The Democrats Have a “Principled” Contingent, Too

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Tim Kowal

Tim Kowal is a husband, father, and attorney in Orange County, California, Vice President of the Orange County Federalist Society, commissioner on the OC Human Relations Commission, and Treasurer of Huntington Beach Tomorrow. The views expressed on this blog are his own. You can follow this blog via RSS, Facebook, or Twitter. Email is welcome at timkowal at gmail.com.

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200 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    As a person who has repeatedly criticized slippery slope arguments, i’m fine with mocking them, they are crappy logic. Tim its 2013, its time to get over your apparent bitterness at O ( The One, voting records, the media, the media, the media, blah blah blah) being elected. FSM above, i heard all about every vote he made in 08, i’m surprised i was solely privy to that info.

    I’m not really sure of your point in all this. Are you trolling us about liberals having principles and world views? Because that isn’t’ really doubted on this side. We know we have all that. Its conservatives that seem to doubt libs have that stuff.

    Well actually “firebagger” became a bit of an epithet during the HC debates for the very principled, angry, loud liberal who were pissed off at O for not getting a more liberal preference health plan. I didn’t think that was only discussed in our secret liberal cabal meetings.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to greginak says:

      Tim its 2013, its time to get over your apparent bitterness at O ( The One, voting records, the media, the media, the media, blah blah blah) being elected. FSM above, i heard all about every vote he made in 08, i’m surprised i was solely privy to that info.

      This. X100000Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        I’m going to concur as well.

        Tim,

        Elections have consequences and Obama won his reelection bid pretty easily. An inability to accept losing in a democratic election is very dangerous for the body politic in any party, left or right.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Thirding it.

        Tim, in terms of abortion, it’s clear by now that the dominant faction on the right is indeed not against abortion, but again birth control and in general eager to control women.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

      In Tim’s defense, he’s not critiquing the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s Presidency and he has never (to my recollection) questioned the man’s right to be President. He’s poking fun at a cult of personality he sees still existing around the man.

      My disconnect with the use of a phrase like this is that this cult of personality, to the extent that it existed, seems to have almost completely eroded. I don’t see anyone in public or on TV having happy little Obamagasms about the very notion that the man is President. I see a lot of people realizing that he’s made a ton of compromises on his agenda and whatever improvements they might identify carry tangible price tags.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Burt Likko says:

        It’s right in the first link:

        “I’ll confess that although the leftier-than-thou types have always been around, I’ve long been skeptical of the idea that Obama has a core group of supporters from 2008 who really do consider him The One, a shining beacon of light who could do no wrong. But I’m the one who was wrong. I don’t know how many there are, but they’re definitely out there.”

        -Kevin DrumReport

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

        What’s funny is they’ve always know that. The Democratic primary wasn’t all hugs and unicorns, and while it ended fairly happily, there was a lot of argument.

        And once he took office, there was more. (Starting with ACA, pre-compromising in negotiations, all sorts of things).

        Honestly, the whole “Cult of Obama” seemed entirely an invention of the press coupled with Democratic belief that anything that ended the Bush years and legacy was to be applauded.

        To believe there was some Cult of Obama really required you to never, ever, EVER listen to anyone on the ‘left’ or ‘the democratic party’ outside of the beltway.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Well yeah, the “cult” eroded about 4 or 5 years ago, so that is old news and mostly a thing the right focuses on. By 09 firebaggers were screaming at O. That anybody sees much of a cult of personality is far more a creation of the rabid right. O has defenders and supporters just like every other prez has had. Lordy knows a few of Bush’s supporters still trot out defenses of him.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Burt Likko says:

        “Cult” sure seems like an unwarranted dysphemism here.

        Clearly Obama has supporters and detractors, both coming in a spectrum from mild to ardent, in the Democratic party, and he always has.

        That is how it is supposed to work in a Democracy,Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Right, I think even those of us who are still fans see that Obama is not perfect and made compromises because of need and/or nature.

        And very few people on the Democratic side ever saw him as a far-leftie or second coming of FDR. The Kenyon Socialist and Saul Alinsky radical only exists in the fever dreams of the right.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

        In all fairness to Tim’s response (at roughly the same time as mine) — I’m sure there ARE some people who think Obama can do no wrong. There are always people who believe in, well, anything you can name.

        The man came through a hefty and hard fought primary, and took office and immediately started getting hit from the left and right of his own party for everything. Which is to say, he was a Democrat. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Yup, the only ‘Cult of Obama’ I heard about was from right-wingers upset there was a charismatic Democrat (as they always were) and maybe from a few 19-year-old first time voters who didn’t know any better.

        I mean, if there’s a cult of Obama, there is sure as hell a Cult of Reagan.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot8 in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Yeah, and a cult of McCain and a cult of Palin and a cult of Bush I and II.

        But to be fair there was never a cult of Romney.

        Except for Mormonism. I kid, I kid.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Burt, come over to some actual liberal blogs to see this ‘cult of personality’.

        It might look like that to Tim, but perhaps he gets his news from Fox.
        Or rather, perhaps Tim gets his ‘news’ from Fox.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Burt Likko says:

        shaz8,
        Romney’s cult is Mormonism. That’s truth not fiction (In that he actually is relatively high up in the power structure).

        Jesse,
        Yup, cult of reagan just like cult of Lee. People pay good money for this propaganda (I can’t wait until both sets of money run out.)Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Shaz,

        stop spawning more of yourself. Seriously, 8? I wonder what happens if we reach double digits?

        @Jesse, Barry et al
        I’ve got an aunt and uncle who pretty much think that everything Obama has done including the drones etc (though I have not asked about the latest stuff) are reasonable and necessary and proper etc. They’re fairly smart people. But I bet that a lot of rank and file democrats are like my aunt and uncle: Obama has done something close to the best possible given limited options and a recalcitrant and quasi treasonous opposition.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I don’t know how many there are, but they’re definitely out there.”
        -Kevin Drum

        Oh, well, if it’s Kevin Drum saying it…

        That’s not quite definitive, now, is it, Tim? And I’m pretty sure in law school they taught you how to look for evidence to impeach a witness? (Unless, that is, the witness is saying what you want to hear from them?)Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Tim,

        That’s infinitely better than relying on some pundit’s claim.

        But before I buy in, what’s the date on that photo? Because I think there was definitely a cultish aspect to what I’m fairly comfortable calling the Obama worship in the early days, but most of the Obama supporters I know have turned to holding their noses and muttering, “at least he wasn’t Romney, at least he wasn’t Romney.” 😉Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Came from this BuzzFeeder’s tweet:

        The Obama flag makes a comeback #MarchOnWashington pic.twitter.com/SCaDGnBqMo

        The party admission concept is that if a partisan makes a claim that hurts his position, it’s more inherently reliable than when it’s made by his opponent. That doesn’t mean it’s true, necessarily. But it is immune from claims that it is the mere stirrings of a crank.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Burt Likko says:

        James, that’s the sort of iconography we’ve seen with political candidates, particularly presidents, for more than a century and a half. It’s almost as though with Obama, people see the hero worship as something… different.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Burt Likko says:

        OK, I don’t have twitter and I’ve never heard of the guy, but I’ll take his or your word that it’s recent.

        Isn’t that much better than just citing some pundit who claims X as evidence that X is real?

        Maybe next time we’ll talk about your selective interpretation of poll data, wherein you only report–repeatedly–the portions you like, and refuse to respond to the portions you don’t like. Because you’re awfully happy to focus on the majority who favor third-term bans, and insist that means there should be third-term bans, but you seem to resolutely avoid focusing on the majority favoring first-term legality and insisting that means there should be first-term legality.

        You can’t really have it both ways. If it’s a moral issue where it doesn’t matter what the majority thinks, then your third-term poll evidence isn’t really part of your argument. If it’s a democratic matter so that the third-term poll evidence really is part of your argument, then the first-term poll evidence really matters, too.

        Too focus on just one part of that polling data or the other, whether it’s a pro-choicer doing it or a pro-lifer, indicates a certain willingness to play fast and loose with the facts. I get that it’s hard to unilaterally disarm if the opponent is doing the same thing, but you all handicap yourself with the claim to be the moral voice, so the moment you compromise that by disingenuous reporting, you’ve self-rebutted your own claim.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Chris,
        Next thing you know his slavish devotees will be clamoring for his face to be on Mt. Rushmore!Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Burt Likko says:

        James, this is a coming-and-going argument. Elsewhere in the comments in this very post there is criticism directed at conservatives alleged to be overly rigid on principle. Now comes this criticism insisting that conservatives who yield on matters of principle are engaging in sophistry. I call foul. In a discussion on morality, I will be happy to make my arguments about abortion on principle. But this post is about the politics of a moral issue that was ham-handedly removed from the political arena by a judiciary who could not settle on any principle on which to decide it. The ref called a touchdown on a clearly dropped pass. This one isn’t getting into the endzone in a single play. Won’t work. This debate has to move in phases. Like the BAIPA. Like the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. These aren’t compromises, per se. They are part of the discussion.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Now comes this criticism insisting that conservatives who yield on matters of principle are engaging in sophistry.

        That’s not even close to what I said, Tim.

        Either the polling data matters or it doesn’t: if it doesn’t, then it’s dishonest to promote some of it as though it does; if it does, then it’s fraudulent to obscure some of it as though it doesn’t. That’s all there is to it; nothing about yielding on principle leading to sophistry.

        There is no honest way to promote the favorable data points while downplaying the bad data points. As a social scientist who teaches my students about research methods, I can tell you straight out that we instill in our students the idea that to do so is a form of academic fraud. I would fail a student in my research methods or senior research class who did that.

        In a discussion on morality, I will be happy to make my arguments about abortion on principle.
        OK, in that discussion, the polling data is irrelevant.

        But this post is about the politics of a moral issue
        OK, so the polling data matters? Then all of it matters, not just the parts that are favorable to your position. (Are there pro-choice people doing the same thing from the other side? Then they’re being dishonest about it, too, and is that the company you want to keep?)

        that was ham-handedly removed from the political arena by a judiciary who could not settle on any principle on which to decide it
        Maybe, but I don’t care about that part of it. My issues are: 1) If you think you weren’t being deceptive with the statistics, you’re wrong; and 2) you can’t successfully claim your side is more moral when you’re engaging in deception.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Burt Likko says:

        No one is doing “social science.” I was making an argument. That argument, so far as it goes, concedes where the poll data does not support it. Moreover, this was not a post about the Gallup poll. I did not even cite the Gallup poll. I was merely responding to it. And the link is available for anyone to peruse all the content. Also, I notice you do not label the comment offering the Gallup poll as “deceptive,” even though it only “promotes” some of the data. Besides, all polling data is not created equal. I disagree that polling questions like “are you pro-life”/”are you pro-choice” yield meaningful results. But again, I didn’t cite it, I didn’t bring it up, and anyone was free to bring it up.

        This is not your classroom. Go sniff around elsewhere if you want to accuse someone of “fraud” and “deception.” It’s not welcome here.Report

  2. Avatar Patrick says:

    Abortion is a bad example for your thesis, although your underlying note about pragmatism and principle is sound. This is not only the GOP’s problem.

    However! The difference between the pragmatism and the principle wrt the two different parties is problematic for the GOP in a way that it isn’t for the Democrats.

    So what do they plan to do with their own left-wing firebrands?

    Nothing. They don’t have to do anything with their firebrands. Their firebrands aren’t a coalition, and because the economic crisis happened right during a turnover, and the country has slowly staggered back onto its feet, drunkenly, they don’t have “the GOP is still screwing the economy” to rally behind. The neoliberals can pat their firebrands on the head and say, “Yes, we know that you’re right, and the regulatory marketplace should be better, but this is the best we can accomplish with the GOP obstructionists, and look, the country has recovered okay, so you can calm down. Take a valium. Go protest the militarization of the police or something.”

    In order for the Democrats to have a firebrand problem, the GOP would have to win the next Presidential election, and the economy would have to re-tank. Maybe another war, this one that we got dragged into despite opposition.

    Will the media furnish us with a “teabagger”-equivalent counter-epithet?

    They don’t have to… because the center, and the center-left, are drawn to essentially popular economic policies. Neoliberalism is all fine and dandy with markets.

    Unlike the Right, which has to deal with the Tea Party as a political force, the Left doesn’t really have to pay much attention to #Occupy. Because #Occupiers are largely young, and they largely don’t vote. And if they do vote, they’re pragmatic enough to vote for the Democrats as the “more lefty” party, regardless of how much they may disdain neoliberalism. Contrast this with the GOP and the Tea Party, and you can see why firebrandism is a bigger problem for the Right than the Left.

    Social liberalism is winning out on the gay marriage debate. Social liberalism feels fairly secure that pro-choice abortion policies loses them none of the center, and wins them some of it… because political moderates generally don’t care about abortion in the way that either sides’ firebrands do… and if they give it any weight at all, it’s defaulting towards non-intervention.

    It helps that whenever there’s someone who asks, “Why don’t the Democrats move more towards the popular American stance on abortion?” the Democrats point directly at the pro-life crowd and say, “See those guys admitting that these are all steps intending to get us closer to banning abortion? All these pro-life groups cheering these state initiatives to limit it, constantly, in every state? They’re admitting that’s their goal! It’s not a slippery slope fallacy if the slope is right there, covered with oil.”

    Supporters of that view… that on the case of abortion, the GOP can’t be trusted to stop changing things when the policies are aligned with American popular polls… they’re everywhere.

    This actually compares to the economic debate just fine. In the last thirty years, the Democrats moved more to the center… and the response of the GOP was not to say, “Yay, you guys agree with us!” But instead, “Gwargh! We must shut down the government rather than raise taxes anywhere above their current extremely low levels!”

    I think the GOP is under an illusion that the public thinks that the Democrats are pushing through more and more regulations, and ridiculously higher taxes. The GOP believes that. The political moderates don’t see either party doing anything about the economy rather than letting it run.

    (Whether or not that’s what’s actually happening isn’t the issue, to be clear)Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Patrick says:

      The GOP firebrands are supported by the biggest voices in talk radio [1] plus an entire TV network. Amanda Marcotte has a readership of five PhD candidates in Feminist Studies and a small dachshund named Colin.

      1. Whether measured by ratings, volume, or pounds avoirdupois.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Her position isn’t even that outrageous — she just skipped a lot of common middle bits.

        You know, “if it was just about abortion, how come the most pro-life places are against the Pill, condom distribution, and family planning? Why is it always abstinence only sex ed and ‘The Pill Is An Abortificiant’ BS?. Why do those things seem to go hand in hand?”

        And hey, with anything, if you claim you’re all for X and you do things that are Anti-X, asking “Is X really their primary goal” is not exactly a massive stretch.

        It’s funny — Slate (where Marcotte blogs) is ALSO home to William Saletan, whose musings on abortion are legendary for looking at both sides, and then petulantly wondering why no one stands for “Better access to contraception and family planning as a means to massively reduce the need for abortion”. (Apparently he’s never HEARD of Planned Parenthood or, in fact, the Democratic party).

        It’s hilariously sad.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Well Marcotte (and the rest of the Double XX blog) does get a lot of hate-comments.

        All that energy really surprises me. Don’t people have better things to do than troll Slate?Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        *shrug*. While Marcotte’s particular views don’t really represent mine she’s certainly right about a few things.

        One of which is something about internet anonymity brings out the inner misogynistic a-hole in a lot of men. I cringe for my gender, because there’s a LOT of men with a LOT of vile crap in their minds and it boils over into a hate-filled cesspool the instant any woman dares criticize a man.

        Frankly, reading the crap directed at her and other feminists (however mild) on the internet? That’s what keeps me reading them, because if I had crap like that spewed at me day in and day out, well…I’d probably lean more towards the extreme ends of feminism.

        Because those guys are out to prove it’s all really true. I’ve gotten to meet people who genuinely believe marital rape is impossible, that all women are ‘naturally submissive’, that rape can’t cause pregnancies…and far worse, some much more insidious and subtle….Report

    • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Patrick says:

      Even the “establishment” presumptive GOP contender, Christie, goes after public employee unions and deficits. It’s the post-New Deal, effete permanent minority “moderate” economics of the GOP, which rewarded Americans with additions to Big Spending and Low Taxes, that’s fast becoming the fringe. Even Paul Krugman agrees we have serious fiscal issues to contend with. He just thinks things won’t actually fall apart for another 25-30 years, and it’s too hard to get people to sacrifice when the pain is a few years away. After $16T in the red, we’re not so far off from one another. Our differences are mostly psychological, i.e., how to best wake people up from the most WWII dream.

      The Left is going to have words with the Party over drone strikes, NSA, aggressive tactics against the press, etc.

      The quip re the media was rhetorical. Of course they will not.

      If Obamacare is a neoliberal policy, the record and the Administration’s unprecedented amending-the-law-on-the-fly can speak for themselves how well it’s interacting with markets.

      No one is having a “pro-life”/”pro-choice” debate in the abstract. The issues are about speech, freedom of conscience, protecting fetuses with the capacity to feel pain, etc. On these issues, the life movement has the momentum.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        WOOT…love the “effete” comment, now that is real red blooded good ol conservative name calling.

        16T in debt, oh please. Do you really buy that? Do you really think Kthug and you agree that much? He certainly has a very different pic of the economic problems we have then the everything is just about to fall apart line from the GOP. Our deficit has been going down sharply if no one has noticed.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Not really. Things haven’t really changed on those issues except Republican’s have won majorities in state to pass things they’ve always been for.

        But, in all reality, the basic American position on abortion remains the same as it has ever been. Basically, it’s, “it’s OK to have an abortion if you can sell me on why you deserve one.” No complicated thoughts, it just comes down for most people to whether you’re a bad person for having that specific abortion or not. Thus, the concern trolling about the .1% of women who have umpteen abortions and pretending that justifies restrictions.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        On these issues, the life movement has the momentum.

        There are lots of ways that the country could be more pro-life. How many ways are there for us to be pro-choice? This isn’t something where we can say “we should be more like (insert European Country here)”.

        Without getting into mandatory abortion policy, there’s direction in which to go *BUT* pro-life.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        We could be “far more pro-choice” if there was access to choice for many women around the country. The BIg A may be legal but, as i’m sure you noticed, clinics are being shut down and many women, okay mostly just poor and working class women, have little or no access to it. We could be more pro-choice if their was more access to the full range of care for “women’s down there parts” then there is now.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Well, there is public financing of abortions plus having easy access to abortions available at public hospitals instead of having seperate clinics.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Shorter Tim:

        Conservatism can’t fail, it can only be failed.

        The 2012 election proves that most of the country rejected the far-right anarchy of Republican economics.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        It’s the post-New Deal, effete permanent minority “moderate” economics of the GOP, which rewarded Americans with additions to Big Spending and Low Taxes, that’s fast becoming the fringe.

        Maybe… but you realize that rewarding Americans with additions to Big Spending and Low Taxes is also the politically attractive part of the GOP, right?

        Even Paul Krugman agrees we have serious fiscal issues to contend with. He just thinks things won’t actually fall apart for another 25-30 years, and it’s too hard to get people to sacrifice when the pain is a few years away.

        I disagree with Krugman with a lot of things, but that last clause is kind important.

        The Left is going to have words with the Party over drone strikes, NSA, aggressive tactics against the press, etc.

        Nope. Would that they would. Remember how Obama ran? Everybody believed him, too. Would you care to hazard a guess how the next Democrat candidate will run? Everybody will believe him, too… unless him is a her and the her is Hilary. Even then, “well, she might not dismantle the national security state, but she’s not going to defund Obamacare, either”.

        On these issues, the life movement has the momentum.

        I know this issue is important to you, Tim, and I don’t doubt that your feelings are both genuine and compelled out of compassion.

        I think that you’re entirely and utterly wrong in your estimation of this as a political issue.

        The life movement has had successes in recent years, in predominantly Republican strongholds, sure. With the drawback that it’s told every moderate everywhere (that isn’t one of those Republican strongholds) that the far Left is actually correct, that no compromise with the pro-Life crowd is possible, that the slope is in fact slippery, that the moderate position is not acceptable to the pro-Life crowd any more than abortion on demand for no reason whatsoever. In short, they’ve got no reason to give the GOP the discretion to set the agenda, because they disagree with the agenda preferred by the GOP. That makes the status quo the actual conservative option.

        This is an albatross for the GOP. Gay marriage is another. They are only going to become increasingly more so.

        At least, that’s how I see them. YMMV.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Patrick, maybe this isn’t what he meant at all, but when I first read Tim’s comment, I thought he was referring to polls on abortion which have, over the last five years and definitely over the last 25 years, swung pretty significantly in the pro-life direction. As many Americans presently refer to themselves as pro-life as pro-choice. Five years or so ago, “pro-choice” had a steady advantage and twenty-five years ago it was a blow-out.

        Looking at the polls on abortion, the message is at best mixed and not showing the momentum against the Republican position the same way that the gay marriage issue is showing momentum. A lot of things the Republicans support and Democrats oppose have very broad support among the public. The opposite is true, too, of course.

        But from a tactical standpoint, it’s not clear at all that the Republicans are lost on the abortion issue. The same for gay marriage, though in that case the trends are pretty clear. It’s possible that there is an intensity deficit, that potential class issues trump popular opinion, or that mismanagement of the abortion issue causes them to lose their advantage. But that’s pretty far from clear.

        (Note: None of this comment is meant to weigh the actual merits of the pro-life or pro-choice position. Only the tactical politics of the matter.)Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Patrick, when we talk about internal divisions, no one is suggesting that a faction of Republicans is actually going to register Democrat for the next election, or vice versa. As these things always go, the internal pressures will come to bear in the party’s platform, and those who are unsatisfied will either stay home or vote third party. A negligible number will vote for the opposite major party.

        Of course the Left is going to bring whatever pressure it has to bear on the platform and in shaping the next candidate, must like the tea party brought its influence to bear in shaping candidate Romney. Many were unsatisfied, but a negligible number, if any, of dejected tea partiers voted Obama.

        And if they don’t, then the GOP is superior already merely by virtue of the fact that it is having that conversation, both among its leadership and among its constituents by way of newspapers, blogs, talk radio, and social media. These issues are in the process of shaping the views and rhetoric and, if elected, the eventual policies of the next GOP nominee. If that’s not the case with the Democratic party, then it’s got more problems than I thought!

        A final point on the abortion issue: The Left has used the dirtiest of tactics in this arena. Not only was it removed from public debate by a Court decision that a broad left-right consensus agrees to be an epic fail, the Court proceeded to make a mess of stare decisis in overruling-but-not-overruling it in Casey, desiccated yet somehow kept alive like some juridical zombie, animated by the nonlegal and laughably silly “sweet mystery” doctrine. On top of all that, to further remove the issue from the people, the Court erected doctrines to prevent speech specifically on abortion. Yet despite all this, the needle still pulls decisively in favor of pro-life measures.

        If anyone doubts this country would be vastly more pro-life if not for the egregious Roe decision, one should ask why this has become THE issue at judicial confirmation hearings, why an opinion universally agreed to be in the pantheon of awful SCOTUS decisions must be preserved at all costs.

        It’s an enormously powerful issue. People may not like the methods used to carry on that debate. But a large part of that is because the issue has been so warped by the Court. Case in point, that you would suggest that the “status quo” is legitimate, something a conservative would preserve as if we had arrived at this place by regular order!Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Will, here’s a poll that shows public opinion on abortion availability has remained pretty constant for 40 years of so.

        http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx

        And I want to note that even tho the language of the specific questions is very broad and general, it suffices for political purposes. So there’s no real political movement over the last 40 years or so.

        I’d also add that I tend to think, ideally!, that third term abortions ought to be prohibited, I’m somewhat squeamish about second term, and first term abortions should be allowed. Does that make me “pro life” since I believe that abortion should only be allowed under certain circumstances? What the hell does that term even mean?Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        That poll says 64% want abortions outlawed in the second trimester, and 80% want it outlawed in the third. That’s a huge majority that disagrees with the “status quo.” This particular house divided won’t necessarily fall, but it sure ain’t ho-hum.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Oh boy, I hate to throw actual numbers and polls into this, but first, where I’m getting all this from since cutting ‘n’ pasting poll tables is hard work- http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm

        Basically, the pro-life/pro-choice number zig zags a lot based on the poll. For example, with one poll, a poll in 1997 had pro-choice with a ten point advantage, but a year later pro-choice had a narrow three-point advantage, then the next year, pro-life had actually had a two point advantage. I highly doubt peoples opinions on abortion changed that much in a 24-month span.

        The real question, that has been stable for decades is the should abortion be legal in all cases, most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases. For literally years, the number has bounced between 19-25% for legal in all cases, 30-35% for legal in most cases, 25-30% for illegal in most cases, and between 14-20% for illegal in all cases. No huge swings, just stable within those ranges since I was in sixth grade and probably even before hand.

        There’s consistent supermajority support for abortion in the first trimester, with a big swing against for the last six months. Thankfully, a very small number of abortions actually take place in the second and third trimesters that most people would believe to be illegal (voluntary by choice instead of for medical reasons), so that doesn’t bother me too much despite my pro-choice absolution.

        The reason why it’s such a big deal in judicial confirmations is simple. As liberals, we don’t think access to abortion should be determined by what random state line you happen to be living in. So yeah, I admit I’m sure abortion laws in Alabama or North Dakota would be a lot more stricter without Roe. They’d also probably have no social safety net and no regulations either without federal laws. Thus, the need for a federal government to protect people in those states from their own governments and to protect the reproductive rights of women in those states as well from ‘small government’ Republican’s.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        “That poll says 64% want abortions outlawed in the second trimester, and 80% want it outlawed in the third. That’s a huge majority that disagrees with the “status quo.” This particular house divided won’t necessarily fall, but it sure ain’t ho-hum”

        The actual question says generally legal or generally illegal, not a total ban. When people answer this question, I believe they’re generally thinking of the women who has already had four abortions or is having an abortion because it’s a girl instead of a boy, not what the vast majority of abortions are in the second or third trimester, related to the health of the mother or problems with the pregnancy.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        When people answer this question, I believe they’re generally thinking of the women who has already had four abortions or is having an abortion because it’s a girl instead of a boy

        Quoted without comment.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Also, as far as “pro-life” momentum, in that Gallup link, only 20-30% are dissatisfied with current abortion law and want it to be made strictier. 40-45% are fine with current law, 10% have no opinion, and the other 30% are dissatisfied, but either want no change or abortion law to be looser. The truth is, the vast majority of American’s are all right with abortion law. It’s not a big deal to them, until Republican’s try to limit it further or pass laws that mandate a doctor put objects into their sister’s or daughter’s.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        “Quoted without comment”

        Do you…

        A.) …think there are large numbers of women waiting until month 6 to have an abortion because they’ve already had four or find out it’s a boy.

        …or…

        B.) …think 60% of American’s would tell a couple who find out their baby will be born dead, or live for moments before dying and possibly cause great harm to the mother, “tough toenails. Go through with it.” Because I hate to break up your fantasy, but that’s the reason for a whole lot of late term abortions, not because of some abortionists bloodlust.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        This point bears repeating and should not be ignored:

        64% want abortions generally outlawed in the second trimester, and 80% want it generally outlawed in the third. That’s a huge majority that disagrees with the “status quo.” This particular house divided won’t necessarily fall, but it sure ain’t ho-hum.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Still, I’d argue that in terms of the politics of the issue, self-identification does matter. That it’s much more popular to call yourself pro-life now than in the early nineties is significant. YMMV. You’re right that on the specifics of the issue, views haven’t changed much. As Tim points out, though, they’ve been remaining steady in much more of a middle ground than people think. It’s hard to look at the data you provide and see abortion as an albatross for the Republican Party.

        (Which, I should say, completely contradicts what I see around me. The polling on the entire issue does. Morning after is 50/50? Really?! Apparently so. This is one of those areas, though, where I don’t think we should believe our lyin’ eyes. Because we see mostly within limited social and economic contexts. My social and economic context is very not-anti-abortion.)Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        …and if Republican’s ran (and were believed) on a platform of no limits on abortion in the first trimester, but severe limits in the second and third, they might actually win some votes from fiscally conservative and socially moderate voters in the suburbs.

        But nope, you continue to try to pass hard limits, throw in regulations made to limit abortion access on the supply side, and cry loudly you’d completely ban it if you could. Then wonder why you keep losing when the ‘numbers’ on abortion tell you something different.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Jesse, I want to save lives where I can. If 64% of Americans support a general ban on abortions after three months, then what principle is there on offer that tells them they must sit idly by without so much as getting an answer to their claim that lives are being unjustifiably killed without any protection of the law? Sweet mysteries won’t cut it — they explore those mysteries just like anyone in a black robe and come out the other way. Is it fiat, then? Just the price of living in an ordered society, waiting for the State to indicate “thumbs up” or “thumbs down,” on its own prerogative, unanswerable to anyone?

        I am the 64%. Why am I wrong?Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        ‘Cause that’s how the system work. If 64% of the people truly want an abortion ban after three months, they’ll vote for people who will pass laws and install judges who will agree with those laws. If in all reality, only 20-30% care enough to vote on that issue, then we’ll be stuck with the status quo.

        For an example from the other side, I hate the Citizen’s United decision. I think it’s wrong and based on a flimsy amount of evidence. The vast majority of American’s are on my side on the issue as well. But, I’m not acting like the Citizen’s United decision is illegitimate. What I have to do is vote for and support candidates who will support nominees who will overturn that decision. ‘Cause that’s how the system works, even when you’ve got the numbers on your side.

        Don’t sit there. Make the other side move.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        That’s not how the system works. SCOTUS decisions are not merely the democratic votes of nine lawyers. If they were they would not waste time or money writing opinions or employing law clerks. Nor would a broad left-right consensus bother opining on what a bad bit of judicial reasoning Roe v. Wade is — they would merely recall that a majority voted in favor and satisfy themselves that, therefore, the decision is as valid as any other ever handed down by the Court.

        No, when a decision is shown by all reason to be so flawed as not to merit the assent of a thinking people, it should be abandoned. And yet that is not done. To the contrary, the Court retrenches, despite public opinion and despite its reasoning revealed as flawed.

        * But whether it would “subvert the Court’s legitimacy” or not, the notion that we would decide a case differently from the way we otherwise would have in order to show that we can stand firm against public disapproval is frightening. It is a bad enough idea, even in the head of someone like me, who believes that the text of the Constitution, and our traditions, say what they say and there is no fiddling with them. But when it is in the mind of a Court that believes the Constitution has an evolving meaning; that the Ninth Amendment’s reference to “othe[r]” rights is not a disclaimer, but a charter for action; and that the function of this Court is to “speak before all others for [the people’s] constitutional ideals” unrestrained by meaningful text or tradition—then the notion that the Court must adhere to a decision for as long as the decision faces “great opposition” and the Court is “under fire” acquires a character of almost czarist arrogance. We are offended by these marchers who descend upon us, every year on the anniversary of Roe, to protest our saying that the Constitution requires what our society has never thought the Constitution requires. These people who refuse to be “tested by following” must be taught a lesson. We have no Cossacks, but at least we can stubbornly refuse to abandon an erroneous opinion that we might otherwise change—to show how little they intimidate us.

        Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992) (Scalia, J., concurring in part, dissenting in part).

        It was never the design of the judicial confirmation hearings to steer public policy. Never. And if it is to be that, it needs badly to be redesigned.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Please, they hire clerks and write opinions because they’re government employees – it’s in their nature to waste time and create a massive paper trail to cover their ass. 😉

        More seriously though, I’m not going to get into arguments about whether Roe was a good or bad decision. You firmly believe it is, just like I firmly believe the recent Voting Right’s Act decision was made up out of whole cloth for the most part. But to respond to your last line…

        “It was never the design of the judicial confirmation hearings to steer public policy. Never. And if it is to be that, it needs badly to be redesigned.”

        …if you believe that, you’re as naive as a preacher’s daughter at her first frat party. The Supreme Court has been a political animal from day one – maybe, day two if we’re being kind about it. There have been times when the Court has been less political than current days, either because the issues the Court covered weren’t as partisan or these new issues weren’t even questions when the confirmations happened. But, there have been times when appointments were just as political as today, unless you don’t think the feelings of current Justices about slavery weren’t widely known back in the 1850’s, to use one example.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot8 in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        “I want to save lives where I can”

        The lives of people, right? Not just any old life form, but a person.

        Of course, fetuses aren’t persons. At best they are potential persons. But the moral status of “potential persons” is extremely unclear.

        If you’re talking about children born early in, say, the 27th week of pregnancy, those are persons and you are just strawmanning if you think we all don’t favor laws protecting their life.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Tim,
        Obama is fixing the deficit. Obamacare, remember?

        “Krugman just thinks things won’t actually fall apart for another 25-30 years, and it’s too hard to get people to sacrifice when the pain is a few years away.”

        I heard ten years — we are IMPROVING under Obama. Obamacare, remember?

        But, hell, try calling Democrats MORE names, when they’re doing your work that your party refuses to even try to do.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Tim,
        ” no one is suggesting that a faction of Republicans is actually going to register Democrat for the next election”

        No, see, that was 2008. I keep track of rolls in my state. You ain’t got the moderates back, and it’s affecting your primaries.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Part of the problem with abortion regulation is that Roe v. Wade _has_ backed the right into a corner, and so they’ve ended up doing things that very few people support.

        For example, constantly passing trap laws to shut down _all_ abortion providers. There are plenty of people out there that would like abortion stopped in the second trimester but see a problem with that.

        Secondly, they keep falling for their own confusion. Republicans have managed to make abortion such a dirty word that there are a lot of people out there asserting they are pro-life…who aren’t. A _majority_ of pro-life people do not actually wish to punish women and/or doctors for abortions, and hence do not actually seem to understand how ‘outlawing’ things works.

        Yes, I know saying a _majority_ of ‘pro-life’ people think that seems extreme, but I am being entirely serious. A majority of pro-life people do not seem to want to outlaw abortion. Or they want to magically outlaw it with, somehow, no one getting punished for it and it being allowed if the woman really really wants it and isn’t one of those ‘bad women’. (And they often want laws making it ‘harder’ to get an abortion…that are actually less than the laws that already exist.)

        The right is _extremely_ good at attacking labels. ‘Liberal’, ‘Obamacare’, ‘abortion’, it is very talented at making boogie-man of such things.

        This does not appear to actually change the _laws_ that people want.

        There’s a movement on the left to call ‘pro-life’ people ‘forced-birthers’. This is a deliberately offensive sounding name, but you’d be amazed at the pushback it gets, not because it is deliberately incendiary, but because a ‘pro-life’ person asserts it is inaccurate, because that ‘pro-life’ person does not want to require women to carry babies to term.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        @will-truman

        As many Americans presently refer to themselves as pro-life as pro-choice. Five years or so ago, “pro-choice” had a steady advantage and twenty-five years ago it was a blow-out.

        Disclaimer: I don’t read *all* of the public opinion polls on any particular issue.

        That said, the times I check the raw wording on any abortion poll, when the poll is actually available (which is rare, unless it’s Gallup or an organization of that sort and it’s nearly unheard of when the poll is actually run by an advocacy group on either side)… I find that I can pretty accurately predict the wording of the poll based upon the poll’s outcome as trumpeted by whoever is currently trumpeting the poll.

        I agree with @tim-kowal ‘s assessment and @jesse-ewiak ‘s assessment in amalgam, or to sum up most of the interesting data bits…

        Most Americans would prefer something other than abortion-on-demand

        Most Americans would prefer fairly strong controls on abortion in the third trimester

        Most Americans would prefer women and doctors to be the final arbiter of “medically necessary”

        Most Americans generally lean towards a UK model of abortion provision

        Most Americans do not believe that “life begins at conception” in the way the phrase is commonly understood among the pro-life crowd.

        Most Americans do not believe in unrestricted access to abortion in the way the phrase “a woman has the right to choose” is commonly understood among the pro-choice crowd.

        Both sides construct polls with pretty adept polling methodologies designed to produce results that they can claim, in aggregate, support claiming that either the “most Americans are pro-choice” or “most Americans are pro-life” label, when in fact most Americans are neither pro-choice nor pro-life as those terms are commonly understood by the people who actively assume that label.

        From a social science standpoint, this is utterly reprehensible, and unethical bordering upon outright falsehood, but apparently, morally ambiguous tactics can be employed in the service of a greater good.

        Now, Tim’s claim is that there is room for the GOP to make this a winning position, because the status quo is not what most Americans prefer. I think this is a fundamental error, however, because “change from the status quo” is not what most people actually want. What they want is “the status quo to more accurately represent their position”, and the GOP can’t claim the trust relationship on that score.

        Because they have shown, in recent history, time and again, and they have labeled themselves, at CPAC and on the campaign trail when party leaders are out on the stump, that they do not want what most Americans want, and thus they have fundamentally put themselves in a position where “those who are not already decided on this issue as a single-issue voter” will not choose them as “someone who can carry water for me”.

        People who aren’t interested in partisan politics (independents) and soft members of either party (center-left and center-right folk) are the ones that matter in elections… the independents, because they make up accessible voters who aren’t dedicated to the other side, and the center-X folk because getting them off their ass and into the booth is probably the biggest driver of whether or not you win a (non-completely gerrymandered) election.

        You cannot appeal to these people by telling them you’re going to just change the way things are, unless you have a cult of personality figure like Obama, and those are generationally rare. People are generally a bit too cynical to fall for the Hope and Change bit. There certainly doesn’t appear to be one on the GOP side coming up anytime soon.

        Barring that, you need to sell people on your direction. It’s not enough to say, “These things suck, and we’re going to make them awesome!” You have to say, “You – the voter I’m talking too right now – you don’t like this thing about this thing that sucks, and I’m going to do this to reduce that suckage.”… and they have to believe you.

        Right now, the general mass of independents and center-fuzzy people fundamentally do not trust the GOP to not push for the GOP hard-right agenda. In my opinion, this is ultimately why Mitt Romney lost, in spite of a relatively weak economy and his demonstrated track record of actually being a center-fuzzy kinda guy.

        #standwithWendy, continuous threatened government shutdowns, 100+ votes to repeal Obamacare, “our goal is to make Obama a 1-term President”… every single thing the GOP has done in recent memory has branded them.

        It’s branded them solidly. It’s pretty clear what they claim to stand for. And most of the squishy middle of America rejects it. Most of the squishy middle doesn’t like the Democrats very much, either. But Bloomberg’s soda bans don’t bother them half as much as the Texas GOP fudging the clock or the union debacle in Wisconsin.

        On the one side, you have, “Geeze, these guys really need to back off this silly stuff when they have the reins of power” (the Dems) and on the other side you have “Geeze, these guys really will do freakin’ anything to bend, break, or ignore the rules to get what they want done.”

        Whether that’s a fair assessment of the two parties, that’s not the point.

        The point is, people don’t want what the GOP is selling as the package… their core principles, and the GOP is not giving any ground, anywhere, to make anybody who isn’t already in the tank for the GOP think that there is any wriggle room.

        I might be all on board for huge changes in the tax law, why am I going to trust the GOP to more accurately reflect what I want than the Dems? They won’t compromise on 2% on one tax bracket. I might want a balanced budget, but why am I going to trust the GOP to decide where to cut? They have consistently shown that the military is completely off the table, and they’ve consistently shown that taxes cannot even be regarded. Hell, we can’t close loopholes unless they’re accompanied by a revenue-neutral tax cut.

        Think about it this way. Americans are football fans, and their team is the current political leadership. The GOP likes the ground game and a strong run defense, and the Democrats like a fluid passing attack and nimble safeties and corners who get interceptions. With the Democratic coach at the helm, they get something resembling a balanced team, that loses more than it should, because it focuses a little bit too much on highlight plays and not enough on actually having a winning team.

        On the flip side, we have the other guy asking to be put in charge, and they are promising to immediately trade the quarterback and all the wideouts and all the pass-blocking offensive linemen, and they pay extra money for a kicker. Moreover, they’ve made it pretty clear in the last eight years that goddamn it it’s their way or the highway and that’s the team we’re going to get if we switch coaches.

        That’s a hell of a sales job, Tim.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Patrick, in the case of pro-life versus pro-choice, the question is pretty simple: What do you consider yourself to be.

        Which I consider to be instructive. Because if you consider yourself pro-choice, when a pro-life politician talks about the sanctity of life, you’re likely to hear “they’re going to restrict my freedom!” But when you’re pro-life, you’re likely to nod in agreement. Even if you hold the exact same actual views as the pro-choice person. If you support abortion rights for the first trimester, but oppose it for the second and third, if you identify as pro-choice or pro-life probably influences which of those you consider to be more important.

        The Texas Clock was bad, no argument there. But that has to do with how to make the argument, rather than making the argument to begin with. If you want to argue that the Republicans are handling the issue poorly, I am 100% in agreement. I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing movement back to the 1990’s numbers on self-identification. But I think that’s different than whether their position on abortion is actually at the root of their problem. That seems far, far less clear to me.

        Especially with Roe in place. I tend to think that RvW actually provides cover, to an extent. Someone who thinks abortion should be legal in the first trimester and generally illegal in the second and third can more safely identify as pro-life without fear of the first trimester being effected. And they can feel less threatened by slippery slopes.

        (I’d argue that this, on the whole, has a detrimental effect on the abortion debate. But that’s speculative and outside the scope of the political dynamics of the situation.)

        I understand where you’re coming from. It looks to me like abortion is killing the party. Especially when I look around me at people I know. The people I know that are really, really offput by what happened in Texas. But the people I know are not a representative example. It’s really easy to convince yourself that you and the people you know are who the party needs to be concerned about.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        The people I know that are really, really offput by what happened in Texas. But the people I know are not a representative example. It’s really easy to convince yourself that you and the people you know are who the party needs to be concerned about.

        Well, sure. And to some extent, that makes me overvalue my own leanings, in particular, as I don’t identify as either a Democrat or a Republican and thinking Independents are important is troublesome when you are one, especially when (as previously noted) getting the weak partisans to the polls is probably more important to electoral success than making me think any one damn thing or another about your party.

        But there’s “people I know” vs. “how I expect the aggregate groups to act”. I don’t expect the aggregate groups to act like the people I know, unless the people I know are particularly awesome exemplars of the aggregate group I’m thinking of.

        Also, this really applies only in terms of the national agenda… regional elections can be dominated far more by regional inclinations. Just because I think nationally the GOP is on a losing front, that doesn’t mean that they won’t have regional success or even national influence based upon their regional success.

        But if if the question is, “What does the GOP need to do to achieve national success”, in the sense of, “What does the GOP need to do to get the Executive and enough people in both houses of Congress to get the GOP agenda enabled at the national level”… well, my answer to that is “you got to change what you want”, because the way I see it, they have no trust among the people that they need to get on their side to jump over the barrier they have put in front of themselves on the national stage.

        I know a lot of independents and center-squish folk from a lot of different states, where those states have varying regional politics. They come from a variety of backgrounds, they’re not all Catholic-educated Californians with a broad streak of Rush fandom.

        They’re all pretty ambivalent about the Democrats. They’re disgusted by the GOP, and not just because of the Texas clock or any one of a number of other 1-off incidents.

        They’re disgusted by the GOP because there is no sense, whatsoever, that the GOP is going to compromise on any of its principles to get anything done. There is no sense, whatsoever, that the GOP is going to give up tilting at windmills if those windmills are important enough to the Religious Right. Even the center-right folk, who are particularly offput by Bloomberg… they’re *more* off-put by Santorum. Bloomberg is regarded as a bumbling sort of generally harmless idiot. Santorum is regarded as potentially dangerous.

        To the extent that a chunk of those independents are Guns Rights people, this works to the GOP’s advantage, because those Guns Rights people are ambivalent about the Democrats on everything else but guns, but they’re completely freaked about the Gun Thing. On the Gun Thing, the Democrats come across as catering to the No More Guns At All, Ever crowd. That’s not enough, though.

        The GOP has to find a way to market themselves towards what Americans want, as opposed to being for something that isn’t what is, but still isn’t what Americans want. They have to find a way to adapt their principles to be inclusive of those Americans that aren’t 100% in agreement with all of the rest of their principles. They have to make Americans think that they’re something other than the Party of No. They have to make Americans who really don’t give that much of a shit about Obamacare one way or the other, or who don’t like it but need the insurance that they’re getting from it, that the GOP – if given the White House again – will do more than stage another 100 votes to repeal it.

        If you don’t like Obamacare, but you have had cancer, you’re not giving up Obamacare for nothing, because you think you need that insurance. In order to get that person to change, you have to be able to say, “Here’s what I’m going to do that is going to solve your problem.”Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Patrick, those generalizations about how Democrats govern versus how Republicans govern are too sweeping for me to really agree or disagree with. I don’t think Democratic governance with respect to Obamacare will leave voters with a very favorable impression. Americans are in fact tired of Big Government, and the “making government smarter” band-aid hasn’t panned out. But any real discussion must not leave out the role of the media and the Court. Communicating tax policy, for example, will always be stacked against the GOP because the media reports facts favorable to liberals at much greater rates than it reports facts favorable to conservatives. See Tim Groseclose on the Bush tax cuts: equally true that it disproportionately benefited the rich while at the same time making the tax code more progressive, but the first fact was vastly overrepresented. No wonder conservatives feel the need to “turn up the volume” in terms of making bold claims. Nuance is lost — that’s not the fault of Fox, it’s the fault of the rest of the mainstream media.

        I’m working on a long piece that addresses these issues. But here’s a recent post that touches on balancing principles with “moderation”: http://lonelyconservative.com/2013/08/in-16t-debt-america-what-does-solving-problems-even-look-like/Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Patrick, those generalizations about how Democrats govern versus how Republicans govern are too sweeping for me to really agree or disagree with.

        They’re supposed to be sweeping generalizations. To be clear, I don’t necessarily *agree* with those sweeping generalizations, I’m just reporting what I hear and what my sense is of how the average “not in the bag” person thinks of the two parties.

        For years prior to 2004, the average “not in the bag” person thought the GOP was strong defense and the Dems were pretty weak. Now it seems more like the average “not in the bag” person thinks the Democrats are in the tank for the military-industrial complex and the GOP is even worse.

        I don’t think Democratic governance with respect to Obamacare will leave voters with a very favorable impression.

        Oh, that’s probably for certain. When you take a giant broken system and you try to replace it with anything – even if what you’re replacing it *with* is differently broken and arguably better, the problem is you own the broken stuff, now.

        Americans are in fact tired of Big Government, and the “making government smarter” band-aid hasn’t panned out.

        I don’t think this is true, Tim. I think Americans are tired of Ineffectual Government, but I don’t think they really give a crud how big it is, as long as it does what they want. Optimally, they’d like it to do what they want and nothing else, but they’re willing to give up having it do other things as long as it at least does what they want (this is how we get Big Government in the first place). Whether or not this is realistic or smart doesn’t matter.

        But any real discussion must not leave out the role of the media and the Court.

        Sure.

        Communicating tax policy, for example, will always be stacked against the GOP because the media reports facts favorable to liberals at much greater rates than it reports facts favorable to conservatives. See Tim Groseclose on the Bush tax cuts: equally true that it disproportionately benefited the rich while at the same time making the tax code more progressive, but the first fact was vastly overrepresented.

        I don’t think this is a bias against the GOP as much it is a media bias for bad news, Tim. The media reports bad news wildly disproportionately to good news, because the bad news sells. So “here’s why the tax cuts suck for you“, for you=middle class is going to get more reporting than “here’s why they might be better anyway”. To the extent that you’re on a the wrong end (the positive end) of a publicly popular program, your opponent is going to get more press.

        No wonder conservatives feel the need to “turn up the volume” in terms of making bold claims. Nuance is lost — that’s not the fault of Fox, it’s the fault of the rest of the mainstream media.

        I think that’s the fault of everybody. It’s the fault of the viewers, for being uncritical consumers of news. It’s the fault of FOX, for making the partisan media game financially attractive. It’s the fault of talk radio, for emphasizing opinion bits over hard data. It’s the fault of a whole generation of family-owned media companies, for selling out to corps who go after profit over substance in every facet of their operations, even the things (like news) that should be loss-leaders.

        I’m working on a long piece that addresses these issues. But here’s a recent post that touches on balancing principles with “moderation”: http://lonelyconservative.com/2013/08/in-16t-debt-america-what-does-solving-problems-even-look-like/

        I’ll check it out.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        From your linked piece:

        At the same time, we have to win. And to do that, we do have to solve problems and get results. Moderation doesn’t cut it anymore. After a decade of GOP House control, majority leader Tom DeLay stated in 2005 that “nobody has been able to come up with any” further spending cuts, proof that “we’ve pared [spending] down pretty good.” As William Voegeli notes, however, federal outlays, adjusted for inflation and population growth, were 20% larger in 2005 than in 1995. Of that increase, defense spending added after 9/11 accounted for a bit less than a third. Little wonder that a demoralized Republican base stayed home in droves for the 2006 and 2008 elections.”

        I get something different out of the DeLay anecdote than perhaps you do.

        It’s not about the underlying principles of either party being barriers to effective compromise. It’s about structural problems with the way Congress does business such that they’ve rigged their ongoing Prisoner’s Dilemma to always produce the most pessimum result.

        The way appropriations bills are crafted, structurally, embeds bloating as an inherent part of the outcome. It’s impossible to come out the other end without bloating. At each and every step along the way, even well-meaning and well-intentioned Congresscritters add bloat. The truly venal and self-serving ones heap extra-huge loads on top of that.

        (Shoot, there’s bloat added in the name of efficiency, as I can attest having dealt with NSF grants and federal grant requirements for over a decade now. The audit controls are as bad as SOX, massively overengineered to prevent low grade abuse at a huge increase in cost of business. But, you know, SOX is bad for business because it’s unnecessary, but auditing welfare folks for illegal drug use is necessary because of the Principle of the Thing.)

        Some of that can be corrected, at the structural level, but it requires Congress to change how they do business. But that’s not what the Tea Party, or the GOP, or the Democrats are interested in doing. What they’re interested in doing is winning so that they can do the business they want to do most easily.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Patrick, I agree with your point about venal corruption. That’s the premise of Larry Lessig’s book, Republic, Lost, which I enjoyed very much and largely agreed with. But I disagree, as I think Lessig would, when you say:

        “Some of that can be corrected, at the structural level, but it requires Congress to change how they do business. But that’s not what the Tea Party, or the GOP, or the Democrats are interested in doing. What they’re interested in doing is winning so that they can do the business they want to do most easily.”

        Lessig points out that Democrats have been aped by the Tea Party as the vehicle of reform. “Earmarks were blocked in the 2011 budget because the Tea Party insisted upon it,” Lessig concedes. “There is an Office of Congressional Ethics, the only independent watchdog ensuring that members live up to the ethical rules, because the Tea Party insisted upon it.”

        I’m not sure if it was these reforms or a different Tea Party-led reform, but the conflict of interest issues described in Peter Schweizer’s book, Throw Them All Out — which dealt with actual corruption in Congress — also ended as a result of the Tea Party. But only temporarily: earlier this year (if I recall correctly), President Obama signed a bill ending the restrictions on Congressional self-dealing.

        There are too many Smart People who satisfy themselves by using the Tea Party as a punching bag, blaming all our dysfunction on them. But the dysfunction predated the Tea Party. Of course, the Tea Party is fundamentally a populist movement, and thus it is no substitute for statesmanship. But again, the absence of statesmanship also predates the Tea Party. The hope among Tea Party-sympathyzer conservatives like myself is that the Tea Party will serve as something like a John the Baptist to a new era of conservative statesmanship. Personally, I’m looking at Marco Rubio. He knows the words and he’s got the music down, and that’s something the GOP hasn’t seen in a while.Report

      • Avatar Stella B in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        The Office of Congressional Ethics was created March 2008, before the Tea Party came into being according to Wikipedia.Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Patrick, I’d just like to jump into this conversation to note that this…

        I think Americans are tired of Ineffectual Government, but I don’t think they really give a crud how big it is, as long as it does what they want. Optimally, they’d like it to do what they want and nothing else, but they’re willing to give up having it do other things as long as it at least does what they want (this is how we get Big Government in the first place).

        …and this…

        Some of that can be corrected, at the structural level, but it requires Congress to change how they do business. But that’s not what the Tea Party, or the GOP, or the Democrats are interested in doing. What they’re interested in doing is winning so that they can do the business they want to do most easily.

        …are both very astute comments.
        And Tim, I’m glad to note that you’ve read Lessig’s book, but I’m surprised that you think Lessig’s thesis is at odd’s with the statement above by Patrick on how Congress does business. Lessig’s premise is that the venality in Congress is systemic – that Congress people believe that they have to corrupt themselves to the donor class in order to win, which Lessig makes clear he believes is understandable considering the state of campaign finance. And the reason Congress people need to win is so that they can do the business they want to do most easily, as Patrick says. Their willingness to be bought serves a “higher good,” don’t you see? I have little doubt the Tea Party folks would be just as willing to sell themselves, if it would ensure their election, thus allowing them to enact their agenda. (Or at least those parts of their agenda the donor class would accept – just like the Dems and the GOP do now.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Wow, Patrick. That was awesome. All of it. I need a cigarette.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        And this too: I think you do an incredible disservice to your fellow humans on this planet by selfishly – is there a better word for it? – not writing more about this sort of thing.

        It’s a travesty. I’m considering an Ballot Initiative to require you contribute your thoughts on a regular schedule.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        @stillwater

        Hey, thanks.

        Talk to me after September 20th. I’ve only got 7% of an available brain until then. After the doctoral qualifying exam, I will need to write about something other than IS systems for a month or so to get my sanity back.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Patrick says:

      BTW, on abortion – GOP commissioned study: abortion overwhelmingly safe, highly regulated

      http://www.salon.com/2013/08/21/gop_commissioned_report_abortion_is_incredibly_safe_already_highly_regulated/singleton/Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Patrick says:

      “The neoliberals can pat their firebrands on the head and say, “Yes, we know that you’re right, and the regulatory marketplace should be better, but this is the best we can accomplish with the GOP obstructionists, and look, the country has recovered okay, so you can calm down. Take a valium. Go protest the militarization of the police or something.””

      I don’t think that the neoliberals have *ever* had that much ‘give a f*ck’; they don’t need to. They just take their bribes and do what the bribe-takers want.

      But the basic principle is correct – there is no Tea Party on the right. IMHO, the basic reason is that the financial elites like the Tea Party, but certainly don’t want a hard leftist faction having any say in politics whatsoever.Report

  3. Avatar Shazbot8 says:

    Future left-wing ideologues taking over the Democratic party isn’t happening anytime soon.

    And if it did, they wouldn’t be as toxic for the well-being of the country as the tea-party. Blah blah blah communists, will be someone’s response, I suppose.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Shazbot8 says:

      I thought that the left-wing ideologues hated the Democratic Party as much as they hated the GOP? At least thats what their blogs tell me. They constantly refer to Obama as a sell-out or worse.Report

  4. Avatar Shazbot8 says:

    Also, this is a pretty centrist, slightly left-leaning statement (vague as it is) of principles:

    “a larger worldview, a worldview that takes a broad view of what freedom means: economic security, access to health care, right to self-determination, and a belief that a person’s goodness is determined by how that person treats others and less about how closely that person adheres to narrowly written social roles.”

    Maybe the author in question is an ideologue, but the quotation is pretty centrist.

    I’d say that worldview is shared by many conservative, right-leaning parties in other parts of the world. It certainly isn’t “workers of the world unite,” which would be the far-left analogue of far-right tea partyism.

    Actually, I should qualify that. The tea party isn’t just highly ideological. It is blindly partisan and based on selective and willful ignorance, which you don’t always (you do sometimes) see in, say, libertarian or Marxist ideologues.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Shazbot8 says:

      That’s the point that we’ve gotten too, where even a relatively smart guy like Tim reads something that is mildly center-left statement of principles and think it’s some far-left wackiness. He doesn’t realize where the actual center of the nation is.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        A few years ago TPM’s John Marshall had an essay about how “DC or the MSM was wired for Republicans.”

        Republican-ideas are always adult and serious while Democratic ideas should be viewed with a skeptical eye.

        I think a lot of people in the Republican Party have convinced themselves that they are the real adults in the room and Democratic/Liberal people are at best well-meaning children who deserve a pat on the head. I have seen it on this site with people comparing the Democratic Party/Liberals to teenagers with a new license and a hot sports car. Republicans were the responsible adults preventing Democratic kids from driving off a cliff.

        Tim’s argument/comparison seems to be that Democratic types are surly and rebellious teenagers.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        There’s some truth to the idea that the powers that be treat X set of ideas as immature and unserious, but that distinction has very little to do with right or left. Generally, any set of ideas that challenge the presently entrenched powers will be dismissed as not worth taking seriously.

        When Bus wanted to invade Iraq, the anti-war movement got this treatment. And when the Democrats were passing the ACA, anyone questioning the constitutionality of the individual mandate got the same question. Drones, NSA wiretapping, Wall St. bailouts, the list goes on.

        ps – this comment should not be taken as an endorsement. Sometimes the anti-establishment position is, in fact, unserious.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Shazbot8 says:

      Yeah that is not all that left except in the United States.

      Also I read that italicized statement and say what’s wrong with a world like that? It sounds quite nice to me.Report

  5. Avatar j r says:

    This reads a bit like wishful thinking. Marcotte occupies a certain place within the left of center coalition that underpins the Democratic Party. And her place isn’t particularly central The problem with the Republican Party is that their Marcotte’s have managed to take over. And you’ve seen how that turns out.

    The reason that the Republican Party’s principles play as “bad” isn’t because of the left wing media or “the establishment.” It’s because the Republican Party’s principles have largely come to be organized around various strains of traditionalist populism (ie white/Christian/heterosexual) that simply don’t carry the day in present-day America. Either the Republicans will come to terms with that or will wither into an explicitly white populist party while some other entity takes over the moderate right of center position.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to j r says:

      I would argue that Marcotte is not really a rising star in the Democratic Party.

      She is a freelance write/blogger and a frequent contributor to Slate. While I like reading Slate from time to time I don’t know how influential they are. No one is talking about giving Marcotte or even Matt Y a policy job or encouraging them to run for office. Matt Y and Marcotte have yet to be invited on any major news show (as far as I know).

      I’d also argue that Slate is not always all that liberal especially when it comes to economic issues. Most people on the left like to blast things for being Slatey (read: willfully contrarian).Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to NewDealer says:

        Does my comment give the impression that I think something different?

        If so, it’s a failure of expression. Marcotte is a marginal figure. And while I think the whole war on women meme is drastically overstated, it’s been kept alive almost entirely by absurd Republican gaffes and some very bad legislation.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to NewDealer says:

        Yeah, for some reason unnecessary vaginal probes (“you can’t complain, you already let some dick in!”) and “You can’t get pregnant from rape” don’t really capture the imagination of women voters.

        Go figure.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:

        j r,

        No. I just adding and expanding. I find that Republican notions of what is left are not really that known.

        I am honestly curious about how Marcotte feels about more bread and butter economic issues. She has a beat (like all writers who want to get paid) and is pretty liberal socially but we don’t know much about her views beyond her beat.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

        ND, Marcotte is probably a fairly standard liberal on issues outside her beat. Her views inside her beat are mainstream liberal feminism despite what her critics say. I can’t recall anytime she really went into the more theoretical and further leftist forms of feminism. Her views on other subjects are probably standard liberal as well.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to NewDealer says:

        Marcotte’s pretty left generally. The Pandagon blog focused on reproductive issues and such mainly, but she was on John Edward’s staff for a short time during the ’08 primaries.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:

        Lee and Morat,

        I knew she was left but I was just curious if she would be as annoyed with Matt Y as I get annoyed with Matt Y.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to NewDealer says:

        Matt Y is annoying as all get-out at times though. He’s WAY too easily trapped by ivory-tower like arguments, willfully blind as to how they might play out in real life.

        Best analogy I can think of is somehow who really, really loves them some Economics 101 and never realized there existed, you know, more economics to learn and thus spends his time applying 101 concepts that 201, 301, and 401 spent a great deal of time saying “And this is why that’s something only a moron would consider in those circumstances”Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:

        Matt Y is not annoying because he only knows Econ 101.

        Matt Y is annoying because he only knows Econ 101 and turned it into a highly lucrative career.

        If he was just some dude with an LJ or WordPress, he would be a lot less annoying.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to NewDealer says:

        KC Johnson’s assessment of Marcotte’s writings:

        http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/2007/02/more-on-marcotte.html

        You would be hard put to even locate a Republican equivalent to Amanda Marcotte bar among the ranks of pseudonymous comment box participants.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

        LOL.
        Art cites Worlds Most Conservative DemBlog (Hillary ’08) as reference for how liberal Marcotte is.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to NewDealer says:

        Yglesias does not have the background and training to be a policy analyst, though policy shops often employ opinion journalists as well. The Center for American Progress appears to be a collecting pool of people trained in law who went from congressional staff to subcabinet positions so have had some professional background in policy-making but not the training to generate the analyses.

        Yglesias, unlike Marcotte, does not appear to have…issues.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to NewDealer says:

        Meanwhile, back in the real world, Prof. Johnson is actually a rank-and-file Democrat. (He also endorsed Obama in 2008 and is an adherent to some of the Democratic Party’s most inane causes). His scholarly research is on the U.S. Congress, especially during the Johnson Administration.

        The thing is, KC Johnson objects to people who adhere to conventional historiography being run out of American history faculties and objects to the weird sectarian behavior of many faculty members and administrators. The people who object to Johnson are generally disoriented or talking book.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

        Art,
        Yes, yes. you can read too.
        I’m just making fun of myDD (which was the first cite in the article you quoted).Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to NewDealer says:

        Matt Y is annoying because he only knows Econ 101 and turned it into a highly lucrative career.

        To be fair, even knowing ECON 101 puts a commentator head and shoulders above almost everybody else getting paid to opine on public policy.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to j r says:

      Lee and Jessie rather. Not Lee and MoratReport

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to j r says:

      The problem with the Republican Party is that their Marcotte’s have managed to take over.

      If plotted outward from the center, their equivalent of Marcotte would be someone like Bill O’Reilly. (In ‘distance from center’, that is. Marcotte isn’t a liar out solely for personal and political gain, as far as I know.)

      The problem with the Republican Party is that they wandered right past their Marcottes, past their Michael Moores, and are currently listening to their Chomskys and flirting with their Karl Marxes. (Again, only in ‘distance from center’…say what you want about Marx and Chomsky, they were at least _coherent_. The far-right does have coherent thinkers…but that’s not who the right is listening to.)Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to DavidTC says:

        Marcotte’s also not a pedophile.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to DavidTC says:

        The problem with the Republican Party is that they wandered right past their Marcottes, past their Michael Moores, and are currently listening to their Chomskys and flirting with their Karl Marxes. (Again, only in ‘distance from center’…say what you want about Marx and Chomsky, they were at least _coherent_. The far-right does have coherent thinkers…but that’s not who the right is listening to.)

        Can you please explain who’s arguments are schematically similar to Noam Chomsky’s or Karl Marx?Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

        Can you please explain who’s arguments are schematically similar to Noam Chomsky’s or Karl Marx?

        Do you mean the actual _intelligent_ thinkers who as as far-right as they are far-left? I could give names, but I am nowhere near well-versed enough in that field? Uh…Lysander Spooner? (The far-right ends up looking a lot like the far-left if you go far enough. I can’t actually explain why I place Spooner on the far-right and Chomsky on the far-left.)

        I honestly am just giving the far-right the benefit of the doubt here. I’m sure there are intelligent philosophers with mostly well-thought-out and principled writings for the far-right. Please note that doesn’t mean they’re _correct_, anymore than Marx was correct, but you can be smart and yet wrong. I don’t really know enough to list them, and I’m sure my list would be wrong. Ask someone actually on the right for a list.

        Although, as I said, the right is not listening to coherent far-right thinkers, but instead wack-a-loons like birthers and nativists and people randomly asserting the right to overthrow the government because of _cheap health care_.(1) The _closest_ thing to any sort of coherent thinker being listened to is Grover Norquist…and he’s not one, he’s just pretending to be.

        1) I can actually think of half a dozen reasonable good philosophical grounds to overthrow the government on. Start with unlawful detention of people, or the war crime of possessing nuclear weapons, or the war crime of sheltering torturers, or a blatantly broken justice system, or constantly violating the civil rights of certain classes of people, etc, etc. ‘The government requires me to pay some extra money each month for health insurance if I don’t already have some’ is not a good reason unless you’re an anarchist, but then you have to explain why you’re okay with all the _other_ taxes.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

        Or, to put it another way:

        The right isn’t actually listening to their Chomskys and flirting with their Marxes, they’re listening to that drugged out hippy guy who hangs out by the dry cleaners who is always talking about how people should give up all their material possession and accept their inner beauty, and he can score you some killer weed if you’ve got a few dollars. And they’re flirting with joining that group with the big farm outside of town with the oddly charismatic guy who keeps talking about how society doesn’t understand people and everyone needs a family they can belong too, and how his farm welcomes everyone, and don’t bother bringing too many clothes.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to DavidTC says:

        Actually, you forgot the bit where Democrats roll their eyes at Chomsky and Karl Marx is a historical footnote labeled “Some stuff some dead guy said”.

        The middle of the Democratic party is currently sitting somewhere around Ronald Reagan, yet you’d think they were a bunch of Marxists the way the GOP carries on.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to DavidTC says:

        Shorter DavidTC,

        “No, I am just shooting off my mouth for effect.”Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to DavidTC says:

        Art (and ND), let’s avoid “Shorter [Blank]” comments, can we? They do not tend to advance discussion.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DavidTC says:

        Shorter Will : Knock it off.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

        Art Deco, I _literally_ have no idea of what your complaint is.

        Are you complaining that I have given the far-right the benefit of the doubt, and have asserted that surely there _is_ some philosophical base there?

        Are you upset I don’t know what that is offhand, and so said ‘Someone on the right probably knows their roots better than I do, ask them.’? Are you upset that while I know the respected moderate-ish conservative thinkers, I don’t know the ones once you get far enough off to that side?

        Or are you upset I have pointed out the absurd non-intellectualism of the _current_ right? Do you take issue with the idea the base and politicians are currently sprouting complete gibberish that has no philosophical underpinnings or consistency _at all_? (I.e., mandates are fine one year, the very next year they are the most horrible unconstitutional thing ever. George W. Bush and Republican congress are evil for passing light bulb efficiency, etc, etc.)

        I have no idea if you’re asserting I was too harsh on the right, or not harsh enough, or if you think I’m completely wrong about their behavior!

        If you have an actual complaint, please state it.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to DavidTC says:

        Direct questions with difficult answers are usually when Art decides to leave the thread.Report

  6. Avatar Kim says:

    One cannot take the animal out of the person.
    To honestly assert that certain men do not believe that
    they are entitled to a woman (and a certain type of woman),
    is laughable.

    I wish them all the best, asserting that they
    want women who will act like dogs,
    ever faithful even after being hit…
    or cheated on.

    On that note, I’d like to recommend “School Days”.Report

  7. Avatar Kim says:

    It’s boring, you know that? Prochoice democrat, prolife republican.
    The next Democratic President will merely have to say he voted against jabbing things up women’s country, and that will be that.

    Still boring, still not news.Report

  8. Avatar Left Wing Ideologue says:

    Well, I am working as hard as I can, but since the Left Wing Ideologue Caucus meetings haven’t outgrown a corner booth at Denny’s, we aren’t getting much traction.

    But mostly, we are suffering from a lack of agenda. Our most radical, dangerous faction (Bob from Van Nuys) wants a Canadian style single payer health care system, but honestly, that sort of freaked us out- we suspect he may be an agent provocateur planted to make us look bad. He even came to the meeting wearing a maple leaf tee shirt. Effing splitter!

    Others have floated the idea of reducing the military-industial complex funding from about $1Trillion/ FY to $9.99 Trillion, or maybe a $0.01/ share tax on Wall Street but this was dismissed as dreamy idealism.

    Personally, I argued we should advocate for a restating of the New Deal, with labor unions, Wall Street re-regulation, infrastructure, the works, but since that was so demonstrably un-American, so positively European, I was shouted down.Report

  9. Avatar Herb says:

    Can we can the “Candidate Obama” stuff?

    Not only are Candidate Obama and President Obama the same man, he’s finishing up the first year of his second term.Report

  10. Avatar ScarletNumber says:

    There is a missing footnote.

    Did you mean to say that Obama is mulatto, or that Clinton was the first black president?Report

  11. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    From where I sit, the Republicans’ problem is not a failure to adequately express their principles. It’s a failure to describe how policy actualization of their principles does not lead to odious results. That, in turn, is not universal to all Republicans; it is rather the result of the more wild-eyed among them sucking all the oxygen out of the room and saying and doing things that the more moderate ones have to apologize for. This seems an outgrowth of the sort of cede-control-to-the-media phenomenon Tod Kelly has written about on these pages before: choosing planks in a political platform based on sound bites tested in an echo chamber.

    From where I sit, the Democrats are not doing much to portray themselves as pragmatists so much as they are sort of muddling along. Were they pragmatists, they would eschew arguments based on their vision of morality. They would not argue about gender issues in terms of liberty and equality; they would not portray healthcare reform as delivering a morally required good to the disadvantaged; they would not make appeals for immigration reform on the idea that individual migrants deserve a reasonable chance at entry. Rather, Democrats appear to be a party of “not those guys,” with those guys being the wild-eyed crazed Republicans that the actually reasonable ones fear to challenge. Sometimes they achieve the illusion of party discipline but they cannot sustain it for very long. But despite having a majority in the electorate and the Senate and the White House, they don’t seem to have any particularly good idea of what to do with that majority.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Well, they only HAD a majority for two years, and they only had a filibuster proof majority for a few months.

      Which effectively means they only had a majority for a few months, which they spent pushing through the ACA — increasing access to health care being a Democratic goal for, you know, decades. Well, they did that RIGHT after pushing through a whole bunch of stuff designed to prevent the economy from collapsing.

      So it seems the Democratic party first put out the fire, then concentrated on a primary goal, then lost their filibuster proof majority and got to play “The Senate voted 58-42, and thus the bill failed” for the next, you know, four years.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to morat20 says:

        Yeah, it’s also important to note that the stimulus, while too small by a lot, contained some major D victories on spending on green technology, infrastructure, scientific research grants, etc. I’ve heard it said that these D victories were bigger victories than almost anything Clinton got dne in 8 years, which is hyperbolic, but not that far off.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Burt Likko says:

      The reason that the Democratic Party appears to be the party of “not those guys” is because we are really the party of not those guys.

      The political swings among the Democratic members of congress is much larger than that in the GOP. For a Democratic policy to pass, you need to appeal to Elizabeth Warren and Joe Manchlin. Diane Feinstein and Ron Wyden.

      We have neo-liberals who believe in deregulation and dezoning and more traditional liberals.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I guess you must of missed a year of health care arguments that were unfortunately focused on “this won’t increase the deficit one cent” and “bending the COST CURVE~!” instead of focusing on the problems faced by those with inadequate insurance.

      Yes, liberals have a moralty of their own, but to act like Democrat’s haven’t been pragmatic, especially when Obama has tried to give up the store on things like Social Security and Medicare since the 2010 election.Report

      • Maybe I had a hard time getting past the “this won’t increase the deficit one cent” arguments because they were so obviously naively false. They didn’t strike me as the sort of argument a pragmatist looking for incremental improvements in public policy would advance — they were the sort of thing that some starry-eyed idealist avows to be true and then stands aghast at experiental disproof, seeking some sort of post facto scapegoat to blame.

        In the alternative, I distinguish between pragmatism of tactics (that is to say, “cynicism,” something of which a great many Democrats are guilty, debatably including the President) and pragmatism of policy (which is the search for incremental modifications to the law aimed at increasing its efficacy rather than systemic reformation of it aimed at changing its direction). Certainly I didn’t take the OP as referring to tactics, but rather to goals.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Maybe I had a hard time getting past the “this won’t increase the deficit one cent” arguments because they were so obviously naively false

        The math seemed clear to me. Unless you read “this won’t increase the deficit” as “this won’t cost the government more”, which is silly. There were a lot of tax increases, after all and a number of outright spending cuts elsewhere in the thing.

        The CBO is not really known for playing favorites, and their numbers showed it to be reasonably (as in closer enough to 0% relative to the deficit) close to deficit neutral as a whole.

        Actually watching the deficit shrink over the last few years has left me with plenty of warm fuzzies, mostly because of confused Republicans who claim it hasn’t.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        here, a nice link to the CBO estimate which concludes that, sure enough, it’s deficit neutral. (Actually, it reduces the deficit).

        Arguing otherwise seems…so obviously naively false.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Burt,
        Reduce the cost of health care, in general (something everyone agreed was a Good Thing (TM)). Medicare costs less. Medicare is the “going to explode the deficit” problematic part of the New Deal (Social Security is not broken. Medicare is broken.).

        Make medicare cost less, deficit goes down. Obamacare is a good fix for a variety of problems (provided it works).Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        INRE CBO estimates:

        The CBO is legally obligated to make a forecast based on the implementation of the present law. It is not allowed to consider how Congress will likely make future alterations to the present law. The most well-known of these is the doc-fix.

        Here is former CBO head Douglas Holtz-Eakin with a more realistic assessment: http://americanactionforum.org/sites/default/files/health_reform_to_increase_deficit.pdf

        A more comprehensive and realistic projection suggests that the new reform law will raise the deficit by more than $500 billion during the first ten years and by nearly $1.5 trillion in the following decade.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        j r,
        That looks like a “paid position” doesn’t it?
        I dont’ trust exxon’s research,why should I trust this?Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Gotta love that argument. “Sure, it doesn’t increase the deficit. But later, if it’s changed or other laws enacted, the deficit will change! THEREFORE claiming it doesn’t increase the deficit is a LIE because the deficit can be increased by other things later!”

        Say what?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        morat20,
        not taht I’ve read the paper, but there are some “longstanding changes” that folks keep on voting for, every single session.

        With Rabid Republicans now, who knows?Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Maybe yes, maybe no — but those are the costs of THOSE longstanding changes, not the ACA.

        The ACA was passed 4 years ago. It was and is revenue neutral (actually better, as repealing it would actually made the deficit worse). I can’t really find it in myself to accept the bizarro logic that some bill passed tomorrow it would magically make the folks of four years ago (who flat out said “It’s revenue neutral at worst”) liars, since they were in fact absolutely correct.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        morat20,
        Oh, yeah, at worst what he’s doing is saying “this doesnt’ actually fix anything” because the problem is “new” laws (which get passed every year).

        Which is bullshit because EHR, etc.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        morat20,

        I don’t think that you really understand this. This isn’t a question of the law is deficit reducing, but future congresses may add things that change it. This is the fact that the law was drafted to include a number of cost-saving measures that look good on paper, but that will be unlikely to be achieved in real life.

        For instance, the law directs the CMS to wring a certain amount of savings out of Medicare, but doesn’t actually make any meaningful changes to Medicare to help accomplish that. This means that if this is going to happen, future congresses will have to actually vote to implement these changes. Again, look at the doc fix, congress and the president have kicked that can down the road every year since 2003, including this year.

        As to the law itself, I’m agnostic. If you think the government ought to be providing health care as a public good, you probably think this is a step in the right direction. If you prefer a more market-based approached, you probably think that this is a step backwards. I’m in the latter camp, but this is a democracy and the ACA is what our democratic process produced.

        However, if you cannot see that the deficit reducing claim is smoke and mirrors, I don’t know what to tell you. This is the government telling you that 2+2=5.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Oh no, I understand it quite well. I’m quite aware of the situation. I understand your argument.

        I reject it fully. It’s balderdash. Whooey. BS. Call it what you will. To call it an “argument” is an insult to reason.

        I find claims that the ACA isn’t deficit neutral because someday in the future (a day that is not even now, 4 years later) OTHER changes to healthcare law MIGHT cost more money is pure idiocy.

        By that logic, as I noted above, every bill passed by Congress costs infinite money and no money, because someday in the future they may be changed, amended, canceled, repealed, or altered in some way that changes their funding. Since only a flat-out idiot would use that logic, I think calling that argument “stupid” is well warranted.

        I’m glad you prefer a more ‘market based’ approach. If you ever think of one, let the GOP know. They’re kinda stuck there, as “Cash upfront or die” turns out to be kinda unpopular and that’s the best they’ve got since the Democrats took their 1994 plan, called it the ACA and passed it. You GOT the market-based plan, boyo.

        I’d have preferred the much cheaper, more efficient, and more effective “not market based” plan. Single payer, ya know.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Although I do have to say, your post does illustrate an interesting tendency: I disagree with you, ergo I must not understand. If I understood, I’d agree with you! It’s a very common little flaw in human thinking, one everyone is prey to.

        I understand fine. We simply reach different conclusions. I also find your actual argument logically flawed, since it basically incorporates time-travel into the ACA by making it fiscally responsible for all health care law costs in perpetuity.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Yeah, I’m really not sure that you understand this at all. There’s no time travelling involved. The problem with the ACA is that it lays out a set of steps that the government promises to to take in the future and estimates that those steps will be cost-saving. In other words, it treats future planning as a fait accompli.

        If someone wrote a plan that said they were going to run 5 miles every morning and only eat 1000 calories a day and they told you that following that plan would result in them losing 10lbs in a week, well that would be kind of true, However, if you knew that person was lazy and had very little will power, would you believe that he was going to actually achieve the weight loss, especially when those goals would be very difficult to achieve even for a person who has a strong will and a demonstrated ability to carry out their plans? The idea that the government (either of these clown parties) has any sort of credibility when it comes to keeping promises, pursuing long term deficit reduction, and making politically difficult decisions is laughable.

        What’s more, it seems pretty obvious that you are approaching this from a partisan angle. I have no particular love for the GOP. I’m generally not interested in the whole red team-blue team farce. I do, however, know when the government is trying to sell me a shoddy bill of goods.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        jr,
        you two are coming at it from two different angles.

        morat says: “This bill works, and is a good thing.” knowing that he can (and will) heap scorn on the gov’t when it goes ahead and shoots the bill in the head. Which it (apparently?) will do and has not done? (Someone got facts on this?)

        you say: “can’t look at the bill by itself”… and then proceed to say that the bill doesnt’ fix anything.

        I think you’re both agreeing with each other!Report

    • Avatar Herb in reply to Burt Likko says:

      “But despite having a majority in the electorate and the Senate and the White House, they don’t seem to have any particularly good idea of what to do with that majority.”

      Obama’s first term was largely about cleaning up Bush’s second. That, I admit, qualifies as “muddling along,” but after the debacle that preceded him, it’s about all that one could expect.Report

    • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Walker, Daniels, Christie, and other Republican governors seem to be enjoying some success governing by their principles. Also, “moderation” can mean two very different things. It may refer to policy, as in compromise. Or it may mean, as Eisenhower used it, a way of molding public sentiment toward a principles:

      I believe this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental functions. I oppose this—in some instances the fight is a rather desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything—even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government.

      It is for that reason primarily, I think, that “moderates” would admonish more strident conservatives for “sucking air out of the room.” Can any thinking person deny that we cannot have Big Spending and Low Taxes? The substantively “moderate” politician would maintain the fiction, contend to be in office than in power. The Eisenhower moderate, on the other hand, would deny it in his heart, but carefully form his rhetoric to lead his constituents away from the delusion.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Burt Likko says:

      From where I sit, the Republicans’ problem is not a failure to adequately express their principles. It’s a failure to describe how policy actualization of their principles does not lead to odious results.

      This is insightful. And the crazed lunatics who frequently express full-blown odiousness in the name of Conservatism (read: elected politicians) certainly aren’t changing that dynamic for the better.Report

  12. Avatar Chris says:

    What Marcotte’s saying in that post, which Marcotte’s been saying as long as she’s been blogging (what, 10 years now or close to it?), and which is pretty much mainstream feminist boilerplate (in fairness, everything Marcotte says is pretty much mainstream feminist boilerplate), is both true and not true. From this end, it seems obviously true that, whatever their religious basis, anti-reproductive freedom positions are heavily shaped by attitudes towards women. This is evident not only in the way that people who hold those views approach the issue — not only their focus on the women, but the way they approach it with women — but also in the cluster of issues that these people focus on, and the way they approach that cluster of issues and approach women in respect to that cluster of issues. Or really, it’s the fact that they focus on women in this cluster of issues, period.

    Oh, and this is not a slippery slope argument. In fact, structurally, it’s not even remotely similar to a slippery slope argument. It’s pretty much the opposite, by which I mean it moves in the other direction: from a bunch of examples to a single principle, rather than from a principle or example to future possible examples.

    How this relates to the broader point your making is that what Marcotte’s saying doesn’t really say anything about the Democratic party now, or 10 years ago, or 5 years ago, or 3 years from now. The Democratic party’s going to be pro-choice, just like it was pro-choice, and will be pro-choice, and the only time there’s grumbling about this from the “principled” side is when Democrats are perceived to be insufficiently aggressive in countering anti-choice legislation.

    In other words, if Marcotte, who’s basically written the same 10 posts for 10 years, is your example of what’s going on in the Democratic party now that’s different from ’08, then you need to start over.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

      Excellent comment Chris. One thing tho in Tim’s defense: I think he was talking about the “slippery slope” of conceding ground on abortion issues. But as Patrick pointed out above, it would be a mistake to accuse Marcotte or liberals in general of making slippery slope arguments with respect to abortion restrictions since the stated desires of conservatives are to eliminate abortion as an option for women. Lots of slope, not very slippery.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

        Ah, good point.

        If that’s a slippery slope argument, then every argument from the right about gun control ever has been a slippery slope argument.

        In fact, just about every political argument ever has been a slippery slope argument.

        It’s like I said recently, “slippery slope” is the second most misused fallacy on the internet, after ad hominem.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Stillwater says:

        Then let’s take one point that shouldn’t be so slippery: babies born alive after an attempted abortion. The Born Alive Infant Protection Act passed overwhelmingly by Congress, yet Ill. Sen. Barack Obama voted against the state version of the bill.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPZCXcTwZPY.

        Obama stated that one of his objections was that the bill was “designed to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion.” The right to an abortion, for Obama, is the right to a dead baby.

        The leader of the free world found these born alive babies too slippery to deserve of legal protection. Maybe his slope gets stickier where Peter Singer’s does. Who knows. The media didn’t press the issue.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

        No, that bill’s just silly. I mean, you might as well pass a law protecting 7-year-olds.

        Though do you think the people who passed it passed it because they wanted to stop at babies completely outside of the womb? Hell, we know you don’t want to stop there. What was the purpose of this bill, do you think?Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Stillwater says:

        It’s also because there’s no evidence, even from a GOP commissioned study that aside from the horror from Gosnell, there is no evidence of any ‘born alive’ infants being left to die by doctors –

        “On the issue of infants being “born alive” after a botched abortion, Pennsylvania was the only state that reported such conduct. That was in the case of Kermit Gosnell, who has been convicted of murder. … The responses provided by all other states support that view. No other state that has provided its answers to RH Reality Check found any example of so-called born-alive infants, and many provided copies of their laws that make it a crime to deny medical care to a newborn. Many states said they would treat the killing of a fetus “born alive” as homicide.”Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Stillwater says:

        2001 Obama followed the slope straight down:

        “Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – a child, a nine-month-old – child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it – it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute.”

        http://www.factcheck.org/2008/08/obama-and-infanticide/

        But as they say, the man who makes things clear is a scab.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

        Tim, I understand that you’re relying on sources, but you should look up the bill he was talking about in that quote, and why he was objecting to it. I think you’ll find it’s not as absurd, from the pro-choice perspective, as you think.

        Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a — a child, a nine-month-old — child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it — it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an anti-abortion statute.

        Report

      • Avatar Shazbot8 in reply to Stillwater says:

        There were factchecker posts and newspaper articles about the issue. Some critical of Obama. There were campaign ads about it. It got the proper amount of attention.

        The media didn’t give it the Fox News Black Panther Acorn treatment of showing it again and again with maximum innuendo and feigned and unjustified outrage because they saw that it was clearly a nothing story. (There were some important stories in 2007-2008, if you remember.) The proposed legislation in Illinois, as the very keen Chris points out, does nothing to protect fetuses that legislation in place since the 1970’s didn’t already do. And there was a very real worry, expressed by pro-choice groups at the time to Obama, that this legislation could create harassing legal problems for doctors performing legitimate abortions, thus making it even harder to operate an abortion clinic. So it was no good and a chance of bad, so he didn’t vote for it.

        Indeed, the stated goal of the pro-life movement (or many of its key players anyway) has been to shut down all abortion clinics and to make abortion de facto impossible even if it remains de jure constitutionally legal. (Which will not stop the middle class from getting abortions, only the poor.) That this Illinois legislation would be aimed at this goal of making abortion de facto impossible is hardly a paranoid slippery slope fantasy like, for example, the worry that Obama will take all your guns if we have a gun registry.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Tim, I’m getting confused here. You wrote “2001 Obama followed the slope straight down” as if Obama was arguing from slippery slopes, yes?

        You then provided the a quotation from The Big O justifying you’re view:

        “…whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is … (filler) … this would be an antiabortion statute.”

        given that abortion is permissible under the Constitution, this doesn’t strike me as a slippery slope argument, or riding the slope all the way down. It strikes me as Obama expressing that the bill, from his pov, is unconstitutional.

        Granted, you could make the argument that his understanding of the bill is wrong. But that case needs to me made, it seems to me, before the accusation that Obama is engaging in principle-based slipperyslopiness is demonstrated.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Stillwater says:

        He identified the principle. The law itself had no tendency to interfere with Casey. But Obama correctly identified that killing a born child was in principle no different from killing the child in the womb. That principle would reveal the issue is not undue burden but the right to a dead baby.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

        Tim, the bill in Illinois didn’t just specify fully born children. That’s what Obama was talking about. You should read the whole speech. And the bill.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        But Obama correctly identified that killing a born child was in principle no different from killing the child in the womb.

        I’m too lazy to read the bill and compare the language used in each of the relevant cases, but! … it seems to me that the quotation you provided indicates that Obama was clearly not suggesting that what you attribute to him. His use of the term “previable” ought to be enough of an indicator. Couple that with a context – one I’m attributing to him without specific evidence except his general intelligence and legal background – in which abortion is actually constitutional and I think his thought process makes a bit more sense.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Stillwater says:

        [Obama] says he would have been “fully in support” of a similar federal bill that President Bush had signed in 2002, because it contained protections for Roe v. Wade.
        . . . .
        A June 30 Obama campaign statement responding to similar claims by conservative commentator William J. Bennett says that SB 1082 did not contain the same language as the federal BAIPA.
        . . . .
        The statement was still on Obama’s Web site as of this writing, Aug. 25, long after Obama had accused his detractors of “lying.” But Obama’s claim is wrong. In fact, by the time the HHS Committee voted on the bill, it did contain language identical to the federal act.
        . . . .
        Obama’s campaign now has a different explanation for his vote against the 2003 Illinois bill. …. But whether or not one accepts those arguments, it is not the reason Obama had been giving for his 2003 opposition. He told Brody that the federal bill “was not the bill that was presented at the state level.” . . . . In the case of SB 1082, as it was amended just before being killed, it’s false.

        Whatever Obama’s actual “thought process,” it’s clear he lied about it. Because the man who makes things clear is a scab.

        And whether Obama believed “abortion is actually constitutional” is not the issue. Once the baby is out, the pregnancy is terminated. Abortion isn’t directly implicated by BAIPA, unless one redefines it as the right to a dead baby. This, in fact, makes more sense conceptually. But it’s a disaster politically. Which explains all the dissembling and invented rationales. But what letting Obama off the hook means is we never had the public discussion about what happens in neonatal wards to babies whose “viability” is arguably not possible. Or indeed what “possible viability” – the Webster v. Reproductive Health Services standard – even means. “Since “viability” means the mere possibility (not the certainty) of survivability outside the womb, “possible viability” must mean the possibility of a possibility of survivability outside the womb. Perhaps our next opinion will expand the third trimester into the second even further, by approving state action designed to take account of “the chance of possible viability.” ” (Scalia, J., dissenting.)

        Obama was no scab on this point. And as mentioned above, no one in Congress opposed the federal BAIPA. Obama is alone in his principles on this one. Yet regarding the implications of those principles, the media is uncurious.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris says:

      Marcotte misses the forest for staring at the trees.
      That cluster of issues does indeed point to a very
      deeply held (instinctual, even) way of looking at
      the world.Report

  13. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Good Lord. Will the GOP ever forgive the Black One for being elected president? Will you? I knew of Obama as state senator and for the time he was a US Senator. He was never decisively leftist, any more than Bill Clinton, Obama’s role model. Anyone who examined his record on even the most cursory basis would know this.

    No, Kowal, what we’ve endured since President Obama is the GOP raging like so many spiteful, spoiled children when someone else’s toy is taken away from them. It’s annoying. It’s stupid. It’s perverse and it’s undemocratic. Aren’t you even slightly ashamed of the GOP? Clearly not.

    Obama’s doing just fine. The economy struggles along, the Arab Spring has gone rotten on him, NSA’s dogs have shit in the living room and the GOP continues to froth and gibber — is it 41 or 42 times they’ve tried to repeal Obamacare? Obama doesn’t have to worry about ratings at this point, they don’t matter. They vary with the economy, most notaby gas prices and the jobs reports.

    The slippery slope goes both ways, both up and down. Republicans have been greasing the slopes going uphill. Obama has ethical reservations about partial birth abortions. While the GOP here in Wisconsin and elsewhere attempts to restrict access to Morning After drugs, let us hear nothing of Principled Opposition.

    The abortion debate stinks. I am tired of it turning up here like some fetid Apple of Discord. te kallistei == to the most beautiful.

    The GOP lost the civil rights debate and gay rights debate. All it seems to do is refight old battles. Sometimes they make some headway. They’ll continue to fight the gay rights debate for the rest of time. How do I know? Because they’re still fighting the civil rights battle. My advice? Get the hell over it.Report

  14. Avatar zic says:

    On display are not only leftist principles, but a “worldview,” and an implied slippery slope argument that curtailing abortion “rights” leads to “a rigid, submissive gender role” for women.

    Anyone who’s seen the Guttmacher Report, or perhaps this graph on abortion laws from Maddowblog might reasonably believe that Republican lawmakers and governors are slipping down some sort of slippery slope at break-neck speeds.Report

  15. Avatar Kazzy says:

    @tim-kowal

    “And the Establishment was proud of itself for having elected the first black* president.”

    What is the purpose of the asterisk there? It doesn’t attach to any footnote or anything.Report

  16. Avatar Damon says:

    Principles?

    Don’t make me laugh. Neither side has them. For me, the most glaring and relatively recent example were the “Bush is a war criminal” types that rolled over when Obama decided not to investigate the whole torture issue-and then defended him. A clearer example of people sacraficing their own principles on the alter of political expediency I’ve not seen in a while.

    I have nothing but contempt for people like that.Report

  17. Avatar LauraNo says:

    Kazzy, can ‘the first white-black president’ refer to Zimmerman being accused of racial profiling even though his skin color is not lily white? For the life of me, I don’t get people, but I am taking a stab at it…Report

  18. Avatar DavidTC says:

    On display are not only leftist principles, but a “worldview,” and an implied slippery slope argument that curtailing abortion “rights” leads to “a rigid, submissive gender role” for women.

    First, this is very poor reading of the article. She did not say that curtailing abortion rights _leads_ to that. She’s saying that the right want to curtail about rights _because they believe that_.

    She presented an apparent belief of Republicans, which is documented in the article. Feel free to argue with it, but there is no ‘slope’ here at all, slippery or otherwise. She is _ascribing motives_ to people, and explaining what she things is the worldview behind them. As she is not predicting outcomes, she can’t _possibly_ be describing a slippery slope. (In fact, the only hypothetical in the _entire article_ appears to be ‘ Even if the abortion issue disappeared tomorrow, women would still lean more left than men as a group…’.)

    Second, the idea that the left does not have principles or a worldview, and is instead mindlessly following Obama, is a right-wing attack, and this apparently has gotten so confused in your head that you have managed to score a ‘victory’ by demonstrating the right is full of crap.

    For your followup post, I request you prove that the ACA does _not_ have death panels. Everyone knows the left have been promising death panels for years. But the left is _lying_! LYING!Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to DavidTC says:

      She’s saying that the right want to curtail about rights _because they believe that_.
      She presented an apparent belief of Republicans, which is documented in the article.

      Both you and Amanda Marcotte would have a hard time locating a Catholic priest who would state in plain terms (and in accordance with Sacred Scripture) that wives should respect their husband’s authority, unless you absolutely pinned him against the wall on the issue. You might have better luck with an evangelical pastor, but if you are familiar with evangelical literature, this sort of discourse is not a staple thereof. (Some critiques are onlline concerning the movie Fireproof and these include an assessment of what is the modal approach in an among evangelical pastors to the notion of headship within marriage).

      There is a subculture concerned with ‘men’s issues’, but this tends to have little formal organization and, if anything at all, be secular libertarianish in its basic outlook.

      It is doubtful that Marcotte can make much sense of anything that goes on outside her own skin. The rejection of abortion is for a stated and obvious reason: it is the taking of a human life and intrinsically evil. A more general assessment of behavior patterns in human sexuality is implicated in that abortion on demand is a component of a culture of sexual license. The defense of sexual license morphs into a defense of mass murder.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Art Deco says:

        There’s actual conversation material here, and it’s a conversation that’s probably worth having. I’ve just never seen any evidence that you’re actually interested in doing anything other than being the serious movement conservative around here (with George being the movement conservative court jester), or in essence, the new Tom (who I’m not entirely convinced isn’t the old Tom — y’all share a vocabulary, if nothing else). I’ve never actually seen you discuss anything, instead being content with a sort of one-sided, preachy, apologetics with not even a hint of doubt or self-criticism. All of which is to say, I wish there were a better breed of movement conservative (rather than center-right conservative) ’round these parts, the sort with whom it might be possible to have a conversation.

        For example, I might be inclined to ask someone interested in discussion whether they believed that 1.) whether women should be treated as equal citizens with men, 2.) if the answer to (1) was yes, whether financial self-dependence/determination were required for (1), 3.) if the answer to (2) were yes, whether reproductive freedom — that is, a woman’s ability to determine if and when she has children — was necessary for women’s self-dependence/determination, and 4.) if the answer to (3) was yes, whether abortion were a necessary, though hopefully rare, part of that reproductive freedom. Upon receiving answers to those questions, I would at least know precisely where we differed in opinion, and therefore where to begin the discussion.

        Anyway, I wish there were a better breed of movement conservative around here.Report

      • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Art Deco says:

        All have sinned. All have fallen short. All have disappointed Chris.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Art Deco says:

        Tim, none of us is perfect, for sure, but some people do nothing but sin, and never even attempt to step outside of themselves for even a moment.

        I admit that I find you frustrating, because we are probably about as far apart, politically, as it is possible to be, and because I think you hold some factually incorrect beliefs about certain things (like unions), and the distance and our disagreements are compounded by large differences in culture and temperament, but I think it is possible to have a discussion with you, because while you may primarily be interested in promoting a conservative world view, you’re not here merely to preach it. Unfortunately for folks like me, you tend to keep to your own corner of the blog ecosystem formerly known as The League, which means that most of the time, unless we’re in one of your posts, we’re stuck with Art and George.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Art Deco says:

        …and none of that has anything to do with what I just said, which was that saying ‘People are doing X because they think Y’ cannot possibly be a slippery slope argument. Slippery slope arguments are hypotheticals describing the future, saying ‘If we allow X then soon we will allow Y’. They are not a presumption of motives for current things.

        So I have to question if you actually read my comment, or just wanted somewhere to discuss abortion for some reason, which, you will note, I did not mention at all.

        In fact, I have to question if you read the _original_ article Whether or not a priest would agree that ‘wives should respect their husband’s authority’ doesn’t appear to have anything to do with what _Marcotte_ said, in at least _two_ ways:

        1) She didn’t say anything about ‘husbands authority’ in the first place, she was talking about assuming _gender roles_ and attempting to frame women who chose to be outside them as ‘sluts’. Those are not the same things. They’re not even close to the same thing. This might be an _honest_ misunderstanding on your part except…

        2) She didn’t bring religion into it _at all_. There is not a single mention of religion in that article, in any form.Report

  19. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Heh. Amanda Marcotte.Report

  20. Avatar Barry says:

    Tim, quoting Kevin: ““I’ll confess that although the leftier-than-thou types have always been around, I’ve long been skeptical of the idea that Obama has a core group of supporters from 2008 who really do consider him The One, a shining beacon of light who could do no wrong. But I’m the one who was wrong. I don’t know how many there are, but they’re definitely out there.””

    So what? I’ve seen photos of Bush II with a halo, and people talking about him accordingly.

    And so on and so on, with every president.

    And so on, with every president, with people who believed them to be Satan incarnate.

    The fact that *somebody*, *somewhere* believes a given thing isn’t interesting nor important.Report