Our Next Republican President

Finding a gap in the Blue Wall was going to be nearly impossible in 2016 no matter who the party nominated. As the primary process descends into the political equivalent of a toxic waste spill, that goal has receded from view. We have been Trumped. Merely keeping the party intact will be a noteworthy accomplishment.

Even the greatest dynasties in pro sports occasionally go through a ‘rebuilding’ phase. Cycles of retirement, injuries, or poor draft choices can lead to a slump. Sometimes the only way to recover is to trade away a few key players and plan to endure several difficult years on the way back to the top.

Republicans are facing just such a rebuilding phase. With no shot at national relevance in the immediate future it would make sense to invest energy in a long term plan.

It isn’t terribly difficult to conjure up the profile of the next Republican President. Our problem is that the party, as currently composed, is incapable of cultivating and eventually nominating such a figure. In order to set down a marker, let’s describe the likely characteristics of that winning candidate.

Former Governor or business figure or both

Of the sixteen current candidates for the nomination, eleven of them have either been a Governor or have never served in office. That’s not an accident.

Under current conditions, deep ties to the party are a virtual disqualification for national office. Almost anyone who has experienced sustained success in the existing party infrastructure would fail to meet the requirements for national political appeal.

If our next GOP President has served in a public office, he will likely have been a Governor. Of all the major offices, Governor demands the least in terms of party involvement and offers the most individual independence. If she isn’t a former Governor she will probably be a business executive of some kind.

From a Northern state

Republican politics in the solidly red states of the South and Mountain West virtually guarantee a dead weight of nationally unpopular positions. Our next Republican President will have mastered the art of being a Republican in an urban, northern environment.

Nominally pro-life

It is inconceivable that the GOP could produce a truly pro-choice nominee at any point in the near future. Our next successful nominee will more or less successfully label himself “pro-life” while keeping his distance from the real pro-life agenda – just like Ronald Reagan*. No one is going to win a national election while embracing the creepy fetishists who parade under eight-foot posters of aborted fetuses. Maintaining a safe distance from anti-abortion enthusiasts while maintaining a veneer of inoffensive pro-lifeishness will be an essential key to success. It will also be the most challenging element of the nominating process.

Disinterested in social conservatism

Our next Republican President will have no interest in homosexuality, school prayer, or any other component of the campaign to legislate white, Protestant Christianity. She will probably have nice things to say about church and God and family, and angels and so on. Meanwhile, religious priorities will appear nowhere on her policy agenda.

Willing to acknowledge the Four Inescapable Realities

Failure to acknowledge these four truths means being as categorically, empirically wrong as it’s possible to be in the otherwise mushy, gray realm of politics:

1) Climate change is real and it is caused primarily by human activity.

2) Human beings evolved from simpler life forms, and the same evolutionary process shapes all living systems.

3) Abortion is a complex issue because it involves two legitimate liberty interests in conflict with one another.

4) Race still skews economic outcomes in the United States.

The next Republican President will openly embrace all of these four inescapable realities.

More concerned about regulation than taxes

Supply side economics is an abject failure. Many wealthy donors like it because it cuts their taxes. Far right conservatives like it because it weakens government. Anyone who actually cares about so-called ‘fiscal conservatism’ has to acknowledge that it has been a train wreck and move on.

Modest variations in the tax rate have no impact on growth. A tax rate, as long as it is stable, predictable, and below a certain confiscatory maximum, is just another cost of doing business. Jiggling it up or down has no effect on anything other than government revenue.

On the other hand, our regulatory and bureaucratic climate has a significant impact on growth. Our next Republican President will care less about tax rates than about tax transparency and cost-effective regulation.

Not frightened by brown people

Our next Republican President will be capable of being surrounded by a black or Hispanic audience without breaking into flop-sweats. Until we nominate a guy who can win 40% of the Hispanic vote and 15-20% of African-Americans, no Republican will enter the White House grounds except as a guest (or perhaps by gliding onto the lawn in an ultralight).

She will campaign intelligently on the South side of Chicago, in Detroit, and in Trenton. She will speak at every major national assembly of the Urban League, the NAACP, and La Raza without condescension or hostility. By doing so, she will break the Blue Wall and win at least two of these five states: Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan or Pennsylvania.

Republicans already have major figures that possess these qualities. GOP Governors in Massachusetts and Illinois match this wish list virtually line by line. However, we probably won’t be able to get someone with this combination of qualities on a Presidential ballot until the Republican Party is capable of producing a lot more of them. One Bruce Rauner is not enough.

Governor Rauner and Governor Baker are rare outliers who emerged in spite of considerable intra-party resistance. Neither of them would stand a shadow of a chance of winning a GOP Presidential nomination under current conditions.

Once we understand the profile of a winning character the next step is to figure out how the party can cultivate them. That’s going to be the hard part.

*President Reagan understood how to recruit pro-life activists without being owned by them. As Governor of California he signed into law the nation’s most liberal pro-choice legislation. Never once did he make a personal appearance at the annual pro-life rally protesting Roe v. Wade. He addressed the rallies by phone, even when they were happening just down the street from the White House. On social issues, especially abortion, Reagan said all the right things while never allowing those issues to intrude on his legislative agenda.

And as a side-note for those who don’t remember, Saint Ronny also caught holy hell from his fellow Republicans for negotiating a landmark treaty with America’s greatest enemy. Just sayin…

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in blue wall, Climate Change, Religious Right, Republican Party
139 comments on “Our Next Republican President
  1. I consider myself a political liberal who has voted either Democratic or Green for the last 15 years or so. Not because I’m loyal to the Democratic Party, but because the Republican Party no longer resembles the one I grew up with (I’m 66). That said, there is nothing in this post that I strongly disagree with and much that I think is dead on. A Republican who shared the values outlined here is one I could seriously consider voting for.

  2. 1mime says:

    The beginning of the GOP Presidential Campaign cycle offers ongoing interesting post opportunities. The University of VA Politics, under the monitor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, had an interesting piece today on “The Angry American Voter”, authored by A. Abramowitz and S. Webster:

    “What makes partisan anger especially significant is that it is greatest among the most politically engaged and active members of the electorate. An analysis of the 2012 ANES data shows that there was a very strong relationship between political involvement and anger….What matters most to voters is not whom you love, but whom you loathe. No matter who wins the Democratic and Republican nominations next year, we can expect anger at the opposing party’s candidate to run high, and we can expect both parties’ nominees to seek to tap into this anger in order to energize and mobilize their supporters. It promises to be a long and nasty campaign.”

    Hence, the PP video to rile up the base, regardless of accuracy of claims of illegal sales of fetal tissue, and hype about undocumented murderers and rapists crossing the border illegally…..Fire up the base; put ’em to work canvassing neighborhoods, working phone banks, sending donations, etc. Once people become emotionally angry, for whatever reason – true or false, they will volunteer and will vote. Their motivation is much stronger than the average American voter who is simply exercising his right to vote. Tea Party anyone? They learned this lesson well and have continued to be a force in American politics despite their narrow politics.

    http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/the-angry-american-voter/

  3. Manhattan says:

    You know goplifer, I was thinking about something a friend had said once. The Republican Party could be all of those things and still not win the White House in the future (i.e. Thomas Dewey in 1944 and 1948). My friend said they have to connect with voters during uncertain times and right now they don’t with the economy recovering, gay marriage passed and other things.

    A big reason why my generation (Millennials) don’t vote Republican is not because of the lack of diversity or not supporting gay marriage. We feel the party is stuck in the past always doing Ronald Reagan worship when most of us were little children during his time and it doesn’t connect with us or answer our needs. I remember watching Republican debates and you can make a drinking game of how many times the Gipper was mentioned. George W Bush and the Iraq War didn’t help either. It will be a struggle to win us, I’d try to focus on Centennials next.

    In regards to minority voters, first the party will have to painfully acknowledge Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater WERE NOT saints especially on race. I don’t think that needs to be explained because you can look up their mistakes on the Internet. But that may be a little too much to ask for today’s Republicans. The real difference between the two parties on diversity is that Republicans reach out during elections and Democrats reach out year round.

    It amazed me reading conservative articles and despite losing 70% of minority voters in the 2012 election, conservatives were just “Well, we need to get more whites out”. Talk about denial and some Democrats were cheering that on.

    One article made a good point about Reagan though: He is to Republicans to what FDR was to the Democrats.

    I also think too the Republican Leadership Council should be revived especially after the inevitable 2016 loss. I mean the Democratic Leadership Council is what got Democrats out of the wilderness during the 1980’s and early 1990’s and offered ideas that weren’t standard liberal fare. There is really no counterpart to the Tea Party unfortunately because the moderates are being cowards. The revived RLC would offer ideas that aren’t standard conservative fare that could win in areas and groups long ceded to the Democrats. It could lead to a revival of the moderate to liberal wing but that wing should call themselves something else to differentiate from the conservative wing, perhaps something like Lincoln Republicans or Roosevelt Republicans? They would be Republicans representing areas and groups that aren’t generally Republican like urban areas and Democratic groups and would look demographically like those areas and not the Catholic college I attended (read: upper middle class Christian whites)

    The next Republican President will probably be the Republican version of Bill Clinton that has to work with the other side to get things done and will probably piss off the old school Republicans with passing ideas that aren’t conservative ideas. My aunt still remembers the times when Democrats slammed Bill Clinton for passing the Welfare-to-Work Act.

    Also, I know the United Kingdom’s politics are different from politics here but I’m seeing a lot of parallels with the wilderness years for the Conservatives there from 1997-2010. After losing the 1997 election in England after 18 years of ruling, they felt they didn’t need to change and went more right wing and the 2001 and 2005 elections they ran on campaigns that had xenophobic elements and lost horribly. Sound familiar? After 2005, they got people who were in touch with the times like David Cameron and ended up winning the 2010 and 2015 general elections. But however, they barely won a majority in 2015 and there were new challenges the party has to face. I don’t see a David Cameron at all in the 2016 field nor did I see it in 2012 because those who were left the primaries like Gary Johnson and John Huntsman.

    I’d also fire the people at the RNC and replace with them people who are from the 21st century and are not stuck in 1980.

    Long rant, I know I haven’t posted here in a while. I just needed to get this out, I’ve been busy at work and have been thinking about going back to school.

    Nice to see you all again!

  4. 1mime says:

    Citizens United is destroying campaign financing. This money can be used by candidates in many ways that tilt the playing field unfairly. The NYT article articulates it well. Thank you SCOTUS! America didn’t already have enough problems keeping our political process honest.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/01/us/politics/super-pacs-spent-millions-before-candidates-announced-filings-show.html?_r=0

    • flypusher says:

      But other than that, he’s a small gov’t conservative, amirite??

    • Creigh says:

      This would appear to be a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act, which limit the use of Federal troops domestically. But you gotta love Conservatism, right?

      • texan5142 says:

        To borrow a phrase from lifer with a wee bit change, the huckster could be called a malignant republican.

  5. 1mime says:

    You know things are ramping up when Rick Perry is the GOP candidate making sense. Though I disagree with him on many issues, he’s mostly correct in his position on regulatory banking policy. I guess this is the only way we’ll find out what the Republican candidates positions are because we sure won’t learn anything at the debates.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122433/rick-perry-has-finally-discovered-wonders-financial-regulation?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=TNR%20Daily%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter%20-%207%2F31%2F15

  6. 1mime says:

    A few thoughts about contemporary events –

    If it weren’t for the body camera, the Cincinnati policeman who shot the black man in his car would be a free man. He lied but the camera didn’t. When are body cameras going to be declared mandatory equipment for all law enforcement?

    Another child was killed in Texas this week at home playing with a gun. He was 8 years old. This is the 6th death of a child due to guns in Texas this year.

    The plethora of Republican candidates who will participate in the GOP debates will result in sound bites, not substance. This superficial event when combined with huge sums of PAC money, guarantee voters will learn only that which the message handlers deem appropriate. Welcome to America’s political campaign process!

    The federal highway transportation budget has had 34 short-term extensions. This nation depends upon its vast highway/bridge system for commerce. Try running a business this large with this kind of continuing uncertainty.

    • vikinghou says:

      A careless gun owner should serve serious jail time if a child is injured or killed while playing with his/her gun.

      • http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/txstatutes/PE/10/46/46.13

        The crime you describe is classified as a class A misdemeanor. In Texas, class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both jail time and a fine. I’d be perfectly happy to bump it to a 2nd or 3rd degree felony. There is simply no excuse not to properly secure firearms, particularly when children are part of the equation.

      • 1mime says:

        Somehow, Tracy, the punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime. The loss of a child for any reason is immeasurable, to lose them in a preventable accident, is even more tragic. There are people who have guns who shouldn’t, we all know that. They neither take the time to learn how to use them properly nor properly store them. Sadly, these people feel they “need” a gun in the house. Jail time may be a lesson but it is not the answer. The family is destroyed and an innocent life is snuffed out.

      • flypusher says:

        In addition to jail time, anyone who fails to secure a gun and a child is shot because of it, should be required to record a PSA, where they must tell everyone exactly how stupid/ careless/ irresponsible they were, and how the kid is now dead/ maimed for life because of it.

      • Well, fly & 1mime, one might posit that the loss of your own child due to your own stupidity might be punishment enough. When it comes to punishment, I’m more concerned about what happens when your child’s best friend from across the street is shot by your child due to your own stupidity. It seems to me that a class A misdemeanor is a bit light in that circumstance. (Of course, the criminal penalty is likely to pale in comparison to the civil court wrongful death suit penalty.)

      • 1mime says:

        Good point, Tracy. Either way, children shouldn’t die because of unsecured guns –

      • No argument there, 1mime. Then again, in the words of the immortal Ron White, “You can’t fix stupid.”

    • 1mime says:

      I’ve commented before on the Ex-Im re-authorization debacle – the latest target/victim of the TP wing in Congress. Here is an entity that serves American businesses as a funder of last resort, that makes a healthy profit ($675M to the U.S. Treasury in its last fiscal year), supports tens of thousands of American jobs, has strong support from the business community, yet has effectively been put out of business by conservative extremists by refusing to reauthorize it, most notably, Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/01/opinion/revenge-of-the-ideologues-killing-the-export-import-bank.html?ref=opinion

      The argument is that since the loans issued by the Ex-Im Bank are more “risky” than those a traditional bank would approve, they have no place in the public domain. If the Ex-IM bank weren’t making a profit – consistently – over the years, this might hold water. A peek at the donor list for Rep. Hensarling (the primary opponent and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee) raises questions about what might be motivating his opposition to the EX-IM Bank.

      https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?type=C&cid=N00024922&newMem=N&cycle=2014

      And, this is how Republicans govern?

  7. vikinghou says:

    This morning Morning Joe ran a NH focus group discussion about Trump. It starts at about 2:30 in the attached video. The GOP has a real problem.

    http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/nh-focus-group-finds-the-positives-in-trump-494070851605

  8. flypusher says:

    FYI, here’s an ugly new term from the cesspits of political discourse:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122372/conservatives-are-holding-conversation-about-race

    I guess RINO just wasn’t insulting enough anymore?

    • texan5142 says:

      You guessed right, the purity test is alive and well within the GOP.

    • BigWilly says:

      I advise the GOP to ban this term.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Why??? This is the same group that used the term teabagger to describe themselves.

      • flypusher says:

        Any GOPer with a shred of deceny and/or any ability to think long term will shun that word like the plague. The ones with moral courage will call out those who speak it, and those who say it or imply it have marked themselves as racist, sexist assholes.

        Shall we bet when Trump says it/obviously implies it.

      • 1mime says:

        One would hope, Fly, but then I recall the awful names hurled at our President and I’ m not sure there are boundaries of decency anymore among conservatives. “Boy, birther, You lie”…
        It’s been real ugly and the difference seems to be that these terms are publicly pronounced, no longer kept within the intimate circle of like associates.

  9. 1mime says:

    If Democrats were smart (?!), they would aggressively support the new US Dept of Labor rule change that makes it more difficult for companies to classify workers as independent contractors. This change would be significant in helping labor gain access to overtime, unemployment and insurance benefits, workers compensation and minimum wage protections in addition to having employers contribute to SS and Medicare taxes.

    I expect Republicans to vehemently oppose it. The rule would expand the existing determination of employment status which principally focuses on “who controls where, when and how the work is done”, as a means test for independent contractor classification, and will add “economic realities” of the work arrangement. IOW, is the worker economically dependent on the company, or, is he/she truly in business for him/herself? According to the article (Houston Chronicle, 7/30/15, lmSixel), this rule will make it much harder to prove someone is an independent contractor.

    For way too long, businesses have abrogated their responsibility to many of the people who work full time for them by classifying them as independent contractors. This has had the net effect of stripping these dedicated workers from the benefits cited above even as they work on a “permanent” full time basis for the company. It’s wrong and it’s time it is changed. We talk a great deal on this site about income divide. Here is a classic example of a way working people are deprived of benefits that would enable them to be more productive providers and contribute to commerce – IOW, participate in the broader economy. Sure, the bottom line of business will be impacted, but this practice should never have been allowed. Interestingly, not mentioned in the article is the fact that it will make employers more traceable for hiring illegals – which practice also beefs up their bottom lines. I would think conservatives would be all over that….except that, once again, it’s all about “whose” bottom line. It’s unfair to criticize labor for being “takers” when in actuality, it’s the employers who have been takers. Give these hard-working people a chance to engage. We all will benefit, in the long run.

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/columnists/sixel/article/Labor-Dept-takes-harder-line-on-classifying-6413004.php

  10. Hmm. Sounds like Chris wants Rauner to change his name to “Caitlyn” and start wearing a dress… 😉

  11. parhiscan says:

    You call the GMO debate a food babe initiated crisis. How does the World Health Organization branding it “most likely a cancer causing substance” figure into the food babe having that much influence. Germany says it will be free of GMOs by 2018 and many other J are taking a stronger stance on it. The Republican introduced the Monstato bill and threw states rights under the bus. 3 states and many different localities have voted to make GMO labeling a law and if this legislation passes the Senate those states have no rights. They also voted to put GMOs under the “natural” heading. It is not the seeds it is the huge amount of herbicides and pesticides applied. Our food is being bathed in chemicals. Why not just wash it off? You can’t, it is in the plant growing the produce, so it is also inside the produce. If you compare the main ingredient glyphosate it has the same ingredients as Agent Orange. Just remember the issue of antibiotics in our meat supply was raised by the same people and was poo pooed by the establishment. Here we are a few years down the pike and we find the over use of antibiotics has given us illnesses that don’t respond to antibiotics. The health care establishment has raised the alarm that should we have a pandemic we have no tools to combat it

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, there are extremes in everything. (not just politics (-: ) There is also truth. Having gardened for years, I can unequivocally attest to the benefit of “natural” foods. I don’t buy into the theory that genetic modification is always harmful, but I do believe that there are harmful products and hybridizing techniques applied to some of our food supply. What this really says is that many American people don’t trust business – which, after all, is the main proponent of genetic modification of food for human consumption. I wouldn’t knowingly eat a product that had been dusted with DDT, but I did use both chemical and organic fertilizers in our garden and am still standing, so guess that should tell me something. Balance – reason – should temper the discussion and process.

        As Uncle Ronnie said: “Trust but verify”. That goes for food supply too!

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        The motivations of corporations that insert GMO into their products are as important as any potential health effects, I feel.

        Corporate patenting of a widely available crop seed because of an additional GMO ingredient may not be a good idea for the rest of us.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        And if it’s so damn harmless, let’s just include it on the label. When the next food fad comes along, nobody will pay it any mind.

      • Griffin says:

        There’s another downside to Organic Foods, it requires much more land to grow them than in comparison to GMO’s.

        http://science.time.com/2012/04/26/whole-food-blues-why-organic-agriculture-may-not-be-so-sustainable/

        GMO’s feed more people and save more land, as long as they are regulated they are largely much more efficient than Organic foods. I don’t really like using the term “GMO”, we have been genetically modifying our foods for a very long time. We should be investing in it to make it even more efficient, not regressing from it.

        Also about Organic Foods “tasting” better, it’s largely accepted to be a placebo effect, but it’s ultimately up to you which you like better.

      • Crogged says:

        Well, you can eat rocks and sand and not get any ‘genetic’ material.

        Yes, copyright and patent laws are one of my favorite things to bully-but breeding animals and plants isn’t where to take this battle.

      • johngalt says:

        Bobo, a couple of points. First, the deeper goals of the anti-GMO crowd pushing for labeling are not “for a more informed consumer.” It is to sow distrust in this process and the foods that results so that consumers opt out of them. This, they hope, will reduce demand and cause companies to abandon this technology as uneconomic. Basically they’re lying about the safety angle in order to push labeling and, after they’re labeled, will use that as a circular justification for why GMOs are bad (why would they have a label if they weren’t dangerous?). Chris’s Slate link is a long expose of the nonsense that anti-GMOs will perpetrate to advance their cause.

        Second, Monsanto and the others are patenting the seeds because they invented them, just like any other technological product. Nobody is forcing farmers to buy them and there are a vast array of other sources for non-engineered seeds. Farmers will only buy them if their farms make more money (higher yields, fewer pesticides, more drought tolerant) using Monsanto seed than conventional seed. If they don’t, then they won’t buy the stuff. True, Monsanto’s license agreements prohibit end-users from saving seed for the next season, as Microsoft’s license agreements prohibit end-users from doing all sorts of things with its software. Most farmers find it more efficient to buy seed than save it anyway, but for those who prefer to do it the other way, again, there are lots of non-Monsanto seed suppliers.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        JG, a couple of points:

        Food is not software.

        Consumer education hard so we not put ingredients on label. Poor us.

        Blindly trust corporate motivations?

      • johngalt says:

        Bobo, corporate motivation is to make money. That’s about as complex as it gets. The genetically engineered plants that Monsanto and others have invented cost a lot of money in development. They did not do this for charity. Farmers will buy this seed if it lets them make more money, also a pretty transparent motivation.

        Labeling foods as to their GM content is a ploy to sow distrust in them. It has nothing to do with consumer information. Foods are currently labeled with nutritional content and the nutritional content of GM vs. non-GM foods are identical. You might as well make producers label packages of ground beef with the name of the cow it came from.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        label packages of ground beef with the name of the cow it came from.

        I’m all for that.

      • goplifer says:

        Proudly brought to you by Cecil the Cow.

      • 1mime says:

        And, that’s no bull (-:

      • Or, you can kill and butcher your own meat. That way you develop an appreciation for where it comes from, not to mention a bit of respect for the creatures whose lives we take to maintain our own. Participate in that process but once, and you’ll never look at a cellophane-wrapped steak the same way again.

    • johngalt says:

      And this debate about GMOs is being conducted by people with the scientific awareness of a gnat. According to an Oklahoma State survey, 80% of Americans support mandatory labeling of any food product containing DNA.
      http://agecon.okstate.edu/faculty/publications/4975.pdf

      Every single land-based crop or animal you’ve even ingested has been genetically modified by humans so as to be unrecognizable next to its origin (Google “teosinte” and see if that looks much like corn). True, this has been by selective breeding, but why is this better than genetic engineering? It’s slower, less precise, more limited in range of outcomes, and there is not a shred of evidence that it’s any safer, since none of these traditional products have been subjected to any safety testing whatsoever.

      What anti-GMO activists are really saying is that they want people to starve to death. Most of those will be brown-skinned children. Maybe they’re working on a miracle new food product that isn’t genetically modified; maybe they can call it Soylent Green.

      • Crogged says:

        Being a Luddite isn’t specific to political orientation.

      • Griffin says:

        Indeed Crogged if there’s any evidence of that it’s Mike “The Ranger” Adams. If Chris thinks Food Babe is as crazy as they get… ok she is but it’s still pretty interesting to see Adams as one of the “biggest” names in anti-gmo pseudoscience who mixes hard green viewpoints with a broadly reactionary paleolibertarian political philosophy.

        Unlike global warming denialism which has think tanks, lobbyists, and pundits with wider audiences actively trying to intermix global warming denialism with right-wing views the anti-gmo folks might have some of that but most are too disorganized and fringe to associate with any particluar political party, hence why they just attract crackpots in on both sides of aisle. Skip down to the “GMO” and “vaccine” sections of this paper to see studies on this phenomenon: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/left-science-gmo-vaccines

        Those that do intermix such beliefs with far-left politics suffer from the typical issues the extreme-left suffers from: A disproportionate focus on ideological purity that makes it difficult for them to work with even each other, a distrust of government to the point where they won’t even join it (they think the reVOLuTioN is coming anyways), and having the attention span of a goldfish. Chris’ prediction that the Dems could fall to the anti-science left or, the more likely scenario in my opinion, we will see the rise of some anti-science left working outside the Dems if Chris is right (I think he is) about more political parties/institutions/candidates forming with the gradual downfall of both parties (think far-left, anti-GMO independent ticket) could pan out but they need to more effectively intermix their beliefs with the political left AND stick together. Oh and they need more money. Probably.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Griffin, I think the fundamental difference in the anti science right (I. E climate change denialism) and why I don’t fear a takeover of the Dem party is that while both anti science groups share some characteristics, a huge one they DON’T share is hundreds of billions of dollars from Big Oil churning out propaganda. And they don’t have nationally elected politicians in their back pocket.

        The fractured, unorganized state ofnthe leftist deniers is the “natural” state for all fringe views. Thas what the right would be like right now if they didn’t have insane amounts of money.

        There is no moneyed special interests willing and able to spend billions promoting the rights denialism.

      • Doug says:

        “Griffin, I think the fundamental difference in the anti science right (I. E climate change denialism) and why I don’t fear a takeover of the Dem party is that while both anti science groups share some characteristics, a huge one they DON’T share is hundreds of billions of dollars from Big Oil churning out propaganda.”

        The fundamental difference is that the comparison goes the other way. Al Gore is the perfect analog of the food babe, except he got fabulously wealthy off his performance. Both the ant-GMO and AGW alarmists want the government to pass laws that will harm poor people.

        And hundreds of billions? Seriously? Greenpeace claims Koch spent ~$80 million. Another site pegs Exxon at $30 million. I’m thinking you’re off by several orders of magnitude.

    • EJ says:

      Germany is sadly a morass of idiots when it comes to GMOs.

      People have this image in their minds of the noble smallholder farmer who befriends his animals, lives a healthy rustic life, is insulated from business realities and doesn’t rely on swarms of poorly-paid (often foreign) labour; an image which manages the remarkable feat of being both totally wrong about how farming is nowadays, and how farming was in the “good old days.”

      Until this misperception is corrected in the public mind, nobody is going to be able to hold a grownup discussion about agriculture because nobody is going to be arguing about actual reality. This includes the GMO debate amongst others.

  12. Rob Ambrose says:

    Fantastic article from a really, really smart dude.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/07/29/noam_chomsky_the_united_states_is_totally_isolated_partner/

    Chomsky touches on a lot of issues we talk about here: the corporatization of politics, how the power structures dupe regular people into voting against their own interests, the tyranny of American style “libertarianism”, and how the corportocracy managed to turn the common man against labor unions with divide and conquer strategies.

    One tactic he points out specifically is what Walker did where the state negotiated strong benefits packages (which they later demonized) BUT at lower salary (which they conveniently never mention). The workers are paying for their own benefits by agreeing to lower salary.

    But afterwards, that’s never mentioned. They chirp about the generous benefits without context to whip up public outrage and THEN reduce the benefits (but of course never raise salaries to previous levels).

    These scumbags would have us all working in indentured slavery if we let them.

  13. James Montgomery says:

    Thank you, Chris Ladd! Your latest “Gap Blue Wall” is a wonderful compendium of truths! If there were more Republicans with your knowledge, vision and wisdom, many of us would not have fled the party so long ago. The biggest danger to our democracy comes not from without; but from within! We desperately need a healthy two-party republic in order to proceed through the minefield of the future!

  14. tuttabellamia says:

    Allow me to predict the cause of Mr. Trump’s eventual downfall: He will admit that he is not truly pro-life/anti-abortion and will challenge his political rivals to do the same. He is too honest to keep up the charade.

    It will be enough to alienate social conservatives but not enough to attract moderates.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      It may also come out that he is actually an atheist or an agnostic, and he will take full credit for his life’s accomplishments, saying that God had little or nothing to do with it.

    • 1mime says:

      Tutta, the dust will settle. It should be obvious to all that the reason T is appealing is that it appears he is speaking the unvarnished truth – as he sees it. Americans are hungry for that. Sanders evokes a similar response for the same reason. Americans also need someone who can govern and that simple fact will prevail at the ballot box.

      Would that we could have a President like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (Executive Orders….one of his best novels/1996) who must assemble almost an entire government after a massive attack on the Capital. He appeals to the electorate (who elects members of the House) and the nations’ governors (who must appoint the Senators):

      “Please do not send me politicians. We do not have the time to do the things that must be done throught the process. I need people who do real things in the real world. I need people who do not want to live in Washington. I need people who will not try to work the system. I need people who will come here at great personal sacrifice to do an important job, and then return home to their normal lives. I want engineers who know how things are built. I want physicians who know how to make sick people well. I want cops who know what it means when your civil rights are violated by a criminal. I want farmers who grow real food on real farms. I want people who know what it’s like to have dirty hands, and pay a mortgage bill, and raise kids, and worry about the future. I want people who know they’re working for you – and not themselves. That’s what I want. That’s what I need. I think that’s what a lot of you want, too.” He further admonishes them, “Once those people get here, it’s your job to keep an yey on them, to make sure they keep their word, to make sure they keep faith with you. This is YOUR government…..It’s all a X&%(!)# game here, and the object of the game isn’t to do the right thing, the object of the game is to STAY here….”

      “..the country needs people who know how to do things….government is by nature inefficient. We can’t make it more efficient by selecting people who have always worked in government. The idea the FF had was for citizen legislators, not for a permanent ruling class.”

      Fairy tale or not, Americans want this, and that is what is driving people to seek out candidates who they perceive are telling it like it is – even if the messenger is flawed.

      If only it were real.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, the problem is that citizen legislators, “real people,” get eaten up by the professional politicians. It’s a jungle. Is it possible to gradually replace the bloated legislative, political system that’s in place? We would need a large quantity of “real people” with an incredibly stubborn streak (numbers plus resistance may equal success). Of course, it’s not enough to be a “real person.” Your policy positions need to be fair and workable.

        Populism has recently been “popular” on both sides of the aisle — whether it’s the Tea Party on the Right or the Occupy movement on the Left.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta – Then, we need to change it, don’t we? If the people we have aren’t the people we need, only the electorate can change that. The politicians certainly won’t. This is Lifer’s point (as I understand it) – there needs to be a paradigm shift. The people’s choice shouldn’t always come down to the “lesser of the evils”. We need a government that works – for the people. If that person is a Republican who has his/her head on straight, I could live with that.
        That’s how the system is supposed to work – but we at least should have good choices.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I’m afraid I’ve become overly cynical about the political process, almost to the point of apathy, and at this stage in my life I’m more likely to retreat into my own little world and the only thing I would ask is that I be left alone while the rest of the world continues on its merry way.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        As I posted here before, it’s not just the politics of crazy, it’s that POLITICS MAKES PEOPLE CRAZY. I’ve grown weary of everything being viewed through a political prism, and everyone being on the defensive, ready to lash out, or simply being judgmental.

        It used to be that when I heard about someone being ill, my immediate reaction was sympathy for their plight. Now the first thing that comes to my mind is “I wonder if they have health insurance.” I don’t want to think that way anymore.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        mime, it was real to some extent, once.

        Remember the Peace Corps? People signed up to do stuff, to make a difference.

      • Creigh says:

        I believe in the sequel to “Executive Orders,” Jack Ryan became King Jack the First, and the final volume of the series was about his grandson, King Joffrey.

      • 1mime says:

        Ha! Clancy’s novels are on my “bucket reading list”. I’ve read quite a few, but not all. He was such a fine writer…so sad he died at age 66….just as mysteriously as his novels.

      • Crogged says:

        Unfortunately politics requires politicians. You won’t get more efficient plumbing by hiring an electrician.

      • 1mime says:

        But you do hire “good” plumbers, Crogged. And, you do expect that the service you paid for will work. The Jack Ryan example was a “feel good” one that I thought the gang would enjoy, not aspire to. (That would be a tad over the top.) The process we have in America is a political one, albeit flawed, and, unfortunately, “citizen legislators” are anachronismx at the state and federal level. Thankfully, at the local level, we can still find “good” plumbers. The political system we have IS NOT working. That is due to lots of factors which Lifer has extolled, but it is hurting our country. The roiling within the Republican ranks is indicative of deeper problems and we can all make our best guess as to how that will play out….and when. Dems have their own issues but at least seem to be managing better than the GOP…..at least there is a semblance of order within the party and fewer prima donnas.

      • Crogged says:

        We have a political systems which gives us what we deserve-a nation of over 200 million ‘deciders’ with competing interests. I’m not going to fall into the cynicism of ‘nothing is working’ and ‘all is doomed’-such attitudes are bullshit. We’ve expanded the reach of our health care system downward. Rather than bombing the shit out of everything moving in the Middle East we try to talk to them (or in Syria’s case-make it Russia’s problem). Am I worried about the possibility of a Baptist minister who believes in the literal objective factual ‘truth’ of the Book of Revelations becoming President? Not so much-not really. Donald Trump will find a way to bankrupt his candidacy, and profit at the same time. Walker will make that face every time he doesn’t answer a question. Jeb will double down on the Romney two faced approach and Hillary will not be as good as we have it now. People will talk about the oncoming avalanche of debt, then die of old age. It works, imperfectly, like us.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s a very positive view, Crogged. I am probably too negative when assessing the current political process as I am disappointed in how things are going. However, I never give up hope that things will be better. The system isn’t doomed, but it is real dysfunctional and that needs to change. If that’s BS, so be it. Like you, I am grateful for our President for so many things, including those you listed. I’ll work on being more positive (-:

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I think you are the most positive person on this blog. You acknowledge there are problems, but you are optimistic regarding solutions and are willing to work for them. You haven’t allowed yourself to become cynical. Plus, you’re diplomatic. You’re a pragmatist.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, what a nice thing to say! Thank you. I’m not sure all here agree, but, that’s ok, too. I admit to being frustrated (and disgusted), and, like you, soldier on. Our Democracy is too important to ever give up on it even when it seems beyond saving.

  15. Rob Ambrose says:

    Ol Bernie gets 4500 out to a rally. In Louisiana. Where the topic was ending the dependence on oil.

    These are strange times.

  16. Rob Ambrose says:

    So, this seems like an awfully bizarre thing for Trumps lawyer to say.

    I had to scan it for a little while a few times to make sure it wasn’t satire. Also, my brother came over earlier and we smoked a joint together so I may just be a little high still, but this reads absolutely incredible.

    The DB reporter must be publishing what this Cohen character thought was off the record. He’s clearly publishing the verbatim conversation in order to humiliate the guy.

    Which is a job well done. This guy is a total moron.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/27/ex-wife-donald-trump-made-feel-violated-during-sex.html

  17. Just a few comments about “abortion”
    If you believe that a fertilised ova is a “person” and you are aiming to kill as few “persons” as is possible
    (1) most effective – Kill all female children before they start their periods
    (2) Prevent all sex

    Assuming that those two are not viable

    (3) Have universally available or compulsory contraception

    Last and kills the most is to carry on the way we do at present
    Noting that actual physical “abortion” kills less than 1% of the “person’s” killed
    The others die naturally and more are killed by people living “the way nature intended” than by “liberals” using contraception

  18. WX Wall says:

    let’s see:
    -Governor of a blue state
    -Hollywood media elite
    -Union boss
    -Divorced
    -Reduced our nuclear arsenal
    -Negotiated with the commies
    -Solved social security crisis by raising taxes
    -Responded to a banking crisis by jailing hundreds of executives and creating new regulations

    Yep. Nevermind the Republicans. If Ronald Reagan ran today, he’d be too liberal to win the *Democratic* primary…

  19. 1mime says:

    NYT had an interesting viewpoint regarding Jeb Bush’s campaign strategy: He will select John Kasich as VP, thus picking up the huge electoral votes from OH and FL, which gives him a good chance of penetrating the Blue Wall. Even though Obama won in OH, with a popular governor running, it could go to the GOP.

    • Hmm. That’s an interesting combo.

      I wouldn’t dare to question the impregnability of the blue wall, but then again, the conventional wisdom of the time held that Reagan would never penetrate the blue wall of his day.

      I like Kasich, but I find it hard to forgive him for his ‘yes’ vote on the ’94 MSR ban bill. (He’s since walked that one back, but some of us have memories that are too long to be convenient for politicians.)

  20. tuttabellamia says:

    I nominate SUSANA MARTINEZ, governor of New Mexico.

    • objv says:

      I’ll second that! 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OV: Off topic, but on the subject of New Mexico, I thought of you the other day while watching ACE IN THE HOLE, about a miner trapped underground in New Mexico, and the opportunistic journalist delaying his rescue so as to continue milking the story for as long as possible.

    • 1mime says:

      What about Patty Murra(WA) or Kirsten Gillibrand(NY)? I also like Susan Collins (Maine).

  21. Rob Ambrose says:

    OT – Jindal suspends his presidential campaign, and even starts talking gun control. Very tiny improvements, but at this point, anything is a good thing.

    Jindal would be wise to sit this one out and regroup. He’s a smart guy, I do believe that. He’s just had to pretend to be dumb as that’s the cost of admission to the current t GOP nomination.

    But the “new” GOP that Lifer is speculating about that could rise out of the ashes of the 2016 campaign seems like a much better place for Jindal, if he doesn’t get too crazy right now and say things that will haunt him.

    The guys young enough that he can play a substantial role in this new entity (if it ever shows up). In fact, the attributes Lifer mentions in his “next republican president” list kind of looks (if you squint a little) like Jindal could slot in there nicely.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Jindal has shown no evidence that he can put together a coherent thought under the pressure of national exposure.

      I’m confident the man is smart (it is hard to get to those position without being at least a little smart – even in Texas and Louisiana), but he really comes across as a bit clueless on the big stage.

      If Jindal is the savior of a political party, that party shouldn’t be saved.

      • johngalt says:

        Indeed, his performance in the Muslims-in-London bit was particularly cringe-worthy. The only chance Jindal has of seeing the Oval Office is on a White House tour. He hasn’t actually suspended his campaign (which is I thought what Rob implied), but he is halfway through it:
        http://www.theonion.com/article/bobby-jindal-not-sure-he-willing-to-put-family-thr-37864

      • 1mime says:

        There’s “smart”, and then, there’s “intelligent”. I concur about Jindal’s future…There’s a reason why he has raised so little money….Poor guy, he doesn’t know how to do anything but run for office….then, if he wins, he has so much trouble “governing”. That’s the problem with lots of politicians: they can run, but they can’t govern.

    • 1mime says:

      Rob, most of my siblings live in LA. They are well-educated, and equally divided between conservative and liberal. They ALL think Jindal has been a horrible governor. He does not have the gravitas nor the ability to govern. In fact, Jindal may be the worst governor ever in LA….and that takes some doing! He will probably make his way up to D.C. and become a lobbyist….he knows nothing else!

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I will defer to your more relevent experiences with regards to Jindal Mime.

        I don’t actually know anyone in LA so my opinion comes only from what I hear in the national media.

        I hadn’t realized he was such an incompetent governor

    • Rob, Jindal wasn’t calling for more gun control, per se; he was calling for NICS to be fixed. (NICS is the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Every purchases of a firearm from a dealer is subject to a background check via NICS.) In both Lafayette and Charleston, the shooters were able to obtain firearms as a result of a failure of the NICS background check. In both case, the problems stemmed from data entry errors in the NICS database. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (www.nssf.org) sponsors a national program devoted to improving NICS called FixNICS (www.fixnics.org).

      You and I may disagree on the extent to which further gun laws might be prudent, but I think we can both agree that existing gun laws should be enforced. In the case of the instant background check system, that can only occur if information on prohibited persons is properly entered into the NICS database. I therefore urge you to support FixNICS.

  22. Rob Ambrose says:

    Depending on how they do in the debates, and their policies on a couple of othwr issues, I would vote for this republican over Hillary.

    To continue with your sports team rebuild analogy, Trump could actually be the best thing for the GOP.

    As a lifelong Leafs fan, I know that without a complete teardown and rebuild, mediocrity can persist for a long, long time.

    Rebuilding is no guarantee of future success, but WITHOUT a tear down, future success is effectively impossible.

    By tearing down the current concept of what the GOP is right now much quicker WITH Trump then without him, it hastens the purge necessary to make th GOP strong and relevent nationally again.

    • Tom says:

      The GOP will have to do the same thing the Democrats did starting around the 1960s: excise the Dixiecrats from the party.

      It was a long and painful process but aside from the fact that going against the Dixiecrats was the right thing to do, Democrats recognized the long-term implications of bending over backwards to their implications. The two parties would look far different today if a Republican President had taken the initiative on the Civil Rights Act.

      • 1mime says:

        “Woulda’, shoulda’, coulda'”….that’s Lifer’s point – the four inescapable truths are pivotal to GOP revival. The choice is theirs, at this point. Ultimately, the “people” will force the change, if they won’t. (And, that goes for Dems, as well.)

      • EJ says:

        At this point, to turn the Republican party around two steps would have to be accomplished:

        a) The fanatics would have to leave.

        b) A new constituency would have to be found to replace them.

        For (a), waiting thirty years might result in the old hate-filled white folks dying off and effecting some change, but other than that it would require extremely strong party leadership of the sort which the American political scene has not had since the days of Richard P. Daley (and hopefully will not have again.) The Republican party has no leadership committee capable of overruling huge swathes of its party faithful, and without that ability there is no effective means of wrestling the controls away from the fanatics.

        The difficulty with (a) is that there is no effective place for the fanatics to go. A schismatic Tea Party was discussed a few years ago, but it seems that idea has been discarded as unworkable. Until the fanatics gain a new electoral home, they’ll vote Republican and thus poison the party.

        For (b), there are various constituencies which could be sought. For example, those moderate centrists which have been driven into the Democratic party by years of Republican extremism; or the growing Spanish-speaking population of the US; or even the swelling ranks of the zero-hours dead-end services-worker class. These are all people who have no economic home and may be wooed. There are probably other groups too.

        The difficulty with (b) is that the name “Republican” is synonymous with hate and corruption to many people. One cannot attract a large Hispanic following until the Republican brand is cleansed of its nativist overtones. Similarly, appealing to educated urbanites will be difficult until the party has lost its religious dominionist overtones. The brand needs to be relaunched, which means the party needs to break with the past.

        To my analysis, this means that (b) cannot begin until (a) has concluded, and (a) cannot begin until there is another party which the fanatics are willing to move to. Therefore, I agree with Tom’s point, but with the rather gloomy proviso that I have no idea how to achieve this change.

        I’m a European lefty. I will in all likelihood never be permitted to vote in an American election, and even if I were I would be unlikely to vote Republican. However, a healthy democracy requires an effective opposition, which means that the most powerful nation in the free world needs at least two sane parties that can take turns at the helm. It is therefore very important to me that either the Republicans clean their house, or America grows another sane, effective political party. Godspeed.

      • 1mime says:

        EJ, maybe I am confused, but I thought you stated (somewhere along the way) that you are an American living in England? If this is true, why wouldn’t you be allowed to vote? If I misunderstood your status, just ignore this question.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        EJ – That’s why the GOP can’t just wait around for the TP types to leave. Like any parasite, they have no incentive to leave as long as their host is satisfying their needs.

        The only way to get rid of parasites is to make the host organism inhospitable to the parasite. If the parasite is a tapeworm, for example, that means taking medications to make the parasites environment toxic to it.

        In this case, it means policy changes enacted at the top levels designed to make the GOP an inhospitable host to these fruitcakes. Stop pandering to the lowest common denominator of the electorate and they will be forced to branch off and form their own party. Which will of course have no national support. As it should be.

      • EJ says:

        Does the GOP even have the organisational capacity to be able to enact changes at the top which are inhospitable to large chunks of the party faithful? That requires an enormous amount of party discipline of which there has been little evidence.

    • EJ says:

      1mime: I’m a German/South African living in England. I don’t get to vote in US elections.

      • 1mime says:

        I got your nationality wrong, EJ. Wish you could vote here….but, absent that right, I welcome your thoughtful comments about the “state” of America.

      • EJ says:

        I have a great and lasting fondness for the American Republic, and hope that that fair land resolves its present difficulties.

        Off-topic: A question for our host, if he’s reading. Chris, in your view is there still a large enough base of support for Hamiltonian ideas for them to be electorally viable? There’s been a discussion recently in British circles as to whether the decay of the traditional middle class has also resulted in a decay of traditional capitalist ideas and their growing nonviability at the polls. I’d be interested in your thoughts on that.

  23. BigWilly says:

    1) Influenced, but not driven.
    2) God created Adam.
    3) Abortion is murder.
    4) Race skews outcomes, but you need to consider the input.

    Tolerance doesn’t work. Compromise doesn’t work when you’re dealing with a “foe” whose ultimate design is your annihilation. Don’t tell me that’s not what’s afoot. Just like at the truly evil things I’ve seen written here by our dear friends on the left.

    For your enjoyment I’ve found a neat little article (actually two) that describes a multiple place of origin theory.

    http://phys.org/news/2005-07-scientists-genetic-evidence-southern-modern.html

    http://phys.org/news/2010-12-world-oldest-human-israel.html

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      BW…

      1) I’m a wacky liberal, but even I cringed a bit at this statement, “1) Climate change is real and it is caused primarily by human activity.”

      I’m certainly of the mindset that human activity is influencing (probably for the worse) climate change, but “caused primarily by human activity” is a bit too strong at this point.

      2) God created Adam – my snarky response was just going to be “hehehehehe”, but that would not be sensitive to others. Let’s just leave it as, “Maybe we shouldn’t let this impact our thinking about science”.

      3) If abortion is murder, you are probably going to have to deal with a fair amount of legal murder in your world. If abortion-murder is abortion-murder, then it may be difficult for you to compromise on solutions that reduce later-term abortions in favor of early term abortions (which is a shame because there are plenty of ways to reduce abortion). I’m also assuming that a fertilized egg is equivalent to a “person”, in which case, there are a whole lot of complicated “icky girly stuff” that is going to be problematic for folks.

      4) Certainly input matters, but when controlling for input, we still see some pretty big differences in output.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Homer, it really is primarily caused by humans. We can even quantify pretty accurately how much.

        A brief explanation: there are mainly two types of CO2 in the atmosphere (CO2 is CO2, but the number of isotopes it has is different depending on the source).

        Because carbon released from fossil fuels were plants that lived hundreds of millions of years ago (when the atmosphere had different concentrations of O2 and CO2) they are a different form of carbon then plants that grow up now. I’m simplifying it a bit, but in general, Carbon 13 (CO2 with 13 isotopes) Comes from fossil fuels. The ONLY known source of Carbon 13 in the atmosphere is from fossil fuels.

        So knowing that, we can not only tell that the CO2 is increasing, but by measuring th RATIOS of carbon 12 amd carbon 13, we can actually see HOW MUCH is caused by burning fossil fuels and how much is caused by non athropogenic sources (in other words, CO2 emissions that are going to happen regardless).

        As it stands, we know by measuring the ratios of these isotopes that since the 20th century, fossil fuels (and thus, human activity) is responsible for approximately 56% of all CO2 put into the atmosphere.

        So yes, climate change is real and it IS majority caused by human activities (not a massive majority, but a majority nonetheless).

        Here’s a link that explains it in a little more detail, as well as other evidence that supports it.

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/anthrocarbon-brief.html

        It’s not that thw science isn’t there. It’s that those who have already made up their minds don’t wish to see it.

      • Doug says:

        Rob, no offense intended, but you really should study some chemistry before attempting to post sciency stuff. That was atrocious. But isotopes aside, nobody disputes the fact that we’re adding CO2 to the atmosphere. The issue is how much warming the extra CO2 causes, and it is far from settled science.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Doug, I’m not a climate scientist nor did I ever claim to be. That was ju at my simplified, layman’s version.

        That’s why I posted the link of ppl WHO ARE scientists and they seem to think it’s pretty settled.

        They can tell very precisely how much carbon is put into the atmosphere by the ratio of carbon isotopes. It is the 54% range that I pointed out. These are facts .

        Is it as settled as, say, the theory of gravity? No perhaps not.

        But has it reached the level of scientific consensus that it’s far more likely then not and our environmental policies need to be formulated under the assumption that it’s real? Yes. Absolutely. By a long shot.

        The problem is, for climate denialists like yo ur self and others, by the time we get the absolute, 1 million % concrete proof that will finally satisfy you that it IS real and is going be really bad, it will be far too late to do anything.

        That’s why, politically, we need to stop trying to convince climate deniers. We need to just go ahead and enact the policies necessary to minimize the damage, with or without you support.

      • 1mime says:

        AMEN, Rob! Why wait until we can’t breathe the air or drink the water? We don’t have to quibble over terms, we do need to accept that man can and should take whatever steps are possible and reasonable to avert negative climate change. Why wait for everyone to get on board?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        First, a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit puts climate change in terms of cold, hard cash: It estimates that investors will lose $4.2 trillion between now and 2100 as a result of the changing climate, an amount about equal to the G.D.P. of Japan. If climate change is worse than expected, the loss could be as much as $13.8 trillion.

        The report notes that investors may not be able to avoid losses simply by altering their investments, because entire economies may be affected. And the time to act is now: “If investors wait until these risks actually manifest themselves, then the options they will have to deal with them will be significantly reduced,” the report cautions. “Future pensioners may see the security of their retirement jeopardized as a result of the climate risk that the asset managers charged with their investments are currently carrying.”

        A Quinnipiac University poll released last Thursday shows where the public is moving. A majority of voters in Colorado, Virginia and Iowa said they agreed with Pope Francis that more action is necessary to fight climate change.

        http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/27/bad-news-for-climate-change-deniers/?ref=opinion

      • Well, Rob, I must say that it certainly warms the cockles of an old stable isotope geochemist’s heart when somebody tosses δ13C into casual conversation. It is, of course, quite a bit more complicated than what you’ve laid out. Then again, nobody disputes that humans are significantly perturbing the concentration of what amounts to a trace gas in our atmosphere.

        What’s remains unsettled (outside of the political realm) is the hypothetical causal link between increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration and rising global temperature. With that in mind, perhaps you wouldn’t mind explaining the following (rather famous) graph:

        Please don’t forget to include an explanation for CO2 concentrations trailing temperature variations. And *especially* don’t forget to address the curious phenomenon of wide temperature and CO2 variations *prior* to the advent of those pesky hydrocarbon burning primates. Looking forward to it… 🙂

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      The only thing long term, institutionalized, consistantly evil force I see, both in the present and throughout human history, is a unwavering belief that God exists (but only “MY” God) and that he is happy when we kill or persecute everyone else who doesn’t believe the same thing.

      From ancient pagan rituals and human sacrifice, to the Inquisition and the Crusades, to the modern jihadist movement that convinces ignorant peaSanta to strap bombs on their chest and blow themselves up.

      It’s a special kind of irony when a person with the (generally) same beliefs as the perpetrators of so much evil, malice and misery calls other opinions “evil” when all they are doing is pointing out the inherent wrongness in such a belief.

      I’m not saying you, personally, are evil, or wish evil acts on anyone.

      It is undeniable though that people with your opinions and values (that is, an unquestioned belief in the supremacy of God as well as a belief that you’re right while every OTHER believer or non-believer is wrong) are the cause of the vast majority of human suffering and misery since time began.

      I believe that you are probably a good person Big Willy. I know your belief in God probably comes from a good place and you personally have no wish to do evil in the name of your psychotic deity.

      But so, so many JUST LIKE YOU have done so much evil in your God’s name that your comment has no credibility whatsoever.

      And I’m not generalizing against th Christian god. All the Abrahamic gods are just as psychotic and evil. They are all the same guy, after all. Allah and Yahweh and the God that sent Jesus to Earth are all the same being.

      And the sooner that hateful creature dies, the better humanity will be.

      • BigWilly says:

        Jesus was supposed to end blood sacrifice. No more blood. This is something that confuses me about the red heifer crowd. If Jesus was the blood sacrifice the satisfied God, why would he choose to reinstitute temple sacrifice? I can’t answer you that question, yet.

        The OT stuff (Old Testament) stuff is difficult to reconcile with the NT. The acts perpetrated in God’s name are difficult to reconcile with the God in whose name they are committed. The plebs are pretty easy to fool, eh? All they need to hear is an excuse from a presumed authority and off they go. There are countless psychological studies regarding this phenomena.

        As far as me being more righter than another I try to keep Mr. Ego in check, but sometimes he gets out of control, and it’s usually some kind of lesson from the Lord. I can say this because I know that I came from someplace, and am going in a direction to another only to return to my origin. Somewhere on the path we’re supposed to learn something meaningful.

        Speaking of abortion. I have a very good friend who was a State Sen. up in WI. As you might suspect he attends a church of the far, far, far right. They were getting ready for a big dramatic protest in SD in front of the clinic. I suggested that they love them rather than ostracize. Has the church offered any assistance? It should. I don’t think standing on the other side of the street with the great big signs with mutilated fetuses is as persuasive as being nice and offering help. This seemed to give them pause. They can be influenced, but you’ll never persuade them that they’re wrong.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        BigWilly, do you ever wonder what the world would be like today, if the believers only had the New Testament in their hands as the gospels were preached.

  24. Firebug2006 says:

    “Once we understand the profile of a winning character the next step is to figure out how the party can cultivate them. That’s going to be the hard part.”

    Maybe you won’t have to cultivate the winning candidate. She will likely come to the same conclusions as you and recognize the opportunity. She can cultivate herself while waiting for the rest of the party to come around.

  25. wyo-cat says:

    With the current state of the GOP, and the purity test that the primary has become. It’s wishful thinking that at anytime soon we’ll see a viable female nominee from the GOP.

    The shit show that the 2016 GOP field is about to become isn’t good for the country and at some point the current fever has to break, but it will be too late for the GOP. Which is sad. I used to have a lot of respect for traditional Republicans.

    • Griffin says:

      The loss of the Republican Party would be a saddening thing indeed, if only for the historical connections the organization had with figures such as Lincoln, Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Robert Taft, Eisenhower, George Romney, Earl Warren, Nelson Rockefeller, etc. While the name of a party and its symbol doesn’t necessarily represent its ideology or mean it hasn’t rapidly changed over time it’s still depressing to see that same symbol basically implode and come to represent an increasingly extreme worldview that is considered either laughable or dangerous by an increasing majority of Americans and citizens of foreign nations, and most old-styled Republicans would have frowned upon it.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I’m optimistic the GOP will survive. I guess the issue is how deeply has the Tea Party types infected the GOP?

        If the GOP is still fundamentally ran by traditional republicans, then the parry is still what it always was, it’s just lost its way and once it excises the cancer, they will be strong again.

        On the other hand, if the TP infection has spread all the way to the brain, and asically replaced traditional republicans at the highest levels, then yes, the GOP name and brand will be wiped out.

        I think it’s impossible to tell which scenario is which right now, as bith iterations would look the same in between presidential elections.

        IMO, thetrue measure of who is REALLY in charge of a parry is who they elect for president. That is a pretty accurate way of cutting through the spin and bs and see who is REALLY in power in the GOP.

        So under that assumptions, I’d make the following prediction: No matter who is nominated, it’s almost impossible for a republican to win in 2016. The big question (and what will determine the GOP’s fate) is WHO is nominated.

        If it’s Bush (or possibly Rubio) that will imply that the GOP establishment is still the one in charge, and the pandering of recent years is simply the establishment targeting the wrong constituency. I expect the drubbing in 2016 will finally convince them it’s time once and for all to jettison the TP. Now, obviously they can’t DIRECTYL purge them, but they can stop pandering and enact policies that make it untenable for the far right to stay in the GOP, forcing them to break off and start their own party, thus restoring the traditional GOP.

        If, however, any of the nutcase win the nomination (Cruz, Huckabee, Trump, Santorum etc) then the would strongly imply that the inmates are truly running the asylum, and they have become fully integrated within the GOP. In essence, they ARE thw GOP. In this scenario, I don’t see how the Republican party can survive as a viable national parry for very long. In this case, it’s likely the traditional republican types (much like our resident writer here) that will split off and form their own party. It’s THIS party that will go on to become the 2nd viable national party. The right wing balance to the Dems left wing.

        In bith cases, it’s the lunatic fringe that loses, and the country as a whole that gains. The only question is what banner will this new party run under?

        Interesting times.

      • 1mime says:

        I assume all here are paying attention to what is happening within Congress. In the Senate, you have Ted Cruz openly challenging the Senate Majority Leader, McConnell, calling him a “liar” (whether he is or not is beside the point – the fact that he brazenly did so is what matters) and is responsible for several procedural actions that seriously damaged Senate (and House) function. In the House, you have Congressman Mark Meadows filing a motion to “vacate the chair” to remove John Boehner from his House Speaker position.

        These are the things we can SEE. What do you imagine is going on behind the scenes? Neither of these actions were “successful”, but the fact that these arch conservatives were emboldened enough to take such action is unparalleled in modern Congressional history. They are not standing down; they are not observing protocol; and, they apparently are secure within their electoral districts…..(an “unintended”? consequence of gerrymandering which insulates members of Congress from party control).

        We are fast approaching the debt ceiling vote and one can only imagine the turmoil that lies ahead….more hits to personal savings and the general economy (as the market crashes) and the full faith and credit of the United States in the world. What must other nations think of America’s democratic form of government? Then we have the Iran accord, plans to use reconciliation to repeal the ACA…and on and on. EVERY wedge issue is being utilized as a tool of disruption and challenge to authority – within the party as well as without. The Highway Transportation Bill has had a dozen short term extensions….This budget impacts BIG things – major roadways, bridges, etc. that are not only safety issues, but impact commerce. How can any business operate effectively or safely under this budget insecurity? When will the US Chamber of Commerce and our Fortune 500 leaders realize that the Republican Party is not helping grow the economy, they are depressing it

        I think it is safe to say that the Tea Party element in Congress do not see their power waning. They are seizing control whenever and wherever possible. The GOP has been given a fantastic opportunity by virtue of gaining control of both houses of Congress. Their stated objective was to demonstrate that they can govern effectively (and not just obstruct the other party).

        The Republican Party is in turmoil – a turmoil of their own making. Sadly, it is the nation that is paying the price for their dysfunction. It would be nice to hope that one of the sixteen GOP Presidential candidates could provide the leadership to “right” this ship, but, I’m not optimistic.
        This is happening because of actions and inaction by the Republican Party. Is this the beginning of the end of the current GOP?

      • Very cogent commentary, 1mime. Add to it the Trump infatuation, and it’s pretty clear the GOP is in a state of tremendous flux. I need to read up on the extinction of the Whigs for parallels…

        I honestly think the Dems are in almost as deep a mess. Consider Hillary’s transmission of classified material over private channels: It is a prima facie violation of law, yet there is zero likelihood of a DOJ investigation, let alone indictment. A chief executive confident of the state of their party would certainly pursue the matter, if reluctantly, in service of the rule of law. Failure to do so implies a deep seated insecurity.

    • 1mime says:

      Evidently, Wyo-Cat, the “big money” folks backing Republican candidates for president don’t agree with Lifer on their chances to take back the White House. They are betting big and are way ahead in committing big money for Republican candidates for the ’16 Presidential election.

      “…most of those aligned with specific presidential candidates have already said how much they raised between January and the end of June. So far, they account for roughly $2 of every $3 given in the 2016 presidential race, with the vast majority of those donations aimed at helping Republicans win back the White House.

      Less than 9 percent of the money given to candidate-specific super PACs so far will benefit Clinton and her rivals for the Democratic nomination, according to an Associated Press analysis. The AP compared money raised by formal presidential campaigns with what the super PACs say they plan to report having raised on Friday.

      The main pro-Clinton group, Priorities USA Action, raised $15.6 million in the first half of this year. That puts it behind super PACs pledged to support five contenders for the Republican nomination, including one whose polling numbers are so weak that he may not even qualify to take part in next week’s GOP debate.

      Compare Hillary’s $15.6M to Jeb’s $103M, plus that of the next five GOP headliners. Money may not guarantee an election win, but it certainly can buy a lot of air time……

      “the super PAC helping Republican candidate Jeb Bush persuaded 9,900 contributors to give a record haul of $103 million. Bush’s super PAC also has more than a dozen contributors who have given at least $1 million, with the top donor, Miami health care investor Miguel “Mike” Fernandez, giving $3 million.

      The bottom lines for super PACs backing four other GOP contenders: $38 million for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, $26 million for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, $16 million for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and $16.8 million for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry — who may not have the poll numbers needed to make the top 10 cutoff for the first GOP debate.

      And, lest anyone forget the imitable Donald Trump, he will finance his own campaign, thank you very much!

      http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/democrats-gop-raising-money-16-super-pacs-32798259

  26. Griffin says:

    Question 1) Do you think the Republican party will survive and, if not, do you think the Democratic Party could split into two or the right-wing of the Democratic Party may join the rump of whatever is left of the GOP?

    Question 2) I know you’ve been dismissive of Sanders (please keep reading) and while I don’t think he’ll get the nomination do you, as of now, think he could beat the Republican? While I do like Sanders I ask more out of curiousity as to whether the GOP field is so “weak” that they would lose to someone who otherwise probably wouldn’t have a chance.

    • goplifer says:

      1) Unless something pretty fundamental changes and there is new campaign finance legislation, both parties are at the cusp of irrelevance. They may not cease to operate, but they have already ceased to be the main channel of political expression. By 2028 we may have four or five candidates on a Presidential election ballot. The strongest ones may not have been through the party nominating process. That would be an ugly mess.

      2) Sanders could potentially win, but that’s not what’s interesting about him. He’s also probably the only serious Democratic contender *who could lose.* People like me who have already consigned themselves to voting for Clinton would suddenly have some thinking to do. Versus Bush, Walker or Rubio I would probably not vote for Sanders. He would only win if the Republican nominee were one of the more extreme whackjobs. Bernie Sanders is the Republican Party’s only hope in 2016.

      • Griffin says:

        Thank you for the quick reply I appreciate it! Yeah it would be difficult to save the GOP unless something almost radical happened. Say we suddenly endorsed proportional representation and that mean the Southern conservatives could have their own party and the GOP could have Northern and Western conservatives but to be honest I don’t think I’ll see proportion representation even in my lifetime it would be nigh impossible to pass. It is a scary thought to have more than two people running for president in a first past the post system, some wackjob could win with less than 40 percent of the vote if there are enough contenders.

      • goplifer says:

        How would proportional representation look? I present to you the Governor of Maine: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/01/paul-lepage-maine-governor-crazy-101923.html#.VbZ__PlH4bo

      • Griffin says:

        GULP well, I suppose having proportional representation has the same flaws as FPTP if there’s no coalitions or the candidates aren’t tied to their parties. The only thing that might have helped in that situation would have been Instant Runoff Voting. But i still think that if there’s more than two serious parties/candidates we can’t keep FPTP, you can’t have parties taking complete control with less than 40% of the vote (such as the UK right now).

      • Tom says:

        Sanders won’t win the nomination.

        While the Democratic Party’s machinery has weakened to the point that somebody like Sanders has a fighting chance, there are still large segments of the party base that have no use for him. His appeal is limited to the Food Babe wing of the party, which is not that large. Plus he won’t have the benefit (unlike someone like Trump or Cruz) of a fractured primary in which somebody can win primaries with 18 percent of the vote.

      • Creigh says:

        “Unless something pretty fundamental changes and there is new campaign finance legislation, both parties are at the cusp of irrelevance”. Bingo. It’s now clear to everyone that politically amateur billionaires are undermining the Republican Party, but the Republicans, as individuals if not collectively, can’t say no to the money. And as pathetic as both parties are, I fear that what replaces them will be much worse. Support a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Griffin – I personally think that the GOP as a whole will be much better off post split. The numbers they lose in wing nuts will be more then made up in the attracting of new, sane people from the moderates on bith sides, the right wing of the currents Dems, as well as the welcoming back into the fold of lifelong republicans who are disgusted with the current GOP but can’t bring themselves to vote for the Dems (I think this last group is very large)

    • Griffin says:

      @Tom So even though he’s focused almost purely on economic issues the only people who like him are a bunch of raving lunatics who think water is “toxic”? This is a perfec representation of people who are utterly confused by the rise of both Trump and Sanders and their growing popularity with the working class bases in both parties, and their only response it to snort.

      We have to understand that there’s a reason people are pissed, they (mostly justifiably) feel like they’ve been screwed over since the Recession and now people are giving them an alternative. Right now there is no nominee advocating for what Lifer wants, essentially a progressive Republican vision that redistributs social capital from globalization, so they are turning to other alternatives. Trump is an idiotic jackass but one who promises the GOP base a shift away from the establishment Republicans and a vision of America with a strongman who doesn’t give a shit and gets things done for Americans (even though he would never actually do that), and Sanders is offering working people a Nordic model of governance in which wealth is more directly redistributed to labour, a model people are coming to admire regardless of how well it may work in America. Until we understand why people are angry and respond to it correctly they are going to be drawn to alternative candidates that promise more “authenticity” and stronger visions than establishment politicians.

  27. unarmedandunafraid says:

    Oh, what I would give to here a Republican state three out of the “Four Inescapable Realities” on a presidential primary debate stage. Seriously, what entertainment.

  28. joe says:

    So, you’re saying renominate Mitt Romney?

    • Tom says:

      Romney definitely fit the first two and maybe the third.

      He could have fit the rest of them but ultimately chose not to. That is the ultimate problem in today’s GOP: you cannot win the nomination if you don’t kowtow to social conservatives and bigots.

    • goplifer says:

      Romney is actually a very good reply to a comment farther up about “Maybe you won’t have to cultivate the winning candidate.” I get the distinct impression that Romney would have actually fit all of those criteria *if the party wanted him to and would have rewarded it.*

      As it turned out, the party demanded something different and he obliged. That’s why it is so important to change the party in order to get better candidates.

      • johngalt says:

        Romney is not the president because he followed what his party demanded rather than led it to where it needed to go. A tall order, sure, but being president is a tough job.

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, the way Romney ran away from the Mass. health care plan was a clear signal as to his core strength – or, lack thereof. What Americans are begging for is a candidate of character. Mitt Romney never met this qualification.

  29. Creigh says:

    Will this businessman or Governor have a position on foreign policy? How do you see foreign policy affecting party dynamics?

    • goplifer says:

      He or she will, but whatever that position is you can expect it to be more or less in line with the usual, pre-GWB standard. She’ll talk about a strong national defense and yada yada and whatnot. When push come to shove, her foreign policy will look a lot like Obama’s, which is what every President post-Johnson has looked like (except Carter and Bush II).

    • EJ says:

      Very few countries have ever had foreign policy really matter in an electoral race; even those where it appears to, like in Israeli elections, it ends up being less about effective foreign policy and more about saying the right things to appease your chosen section of the domestic audience.

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