Quick Election 2012 Update: I Got Nothing

It was noted to me that I’ve been quiet about the election recently, to which I responded, what is there to say? Romney, who was going to be the nominee, is the nominee, and the selective amnesia that partisans undergo when the selection process is finally done is well underway. Obama’s doing his Obama thing. We have just over six months before the election. Polls, opinions and prognostications mean exactly squat. And, I’m working on a project, so my attention is elsewhere. Add it all up: Bupkis for now. I’m sure that will change sooner than later, but for now, enjoy the fallow period, hey?

108 thoughts on “Quick Election 2012 Update: I Got Nothing

  1. Man, all I have to say is…dang it’s already May! The year is flying by, it’s 90 something degrees outside and the only thing I’m sweating out is getting my yard in order.

    Obama will win, no sweat about it.

  2. Aren’t you forgetting about the Ron Paul factor? Talking Points Memo seem to be the only folks covering this potentially catastrophic turn of events for the Romney camp. ;) It would be awesome if we slipped into bizarro universe and Paul somehow managed to steal/finagle the nod. That would be absolute proof that our reality is in fact the Reality TV channel of the elder beings of Charlie Stross’ imaginings.

  3. It would be awesome if we slipped into bizarro universe and Paul somehow managed to steal/finagle the nod. That would be absolute proof that our reality is in fact the Reality TV channel of the elder beings of Charlie Stross’ imaginings.

    Not gonna happen. He’s unpalatable to most Republican voters, has no support from either the establishment or the powerful groups within the party, and would make a horrible general election candidate. If it comes to that, the GOP will just come up with some rule or technicality that disqualifies him.

  4. We can only hope the rhetoric machines don’t kick into overdrive for another few months. Luckily, I have TiVo, xboxes and netflix. So I can and will avoid such nonsense whenever possible.

  5. Yes, that is exactly what I’m trying to do as well. I still enjoy seeing what jon stewart makes of the idiocies every night. But, now that we are past the horrifying possibilities of either Santorum or Gingrich, i really couldn’t give two shits about them until september or so. From what little I’ve been unable to avoid though, they seem to be well on the way to the truly stupid campaign I’ve been dreading. I mean, come on, trying to say Obama getting Bin Laden was a bad thing. Fuck you Mitt Romney. Fuck you very much.
    I honestly don’t think either of them will be much different as president than the other. It will all depend on who controls Congress, and you Democrats can probably look forward to gaining ground back in the House, yet possibly losing ground in the Senate, because those assholes all deserve to lose their jobs, with the possible exception of some of the newbies who haven’t had the chance to become assholes yet.
    Gosh that is a bit more of my, General Bitterness Toward Our Laughably Titled Government, than I meant to leak out. I’ll stop now, and maybe go lay down for a bit. It’s Friday after all. If i don’t get another chance, have a nice weekend John, and to everybody else as well.

  6. Roy McMillion @12:55:

    He’s working on The Spank Wars, volume 1: The Spankination

    After that, I’m not sure. There’s a rumour that TSW vol.2 will be called Attack of the Spanking Clones, but nothing official yet.

  7. Given that all the “Obama’s a radical/socialist/foreigner” scare talk didn’t prevent him from winning decisively in 2008 – he was the only candidate since 1988 to win with a total-vote majority greater than 51% – I don’t really imagine that such a thing will work this time, either. Hopefully, the word “bupkis” will be applicable to Romney’s electoral vote total in six months. And, kineahora, gas prices won’t go up again before then.

  8. Hey Ron, Nobody is saying that getting Bin Laden was a bad thing. Obama is the one who brought Romney into the conversation by suggesting that Romney wouldn’t have made the call, which you have to admit is pretty ridiculous. I got a kick out of the pundit who said “Obama taking credit for getting Bin Laden is like Nixon taking credit for the U.S. landing on the moon.”

  9. His first name is Willard. I can see why he goes by Mitt, his middle name (which is short for Milton). Just FYI.

  10. Billy Quiets:

    Also, it’s hugely dishonest to attack Romney by quoting his own words. As with most issues, I’m sure he’s had several different opinions about the topic since he said that.

  11. I live in NC, and the kerfuffle over Constitutional Amendment 1 (banning same-sex marriage) has been driving me up the fracking wall the last couple of weeks. I’m being told by both sides that the fate of civilization rests on my shoulders. According the the anti-amendment bunch, if the amendment passes blood will run in the streets because it will soon be legal for you to beat your (unwed) domestic partner to death. The other side claims that if the amendment doesn’t pass, pretty soon we’ll be allowing humans to mary farm animals.

    Electioneering in my state usually insults my intelligence, but this campaign has insulted it, spit on it, kicked sand in its face, and given it an atomic wedgie. I will be soooo glad when this day is over.

  12. by suggesting that Romney wouldn’t have made the call,
    No one is suggesting that mitt wouldn’t have made the call. Romney EXPLICITLY said that he would not go into Pakistan without notifying the Pakis. This is not a suggestion. This is a statement of fact.

    And now we learn that Rumsfeld did the same thing in 2006.
    So it has become certain that only a democrat could have gotten Obama.
    Certainly Bush 2.0 had 8 years and was unable to get him. We certainly have 8 years of that proof. right?

  13. Romney EXPLICITLY said that he wouldn’t tell anybody that he would send troops into their country without notifying them. Not that he wouldn’t do it. That there is the statement of fact. Slight but important difference from what you think he said.

  14. So it has become certain that only a democrat could have gotten Obama.

    You know, I’m a Democrat and even I find the typo funny.

  15. Found the qoute for you.

    ROMNEY: It’s wrong for a person running for the president of the United States to get on TV and say, “We’re going to go into your country unilaterally.” Of course, America always maintains our option to do whatever we think is in the best interests of America. But we don’t go out and say, “Ladies and gentlemen of Germany, if ever there was a problem in your country, we didn’t think you were doing the right thing, we reserve the right to come in and get them out.” We don’t say those things. We keep our options quiet. We do not go out and say to a nation which is working with us, where we have collaborated and they are our friend and we’re trying to support Musharraf and strengthen him and his nation, that instead that we intend to go in there and potentially bring out a unilateral attack.

  16. Peter Cibulskis:

    I actually mostly *agree* with then-Romney. Ordering a military strike into a sovereign nation without their approval and absent a “clear and present danger” is a highly questionable thing to do.

    And militaristic posturing isn’t any prettier when it comes from a Dem than when it comes from a Repub. But Repubs trying to call out Dems for that is darkly hilarious. Repubs were all about militaristic posturing during the Bush regime, usually coming from chickenhawks like George “AWOL” Bush and Dick “Nicely-Timed Deferments” Cheney.

  17. Nothing? It’s been a rather exciting couple of days. We’ve seen the two main ruling parties lose massive amounts of seats, really being pushed back to their heartlands, and sometimes not even being safe there. The ruling coalition is beginning to fracture badly, with members of each party wanting them to move to a more extreme position and compromise less. A couple of minor parties have suddenly made the big leagues, and the main opposition party has really consolidated its base and began a recovery every where but London and Scotland…oh wait. Sorry, wrong election. Yeah, looks like that one is going to be won by…er…an American. Probably.

  18. Oh Billy, I’m going to do something I haven’t wanted to do.
    I don’t have the desire or HTML skills to link to it, but I have seen with my own eyes Romney suggesting that too much money was spent going after one man. This is the horseshit I was refering too. Of course he isn’t going to come out and say Obama shouldn’t have sent in the SEALs. Not only does he not believe that, but it would be electoral suicide. Please don’t insist I’m wrong unless I provide evidence. Not only have I no intention of arguing about this, but I think, from previous comments of yours I’ve read, that you are savvy enough to have seen this as well.
    Ordering the SEALs in is actually, to me, the bright sspot of Obama’s presidency so far. Bill Clinton wouldn’t have done. Al Gore, for damn sure wouldn’t have done it. Mcain would have, but I doubt Hilary would have, since I suspect she was behind most of Slick Willie’s foreign policy.
    My party has pissed me off so much these last four years, Billy. They’ve spent the last four years trying to use the same play book the liberals used to exaggerate and inflame and shit on Bush for eight years. Not a new political tactic, I know, but one I saw was used even harder from the position of being sore fucking losers. There was created an entire new subgenre of Bush bashing political books. It seemed like I saw at least one new one every week, covering the same exaggerated horeshit as every other one. No one in the general public knows the truth about Bush’s presidency. I certainly don’t. We weren’t allowed to. It is so damn disheartening to me to see my party using these same illusionary bullshit tactics to try to distort the truth about Obama. Disagree with his policies all you want, I do. But don’t try to demonize the man with bullshit like, Where is the birth certificate, and is he a secret Muslim. This is exactly the same horseshit the democrats would be heaping if Obama was a Republican. Please don’t try to argue with me about this either. I won’t do it, and these are my opnions, I fully understand that others might have different views. But for the liberals among us, please don’t clutch at your chests and gasp at these assertions. You know damn well there is some truth in what i’m saying.
    Now we get to these last few months. Where every bit of fundamentalist pie in the sky unrealistic and dangerous bit of old school extreme right bullshit seems to be coming out of the woodwork. Again, I see my not really ever beloved party resorting to liberal tactics.
    I will use only one example, because I am going on way too long here. Smoking. The Health Nazis realizing they don’t have the balls, or the desire to create the smuggling and crime that would result, to ban smoking, have done the following. We will spend the last 15 years or so enacting new (in my opinion illegal and excessive)taxes and laws that make smoking more and more difficult a lifestyle to enjoy. For fuck’s sake there are places in this country where it is illegal to smoke outside. Now this is my own personal exxageration, but what the hell. I understand that lots of people find smoking distateful and hazardous. But, it is still a legal product. Secondhand smoke is only dangerous in huge quantity. So, yes, lets have smoke free environments. But, once you have those, get off our fucking backs. I will not smoke around you if you don’t smoke. not even if we’re outside. Becaus I try to be courteous. If you are around someone who is not, walk the fuck away. You have that choice, let the smoker have theirs as well.
    The point of this part of my rant is to point out the lunacy of the Republicans using this same Liberal Heath Nazi tactic to combat abortion. They are trying to enact all sorts of crazy laws to make abortion, which is LEGAL, as hard as possible for a woman to seek out. I cannot tell you how much it digusts me to see this happening. I don’t really give a shit what anyone thinks about abortion. It is legal. It is their body. So get off their fucking backs with the liberal tactic horseshit.
    By the way Billy, most of the “yous” in this were not directed at you personally. I don’t know about all your views. But, your response, combined with a crappy day have led to triggering this rant. I will stop now, John. Like I said I’m not going to argue with anyone about any of this. But, if you can glean anything coherent from my rantings it might give you an idea of why I’m finding it so hard to pick a horse in this year’s race. I’ve said way more about my personal political views than I ever meant to on here, so I’m just going to shut up now, and come back for the next fun topic.

  19. Ah yes… the people from the right whining about Obama going into Pakistan. Of course, had McCain won and done the same thing you’d all be cheering and no one would be saying “Obama taking credit for getting Bin Laden is like Nixon taking credit for the U.S. landing on the moon.” No, you’d be lauding his decisiveness.

    That blatant hypocrisy and self-deception is precisely why I’m paying zero attention to the election. I know who I’m voting for. I just need to get to November without putting a foot through my TV because of the ads.

  20. Benjamin, it’s apparently equal to -2. At least I was told that “bupkis is two less than nothing.” Well, actually that was “two less than nuttin’,” so maybe that’s not -2!

  21. I blame American voters for our current dysfunctional mess. Continuing to pile up debt will eventually drive us over a cliff and destroy the value of our dollars which then destroys the retirement savings of multiple generations. Democrat, Republican, Mitt, Obama: none of it will matter. As American voters we appear to be too stupid to send enough representatives to Washington who will (1) raise our taxes, and (2) trim current spending to an amount below the taxes received, so that (3) the debt can begin to be retired each year. Why are we so stupid as voters? We are the cause of our own destruction. Hardly anyone is running with those three goals as central to their campaign. Even Democrats who might raise our taxes are not doing it to exceed the spending level and retire debt, but to allow more spending while the debt continues to pile up. Have we become incompetent to govern ourselves? Buck it up voters. Send some folk to DC to raise taxes, cut spending, and retire debt. Do it now before we are all broke and homeless.

  22. Ron @ 2:27 pm
    We cross posted. You do know that using course language (swear words and the like) in your rant serve only to put off those of us reading Whatever that like to see strong argumentation done in a civil manner. You shoot yourself in the foot to use such language. Put another way, you draw attention to yourself and the anger of your ranting and away from the opinions that you are trying to express. Not good.

  23. I am angry, Gary, Very angry. I’m sorry if my language offends anyone. I’ve spent the last twelve years getting more and more disheartened with my country. When lies and exaggeration are used as truth, and bought into by way too many people, I also feel sad for my country and it’s future.

  24. Holy crap! There’s a ton of pent up election frustration when a discussion thread on a post about nothing can turn to slap fighting so fast. Wake me up in November.

  25. I live in a swing state with a relatively inexpensive media market. Already bupkis is flooding my mailbox, TV, email, voicemail, and banner ads. It’s only going to get worse from here. Time to cut the cable, set up the junk mail dumpster and dial ad-block up to eleven. I’ll take the temperature sometime around Halloween.

  26. Gary, Ron writes a long comment on various issues relevant to Our Gracious Host’s post and all you can do is tone troll? Really?

  27. Ron, I don’t care how ginned up the books were. Any President who publicly authorizes and promotes torture deserves it. G.W. Bush’s Presidency damaged this country in ways it will take generations to recover from, if we ever can.

  28. Ron, It’s cool man. You do sound frustrated. Lots of us are frustrated. One thing I think we can agree on is that Obama did not turn out to be the “no red state, no blue state” Uniter he claimed he was going to be.

    As far as Romney’s own words Bryan has the quote above “We don’t say those things. We keep our options quiet.” He didn’t say he wouldn’t do it, he said he wouldn’t come out ahead of time and tell them, “Ladies and gentlemen of Germany, if ever there was a problem in your country, we didn’t think you were doing the right thing, we reserve the right to come in and get them out.”

    But hey, if Democrats want to try and convince the undecideds that Romney is a gutless pansy, good luck to them.

    One final note, I think you may be wrong about Hilary. I have read unsubstantiated reports that she insisted to Obama that they had to go in. Who knows? I suspect the real story won’t come out for a few years.

  29. Billy it’s hard to be a uniter when the opposition party comes out on day 1 and states that their one and only goal is to make you a 1 term president. Then they vote against positions they previously voted for just to make you look bad.

  30. Wirelizard @3:07 pm
    Are you sure you understand the use of the word “troll” on the web? My post was a civil way of suggesting Ron tone down the swear words so that we readers would not be distracted from his opinions and arguments by his choice of language. You will note that his reply post to me made better word choices. Hey, I teach English. Words choice, diction, matters.

  31. Ron @ 3:01 pm
    So are we all, or most of us. My idle dream is that in six years when retirement rolls around, I can talk my bride into our becoming expatriots and leave behind all the lies and dysfunctional governance. I’m afraid the proximity her grandchildren may make that only an idle dream.

  32. You’re one of the few. He took 525 out of 538 in the electoral college. 49 out of 50 states. That, my friend is United.

  33. Billy – this is precisely what I mean “Obama did not turn out to be the “no red state, no blue state” Uniter he claimed he was going to be.”

    Yet, of course, your boy Bush who claimed to be a uniter, not a divider, doesn’t get called out on that, does he?

  34. rickg, Bush didn’t make it the central issue of his campaign, and then turn out to be the most partisan, divisive, class and race conscious president in the history of the country.

  35. Schrödinger’s terrorist: If Romney was president, we won’t know if he decided to kill a terrorist until an intelligent observer looked inside the cave or compound. Until that observation is made, the terrorist is simultaneously both alive and dead. Because not even Romney knows what he’s going to do until he’s already done it.

  36. @4:00 pm: Of course, for many years (before and especially after his term as MA governor) it was Mitt Romney’s political career that was simultaneously both alive and dead.

  37. Billy, I’m pretty sure that Obama didn’t unilaterally declare his intent to completely ignore and obstruct anything proposed by the party across the aisle. It takes two to tango, and right now, the other guys look like they not only can’t dance, they want to close down the venue.

  38. Disagreeing with Obama I can understand, based on what you feel is right and/or necessary. Characterizing him as more divisive or partisan than his predecessors, much less the current opposition? That doesn’t match my perception of the reality.

  39. Actually, I think everything Billy said at 3:39 is incorrect. Or, at least, subject to that selective amnesia.

  40. I have a useless primary coming up, but Big Tobacco is using scare-tactic TV ads (a LOT of them) to defeat a proposition, so I’ll turn out for that.

  41. I’m a bit of a political junkie, but I would absoultely support a fallow period over the summer. Jobs either will or won’t get created, and that is probably what the election will be about. I think the degree to which spin from either side can influence this is over-rated. If jobs get made at the 250k/month pace of early in the year, Obama will get re-elected. If it is 6 more months of the slightly more than 100k/month for last month, then Romney will win. Sure, an external event might move the needle, and you might quibble with where I set the bounds, but very little of the many, many pages that get written here and at other politically oriented sites will change anything. There, that’s your Total Perspective Vortex for Politics. Enjoy the fairy cake.

    Also, I though until an embarassingly late age that it was “I’ve got Butkus”. Which seemed strange, since Dick Butkus was a Hall of Famer, and it would seem like a _good_ thing to have him on your team.

  42. I will say what I have always said when faced with this situation: The election season is WAY TOO LONG (why can’t we have a short election season like normal people in normal countries?). Someone stole my line above: Thank God I have a TiVo and also thank God for the “Whatever: The Big Idea” column exposing me to new things to read (reading one now, two lined-up). This will keep me occupied and diverted from the election craziness.

  43. Willard. I mean, if the Right wants to keep refering to Barack Hussein Obama as “Barry” or “Hussein” I think it’s only fair that we give Willard the same treatment. It -is- his name, isn’t it? I mean, it’s either that or (to steal from Jim Wright) calling him “Mittens.”

  44. Peter Cibulskis @ 1:55 pm said: “Romney EXPLICITLY said that he would not go into Pakistan without notifying the Pakis.”
    Hi Peter. It’s not such a great idea to refer to Pakistanis as “Pakis.” In the UK that’s a racial epithet (used by people with whom I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be associated.) I know it’s not generally used in the US (at least not in the parts I’ve lived in) and it’s completely plain you didn’t mean it like that, but it’s still a slight shocker to see it used at all if you’re a Brit (as I am.)

  45. Doc, It’s not what you or I think that matters. Loyal partisans, who are absolutely convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that their side is right and the other side is wrong aren’t going to decide this election. It’s the people in the middle who listened to the grand speeches and bought into the unity, hope, and post-partisan rhetoric of candidate Obama and the traditional media that will decide the election.

    They saw President Obama ram through a partisan health care bill that has caused health insurance rates to go up 23%. They see the same old crony capitalism and special interest politics as usual in the White House, only now their own house is worth 15-50% less than it was before he was elected.

    They see the Green Jobs president shoveling billions of dollars into his campaign donors’ green energy companies only to have them go bankrupt weeks later. And they are paying 80% more for gas because of his appointees’ war against the oil and coal industries. They hear his EPA chief brag about the strategy to “crucify” oil companies, and his Energy Secretary, who has never even owned a car, talking about how cool it will be when we are all paying $9/gallon for gas.

    And yes, they hear the President and his surrogates try to divide this country so that the election will be about anything except his record of failure.

    Sorry, but this election is not about some mythical Republican war on women, or on minorities, or on students, or on freaking dogs, for God’s sake.

    It’s about the economy, and I don’t think he’s gonna be able to fool the majority of voters again.

  46. Billy, no doubt you’re self-deluded enough to think that you’re in the middle.

    Nice talking points, anyway.

  47. Kevin, Not at all. I’m one of the partisans who is convinced his side is right.

  48. Nothing to see here, mallet not required. Everything is peachy except I can’t go see The Avengers and Thor’s big mallet tonight at the Alamo Drafthouse because it’s sold out.

  49. “I mean, come on, trying to say Obama getting Bin Laden was a bad thing. Fuck you Mitt Romney. Fuck you very much.”

    Uh, he never said that. Nice that someone is buying the spin that Soros pays for.

  50. Wow, since there’s been a lot of selective amnesia on this issue, here’s a nice news article from the time to remind us all what was actually said: http://in.reuters.com/article/2007/08/04/idINIndia-28811520070804
    So, Obama predicted back in 2007 that they’d have to go into Pakistan to get Bin Laden, without first advising the Pakistanis, and both Romney and McCain criticised him for that insight. No wonder they want to forget…

  51. he was the only candidate since 1988 to win with a total-vote majority greater than 51%

    Uh, so? Reagan was the only candidate in the past fifty to get over 58% of the total-vote majority. SO there! It. doesn’t. matter. After they get > 50% and a majority of the EVs they’ve won a decisive victory and have a mandate (as Bush did in 2004).

  52. After they get > 50% and a majority of the EVs they’ve won a decisive victory and have a mandate (as Bush did in 2004).

    Yeah, no, as we can see from the way that Bush’s mandate helped him privatize Social Security.

  53. The whole political process has become a bit disenchanting eh? It’s a shame how the two party system has basically ruined any sort of rational civil discourse and created this apathy toward it all. Washington was clearly a prophet, heh.

    “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissention, which in different ages & countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders & miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security & repose in the absolute power of an Individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.” — George Washington, September 19, 1796

  54. It seems pretty obvious what Romney was saying. To read between the lines:

    I wouldn’t tell them I was going to violate their national sovereignty. I’d just do it without asking. But I’m not saying that publically, because that would be tantamount to telling them I’d do it. And as long as I respect their borders in public, their leaders can save face by claiming they didn’t know I’d do it, and then they can blame us and not be forced out of power for rolling over for unpopular allies. So I’m not saying I’d do it, and I am saying that I won’t say I’d do it, but I’m not saying any options should be shelved. Unless they’re leaders we don’t like, in which case I am sooo going to do it.

    Or the shorter version:

    Better to beg forgiveness do whatever we want without apology, than ask permission.

    Same old U.S. foreign policy as practiced by every POTUS since John Adams started ignoring George Washington’s parting admonishment to stay the fuck out of foreign wars of aggression, you meddling dumbasses (okay, so I’m paraphrasing a little).

    At least the British Empire had the common decency to publically humiliate and take over less power countries. Hegemony is even more insidious than imperialism because it leaves its “client” states with the same kind of independence the mafia leaves a protected racket. And now we have a clutch of rising superpowers jostling to emulate American hegemony. Yay globalization!

    Here’s a new motto for my fellow Americans: No invasion with representation!

    @ hercules67

    The election season is WAY TOO LONG (why can’t we have a short election season like normal people in normal countries?).

    Because campaign season Never. Fucking. Ends. Ever.

    @ Billy Quiets

    Everything is peachy except I can’t go see The Avengers and Thor’s big mallet tonight at the Alamo Drafthouse because it’s sold out.

    Fellow Austinite? Never go see a movie on opening weekend.

    @ Andy

    So, Obama predicted back in 2007 that they’d have to go into Pakistan to get Bin Laden, without first advising the Pakistanis, and both Romney and McCain criticised him for that insight.

    The likelihood that Obama was hiding in Pakistan did not require a military genius to deduce. Romney and McCain criticized him for being the Democratic hopeful; the subject was incidental. They’d have criticized him no matter what he said.

    @ nanashistudios

    It’s a shame how the two party system has basically ruined any sort of rational civil discourse and created this apathy toward it all.

    Symptom of the disease, not the cause. The willingness of the average voter to heed rhetoric, posturing and saber rattling to the exclusion of rational debate has ruined the dialogue. The two party system is just the parasitic intestinal flora pumping out the shit voters lap up.

    Washington was a statesman who, while not without his flaws (kept slaves, left our French allies high and dry, ect…), was at least operating before partisan politics got the ball rolling on screwing over everyone to keep the Other Guy out of office.

  55. Billy@7:34 – the war on women doesn’t seem that mythical from where I’m sitting. You know, where the only clinic that provides abortion within 200 miles is being threatened, funding to PP has been cut, and several other lovely bills intended to make life as a woman in general and pregnancy in particular more dangerous and fraught are wending their way through the state legislature – pushed by the Republican majority and Republican governor.

  56. Tapetum,
    I’ll keep my response short to avoid derailing the thread. The disagreement over abortion is not a war on women, it’s a disagreement over the practice of abortion. Many, perhaps even the majority of pro-life people ARE women.

    But the abortion debate is not new to this election. Ginning up fear about it now is just another tactic by the administration to keep the conversation away from the dismal economy.

  57. Right. That explains trying to limit access to contraception. The baldfaced hypocrisy of the right is pretty much breathtaking.

  58. rochrist
    The tactic is talk about anything except gas prices, unemployment, home values, misery index, etc.

    So suddenly, in a bid to make it impossible for them to retake the White House, the Republicans decide to try and limit access to contraception. Really? Or was it that the Obama administration tried to force religious institutions that never previously provided contraception to provide it?

  59. Right. All the attempts to pass laws, each one more lunatic than the last, is all our collective imaginations.

  60. I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about. What lunatic laws limiting access to contraception?Seriously, buy all the contraceptives you want, no one is stopping you.

  61. Scorpius @9:10 pm: If this site allowed comments to be edited after posting, I’d have rewritten “he was the only candidate since 1988 to win with a total-vote majority greater than 51%” as “Other than G. W. Bush in 2004, whose 50.7% of the total vote represented an incredibly weak showing by an incumbent, he was the only candidate since 1988 to win with a majority rather than a plurality of total votes.”

    Of course, anyone can attribute meaning (or no meaning) to any chosen statistic; in this case I construe it as meaningful chiefly because of how those plurality presidents were perceived once in office. That is, the extent to which Clinton in 1993 and Bush in (pre-9/11) 2001 were perceived as illegitimate by their opponents was in part a function of their not achieving majorities, and Obama’s opponents likewise want to make him appear illegitimate even though he DID achieve a majority.

  62. *opens thread*
    *sees BQ refer to “some mythical war on women”*
    *begins to write reply, but can’t find words that don’t basically amount to “hey John, mallet this please”*
    *departs thread*

  63. Billy, it’s only the partisans, such as yourself, who see precisely the things you talk about @ 7:34, in precisely the way that you see them. You do know that, right?

  64. @billy

    1. In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care.

    2. Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses.)

    3. Proposed redefining rape to only cases of “forcible rape” to deny access to women’s health services.

    4. Voted to defund Planned Parenthood and repeatedly tried to restrict access to women’s health care services.

    5. Held a hearing on women’s health with five men and no women.

    6. South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s now infamous dismissal, that “Women don’t care about contraception.

    7. GOP Sen. Roy Blunt Introduced Amendment That Would Have Allowed Any Employer To Deny Reproductive Health Coverage To Women.

    8. Texas Republican Lawmakers Voted To Restrict Health Services To Low-Income Women.

    9. There were over 1100 antichoice provisions introduced in 2011 and 900 antichoice provisions introduced so far in 2012. Legislators in 13 states have introduced 22 bills seeking to mandate that a woman obtain an ultrasound procedure before having an abortion. Of these, seven states are pursuing the state-rape vaginal probe variety. In addition, legislators in 13 states have sponsored right-wing “Personhood” type bills, too extreme even for the electorate of Mississippi, that could make both abortion and reproductive choices highly restricted.

    10. Georgia state legislator Rep. Terry England compares women to cows and pigs on his farm in support of bill forcing women to carry even inviable fetuses to term and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett justifies forced ultrasound bill by telling women to “just close your eyes.”

    11. The Governor of Nebraska vetoed a bill that would have helped restore prenatal care for women who might be undocumented workers.

    12. GOP has attempted to eliminate the Title X program, denying family planning services, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other preventive health care to over 5 million low-income women.

    13. 31 male Republican senators voted against the Violence Against Women Act.

    14. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) vetoed $1.5 million in funding for 30 rape crisis centers in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. State lawmakers allotted the money to offset an increase in need and a lack of sufficient funding for victim services.

    Right Billy. Tell us all about the ‘mythical’ war on women.

  65. The likelihood that Obama was hiding in Pakistan did not require a military genius to deduce. Romney and McCain criticized him for being the Democratic hopeful; the subject was incidental. They’d have criticized him no matter what he said.

    Oh, good grief! That one blasted letter!!! Eff it, y’all know who I meant.

  66. @Rochrist

    You left out the the repeal of Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act.

    The same week Rick Scott vetoed the funds he presented awards to commemorate National Crime Victims’ Week. One of the recipients was the director of a clinic whose funding he had just cut. Awkward.

    I would be much more sympathetic to pro-life groups if they didn’t spend so much time and effort opposing stuff that would reduce the abortion rate, e.g. contraception and sex education. Ignoring their rhetoric and looking at their actions makes me think their actual goal is to punish women for having sex.

  67. Bah.

    And here I was hoping you were going to write about Hollande v Sarkozy. You know, an election that’s happening right now and not in five freaking months time.

  68. @Rochrist: And Arizona’s bill requiring women to prove to their employers that they need contraception for “medical reasons”, i.e. not just because they’re sluts who wanna have sex.

  69. @Gulliver: Nice typo – even after you pointed it out, I had to read it three times before I could see it. :-)
    I finally found a link to the transcript of the primaries from last time: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Decision2008/story?id=3515440&page=12
    So, there is something to the claim that he just wasn’t going to say what his true position was. But that’s a cop-out. Remember, the point of these debates is to demonstrate to the voters what your position is. To just say something along the lines of I’m not saying I’d do it, should only fool the dimwitted (and since Obama’s strategy worked, that shows the whole not-saying-it strategy was unnecessary anyway). However, perhaps that will be his campaign strategy this time: Romney does have some good ideas, but he just won’t tell anyone what they are.

    Also, if you go back to page 6 in that transcript, you can see Mittens trying to ridicule Obama’s position. “I had to laugh at what I saw Barack Obama do. I mean, in one week he went from saying he’s going to sit down, you know, for tea, with our enemies, but then he’s going to bomb our allies.”
    So, Mittens was maintaining that Obama’s position was laughable, but now he’s claiming that he would have done the same. Right.

  70. BQ’s position on the attacks on women’s reproductive health has pretty consistently been “Who you gonna believe – me, or your own eyes?”

    I’m one of the partisans who is convinced his side is right.

    Weird. When I want to play PvP, I go fire up Guild Wars or something. I confess I don’t understand the side-vs-side, victory-above-all mentality applied to politics, nor the view that the ultimate truth is “my side is right!” and all logic and facts proceed in reverse from that.

  71. @Billy

    There is a Republican war on women, and it’s been going on for most of my life. Remember the fight over the Equal Rights Amendment? I do. I was just a kid, but it really drove home the right wing hostility toward women’s rights.

    Ever heard of The Handmaid’s Tale? That book didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a dystopia based on the kind of world many activists on the right clearly wanted to bring about.

    Your spin — “Or was it that the Obama administration tried to force religious institutions that never previously provided contraception to provide it?” — is factually bogus, but it still proves the point. You claim to see it as the government infringing on the right of religious institutions to practice as they will. I see it as the government intervening to prevent religious employers from being allowed to discriminate against women employees.

    What I’m trying to say is — even if your spin were correct, it wouldn’t change my opinion. But it would change yours (I guess) and that’s why this war is on.

  72. @Julie, it’s actually the government intervening to protect religious institutions from interfering with the contract rights of their employees.

    Interestingly, The Handmaid’s Tale is really less about a potential dystopia (remember, it has a happy ending) than about how women are the foot soldiers and backbone of patriarchies. Women do the work, enforce the rules, police each other and, in essence, run things from their subordinate position.

  73. Ever heard of The Handmaid’s Tale? That book didn’t come out of nowhere.

    No, it came out of the Left’s extreme paranoia combined with their narrow-minded bigotry.

  74. @ mythago

    I would say it’s more specifically about how oppressed groups can be highly complicit in keeping injustice alive, particularly when the cost of rebelling against it can be death or worse. Even though the reader is meant to be disgusted by the turncoats who betray their fellow revolutionaries, there is an element of understanding even if the reader doesn’t sympathize with the collaborators.

    As for the faux-conservative Republican party’s increasingly theocratic policies, they can move to Saudi Arabia or go join the Taliban, because in my country the enemies of freedom are only good for irrigating the tree of liberty. Oh how I do so hate paternalistic statists…and I am not one to liberally bandy about the word hate.

  75. Cross-posting with scorpius, John – sorry for the double post.

    @ scorpius

    No, it came out of the Left’s extreme paranoia

    Right, because no one ever oppressed women or minorities and no free nation ever fell to totalitarianism or fascism.

  76. @Gulliver, at the risk of diverting the thread into literary critique, I’d suggest it’s not just about revolutionaries and collaborators, but about the ways in which oppressive structures depend on the cooperation of the oppressed, and not just as gunpoint. (Even before Gilead, ‘Offred’ is not exactly a model of sisterhood; she’s a ‘handmaid’ in more than one sense.)

  77. rochrist,
    Hey I just got back and read your screed. I asked you to show me where Republicans are passing laws limiting the access to contraception, and you start ranting about Republicans wanting to legalize murder and rape.
    I guess it’s possible that you believe that. Fortunately, I think most Americans aren’t quite so paranoid. But, whatever. It’s pointless to try and have an adult conversation with someone when they think you are in favor of murder and rape.

  78. i think many people here depend upon your wit and opinion in order for them to have an opinion. The rest are choir members aching to sing a song.

  79. Billy, if the pro-choicers here agreed with that last line of yours, none of them would ever talk to you.

    Hmmmm (oh, my aren’t we clever), to paraphrase our host, feel free to consider all the sheeple appropriately chagrined. Have a nice day.

  80. John – Honorable Sir – would you kindly tell me my opinion of what Hmmm had to say? I wish to express my thoughts, but I am too simple to articulate them. I defer to your wisdom and yield my sense of self to your superior example of personhood. I wish only to sing your word.

  81. I just wanted to say that passing any law which limits spending to tax receipts is so utterly, mind-fraggingly daft that I’m shocked people are still proposing it.

    Cutting spending and paying down debt when you’re in a recession is wantonly stupid. End of. Just look at the UK and Ireland and get back to me.

    Austerity is what you do during the boom times – except apparently that’s when you give people back ‘their money’…

    The GOP should have an indefinite economic time out on the Bush Tax Cuts alone.

  82. lind, of course not. The surprising part is that he apparently assumes no one else did, either.

    Daveon, yes, everyone sane who understands economies knows that government spending needs to go UP during the busts and DOWN during the booms. Crazy or ignorant people think the opposite (the latter apparently believing that governments should act “just like you would in your own family” whereas actually, of course, governments need to behave the OPPOSITE of how a family would). Evil people just want spending to go down all the time, not because they don’t realize civilization would collapse, but because they think the collapse of civilization would be to their advantage.

  83. Xopher, I can’t thank you enough for that brilliant analysis. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.

    You’re right man, everyone who doesn’t agree with you is crazy, ignorant and evil. That explains it.

  84. Billy: in much the same way you repeatedly asserted that the unemployed are lazy and stupid in another discussion?

    Pot, kettle.

  85. Nope. Never said that about the unemployed. I may have said that the Occupiers are lazy. I certainly think they are, so I might have said it about them, but not the unemployed.

  86. Incorrect:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/10/27/occupy-my-brain/#comment-280792

    and see my comment a couple down.

    Back on-topic:
    Anyone notice that Ron Paul’s pursuing a “forget about the voters” tack and trying to get the uncommitted Republican delegates? He’s getting 22 out of 25 of Nevada’s delegates even though Romney won the state caucus, assuming that there is a brokered convention in Florida – the idea being to have a stronger hand in negotiations if Romney doesn’t win outright – the first vote, the majority of NV’s delegates go for Romney per the rules.

    Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/ron-paul-wins-majority-of-nevada-delegates/2012/05/06/gIQA1An15T_blog.html?wprss=rss_the-fix

  87. Billy – there certainly are conservatives who think that people who disagree with them are crazy, ignorant or evil. My parents for one. Who believe therefore, that all three of their children, since they know we aren’t crazy or evil (or stupid), must, must, must be ignorant. Which leads to them lecturing us on politics every time we get in range. Which is highly ironic, since even I, the least politically active/informed of the lot of us, pay about six times more attention to politics than they do.

    I think it’s more a case of paradigms being terribly difficult things to see around. You see it in science often – someone who absolutely cannot accept or see a different way of looking at things than the one they formed earlier in life. My parents are not evil or crazy, but they are unintentionally ignorant because they cannot see or take into account facts that contradict what they “know” to be true. It’s a big part of how the human brain works, unfortunately. Also unfortunate – that they can’t see where some of the policies they espouse have results indistinguishable from deliberate evil. And intent isn’t magical.

  88. What I’d have liked to have known about Hmmm, were it not nothing more than a self-aggrandizing troll, is which of the two categories it considers itself to be a part of, since it made it clear that everyone here is either a remora or a choir-signer. But like all passive aggressive egocentric thread judges, Hmmm chose the easy route of nebulous indictments aimed no particular argument or commenter, because we philistines here in the echo chamber are not worth actually engaging with. So I choose not to feed the troll; its ego is overinflated enough already.

    @ Tapetum

    All true, but it works both ways. It’s entirely possible for two sides to assume the other is crazy, ignorant or evil and both be wrong. The worst breakdowns result when both sides assume that because their opponents are crazy or ignorant about one thing or even several things, they must be crazy or ignorant about everything. Very few people are ever evil according to their own moral values – though I see no reason why at least some people cannot behave in ways they know full well to be wrong even according to their own values – and that doesn’t even address the nihilists and the individuals whose gaze points only outward (such as Hmmm).

    Do your parents share your axiomatic values?

  89. @Gulliver – I agree; it absolutely works both ways. It can be distressingly obvious where one person’s paradigm is off and thereby their logic circuits are borked, but just as they can’t see it in themselves, you won’t be able to see where your logic circuits are likewise borked. It’s an exercise in humility, if you look at it closely.

    My parents and I share many of our axiomatic values – say 90%+. Those I don’t share with them I do seem to mostly share with my brothers, which leads me to think either the differences are generational, or that my parents were inadvertently teaching the opposite of their personal beliefs by negative example. We mostly differ on our views of how those values should be best supported by society.

  90. @ Tapetum

    It can be distressingly obvious where one person’s paradigm is off and thereby their logic circuits are borked, but just as they can’t see it in themselves, you won’t be able to see where your logic circuits are likewise borked.

    It’s definitely harder. I love that word borked :)

    It’s an exercise in humility, if you look at it closely.

    Yup. That’s largely why I don’t subscribe to the general human tendency to anthropomorphize the environment and wider universe. It’s not that I think I have all the answers (or even more than the most miniscule fraction of them), but because I don’t think most people have nearly as many as they often claim.

    Not to delve too deeply into a discussion of moral reasoning, but it seems to me that there are two ways in which people’s moral systems can differ, provided it’s an actual system and not merely an unexamined expression of how they feel. They can differ in basic values, i.e. their moral goals and acceptable routes to them, and they can differ in how they think it’s most effective to achieve those goals. The former are harder to reconcile than the latter because reason alone is not sufficient – changing axiomatic values requires getting someone to change their choices, and that is not always possible. There are certain things I am never likely to convince my parents of owing to their belief in a Higher Power (which they call God) and associated objective morality; which is to say that they believe Existence has innate goals chosen for them to value. Our divide is not so much generational as metaphysical. Surprisingly, I still share, at a conservative estimate, probably in the ballpark of 2/3 of their value system, but I am not optimistic that I will ever change their belief that abortion is murder. Fortunately, when it comes to things their Reveal Religious Text doesn’t directly address, they are receptive to reason.

    Of course, my parents raised me and my pagan sister to think for ourselves, so we have them to thank for our nonconformity.

  91. BQ: everyone who doesn’t agree with you is crazy, ignorant and evil

    He didn’t say that. He said that people who believe daft things that are patently untrue are crazy and ignorant, and that people who want to make other people suffer for no valid reason, except, perhaps to make things better for themselves, are evil.

    Not sure that’s all that shocking myself.

    But to be clear, I personally think that cutting spending in a massive recession, when households are encumbered with enormous levels of personal debt and therefore cannot pick up the slack, is crazy and ignorant.

    I leave it to others to decide if trying to balance economic cost cutting on the poorest members of society is evil or not.

  92. Thanks Xopher… interestingly, I usually get told the inverse of that, mostly by libertarian right-wingers…

  93. (…wanders in, observes usual discussion involving many self-impressed liberals vs. a very few stubborn conservatives. Actually contemplates climbing back onto the dunking machine chair. Because he is a sucker for lost causes…. walks away knowing he has a manuscript due on Tuesday night; no time for political pugilism.)

  94. many self-impressed liberals

    And this wasn’t actually in the dunking chair then? I think you need to retune your rhetorical compass a little. So this wasn’t you saying ‘those stupid liberals need some edamacating by me, but I’m busy?” then?

  95. (…wanders in, observes usual discussion involving many self-impressed liberals vs. a very few stubborn conservatives. Actually contemplates climbing back onto the dunking machine chair. Because he is a sucker for lost causes…. walks away knowing he has a manuscript due on Tuesday night; no time for political pugilism.)

    You know, Brad, like so many things, this thread is not actually all about you.

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