What happens to the ‘Lifer’ blog

Leaving was never really an option. I stand by the blog’s tagline even now. There is no map to consult. Faced with choices A, B, C, and D, I’ve dropped the pencil, gotten up from the desk, and walked out. Leaving was never really option. Now I’ve done it anyway.

It has been heartening to read the messages of support. Nevertheless, this is a frustrating defeat. My personal effort to temper to party’s extremes, perhaps poorly conceived or even foolish from the outset, is now an official failure. There’s nothing left to accomplish here and no path to follow. Whatever comes next must be staked from the wilderness.

There have been achievements. Practice has turned me into a reasonably good short form writer. It may not have done the party any good, but those habits have lead to some quality communications at work. Seven years of constant research and writing have taught me a great deal. I’ve had opportunities to meet some fantastic people. And thanks to the outlet provided by the blog (which was my wife’s idea to start with), my wife doesn’t have to sit through endless political harangues.

Most of all, this blog has produced a unique little ecosystem. In the world of social media the term “comments section” has become a byword for bedlam. What you, the readers and commenters of this blog, have built here is the most remarkable achievement of these past seven years. I’ve been fascinated by what I’ve learned from the brilliant people who have made this space a home. You’ve tended this modest corner of the Internet, cultivated it, and shaped something impressive in a most unlikely environment.

Whatever comes next it should be informed by what failed and build on what worked at GOPLifer. There’s no sense in retaining a space under that title as anything other than an archive, but it will take time to make a transition. I’ve got a pretty intense day job to which I’m deeply committed. I have a very tolerant and supportive family who needs to see me on occasion. And I don’t have a clear plan yet. So the blog will be maintained for the coming months and I will be updating it.

Yesterday I took an important step, purchasing the domain name politicalorphans.com. It may not stick, but it feels right.

After a few days this wave of attention should pass and we’ll be back to the normal routine on the blog. We’ll all figure out what’s next as we go along. Leaving the party may have cut off some avenues of expression, but I won’t stop trying.

When I posted my resignation letter, Willie Nelson’s benediction seemed like a placid, conciliatory way out. It was not, however, the song that was playing in my head. Let me leave you with the anthem that won’t let me sleep.

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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323 comments on “What happens to the ‘Lifer’ blog
  1. Steve Zolondick says:

    Mr. Ladd, I am a lifelong liberal who, with your help, will keep an open mind, just as you have. I just joined your blog and truly look forward to reading you insights.

    Thank you,
    Steve Zolondick

  2. I stopped commenting long ago, Chris, but never stopped reading your blog. Please know that your efforts have not been fruitless as your blog has had a significant impact on my political thinking over the years. Yours is a unique ideology in the current pundit-sphere of extreme political polarization, and as a right-leaning moderate, I’ve appreciated having your writings available as a calming and affirming respite from the noise. I admire your courage, doggedness, and writing skill and will continue to follow your blog no matter what form or title it takes.

    Good luck, my friend.

  3. flypusher says:

    This is very interesting; Michael Jordan gets political:

    http://www.vox.com/2016/7/25/12275806/michael-jordan-police-shootings

    Jordan’s been known for keeping his head down and just sticking to business, and he’s been criticized for it. But it looks like he’s finally had enough of these awful incidents of violence. I think this is good. I agree 100% with his statement, when he talks many people will listen, and he can donate $ where it will help.

    This is not a critique from me on Jordan for not speaking out before, Getting involved in politics must be of your own free will. People are free to not get involved. But I’m glad he changed his mind.

    • 1mime says:

      Very well done. I like the split donation and what it symbolized. More people of stature need to speak out in ways that inform and expand the conversation – as Ryan stated. It’s time we deal with these issues as a people and a country. It’s hard to see progress when people are still dying. The fight continues.

    • Kathleen S Wright says:

      Thanks for your honesty. There is hope in America.

  4. JeffAtWolfcreek says:

    Let’s sue him. All of us. Lawsuits of every kind imaginable. From everywhere. Over everything. Donald loves to sue people. Let’s show him some love. Anyone who can afford to hire an attorney should sue. Be creative. Find a reason. If he can sue Bill Maher over the orangutan joke I’m sure our lawyers can find reasons to sue him. #trumpsuit

  5. flypusher says:

    Those of us who have been here a while will find this to be very familiar. Another GOPer has an epiphany. You called this years ago Chris, being proved right is small consolation for your loss, but it’s better than sticking your head in the sand.

    http://www.vox.com/2016/7/25/12256510/republican-party-trump-avik-roy

    • 1mime says:

      What’s sad is that all of this is coming so late. Late because it allowed for someone of Trump’s “ilk” to actually commandeer the party apparatus and emerge as the nominee. Late because they have actively perpetrated white nationalism and racism and right wing religion as means to a very short, ugly end game. Is that all you’ve got, GOP? Is that the best you can do? Yet as I say this, I wonder if they could win this election with the very game plan that will doom the party in the near future. It’s possible, maybe probable, but it would be tragic.

      From the link: “The work of conservative intellectuals today, he argues, is to devise a new conservatism — a political vision that adheres to limited government principles but genuinely appeals to a more diverse America.” As a Democrat, I want this to happen. Heck, I might even join a party that looked more like the one Lifer has described! Troublesome times.

    • flypusher says:

      I recall having a discussion about Goldwater and his choice on this blog a few years back. I don’t know if the comments last that long, but I’ll dig through my memory banks. I recall some of the Libertarian persuasion defending Goldwater’s decision to oppose to Civil Rights Act. To them involving the Federal gov’t was a greater evil than people being discriminated against because of race. States rights were more important. I couldn’t disagree more (shocking, right?). The states were failing to do their duty to protect all their citizens, and the 14th Amendment justified Federal action IMO. I believe that too many political thinkers get isolated in their ivory towers, and forget the when politicians make such philosophical choices, they can have real effects on people’s lives. I daresay most of the Black people voting in 1964 were not extremely concerned over nuanced arguments about the balance of powers between the States and the Feds and what direction it should tilt. I would imagine that they were more concerned about having to drive further to the hospital, or the poor quality of their children’s schools, or not running afoul of the local KKK, or not having their churches burned down or whether they would even get to cast a vote. You’re just not going to look kindly on the candidate or the party that tells you that fixing those problems isn’t that important.

      • 1mime says:

        It still amazes me today that there was “ever” a time when people thought this way. Then, I look around and see that though we have made progress in racial relations, there is a dark and wide undercurrent of resentment and animus regarding this issue. People look at Pres. Obama and say “he is responsible”. What I’d suggest is that having a Black President blew the lid off a subject that had been cookin’ too long on simmer. Yet, his was supposed to reflect an opportunity for a real turning point, and look where we are today. Bigotry dies a slow, hard death. One day, these issues will be just “history”. Today, they are still pertinent, painful and present.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        What’s always bothered me about the states’ rights argument: they do a rotten job of protecting all their citizens.

        Voter suppression, special laws for LBGT citizens….many state governments are an embarrassment when compared to American ideals.

      • 1mime says:

        States rights. Knowing the cast of characters who run TX is a prime example of being suspicious of those at the state level doing the “decidin’. It is a primary reason why I have been so distrustful any time I hear a Republican talking about block granting funds through the states vs the federal government. Why would anyone have more confidence in the local power structure to do a “better” job?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        ‘willful self-delusion”, says Mr. Roy.

        Rump offends many Rs because of style, not content.

      • @1mime: >] “Yet, his was supposed to reflect an opportunity for a real turning point, and look where we are today. Bigotry dies a slow, hard death. One day, these issues will be just “history”. Today, they are still pertinent, painful and present.

        It was a real turning point, mime. Better that we get this fight out and in the open so that we can deal with it. If there’s even one thing I’m grateful to Trump for, it’s that. Bring it on.

        @Bob Amerigo: >] “What’s always bothered me about the states’ rights argument: they do a rotten job of protecting all their citizens.

        Republicans are absolutely right when they say that you change America by changing the states, but like with so many other things, they’ve overplayed their hand and boxed themselves in. In no small part because of their zealous anti-government fervor, they can’t make an effective argument for government action in areas that they would otherwise be happy to push for, hence why they’re tearing their receding hairlines out at the thought of Democrats taking the Supreme Court and holding the presidency.

        That aside, I’m all for states’ rights to the extent that they want to experiment with different economic policies and see which ones work best, but when it comes to rights and protections that the overwhelming majority agree should be the law of the land, that’s when the federal government needs to step in and do what’s right.

      • 1mime says:

        I’ll go with that definition of states rights, Ryan. What I object to is the belief that there is not a valid role for the federal government. NIH? NASA? FEMA? Interstate Highway System? Defense? US Coast Guard? EPA? National Parks? To name a few. I would have to have more faith in locally elected leaders (I live in TX) to protect the needs of all of its people before I’d experiment with a major change. What I absolutely believe in is the power of big cities to lead to innovation. If states could back out the sheer politics that permeates every program, I could see states taking the lead. In fact, I think many of our west coast states are doing that now.

      • flypusher says:

        I’m reminded of a childhood discussion with a teacher about the 14th Amendment- I was of the opinion that it should have been in the Bill of Rights from the start. My teacher said that people had assumed that there was no need to prohibit a State gov’t from restricting speech or establishing an official religion, because the state level gov’t was “closer to the people” and therefore more accountable. As those of us with historical 20/20 hindsight can see, yes in theory, not so much in practice. Now I don’t think Federal involvement is always the answer to a problem, and like Ryan I agree with the idea of the states being different “laboratories of governance”, within limits. I think the basic rights we have as citizens should NEVER be subject to a majority vote or state level tinkering. Leave those things alone, as there are plenty of other things to experiment on.

        That said, when is Kansas going to say “Enough!”???

      • 1mime says:

        Kansas. A political enigma. I have to believe when the people finally have enough, the fall out will be huge. When? The people had a solid alternative this past election and punted. I don’t know how to explain this.

      • @flypusher: >] “That said, when is Kansas going to say “Enough!”???

        Honestly wish I knew. If Kansans can’t get their collective shit together this November, their future looks bleak. We’re talking about a state legislature and governor that is openly attacking the judiciary branch, violating their own constitution in terms of funding for schools and setting their highway funding on a depressingly dangerously course for the future.

        As a firm believer in enduring and overcoming pain for the sake of the future, it’s hard to look at Kansas and not see it becoming little more than a punching bag for extremism.

      • 1mime says:

        Haven’t looked at voter turnout numbers, have you? Of course, if they aren’t allready motivated to turn out by what has already occurred, what else would it take? Don’t forget the shortened public school year and reduction of revenue for colleges. Another factor to add in is the state’s dependence on energy which is in the toilet and not likely to ever recover to the high levels necessary to sustain prior functions. That adds to governing challenges of a competent governor, and given the vindictive, asinine man inn charge, it’s going to get worse.

        Need to elect a Democrat to go in and right the ship!

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        all for states’ rights to the extent that they want to experiment with different economic policies and see which ones work best

        Sounds good, Ryan, but the block grants that are now part of our reformed welfare system now fund pregnancy crisis centers and short-term education jaunts in some states. Actual cash dispersal for people who need it is much diminished.

        Marketplace radio has been doing a series of podcasts on how welfare is handled in various states. Unfortunately, transcripts for the podcasts are not available it seems. So if you want the details of their reports, you’ll have to listen to the podcasts.

        Here’s a link to a summary page they produced:

        http://features.marketplace.org/yourstateonwelfare/

        It appears to me that some states are dooming their citizens to life-long poverty:

        South Carolina spends 16 percent on core goals of welfare reform,and nearly 77 percent in a minimally defined “other” category.

        That’s a big FU from the state to its poorest citizens.

        Does any state have the right to do that?

      • flypusher says:

        I heard that series Bobo. Somebody got creatively vague with the list of acceptable projects. Nothing against middle class kids who want to go to college, but I want that $ to buy food so poor kids don’t starve.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        ^Yup.

  6. Rob Ambrose says:

    Chris, with regards to the discussion below about the new blog format, might I suggest a template that works well from a Blue Jays blog I write for (if you wanted to go that route, of course. This is your baby and your call. We’ll all still be here regardless):

    The blog writer makes the majority of posts (probably around 50-60%) but has given several contributors admin access. It’s actually a WordPress blog like this one, so it would be pretty easy to set up. The writers write pieces whenever they feel like they have something to say and upload it to the queue. At some point, the blog curator will read them, and if/when he sees something he likes, he posts it on the blog. There’s no “deadlines” or “rejections” so no hurt feelings or anything. I’ve written pieces that stayed in the queue for months before it got published (presumably on a slow content day) and I’ve had pieces that are in the queue to this day from 2014. Nobody really vets upset. We just write when we feel like writing and upload it. If it gets published it gets published, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Nobody badgers the blog owner (“did ya see my post? Why didn’t you upload it?!?!”).

    In this way, the blog owner still has total editorial control, but it also eases the workload for him and the pressure to produce, while at the same time, ensuring a smooth, steady output of content.

    A poster below said thisbhas the feel to turn into something more, and I totally agree. Trump was smart enough to discern the schism in American politics and inserted himself in it. Perhaps Political Orphans could do the same for blogs. A voice not necessarily dedicated to “right vs left” but to providing wonky solutions/Big Ideas for 21st century problems (i.e. automation/UBI, univerasal health care, campaign finance reform, tax pokicy etc). If the new blog wants to generate serious readership, a more prolific stream of content is needed far more then any one person can provide.

    Of course, this is all dependent on you Chris. I know there’s been an infusion of energy the past few days, and lots of us have gotten excited about the next step….but this is still your blog and I don’t want for us to try to take it in a direction you don’t want it to go. If you want to keep it a more personal blog, you’re still going to have us down in the comments section. But if you wanted to open it up, you’ve got a pretty solid stable of writers here willing to be a part of it.

  7. flypusher says:

    Over the past few weeks I’ve done a lot of online sparring with Trump supporters, here and in other forums. So far I have seen one, and only one, reason to pick Trump over Clinton that has any basis in honesty or reality: that Clinton’s SCOTUS picks would be more liberal.

    All other reasons have been BS. You’re offended by Hillary lying? Trump is biggest liar of all -you can quantitate it. You think Hillary is untrustworthy?? Why should you trust someone with a shady business history, who’s now getting blackballed by American banks who have finally wised up to what a bad risk he is? You think Hillary is the tool of the 1%? Trump is the 1%, and he’s made a good living screwing over the little guys that he now allegedly champions. You thin Hillary is weak on defense and only Trump can protect you. That’s the worst BS of all, because of Trump’s willful ignorance. You have to know what’s going on in the world to deal with what’s going on in the world. You want to tar Hillary with Bill’s infidelities, but you overlook all of Trump’s offenses against the institution of marriage? You say Hillary doesn’t support our troops, but ignore Trump’s disrespect of McCain’s heroism? It’s all crap. Swallow it if you wish, but I decline.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Yeah, that’s the only one I would agree is “legit” as well (assuming certain culture war issues are your biggest concern, which is a not insignificant slice of the electorate).

      Pretty much every pro Trump argument falls apart under even the slightest scrutiny, except that one. Undoubtedly, Trump will appoint more conservative SCOTUS justices. That’s not an unimportant factor. In fact, I, as a liberal, consider it THE most important factor this year, and I’m sure many conservatives feel the same way (albeit for the opposite reason). I would vehemently disagree with the conclusion they come too (that we need more conservative justices) but it is absolutely a legit reason to vote Trump, if that’s your concern.

      To not vote HRC because she’s a “liar” is of course not at all a legit reason to vote for Trump, as Trump demonstrably lies far, far more then HRC, as proven by PolitFact.

    • vikinghou says:

      I’m with you, Rob. The SCOTUS is “the” reason to vote for Hillary. Until the Executive and Legislative branches regain functionality, the Court will be the only institution holding things together.

      • johngalt says:

        I would counter that “THE” reason to vote for Hillary is that the prospect of a President Trump is so terrifying and so damaging that to do otherwise is profoundly irrational.

      • 1mime says:

        Voting for HRC – against DJT: It is about far more than SCOTUS; rather, it is about governing, reason, ethics, balance, security, equality, our very future. It is all of those things. One without the other tears our country apart.

      • vikinghou says:

        Sorry, but I still think the SCOTUS is the prime reason to vote for HRC. Remember that the person who appoints the next set of justices will affect us for decades to come. Think about the long term.

      • flypusher says:

        Unfortunately, there are a lot of irrational people out there. I quoted one of them down thread. They’re willing to spin that roulette wheel in the unsubstantiated hope that Trump is going to defy the New World Order. It’s like they’re betting on several “00” in a row. With some if them it’s hard to tell if they really think Trump could make their lives better, or that they hope he’ll make other people’s lives worse.

      • texan5142 says:

        The importance of this election can not be underestimated , for the first time in my life I am afraid for the country. It won’t break us apart, but it will expose a crack or two in the foundation none the less. Shudder the thought of that short finger vulgarian any where near the white house.

      • Didn’t a retired Republican general call Trump a “clear and present danger”? Wolf Blitzer was so surprised at the comment he asked the general to repeat it.

    • 1mime says:

      Bravo, Fly. And I know you were just hitting the ‘high’ points (-;

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I thought you said you had no sense of humor. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        No, just a very subtle humor….which evidently is “so” subtle it doesn’t even pass for humor most of the time (-;

        I tend to be more serious on this blog because the times and issues demand it, but I love dry humor and good satire. I typically am better at laughing at others’ humor than my own feeble attempts. Still, occasionally the spirit moves me and I try.

      • 1mime says:

        BTW, I do FB on a very limited basis – mostly too see our grandchildren’s exploits. I rarely post anything of my own. I don’t “tweet” nor am I “linked in” (which will not surprise some here (-; (Hint: that is humor, 1MIME style!)

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, the night Lifer posted his resignation letter, you mentioned you told your husband that you were busy “sending emails.” Is this your euphemism for “posting comments” and “fighting trolls?”

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t recall the specific post, but I did have to wave to him every now and then from the computer room….No, I was trying to wade through the hundreds of emails and every time I thought I made progress, took a meal or potty break, I would come back and the damn posts quadrupled on me!

        I do have one regret, however. I wish I had started a tally of for/against so I had a better sense of how the numbers were going for each candidate. Figured that out about midnight and just couldn’t go back and start over.

        Don’t you love the new commentators (the positive, articulate and well thought out ones)? We’ve had such fine input and I do hope they’ll continue to contribute.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, is that how you keep up with the comments here? You signed up for email notifications? I just scroll up and down seeking out the comments of my favorite posters, looking at the most recent comments, and also looking for replies to my own comments.

      • 1mime says:

        Of course I signed up for email notifications. I want to hear other points of view in addition to those of my favs. Plus, you get a better sense of the “thread” when you go sequentially through the comments. In fact, because we all occasionally use short-hand comments…responding without a name or quotes, I don’t know how you would know who is posting or what their comment pertained to without a name.

        In addition, I’m obsessive with the blog. I want to enjoy it all, and generally, I am not disappointed. I’ve “met” some really special people on GOPlifer, people I would enjoy knowing personally, and at this stage in my life, that’s nice. Plus, I am learning so much about the issues from so many different perspectives, and that “broadens” me. I am pretty clear in my positions so it comes as a surprise that I can still evolve when reasoned argument challenges my views. That’s a good thing, don’t you think?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        And yes, I agree with you about most of the new commenters. What strikes me the most about them is their kindness, elegance, and class. I find their comments to be heartwarming.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I agree, and and of course I read other comments besides those of my favorites but I admit I tend to skim those. By “favorites” I am referring to those people with whom I feel comfortable exchanging ideas (you, Fly, Rob, OV), familiar faces from the Houston Chronicle, etc. I also focus on a few because of time constraints.

        One of these days when Cap and I drive through your neck of the “woods” on one of our road trips, we will invite you to breakfast.

      • 1mime says:

        I’d love meet both of you.

    • Cori MacNaughton says:

      Excellent rundown.

      Hillary has never been my candidate of choice, and I said earlier this year that I wouldn’t vote for her, but that was back in the bygone days when I fully expected the Republican party to get their heads out of their collective *sses and choose a worthy – or at least marginally acceptable – candidate.

      At this point, barring revolution, I have no choice but to vote for her. Hillary may be many things, but she is not an ADD sociopathic narcissist with strong fascist leanings, which Drumpf clearly is. God help us all.

      • 1mime says:

        Cori, I think Hillary will surprise you with her competence IF she is elected. That is far from assured. My thinking is that we have another election in 2020 and that may offer an opportunity for a new candidate if HRC hasn’t acquitted herself well. What is most important now is to defeat Trump, recognizing that this is precisely how the Trump supporters feel about defeating Hillary.

        As noted in the interview of J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy): it’s going to be a matter of whose tribe is bigger come November. IOW, GOTV.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        Well said. She isn’t my ideal candidate either but in the world of what is a steady hand beats fearing nukes going off. It seems Pubs supporting Trump are betting the house on folks with conservative viewpoints doing anything to pick SC justices. They may have overplayed their hand; ‘sociopathic narcissist with fascist leanings’ may be a generous assessment.

  8. Rob Ambrose says:

    Watching HRC speech on CNN right now. Trumps opened up a huge vulnerability that HRC is exploiting right now in a way that hasn’t been possibke before.

    The general dynamic, of course, has been that the GOP nom paints the Dem nom as weak and unable to deal with foreign strong arm tactics, while the Dem pains the GOP as hawkish war mongers. It generally works out that traditional doves go for the Dem msg, while more hawkish voters buy into the GOP msg.

    With Trumps bizarre foreign policy musings (and that’s what I think they are. I don’t this Trumla statemetns on NATO are “strategy” in any way. He’s just saying whatever pops into his head) Hillary has an opening tobhave her cake and eat it too.

    By painting herself not as a war monger into projecting hard power but as a strong and dependable ally to all Americans friends in NATO, willing and able to use military force to defend these members, she has the chance to appeal to both: the doves won’t be turned off because she’s not espousing traditional “war monger” rhetoric, while the Hawks will be happy that at least SOMEbody is talking like America even still has a military.

    I think it’ll work.

  9. Rob Ambrose says:

    Homer and Mime, our resident coal mine Canaries, youre getting some fact based support from the latest polls

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-poll/index.html

    Now, this is taken after the GOP convention, but before the Dem convention. It’s pretty much a given that every party gets a bump after their convention, and the Dems will certainly get theirs.

    But still, this is disheartening for those of us who had hoped that the dark, fear based, fact free witch hunt that was the RNC convention would turn voters off. Apparently, it didn’t.

    • Speaking of fact-free witch hunts, John Oliver just did an amazing segment which, for any right-minded, open-eyed citizen of this country, should be absolutely horrifying. It’s one thing to know that Republicans in a fact-free bubble. It is genuinely depressing to see it in action like this:

    • 1mime says:

      And, that is even more frightening than Trump. Why? These people aren’t going anywhere. They will vote in future elections – in our local communities, states and for Congress. If this thinking prevails with a candidate like Trump, I think we can agree that our nation has tipped in the direction of religious and racist extremism.

    • 1mime says:

      If you have time for broader reading, this book looks like it would be worth it. “Hillbilly Elegy”, by J.D. Vance. It’s a book about why people who live in or come from poverty relate to Donald Trump. There are some new thoughts in there that parallel Lifer’s blog a few months ago on why working class people vote “for” their interests when they vote Republican and not Democrat. Here are a couple of quotes from the interview of the author (linked below).

      “In a world of Trump, we’ve abandoned the pretense of persuasion. The November election strikes me as little more than a referendum on whose tribe is bigger.”

      “… judge less and understand more. It’s so easy for conservatives to use “culture” as an ending point in a discussion–an excuse to rationalize their worldview and then move on–rather than a starting point. I try to do precisely the opposite in Hillbilly Elegy. This book should start conversations, and it is successful, it will. ”

      http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/trump-us-politics-poor-whites/

  10. Armchair Philosopher says:

    Count me among the apparent throngs of people who have been reading this blog for some time but who haven’t posted until now. I may have remained silent were it not for the resignation letter and the gut feeling that somehow all of this matters, that it just might be the start of something. And if it is, I want to be a part of it.

    Thank you Chris for this blog, and thank you regular commenters like 1mime, Houston-Stay-At-Homer, Sara, MassDem, heck, even Tracy, and all the others. I’m so glad to have found such a high level of civil discourse on this little corner of the internet, especially since I certainly don’t get much of it here in my real-world corner of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

  11. Rob Ambrose says:

    Salon seems to be stepping their game up after a while going the way if tabloidism.

    http://www.salon.com/2016/07/25/hillary_doesnt_get_it_she_doesnt_need_to_move_toward_the_middle_she_needs_to_move_toward_the_anti_establishment_partner/

    Reich is right. Although I’m coming around to the Kaine pick due to the specifics of Tim Kaine, what I’m NOT liking is the implication thisbhas for Hillary’s overall strategy, that a run to the middle is the way to go. She needs to not ignore her left flank now that she’s won the nomination. No, she needs to embrace it.

    This part jumped out at me:

    “The problem isn’t trade itself. It’s a political-economic system that won’t cushion working people against trade’s downsides or share trade’s upsides. In other words, a system that’s rigged.”

    Here again, we see the difference between the right wing and left wing populism and their solutions.

    The Trump wing sees trade deals in and of themselves as the problem, and thinks immigrant labor is to blame, thus the solution involves ripping up trade deals and closing the borders. The left wing sees a corrupt elite kowtowing to the 1%, cutting their taxes again and again and paying for it by cutting services and spending on poor ppl to the bone. Thus, for them, the solution is to raise taxes on the rich si they pay their fair share, and spend significantly on improved social programs, universal health care, and affordable and accessible higher education.

    Regardless, Hillary is going to have trouble if she sticks to the old paradigm of “right vs left”. There might be enough of the old system left to win this election, but the dynamics are not going away and if settles into more of the same, she’s in for a rude awakening in 2020. In a way, we are lucky Trump is as crude, egotistical and unsophisticated as he is. A smarter and smoother demagogue then Trump could have walked away with this, even while espousing the same fact free and fear ridden xenophobic ” values”

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      I think Hillary’s biggest problems will come after she wins.

      It seems clear that a significant portion of Americans feel governmental policies don’t adequately address key aspects of their lives.

      One of the reasons I hoped she would pick Perez as her running mate is because he has dealt with issues that many people experience, like wage theft and lack of overtime pay.

      Solutions for those types of problems don’t have a left or a right solution, just an honest pay-the-worker-what-they-earned solution.

      (Of course, if you think people should work for free and there should be no overtime pay, the position does have right-left implications and that’s a whole ‘nother matter….)

      • tuttabellamia says:

        It’s reminders like these, that some workers are not being paid their due, that make me wonder why we are so engrossed in considering a basic income (money for no work), when we should focus on people who DO work getting paid what they truly deserve.

      • flypusher says:

        Why not both Tutta? One thing the really burns me is people who have everything (or at least a whole lot) taking from people who have little to nothing, so amen^1000 to tackling wage theft. But we also have the people who are becoming obsolete in this changing economy, and UBI may be the only way to help some of them. I don’t see telling laid off 40-something coal miners to go learn computers as a viable solution.

  12. flypusher says:

    Trump makes plans to unify the GOP:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-07-22/trump-would-fund-super-pacs-aimed-at-taking-down-cruz-kasich-iqybu9m1?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link

    What a petty, vindictive asshole he is (although I will shed no tears for Cruz if he gets taken down). A true statesman would let the bygones be bygones. Obama and Clinton buried the hatchet after the dust settled in 2008. This makes me all the more furious at Wasserman-Schulz. The Dems have a prime opportunity here, but her favoritsm is still interfering with the Dems getting united and sending their message out. This political fumble-itis is inexcusable.

    (Sorry for the double post- had the wrong window open)

    • Fair Economist says:

      The Democrats DID bury the hatchet. Sanders got to place a significant fraction of the platform committee, got a speech opportunity (minus the booing boobytrap for Cruz), and hasn’t been criticized by anybody in the leadership since the end of the primaries. Even when he was still holding out on the endorsement and was getting a lot of criticisms in the lefty blogosphere the party stuck to anodyne “he’ll do the right thing, he’s Sanders” statements.

      The emails reveal *private* opinions of DNC staffers and proposals for *extremely mild* “dirty tricks” which weren’t even done. (Since when is having a reporter ask somebody about their religious opinions way over the line?) Plus it was all prior to the end of the primaries.

      Are you actually saying that in order to “bury the hatchet” with somebody you have to refrain from snarky comments in private *before* the hatchet is even supposed to get buried?

      • flypusher says:

        I think most of it is small potatoes, and I’m not shocked that Dem officials would prefer a long-time Dem to an Indy come lately. But attacking Sanders on his religion? You ought to refrain from that sort of petty BS in any official communications. You need to write your e-mails with the thought of “what if this goes public?” in mind, because the Dems of all people ought to have learned the precariousness of e-mail security.

        This in and of itself isn’t the end of the world, but it’s other lost opportunity. Trump is trying so hard to hang himself.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fly, what I didn’t like was the obvious implication that Sanders is an atheist (which is probably likely. The same is also likely true of Pres Obama) and that that is somehow relevant to his fitness for POTUS.

        In an American where atheist make up the second largest “denomination” this is unacceptable fear mongering of the type that represents everything those on the left dislike about those on the right.

        The regulars on the blog know that I dont believe in a personal God, but I certainly wouldn’t hold anyone’s religion against them, and I would object to it even being asked/answered. Spiritual beliefs are absolutely private, and only should even be mentioned in a campaign if the candidate plans to rule ACCORDING to their religious beliefs. Which, of course, would be immediately disqualifying if they did, however.

      • Cori MacNaughton says:

        Ron Ambrose: Sanders is on record, stating that he was born and raised Jewish, and still identifies himself as Jewish, not atheist.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      This is just Trump showing his true colors Fly. He’s putting ppl on notice: “see, THIS isbwhat happens when you go against me”.

      He’s looking over at Erdogan and Putin and he’s thinking theyve got the right idea.

  13. tuttabellamia says:

    As for Sara’s suggestion to form a more exclusive blog in order to funnel time and energy more constructively toward actually bringing about political change, I think it’s a great idea, but that would leave those of us who are not activists as the orphans. 🙂

    I use this site more as a place to chat and to learn new things. For example, I’d never heard of the UBI until I read about it here. And I really don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to be an activist, so I would gladly cede my slot to a person who takes politics more seriously. I would just be taking up space.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Plus, I’m not on Facebook.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Tutt…you are not alone. I don’t have facebook or twitter, and I only begrudgingly have linkedin.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Cool. You and I can be orphans together.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I would be concerned that a closed blog consisting only of activists with the purpose of bringing about change in the US political system would by definition end up excluding many of our commenters who happen to be from other countries.

      • 1mime says:

        The people from other countries could still post on the open blog. the closed blog would be specific to an activist effort, which would not be of interest to those living in other countries.

        Tutta, there is a very real chance Trump will win. If he does, as difficult as it will be, the need will never be greater for a highly talented, smart and focused group to offer rational ideas and concrete assistance to their implementation. This requires work. AS much as I disdain the position of the TP, I applaud the effort to organize and persist. We need to do much of the same with a whole different platform.

      • texan5142 says:

        Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:
        July 25, 2016 at 9:06 am
        Tutt…you are not alone. I don’t have facebook or twitter, and I only begrudgingly have linkedin.

        Ditto.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        But tutt, even if folks go down that path, and even if it really does have legs and there is more activism, I don’t think that makes us orphans at all. Some folks would just float along as consumers of the information and contributors to the discussion (like we do now), and others would be more active.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I got the impression it would be a completely private enterprise open only to serious activists.

        Maybe I misunderstood.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Tutt…not my impression at all, and at this point, folks are just spitballing ideas.

        I think we are pretty safe for a while.

        I was discussing polling numbers of fluctuations with one of my more geeky interns, and it had me remembering the discussions for Romney/Obama polling in 2012, and it occurred to me that I had a few dozen discussions with Stern about polling and how poorly Romney was looking.

        Then, I had the realization that, “wow, we’ve been doing this a long time – my twins were born in 2012, and they are no longer babies”.

        Unfortunately, we do often devolve into some of the same discussions/arguments we had four and eight years ago, but I would be hard pressed to find a more decent group of people on the internet to have those discussions with.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        HT: Lifer’s letter of resignation has been a sort of watershed for many of us, a call to move in a different direction, or to continue in the same general direction, but to spend our time and energy more wisely.

        He speaks of spending more time with his family. Sara proposes forming a group of political activists. I’ve also given much thought to how I really want to spend my time and energy. One of these days I hope to surprise everyone here (including myself) and become proficient in Swedish. That’s one of my goals.

      • rightonrush says:

        I don’t do Facebook or twitter either.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Me, too. I only social media for employers.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        No facetook here either

    • vikinghou says:

      Count me in too as being opposed to Facebook and Twitter. Just about everyone I know who has these accounts seems to spend WAY too much time keeping up with them. Like Homer, however, I do have a LinkedIn account for professional reasons. A necessary evil.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Of course, I have to keep in mind that the world of social media is passing me by, and it is a source of great activism and engagement for millions and millions of people.

        Feeling the Bern in 2016 simply would not have happened without Facebook and Twitter.

        So, a more social media focus may make brilliant sense, just probably not for me.

      • flypusher says:

        Same here, just the LinkedIn account.

  14. tuttabellamia says:

    With regards to Sara’s suggestion to turn this site into a sort of super blog, with various alternating blog hosts, to give Lifer an occasional break, I would be okay with that, although the extent of my participation would probably depend on the personality of each blog host. I rather like Lifer’s hosting style. He puts his blog entry out there, sits back, and lets us run with it, although he will occasionally make an appearance and reply to us. I “hear” his voice as quietly confident, and his presence is not at all overpowering.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I like that suggestion. Obviously, Chris’s leadership has been key in creating this blog for what it is and it should remain “his” blog and dobthe majority of writing. But I’d like to see the odd guest post, especially if it comes from a place (left wing progressivism) that Chris does not.

      Be interesting to spark some debates and get some ideas flowing.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I think you would be a good candidate to host the blog every now and then, from your uniquely Canadian perspective.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Thanks Tut.

        I think in some ways it provides perspective to be outside the fray a bit. I’ve lived in the States for a total of 3 years so I have a little bit of “inside” perspective as well.

      • 1mime says:

        Sorry to post here, Rob, but have so many more emails to read that I just did (-;

        What is going on here, Lifer? http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ron-sandack-abruptly-resigns-cyber-security-issues

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Mime…I’d bet dollars to donuts that “cyber security issue” is laying the groundwork for the “Someone must have hacked my account, and i don’t know anything about these naked pictures and sexts to him/her/them”

      • 1mime says:

        I’m not quite that cynical, Homer (-; Frankly, after reading the list of prominent divisions of government that HAVE been hacked, and the fact that major corporation accounts have been hacked (Home depot, Target,etc), this is a legitimate problem. It also needs to be determined whether Russia was involved in this. As pointed out in some article I read today (! too many to recall, sorry), if this is true, it marks the first time that an American political campaign has been hacked from a foreign adversary. That needs to be confirmed or discredited.

        This whole campaign has been eye opening. If nothing else, we have seen political institutions across the board challenged in ways we’ve never witnessed before. One would hope this would lead to constructive change but the destruction in its wake is huge.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Mime…if you were hacked by legitimate hackers, why resign?

        Having your identify stolen doesn’t mean you should quit your job.

        I’m not necessarily a cynic, but when politicians abruptly resign…someones naughty bits were probably where they shouldn’t have been.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m not sure if I’m following you here, Homer. If you’re speaking of DWS, the problem there was what she said and did, and I think she needed to resiign or be fired, which happened. I am not sure what the difference is between a hacker and a “legitimate” hacker? Am I missing your point? (You’re being far too subtle or I’m having a low comprehension time…)

  15. EmmanuelGoldstein says:

    Hi, I just found your site, and even though I am an Old-Skool Birthright Liberal, I think I’ll stick around for some stimulating conversation, if you’ll have me.
    In an age where the words, “Liberal and Conservative” have completely and utterly lost their meaning, I’m happy to have discovered where the sensible, sane and smart Conservatives have been hanging out all this time.
    This is the first time, in a very long time, that I feel like I have a chance of finding some common ground.

    • flypusher says:

      Cool, and welcome. Plenty of centrists and liberals here too.

    • Cori MacNaughton says:

      Welcome.

      Fellow old school liberal here, and I agree – I found the site yesterday, and it is a breath of fresh air, especially amidst the three ring circus that is our current election.

  16. DrPizza says:

    > The Iraq War, the financial meltdown, the utter failure of supply-side theory, climate denial, and our strange pursuit of theocratic legislation have all been troubling. Yet it seemed that America’s party of commerce, trade, and pragmatism might still have time to sober up.

    There is a mainstream political party in the US that does not particularly favour supply side economics and the lie of trickle down, that has pushed for stricter financial regulation, that acknowledges man-made climate change and supports at least some policies to combat it, and which opposes theocratic legislation. This party is also broadly in favour of commerce, trade, and pragmatism.

    It is also the only party that has a reasonable chance of stopping Trump from winning the presidency.

    You know this; I know this. You are not a political orphan.

    You might not like that party’s position on abortion, though perhaps you should note that the same party’s stance on sex education, contraceptive availability, parental leave, childcare, and pay equality, should tend to reduce the number of people who suffer unwanted pregnancies, and provide them with fewer socioeconomic reasons to terminate their pregnancies.

    You might not like that party’s position on guns, though if the last seven and a half years are anything to go by, the main effect that they will have on firearms is to make your ammunition cost more since everyone is stockpiling it.

    You might not like that party’s position on healthcare. I have little to offer here; they have done more to expand healthcare availability to the American population than the Republicans, and done so in a way that does not fundamentally upend the system. It is not the approach I would have chosen, but it is, for all its flaws, an improvement.

    I realize that switching your allegiance to the Democrats is a substantial change, and is unlikely to be a comfortable one. But it is not an unreasonable one, both as an immediate response to the Trump crisis, and as a longer term political home.

    • Griffin says:

      I will try to respond to you for Lifer, because there’s many comments like this that fundamentally misunderstand his positions and I understand why he doesn’t reply to all (or even most) of them. Firstly, he’s pro-choice, pro-expanded health coverage, and pro-gun control. Yes, really, so stop making assumptions please.

      Why not become a Democrat then? He’s already laid out why here before so I’ll post that, but it has alot to do with both his local politics and with the almost inherent structure of Democratic politics (as he interprets it at least):

      https://goplifer.com/2015/12/01/why-remain-in-the-gop/

      https://goplifer.com/2016/03/26/blue-state-clientelism/

      http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2015/10/racism-in-the-democratic-party/

      • DrPizza says:

        Extraordinary.

        Posts such as https://goplifer.com/what-the-republican-party-could-be/ outline essentially a plea to turn the republicans into the democrats. The democrats are far from perfect, make no mistake, but they are already far closer to goplifer’s purported priorities and shape for a party.

      • @DrPizza: >] “Posts such as https://goplifer.com/what-the-republican-party-could-be/ outline essentially a plea to turn the republicans into the democrats.

        Eh, sort of, but not really. Broadly speaking, the goals are the same, but the approach is markedly different.

        We all want a safety net for our citizens, but Democrats most likely wouldn’t support a basic income. Republicans (if they were in their right mind) would be far more likely to, since it vastly decreases the federal bureaucracy and puts more power in the hands of individuals.

        Universal health coverage is a laudable goal and one, again, we all want, but the left (particularly the far-left as evidenced by Bernie Sanders and his purported Medicare-for-all program) is more government dependent and burdened with, arguably, unnecessary bureaucracy.

        The list goes on and on.

      • 1mime says:

        Griffin, either you or I have misunderstood Dr. Pizza’s POV.

      • Griffin says:

        @1mime

        He’s saying that the Democratic Party is already what Lifer wants it to be but it’s not really. That would be like saying the liberal Republicans and liberal Democrats of the 1950’s were basically the same because there was heavy overlap in their positions and goals, however the structure supporting them was fundamentally different.

        Liberal Democrats relied on unions, while Liberal Republicans relied on businessmen. Liberal Democrats had a system based in patronage (in its darker form, public corruption) while Liberal Republicans were more based on meritocracy (in its darker form, negative elitism). Liberal Democrats drew support from blue collar workers, while Liberal Republicans drew support from white-collar workers. And, most importantly, Liberal Democrats wanted to solve social problems by having the government step in and more directly deal with it while Liberal Republicans wanted to encourage the market to do it instead. The two can look very similar to each other, and worked with each other, and maybe even liked each other more than they did their conservative wings, but they were still fundamentally different in their organization, base of support, and method of dealing with problems.

      • DrPizza says:

        I’m not sure that Democrats would oppose a universal income if it were well designed, and I do not think that most Democrats want a large government bureaucracy merely for the sake of having a large government bureaucracy. Rather, the large government bureaucracy is a consequence of the range of services that they feel the government should supply to ensure that there is an adequate safety net.

        The big problem with universal incomes is that they seem to be suggested as a total alternative to all forms of government assistance, and while I think that for the most part they could serve such a role, there are always corner cases. If you currently receive more from the government than the universal income–which doesn’t mean that you’re scamming anyone or undeserving, it may just be a result of circumstances such as disability and so on–then the basic income disadvantages you. The basic income can cover a lot of cases, but it cannot be a total replacement for all forms of assistance, and as long as it’s positioned as a total replacement, it is flawed.

        I think private sector unions are the yin to the corporate yang. I think that public sector unions present huge moral issues (functionally, they pit the demands of the few against the desires of the many), but in the private sector they’re a balancing force.

        Both are needed. I would ask those who believe that businesses alone can do what is necessary what mechanism would produce, say, weekends, workplace safety, and equal pay, and I would also ask why these things did not occur prior to agitation from workers and government alike.

        I think Democrats are open to government intervention, yes, but they are not socialists calling for a command economy. They’re calling for capitalism with certain safeguards.

      • 1mime says:

        I share your view on the value of unions in private businesses. The protections that most working people enjoy today were fought for and resulted from union involvement. The most egregious union practices are largely history but sadly and concretely, business still exploits workers. I’m less well informed on public unions although friends (retired) who worked for IRS (both attorneys – so smart people), say that with Congress making the rules, public sector unions are still important.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      There’s a pretty good chance Trumpism loses any sort of mainstream moral credibility if HRC wins.

      If Trump wins, there is a 100% chance. The worst thing that could happen to this burgeoning right win populist movement in America right now is if they win. Trump i s so woefully unprepared to be POTUS, it is scary to comprehend.

      • DrPizza says:

        Nazism also lost its mainstream moral credibility after Hitler was elected, but it took a rather bloody war and millions of deaths for that to happen.

        I think Trumpism could easily last the length of a presidential term, possibly even two. And I think it will, like the Brexit vote has in the UK, empower racists and xenophobes to become more aggressive and more unpleasant than they already are. I think it will also be ruinous to America, and a threat to the world.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Good point, but I think Trump is fundamentally a different animal.

        He doesn’t have a plan or an agenda like most murderous dictators. I don’t even think he craves power in the way that even just a run of the mill dictator does. I think above and beyond all, is his desire to be perceived as the ultimate winner, a narcissist of the finest order.

        I think the most danger from a Trump presidency comes from incompetence, as well as dangerous neglect. If he lets ppl pull the actual levers who DO have an agenda because he just doesn’t care about anything other then the adulation of the presidency (similar to how he let the platform be hijacked) there could be some really unfortunate decisions.

      • 1mime says:

        A la “Dick Cheney”? How well did that turn out for “W”?

      • 1mime says:

        This is sobering. Note the loss of Independents. And, this was before the DWS bruhaha.
        I know, it’s a poll and it’s early. But as several have noted, “trends” matter.

        http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-poll/index.html

    • 1mime says:

      Dr. Pizza, I’ve shared your eloquent comment with a friend who is losing confidence in our political system. What you achieved was a simple, accurate portrayal of the strengths of the Democratic Party even with acknowledged weaknesses. People need to hear that now with so much bad news roiling the news cycle. Our major candidates are flawed as are the major parties, but one party has managed to stand “for” the democratic ideals that I believe transcend any single candidate. If one is having difficulty making a decision as to which of the two presidential candidates to support (hard for me to imagine, but..), look at what each of their respective parties stands for. Using your comment as a template for comparison, the Democratic Party – clearly stands for the values that I believe the majority of Americans hold dear.

      Thank you for your cogent comment.

    • Cori MacNaughton says:

      I agree that this is currently the only party with a prayer of stopping Drumpf, but for me, that is NOT enough to bring me back into the fold. I left the Democratic party for good reason.

      The Democratic party long ago lost its most cherished ideals, and a large portion of its collective morals, ethics, and particularly its willingness to protect and uphold the Constitution, and the Constitutional rights of our citizens.

      John F. Kennedy, as just one example, championed personal responsibility, and not the imposition of unnecessary – and fundamentally flawed – laws, passed with the intent to “force” people into good behavior, which never works, but which the Democrats keep trying to push forward. And failing.

      As a lifelong liberal, with conservative viewpoints on many issues, I also find the push to restrict gun ownership particularly troubling. History shows – in this country and elsewhere – that when guns are restricted, the crime rate goes UP, not down. Conversely, when gun ownership laws are relaxed, the crime rate goes down, not up. This has been the case for decades, is supported by numerous studies of crime rate statistics and trends, and it isn’t likely to change any time soon. For the record, I do not personally own any guns.

      As for political parties, until they start actually using their collective brain cells for the good of us all, I am now, and shall remain, happily Independent.

      • 1mime says:

        Cori there are many points to critique in your comment so I’ll take them one by one.

        You state: “The Democratic party long ago lost its most cherished ideals, and a large portion of its collective morals, ethics, and particularly its willingness to protect and uphold the Constitution, and the Constitutional rights of our citizens.”

        What ideals did they lose? What morals and ethics did they lose? And, how can you look at what the Democratic Party has fought for AND achieved regarding voting rights, womens’ rights, equality in sexual orientation, marriage, jobs, race, religion? And has fought tooth and nail to keep them in place despite challenges from the right with questionable laws which thankfully are usually found unconstitutional? What are some of these laws that you refer to that were passed to ““force” people into good behavior,…”?

        As for restricting gun ownership, we have had many in depth discussions on this blog about guns and I suggest you read the archives. Your evidence about gun reduction causing more violence? I’d be interested in seeing that data, because from discussions here, that has not been the case. What the majority of Goplifer’s commentators (not all) have agreed upon is that reasonable expansion of background checks, combined with limiting gun access to those who have mental problems and are domestic abusers would be worthwhile. No one here has ever said to take away guns!

        For someone who touts being a liberal with a conservative bent, I think maybe you need to study the categories a little more. And, I’d sure be interested in the answers to the questions I posed above. In this blog, we don’t throw stuff at the wall to see if it will stick; we support and document with reputable sources and sound reasoning. I’ll be waiting for yours.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Cori
        “History shows – in this country and elsewhere – that when guns are restricted, the crime rate goes UP, not down. Conversely, when gun ownership laws are relaxed, the crime rate goes down, not up. This has been the case for decades, is supported by numerous studies of crime rate statistics and trends”

        This is total crap and 180 degrees away from the actual facts

      • Cori MacNaughton says:

        Prove it.

        I’m going on well over three decades of wide reading, from US and international sources. Give FACTS.

        In the early 80s, both Morton Grove, Illinois, and the State of Hawaii banned private ownership of handguns. BOTH crime rates went up substantially.

        Meanwhile, Kennesaw, Georgia, just north of Atlanta, adopted a law mandating gun ownership among its citizens. Its’ crime rate is still substantially lower than it was in 1981, despite its population having multiplied over five times in the same period.

        Just a few examples among many.

        http://www.wnd.com/2007/04/41196/

        More recently, Chicago started allowing concealed carry permits, and the crime rate began dropping.

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/24/chicago-crime-rate-drops-as-concealed-carry-gun-pe/

        Access to guns has never been the problem. People willing to commit violent crime is the problem, and without guns, they simply find other weapons and means.

      • 1mime says:

        Let me be clear: no one on this blog has asked that anyone give up their guns, only that effective gun legislation (like Hawaii) be considered and adopted as appropriate. That rules out the Morton, IL example. As for your Kennesaw, GA example, snopes gives a “mostly false” opinion on how effective the mandatory gun law has been and furthermore affirms that it is unenforceable. (http://www.snopes.com/kennesaw-gun-law/)

        Banning guns outright is a red herring, as mentioned above. Let’s focus on Hawaii, your example. Hawaii is an outstanding example of what tough gun laws can accomplish. Undoubtedly, that has more to do with crime rates than an outright ban or a plethora of guns. Hawaii could and should be a model for how to shape gun law legislation that works.

        You have focused on guns but there was more to verify than this point. Of course, violent people commit crime. So do mentally ill, abusive spouses, and depressed people, sadly.

        Guns is such a small part of what this blog is all about. If that is your “big” issue, I doubt you’ll find much to enjoy here. STrong gun laws that work (like Hawaii) should be our common goal.

      • 1mime says:

        I actually went back and found your original email. Other than the gun issue, which is obviously important to you, I asked you to be more specific about the ideals, morals, and ethics that you feel Dems have lost. I am genuinely interested in your reasoning here, so if you have time, please respond.

  17. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    We are thinking about this under the position that Trump loses.

    What happens to Lifer and the rest of us with a Trump win and the GOP holding the Senate and House? If Trump wins, the Democrats won’t take the Senate.

    Sure, we can talk about Blue Walls, the changing demographics in the country, young people, and all that, but I’m sincerely starting to feel the way I imagine the Republicans felt last year during Trump’s rise.

    Sure, I like to believe folks will wake up, but his poll numbers keep rising. With each week bringing a new shooting, a truck running through a parade, or a new bombing, the world feels more scary, and although you would think you would want an experienced hand to guide the country during those times, that experienced hand is getting blamed for some of the unrest.

    Trump is going to capitalize on that unrest. He undoubtedly is going to say something stupid, but all he has to end with is, “…we are not going to be weak anymore, and we are going to bomb them back to the stone age if they try that with Americans”.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats screwed around the primaries, had a ton of mildly interesting emails leaked, and the head of the DNC is kicked out just before the convention where they will nominate the single most hated political figure over the past 25 years.

    At some point this past spring, the GOP had to be sitting around going, “What the fuck is happening? How can we stop this guy?”, and I’m having some relatively sick feelings that lots of us may be saying the same thing in October.

    • 1mime says:

      Homer, you and I have been sounding this alarm to deaf ears. As much as I’d like to think I’ll be wrong – that Hillary will have a decisive win – I’m very uncomfortable. I don’t know how one plans but a plan is needed in either instance and it will likely have pretty different short term goals. Long term, we should all be on the same page.

    • >] “What happens to Lifer and the rest of us with a Trump win and the GOP holding the Senate and House? If Trump wins, the Democrats won’t take the Senate.

      Best-case scenario, Trump delegates all authority to Pence and we only lose the Supreme Court for a generation and all that entails, have more regressive tax policy put in place, our entitlements slashed if not outright destroyed beyond any recognizable and/or useful form, voting rights diminished on a national scale, etc, etc, etc.

      Worst-case scenario? Well, Trump’s flirted around with the idea of reneging on our NATO alliance (Ronald Reagan is spinning in his grave), pulling out of more or less all of our trade agreements, and I don’t even want to think about what that means for Putin’s Russia. Should give you shivers just thinking about it.

      Economically? Well, we’ve gotten through one Great Depression before. Hopefully we can withstand another.

      >] “At some point this past spring, the GOP had to be sitting around going, “What the fuck is happening? How can we stop this guy?”, and I’m having some relatively sick feelings that lots of us may be saying the same thing in October.

      Okay, Homer, your pessimism wins. We’re all royally screwed and the global economy with it. We might as well curl up in a corner somewhere, suck our thumbs and cry for mommy. Happy now?

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Ryan, this is 2016, people suck their thumbs and cry for their daddy just as much as they cry for their mommy.

        I think my point would be that a Trump win gives us Bush’s third term, and plenty of GOP folks were perfectly fine with Bush (or at least happy to keep quiet).

        Speaker Ryan becomes the most powerful speaker in recent memory, essentially shaping whatever legislative agenda he wants because Trump isn’t going to get into any weeds of particular legislation.

        All of these “disenfranchised” GOPers may all of the sudden feel the warmth of lower taxes, less regulation, codified abortion restrictions, and Scalia 2.0, and they will happily come back into the fold.

        I’m not one that believes Trump is going to destroy the US any more than Bush destroyed the US. I’m on record preferring Trump over Cruz because Trump doesn’t care about abortion, gay people, or religion.

      • 1mime says:

        Homer, where you and I diverge is that Trump doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. (TU Donald Rumsfeld). Who knows what he might do when he actually gets the keys to the safe?
        Cruz was a worst choice for the country but Trump is also going to be a disaster. Will America survive it? Yes, but it ain’t gonna be pretty.

      • formdib says:

        “Happy now?”

        I’m a careful person. I like to be prepared for worst-case scenarios.

        Regardless of whether FiveThirtyEight gives Trump 99% chance of winning, or 1% chance of winning, I would like to be prepared and know what a Trump administration will look like. What I should expect, what I can do, and what can be done.

        It’s difficult, of course, because he’s a compulsive liar. But nevertheless I do believe such discussions of what ‘may’ happen are necessary to have now, even if they turn out never to happen in the future.

        It’s better to be prepared for an disaster that never happens than be caught in a disaster without preparation.

      • 1mime says:

        The GOPe has perfect cover. No One knows what Trump will do. Of course, not even Trump. It allows them to play hide and seek and make it up as they go.

        How do you anticipate something like this situation? How do you prepare? I agree with the need for cautious preparation, but, for what?

      • formdib says:

        @ Homer, re: “I’m not one that believes Trump is going to destroy the US any more than Bush destroyed the US.”

        I am. I absolutely am.

        When I was fifteen I was at a punk show and this one punk kid had on a vest that said, “Bush is a fascist.” I realized then that as little love as I had for the Bush administration, I felt it to be dangerous to consider him a fascist: what if an actual fascist rises in America? What if we’re inoculated to stop him and can’t recognize it because we wasted all of our Godwin’s Law on the merely incompetent?

        Trump is that fascist. He is not merely incompetent, he’s a strongman bigoted nationalist ethnocentric bully who promises to purge the civil services of dissenters, shut down media that disagrees with him, threaten international enemies with bombs and torture, and threaten perceived internal enemies with deportation, internment, and torture.

        There are distinctions here. Bush was a member of a multigenerational family of politicians who lived in their politician bubble, but Trump is a raging sociopath who seeks zero-sum wins over all perceived competitors. There IS a difference.

        And maybe Trump- or American-style fascism won’t be World War III. Maybe it’ll be more Berlusconi than Mussolini. But I don’t care. I take this threat seriously.

        We survived Bush. I want to prepare in case we have to survive Trump.

      • duncancairncross says:

        I’m with Formdib on this,
        The USA has a much more “partisan” civil service than most countries but there have been limits about how politicised your civil service can be – the GOP has always pushed those limits as in the Shrub’s sacking of the DA’s who were not sufficiently responsive to his demands
        But I could see Donald going a LOT further
        Remember the line from “Apocalypse Now” where anti radiation umbrellas were being handed out – but not if you voted for the wrong party
        Can you imagine a future where every federal employee is “vetted” and all of the Dems get sacked?

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Other than pissing off most of our allies and enemies with off-the-cuff idiocy, I’m not sure “the system” allows Trump to go completely insane.

        He’s not going to start dropping bombs any more readily than some of our most recent Presidents, and Hillary isn’t exactly a dove.

        We aren’t going to build a wall across our southern border, we aren’t going to deport 12 million people, no one is going to start administering a religious test for people entering the country, and we aren’t going to “register” all the Muslims in the US. We should also keep in mind that those positions are not all that different from the positions of at least half of the 18 people running for President on the GOP side.

        He’ll “look into getting out of NATO”, and someone will educate him a bit, and he’ll come back with, “I’ve talked to the leaders in NATO, and they won’t survive without us, so I’ve negotiated a better deal so that they pay more of their share. It is going to be great”.

        He’ll “look into building a wall”, and someone will point out that we can’t pay for it and it won’t work, and he’ll say he negotiated a deal with the Mexican government to “do better” about keeping people in Mexico and he’ll “do deportations, big”.

        He’ll set effective discourse back a decade, but that is survivable (especially if you are straight, White, and male).

        It is possible that a Trump win would usher back in the era of Lifer’s GOP.

        I don’t think there was anyone on stage Thursday night at the GOP convention that mentioned abortion, and the only time gay folks were brought up was for favorable pandering rather than as destroying the fabric of society. Heck, in Trump’s introduction, the talk was about maternity leave and gender pay gap.

        A Trump win, without bowing the religious, anti-choice, anti-gay rights bigots of the GOP might just free the GOP from that anchor.

        Does that mean that Ryan all of the sudden grows a spine and refuses to bring anti-abortion and anti-gay rights stuff to the floor of the House while happily voting to lower taxes and reduce regulations? Maybe.

        Does it embolden the non-religious-zealots of the GOP to ignore the zealots and push for more important things? Maybe.

      • 1mime says:

        It tisn’t a pretty picture you paint there, Homer.

      • Bridget says:

        I can live with Mike Pence & Paul Ryan running a Trump administration behind the scenes. I won’t like it and God knows what it will mean for voting rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights, etc. but Ryan & Pence are closer to grown ups than not.

        I just can’t believe that Trump won’t try and run it ‘sometimes.’ Legally, he’ll still have the power and those two won’t be able to stop him without an impeachment. He may say today that they’ll get to run foreign & domestic policies. They’re idiots if they think he could stop himself from interfering. Especially if he wins and his cockiness has paid off.

      • flypusher says:

        “I’m on record preferring Trump over Cruz because Trump doesn’t care about abortion, gay people, or religion.”

        Trump may not care, but Pence cares. He cares a whole lot in ways that should make you nervous. If that lazy- ass fraud Trump does leave the heavy lifting to Pence, bad things are going to happen.

      • 1mime says:

        How can anyone be confident of what Trump believes on any moral issue? His personal choices? His personal stands? The company he keeps?

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Fly…yes, Pense cares about those issues, and he’s on the wrong side of all of them, but if Ryan grows a spine, it may not matter.

      • 1mime says:

        If Trump is elected, we have to assume that his election is validation of the Republican agenda. Why wouldn’t Ryan perceive it the very same way and double down on his TP positions? The Freedom Caucus would be running the show and Ryan would be their handmaiden.

      • vikinghou says:

        Duncan wrote: “Can you imagine a future where every federal employee is “vetted” and all of the Dems get sacked?”

        This reminds me of what Erdogan is doing in Turkey right now.

      • 1mime says:

        Damn straight. Imagine what a SCOTUS with three new appointees in the mantle of Scalia can do to jurisprudence? Policies upend. Global warming study/funding – gone. Womens’ choice (Roe v Wade) gone. Unions – gone – public and private. Taxes? Not much for the already wealthy, but more for the masses cause someone has to pay the bills! Protection of public parks and lands? Gone. Health insurance for the masses? Gone. Entitlement programs? Voucherized and or gone. Defense budget? YUUGE. Everything else? What’s left.

        And, that’s just off the top of my head which I admit is overloaded with all the email commentary “yet” to be read and that which I have somehow managed to read….What a weekend!

      • flypusher says:

        “Fly…yes, Pense cares about those issues, and he’s on the wrong side of all of them, but if Ryan grows a spine, it may not matter.”

        That’s an enormous IF Homer. Paul Ryan didn’t show much spine when he had some actual leverage over Trump. All his tap-dancing around the latest Trump offense is cumulative political osteoporosis.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Yeah, the “Ryan grows a spine” thing makes the (IMO flawed) assumption that Ryan really wants to stop Trump but is too cowardly to do it.

        Ryan I’m sure doesn’t agree with much of what Trumps says, bit only insofar as he knows it could cost them in elections. If Trump gets elected and the House keeps their majority, Ryan would be ecstatic, as he could then push his draconian agenda. It’s just as immoral as Trumps, just in very different ways.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        @Houston. The president has the power to start wars (see Iraq). Wars are unpredictable. And sometimes get bigger than expected. That should be enough to scare you.

      • formdib says:

        re: Bridget

        “I just can’t believe that Trump won’t try and run it ‘sometimes.’ Legally, he’ll still have the power and those two won’t be able to stop him without an impeachment. He may say today that they’ll get to run foreign & domestic policies. They’re idiots if they think he could stop himself from interfering. Especially if he wins and his cockiness has paid off.”

        This is the crux of the issue. It’s not that he has an agenda, but that he hates his actions being compromised.

        This is a man who has historically shown himself capable of pulling every stop, exploiting every rule, lying every lie, and doing whatever he can to get his own way — regardless of what ‘his own way’ entails and whether it helps or hurts anybody. He does not care unless he gets what he wants. And he is a zero-sum rentseeker who thinks he should own everything.

        So it doesn’t really matter what he says he’s going to do, what matters is how he behaves. On that note,

        re: Mime1

        “How can anyone be confident of what Trump believes on any moral issue? His personal choices? His personal stands? The company he keeps?”

        EXACTLY. It’s not his statements but his behavior that matters. The Clintons are friends when they attend your wedding, they’re worth imprisoning when they’re against you. He’s a Democrat when he thinks that’s the party to take advantage of, a Republican when a power vacuum opens there.

        He is open to any conspiracy theory, avenges every perceived slight, and doubles down on every called-out lie.

        This man will do only one thing in the executive office of the United States: seek to gain even more power and destroy any check and balance that gets in its way. The rest, the details, are pure noise.

        None of it matters, the wall, the racists that he’ll let string up people of color because he’d rather they be kept busy than focus on his lack of following through on his promises, the Dominionists that he’ll establish in his administration or their religious values, the deals he’ll make will have nothing to do with the people and everything to do with what he gets to skim off the top, and so forth.

        tl;dr: it’s not about what he SAYS he’s going to do, it’s about how he behaves and things he’s already done.

    • LR says:

      Homer,
      You say that Clinton is the most hated political figure over the past 25 years. If that’s true, it’s by design. Many years ago, some brilliant or lucky guessing Republican strategist seems to have decided that she had a chance for the Presidency and started the continual attempt at character assassination that continues to this day. I’m not saying I’m a big Clinton fan, but without that constant effort, I doubt she’d seem dirtier or worse than any other mainstream politician.
      ————————–
      Mr. Ladd,

      Congratulations on making the right decision. Must have taken some guts. However, I don’t know how you have the warm fuzzies for Reagan. Sure, the Soviet Union fell, but I suspect it was pretty rotten long before Reagan was elected.

      You see, or saw, the Republican party as the “party of commerce, trade, and pragmatism”. That’s not the party I remember. A few years ago, I pragmatically decided to look at some numbers to see how the two parties did economically. I expected the results to be close. One number was the Dow, corrected for the rise in the Consumer Price index. I decided to go back as far as the Truman administration, as I think our economy went through a big change during the war. According to those numbers, perhaps the Democrats are the party of business, as the Dow averaged a MUCH higher rise during Democratic Administrations*. Like more than double. I also looked at the national deficit. Again, the numbers were much more favorable under Democratic administrations. If I recall correctly, these differences became more marked under the Reagan administration and after.

      Furthermore, Reagan was terrifying to some of us. Maybe I was hysterical about it, but it seemed to me at the time that he might have cranked up the cold war enough to make it hot. Not a fault historically unique to Republicans, I admit, but I really feared those missiles would be used, and, of course, theirs would be used on us. At the time, I knew a guy who was seriously studying nuclear strategy at MIT (not Dr. Postol). From talking with him, it was pretty clear “Star Wars” was just a crock and a money sink. Maybe advances in computers now would make it just possible, but I doubt it. I don’t know how they would solve the decoy problem. I.e. how do you separate a thousand mylar balloons following the same trajectory from the real warheads inside their own mylar balloons? Or how do you use your interceptor rockets and lasers to shoot down cruise missiles (with decoys), foreign ships with bombs in them, or nuclear Fedex packages? Fedex has much better accuracy, too.

      I think our current political situation is an indictment of our educational system. With better knowledge of history, and with more of the critical thinking skills that many educators claim to instill, perhaps the campaign would appear a lot more sane.

      I seem to be going a little off topic, I guess I should stop and get some sleep!

      *I discounted the first year of new administrations to account for “momentum”. Totally arbitrary, but it’s clear things don’t change direction overnight. Another caveat is, if I understood the techniques for a short while, that the results aren’t statistically significant because of the small sample size, i.e. only a few administrations. But if things go on the way they have been, they certainly WILL become statistically significant. For things like this, I suspect it’s very hard to get a big enough sample size, at least not at this part of history where things change quickly. This might not be a problem for, say, certain eras of Chinese history.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        I’m not saying Hillary deserves to be the most hated person in politics over the past 25 years, but it is hard to argue that there is more dislike for her over that time period than anyone else.

      • I have to say, I have watched the Hillary saga and, while personally not a fan, the hyperbole of her perfidy makes me stop and ask ‘what’s really going on here?’ Those aligned against her have had to focus on sins that don’t even count on the radar as sins for previous candidates. I don’t suspect we’ll get a lot of radical change under Hillary. But faced with a choice between her and Donald Trump? Nah, sorry. I’m a sensible person.

      • 1mime says:

        Let us hope that your rational approach will become more accepted.

      • 1mime says:

        LR, there has been a great deal of analysis on the reason(s) the economy has performed so much better when Dems are in office. To distill it to its simplest form, most feel that Democrats have invested in people (yes through entitlement programs but also in programs that put people to work and expanded and improved our infrastructure. Conversely, Republicans are in to the business of designing an economy that benefits a few to the detriment of not only the masses, but a robust economy. This isn’t projecture, it’s history. Our income divide, or as I prefer to call it “wealth divide” isn’t recent. It’s a product of a long, deliberate effort to reward those at the top. No one, including this writer, objects to rewarding effort. What I do object to is rigging the system so that the masses really are shut out. I’m talking about quality education, loan eligibility, access to the top floor, women’s equality of pay for same job worked, safe neighborhoods, and respect. Of all of these, respect is the most egregiously lacking in how the classes interact. Equality and inclusion, of course, are integral to healthy economies because the greater the numbers of participants, the greater their contributions to the whole. It’s really not difficult to understand if one gives even a modicum of thought to it. Many, sadly, lack either the interest or the intellectual capability to comprehend this simple cause and effect.

      • >] I’m not saying Hillary deserves to be the most hated person in politics over the past 25 years, but it is hard to argue that there is more dislike for her over that time period than anyone else.

        I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. Keep in mind that while she was SOS, Hillary Clinton was the single most popular political figure in all of America. I believe her favorability rating hovered somewhere around the mid-sixties. And yet, when she turns to run for office, her favorability sinks like a rock.

        What the hell, man?

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Ryan – no doubt there is some amount of the Hillary stuff that is polarizing because she is a woman running for President, but even while she was the most admired woman in the US, she was also the most disliked (just by different people).

      • 1mime says:

        I will be the first to admit that HRC has flaws. Just as we all do. In fact, if my life had been scrutinized for over 30 years to the degree that hers has, I doubt I’d have any friends at all. The deliberate take down of HRC is shameful. Criticize her for her mistakes – there are some – but this has gone far beyond the pale in terms of decency or accuracy. It makes me more sympathetic for her need for secrecy even as I think she handled it poorly (email server), but this woman has given years of her life in public service and I think the way in which she has been maligned is simply unspeakable.

  18. Sara Robinson says:

    Coming late to this — I spent the last three days completely out of cell range in Olympic National Park — but I’m both sad and not surprised that it’s come to this for you, and offer my condolences on what I know is a terrible decision for you. It’s the right one, absolutely, but that does not make it easy. (Right things seldom are.)

    Also: I think “politicalorphans” is a *perfect* new idea, one that may attract a far wider audience of people disaffected with both ends of the spectrum.

    As we’ve discussed offline, I’m having the same epiphanies from the other side of the gap, as a (former) progressive who feels seriously left behind by the direction my own side has taken. Labor is dying, and can no longer be the basis of progressive reform. Identity politics is a dead end. The attention being paid to racism, while important (I support BLM’s critique of our insane policing paradigms, and hope they win), is actively shushing other important voices in the movement. There is no attention paid to the role media and markets play in creating change in the actual US we live in, as opposed to the one in their fantasies of how change happens.

    For me, it’s time to fumble my way back to some kind of reasonable, civil, evidence-based, non-crazy center. This blog is a lifeline for those of us who remember an America that was once like that, and hold out hope that it can be again. We have our differences of opinion; but what makes this community special is that we’re more committed to the idea of fair-minded exchange and problem-solving than we are to the idea of Being Right.

    We seem to be a minority; but I suspect is’s a bigger one than any of us can imagine. And if there’s going to be an America in the post-Trump era, it’s because people like us finally stand up and insist on it.

    As for the practical issues of how this community moves forward, I proffer two ideas.

    One is that you might consider constituting Political Orphans as a small-group blog, thus giving yourself some breathing space. (I know of one experienced blogger, ahem, who might be induced to contribute.) Even having 2-3 other people populating it will help keep this community going, and probably growing. A roster of 6-7 others might be the full build-out, providing a really lively and busy site that you don’t have to be always on top of. This community of commenters has several voices in it who may be valuable contributors. We can talk more about how to do this offline, if you’d like.

    The other is the idea (which we’ve discussed) of starting an e-mail list or closed FB group where a genuine community can begin to form. The ultimate idea would be to have enough of a community to sustain face-to-face gatherings and meetups that bring together the large, silent tribe of Orphans, and allow them to begin to coalesce into something more effective.

    Would love to hear people’s thoughts on this.

    • goplifer says:

      Snowed under right now, but yes. We need to talk.

      • 1mime says:

        I can’t imagine why you might be “snowed under right now”, Lifer (-; This deluge has been a blessing and a curse. So happy for you and so glad to see all the new names, but lotsa comments to read, think about and respond to. And, that’s not even your day job!

      • Turtles Run says:

        I think Sara Robinson has a great idea. A cadre of informal writers would lighten your burden and and bring different opinions to the table.

    • Reading that reminded me of when Lifer was talking about an Urban Republican rebellion a short while ago and it gave me an idea. I wonder if, just as sort of intellectual exercise, we might be able to gather a small group together here (no more than a few people at first) and see if we couldn’t come up with our own platform of what a revived Republican Party might look like.

      Honestly, much as we all talk about wanting to see a reality-based GOP around here, most of us are often left playing catch-up to Lifer. Thinking up our own platform could be an interesting way of changing that. 🙂

      >] “The other is the idea (which we’ve discussed) of starting an e-mail list or closed FB group where a genuine community can begin to form. The ultimate idea would be to have enough of a community to sustain face-to-face gatherings and meetups that bring together the large, silent tribe of Orphans, and allow them to begin to coalesce into something more effective.”

      Sounds like an interesting proposal, particularly if people branch out and make their own sub-groups across the net. No doubt you’re right that there are a lot more Orphans out there than any one of us can likely appreciate. It sure would be something if that could help give them a voice and show them how to contribute.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Either a group blog or an e-list would be a great place to work out fresh ideas for a Grand New Party. I’m partial to e-lists, despite how antiquated they are, because there’s nothing like them for detailed, thoughtful discussions. Other platforms — comments, FB groups — tend to lend themselves to shorter posts with less detailed thinking. I don’t think you get the same kinds of discussions due to the limits of the medium.

        Once you get a core of 100-200 people participating, coordinating meetups in various parts of the country becomes a plausible idea. I also love the idea of an annual conference (which would be very small at first) where people can solidify friendships, build networks, coalesce ideas, foster common culture, and generate energy toward coordinated change. I watched Netroots Nation grow from modest origins to the central gathering of the progressive movement. One way we’ll know we’re a real thing is when we have enough of a core team and a thriving culture to pull off something similar.

    • 1mime says:

      In your statement, “what makes this community special is that we’re more committed to the idea of fair-minded exchange and problem-solving than we are to the idea of Being Right”, you articulate an unspoken yet practiced tenet of the faithful GOPlifer commentators. Civility doesn’t always accompany intelligent discussion, but most of the time on Lifer’s blog, it does – which is a tribute to his standards and the quality of the participants.

      My time and energy is necessarily required at home caring for my husband, but I do have some time and certainly great interest. I would be interested in participating in some type of skype collective discussion and would enjoy meeting people in our area initially if this is wanted by others. I realize some want to remain anonymous. I think most of us feel deeply concerned enough to want to do something constructive and effective other than dialogue, as interesting and satisfying as that is. The real battle is out in the field where we must wage a smarter, more focused campaign. Grassroots work – candidate recruitment, precinct worker recruitment, studying the issues on a targeted basis then sharing (more productive use of our time and money – we can divy up media subscriptions – that can get expensive and who has time to read them all anyway?)

      On a more immediate basis, GOTV for November is a must. I personally think this race is going to be a dead heat and if our collective goal is to defeat Trump, then we need a strategy to mobilize the base to vote. We live in many parts of the U.S. which is good and bad but technology helps remove some of the limitations of distance if we use it wisely.

      Don’t know if this fits with your rough idea(s) but I’ll help as much as I can. I would love to meet many of the group and maybe our energy, research efforts, outreach could be more effectively channeled. I’m willing to give it a whirl within my time constraints.

      Thanks for your initiative, Sara.

    • Cori MacNaughton says:

      I had also thought to put this idea forth, but am completely snowed at the moment, and so didn’t. But I would love to be an occasional contributor, and sincerely hope that this idea takes root, as we desperately need it to.

      My sister calls me the last of the Kennedy Democrats, though I am now officially Independent, but I am old enough to remember when elected officials could be statesmen as well as politicians, who were willing to put country before ideology.

      We sorely need that right now.

      • 1mime says:

        You know what’s funny? All of the political categories are so changed that I am not even sure what any of them means anymore! Our political institutions have become so self-serving that platforms are driven more by sensationalism than core principles. And, there’s a lot of overlap. I call myself a conservative liberal with strong social liberty principles. What that means for me is probably very different than what you might envision from reading the statement. This is why Sara and Ryan’s ideas have merit. First we have to agree on what the core principles are. I’ve voted Republican many times earlier in my life but not in the last 20 years. The party has moved so far right and demanded such allegiance to their goals that it compromised any independence of otherwise moderate members. I’m more happy with the big tent philosophy of the Democrats but totally flummoxed at the seemingly lack of coherence of either message or strategy.

        So, like many others, I flounder.

      • @1mime: >] “ I’m more happy with the big tent philosophy of the Democrats but totally flummoxed at the seemingly lack of coherence of either message or strategy.

        As far as messaging goes, in more productive political times, Republicans would be, as Lifer’s case makes, the party of markets, mainly concerned with economic opportunity, stability and administrative oversight; a markedly broad, but easy to understand message.

        Conversely, Democrats would be, as they so often are today anyhow, the party of representation, essentially those to fill in the void left by Republicans on those issues that markets can’t solve. Health care is one, obviously. Voting rights are another. The sky’s the limit: fair treatment and educational opportunities for inmates, equal pay for equal work, quality child care, paid family and medical leave, etc, etc, etc.

        If that were the reality, you could see voters switching back and forth between the two parties on a pretty regular basis, which is how things used to be. Instead, as we all know, now we’re seeing the effective collapse of our two party system and the potential rise of a parliamentary-esque system to fill in the gap.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m glad there’s a name for it, Ryan. “Parliamentary-esque”……Better than any term I could come up with.

      • …Yeah, we’re gonna have to come up with something better. That can be one of the first topics for the new forum!

    • I am so relieved to have stumbled across this lonely clutch of rationality. I’m from the UK, and as you have probably noticed, we have our own kind of crazy, but I think the current levels are neither just a coincidence, and perhaps rooted in the same causes. Wherever you both decide to end up, I look forward to reading you.

  19. Cori MacNaughton says:

    Personally, I LOVE politicalorphans.com, and think it fits completely. Count me in.

    Neither party even resembles what it was at its roots, and both parties have abandoned even the semblance of protecting and upholding the Constitution.

    Can we have a do-over? 😉

    Change of subject – your musical videos are coming up “OOPS! Video url not found.” As a musician, I would love to know what songs they represent.

  20. flypusher says:

    Here is one of the more coherent statements supporting Trump I’ve found recently, and it’s still a facepalm moment:

    “Trump is a horse’s ass but at least he is addressing some of the problems (immigration, globalism, the republicans turning into the war party) that conservatives worry about–and the party has ignored. His supporters understand that as soon as he hits Washington he is going to be stonewalled like the Rockies because he has so many enemies, and most of his idiot ideas (tattooing Mexicans and Arabs? Do you actually think the SCOTUS will allow that? ”

    It’s like they (as in the ones who aren’t cheering the bigotry) have battered wife syndrome. He really wouldn’t do all those mean things he threatens to. He’ll change once he takes office.

  21. E W says:

    Ok. You don’t like Donald Trump. Get specific. WHY don’t you like Donald Trump. If it’s his personality, we’ll that didn’t stop anyone with sweaty, shifty, Dick Nixon, did it. I am begging you to please be specific. Please. Is he dishonest? Has he broken the law? Is he immoral (I know it’s hard for politicians to know the difference)? One long time Republican is headed to jail for pedophilia and nobody jumped ship over him. Alot of time and money was spent on his career and the Republicans didn’t stand up against him, did they. After reading your letter, looking for substance about Trump, I found it was like eating oysters, looking for pearls and finding nothing but self absorbed sand.

    • flypusher says:

      Dishonest? check. He’s the biggest liar of all the candidate, from any party

      Broken the law? TBD, not thousands of fraud/ non-payment suits don’t look good

      Immoral? With his sordid personal life? Are you kidding? Triple Check on that one.

      We can also add:

      Xenophobic? Check

      Misogynistic? Check

      Racist? Check

      Ignorant of current events and their meanings? How many checks have you got- use all of them

      Lazy? Check. He’s never prepared to give substantive answers to serious questions

      Thin-skinned and childish? All the checks.

      As for why Chris doesn’t like Trump- it’s all in the archives.

    • formdib says:

      http://www.handsycomprehensiveexam.com/blog/2016/7/19/donald-trumps-repulsive-beliefs

      Not included on this list: Trump’s statement that he would purge civil servants from the federal government as his first act in office (literally the first thing Hitler did): http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-purge-exclusive-idUSKCN10003A

      Your move.

    • Max Smart says:

      He can’t get specific. For someone who claims to be a lifelong grassroots Republican, Mr. Ladd doesn’t have a clue. He is still having a tantrum. Grow up and support the country you claim to love.

      Remember, Chis, not voting for Trump is a vote for cankles! YES, THIS MEANS YOU TOO! You are not immune because you want to sit out, take your ball and go home.

      You claim to be a man of principles but your actions are that of a petulant child. From the looks of it, your unique little ecosystem has bred little more the brain dead plankton.

      I now no why you don’t live in Texas any longer. They would run you out on a rail!

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “Grow up and support the country you claim to love.”

        By supporting a demagogic con man who would happily destroy it if it meant he would get to rule over the ashes?

        Opposing Trump IS supporting the country.

      • “Tantrum”, “petulant child”, “run out on a rail”?

        There is no evidence that the writer of this blog is a tantrum driven, petulant child. There are years of considered, even-handed, calm contemplation of the facts here. And it is worth noting that almost all major cities in Texas go blue come election time, so I guess it depends where one lives, yes?

        Clearly you support the current Republican candidate. Okay. Is that any reason to be rude and mischaracterize this man’s post? What is happening with you that you can’t tolerate dissension without insult?

        Pot, kettle, black.

      • johngalt says:

        “…not voting for Trump is a vote for candles!”

        You invalidate anything you say when you resort to third grade name calling. It is beneath any rational conversation. Of course, that seems to be the modus operandus of the candidate you support, so I suppose it fits.

      • flypusher says:

        Trump does attract the best people, doesn’t he?

      • 1mime says:

        The “VERY BEST”, Fly.

  22. CaptSternn says:

    Glad to hear you will keep on truckin’, Lifer. Since you find meaning in music, I will leave you with my own theme song …

    Maybe see you around again some day. Take care.

  23. dallasdave says:

    Long time liberal lurker here. I hope you’ll continue your writing. I’m fortunate enough to remember the Eisenhowers and Buckley’s of the world, and what intellectual, rational, statesmanlike and humane conservatism looked like. Many folks alive now haven’t had that experience. Blogs like yours are an absolute necessity to help reclaim the term conservative from the ignorant, hate filled, destructive demagogues and dolts who have co-opted it. I’ll forego the “two strong parties are essential” speech, but someone has to revitalize true conservatism for the long-term health of our country. No pressure.

    Thanks for all of the great reads.

  24. rulezero says:

    DWS is out by week’s end. Sanders is calling on her to resign now. Sources are saying that she has been removed from speaking at the DNC, though her campaign is claiming that she’s still gonna chair the convention.

    Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign is accusing Russia of trying to help Trump get elected. Trump’s campaign is doing everything it can to rile up Bernie supporters.

    Ugh.

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