Why remain in the GOP?

trumpFor the past several months, polls indicate that a solid majority of Republican voters plan to support Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or Ben Carson. Congress under Republican leadership has devolved into a freak show of conspiracy hunters and religious eccentrics, utterly incapable of managing the nation’s affairs. Delusional rhetoric on immigrants and abortion providers is starting to get people killed.

At the national level, the Party of Lincoln is now the Party of Fox News. No Republican of any power or prominence is resisting the tide of crazy sweeping over the party. There is no sign of any relief on the way.

Even for a “Lifer” this is a tough environment. Under these circumstances how can any responsible person remain active in the Republican Party?

As conditions grow more extreme the usual explanations ring hollow. Working for change “from the inside” does, at some point, risk devolving into an excuse. Our collective need for healthy partisan competition does not justify supporting a party that cannot contribute to public discourse. We have reached a point at which any Republican with a conscience needs to be making contingency plans.

Along with those plans, we owe the rest of the country an answer to these two questions:

– Why do you still consider yourself a Republican?

– Under what circumstances would you abandon the party?

Those questions carry a moral urgency that cuts through old loyalties and outweighs the personal investment in political networks built up across a career. There is a point at which my individual distance from the moral character of an institution closes. Conditions can become so extreme that “Not all Republicans” ceases to offer absolution.

Why do I continue to participate in the Republican Party as a local precinct committeeman and advocate? Local factors play the largest role as described at length here, but they feed into the wider picture of what the Republican Party could and should be, described here.

More important than those local conditions and longer-term policy aspirations is the opportunity that may emerge from the party’s pending implosion. Absurd as these national candidates are, their extremism may finally break the party, creating an unprecedented space in which to rebuild.

Faced with an institutional breakdown, we may have a unique opportunity to build a modern organization, disconnected from historical baggage. There is a chance that a retooled Republican Party could emerge from this shitstorm far better positioned for the 21st century than the Democrats. Strange as it may sound, for the next year or two the GOP may offer the most exciting environment for a policy reformer in modern American politics.

Next year’s election is shaping up to be a historic train wreck for the GOP. With control of the White House and Senate beyond any reasonable grasp and with a raving extremist at the top of the ticket, even our House majority is in question. Good riddance. Our existing leadership has brought us nothing but lunacy and dysfunction.

Our greatest challenges come from managing the externalities of global capitalism. How do we cope with the costs that are not factored into free market transactions for energy, health care, finance, education and other critical assets and activities? Our current crop of Republicans responds to these issues by pretending they do not exist. Climate change is a hoax. Tax credits can deliver access to health care. Deregulation and government apathy will bring the best outcomes in banking, energy, trade, education and every other field of endeavor.

By contrast, Democrats would seek to keep pace with the rising complexity of all of these fields by building enormous new bureaucracies to track, manage and control them. It is an effort born of 19th century Weberian bureaucracy that worked fairly well under Industrial capitalism. Faced with the exponentially accelerating complexity of a 21st century knowledge economy, these tactics are doomed to crumble under their own weight.

Democrats cannot pivot to build a new generation of government because they are hopelessly tied to the entrenched interests of the last era. Building a leaner, smarter government that accomplishes more than governments have done in the past under a cheaper, faster framework is the challenge of our generation.

A bloated bureaucracy inextricably tied to the institutions it is meant to regulate. Elections financed almost entirely by secret money beyond accountability or review. Unions, especially public employee unions, so politically powerful in their own right that not even their members can restrain them. Urban political machines incapable of accomplishing the simplest public tasks without the expensive grease of patronage and corruption. Research and vision may spawn promising, popular policy solutions to complex problems, but unless we can address these broken institutions, none of these innovations will ever matter.

The only force that can break the smothering power of the 19th and 20th century institutions is either a reformed Republican Party, or a new political organization that emerges from its collapse. Today’s GOP is pursuing none of these goals. Yet, all of these objectives are embedded in the party’s DNA.

Look closely at polling and you discover that beneath the layer of crazy, these priorities remain the bedrock of the party’s identity. A Republican Party closer to the politics of Teddy Roosevelt, George Romney, or even Richard Nixon, would be a far more promising engine of reform than a Clintonian Democratic Party. And let’s be clear, Hilary Clinton’s victory next year virtually guarantees that the next generation of Democrats will be Clintonians, not Sanders or Warren-style social democrats.

Give American voters a real choice between an ownership society and a European-style social democracy and they will choose the ownership society. It simply fits better with the prevailing values of the American public. Republicans have not offered Americans a vision for a 21st century society because we haven’t been able to shed our delusions. Tax cuts are not always the solution. Less government does not always produce more freedom. Environmental protection matters. Justice for those who have suffered discrimination matters. Providing opportunity for poor families matters. Black lives matter.

Offer Republican voters a sound, credible template of solutions for climate change, gun regulation, universal health insurance, tax reform and other tough subjects – without apologies and hedging – and they will not only back it, they will power it into national dominance. Don’t say it can’t work. There is no proof. No one in leadership has attempted such an effort in my lifetime. Republican voters have come to accept that the only alternative to Republican white nationalism is a smothering blanket of Democratic socialist mediocrity. Someone has to muster the courage to give Americans a real choice.

We do not really know what the Republican Party could be if it stopped pandering to racists. It is worth sticking around to try to force us to find the answer. A blueprint for this process is described at this link.

Perhaps these goals sounds unrealistic, but they are worthy of effort…up to a point. Vision is only as good as its relationship to reality. Continuing to press this vision in a GOP infrastructure committed to a different, darker course can become irresponsible. Right now, the Republican Party at the national level is committed to a very dark course.

What conditions would make it necessary to leave? There are a lot of potential answers, but one stands out as particularly relevant and perhaps imminent. If Donald Trump won the nomination and the party actually lined up behind him, then it would be time to leave. Republicans here locally are doing great work, but there are no “good Nazis.” A Trump victory still seems unlikely, but the possibility is too real to be discounted.

Next year’s nominating process should produce fractures large enough for new voices to emerge. Those openings may not materialize. Perhaps instead the party nominates Cruz, lines up solidly behind him, and goosesteps even farther to the right.

The epic failure of a Cruz campaign in 2016 might open yet another window of opportunity. If that opening fails to produce hopeful new developments prior to the next midterm elections than it is probably time to cut bait.

Barring that or a similar result, it still makes sense to remain active in the GOP, fighting to build a 21st century template for the party. In short, I remain convinced that at least for another year or two, there are better prospects for reform and modernization in the GOP than in the Democratic Party. At least the Republicans are close to a major disruption likely to open their infrastructure to new ideas. Conditions are pretty bad, but there is a twinkling of hope that the party of Lincoln can again be worthy of its heritage.

Blueprint for Republican Reform

The Politics of Crazy: How America Lost Its Mind and What We Can Do About It

Four Inescapable Realities

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 Blueprint for Republican Reform, Election 2016, Uncategorized
366 comments on “Why remain in the GOP?
  1. 1mime says:

    Interesting analysis on Trump as the GOP nominee from The Week. This sentence sums up my feelings: “Presidential elections are not just about who the candidates are; it’s what they say about who we are, and more importantly, who we aspire to be.”

    If one looks at this election from this perspective, this race is more about “us” than “him”. Trump may be more sane than those who support him.

    http://theweek.com/articles/591578/gop-really-might-nominate-donald-trump-that-disaster

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I believe that Mime. I don’t think Trump is nearly as racist/bigoted as he comes off. Hes simply giving the ppl what they want, and he doesn’t have the shame or moral compass strong enough to care about the damage hes doing.

  2. 1mime says:

    Sometimes it is helpful to peer more deeply into tragedy, to find kindness and understanding, and courage. This reflective story on Sandy Hook is still important and it was personal. I have never lost a child, but to lose so many in this way will be in my heart and mind forever. Nothing will cure the hurt and loss, but kindness helps make it more bearable. These moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, husbands, wives have to live each and every day without someone they deeply loved. How much more important is a life than a “right” to bear arms unconditionally?

    https://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/04/04/1289644/-What-Obama-Secretly-Did-in-Newtown?detail=emailclassic

  3. Rob Ambrose says:

    Re: gun control, pretty forceful editorial from the NYT.

    Most importantly, this was on the front page, pretty stunning for what is a mainstream media publication. If you read through it, the ideas out forward are pretty dramatic, including some confiscation if existing guns.

    We’re starting to see happening what we’ve talked about here already: if the NRA and other gun owners don’t agree to some reasonable, sane gun regulations, gun regulations, then eventually the tide will turn (led by mainstream media properties like this, but propelled by social media) and regulations will be forced on them.

    And the regulations will be far worse then what would have been acceptable to both sides if the gun owners had been the one instigating the change.

    The rise of social media is the great equalizer. In the past, all the wealthy had to do was buy off (or found) a few of the major newspapers and they could effectively control the message and stifle movements they wanted too (except for the truly powerful ones, like civil rights, or anti Vietnam, for example).

    The NRA will come to regret being so obstinate if they continue to pursue the unsustainable position of “no regulations, for any reason, at any time”.

    The mood of the country is changing. Subtly and slowly, for sure. But, like all movements, when it hits critical mass, it will happen very quickly.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Here’s a Politico ABOUT the NYT editorial. First time NYT featured an editorial on Page 1 since 1920. That’s pretty significant

        http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/new-york-times-gun-control-page-one-editorial-216449

      • 1mime says:

        Hey, it’s Saturday, you’re entitled (-:

      • 1mime says:

        Good links on the subject, Rob. Here is my main takeaway from the editorial: “It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.”

        As is often the case, the reader comments added a great deal to the discussion (2400+ when I checked last). These contributions struck home with me:

        Johnb:
        “I own about a half dozen guns. All long guns, shotguns mostly. All for hunting, which I have done for 40 years. The gun lobby’s position is intellectually dishonest. There are 3 main arguments they make: (1) Constitutional. Setting aside the legal debate (I am a lawyer) this is a red herring. The gun lobby would not support amending the Constitution to allow more restrictive laws, so arguing about the intent of the second amendment is irrelevant. (2) Policy. The gun lobby holds that laws restricting gun access do not work because the criminals obtain them illegally. This is is undoubtedly true. However, even if it could be unequivically demonstrated that certain restrictive guns laws do work, the gun lobby would still not support the restriction. Clearly, then, this too is a red herring. (3) The cost of freedom. This is the real argument, the heart and soul of it all. That is, in a free society, there are certain costs to certain freedoms. It is essential and foundational to our national spirit and way of life to be as free from governmental intrusion and restriction as possible. Ok, fair enough. Let’s have that debate. Let’s look honestly and directly into that sun and say, yes, the children of Sandy Hook are the cost of this particular freedom as conceived by the gun lobby and its adherents. I’m not willing to pay that cost.”

        Tom:
        “The issue in America is not weaponry, it is culture. I have been hunting in multiple states. Before I could do that, I had to attend a hunter’s safety course. For a couple of hours each week my brother and I drove out to a small town in Massachusetts and sat in a class that taught us how firearms work as well as how to prevent injury to ourselves and others. When I went on my first hunt later that year, all of the other hunters had received similar training. Heading into the woods was a sober endeavor; we respected the tools we carried and ensured that they were unloaded and properly secured when we returned at the end of the day.

        This type of licensing and training should be mandatory for all gun owners. A mandatory program has the capability to change our collective approach to firearms if it could develop in all gun owners the same type of informed, sensible perspective many hunters already maintain. This type of training has arguably had a substantial impact in Switzerland, which has a similar perspective on gun ownership, but a radically different view on gun use. Furthermore, unlike this editorial’s proposal, this program has a chance of receiving bipartisan support.

        We must seek a way to end these tragedies. If we can change our culture, we can save lives.”

        Lee:
        “I am a long time Life Endowment Member of the NRA. I own a firearm for home protection. I am ashamed of the NRA’s position and fear they have turned into nothing more than a sycophantic lackey of the small arms industry.
        There is no reasonable patriotic stand to justify the ability of American citizens to purchase and own weapons of war. Try hunting duck or deer with an AK47.
        The design intent of these devises is simply to kill as many human beings as possible in the shortest amount of time.
        Our founding fathers allowed for civilian possession of firearms to keep a “well regulated militia” at the ready. Their intent was to protect patriots’ rights to possess single shot muzzle-loading flintlocks. The NRA’s arguments regarding automatic and semi-automatic modern weapons are specious and, frankly, irrational — psychotic, if you will.
        America needs to eliminate small arms weapons of war from our streets, our communities and homes. To fail to do so is a grotesque abrogation of civic and civil responsibility.
        Enough is enough, the 2nd Amendment notwithstanding.”

        Sorry for post length but wanted to make it easier for you to read some of the top comments. The others are worthy, as well.

    • vikinghou says:

      Too many guns + Too much hate = What we have.

      I wish I had an easy solution to this problem, but I don’t. America is sick in so many fundamental ways.

      • texan5142 says:

        You got that right, just google the southern Nevada politicians Christmas card photo for prof of that

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Unfortunately, of all the developed countries, America is probably the one that can least afford to have such an armed population.

        Its not JUST a product of too many guns. Put the same ratio of guns in Canada, for example, and you have more gun deaths for sure. But I still don’t think you have as much as in America, per capita.

      • 1mime says:

        My personal position on guns is known to those here. What is even more concerning to me is that there is so much hate and intolerance compelling the use of guns. I agree with gun proponents that responsible gun owners aren’t the problem. It’s just that there are so many serious weapons out there and so many people who have no business owning a gun….whose mental state, anger management, and weapons training deficits make them walking time bombs. In a sense, it is easier to profile (to the extent that is possible) terrorism than it is to predict a collapse or abuse of human behavior of a regular person….except that no “regular” person would do something like this, right? It may require lots of small changes such as expanding the background checks, limiting access for mentally ill persons, better firearms training, and greater information sharing among agencies who deal with this issue on the front lines – all of which are within our reach, if we committed to try new approaches.

        What is harder to fathom, is why people are so angry and irrational as to use guns (or whatever weapon of choice) to inflict lethal force against others, especially the innocent – people they don’t even know – indiscriminantly, especially children. We must be failing as a society to teach people how to resolve conflict without the use of force, or without civility. Does lethal force spring from the lack of civility we see in our society? What is driving people to do these things? That is the fundamental problem Viking spoke to and I don’t know how to fix that on a broad scale. It used to be a family responsibility to teach conflict resolution, but evidently that is no longer adequate or employed.

      • johngalt says:

        Texan – that Nevada pol to whom you refer is Michele Fiore. I had no idea who she was until a month or so ago, when she showed up in some news feed of mine. Turns out she ran a company that was shut down by some combination of the state and the FDA. The company sold “alternative” medicine alternatives based in the idea that cancer is a fungal infection (a preposterous notion) and could be cured with a treatment that was little more than baking soda (equally preposterous). How do nutjobs like this get elected to anything?

      • 1mime says:

        How do nutbags like these get elected…

        I assume that is a rhetorical question. The answer, of course, is that people slightly more nutty than she is, vote for her…..Isn’t that pretty par for the course?

        But, really, cancer is a fungal infection?! People like that need to be hauled before a judge.

  4. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Our friends over at 538 put together a set of interactive graphs to show what it would take to move states from Blue to Red or Red to Blue.

    http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-swing-the-election/

    You get to manipulate voter turnout and Democrat/Republican splits, and based on population numbers, you see what it would do to various states and the overall electoral college.

    A few small manipulations may highlight why the GOP has gone whole hog into xenophobic, bigoted rhetoric.

    If voter turnout by race (Blacks, Hispanics, Asian/Other) stay the same as last election, the GOP only needs to move the percentage of College Educated White folks from 56% GOP to 59% GOP and the Non-College Educated White folks from 62% to 65% GOP, to win the electoral college.

    If they can increase the GOP share of white folks by only 3% without losing percentages of the Black and Hispanic vote, they can win the election.

    That is true if turnout remains the same. Want to bet on the turnout of Black voters for Hillary equaling that of Obama? I’m going to take the under there.

    Obama got almost all of the Black vote in 2012 and Blacks for the first time had a voter turnout higher than Whites (by 2%). Hillary won’t get more than 93% of the Black vote, and Black turnout for Hillary won’t be as high. If all things stay the same, but Hillary loses 5% of the Black vote and Black turnout drops to pre-Obama levels, Florida and possibly Ohio are Red, not Blue.

    Do Cruz or Rubio peel off a few percentage of Hispanic voters? Maybe so.

    Changing demographics only affect elections if folks go vote.

    Blue wall or no blue wall, this election is going to be close.

    • 1mime says:

      Sweet dreams to you, too, Homer!

    • 1mime says:

      In perusing the 538 site further, saw this article about Kasich’ war on abortion….not that his record is any surprise to you, but thought it was an interesting inclusion on the 538 site. He really has an underbelly on this issue, doesn’t he?

      https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/john-kasichs-quiet-campaign-to-cut-abortion-access/

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mime—Lifer and I went around Kasich and abortion a post or two ago.

        He has a big issue with abortion, but he doesn’t talk much about it. He readily says he’s pro-life, but most of the big restrictions and bad stuff is done quietly.

        I think I prefer the idiots who are much more vocal about it.

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, the devil you know………..I saw your exchange and Lifer’s personal story. Wonder what Kasich’s back story is? No, take that back. Don’t care…wouldn’t change anything. And, yes, I’d rather deal with the honest fool.

    • MassDem says:

      Gender factors into it also–there was a 20 pt gap in the 2012 election. Hopefully the Democratic candidate will attract more female voters to offset any loss of male voters.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s going to come down to GOTV. This election is huge. SCOTUS appointment – high probability, turmoil in world, CLIMATE, womens’ rights….Each and every Democrat out there is going to have to hustle and get people to the polls. In LA the party machine used to run voters to the polls from poor areas (they were registered voters but lacked transportation) in school buses. In fact, the independent school bus organization had the procedure so well honed that they were a formidable group for any successful campaign. They delivered…literally! Politics in LA was unique….the Edwin Edwards years were fascinating, but there were certainly other kingmakers.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mass…as much as I would like to think Hillary pulls in a few more women, I’m not sure that is the case.

        After all the GOP nuttiness towards women for the last decade or so, if a woman is still voting GOP in 2012 or 2014, what on earth is going to make her change her mind in 2016?

        It is not as though the GOP has been hiding that stuff, and if a woman has been able to tolerate all that and still vote GOP, I don’t think she is likely to be a woman who even remotely likes Hillary (and may not even believe a woman should be president anyway).

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      With all respect, Homer, I’m always wary of indulging in “what-if” scenarios, but let me point out a few problems I have with with your theories:

      – The share of the white vote in this country is declining, not increasing. Republicans spent virtually all of 2012 thinking that, essentially, if they could just get enough angry, white guys to the polls, then they’d have a chance at victory and we all know how that turned out.

      What, exactly, makes you think that Republicans will be able to turn out more of the white vote – which, again, will be less in 2016 than it was in 2012 – to compensate for their losses among Hispanic, African-Americans and other minority groups?

      – As for Hillary Clinton’s standing among African Americans, I’m not going to presume anything on that front. Certainly, I imagine President Obama will do his part in trying to help and perhaps that will make a difference, but we’ll see.

      With all that said, I’ll offer you a “what-if” too. What if all the heated and insulting rhetoric that’s been spewed about refugees and immigrants these past months increases the Hispanic turnout and finally wakes the proverbial sleeping giant in this country? As Lifer has already noted, if that happens, that’s enough not only to win the election in a landslide, but also to potentially flip an otherwise ruby red state like Texas and others like Arizona and Georgia.

      • 1mime says:

        Boy, Ryan, would love for your “what if” to be right…but, history is a strong predictor. Not only is it hard to motivate this sector, but these are working people and it is difficult for them to vote. Not an excuse, I know, but a pretty decent reason for many pulling two jobs, child care, transportation, etc. Hope it happens just as you envision….

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Ryan, the good folks at 538 are nice enough to do the calculations based on the demographic trends forward, not backwards, so they are accounting for the shrinking percentage of White votes.

        But sure, “what-if” scenarios are typically not worth the pixels they are written on, but for all the folks who are claiming this election is a slam dunk for the Democrats, I firmly believe they are in for a rude awakening. The Democrats should still win the presidency, but it is going to be close, and a few hundred things could happen between now and then to easily flip it to the GOP.

        I think it is pie in the sky hopeful to believe Hillary gets the turnout numbers or the percentages of Black voters that Obama got. I don’t necessarily think it will dip down to pre-Obama levels (once you realize it isn’t that hard to vote, you do it again), but it most certainly will dip both in the percentage of Blacks voting Democrat and the turnout of Black voters.

        The Hispanic vote is key, but unless the sleeping giant awakes, it doesn’t matter how big that giant is. Thus far, there is no evidence that the Hispanic vote is going to do anything but lag the White vote by 15% to 20%.

        Plus, while the giant is growing, it ain’t that big yet, and where it is big, it doesn’t matter (e.g., California, Texas).

        Whites make up more than 65% of eligible voters across the country, and their voter turnout is historically 20% higher than Hispanics
        .
        In Ohio and Pennsylvania, Whites are 83% and 81% of the voting population. Hispanics are 3% and 6%. In Virginia, Whites are almost 70% of the population, Hispanics are 6%.

        Not only is the percentage of Hispanics in those states small, their voting turnout is significantly lower than Whites. If the GOP moves the needle on White folks by just a few percentage points, it wouldn’t matter if the Democrats get 80% of the Hispanic vote in those states.

        Changing demographics should scare the crap out of the GOP, but that change has not yet fully occurred for 2016, and if folks don’t vote, it won’t even matter in 2020.

        Plus, Rubio or Jeb? does a couple of full 30-minute speeches on Telemundo and Univision in Spanish, and all of the sudden Trump’s idiocy is a little less memorable and maybe it is time to “win one for my team”? Folks probably shouldn’t vote for someone based on their race or gender, but I know plenty of folks who vote for someone because they went to A&M or to UT, and that probably is even more stupid than voting for someone because they are the same race or gender as you.

        Someone could say, “well Trump would scare away all Hispanic voters”, and while that may be true, there is no chance Trump is the GOP nominee come November of next year.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s a rather ominous view of Dems chances going forward from the National Journal. The “bench” is old and small in the Democratic Party. Republicans, meanwhile, have spent a lot of time grooming their bench, helping them win local and state races while they prepare for the big races at the national level. Millenneals may be a hope for Dems future, but the future may be now. The Dem Party really, really needs to get someone to replace Debbie Wasserman Schultz to get things headed the right way before it’s too late.

        http://www.nationaljournal.com/daily/2015/05/21/democrats-vanishing-future

      • flypusher says:

        ” The Democrats should still win the presidency, but it is going to be close, and a few hundred things could happen between now and then to easily flip it to the GOP.”

        Yep. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the lesson of the farce of 2000 is to assume nothing,

    • vikinghou says:

      I still think we may see a GOP schism shortly before or during their convention. Many “moderate” Republican candidates are now questioning whether they could support a Trump nomination, which is rich when you recall that they forced Trump to sign a loyalty pledge a few months ago.

      Trump’s candidacy could still implode between now and then, but it’s clear that he has a solid base of unwavering support that consists mainly of non college educated whites—the group the GOP needs the most. A nominee other than Trump could reduce the enthusiasm of this group, lowering their voter turnout and giving Dems an advantage.

      • flypusher says:

        I would so love to see Trump do an Indy run, and you can’t rule it out, despite the pledge. If the GOP establishment gets too brazen in their efforts to block his nomination, he could reasonably say that they reneged, and the deal is null and void.

        (Please, please, please, Santa!!!)

      • 1mime says:

        That’s a great thought, Fly! I do believe that’s why the GOP has their panties in a wad over this….they can’t afford to offend him for this very reason. Trump needs them less than they need Trump. The GOP is counting on waning enthusiasm to bury the hatchett…what if it doesn’t? Trump’s ego and deep pockets are enough to propel him into an independent run. THAT would be a very interesting dynamic in the Republican race. The split would be catastrophic.

    • 1mime says:

      Received this email today about a duplicitous about face by our “dark horse” candidate, Cruz. This is the conservative candidate we should all worry about. Calculating and dangerous.

      http://progresstexas.org/blog/watch-ted-cruz-praise-creator-trumps-muslim-travel-ban?akid=1342.52567.TC5PM3&rd=1&t=3

  5. johngalt says:

    Chris, your former colleagues in the Republican Party of Texas seem to want to help you make up your mind about leaving:

    1. The GOP executive committee in the state lege voted to put a non-binding, illegal, and nonsensical question about Texas seceding on the primary ballot.
    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Texas-secession-resolution-passes-GOP-committee-6676280.php

    2. The party appears about ready to elect your buddy Jared Woodfill to be state chairman. He’s trying to get the party to move the state convention out of Dallas to protest passage of an equal rights amendment similar to the one that failed in Houston.

  6. 1mime says:

    This interesting bulletin sent by the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center). These people are so dedicated and their work is dangerous and unappreciated except for those they assist. Great organization. They expose hate groups and don’t stop there. They continue to work to call them out and to hold them accountable.

    https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2015/11/25/three-men-who-shot-black-lives-matter-protesters-emerged-internet%E2%80%99s-racist-swamps

    • objv says:

      The SPLC is itself a hate group. By labeling religious groups solely on the basis of their stance on traditional marriage, the SPLC does its part to spread hate and intolerance.

      • Griffin says:

        Everyone’s favorite religious fundamentalist just arrived! Let’s start the partaa- oh wait that would involve sinning… let’s start the dinner partaaaa!

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj….we have done this dance before.

        I painstakingly went through about a dozen of these “religious groups solely on the basis of their stance on traditional marriage” examples for you, and every one of them went way, way over the line of simply opposing gay marriage.

        The “baptist church” is not in favor of gay marriage, but they are not on the list. Westboro Baptist church probably is.

        You can keep repeating your argument, but until you can come up with a whole lot of evidence, no one is going to buy it.

      • johngalt says:

        Come on, objv. You’re better than that.

      • objv says:

        JG: Oh no, I’m not. 😉

        Homer: I remember the discussion, but I often don’t have time to reply, so I don’t think that the issue has been resolved – at least, as far as I am concerned.

        Mime: Focus on the Family is one group unfairly targeted by SPLC. I used to get their literature when my kids were younger. If I remember correctly, 99% of their media was geared toward child development and promoting happy marriages. The books they offered were excellent. While they did support traditional marriage, branding them as a hate group was not deserved.

        http://humanevents.com/2011/07/28/isnt-the-southern-poverty-law-center-the-real-hate-group-2/

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t know why I am bothering, but since you are a FOF devotee, and since I have had a personally negative experience with this organization in the early 90s, I am appending this SPLC link. It offers a detailed list of supporting reasons for their determination that the groups were fostering hate. Each of you can make up your own minds if you care to read it. I have found this organization to be honest and very well supported in actions they take. America is fortunate to have the SPLC. They are not hypocritical.

        https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2010/18-anti-gay-groups-and-their-propaganda

      • objv says:

        Here’s an instance when a gunman may have been motivated by a SPLC hate group designation.

        http://catholicism.org/the-splc-and-the-shooting-at-the-frc.html

      • 1mime says:

        Ob, Tony Perkins was from LA. I grew up there. I knew Woody Jenkins and Perkins. Be careful using him as your example.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s the back story to Ob’s link to SPLC hate actions: The FRC and Mr. Perkins are all over it. I knew of Perkins, Jenkins who were in politics in LA when I lived there. Read the info and decide for yourself if you think the SPLC was the “hater” or were on target with their categorization.

        https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2010/18-anti-gay-groups-and-their-propaganda

      • MassDem says:

        objv, your information is inaccurate. SPLC has not named Focus on the Family a hate group. You can check the list at the SPLC website for yourself:
        https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/groups
        To their credit, Focus on the Family has backed off in recent years from the culture wars:
        http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/04/15/in-praise-of-shift-by-focus-on-the-family-column/2086311/

        SPLC has designated the Family Research Council a hate group because of their use of junk science and discredited research to spread lies about LGBT individuals, statements by their leaders in support of criminalizing homosexuality, and support of reparative (ex-gay) therapy. The FRC split off from FOTF in 1992.
        https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/family-research-council

        Tony Perkins is current president of the FRC. The president of FOTF is Jim Daly.

      • Griffin says:

        Focus on the Family? The borderline cult espousing such extreme homophobia that it agrees that you can cure gay boys by having their father show them his dick in the shower?

        https://reason.com/blog/2005/08/11/james-dobsons-patented-cure-fo

      • 1mime says:

        Actually, more accurately, I “knew” Woody Jenkins…even in the 90s, he was a right wing fundamentalist….never popular in the state. I knew “of” Perkins….in the news a lot … not flatteringly. Wanted to clarify my comment.

      • Griffin says:

        Should have put “cure” in quotes seeing as how homosexuality is not a disorder/disease, it can not even be “cured”, and that even from a purely pragmatic point of view it would be idiotic to get rid of it since it’s a safeguard against overpopuation of a species. Then again fundies aren’t people know for their pragmatism…

      • 1mime says:

        Despite retractions from eminent psychiatrists, there are still those who believe homosexuality can be “cured”. Michele Bachmann and her husband had a clinic that “treated” homosexuals. They were going to save these poor tormented people from themselves. Some of the nicest, most fun people I have known are homosexual. They have to have a sense of humor or life would just be too sad. Those who would “cure” them….not so much.

        I have to say, it’s more fun being a Democrat (-:

      • MassDem says:

        James Dobson left Focus on the Family in 2003. There is evidence that he may have been forced out by the new leadership which has taken a kinder, gentler approach.
        http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/did-focus-on-the-family-board-force-dobson-out

      • 1mime says:

        I got crosswise with FOF while I was on the local school board in the early 90s. Our board was petitioned by a group of women who wanted the board to overrule the librarian’s association and remove two books from the middle school library….Just so happened the books were Newberry Award winners. We were unconvinced by their arguments. Ironically, it turned out that none of these ladies had their children in public school! They were either home-schooling or in a private religious school. When asked why they were doing this they stated that they cared about all childrens’ moral exposure! We sent them packing and the books stayed in the libraries.

        Subsequently, I was interviewed by someone from FOF on the experience (board president wasn’t comfortable and asked if I would). Those suckers took my commentary and diced and spliced it to say something that fit their agenda. I’ll never forget it…all in the name of Christianity, of course. Have to say, it left a bad taste in my mouth. Religious hypocrisy is the worst, IMO. I have a healthy cynicism for religious organizations that divert from the core mission (?) to engage in religious politics.

      • vikinghou says:

        Speaking of Dobson, he had a home (and maybe still does) in the same gated community in Colorado Springs where my parents lived (which, incidentally, is just a few blocks away from the Planned Parenthood facility that was attacked last week). Dobson was generally regarded by neighbors as a major pain in the ass.

      • 1mime says:

        Zealots generally are “pain in the asses”.

      • vikinghou says:

        1mime,

        So true. Colorado Springs is my home town. While the city has always leaned conservative because of the strong military presence, it wasn’t a hotbed of Christian fundamentalism until the 1970s when FOF and similar organizations began their invasion. By then I had left home and gone to university. We still have the house there as a family summer home and I go back from time to time. Lately I’ve observed that the city has become somewhat divided geographically in terms of religious fundamentalism. Generally people who live downtown and west of I-25 in the Pikes Peak foothills are more tolerant than those who have settled out in the eastern plains. When I’m there I try to avoid fundieland. It’s somewhat akin to the “inside or outside of the Loop” mentality here in Houston.

      • 1mime says:

        Clever unintended pun for those living “outside the loop” (-;

        Hopefully, CO will fight off right wing expansion and continue to demonstrate intelligent decision-making. We have friends who live in the mountains and they are surrounded by conservatives. At least the views are nice ….. We Democrats who are in that situation have to focus on quality vs quantity….Believe me, they are out there…there just isn’t much of an outlet here in TX to engage. Opinionated broad that I am, I manage to hold my own and co-exist.

  7. flypusher says:

    Some fodder for discussion of the very thorny intersection of radical Islamic terrorism, gun control, and Islamophobic that is our most recent mass shooting:

    http://m.theweek.com/articles/592308/15-hard-questions-after-san-bernardino

    • 1mime says:

      Provocative, Fly. I was listening to a discussion today on NPR about the tragedy and the stockpile of ammunition and other devices was huge. Surely, there could be some way to place enforceable limits on ammunition amounts for individuals and those who are purchasing these exorbitant amounts should be reported to authorities. It shouldn’t even be a question. Hopefully there will be more information gained from the zip drives, phones, and other devices seized from the residence that will be informative.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mime—let me present a bit of the other side’s reaction to this:

        “Surely, there could be some way to place enforceable limits on ammunition amounts for individuals and those who are purchasing these exorbitant amounts should be reported to authorities. It shouldn’t even be a question.”

        Well, are you sure you want, without a question, the government to have the ability to monitor and track the purchase of very legal things? Is that the type of government you want?

        You know, lots of these folks communicate via computers to hatch and arrange their plans, maybe we should have a way for authorities to monitor and track everyone’s computer usage and websites visited.

        We are going to start getting awfully close to some unpleasant things in reaction to this.

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, I emphatically do! When individuals make purchases in the thousands, and they are not: a military division, or a retail gun store, I definitely do think the purchases should be flagged. Not everyday ammo quantities, but these people had thousands of ammo rounds in their garage. This simply speaks to something nefarious and if they aren’t doing anything wrong, they should easily be able to explain it.

      • 1mime says:

        You are clear that I am talking about exorbitant numbers of ammunition, right? Not the average (whatever that is)…we’re talking thousands of rounds. Surely, this should not be perceived as anything but caution. As for monitoring email, etc., I support the limits to the Patriot Act which allows the government to monitor those on terrorist watch lists and their contacts. These are dangerous times and we have to give our intelligence operatives reasonable tools to use in trying to keep our nation safe.

        Your thoughts?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        “This simply speaks to something nefarious and if they aren’t doing anything wrong, they should easily be able to explain it.”

        I love you, but nope, nope, nope, and nope.

        Hey, if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you don’t mind me searching your trunk.
        Hey, if you don’t have something to hid, then you don’t mind me frisking you.
        Hey, if you aren’t a terrorist, you have nothing to fear about us listening in on a few phone calls and monitoring your email.

        Two people, buying 100 rounds of ammo twice a week at different stores in the larger LA metropolitan area, would quickly amass a rather large amount of ammo. Are we going to track each small purchase or do they need to purchase 10,000 rounds at one time before the authorities are notified?

        It feels kind of icky to be thinking about the government monitoring activity that is legal. I guess we have some precedent with this and the purchase of chemical fertilizer, but this does not give this liberal warm fuzzies.

      • 1mime says:

        Ok, I see where you’re headed with this, but I’ll help you along the path….How would you feel about the couple in the home next door to yours, amassing thousands of rounds of ammo, etc? For me, when I look at proximity, it gets real personal. I’ll bet even the gun advocates might have a qualm or too when looking at the issue more personally.

        We do need to protect individual rights, I agree with the importance of this. But absent universal background checks and shared information rights, how else can people with this type of intent going to be found? That is a serious question, btw.

      • Doug says:

        mime, I checked with a bunch of my gun nut friends and we all agreed that 6000 rounds isn’t really that much. 🙂 Heck, I loaded up 20% of that in .380 just last night.

        What would your proposed limit be? And how would you effectively enforce it? Would you want to pay to put me (and 10,000 others) in jail for breaking the limit?

        Even assuming you could enforce a limit, unless your definition “exorbitant” is ridiculously low it wouldn’t matter. In San Bernardino they shot a total of 65-75 rounds, so the additional 6K are of no importance. Many mass shooters use less than that. The most I can find was Hasan at Ft. Hood, who used 220 rounds to kill 13 people, but apparently he wasn’t a very good shot and made he a terrible caliber choice.

        As for the “other devices,” pipe bombs and such are already illegal, yet Farook had them. And he also had firearms, purchased legally in a state with universal background checks. One could reasonably assume he would have all the ammo he needed regardless of any additional ammo laws.

      • 1mime says:

        What is your solution to mass shootings, Doug?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        C’mer Doug…let’s hug.

        Look at that, Doug and I agree on nothing, but yet, here we are singing kumbaya and hugging it out in agreement.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mime—I’m not staying up at night worried about getting killed in a mass shooting, either by an idiot Christian with a gun or an idiot Muslim with a gun.

        I’m phenomenally unlikely to be killed that way. You are phenomenally unlikely to be killed that way. I’m not worried about taking my kids to a movie theater or a sports stadium (except that they’ll get bored and scream and we’ll have to leave early).

        We are probably 1000 times more likely to die driving to the theater or stadium than we are to be shot while there.

        With that said, I worry about what we become as a society if we are getting random mass shootings on a weekly basis.

        Family members killing family members, gang members killing gang members, and even disgruntled coworkers shooting up an office, are absolutely horrible, but those things won’t shake the nation’s psyche.

        Random killings, and specifically random killings by people who are perceived as “others” (e.g., people from strange religions, immigrants, etc.) will cause the country to do some bad stuff.

        Forget NYC and DC, random pipe bombs or mass shootings by terrorists every other week in places like Omaha, Dallas, and Tampa will really start to freak folks out. Hit a few elementary schools and Disney, and all of the sudden the US is on its own jihad.

        There are no gun control laws in the world that will affect that.

      • 1mime says:

        You are right on all points except one. Mass killings by guns are officially anytime 4 or more persons are killed in a single event. America currently “enjoys” more than one daily that fit that category.

        Let me ask you this: how can a country that is as free and open as the U.S. is protect its citizens? The NRA is opposed to broadening the background check to a universal one, and they also have lobbied (successfully) to prevent a national registry of information about gun violence. Are you ok with the status quo? If yes, our discussion will go no further. If no, what would you do or support?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mime – I’m aware of the official definitions, but if they are non-random, the country just will not view them as scary and won’t react. Family members killing family members make local news, but that is about it (unless they are white and it is somehow sensational…in which case it might be publicized). Gangs members killing gang members barely even make local news.

        Breakups, estrangements and family arguments make up the majority of mass killings, though unrelated victims may be caught in the crossfire. Mass killings during robberies and burglaries are about as frequent as these “public killings” like Sandy Hook or San Bernardino.

        I am decidedly not a gun person. Don’t need them, don’t want them, and I’m probably going to look at you a little side-eyed if you think you really really need one.

        TThor’s arguments about protecting himself and family ring pretty hollow. Questioning others why they won’t take the ultimate method to protect their families because they don’t have guns is pretty BS when one could just as easily suggest TT could do better to protect his family by moving to a better neighborhood (in which he already lives) or just digging a damn moat around his house. A gun is far from the most optimal way to protect one’s family.

        With all that said, I’ve not seen a reasonable gun control solution that really addresses the problem. Lifer’s position of making it an insurance issue is interesting, but I’m not sure it gets there.

        We have a pesky constitution that is going to make it hard to outlaw guns. Maybe we could officially outlaw the manufacturing and selling of bullets, and eventually folks would run out of ways to shoot people unless they were industrious enough to make their own ammunition.

        I absolutely hate this argument, and I cannot imagine actually proposing such a thing, but I would bet that mandatory firearm safety education in elementary and middle school would more likely reduce gun deaths than would any of the proposed gun control legislation.

        Now, I would probably flip my shit if some gun-bearing yahoo wanted to teach my kids about gun safety in school, but I suspect many of those yahoos flip their shit about teaching their kids about sexual safety in school. Granted, as a species we need to have sex and far more people are going to have sex than will ever have a gun.

        Mime—long winded way of saying that I don’t have a solution for this. Doing nothing isn’t working, but many of the proposals are more theatrical safety not wildly unlike making me take off my shoes to get through security at the airport.

      • 1mime says:

        I can’t and won’t accept that there is nothing we can do to better screen those who purchase guns. I will say that the legislation pending in Congress right now that targets mental illness is a good start. It’s just so heart-breaking. My family live in Lafayette where the theater shooting was held. If one of them had been hurt or killed there, I would have been devastated. It’s easy (er) to distance oneself from the intense personal shock and loss when it doesn’t happen to one of us. I will never, ever, forget the little children who were mowed down at Sandy Hook. I just can’t. I really don’t dwell on these things (promise) but each time one of these events happens it hurts me for the loved ones left to mourn and the total loss of innocence. It is why it is so important to me. If there is anything, anything, that will help reduce deaths to gun violence, why not try it? Other countries experience is so much better than ours. Why can’t we learn from them? Why can’t we try something new?

        If it is true that 40% of gun sales occur without a background check, that number is unacceptable. If closing the gun show/internet loophole would help, why not do it? If having a central registry where information could be shared that could assist law enforcement (ask your brother about that) with early identification or just make their jobs easier, why not do so? I have gone through life always feeling that I could make a difference with issues that matter deeply to me. This is one that I will not give up on. I just can’t. I’ll keep trying.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Possible “part of solution”

        When Australia had it’s weapons buy back they also changed the requirements to own a gun
        Simple changes
        You had to leap through a couple of bureaucratic hoops and join (and attend) a gun club
        For most of us these were not onerous requirements
        But for the type of individual that seems to become a mass shooter??
        There is some evidence that these things that to a normal person are easy are actually very difficult for the type of loony that ends up shooting people
        The result seems to be that the Australian experiment was actually a lot MORE successful than we thought it would be

        Have to fill out some forms – wait a bit – then get your gun
        Have to join a gun club – attend some meetings

        If you do these simple things everything is OK – if not you can’t buy a gun or keep the ones you have

        We (NZ) have something similar for a “Fender Exemption”
        As you know cars need to have wings or fenders that cover the tires – stops spray from being a safety issue

        Here you can get a “Fender Exemption” that allows you to drive a car like an old hot rod that does not meet those rules
        All you have to do is
        Join a Hot Rod club
        Go on at least two official club events each year

      • 1mime says:

        America can learn from other countries that are experiencing less gun violence. We can make some simple changes which will help. Thanks, Duncan, for sharing that info.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Duncans suggestion sounds reasonable and also acceptable under the 2nd amendment. Any requirement that brings the person out of his darkened bedroom will rule out some of the shooters, on the margins.

        A gun club requirement with training included seems reasonable.

        Just throwing this out there, how about we rename the Texas National Guard to The Real Texas Militia (or something similar). Require all gun owners to be members, and require 2 weeks of training as a group.

    • MassDem says:

      I think that the article is telling only half of the truth in point #6
      Although gun control organizations have spent a lot of money over the years, they have in all cases been vastly outspent by gun rights organizations.
      2014 federal lobbying spending: gun rghts $9.2 million vs. gun control $1.4 million
      2014 direct federal campaign spending: gun rights $2.1 million vs. gun control $0.4 million
      2014 independent federal campaign spending (PACs): gun rights $29 million vs. gun control $14 million
      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/how-loaded-is-the-gun-lobby/

      Also, I am extremely wary of setting up groups of armed civilians to protect the public as a solution (point #7). We already have problems in this country with poorly trained or unsuitable police officers in some departments–I can only imagine the what would happen if a bunch of lightly trained average joes were enabled to use deadly force in schools, shopping centers, offices, etc. By the time you put a rigorous screening and training program in place, you would probably be better off opting for actual police officers.

      I agree with 1mime that limits on ammunition amounts (and types) are an excellent idea.

      Finally, why do we have to lump all followers of Islam together? I have no trouble distinguishing mainstream Christians from followers of Christian Identity theology. We should be more specific is designating which group is directly responsible rather than blame a religion with 1.6 billion members.

      • 1mime says:

        Good research again, MassDem. So glad you’re on board!

      • 1mime says:

        Daily Kos had some really good links today. I did not know about the number of daily threats to President Obama. This man has to go about his work without worrying that each day could be his last. No other president comes close in the daily danger he personally faces. The team that protects him must be phenomenal….their lives, too, are at risk.

        “That’s 43,830 death threats for his first four years alone.
        But he, the most threatened president in history, still gets up each day to fight for us, befall what may. For those of you who believe in a god, pray for our President, pray for us, that our fears and angst, that my wear and worry, end up being mere markers of the best in us, rather than a prescient affirmation of the worst in us.”

        If this is America’s Golden Age, it is rotten at its core. No amount of money, achievement, prestige can cover up the hate that is festering within our country.

        https://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/25/1164628/–President-Barack-Obama-Is-the-Most-Threatened-President-In-History?detail=emailclassic

    • 1mime says:

      Fly, The Atlantic has a very thorough piece on ISIS which should be a wake-up call for the U.S., if not, the free world.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

  8. 1mime says:

    Damn! Somebody’s doing something right in the U.S. Market up over 250 points! Hmm……
    who should get credit?

    The HIll:

    “The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in November, slightly above expectations and a sign that the labor market is maintaining a strong pace of growth.
    The unemployment rate held at 5 percent, the lowest since early 2008, while estimates from October and September were revised up by 35,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported on Friday.”

    • MassDem says:

      Awesome! Now the Fed can go ahead and raise rates….

      But I am glad that the economy is improving–I’m hoping that my son will be able to find a job when he graduates in 2 years and doesn’t end up back in the nest ; )

    • moslerfan says:

      The market is probably up due to the employment report, same reason the Fed feels it can raise rates. But then who knows. The reason I got interested in economics long ago is because explanations about the stock market always seemed ad hoc. They still do.

      • 1mime says:

        One thing is certain, Mosler, whoever is President should “own” the market this far into their term. I don’t think Obama will ever be given the appropriate credit for how he and his team of economic advisors managed one of the worst recessions in America’s history. You’ll never hear a peep when the news is “good”, but when the numbers are “bad”, you know who is simply running this country into the ground.

        Seriously, I don’t believe balanced budgets for large, industrialized societies are smart economic policy. Prudent, responsible allocation is. I don’t understand why user fees for budgets are not utilized…specifically, the carbon tax and the gasoline tax. What are your thoughts about the concept and these two in particular?

      • 1mime says:

        Mosler, I follow an effort entitled “Fix the Debt”. They are hosting “Fiscal Fridays” and are inviting the presidential candidates to present their ideas, platforms, concerns, etc. For those interested in the economy, this might be something you would be interested in tuning into.

        http://www.fixthedebt.org/fiscal-fridays

      • 1mime says:

        I do worry that profits aren’t that good. That (to me) is a more important indicator than employment, although I’m happy the numbers there are good. Too many mergers, asset divestment, etc to not sense the potential for trouble.

        Still, I’ll take a day in the market like today………well, just about anytime (-:

      • moslerfan says:

        Mime, sure, taxing carbon, as we do other things we disapprove of, like cigarettes and alcohol, is a good idea. Chris thinks a tax would be simpler and cleaner than regulation, and I imagine he’s right, at least for a few years until Congress gets to fiddling with it and the tax sausage becomes as complicated as the regulatory sausage.

        I’ve looked at FixTheDebt before. Basically, their contention that the public debt is unsustainable relies on a misconception of what money is.

        When the Federal Government runs a deficit, it spends more dollars paying soldiers, bureaucrats, highway builders, Medicare providers, and Social Security recipients than it collects in taxes from soldiers, bureaucrats, etc. The difference goes somewhere; it ends up in the pockets of soldiers, bureaucrats, etc. The Government’s deficit and the public’s additional dollars are, as a point of accounting logic, exactly the same thing. And since economic transactions in the private sector never create dollars (but just move them from buyers’ pockets to sellers’ pockets) that is the only way the private sector can obtain additional dollars to support a growing economy. And no, those additional dollars will not burden our children and grandchildren.

        Deficits have an effect on inflation and unemployment. Those things are important. Worrying about deficits as such is misguided.

      • 1mime says:

        And, your specific thoughts about increasing the gasoline tax as a “user” tax to create an adequate budget to meet our infrastructure needs?

      • moslerfan says:

        Using tax policy or user fees to fund this project or that project is more appearance than real effect, since a dollar from here is exactly like a dollar from there. But the appearances can be important. Designating gas tax revenue for highway construction and repair makes it harder to divert the money for some other pet project. And it kind of makes sense, because wear and tear on highways is related to use. Might as well tax the people who are actually using the roads.

      • 1mime says:

        My father was in a field related to state highway/bridge construction and the lead time on these projects (given engineering, RFP, etc) was long. For that specific reason, this budget in particular would benefit from a dedicated, sufficient revenue stream in order to allow planning to occur and the process to play out with bids. It must be a nightmare situation to have short term budget extensions as the status quo. The current legislation is at least multi year, which is great, but it is still woefully inadequate. It makes so much sense to me to use the opportunity when gasoline prices are lower than they’ve been in ions to modestly increase the gasoline tax and be able to achieve not only repair and maintenance, but also expand and build the infrastructure business and cities need.

        Oh, well. I guess what makes sense to me isn’t universal.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      See Mime? The GOP was right. Only 211,000 jobs. Think how many we would’ve added without his job killing policies

      • 1mime says:

        And, how many continuous months of job growth have happened throughout O’s tenure? (-: 64? Despite inheriting a tremendous federal deficit and job losses averaging hundreds of thousands? What a turn around. Wow!

        But we know that Democrats don’t know how to run government efficiently, right? Hmm…

        Here’s a fun piece of economic trivia for ya:

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2014/09/05/obama-outperforms-reagan-on-jobs-growth-and-investing/

        Dang it! How could that be possible!

      • 1mime says:

        BTW, Rob, meant to go back to an issue I had railed about in prior blog. The Repubs and Dems put together a bi-partisan coalition to attach renewal of the EX-IM Bank to the highway bill which O signed into law this past week. Koch brothers failed as did their TP minions, but have promised to be back in 4 years when the charter will be up for renewal. Chalk one up for common sense. Rubio decried the renewal saying federal government shouldn’t be in commercial loan business, but, in fact, this is one federal program that actually makes a profit. Could it be that the commercial banking industry (who turn down lots of these loan applications) just want to cherry pick the loans they want? Anyway, a small success and one that was the right decision.

        I don’t know how old these K. Dudes are, but I’m sure tired of having them hang around.

  9. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Far be it for me to start down the slippery slope of a political pundit and talking about “polls, polls, polls” every day, but The Donald just hit his all-time high on a new CNN poll, now up at 36%.

    Combined with Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, that’s 66% of the vote right there. Rubio is riding his squeaky wheeled bicycle behind ’em all at 12% and for Jeb!, it’s all over but the crying.

    • Crogged says:

      Looks bad, but via David Brooks at the NYT and Nate Silver……..

      “Silver produced a chart showing what this year’s polling would look like if we actually took the current levels of casual attention and uncertainty seriously. In that chart “Undecided” had 80 percent support. Trump had 5 percent support; Carson, 4; Cruz, 3; and Rubio, 2.”

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        That’s fine, but that chart is also indicative of the fact that Trump, Carson and Cruz are all still leading. And if we look to recent political history, Mitt “The Political Chameleon” Romney held a consistent, strong second essentially all throughout 2012 and he ended up being the nominee.

        There’s a real and palpable sense among Republican primary voters that they’re just not going to go with the establishment candidate this time, which is why Jeb! has been tanking.

        Now I’m not saying that The Donald is a guarantee or anything close to it, but if you look at the trends and the consistency with Trump and the other outsider candidates have consolidated their strength, it’s hard to be confident that all three of them are going to tank and that, magically, sanity and rationale will return to nominate the standard Republican establishment like Rubio.

      • Crogged says:

        It’s just a ‘right now’ snapshot of attitudes and while it is revealing, just not the same as what happens when someone actually makes an effort to vote-and this insight comes from the guy who made himself rich from interpreting polling. The polls don’t matter until much closer to a real election and choice.

        Imagine the headwinds against a Republican candidate if the economic news in September and October resembles the current information. WTF will they say, “You have a job and a raise, but not enough guns!”

      • 1mime says:

        Actually, I think it makes Hillary’s candidacy stronger. Her foreign experience and more “hawkish” philosophy moves her more to the conservative side of the aisle in times of conflict.

        Lots of water’s gonna go under the bridge before the big day…

    • flypusher says:

      I’m amused by the semi-joking claim that Trump and Bill Clinton had a Trading Places $1 style bet going……

    • MassDem says:

      In light of the strong & inexplicable support for Donald Trump, I had to watch this again–oldie but goodie “President Obama roasts Donald Trump at the Correspondents Dinner”

      • 1mime says:

        MassDem – I had never seen this! Loved it…bet O did too! His chance to get a little humorous revenge……The Don didn’t seem to be enjoying it as much as the others in the audience, did you notice?

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Have we ever talked about a minimum income in any depth here? I know we’ve broached the subject from time to time, but I don’t recall ever speaking at length about it.

      In any case, it’s an appealing concept, though here in the US I don’t see how you’d be able to pass it without also tackling a universal health insurance program at the same time. If one’s looking to replace the so-called “welfare state,” it naturally becomes an imperative to convince the public beforehand so they don’t go bananas when the idea’s brought up. Even if you don’t pay any attention to politics, you have to know how sensitive people are when it comes to their Social Security, Medicare and other such programs.

      I’d be on board with a pilot program, though I think the test-runs should stem across a number of states and encompassing a wide swath of the American public.

      Along with that is the idea of just how much a minimum income should actually be, and whether it would be tied to inflation. Of course it should, otherwise it risks falling into the same trap that the minimum wage has and being subject to an ineffective Congress, thus falling behind people’s needs.

      Also up for debate is just when one should start receiving it. I don’t know about the practicality in terms of its cost effectiveness, but I would hopefully want it to start when one turns either eighteen or twenty-one. That seems fair to me.

      What do you guys think?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        There are dozens and dozens of pretty long arguments about it in previous posts. Lifer has dedicated entire posts to that.

        It is a topic on which plenty of folks on the left are not in favor, and there are some big details to work through, as well as a bunch of intended and unintended consequences to consider.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        This probably was one of the first posts:
        https://goplifer.com/2013/11/17/how-to-end-the-welfare-state/

        And you can search Lifer’s posts with “minimum income” to find a half dozen posts for this.

        It might be fun for us goofballs to try to walk through a set of details for a proposal that is unlikely to be feasible until my toddlers are adults, but if folks have time on their hands…

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Houston-stay-at-Homer:

        Allow me to expand on my previous reply to you, though I do still want to hear on whether you support a federal minimum income or not.

        I’ve read that article and others like it, though I would argue that there was still a lot that wasn’t discussed there, and the comments (some didn’t have any at all) didn’t quite satisfy me. So, I’d like to go at it again.

        For example, I noted in my first comment that I would like for a minimum income to be available to those who turn eighteen or twenty-one; a young adult just starting to step out into the world. At the same time though, I’d like an incentive for those people to save some of that money, maybe even start on a retirement account.

        We all know the stories about how so many young people and Millenials are burdened with college debt, many of them forced to stay at home with their parents. Do any of us honestly think that preparing for retirement is at the top of their minds right now? Of course it isn’t.

        It makes sense. If these people have a supplemental income on top of what they’re getting at a job, we should want them to preparing for retirement as soon as they’re able. It would increase their security, their independence and their confidence. It’d a good idea not only on how to apply a minimum income, but on how to sell it to the people.

      • 1mime says:

        I think universal health insurance, sensible gun control and CO2 management via a carbon tax (or whatever) are great ideas (-: Social Security and Medicare (on both) are wonderful for seniors, and even Republican seniors mostly say “hands off” when there is discussion by the pols to make significant changes. There has to be realism about how to pay for all of these benefits and that is where having a rational political process is critical. That isn’t the case now so I cannot see anything as innovative as an basic income for all emerging until there is a paradigm shift in Congress. Anyone who attempts changes in the bedrock social benefits programs will need courage. I don’t oppose change in any of these but I want the changes developed and implemented by people who I trust. The current crop in the House need not apply.

      • flypusher says:

        I checked the link, a pity our comments aren’t there anymore.

      • Creigh says:

        As a liberal, I have problems with guaranteed income. It just looks too much like welfare, and if you want to know why I dislike welfare, check with a conservative. I’d rather see an updated New Deal jobs program. That said, guaranteed income is better than nothing. Trying out both (guaranteed income and guaranteed job) would be great. And maybe there’s some way to combine them.

      • 1mime says:

        Creigh, I honestly believe if there were universal health care available and affordable for all, a minimum income wouldn’t be as necessary. The leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States is for medical expenses. That’s a damning statistic and a sad commentary on a society that is as wealthy and civilized as ours is.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Ryan – I personally like the idea of a minimum income with serious reservations. After all, how can you be judgmental about something that all or most people get, unlike more focused welfare.

        The VOX article has pros and cons if you haven’t read it. I too think some experimental pilot programs are in order. Beyond that article, details like you mention, what age does it start? When can an immigrant apply? Do we do an opt out retirement fund also? Do we increase the amount for retirees to reward someone who works their entire life vs someone who doesn’t?

        Additionally, sometimes the reason that people are in poverty is that they are not capable of making good economic decisions. They are preyed upon by sellers of worthless products or robbed by smiling faces. So, day to day, week to week, month to month, someone will have to make sure this isn’t happening. And if we are guiding their lives to that extent, maybe there isn’t much advantage over the old system.

        My feeble thoughts.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      So what do you think about it? Why do you support it or why don’t you?

      • 1mime says:

        Just as an extension of your thought, Ryan, for those young people starting out, assuming they aren’t drowning in college debt (THAT is a whole nuther issue, isn’t it!), there could be a n option to divert their basic income into an IRA of some kind in lieu of spending it. If they have college debt, possibly one of the “strings” would be a requirement to link some part of the income to payment of the loan debt.

        Don’t know if this is where you are headed with your thoughts…..Lifer has treated this subject in posts before (check archives) and he refers to it in his book, The Politics of Crazy….which, if you haven’t read, is now available via Amazon in pb or on kindle. Even this old Dem found some kernels of wisdom and innovation in it (-:

      • Hi 1mime
        If you have a UBI – then saving for retirement becomes much much less important

        As an example we have a universal pension for the over 65’s here
        It is set at 40% of the median income – which is over the “poverty level” so we can say hand on heart that there is no poverty among our elder citizens

      • 1mime says:

        All I can say to ya is, stay healthy. If you are old and sick and have savings in the U.S., medical expenses can drain a lifetime of savings. Thank goodness we saved and didn’t live a high life. Now that we need money, it is there. For how long……….??? that is the question with chronic illnesses (husband has Parkinson’s Disease). SS and medicare are big helps but without savings, things would be a lot more difficult.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi 1mime
        Yep
        As well as the pension we have the National Health so we are OK – you guys need to take care

      • 1mime says:

        I am very careful. Thanks. I’m doing what I would hope anyone would do for their spouse under the same situation. I keep my promises.

    • Crogged says:

      Well, we talk about gun control even when it’s ‘unsympathetic’………….

    • 1mime says:

      Interesting….looks like Canada is a place where new ideas will be welcome. Loved the video!

      Alaska has a guaranteed distribution from oil royalties….which is different than the guaranteed income but generally, achieves a very similar purpose. It has operated for years without much hoorah, although during dips in the energy sector, the distribution is tested.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        That distribution in Alaska is getting sorely tested right now with oil like it is, and they are starting some rather blasphemous discussions of taxes having to go up.

        When you build an entire economy and way of life based on one industry…

      • Shiro17 says:

        “When you build an entire economy and way of life based on one industry…”

        They just need to look at what’s happening to the country to their West to see the problem.

  10. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Just home from Minnesota (you betcha), and I thought it was just cold up there, but evidently, hell has frozen over.

    Lindsey Graham making sense:

    “How many of you believe we lose elections because we’re not hard-ass enough on immigration?”

    “I believe we’re losing the Hispanic vote because they think we don’t like them. I believe that it’s not about turning out evangelical Christians, but about repairing the damage done by incredibly hateful rhetoric driving a wall between us and the fastest growing demographic in America, who should be Republicans.”….

    “If you wanna ask Hispanics why they’ve gone from 44 percent of support for the Republican party to 27, they’ll tell you “we don’t think you like us.” And given what I’ve heard I would be in their camp, too.”

    On Ted Cruz:

    “How are you going to bring us together if your whole career has been about dividing us?”

    “I am tired of that crap.”

    On Trump:

    “I believe Donald Trump is destroying the Republican Party’s chance to win an election that we can’t afford to lose.”

    On abortion:

    “How many of you think we have a problem with young women as Republicans? Why do you think that is? Any idea? It’s a variety of problems. How about abortion? Any of you think that that does create a problem for the Republican party?”

    “I think you can be pro-life as you want to be, as long as you’re sincere, and as long as you have a reasonable approach to the pro-life issue. I am pro-life.”

    “It’s not because of social issues that we will lose. It’s positions we take regarding social issues that can disconnect us from America at large. How many of you believe there should be an exception for a woman that has been a victim of rape, has become pregnant? I don’t believe you can be pro-life and win an election if you’re gonna tell a woman who’s been raped she has to carry the child of the rapist, you’re losing most Americans.”

    Graham is wildly incorrect about a whole slew of issues, but funny how the last gasps of a dying campaign brings out just a touch of honesty and rationality.

    • texan5142 says:

      Houston-stay-at-Homer says:
      December 4, 2015 at 7:48 am
      Just home from Minnesota (you betcha), and I thought it was just cold up there, but evidently, hell has frozen over.

      I thought I felt a fresh breeze when I was outside the other day, welcome home and hope you enjoyed the fine state of Minnesota.

      Best Regards from a Texan living in Minnesota.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I like Minnesota, but my company has a really, really bad tendency to schedule meetings up there in December, January, and February. It is that time of year when we should wander down to Houston while saving Minnesota for summer.

      • 1mime says:

        Not knowing who you work for, Homer, but here’s a fun analysis of the winter Minnesota call:

        Better rates in Minnesota in winter (conservatives – bottom line profits)

        Better climate, more fun in Houston (liberals – quality of life )

        (-: All good!

      • 1mime says:

        TX, the key word in your piece is “living”. Good for you!

    • 1mime says:

      Wow! Too bad he’s an after thought in the GOP presidential field. Too bad, it’s taken him so long to speak out. GREAT that he’s doing so now. This is exactly the opening that Lifer is hoping will begin to happen….from within the party….people honestly reacting and speaking forth on basic problems within the party. There will always be differences (as a pro-choice female, I don’t just want an exception for rape, etc. I want the choice to be the woman’s, period.) but vive la difference!

      Honest is in such short supply. If the Republican Party finally begins to wake up and admit why it is turning people away, they will be formidable. I am encouraged by Sen. Sasse, Flake, and Graham. Lifer must be doing flips!

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

      – George Orwell

      Graham always sounds to me like a (mostly) sane, (mostly) reasonable Conservative. And he also seems sincere. I think how he comes off is more or less how he is in real life.

      If only he wernt such a GD warmonger, he’d be a palatable choice as GOP nominee.

      I don’t care personally if a prez is, say, pro life or not. What i care about is the policies they’ll enact. And although Graham is pro life, and probably against marriage equality (which is kind of an interesting position for Graham to take), I also don’t think these are issues hes going to waste political capital on, if elected.

      Of course, “best of the Republicans” is a little like winning the gold medal in the Paralympics as an able bodied athlete. But at least he’s not a verifiable loon (like cruz), a pandering fascist (like Trump) or just a flat out intellectual midget (like Carson).

  11. MassDem says:

    Like many others, I am getting sick of do-nothing Congressmen offering prayers and little else in the wake of the absurdly high rates of gun deaths and mass shootings in the US. One change that Congress could easily make is to remove the obstacles to the CDC collecting any data on gun violence that was passed as the “Dickey Amendment” in 1996. In fact, Jay Dickey has recently publicly stated that he regrets his part in the passage of that legislation.
    http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/02/politics/jay-dickey-gun-violence-research/

    Another variety of crap legislation that should be rescinded everywhere is the “Doctor Gag Order Laws”, which in some states (e.g. Florida) prohibits physicians from asking about gun ownership, and discussing gun safety with their patients.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/08/doctors-cant-ask-about-guns/375566/

    While the anecdotal evidence of news stories of mass shootings is bad enough, the NRA is most afraid of what the truth will show–that a nation awash in guns is less safe unless gun ownership rights are coupled with gun ownership responsibilities.

    This may mean the curtailing of access to guns for some segment of the population, for example, those on a terror watchlist or ex-felons (yes, some states allow ex-felons to petition for restoration of their gun rights, even if they were convicted of violent crimes–see NY Times link below).
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/us/felons-finding-it-easy-to-regain-gun-rights.html

    Wasn’t the militia supposed to be well-regulated?

  12. EJ (The Other One) says:

    Double posting because I found the best quote ever and had to share it. This is from a 1936 letter by the seminal horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.

    “As for the Republicans — how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience?

    Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.”

    Lovecraft didn’t call out Trump or Carson by name, but he may as well have.

  13. EJ (The Other One) says:

    Chris – what’s your take on Zachary Werrell? Is he a flash in the pan or a sign of things to come?

  14. – Why do you still consider yourself a Republican?

    – Under what circumstances would you abandon the party?

    Uh, gee, Chris, is there *anybody* who posts here who considers themself a Republican? (Other than you, of course.)

    • Griffin says:

      There’s Objv, unless she’s a member of The Constitution Party (which seems possible enough to be honest). Big Willy as well. That’s just off the top of my head though.

    • Doug says:

      There aren’t many here, which tells me Chris has an uphill battle to fight.

      I generally vote Republican. I will abandon them as soon as they’re on board with CO2 restrictions, more gun control, and universal health insurance. Or whenever a viable libertarian party comes around. Whichever comes first.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      I too doubt that Chris will see a rebuilt Republican party with the type of platform that he wants. The base would rather give up pickups that the Republican Brand. Hopefully he keeps writing and tilting at those windmills. Anyway, I come here for the intelligent conversations about policy.

      As someone who considered himself a conservative and was a registered Republican, lately I vote for Democrats and probably will into the near future. Although I will vote for a Republican senator one more time. I will vote for Senator Toomey for his bravery to co-sponsor the background check bill. Even though I really want the Dems to take back the senate. Actually, I don’t think it will matter, because the other side will probably punish him for the same reason and a strong Democrat will win.

      Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal, progressive, regressive. You have to define them before you can talk intelligently and then it doesn’t matter. A policy works with some costs or not. I’m not sure political partys are necessary or even a good idea. There are still a spectrum of conservatives in the Democratic party and I assume some progressives, besides lifer, in the Republican party. After all, think of all the policies we think we disagree on, yet I would take Lifers ideas as policy in any party. We play the political game as if we are cheering for our home-town football team.

      I like the Baltimore colts and the Houston Oilers.

    • johngalt says:

      Used to be one, Tracy. Before, say, 2004, I voted Republican far more often than Democrat. This turn around point did roughly correlate with moving to Texas, where the GOP is an entirely different beast than the party I had grown up with. The GOP doesn’t need my vote – I live in red Texas – but they do need the votes of people like me in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and Missouri. Hard to see how they’re going to get it.

      More importantly, the American political system works best when there are two strong parties with broad appeal and a basis in reality. Things break down when one party takes leave of its senses. I want a strong and rational GOP to balance the political debate and move this country forward.

  15. flypusher says:

    Interesting;

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/12/donald-trump-gop-israel/418737/

    Trump went there- he criticized Israel. Normally that would be political suicide for a GOPer, but Trump’s survived so many of these “suicide attempts” that I’m not assuming this one derails him.

    • Griffin says:

      I actually think Trump has a point. I’m pro-Israel but the hardliners apparently think that even so much as slightly questioning Israelian foreign policy is a “betrayal”. Do they honestly think we should just blindly throw billions at them no questions asked? In their defence we do do that with far worse governments (i.e. Saudi Arabia) but it’s still absurd, Israel is a nation state made up of people land is thus not perfect and immune to criticism. And yes Netanyahu is a crazy person who can manage to form a government with less than a quarter of the Israelian vote because their electoral system is bizarre.

      • flypusher says:

        “I actually think Trump has a point. I’m pro-Israel but the hardliners apparently think that even so much as slightly questioning Israelian foreign policy is a “betrayal”. Do they honestly think we should just blindly throw billions at them no questions asked?”

        I completely agree. I have zero fondness for the messenger, but some things need to be said, and better Trump than no one at all. Same for the “W kept us safe” nosense. A pity he also spews all this hateful xenophobic crap in such copious amounts.

        Israel is preferable to any of the authoritarian governments in the region, let’s be clear on that point. Also the Palestinians, as a political entity, have such a track record of bad decisions you just want to throw up your hands and tell them that they made their bed and they can go lie in it. But that doesn’t mean that Israel doesn’t have some bad deeds to answer for.

      • 1mime says:

        Netanyahu burned his bridges with me on his two very public rebukes of President Obama. He’s obviously entitled to his opinion, and he obviously received a lot of Republican encouragement for his actions, but if he has differences, he should take them up directly mano a mano. Not as he did. Since Bibi represents the hard right in Israeli politics, that sends a really strong negative message to me. The story of the Jewish people and what they have endured over centuries is compelling and anguished. They have fought to retain their identity and their little piece of country after being expelled from all over the world. They do, however, have to justify their requests for help and they do have an obligation to work towards a peaceful settlement one day with the Palestinians. I don’t think it is possible under Bibi.

    • 1mime says:

      If you haven’t read Mann & Ornstein’s “It’s Worse Than It Looks”, you should. Spare and direct, non-partisan, and knowledgeable. The book is a primer on what’s wrong and what needs to happen to fix things. It’s not long either for the digitally inclined.

  16. Shiro17 says:

    Some good news for your Thursday (well, good news for most of us):

    Pentagon opens ALL combat jobs to women. No exceptions.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/12/03/pentagon-chief-to-announce-how-womens-roles-in-the-military-will-expand/

    • 1mime says:

      A can of worms, no doubt, but other countries have included women in combat roles forever. The sophistication of equipment and physical demands of training have discouraged women from applying, but let’s see how they do. Their intellectual roles (spying, intelligence, etc) are well documented….Maybe we girls are just too cerebral for the hunks in the military to handle (-:

      • rightonrush says:

        When our son first met his wife to be she was packing a MTAR-21 in the streets of Tel Aviv. Military service is mandatory in Israel for both sexes.

      • johngalt says:

        In Israel nearly 20 years ago, walking down the sidewalk towards a restaurant where I was meeting colleagues, I saw a young woman walking the other direction towards me. She was simply stunning in a lace cocktail dress and heels, olive skin, and a confident look. She had what appeared to be a purse strap crossing her chest diagonally in a manner that was hard to miss. She was the kind of woman you cannot help but look back over your shoulder after you pass. In this case to find out that the “purse” was a what appeared to be an Uzi. She had apparently removed the functional, if unattractive, standard issue shoulder strap with something more fashionable with which to tote her service weapon with her. Just one of the many surreal aspects of that trip.

      • 1mime says:

        A woman that gorgeous no doubt needed an uzi to fight off all the American tourists (-:

      • rightonrush says:

        Our daughter in law is beautiful. Tall Nordic blond with olive complexion and her eyes are so dark they look black. Plus, she’s a great Mom. We go to visit them in Haifa whenever we get the chance.

      • 1mime says:

        Good for you, Righton. Do your son and daughter in law plan to remain in Israel?

      • rightonrush says:

        Yes Mime, they will remain in Israel.

    • My brother was XO at BUD/S prior to his current tour at NAVSPECWARCOM; he informs me that planning is already underway for inclusion of female BUD/S candidates. Depending on timing, my nephew could very well end up in the first BUD/S class with women.

      Females have served alongside male special ops warriors throughout our recent travails in the Middle East. Iraqi and Afghani social norms preclude females from conversing with outside males, so female interrogators have been an extremely important asset. Regardless of whether they are intentionally serving directly in combat, they have certainly been serving outside of any protected perimeter.

      As I understand it, there will be absolutely no gender-norming of physical requirements, so to that extent I’m fine with the concept. There are no “norming” parameters for males, either. For instance, it doesn’t matter how small or big a guy you are, the minimum strength requirements are set regardless of stature. This was at one point in my brother’s career a concern; during his stint with DEVGRU there were specific enhanced upper body strength requirements (e.g. bench press) that were a challenge even for him. Like a lot of operators, my brother is not a huge guy, so a bench press max in the neighborhood of 300+ lb.s was nothing to sneeze at. Other aspects are going to remain messy, but one supposes that will all work itself out in the long run.

      More interesting to me is what all this says about modern society in general. In the pre-industrial era capacity for manual labor (in peace or war) was the measure of a family’s, or a society’s, wealth. Children participated in the labor force and made a direct economic contribution. Females, as the only production source of viable humans, had to be protected.

      In the modern era of automation (in both peace and war) production of children, if one examines demographic data, is best regarded as a costly luxury. (Note that I’m avoiding the long term issues regarding birth rates that fall below the replacement rate.) Children provide no direct economic benefit to their parents, and in fact are quite costly to produce in a manner that results in independent adults. Under modern conditions there is no particular reason, on an economic basis, to protect females preferentially over males. And so we end up with G.I. Jane.

      • flypusher says:

        I can’t see women not being valued that much as incubators anymore as anything other than a big improvement.

        But given that humans do need to replace themselves, it would be prudent to compensate families more to offset that loss of the economic benefits of offspring,

      • 1mime says:

        China is doing just that. Their one baby rule didn’t produce the numbers needed to power their production needs, thus women may now have two children subsidized by Uncle Chen.

      • 1mime says:

        I understand that the marines have asked for some exceptions.

      • 1mime says:

        An interesting observation was made on CNBC today regarding a comment from Fed Chief Yellon. In discussing the justification for moving forward in December on a rate increase with on the basis of less than 100K jobs, Yellen explained that new statistical models are governing markets. Fewer jobs are required than in the past due to the incorporation of technology in the workplace which generates higher productivity output per individual.

        I thought that was an interesting side note and dovetails beautifully with Lifer’s theory of the changing marketplace. We don’t often connect the dots of these obvious benefits with a corresponding shift in statistical models that measure/track them. Even if the world is at a lower birth rate, it is obviously functioning quite well.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi 1mime
        “Fewer jobs are required than in the past due to the incorporation of technology in the workplace which generates higher productivity output per individual.”

        If that was true (and the only reason) we would not have so many jobs that should be done and are not done

        I’m thinking here about all of the outdated infrastructure

        I would also add all of the goods that are not bought because the customers have no spare money
        The jobs involved in making those desired but (because of the inequality) unaffordable goods

        There are a lot of jobs that are not being done

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, Duncan. That is the world that “could be”. I’m talking about the world “that is”. Republicans would not approve an infrastructure proposal from Obama because they didn’t want to add more debt (strange since M & O is proven to cost more if ignored not to mention the whole “safety” aspect), did not want to add jobs that would accrue to Obama’s political benefit, and wouldn’t agree to finance proven problems with an increase in a dedicated gasoline tax pegged to users in order to repair/build infrastructure users need to do “business”. We do have an 18 T debt, so there is that real issue, but, in the meantime, there are more cars, more people, and more goods being transported. Kind of a dead end argument to me but then I don’t control the House Appropriations Committee, heck, I don’t control much of anything come to think of it. Still entitled to my opinions, tho, flawed and despotic as they are.

      • moslerfan says:

        Mime, “fewer (workers) are required…due to technology”. Therein lies the problem. You can’t just throw the redundant people aside. I remain convinced that this is our biggest economic challenge. And the more I consider the matter, the more I feel that an income guarantee is not going to solve the problem for many people.

      • 1mime says:

        You are absolutely correct, Mosler, but the answer is not to ignore the benefits of technology but to educate people appropriate to their abilities and skills so that there is a meaningful place for them to work and participate in society. I do believe there will always be people lost in the process….those who won’t, can’t, re-train. Of course, as Duncan stated, there ARE jobs that still require manual labor and those should be dignified and encouraged for those who cannot re-train.

        Education/training – quality vocational training – are key to address this looming problem.

    • 1mime says:

      Marines have asked for some exceptions, Shiro.

  17. Rob Ambrose says:

    This shooting in San bernadino could be very interesting and very conseuential.

    Couple things we know (or strongly suspect)

    1. It was likely planned. Too coordinated. Farook, although an employee, was not particularly disgruntled or acting weird that day. He was sitting t his table, left to go to the bathroom, and then the shooting started minutes later.

    2. He was born in America.

    3. Wasn’t outwardly radicalized.

    4. Married with child

    5. Wife was involved in shooting.

    I think it’s going to come out this was premeditated Islamic terrorism. It was too well planned. His wife would have had to come to the banquet with him, as well as bringing body armour, and he left minutes before the shooting started, suggesting he left to get dressed, get his wife, and stet shooting.

    To me, the logical inference is terrorism and that target wa chosen simply because that’s where he worked and he knew there’d be a lot of ppl there.

    This blows just about everything we thought we knew out of the water. Even the most fearful and suspicious of pl here in America were not likely to think ALL Muslims were a threat. They likely profile in their head, and sure they don’t want Syrian refugees here, or are scared of the weird and angry Pakistni cab driver, it’s likely that they detected no threat among nice young married Muslim couples, or the pleasant Muslim guy who has the adorable by girl and whose been n employee for 5 years.

    And women were never suspected either.

    My point is, if things were so xenophobic a they’ve been lately, with no Islamic attack on America since 9/11 and most of the fear confined to foreign, angry, or overtly angry young male Muslims, what’s it going to become in the coming weeks when even those profiling traits are useless. It’s not just the foreign angry males we need to worry about. It EVERY Muslim, of either sex. “Thought you knew your neighbour of 10 years? You don’t. Thought the Muslim couple across the street was harmless because they’re always nice and were born hereand they have a family? They aren’t.”

    I worry what this is going to do to the already huge division between Muslim Americans and the rest of the country.

    On the other hand, maybe this will finally be the catalyst for real, meaningful gun control laws.

    Something tells me if there’s ANYTHING that can sway the southern white gun nuts to enact real gun control laws, it’s the thought of homegrown Islamic terrorists infesting the country, having easy access to guns.

    Overall, it’ll be very interesting to see how the discourse changes over the next few weeks. I’m already cringing at what Dpnald Trump says . Maybe he’ll call for summary execution of the terrorists family? In this case, their 6 month old baby girl

    • Shiro17 says:

      I really don’t know what this couple was trying to accomplish. But if their goal, like ISIS, was to create as strong a rift as possible between Muslims and Christians, then maybe this was the perfect mission. As you said, it came from the MOST unlikely people to be involved. And, the target wasn’t something like the Staples Center or a Hollywood film studio, but a social services center that nobody would suspect would ever be a target. Will it provoke a disproportionate response from the right? I’d imagine this will only be fuel for the candidates to spout even more nonsense.

      • 1mime says:

        One has to wonder if there are sleeper cells all over America. Given the arsenal found at the house linked to these people, there may have been multiple targets. What I hate is that the Syrian refugee issue will undoubtedly get sucked into this vortex of fear and suspicion.

    • 1mime says:

      Rob, I don’t know what your “day job” is, but you sure do have strong instincts in the field of terrorism.

    • Shiro17 says:

      It looks like they were definitely planning something since it appears that the man had contacts with radicals in the past. However, I doubt the center was their original target. They may have changed things after the argument to get some practice in or get revenge or something.

    • As I understand it, France is already shutting down some mosques. Hmm.

      • flypusher says:

        If they’ve got evidence that these mosques were incubating extremists, I’ve got no issues with that.

      • Well, yes. But in this country we’ve got these little things like the 1st and 5th Amendments, not to mention a system of jurisprudence based on common law (innocent until proven guilty) rather than on civil law (guilty until proven innocent). What the French government can do with impunity is going to have a tough time passing muster here, Obama’s statist ambitions notwithstanding.

        The larger question is the value of freedom vs. its costs as compared to the value of security vs. its costs, and whether one can be legitimately traded for the other. One of points Rob made indirectly is that enhanced gun control laws aren’t going to stop this flavor of terrorism, nor are watch lists, restrictions on refugee immigration, or more government intrusiveness in general. In this case any attempt to barter freedom for security is not likely to produce the desired result. We can restrict the freedom of the general population (e.g. more gun control laws), or curtail the freedoms of a minority group (e.g. Muslims), but neither option is going to make us any safer from this type of violence. That’s something we’d do well to remember going forward.

      • 1mime says:

        Thus, your solution to a problem that involves a mass killing (of 4 or more) daily with guns is….?

      • flypusher says:

        “Well, yes. But in this country we’ve got these little things like the 1st and 5th Amendments, not to mention a system of jurisprudence based on common law (innocent until proven guilty) rather than on civil law (guilty until proven innocent). What the French government can do with impunity is going to have a tough time passing muster here, Obama’s statist ambitions notwithstanding.”

        Unlike the French, we’ve done a much better job of selling our Muslim immigrants on the concept of America and getting them more assimilated. A pity a number of reactionary xenophobes in the GOP are doing their worst to mess this up.

        “The larger question is the value of freedom vs. its costs as compared to the value of security vs. its costs, and whether one can be legitimately traded for the other. One of points Rob made indirectly is that enhanced gun control laws aren’t going to stop this flavor of terrorism, nor are watch lists, restrictions on refugee immigration, or more government intrusiveness in general. In this case any attempt to barter freedom for security is not likely to produce the desired result.”

        If you’re trying to equate the ideas discussed here like requiring liability insurance for gun owners to messing with people’s 1st and 4th Amendment rights because their religion isn’t popular, you fail.

        “We can restrict the freedom of the general population (e.g. more gun control laws), or curtail the freedoms of a minority group (e.g. Muslims), but neither option is going to make us any safer from this type of violence. That’s something we’d do well to remember going forward.”

        Or maybe we can take THIS approach:

        http://www.npr.org/2014/12/11/370156282/denver-emerges-as-model-for-countering-isis-recruiting-tactics

        Terrorist groups will try to recruit here, and there sadly will always be those who are bored enough and/or rebellious enough and/or estranged enough and/or just dumb-ass kids who will be lured. If you actually make the effort to treat the Muslim communities with some respect and establish trust, you just might find a good source of intell about this.

  18. JeffAtWolfcreek says:

    I, for one, am interested in Chris’ idea of a new and improved gop, even under a new name. As it now stands, either by design or accident, there is no national party that I can get behind. Dems suk. Pubs suk more. I don’t think his idea is pie in the sky. I will gladly compromise on the 20% of issues we disagree on to move forward with the 80% that we do regardless of the party that starts making sense. I bet many feel the same.

    • 1mime says:

      Jeff, what bothers you most about each of the parties ( in a nutshell). I’m trying to get a better feel for what people object to and are seeking.

      • 1mime, what bothers me most about *both* parties is the rampant corporatism. It’s how your gal made herself rich, and it *REEKS* of corruption. The only way to fix it is to apply slash and burn techniques to the federal government, er, I mean build “a leaner, smarter government.” 😉 That ain’t going to happen with Hildebeast, the Bern, the Donald, Jebbie, Rubio or Christie. It might happen with Cruz, which perhaps explains his recent poll surge. It could possibly also happen with Paul, but with given all the excitement in the rest of the world, you can poke his candidacy with a fork.

      • 1mime says:

        Tracy, I have often thought that the Presidency should be publicly funded. That would encourage more and varied candidates and would not force people to grovel or give expensive speeches to play catch up. For that matter, I also favor expanding US House terms from two to four so these people will not be in a hamster cage of continual fund-raising. The whole process is skewed unhealthily. I’ll take my chances with Hil.

      • Creigh says:

        Tracy, I’ve often thought that opposition to corporatism and money in politics would be a natural point of agreement between liberals and conservatives. But I don’t see how smaller government is the solution. Basically, there’s a large power differential between today’s megabanks and multinational corporations and us as individuals. How do you propose to address that power differential except through some form of collective civil action – which is, anyway you look at it, hard to distinguish from “government.”

        BTW I agree absolutely that our current government, driven by corporate money, is failing us completely. (And I don’t know that Crazy Uncle Bernie’s solutions will solve all of this, but he definitely wants to take us on a different path.

      • Creigh, large government is an attractive nuisance to corporatism. The larger and more powerful the mechanism of central control, the more aggressively large corporations will seek to steer, moderate, or otherwise influence that control. If we greatly simply and/or trim back the mechanisms of that centralized control (the federal bureaucracy and the hundreds of thousands of pages of the CFR), then much of that impetus towards corporatism goes away.

        How then may large corporations be dissuaded from doing bad things (assuming we do some serious Leviathan pruning), i.e. insure “some form of collective civil action”? In western civilization we have this thing called the civil court system. It’s very purpose is to provide a just means of legal conflict resolution. Under this system the class action mechanism provides a means for the small and meek to combat the large and powerful.

        Our common law system of jurisprudence is an emergent, bottom-up solution for addressing conflict, as opposed to the top-down approach of bureaucratic central control. Throughout history the former has produced better outcomes than the latter. I say run with it.

      • 1mime says:

        The court process is very expensive to pursue environmental abuses, and, often are too late. Government shouldn’t be oppressive, but big business’ record of unchecked responsibility is lacking. As with everything, balance is key. If the EPA were adequately staffed to enforce and pursue violations, there might be more compliance.

      • Creigh says:

        Tracy, your invoking of the class action mechanism as a way for individuals to counter the power of corporations is instructive, in a way. Corporations are doing everything in their power to undermine it, with the help of allies like Justice Alito on the courts. More and more corporations are shutting off access to courts using binding arbitration agreements where they choose and pay the arbitrators (how impartial can that be). And the courts are increasingly restricting the ability of suits to be brought as class actions, see Walmart vs Dukes.

      • Creigh says:

        Tracy, obviously the corporate powers will attempt to co-opt government if that government has any power worth co-opting. But your assertion that if government power is reduced, “the impetus towards corporatism goes away”? No.

  19. lomamonster says:

    The most enviable achievement of Donald Trump that we have to all admit is a crowning bit of glory is – – making the cover of Mad Magazine later this month!

  20. lomamonster says:

    There is one more thing that Republicans owe the American People…
    An apology.

  21. JeffAtWolfcreek says:

    @Martin… My small business would externalize any cost it could. Not because we don’t care but because we are fighting to survive. You are foolish to think that big business doesn’t think the same way. Not to mention that the law of the land demands that they focus solely on the bottom line. Get a grip man.

    • Martin says:

      Look, businesses are perfectly rational. They externalize all the cost they legally can and they internalize all the profits they legally can. In the absence of sensible rules this rational behavior leads to certain calamity. The common good is not free. Pollution has consequences. Deteriorating infrastructure has consequences. Extreme inequality has consequences. Ignoring these consequences leads to a downward spiral. Our businesses loose their competitiveness. We are no longer able to embrace and capitalize on new opportunities. In all the political rhetoric we lost touch with the value of investing in our common good. The fierce polemic aimed at eliminating all government and all regulation stymied any form of a sensible debate around how to create a balance. That is why we cannot solve any of our problems anymore and only create new ones.

      • 1mime says:

        Martin, I don’t know if you had a chance to see the Charlie Rose Show tonight. He interviewed Hillary Clinton and the discussion was wide-ranging…from foreign policy to the Federal Highway Bill. It’s taken six years to cobble together a budget for our highway system mostly because of the GOP obsession for refusing to increase gasoline taxes. Millions of new drivers, millions more cars and trucks, increased commercial demands on our nations’ roads….and Congress can’t justify increasing the gasoline sales tax at all to keep our nations roads and bridges in safe working order? Clinton had some pointed comments about this and other areas of discussion. It was a solid interview. Her knowledge in foreign affairs is impressive. Just what you would want in a Commander in Chief in charge of making decisions about committing American lives to battle and American treasury to foreign activities.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        I agree. My original post simply states that business friendly policies that allow costs to be externalized are at odds with good planet management. The intended question is how would a new and improved gop platform reconcile this conflict without losing it’s business friendly roots?

    • goplifer says:

      I’m not sure that the approach to business “rationality” you describe can still be assumed to be the standard. I could be wrong, but it seems like we’re moving into a era in which the most successful capitalist entities work pretty hard to line up their financial goals with larger social interests.

      https://goplifer.com/2015/10/25/a-4th-era-of-capitalism/

      • Martin says:

        @Chris: I think you nailed it and said it more eloquently than I ever could. While I am not in favor of increasing taxes, it fits in with your mention of a carbon tax. There are many other smart ways to guide capitalism into a direction of sustainability without increasing overall tax collection. I am in with a party that can pull this off.

      • 1mime says:

        I think a carbon tax is a good idea as well, but one of the main reasons it hasn’t been implemented (Other than the usual GOP reluctance to any tax even if it is needed and can be justified….which, I happen to believe exists in a number of areas), is that doing so would impact the current fossil fuel subsidy that these industries currently enjoy. Not many people are aware of this, as evidenced by all the hyperbole attacking renewable energy subsidies, but it exists, and it represents trillions of dollars annually.

        In layman’s language, Elon Musk asserts:
        http://fortune.com/2015/12/02/elon-musk-carbon-tax-paris/

        A more scholarly, global analysis from the IMF:
        http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2015/new070215a.htm

      • Shiro17 says:

        I’m firmly convinced that one of the keys is to put money into research to help find innovative and cost-efficient ways to “do the right thing,” whatever that may be in your particular market. If there is little to no cost difference, then businesses will flock to the “good” choice since, as places like Chipotle and Panera have shown, they can market the crap out of that to their customers to develop a good, quality brand.

        In terms of the environment, it’s also why I’m firmly convinced that the REAL battle for this country’s energy future was not at all the Keystone pipeline, but is an ongoing battle in places like Hawaii, Arizona and California. In these places, solar energy has reached ‘grid parity,’ i.e. it is now the same price or cheaper to produce electricity using solar power than with the conventional power grid. There are many battles going on here, especially in Hawaii, where tons of consumers and start-up energy companies are pushing for more and more solar panels, but are facing fierce resistance from the utility companies. I have a feeling that as more and more states reach the point where solar energy is cheap enough, we will reach a HUGE turning point where fossil fuel use will drop sharply in an incredibly short amount of time.

      • 1mime says:

        Martin, What are your thoughts about funding M & O/ and construction within our transit system by increasing the gasoline tax, even modestly? Gasoline prices are low and needs are great. It would tie users to the tax, just as the carbon tax does, and would free up monies for other purposes or at the least, fully meet the needs of our infrastructure.

  22. MassDem says:

    I started my political life as a Republican–not because I was a true believer, but because everyone in my family was a Republican. I voted for John Anderson in the 1980 primary, and after Reagan won, I left the party and was an Independent for several years. I ended up joining the Democratic party after I realized that I mostly (but not exclusively) vote for Democrats, especially at the national level.

    I would characterize myself as a socially liberal, fiscal conservative and would probably had been happy in the the Republican party of the 50s and 60s, then a center right party that consisted of a mix of conservatives, moderates and even some liberals.

    Recently I read Geoffrey Kabaservice’s “Rule and Ruin: the Downfal of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party”. This is a must read for anyone interested in how the Republican party ended up where it is today. Although the book is long and very dense, I found it fascinating. The R’s problems started with the conservative movement that was organized to get Goldwater elected in 1964–although unsuccessful in that election, those networks of passionate, often young conservatives were enlarged and strengthened over the years until they ended up taking over the party. (They also had some help along the way from the feckless progressive Nelson Rockefeller.)

    Doug Bailey (a founding member of the moderate Ripon Society) is quoted in the book as saying, “Raising the sword of moderation and marching down the street is a contradiction in terms…With people who feel passionately about something and are certain they are right, it’s easier to get them to organize and march and do the things necessary to be sure that their position prevails…”

    Chris, I wish you all the best in forming a reality-based, more moderate Republican party, but I am afraid you are fighting an uphill battle.

  23. Shiro17 says:

    OK, Chris, here you go. I really wonder how well this is going to go.

    Head of Nat’l Republican Senate Com’tee: “Tap into Trumpism without mimicking Trump.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/private-memo-lays-out-how-the-gop-would-deal-with-trump-as-its-nominee/2015/12/02/78514cba-9909-11e5-94f0-9eeaff906ef3_story.html

    That said, it’s a bit more sane than at first glance, i.e. the lesson is to appear more authentic and not tied to special interests while not saying “wacky things about women.” But, the memo doesn’t want anyone piling on Trump, so…

    • 1mime says:

      Shiro, the Republican hierarchy wants the presidency so badly, they’ll sell their collective souls to do so. Even if it puts a Donald Trump et al in the office, and even if the country goes to hell as a result. I mean this in all humility, America with Republicans in total control would be frightening. (And, note that I don’t want full Democratic control either, but given the state of the Republican Party, it would be a disaster.)

    • Shiro17 says:

      There are just two poignant things that I’m concerned about:

      1) (this was pointed out in the article) The memo actually believes that Trump can pull together a strong enough coalition to win the election. And, this is a leaked memo so it isn’t purposefully rose-tinted. I don’t know which is worse: that they actually believe that Trump can win, or that, objectively, they may be right, and Trump actually can win.

      2) (more telling) The memo reflects that the moderate establishment still believes that they can somewhat contain and control what Trump et al have unleashed even if Trump becomes the nominee.

      • 1mime says:

        As bad as it appears with Trump being a stronger potential nominee, I am telling you, you’d want Trump over Cruz anyday. Rubio is too unprepared for the times. Jeb isn’t selling. Christie – he’d blow everyone up….Kasich doesn’t have a chance….

    • goplifer says:

      Read that memo earlier. The delusions are incredibly dense. Basically, the party is intellectually bankrupt. Their advice is to be a nicer version of Donald Trump. Who the f’k gets paid to produce this crap?

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      This is f******g awesome, it really is. Tapping into “Trumpism” without sounding too much like The Donald, while at the same time having him at the top of the ticket and constantly having to answer for everything that he says and does.

      If that’s not twisting one’s self into a proverbial pretzel, I don’t know what the hell is.

      • 1mime says:

        Then you reeely don’t understand how well the Republican members of Congress and their leadership stick to the party line. Repeat after me: Repeat after me: Repeat after me…..This is just the latest and greatest ploy….who says the emperor has no clothes?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Yes, of course politicians twist themselves into proverbial pretzels all the time and anyone who pays attention knows the saying: “Republicans fall in line and Democrats fall in love.”

        Even so though, when a force like The Donald comes along and threatens to blow the whole damned party up and send them to an electoral thrashing the likes of which we haven’t seen in this country in a very long time, there comes a point at which even the Republicans have to say “enough is enough.”

        Nothing quite incites action like unmitigated and widespread destruction.

      • 1mime says:

        Playing the proverbial devil’s advocate here….on a cautionary note – Consider the fact that Trump’s numbers have been consistently high throughout. Consider what this says about the GOP base who are supporting him. Consider the fact that Republicans have this nettlesome habit of consistently voting. Consider the fact that even those Republicans who are appalled at a Donald Trump as the nominee WILL vote for him. Don’t count on these people to stay home. Don’t count on Trump to “fold”. Don’t count on Democrats to turn out for Hillary.

        Sounds gloomy? You betcha. But, it could happen exactly this way. I saw a wonderful candidate in a local election get beat because his opponent was so flaky no one, NO one thought he had a chance. Turns out, the “great” candidate’s base didn’t turn out because they thought he was a “shoe in”, and he got beat. Learned a lot of lessons in that election and it could happen here.

        Of course, the GOP nominee could end up being Cruz or Rubio, in which case all of the above still applies.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        No disrespect, but the “maybes” and “could happens” of the political world are the ones I go out of my way to avoid. Up and until it genuinely, realistically looks like it’s going to happen; at which point people stop talking about “maybe” and look at it as a real world event, I don’t indulge such things.

        For the sake of argument however, let’s examine each of your points:

        1.) Yes, Trump’s numbers have been consistently high in the Republican primary, of which a small segment of the overall Republican base (which, iirc, and bearing in mind that I refer to those who self-identify as Republicans, make up just a little over 30% of the overall American population). Among THAT, Trump’s numbers, at the moment, seem to top out at about 30%-ish right now.

        Not to underestimate The Donald or how the broader Republican electorate mighty rally to his cause next November if he’s the nominee (I would opt to ask Lifer on his opinion of how much Republican support Trump could count on), but at the moment his support just isn’t that much when looking at the broader picture.

        Also, keep in mind that his support among women and particularly non-white voting blocs in America is absolutely abysmal. That, in and of itself, is a death blow.

        2.) Are some Democrats going to stay home out of spite and not vote for Hillary? Probably, but I wouldn’t overestimate that whiny little bunch too much. I’m of the opinion that, more than anything else, Democrats want to WIN in 2016. When push comes to shove, the overwhelming majority of the Democratic base will rally behind the first female president in our history and come out to vote for her.

        In addition to that, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the Clinton political machine will do absolutely everything in its power to see that it can get every vote out that it can squeeze. Anyone who’s following knows that Clinton and her operative have paid very close attention to President Obama’s GOTV operation and are working to actually expand on it.

        3.) As for your example, there is a stark difference between a local election and voting for the most powerful office in the free world. People get out and vote for the president. Period, full stop.

        With all that said, we can go back and forth on this all day long. When push comes to shove, I think Trump will energize voter turnout among minority voting groups – particularly Hispanics – and depress turnout among those moderate and Republican-leaning Independents. Those people would, without question, turn out to vote for Jeb! or Rubio, but I don’t think that holds for The Donald.

        I could be wrong though. Again, I opt to Lifer to see what his opinion is.

      • 1mime says:

        I like your response, Ryan! I was playing the Devil’s Advocate precisely to stimulate discussion. And, yes, there is a world of difference between a local and national election, but there are lessons there as well. I hope you are right on many points. Good answers!

  24. I_T says:

    Overall the Dems are a centrist-right party, now. And while they may indeed be corrupt in some parts of the country, out here in California they are doing a pretty good job, overall.

    The problem is that we need checks and balances politically as well as governmentally. Eliminating unions is not a solution; the situation in WI is pretty scary. KS? Really? There needs to be a balance of interests, a willingness to compromise, and an awareness that profit is not limited to money for shareholders, but a healthy workforce, able to participate in the fruits of their labor, and a government that can contribute to positive outcomes (e.g., investment in basic medical research).

    I long for a competent Republican party and a political discourse that balances hyper partisanship with the understanding that we are ALL Americans and we must all live together– the dynamic tension that once made us accomplished.

    • goplifer says:

      Let’s be clear about something – I don’t think we should eliminate unions. I think their power needs to be curtailed.

      And it has to be acknowledged that California under Governor Moonbeam is the wealth-generation capital of the planet. I would handle things a bit differently, but that guy inherited a dumpster fire and he’s turned into an international model for civics.

      • 1mime says:

        if you acknowledge that Governor Jerry Brown has done a fine job, why not give him a little more respect than calling him Governor Moonbeam?

  25. flypusher says:

    The idiots and crazies and xenophobes aren’t just in the Presidential race. Plenty of that crap in the grassroots:

    http://timesgazette.com/news/4268/hastings-says-he-regrets-fb-post

    I really don’t care what letter goes after that guy’s name, that is some irresponsible garbage he’s flinging about. A race war is not preordained here.

  26. Shiro17 says:

    In other news, the most anticipated Fed rate hike ever may soon be upon us.

    “Yellen: Economy is ready for rate hike”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/12/02/janet-yellen-speech/76633224/

    • 1mime says:

      Most economists say that the market has already priced in a rate increase. They expect it to be modest, but mainly, they expect it. No surprise. Now, less sophisticated investors might balk, but it’s really time to get past net zero. Banks and businesses have been getting a freebie. A little inflation is indicative of a healthy economy.

  27. Rob Ambrose says:

    Active shooter in San Bernardino.

    Looks like its a gov’t agency, health care related.

    No information beyond that, but the scene from the helicopter on CNN looks like another mass casualty situation.

    CNN says “1-3 potential shooters”.

    Not good.

    • Shiro17 says:

      It looks like a social services center to provide help for disabled people.

      Early reports say at least 20 are shot.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Wtf? Who shoots up a centrebthat helps disabled ppl?

        Multiple shooters no less. This is screwy

    • 1mime says:

      More guns on the campus ought to take care of it………..

      • Shiro17 says:

        If anything, this should be a huge blow to that line of thinking. The attackers this time all came in full body armor. I’d imagine if we did try to implement the solution of more guns, more attackers would simply follow suit.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Another mass shooting with Democratic candidates for president calling for new gun safety laws and Republican presidential candidates offering their prayers and thoughts to the victims.

      Gosh, wherever have I seen this movie before?

      • Shiro17 says:

        You forgot the “both sides using the tragedy to push their respective political agendas on gun control/gun freedom while berating the other side for using a tragedy to push their political agenda.”

      • 1mime says:

        Both sides push …. It appears to me that all of the pushing is from the left on this issue. The right vis a vis the NRA has built a wall and a moat filled with snakes around sensible gun legislation And complete background checks. I don’t see anything here but common sense. Event after event is testing America’s resolve on gun control. Who’s winning? Next time, it might be your family in a movie theater, or a handicapped facility or heaven help us, an elementary school.

        I know you are “just saying”, but this is serious, long overdue and shouldn’t be political. It’s about preventing more senseless death by people who should not have guns.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        And what, exactly, would you have them do otherwise? Even if you don’t agree with the Democrats’ proposals here, at least they want to do something. When was the last time congressional Republicans had a serious proposal to try and curb gun violence?

      • Shiro17 says:

        I agree with you, and I don’t understand why people are berating each other for doing something. If I was a victim, I would want to make sure that the people in charge were doing everything possible to make sure it didn’t happen again. There’s no need to be ashamed of that.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        This one sounds more then just a gun control thing.

        CNN just said police are calling this a “domestic terrorism” event.

        Stay tuned.

      • BigWilly says:

        I agree that this a deeply wrong thing to happen here in the US. It’s a problem anyone who considers themselves to be right on the spectrum should step up to solve, and not with any impossible solution like weapons proliferation.

        A moment of silence is in order while we consider the possible solutions to this problem. I’m all in.

      • 1mime says:

        Good for you, BW. So am I. Whatever it takes.

      • 1mime says:

        This commentary from the NYT Nicholas Kristoff on America’s progress on the gun front……..

        “So far this year, the United States has averaged more than one mass shooting a day, according to the ShootingTracker website, counting cases of four or more people shot. ”

        ” New Harvard research suggests that about 40 percent of guns in America are acquired without a background check — which is just unconscionable.

        Astonishingly, it’s perfectly legal even for people on the terrorism watch list to buy guns in the United States. More than 2,000 terrorism suspects did indeed purchase guns in the United States between 2004 and 2014, according to the Government Accountability Office and The Washington Post’s Wonkblog. ”

        Note: the guns in the possession of the two shooters in San Bernandino were legally purchased. What is it going to take to motivate enough people to demand universal background checks and other proposed sensible gun legislation.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/03/opinion/on-guns-were-not-even-trying.html?emc=edit_ty_20151203&nl=opinion&nlid=41048410&_r=0

    • 1mime says:

      Keep us posted, Rob. I heard this earlier and have become so inured to mass shootings that I decided to let someone else have honors. Senseless horror. Shame on all who are standing in the way of sensible gun legislation.

      • 1mime says:

        So far, fourteen confirmed dead, fourteen seriously wounded, and the area has not been completely searched due to a potential bomb. There may be more dead. The three reported attackers escaped.

      • Shiro17 says:

        Two of the suspects were killed (a man and a woman) and a third is in custody. No reports on the identities or motives yet.

      • Shiro17 says:

        More info:

        It appears that at least one of the assailants was a worker at the facility and had a bad dispute with the other employees. So, naturally, shooting everybody is the perfect solution to a workplace conflict, right?

  28. JeffAtWolfcreek says:

    You are right Lifer, but, “the GOP’s relative friendliness to business” and “managing the externalities of global capitalism” are at odds. Let’s face it, being friendly to business pretty much means letting business externalize its costs as much as possible. Fixing one will break the other.

    • Martin says:

      @JeffAtWolfcreek: Wow, that is complete nonsense. There is nothing in capitalism that says that a business should not carry its true cost. Measuring that true cost can be difficult; after all we are talking about the common good. It is us the people who have to create the rules to attribute a value to our common good and if we are unfit to do so then we failed as a society, no matter whether we call it capitalist, communist, or whatever.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Martin, of course it’s not stated explicitly. But a public corporations sole purpose is to provide a return to its shareholders. That means offsetting all costs wherever they are.

        If you think an unregulated company wouldn’t lay as many of its costs onto others as possible, you’re dreaming.

      • 1mime says:

        Martin, my problem with business is not passing along costs, but in not sharing in profits with the work force that helped with the company’s success. Promotions, living wages, health coverage, recognition. Do this things and charge whatever you think the market will bear.

    • duncancairncross says:

      I think I have quoted this before on this blog but it is apt

      “Business friendly” is code for “Rich businessman friendly”, despite the two being almost entirely at odds. Business growth is higher under left-wing governments because they encourage reinvestment of profits in wages, R&D and modernisation, rather than allowing a small number of execs and owners to extract all the money as market rent.

      (In the same way that spending is actually often lower under left-wing governments, after an initial burst, because preventative maintenance is much cheaper than crisis management. The right wing does everything by crisis management, because their ideology insists on “saving money” by cutting long-term preventative programs.)

      • lomamonster says:

        Bravo, duncan!

      • 1mime says:

        Indeed. Business should be successful, but the best companies measure success by not only the profits they earn, but in the people who help them meet their goals. They do this by paying living wages, providing health care, and by sharing achievement. They see their people as human capital and they are correct. I think business should make healthy profits but I also think they should share first with the people who make it so.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi 1mime

        The trouble is a business in the USA that did that would be breaking the law
        Back in the 1970’s there were some legal cases –
        The final result was that a business in the USA has to only think about it’s shareholders,
        They must be the Alpha and Omega of the business

        Any attempt to think about the other “stakeholders” is illegal – it is robbing the shareholders!

        That is because of US law – other countries have different laws
        In Germany the other stakeholders must be taken into account

      • 1mime says:

        I could certainly be wrong, Duncan, but I have never heard of laws that dictate that a company cannot pay a certain minimum wage, or provide health benefits (tho many are opting to provide their employees with a raise equivalent to the ACA premium and punting on the whole health care coverage thing), and never get in the way of recognition bonuses.

        Please cite your source. We have been in business, I am invested in the market, and I read about companies doing these things…not enough of them (Starbucks, COSTCO, others) who are doing exactly what I am suggesting, at the present time. I really believe you are in error. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, but frankly, in my view, a company that keeps well trained, highly motivated, happy, healthy employees have a positive impact on shareholder earnings. Employment rotation, sick time, etc. costs a company money.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi 1mime
        You are absolutely correct
        A company can pay more and have greater benefits
        – PROVIDED IT SAVES MONEY BY DOING SO –

        It legally can’t provide those benefits because its the fair thing to do

        That “fiduciary responsibility” is legally the overwhelming requirement
        It didn’t use to be – a lot of companies were much more “paternal” up until the late 70’s

        In practice mounting a legal challenge would be difficult – but that is what the laws says

    • flypusher says:

      If the linchpin of your business model is that you get to dump your externalities on other people, you have a bad business model. Unfortunately bad business models can generate short term profits for a few people.

  29. goplifer says:

    ***“Frankly, you guys need to find your own “Lifer” on that side of the aisle. Not my job.”***

    Looks like this comment needs some clarification.

    I’m happy to opine occasionally on the state of the Democratic Party, but I feel no particular obligation to reform it. Like any good citizen I care what happens over there, but I’ve got my hands full here. What should the Democratic Party do to address its issues? Hell if I know. Never voted in their primary, never attended a precinct meeting, never even been to a political meeting on that side. I just don’t know the details of the machinery well enough to propose solutions or care enough to reason out those problems.

    That’s not to say that Democrats aren’t welcome at the blog. Quite the opposite. Frankly, if all the Democrats left it would just be me and four or five angry commenters railing at me. Just be realistic about how far my interests and insights extend.

    • Shiro17 says:

      Do not worry about it. You shouldn’t be surprised to see so many liberals or Democrats posting on your blog. We know that such things as groupthink exist, so we’re THAT desperate and hungry to talk to any sane Republican who is willing to go deep on the issues and not have the debate descend into an insult-fest.

      • vikinghou says:

        Actually Shiro, there are very few sites or blogs of ANY political persuasion that do not descend into an insult fest. Here, we have sort of an oasis of sanity and I’m grateful that it has survived as such.

      • Shiro17 says:

        I know. I see so-called liberal trolls on comment threads everywhere, too. It’s nice that EVERYBODY here pretty much keeps things civil and interesting.

    • flypusher says:

      ” Frankly, if all the Democrats left it would just be me and four or five angry commenters railing at me. ”

      And us indies.

    • Griffin says:

      I thought it was weird so many people took that so personally. Maybe it’s because I don’t consider myself a “strong Democrat” even though I’m a leftist but that’s exactly how I interpretated what you said. Goes to show how careful you have to be when you’re not talking to people in person and it’s easier to be mininterpretated. That’s why I would make a horrible blogger I would probably accidently offend people every other day.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t know that I took it so ‘personally’ as it bothered me….Lifer is so careful and his dismissive statement was a departure. We all say what we want (courteously, mostly) and he can do the same. Lifer has been clear about how deep his commitment to the GOP is. No problem there. It’s nice that he took the time to explain for those of us who are a little dim exactly what he meant. What can I say? It’s just past Thanksgiving and going into Christmas…I’m looney!

    • 1mime says:

      About two years ago, I found your blog and began following and participating. I posted a question on your home page asking, “what do you get from your readers”? I didn’t receive a reply but I am hoping that this forum is a two-way street for all of us. That we learn (from one another) and grow in the process. It is my hope that the frustrations, feelings, beliefs, positions, information that even erstwhile liberals post is broadening your awareness of other points of view and that you are using this information to inform your world-view and to educate significant players in your Republican circle. You need to make no apologies for your political beliefs nor should anyone. It is a free country. In the end, good ideas (however long it takes) will triumph and the ship will right itself. I’d like to be able to go back to “voting for the best candidate” rather than voting for “a” party. That will take a while, but hopefully it won’t require a melt down of the Republican Party to achieve. I believe that the Democratic Party is strong, meaningful player in this big game of life. Not the only one, but one that garners respect for its views and work. The same should be true of the GOP.

  30. goplifer says:

    This piece has generated a landslide of good, critical feedback. It’s more than I can respond to a single sitting and some of it may require new posts. Here’s a quick summary with a few inadequate replies.

    ****
    “Unless you have a way to get all the conspiracy hunters and religious eccentrics to move out of the country, it all remains wishful thinking.”

    Please remember that most of the people supporting Donald Trump, especially across the South, were Democrats until a very short time ago. This map shows the pivot in party loyalty just between 2004-2012, basically from Kerry to Obama. Look closely at that swath of deep red and you’ll see what I mean: http://www.vox.com/2015/5/26/8660229/2004-vs-2012-map

    We don’t shoot people who disagree with us in this country. We deal with this problem by changing the **priority** of issues on the template.

    Just like your racist uncle who is otherwise a fairly decent, competent person, people with personally racist views may also care deeply about half a dozen other things. Instead of building an appeal to their racism, you might build a template that addresses those other six things.

    Right now Republicans are offering a template with racism at the lede. The solution is to remove racism and offer something else. There are other things these people care about.

    ****
    “How is this different in an ownership society from the model practiced in Europe already or from the Democratic agenda? Explain it to me!”

    And

    I’ve always been confused about the competing ideas of so-called “smaller government” with “less bureaucracy.”

    I wrote a whole book about that, available now in paperback by the way: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X1EM3AW

    There’s a concept at the heart of it developed primarily at the University of Chicago called Law & Economics. Republicans tend to be more familiar with these ideas. They are widely discussed in law and business programs in academia. The gist of it is that, in many cases, laws can be structured in ways that help achieve more just and efficient economic outcomes than those available through direct government action. More here: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/LawandEconomics.html

    Perhaps the most prominent example of how this might work in practice is a carbon tax. Here’s another one I wrote about that would use insurance to reduce gun deaths: http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2013/04/gun-control-in-the-ownership-society/

    For a comparison to Europe: http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2015/08/is-europe-a-model-for-the-us/

    ****
    “In which bit of the current political landscape, is your agenda most likely to be accepted?”

    The business community (including Silicon Valley), the libertarian left, the libertarian right, and among environmental activists (who are already exploring law and economics approaches pretty heavily). And with the right framing, these concepts should be wildly popular among centrists in the South.

    ****
    “Of course, the epic failure of the Goldwater campaign did no such thing for the GOP — if anything, subsequent candidates starting with Reagan used the Goldwater campaign as a blueprint.”

    That’s a haunting possibility, one that would trigger the need to leave. That said, I think the parallels here are much closer to the 1850’s than to ’64. That’s when the party (Whig) completely cratered and reformed under Lincoln/Seward.

    http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2015/07/trump-has-republicans-whig-ing-out/

    ****
    “None of the features of this strawman are actually visible in the real Democratic Party which is simply a normal right wing political party.”

    Ask a Democrat in a place governed by Democrats (but not on the West Coast – major asterisk) and they are likely to back me up on this. I don’t write about the Democrats much. I’ve got my hands full trying to change one party. Working on a post soon about medical marijuana in Illinois that will delve into this problem further. For now, here’s one sample: http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2015/10/racism-in-the-democratic-party/

    • MassDem says:

      As a Democrat living in a place governed largely by Democrats (ok, we’ve got Charlie Baker, but he’s an anomaly in today’s Republican party), I take issue with your position that Democratic institutions are largely “sclerotic, expensive and often wildly corrupt” and that it “might be helpful to spend a little time trying to enact rational public policy in a place like Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston or Detroit”. Really? Surely you’ve heard of the late, great Thomas Menino, the much loved Mayor of Boston? He managed to effectively balance the needs of ALL of the constituencies (including business) of the city for two decades.

      Democrats make up a sizeable proportion of the population of most large cities in the US, and consequently many cities have Democratic mayors. However, I don’t think it is the party that makes up the administration so much as it is the health of the local economy that determines the quality of life in a city. Boston’s economy is humming along nicely and so there is money to be put into improvements for the city. Unfortunately, this Boston renaissance has lead to wealthier people moving back into the city, displacing lower-income residents–affordable housing is a serious challenge for Boston. Compare Boston’s situation with that of Detroit after the bottom fell out of their economy–it resembles a war zone according to media reports (I have not been there myself). For a city in crisis, as revenues decrease, the strains on city services become intolerable and debt goes sky-high. This has nothing to do with whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge; as the immortal James Carville observed, “It’s the economy stupid.”

      But if you must have a counter-example, look what an extreme supply-side approach has accomplished in the state of Kansas. That has been Republican snake oil sold to a credulous public for decades.

      • 1mime says:

        Add LA to the list of states with Republican governors who have sold off everything possible and are still in debt. Or, those states which balance the budgets by not providing critical services to its people…..Per capital income obviously helps Mass, but incompetence is deadly in states with a large poor population base.

    • 1mime says:

      OK, Lifer, you were coming along just fine until you stated that all the crazy wing nuts who are supporting other crazy wing nuts in the GOP ranks used to be Democrats. That’s not fair. What’s done is done. We couldn’t do a thing with these people so we gifted them to the Republican Party….What’s not to like? You’re welcome.

  31. Rob Ambrose says:

    The Facist in Chief says we should murder the families of terrorists.

    Poll numbers set to rise.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-isis-terrorists-you-have-take-out-their-families-n472711

    • goplifer says:

      I really can’t believe this is happening… It’s even worse than I expected.

      • Griffin says:

        You should read The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer, it’s a decent and quick in-depth explanation of the mindset of these people. He even did alot of his work alongside John Dean! Most of his work builds on earlier stuff though, and has been tested repeatadly since then.

        PS While Altemeyer calls it “right-wing authoritarianism” this is in the sense of fanatically needing to belong to a group rather than neccesarilly being right-wing. Stalinists and Maoists are on the left but would qualify as RWN’s whereas most on the libertarian and Burkean right would not. I wish he called it something else as well but oh well he’s a professor of psychology not a political scientist.

        For free here: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

      • Firebug2006 says:

        After living in rural Mississippi for the last twenty-five years, I’m not a bit surprised that this is happening. Your “credible template” of solutions will go nowhere with this crowd.

      • lomamonster says:

        The Clown Antichrist bellows again!

    • vikinghou says:

      This morning on MSNBC a poll was presented that gauged the intensity of voters’ devotion to each of the GOP candidates.

      A large plurality of Trump supporters are very passionate. They’ve made up their mind that he’s their choice and they plan to stick with him until the end. It seems that, as Trump becomes more and more outrageous, his followers become more and more zealous. Conversely, the intensity of support for the more mainstream candidates (even Cruz) is much softer.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        That sort of intensity, if sustained, will likely be on full display at the Republican Convention and what a sight it will be to behold. It will be one for the history books, that’s for sure.

        Personally, I can’t wait to see what Stephen Colbert does with it on The Late Show. 🙂

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Okay, I get that Trump knows this and that he’s just playing to people’s fears and the notion that somehow all of ISIL comes from the Middle East with little to no expectation that the media will actively savage him on this. That said however…

      There are AMERICANS who have gone to join the Islamic State, so essentially Trump is saying that we should murder our fellow Americans in order to stop this barbaric terrorist group.

      Or, I dunno, maybe The Donald will just say that once they go to join these terrorists, they’re not ‘real’ Americans anymore. Who the hell knows anymore?

  32. vikinghou says:

    One statement in your blog that struck me was:

    “Those questions carry a moral urgency that cuts through old loyalties and outweighs the personal investment in political networks built up across a career.” The operative word here is career.

    In my opinion, part of the problem with our politics is the fact that too many officeholders have never worked to a significant extent in the private sector. This leads to a disconnect between politicians and the citizens they serve. And this goes for both parties.

    • dowripple says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I heard Robert Gates speak a while back and he basically said “you want the person who doesn’t want to be in Washington to be your Rep”, or something like that.

    • Turtles Run says:

      viking

      I do not agree with that comment. Professional politicians do not necessarily have to be a part of the private sector to understand the citizens they serve. If anything I believes it increases the chance of even more bias.

      A person that has worked in the coal industry will more likely enter office with a mindset towards those issues. A professional politician is more likely to be able to undersides opposing views.

      Of course I am referring to those politicians willing to work for the people.

      • duncancairncross says:

        I have just had a flash of inspiration – or something

        There is a core difference between UK/European/NZ philosophy and US political philosophy

        Here we elect leaders
        Our politicians are expected to lead the experts in making government work

        In the USA you elect the politicians to actually do the work

      • 1mime says:

        Having served (am I the only one who posts here who has actually held an elected office at any level?)…I think private sector experience is important – not necessary, but valuable. For one thing, it helps to understand “how” government works before one actually becomes a part of the process. How the individual uses their prior experience while in office is where problems could arise, but I do not think it has to compromise integrity, rather, it can inform. Now, there are people who seek office specifically to further a particular objective, and that’s obviously wrong unless it’s honestly communicated in the campaign process. When I ran, I had extensive non-profit and high level volunteer experience in the education arena, which helped me evaluate issues, etc. It’s kind of interesting that Paul Ryan has practically had zero work experience except in federal government service, and this is true of others who later run for office.

  33. Linda says:

    Chris I came from a family of Republicans, two members being elected members of the Legislature. I worked for a Republican Governor. At this point in my life there is not one single Republican I would even remotely entertain voting for, not even a family member.Even after your response on why not to leave I find it unfathomable you even consider staying. There is only so far right this bunch of clowns can drag the party before it becomes frightening to rational people. Already Jewish leaders are very worried. We should listen as they have been there before. How will you handle having to support the nominee from that group of fanatics calling for distruction of this country? Judges and other elected officials have quit when it was apparent where the party was his headed. You really need to take a good hard look between where we are and where people in Europe live. They have a much higher satisfaction with their lives and their government. Where red rules the states people are poor enough that they get back more tax money than they pay in, their education levels are just sad, and health care is far lower than the blue states. Kansas passed amazingly draconian tax cuts just knowing businesses would flock. It is a disaster and now they want to remove judges from being able to rule on Legislative actions. Republicanism is an ugly proposition whether it is Reagan or this current crop of crazies

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Just to have it out there, I’m not a registered Republican nor have I ever voted for a Republican in my life; with fairness to the fact, of course, that I’m still a young so-called Millenial who cast his first presidential vote for President Obama, but that aside.

      Linda, I genuinely don’t believe that what we’re seeing from the GOP right now is Republicanism. I honestly don’t know what to call it other than extremism masquerading under the shadow of the Republican Party. I tend to agree with Lifer that I think that there are a great many people out there who still remember the days of Nixon, a president whom, whatever you might think about him, did create the Environmental Protection Agency, advocated for a national healthcare plan and a federal minimum income.

      Go back even further and you find presidents like Eisenhower, Taft, and Roosevelt. all of whom did things while in their time in office that helped to propel this country forward.

      So I don’t think that we should look at the state of the Republican Party today, detestable and abhorrent as it is, and mistake that for true blue Republicanism (no pun intended). It really isn’t and it’s frankly an insult to the history of what was once the Party of Lincoln.

      • BigWilly says:

        I made the mistake of voting for Obama. It was the first time I’d ever voted for a democrat, and with absolute certainty the last. I started the College Republican Club at my school. I ran a few campaigns, served as a delegate, a precinct chair, a judge, etc. etc. etc.

        I do not believe that most of the “former” Republicans here are anything other than dem shills. It doesn’t seem rational that a person with deeply held convictions would simply drop them and move on. The party has been relatively consistent over the years as far as policy and platform. Nothing’s really changed in the party, not that much. I know, I’m a member and I’ve been one for 28 years.

        The dems haven’t changed that much either. The REGO programs and the DLC were just short term shams to give the public the impression that the dems were anything less than fire breathing Wallace types. Now that Obama’s a lame duck look what he trots out via OFA; a host of racial unrest, economic unrest, and spiritual unrest.

        I don’t think that’s what the country wants, but I know you’ll lie your asses off anyway. You probably operate on Plato’s notion that the people will believe whatever they are told to believe, and you control academia and the media, so there you go.

  34. Martin says:

    I am sorry “Lifer”, but it aint happening. The inertia of political change is measured in people’s lifetimes. Unless you have a way to get all the conspiracy hunters and religious eccentrics to move out of the country, it all remains wishful thinking. The right-wingers have good reason to be upset: Our standard of living is falling and geographic inequality is compounding inequality in opportunity and wealth. I can hardly blame them for getting the root cause all wrong given Fox’s and politician’s relentless misinformation. It is a bubble that won’t burst easily.

    You will have to explain what exactly you mean by an “ownership” society and how this is different from the European model or the Democratic agenda. Otherwise you are guilty of the same empty rhetoric you so eloquently identified. Did you know that people in Europe own things? You say Unions – you got to be kidding me.

    You say that “our greatest challenges come from managing the externalities of global capitalism”. You talk about energy and healthcare, climate change and taxes, banking, education, trade, and energy. How is this different in an ownership society from the model practiced in Europe already or from the Democratic agenda? Explain it to me! I agree with you that nobody in the GOP even remotely offers solutions or wants to talk about any of these issues. If you truly believe in an opportunity for a turn-around, where are the people who create the ideas and the public discourse that leads us there? The reality is that the Democrats moved to the right as well. They now occupy the space in the middle. Radicalism has consequences.

    You say that the Democrats are hopelessly tied to the entrenched interests of the last era. A bloated bureaucracy inextricably tied to the institutions it is meant to regulate. You keep saying this without even a hint of an alternative, a better way, short of wanting to get rid of it all. It is much easier to destroy things than it is to create them. If you want to stand above the fray of crazy, you got to stop tearing down and start building up. You will see how much harder this is.

    The European model works while ours does not. I lived for many years both here and there. Quality of life is higher in Europe, whatever way you measure it. Stubbornly hanging on to this 20th century notion of a bloated bureaucracy, an idea shaped by relentless propaganda and in the absence of facts, will not get you anywhere. The fact is that the US ranks pretty well in terms of the efficiency of its administration. If creating impact is your main concern, then this is the wrong place to look.

    On a side note, the only bloated bureaucracy I see clearly is the military industrial complex. Or do you want to suggest that almost $700 billion in defense spending in 2015 is anywhere close to reasonable? Explain to me why we cannot start there! Explain to me why budget cuts don’t start there! Every European country has cut back on defense significantly and invested the savings into quality of life for its citizens.

    Nothing will ever be perfect, especially not in politics, but instead of hoping for a quick GOP turn-around you would have much higher return on your investment by joining the Democrats and influence their agenda. What really bothers me is the lost opportunity to lead the economic transition towards sustainable energy and the sharing economy. I want to live in the country that benefits from these developments and builds new industries and new opportunities. I don’t want to live in a country that struggles with the basic order of society. I simple don’t have time for such rubbish.

    You are asking what it takes to leave the GOP. I am asking what it takes to leave this country. What truly matters to me is life, not party affiliation. In all practical reality hoping for change is not a strategy and it is not a viable option if you need it to happen during your working life. You can keep dreaming, but unless we go through a serious crash and a massive recession I see no hope for a GOP turn-around. The GOP has to loose across the board and be out of government for a long time to allow the forces required for a turn-around to gain strength. Giving the reins to the Democrats sounds like the only pragmatic approach short of leaving this place. I’ll give it til next year.

    • Crogged says:

      If you are going to claim there’s a “European” model and such model works- look at the youth unemployment rate in Italy and Spain. You really wouldn’t want to be in Greece right now-even if you had no worries about your medical care.

      The author has pointed out how the European economies have benefited from the US military spending. Despite our misadventures in the Middle East, there has been a global benefit to a democracy having the largest, best, military on the planet. There has been a global benefit to our semi-sort of, ‘free market’ in medicine, which has returned profit to those who created new drugs and treatment options (granted, much of the initial research is from government money).

      Some 250 years past James Watt and the steam engine we plebs of today have a better life, hopefully we can figure out how to deal with our messing with the way carbon used to cycle on this planet. We are only 60 years past the integrated circuit, which is driving this explosion of understanding and aggregating ‘facts’ which makes me realize what an idiot I am. This country really doesn’t struggle with the ‘basic order of society’-once you walk away from the glowing screens of instant doom. Evolution will determine if the Republican Party, the Illinois teachers union, BLM and the EU can really deal with the revolution of the integrated circuit. By any measure most Americans now are ‘better off’ than they were in 2008, but don’t feel that way. It’s a very odd thing I can’t begin to understand.

      • 1mime says:

        Unemployment equivalency is a valid point; however, if one compares Black youth unemployment with that of Italian and Grecian youth, the numbers are not as lopsided.

        As for the global benefits resulting from American military prowess, that cost cannot be maintained without sacrificing other important domestic priorities. The size of our military budget is obscene. It is time for America to step back and let other nations be more responsible in managing their own conflicts. Conservatives criticize the social safety net but the American public wants them, a priority that Europe figured out a long time ago. Like it or not, there is a limited pool of money available to meet all of our country’s needs and the military industrial complex is overweight. Save American lives and improve quality of life here first.

      • duncancairncross says:

        “As for the global benefits resulting from American military prowess”

        What benefits???

        What is your military for?

        Once you (and your allies) can convincingly beat any likely opponent what is the point of more?

        Presently
        The US military is the biggest
        The EU military – firm allies is the next biggest

        China, Russia – possible opponent are next
        Followed by various other US allies

        At the moment if the US military was completely removed from the board the US allies are “only” four or five times as powerful as all possible opponents
        Add the US back to the mix and it goes to about 12 times as powerful

        You could and should drop your military down to the same size as the EU – 80% reduction

        The US – walk softly and carry a big stick
        reminds me of a Jack Russel I used to have – he loved to carry a stick but if I “threw” a large log he would try to carry it and whine while I continued walking on

      • Crogged says:

        I actually completely agree with Martin-but here’s the catch. There really isn’t a ‘limited supply of money’-there’s an optimal supply of money which affords economic stability. We invent things-to my list of world changing devices add one other element from the 20th century-we quit using gold as the measure of wealth. Many of the problems in Europe, the EU, stem from the fact that there is a “Euro dollar” but the separate countries still have their own currency. What if Texas had the ‘chorizo’, Louisiana had the “gumbo” and Mississippi had the ‘bbq shack’ -but participated in an economy with Washington DC and the ‘dollar’? Louisiana and Texas, with their resource wealth, would be in decent shape, the Mississippi ‘bbq shack’-wouldn’t be worth a thing.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        The issues with Greece and most of the troubled EU countries are almost entirely caused by the awkward setup of the EU itself.

        Greece is in so much trouble because they were able to borrow far beyond their means, in a way they never could if they were not in the EU (they basically had Germany as their cosigner, which obviously allowed them to take on far more debt then they could). And then once the problem because apparent, they no longer had the ability to fix the problem the way it should have been: inflate their currency and pay back the debt in devalued currency. The bondholders take a bath, of course, and there are definitely negatives to that strategy, but its the textbook solution to such a problem.

        The problems certainly aren’t caused by “liberalism” in the way Lifer means it.

        Take a look at the countries NOT in the EU for a representative model. Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark.

        People in these countries own things. They are capitalist economies, just with a strong social safety net.

        That’s the model the US should be pursuing. But the anchor around its neck known as “American Exceptionalism” means that its almost political impossible to copy the ideas if another nation, no matter how sound the policies are.

        “If we didn’t think of it, we don’t want it” is not a sound business model.

      • Martin says:

        @Crogged: I see your point on unemployment. Though, is this the right question to ask? My point was that overall quality of life is higher in Europe, even if you are unemployed. I generally do not believe that full employment should be a goal for the 21st century or is even achievable. Technology has progressed to a point where humans are less and less critical to the achievement of productivity gains.

        What is missing in this country is the ability to have a discourse. Everything is political. Campaigning never ends. We ended up in a really bad spot and I see no easy way out. Democrats do it too, because there is no forum for a real discourse. You cannot talk about how to improve e.g. Obamacare if the other side votes 50 times to roll back the clock. Not because anyone would truly believe that the previous system was any better, but solely because staying on message is the only thing you can do.

        “Lifer” created a great forum for discourse. We largely seem to agree on what the problem is. Where do we go next? I don’t see a solution other than letting it run its course. We are far from the bottom. The GOP still runs congress and most governorships. If the Democrats were to loose the White House it would be game over. Imagine a country with a GOP governing majority across all branches of government post election after all the discussion and agreement we’ve had on this blog? That is when I say it is easier to leave the country than to try and wait it out.

      • johngalt says:

        It’s not just Spain and Greece. The unemployment rate in France hasn’t been below 7% in more than 30 years. It just dipped below 5% in “miracle” Germany for the first time ever. In a (well respected) ranking of universities, there is not a single Euro-zone institution in the top 25 (Oxford and Cambridge are in the top 10). There are seven in California. In a Forbes ranking of “innovative” companies, the first continental European listing is #23, and it’s Hermes, a luxury bauble maker from France. Top tech companies? Exactly zero of them are European.

        Europe is stagnating economically and demographically. It is a car that has run out of gas and is coasting, slowly, to a halt. It will not be able to afford their quality of life in 15 years unless they make some significant changes. There are reasons why new tech companies are founded in California rather than elsewhere, such as Google ( partly by a Russian, incidentally) or eBay (by a Frenchman) or Paypal and Tesla (by a South African). What has Europe given us in the internet era? Angry Birds.

      • Crogged says:

        Duncan
        What is our military for? A job. Yes, we could cut-which would send a million or so working age people into the job force, require certain other industries to significantly retool. Not that this is a bad thing at all, but government ‘budgets’ are IOUs to people, not cash in a bank. And Europe most certainly benefited from the end of WWII until Brezhnev-when the USSR was a dangerous entity in the world. I realize that’s a long time ago, but, there never seems to be much push from Western Europe to hurl us barbarians back home. I’m not there, so maybe there’s political activity I’m not aware of.

    • 1mime says:

      Wonderful, thoughtful response, Martin. To which I’d add equality of life for “all” citizens. The way conservatives treat people of color and gender in America is reprehensible. You can get all the rest of it “right” and if you ignore equality fundamentals, it never works. Of course, if we continue to ignore and obstruct environmental responsibility, it won’t matter. We’ll simply disappear as a species.

      We should always be open to new paradigms of operation to fit with changing times. Look back at what FDR was able to accomplish during a time of great poverty and difficulty. That was creativity at its penultimate. With deliberate obstruction, the Republican Party has made it almost impossible for government to function effectively in its current form much less have the agility and cooperation to make important shifts in organization and operation.

      I don’t think the Democratic Party is the problem nor the only solution. But, right now, they are the grown ups in the room.

      I so agree on the military industrial budget….This fixation says a lot about what America’s priorities are and why so many other critical societal needs are being shoved aside.

  35. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    Well, I for one, would like to have a choice that’s not between the corrupt pandering appeasers and the delusional xenophobic reactionaries.

    I currently lean Democratic under the “least harm” philosophy because they’re conservatives (in the sense that they keep everything working as is – even the horrible corrupt parts) but I have no loyalty to either party.

    I like GOPLifer’s views on most things but Lifer, I have a question for you. In which bit of the current political landscape, is your agenda most likely to be accepted?

    • flypusher says:

      “Well, I for one, would like to have a choice that’s not between the corrupt pandering appeasers and the delusional xenophobic reactionaries.”

      Very nicely put, and I’ll be stealing that! I classify myself as a center-left Indy who caucuses with the Dems because the GOPers in these parts (TX) are bat guano delusional. Even if I never saw eye-to-eye enough with Chris’ reformed and reorganized GOP to vote for one of its candidates, the change is important because then the Dems just can’t slack off. If your opposition actually comes up with good ideas and works hard to sell them, you can’t just take your voters for granted. The African American vote is a prime example here. Some of them way well be holding their noses and voting Dem, but the GOP isn’t giving them any good reasons to change that vote.

  36. way2gosassy says:

    “Frankly, you guys need to find your own “Lifer” on that side of the aisle. Not my job.”

    Frankly I’m surprised you have taken this long to let your true feelings out. One of the biggest reasons I quit posting here is because I have believed for a long time that this is how you truly feel about the loyal Liberal posters that have followed your blog for a very long time. I’m glad that our participation helped elevate your personal recognition in political circles and I’m so happy we could help. Now I need to go take a shower. Good luck with “your party” you are certainly going to need it.

    • Griffin says:

      Where you under the delusion that he owed you something? Do you want a mug that says “#1 fan”? He says he’s a Republican. He says he’s not a social democrat. He says this blog is for reforming that GOP, so his main focus is not reforming the Democratic Party. He has been as clear as one can be about these things from the start so the confusion here is a little baffling to say the least.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m going to defend Sassy’s statement. Lifer has been clear about changes he thinks are needed in the Republican Party. As a Lefty, I applaud that and concur with those he has written about. In his latest post, I perceive a condemnation of the Democratic Party for shared leadership in America due to “its inability to move beyond the past”. Many of the major issues he identifies as important are bedrock Democratic principles – the environment, equal rights, income divide, etc….principles which the Democratic Party is fighting tooth and nail to support and advance despite great obstruction from the GOP. Why, then, not attribute value to the party which currently embraces and fights for the concepts he agrees are important?

        Thus, it does bother me (and, I think Sassy as well) that Lifer appears to dismiss the Democratic Party as a valuable, potent and responsible co-leader for our country both today and going forward. I have never felt that the Dem Party was the “be all” political force – a strong two-party system is needed as a checks and balance component of the Democratic process. But, neither will I ignore the damage being done by the Republican Party and the stability that the Democratic Party is offering to counter-balance its dysfunction.

        I get that Democrats can do a better job, but I do not see the Republican Party as the only political “savior”, merely one important part of the Democratic process. I would hope that wise people would accept the importance of shared strength between the parties. Possibly Lifer has become weary with writing about changes needed in the Republican Party without a balancing criticism of the changes needed within the Democratic Party. That is not his role, as he points out. The strength of the GOPlifer blog is his honesty and ability to enumerate clearly problems within our country and within his chosen party in a way that focused sharp attention and historical relevance to the issues. I don’t take pleasure in exploring the foibles and damage of the Republican Party, but I do find it instructive. Anytime Lifer comments on Democratic Party issues, I find that instructive. What I don’t find helpful is an outright dismissal of a party that I really believe stands for many ideas and values that Lifer has lauded as important for America.

    • 1mime says:

      Been missing you, Sassy! Hope you are doing ok.

      • flypusher says:

        Please don’t be mad and stay away Sassy! This disagreement just shows that it isn’t an echo chamber in here!

        Some of us have commented previously that it would be great to have a Dem-Lifer counterpart. But that has to be someone other than Chris.

  37. 1mime says:

    Lifer: ” Democrats would seek to keep pace with the rising complexity of all of these fields by building enormous new bureaucracies to track, manage and control them. It is an effort born of 19th century Weberian bureaucracy that worked fairly well under Industrial capitalism. ”

    It occurs to me, Lifer, that Democrats have demonstrated the ability to manage government’s functions with far less bureaucracy than you assert. In fact, bureaucracy under Pres. Obama has declined to a level not seen since the 1960s. What enormous new bureaucracies have the Democrats built from Clinton forward?

    http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/11/07/the-federal-government-now-employs-the-fewest-people-since-1966/

    “Democrats cannot pivot to build a new generation of government because they are hopelessly tied to the entrenched interests of the last era.”

    And, the Republican Party is not? Isn’t it simply a matter of “which” entrenched interests? Banks for conservatives; labor for progressives. And, what about issues of human rights and global problems? Equal rights in marriage, equal pay for equal work, repeal of DOMA, health care for millions, environmental stewardship, to name a few.

    It is fine to disagree with one party’s interests as long as it is not used as criticism while excusing the other party’s entrenched interests.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      I’ve always been confused about the competing ideas of so-called “smaller government” with “less bureaucracy.”

      Just because the federal government is employing fewer people doesn’t mean that the bureaucracies themselves suddenly cease to be. It just means that said bureaucracies don’t have enough people employed to do everything that needs to be done, leading to less efficiency and higher workloads.

      Maybe I’m misunderstanding something here, but that’s the way it’s always come across to me at first blush.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Depends on how they do it
        Here (NZ) the tax code is simple and the Revenue dept is computerised so the amount of man hours required per taxpayer is much much less than the USA

        A lot of bureaucratic activities can be streamlined BUT it takes some resources to actually do it
        Just cutting manpower is stupid
        You need to add to the resources in order to continue to run the department while working on making it more efficient

        For the IRS
        IMHO as long as spending more money on people is getting more dollars back then the people cost you should be spending more
        I believe at the moment each dollar spent in tracking down cheats is returning $20

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, Ryan. The “less is more” principle frequently touted by conservatives can be selective. An example is our military budget which comprises a huge percentage of our domestic budget and has long-range costs due to the large number of employees/veterans involved. Social Security and Medicare are huge budgets but their operating costs and budget outlays but function administratively in single digits. Very efficient. Meanwhile, it is not uncommon for Congress to cut budgets of agencies within government with which they are in disagreement…..or to impose draconian requirements that are unmanageable within existing budgetary constraints. Because. they. can. IOW, buy them in document production while keeping static personnel levels which is an automatic recipe for failure….

        Lifer in his book, The Politics of Crazy, has some good ideas about how to make government more responsive and effective. Staffing would not always be reduced, but selectively allocated in a work environment that is designed differently to achieve certain necessary outcomes/functions. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you might find it helpful as well as most interesting. Very forward thinking. (And, that’s from a Democrat (-: !!)

    • Creigh says:

      Here’s my objection to Chris’ thesis about overly bureaucratic solutions, which is a more subtle version of the easy argument “the Government can’t do anything right, free markets do everything better.”

      This thesis doesn’t sufficiently take into account two things. One is that Government is taking on massively difficult objectives: establishing justice, providing for the common defense, ensuring domestic tranquillity, and promoting the general welfare and answering to the general population. Free market organizations are generally only try to make a profit providing a relatively simple product or service and answer to much narrower interests. The other thing is that this thesis often looks at private industry through rose-colored glasses, ignoring the areas where private industry doesn’t do any better, if not worse. Health care stands out in this category but there are others. Private securities ratings agencies like S&P and Moody’s, which are sort of private counterparts of government securities regulators, haven’t exactly covered themselves with glory lately. The news and entertainment media are a morass of mediocrity. Private education can work for individuals, but does it really serve society? Will it eventually devolve into a money-making exercise? For-profit colleges may be showing us the way here.

      I’m all for free market solutions when they work, but the devil is always in the details. General pronouncements about the wonders of free markets should be viewed skeptically.

      • 1mime says:

        Agree, Creigh. Capitalism unchecked is dangerous. Free enterprise does frequently conveniently ignore social problems. They still exist, of course, which is a bit of a problem for conservatives, but one that many of the proponents of capitalism are either disinterested in solving or incapable of solving. They will continue to be part of life, however. Sooner or later, poverty impacts everyone.

  38. Shiro17 says:

    Slightly OT…but relevant to previous article.

    Two more articles from The Nation this week: ” How to Understand White Male Terrorism” and “What Happened to the White Working Class?” that pretty much echo what we’ve talked about here.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/what-happened-to-the-white-working-class/

  39. johngalt says:

    If the next generation of Democrats are in the Clinton mold, that’s bad for the GOP. The Clintons are pragmatists occupying the center ground, no matter what the right wing punditry would have you believe. It will be far harder for the GOP to reinvent itself into a party that espouses all the worthwhile things Chris fantasizes his party would espouse (none of which they actually do) than for a centrist Democratic party to absorb enough independent voters to maintain a lock on national electoral politics. In contrast, a Sanders/Warren swing left leaves a gaping hole in the middle where most of us would like to sit.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      This whole notion of the Clintons being centrists is something that deserves some scrutiny, and rightfully so.

      People who look back on Bill Clinton’s presidency almost always seem to recall him as a centrist president, and while that’s true in retrospect, one should keep in mind that, really, he had no choice in the matter if he wanted to get anything done.

      Clinton veered quite a bit left during his first two years in office while he had a Democratic Congress; a huge tax increase on the wealthiest Americans and some modest increases for everyone else, a crime bill with an assault weapons ban and several other politically savvy provisions for Democrats eager to rid themselves of the “soft on crime” accusation that Republicans had been beating them over the heads with for years, and a national healthcare plan that, while it obviously didn’t go anywhere in the end, was decried by Republicans as a “big government takeover.”

      It was only after Republicans took over the House and Senate in 1994 that President Clinton really took to the centrist role that dominates his legacy in people’s minds today. If he’d had a Democratic Congress for the entirety of his presidency, you can be damned sure that the Clinton years would’ve turned out a hell of a lot differently.

      • Griffin says:

        Pretty much all the positions you named where pretty run of the mill centrist positions, it only looks left today because the GOP has swung so far to the right since then. The tax increases where really not that large because he created a higher bracker for it and looks downright mild in comparison to tax rates from the Nixon era. George H.W. raised taxes as well, as did Reagan. All of these things would have been proposed by a Nixonian Republican as a means of closing the deficit.

        “several other politically savvy provisions for Democrats eager to rid themselves of the “soft on crime””

        Yes… he did this by shifting the party to the right on those issues. That proves the original point.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Whether or not the Clinton-era tax increases raised rates incomparable to what they were during President Nixon’s presidency is irrelevant in this respect. It was still the biggest tax increase in American history, hands down.

        And yes, both the first President Bush and President Reagan raised taxes too. Not as much as Clinton.

        And as for the crime issue, it’s not exactly fair for you to cherry pick the few things that Democrats did to swing to the right to get Republicans off their back, when in fact many of the other things they passed, such as the Assault Weapons Ban, were very much to the left.

      • johngalt says:

        There aren’t too many pragmatic extremists out there. Clinton(XY) made numerous compromises, many of which were effective, and did not allow his preconceived notions (if, indeed, he had any) to get in the way. To be a pragmatist is to be a centrist. I expect Clinton(XX) to have a similar attitude.

  40. BigWilly says:

    The only candidate out there who comes even close to TR when it comes to megawatt personality is Donald Trump. Let’s not forget that while TR may appear to be universally popular in hindsight at the time he was hugely controversial.

    “At the Republican convention in 1900, a senator warned his colleagues not to make Theodore Roosevelt their vice presidential nominee: “Don’t any of you realize that there’s only one life between this madman and the presidency?” As New York’s governor, Roosevelt had challenged banking and insurance interests; Republican Party boss Tom Platt wanted him out of state affairs.” The Sen. was Mark Hanna, also McKinley’s campaign manager.

    The GOP has nominated madmen before and we’ve somehow come out ahead. The party’s not going to split up. Remember, we stick together and let the dems have their turn at crazy.

    • Griffin says:

      Boisterous populism and maybe imperialism are the only two things they have in common. TR also read a book everyday, was involved in public service for much of his life before then, was ahead of his time on most social issues, and was a centrist progressive who ran on a quasi-social democratic platform in 1912. Donald Trump is an ignorant moron, has spent most of his life running companies into the ground, is a race-baiter, and is running on a far-right platform.

      • BigWilly says:

        “Donald Trump is an ignorant moron, has spent most of his life running companies into the ground, is a race-baiter, and is running on a far-right platform.”

        He’s all that and so much more. You’ve yet to even touch on his weaker points. Whoever ultimately gets the nod I expect the party to unite and get behind him. It’s far too important to the future, and fate, of this nation to allow for another term of Obama.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Even from his days in the New York Assembly, Teddy Roosevelt’s foremost belief was to push ahead with what he believed was right, even if it meant stiffing his own party. Yes, he was a Republican, but only to the extent that he felt the Republican Party was staying true to itself. One could argue that it was that mindset that led him to try to form a third party when he ran again for president against then President Taft and Woodrow Wilson.

      That said, it’s best not to read too much into “madman” talk and what not. It’s politics, and anyone as controversial as Teddy Roosevelt was, like him or hate him, was sure to attract his fair share of heated rhetoric.

      As for Donald Trump, let’s not kid ourselves. In a field full of nutjobs, he may be the closest to TR, but to put that in perspective, it’s like saying that Franklin Roosevelt is the closest to Ronald Reagan. It doesn’t matter if there’s still a world of difference between the two, which there most certainly is.

    • Turtles Run says:

      “The only candidate out there who comes even close to TR when it comes to megawatt personality is Donald Trump”

      I did not know I had a mega watt personality.

  41. CraftsmanCT says:

    Chris,

    Where do your fellow precinct committee members stand, as compared to your thinking, and the positions of the GOP presidential candidates? This could provide some helpful perspective?

    • goplifer says:

      That question came up at the township GOP meeting a couple of months ago. Lots of support for Kasich and Bush. A little less for Rubio. One or two people who liked Cruz. 0 support for Trump. One or two for Christie. No one else showed up on the map.

      Republicans here are dominated by people who look at lot like Kasich, along with a smaller cohort more closely matched to types like Christie or even Giuliani.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Lifer – I get that your statement wasn’t necessarily an endorsement of Kasich, but when you say the GOP there is dominated by folks who look like Kasich, to some of us, that is a pretty scary proposition:

        Since 2011 Kasich has enacted over a dozen direct anti-abortion measures and a number of end-runs burying anti-abortion provisions in general budget bills:
        – 20 week late-term ban
        – Prohibits state-funded rape crisis counselors from referring women to abortion services
        – Stripped Planned Parenthood of federal family-planning funds
        – Number of abortion providers in the state dropped from 16 to 8
        – Appointed the Ohio Right to Life President to the state medical board
        – Transvaginal ultrasounds and a medically inaccurate script (written by GOP legislators) doctors are supposed to read
        – Prohibited public hospitals from entering into “transfer agreements” to take emergency patients from abortion clinics

        Kasich is viewed as the “moderate one” on social issues because he said he would love his daughter if she “happened to be that” (i.e., gay) and that he would love his daughters “no matter what they do” (as if being gay is bad and requires forgiveness or forbearance). In GOP-land, that is remarkably compassionate, but that is an awfully low hurdle for reality-land in 2015.

        Also, within a few days of displaying all that brave compassion, he happily was back on message that he opposes same sex marriage. Evidently, you are a moderate conservative if you will continue to love your children if they happen to catch “the gay” while opposing them obtaining equal rights.

        Incidentally, Kasich overturned previous Ohio policy and started to prohibit the state from issuing birth certificates that listed same-sex couples as parents in Ohio.

        Kasich may not talk about building a wall and trying to round up and deport several million folks, but he is still a bit of an asshat on a slew of social issues.

      • goplifer says:

        Republicans here are an interesting bunch. The dominant core consists of business-friendly Catholics. Their Catholicism has a strongly intellectual bent, more Notre Dame than Opus Dei. They are consistently opposed to abortion, but they tend to be just as consistently opposed to the death penalty (eliminated in IL by a GOP Guv). They are friendlier than I am to unions and pretty closely lined up with the Catholic church on poverty issues, refugees, immigration, and other matters of compassion.

        Secondary influences come from the more traditional chamber of commerce crowd, like yours truly, along with a small core of Protestant conservatives. There are no Southern Baptists here and virtually no evangelicals in the Southern mega-church mold. People don’t care that much about homosexuality or other culture war issues, but anti-abortion sentiment is pretty strong.

        So yes, the Kasich crowd is pretty strongly opposed to choice issues, but they are far more open-minded about almost everything else. That open-mindedness effects the way all issues play out, and means that local government here is incredibly capable and clean – much like Minnesota.

        And as anti-choice as they are, it doesn’t dominate the GOP agenda here. In fact, almost no one ever mentions it.

        These are the biggest reasons it will be hard to leave the GOP. Democrats at the local level in Illinois are a governing nightmare. Everything they touch turns to shit. This is the price we are all paying all over the Northern US for a GOP that has gone off the rails.

      • 1mime says:

        Not meaning to denigrate southern Catholics, but many of those are from the working class and are part of the echelon who should vote Dem but vote Repub….My son in law is a ND grad, a “staunch” Catholic and he is as far right as the best of em. Needless to say, he thinks I am one of the Democratic weirdos that was described above. We do not talk politics. I do think he is a good person but very narrow and rigid in his views. He, of course, hasn’t a clue.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Chris
        “Democrats at the local level in Illinois are a governing nightmare. Everything they touch turns to shit”

        How much of that is due to incompetence or cronyism and how much is due to the hand they have been dealt?

        As far as I can see the Democrats end up running the population centers which because of the way the USA is structured are perpetually starved of cash and resources
        They end up with a lot of poor people but your tax system extracts money from the urban poor to effectively give to the richer surrounding areas

        The way I see it superman would have difficulty governing under those conditions

      • 1mime says:

        Chris, is it possible that your experience with the ugly IL Democratic machine has morphed into your opinion of all Democrats? Unions are not all bad. Democrats are not all stupid. Republicans are not all smart. And, so on.

      • goplifer says:

        Where in the many pages of posts here have you found that kind of absolute reasoning?

      • 1mime says:

        I sensed a difference in this post, Chris. A “dismissal” so to speak of the ability of the Democratic Party to be a competitive partner of in meeting the demands of America’s changing future, and it bothered me. Interestingly, Sassy must have noted it as well as she hasn’t posted here for a long time and commented similarly. Doesn’t make either of us “right”, but it definitely made me pause. Maybe it’s a function of living in TX for fifteen years and watching all the crap that goes on here in the name of “states rights” and “good government” and “religion” that has makes the Democratic Party look so much more responsible to me. My future is much shorter than yours is therefore I tend to focus more on what is instead of what could be. There is a need for both.

        I feel both parties have a great deal to offer and can balance responsibly if each party works at it and there is civil discourse and cooperation. The “right” has a lot of work to do in that regard. I do not think that the Republican Party offers the only quality hope for the future…maybe it’s because my expectations are so low for the party, maybe it’s because the issues that are most important to me don’t automatically revolve around business goals. At some point in one’s life, you begin to reflect upon the quality of your life. I’m there. Fundamentally, until the Republican Party develops genuine awareness of important human issues such as equality and practices it in their policies and legislation, I will have great difficulty accepting their other contributions. For me, a great society has both.

        The two links I posted – one with Sen. Jeff Flake calling out Rubio and the other, by the Sen. Sasse, offer positive indications that there are Republicans serving in office today who are taking a deeper, harder look at the party just as you are. I try to find the “gold” when it presents and share it so as to be fair.

      • Shiro17 says:

        So, it looks like your main concern is with competence and execution? Or is it really that the ideas they have don’t work in practice?

        Because my experience with Democrat voters and citizens is that they vote Democrat mainly for their ideas and overall goals that they spout (i.e. income equality, racial equality, gender equality, etc.) but they vary wildly on HOW we should get there. For the most part, they’ll go along with almost anything that will actually work (if you can convince them that it’ll work).

      • goplifer says:

        Across most of the urban north, Democratic voters largely match the profile you describe. Democratic institutions, however, emerged more than a century ago under very different conditions. They are sclerotic, expensive, and often wildly corrupt. Democratic voters have yet to take any meaningful steps, despite several halting efforts, to reform those institutions.

        So you’re left dealing with a Democratic polity that is to a large extent fairly reasonable, but bound by these larger institutions. Think of nice people in a deeply dysfunctional family.

        Republicans do not possess the same institutional depth. They really never have. There is less organizational padding between the voters and the policy outcomes – that’s one of the reasons the party has become so crazy so fast. It is also the reason that the party is much more promising as a place to rebuild. That, and the GOP’s relative friendliness to business.

      • Shiro17 says:

        Then you have your answer as to why there are so many Democratic voters (and people who post here…) who do not think that there is anything wrong with their party. With so much insulation between the common voter and the actual decision-makers, it is that much easier to hide any faults (that, and mere imprinting or wishful thinking in seeing what you want to see). The West, as you say, is different since those Democratic apparatuses (apparati?) are much newer and more flexible and responsive as a result (and less tied to your unions as they don’t really exist out there). I’d imagine you might see something similar when the Democrats start to gain power in the South again as well (here in Florida, at least, the Repubs are definitely on their way out. It’s only a matter of waiting. As you’ve posted, Georgia and North Carolina will be joining them soon) since the party has been SO decimated there recently that they have to build everything from the ground up again.

  42. stephen says:

    Another possibility is enough rational people join the Democratic party and form a fraction similar to what you are advocating. A reverse of the Dixicrat’s migration maybe?

    • Griffin says:

      The last thing the Dems need are even more factions. They need a more coherant agenda and having the party become even more big-tent than it is now might make it even more dysfunctional and ineffective.

  43. Nicely said Chris. By all rights, I should be a Republican. I started out voting Republican until Reagan came along quite early in my political life. What scares me the most is how literal facts are now in dispute. I also find the GOP to be too tied to religion and often mean-spirited. Right now the Democrats are coming off as the adults, whatever their policies might be (and I agree with many of them).

    The biggest issue for me is the outright misogyny. I can’t see any woman voting for a party that doesn’t believe we have the right to our own choices.

    I’m hopeful that the GOP dies and a new party emerges; one that embraces the ideals of both Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt. A party that advocates for regulated capitalism, but also believes we are all in this together–one nation.

  44. James White says:

    “By contrast, Democrats would seek to keep pace with the rising complexity of all of these fields by building enormous new bureaucracies to track, manage and control them”

    Wait, the last large bureaucratic organization formed was the TSA…so you’re saying W was a Democrat?

    • n1cholas says:

      Yeah, I find that proposition pretty ludicrous, too.

      Of course the Democrats want to build an even bigger government. They have to, because, well, that’s what Fox News screams at me, every day.

      This is one of the most tired talking points, along with the “libruul media”, that is consistently trotted out. Big Lies, as the master of propaganda would call them.

  45. Tom says:

    Of course, the epic failure of the Goldwater campaign did no such thing for the GOP — if anything, subsequent candidates starting with Reagan used the Goldwater campaign as a blueprint.

    In that sense, it can go either way. If Trump or Cruz goes down in flames, some will argue that the country simply isn’t ready for that kind of campaign and the response will be to double down and wait for a sea change.

    But the Democrats starting with Clinton largely occupied the vacant space left by the Reaganite march to the right. Still, a lot of people who nominally vote Democratic have as many problems with their party as you do with yours.

    • 1mime says:

      Tom, “…a lot of people who nominally vote Democratic have as many problems with their party as you do with yours.”

      I hear that said, and I always wonder “what problems” you have with the Democratic Party? I’m a Democrat, work to be informed, and I must be missing all these problems. To me, the Democratic Party is behaving responsibly; whereas, the GOP is behaving abysmally.

      Fill me in on what you perceive as the biggest problems within the Dem Party, please.

      • n1cholas says:

        My biggest problem with the Democratic party is that it is essentially a sane conservative party.

        Export the Democratic party to Canada, the UK, France, Germany, etc., and they’re all in the center-right party.

        In essence, the Democratic party is a socially-liberal 70’s era Republican party.

        We can either observe reality around us and realize that low marginal tax rates paired with free trade and military adventures around the globe haven’t worked over the past 35+ years, or we can continue cutting taxes on the richest people in the solar system, while they take their money and inflate bubbles and buy politicians and government for fun.

        HRC is a sane, socially liberal 70’s era Republican. Just like Obama. They’re better than absolute lunatics, but they are incapable of offering real solutions. At best, they prevent a further slide to the right and the hollowing out of the country for the benefit for the oligarch owners and operators. At worst, and here in reality, they just slow it down a bit.

      • Shiro17 says:

        I think another problem is that there isn’t just one “Democratic party.” What that term means varies widely depending on where you are in the country.

        There are certainly some “old guard” Democrats who act like Chris says, mainly in the northeast. But, then you have the stereotypical bleeding heart white liberals in the Midwest and New England. In the South, it’s pretty much now the party of black people and the “weirdos.” In the West, it’s the socially liberal, business friendly party of the internet companies, the Oregon hippies, and the Seattle hipsters.

        There certainly is some friction there. As I get reminded constantly from the bombardment of pro-Sanders posts on my Facebook feed, a lot of liberals are wary of how close to corporate America HRC is. But there is a growing number of Republican ex-pats in favor of pro-business (not pro-crony corporate) free market solutions like you espouse. If the Republican party goes down in flames, the Democrats may split along those lines.

      • Creigh says:

        Mime, for me the Democrats are still too cozy with business. There’s a power mismatch between corporations and individuals, and one of the core functions of government is to protect citizens from undue power. I don’t think even Democrats recognize that sufficiently.

        One would hope the judicial branch would take this as a primary job. Unfortunately we have some like Justice Alito, who never met a power structure he wasn’t willing to bend his knee to.

      • “There’s a power mismatch between corporations and individuals, and one of the core functions of government is to protect citizens from undue power. I don’t think even Democrats recognize that sufficiently.”

        Very well put!

  46. duncancairncross says:

    STRAWMAN ALERT!!

    In trying to defend the indefensible Chris has made a huge scarecrow figure called “The Democratic Party”

    None of the features of this strawman are actually visible in the real Democratic Party which is simply a normal right wing political party

    • goplifer says:

      I can’t tell you how comforting it is at a time like this to be reminded that folks on the left can be just as blind as my right-wing friends back home in Texas…

      • duncancairncross says:

        You have not given any evidence to show;

        (1) Democrats build bureaucracies
        The Federal government has got smaller under the present Dem president and normally grows faster under the GOP

        (2) That you have too many bureaucrats
        From my viewpoint you (USA) have too many elected unskilled politicians doing the work that in other countries is done by trained and skilled bureaucrats
        (As is evidenced by the sorry state of your regulations and laws)

        (3) Democrats support Unions
        Not so that you would notice!

        (4) Unions have too much power
        If you think that the Unions in the USA have too much power then I have a nice bridge I can sell you

      • goplifer says:

        Frankly, you guys need to find your own “Lifer” on that side of the aisle. Not my job.

        Might be helpful to spend a little time trying to enact rational public policy in a place like Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston or Detroit. Trust me, the experience would shed some light.

      • 1mime says:

        Folks on the left can be just as blind………..maybe I’m not understanding something here, Lifer. What exactly is it that makes you think people who post here on the left are as blind as your right wing friends from TX?

      • n1cholas says:

        Cognitive dissonance and projection are comforts for people who feel uncomfortable with what they believe and how they act.

        You can claim that lefties are “just as blind”, but unless you can point to an actual, real life example, you might as well just claim that the “baby parts” in the Planned Parenthood video are real, because, like, you know, you saw the video, and it’s right there, in the video.

      • Shiro17 says:

        I have a feeling that Chris’s perception of the Democratic Party is colored by his living in Illinois, where the Democratic Party there is infamously corrupt at about the level of New York and New Jersey. He might have a different opinion if he lived where we do in places like Texas and Florida, where there pretty much isn’t a Democratic party to speak of at all.

      • goplifer says:

        If I still lived in Texas I would almost certainly be a Democrat. Not sure what choice I would have really. Even ten years ago the Republicans in Harris County scared the shit out of me.

      • dowripple says:

        “Frankly, you guys need to find your own “Lifer” on that side of the aisle. Not my job.”

        Don’t kick me out yet! Kidding aside, thanks for tolerating everyone’s view. I still live in Texas and want to vote Republican, but I can’t. Texas SBOE, forget about it. Tea Party, “no thanks” (Abbot and Paxton actually cause me to gag reflex). I don’t like lefty sites and I don’t watch FoxNews or MSNBC, what’s a progressive “R” to do? (Other than read your blog and dream, that is).

        Thanks again for what you do!

    • Griffin says:

      I’d actually agree with Chris that a Clintonian Democratic Party would/is a a patronage engine albeit a centre/centre-right one, though you could argue it has no core ideology beyone being a kind of big tent party of power. It’s for status quo government so in many ways it’s the most “conservative” faction in politics right now (in the traditional sense of the word). If I had to rank my choices in a presidential election among the current factions (this is coming from a left-wing liberal)

      Would actually be happy to vote for:
      1) Progressive (Sanders/Warren)
      2) Progressive conservative (Teddy Roosevelt, Earl Warren, etc.)

      And the rest are ranked based on if they’re the “lesser of multiple evils” (for me at least):
      3) Neoliberal/”Establishment” (Clintonians)
      4) Social conserative/”Establishment conservatives” (Jeb Bush, Rubio, Kasich, etc.)
      5) Right-wing nationalist (Ted Cruz, Trump, etc.) (A RWN is just a social conservative on steroids in my mind, with maybe a more unpredicatable economic policy).

      So if the Democrats go down a Clintonian path I know I would vote for a “GOPLifer” party before the Democratic one, and while I would prefer a social democratic ticket above all I would be more inclined to split my ballot for individial candidates in a GOPLifer Party if they’re better than the ones on the social democratic ticket.

      However I know that in the next election I’m getting no decent choices anyways so this list means nothing, I’m just saying that if there was a Teddy Roosevelt GOP still around it would get some liberal votes as well, especially if the Democrats stay Clintonian.

      • stephen says:

        @ Griffin:
        I have my whole political life voted as an independent. But been registered, first Democrat then Republican. Till Reagan mainly voted Republican and then more and more Democrat as the less of the evils. I am fiscally conservative but have progressive and conservative ideas socially. I definitely would join GOPLifer party if such a thing existed. While not in complete agreement politically I do agree enough that we could find common ground and work together. We both detest the current drift of the Republican party nationally. While demographically I should fit the white nationalistic point of view, I am about as far from that as you could get. If Cruz or Trump gets the nomination with enthusiastic support of the GOP I too would most likely leave the party. I do not think Lifers use of the word fascist is too extreme.

      • Creigh says:

        “it has no core ideology beyond being a big tent party of power”

        Lord save us from ideologues.

      • 1mime says:

        Big tent purpose….if this is true, why is our federal bureaucracy at its lowest point since the 60s? Government requires people to function. Technology has reduced duplicative human activity but people still run things.

        Ever think about the huge tent for jobs emanating from the right? Think tanks, check. Lobbyists, check. Board positions, check. They may not be going into government service as much as those who lean left, but isn’t there a need for both? Why is this a “bad” thing as long as the job is necessary and so is the employee? If there is redundancy, reduce staffing. That’s a business principle that can be applied to “most” government jobs, but not all. Sometimes you need real people to talk to.

      • Creigh says:

        Okay, that was a little too smart. One should be able to clearly articulate why one wants to be President. And under the circumstances maybe “So the other guys don’t screw everything up” is good enough, but one could hope for more.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Given that I’m not so much for any political party as I am for whoever can get the damn job done, perhaps I’m suited to take a more relaxed view of things.

      Does the Democratic Party lean more towards creating new bureaucracies and government oversight rather than trying to streamline, simplify and making the process as easy and efficient as possible? Why or why not?

      • Creigh says:

        Life is getting more complex and interconnected every day. Government regulations and bureaucracy are a response to that. If you want smaller Government, you’ll have to figure out how to reverse the trend towards interconnectedness.

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