Four more years

Four more years
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I guess the fundamental question is whether this was a normal defeat or something else.

If it was the former, there’s not much for the Republicans to fret about. Mitt Romney very nearly won the popular vote, after all, he had a better electoral college showing than John McCain, and only lost the most important swing states by thin percentiles well within the margin of error of most pre-election polls. America has seen truly hopeless elections in the recent past — Mondale vs. Reagan in 1984, for instance, or McGovern vs. Nixon in 1972 — and this wasn’t one of them. Dreams of a Romney White House may look implausible in retrospect, but the goal was never impossible.

On the other hand, maybe narrow losses are the best the GOP can hope for going forward. America’s demographic math seems stubbornly determined to prevent a Republican future, and 2012 may very well represent a point of no return. In the days since November 6, what was once a quiet point of pride among liberals and secret dread amongst conservatives is now being shouted from every newspaper headline: Republicans are too white to win.

Since 1980, the white share of the American “voting populace” (ie; adults) has shrunk 15%, while the black and Hispanic share rose two percentage points each since 2008. This means that even though Obama, like most Democrats, lost the white vote quite decisively — 39% to 59% — his share of the country’s two biggest minority groups’ was so overwhelming — 93% and 71% respectively — it was basically a non-issue.

The entire premise underlying the optimistic 2012 predictions of so many conservatives— from Dick Morris to the”unskewed polls” movement to the Romney campaign itself — was entirely based on the naive assumption that 2008 was some sort of giddy minority-vote outlier. Surely blacks and Hispanics wouldn’t turn out in nearly such ample droves this time, they hoped. Surely some naturally conservative minority constituency would drift back to the GOP after the initial thrill of the first minority president wore off.

Wrong and wrong, it seems. If future elections are to be entirely decided by nothing more than sheer mobilization of the base, it’s hard to see a Republican path back to 1600 Pennsylvania, especially since we all know who’s winning the baby wars these days.

There’s a lot of different ways conservatives can respond to this data. To many Republicans, the incentive is simply to continue an initiative begun with some success during the George W. Bush years (but largely ignored since), and pander to Latinos, those honest, hard-working, God-fearing, “natural conservatives,” openly and aggressively. Already several leading right-wing pundits, Charles Krauthammer and Sean Hannity amongst them, have suggested that it’s time for the GOP to just bite the bullet and endorse amnesty for illegals, convinced as they are that nothing short of an outright explosion of the two-party dialogue on immigration will come close to winning conservative trust from this most critical community.

The only question is, how to do you then ensue the white backlash doesn’t cancel out the Hispanic gains?

You can’t, say those on the harder right side of the spectrum, particularly the so-called “alt-right” blogosphere. There, the consensus view is that the Republicans’ demographic reality as the party of “white America” is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of, and in fact dictates a far more logical path to the presidency than the uncertain fruits of some theoretical minority outreach. After all, what victory scenario sounds more plausible, asks Jared Taylor, head of the unapologetically (to put it gently) pro-white American Renaissance – the idea that a future Republican could win an 8% larger share of the minority vote in 2016, or merely increase his share of the white vote by 3%? Over at RealClearPolitics, Sean Trende basically agrees. Almost seven million fewer whites voted in 2012 than 2008 he notes, adding that demographic decline or not, “the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home.”

From this perspective, we tend to get the traditional “not conservative enough” refrain that will no doubt come to dominate the Tea Party’s post-November worldview. Though they’d shy away from phrasing it this way, the basic gist is that if conservatives are disproportionately white, then the most effective Republican pandering will be disproportionately conservative. The famed alt-right blogger Steve Sailer has called this the “Sailer Strategy,” and its most extreme manifestation encourages a Republican Party promising a harsh crackdown on all forms of immigration — illegal or otherwise — and an unapologetic war against multiculturalism, affirmative action, welfare programs that largely favor minorities, and other stuff white voters (which is to say conservatives) will supposedly appreciate for both ideological and racial-cultural reasons.

Such an attitude will always be popular in some circles because it appeals to some deep-seeded sense of demographic justice. If the minorities can have their party, a party so self-righteous and proud and showy in its minority-ness, then why not let the whites have a party of similar tone?

The answer, of course, is because whites don’t actually want this.

On Tuesday night Romney lost literally a dozen states with white populations in the 70%-and-up range; indeed, as BuzzFeed noted, Obama would have still won five states even if all minorities were legally unable to vote. This is because unlike blacks and Hispanics, whites remain a fairly polarized group with opinions and loyalties all over the place, right and left, dogmatic and moderate. Any Republican Party that honestly seeks to be the party of white America thus has to make some peace with the very strong and real phenomenon of white liberalism, though white liberals are probably the portion of the electorate the GOP is most hostile towards. And white liberals are more than happy to return the favor —just ask a white liberal state like Vermont or Massachusetts, which Romney lost by margins of more than 20 points.

Whites, it should be remembered, largely created open-borders immigration, affirmative action, multiculturalism, and the welfare state. Increased hostility to these kinds of things seems just as likely to continue to drive down the white vote as much as raise it, particularly as more whites migrate to those urban blue islands in the center of their states where a certain style of politically-correct tolerance on these issues (to say nothing of issues involving gays, women, and secularists) is a basically a mandatory criteria of citizenship.

It’s white America’s (particularly young white America’s) growing aversion to anything that smacks of racism, bigotry, ignorance, or paranoia that probably represents the GOP’s single biggest strategic obstacle to overcome in the post-Obama era. It’s not a problem that can be fixed by doubling-down in a more fearlessly intolerant direction, nor by taking a blind leap into minority-pander world. What it does require is a fundamental repackaging of how Republicanism presents itself to the nation, a re-imagining that results in a fresh party that while still identifiably conservative, nevertheless signals a clean break with the vibe of weirdness and intolerance that is scaring off the very sorts of voters the party most needs to woo.

I’ve got my theories on how they should do this, but what are yours?


  1. Beppo

    As I keep demonstrating to my father, the Hard Right’s hatred of Obama is no different than the Hard Left’s hatred of George Bush. It’s disgusting and embarrassing for the decent people on both sides but the fringe lunatics will always hate the moderates.

  2. @mikehatedit

    I would suggest that the left "fringe" tended to hate Bush for actual government policies and actions (in particular, for initiating the war in Iraq, for establishing the facility at Guantanamo Bay, for the PATRIOT Act, etc.), while the right "fringe" tends to hate Obama for made-up bullshit reasons.

  3. ThePsudo

    If policy disagreement leads the left to hate, does that mean they seek to censor dissent? If so, shouldn't that be condemned in the same breath as the right-wing's baseless hate?

  4. rmjones13

    When the policies are actually enacted and infringe on people's freedom or causes death of many innocents and sends the economy plunging, I think that's less "seeking to censor dissent" and more "seeking to get rid of bullshit policies".

    And protesting and hating policies and ideals is OK- as long as you don't try to actively prevent someone from saying it in any venue (unless said thing is illegal, like death threats). Freedom of speech doesn't ensure you get your way all the time.

  5. ThePsudo

    If a policy is stupid, it doesn't require hate to denounce it as stupid. Evidence is enough. So what justifies adding hate to the recipe?

  6. @mikehatedit

    It's a matter of interest that the only people who seriously talked about "Bush Derangement Syndrome" were on the payroll of Fox News. The idea of these hate-filled rallies where people essentially spat at posters of Bush, lacking any sort of coherence or point other than the act of hating, is cut from whole cloth.

    Yes, there are brain-dead people who hated him. But they were only ever a minority, and were no more present or consequential within the opposition to Bush than they were within the opposition to Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon…

    By comparison, in some states exit polls suggest that as many as 50% of Republican primary voters believe that Barack Obama is a muslim, and that's a shockingly typical example. Remember the healthcare debates? (OBAMACARE IS A PLOT TO KILL GRANDMA) Remember the worst excesses of the Tea Party Movement? (FEMA is already setting up concentration camps!) And how many millions of people still refuse to accept that the President was born in the United States?

    Most of what far-left liberals hated about Bush–use of torture, invasion of privacy, doing a shitty job handling Hurricane Katrina, leading the nation into multiple wars, cooking government intelligence to suit his administration's needs–was rooted in fact.

    The far-right hatred? It's moonbattery, plain and simple. Half the time it's incoherent anyway. ("KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY MEDICARE!") And I think it would be quite correct–as others have done–to characterize it as a fundamentally different kind of hate, insofar as it's about Obama himself, rather than about what Obama has actually done, or said, or promised.

  7. ThePsudo

    So your criticism is of moonbattery, not hate. Hate is just fine, you say, so long as it's justified.

    I don't agree with that. I mean, of course moonbattery is crap and deserves derision. But I think one can (and ought to) despise someone's views and actions without despising them personally.

  8. Jake_Ackers

    The left made a MOVIE of Bush getting assassinated. They burned dolls that looked like Bush in the street. Not like Obama has changed one policy from Bush.

  9. Dryhad

    Did you actually watch that movie? It wasn't a wish-fulfillment kind of thing, more like dystopian speculation.

  10. Jake_Ackers

    You are justifying a movie that assassinates a sitting US President. The excuse was it was educational. They could of made a fictional President and got he point across but no. Had to use Bush because it was "educational." It was plain hate in the disguise of education.

  11. Dryhad

    The United States is a democratic republic. The president is not an incarnate god. He is a man. And you still clearly have not actually seen the movie.

  12. rmjones13

    …Because we are human, dude.

    Emotions? They are kinda our thang. Sadly, we all haven't replaced the emotion centers of our brain with OBJECTIVE-TRON 3000 yet.

  13. @mikehatedit

    "If policy disagreement leads the left to hate, does that mean they seek to censor dissent?"

    No. Glad we cleared that up.

  14. Jake_Ackers

    Obama has continued every single policy of Bush. There is no difference. So shouldn't they hate Obama (the left)? GItmo, Patriot Act, even the Bush taxcuts.

  15. Colin Minich

    You might have to stop and think it's for a more primal, base reason they hate Obama. He's different.

  16. Jake_Ackers

    If he was white, I think it still be would about the same. Sure some would hate less but Obama represents the typical liberal from the upper west side. His outsider persona isn't so much because he is black but more so because he seems like a Euro at least to those people. I think being black and raised in Indonesia/Hawaii just makes him see more… I dunno foreign to these people?

    Can't quite put a finger on it because some of these people on the fringe just seem to get carried away with their dislike. I think it started with a ideological disagreement and just that Star Wars thing, how does it go? Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering…or in this case overreacting?

  17. drs

    You think a white Obama would have been challenged over his birth certificate? Or getten all the "secret Muslim" bullshit?

    Racism isn't the only reason Obama is hated — the Clintons came in for lots of right-wing hate — but it's certainly a factor in the amount and manifestation of the hatred.

  18. drs

    Obama pulled us out of Iraq and hasn't led us into war based on lies and delusion. Big difference. He ordered we stop torturing people, though we still use extraordinary rendition and treating Manning like crap. Small difference. He tried to close Guantanamo but was blocked by the *Republican Congress*.

    I don't know what you mean by the Bush taxcuts; those were set for 10 years, as passed by Congress; Obama's been pushing for the cut on rich people to stay expired.

    He also gave us Obamacare and the repeal of DADT and tolerable justices and the stimulus and more. Bush gave us Medicare D which is something, I guess, and otherwise diddlysquat that's positive.

  19. Nobody

    Nearly 200 drone-based assassinations in Pakistan include one targeted assassination against a US citizen. But I guess that's okay, because he's Obama.

  20. Kento

    I understand that due process is the reason, but it seems strange to me that we are supposed to be more upset about Americans being killed by the US government than non-citizens. It seems like at least we have jurisdiction over our own citizens.

    Anyway, I find it loathsome, but I'm not sure anyone better than Obama would be politically viable. It's a difficult question for the left, are we better off being vocally to the left of Obama, or is it best to just give our support to the best we can get?

  21. Jake_Ackers

    Condi did the Iraq thing. It was set way before Obama come into office. Obama renewed the Bush taxcuts. Obama got us into Libya. Obamacare was Romneycare 2.0 and the Reps including Gingrich had been pushing for a version of it. Repeal of DADT was the Log Cabin Republican along with the Courts. No way that was going to pass through Congress on its own.

    Agree with what I said or not. Depending on how you spin it, you get a difference or not. However, Obama isn't a MAJOR departure from Bush or the Republicans. He rhetoric is the primary difference only. After all this is the man who executed Americans without trial.

  22. drs

    "Obamacare was Romneycare 2.0"


    " and the Reps including Gingrich had been pushing for a version of it"

    Funny how none of them voted for it when a Democrat proposed it, instead denouncing it as socialism and death panels. But then, the Senate minority leader openly declared that his goal was to make Obama a one-term president.

    "Repeal of DADT was the Log Cabin Republican along with the Courts."

    They helped, but mostly it was the Democrats, who provided most of the votes for repeal, initiated the legislative repeal process (against Republican filibuster), and with Obama's guiding of the military to get them on board.

  23. EBounding

    It's all good with the Dem base now though. The PATRIOT ACT, Guantanamo, plus Drone Bombings are not a problem with Barry in power.

  24. drs

    Actually the base has been pretty unhappy with those but US democracy doesn't exactly give us a broad set of options.

  25. EBounding

    But where are the anti-war protests we saw during the Bush years? Instead of waterboarding, Obama's just cutting to the chase and blowing up people with drones.

  26. Kento

    Anti-war protests were a phenomenon of the beginning of the Iraq war far more than later into the Bush administration. Violence seems to be scaling down, and I guess that's good enough for most. I think if Obama pulled us into Iran, then there would be protests.

    And there are public demonstrations against Obama by the left, although they tend to be smaller. Occupy certainly has an anti-war side to it, and there are small anti-drone protests as well as protests to free Bradley Manning and to leave Julian Assange alone. I wish they had more support!

  27. Irving

    The Trump toupee tops it off!

  28. drs

    Except the left hated Bush largely for what he did, rather than for being an atheist Muslim who’s gonna take our guns.

  29. ThePsudo

    Wow! I'm a long-term fan anyway, but this particular essay strikes me as unusually and impressively good work.

    I have long maintained that, with few exceptions, people vote ideology over race (as well they should). I held that minorities voted overwhelmingly for Democrats either because they agree with the Democratic ideology or because they wanted to reward the Democrats for policies of their past (such as LBJ's Civil Rights Act). What exceptions exist are more common among Asians, Latinos, and (especially) African-Americans because a shared history of discrimination has motivated racial solidarity whereas whites avoid racial solidarity for fear of being called racist. I agree that white racial solidarity is racism and deserves a mix of skepticism and condemnation, but ought not other racial solidarity be held to the same standard?

    And yet, I have no problem with cultural solidarity. If the Amish or Objectivists or Red Sox fans vote as a block, I chalk it up to similarity of values rather than social coersion. Could, for example, African-American block-voting be explained as a monolithic "black culture" in a way that the deeply divided white voters could not? The political divide between Cuban-Americans (who predominantly vote Republican) and other Latinos (who predominantly vote Democrat) suggests this theory is true. I wonder if a similar cultural divide exists between African-Americans whose ancestors were brought here in chains vs. those who immigrated voluntarily in search of freedom. Given these ambiguities, I cannot with confidence declare non-white racial solidarity "racism" the way I can with white racial solidarity.

    That gives the demographics-conscious Republican two options going forward, both of them lousy: they can embrace racial solidarity and go down as racists, or they can woo racial minorities and be accused of "divide and conquer" tactics. Those who already assume that Republicans are racist will find sufficient evidence to confirm their preconceptions in either case. It's the logical fallacy of confirmation bias, but it is also human nature.

    In my view, the Republicans' only hope lies in taking a page from Thomas Sowell: we must seek overwhelming proof of concept. We must utterly abandon the assumption that we have already proven our views, raise our standards of proof, and provide stunningly conclusive, persuasive, and above all empirical evidence that our policies work and are just. Any policy that lacks such a complete and undeniable basis in factual reality needs to be placed on the back burner or abandoned entirely. We must contrast our basis of factual realism with the emotional and speculative social experimentation of the left. A race or culture may respond as a block to ideology, but overwhelming evidence convinces a majority of any demographic.

    I base this on the assumption that empirical realism will not uphold arbitrary racial discrimination. We all agree on that self-evident truth, yes?

  30. Trenacker

    I tend to agree that the hallmark of Republican seemed to be an enthusiastic embrace of theory, at the great expense of presenting any evidence. In fact, Romney explicitly made his campaign about promises and visions, pointedly refusing to share details of his tax reduction plan during the town hall debate at Hofstra. There was no moment more significant for me as an undecided voter than when Romney decided to use a hypothetical figure when talking about his plan for a la carte tax credits. If I thought the idea itself had merit, I was not prepared to take Romney on faith. By promising too much too quickly, and ignoring the math, he lost my confidence. Obama simply appeared to be the better bet by comparison.

    But the Republican Party — and I focus here on "my own team," rather than examine liberal biases — now embraces as truth certain fundamental conclusions with which I disagree. I don't see great and sweeping abuse of the welfare state, especially by minorities. I don't see gay marriage somehow eroding the institution of heterosexual marriage (although I am beginning to suspect that the motivation for opposition to gay marriage is actually more deeply rooted in a mere desire on the part of Evangelical voters to enact Christ-like laws, of which a prohibition on gay marriage might just be one of the easiest to interpret and roll out). I also don't see how the Bush-era tax cuts have led, more than a half-decade later, to prosperity. I don't see how Obama's more measured, considerate tone in foreign affairs constitutes an "apology tour." I also couldn't make the leap between acknowledgement of Romney's success as a businessman and the Republican conviction that government would best be run like a business. The United States Government is not, in fact, a corporation. Its purpose is not to reward stockholders. Rather, its purpose is to deliver high-quality services at-cost. And these days, "shrinking government" has tended to mean outsourcing of government functions to the private sector, not actual retrenchment. During the Bush era, cutbacks in government meant out-sourcing key work to the private sector, as if public servants were somehow outside the economy, sucking out pay that they didn't later spend in the supermarket or at the mall. That outsourcing was a convenient way to hide the fact that the "government" remained as large as ever, but that its ability to actually ensure that goals were met had declined because there was now functional separation, and the government had become a more contract administrator. And in the meantime, its in-house capacity for analysis and engagement dwindled, and it became not leaner, but more dependent upon entities whose selection was at times quite politicized. That is a recipe for dependence, if nothing else.

    Finally, I want to ask a general question: is immigration the issue most important to Latino voters, or are Republicans doing themselves a tremendous disservice by assuming that immigration reform is the key to winning more minority votes? Just as standing up before a majority-black audience and talking about welfare could be viewed, depending on the context, as racist, watching the Republican primary candidates respond to an issue about how they'd court the Latino vote by plunging into promises of immigration crack-down was not only embarrassing, but offensive.

  31. Jake_Ackers

    I am the son of once illegal Latinos. And I can say that immigration is not a solely Latino issue but rather an American one. I hate it how its painted as a Latino issue. Most voting Latinos aren't nor were ever illegal. Going for the Latino vote with amnesty is useless. It actually hurt McAmnesty (McCain). Bush won a lot of the Latino vote because he was religious. He talked directly to them. He shared a culture.

    On the gay marriage front. If marriage (straight AND gay) became named "personal union" in a legal context. Quite a few Republicans politicians I think would say "there are other things to worry about than gay people." The base might still be quite anti-gay but the politicians would stop pandering. A lot still would but there would start to be a swift. Because marriage (whether gay or traditional) would never be on the ballot ever again as everyone would gave the same rights and the word itself marriage, legally would be replaced with personal union. Then society can focus directly on the hate against homosexuals without the law/legal aspect. Or at least less of the law/legal aspect.

    And the gov't more like a business. I refer to the Japanese gov't model to an extent. That's what the GOP see. Gov't does only what it needs to do like the military while turning things that it doesn't need to but still requires to the private sector. The private sector doesn't need to deal with the politics.

    Take the mail for example. Japan has privatized it. Plus the gov't sector is forced to follow some dumb politics. Massive unions, massive benefits, entitlements over entitlements. All because of politics and to gain votes. It's not even about welfare abuse (it is but that is less so than what I am talking about) and the sort. It's the bureaucracy and the politics that the Republicans are worried about. Take Chile's model for Social Security. It works. Most of what the gov't does the private sector could do.

    The gov't would just be a safety net for the safety nets. Like have privatized social security with a FDIC like insurance. If the economy tanks the gov't covers the payout for what 2 years or so until the stocks recover? And still has money left over from the FDIC like insurance. Chile has never had to make a payout even with recessions. Same with Medicare and Medicaid. Pick a private insurance company, any difference the gov't plan would foot the bill.

    I don't mind these "privatization" as long as the private companies pay some kind of FDIC like insurance to the gov't. So there is a fall back if the private sector falls. If the US gov't bankrupts Social Security there is no back up. As it is about to do now with it. If a private company ran your IRA like the gov't runs SS, all them would be in jail.

    On the apology tour. You all say the GOP has a problem with rhetoric, that's why it's looking key groups. Obama's problem is his rhetoric. The key example being the Chavez situation. Chavez gave him a book because the American's abuse of Latin America. Obama accepted it. He should of said no and explained why. Education and teach the world. Not let Chavez run his mouth nor let Ahmadinejad attack the US without an equally strong response. Reagan gave wonderful inspiring speeches without being mean. Obama had a chance with Libya but instead pretty much said the US was sorry. At least that is what people viewed it as.

  32. Trenacker

    It's quite interesting to hear some confirmation, even if only anecdotal and constituting one data point among tens of millions, that Latinos aren't single-issue voters principally concerned with immigration policy. I think that the Republican Party's collective approach to Latino voters has been frustrated by a combination of ignorance (to wit, the apparent assumption that every Latino has extended family just south of the border that they intend to bring over at the first opportunity) and, for lack of a better word, racism (to wit, the general sentiment that Democrats, and especially Obama, have sewn up the minority vote because minorities benefit most from redistribution, and are merely voting according to their economic self-interest).

    I've heard conservatives argue that the raft of consensus progress founders on the shoals of "marriage," and, like you, assert that, if only gays and their supporters sought "civil unions," they would engender less resistance from the Right. I must respectfully disagree. First, it is absurd to me that some people can, with a straight face, claim institutional "ownership" of the concept of "marriage." Second, it is frankly beggaring belief to tell me that gays shouldn't use the word "marriage" to refer to civil unions when straight people joined in a courthouse or by a justice of the peace use that same word all the time without causing a stir. Third, it seems to smack of a pettiness so extreme, I can't honestly believe that that is a strong undercurrent of belief in the Republican Party — that the problem is gay "disrespect" for Christian belief, and would be ended by a gay retreat from demanding that Christians make room for them in their worldview by insisting that they be allowed to use a Biblical phrase to describe their lifestyle. I've been told, too, by Christians that they oppose "gay marriage" because it represents a determination by gays to change church doctrine, but that isn't really about semantics so much as a misguided fear that the Federal Government is one step away from inking out "offensive" passages in the Bible with the red pen of censorship.

    The Japanese model of economic development is socialist in the extreme — to the extent that their model is called "the Developmental State." Beginning after the Second World War, government bureaucrats effectively coordinated and subsidized industry-spanning oligopolies designed to compete aggressively in the global marketplace. I am referring here to what are sometimes called zaibatsu and keiretsu — arrangements that would be illegal under American law. As Wikipedia explains, "A developmental state is characterized by having strong state intervention, as well as extensive regulation and planning." That is exactly the kind of economic tinkering for which Romney repeatedly criticized the Obama administration — choosing "winners," keeping them on lifelines, and bailing them out if things didn't go as planned. The Japanese system is also substantially assisted by the effective military subsidy represented in their alliance with the United States, which drastically reduces the strain on their economy that ordinary defense spending would impose.

    With respect to the privatization of traditional government functions, the mails are perhaps the one system that I could most stand to see sold off, especially to non-profit organizations, given the fact that paper communication is in rapid and steep decline. However, I find the privatization of the criminal justice system deeply troubling, especially as we have not, in this country, come to any decisive conclusion about the purpose of the justice system — isolation, reformation, or punishment. The creation of a system where some people receive financial rewards when others are given prison sentences, especially lengthy sentences, creates structural dislocation in the form of incentives and disincentives to tamper with politics and the courts with which I am distinctly uncomfortable. I am less inclined to oppose the privatization of military security operations, even though I would prefer that they be housed in the regular military. I'd sooner, in fact, see the United States develop a private security industry oriented to providing services to the international market, while expanding the regular military at home — especially given the difficulties in oversight that they experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Entitlement reform is essential, I agree. I am not very sanguine over the outlook for privatization of Social Security or medical benefits, however. I am deeply skeptical of average Americans' ability to play the marketplace. Especially because, if people are left destitute, they will exercise enormous political pressure to be bailed out by a benevolent government. Could you do me the favor of further explaining how the Chilean system works?

  33. Trenacker

    As much as I thought Reagan was an excellent communicator, especially when he spoke out against superpower conciliation in 1964, I don't look for Obama to match Chavez or Ahmadinejad insult for insult. In my opinion, Obama's response has simply been not to fall to the same level as America's detractors. In that sense, Obama has pursued a very classically conservative policy of allowing other regimes to hoist themselves on the petards of their own fool-headed policies. As Ryan said, I also don't mind when the United States apologizes when it is in the wrong. And let me add that apology is strategic — it isn't for us, it's for an audience that has dissimilar interests and must be convinced that we are not "the bad guy." If I wanted the whole world to hate me, I'd never apologize for anything. And, as anybody who's ever been in a successful relationship knows, not every hill is one to die on.

  34. Jake_Ackers

    It's not what he says but how he says it. Obama seemed to rollover in the eyes of the people. Obama needed to do like Reagan. Explain what we are doing and why. That our enemies are wrong in their assumption. And say the previous methods have been bad but from here on they will be better and different. Libya was a huge chance. Obama dropped the ball on it.

  35. drs

    Only in the eyes of right-wing people biased against Obama in the first place. The rest of us just roll our eyes at all this criticism of his rhetoric and tone.

  36. Trenacker

    Can you give me a concrete, specific example of a speech in which Obama ratified the assumptions of our enemies, or didn't pair an acknowledgement of policy failure with a reminder of why America remains an important leader and example?

    Exactly when did Obama have "a huge chance" vis-a-vis Libya?

  37. Jake_Ackers

    I believe it was discussed in JJ's Libya comic. Simply put Obama could of educated the world about how US democracy worked. Explained our reasons for intervening in the Middle East. Explain how we have religious tolerance, etc. etc. The Pope in his speech did a better job than Obama.

    And the "ratify" that Obama did is not so much that he agreed. But also that he allowed the enemies of the US to give these outlandish speeches without a equal reply. Like Sept 2010 speech to the UN. There were walkouts during that speech. Obama's speech wasn't the hard hitting we needed. Doesn't need to be aggressive but it does need to reshape the dialogue. It needs to dictate the dialogue and explain what we do and why. Bush was all cowboy and guns talk. Wasn't his problem his rhetoric too?

    The Chavez with the book. Obama should of stopped him. And said he would only accept it if he accepted something in returned. And a day later or so given a speech. Politics is a huge part perception. Obama left that largely un-responded to.

  38. Jake_Ackers

    You misunderstand the position on marriage. GOV'T shouldn't use the word period. Regardless of sexual orientation. The public can use it. Churches and private institutions can use it. Gays and straight people can use it. Straight and gay marriage will exist. If a person believes in gay marriage, fine. It's their belief. Right now traditional marriage is regulated as well. Whether it's polygamy or some church that isn't recognized by the state yet and doesn't get a license. It's not right for the gov't to legislate gay/straight marriage. My position isn't one based on religious reasoning. It based on the fact gov't shouldn't legislate that single word. If a person wants to use it, then fine. Go ahead label it marriage or w/e else.

    But on the legal documents straight AND gay marriage it will be called a "personal union." So no one will have a "monopoly" on the word. Again regardless if it is straight or gay. You can use the word. I don't care. I just don't want gov't to legislate traditional marriage nor legislate gay marriage. Again straight AND gay people can use the word marriage. Go ahead use it. Call it w/e you want.

    And I know homophobia won't go away overnight. But at least the right's strongest point to in favor of traditional marriage will be out the window. Unless they want to become a theocracy. They will will whine but it will completely delegitimize them.

    I agree the private sector should never be involved in the justice system. I just don't think its a good idea.

    I was using Japan's example more so just for the mail system. I know Japan is pretty much a corporatist state. Aka like a top down right wing socialism.

    For the social security part:

    A Chilean wrote that. I know it has cut Chilean poverty by 50%. "There have been enormous external benefits: the savings rate of Chile was 10% of gross national product traditionally. It has gone up to 27% of GNP. The payroll tax in Chile is zero. Of course we have an estate tax and an income tax, but not a payroll tax. With full employment and a 27% savings rate, the rate of growth of the Chilean economy has doubled."

    Pretty much the idea is you are taxed. The tax money goes to an account. Which is invested for you. Kind of like an IRA or a 401k. You have a minimum payout when you retire. If your account returns less, the Chilean gov't pays you only the DIFFERENCE. It never has paid a difference. Now I don't know if they have a FDIC like insurance. But the US could have one. The money goes directly back into the economy.

  39. drs

    "A Chilean". Actually, the author is *the* Chilean who privatized the pensions. Not an unbiased source. Fact is, as I said, they re-reformed it in 2008.

  40. Trenacker

    We are in agreement about the government's role in marriage. I should have been more clear, however, that I believe that the Right's inability to get over what I'll call "the semantical problem" is actually reflective of deeper objections to gay marriage — objections having to do with the Religious Right's simultaneous insecurity about its freedom of belief and the determination of some of its members to use the democratic system to enact Biblical law. In other words, I think that many on the Religious Right would be comfortable with a theocracy, because their personal lives are (at least in theory) already so structured.

    I'd be curious to know who manages the investments made on behalf of the Chilean people. I am also curious about the extent to which individuals can modify their own portfolios.

  41. Jake_Ackers

    Glad we agree. And yah I do agree about your point about the right. But they will just look like homophobes once you get gov't out of marriage. And on the theocracy point. That is my problem. Gov't says what traditional marriage is right now. Thus it is already being a theocracy by leaving out polygamy. So Muslims and fundamentals can't get have their kind of marriage. Plus gov't also doesn't allow some churches to get licenses to marry.

    I think the Chilean model or at least our model could be run just like your IRA or your 401k.

  42. Bob

    Honestly, if the Republicans proposed eliminating the word 'Marriage' from the legal sphere and allowing any 2 people to form a full legal legal partnership, I don't think there's anyone on the left who wouldn't gladly accept that. Gay marriage advocates want equal protection and treatment under the law. That's it. And right now 'marriage' is the legal partnership that confers those benefits; a civil union is not the same thing legally. If the Republicans adopetd the position you mention, the other side would agree to it in a heartbeat.

  43. Trenacker

    Unfortunately, I think all of these good ideas are destined to remain just that. I predict that gay marriage will become the norm despite, not through cooperation with, the attitudes of the Religious Right. Opposition to gay marriage isn't really about defense of the right of the Church to define and endorse unions before God; it either reflects a deeper suspicion that "gay rights" are a proxy for liberal intrusion into the Church, or else a determination to order society according to Biblical law, in which case the problem is not legal-technical, but moral-philosophical, and therefore insuperable.

  44. Kento

    What possible explanation could there have been to turning down that gift? To turn it down would be to say "I reject knowledge if it is unpleasant." Latin America has been abused by the United States, and an American president being aware of that, sensitive to that, I hope could create a more healthy relationship with the rest of the continent.

  45. Jake_Ackers

    Fine accept it. But give him a copy of the Federalist Papers. Educate the ignorant dictator about America. That the US does things for good reason even if the methods isn't so good.

  46. drs

    Japan has not privatized the post; it's a state-owned enterprise.
    Chile has concluded that pension privatization was a mistake, and has re-reformed it to be more pooled and subsidized by the state.

  47. Jake_Ackers

    I was using the Japanese mail system as an example. yes its not completely private yet. But the idea is that Japan lets the private sector run some things that the gov't normally would do. Like with nonprofits and some other things. But it has huge regulations on those sectors. So its guided by gov't but without the politics and gov't inefficiency.

    The problem with the Chilean model is a typical third world problem. Not everyone was able to afford to pay into it. In the US you are FORCED to pay the social security tax. Again the Chilean model is just an outline. The only thing the US would change from the current system. is that the tax money would go to a private account like an IRA/401k style thing. And just have an FDIC like insurance. That way the FDIC like insurance fund is used to cover the current system and any potential lose.

  48. drs

    The US lets the private sector run many things with regulation. Power, communications, bus and train transportation. The Post Office is at least as independent as Japan Post is, and obligated to pay its own way.

    As for inefficiency… a regulated monopoly is trying to make a profit. That's inefficient; the economic point of profit is to spur competition, which doesn't apply here. And you have two levels of decision-making: the company makes decisions, then the regulators approve them. You also have more room for corruption, with regulatory capture, and regulators making decisions favoring the company then quitting and getting jobs with the company. Public services don't have that.

    In truth, I see no systematic reason to favor regulated monopolies over public services. The private sector or "free market" is not magically more efficient than the public sector; rather, *competition* is a corrective force that the government doesn't have — but neither does a regulated monopoly. People also complain about the aspects of large bureaucracy, but those are as bad whether public or private.

    With privatized social security, you paying for management costs, and the profits of brokers, and if you're insuring against portfolio losses then you're creating moral hazard for investors. All for the sake of a supposed greater return which probably cannot exist. A cohort of retirees is not living off money magically, it's living off the labor of the younger cohort of workers. If the retirees had higher return then they could command a higher portion of worker labor, meaning they're a bigger burden on the workers. And investment always follows a risk-reward tradeoff; if privatization increases the reward, it'd be increasing the risk — which is a bad thing when we're talking about the "keep grampa from starving" pension.

  49. AddThreeAndFive

    Jared Taylor? He visited my college recently to talk about a White Student Union someone wants to make. The logic behind the Republican's embracing their white party image sounds like the same logic used for the white student union.

    I've beenspeculating that the Republican party's brand has become too tainted now, and that it might be replaced by a new right wing party, like how Labour displaced Liberal in the UK. Could that happen? Maybe.

  50. Jake_Ackers

    The Republican Party needs to go libertarian. On the White Student Union thing. The Right doesn't realize that Black in America is not a race but rather a culture AND ethnicity. The white equivalent would be an Irish or Italian or Scottish student union. Just go to Africa. Everyone is black. What makes the difference is their ethnicity within Africa. Simply put, black in America is a blend of different African ethnicity thus making a uniquely Black American one.

  51. Colin Minich

    I would just sincerely hope it doesn't translate into Ron Paul libertarian. The last thing I want is a party to embrace dingbats who have photo-ops with the creators of Stormfront.

    However you make a point. The GOP is essentially calling for more libertarian measures, but their biggest obstacle is not coming off as a corporate jerk the way Mitt Romney and many others have. They're still appealing to the paranoid and intolerant, and while the left still has its fair share of nitwits, there is absolutely no comparison today to the GOP and what they've been embracing as their voter base. It's just not going to work out anymore.

  52. @mikehatedit

    One point people often miss is that the Republican Party is not, itself an ideology, but a collection of people.

    Consider, for example, the 30 most moderate Senators in the 111th congress. (Those elected in 2008 or before.)

    All 15 of the moderate Democrats are either still serving in the Senate or retired voluntarily.

    Of the 15 moderate Republicans,
    – 7 are still serving or retired voluntarily.
    – 3 retired with catastrophically low approval ratings. (Martinez, Bond, Voinovich)
    – 2 were defeated in primary elections. (Specter, Lugar)
    – 1 was defeated in a general election. (Brown)
    – 1 lost her primary, but won the general election as a write-in candidate. (Murkowski)

    The net result is that Democrats have retained a fairly moderate caucus with a diversity of opinion, while the Republican moderates have been hollowed out. And this process has been ongoing for years now: XKCD recently had a very interesting chart on the subject. (To be fair, a similar process is taking place in the Democratic party, but it hasn't reached nearly the same degree of polarization yet–and in recent years, the moderate Democrat caucus is the only part of the party which has seen significant growth.)

    While it's entirely possible that the remaining Republicans will be open to compromise and electoral necessity, every time it ratchets more conservative (trading in Kay Bailey Hutchison for Ted Cruz; losing Olympia Snowe and Scott Brown; etc.), this becomes less likely.

    If this continues (and they may be at this point already), the Republican party essentially stops being able to hear or accept a moderate message, simply because there is nobody credible in their midst left to vocalize it. (Who's going to lead this moderate renaissance? Mitch McConnell? Eric Cantor? Steve King?)

  53. J.J. McCullough

    A related problem is that no one would have to obey this theoretical moderate leader, anyway. If the Republican base remains blissfully oblivious of the true root of their electoral crisis, that's really all that matters. The new GOP has to be able to forcibly denounce the bad eggs in its midst, but that's very difficult to do in the super-decentralized American party system.

  54. @mikehatedit

    Exactly, exactly, exactly.

    I mean, look at the Republican platform, which was written entirely by the Republican base. It has been described as a right-wing fever dream, including–among other things–the granting of full citizenship rights from the moment of conception, the removal of women from combat roles in the armed forces, and a return to the gold standard.

    Even Romney opposed half of it, and bear in mind that this was pre-debate Romney, who was still eagerly cuddling up to the party's right flank.

    These are the people who have the keys.

  55. Jake_Ackers

    Very true. Thumbs up. Only thing though is, GOP need to go to a LIBERTARIAN base. For example, Abortion is a state issues. No subsidizing abortions on a federal level nor paying for birth control (hormone replacement is a different thing, that's medicine) on a FEDERAL level. If states want to do it fine.

    Obama saw a chance and painted them as "Oh Republicans hate hormone replacement." "The GOP doesn't believe in medical science." Throw it to a state level. The Dems have done it. Running mod/con Dems on a local level that never open their mouths much on a federal one.

  56. @mikehatedit

    Actually, while the platform supports a constitutional amendment granting citizenship rights from the moment of conception, it also endorses leaving abortion up to the states. (A tacit endorsement of repealing Roe v. Wade.)

    And considering Ron Paul's complete inability to succeed anywhere outside the basements of American mothers, I wouldn't be counting on a libertarian revival to salvage the party.

  57. Jake_Ackers

    Yah Ron Paul isn't a libertarian. He is a paleocon. Libertarian is like Coolidge. Gary Johnson is a better example of a true libertarian. If Paul was President and we got nuked, he wouldn't do anything because he would sit there and say "I don't have the power to do anything. I need to go talk to Congress."

  58. Trenacker

    Romney also effectively disowned his own experience in government, rarely mentioning the full scope of his accomplishments as Massachusetts Governor, and avoiding his signature accomplishment, healthcare reform. That was once a self-consciously moderate legacy, and correctly recognized as a major liability from the perspective of primary voters.

    Romney seemed to have concluded — apparently correctly — that white Evangelicals would sit home if he ran as a moderate even after the punishing experience of the primaries, although that was exactly what his spokespeople tried to set him up as being with ham-fisted comments about the Etch-a-Sketch, & etc.

    All indications are that the party's footsoldiers — not its whole base, but its "ground game" component and the lion's share of conservative primary voters — have concluded that Romney did not run a sufficiently "ideological" campaign. They point either to white voters who stayed home (and whom they conclude were natural conservatives) or to Independents that bolted to the Obama camp because they hadn't seen much daylight between the two candidates. That second analysis is shaky, to say the least, since it doesn't explain why, when the two candidates appear close, Independent voters prefer the left over the right, even as it goes on to assume that, presented with the roll-out of Obama's full "liberal" agenda, they'd lurch toward a Republican.

    The Tea Party hasn't come to grips with the fact that the government is inherently larger than it once was, that trickle-down economics is discredited in the eyes of most of the electorate, and that American voters are overwhelmingly social liberals. Like most liberals whom I have encountered, I believe that religion is a private matter, and am not necessarily convinced that my Truth is suitable for anyone else. However, I both of those conclusions — that religion can be wholly private, and that there might be multiple Truths, or none — are completely at odds with what many other people believe. I don't know how to step past that, although it seems to me that I am now in the solid majority, whereas those who feel that it is acceptable, either constitutionally or morally, for public institutions to manifest, endorse, or even, at times, merely reflect religious viewpoints, are in the shrinking minority. Government is also expected to play more roles than was once the case. After the Great Chicago Fire, Congress limited its involvement to sending a message of goodwill to the people affected by that tragedy. Today, the federal government is expected to coordinate vast relief efforts in support of state and local entities, sometimes in the form of special assets that actually carry out response functions (e.g., Urban Search and Rescue teams, Oil Spill Response strike forces). It is also expected to bail out people who failed to take out insurance policies, lest entire communities be left out in the cold. I'm actually not certain how I feel about that, but I also can't say that I'd be comfortable turning my back on people who live along the coast and telling them to make do exclusively with private charity. Government also helps American businesses compete — by creating special rules that require the Department of Defense to use domestic contractors in order to sustain a domestic defense industrial base; by funding research and standards development at the National Institute of Standards and Technology that relieve the private sector of having to undertake such work piecemeal; and by promoting education. I sympathize with the argument that a teacher's job is to teach, not to raise, children, but I am also highly skeptical of parents who push themselves into the position of developing curricula and textbooks that are grossly non-competitive and unscientific.

  59. Jake_Ackers

    A Reagan like person is what it needs. Pays lip service to social issues, and doesn't flip flop on it, but focuses primarily on economy issues.

  60. J.J. McCullough

    It also needs someone who is pleasant and charming. It's amazing to me how little attention anyone gives to this side of Reagan's political success. I feel his optimistic personality was at least 70% of his appeal.

  61. @mikehatedit

    Well, he also happened to lead the country though a period of extensive economic growth, for which he receives far more credit than he deserves. (See also: Jean Chretien. Or, for that matter, any leader of a state or province with oil revenues: any idiot can eliminate a deficit given a license to print money.)

  62. Jake_Ackers

    Yah I don't agree with that. The economy was in the tank for a while. It even went into a recession during his first two years. He had to run on give us more time during the midterms. Reagan's policies were still being implement well into the 90s. As some laws took 10 years to come into play. Reagan's policies worked for back then. Whether they work now is a completely different story.

  63. ThePsudo

    That's a parallel between Reagan and Obama, actually (assuming the economy does in Obama's second term what it did in Reagan's second term).

  64. Jake_Ackers

    True. Reps have no smooth talking leader. Simply put that is because they are conservative. Small "C" not large "C". As in conservative not right wing. Anywhere not talking about specifically American conservatives.

    Conservatives are happy with the current values/status quo of a country. Liberal no matter were they are not happy. Again small "L" not large "L" and not talking about the left wing nor Americans either.

    It's "change" versus "status quo". Liberals always want change thus always talk about it. Conservatives don't so you get the "silent majority." Again its not a left versus right but it view. Wanting to change causes a group to always talk and articulate a vision. The GOP needs to be viewed as the "liberals" or "outsiders" before they find a voice again.

    It took Goldwater 16 years before he found his: Reagan. Albeit he was more like Ron Paul than Coolidge. Conservatives had to be viewed as the new force. Reagan ran 3 times before he got the nod. Reagan need Ford so he could shape himself up for Carter. Republicans need Obama and maybe even a Hillary. Before they stop fighting themselves to realize what their voice is.

    Maybe its already here. Maybe its Christie: a reformer. Someone who knows gov't has a role. Even if it is a small one. Narrow gov't's role but make it do that role better than ever.

  65. Trenacker

    At this point, it's all more fantasy than fair speculation, but if the Far Right of the Republican Party retains its strong grip over the primary process, that may force spasmodic realignment of the Party System overall — especially if Obama leaves office with low approval ratings, in which case room might emerge in the political center to build a coalition of center-right and center-left.

    It is increasingly clear that the Religious Right, which represents the Republican Party's most successful "ground game," holds views that a majority of voters find completely unappealing, if not regressive, and that are now a liability for the Party as a whole. The Religious Right is committed to legislating Biblical morality. And, of course, these issues are insuperable. Abortion is either right or wrong. Gay marriage is either right or wrong. Whereas liberals increasingly regard religion as a private choice, the Religious Right continues to conceive of religion as a public activity that can and should be expressed through national institutions.

    The economic core of the conservative pitch, often described as "lower taxes," or, innocuously, "less waste," really means "less social programming," which conservatives see as unnecessary entitlements that create a culture of dependency. That may be well and good — especially if that programming is financially unsustainable. But talk of "shrinking" government is often just that: even when billets disappear, the programming is deemed still desirable, meaning that the work is simply farmed out to the private sector, making a mockery of the original intent: if my choice is between teaching a man to fish and fishing for him, which is the more efficient solution? Cut out the middle man. Besides that, the Norquist pledge is unsustainable at a time when Americans are demanding more of their government than ever before. After the Great Chicago Fire, Congress expressed its support for the recovery effort by sending… a telegram to that effect. That would result in riots today.

    Then there's the huge divergence between the parties on matters of social justice. Liberals regard the vast engine of government as the most powerful leveler in existence. Its purpose, they argue, is to pave even the "jumping-off" point from which individuals begin their race to the top. Conservatives believe that the government engine is only capable of fouling a race already underway; there is no equitable solution, they argue, to the problem of the staggered start. Anybody who offers a solution to racial or class inequality is a swindler or a fool, for handicapping cheapens genuine achievement, promotes resentment, and thereby only widens existing divisions. But for Bill O'Reilly to all but declare that minorities explicitly and irrevocably outside the Republican Party, and therefore outside "American culture," and that they can be defined collectively as "takers," with whites as the putative "makers," isn't just silly, it's also sick, and hugely damaging. The attempt to disenfranchise minority voters was an equally shocking tactic that was almost bound to backfire. The Republican establishment has essentially written off minority voters. Latinos are deemed to care about one issue only: illegal immigration. Blacks, welfare. And that's not even getting into the question of whether the American populace has essentially reached the widespread conclusion that Islam is fundamentally wrong and evil, and that therefore Muslims can be denied the fundamental rights of citizenship in this country, including the right to assemble and worship as they please.

    This is my party?!

  66. Colin Minich

    Unfortunately, J.J., with the way it has already treated its steadfast moderates like Colin Powell, Jon Huntsman, and Lawrence Wilkerson, the GOP will likely have to suffer a complete implosion and rebuild from the ground-up.

    And to dislodge the Tea Party and the other nuts? Again easier said than done because unfortunately the Reaganite conservatives of the party openly embraced the crazies because they needed votes badly to get a leg up. But what they didn't expect is how tenaciously the crazies would cling onto them. Someone or something is going to have to force a schism and that will be the only way the extreme side of the GOP will eventually wither and die. You can only appeal to the paranoid, the "old-time" elderly, and the intolerant for so long. Don't get me wrong. Liberalism has its fair share of intolerance from the hypocritical tumblr social justice movement to the far-left idealism of Occupy and the elder 1970s liberals. But what we see today that you so nicely depicted is a dangerous cancer of overreaction that will eat progression alive if it isn't split and left to starve.

  67. Jake_Ackers

    Colin Powell could of endorsed McCain. Mr. Bipartisan. but he didn't. The Dems could of embraced Lieberman the other side of Mr. Bipartisan but kicked him out.

    But you are right, so thumps up. The GOP needs a majority voice saying to the Akin's to STFU and drop out. Every single day. Richard Mourdock was a more religious ideology that is best left in the drawer. So that requires a completely different rhetoric to combat and massive massive vetting. Enough with the O'Donnell and Angles of the world. Akin you can slap silly. Mourdock you have to explain over and over again. He has a weird religious view and if you attack that head on you will lose many religious voters. Just point out that is his personal religious belief and he mixed religion with politics. Not everyone believes that, etc. etc.

    Nobody goes around calling John Kerry crazy (I would of used Biden as an example but lets face it he is well… Biden). Even though if he said half the things the Catholic Church (the controversial things) says the Dems could have taken a hit. Because most people understand the Catholic Church and most people are able to separate themselves from the views of the institution. Mourdock is an evangelical so his beliefs are closer to the vest and require someone like Huckabee to thinly slice the difference.

  68. Trenacker

    Akin represented the huge number of people in the United States who believe that "the health of the mother" and "rape" are essentially liberal codewords for "I want an abortion because I made a huge mistake having unprotected sex and don't want to accept the responsibility of motherhood, but I need a better cover than the truth." These people believe that circumstances of rape are over-counted by a zealous, bleeding-heart society that has emasculated men and encouraged women to behave promiscuously, with reckless disregard for the consequences. Akin's fuzzy science is therefore comforting because it provides them with a veneer of intellectual credibility.

    Mourdock is, as you stated, the kind to take a dim view of abortion under any circumstance, and therefore would feel compelled to ask any pregnant woman, "Why wouldn't you want to bring new life into the world, irrespective of how that life was created?" In his case, I think that the liberal spin machine, already so disgusted with the resurgence of the anti-choice movement, was only too glad to demonize him as insensitive to rape victims. And, not being a rape victim myself, I suppose I might feel somewhat aggrieved were anyone to even imply, tangentially, that God authored my misfortune. Keep in mind that many Americans are spiritual, too, and see a karmic link between success (or suffering) and the quality of the person in question. That's part of the reason behind the Cult of the CEO — successful people are presumably good people, because we tend to think of wealth as a reward, and of reward as the thing you get for being or doing good.

  69. Etc.

    You know, not all the pro-life people are that way because they want to oppress the sexual freedom of women? They legitimately believe that a life starts at conception, and that for the fetus to be terminated at that time and onwards would be murder. I was raging very much as a pro-lifer when these idiots continued to muddle the waters so that more people would think of their sort of nonsense whenever the issue comes up.

    The only politicians that actually support any of these 'pro-life, with exceptions for rape, etc.' are scumbag opportunists. If they legitimately believe that life begins with conception, then why do they support the fetus being killed simply because its father was a rapist, something it certainly had no control over? If they're more pro-choice and don't acknowledge the fetus as being a person until birth or some other point, well, why don't they support the mother's choice in that case, why do they have to control the mother's body that way?

    The problem is that it's exactly these scumbags who can get grudging support from the other side, whether it's the crowd going "I hate all abortions, but at least this guy could get some of it restricted…" or "I hate interfering with the mother's choice, but at least he supports some instances of abortion…", even though that's one of the very few issues where one's views should be pretty black or white.

    As a last thing, as with many other issues, so many people argue at straw men on this that it's simply ridiculous. No one can seem to see the others' viewpoints, so you have conservatives arguing that liberals are just ridiculously evil babykillers for the evulz and no other reason while the liberals are putting forward ridiculous arguments such as the classic: "If you outlaw abortion, the women who choose to go ahead will only get abortions from dodgy back-alley places and suffer increased deaths or injuries!"

    Well, obviously, but that argument would only work if conservatives actually saw themselves in this to oppress their sexuality or whatever. This is true for a depressingly existent number of people (but they'd never get swayed by any argument anyway, so whatever for those guys) but anyone who views abortion as an act of murder this is as objectively ridiculous as arguing that the state should legalize assassins so that people are less likely to get themselves injured when they want to murder other people.

    I'm sorry if I'm ranting, I just hate hate hate how no politician seems to be offering my sort of viewpoint at any time. The right has probably dodgier policies as a whole to me, but they are pro-life (though tend to argue this horribly in the most memorable sound-bites on the issue), but while more left politicians are generally more agreeable they nearly universally seem to support the pro-choice side, which I really can't reconcile myself with. I'm all for more birth control, sex ed classes, all that, since that seems more likely to reduce the number of abortions than anything else… but no one apparently agrees with me. :/

  70. Trenacker

    Etc., I am well aware that most — all? — pro-life individuals hold well-meaning views that center more on the child than the mother. I also agree with you that exceptions to the pro-life position tend to be opportunistic, either because they are politically convenient or because they are socially more acceptable than the alternative.

    I think that a lot of the comments by folks like Akin and Mourlock really speak to the Right Wing's fear that some of the potential objections to carrying a baby to term — the mother's health, rape — are actually being raised in order to give dishonest cover to what might be described as "abortions of convenience."

  71. Jake_Ackers

    That's why the more realistic model is the Iceland Model. Pretty much you get every single exception under the sun. Poor, health, rape, under age, etc. etc.

    Only thing you don't get is if: You are a 27 y/o woman in a stable relationship. Who was not raped, owned birth control and could afford it. But simply said you knowingly said "nah, I'll just get an abortion later." That is what Iceland bans pretty much. Or the Iceland Model would be, at least as how I view it. It stops that kind of "abortion on demand" which most Americans don't like. Especially if we have to pay for it.

    Akin is an example of what happens when a politician panics. Murdock is what happens when a politician is too honest.

  72. @mikehatedit

    Not one single woman has ever had sex on the assumption that "yeah, I'll just get an abortion later". That's an odious lie and people need to stop telling it.

  73. ThePsudo

    I imagine it's very rare to the point that it's not politically relevant.

    But to say "not one single woman" ever thought any specific thing seems somewhere between unverifiable and delusional. In a spectrum of thought that extends to serial killers, violent expressions of sexual confusion, hallucinogenic addictions, and suicidal self-harm how can you possibly reason that any thought you are capable of describing in words had the slightest possibly of never having been the motivation for any action in a world of billions? Your words describe a denialist's world that consists entirely of the mainstream, as if the fringes didn't exist at all. By contrast, I perceive a world where the fringes are a huge and influential portion of the human condition.

  74. Trenacker


    How, exactly, does the Icelandic government avoid the same problem we have here — that millions of Americans disbelieve the doctors who prescribe abortions on health grounds? Worse, that millions of Americans disbelieve that there are a significant number of pregnancies from rape every year.

  75. Jake_Ackers

    The rape part of the agreement I think the politicians just rationalize it was a "mother's health issue". As she could be in severe mental anguish if not physical.

    And yah I do hate it how people go around saying just because you dislike abortion you hate women.

    The only other argument close to abortion is slavery. As in: there fetus/slaves a person or not? The huge difference is that once former slaves can vote. Fetuses never can. So the parents or potential parents have a say.

    Abortion will never be ban completely. So like you said do everything else. Birth control, sex ed classes, etc. Which is why I like Evan Bayh and Bob Casey. But they will never win the nomination for President. While Republicans have nominated pro-choice ones.

    Hence why as I referred to the Iceland Mode in my post below. That seems like the most realistic approach for now.

  76. pill

    imo, its a not a "if you dislike abortion you hate women" at least, as i understand it. a number of people dislike abortion. i think joe biden dislikes abortion. but joe biden, and others, and my self, feel that abortion is pro choice. if you wish to have an abortion, you are welcome too, and if you solisit my opinion, i would tell you that, were i in your shoes, i dont think i would. theres a diffrence between not likeing something and trying to ban it, after all…

  77. Jake_Ackers

    Republicans don't need moderates to win as much as Democrats do. 40% of the country on average is conservative. Only 20% is liberal. Again on average, because exit polls only reflect the election not the potential voters who just end up staying at home because they are pissed. Therefore Dems NEED to be moderates to win. 40% of the nation identifies themselves as mods/inds so Dems can't win without them. Reps need only a quarter of Mods while Dems need 3/4 of them. Dems need more Mods than they need liberals. While Reps need more Cons than they need Mods.

    Republicans only win with moderate-conservatives not moderate-liberal Republicans. Reagan, 1st Term Bush, W Bush versus 2nd Term Bush, Dole, McCain, Romney. Dems only win with moderates IE: Clinton, Carter versus McGovern and Dukaksis. Even Obama was viewed as more conservative than McCain because Obama was forced to talk about his faith. And plus he ran on "cutting taxes for 95% of working Americans."

  78. @mikehatedit

    "40% of the country on average is conservative. Only 20% is liberal."


    When you ignore these labels and talk about actual policies and what people believe governments ought to do, liberal policies score substantially better than the "liberal" brand.

    People like liberal things. They just don't like self-identifying as "liberal", mostly because Ronald Reagan made it a dirty word.

    Beyond that, your comment is… well, wrong.

    Carter wasn't much of a moderate. (And Dukakis in particular was further to the right than he was.) Obama was not viewed as more conservative than McCain. And the main reason "moderate-liberal Republicans" haven't been winning lately is because there simply aren't very many left. (There are probably only 4-5 "moderate-liberal Republicans" left in the congress, and Olympia Snowe was one of them.) I would point to Ike Eisenhower as a prime example of a fantastically successful liberal Republican. We might also talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger. These people do exist, and they do win elections–just very rarely.

  79. Jake_Ackers

    You are misunderstanding. It's about appearance. And most people are libertarian not liberal. Huge difference. When given libertarian as an option most people actually pick that. You still have 40% conservative even if some of those mods/inds are actually liberals.

    Its PERCEPTION. Whether someone is or not on paper doesn't matter.

    Let me explain this way: Carter was the more right side of the Dem party while Ford was the more the left wing of the GOP. Thus Carter is in his world/side more conservative than Ford was in his world/side.

    Reagan was the right wing of the GOP. HW Bush appeared to be right wing because he was Reagan's VP. Then appeared to be the left wing of the GOP because of the tax increase.

    Clinton was the right of the Dem while Dole was the left of the GOP. Clinton in his side was more conservative than Dole was in his side.

    McCain was the left of the GOP. Obama is a slight exception. Obama versus Hillary actually was the left but he was perceived to later be a centrist. His health plan was less liberal than Hillary's. He wanted to "cut taxes". His rhetoric shifted him. Either way McCain was viewed as too far left for the GOP.

    Nixon v Rockafeller also. Again its perception more than anything. Example: Christie versus Santorum. Christie gets viewed as a lib and will lose the general in 2016. Christie versus Olympia Snowe in 2016 will be viewed as conservative and win the general in 2016. Its about appearance. I hope that explains what I meant. Since the country is center right. A Dems has to appear as a moderate to win moderates (as they will win liberals anyway). A Republicans has to grab all the conservatives (not all are Republicans) to then grab a few moderates.

    Evan Bayh would be a great choice for the Democrats. Even I would vote for him over some liberal Republican. Actually I rather have him than most Republicans too. Bayh would destroy Olympia Snowe or a McCain 2.0. While a Sheldon Whitehouse or Sherrod Brown would lose heavily to a Jindal or Rubio. Now an Evan Bayh versus Christie would depend on how the primaries shape up. So refer back to my Santorum v Christie part.

  80. @mikehatedit

    " When given libertarian as an option most people actually pick that"

    On the tiny, unscientific, written-by-the-libertarian-party World's Smallest Political Quiz, they do.

    But in opinion polls, people don't.

    When asked about specific policies, people don't.

    When asked to vote for candidates, people don't.

    By virtually every metric that actually matters, rather than those cynically created with the goal of increasing the support for a fringe party, people overwhelmingly do not select libertarian options.

    As to the rest of your comment, most of what you're saying is still… wrong. But at this point I can't be bothered.

  81. drs

    “What exceptions exist are more common among Asians, Latinos, and (especially) African-Americans because a shared history of discrimination has motivated racial solidarity whereas whites avoid racial solidarity for fear of being called racist. I agree that white racial solidarity is racism and deserves a mix of skepticism and condemnation, but ought not other racial solidarity be held to the same standard? ”

    You’re ignoring your own point; the solidarity of minorities is a response to discrimination — which is current, not just historical. They vote for Democrats because Democrats protect their rights and liberties (like to vote).… describes how in 2000 80% of non-black Muslims voted for Bush. In 2004, 4%. Because of Republican policies and rhetoric.

  82. ThePsudo

    If discrimination were eliminated, would racial minorities abandon their racial solidarity? How do you know?

    What policies would, in your view, eliminate discrimination?

  83. Jake_Ackers

    Thumps up. As I've stated, black in America is an ethnicity. It should be compared to Irish or Italian or Scottish. Not straight up white. Thus Blacks tend to vote based on solidarity more so on a ethnic/cultural level. In other words, shared values.

    Although Blacks historically voted based on Republicans protecting their rights (abolition and civil rights). Now Blacks vote for Dems and its based on economic issues.

    Although the Muslim thing does make sense. Muslims are pretty socially conservative. However, he lost almost all the Muslim vote but gained what? A ton of people who were afraid of terrorism. It was on the backs of 9/11.

    Now yes, Republicans need to change rhetoric. They can still be tough on terrorism as long as they appeal to the conservative social aspect of Muslims.

  84. Trenacker

    How certain are you that blacks vote primarily on economic grounds, rather than as an expression of conviction that the Democratic Party is the only one that can be relied upon to view them as full citizens? After an election in which Republican operatives worked hard to reduce access to the polls in a cynical attempt to deny would-be Democrats the chance to vote for Obama, and after which Bill O'Reily got on TV and essentially castigated all non-whites as "takers" who were responsible for ruining the country, what kind of conclusion should we expect blacks and Latinos — and nevermind Arabs — to draw regarding the Republican Party?

  85. drs

    “If policy disagreement leads the left to hate, does that mean they seek to censor dissent? If so, shouldn’t that be condemned in the same breath as the right-wing’s baseless hate? ”

    No and no. Nice try at false equivalency, though.

  86. ThePsudo

    It wasn't a "try at false equivalency" because I'm not intending the fallacy. I was just asking whether or not you believe "all hate is hate." Clearly, you believe the basis for the hate makes an important distinction. May I hear your reasoning behind that belief?

  87. drs

    You're claiming to be objecting to hatred? You'd lecture someone who hated Hitler or Stalin or Breivik?

    Not that Republicans are Hitler; I'm just establishing whether you really believe that hating people who do hateful things is bad.

  88. Nobody

    Speaking of false equivalency…

    Because clearly, hating someone who has different views on abortion is the same as hating Hitler.

  89. Jake_Ackers

    Dems hate Bush as if he was Hitler. Bush isn't Hitler. Nor is Obama the same as Stalin.

  90. ThePsudo

    Hating Hitler is creating an unnecessary similarity between oneself and Hitler. I wouldn't be willing to do that.

    Hating his actions is simple enough, and I do. If I was faced with the option of committing violence to prevent his (or some similar) record of genocidal, international catastrophe, I would be strongly inclined to do so. But I refuse to adopt his ideology of "My enemy deserves my hatred." My enemy deserves my complete understanding; if his actions deserve a violence response, that will be demonstrable from an intellectual analysis without adding emotional bias to the recipe. That emotional bias can only risk violent responses in cases where they are not actually deserved.

    I ask again: why do you think the reason why to hate a person makes any moral difference?

  91. Guest

    Psudo – just take the win under Godwin's Law and be done with it.

  92. ThePsudo

    Technically, invoking Godwin's Law is a logical fallacy. I can't promote rational discourse via logical fallacy.

  93. Taylor

    If the Republicans want to win, the party has to assert control over the nomination process so that it doesn't involve 6 months of empty campaigning before a single primary that permits everybody to wallop each other and test out every attack the opponents will use.

    It's hurt Kerry in '04, it was kind of even in '08 because both sides had primaries, and it (IMHO) killed Romney this time. Every Bain attack had been mentioned by Gingrich and Santorum in the primaries.

    For the record, it's the same thing that helped the PCs stay in the wilderness for 20 years in the 60s/70s/80s and that helped make Stephane Dion's leadership stillborn.

  94. J.J. McCullough

    The first GOP primary debate was in May of 2011 and Rick Santorum did not concede until April of 2012. This means that almost a year was spent on the Republicans attacking each other while only six months was spent with Romney as the nominee attacking President Obama.

    That seems very strategically stupid.

  95. Jake_Ackers

    Yah especially with Gingrich and his "vulture capitalism" line. That cost Romney the election. Instead of spending a year painting Romney has a benevolent Teddy Roosevelt 2.0 that loves the poor. Gingrich made Romney look like he didn't care about the poor.

  96. drs

    Gingrich didn't make Romney say his 47% line.

  97. Jake_Ackers

    Romney's favorable went down after vulture capitalism. Romney actually went up a point or 2 after the 47% line.

  98. drs


  99. Taylor

    Blaming Gingrich is ridiculous. He had to compete in a bloodsport to win the nomination. What else was he supposed to do?

    tl;dr: Don't hate the playa, hate the game.

  100. Jake_Ackers

    Reagan's 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." Gingrich destroy Romney. All the Dems had to do was sit back and listen and play the video over and over. Gingrich went after him on a personal level. Not on policy.

  101. Taylor

    Ronald Reagan's been dead for 8 years and has been inactive in politics for 22 (one could argue 26). Unless he's some sort of Ataturk figure, there's going to be attacks. It's politics.

    The Republicans aren't a vanguard party. They're a decentralized grouping of half the American polity. If they don't want attacks, make the primary season shorter. If not, expect it.

  102. Taylor

    To add to the above, all Reagan did before he become President was attack fellow Republicans. He even ran against Gerald Ford!

  103. ThePsudo

    "To run against" is not equivalent to "to ad hominem attack."

  104. Taylor

    His "running against" included plenty of "ad hominem attacks."

  105. Jake_Ackers

    This is completely blown out of proportion. So the Republicans need to bend for Latino votes at the risk of losing all the White votes? The Tea Party got the Republicans 38% of Latinos. More than McCain and more than Romney and almost as much as Bush. If Murrdock and Akin didn't open their mouths about abortion the Senate would of had no net Dem gain.

    If Romney wasn't such a flip flop he might of actually gotten more conservatives out to vote. He only lost by 2% point. Way narrower than McCain did. McCain was McAmnesty and still got less Latinos than the Tea Party got in 2010.

    The main point here is not so much policy and the rhetoric. JJ hit the nail on the head. Republicans spent about a year attacking each other before they went after Obama. Gingrich destroyed Romney's favorability ratings. Instead of painting Romney as a benevolent rich person like Teddy Roosevelt, Gingrich come out with "vulture capitalism." That is what cost Romney the election. It made him seem like he didn't care about the poor.

    Furthermore, before the first primary debate, Huckabee was beating Obama narrowly and Romney narrowly losing. And Huckabee is to the right of Romney (or at least seemed like it).

  106. ThePsudo

    Thank you for further justifying my distaste for Newt as a candidate.

  107. Colin Minich

    I agree with the notion that the GOP candidates spent a lot of energy destroying each other but I also think that this was something that was just going to eventually expose itself since the days of Bush. The GOP had started to bring in the neocons and evangelicals because it saw the trend start to dip and the Democrats simply, at the time, unable to produce a likeable candidate. We're seeing a stronger crop of Dems and the more rational Republicans like Huntsman thrown under the bus and ignored.

    I have met Mitt twice when he was the governor. I shook his hand, sat down, and talked with him even for just a few minutes. He's great when it comes to discussing business on an intellectual level, but he has the personality of a brick and the compassion of a pit viper. He doesn't care about the poor. He was strong-armed in MA to bring in the health reform by a Democratic state congress. He was wholly unfit for POTUS. He was just all that was left when the crazies (Bachmann/Paul e.g.) and the religious right (Huckabee/Santorum) were chided for their religiosity.

  108. Jake_Ackers

    Saying he doesn't care about the poor is unfair. He paid 60% of his income between taxes and charities. Mostly money to charities. He might seem like he doesn't care but I think he does.

  109. drs

    "He paid 60% of his income between taxes and charities. " CItation needed. Multiple sources say he donated 29% of his income to "charities", mostly the Mormon Church, followed by Brigham Young University. His taxes… well, he never did release most of his tax forms, but his most recent year was 13%.
    there's not a massive concern for the poor there.

  110. Etc.

    Incidentally, how much of your income do you devote to any charities? The Obamas gave 21.8% of their earnings to charities, and the Bidens gave an astounding 1.5%, so what would that make them?


  111. ThePsudo

    Are you arguing that donations to the LDS Church do not constitute charitable donations? On what basis?

  112. Guest

    Of course they are 'charitable' Psudo – but some people obviously think some charities are more equal than others.
    And throwing in a dog-whistle to the Anti-Mormon bigots never went astray.

  113. drs

    His donations to charity were cited as evidence he cares about the poor. The Church of Mormon is not "the poor".

  114. Etc.

    I don't know about the Church of Mormon, but mine takes a lot of time in setting up soup kitchens, a place for the homeless to sleep at night, and a lot of other community outreach raising money for domestic abuse victims, people devastated by disasters, all sorts of things.

    I'd imagine that the Church of Mormon would do similar things on a considerably grander scale than my solitary church. When I donate money to Second Harvest Food Bank, it might be that they're not actually poor, but the organization itself is much better at helping the homeless using my money than I myself would be.

  115. Trenacker

    Where will all the white votes go?

    There has been some assertion that a fair number of whites (who are presumed to be natural conservatives) sat out this election because Romney didn't appeal. Is that true, or did Romney shoot himself in the foot by alienating moderates, when he would have sewn up the white Evangelical vote anyway merely by running as the Republican candidate, and therefore as the only alternative to Obama?

    Like you, I agree with JJ's analysis re: the negative fallout from the primaries. I agree that Gingrich was also the most effective, by far, of Romney's detractors, but it is my sense that Romney lost because his party's social agenda strongly alienated women, because his stance on opportunity and immigration alienated Latinos, and because the Republican Party has tended to alienate black voters. With moderates and independents, I think his decision to avoid giving detail about the complicated, thankless work of cutting the deceit was fatal. But Romney did himself incalculable damage with the "47%" comment.

  116. Jake_Ackers

    Yah Reps need to do like Reagan. Pay lip service to social issues and just hammer down on economic ones and foreign policy albeit now a more non-interventionist back to the old GOP foreign policy.

  117. Chris

    Regarding minorities…conservative politicians and media (Fox News, iconic talking heads, etc) play a large role in shaping what people think of the Republican party. Consequently, many non-WASP’s believe that Republicans see them as lazy whiners who simply want handouts (blah blah not ‘real’ Americans, ruining the country, us vs. them, blah blah). Why would they support a party they believe has no respect for them, and has gone out of its way to marginalize and alienate them?

  118. drs

    “The far-right hatred? It’s moonbattery, plain and simple”

    No no, that’s wingnuttery. Moonbattery is left-wing craziness, and doesn’t get elected to Congress.

  119. EBounding

    Was this lady the inspiration for the toon?

  120. Colin Minich

    Chips for supper…because no socialist is gonna FORCE her to eat healthy and show consideration for decency! However these people do scare me how vitriolic they are.

  121. spaaaaaaaaaaaaaan

    E… egads…

    …I can't imagine ever taking politics that seriously…

  122. drs

    The GOP can’t go libertarian. Its bases are old white people and rural white people. One depends on Medicare and Social Security and the other depends on various subsidies, starting but not stopping with farm subsidies. And both hate drugs. They may vote for people who’ll cut taxes and claim to balance the budget, but they’ll turn on anyone who actually tries to meaningfully shrink government.

  123. EBounding

    Libertarians in the Republican party have to redefine themselves first so they're not seen as simply drug-addled. anti-war college kids. The Republican party claims the mantle of the Constitution, so libertarians need to define themselves as "Constitutional Conservatives" and get involved in the party. That's what I'm doing. The party bosses don't like it though so we'll see how it plays out.

  124. drs

    I think you missed my point. The problem libertarians have isn't that they're seen as drug-addled kids, it's that Republicans *aren't libertarian*. They talk about small government a lot but what they mean is less spending on other people.

    I forgot two more bases of the GOP: the military and big business, especially Wall Street. Big business loves government contracts and handout but might accept libertarianism as a net win. But let's look at the budget:
    Add up health care, social security, defense, and interest (business cares about continuing to pay that) and you've got 68% of the budget there. Most Medicaid people covered are children and mothers, but most Medicaid spending is long term nursing care for the indigent elderly. Basically 2/3 of the budget is off-limits to the Republican constituency, and we haven't gotten to farm/rural subsidies yet. And while Obama hasn't been good on executive power, the GOP led the way.

  125. Nobody

    They need to draw a bright line distinction between being a libertarian and being a Libertarian. The philosophy is sound (and quite attractive). The party is bonkers and has painted itself into the "WOO! WEED!" corner.

  126. J.J. McCullough

    "Formal" libertarianism I think gives off a very off-putting vibe of dogmatic pseudoscience. And I think their common rhetorical device of "I don't care about XYZ" isn't very attractive or compelling.

    What a sane conservative party should do is make a compassionate, empathetic, intelectual, conservative case for things like gay marriage and some reasonable "path to citizenship," rather than just doing what the libertarians do and blow these issues off as stupid and beneath them. I don't think being "neutral" on social issues is the solution, I think they have to be actively supportive of the other side. The GOP's problem is a perception of ignorance and cruelty, you have to fight that with a show of empathy and understanding.

  127. Trenacker

    Agreed. For those not impressed by him, Ron Paul comes off as a crank.

    Between the "47%" comment from Romney and the shouts of "Let them die!" from the blatantly conservative audience during the primary debate, "ignorance and cruelty" hits the nail right on the heat. That's what people heard when Akin and Mourdock spoke, even if they were attempting to send very different kinds of messages.

  128. Lorpius Prime

    I actually do wish Obama hadn't come with Biden on the ticket. The Vice President is a pseudo-isolationist and an entertainment industry stooge.

  129. ThePsudo


  130. Dryhad

    I see two possibilities for the future of the Republican party.
    The first might be considered the "conservative" option, but ironically so because it involves jettisoning the Tea Party and moving to the centre. Popular wisdom suggests that in a two-party system it is optimal to move as close to the centre as possible under the assumption that the far right (in this case) will remain loyal to the lesser of two evils. However this might not work due to the interference of the Tea Party (it's not like the establishment haven't already tried to get rid of them) and the fact that the Democrats have had time to capture a lot of the centre already.
    The second is the party remains where it is ideologically (or even moves further right) either under the assumption that Romney lost because he wasn't conservative enough or through sheer bloodymindedness. This will probably cost them the Electoral College (Romney's "win condition" was pretty narrow, his successor's will likely be narrower still), and maybe also the Senate. The Democrats will continue to move rightward (optimal strategy, remember) until they engulf the Republicans entirely and subsequently collapse into factional warfare that will eventually coalesce into a new two party system. Admittedly, the time scale on this is pretty long, but it doesn't work out very well for the GOP.

  131. Jake_Ackers

    Same was said back with FDR and Bill Clinton.

  132. Drew

    Bah you probably won't read this but Obama won the popular vote by some 3 million votes. So yeah. Just putting that out there.

  133. ThePsudo

    Obama won by 3.3 million votes, with 50.6% of the total. Compare that to the 10 million vote gap and 52.9% of the vote last term and the 3 million (50.7%) of Bush's 2004 win. By electoral vote (Obama got 332), you have to go back two whole Presidents (to Clinton's 1996 win with 379) to find a bigger victory.

    Speaking of 1996, I wonder if the party polarization these days is a result of Perot's involvement somehow initiating a self-reinforcing pattern of escalation. The timing seems about right.

  134. Brandon

    I think the only path “back” for the GOP, is to become the party of compromise.

    I’d love to see a candidate that lays out a plan to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, BUT lay out very clearly that there will be fines for breaking our laws, and a hard look to be sure they are A: not a criminal(they get their dna put on file, and checked against our criminal databases), and B: that they complied completely with the whole “coming forward”. Then make our immigration system more merit based then it currently is, let them in after a background check, watch them, and boot them out if they are social parasites, but hand them citizenship if they ARE the hardworking individuals that the media always insisting that immigrants are.

    That, and bring a well laid out economic plan, with details of where spending will be cut, and where it will be increased. A path to prosperity, instead of vague promises (which I feel like both parties are bad about). I’d vote for a politician of either party that convinced me that they were going to do exactly what they said they were going to do, and had a very clear plan that included some of my wants, along with the things I don’t really want.

    Oh, and get out of the business of trying to tell consenting adults what they can and can’t do. This applies to gun rights (which I think should be obvious, since they are in our constitution, regardless of how judges like to suggest that right is “different” from any of our other rights that can’t be infringed on), AND gay marriage, which frankly isn’t something the government should be condemning or encouraging.

  135. Guest

    How can a party which have been 'captured' by more radical elements of its base ever appeal to the 50 + 1% it needs? The only way is for the party to ensure that its base is not reflective of a small but vocal minority but the very people whose vote it needs to win.
    The GOP must expand its membership by appealing to the average Joe and Josephine. How does it do that? Keggers and book club? The only issue that everyone cares about is the economy – and, although they tried to make this about the economy, they really didn't sell a viable alternative message on it.
    Provide real answers and you won't have to worry about electoral math – you will romp it in.

  136. Virgil


    I think people may be carried away with demographics as destiny. The reelection of Obama was as narrow as the reelection of Bush…though granted in the opposite direction.

    My guess though is that at the end of the day you still have to have policies that make fiscal sense, and that the present course is unsustainable for too many years. The Republicans aren't in nearly as big of a hole as they were in 1964, and a few adverse events have the way of changing the map no matter what the demographics are. I'm definitely with the Sean Trende school on this one……parties tend to misread mandates and then overreach.

  137. Vincent Price

    Its a shame white people have been esteemed in this country for the greatness they have achieved, however from the blacks and other minorities they seem villianous and the object of derision. If the president is to somehow fill this void with his next term by appeasing Republicans and somehow finessing the Democrats into aligning with his approach, then the need to cut the so called red tape, will only open the gate to compiling more negatives on top of negatives, which is no way for him to lead the nation into. Zeroing in on the immigration problem is one many have tryed to straighten out but have had many conflicting opinions on how to offer people a better life or even a chance at the american dream, and as Obama touts that everyone has a fair opportunity at rising from the class-ism stereotyped by so called elites that have the strangle hold on the market. Either way, conferring this reply on how the questioned posed is a basic response to problems facing this great nation and how Obama is to use his official capacity as commander and chief of the free world,to keep it that way, to amass his unpopular views for the better good of his country.