Why Moderate Republicans Suck

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Dennis Sanders

Dennis Sanders is the Associate Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis, MN.  You can follow Dennis through his blogs, The Clockwork Pastor and Big Tent Revue and on Twitter.  Feel free to contact him at dennis.sanders(at)gmail(dot)com.

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  1. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    I can’t believe I missed this essay.

    The main thing I kept thinking was a variant of whataboutism, though.

    We have moderate republicans who don’t suck. They’re just running as Democrats and winning elections. Who’s in charge of the government in Portland? In Seattle? In Minneapolis? In Chicago? In Baltimore?

    How many Republicans are on these city councils? How many in charge of talking to the Police Chief about what could be done to address police excesses?

    Heck, look at California in general. The Republicans have all but disappeared. The only ones left are the nuts.

    I submit to you: those places have just as much of a Republican-temperment percentage of folks in the government as anyplace else.

    If you want evidence, look at the school districts. Look at the policing. Look at the taxes.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Someone else makes the point better than I could:

      Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Saying that mainstream Democrats are essentially moderate Republicans seems to correlate with my observations.

      Which is to say, the Democratic Party in places like California represent, not the extreme end of the Overton window, but the center of the spectrum. They represent the business interests, the mainstream churches, the nonpartisan institutions like universities and civic organizations.

      So its fair to say that the failure to learn from past police abuses and implement reforms lies with the preferred policies of the center of the political spectrum.

      Like I asked the other day, the very same shopkeepers who are so shocked and alarmed at their looted stores, are the very ones who for decades groomed and elected these Democrats, and who set the agenda of issues, and determined the course that lead us to this point.

      Which is just a restatement of MLKs observation that the impediment to progress are the moderates, not the fascists since the moderates prefer to accommodate fascism rather than suppress it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Those danged shopkeepers, grooming Democrats.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Do you think the Democrats in power were created by some other group, or by some other means?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            The city councils of NYC, LA, Chicago, Philly, Seattle & Portland? Yeah, I’m not seeing how the shop keepers are the ones in charge here.

            Get down to levels found in, say, Council Bluffs Iowa? Sure. That’s the Chamber of Commerce’s city, no doubt.

            Philly? NYC? Portland?Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Who do you think controls the City Council races in these cities?
              Who funds them, provides networking and access?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Don’t you think that businessmen, instead of funding a city council race, would just get themselves on the city council, like they do in red cities? Instead we see many blue cities where business owners are giving up in despair. In Seattle, for example, Amazon seems ready to pick up stakes and leave, rather than foot the bill for the Marxist utopia the city council is determined to create.

                One of the obvious reasons is math. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area has about 4 million people, but only 97,000 businesses. Even if all those businesses were individually owned by locals, they would amount to only 2.5% of the electorate.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                In Council Bluffs? Sure.

                In Chicago? It ain’t the owner of Rocket Candy, the guy who runs the McDonald’s at 3rd and Elm, and the guy who has the U-Wash-It carwash next to the national chain grocery store. Even by their powers combined.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Aren’t small shops like this exactly who are members of the Chamber of Commerce?

                Like, if you do a search for the member directory on almost any CoC you will get a list of hundreds of small mom and pop shops?

                Why wouldn’t you think a McDonalds franchisee or car wash would belong?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, you’re arguing against me as if I’m saying “Chicago doesn’t and Council Bluffs doesn’t.”

                I’m, instead, arguing “Council Bluffs does work like that. Big cities don’t work like that. Chicago doesn’t work like that.”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                How then do you think these large cities like Los Angeles and Chicago work?

                Who or what is funding and supporting and electing all these moderate Republicans who are called Democrats?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Differently than Council Bluffs, that’s for sure.

                If you’d like to read about how Rahm Emanuel became mayor of Chicago, the Wikipedia has a nice section on the 2011 election here.

                The main thing that I noticed is that “The Media” was involved and this section here:

                He had 75 contributors give more than $50,000, twenty-five of which were from out of state. Among these high-dollar contributors were Steven Spielberg, Donald Trump, and Steve Jobs.

                (I suppose you could point out that Steven Spielberg, Donald Trump, and Steve Jobs are all businessmen and, therefore, your point is made.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh you’re right that very large cities attract interested parties from beyond the local CoC.

                But that only explains so much. It doesn’t explain all the City Council races, Planning Board races, Police commissions, etc that make up the muscle and structure of city government.

                Policing is usually a very local issue; Tech billionaires can’t explain why so many of these Moderate Republi-crats have so consistently turned a blind eye to abuse.

                And it definitely can’t explain why the local business and property groups never seem to make it an issue.

                Like for instance, my councilman, Jose Huizar is going on trial for taking bribes from local real estate developers in exchange for favors.
                https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-08-03/jose-huizar-los-angeles-city-councilman-plea-corruption-case

                The people who were (literally) his paymasters had an agenda of issues they wanted addressed, and none of them involved police reform.

                I wonder how many of these real estate developers owned properties that were looted.

                And if they are now making the connection between their political power and the consequences of ignoring this issue.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Tech billionaires can’t explain why so many of these Moderate Republi-crats have so consistently turned a blind eye to abuse.

                Not even in Portland, Seattle, or San Francisco?

                Like for instance, my councilman, Jose Huizar is going on trial for taking bribes from local real estate developers in exchange for favors.

                Well, let’s read the article…

                — A Chinese billionaire seeking to build a 77-story skyscraper downtown provided $600,000 in collateral for a loan that helped the councilman quietly settle a sexual harassment lawsuit lodged against him by a former staffer.

                — Huizar took out a loan from a company connected with that billionaire, which came with an $800,000 balloon payment that would have come due this month, had Huizar not stopped making payments on it altogether, investigators said.

                — A businessman who wanted Huizar to introduce him to real estate developers provided the councilman escorts, $10,000 in cash per month and free hotel stays so that Huizar could carry out an affair. Prosecutors said Huizar instructed that businessman not to tell the FBI about his use of escort/prostitution services, whom he referred to as “dessert.”

                — A real estate consultant, who later pleaded guilty in the case, complained that Huizar had asked him to coordinate a trip to Cuba for Huizar and a woman with whom the councilman was allegedly having an affair. The consultant declined, fearing that it would expose their corrupt relationships, prosecutors said.

                I’m not getting a big “Chamber of Commerce” feel from this part of the story.

                I guess I’d need to know more about the “businessman”.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Aside from the Chinese guy, they were all local developers. Rich, but still part of the local scene.
                It is literally impossible to develop any property in LA without the approval of the local Councilmember.

                So what is your theory?
                That large cities are entirely beholden to transnational elite, while the local CoC gets ignored?

                Once again, this theory doesn’t explain any of the facts on the ground.

                Like if the local CoC didn’t want the form of policing we have, why haven’t they made an issue of it?

                For years the head of our local Police Commission was Rick Caruso, a local real estate developer, who built The Grove, where some of the riots took place.
                I don’t recall him ever making police abuse a priority.

                And I come back to why, if the local CoC took police abuse seriously, didn’t they take action?

                They certainly aren’t shy about announcing their support or opposition to any and all land use issues.

                Because the CoC and the shopkeepers they represent, never cared about police abuse.
                Until their windows started getting broken.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                How are Democratic politicians supposed to get rich off of police issues? There’s no money there, much less the millions that they can make through massive bribes over real estate projects, environmental projects, and every other loony project California implements. Do you think they pass all those insane leftist laws for nothing? No. They get rich off of it.

                You see, under socialism, the powerful get extremely rich, just like Diane Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, and the other California Congressmen, who have a combined net worth of about $440 million dollars. The average net worth of a Congressmen is only $500K, so California’s 55 Congressmen should be expected to only have $27.5 million, just one sixteenth as much.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, it’s the example that *YOU* gave.

                If you want me to look at an example that does better at making the point that life in The Big City maps pretty much to life in Council Bluffs, give examples that don’t involve international billionaires engaging in large-scale corruption that would be unheard of in Council Bluffs.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I did, right in my comment.
                And if you have a counter theory, you haven’t explained or supported it.

                You started by saying that moderate Republicans were actually Democrats and wondered why the Democrats weren’t doing anything about police reform.

                And I explained why, that the constituencies they represent don’t care about police reform.
                You haven’t offered any other theory.

                Transnational billionaires don’t really figure into this equation, local forces do.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I think that pointing out that LA works differently than Council Bluffs doesn’t require me to be able to detail out how LA works. Just to point out that Council Bluffs has fewer Billionaires engaging in corruption with the city council.

                I mean, let’s ask you the question that was brought up in the tweet I mentioned:

                Why is police reform so difficult even in cities where Democrats have a strangehold on the city council?

                You’re saying that it’s the Chamber of Commerce types mucking everything about. I disagree. In the big cities, it looks like the Chamber of Commerce types are barely showing on the radar. They’ve been pushed out by the billionaires.

                And I provided an example of that (Chicago).

                And you provided an examples of that.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I gave you an example of a local CoC type sitting on the Police Commission, overseeing one of the most out of control forces in the country.

                If your theory is true, we would expect police reform to be more successful in smaller cities where billionaires don’t have much influence.

                Is this generally true, such that it demonstrates a convincing pattern in support of your theory?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Why would small cities need police reform? Their cops get along with everybody. It’s pretty much just large Democrat cities that seem to have a problem.

                Those are also the cities that have often gone to a catch-and-release, revolving door, no bail system of law enforcement, designed to maximize the number of violent criminals roaming the streets.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                If your theory is true, we would expect police reform to be more successful in smaller cities where billionaires don’t have much influence.

                Only if you assume that the rot goes as deep.

                Is this generally a good assumption?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                We started with a question: Why are Democratic establishments so reluctant to pursue police reform?

                You’re trying to advance a conclusion (Billionaires are influencing the candidates).

                Yet your conclusion doesn’t have a hypothesis or logical theory- Why would billionaires want to do this?

                Worse, you don’t have a series of data points that can form a pattern which supports the hypothesis. You have two data points, but there are thousands of other elected Democrats- in big cities, small cities, and in between- who have no connection to billionaires.

                So you can understand why I find my theory of the local gentry as the more plausible, right?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No, my argument is not “billionaires are influencing the candidates!”

                My argument is that the Big Cities work differently than life in, say, Council Bluffs.

                My evidence for that being the case is the billionaires.

                As for the cops not being reformed, I’d probably just say that the politicians aren’t interested in reforming the cops.

                And what conclusion should you reach about that?

                Well, the easiest one to get to from here seems to be something like “the cops don’t work for *YOU*.”

                You have two data points, but there are thousands of other elected Democrats- in big cities, small cities, and in between- who have no connection to billionaires.

                Yes, but the ones where the cops need the *MOST* reform? Those appear to be a handful of cities.

                Here, let me post the tweet again:

                “So you can understand why I find my theory of the local gentry as the more plausible, right?”

                It certainly seems to let “the democrats” off the hook and put it in the mouth of the small business owners.

                Even as we point to examples of billionaires from outside of the area engaging in corruption. Doesn’t matter. It’s that darn guy who owns the self-serve car wash!

                Why, look at how it’s done in Council Bluffs.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                And here’s one of the responses to the above:

                Look at the date. August 25th. Making reference to the Mayor doing the veto on August 24th.

                Is the argument that the Mayor is in the pocket of the Chamber of Commerce and that’s why he did the veto?

                What the heck is going on?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, you don’t seem to be advancing any hypothesis.
                Why are big city Democrats not pushing for police reform?

                “They do things different in the big city” isn’t a hypothesis. It isn’t even demonstrably true with regard to policing.

                There are plenty of small cities like Ferguson or Kenosha where the cops are also out of control. Some are Democratic, some are Republican.

                What force is causing the Democrats to be so lukewarm on police reform?

                My hypothesis is that it is the local Democratic constituency, which as you noted way back at the beginning, consists of political centrists.

                Not JUST the shopkeeper class, but also the middle class white suburbanites, the professional class who are liberal, but have a very weak and conditional support for civil rights.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Do we agree that they’re not pushing for reform?

                If so, we then get to ask why. Your hypothesis seems to be that they’re in the pocket of the various Chamber of Commerce types.

                My argument is that that hypothesis is falsified upon cursory review.

                Not JUST the shopkeeper class, but also the middle class white suburbanites, the professional class who are liberal, but have a very weak and conditional support for civil rights.

                Now we seem to be getting somewhere! But your definition of “liberal” doesn’t match mine.

                I’m back to what I said in my first comment.

                It’s not the shop keepers, though.

                It’s the people who found a way to vote, functionally, Republican despite it being unfashionable to vote anything but for Democrats.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think we are both agreeing that the white middle class professional Democratic base has a very weak support for police reform.

                I guess the only place where we differ is with respect to the shopkeepers, the landlords and small business owners.

                Do they support police reform?

                I don’t think so, at least not until around June of this year.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I think we are both agreeing that the white middle class professional Democratic base has a very weak support for police reform.

                You say “very weak support” where I say “opposition to”.

                What’s weird is that there’s, ostensibly, a great deal of support for Police Reform In Theory. Oh, we should have police Do Fewer Bad Things. “Should we touch the budget?” “Only to make it bigger.”

                See again what happened in Seattle.

                What’s up with that?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Whether it is shopkeepers in the urban core or homeowners in the suburbs, white fear of black violence is a potent weapon.

                Whether this series of riots will get these people to recognize that police reform is in their best long term interests, is an open question.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Whether this series of riots will get these people to recognize that police reform is in their best long term interests, is an open question.

                And then they’ll start doing what? Finally start voting for Democrats?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                We’ll know that the base is serious when police reform becomes a winning primary issue.

                The prospect of being unemployed focuses a politician’s mind wonderfully.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So, at this point, we can say that the Democrats don’t care about police reform because their base doesn’t care about police reform.

                It’s probably safe to say that police reform isn’t on the ballot in November.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Not “Democrats”;
                “White Democrats.”

                There is a significant faction of Democrats for whom reform IS a powerful issue, and from what I can see they are making an impact.

                The fact that reform got far enough to be vetoed by the mayor is something that wouldn’t have happened only a year or two ago.

                But its entirely possible that as soon as the protests die down, white people will go back to sleep like they did every other time.

                Until the fire next time.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                There is a significant faction of Democrats for whom reform IS a powerful issue, and from what I can see they are making an impact.

                The Mostly Peaceful Protesters?

                Those appear to be predominantly White too. I can find you examples of people saying that the Mostly Peaceful Protestors who visited their area were from Out Of Town and, yes, Mostly White.

                But as someone who argued for Police Reform with White People and got a huge amount of pushback, I do see something of a point in there…

                Except I’d also say that this doesn’t seem to be something that we can vote our way out of.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the jury is still out on whether voting will bring reform.

                But feel free to bookmark my comments, so that in a couple years if we have yet another post on yet another riot after yet another police murder, I can comment yet again on my lack of sympathy for yet another shopkeeper blubbering over their loss or yet another pundit demanding that people “work within the system”.

                No one can say we haven’t been warned.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, it just hasn’t worked *YET*?

                The problem with that is that there doesn’t seem to be any way to falsify it.

                Like, is there a point at which you’ll ever say “okay, it’s time to start trying something else”?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                They are going to put the cure for racism in the Biden-Vaccine… the one that will be safe to take now that the election is over.

                Won’t change anything, mind you, but the statistical analysis will look much more encouraging and much less structural.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                How are the police in Kenosha or Ferguson out of control? The police in both of those shootings were justified. In Ferguson, the black guy grabbed the officers gun and fired it in his patrol car, then moved off, then charged at him again.

                In Kenosha, the rapist and domestic abuser who was violating a restraining order and trying to steal a car, with kids in it, resisted arrest, sloughed off two taser attempts, had a knife in his hand, and was desperately trying to get something in the vehicle.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Again, you don’t seem to be advancing any hypothesis.”

                Chip, “you’re wrong” neither implies an alternate theory nor obligates the speaker to present one. And “your theory is wrong therefore mine is right because I Was First” is not how logic works.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      “I submit to you: those places have just as much of a Republican-temperment percentage of folks in the government as anyplace else.”

      It’s the mid-to-late 2000s again, with talk of DINOs and Blue Dog Democrats…Report

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