Yes, This

Conservative senator tells constituents to read widely and not just rely on media with their own biases:

[Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom] Coburn urged audience members to widen their points of view by reading and watching different media outlets, not just the ones they agree with.

“Don’t just watch Fox News or CNN, watch them both,” Coburn said. He said he read both The Washington Post and The New York Times — plus The Wall Street Journal — and urged his audience to do likewise. “Listen to the other side, because what it does, it makes you a better person.”

Good for you, Tom Coburn.

69 thoughts on “Yes, This

  1. First flat out smart thing that I totally agree with that I’ve heard from any conservative leader in a while.

    Hope the GOP doesn’t kill his support.

  2. A friend of my worked for Coburn when he was a Congressman. She didn’t like his views, but she liked him as a person because he kept his physician’s practice going while he was in Washington. His attitude was that he was a physician elected to sit in Congress, not a Congressman who used to be a physician.

  3. Yes, absolutely: It’s very important to pay attention to both very right-wing corporate news sources and corporate news sources that are only somewhat right-wing.

    “We got both kinds [of music]. We got Country and Western.”

  4. That’s such a … nice and decent and reasonable thing to say. I hope it’s covered on the lefty news I’ll watch tonight.

    Thanks for the first pleasant surprise I’ve had all day.

  5. John Scalzi @ 4:

    Yes, indeed it is. But you pretty much have to go to non-”mainstream” (read: non-corporate) sources — and/or non-US sources — to really “listen to the other side”.

  6. While I agree in spirit, the idea of watching Fox News doesn’t appeal greatly to me. Every time I’ve paused more than 60 seconds on it I end up yelling at the TV.

  7. Reading widely (wider than the lib/con dichotomy) shows that you are willing to test your ideas and preconceptions against competing memes, discard the weak and stupid bits, and understand both what you are defending, and what you are defending it against.

    Of course, being selective is sometimes prudent. I don’t read or watch Fox News unless specifically directed to it, because experience has told me that I will get nothing from it but a glimpse into the fury and histrionics of (freq. white, male) conservatives. I understand that as much as I care to at this point.

  8. Yeah, I’m kind of with Andy here. I can stand to read George Will, but I pretty much can’t stand to watch Fox news. Are we just applauding one conservative’s willingness to listen to the left, or are we applying this to ourselves as well?

    On the one hand, it feels hypocritical not to. On the other hand, it’s not really a fair dichotomy: FOX is not the right’s CNN, and vice versa. While the left may have sources as vitriolic and unbalanced as FOX is, I don’t watch/read those.

    What this comment seems to do, beyond the laudable surface, is legitimize FOX, much as Creationists always urge people to “teach the debate,” as if both sides of the debate actually had equal merit.

    *frown*

  9. @Andy, @Leah: If I can suffer through the smug self-satisfaction of your typical NPR “social issues” reporter on the way home from work, then I’m sure that you can muster enough willpower to endure a half hour of news from Fox without imploding. That is, if you really are willing to expose yourself to other viewpoints. Neither of your comments indicate that you’re willing to be that open minded.

  10. What? Doesn’t Coburn understand that we must all be BITTER ENEMIES?

    Seriously, I disagree with quite a few of Coburn’s stances…from abortion to gay marriage (and agree with others)…but it’s nice to see that maybe, MAYBE some politicians are realizing that this blatant air of opposition and adversity is not healthy for anyone.

    I have hopes, at least.

  11. I WANT to read/consume the most partisan, most popular news sources of my ideological opponents- I need to know what’s selling, what the other side is saying. Mostly, I know what I think. I want to know what those who disagree with me think.

    Kudos to Mr. Coburn for having sufficient conviction of his opinions to allow for exposure alternate points of view.

  12. As a Libertarian, I personally find both Fox and CNN to be pretty “far left” in that they both are biased towards thinking that govenrment can actually “do good” once “their side” is in charge.

    But Coburn has always been a fairly level-headed sort of guy, and it’s good to know he at least reads the WSJ

  13. I listen to far, far more Pacifica radio than I do watch FOX News, even though my politics have much more in common with a typical FOX viewer than anyone who has even heard of Pacifica. With one exception, I think Pacifica’s hosts are concerned, thoughtful, smart, and wrong. (And the one strikes me as just concerned and wrong, about almost everything).

    I don’t like watching FOX for the same reason I don’t like talking politics with my Mom — I agree, so let’s talk about something else.

  14. I was already having an Oklahoma Homesick Fever day and you just made it worse, but I forgive you because I’m certain I’ll be cured if I can find a good prairie dog photo in my files.


  15. Yes, indeed it is. But you pretty much have to go to non-”mainstream” (read: non-corporate) sources — and/or non-US sources — to really “listen to the other side”

    I like to listen to the news on Australian public radio. One tends to get quite a different view of American politics (not to mention world events) when you’re hearing an outsider’s perspective.

    I just wish I knew more languages so I wouldn’t be restricted to english-speakers.

  16. samrobb @ 14:

    I’m not necessarily disagreeing that I am not open-minded, as I am certain that I have certain opinions that are unlikely to be easily changed. My frustration with Fox news is the sheer amount of stupid that comes with it. If they were just smug I could bear that. It’s not like either party has a monopoly on their stupid, there’s ammunition for any ideology to be smug about.

    No, what makes me yell at them is when they go off on strawmen, repeat debunked facts (again, and again and again), and promote opinions as facts that I can’t stand to watch them.

  17. From radio standpoint, I’ve been digging what the locak NPR station has done. They’ve launched a second station with streams, but it’s not NPR – it’s other sources. From things like the Jefferson Hour (http://www.jeffersonhour.org/) to World Radio Network (http://www.wrn.org/listeners/) that brings in public radio from other countries (I’ve heard Russia, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands so far) it’s VERY different from what most media gives us. Schedules here http://kuow2.org/schedule.php and note that most of this is streamed so you don’t need to be in Seattle.

    I rather agree with bearpaw – the continuum between the NYT and the WSJ is actually pretty narrow. Remember that the NYT supported the Iraq invasion – only in the US would anyone consider the Times leftwing. In most EU countries it would be center right.

    Regarding Coburn…. I wonder if he said this out of concern for the growing influence of the Tea party fanatics who are, frankly, pretty uninformed (and seem to be spelling challenged. I’d love to see a responsible, informed conservative movement take back the Republicans from the extremists who seem to control it now.

    Regardless of his motivations, I’m glad he said this and it will be interesting to see the reaction he gets.

  18. I’m not disagreeing that it’s a good idea to read / watch a variety of news and information sources. But, I don’t think his list of sources was particularly diverse. As N.N. Talib notes in “The Black Swan”, getting repetitive information from the same, or very similar sources, actually makes you dumber. And it reinforces your biases, prejudices, and preconceived notions. Fox, CNN, the Post, the Times, etc are pretty damn similar.

    I would instead like to hear someone tell his followers to read a diversity of written material–fiction, non-fiction, and disparate news sources covering a variety of topics. It is my opinion that this is the proper way to form an independent opinion on new information–be it political or not.

  19. Andy Smith @ 21:

    No, what makes me yell at them is when they go off on strawmen, repeat debunked facts (again, and again and again), and promote opinions as facts that I can’t stand to watch them.

    Ugh, yes. They’re hardly unique in those behaviors, but I’ve never seen any organization do it so blatantly and habitually as Fox News. We don’t have a TV these days, so my exposure to broadcast news is somewhat limited, but when I do watch Fox News I sometimes feel as if I’ve stumbled into an alternate-present dystopia.

    They’re like a self-parody cubed, except that they aren’t funny.

    With most news media, I think the distortions are generally results of institutional dysfunction, and people in power taking advantage of and encouraging that. With Fox, some of the distortion simply has to be intentional.

  20. As a Libertarian, I personally find both Fox and CNN to be pretty “far left” in that they both are biased towards thinking that govenrment can actually “do good” once “their side” is in charge.

    Given that this is possibile at least once, they are correct (see GI Bill, see FEMA under Clinton).

    I do think it pernscious to think that government can NEVER do good.

  21. I don’t like either Fox or CNN. Sue me.

    I don’t see them as being in any way two sides of anything. Both are angling for viewership and ad revenue with very slightly different business models. Neither channel is a coherent political clearinghouse.

    Fox plays at being conservative, but what does that even mean? When Bush invaded Iraq, they were very supportive. Now that congressional Republicans are saying that “everyone agrees” that Iraq was a mistake, how will Fox new’s messaging about Iraq change? There’s no political consistency on the channel over time. They change with the political winds like any other broadcaster, but seem different because of their butch style of delivery.

    CNN is just a mess, from a political standpoint, and from an informational one as well. They seem to have mistaken being incoherent for neutrality. Glenn Beck broke into cable on Headline News and Erick Erickson was just hired by CNN. What are they left of? The same parade of think tankers and strategists appear on both Fox and CNN.

    The editorial stances of the Post and the NYT are intentionally ‘centrist’ and always have been. Coburn talks like he’s reading the 30s-era Daily Worker. What a Big Brave man: I read the New York Times today. David Brooks wrote that Republicans might want to tone it down a notch when they verbally fellate the teabaggers. Coburn’s a real lion tamer if he can handle radioactively leftist screeds like that.

    This is the same Tom Coburn who is blocking an extension of unemployment benefits to victims of the recession? His viewing habits have made him so broad minded. Sheesh.

  22. As someone who leans conservative, I can’t stand to watch Fox News. if it’s important, it’ll be touched upon in one of the conservative blogs I read. In the same way, I can’t bring myself to do much more than skim Daily Kos headlines. Reading the articles leaves me beating my head against a wall.

    I get much of my news from NPR – a mostly neutral, slightly left-leaning source. I also follow quite a few libertarian/conservative/gun nut blogs which give me the highlights from the conservative side, and also follow a few more liberal bloggers. I also skim Google News about once a day. This gives me a pretty good overview of what’s going on in the world.

    I am lacking in decent liberal blogs to read though – can anyone recommend some liberal political bloggers that aren’t nuts?

  23. It’s nice to know that he recognizes that the vitriol directed at Pelosi is actually poisonous to politics as a whole. Some of the tea party screeds I’ve read are pretty vile. Most of them seem fixated on her looks too, which is really indicative of the level of discourse tea party sorts are interested in.

  24. “Know your enemies”, to which I’ll add “all of your enemies.” The enemy of your enemy is not always your friend.

    The Tea Party movement is more about taking power away from government than doing things with the government’s powers. Republicans — at least of the non-libertarian flavor — will not find as much there to like as Democrats think they will (which might explain the growing number of Democrats showing up in their polling numbers.)

  25. Joe Iriarte @ 13:

    While the left may have sources as vitriolic and unbalanced as FOX is …

    Oh, indeed they do. But those voices rarely have access to a multi-billion dollar megaphone.

    (Well, not counting the weekly checks they all get from George Soros, who is understandably under suspicion for his support of radical causes like the rule of law, transparency in government, and respect for human rights.)

  26. @22 RickWhoIsn’tThatRIck: Thanks for the information about KUOW2. I hadn’t heard about it but I’m going to give it a listen on the drive home tonight.

  27. Freaking bizarre. Coburn is usually among the most wingnutty of the wingnuts. I’ll take this version, though. I only have a few months left of living in Oklahoma, and I’d like to see a little sanity here for a change before I go.

  28. For those looking for a decent foreign news source, BBC America nightly news is usually interesting, and also offers a alternative to American perspective.

    I find it at bit sad, though, that many of the comments have been a critique of Coburn’s sample news sources rather than a discussion of the idea behind it. I didn’t get the idea that he was suggesting that we should all rush out and watch Fox and CNN, but rather that we should make an effort to be diverse in our information-gathering, and to make an effort to seek out opinions that may challenge ours.

    In today’s overly partisan environment, I applaud anyone who suggests that people educate themselves and think, rather than turning off their brains and following lock-step in the party (either party) line.

  29. You don’t have to go to Fox News to get a conservative point of view. The Economist is a well-written, well-thought-out, and well-respected center-right weekly magazine. I don’t agree with all of its conclusions, but they disdain descent into sophistry and histrionic arguments. (And they actually endorsed Obama, mostly because they thought McCain/Palin such a bad ticket.)

  30. I’ve always had a soft-spot for right-wing talk radio, though I myself an shriekingly to the left.

    For instance, take Rush Limbaugh. Every day Rush walks into a room, alone, for three hours a day and talks to himself. He’s coherent, savage, often funny (no matter your leaning) and a hell of a showman.

    I think the man’s repulsive in his reasoning, but he makes his case with such a fervor it’s hard not to be at least impressed by the show. His word is taken as gospel, he’s the de facto head of the GOP at this point really, with Fox News a close second.

    I’ll read reason.com and redstate.com a couple times a week as well. Sometimes they make a cogent point, often times I find myself wondering at their facts, or lack of the same.

    Nothing there really sways me, though it always gets me thinking critically about what I do agree with. For example, as far left as I am I can’t abide Keith Olbermann, who gets down in the muck just as much as any right-wing partisan and is not better for it. By contrast, the ugly jeers and taunts about Rachel Maddow’s appearance and sexual orientation seem to be the only thing some right-wingers can summon up about her, since she’s rather adroit with her facts and doesn’t go in for the shouting.

    Always good to temper your deeply held convictions with the red hot ideology of those you most disagree with.

  31. “Most of them seem fixated on her looks too, which is really indicative of the level of discourse tea party sorts are interested in.” – Well she does give that “Duuuuhhhh” look which is very similar to Bush’s looks of stupidity

  32. For left leaning types looking for a good conservative blog to read, I would suggest Eunomia, by Daniel Larison. He’s not prolific, but he is erudite, thoughtful, and logical. I don’t necessarily agree with him, but I’ve never once shouted or muttered under my breath at his posts. For that matter, I recommend his blog to those on the right side of the spectrum, but would think you had already found him.

  33. Nice that he’s trying to be nonpartisan and such, but frankly, at this point CNN is just Fox done by Roger Corman.

    So, not so much.

  34. Andrew@28

    Matt Yglesias over at Think Progress, and I also like Greg Sargent at The Plumline over at whorunsguv. Balloon Juice is usually okay without going too much over the top, but some of the commenters are a bit nutty. Though I suppose that’s just par for the course regardless of political affiliation.

    Personally, I mostly read Andrew Sullivan (Daily Dish) and click around through him. He’s got a pretty decent blogroll – a nice mix of liberal, conservative and moderates.

    (As for me, I’m very socially liberal (pro-choice, pro-glbt equality, pro-separation of church and state, which actually is a bloody conservative issue – screw you Glenn Beck!), moderately conservative (or pretty much middle of the road) about fiscal and military/defense/criminal issues. I’m not anti-gun, but I’m pro-gun safety, so in Fox News conservatalk land, I suppose that means I want to take guns away, but mostly from ignorant people who can’t be arsed to learn how to use/store them safely.)

    Also, I second TrishB @ 39. Daniel Larison is terrific. Very smart and very sensible, even on the occasions I don’t agree with him.

  35. Just out of curiosity– while we might listen to disparate sources, how many of us actually change our opinions once we’re past our twenties, say?

  36. @ Andrew #28

    My favorite left leaning blogger is Barry Eisler:

    http://barryeisler.blogspot.com/

    He is a great writer, though not a very prolific writer on his blog. His posts on torture are extremely well thought out.

    The best economic blog, left or right, is The Big Picture with Barry Rhitholtz. Intelligent and not beholden to any Wall Street powers.

  37. Coburn wants to listen to the other side in part because he is a deficit hawk and wants to hear people talk about projects so he can cut them. That isn’t a knock on him.

    Coburn is a pretty stand up guy. He is a guy that even if you disagree with him you can respect him. He strikes me as pretty honest.

  38. @20
    Al Jazeera English is good place to get news from a totally different perspective but in English; http://www.asahi.com/english/ is a Japanese news paper in English. A lot of people whose first language is not English use English as their second language of choice, and a lot of foreign news is available in English.

    @35
    I tend to feel the Economist is fairly middle-of-the-road *for England* which I would have thought made it fairly lefty for the US? I guess we judge on different things perhaps (I’m not economic expert, but I’m thinking of for example the “broken Britain” feature they did that basically concluded that 50 years of progress have been a great thing, and the whole “it was better in my day” stuff is bollocks). Or is it actually a different publication in the US?

    I do like to keep up with at least the headlines in the right-leaning press here, and not just to LOL at the stupid headlines. I live in such a liberal bubble that it’s easy to forget sometimes that people who disagree with me so fundamentally even exist.

  39. I have, Cicada.

    When I was twenty years old, I voted for George H. W. Bush. In my twenties I was a right-leaning registered-independent Christian. Now I’m nearly forty, and I’ve moved a bit to the left while the Republican party has moved a bit toward outer space. When I was twenty I thought gays should be treated decently, but I knew no openly gay men or women, had never considered whether they should be allowed to legally marry, and was more than a little uncomfortable with the notion of gays adopting. When I was twenty I’d never heard of the word “privilege” as a social phenomenon and I thought I personally was beyond racism, though of course I had no black or Asian friends. When I was in my twenties, I thought “social promotion” was the root of public schooling’s troubles, and thought most public school students’ grades were ridiculously inflated to the point where nobody ever failed. Then I went to work in a public school when I was twenty-nine and discovered that students in fact were failing by the busload. I saw first-hand that social promotion wasn’t happening, and also that the opposite of social promotion was no better, when I saw my first fifteen-year old sixth-grader among prepubescents. When I was in my twenties, I thought the Embargo was the best way to bring Castro out of power in Cuba. [I'm Cuban, in case you're wondering why I have a Castro policy. ;) ] Over the last decade or so I’ve come to suspect that the embargo in fact helped him entrench himself while creating a lot of human misery to boot.

    Yeah, I would say my opinions are still subject to change.

  40. @cicada, I dunno, my parents still expect me to grow out of being a center-leftist, and I’ll be thirty in January.

    In general, I try to read my news rather than watch it, and I would like to invite other Scalzi readers to post the blogs and sites they read (left and right, please) as several have done. I tend to hit cnn only when there’s a major emergency going down (like the recent earthquake devastations, for example), I mostly hit different blogs and then visit several of those in their blogroll to find new ones, which tends to lead to only the same thing over and over….need a new system

  41. Bearpaw @ 9

    Yes, indeed it is. But you pretty much have to go to non-”mainstream” (read: non-corporate) sources — and/or non-US sources — to really “listen to the other side”.

    Or you can be a non-Lefty and comment here. Same thing.

    Cicada @ 42

    Just out of curiosity– while we might listen to disparate sources, how many of us actually change our opinions once we’re past our twenties, say?

    How old are you? Just curious because my opinions are light years different at 56 then they were at 20.

    Growing older, should change one. If not, you’re doing something wrong.

  42. The best conservative and liberal thinkers are the ones you don’t really suspect are one or the other or of some other stripe.

    Comedians do this best because they are going for laughs, which means they go for what frustrates people.

    And when it comes to what frustrates people, there’s not a lot of disagreement on a fundamental level.

    But when someone starts an argument hollering “Conservative principles!” or “Liberal values!” or “I’m a libertarian!”, they automatically lose the argument. Because reality absolutely does not give a shit where you are on the political spectrum. Reality doesn’t even care about you period.

    Now, don’t you feel silly watching that Michael Moore self-loving rant fest or listening to Limbaugh’s drug-fueled racism?

  43. @Cicada: I’m 33, married to an immigrant, and have two children. Katrina plus the 4th-Amendment stuff over the last ten years changed me considerably. I was never a Republican in any sense, but more conservative than anything else. Now my views are considerably more nuanced than ever, and I completely reject views I held just ten years ago.

    For example, I’m nowhere near the fiscal conservative I was, and I’m a rabid civil libertarian (please don’t confuse that with the self-professed “economic libertarianism” of the Tea Party nuts). But other positions are far more consonant with fairly right-wing groups. So I’d say many people change their views as they get older and gain experience.

  44. Cicada @42: I’ll add my name to the list of those whose opinions have changed. When I was in my 20s I was very liberal socially and fiscally. Now, in my mid-40s, I’m still very socially liberal but have become more center-right fiscally. This has been influenced by a number of things: I completed a masters in social work and have worked in mental health care and correctional health care for many years, so I’ve had a chance to see first hand how developing policy from sound bites and throwing money at problems doesn’t fix anything.

    I tend to annoy both my liberal and conservative friends, the conservatives because I’m in favor of social programs, and the liberals because I’m in favor of building those programs around evidence-based, well researched modalities that have proven outcome track records rather than what is politically expedient or what “sounds like” it should work.

  45. Cicada @42: I would hope people are open to change throughout their life.
    I was very much a liberal in my youth (teens through upper 20′s). As I aged I resented the “me” mentality and entitlement mentality of the left and shifted over a 5 year period to very conservative (not talking socially, that is a whole other topic) slant. But now pushing 50 I have gravitated back towards center. I feel the desire to help others less fortunate or those who are actually suffering second class syndrome. I prefer to makes those distinctions and determine how to help on my own though which is why I am in the middle, for now.

  46. I have been liberal, conservative, libertarian, and even borderline socialist. (Never communist. I did not attend college at an age where that would have gotten me laid several times a week before selling out and getting an MBA. Silly commies!)

    Fundamentally, my views haven’t changed. I’ve simply come to realize big corporations have never been trustworthy to work without regulation (liberal), the government is plagued by its sheer size and is not the solution to all our problems (conservative), I want to be left alone (libertarian), but realize everything is interdependent and we all have a responsibility to pitch in and equalize things (socialist).

    Everyone wants to stick it to The Man. Your political stripe is more about which Man you think needs sticking to the most.

  47. eviljwinter: “Everyone wants to stick it to The Man. Your political stripe is more about which Man you think needs sticking to the most.

    YES, THIS.

  48. I’m willing to hear conservative points of view because liberalism doesn’t have the answer to everything. However, when the discussions start getting into coded namecalling (e.g. Obamacare), as far as I’m concerned the namecaller just lost somebody who might have given him or her a listen.

  49. @28
    I find that talkingpointsmemo.com is a good lefty newssource/ blog that is fairly reasonable; despite agreeing with roughly 90% of what is said on DailyKos, I can’t make myself read through the smugness.

    On the right, I like thenextright.com, although lately it has been a little more hyperbolic; the health care debate did not help them. I really enjoyed it as a thoughtful take from the right on the meaning on the 2008 election and the first year of the Obama presidency.

    On Coburn himself, I think this represents a first step by the right to try to walk back the lunatic fringe. For those who closely follow politics, this is a real “Nixon going to China” moment. As a commenter posted, this is the same Senator that is holding up unemployment benefits. In the past he has blocked action on any number of essentially non-controversial bills.

    My take is that recent wingnuttery appears to have crossed a threshold into a space where physical violence seems possible, if not actually likely. I assume that an actual attack on Members of Congress would repel the public, and squelch an otherwise promising electoral cylce for the Republicans.

    I think that Coburn’s comments, while an attempt to create distance between the elected far-right and the violent fringe far-right, are also a sincere attempt to tone things down– he didn’t just say that people should read other sources of news, but actually pushed back pretty hard against the claims that some constituents were making while parroting Fox News. It was pretty amazing to hear.

  50. Response to Cicada #42:

    I went from very conservative fiscal and military views, and conservative social views (I was fine with gays/lesbians marrying, but not to keen on them having kids, etc.) to being very liberal socially (g/l’s can have tons of kids, marry, etc.), middle of the road on the military (rarely the answer), and still conservative fiscally (virtually anyone who supports a permanent balanced budget amendment has my vote).

  51. From what i have seen of CNN/FOX news (being from the UK i don’t watch it often) , they both seem far to opinionated. When i watch the news i want to see a objective report on the events that have happened, not someones else opinion of whats happened based on their political views. Don’t get me wrong i am not saying the British media is any better its not. I just want to see news that tells me what has happened rather than being told what to think about what has happened.

  52. It seems to me that there is a basic human propensity to support our mindsets, not find flaws with them (even scientists are guilty of this). If you are liberal, you probably have discounted most conservative rhetoric as crazy and unworthy of examination. Just as a Catholic may not find a good reason to examine Protestantism, or what have you. Examining multiple perspectives on any issue can leave one with the annoying feeling of not knowing what the truth of the matter is! Which can be a problem, because people like their opinions to be right ones. We like to validate our sense of reality with knowing the Truth.

    “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
    — William Shakespeare (As You Like It)

  53. Htom at 30: 100% correct. Which is why the Republicans are very nervous about the Tea Partiers.

    And I second the nomination of Reason and the Economist as being a good source of rationale discussion.

    Cicada at 42: I was a LOT more right wing in my 20s. Into my 30s I started evolving into more a libertarian. I’m now 44.

    At 44, I support a balance budget amendment, gay marriage, school choice, the right to own and carry a firearm, nuclear power, and term limits for all public officials (including federal judges). I think we are taxed too much. I think bailing out private business is a bad idea, and if it is necessary to save the world (a claim which I greet with scepticism), someone (both amongst the regulators and the business folks) needs to go to jail. I think immigration is a good thing, even with current numbers, but legal channels should be followed and if not, we should send the immigrant back. On the other hand, I don’t think that rule should apply to persons brought here as children and who know no other country, or to those (and their families) who volunteer to serve in our military. I am pro-life.

    I think the government is either the problem (worse case) or is a very inefficient means of solving problems (best case). However, I still think there are a lot of problems in this world that 10,000 Marines could do a lot to fix.

    Will I think the same in 10 years? Get back to me then and I’ll let you know.

  54. Tom Coburn speaketh with forked tongue. His comments about being open to other voices were rudely dropped on their heads when Rachel Madow’s name came up. His poisonous diatribe about the person who has pointed out his C street enrichment and association with Senator Ensign’s marital and fiscal mess was a rather graphic, not to say biblical, demonstration of his tolerance for hearing the other side in real life.

  55. Um…er…you do understand that both CNN and Fox are to the right of the US center, no? Fox is actually a propaganda operation, not news at all. Its president, Roger Ailes, sends round a list of talking points to the “newscasters” every morning. Senator Coburn has nothing to fear from people watching Fox and CNN. Now, if he encouraged people to watch an actual centrist, or even leftist, major television news program I’d be impressed, but no such programs exist.

  56. Political Spectrum, offered in the interests of clarification:

    Radical Right
    Grover Norquist

    Moderate Right
    Eugene Volokh

    Center
    Josh Marshall

    Moderate Left
    Jane Hamsher

    Radical Left
    Noam Chomsky

  57. In my teens, I was fairly Conservative, in my 40s significantly not. Although, as I’ve spent the majority of my life in Europe, even “conservative” seems to make me some kind of mad radical lefty by American standards.

  58. I myself fall in the near right, christian conservative camp…..yes yes I know Im a wing nutter depending on how far left you are. Both sides of the equation seem to want to demonize the other for use of hyperbole, name calling, and ridiculous abuse of semantics and all things open to “personal definition”. If you willing to group all liberals as panty waisted, pinko commies and all consevatives as gun toting, redneck, racists your ignorant. The one thing I am sure of is our elected officials both right and left love to give the soundbite that rallies the base. Then go to Washington and make a fortune in both wealth and personal power. They will spin anything they have done as necessary to promote what America needs. I don’t think all govenrment is evil just really crappy at getting anything done. I believe we should have economic regulations that reign in huge corporations but don’t harm small business, I think their should be gun control and safety but not take away my guns.(See had to prove Im a wingnutter didn’t I) I think the education system needs to be overhauled and the medical system as well. I think you should vote your prinicples and hold the elected officials to their promises( yeah I know drink the Kool Aid). What I really hate is having people, both liberals and conservatives ,screaming their heads off about the name calling and screaming and fact twisting done by the other side who will then turn around and applaud their own side for the same damn thing. The other thing I hate is having someone who has never met me never even spoken to me try to define me and put me into a box because I am a conservative christian. For my liberal freinds, which are actually quite numerous, those of you who complainabout the hatefulness and judgementalness of “Christian conservatives”,again lumping us all in one box all I can say is Kettle, Pot, pot, kettle.
    I know a rambling blog without a plan. I agree though that people who only live in a bubble where everyones view point is the same will never learn to challenge what the real TRUTH is. Oh yeah and next time someone asks about a political figure and something they have done obviously wrong how about answering the question instead of pointing out how someone on the other side of the political spectrum did something bad as well. Pointing out the dirt on someone elses shoes doesnt make yours any cleaner you know.

    Sorry about the rambling nature.

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