quite one in a million, but, but then, who is?
            **That, of course, is from Jindal’s perspective. Elias may prefer a less grotesque image.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC says:

          That said, since they installed their guy in power, the left has been pretty cavalier about the costs of servicing an ever-increasing national debt.

          This is just a blatant, bald-faced lie.

          Under Obama, the deficit has reduced at the fast rate ever since WWII, dropping like a rock. (And notice I’m not even talking about the sequester.) It’s not balanced yet, but that’s mostly because Republicans refuse to talk about tax rates. And, of course, we’re in a damn recession.

          Now, the debt does continue to grow, and it will continue to grow as long as we spend as much money as we’re spending (Which _both_ parties agree on and the right has no problem with when it’s their guy in power.) and as long as we collect as little in taxes (Which is almost entirely due to Republicans.). Pretending this is the fault of the Democrats is just blatantly lying to everyone.

          Look, we’re not stupid here. We _know_ the deficit grows hugely under Republicans, and tapers off under Democrats. We _knows this_. It is an actual fact.

          That sort of lie might play in public, but no one is falling for it here.Report

  15. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    We can make it easy for you:

    1. The government [should] explode;
    2. [The government should] pay everyone;
    3. [The government should] hire everyone;
    4. money grows on trees;
    5. the earth is flat;
    6. the industrial age, factory-style government is a cool new thing;
    7. debts don’t have to be repaid;
    8. people of faith are ignorant and uneducated;
    9. unborn babies don’t matter;
    10. pornography is fine;
    11. traditional marriage is discriminatory;
    12. 32 oz. sodas are evil;
    13. red meat should be rationed;
    14. rich people are evil unless they are from Hollywood or are liberal Democrats;
    15. the Israelis are unreasonable;
    16. trans-fat must be stopped;
    17. kids trapped in failing schools should be patient;
    18. wild weather is a new thing;
    19. moral standards are passé;
    20. government run health care is high quality;
    21. the IRS should violate our constitutional rights;
    22. reporters should be spied on;
    23. Benghazi was handled well;
    24. the Second Amendment is outdated;
    25. the First [Amendment] has some problems too.

    If “about 80%” accurately characterize a significant part of “the left,” that means your target is 20 out of the 25. I suggest you begin by defining “the left,” and then I’ll look forward to references to leftists who approved of spying on reporters, believe in a flat earth, etc.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      See above. All points addressed.

      (By the way, Burt, rhetorical flourishes are not inter-office memoranda).Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Dunno. I see five, maybe six* (9, 10, 14, 20, 23*, 24) – and most of those require a pretty willful misunderstanding of what liberals seek.Report

      • Avatar Herb says:

        When people remain unconvinced by your argument, Art, the best thing to do is make it again with no changes.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

        By your logic, it is true that conservatives believe that black people are stupid criminals.

        Two can play at your game, but of course no one should play it.

        I ally wish you’d leave. You’re not improving the conversation? How many agree with me that Art is not contributing well?Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          By your logic, it is true that conservatives believe that black people are stupid criminals.

          What logic?

          I ally wish you’d leave. You’re not improving the conversation? How many agree with me that Art is not contributing well?

          Again? You need to get in line behind “Elias Isquith”, “Dave”, “Russell Saunders”, &c. If you want the line that says I’m stupid, that’s behind “Cletus”.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

          “I ally wish you’d leave. You’re not improving the conversation? How many agree with me that Art is not contributing well?”

          We’re not really a “vote off the island” kind of place. If everyone agrees that he’s not contributing, no one has to engage him.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          How many agree with me that Art is not contributing well?

          I love having Art around. He writes well. He’s intelligent. He has views that challenge me. He also makes arguments, ya know?Report

          • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

            Art and Stillwater sitting in a tree…

            Sorry that was snarky. I just see a lot of nonsense that I could hear on the radio anytime, but you guys seem to love him, so whatever.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              Why are you opposed to people expressing their views, Shaz? You are free to criticize, reject, ignore, lampoon, ridicule OR agree, defend, justify them all you want.

              Art hasn’t insulted anyone personally, so far as I know. Nor made comments that are so egregious (yes, I used that word!) as to warrant a smack down. So I don’t get the complaint.

              If he’s just trolling, well…Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                I see places like this more like a classroom or graduate seminar than a street corner. It is fine to be wrong or to be silly and off-topic, but you are expected to bring a certain level of charitable interpretation, intellectual curiosity, and plausible argumentation.

                Art suggested that he agrees with things like liberals believe red meat should be rationed without recognizing how uncharitable and dishonest this is. It is exactly analogous to someone saying “conservatives believe that blacks are stupid criminals.” You take a claim that some minority of liberals believe (like maybe red meat should be taxed to produce a small incentive to eat less of it) and then exagerate grossly and them apply the gross exageration to all (or a majority of) liberals. So a few conservatives like Murray believe there is a link between race, crime, and intelligence. Let’s exagerate that claim and apply it to all (or a majority of) conservatives.

                But if Art hangs around more often, we’ll all spend our time shooting down his nonsense instead of having higher-level discussions.

                Now, you could say that we won’t feed the troll, but the past is prologue, and once there are a couple of regulars who post inflamatory things, the whole blog can go down with it.

                IMO, what would be best is if the people who run the blog ask him to up his game or move on. But I can’t tell anyone what to do.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Shazbaby, all I’m saying is let the man speak. Answer him in the most charitable way. You want him gone, yes? If he outs himself as a troll, then it’s all good. If he doesn’t, then it’s still all good since we get the opportunity to refine our arguments.

                One caveat, tho: if he starts making insulting comments about Chicago liberals or Blackhawks fans, I’ll support you to the best of my abilities.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                Go Bruins.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Is that the best you can do?Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                But if Art hangs around more often, we’ll all spend our time shooting down his nonsense instead of having higher-level discussions.

                This pretty much describes how I feel about a couple of left-wing commenters around here. And a front-page poster or two. But I don’t see anyone calling for their ousters.

                Art’s comments are certainly no less charitable (or accurate) than BlaiseP’s or Mike Schilling’s characterizations of libertarianism. But all three of them do make unique and valuable contributions, and I wouldn’t be happy to see any of them leave.

                And I don’t mean that as an empty platitude. There are a handful of people here whose departure I wouldn’t mind at all.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                I would say we all sometimes cross the line, but Art lives on the wrong side of it.Report

    • Avatar Francis says:

      As a card-carrying liberal, I’ll confess to 4 (currency is printed on paper), 7, 8 (everyone is ignorant of something — but if someone wants to teach alternatives to evolution in high school it’s almost certainly a social conservative), 9 (note that if it’s unborn, it’s not a baby), 10, 11 (if by traditional, you mean excluding homosexuals), 12 (if you substitute evil with a public health issue), 14, 15, and that’s about it. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 13, 19, 21, 22 and 23 aren’t held by any liberal I know.

      As to 2 & 3, most liberals think that the government should do much more about the level of unemployment. 16 like 12 is a public health issue; some people wants bans, others want education and disclosure. 17 is a hard issue with lots of different viewpoints. 18 needs to bring in levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. 20 is grossly overbroad (VA? Medicare? Medicaid? As compared to doing without?) 24 is also complicated and splits urban/rural. As to 25, lots of people have a problem with the degree to which anonymous campaign contributions are permissible.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        As a card-carrying liberal, I’ll confess to 4 (currency is printed on paper)

        Actually, linen and cotton. All you liberals are guilty of is ignorance of botany. 😉Report

    • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

      Here are the 6 hardest:

      Money grows on trees
      The Earth is flat
      Debts don’t have to be repaid
      The government should hire everyone
      Wild weather is a new thing
      Kids trapped in failing schools should be patient

      Here are some beliefs liberals and conservatives agree on:

      Money is printed. (There are controversies about money supply, but it is empirically known that is not grown like a leaf or a fruit.)

      The earth is not flat. (It has been empirically proven that it is not, deapite lingering skepticism amongst a minority that is mostly conservative.)

      Wild weather like tornadoes and hurricanes and snow storms have been around for a long time. (This is well documented in history and science and the Bible.)

      The government should not hire everyone. (There is a debate about how many people the government should hire. But conservatives and liberals and libertarians agree that the answer is more than no one but less than everyone. Perhaps one day when we have robots, the answer will be no one. Or perhaps we could engage in make work projects where everyone would get a small check from the government that could be called “employment,” but these are not the current situation.

      Children trapped in failing schools should look to better their situation and should expert the government to help them. (There is a controversy about whether some current and controversial education reforms, like gutting teacher unions or enacting standardized tests with pay for student test scores,would be sufficient or necessary or even counterproductive to helping those children. Many of the best school systems around the world are unionized without such measures. And such measures where enacted have done little.

      Debts do have to be repaid or our current system of credit and finance would instantly become untenable. All but a few hard-core conservatives believe that the government should not default on its debt (if we are talking government debt specifically) obligations. There is a controversy over whether the government should add more to its debt now when interest rates are nearly negative and use the money to create stimulus and human and physical infrastructure. There is a related debate over the effects of larger debts and continued deficit spending (where debts are always repaid) on long term economic health in the US.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      I love #11.

      No one has ever asserted that any form of marriage is ‘discriminatory’.

      Apparently, in Jindal’s universe, ‘traditional marriage’ is not ‘marriage’, at all, it’s a law barring gay people from getting married.

      You know, all those complaints about the left redefining marriage, and then the right goes and actually _literally_ redefines the word to stop meaning ‘A couple joined together’. And instead the word ‘marriage’ now means ‘A law stopping marriage’. (Of which the traditional form is, presumably, barring gays.)

      ‘So, I heard you got married over the summer.’

      ‘Yup, I passed legislation barring gay people from marriage.’

      ‘Well, I also got married this summer, but it wasn’t a traditional marriage. Instead of barring gays from marriage, we barred molemen!’

      What do people do on their honeymoon…pass laws about driver’s licenses?

      Hey, wait a second…if ‘marriage’ means ‘barring people from marriage’, then wouldn’t all that those laws about marriages (By which I mean ‘marriage’) laws accomplish is…control who can pass laws? I’m so very confused.Report

  16. Avatar zic says:

    Jindal may be uncharitably attributing irrational things to liberals that liberals don’t actually think, feel, plan, want or believe, but at least he’s not vulgarly insulting them. You’ve gotta go to Maine for that this week.Report