230 thoughts on “That Horrible Slicing Sound

  1. This assumes everyone does the party line. If Specter is honest in his reason for jumping, and being honest that he is representing PA then there will be times he will not toe the line and vote the party line. In which case filibusters could happen.

    Then of course if this is because he will probably lose the Republican Primary so is jumping to keep in the race and still be a Senator, then he will just vote the party line because he will have sold his soul to the highest bidder.

    From the brief statement you put out and the initial part of the article linked, I assumed he did it because he was going to lose his seat and willing do do whatever it is to keep it. But that is based on my standard baseline feeling for our politicians. Like Power, Want to Stay In Power, Will do whatever it takes to Stay in Power.

    But if ends up winning as a Democrat, will be interesting to see how he votes.

    Note. Not from PA

  2. We will see if he reverses his stance on the EFCA. He originally supported it but when Toomey threw his hat in the primary ring, Spectre turned hard right and opposed it. I think we may see another flop to court those pesky Unions who offered their support for a yes vote.

  3. He says he won’t vote the party line. But if he doesn’t do that between now and the general election, he won’t get support from the Dems either. He’s going to have to walk a fine line.

    While I can’t say I ever liked him, I will say that he’s long been on my list of Republican senators who are not complete scumbags. The contrast with former Senator Rick Santorum, for example, is pretty dramatic.

  4. There is no room for moderates like Specter in GOP anymore and he was a dead man walking in the GOP primary. In the Democratic Party he can be more moderate and not get raked over the coals by the conservatives.

  5. Sir Tomster, Specter will probably go his own way on matters of policy, but on procedural issues, such as breaking a filibuster, he will almost certainly vote the party line, as those are the guys who will seat him on the various commitees he wants to control, whether his soul is for sale or not. That’s the whole point of political parties. As stated by #1, not a huge surprise, but a wow moment none the less.

  6. Specter’s statement: “I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.”

    So the biggest change is that Specter may end up being the most courted and therefore one of the most powerful men in the Senate.

  7. I’m a PA resident and this is a definite “wow.” It makes electoral sense for him. As others have pointed out, he wasn’t going to do well in the GOP primary: the remnants of the GOP in PA are hardcore rightwingers and Specter’s not their favorite. Toomey would have won the primary and gotten slaughtered in the general.

    PA Democrats, on the other hand, have a large strain of social conservatism in them, and Specter’s politics play reasonably well with them. Specter will be a Bob Casey Democrat and that can work here.

    Having said that, he now needs to get out of the Democratic primary, and that won’t necessarily be easy, especially if Ed Rendell (term-limited) runs.

  8. I’m one of his constituents, and Christopher’s right, he hasn’t been a “proper” Republican for a while anyway. I’m a pretty big lefty and I’ve voted for him as a (R).

  9. David:

    “Having said that, he now needs to get out of the Democratic primary, and that won’t necessarily be easy, especially if Ed Rendell (term-limited) runs.”

    I have a suspicion that this switch was done with the understanding he’d not have to face serious opposition in the Dem primary. This is not to say others won’t run; it’s to say they’re likely to be the B-team.

  10. “Discuss. Politely.”
    HAH, we’ll see how that works out.

    @J.D. Rhoades: I think that Lieberman will retain that distinction, though with Specter being more a more moderate conservative than Lieberman it’s entirely possible that the Dems will opt to ignore Lieberman and cater instead to Specter. Which they would probably prefer to do anyway. Once Franken is seated they’d do best to work with Snowe and Specter and ignore Lieberman.

  11. I have a suspicion that this switch was done with the understanding he’d not have to face serious opposition in the Dem primary. This is not to say others won’t run; it’s to say they’re likely to be the B-team.

    In which case, the quid pro quo would have to be–despite Specter’s avowals–that he would vote for cloture on various bills.

  12. Hear that? That’s the sound of the GOP cracking and disintegrating before our very eyes.

    What used to be moderate Republican ideaology is now more often found in the Blue Dogs and some of the less-whacky arms of the Libertarians. GOP leadership hasn’t stood for balanced budgets and small government in a generation.

    40 years ago, they should’ve known that their Southern Strategy was going to backfire on them. Merely courting social conservatives for their votes wasn’t enough. They ended up having to cater to them, too, and then start giving them power. By the time Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson got involved, they were sunk.

    Sarah Palin is a sign of things to come for the new GOP: Violently xenophobic, socially conservative, fiscally clueless, wilfully ignorant and with so few supporters that they’re never going to get a majority again. You just can’t cater solely to the ~25% of the country who hate queer folk and foreigners and expect to keep winning on the national stage.

    I know some folks will lament this as they fear what will happen in an (effectively) single-party state, but I don’t think that’s an issue. There is enough dissent between Blue Dogs and progressives to keep both sides honest in the short term, and in the next decade or so, I imagine the Libertarians will probably rise up to become a viable alternative from a fiscally conservative POV.

  13. Anyone know what this does to committee seats? Specter can no longer be the ranking minority member on Judiciary, for example, as he’s no longer in the minority. Who takes over?

  14. I think having Coleman take his ridiculous case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court would be much more damaging to the Republican party than the Democrats having a shaky 60-seat count in the Senate in the long run. Ruining your party’s reputation is something that lasts for a very long time, whereas the split in the Senate changes every few years. It seems the GOP is just digging a wider and deeper hole for itself every time it does something lately. Realigning themselves even further to the right seems to be their bright idea lately. Which is all to the good for the Democrats, of course, but hardly what I would imagine the majority of the Republican populace wants. *shrug*

    I’m so OVER the two-party system. I think it’s the biggest problem with this country’s political system, and enables many of the other major problems.

  15. Already said, but WOW. I’ve always respected Sen. Specter, as he did seem to be more of a moderate. What a bold thing to do. I respect him stating he won’t be a rubber-stamp Democrat, no more than he was a rubber-stamp Republican.

    I absolutely expect Norm Coleman to take his fight to the Supreme Court. Every day he fights, it’s for one less Dem in Congress. I bet he expects to be richly rewarded by the RNC even if the Supremes tell him he lost the election in November ’08. I expect him to announce a ‘presidential committee’ soon after losing in front of the Supreme Court.

  16. Obviously Specter doesn’t think that Pennsylvania voters love him for himself, or he’d have become an Independent. But if he were to run for reelection on a third-party ticket, he’d probably come in a poor third, behind Toomey, especially if the popular Rendell were the Democratic candidate. His only hope to keep the seat was to switch parties and keep the Democratic Party organization from putting up anyone against him in the primary. He seems to have achieved that.

    But there’s thirteen months until the primary. Unless he starts acting like a real Democrat, there’s plenty of time to threaten him with the possibility of an opponent.

  17. “There is no room for moderates like Specter in GOP anymore…”

    But Specter wasn’t a moderate, he was always a liberal posing as if he wasn’t. Maybe not a full-left Marxist as seems to be the fad now, but he certainly is no moderate despite what the “journalists” want to say he is.

    The GOP is better off without him, even though the short term politics of the numbers game and the giddy media posturing may sting. In fact, probably about 50% of the other so-called Republicans-in-name-only should also leave or be thrown out. Because as it is now the difference between the Dems and GOP is marginal at best. But if the GOP does some serious housecleaning and gets back to being an actual conservative party (which it has not been for 8 years), then maybe this charade of supposedly two-party system that operates effectively as a single-party will finally be over.

  18. 11. MH – Intense cackling does NOT count for polite discussion. (at least, it doesn’t seem polite to me, even tho I cackled, too…)

    :)

  19. Only tangentially related, does anyone else think that Arlen Specter is the perfect alter alias name for a pulp superhero from the golden age? By day he is moderate congressman Arlen Specter, by night he is… The Legislator!

  20. Its just like I always thought about most politicians, that they will do anything to to stay in office, including selling their daughter’s virture to the highest bidder. As a Republican all I can say is good riddance!!! I’m glad he is up in Penn. No wonder politicians have such a bad rep. By the way, anyone wants James Carville?

  21. I would think that this is actually a bad thing for the Dems. Before this move, they could always blame the fillibusting GOP’s for any failures. Now, with a Democratic Pres, a Dem House and fillibuster proof Dem Senate, they’re not going to have the luxury of blaming the Republican’s should things not work out the way the public wants.

  22. Eh, he hasn’t been a Republican for years now, so this isn’t a huge surprise. All this means is he moves from supporting the Democrats 60% of the time to 90%.

    It does sort of put egg on Senator “Specter’s our guy” Cornyn, though at the RSC.

  23. Thisi graph puts specter smack dab in the middle, politically speaking:

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/spectrum.xpd

    His name is located 8 rows below the horizontal line.
    (The line starting with “Sutton Norton Matsui”.

    Wyden (democrat) is one one side of him and Smith (Independent) is on the other side of his name.

    There are a number of names that are blue/democrat that are to the right of Specter’s position.

  24. The question isn’t “How does this change the way Specter votes?” The real question is, “What does this say about the way Specter intends to vote in the near future.”

    Or let me put it this way: The big filibuster-able bill in the next 13 months (time remaining until the Senate primaries in PA) is health care reform. That’s the next thing the Dems really need 60 votes for, and will be the biggest issue for the political types who vote in senate primaries.

    So it’s pretty clear from this party switch which way Specter intends to vote, on that issue at least. I can think of no reasonable scenario where he switches to a Dem and then votes against health care reform.

  25. The GOP is better off without him, even though the short term politics of the numbers game and the giddy media posturing may sting. In fact, probably about 50% of the other so-called Republicans-in-name-only should also leave or be thrown out

    Y’all just keep going that way, if you would. I look forward to GOP numbers in the House dropping below 100.

    As schoolchildren asked in the late 19th century: “Daddy, Mommy, who were the ‘Whigs’?” Such too we can hope for the GOP.

  26. I’m glad he’s doing this, even if it is just to win an election =)
    He was totally my state Senator until I moved to Ohio.

  27. That’s an interesting graph, Greg, but I don’t know that I’d interpret it that way. With bills usually being separately sponsored in the house and senate, all that being in the middle there means is ‘at least as likely to cosponsor bills with Republicans as Democrats. Being to the left of the center there means he was already slightly more likely to sign onto bills with primarily Democratic sponsorship, than with Republican.

    In any case, I’ll make the prediction that if you run this graph again, in 13 months, for the 13 month period, that Specter will move to pretty much the center of the Democratic party. Because he’ll lose all the ‘issues I don’t really care about, but the Republican party is pushing so I’ll sign anyways for cover’, and pick up all the similar ones from the Democrats.

  28. Part of the two-party system ends up being sharing a party with a bunch of people you disagree with. I find this distasteful myself in a number of ways, as I tend to end up somewhere between the current Democratic and Libertarian parties and thus don’t really have a party to vote for with much effectiveness, but there you go.

    The last eight years weren’t nearly as great a deviation from “conservatism” as the Republican core likes to think (see Reagan: Deficit increase, Tax increase, Illegal Alien Amnesty), and they didn’t lose because of the Medicare Prescription Drug bill. Purging and doubling down on movement conservatism probably isn’t the way out of the wilderness, though I’m not sure what is (Douthat/Salam reformism? Melding social conservatism with economic populism? General anti-government libertarianism?). In the short term, I suspect moving towards populism is their best bet, but the social conservatism aspects of that would backfire in the long run if they don’t have room to compromise.

    The thing is, there’s a lot of enthusiasm against spending, for lowering taxes, and for the current social conservative bugaboos (abortion, gay marriage), but this isn’t necessarily going to translate into votes. First: See Howard Dean. Second: There’s a reason McCain won the primary despite no-one liking him much, and why Palin was a drag on a ticket that by all accounts she generated a lot of Republican enthusiasm for. Rallies, volunteers, etc, are driven by the core and not necessarily the majority.

    Specter’s not likely to help the Democrats much, and he’s given the Republicans a great rhetorical weapon; I suspect this benefits Specter more than the Democrats.

  29. This seems like a bad move on Specter’s part — which is not to say he had any good moves. On one hand, he would have faced a strong Republican opponent in the next primary, and might have lost.

    On the other hand, he’s now become Target #1 for any part of the Obama/Democrat Congress agenda which passes and loses favor by November, 2010 — for instance, if an enacted cap-and-trade energy policy causes middle-class energy costs to skyrocket. Or, if healthcare reform throws the insurance and health industries into a panic like the financial sector meltdown of the past few months, and kills the economy again.

  30. As a former Pennsylvania resident and native, this isn’t much of a shock. Specter has always been a moderate and the GOP does not take kindly to moderates anymore. Maybe it will finally give the few Republican moderates left some ammunition to take back the party.

    @ 28 David
    I really hope the GOP goes the way of the Whigs. They have abondoned conservative economic and government views, and are now firmly fixated on ultra-conservative socialist policies and a good-ole boy network. Maybe the moderate Republicans and moderate Dems (Blue Dogs) could be convinced to start their own party. Of course, the removal of the Dem moderates would also make the Democratic party almost as radical as the current GOP crazies.

  31. The Whigs is a bad example, because for the Whigs to go away, it basically required both the major parties to fracture at the same time, over slavery, with the more progressive elements of the Whigs joining with the anti-slavery wing of the Democrats, leaving the more reactionary elements of the Whigs with no real home, simultaneously with a national leader arising to lead this new coalition.

    Could I see this happening? Yeah, over the drunken-sailor spree spending by both parties, but only if the correct leader shows up. I don’t expect it to happen, but it would be possible. Would I be happy if it happened? Probably. A coalition of fiscally conservative Republicans with fiscally prudent Democrats (if you can actually find such a creature in Washington) would be very interesting to me.

    But regardless, as to the current situation, the silver lining is that there will now be no question, the Democrats run things. So when things are totally screwed up (as they will be) there’s absolutely no question of blame.

  32. As the GOP’s filiburstering balls are cut off: Arlen Specter apparently switching parties.

    ….

    Discuss. Politely.

    Because nothing says ‘polite’ like testicular slang.

    Honestly, John: if you’re going to tell people to be polite then at least do so without smirking behind your hand.

  33. Skip @ 34 – Since you have such incredible powers of prediction, why don’t you come up with a solution to the future you so clearly see, instead of just blaming the Democrats?

    That said, I gotta give Specter points for being bold, and rather more honest than many of his colleagues.

  34. not surprised, this has happened in the past. he is trying to save his job because the gop would dump him anyway. now he is trying to get the other side to drink his koolaid.

  35. 1. Coleman can’t appeal anything to the U.S. Supreme Court. Senators are state-level offices and their election winners are determined according to each state’s law. The Minnesota Supreme Court will have the final word on this.

    2. Arlen Spector has not stood consistently for anything except re-election, and even in a group of people absorbed in vainglorious trivialities (steroids in baseball requiring federal regulation, et. al.), Specter was a standout. Good riddance.

  36. He was going to lose his primary, and Pat Toomey (his opponent) was unlikely to win the state in the general election (too right-wing for the majority moderates) — so all this has done is prevented the Dems from getting a solid dependable vote in his seat.

    What they’re getting instead is Lieberman Part Deux — a constant thorn in their side, who will hold his vote for ransom.

  37. @ aphrael, Sen Kyl is I bieleve the next ranking member on the Judiciary Comitee.

    Thus there is no real change on Judiciary, as Kyl has always been the same sort of backstabing weasle as Spector. (backstabing weasle being defined as any Republican who voted FOR Eric Holder)

    Short term this is a pretty big win for the Dems, no doubt about it. However, in the mid-term this is actualy good news for the Republicans, as it means that they are finaly (after 8 years in the wilderness) finding their fiscal conservative roots.

    After Bush, the R’s trying to claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism is going to wear pretty thin. Some of them (The Jeff Flake wing) really are serious about it though. It remains to be seen whether the American public will believe “we really mean it this time” or not.

    On the other hand, the Obama/Pelosi/Reid multi-trillion dollar deficits are going to make it a much easier sell.

  38. The Whigs is a bad example,

    The Whigs are a perfectly good example. When a national party becomes regionalized, there is an opening for another party to replace them.

  39. At this point, all it would take for the Republican Party to go away would be for the Dems to split into a liberal and a Conservative Democratic party.

  40. I’m confused (it happens). Isn’t he perfectly capable of voting with Democrats as a Republican? What does it matter if he’s decided to call himself a Democrat now? The only things I can think of are (a) Republicans can’t punish him for voting with Democrats, because he is no longer a Republican (b) Ummmmm (c) Profit!

    It’s like Jeffords becoming an independent. We acted like it was the end of the world. If his political views haven’t changed then he’ll keep voting the same way. If he keeps voting the same way then who cares what he calls himself?

    Okay whateverettes: Edumacate me.

    Oh, and #38 Master Thief: Why can’t it go to the Supreme Court? The Constitution sets age requirements for senators and changed the means by which they are elected (public election vs. appointment by state legislature), so the Federal government certainly has some say in the matter. How does this differ from Bush v. Gore?

  41. Coleman can’t appeal anything to the U.S. Supreme Court. Senators are state-level offices and their election winners are determined according to each state’s law.

    That’s only kinda sorta true.

    (a) the state process cannot violate the equal protection clause; that’s part of what Bush v. Gore was about.

    (b) it’s not clear whether or not the Congressional power to make rules regulating the election of Congressmen extends to the Senate. AFAIK, this has never been litigated.

    (c) Coleman can always make a claim that the process has violated the Guaranty Clause, although that’s an almost certain loss.

  42. Todd@36, eh, it doesn’t take vast powers of prediction. The next four years were going to be a disaster regardless of the outcome of the last Presidential election. The only question was who was going to be signing the damaging bills.

    As to what to do about it? Well, I’m working to support grassroots/local level fiscal conservatives. Sure, this will take a long time to have any effect, but building from the base is the only thing that possibly can work, when the leadership is so rotten.

  43. AlanM – you are correct, he could and has in the past (as have other dems/reps). It matters mostly in that if the dems all vote the same it prevents the reps from filibustering which slows and/or stops something from passing. BUT, it requires them all to vote the same. He will not be easy to tame. Also there are two independents in the mix as well. The news cycle will make hay over it to sell hype, like the swine flu.

  44. @#1. “I assumed he did it because he was going to lose his seat and willing do do whatever it is to keep it”

    I agree, and I hope to be eating a nice big piece of Shadenfreude pie after the next election cycle for Mr. Specter.

    The Republicans have no one but themselves to blame for the situation they are in, and no sign that they even have a clue how to save themselves.

    I can only open they do, because while I am not a Republican, it’s more likely to see cmall-governemnt conservatism and fiscal responsibility reemerge from that party than is likely from the Democrats. As for a thrid party, I think we’ll see a lot more fringe candidates of every stripe runnning long before we see a real third party platform and a candidate.

    @45, I think, and hope, that you’ll see a lot more local elections decided on fiscal responsibility (and maybe even some common-sense), and that could work up through to state elections. If that does happen, the arguments regarding the Ninth and Tenth Amendment will become even more important.

    I’m amazed this thread has lasted so long without turning into the usual troll-fest and echo-chamber, kudoes to you all.

  45. Skip@45, you are saying that no matter who is President, the future if going to be a disaster, however, the Democrats are to be blamed (your previous post @34)? So that’s to say that if McCain won, it would have been the Republicans to blame? Right? I mean, you must be, since you can predict that no matter who was leading it would have been a horrible four years.

    rhetorical.

  46. i know i’m dating myself here (no, not in THAT way), but i associate arlen spector with the widely-discredited “magic bullet” theory which asserted that a single bullet performed significant balletic twists and s-turns in order to strike both president kennedy and governor connally on 22 november 1963. well, he’s had 46 years to become wiser, i suppose. now if they’d just quick screwing around and get al franken sworn in ….. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_bullet_theory

  47. aphrael@44, that’s certainly true, but Coleman has a huge uphill battle, due to a bunch of tactical errors his legal team made early on.

    My own opinion – Bush v Gore is on point here, but there’s no reasonable relief short of ordering a new election that could happen. It’s very hard to argue that just because a bunch of illegal votes were allowed to be counted in one location that corresponding illegal votes should be counted elsewhere, especially when you argued the opposite originally.

    And it’s hard to argue that a new election is a correct remedy when the damage is so small. because either way, the state ends up with someone serving who won the election well within the margin of error for counting. By the way, I’d personally support in cases like this that whoever won the initial count wins the election, regardless of either side. Mathematically, a recount is no more likely to be accurate than the original count, and is definitely more susceptible to manipulation.

  48. Deron Miranda @ 19

    If you really want a truly conservative GOP I suspect you need to look back to well before Reagan. Nice try though.

    As to just how helpful or effective Spector’s switch will turn out to be, only time will tell. Given his past record of public winging but partyline voting on big ticket items, I don’t see him changing his spots just his voting record.

    This whole bit shouldn’t change the Franken kerfluffel at all. Coleman the Lesser was always going to appeal this as far as the GOP powers-that-be would fund it anyway. With a legal team that not only got caught but sanctioned for witness tampering, even if he had a case (which he doesn’t) Normie isn’t going to gain much but time.

  49. I’m in PA, and this comes as a mild surprise. Specter would have gotten creamed in the GOP primary, and Toomey would have lost in the general election, so I agree with Gareth @ 39.

    @ 14 Tal
    the new GOP: Violently xenophobic, socially conservative, fiscally clueless, wilfully ignorant

    I guess you don’t have to be polite as long as you’re bashing Republicans.

    I know some folks will lament this as they fear what will happen in an (effectively) single-party state, but I don’t think that’s an issue.

    Why would this be a cause of concern? Those looking for differing viewpoints in government will have several different kinds of Democrats to choose from. After all, we’ve got both kinds of music in this here bar – Country AND Western!

  50. If Obama’s popularity in PA is close to what it is now, and he endorses Specter in the next election, I’d say the seat is going to Specter as a Democrat. And it’d be really enjoyable to watch him beat Toomey twice both times due to a Presidential endorsement. Once from Bush, the other from Obama.

    Also, I’m awaiting more “The end of the world is nigh! Secede from the union! Revolution NOW!” agitprop clips to come pouring out of FOX News.

  51. This is not necessarily a win-win for Democrats. Unlike Republicans, Dems can rarely get it together and be a cohesive unit. Specter will most likely vote with the Conservative Democrat block, who are often a pain in the ass for Dems. Still, this is not a good day to be a Republican. Hopefully, this also means the filibuster of Kathleen Sebelius’ nomination as HHS won’t happen. With swine flu all over the new it doesn’t seem like a good time to be without a HHS.

  52. Jimmy @56:

    Unlike Republicans, Dems can rarely get it together and be a cohesive unit.

    I’ll agree with that. We usually form our own opinions rather than following the other lemmings off the cliff…

  53. @57
    Yeah, I admire the way the Dems really took the time to examine the stimulus and the budget rather follow Pres. Obama’s, Sen. Reid’s, and Rep. Pelosi’s urging to pass the bills. They are individuals, each and every one.

    Get beyond party politics, first and foremeost, your elected reps are in the business of keeping themselves pwerful, influential, and in office.

  54. Stephanie @ 57:

    Unfortunately, its not just a matter of forming your own opinions, as it is fractious bickering that damages the chance to accomplish anything significant. Its one thing to have a mind of your own, its another to ignore or antagonize others.

    As for my own opinion in general, I’m a fan of deadlock, I don’t like ANY party (or person) having the power to ram through their legislation through without significant opposition and debate.

  55. Re: J.D. Rhoades “So the biggest change is that Specter may end up being the most courted and therefore one of the most powerful men in the Senate.”

    As someone “represented” by one of the currently most courted Senators, anything that reduces the influence of Susan ‘the supposedly moderate Republican who demanded cuts in health care spending in exchange for her support of a watered-down version of the stimulus, fumed about the pandemic funding: “Does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill? No, we should not.”‘ Collins works for me.

    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/430261

  56. Part of the two-party system ends up being sharing a party with a bunch of people you disagree with.

    Part of a multi-party system is that you end up in a ruling coalition with a bunch of people you often disagree with.

    Figuring that out is the first step in learning how to govern. Obama’s figured that out; not sure much of the rest of the Beltway has.

  57. @43 AlanM: The President and Vice-President are really the only “national” offices we have, and there’s a very detailed procedure for them in the U.S. Code. (In fact, that was the reason the Supreme Court got called in during the 2000 election in Florida; the Florida Supreme Court had ordered a recount that would have taken the election past the “safe harbor” deadline established by federal law for Presidential (but not Congressional) elections And save for this narrow issue, I’m quite ready to throw Bush v. Gore on the pile of “now let us never speak of this again” precedents alongside Korematsu and Wickard v. Filburn.)

    True, the power of the Congress to regulate Congressional elections is limited to regulating “the Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,” over inconsistent state laws. (Art. I, s. 4). However, the standards for determining whether to count a ballot that’s not clearly marked (i.e. what the case in MN is about) are left to the states – at least, I have heard of no overriding federal law regulating specifically that.

    @44 aphrael: People can make all sorts of crazy arguments to the Supreme Court in their briefs, including equal protection ones. That isn’t enough to keep a case off the “cert denied” list, where meritorious and silly claims alike go to die.

  58. Skip, @51: oh, certainly. Former Senator Coleman has a terrible case. My point was merely to object to the argument “the Supreme Court can’t decide this”; it can, and more than likely Mr. Coleman will attempt an appeal there.

    As for the merits … any election result which is inside the margin of error of the system might as well be decided by coin flip.

  59. MasterThief: there’s a reasonably good argument to be made that the treatment of ballots by counting agencies in Minnesota violates the EPC in exactly the same fashion that the treatment of ballots in Florida did in 2000 … and there’s a valid federal claim about that.

    But what the remedy is, is unclear.

    As for never-speak-of-this-again precedents: Wickard is still alive and well.

  60. Nargel@52 “If you really want a truly conservative GOP I suspect you need to look back to well before Reagan.”

    First, I’m no fan of the modern GOP. I may like a conservative party, but I could care less if that’s the GOP or not. They and the Dems are basically the same as I see it. They are both heading the same basic direction, it’s just that one is just going 25 mph and the other 60 mph. The fact that you have people switching parties out of nothing more than political expedience is a good indicator of that.

    As far as a “truly conservative” party, I guess that depends on how one defines “conservative”. I don’t believe there is one “true” definition. It’s certainly not the left’s stereotypical right-wing extremist Bible-thumping neocon image…that is just a fictional personification of their anti-good. They may be surprised that many self-identified conservatives are actually not as extreme as the fictional image they assume. I’m sure the same holds the other way too. The whole right-vs-left thing is a distracting farce anyway; it’s not a one-dimensional spectrum, and I’m not even sure there is a meaningful “middle” either. There are conservatives who couldn’t care less about the same-sex marriage issue, just as I’m sure there must exist liberals who don’t think rich people are evil.

    “Nice try though.”

    You’re welcome. I’m not sure what I was trying, but I’m glad it was nice! Really, this is pretty much an echo chamber anyway, so I have no expectations of trying to accomplishing anything here, other than to add a little richness to the otherwise harmonious drone. It was getting boring.

  61. Deron @ 66

    Yes, well Deron, instead of condescending to everyone, you could also try making some better arguments.

    Of course Spector is doing whatever he can to get re-elected. And if you want to win by majority, you need to cut a big piece of centrist pie.

    I think it’s rather quite wrong to state that the Republicans and Democrats are going in the same direction in general. That may be true regarding the fiscal stimulus – and that might be true because in fact, that is what is needed to help the economy.

  62. Deron: I have no expectations of trying to accomplishing anything here, other than to add a little richness to the otherwise harmonious drone. It was getting boring.

    Shh. You’re high pitched squawking is ruining my harmonious drone, man.

    oooooooooommmm

  63. Rob@58, I was referring to the Democratic population as a whole when I made that statement, not specifically those who are currently in office. Did you read the stimulus package and the budget? If so, I give you props.

  64. Brian Dunbar:

    “Honestly, John: if you’re going to tell people to be polite then at least do so without smirking behind your hand.”

    You clearly don’t understand, Brian. This is my site. I may do as I please. You, on the other hand, have to do what I say if you wish to keep posting comments. I’m not required to be polite. You are.

  65. Scott Westerfield @ 27:

    Dems have already announced plans to stick health care in the budget reconciliation bill, where it can’t be filibustered. So Specter’s jumping sides won’t have a huge effect there. As Harry Reid’s said in the past, “Arlen’s always there with us, except when we need him.”

    On the other hand, if Specter stays too far on the conservative side, he’ll probably face a primary challenge. If he pisses off enough PA dems, a “B-list” candidate could still beat him. And any Democrat with a pulse, B-List or not, will likely trounce Pat Toomey.

  66. You clearly don’t understand, Brian. This is my site. I may do as I please. You, on the other hand, have to do what I say if you wish to keep posting comments. I’m not required to be polite. You are.

    I understand that, John.

    I thought the hand-smirky thing was beneath you.

  67. Not being a fan of the current direction of the Democratic Party (or the Republicans for that matter), I quite happy to see Democrats own all the current issues.

    Time will tell if they really do have the solutions. Frankly I doubt it, but I’ve been known to be wrong on occasion.

  68. Jon @72: Dems have already announced plans to stick health care in the budget reconciliation bill, where it can’t be filibustered. So Specter’s jumping sides won’t have a huge effect there.

    The reconciliation bill maneuver is more of a threat to make the Republicans play ball than a certainty. The Dems, both in the Senate and the White House, have repeatedly said they prefer not to go that route. For many reasons both practical and institutional, it does matter whether you pass health care reform with 51 or 60 votes.

    But either way, I don’t see Specter changing sides and then peeing into the tent immediately thereafter, not on this signature Obama issue. It would assure a primary challenge, which is what he’s trying to avoid.

  69. Deron@66:

    “There are conservatives who couldn’t care less about the same-sex marriage issue….”

    Here, here!….I’m a conservative; and to be honest, I rarely give the gay marriage issue *any* thought except when I read about it here. There may be a religious right faction in the GOP that goes ballistic over the idea of same-sex marriage; but they don’t represent the majority of conservative voters.

    As I said in the Iowa thread, I don’t care if gays get married—just keep Obama’s hands out of my wallet. Give me small government, low taxes, and you can have all the gay marriage you want.

    I am not alone among conservatives here. I recently discussed this issue with some of my conservative classmates. (I attended a Catholic school in Cincinnati.) Among roughly a dozen 40-year-old Republicans, I wasn’t able to find a single person who voiced an objection to same-sex marriage.

    However, *every* one of them was upset about Obama’s obscenely expensive spending scheme.

    John is very interested in the same-sex marriage issue– which is his right. But his focus on this issue sometimes (inadvertently, I’m sure) presents a skewed perspective of the conservative agenda. If you only read the Whatever, you might think that same-sex marriage is all conservative voters think about.

    Here’s a little secret: 99% of us aren’t interested in this issue one way or the other.

  70. Edward Trimnell:

    “99% of us aren’t interested in this issue one way or the other.”

    I would find this assertion slightly less ridiculous if that was how 99% of you voted on the issue.

    That said, I’m not sure I want this thread to derail in the direction of same-sex marriage. As Mr. Trimnell notes, I’m sure to get back to it sooner or later.

  71. “There may be a religious right faction in the GOP that goes ballistic over the idea of same-sex marriage; but they don’t represent the majority of conservative voters. ”

    BS. delude yourself if you wish, but the polls of registered republicans paint a VERY different image.

  72. Sorry, Scalzi – crosspost.

    Back on topic, I think this is bad news for the GOP. Not because Specter is a prize (he’s not, he’s an opportunistic tool), but because it indicates that policies supported by, at most, 1/3 of the electorate are those that win you GOP primaries. Selecting unelectable candidates is NOT a good political strategy.

  73. Who cares if you don’t personally object to a specific issue? You vote for people who do, and who enact legislation that does. And it’s not just same sex marriage.

    Creationism, cutting off access to birth control as a health care issue, same sex marriage, falsifying intelligence to justify an invasion of a country that was no threat, *torture*, lying about torture, lying about why we tortured…

    You guys own those issues. It’s not just same sex marriage. Your elected representatives are morally bankrupt. Until your elected officials drop them all, they end up being a large part of what a conservative is about.

  74. Among roughly a dozen 40-year-old Republicans, I wasn’t able to find a single person who voiced an objection to same-sex marriage.

    Even if you don’t care, you support politicians who make loud noises about caring.

    I assume that’s because there are other issues which you care about, and those politicians take positions on those issues which you approve of.

    But from where I stand it feels an awful lot like you’re saying “I don’t care about whether or not you get married … in fact I’m so indifferent to it that I’ll happily sacrifice your desire to get married for something I consider more important.”

  75. Sorry John, my post went up before I saw your response @ # 80. Consider that my last comment on the issue in this thread.

  76. Brian: I thought John Scalzi was being remarkably polite. Hey, the alleged leadership of the GOP did castrate themselves. Folks like Michael Steele also made a serious mistake if they though boasting about how RINOs like Specter, Snowe and Collins were going to get “payback” for their ideological treason wasn’t going to get a reaction.

    And you know the really sick thing: The GOP is so fucking stupid, I wouldn’t be surprised if Olympia Snowe was next. After all, what the stupid cow know? She has only served in both houses of the state and federal legislature, won every election she’s stood in for over thirty years, and last time out won re-election by a margin only exceeded by Dick Luger — who didn’t even have a Democratic opponent.

  77. It’s my belief that the Republican party, particularly at the national level, has come to stand for a whole lot of things that really aren’t so-called bedrock, conservative principles (some of them, I think, are actually antithetical).
    And it’s come to the point that if you want to be a Republican, you MUST support all of these things.

    I think it’d be a lot healthier (for both the nation and for the Republican party) if you can decouple these things from the Republican platform.

  78. John: You clearly don’t understand, Brian. This is my site. I may do as I please.

    Certainly, but poking one side with a pointy stick and saying, “Do as I say, not as I do,” seems like an iffy decision both pragmatically and positionally.

  79. Stephen: as Craig pointed out, John’s statement is simply one of fact. The number of people identifying themselves as republican has shrunk to TWENTY ONE percent. The House GOP has lost masses of seats in both of the last 2 elections. The senate GOP has gone from mid 50s to 40 senators in the last 2 elections. Moderate republicans who have a chance of attracting independents and conservative Dems can’t win primaries.

    …tell me how all of this ISN’T political castration?

  80. Eddie@90: …tell me how all of this ISN’T political castration?

    I reply:Ever seen Nagisa Oshima’s ‘Ai No Corrida’ (In The Empire of The Senses)? I have a sneaking suspicion its a popular date night movie in Beltway Republican circles…

  81. Stephen Granade:

    “Certainly, but poking one side with a pointy stick and saying, ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ seems like an iffy decision both pragmatically and positionally.”

    Meh. I think there’s a misunderstanding of what I mean by “polite” here (and I may have in turn misunderstood Brian’s objection). I generally don’t mind heightened and colorful language in discussing the news of the day. I just want people to be polite to the other folks posting on the thread.

  82. afrael@84:

    “But from where I stand it feels an awful lot like you’re saying. I don’t care about whether or not you get married …”

    I won’t lie to you. This isn’t the most important topic in the world as far as I’m concerned. Part of it is perspective. I’m heterosexual and single, so neither gay issues nor marriage occupy a large amount of my time or attention.

    No one can be passionately interested in every issue; and some issues will fail to stir your passions because they just don’t resonate with you on a personal level.

    For example, John once wrote that he didn’t object to shopping at Wal-Mart. I can imagine some unemployed union worker reading that post and sending John an angry email to the effect that he doesn’t care about American workers. But that wouldn’t be a fair characterization of John’s views. Unless I’m missing something in John’s resume, he hasn’t spent a lot of time as a blue-collar union worker, so I wouldn’t expect him to be particularly concerned with the issues that preoccupy this demographic.

    Similarly, John has yet to weigh in significantly on NAFTA, sex-selection abortions in China, gun violence, animal testing, or the Indian practice of suttee. This doesn’t mean that John doesn’t care about these issues—it simply means that he has other irons in the fire, or other issues which matter more to him.

    That having been said, if Proposition 8 would have been on the ballot in Ohio, I would have voted against it. If you read my post in the recent Iowa thread, you’ll see that I take a “live and let live” approach to same-sex marriage. It isn’t my raison d’etre, and probably never will be; but to say that “I don’t care” is a slight mischaracterization.

    (Disclaimer: My suppositions about John’s views are just that: my suppositions only, based on reading his column for roughly four years. I claim no special insights into the mind of Mr. Scalzi.)

  83. Craig: Haven’t seen it, just wikipedia’d it. Guh. A political party can’t be THAT masochistic, can it? Next it’ll be going to see Old Boy as a school holiday flick.

  84. As I recall last time Specter was up for re-election he was up against a very right-wing Republican candidate in the primaries and barely won that one. I live in PA and pay attention. I remember advising my registered Republican friends (most of whom are moderates) to get out and vote for Specter. As a fellow PA resident, I think David @8 was on the money, although I was unaware that Rendell was considering a run for the US Senate.

  85. Sebelius just got confirmed 65 to 31 for heading HHS. Amazingly, Republicans seem to knuckle under when something like an epidemic and a loss of a filibustering minority happen in the same week.

    Perhaps loosing the ability to hold up the Senate if the party votes in lockstep will allow moderate Republicans to actually *be* moderate when the threat of lost funding is discovered to have backfired so badly. And perhaps centrist and right leaning Dems might find it worth while to build coalitions.

    Who knows. We might have something like a real government instead of the single party rule we had under Bush when the Republicans had the majority.

  86. Meh. I think there’s a misunderstanding of what I mean by “polite” here (and I may have in turn misunderstood Brian’s objection). I generally don’t mind heightened and colorful language in discussing the news of the day. I just want people to be polite to the other folks posting on the thread.

    Ah! I understood you to mean ‘be polite when you respond and to other folks’.

  87. Definitely, give us Democrats all the Republicans-in-Name-Only politicians. We could use a few fiscal conservatives. And when the Republicans have cleaned house, they can notice that there aren’t many people in it, except for Rush Limbaugh, screaming about conspiracies as his radio and t.v. markets dry up. Insult enough people and have that be the only reason your party exists, and it turns out, they don’t vote for you anymore, or don’t vote at all and ignore you.

    Specter may have moved parties to protect his position, but he also switched because his party is now unworkable. He’s 79, so he’s mostly a butt in the seat, but it still sends a message to the public about the Republican party loud and clear, as does Coleman’s pouting.

    *I am a liberal who doesn’t believe all rich people are evil.

  88. Josh @ 96,

    I would be hesitant to generalize overmuch from a single data point. I would tend to think that, yes, the Republicans were worried about looking like they were undermining the Obama Administration’s ability to respond to the potential flu crisis. Some of them might also have thought it was the right thing to do for the country.

    But I wouldn’t jump too hard on the “and now they have all learned their lesson” bandwagon. If history has shown us anything about the political process, it is to never underestimate the influence of self-interest, and to never overestimate the influence of logic, intellect, and integrity.

    With respect to Sen. Spector’s decision to jump ship, see paragraph #2, above.

  89. Nick – I would be hesitant to generalize overmuch from a single data point.

    The Republican War On Science has been going on for a long time, and this was just one in a series of failures they’ve had. And they probably hadn’t learned anything from those either, so you may be right :-) One can hope.

  90. @ StephanieB #70
    I don’t see the Democrats as awhole being any less lemming-like, and I really don’t want to make that sound argumentative, I find that lemming-like folowers are to be found across the political spectrum.

    I meant that I don’t remember hearing a lot of Democrats in or outside the Beltway questioning anything the Dem Congress or the Administration has proposed since the Jan 20th. I’m sure that that someone would have stuck in my mind if they had.

    I did read large portions of the stimulus bill, and the late 2009 budget, after the fact, of course, because with approximately 2,000 pages between them, it took longer to read than Congress actually spent reviewing it before passing it in a rush. I haven’t finished it, but I have a lot of vacation time to burn, I hope to finsih sometime in May
    IIRC, both sat before the President before being signed, but time was of the essence, if not for reviewing bills, for some other reason.

    http://www.stimuluswatch.org and http://www.porkbusters.org are two watchdog websites that are very enlightening if you’re interested in what Congress actually votes to spend our money on.

    http://www.cbo.gov/ is the Congressional Budget Office, which has a pretty graph showing the current budget versus projected revenues.

    Politics is boring, economics is arcane, math is hard, and I’d rather be re-reading classic SF, but Congress is now writing checks that another generation will be paying off, and people of every party should want to be aware of that.

  91. Rob@58 – could it be that all the Dems, and the Repubs who stood with them, agreed with the Stimulus Package? Could it be that, while many Dems may feel differently about ways to accomplish certain goals, they are heading toward the same endzone, and thus put aside some petty bickering to get the job done?

    Honestly, could it be that Obama is doing the actual work needed to solve some of the issues that need to be resolved, and anyone who is not standing on the Obstructionist line can see that and votes accordingly? Could it be that your personal ire at seeing a Dem in the White House is coloring your perceptions and you can’t see the good being done because it is by someone you hate?

    Just some questions you should ask yourself. I know the knee-jerk answers you’ll come up with, but perhaps you should take some time and really consider why you are so against this country taking the steps it currently is, to divorce itself from torture, to treat the poor like human beings, and to try to get ourselves out of an economic hole dug by your own team. You might find that thinking about issues on your own instead of blind adherence to party ideals could give you a completely different perspective.

  92. @64 aphrael: It’s not just the lack of possible remedy that has me thinking this case has no chance. Outside of an equal protection claim so unconvicingly weak it has brittle bone disease, and the fact that the court would be getting into a serious political question (deciding whether a Senate election is valid and the elected candidate worthy of being seated seems, under Baker v. Carr, one of those things that is constitutionally committed to a coordinate branch of government, in this case the Congress, specifically the Senate itself), there are any number of grounds on which the Supreme Court could decline to hear the case.

    As for Wickard, there are Lopez and Morrison, (“well, not EVERYTHING is interstate commerce…”), but then again I’m an optimist.

  93. @15:
    I could be wrong about this, but it’s my understanding that he holds onto those seats until the Senate as a whole votes on who gets them.
    Which means that the Democrats could demand that Franken be seated before they let Spectre give up his chair seats.
    Then again, I could be wrong.

  94. aphrael @ 15: Specter will continue to be counted as a Republican (and take up one of their seats) on all of his committees until a new organizing resolution is drawn up. The interesting question is whether or not the Democrats will be able to use that fact to get Franken seated.

  95. @ #103 “Just some questions you should ask yourself. I know the knee-jerk answers you’ll come up with, ”

    You think you know me so well, but I’ll reply anyway, once. IT would be easier for you to believe that my objections are stricly partisan, so you can dismiss them and move on to your preconceived notion and ad hominem attack.

    Did you read the stimulus?

    ON to your questions:
    “could it be that all the Dems, and the Repubs who stood with them, agreed with the Stimulus Package?” NO, I don’t think that those that voted for the Stimulus bill agreed with it, more than a few of them admitted they hadn’t even read it; that makes them blind faith supporters at best, or total incompetents. In fact, that is the heartof my gripe with them, where I come from, people are held accountable for their actions. People seem to get collective amnesia every election cycle, and generally vote for the party they’ve been affilitated with out of habit, not objective reasoning.

    “Could it be that your personal ire at seeing a Dem in the White House is coloring your perceptions and you can’t see the good being done because it is by someone you hate? ” No, but you won’t believe it. I wasn’t too pleased with the previous President’s spending, now it’s being tripled, I am less happy.

    Do you feel good about the spending plan as proposed, even though only the most magical thinking and planning for the best case scenario will bring it off without significant damage to the US economy, as well as an erasing of the line between the public and private sector?

    My disdain for most politicians was kept in check by the fact that I was in uniform at the time, and I held to an apolitical frame of mind until I recently reentered the civilian workplace. I have never been a member of either main party. So, not my team, it is however, my country. While it is not perfect, it is far better off than a lot of the purported worker’s paradises and socialist utopias I’ve been to. It ‘s funny that most of the people who are immigrating to the US are not looking for a permanent handout from Uncle Sugar, they want the chance to work hard and reap the benefits of that work.

    Torture? Non-sequitur, for another thread.

    Treating the poor like human beings. Which party prefers to hand out money to the poor, as opposed to allowing an economic environment that hires the poor and allows them to work and move up? I’m for that party when I find it.

    “try to get ourselves out of an economic hole” Why people think that taxing the private, job-providing sector and those who actually work, during a recession will somehow increase revenue, I’ll never understand. THe government cannot even earn the operating costs of running the post office, why should I believe it can run the auto or banking industry anywhere but into the ground.

  96. Rob & Corby, it was actually Republicans who voted in lock-step against the stimulus. A majority of Dems did support their party leader on a critical vote where there was no reasonable alternative plan, but not all of them.

    Scott Westerfield @ 79:
    Once that threat’s been made, I suspect it’ll need to be followed through on. Reasonably, what reason do Republicans have to support health care reform. Think a year or so down the road, once it’s enacted and assuming it works as planned. Sure, some people who didn’t have health care will now have it. But most of them won’t be inclined to vote Republican in any event. And the country won’t have some problems it does now. But people don’t vote for you because of a lack of problems. (see 2000 – Gore, Al).

    And there will still be some negative health care outcomes, all of which Republicans can blame on Obama’s plan. Heck, some of that blame will be legitimate.

    I fully expect most or all Republicans to vote against Obama’s “socialized medicine” plan.

  97. Oh, missed Rob’s last comment: Spending’s been tripled? Numbers I’ve seen indicate an increase of about 33%, not 300%.

    “Significant damage to the US economy?” Look around you! That’s roughly comparable to complaining about all the water damage caused by the firefighters trying to save your house.

    “taxing the private, job-providing sector and those who actually work” Pssst…the stimulus actually includes fairly large tax cuts, especially on “those who actually work” (as opposed to the big earners in the financial sector who brought us this to this lovely place). They’re just allowing some of this most egregiously redistributive BushCo tax cuts to expire. If Republicans hadn’t been so intent on their smoke & mirrors act with their budgets (I suspect dealing with that is a significant part of your phantom tripled spending), they’d have made those cuts permanent and Obama would actually have to do something to rescind them, instead of sitting by and watching them expire.

    Not sure why you see torture as a non-sequitur. Where was it written that this thread should be limited to economic issues?

  98. John 93: I just want people to be polite to the other folks posting on the thread.

    I’m glad you clarified that, because if the definition of politeness is “if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all,” it’s really hardly possible to discuss something as (nearly*) devoid of virtues as the current GOP.
    ___
    *This is here, not because I think the GOP has any virtues, but merely to forestall anyone playing Gotcha by coming up with a definite real virtue the GOP possesses. Maybe someone can. I can’t think of any.

  99. Sorry, John; I started writing that before you posted, although of course I did not post it until after you posted. I will refrain from further comment on the subject in this thread.

  100. @111, I’m looking at CBO numbers. The proposed budget and stimulus spending, outspends projected revenue, increasing the deficit.

    As for torture, it goes even further from the original points at the beginning of this thread, which seemed to focus on party lines and economic policies. You want to address torture, have at it. Don’t forget how many people on both sides of the aisle voiced no objections to it at the time, all their CYA protests now notwithstanding.
    IN fact, it could be considered a truly bipartisan endorsement.

  101. @109 (Since you couldn’t be bothered to use my name, I’ll return the favor)

    “Did you read the stimulus?”

    Parts of it. I know I’m not an economic wunderkind – I have to bow to better minds on that front. But I do know and understand politics, and I know what doesn’t work. I know, for instance, that the stimulus was not earmarked for specific programs. I have a basic understanding of how it doles out money and who decides where it goes. I know there are a ton of rules involved. No, I did not read every word and would not be able to. I know, also, that the Repubs who were against it continually lied about it, and that if it was as horrible as they said it was they would not have to. If the worst objection they could come up with, factually, is “It will cost a lot of money.”, which is something stimulus takes, I think it’s probably more of the right way to go than the wrong way. I am not thrilled with some of the things taken out and watered down, but that’s the game.

    “In fact, that is the heartof my gripe with them, where I come from, people are held accountable for their actions. People seem to get collective amnesia every election cycle, and generally vote for the party they’ve been affilitated with out of habit, not objective reasoning.”

    This is probably less true for Libs than you realize. It seems almost everyone on the right can’t fathom disagreeing with their choice, so how could Libs possibly do anything other than march in lockstep? I know no Libs who agree on everything, but I know few Cons who disagree on anything. Anecdotal at best, but there you go. Now if you are talking about Big Picture items, yes, as I said before, most Libs have a fairly similar direction they point in. But the nuts and bolts are generally very hotly debated. However, I think this particular election cycle that all Libs voted the same way, many Independents and Repubs joined them, and it was to get the corrupt and dangerous administration out of office. I would’ve voted for an actual elephant or donkey instead of a Republican, and I feel fairly certain the same majority of voters would have done the same. There was simply no way another Repub would sit in that seat for the next four (and hopefully not the next 8, or however many I live) years. They are simply too out of touch and dangerous. I would like to see a strong opposition Republican party in the Congress, but they have gone way off the reservation and are just blocking for the sake of blocking. Rational thought has gone out the proverbial window.

    “Do you feel good about the spending plan as proposed, even though only the most magical thinking and planning for the best case scenario will bring it off without significant damage to the US economy, as well as an erasing of the line between the public and private sector?”

    Yes, because I think you are seeing it through red-tinged glasses and refuse to accept Obama may know what he is doing by taking a long view of the problem. I don’t believe it takes magical thinking at all. I think historically it is the right thing to do and will serve us well. One of us is right, one is wrong. If you are, would you be willing to give a public apology here on the Whatever? I would.
    (I don’t know what you mean by erasing the line etc.)

    I was also in the military, and I went many wonderful places. And I’m glad to live in America. But there a lot of things other countries do better. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that.

    “Which party prefers to hand out money to the poor, as opposed to allowing an economic environment that hires the poor and allows them to work and move up? I’m for that party when I find it.”

    Really? Welcome to the Libs. Everyone, shake Rob’s hand.

    “Why people think that taxing the private, job-providing sector and those who actually work, during a recession will somehow increase revenue, I’ll never understand. THe government cannot even earn the operating costs of running the post office, why should I believe it can run the auto or banking industry anywhere but into the ground.”

    Um, you’re doing it wrong. The taxes on the top 1% are just going back to what they were under Clinton, during a surplus and after a (short, decisive) war. They are nowhere near the tax rate under Reagan, the Republican Messiah. They are nowhere near the rates of any other administration, except Bush, who ruined the economy in the first place. Tax cuts are just one of the huge problems that caused this recession.

    You seem to be thinking of the government as one singular entity that never changes. It is made up of actual people who have actual jobs doing actual things that evoke actual changes and benefits to our lives. When mismanaged, bridges collapse, levees break, and we get engaged in a debilitating war that threatens to break the backbone of our country. When managed correctly, we have more money, lower taxes, less poor and homeless, more healthy and happy citizens, and a good standing on the World Stage. Other countries opinions of us matter.

    BTW, all of your answers were pretty much what I thought they’d be, down to the veiled “Tax Cuts!” comment.

  102. Jon@110 – I actually knew that. I was trying to explain to Rob that some voted for it even though they disagreed because there were really no other options. The Repubs never brought anything but tax cuts and grief to the table. Obama asked for alternative plans, but the Repubs just played petulant children and stomped their feet.

    I say again, I’d love to see a strong opposition party in the Republicans, but we only have an ineffective and largely irrelevant obstructionist party as is stands.

  103. Jon and Corby, the only 100% sure thing is that we won’t agree. I’m done posting here, if you want to consider that a win, by all means.

    As for me, I’m calling it a night.

  104. WE WON!

    Sorry John. I just felt the need to do that. :)

    Back on topic: as for torture, Citation Needed. I’d like to see how many congresspersons knew torture was happening and said it was OK.

    I know Bush knew. I know Cheney knew. I know Rumsfeld knew. I know Ashcroft knew. I know Gonzalez knew. I know Ito knew. I know they all said it was just fine by them. Outside of them, who else said torture is just fine? I seem to recall it being damned in the media and most corners of Washington as soon as it came to light.

  105. [OT comment]

    @Brian Dunbar

    *waves geekily*

    Hi! Somehow I missed that you hung out here, too.

    Also, dude, the snark is why we come. It’s our oxygen. If he shuts that off, it’s just cats, bacon and cheesy 80’s rock bands. And really, it’s not like we don’t have enough of that on the tubes.

    [/OT comment]

    And thanks Scalzi. After reading the post, I now have this horrifyingly eye-bleach-resistant image stuck in my head of a serrated blade all crudded up with Old Politician Guy ball hair. Ick.

  106. I’m with the poster above who suggested that Olympia Snowe and/or Susan Collins may be next. It’s painfully obvious that “Moderate Republican” is an oxymoron of the first order – and it’s the GOP who’s doing to themselves.

    It’s sad to see, really. We need a competent loyal opposition, and it’s plain that the xenophobic, gay-bashing, Bible-thumping, willfully ignorant Republican Party ain’t it.

    :: shrugs :: maybe that means we’ll see a Centrist party arise from moderates of both parties. But the GOP is well on it’s way to being a minority party of cranks whose approval ratings will continue to shrink.

  107. @118 Corby. Pelosi was ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, so was Harman. Both were fully briefed, as required by existing law(which specifies the top two ranking members of both party on the intelligence oversight committee be given top-level briefings-which is how damaging leaks occur, but that is another discussion) on the waterboarding/torture issue, the intelligence we had with regards to Saddam’s intentions and other threats. They simply decided to agree to the legality of the Bybee/Woo memos when they felt they would get hammered politically by the electorate for obstructing the security of the nation and when the threat level subsided and people started feeling safer, they decided to make political hay over the memos. You may decide to cover your eyes and pretend your party was on the side of angels, but I would bet all those discussions are archived and tape recorded.

  108. @118 Corby. Pelosi was ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, so was Harman. Both were fully briefed, as required by existing law(which specifies the top two ranking members of both party on the intelligence oversight committee be given top-level briefings-which is how damaging leaks occur, but that is another discussion) on the waterboarding/torture issue, the intelligence we had with regards to Saddam’s intentions and other threats. They simply decided to agree to the legality of the Bybee/Woo memos when they felt they would get hammered politically by the electorate for obstructing the security of the nation and when the threat level subsided and people started feeling safer, they decided to make political hay over the memos. You may decide to cover your eyes and pretend your party was on the side of angels, but I would bet all those discussions are archived and tape recorded.

    Given that I would be happy to drop kick both Harman and Pelosi over the rainbow if they were fully briefed and informed on this (and that there’s a large portion of the Democratic Party unhappy over their leadership), I’m not sure that a partisan slant is relevant.

    I don’t think we’ve had good leadership the previous few years. Let’s press for better.

  109. Christopher@121 – Well, first off, I’m a Green, not a Dem. So it’s not “my” party.

    Second, I said citation needed and asked a question. I never covered my eyes. You have given me something to look for to see what happened. Honestly, with all the things that have come to light, and all the places I hang out with a fairly high level of right-wing interaction, this is the very first I have heard that Pelosi/Harmon knew there was torture in the camps.

    I’m not sure I actually believe it, but I’ll look it up.

  110. Perhaps he’s simply flipped from being a RINO to a DINO. Political expediency is nothing new.

    My friend Mary wrote the following, and it sums up my exact feelings:

    And if Coleman indeed loses his seat, I’m very unhappy. I honestly do not believe having any party in a position where they can cut off debate good for the country. It also means there is no real check and balance in the system. It wasn’t a Good Thing when the Republicans had the run of the house, and it won’t be a Good Thing if the Democrats do.

  111. Christopher Shaffer@121 and
    gwangung@123

    Given the identical portions of your posts, my question is obvious. Do you actually think before posting or is repeating the talking points you were fed considered good enough? Especially when the talking points have already been debunked?

  112. Nargel @ 126, are you sure that was the intent? I was guessing that gwangung meant to quote the other post and reply to it but that formatting got lost or something.

  113. Robin@127

    Upon further review (Boring zebra watch) you are probably right. Apologies, gwangung. The fact that the extended identical part matches almost word for word with emails I just got from relatives who have a regrettable tendancy to send me the Rushian talking points of the day doesn’t help matters.

    Johne Cook@125

    Political expediancy IS nothing new but biting the new hand that feeds you WILL get you smacked and the 2010 election is still comfortably distant. As for your friend Mary: Coleman lost his seat on Nov. 4, when the absentees were counted (recount required by state law) it proved the case, when the overly long ECC case was final he was shown to have lost even worse, anybody trying to argue equal protection should read the ECC ruling as they snipped that argument well below the bud. Two effective parties WOULD be best but at the moment we have 1 mostly effective party and 1 small collection of hate mongering, petty, purety-trolling gum-up-the-works types making no effort to offer actual useful alternatives. (and no, cut taxes on the rich is not a workable alternative. We have seen where that leads) Since the Republican party seems to have no intent on joining the sane, real world, we’ll just have to wait till the Democratic party splits into the liberal and moderate wings.

  114. Hur-hur. The US is not a one party state. Like Zimbabwe. Excellent.

    Srsly, The Reps had it coming. No tears from this side of the water.

  115. The general reaction around here…you know, FROM HIS CONSTITUENTS, is that this is neither surprising nor that big of a deal. Specter has long been considered a liberal Republican in a generally Democratic state, and most of his elections have been won by virtue of getting democrats on his side (see also: Reagan Democrats).

    Speaking as Pennsylvanian Democrat, I’ll vote for him.

  116. Snowe has said that she’s not leaving the Republican party ever, though she’s unhappy with them.

    The Republicans’ strength in decades past has been their ability to move in lockstep with each other, and have the support of the business world. Democrats have always had more problems with that because they carry a wider political spectrum of views and are prone to argue with each other. Luckily, we have a current President who likes to listen to different groups and consider their advice, from ultra-radical liberals to progressives to Blue Dog Democrats to different stripes of Republicans. That allows the Democrats to now work out compromises that can let them move forward. So yes, Democrat politicians have spoken against various things, and have voiced complaints about Obama’s decisions, but then they actually hash it out, and if necessary, both the Congressional Democrats and the administration change course to try and find the most effective policy in the middle of a really bad situation they’ve mostly inherited.

    The Republicans right now are busy attacking each other, and showing how good at attacking they are to the base who feels shoved out of power, because hey, attacking used to work against the Clintons, and to keep the Democrats cowed during the Bush years. But most of the American public is fed up with it, and tired of the Republicans calling them names and being divisive instead of having solutions — solutions that are new and not the old ones that got us here.

    The Republicans have done nothing but be an obstruction. They complain about spending money on things that it turns out we actually need. They snicker at Obama when he offers to work with them. They offer no policies except prejudice — anti-immigration, anti-gay, anti-women, anti-poor, anti-non-white, anti-non-Christian, anti-urban, anti-environment, anti-small-business, anti-healthcare. They are pro-war and pro-torture. They are holding up staffing nominations when we desperately need to get going. And their business buddies are scrambling at the moment. So the Republicans have become the party of the far right fringe, and that’s not just very effective against Obama’s centerist approach.

  117. Nargel @ 128:

    Two effective parties WOULD be best but at the moment we have 1 mostly effective party and 1 small collection of hate mongering, petty, purety-trolling gum-up-the-works types making no effort to offer actual useful alternatives.

    Oh, now I remember why I try to avoid such threads—because of the rational, constructive, and even-handed debate that ensues.

    My bad.

  118. Two effective parties WOULD be best but at the moment we have 1 mostly effective party and 1 small collection of hate mongering, petty, purety-trolling gum-up-the-works types making no effort to offer actual useful alternatives.

    Reminds me of that joke that goes

    What’s the difference between Republicans and Democrats? One is the party of hate-mongering gum-up-the-works types making no effort to offer actual useful alternatives. The other is the party of Reagan.

  119. Mythago – what good would that do for Lieberman? The GOP has nothing to offer him short of the ability to filibuster something the GOP wants to filibuster, which he already has even if he stays put.

  120. I’m a little tired of my state’s politics being being good comedy show fodder, but I would not be the least suprised to see Normie drag this out as long as he can. It is after all pretty much his only choice at this point.

    As I read the results, about 35% voted for Franken, 35% voted for Colemen, 15% voted against both of them or for Den Barkley and 15% flipped a coin. After all the arguing and recounting they are still so close that there is no way for an honest election commision to really tell them apart. For all the show of an impartial system (Which I think really was essentially impartial) I think it would have been just as fair to decide this with a coin flip. Unfortunately there is no basis in law to allow that as a deciding method.

    Alternately a best of 5 match of rock paper scissors might have given us the senator better able to think and react quickly, but I’m not sure that both of their ego’s can fit in the same room.

  121. Upon further review (Boring zebra watch) you are probably right. Apologies, gwangung. The fact that the extended identical part matches almost word for word with emails I just got from relatives who have a regrettable tendancy to send me the Rushian talking points of the day doesn’t help matters.

    I should pay attention; preview is my friend.

    Clarification: note that my statement is predicated on the statement that Harman and Pelosi were FULLY briefed. If they were, I have no sympathy for them.

    On the other hand, given the sloppiness on detail of the last administration, I wouldn’t be surprised if the briefings had forgotten to mention a few key details.

  122. Brian Dunbar: I’m sure I’m not the only one waiting for the punch line. You know, the part that makes something funny.

    Or was that dadaist humor?

  123. Johne@133 and Brian@135

    So, you are literally saying that in Congress, right now, the Dems are standing in opposition to the Republicans by not compromising, trying to force legislation that is against gays and other minorities, and saying it is OK to torture, all while using a fat bloated mouthpiece to stir up the American fringe and religious group against the other guys?

    What part of Bizzarro World do you live on?

  124. Olympyia Snowe is probably next.

    Jump, Olympia, jump!

    Oh, and GOP, please see if you can find an noxiously socially conservative person to challenge her in the primary, and while you’re at it, threaten her campaign funding. For extra bonus points, have Rush Limbaugh call out his attack squad on her. My dream team would be Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin both attacking Snowe.

    C’mon GOP, I know you can make it happen.

  125. Christopher writes: [i]There is no room for moderates like Specter in GOP anymore and he was a dead man walking in the GOP primary. In the Democratic Party he can be more moderate and not get raked over the coals by the conservatives.[/i]

    And this is, long-term, big trouble for the Republicans, because the only thing that made them a major, viable party was the alliance of social conservatives (who aren’t necessarily economically conservatives) and economic conservatives (who aren’t necessarily socially conservative). That alliance requires a tolerance for “moderates,” because to each group, many members of the other group are moderates on the “important stuff.” If they no longer tolerate moderates, there’s going to be a split. See how viable the Republican party is after a bunch of the economic conservatives who aren’t particularly interested in social conservatism are forced to flee to the Libertarian party.

    Deron Meranda: [i]But Specter wasn’t a moderate, he was always a liberal posing as if he wasn’t. Maybe not a full-left Marxist as seems to be the fad now, but he certainly is no moderate despite what the “journalists” want to say he is.[/i]

    Have you developed some method of objectively measuring the degrees of conservatism and liberalism of individuals? Because as far as I’ve ever been able to tell, there’s no sensible way to measure such things except against the current average voter’s opinions. By that measure, there’s no question he would be considered a moderate. For comparison, look at the latest polling (by Fox News, no less) on voter opinions of how liberal Obama is: 53% say his position on issues are “just about right,” with some 35% saying he’s too liberal and something like 6% saying he’s too conservative. About 54% say he’s more liberal than the average voter. This clearly puts him left of center, but not very far left of center. If Obama’s not far left of center, it’d be pretty far-fetched to expect similar polling to put Specter at all left of center. If he’s slightly right of center, that’s pretty much the definition of a Republican moderate.

    [i]But if the GOP does some serious housecleaning and gets back to being an actual conservative party (which it has not been for 8 years)[/i]

    Reagan, of course, was the one who attempted to expand the Republicans into a “big tent” party that appealed to more moderates.

    We return once again to the problem of “which kind of conservatism are you talking about?” You’re right that the party hasn’t been fiscally conservative for quite some time. But it’s been [i]extremely[/i] socially conservative. And it’s the social conservatives who are going to win control if it comes to a schism: unlike the economic conservatives, they have nowhere else to go, and they have no other party that’s been siphoning them off the way the Libertarians have been siphoning off economic conservatives.

  126. @ 139. I’m from Oklahoma: I would not know dadist humor if it bit me on my Zurich.

    @ 140. It’s called a joke, son. Humor. A funny. Dude: stop drinking caffeinated beverages and crack a smile once in a while. Life is to serious not to take it with a grain of salt.

  127. @ Corby – # 140

    In conservative bizzaro world, calling someone a bigot for actually being bigoted makes *you* a hate monger. No, Denouncing torture makes *you* a vindictive bastard who’s trying to ruin America. Cutting taxes on the middle class means *you* hate the American worker. Loathing Rush Limbaugh means *you*… uh, I got nothing. He’s just sort of there, and they deny he means anything.

  128. With respect to Specter’s committee assignments:

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2009/4/28/155624/794

    He’s keeping his seniority. It’s part of the deal. He’ll become the #2 raking D on Judiciary (behind Leahy, but ahead of Herb Kohl).

    I thought I heard somewhere that he could actually take over as chair of Environmental & Public Works (unseating Barbara Boxer).

  129. On the subject of Specter’s committee seats, I recall reading somewhere that under the current organizing rules of the Senate, he keeps them despite changing over to the Democrats. Which, of course, screws GOP horribly.

    The same article suggested that the Democrats could be holding this as a club over the Republicans’ heads. “Oh, so sorry, we’ll get to voting on the rules change some day soon, but we’re too busy with Al Franken’s situation just now. If someone were to suggest Coleman to quit dragging it out and let Al be seated, we might have more time to look into that…”

  130. Here’s a look at th kind of leading lights of the GOP that Specter left behind – Sarah Palin groupie Michelle Bachmann. [watch the video at the link for proof of stupid] Who thinks that FDR was responsible for the Smoot-Hawley act, which she comically mispronounces as Hoot-Smalley.

    Also, she thinks that Calvin Coolidge style deregulation is what’s needed to fix the world’s finances. These people are the “brains” of the current GOP leadership.

    I was actually a fiscal conservative, I’d leave the GOP for the Libertarian Party right now before they get even stupider. If I was a social conservative, I’d start drinking heavily, and pray Obama gets caught with an underage hooker, because that’s the only thing that can save the GOP right now.

  131. Bachmann also claims that the last swine flu outbreak was under “another Democratic President, Jimmy Carter.” Not that she’s blaming Obama, of course.

    Quiz: Who was POTUS in 1976, when the last outbreak occurred? That’s right, Gerald Ford. Whether Bachmann is really that stupid or just a lying sack of shit is left as an exercise for the reader.

  132. Xopher – If her blaming FDR for Smoot-Hawley is any indication, she really is that dumb.

  133. @143

    Oh, I get it. You say whatever you want, and when you get called out for it you say it’s a just a joke. So then, you don’t actually believe anything you wrote, you were just kidding. So you agree that the Republicans are the bigoted obstructionist party of torture.

    Good to know.

  134. I think it was Charlie Stross who said “The US has only two parties that ever have any real power. One is a very conservative, pro-business party: that’s the Democrats. You don’t want to know about the other one.”

  135. Damn, I forgot to add that the US Democratic Party would be the right in almost any country in Europe. I’d like to see them become the right here (provided they didn’t change their positions on anything more), but I don’t know who the left would be. We really have no serious organized left in this country.

  136. Anything that whittles the Republican Party further into the party of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann is a Goodness.

    Of course, I’d like to see some actual liberals in Congress, too.

  137. Josh @145 – loathing Rush makes you a woman, apparently, and to far-right wingers there’s nothing viler.

    I don’t know what the GOP had to offer Lieberman BEFORE, when he supported McCain and then had to come crawling back.

  138. And when his Senate career is over Arlen is going to move right into the Kim Philby Chair of Political Science at Penn.

  139. Before we (and by “we” I mean my fellow socialist, terrorist hugging, gay loving, American hating, tax and spend pinko commies) get too cocky, let’s not forget that it wasn’t that long ago that the Republicans had a firm majority and could pretty much do as they liked and the best the Democrats could do was cry, trip over their own feet, and occasionally wet themselves. Now is the Republicans who look like the party of “no”, “I don’t wanna”, and “Why are you so mean to me????”

    I’m not sure what the Republican party will look like after they sort themselves out and come roaring back, but they’ll be back. Enjoy it while you can.

  140. And now we have Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) saying that Matthew Shepard wasn’t murdered and crucified in Wyoming because he was gay, no matter what the police say. He was actually killed because he was committing a burglary according to her, and the gay claim is a hoax. Apparently, this is a popular, sick conspiracy theory on Internet blogs. This seems to be the new strategy for Republican Congresspeople — find a crackpot theory on the Internet, hold a press conference where you declare it is real or say it on the Congressional floor, be confused when people not only are upset but point out that you’re factually wrong, hope that Rush Limbaugh backs you up because he doesn’t care about facts anyway.

    Not to mention Thiessen and Chaney running around claiming waterboarding a prisoner allowed them to thwart a terrorist plot that had been thwarted a year earlier, so torture should be okay with everyone. It’s like watching people hit themselves with pies, over and over.

  141. re: Coleman, and his chances of taking an appeal to the US Supreme Court.

    Quoting A.1 S.5 “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members”

    The ‘laws’ that govern election of members of the Senate are Senate rules on the validity of a state election certificate, and state laws on the issuing of a state election certificate, then federal and state laws on the operations of Elections.

    The US Supreme Court, nor any other part of the US or states government, may *not* judge the validity of the Senate’s rules. And as demonstrated with Burris once issued, an election certificate is irrevocable, and can only be refused by the Senate.

    So petitioning the US Supreme Court would have no ability to hold up Senator Elect Franken’s appointment to the senate. Since they can’t stop an Election Certificate being issued, and Franken will very likely be granted a writ of mandamus requiring the Minnesota Secretary of State to provide him one, it’s a moot case with no enforcement possible.

    The only possible way I see this held up longer than june now, is the
    a) Coleman some how establishes that he really won after all in the appeal.
    b) The Minnesota Secretary of State resigns rather than fulfil a writ of mandamus. And the State Governor refuses to fill the position.

    One is exceptionally unlikely based on all presented evidence, the other so disastrous in it’s consequences that it would be another self inflicted wound on the GOP.

  142. AlanM @161: True, they could get their shit together and actually come back with a vengeance. In fact, you do see some (like Meghan McCain) trying to inject some sanity into the conversation.

    I think it will be a tough slog for them, though. The fiscal conservatives sold their souls to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson back in the ’80s and then spent the Reagan-Bush years promising social changes that never materialized. Then during the Clinton years they let some of those social conservatives get a taste of success, followed by the total orgy that was the W administration.

    Now they’re faced with a social conservative wing that is used to getting its way and is burning heretics at the stake within the party. Not a good sign for a party that desperately needs to reconnect with the electorate…

  143. William @ 142 is mostly correct. The social conservatives and the fiscal conserrvatives really don’t get allong on many issues. And neither likes the “neo”- conservatives.

    About the only thing that has held the big tent together is that as much as they hate each other, they really fear the Dems more.

    Note the Dems have the same issue, they are just better at smothing over the differences. If you think the Democratic party is one happy family whenere the eco-kooks and the big-labor coal miners hang out together…

    The R’s recent problem is that somehow tey let the neo-con wing take over. “Let’s spread democracy at the point of a bayonet” is most definately NOT a fiscal conservative principle, and in general is not a social conservative principle either.

    Personally, from a Libertarian perspective it looks a lot like a Democratic principle. Exactly how does Iraq and Afghanistan (Republican President) difer from Yugoslavia (Democrat). How come I don’t see anyone protesting the fact that we still haven’t brought the troops home from Clinton and Allbright’s little bit of adventurism?

    So the Republicans have to ask themselves, are we going to be the party of social or fiscal conservatism.

    If they go down the socal route, they are doomed by demographics, because America is most definately NOT a Christian nation. The magority may self identify that way, but most of them are what we always refered to as “church on Sunday” Christians. I.e. they go to church on Sunday because it’s expected, but they don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about or praying to their god.
    And increasingly, Americans are becoming “church on Easter and Christmas” Christians.

    On the other hand, if they actually embrace the fiscal conservative side of the party, and atually mean it, not just pay lip service to the idea, then the Dem’s are in for a droubing come the mid-term and next presidential election. That is because most Americans really are pretty fiscally conservative. They believe that if they have to pay their bils and ballance their checkbook then Congress ought to have to do the same.

    Specter was going to loose the next primary, and loose big. He was going to lose not because he was a social liberal, he was going to loose because he showed that he was a fiscal liberal, and the fiscal conservatives were not going to take it any more.

    I see this as a sign that the fiscal conservatives are working hard to take back what they see as “their” party.
    Like I said earlier, it’s going to be a tough sell.

    It’s going to be an especially hard sell to folks like me. In the last election I voted for 2 R’s, 1 D, and L for the rest of the ballot.

  144. John H #165

    You say “a social conservative wing that is used to getting its way”. Really? IMHO the social conservatives got reamed by the Bush administration. No anti-abortion amendment, no flag burning amendment, the Defense of Marriage Act was signed by someone else (who they hate), Plan B is available over the counter, and two states made gay marriage legal. Yes, there have been restrictions made on abortion and perhaps they are perfectly happy with this, but from my perspective this was a big business, military hawk, pay lip service to the religious right but don’t actually do anything that they ask for Presidency.

  145. Er, Mark, actually, the Democrats allow dissent far more than the Republicans do. There’s the entire “Blue Dog” coalition. Unlike the Republicans, who seem to want to geld “Red Dogs” like Specter.

    I don’t see anyone protesting the fact that we still haven’t brought the troops home from Clinton and Allbright’s little bit of adventurism?

    Probably because they’re not constantly being attacked by terrorists. Or perhaps because they’re no longer “adventuring” over there as the main peacekeeping force. Mind you, I assume we have troops there still in some capacity, but we also have troops in Okinawa, but I don’t see any point in complaining about that. Part of the point of a globally deployed military is having overseas bases. Now, if you’ve got a problem with that, that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.

    I see this as a sign that the fiscal conservatives are working hard to take back what they see as “their” party.

    I really hope they try. I’ll be over here with the popcorn, watching them actually deal with confronting the religious lunatics, racists, warmongers and other assorted trash who’re currently in charge. It’ll be entertaining. A shouting match between Megan McCain and Ann Coulter would be frigging comedy gold.

    Oh, and I’ll root for the fiscal conservatives, if that helps. Personally, I think they’ll cave to the theo-cons though. The Rove strategy still motivates them too much.

  146. Mark Horning writes: On the other hand, if they actually embrace the fiscal conservative side of the party, and atually mean it, not just pay lip service to the idea, then the Dem’s are in for a droubing come the mid-term and next presidential election. That is because most Americans really are pretty fiscally conservative. They believe that if they have to pay their bils and ballance their checkbook then Congress ought to have to do the same.

    Well, yes and no. Americans are pretty fiscally conservative when it comes to that part of the philosophy, yes. I suspect, however, you’ll find that Americans are a lot less conservative now when it comes to laissez-faire policies that allow banks and industries to self-regulate, because they’ve now witnessed what the people running such businesses will try to get away with when nobody’s keeping an eye on them. If you were to examine the fiscal preferences of the average voter today, I think you’d find that they are now pro-regulation, anti-bailout, and the anti-regulation fiscal conservatives in the Republican party aren’t going to be particularly attractive to such voters.

  147. AlanM @ 167 —

    Michael Shiavo would like to discuss your conclusion that “… the social conservatives got reamed by the Bush administration.”

    Also, I have friends who are parents of Type-A diabetics who think that the Bush Administration’s most egregious act of kowtowing to the religious right was its stance on stem-cell research. And these folks are, for the most part, fiscally conservative and pro-defense. I can pretty much guarantee that they will never, ever vote Republican so long as that Luddite position is part of the party’s platform. They may be a small fraction of the electorate, but I bet they are representative of quite a few folks who think that science ought to supersede superstition, and who are wary of voting a Theocrat into office. (Or should I have written “another Theocrat” perhaps?)

  148. No government money for stem cell research IS the fiscal conservative position. It’s one of the places the fiscal and religious conservatives agree but for completely different reasons.

    Now a real true blue fiscal conservative would say no government money for ANY medical research; that is a proper function of the private sector.

  149. Someone above said that they like political gridlock. I think that the last election was substantially about the voters being fed up with gridlock, with problems seemingly piled up and no progress being made on resolving any of them.

    The majority of voters may have once preferred a restrained, fiscally responsible government. Indeed, the majority may want it again someday. But right now the majority of voters seem to mostly want an effective government that appears to be trying to solve problems.

    That’s why I believe that voters are willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt right now. They’re just happy to see movement being made of any kind.

    That’s why I believe that its impossible to predict the future relevance of the GOP right now. One of two things are going to happen. Either Obama’s policies will seem to work and people will re-elect him and the Democrats in the future. Or his policies will appear to fail and he will be given the boot, giving the GOP another chance in our two-party system.

    The reality is that there will most likely be a mixture of success and failure. So how the voter’s perceive the relative successes and failures will really determine the future of the GOP.

  150. Now a real true blue fiscal conservative would say no government money for ANY medical research; that is a proper function of the private sector.

    Unfortunately, that’s just 70-120 years behind the fiscal times. That’s gonna need some modifying….

  151. Mark Horning @ 172 —

    I see your point.

    I just disagree with it.

    Your definition of a “real true blue fiscal conservative” is pretty close to my definition of “fanatic over there on the fringes of that there Libertarian thingee”.

    Such pronouncements seem to be one of the major stumbling blocks between the current state of the Libertarians and any semblance of playing in the bigs.

  152. 157/158 – and that point was …?

    Oh, I remember.

    Brian: “What’s the difference between Republicans and Democrats? One is the party of hate-mongering gum-up-the-works types making no effort to offer actual useful alternatives. The other is the party of Reagan.”

    Corby: “So, you are literally saying that in Congress, right now, the Dems are standing in opposition to the Republicans by not compromising, trying to force legislation that is against gays and other minorities, and saying it is OK to torture, all while using a fat bloated mouthpiece to stir up the American fringe and religious group against the other guys?”

    Brian: “It’s just a joke. You are too serious. It’s all your fault for getting spun up when I call out the Dems for being what the Republicans actually are, but I don’t want to take responsibility for my party.”

    You know, I really don’t think it’s funny. I really don’t think you are joking. I really don’t find it amusing when the right is constantly intentionally obtuse and act all innocent when the left defends itself. I really don’t appreciate using the tactics Rush Limbaugh is famous for. And I don’t appreciate you, Brian, specifically. You have added nothing to the conversation. At least I have tried.

  153. Corby, you’re on the very thin edge of not being polite. Just as a head’s up.

    That said, I note that in college, there was a guy who liked to rile people up by saying controversial things, and when people got really pissed off, would hold up his hands and say “dude, it was a joke.” This worked just fine until someone punched him in the nose, joke or not.

    Which is to say that the “dude, it’s a joke” thing has its perils, even when it is just a joke.

  154. Korby @ 176

    If that’s an accurate reflection of what you think I was writing you are incorrect.

    And I don’t appreciate you, Brian, specifically. You have added nothing to the conversation. At least I have tried.

    Ai! I am rhetorically wounded! I yield to your superior smugness and humorless zealotry! Flee! Fly before the wrath of the Korby the Humorless Git!

  155. Brian, calm yourself, please.

    I know, I know. You’re joking. But we’ve established Corby’s sense of humor is not attuned to yours. Please be considerate.

  156. Your definition of a “real true blue fiscal conservative” is pretty close to my definition of “fanatic over there on the fringes of that there Libertarian thingee”.

    Let me clarify my own comment by referring to this one.

    Vast, vast majority of private money in this country for new products are from people who have 5-7 year time frames. And thats from idea to market or acquisition.

    Dunno about you, but the only research involved in that is applied. Very little basic research is funded by private money; very little private money WANTS to fund basic research–horizon to payoff is far too long. That’s why even big corps don’t do that much basic research–much cheaper to allow others to do. That’s not something that’s gonna change much if all government funding dried up.

  157. Mark 172: Now a real true blue fiscal conservative would say no government money for ANY medical research; that is a proper function of the private sector.

    I agree with gwangung and Nick; that’s not a fiscal conservative. That’s a slash-and-burn anti-Government wacko.

  158. John, I had to rethink and rewrite that a number of times before I felt comfortable with being inside the line. Maybe just inside, but still.

    Brian, I’ll just make this last comment – nicely.

    1) You intentionally got my name wrong. It’s five letters. That’s a jerky thing to do.

    2) You don’t know me. I’ve met John a couple of times now, and I’m certain he can assure you I am not humorless at all. A git, well, possibly. But not humorless.

    3) I took the time to peruse your website before I answered the first time. Considering the posts on your site are not too far removed from your posts here, I felt comfortable that, while you may have found what you wrote funny, it could not really be considered a joke – if by joke you mean “Not really true, I’m just being sarcastic.” I make jokes all the time – the difference being I try to amuse my audience, not just myself.

    4) More on topic – I think your attitude is exactly what is wrong with the GOP, in that you seem to feel you can hide behind the “Dude, it’s a joke.” line to deflect responsibility instead of trying to add something of substance to the discussion.

  159. John, I meant to add that I was done posting about this to Brian, but I seem to be riding the fail bus. I am sorry for the extra post, and I’ll be moving along now.

  160. I agree with gwangung and Nick; that’s not a fiscal conservative. That’s a slash-and-burn anti-Government wacko.

    I wouldn’t say wacko.

    Just someone who doesn’t know how finance and business has worked for the past, say, four to five decades.

    It’s not to say that it CAN’T be changed—it’s that it would require substantially more changes than are feasible or are probably desirable in any kind forseeable time frame.

  161. Nick from the OC #171:

    I say that social conservatives got reamed and the best you can come up with in opposition to that is Terry Schiavo and stem cell research? Okay, I’ll give you stem cell research (stem cell research was and is over-hyped, but it was something the religious right cared about and it wasn’t just a gesture), but Terry Schiavo? It was crass political grandstanding of the highest order and they didn’t make a difference in that case other than delaying matters (and they certainly didn’t set any precedent for future cases).

    So, I stand by my remarks. The social conservatives got screwed sideways by the Bush administration and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch.

  162. Johne Cook@133

    I see. You can’t legitimately argue with the points I raise, so complain that the words I use are painful? I hold up a just taken picture and you claim it is too ugly? Yeesh.

    All right, consider this. Coleman’s legal team got busted witness tampering on successive days. The court fined them $7500 after the second time. Yeh, this is the action of a legal team that is convinced of the rightness of their position. Uh huh. Or are you going to claim that this is just standard operating procedure for Republican legal teams? Go ahead, read the record. I’ll wait for you.

    Brian Dunbar@several locations

    Since it was my post you tried to ridicule by your claimed joke (notice I don’t see the joke or any success at it), I suppose a response is in order. Simply claiming that you don’t agree would have been a real response. Actually coming up with some examples to point to that refute my points would have been a better response. By the way, Senator Snow’s op-ed in the Times (I think) today would tend to validate my post, especially coming from a Republican Senator.

  163. John Grizz@190

    Well, it WAS something to do with loooosing nuts. Somehow. Explosive comment? ;)

  164. AlanM@188–

    Alan, you originally made a very broad generalization, a generalization that many folks (including me) don’t agree with. I provided two counter-examples, one of which you acknowledged to be correct. The other example you dismissed as “crass political grandstanding of the highest order” even though it represented a widespread intervention by the Executive and Legislative Branches into a matter that had already been resolved at the State level, and/or into a matter that had already been resolved by the Judicial Branch.

    To refresh your memory, let me copy and paste from the Wikipedia article on the Schiavo case:

    “In March 2005 President Bush returned to Washington D.C. from a vacation to sign legislation designed to keep Schiavo alive …”

    To me, when a situation involves “fourteen appeals and numerous motions, petitions, and hearings in the Florida courts; five suits in Federal District Court; Florida legislation struck down by the Supreme Court of Florida; a subpoena by a congressional committee to qualify Schiavo for witness protection; federal legislation (the Palm Sunday Compromise); and four denials of certiorari from the Supreme Court of the United States….” it hardly qualifies for dismissal as “crass political grandstanding of the highest order.”

    It seems to me that it was a decent attempt, if ultimately unsuccessful, to install a Theocracy in the United States. Incidentally, and not coincidentally, I exited the Republican Party that same month (March 2005) after more than 25 years of membership.

  165. Nick,

    and here I thought the problem with the far fringe Libertarian “thingie” was the whole “legalize all drugs and allow people to deal with the consequences of their own actions” plank.

    I never knew it was fiscal restraint that turned people off.

  166. #192, Nick

    Okay, it was a generalization, but I think you are overselling the Schiavo case. The GOP decided to make a big song and dance about this one, but it had very little to do with the general right-to-die (I believe that a general comatose patients rights bill was considered, but went nowhere). It was a convinient, focused issue that everyone could make a big song and dance about (Bush cut his vacation short. The horror!) and get lots of juicy publicity, but even if it suceeded it wasn’t clear what influence it would have beyond that incident (maybe the GOP would have taken success in that area as a confidence booster, but if they really gave a crap about the issue they had plenty of time to pass bills on the matter when they controlled the House and the Senate). The Terry Schiavo case was ultimately about Terry Schiavo.

    I’m going to stick with crass political grandstanding. However, I can agree to disagree on this point. Can we find common ground on the fact that Bill Frist is a tool and Tom DeLay is a weasel?

    Your comment about it being an attempt to install a theocracy in the US seems over the top to me. Again, the GOP had the House, the Sentate, and the Presidency. If they really wanted that then surely they could have made more strides in that direction? I think it proves that the GOP couldn’t give two hoots about state’s rights.

  167. Judge Roy Moore is running for Governor of Alabama. Now there’s a Republican who’d install a theocracy if he could. Heck, Rush Limbaugh says he promotes Christian values, and so does Ann Coulter. At least one of the GOP contenders for President is a creationist, and would promote “Intelligent Design”.

    Moderates Republicans like Olympia Snowe are pretty much the minority.

  168. AlanM @ 194,

    Yes, we can agree on our assessments of those two gentlemen.

    And I can back off on the coup d’theocracy comment but I continue to believe the actions at the Federal level were motivated more by religious convictions than political opportunism.

    Mark Horning @ 193,

    I don’t feel that your comment deserves a serious reply.

  169. AlanM@194

    Read up on Dominionist theory and efforts (to a large degree successful during the Bush era) especially the signing statements re: DHS powers along the southern borders. They didn’t get everything they wanted but they did get a lot of under the table help from the GOP.

  170. Corby Kennard @ 140 / 153
    What I literally said is at 125, and it seems nothing at all like what you responded to. What I essentially said is that a Supermajority (by either / any party) is A Bad Thing. I believe in checks and balances. I believe in leaving room for cooler heads, regardless of party affiliation.

    I wrote nothing about ‘obstructionist’ Democrats, nothing about gays or minorities, nothing about torture, and nothing about Rush Limbaugh. (For the record, I don’t care for Rush. At all. He’s a self-important blowhard who has insinuated himself into politics based on his job as a talk show host. I think he does more harm than good and I don’t listen to him. There are Conservative pundits I do like, but I rather doubt you are familiar with them, as they are regional and not national.)

    Furthermore, Corby, if you weren’t so quick to jump to conclusions about me, you might find that we have a lot in common. A quick look at your blog suggests we both are neophyte creative writers with a love of science fiction. We both are in some lean financial times at the moment but are getting by. We both would like to improve our writing by going to creative writing workshops but apparently haven’t yet. We are both family men. If you tend to the Left and I tend to the Right, does that automatically make us enemies? Not from here. I’ve loved sci-fi longer than I’ve cared about politics, and that takes priority for me, not because it is more important, but because it is more valuable.

    Nargel @ 189

    Two effective parties WOULD be best but at the moment we have 1 mostly effective party and 1 small collection of hate mongering, petty, purety-trolling gum-up-the-works types making no effort to offer actual useful alternatives.

    I’m a pragmatist—you have a spleen to vent, and far be it from me to get in the way of a good venting. Or is it spleening? Regardless, I’m not going to get in a contest of chopping down the others’ party. If you’re genuinely interested in my simple opinion, I’m happy to compare notes. Otherwise, by all means, vent away.

    To sum up, Supermajority, bad. Consensus, good, Sci-fi, great. People, nuanced. That’s all I wanted to say.

  171. Johne Cook@199

    Spleening! Yeh, that’s the ticket!

    Yes, I’m some what ticked at what has become of the Republican party. In the ’70s we had 2 parties that could form consensus on a lot of issues or at least work out some effective compromises. Nixon didn’t help matters. Since then the powers that be in that party have over time handed the reins to the so-called social conservatives who are dead set against the concept of compromise. Read the op-ed in the Times by Senator Snowe (R) that I pointed to. Makes my point for me. I’ve fought, argued and worked for the last 40 odd years to try to stop this slide and cassandra-ed the whole way. I would prefer to have 2 parties that could work together, I just happen to see the unfortunate reality of today.

    Supermajority bad. Yes, but. The last 8 years (with supermajority for most of it by Bushco) have screwed things up so bad that it needs all the tools we can get to fix it. Check the records of filibusters, attempted fillibusters and threatened fillibusters over the last 20 years. The numbers have been going up in a hyperbolic curve and they are almost entirely republican. There are items going through that almost rutinely require cloture now that never did in the past. The lockstep NO on everything makes supermajority the only way anything can even get done. Remember who threatened the ‘nuclear option’ at the least hint of disagreement. That sort of threat is not being waved about like a club now.

    Consensus, good? Yes, but. You cannot get consensus when one side will only, if then, put forth ideas that got us in this mess in the first place and insist that their concepts be the only ones allowed or they will stamp their feet and hold their breath and blame the Dems if they fall over. Not to mention lying to the cameras on the floor of Congress in the first place. Bullet train from Disneyland to Vegas? Pelosi marsh mice? etc. etc. Riiight.

    My point was simple. As much as I would like some adult give and take on the issues. As much as I would like to have 2 parties that would both promote good alternatives that could help all americans rather than special narrow intrest groups. We do not have that here.
    I want that to be the case but, frankly, until the moderate wing of the Dems breaks off to replace the Reps as a major party, I do not see it happening. Not with the latest rebranding of the party focusing on Jeb Bush (BUSH?), McCain and Cantor and trying to add Newt, Palin and Jindal.

    S.F great. Yes, yes, yes.

    People may be nuanced but the reps are allowing less nuance in their party and people every day.

    You think I am wrong here? O.K. I’m listening. Make your points. Show me examples. I would love to get evidence that things aren’t as bad as I suspect.

  172. Johne@199

    Have you heard of Poe’s Law? I encounter it quite regularly, and it is almost always from the right. I admit to being a bit knee-jerky on these sorts of discussions, because it always seems the when Dems make any sort of reasoned point about the current state of the GOP, the righties start the ad hominem attacks and turn the discussion into a pointless troll-fest.

    That said, you are right. I mistook what you said. Sorry about that. Although, to be fair, after my one comment to you I responded to Brian the rest of the time.

    The rest of your post I agree with. I hate that the right is a parody of itself now – not only because the left needs a strong right to balance itself out, but because my side of the family are all well-established Republicans, and it actually bothers me to see them so marginalized by their own party – what’s worse is they don’t seem to be able to see it.

    And no, I don’t see you as an enemy – I see the Obstructionist Bigoted Hateful Neo-Cons, who seem to be the vocal arm of the Republican party, as an enemy to America, Democracy, and everything I hold important about my life and my family. They are a specific group, and the ones in power. There are also quite a few of them in places I hang out – although by no means are they the majority.

    So, yeah. All good, and I apologize. I do try to be more cool-headed about these things, but dammit, I just get the menstrual cramps real hard.

  173. Nargel @ 200

    I’m also ticked at what has become of the Republican party. I feel abandoned here in what is becoming an ever-widening center as they sprint so far to the Right that I no longer recognize much of what they have become, a Frankenparty (referencing Frankenstein’s monster, and with apologies to Al Franken) that no longer espounses their more traditional planks.

    I don’t agree that Supermajority is required to fix the mess we have now. I fear Supermajority will just result in a new mess tacked onto the old mess. I’d prefer some reasonable middle ground, but we’ve seen here how hard it is to find middle ground, and we’re just engaged in casual discussion, much less high-level decision-making.

    We have to stop demonizing opposing views. I don’t know how that happens, but simple respect is lacking across-the-board, and I keep wondering where the adults are, and when they will restrain themselves and their peers on their own side of the aisle.

    I don’t have any problem with reswizzling party construction and platforms. I don’t care what they are called. I’d support Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose party if I thought they could be centrist and effective and sensible.

    To your final point, I think things are, indeed, as bad as you suspect. The question is how we go about fixing them. The Republican party acted strangely and brutishly and disengenuously for the most part for the last eight years, and I’m not a homer who will defend them just because I’m from that tradition. However, now that we have Democratic leadership, the last thing we need is for them to act in a manner that is even stranger. (I’m resisting the easy target of the recent buzzing of NY because the President was apparently vexed by that, at least publicly. I get that. I’m prepared to call that non-partisan strangeness and leave it at that.)

    Getting back to Arlen Specter, the ultimate irony here is this is one instance where Bush is, indeed, fully responsible for this current situation. Bush is the one who threw his weight behind Specter’s latest campaign, and who stumped for him in Pennsylvania.

    Corby @ 201
    I was not familiar with Poe’s Law, however, having now read it, I understand the principle very well. I was thinking more of the other Poe and his Purloined Letter:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purloined_Letter

    As far as attacks from the even-more Righties, I get them too, and am dismayed.

    As an aside, I read your story at Kalkion, and enjoyed it. I have a comment in the queue there.
    http://kalkion.com/corby-kennard/49

  174. Johnne – I don’t agree that Supermajority is required to fix the mess we have now. I fear Supermajority will just result in a new mess tacked onto the old mess. I’d prefer some reasonable middle ground

    In terms of a liberal/conservative divide, the current supermajority *is* the middle ground. Obama is far more centrist than Bush ever was. And despite it coming back a stump frequently, he reaches across the left/right divide far more often then Bush.

    Bush enjoyed screwing with liberals. Surely you must have noticed that about him, right? His knowing smirk, every time he did something to piss us off, his petty vindictiveness, and his insane cronyism.

    The only way for there to be a good balance in US politics is for Republicans to fix themselves into something that isn’t run by far right lunatics. So far, those far right lunatics still hold the majority of the influence in the party.

    Personally, I’d still lean left, but if people like Megan McCain were actually in charge of the GOP, I’d at least respect them. I expect you would too. And I expect Obama would find her, and people like her to be willing to compromise in order to get things done.

  175. Johne@202 – Hey, thanks. I truly appreciate that. Not liking it is an option as well, but I’m glad you did.

    Hopefully I’ll have some more stuff to submit before too long.

  176. Johne Cook@202

    Thank you for your response.

    I would be glad to join you in saying that a Supermajority was not needed, were that the case. My problem is that, based on the intransigent behavior by the Reps in Congress, I see no other way past the “I have no real ideas but no for the sake of political theater” unbudgeable stance. Do you see something I am missing here?

    Demonizing opposing views? I suggest you look into Lee Atwater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Atwater), Rove’s political patron and godfather. I will simply note that it was during Atwater’s turn at the helm that the major polarization started. (Not to mention Voodoo economics and the explosion of the national debt) All that need be done to start fixing the problem is for the 24/7 campaign-style attacks to stop and a more adult behaviour to start. I agree that it is not 100% the reps but when 98+% is coming from one side it is a little disingenuous to call it bipartisan.

    As for the NY buzzing, have you noticed that the secrecy push, as if planes were invisible and inaudible, came from a Bush appointee at the FAA? Gotta admit *that* got my tin foil krumpling.

    I believe that you have only begun to see the actual actions and policies of the last 8 years. If my suspicions are accurate “you aint seen nothing yet”. In part, this is one of the factors that will contribute to the marginalization of the Republican party. When less than 20% of the country believes you, much less believes in you, and you actively purge your moderates, national impact becomes less and less likely.

    As far as Spector goes, I believe that his effect as a symbol and signpost is more than any minor change in voting pattern will produce. He has, at most, one more term left in him and I don’t expect a massive change in his voting record.

  177. Johne Cook@207

    LOL.

    Well played sir! Well played.

    I am stealing that link as I will surely need it soon myself.

  178. In four years America will be bankrupt. In four years Israel will be gone. In four years the global economy will be in a worse state than during the Great Depression. In four years radical Islamists will control several nuclear-armed states. In four years China will be the world’s pre-eminent power. In four years this country will be run by a Chicago-style political machine turning Federal money into Democrat votes.

    And in four years you guys will still be cooing over how Obama looks without a shirt.

  179. Trimegistus

    In four years America will be …

    Well, will be is probably too strong.

    But I do calculate that the odds are better than I am comfortable with that many, if not all of these things could very well come to pass.

    The problem is that some of these are not not really in the current President’s sphere of influence. The fact that Islamists may gain control of Pakistan probably would have occurred even if McCain were elected.

    The danger to Israel would have been a fact regardless of the US President and unfortunately, the peril will probably have to be avoided by Israel directly. A direct assault by the US on Iran is politically untenable for a whole host of reasons.

    The bankruptcy thing, if it occurs will be blamed on Democrats and the President and that blame will not necessarily be misplaced, but the voting populace will have been complicit.

    I mean the voters will have a chance to avoid disaster in 2010. But will they take it?

  180. I mean the voters will have a chance to avoid disaster in 2010. But will they take it?

    Only if they vote Obama in for a second term and don’t listen to the lies and whargarble of the FoxNewsChannel and Rush Limbaugh.

    Trimegistus@209

    I hang out on Fark, and the neo-con paranoiacs there would laugh you off the site. Seriously. None of these things “will” happen in four years, and if they happen at all it won’t be because of Obama but in spite of him.

  181. Morning Frank, you’re late to the party. :)
    Want to discuss the Incredible Shrinking Party?

  182. Oh, hey, the “rebranding” efforts for the GOP are taking place. They’re being run by Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor, and Mitt Romney.

    Yep, the same morons who “branded” the GOP in the first place. Because they’re the one’s who’re likely to have tons of new ideas *snicker*.

  183. Josh Jasper@214

    But they’re reaching out to Jindal, Newt and Paaalin! How … original.

  184. Josh Jasper

    So everyone stock up on gold, guns, antibiotics, and John Ringo.

    Well guns and food are only prudent.

    And I don’t understand the fascination with gold. I mean do people really think that if the the world as we know it ceased to exist gold would be any more valuable than pieces of paper? Why? The things that would be valuable are the things that would keep people alive. A monetary system is useful as a means of exchange and you could use tulips if you wanted. Gold would be valuable to people who could use it to keep themselves and their families from dying.

    Nargel

    Morning Frank, you’re late to the party.

    No, you just missed me at 76

    Want to discuss the Incredible Shrinking Party?

    Who cares about the GOP? They are only relevant if they can convince me and others like me that they can actually restrain spending and the growth of Government. But any individual who can convince me of this, regardless of Party, would get my vote.

    OTOH, the GOP, in retrospect, look like misers compared to what we have now.

  185. But now that the Republicans are a minority party — who will you use as your scapegoat? Who will The One blame when his policies cause disaster?

    Oh, that’s right, he (and you) will blame the Republicans anyways because you are so invested in supporting Obama that your psyches would shatter if you ever admitted — even to yourselves — that he’s a brittle ideologue promoted well beyond his competency level by liberal guilt.

  186. Getting back to Arlen Specter for a moment, file this under “unintended consequences”

    Does Arlen Specter’s defection from R to D strengthen the President’s hand in Congress? Perhaps overall but not on judicial appointments because breaking (the equivalent of) a filibuster in the Senate Judiciary Committee requires the consent of at least one member of the minority. Before today, Specter was likely to be that one Republican. Now what?

    …Senate Judiciary Committee rule:

    IV. BRINGING A MATTER TO A VOTE

    The Chairman shall entertain a non-debatable motion to bring a matter before the Committee to a vote. If there is objection to bring the matter to a vote without further debate, a roll call vote of the Committee shall be taken, and debate shall be terminated if the motion to bring the matter to a vote without further debate passes with ten votes in the affirmative, one of which must be cast by the minority.

    Now this is interesting. Specter could allow a nominee out of committee if Specter was a member of the Republican minority, but as part of the majority, he’s just another vote. Here are the other Republicans: Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Jon Kyl, Jeff Sessions, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Tom Coburn.

    It appears Specter’s defection came just in time…

  187. Oh let them go ahead and scream. Clarence Thomas got on that court; I’m reasonably certain Obama can get a nominee onto the bench. And it will keep GOP spotlight huggers distracted from other things where their opposition is considerably more important. Plus they’ll say funny things.

    What the GOP doesn’t get, maybe because they are having a leadership civil war, is that when the economy is this nasty and people are losing their jobs, people want stuff to get done. The more GOP members continue attacks on various groups of Americans, obstruct efforts to solve problems, including filling staff positions, and rant about Obama being a, what was it, “brittle idealogue” and how the apocalypse is coming, the more angry 70% of the population gets with them. And the more that 70% grows — it used to be smaller. And half their remaining base is furious with one group or another of them.

  188. Frank@220,216

    You are correct, sir. Welcome back then. :)

    That’s an interesting point about the minority vote requirement in the judiciary Committee. Possibly a comment could be made to Hatch about the Feds not officially digging too deep into the politically oriented activities of the Church into the Prop 8 mess in California?

    Grassley, OTOH, since his days as a state level pol has been known to knife his own side in the back given enough motivation.

    I have heard comments that starting off with an Anita Hill nomination could lead to a “compromise” nomination of the real choice. Something of that nature might be all that is needed.

  189. Well guns and food are only prudent.

    All of those Y2K crisis hucksters proved that, right? Oh, no, wait, they didn’t.

    And I don’t understand the fascination with gold.

    Even in the”Coming Obamocalypse” scenario, people are still going to use representative units of barter. Might as well be gold. It’s got history, and people who buy the End Times nonsense are *conservative*, and therefore bound by tradition.

    A society where you can only buy a loaf of bread with actual barter and not representative currency is not going to advance much.

    If things have broken down to the point where it’s some sort of Postman type apocalyptic nightmare, I consider it a given that people with actual military hardware will dominate anyway, so however many guns I personally own isn’t going to make a difference.

  190. Trimegistus, you are precious. Really.

    Well, lets just say that if the Republicans disappeared tomorrow – the crap flinging they engaged in would still have left poop stains on the walls and carpet. There would still be things to scrub clean. You seem to be of the opinion that the thing just disappears once one stops doing it. The results of doing it still exist.

    I personally have no guilt, liberal or otherwise. I didn’t run the country into the ground economically. I didn’t lie to start a war on foreign soil. I am not a war profiteer. I didn’t release top secret information that destroyed a CIA agent’s career and endangered the lives of agents and contacts worldwide. I didn’t engage in torture. I didn’t destroy the rights of gays to marry the ones they love. I didn’t create school curriculum that actually damages our country’s educational programs. I didn’t shoot a guy in the face and force him to apologize to me. I didn’t steal two elections. I didn’t throw away American lives on false pretenses. I didn’t take away military benefits. And I didn’t vote for the people who did all those things.

    Oddly enough, I don’t understand how those of you who did are not crushed by their own guilt right now, but I suppose that would require some sort of conscience.

  191. I don’t think there is a Federal investigation into Prop 8 church support, nor is there going to be. Everyone knows the churches that were involved and there’s nothing to investigate. It was their right to make their case, and it’s a state matter, out of staters or no, and even if there was an investigation, I don’t think Hatch et al would care except to loudly denounce it.

    Whoa, Corby, let’s be a little less loose with the facts. They didn’t destroy the rights of gays to marry, they just insisted that those rights continue to be denied, complete with legal prohibition. Cheney did not force his friend to apologize to him about the shooting, the guy just did so on his own. The second election in 2004 was not stolen, though there probably was a bit of voter fraud here and there with stupid dirty tricks and plain incompetence. But Walker Bush won it, and Kerry lost it. The Iraq war was only a year old and people were willing to give Bush a second chance. The economy hadn’t completely tanked then, though it was in the works. Bush did enough damage that we don’t have to exaggerate it.

    As for liberal guilt, that’s where we well off Democrats feel guilty for being well off and so supposedly want to give all the rich people’s money to the poor people. This view is because the Democratic politicians and party platform, while often catering to businesses just like Republicans, occasionally gives a rat’s ass about poor people, the unemployed and laid off, uninsured kids, disabled and ill vets, women’s employment opportunities, civil rights, the environment, stuff like that. They do so in part because these things, if left with no attempt to solve or improve them, drain the federal coffers, but according to the opposition, it’s just because we want to play Robin Hood, make businesses and rich people pay for everything, and remake America into a radical Utopia — the definition of which changes every five minutes depending on who you ask.

    It’s the myth of the liberal, and we have our myths of the conservatives. And then we just have conspiracy obsessed prophets like Trimegistus, for whom our multiracial president is scary. The really funny thing about it is that Obama is a centerist Democrat and about as opposite from Bush’s ideologue attitudes as you can get.

  192. KatG- Nah, Kucinich (who I voted for in the primary) is far to the left of Obama. He’s closer to The Anti Bush.

  193. Whoa, Corby, let’s be a little less loose with the facts. They didn’t destroy the rights of gays to marry, they just insisted that those rights continue to be denied, complete with legal prohibition. Cheney did not force his friend to apologize to him about the shooting, the guy just did so on his own. The second election in 2004 was not stolen, though there probably was a bit of voter fraud here and there with stupid dirty tricks and plain incompetence. But Walker Bush won it, and Kerry lost it. The Iraq war was only a year old and people were willing to give Bush a second chance. The economy hadn’t completely tanked then, though it was in the works. Bush did enough damage that we don’t have to exaggerate it.

    The gay marriage issue – I was referring to Prop8, which demolished a right already granted in California. The Cheney thing – yeah, OK, but considering how things get done behind the scenes it would not surprise me if his lawyer strongly implied that it would be in everyone’s best interest to go that way. The 2004 election – I maintain it was steered in the direction of a republican win based on the clear evidence of voter disenfranchisement in Florida and Ohio. Also, the black boxes that were being voted on are incredibly easy to hack and reprogram – there was a great documentary on them on HBO. I understand the need for people to feel like it was a fair election, but I know enough about the machines and the process that was used to feel differently.
    Other than the Cheney thing I don’t feel I exaggerated. But you make a valid point – I’ll stick to more clearly established facts.

  194. Well okay, if we’re including the whole conservative movement, maybe you could include Prop 8, but by and large the campaign for that was not Republican politicians and certainly not federal ones.

    Josh Jasper — by idealogue, I meant unbending and inflexible. Obama is a centerist Democrat, not far left, and he’s much more willing to adapt and change course if he feels there is a better solution to pursue, and he draws from multiparty advisers and the full range of Democrats, rather than just one plank of the party.

  195. I’d like to refer obstructionists to the posts at 224, 225, 227, and 228. It’s called debate, clarification and compromise.

    If two strangers on the internet can do it, a bunch of people who know each other sitting the same room can at least try.

  196. KatG @225

    I never said that there WAS an investigation. What I said was that if the intransigant behaviour shown by the couch-fainting, hand-waving and gobbling (currently shown as a response to a nomination that has not yet even been made) continued, then a comment to Hatch that the money and people invested in the anti-Prop 8 fight might be seen as a lever in line with a plank (OK, several planks) of the Repub platform. Possibly causing a look into the tax exempt status…. Might make him behave like an adult.

    Mind you, I do not think that they crossed that line or that such an investigation is likely, simply that he has intrests other than the current stop-everything blather.

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