Some Quick and Final Post-Election Notes to Some But Not All White Men

Specifically, to the white men who have spent the last week freaking out about the fact that Obama won a second term without the majority of white men voting for him.

1. First off, relax. A rainbow coalition of gays, women and minorities is not coming to your door to take your guns or your freedom. As difficult as it may be to believe, when anyone else votes, they’re usually actually not ever thinking about how their vote is going to have an impact on you, the white man. Consequently, in the aftermath of the election, they’re generally still not thinking about you. You’re just not that interesting or important to them.

2. Second, stop believing that the problem was that Romney didn’t sell the message. He sold it just fine. So did Paul Ryan. So did the GOP candidates you favor. So did hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ads funded by SuperPACs. The problem isn’t the selling of the message. The problem is the message. Everyone else got the message. They just said “thanks, no,” to it. Stop being the guy who thinks the message will work by restating it again in a slightly different, often louder, way. That says “You’re stupid enough not to notice I’m selling the same message.” This is not a good way to convince people.

3. If you’re going to “go Galt,” now really is an excellent time to do it. Please, go Galt! We want you to go Galt. It’s probably best for everyone if you do go Galt. I feel compelled to warn you, however, that as you don’t actually live in an Ayn Rand novel, your self-deportation to the Galt’s Gulch of your choice will not, in fact, collapse society into a wailing socialist pancake of misery. What will happen is that someone else in our nation of 300-some-odd million will slot into your position, albeit with probably less strident personal politics, and things will go on more or less as they did before. This is something Ayn Rand got wrong.

4. Speaking of Ayn Rand, I realize that many of you are still using her terminology and trying to blame Mitt Romney’s defeat on a coalition of “takers,” or, like Bill O’Reilly, really believe that tens of millions of your fellow citizens voted for “things” and “stuff.” I understand it makes you feel better to say “takers” rather than, say, “people who believe that the overall benefits of a pluralistic society should be less obviously tilted to the tiny minority at the very top of the income pyramid,” but be aware that a) not everyone (and by “not everyone” I mean “almost no one but you”) sees the two as synonymous, b) you’re not helping yourself by continuing to assert that they are. This is another thing Ayn Rand got wrong.

5. In fact, as a general note going forward: Ayn Rand? Got it wrong. On pretty much everything relating to humans. Yes, I know. It was hard for me to believe it too, for fifteen minutes when I was teenager. But I struggled through! And so can you.

6. While you’re at it, consider widening your diet of political thought and reportage beyond the holy trinity of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the Drudge Report, and their various lesser cognates. They stopped modeling reality and started just saying what they think should happen and called it “reality.” Political scientists call this “epistemic closure” but I call it “NYAH NYAH NYAH I CAN’T HEAR YOU AND DON’T WANT TO KNOW.” I’m not saying don’t listen to them; you’re going to do that anyway. But you might double check the things they say against a source that doesn’t make its money, as I’ve noted before, terrifying aging white people.

7. Finally, relax yet again. There are still tens of millions of you. Your political concerns are not going to go away. You still have a seat at the table. The politicians you favor are still going to win lots of elections, especially at mid-terms. Heck, your favorite politicians still have the House of Representatives! That’s half a branch of government right there. You’re going to be just fine. You’re just going to have to get used to the idea that you won’t always get your way. Which makes you like everyone else. I know, that’s not what you’ve been led to expect. But it is fair.

Update, 11/13: Liberals and or Obama supporters! I have notes for you too.

423 thoughts on “Some Quick and Final Post-Election Notes to Some But Not All White Men

  1. Opening notes:

    I recognize that by using the term “white male,” I will inevitably invoke the sort of excitable types who fancy themselves “alpha males” and will come along to do all sorts of mental gymnastics, up to and including calling me racist for directing my comments to white males (despite the fact I am, you know, a white male myself, etc).

    To these fellows I would say:

    1. Don’t bore me with your nonsense, please.

    2. If you decide you must bore me, and many of you will, please be aware of the site disclaimer and comment policy.

    3. Per points one and two, I will happily Mallet your posts into extinction if they get out of line, which, if you are the sort of excitable type who fancies himself as an “alpha male,” is almost certain to happen.

    There, that should be enough of a warning.

  2. It’s too bad that the white men who need to read this most either won’t or will fight your commonsense to the oh so bitter end. Wasn’t there a study that said that if you rationally show people with strongly held beliefs why those beliefs aren’t correct, they will, in fact, believe them even more strongly?

  3. I think pointing out that poor Ms. Rand got just about everything wrong regarding humans is a nice touch.
    As well as the fact that you (and I) thought she was right for about 15 minute in high school.
    It appears that for most of our conservative friends, once that idea entered their heads, all new thoughts were rejected thereafter.

  4. Excellent points, as usual John. I get so tired I hearing that I voted for Obama because I want stuff. I voted for him simply because my vision of America better lines up with his than it did for Romney’s.

  5. As someone with a little bit of practical in the trenches political experience (I was elected to three terms on our local school board and then ran a walk-the-precincts get-out-the-vote campaign for city council, ultimately winning as an underdog) I think a lot of the credit for Obama’s success lies in his spectacular get out the vote effort. Various news reports have cited the shock and consternation experienced by the Romney team as voters who’d shown little or no interest in voting showed up at the polls. Shoe leather counts, even in national elections (so, too, do personal outreach efforts backed up by high tech behavioral science-based databases :)).

    But lest anyone supporting Obama’s direction grow complacent, remember what E. E. Doc Smith said: what science can build, science can circumvent. Or in this case, adapt. It’ll be interesting to see how the GOP ground game changes in the next election cycle. They certainly won’t lack for whatever money is needed to build a 21st century outreach/get out the vote effort.

  6. Another vote for “wailing socialist pancake of misery” here.

    As usually, stated with humor, but not pulling any punches. Well done.

  7. The one thing I can think of that I think Ayn Rand got right about humans is her bit about how you can’t say “I love you” if you can’t say “I”.

    Just think how much more readable Atlas Shrugged would have been if she’d stopped there!

  8. rainbow coalition of gays, women and minorities is not coming to your door to take your guns or your freedom

    Yes, we are. But in return we will be giving you the briefing book on sharia law and how to follow it, and the booklet How To Be A Good Socialist Worker For The Benefit Of The Homeland.

  9. 98% of the people who threaten to go Galt would not be missed. In that regard, it’s the Objectivist version of the Rapture.

  10. Too bad the people who need to read this are all all hunkered down in their bunkers.

    On my way to work today I drove past a house that had removed the Romney/Ryan signs from their yard and replaced them with a single larger sign over the weekend. The new sign is a Communist flag with the hammer and sickle in the upper left corner and it has Obama written on the body of the flag.

    I think it is safe to say that they are fully epistemicly enclosed.

  11. I think point six is the bulk of the problem with many conservatives. It continues to strike me as strange that the effect of more information being available is that so many people narrow the range of information they take in.

    I disagree to some extent with point seven. At least, I would like to think it is a smaller group than you imply. There are many people in the Republican party who are more traditionally conservative. Some in Congress who would like to work with the President and solve some of the significant issues facing the United States feel trapped by the head-in-sand portion of the party.

  12. I endorse all your points except #2. If your target audience wants to spend their time and money restating the same old message, I’m in favor. It will distract them from coming up with more effective ways to deceive voters, and will also stimulate the economy.

  13. “Big government” is set up to favor the biggest takers, corporations and large financial institutions. Many billionaires became rich via government contracts, for example. As soon as they can, these “rugged individualists” rig government rules in their favor and cry about taxes, howl about aid to the elderly and poor, and shout about patriotism in order to expand military spending (especially on their own products and services). Government contracts are almost literally gold.

    Here’s a link to a free ebook that exposes the corporate welfare that conservatives often ignore in their quest to dismantle Medicare and Social Security (which explains Gore Vidal’s statement that we have socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor):

    http://deanbaker.net/books/the-conservative-nanny-state.htm

    Vin

  14. “Speaking of Ayn Rand, I realize that many of you are still using her terminology and trying to blame Mitt Romney’s defeat on a coalition of “takers,” or, like Bill O’Reilly, really believe that tens of millions of your fellow citizens voted for “things” and “stuff.””

    Well, if by “things” and “stuff”, O’Reilly meant equal protections under the law and civil rights regardless of sex, gender, race, religious belief, etc., more affordable health care, continued public funding of institutions like NPR and PBS and civic works rather than privatizing the hell out of everything… yeah, many of us didn’t vote for Romney because we wanted “things” and “stuff.”

  15. Here’s a thought I haven’t seen in print yet. Might make one of those deliciously ironic Pohl-Kornbluth story if it wasn’t probably true.

    US billionaires gave hundreds of millions of dollars to Karl Rove and other SuperPac operators to produce ads to unseat Obama and other Democrats. Their success rate was one per cent.

    Meanwhile, one of the things that floated Obama’s vote was the steady rise in employment figures. But surely some of those jobs derived directly, or by multiplier effects, from all those hundreds of millions of dollars repatriated from the billionaires’ Swiss and Cayman accounts and sent swimming through the US economy.

    Time to ask Karl Rove why he hates America.

  16. Ayn Rand wrote one really good novel: We the Living. Unfortunately, she turned to the dark side of the force after that.

  17. Insightful. I am also aware of a number of moderate Republican white males who voted for Obama — why? — they read the newspapers and were part of a “reality-oriented” world.

  18. The conservative pundits are currently all about #2. Charles Krauthammer insists that “Republicans need to weed out candidates who talk like morons about rape…The problem here for Republicans is not policy but delicacy…” and “Republicans lost the election not because they advanced a bad argument but because they advanced a good argument not well enough.”

    As if I, or the millions of women, non-whites, and non-straights, would have voted for Romney if he’d written out his ‘plan’ with BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pens. There is no delicate way to deliver the message of disenfranchisement, “Daddy State” government that is just large enough to fit up my vagina, inequality before, and secondary citizenship. That’s not bad messaging; that’s a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad message.

  19. The information problem is a human one. When you have so much, you need to narrow your range to avoid being overwhelmed and unable to make any decision. This provides a nice infographic about this. So not really a conservative problem as much as something we all need to learn how to deal with.

  20. Thank you.

    I’m generally an optimistic, positive person, but I also like being in touch with reality. And the reality is that no one is so indispensable that their place can’t be filled by someone else. Maybe not perfectly, but the difference is not enough to collapse society. Ascribing to the the idea of “going Galt” usually requires some super-human levels of self delusion.

    Even if one’s work is “indispensable” and so valuable to society, it is not something one IS, but something one HAS. For a little while. Indispensable, totally-OMG-important people die every day. Die, retire, burn-out, get replaced by someone better, get replaced by a machine, whatever it is, they don’t last forever.

  21. ” I think a lot of the credit for Obama’s success lies in his spectacular get out the vote effort. Various news reports have cited the shock and consternation experienced by the Romney team as voters who’d shown little or no interest in voting showed up at the polls.”

    It helped that more radical Republicans seemed to spend a lot of time thinking up new and dimwitted things to say and do, the major effect of which was to scare, anger, and eventually mobilize those voters. See Akin, Todd; Husted, John.

  22. Man, I cannot wait for that Galt’s Gulch reality show.
    My money is on the cannibal. He seems like a real go-getter, with strong Randian instincts.

  23. I’m not a fan of this type of essay. There certainly are people that fit this description, but they aren’t going to be convinced by your writing, while there are plenty of thoughtful Romney voters out there who will find this essay condescending. There’s plenty of this type of snark available on the web already; I come here for your serious political thoughts and the occasional over satire. Just my two cents.

  24. As far as the getting out the vote efforts go…I live about 600 feet from my polling place, and on Tuesday night, I got a call from the Obama people about ten minutes before the polls closed, encouraging me to go vote if I yet had not. I said thanks, already voted (for Obama), and the woman calling said thanks, went on (quickly) to her next call. My point being that I’d be willing to bet that the Obama team had lists of registered/likely voters who lived close to polling places, and that by that time of night, their programs were giving them names of people who could still get there before the polls closed. That is organization. That is thinking. That is the way to win an election. Or run a country.

  25. Am I crazy to dream of a Libertarian-Green coalition valiantly striving identify and internalize all negative externalities, enabling the market and repairing the common environment?

    It will require a lot of disentanglement, but it seems like the trouncing of this past election might clue in some of the remaining libertarians that giving up the Social Liberty part of the creed in order to form a coalition with Theocrats, may not be the best strategic maneuver.

    I’d really love it if my voting choices were actually hard decisions as opposed to being a choice between protecting my friends (women, LGBT, etc) and slitting my own throat, that is, no choice at all.

  26. GOP Base= Xenophobic Leviticans
    Ayn Rand= Openly promiscuous Russian immigrant

    I would have to say that a political party that tries to fit Objectivism with Old Testament Christianity in one big tent makes as much sense as a political party that wants to lower carbon emissions and save General Motors.

    Also, she did say that racism was the “lowest form of collectivism”. I doubt you would call her wrong on that particular issue.

  27. Are they using the word “Takers”? Bah. The real Randian word for those socialist types was *LOOTERS* — as in, they wait for the noble businessman to make his pile and his super-duper inventions, then come and loot it For The Common Good.

    Rand was basically the same as any other one-person idealistic philosophy; whether Randian or Marxist, such idealistic approaches work just fine if you assume that people, well, don’t work like PEOPLE. Or, at best, if you assume ALL people work JUST LIKE YOU. (In Rand’s case it’s not even that good; she was very good at pointing out motes in other people’s eyes while ignoring the lumberyard in her own). But she did have very good reasons for developing her outlook and I view her more as a cautionary tale — in both directions.

    I still love Atlas Shrugged anyway. It’s perfectly good science fiction. I do skip the 60-page speech, though.

  28. What continues to amaze me is how the conservatives can’t even realize when they have won. The NRA spent enormous efforts to try to defeat Obama in both elections because they wanted a president who would keep his hands off their guns. What is astounding is that they got exactly what they wanted. Obama has done nothing about guns at all and only recently mentioned a return of the assault weapons ban. They already had the type of president they want, they are just too blind to see it.

    If someone is strongly opposed to something you are doing and you stop doing it because of that opposition and they continue to criticize you for something you are not even doing anymore, what incentive is there to give them what they want?

  29. Of course, when they campaign and use the buzzphraze “Taking our country back”… it’s not even a veiled statement.

    Oh and Christopher, the Supreme court control won’t last long. Obama should be able to appoint at least two more judges, if not 3.

  30. I came to the comments to make sure “wailing socialist pancake of misery” was getting the love it so richly deserves… check. Carry on!

  31. Oh and Christopher, the Supreme court control won’t last long. Obama should be able to appoint at least two more judges, if not 3.

    Maybe. One of those will be a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is a liberal. Scalia is the next oldest, and I would guess that he’ll hold out (unless RBG pushes him out a window on her way to retire) for a GOP President. Then it’s Kennedy, who might go, and is fairly conservative. After that, it’s Clarence Thomas and a bunch of younger conservatives. I wouldn’t bet on any of them going.

  32. I agree with Daniel. This piece has no chance of convincing the audience that you’re pretending it’s directed towards. While I enjoyed reading it and agreed with your points, I am not its target audience. If I were its target audience, I would have stopped reading because you were so snarky and condescending.

    Did you really even mean for Conservative voters to take something from this post, or is this just another one of an ongoing series of jocular “scoreboard” shouts to the losing team that is still trying to fight after the game is well out of hand?

  33. “As well as the fact that you (and I) thought she was right for about 15 minute in high school.”

    Took me until I got to college, but then, I was a bit of a late bloomer.

    To quote John Rogers:

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

  34. I think that the sensible Republicans who feel trapped should get together and Do Something about the problem.

    Are there any more left honestly? Everyone I know who’s a sensible Republican voted for Obama because the GOP has so firmly veered off to the right from where it stood back in the 90’s let alone the 80’s.

  35. My favorite thing about Ayn Rand is that she lived in a menage a quatre. That’s something that a fair number of Rand supporters conveniently overlook.

  36. “Everyone I know who’s a sensible Republican voted for Obama because the GOP has so firmly veered off to the right from where it stood back in the 90′s let alone the 80′s.”

    Agreed. Sensible Republicans vote Democrat. The batshit crazy vote Republican. And the liberals either vote Democrat or seethe that they lack a party to vote for anymore.

  37. I do agree with everything that you wrote, but just wanted to add in a positive. Most of my Republican white male friends who are normal people really wanted to focus on the economy. They identify with the Party of Fiscal Responsibility. They also are bewildered by the crazy people in control of the party. In fact, in my age group (45 and under) I think most of the white male Republicans that I know actually voted for Obama or didn’t vote at all (most of my regular white male circle of friends is so liberal, Obama is too centralist). So, I think that there is hope for the white males. At least, hope for those that actually live in the real world.

  38. 1 I play bass and piston-valve trombone, can I play in your band?
    2 As an aging-white male, I demand to let it be known that I thought that the platform of the Republicans is abhorrent. But then, I have a college degree, and practice critical thought.
    3 I was wondering if any one else had thought about what it means if the Fat White Rich Guys “went Galt.” It means I stand a chance at a promotion, rather than trapped at my current pay grade. The only way I get a promotion or a pay raise is to change companies. :)

  39. The big problem re #2 is that they may choose to emulate the UK Conservative party. Eject people who openly espouse the horrible views, but promote people that, while able to espouse friendly, warm and “safe” viewpoints, still really hold to the old message and will implement the original hostile policies when they get into power. There has been quite a few in the UK Conservative party who have been playing the “well, of course we had to say that to get into power, but now we are here it can be dropped”. Which is a problem for the UK electoral process of course, but it shows how an unpopular party can win an election if it is prepared to be both incredibly disciplined on toeing the party line and brazenly lie about their principles. There is one thing you have to credit the right on, like ‘em or loathe ‘em, but they have discipline.

  40. This Looks Fun:

    “This piece has no chance of convincing the audience that you’re pretending it’s directed towards.”

    Based on many years of experience, I can suggest with some confidence that the number of conservative white men out there who can handle a bit of barbed yet humorous criticism is higher than either you or Daniel seem to believe.

    That said, if they have no interest in it, oh well. It does not suggest I should not say what I want, how I want to say it.

  41. To all the white men who are patting themselves on the back about the fact that Obama won a second term:

    1) Show some humility. Winning by 51% – 48% isn’t evidence of some inherently superior point of view. This country is pretty well divided and bridging that divide is going to require both sides to rethink some of their assumptions.

    2) Stop believing that Obama’s message was overwhelmingly convincing. Everyone else didn’t get the message, only 51% of the people ‘got the message’.

    3) Stop using an extreme literal interpretations of a novel and thinking you are discrediting the underlying message.

    4) Stop assuming that someone who objects to the Democratic policy prescriptions that benefit ‘takers’ doesn’t also object to the Republic policy prescriptions that benefit ‘takers’. There is an abundance of misguided policies and corrupt implementations on both sides of the aisle.

    5) As a general note, don’t confuse the messager with the message. Lots of other people have covered the same ground as Ayn Rand. Discrediting her is not the same thing as discrediting the message.

    6) Widen you diet of political thought beyond the New York Times, MSNBC, and CNN.

    7) Relax. Stop imagining that the other side is a bunch of rich, white, hetro, racists.

  42. I love the “we’ll go Galt!” threats and the less code-word-filled threats about how if the top earners have to pay higher taxes they won’t work as hard or expand their business etc.

    Sounds great.

    Not that I don’t want more successful businesses, no matter what the deep-right folks want to think. But if they don’t want that money/business, fine – I have complete faith in our capitalistic system that someone else DOES want it and will step up to go get it.

    Papa John pizza franchises won’t add more hours for employees because they’d have to raise the price of a pie $0.14 to pay for the health care? Not a problem: if there’s demand for the pizzas then someone else out there who wants to be successful will hire the better employees and run a successful business. PJ’s can pick up the dregs who can’t do better.

    Jane Lawyerperson would have worked another hour and made another $200 but she doesn’t want to work that hard if she only gets to keep $200 * (1 – 0.0395) rather than $200 * (1 – 0.35)? That’s fine, go home. We have more lawyers who want the business and won’t refuse it because of the extra $0.90 in taxes.

    And of course, finally, we can stop hearing from those whiners who say that if the top marginal rates go up they won’t hire more people and expand their business. That’s cool – I know we have enough motivated people in business or who want to start businesses and who know that salaries are expenses which reduce your profits so you don’t pay taxes on them. Honestly, these clowns need to hire better accountants – they clearly don’t understand what is and isn’t a deduction, based on what they say publicly.

  43. Gary W:

    “Stop using an extreme literal interpretations of a novel and thinking you are discrediting the underlying message.”

    If we’re talking Atlas Shrugged here, a) I’ll stop using extreme literal interpretations when its fanboys do the same, and b) the underlying message discredits itself.

    Also, I was wondering when someone would attempt a point-by-point refutation. Seems to have come along at the usual time. And with the usual number of strawmen, too!

  44. As A Canadian I have been enjoying, in a rather schadenfreude manner, the fall out from the election. The part that keeps me in stitches are all the Facebook posts of people yelling how they are going to move to Canada. Because you know if you hate the idea of socialized healthcare and gay marriage this is the place to be to really cement your agony.

  45. That’s a fair response, John. And I have some conservative friends who can certainly handle (and dish out) barbed yet humorous criticisms. But I think there’s a major bridge to cross between simply handling barbed yet humorous criticism and using your powers of reach and speech to espouse your views in a way that might actually make a difference to people who are possibly still licking some open wounds. Today’s piece just seems like more salt and gloating.

    You certainly do have the right to say what you want, but it seems silly to pretend that it is meant as actual advice, when clearly it could only spark the kind of “agree-fighting” that is so popular among fans of winning teams that can’t agree on which part of the losing team was the most inept.

  46. Anyone who has actually read that dreck by one Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum AKA Ayn Rand should be able to discern an awful lot of stupidity in it. The poor lady’s family went from well-to-do comfortable ease to poverty because of the communist revolution. From this the only thing she was able to carry forward is that ANY social action was as bad as Bolshevik revolution. It was a mental illness that appears to have morphed into a social disease. It infected her paramour, Alan Greenspan, and a generation of political operatives that has severely injured the body politic in the US. Its time we applied some penicillin to this sickness

  47. James Rosse:

    3 I was wondering if any one else had thought about what it means if the Fat White Rich Guys “went Galt.” It means I stand a chance at a promotion, rather than trapped at my current pay grade. The only way I get a promotion or a pay raise is to change companies. :)

    Honestly, yes. For most of my adult career, I’ve been considering the aging white guys running my various companies, and praying nightly that they’ll retire. Unfortunately, they seem to just keep hangin’ on, decade after decade; if one does leave, a clone slots right into place. While I might like my senior management on a personal level, looking around the table at 8-10 white guys in the 55+ age bracket can be pretty disheartening.

    Gary W:

    2) Stop believing that Obama’s message was overwhelmingly convincing. Everyone else didn’t get the message, only 51% of the people ‘got the message’.

    No, we all “got the message.” 51% agreed with Obama’s message, while 48% agreed with Romney’s. I would not presume, like you do, that the 48% who voted for Romney did so because they didn’t get Obama’s message.

  48. If you’re going to “go Galt,” now really is an excellent time to do it. Please, go Galt! We want you to go Galt. It’s probably best for everyone if you do go Galt.

    No. Just no. On behalf of New Zealand, I’d like to discourage anyone from flouncing in the general direction of Hobbiton. We have more than one lesbian in our legislature – and not so long ago elected an out transsexual to represent a conservative rural electorate. We encourage poor and off-white people to vote, not suppress them. We’re working out a mutually respectful relationship with our indigenous people and immigrants. It’s not easy, or without tensions and conflict, but nothing worthwhile ever is. We have legal abortion. There’s a general consensus across the political spectrum that public schools and hospitals aren’t the work of Satan. You might just get your residency around the time marriage equality becomes the law of the land — it’s not a done deal yet, but passed it’s first legislative hurdle with bipartisan support.

    You’ll HATE IT.

  49. To be honest, I hope the straight, white, heterosexual males you speak of don’t get the message–or to concede more intelligence upon them–refuse to get the message. At least until 2050 when whites become a minority in the USA.

  50. This Looks Fun:

    This is where I point you to the site disclaimer, especially the part which states, “I make no claims as toward being even-handed, fair, or nice.”

  51. John Scalzi: “Also, I was wondering when someone would attempt a point-by-point refutation. Seems to have come along at the usual time”

    Well, I thought about just tackling a couple of your more disputable points but that wouldn’t be as fun.

    But really, a 51% to 48% margin, which is a smaller margin than in 2008, is an indication that we are still muddling along with no real consensus as to how to address the problems we face. Personally I don’t think either party has presented a convincing message and a significant portion of the 51% and of the 48% would be open to alternatives. Republicans who think they just need to communicate the same message in a better way and Democrats who think that they are the only ‘reality-based’ party are both wrong.

  52. That was good.

    If I was one of those fabulously wealthy titans of commerce, I would buy enough ad time on Fox News to say, “Megyn Kelly is going to read this on the air, on your channel, tomorrow night, at suppertime” so that their programming directors would be empowered to do little more than smile, nod, and comply.

    The resulting collision of fecal matter with an air circulator would finish the job. It would be glorious, and probably do the entire American body politic a favor, however small.

  53. MNmom: “They identify with the Party of Fiscal Responsibility.”

    I understand that it’s hard for a third party to get any media attention, but I’ve never even *heard* of that party. Have they run candidates for any major offices?

  54. Specifically, to the white men who have spent the last week freaking out about the fact that Obama won a second term without the majority of white men voting for him.

    Huh. After seeing that sentence, this post went off in an entirely different direction than I thought – I thought you were going to be talking to the folks who are a bit put out that white males voted so disproportionately for Mr. Romney when compared to other demographics. Which is something that I actually do find a little concerning.

    When such a large and privileged cohort is so out of step with the rest of the country, it strikes me as a problem – the phrase “the wrong side of history” comes to mind.

    Call me naïve, but it would be nice if people voted out of concern for society as a whole rather than out of concern for themselves.

  55. Just one of those pesky facts, reality biting where you can’t itch: When Ronald Reagan won in 1980, claiming a “mandate,” he won 50.8% of the popular vote, which is less than 51%. Hardly a consensus.

  56. mintwitch:

    >>James Rosse:
    3 I was wondering if any one else had thought about what it means if the Fat White Rich Guys “went Galt.” It means I stand a chance at a promotion, rather than trapped at my current pay grade. The only way I get a promotion or a pay raise is to change companies. :)
    Honestly, yes. For most of my adult career, I’ve been considering the aging white guys running my various companies, and praying nightly that they’ll retire. Unfortunately, they seem to just keep hangin’ on, decade after decade; if one does leave, a clone slots right into place. While I might like my senior management on a personal level, looking around the table at 8-10 white guys in the 55+ age bracket can be pretty disheartening.<<

    Take heart.

    Considering what we've just learned in a horrifyingly amusing way (gosh, thanks, Gen. Petraeus) about the unwisdom of allowing old guys with security clearances anywhere near computers connected to teh intert00bs, I'm thinking we'll see some fairly major turnover gathering momentum.

  57. The readers of this blog, especially including the conservative, minimalist and libertarian ones, are a non-random sample of the population, skewing to the intelligent and thoughtful (yes, I include the vast majority of you conservatives, minimalists and libertarians). The problem, contrary to what Mintwitch and others assert, is that the 48% of the population who voted for Romney, in many cases did not vote for Romney because of a thoughtful analysis, but rather because they know that Obama’s a black Muslim Negro Kenya-born colored commie nigger gun-grabbing black secret-bastard-of-an-obscure-Communist-newspaperman darkie tool of the Zionist Occupation Gummint! Most of the Republican Party’s grown-up element is not like that, of course; but the swath of poorly-educated and benighted rural counties which make the maps look deceivingly red on election night shows where they get their votes every election day. That Faustian bargain with the Ku-Kluxers which started in 1964 will haunt you for generations; and the inexorable tide of demographics makes it increasingly a losing strategy. As a historian, I remember the days (not that long ago) when “college-educated” meant one was much more, not less, likely to vote Republican.

  58. John, I don’t particularly care if anyone’s offended by your post. I’m certainly not. I agree with TLF’s points in his last post, but that said, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t enjoy your approach to blogging/commenting in general.

  59. Gary W:

    “But really, a 51% to 48% margin, which is a smaller margin than in 2008, is an indication that we are still muddling along with no real consensus as to how to address the problems we face.”

    This relates to what I posted how, exactly? Nowhere in the piece did I suggest that Obama’s argument was “overwhelmingly convincing.” What I did point out was that a majority of voters didn’t buy the argument Romney was selling. Leaving aside that one doesn’t even actually need to win a majority of individual voters to become president (see: George W. Bush), you’re countering an argument that hasn’t been made here.

  60. My band is going to be named Extreme Literal Interpretation. And we’ll dress like Orcs.

    My wife and I are good friends with a number of moderate Republicans. Some have crossed over to the other side, some still vote with the party but are horrified by the extremists, and one has given up on politics entirely. Then there’s those who have drank the Koolaid and we now longer have anything to do with. The amount of vitriol, irrationality, and cognitive dissonance that spews forth from their emails and Facebook posts has rendered any possibility of legitimate discussion impossible.

  61. Gary W.:

    Obama did just as well against Romney as Bush did against Kerry in 2004. As Bush noted, “Elections have consequences”, even if the margin of victory is in some vague way not big enough for some people. The United States is not run via a consensus-based decision-making process, thanks be given.

  62. David Gustafson: It is a bit difficult to compare to the 1980 election because Anderson took 6% of the vote, but in 1984, Regan won in a two-man race 58.8% to 40.6%. If your point is that the winner always claims a ‘mandate’ regardless of the narrowness of the victory, then I would agree.

  63. I definitely think there needs to be a change in the current GOP message. I’m all for the party to be in favor of free-market solutions, downsizing federal government, and trying to defend traditional values (and I’m a Democrat, by the way). I’d love to hear a GOP that emphasizes the value of local responsibility over personal responsibility, that favors small businesses who are too small to compete over corporations that are too big to fail, that empowers neighborhoods to take care of their own poor and unemployed instead of railing against government handouts. But somehow I doubt that this kind of message won’t make money for a select group of media-savvy elites, even if it might actually give the party new life.

  64. ” The NRA spent enormous efforts to try to defeat Obama in both elections because they wanted a president who would keep his hands off their guns. What is astounding is that they got exactly what they wanted.”

    True, but in addition to the sense than you meant, they got a boost in sales. The NRA used to belong to the sportsmen. No longer – it is now a mouthpiece for the arms industry in much the same way that FauxSnooze is a mouthpiece for the neocon collective.

    Because of that, the expenditure in advertising is paying off. Firearm and ammunition sales are off to the races again, for fear that Lesbian Kenyan Muslim Freedom-Hating Blue-Armored United Nations Troops will be going door-to-door to disarm the citizenry, as was done in England for fear of anarchists in the nineteenth century.

    It’s amazing how many AK and AR knock-offs you can sell with the right kind of propaganda.

  65. Bearpaw: “Obama did just as well against Romney as Bush did against Kerry in 2004″.

    So? Just another example of how divided we are on core issues, or how our existing two-party system doesn’t represent the electorate very well, or how the winner always claims a mandate.

    I’ve been voting since the 1984 election and have yet to be particularly enamored with either candidate from either party and often mystified at the confidence partisans show in their candidate. I just don’t think we have had particularly good leaders in Washington.

  66. Gary W. – My point is that the word “consensus” has no actual accepted meaning in our republican form of government. If you want to pass a constitutional amendment giving it a specific meaning based upon percentage of votes garnered by any candidate or collection of candidates, fine. But until that happens, consensus is just a word tossed at the winners of elections by the losers of elections.

  67. Also, why the arguing? My vote is for bloody-mindedness.

    The fact clearly appears to be that Romney lost. That must be for one or both of two reasons: voters didn’t like him, or they didn’t like what he had (or not) have to say. Given that he was the least-polarizing candidate the GOP was able to propel into the general (notwithstanding his profession of faith, which is pretty polarizing on its own), I suspect some reconsideration is in order.

    If the best state for this Republic and its people was one that followed from levying an incidental flat income tax, providing vouchers to satisfy entitlements (or eliminating entitlements entirely), privatizing every imaginable government function, and regularly threatening war for reasons of ideology alone, you think we’d’ve let that happen after almost a century and a half of modern economic development.

    That it hasn’t suggests strongly to me — and apparently 62M other people — that there are still some kinks to work out of that plan. 62 million is a lot, by the way: roughly as many as constitute every man, woman, and child in tire UK.

    …And then there’s that whole women-more-or-less-as-chattel undercurrent. Someone apparently didn’t get — or more likely willfully disbelieved — the memo about the last 125 years of U.S. social history. Sorry, but when a constituency of your party is fighting against personal reproductive choice and gender-neutral pay standards, it starts to smell like hankering for a return to women-as-chattel, to those of us who disagree.

    That leaves the question of why so many people think it’d be okay to erase umpteen generations of (often painful) social progress, some of which has been rolled back in our lifetimes. My hunch is that the near-disappearance of the hierarchical, lily-white paradise has taken a lot of people aback. The problem is that easy solutions to that “problem” once suggested would cause this thread to go Godwin, and I suspect that our host is actively working to prevent that.

  68. The invocation of “mandate” is like the filibuster in the Senate. A way for the losers to prevent the winners from passing their program. People become President when they win the largest number of voters in the election. There is no requirement above that, and people invoking it are simply wrong.

  69. @Gary W and others: while 51% isn’t much, it’s a win. Margaret Thatcher took it upon herself to rewrite British Society from the ground up and NEVER won more than 44%of the popular vote. Given that, and that George W Bush took a mandate from winning in 2004 BY LESS than Obama just won, AND took a mandate from not even winning the election. As GWB said, elections have consequences and the GOP is going to live through these.

    Other than that, as a small business owner who would have voted Obama if he wasn’t on a Green Card (my co-founder did) I can’t wait for people to go Galt, happy to take their business for them. More than happy in fact.

    One of the things about the ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ which struck me with the Wisconsin mess, was that if you’re complaining that badly paid jobs with good benefits are somehow getting too much, then you’re missing the point. The point is not that Union jobs are unfair, it’s that non-union workers are being royally screwed.

  70. Chris Ogilvie: “Call me naïve, but it would be nice if people voted out of concern for society as a whole rather than out of concern for themselves.”

    I wish more people realized that that those things conflict far less often that is commonly believed. Things that benefit society generally benefit me. For example, the more people who have good health care, the easier it is for *me* to stay healthy.

  71. “Hardly A Consensus” is the name of my next band.

    Gary:

    1) Show some humility. Winning by 51% – 48% isn’t evidence of some inherently superior point of view. This country is pretty well divided and bridging that divide is going to require both sides to rethink some of their assumptions.

    tolerance, equality, and common sense is an inherently superior view to racism, homophobia, and thinking rape is god’s will and god’s gift.

    2) Stop believing that Obama’s message was overwhelmingly convincing. Everyone else didn’t get the message, only 51% of the people ‘got the message’.

    If you were saying the same thing when Bush won election by the same percentage, I might have some respect for this “hardly a consensus” argument. If you only say this when the person you didn’t vote for gets in office, then I’m not impressed.

    3) Stop using an extreme literal interpretations of a novel and thinking you are discrediting the underlying message.

    Ayn Rand herself said some extreme literal things in interviews and such to make plain her point of her novels and her “philosophy”. (It has to go in scare quotes because you can’t really call 13 year old level thinking a philosophy)

    4) Stop assuming that someone who objects to the Democratic policy prescriptions that benefit ‘takers’ doesn’t also object to the Republic policy prescriptions that benefit ‘takers’. There is an abundance of misguided policies and corrupt implementations on both sides of the aisle.

    Oh no. Are you a third party guy?

    5) As a general note, don’t confuse the messager with the message. Lots of other people have covered the same ground as Ayn Rand. Discrediting her is not the same thing as discrediting the message.

    I think when the Vice Presidential candidate has Ayn Rand as required reading for his peeps, then discrediting Ayn Rand is discrediting the vice presidential candidate. You might think it unfair, but that’s how I roll.

    6) Widen you diet of political thought beyond the New York Times, MSNBC, and CNN.

    huh boy.

    7) Relax. Stop imagining that the other side is a bunch of rich, white, hetro, racists.

    Wait. Wasn’t the other side Mitt Romney who was rich, white, het, and against equality for gays and had supporters who wore tshirts saying “put the white back in the white house”? Which election are you talking about?

  72. Daveon: “The point is not that Union jobs are unfair, it’s that non-union workers are being royally screwed.”

    Ye gods yes. I have a relative who occasionally complains about unions, mostly based on the fact that her (now late) husband lost some benefits when he moved to management. A couple of times I’ve tried to politely point out that it’s not the *union’s* fault that he lost those benefits, and in fact it’s to the union’s credit that he *had* those benefits before he became management. But she’ll have none of it.

  73. Okay, don’t boo me (or who knows, maybe I’ll get some pats on the back!) but I’ve never read Atlas Shrugged. And I feel like I’m missing out on something, if only because I have to Google all of these little Randisms that are being tossed around. Which is fine, Google is Google, after all, but I still feel out of the loop.

    So, should I read it? Just to be in the know or will I get a headache from all of the inevitable eye-rolling I’m expecting I’d do while reading this book I’ve heard so much about.

    Back to the subject of this article… I work for a small family owned chile dehyrdrating plant in Southern New Mexico. My bosses also own a farm and grow chile, onions and hay, for the most part. My state went blue but my county is red as can be, as are many rural counties populated by farmer types and “good old boys”, as they like to refer to themselves. They’re not “white”… they’re “good old boys” and lemme tell you, that term makes me want to punch someone in the face every time I hear it. They think that I’m in the club because I’m a SWF and, well, surely I feel and believe just as they do, right?? Grrr.

    For whatever reason, my bosses all think that doomsday is coming now that Obama “got in” (like he’s just now readying his family to occupy the White House) and once the shock wore off after the election last week (it amuses me still that they were all so shocked), the office has been full of gloom and doom over some imagined apocalypse or some damn horrible thing that they all expect to happen. I’d ask what the horrible thing is but I’m afraid I’d not be able to keep a straight face and I *do* respect them after nearly 10 years of working for them, so I don’t want to offend them if I don’t have to, though I did overhear my boss (77 yo SWF who built her companies with her husband and children) commenting a couple of weeks ago that according to 2016: Obama’s America (that she hasn’t even watched), Obama was “sent here to destroy America”… which left me o.O and *smh* and WTFing for days.

    Sorry for the length… the short version of my rant is that people like my bosses would never ever ever even understand the sense in this article. Sadly.

  74. @Bearpaw:

    I wish more people realized that that those things conflict far less often that is commonly believed. Things that benefit society generally benefit me. For example, the more people who have good health care, the easier it is for *me* to stay healthy.

    Well, I happen to agree with you. The problem is that so many people don’t see it that way – and then they decide to vote for who they think will benefit them the most, even to the unfair detriment of others, rather than for who they think will benefit the country the most.

    It’s disheartening.

  75. Paigevest-

    Would not DREAM of “booing” you, but also would not advise you to read Atlas Shrugged unless a) Your idea of “fun” includes whacking yourself on the forehead with blunt objects; or b) You get turned on by tedious, prolix, verbose, logical fallacies spouted ad infinitum for pages and pages while the already-lame “story arc” gets put on life support.

    BTW, speaking as a Norteno, do your employers have any IDEA who actually BUYS their product? Hint: Most of them up here voted Democratic.

  76. @GyrMor

    Am I crazy to dream of a Libertarian-Green coalition valiantly striving identify and internalize all negative externalities, enabling the market and repairing the common environment?

    I’m afraid you probably are. One of the largest blind spots in the libertarian outlook is the inability to understand that the common environment needs tending and ‘the free market will fix it’ won’t always work. Especially when the solution requires regulation on business.

  77. Chris Ogilvie:

    Call me naïve, but it would be nice if people voted out of concern for society as a whole rather than out of concern for themselves.

    Well, some of us vote out of concern for society as a whole, not personal interest. Honestly, there were only two issues on my ballot that were a direct positive for my household. I voted for them because I thought they were also in the general public interest. Otherwise, I voted to raise my property taxes, despite the fact that the funds won’t directly benefit my property; for public schools, although I don’t have kids; for candidates who may protect my general interests as a member of the public, but not necessarily support my personal pet projects. Call me naive, as well, because I believe that most people fall into this category, as well.

  78. paigevest:

    I wouldn’t worry about it. I suspect that many of Ayn Rand’s fans are only working from the SparkNotes.

    (I actually read it, many years ago. *And* “The Fountainhead”. And a bunch of her essays. Because I *liked* them. Honest. But I wouldn’t recommend them. It’s an acquired taste, and one I’m on the whole glad that I’ve lost.)

  79. David Gustafson: OK. I agree that ‘consensus’ is not a very helpful term in this discussion. I could have picked a better term but I think my larger point is still valid, the electorate is divided on which party represents the best path forward.

  80. Gary: I’ve been voting since the 1984 election and have yet to be particularly enamored with either candidate from either party and often mystified at the confidence partisans show in their candidate

    oh, shit. You’re a third-party guy.

    Look, the system works like this: Majority vote wins. This reinforces a two-party system, but it doesn’t say anything about where those two parties ARE. over time we’ve gone from a nation of racist, sexist, homophobic, land owning plutocrats to what we are today. And through that time, we’ve always had a majority-vote-wins system which reinforces a two-party system.

    The two main parties will always try to redefine themselves to capture 51% of the vote.

    Even if you time travel 500 years into the future and ever social issue facing America today is solved, if the US constitution still mandates a majority-vote-wins method for electing the president, there will be two main parties, and they will vie to split the vote 51/49. If your party is predicted to win only 10 or 20 percent of the vote, your party will redefine itself, because it has no point of existing if it has zero political power….

    Oh, wait, you’re a third party guy. You’ve had no political candidates from your party in the office of president, ever. Out of 535 seats at the federal level (1 president, 100 senators, and 435 in the house), you have 2 seats. And yet, you’re lecturing everyone else about how they’re ‘partisan’.

    Being lectured by a third party voter about how main-party voters are “partisans” kind of reminds me of being lectured by a permanently morbidly overweight guy about how I’m not eating healthy.

  81. Gary W – And if the popular vote was 99% to 1%, the electorate would still be divided on which party represents the best path forward. Perfect agreement is not on humanity’s option list.

  82. John Scalzi: “Nowhere in the piece did I suggest that Obama’s argument was “overwhelmingly convincing… What I did point out was that a majority of voters didn’t buy the argument Romney was selling.”

    And what I was trying to say is that the narrowness of the victory means that Obama’s message was rejected by an almost equal number of voters so it is pretty hard to draw any *strong* conclusions other than the President gets another four years to be more convincing (well, to make the Democratic case more convincing since he is term limited).

  83. @mintwitch:

    Fair enough – I probably should have said “it would be nice if more people voted out of concern for society rather than out of concern for themselves.”

    But now I get to be cynical rather than naïve: somehow I can’t bring myself to be as optimistic about voters’ intentions as you are.

    Of course, none of this can be verified either way, so the argument is rather moot. You could be entirely correct for all I know. I suppose I’m just expressing my dissatisfaction at my perception of the electoral process in the US. That cynicism on my part (and on the part of, I’m sure, a large number of others) should perhaps be cause for concern in itself.

  84. Daveon said, “…as a small business owner who would have voted Obama if he wasn’t on a Green Card…”

    Obama’s on a green card?! PROOF THAT TRUMP WAS RIGHT!

  85. jeroljohnson: Then there’s those who have drank the Koolaid and we now longer have anything to do with. The amount of vitriol, irrationality, and cognitive dissonance that spews forth from their emails and Facebook posts has rendered any possibility of legitimate discussion impossible.

    I have those people, too… only they’re family. *smh*

  86. I propose a divorce.

    We should split the US in two, with the coasts having independence from Redneckistan (or the Confederacy, if you want a very slightly more acceptable name). Leave them to sink (further) into misogny, racism, theocracy and wilfull ignorance. Given the vitriol, Republican majorities, and hatred of the federal government in those states, I’m sure we can get this to pass.

    Then the red states can really see who the “takers” of Federal spending is – here’s a hint, it’s not the high population states…

    (only slightly joking, please don’t mallet me too hard)

  87. Greg: “Being lectured by a third party voter about how main-party voters are “partisans” kind of reminds me of being lectured by a permanently morbidly overweight guy about how I’m not eating healthy.”

    Lectured? Third-party guy? I’m not lecturing and I’m not a member of any party. Never have been. Lots of people are like me and lots of people don’t feel particularly represented by either party. That is not the same thing as being ignorant to the dynamics of the two-party system (but thanks for the lecture).

    Where did you get the idea that I thought that all main-party voters are ‘partisans’? I think it is completely healthy to be skeptical of any leader, even if you are nominally supportive of that person.

  88. Here is an article about the problems with Romney’s Get Out The Vote software (ORCA).
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/09/the-romney-campaign-s-ground-game-fiasco.html

    And here is a conservative web site blogger’s comments on his experience with it.
    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/334783.php

    Not only did the GOP GOTV software not work in many instances and have a major crash at least once, there was little to no training, the training materials didn’t hit the street until Monday evening, and poll observers weren’t told that they needed, nor how to get, credentialed. As JohnE says in that blog entry, It looks like it was an unmitigated (heh) disaster.

    So I wonder how much was Romney’s message not resonating, and how much was a GOP meltdown in their GOTV efforts? We should not be complacent in 2 and 4 years.

  89. @paigevest
    Have you missed anything by not reading Atlas Shrugged? Not unless you have a taste for heavy-handed didactic “novels” with cardboard characters and excessively turgid prose. If you enjoyed Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, you’ll love Atlas Shrugged!

  90. @ben
    “Man, I cannot wait for that Galt’s Gulch reality show.
    My money is on the cannibal. He seems like a real go-getter, with strong Randian instincts.”

    OMG yes. I so want someone to write this short story and then make it into a movie. LOVE it.

    But sadly, all I have is this one sheldon comic strip from a while back… which I cannot seem to find on the internet, but it was funny… about who makes the food and so on. (hint: nobody knows how).

  91. cranapia @1:34:
    We encourage poor and off-white people to vote, not suppress them.

    The ivory bloc was quite influential in our local elections, but the city council remains overwhelmingly eggshell.

  92. uleaguehub: …would not advise you to read Atlas Shrugged unless a) Your idea of “fun” includes whacking yourself on the forehead with blunt objects; or b) You get turned on by tedious, prolix, verbose, logical fallacies spouted ad infinitum for pages and pages while the already-lame “story arc” gets put on life support.

    BTW, speaking as a Norteno, do your employers have any IDEA who actually BUYS their product? Hint: Most of them up here voted Democratic.

    No, that’s not my idea of fun! Call it research. Though if you lot don’t recommend that I read it, I sure won’t waste my time. ;o)

    And my employers seem to be oblivious about not only who buys their product, but who harvests it and who works in this facility that processes it! Seriously, head in the sand stuff going on here.

  93. Gary W:

    “And what I was trying to say is that the narrowness of the victory means that Obama’s message was rejected by an almost equal number of voters”

    Yes, but again, what does that have to do with anything that I wrote?

  94. “98% of the people who threaten to go Galt would not be missed. In that regard, it’s the Objectivist version of the Rapture.”

    Bob, that’s brilliant. I’m going to quote this (and give you credit) as often as I can.

  95. Gary: I’m not lecturing

    Uhm….

    To all the white men who are patting themselves on the back about the fact that Obama won a second term: 1) Show some humility. Winning by 51% – 48% isn’t evidence of some inherently superior point of view. This country is pretty well divided and bridging that divide is going to require both sides to rethink some of their assumptions. 2) Stop believing that Obama’s message was overwhelmingly convincing. Everyone else didn’t get the message, only 51% of the people ‘got the message’. 3) Stop using an extreme literal interpretations of a novel and thinking you are discrediting the underlying message. 4) Stop assuming that someone who objects to the Democratic policy prescriptions that benefit ‘takers’ doesn’t also object to the Republic policy prescriptions that benefit ‘takers’. There is an abundance of misguided policies and corrupt implementations on both sides of the aisle. 5) As a general note, don’t confuse the messager with the message. Lots of other people have covered the same ground as Ayn Rand. Discrediting her is not the same thing as discrediting the message. 6) Widen you diet of political thought beyond the New York Times, MSNBC, and CNN. 7) Relax. Stop imagining that the other side is a bunch of rich, white, hetro, racists.

    Strange dictionary you have there.

    I’m not a member of any party.

    Far as I can tell, that’s just as bad.

    Lots of people are like me

    and lurkers support me in email.

  96. TAGS!

    Strange dictionary you have there.

    I’m not a member of any party.

    Far as I can tell, that’s just as bad.

    Lots of people are like me

    and lurkers support me in email.

  97. I find number 2 to be extremely ironic. Democrats have owned that condescending, “the other side didn’t understand the message” for a long time now. It’s you guys who constantly say “if only the other side would read a book, do their homework, and stop watching their network, they’d totally agree with us.” And I also love the thinking that says people voted for Romney because they didn’t move past Ayn Rand when they were 15 years old. Does that also apply to all the economists who supported Mitt Romney, including six Nobel laureates? But I know, you’re not talking to those white males, you’re only talking to the other white males…you know the ones that aren’t ever going to read this blog.

  98. Wailing Pancake of Misery is not the name of my next band. It is, however the name of my next volume of emo poetry, or possible my next edgy installation art piece.

  99. “It’s you guys”

    I’m not a Democrat, and never have been. I just voted for the Democrat this time around.

    Beyond that, the “the other guy did it first” is a not an especially excellent argument.

    “But I know, you’re not talking to those white males, you’re only talking to the other white males…you know the ones that aren’t ever going to read this blog.”

    You understand the irony here, right?

  100. paigevest: I think it is probably wise to read The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, and The Virtue of Selfishness if you want to know where the Paul Ryan’s of the world are coming from. You can skim great swathes of the two novels (Virtue is collection of essays) and not miss anything important. I suggest keeping large quantities of weed, crispy orange snacks (Doritos, Cheetos), and your beverage of choice nearby, so that you can insulate yourself from the worst of her putrescent ejaculations. Taken in the right spirit (a little stoned, a little tipsy, nothing else on for the weekend), Rand can be entertaining.

  101. My observation about all this is that it seems to be the left that keeps wanting to make this a racial divide by continuously trying to separate out the white male with rhetoric and opinions such as this.

  102. My observation about all this is that it seems to be the left that keeps wanting to make this a racial divide by continuously trying to separate out the white male with rhetoric and opinions such as this

    You just stick with that analysis, big guy. I’m looking forward to electing Hillary in 2016.

  103. Seriously, why do you always address this “to white people”, as if there’s no conservatives that are minorities.

    It is condescending and a bit racist, honestly.

  104. @InDaButt:

    My observation about all this is that it seems to be the left that keeps wanting to make this a racial divide by continuously trying to separate out the white male with rhetoric and opinions such as this.

    When one cohort of a particular race and gender votes in a way that is as divergent from other demographics as white males in this election, is it really so much of a stretch to ask if something is going on? And when the cohort in question is arguably the most privileged in society, and has been specifically targeted by the candidate that it favoured, isn’t it even less of a stretch?

    Is it so hard to believe that a privileged class voted disproportionately for the candidate who promised to best protect that privilege because the class intended to guard its privilege at the expense of others?

  105. I pegged to Rand’s lack of insight into people the first time I tried to read Atlas Shrugged and got to a love scene. Personal relationships should not work that way

  106. It is condescending and a bit racist, honestly.

    On a meta level this amuses me because it indicates you didn’t really read what was written up there.

    On a more fundamental level, the problem isn’t that there aren’t people who are conservative who have come from minorities (although be careful how you use that, it might bite you later) – the problem is what minority representatives aren’t actually saying things that people want to hear, and look, well, not to put too fine a point on it, a bit like Tokens when you stick them up with a bunch of white old guys.

    If the Republican Party, as Rush Limbaugh said the other day, thinks that all they need to do is stick Jindal, Rubio and Caine front and center and that ‘proves’ they’re inclusive then, as the guy upthread said, I look forward to Hillary Clinton’s inauguration in Jan 2017.

  107. Tom M: If personal relationships worked the way they did in Ayn Rand novels, all sexual encounters would be rape… just not “legitimate” rape. That was always my biggest squick in the novels, actually. Ye-aaaaargh and shudder.

  108. Maybe you don’t care to be “even-handed, fair, or nice” but at the very least, you should attempt to have a reasonably well-informed argument which can be defended against criticism. This post is not an example of that.

    That’s probably why points 2-6 are directed at the hard-right boneheads in the Republican party who pushed Romney’s divisive platform rather than at the “white males” who, in a contest between incumbent Obama and bad-candidate Romney had a preference for Romney in NATIONAL polls (59% – 39%), but not as strongly in swing states (Ohio: 55%-45%; Florida: 54%-46%; Nevada: 52%-48%), the Midwest generally, or in blue states. That is obvious given the result.

    I believe “Daniel” and “Gary W.” and “This Looks Fun” and others have meaningful responses to your post because your hyperbole over-emphasizes the notion that race and gender are the animating reasons white men did not support President Obama in 2012 (or even 2008). There’s little evidence that race itself is a prevailing factor in their individual decision-making. It’s much more likely that white males were driven by age, personal wealth, a generalized social/ cultural conservatism, or because they’re low-information voters who are responsive to RNC fearmongering.

    Regarding the initial but quickly-discarded premise of your post (“Some Quick and Final Post-Election Notes to Some But Not All White Men: Specifically, to the white men who have spent the last week freaking out about the fact that Obama won a second term without the majority of white men voting for him.”)… this is a straw man of your creation.

    There is very little evidence that white men are “freaking out” in the way you suggest. Individual idiots or bigots on social media and talking heads may freak out, but they’re probably just as upset by the GOP’s loss as by whatever it means for “their race.” So, your post is directed at perhaps 1% of white male conservatives. Gloating over a win by Democrats can only be expected to alienate the millions of white males who have supported and will continue to support President Obama, and at rates roughly comparable to their support of Democrats in past elections.

    By way of example, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/white-guys-voted-for-obama-too/2012/11/09/d165d16e-2a98-11e2-b4e0-346287b7e56c_blog.html

    The alienation I suggest is inherent in your comment, because there simply is no “rainbow coalition of gays, women and minorities.” Each group voted strongly in support of the President, but they did not do so as a coalition, their interests are disparate, and their support for Democrats may be fleeting. Republicans are already re-grouping from their loss, flip-flopping on their long-held positions (E.g., Kristol on Bush tax cuts), and are preparing to divide and conquer.

    It is folly to give them both ammunition and targets.

  109. Several years ago I asked an accountant if there was any way to save money on taxes. Among other things he mentioned earning less money. I though he was being sarcastic. It turns out that people really do make a decision to work less based upon dimishing returns. Not from a Galtian attempt to hurt others, but from introspection revealing that time is more valuable than x amount of money. I like what I do for a living. I would continue to do it even if I were paid the same wage as a laborer. But I am at a point in my life that if there are diminishing returns I will likely choose time over money. That is a good thing for me and my family but I am disappointed that the choice is forced upon me. I don’t consider myself rich but rather a hard worker. I wish that the president would raise his definition of rich just a little higher than $250k. A hardworking couple can bring that in and still worry about the bills.

  110. There is very little evidence that white men are “freaking out” in the way you suggest. Individual idiots or bigots on social media and talking heads may freak out, but they’re probably just as upset by the GOP’s loss as by whatever it means for “their race.”

    In all seriousness Alan, have you been reading the main right wing blogs and news services?

  111. Alan Wright: “It’s much more likely that white males were driven by age, personal wealth, a generalized social/ cultural conservatism, or because they’re low-information voters who are responsive to RNC fearmongering.”

    It’s sad that you don’t see the connection between “some but not all white men” and “age, personal wealth, a generalized social/ cultural conservatism, or because they’re low-information voters who are responsive to RNC fearmongering.” Especially given that the RNC obviously sees that connection.

  112. “Beyond that, the “the other guy did it first” is a not an especially excellent argument.”

    I’m not arguing that number 2 is wrong. I’m saying it’s ironic, especially when it precedes a very condescending blog post.

    “You understand the irony here, right?”

    No, I don’t understand the irony. If you’re insinuating that I am one of those “white males,” then you might be interested to know that I voted for Obama. But I considered voting for Romney and many people who I admire very much voted for Romney. Yes, a couple of the white males to which you are referring might read this blog. But let’s be honest, you’re mostly writing to people who agree with you. Why you choose to phrase it as condescending advice to the people who aren’t reading is a mystery to me.

  113. “Seriously, why do you always address this “to white people”, as if there’s no conservatives that are minorities.

    It is condescending and a bit racist, honestly.”

    1) Please do point to where anyone has claimed that there are no conservatives who come from ethnic minorities.

    2) http://derailingfordummies.com/complete.html#backup – unless you do want to confront the fact that the GOP’s policies have been primarily presented and controlled, by and large, by rich, straight, white, Christian men, and that as a result, they’ve created a very identifiable public image of themselves as such (and one that’s not all that welcoming to anyone else who isn’t).

  114. I wish that the president would raise his definition of rich just a little higher than $250k. A hardworking couple can bring that in and still worry about the bills.

    (Sorry, John, saw this after I pressed submit)

    Steve: Seriously? Do you honestly think another 3% of your income above $250K is going to really impact a hardworking couple all that much? You really think you’ll notice paying that extra $30 per $1000 will really make an impact on your lives?

    When I lived in the UK, the top rate of tax was 40% and it kicked in at about $50,000 a year. I can be very clear with you, I didn’t once think of trying to keep my income under $50,000 a year to avoid the bump from 30% to 40%.

    I really do struggle with people getting bent out of shape about another 3% on incomes above $250K….

    Personally, I suspect that what needs to be done, at least when the economy recovers, is more draconian. I believe that the US should return to the Clinton tax rates ACROSS the board, and get rid of Mortgage Interest Tax Relief.

    That is, if people really are serious about tackling the debt. But first, get the economy moving and that does involve borrowing more.

  115. Alan Wright, Scalzi made it crystal clear that he was addressing, specifically, “the white men who have spent the last week freaking out about the fact that Obama won a second term without the majority of white men voting for him.” Nowhere does he indicate that his words are meant to apply to anyone else. So let us agree that the post was directed at “perhaps 1% of white male conservatives.” Why is it a problem for you that he has written a post that targets only those men?

  116. RobL:

    “But let’s be honest, you’re mostly writing to people who agree with you.”

    Well, to be honest, I’m writing to amuse myself and say things that are on my mind. Whether the people who come here agree with me is immaterial to that.

  117. Mortgage interest tax breaks: I support eliminating these on second homes, vacation homes, investment/tax shelter properties, i.e. most classes of non-primary residences. Eliminating it entirely would put lower-income home owners out of the market, and break yet another rung on the ladder to middle class status. First time buyers, new families, temporarily un/under-employed, blue collar workers, and fixed income retirees “downsizing” would be among the worst hit by the complete elimination of mortgage interest deductions.

    Nuance, people, nuance.

  118. Mintwich, we had the same debate when we got rid of them in the UK in the 1980s. But the reality is, they got phased in over a decade and had little impact in the end. Building your entire property and house pricing system on a huge tax break just isn’t a sensible thing to do.

    By all means phase it out in a structured way, but if people are serious about the national debt, once the economy has recovered this is exactly the kind of tax break that needs to go away.

  119. John Scalzi: Yes, but again, what does that have to do with anything that I wrote?

    Well I guess it was my attempt to point out that the narrow nature of the election results means that your observation doesn’t seem very illuminating to me because it can be turned around (as you just agreed) to say the same thing about the Obama message. Does that not qualify as having something to do with what you wrote?

  120. Eliminating it immediately would deeply hurt those classes in the very short time, but cutting the mortgage interest deduction would also cause home values to fall dramatically. This would be massively disruptive to the economy, so you’d want to phase it out over decades.

    In the end, the mortgage interest deduction tends to favor those with higher incomes, because they are in higher tax brackets. For someone in the top bracket, their mortgage is subsidized by $1 for every $3. For example, a $4000 mortgage might actually cost $3000 after taxe writeoffs. For someone in a lower bracket (i.e. with a lower income) the subsidy is less. Someone with a $500 might be paying $450 after tax writeoffs.

  121. Bearpaw: Don’t be sad. I do see that connection. The people in that group are conservatives. It’s no surprise they wouldn’t vote for Obama. It’s simply that the relative influence of white voters and therefore white conservatives is less than in the past. To start, the RNC needs to address this by not being jerks or talking about women’s reproductive choices. Those changes alone can recoup millions of voters to the conservative bloc, even with few other changes. And there will be plenty.

    Scalzi: I understand it’s directed at “some but not all white men” – the perhaps 1% of white male conservatives who you think are freaking out, but probably aren’t freaking out in any meaningful way.

    That 1% is a statistically insignificant group. It’s not worth fomenting speculative, divisive and unconvincing discord over an irrelevant group of voters. But, please, it’s your straw man so fire away.

  122. “True, but in addition to the sense than you meant, they got a boost in sales. The NRA used to belong to the sportsmen. No longer – it is now a mouthpiece for the arms industry in much the same way that FauxSnooze is a mouthpiece for the neocon collective.”

    This is simply not true. If anything, it is the other way around. The NRA was founded after the Civil War to promote marksmanship…that’s it. They have become more political in recent decades. Up until relatively recently, they didn’t care less about hunting and “sportsmen.” As for the marginally profitable arms-industry, they have their own professional and lobbying groups.

    As to the OP, I really don’t know. I think that how people vote can be a very complicated thing. I’d like to think that people vote based on a careful consideration of the issues and an honest look at the candidates, but I have had enough conversations that lead me to believe otherwise.

  123. @Alan Wright:

    That 1% is a statistically insignificant group.

    Except for the fact that that particular group is vocal enough to have a significant impact on political discourse.

  124. Alan Wright: “That 1% is a statistically insignificant group. It’s not worth fomenting speculative, divisive and unconvincing discord over an irrelevant group of voters. But, please, it’s your straw man so fire away.”

    You hand-wave a percentage and then pretend that the (supposedly) “statistically insignificant group” is “irrelevant”. Yeah, well, maybe you should talk to the Republican leadership about how irrelevant that group is. They don’t seem to think so.

  125. I’ve never met anybody who wanted to “Go Galt.” If I ever do, I’ll offer them ten dollars if they do it inside of thirty days. And I’ll expect them to send me a picture of their Randian encampment.

  126. BW says: “Why is it a problem for you that he has written a post that targets only those men?”

    Either the title/intro was designed to catch people’s attention or Scalzi’s points are absurdly focused. Do you really think Scalzi’s comments regarding Ayn Rand, for example, are *only* directed towards freaking out white men? Are women or black men who complain about ‘takers’ safe from Scalzi’s criticism? How about calm and only mildly concerned white men who appreciate the different perspective of Fox News? Are they excluded from Scalzi’s witty criticism?

    Similarly, my point-by-point response wasn’t really directed just at ‘white men patting themselves on the back about Obama’s 2nd term’.

    Of course I’ve now made the mistaking of claiming that I know what our host was thinking but I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’ve mis-interpreted his comments. :-)

  127. Gary W:

    “Well I guess it was my attempt to point out that the narrow nature of the election results means that your observation doesn’t seem very illuminating to me because it can be turned around (as you just agreed) to say the same thing about the Obama message.”

    I don’t agree that it can be turned around. Romney’s argument to voters lost. What I said was that I didn’t say Obama’s message was “overwhelmingly convincing.” But as has been pointed out a few times by now, in our system, a win is a win, no matter how narrow (electorally speaking, and in the case of the popular vote, sometimes to the contrary of it).

    Alan Wright:

    “It’s not worth fomenting speculative, divisive and unconvincing discord over an irrelevant group of voters.”

    Leaving aside your debatable assessment of the piece, or your assessment of the intrinsic worth of these voters (particularly given the closeness of the election), and your incorrect use of the concept of a strawman, who made you king of what’s worth saying and what’s not?

  128. Popping in to call BS on Steve’s assertion that $250k is still somehow middle class. My household makes about $100k less than that on average, and even though we live in one of the most expensive area codes in the nation, we’re still quite financially healthy. Do I wish we had more sometimes? Sure. Our cars are getting old, I’d like to travel more and we’re taking a big hit this year due to major dental surgery and an upcoming adoption. But we are most definitely not hurting. If we lived in Manhattan, we would be–and I do support some adjustment to tax percentages based on regional cost of living–but in 90% of the rest of the country, we’d be living like kings.

    I get the feeling that most of the people around this income level who think they’re middle class have never known anything other than a comfortable existence. They don’t understand what working-class people do just to survive every day. They surround themselves with people in the same income range, and therefore to them that lifestyle seems normalized, rather than utterly unattainable for most of the rest of the population, as it really is.

    I would love it if my income truly was middle-class, and a standard to which everyone could reasonably aspire given hard work. But it isn’t, and another $100k on top of that most definitely is not.

  129. I’m chalking it up to the following . . . (yes, this is going to be snarky!)

    1) People really do hate rich Republicans more than they hate being out of work. I called that one totally wrong. Surprised the hell out of me. Romney too, obviously. This is not Reagan’s America. Not anymore. Rachel Maddow is cheering. I am not.

    2) The Republican base couldn’t stomach Romney ‘The Devil Mormon Moderate RINO Flip-Flopper’ any more than the Democratic base could stomach Romney ‘The Extreme Right-Wing Mormon Republican Rapist.’ Ergo, my man Mitt got fucked both ways by the über-messaging. How else to explain less Republican turnout, than for McCain?

    3) Protestations to the contrary, the Obama win really is about Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things. Or at least the perception of potential Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things. Being a grownup and paying your bills is hard work. Almost unbearably so. When the government dangles enough lures in the water, the fish will bite. It’s worked that way in every single industrialized Western nation for the last 70 years. Or did I miss the whole point of that insipid Julia thing?

    4) This has nothing to do with white men per se — although it’s worth noting that The Host never wastes an opportunity to hector whites, males, straights, “the privileged,” et al. — and everything to do with shifting opinions on what America the country is for. Is it really just a big benefits package? The answer in 2008 and again in 2012 would seem to be: yup. For white males under 30 . . . they watch their fathers and grandfathers staggering under the weight of the post-Bush economy. Looks like a shit sandwich. Who wants to take a bite of that? No thanks, bro!

    5) Social issues are now king. Economics? Bah! In a world where most HS grads can’t even balance a check book, it’s perhaps not surprising to discover that other items take precedent. Especially sex-connected items: abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc. America’s brain has been relocated to its pelvis. Maybe its brain was always in its pelvis to begin with? The overriding theme of the sexual revolution was — we want our sex to be guilt-free, cost-free, obligation-free, and consequence free. Romney was a horrible fit with this paradigm, due to his LDS beliefs. I wanted to pretend otherwise, but even I can’t deny the writing on the wall. In America, the orgasm is the highest imperative. Just ask David Petraeus.

    6) Obama was just too irresistably cool. For well-meaning whites of all ages, he offered a get-out-of-racism-4-evar card. For the young, he was also young and looked and spoke in ways that resonated — far more than that fuddy-duddy Romney. Romney represented The Man. Obama represented Da Peepulz. For two elections now, it’s been, power to Da Peepulz.

    Now, to approach things a bit more thoughtfully . . .

    Two of the more interesting revelations for me were when my wife said — upon hearing my distress over the Nov. 6 results — “That’s exactly how I felt when Reagan won in 1980!” and the comments from Kerry voters. A lot of Kerry supporters simply could not believe (in 2004) that a majority of Americans were dumb enough to go for Bush Jr. twice in one lifetime. It was positively insane. Mass dumbth never before seen on such a grand scale! It would be the end of the country. Time to pack of up and sail to friendlier shores, and so forth.

    But the Kerry voters are still here. Most of them, anyway. And the country is still here too.

    I have to hope that everyone who has voted Obama is 100% correct: that the Democrats have the keys to our national success in the 21st century. Because barring an unforseen event, I think the Democrats will be in the drivers’ seat for a long time to come. The Reagan coalition is seeing its bitter end. Socialism is no longer a dirty word. People (a majority?) really do want the USA to be like Europe. Only moreso? Bigger, better, faster?

    Color me quite terrified. I never did like roller coasters. I’m going to pray it’s just a nice, pleasant ride in the paddle boats instead.

  130. Steve S said, “This is simply not true. If anything, it is the other way around. The NRA was founded after the Civil War to promote marksmanship…that’s it.”

    The purpose of the organization has changed several times during its history, to judge by its publications. I was a member, and I called the current-day function as I see it (which is why I stopped being a member). Wayne LaPierre gets an awful lot of money for rabble-rousing (have you seen his op-eds in ‘American Rifleman’?), and it looks to me like much of it comes from the industry, not only the membership.

  131. “I understand it’s directed at “some but not all white men” – the perhaps 1% of white male conservatives who you think are freaking out, but probably aren’t freaking out in any meaningful way.”

    Speak for yourself. As someone who is neither white nor male, my metric for what is “freaking out in a meaningful way” tends to be calibrated a little bit differently than for someone who is. Then again, I’ve never had the privilege of being able to ignore said freak outs when even those seemingly “insignificant” percentages of white male conservatives start freaking out because historically, since thanks to the way our society still works, their voices tend to carry more weight with the existing power structures than mine.

  132. Romney’s message on the economy, based on the full plan that was on his campaign website:

    1. Stop spending so much. Somehow.
    2. Lower taxes.
    3. Get rid of the Affordable Care Act and Simpson-Bowles, and replace them with something better.
    4. Fix Social Security and Medicare so they aren’t so expensive. Somehow.

    The few details I did manage to dig up elsewhere weren’t encouraging, but basically I was looking at a bucket of vague. Given a choice between Barack “flawed-but-workable” Obama, who dragged the economy away from the place it was in 2008, and Mitt “roll the dice and pray” Romney, who wasn’t offering enough details to convince me that he knew what he was doing? No question in my mind.

  133. John Scalzi: “But as has been pointed out a few times by now, in our system, a win is a win, no matter how narrow”.

    And where exactly have *I* said any different? Of course in ‘our system’ we don’t elect a dictator. Power is disbursed to three branches of government in part so that narrow majorities (or for that matter overwhelming majorities) for the President don’t translate automatically into radical policy changes. If you like that form of government, head on down to Venezuela. Running around saying “NYAH NYAH NYAH. A WIN IS A WIN” and thinking that means that Congress should roll over for the President is naive.

    And before you respond, I *know* you didn’t actually write that last part but that is the sort of thing you communicate with your original ‘points’.

  134. Someone want to get the fainting couch for Brad? Also, I had no *idea* that wanting equal civil rights for people regardless of sexual orientation, wanting control over my own body despite being a woman and wanting affordable health care for more people = “wanting Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things.”

  135. @Brad, do you really not get the bigotry of point #3 there? Especially when it was famously offered as a reason that people who aren’t white guys voted for Obama? (Demographics that voted for Romney apparently being too noble or too stupid to go for the ‘free stuff’) thing.) The rest of your post is your predictable emotional hand waving, but you should be genuinely ashamed of yourself for trumpeting that particular line of crap. Or were you genuinely unaware that anyone who doesn’t match your skin and gender pays taxes?

    @A Mediated Life: it dawned on me a while ago that Anericans define rich as “not having to worry about bills”. Ergo, if I am a software engineer with a household income of $250k per year, and I have to pay a mortgage and sweat about the cost of sending my kids to private school, I am not rich; therefore since I am not poor I am middle class, QED. There’s no actual salary or income percentile that you will get people to agree makes them above “middle class”.

  136. Gary W:

    “I *know* you didn’t actually write that last part but that is the sort of thing you communicate with your original ‘points’.”

    Well, more accurately, it’s what you appeared to have gotten out of it. Which is fine, but I suspect you may hold a minority interpretation, there.

  137. Ayn Rand’s basic philosophy is better explained in the computer game Bioshock. And you shoot things between bits of story, which might be a plus or a minus I guess. You could also go with the shortest version: MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEME!

    Seriously, Anton LaVey actually made the philosophy more palatable (by having a sense of humour, adding in libertinism and slightly more of a group concept – ‘me and mine’ vs. ‘me) and called it Satanism.

  138. Wow, the “alpha males” showed up just like you said they would and they’re as much a clueless pain here as they are in real life. You definitely called it. I think your “Lowest Degree of Difficulty” post speaks directly to their attitude and also Romney and his merry band. They simply couldn’t conceive of l-l-l-losing, so they arranged reality to reflect that. Until real reality hit them in the ass.

  139. I don’t have time to rebut everything Mr. Scalzi wrote, so I’ll stick with number 1.

    If you ask me nicely, I may come to your door and go with you out to the shooting range or a nearby to blow up some toilets or that watermelon from Labor Day that we never got around to eating. I might even bring some of my coalition with me.

  140. John Scalzi: I don’t agree that it can be turned around.

    Then why did you respond with ‘Yes’, when I said “And what I was trying to say is that the narrowness of the victory means that Obama’s message was rejected by an almost equal number of voters” in response to you saying “What I did point out was that a majority of voters didn’t buy the argument Romney was selling.”

    Perhaps I’m just not following the back and forth accurately enough but you seem to be agreeing and disagreeing.

  141. Brad: A lot of Kerry supporters simply could not believe (in 2004) that a majority of Americans were dumb enough to go for Bush Jr. twice in one lifetime. It was positively insane. Mass dumbth never before seen on such a grand scale!

    Wasn’t it though? Isn’t the reign that was Bush Jr proven insane by the fact that the Republican party didn’t want Bush anywhere near Romney’s campaign? Isn’t it proven mass dumbth by the fact that most republicans try to feign “Bush who?”

    Anyone who voted for Bush Jr in 2004 has no excuse.

  142. Oh, this is perhaps the perfect place for my partially self-censored expression of surprise from a few threads back…

    Being a grownup and paying your bills is hard work.

    It is. And yet I and every other liberal I know, who are all grownups, work hard and pay our bills. Seriously, Brad; you are pathological.

    although it’s worth noting that The Host never wastes an opportunity to hector whites, males, straights, “the privileged,” et al.

    I am a straight white male. And yet our host has never hectored me for any of those things, nor any other commenters. He does hector people who can’t see past their own bullshit; those people also never seem to notice that’s what’s happening. Odd, that.

    Obama was just too irresistably cool. For well-meaning whites of all ages, he offered a get-out-of-racism-4-evar card.

    This is the part where I repeat my observation from a while back that you are not a man of integrity. And note that every time some bloviating bigot unhinges their jaws to spew forth a line like the one above, we are reminded how far we are from a post-racist society.

    Now, to approach things a bit more thoughtfully . . .

    That would be a neat trick. I’m not holding my breath.

  143. Peter Eng: When did Romney call for “getting rid of Simpson-Bowles”? That’s a genuine question, and one I’m really curious to know the answer to. I was a particular fan, and have to admit that had Obama given his endorsement I’d probably have given him my vote, all our other disagreements notwithstanding.
    As an aside, regarding “going Galt”: there was a rather interesting op-ed in the New York Times some time back which posited that Going Galt is actually something that has, in fact, occurred after a fashion. One word: outsourcing.

  144. Saith Steve: “I wish that the president would raise his definition of rich just a little higher than $250k. A hardworking couple can bring that in and still worry about the bills.”

    This has been rebutted ably by several others, so let me just throw in some numbers.

    A hardworking couple bringing in $250k wouldn’t be affected by an increase in the tax rates on income above $250k, because the increase is on the marginal rate that applies to income in excess of $250k. If you bring in $250k, by definition you have no marginal income in excess of $250k; ergo, no increase in taxes.

    In actuality, the marginal rate applies to taxable income. The average itemized deduction for a married couple filing jointly with AGI of $250k or more is about $120k. So an average couple bringing in $370k would have taxable income of $250k, and therefore no increase in taxes due to an increase of the top marginal rate from 35% to 39.6%.

    Really, I think by any measure, an annual gross income of $370k or more can safely be considered “rich”.

  145. Gary W:

    “Then why did you respond with ‘Yes’”

    That was an “I acknowledge that I recognize that this is what you were trying to say” flavor of “yes.” I apologize for any confusion.

  146. About that $250K. Yeah, that’s about where I am, if you count some stock sales and “income from all sources”. I ain’t worried about monthly bills. But I’m a little worried about my kids’ college funds, and how draining down some savings will impact my later retirement.

    That said. The amount of money I’d pay for the change in the tax rates for only that portion of my income that’s over $250K is so trivial as to be ludicrous. Say I made $300K. Say the tax rate goes up by 3% on incomes over $250K. 3% of $50K is $1500.

    Stanford being about $60K tuition per year, that means this terrible, awful, no-good, very bad tax increase booga booga booga could cost me one week of one kid’s college tuition.

    Can you say #firstworldproblems?

  147. so Americans voting for Obama “want Free Stuff” but rich guys donate a billion dollars to elect Romney because they want nothing in return. Is that what you are telling yourself, Brad?

  148. You say Ayn Rand, and all I can think is. . .

    “. . . A MAN CHOOSES! A SLAVE OBEYS!”

    I’m such a loser. :P

  149. @k: What Brad is referencing with ‘free stuff’ is Bill O’Reilly’s election-night argument that Hispanics, blacks and probably white women would vote for Obama because they felt “entitled to things”, topped off with Brad’s own opinion that white people couldn’t have voted for Obama for any reason other than that he’s black, and his belief that a post explicitly about a limited subset of white dudes was really our SWM host lashing out at his SWM cohort.

    Guess we answered that question about whether racially-anxious pale heterodudes read this blog. Heck, they’re ranting on it!

  150. @ Brad Torgersen:

    1) People really do hate rich Republicans more than they hate being out of work.

    No. People don’t believe Romney, specifically, can put them back to work. Massachusetts lost jobs while he was Governor, and the primary purpose of Bain Capital, so far as I understand it, was not to create jobs, but to create wealth for Romney & his investors. Understanding high finance well enough to make a ton of money is great, I grant you, but it does not necessarily translate into jobs. On the other hand, Obama’s investments in the economy stalled the hemorrhaging that was going on in 2008/2009, and if we’re not in great shape, we’re not in a Depression, either. Better the mediocre guy with a track record you know than someone who makes big promises but doesn’t have much to show for it.

    3) Protestations to the contrary, the Obama win really is about Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things. Or at least the perception of potential Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things. Being a grownup and paying your bills is hard work.

    Oh, bull. Obama won because the GOP told women that the most important thing about them was their sexual purity (witness Rush Limbaugh’s disgusting slandering of Sandra Fluke, to which Romney’s response was “that wasn’t the word I would use”); because the GOP’s refusal to pass any sensible kind of immigration reform alienated the Latino community; because the crazy wingnut faction of the party made it look like the entire party was outright racist; because the GOP appeared to place more importance on protecting the marginal tax rates of people making over a quarter million dollars than on creating jobs for people making one-tenth that much; because 50 million people in this country don’t have health insurance and people are dying every day as a result of that, and the GOP promised to repeal the ACA; because the GOP told half the country, through Romney, that the GOP considered people working three jobs to keep themselves and their families housed and fed that they were no more than worthless slackers. Like you just did.

    Obama won because, in sum, the GOP alienated a hell of a lot of people with their rhetoric, and failed to proved that their policies would fix things better than Obama would.

    Any other incumbent President likely would have lost this election: but Obama got the 2012 GOP, which shot themselves in the foot over and over again.

    Social issues are now king. Economics? Bah! In a world where most HS grads can’t even balance a check book, it’s perhaps not surprising to discover that other items take precedent. Especially sex-connected items: abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc.

    DUDE. Abortion, birth control, and gay marriage are economic issues. If a woman has three kids and gets pregnant, her decision to terminate that pregnancy has a lot to do with her financial situation. Kids cost money; pregnancies cost money. Getting pregnant might mean she can’t work her counter job that keeps her other kids fed.

    Birth control costs money: sometimes a lot of money, depending on what kind, and what it’s for. Having it covered by the insurance plan for which you are paying as part of your employment benefits could save you a lot of money and allow you to avoid getting an abortion (see above).

    Marriage equality ensures that couples can get on the employed spouse’s insurance plan, thus saving money. It addresses inheritance and taxes: also economic questions.

    Social issues are economic issues: that’s one reason why they’re so important.

    6) Obama was just too irresistably cool.

    Now who’s being condescending? Seriously, if you think that the Democrats are acting like Republicans are just too stupid, then you don’t get any points for reversing the situation.

    I won’t say that nobody voted for Obama because he’s cooler than Romney, because it’s probable, but if you think about what that means, it’s that Obama is more connected with people. He shares more life experiences with the average American than someone who grew up in luxury the way Romney did. He’s younger, he plays a mean game of basketball, he’s brewing beer in the White House, and he’s better at communicating with a wide variety of people than Romney is. He’s certainly more charismatic (when he’s on, anyway). If it was okay for people to vote for GW Bush because he seemed like a guy you could have a beer with, it’s okay to vote for Obama because you like his personality better than Romney’s.

    Color me quite terrified. I never did like roller coasters. I’m going to pray it’s just a nice, pleasant ride in the paddle boats instead

    I share your hope. I don’t want a roller-coaster ride, either. Just a nice gradual climb back to prosperity, and a long peaceful ride ahead for the nation.

  151. I’m a single mom who works for people who built their family’s agricultural business through decades of hard work (and though they wouldn’t actually say this, help from the government in the form of FCA loans, every year) and who *absolutely* fall under the category of “White Men (& Women) Who Are Freaking Out Over President Obama’s Re-Election”. Their peers are freaking out, their families are freaking out, and our customers (buyers from relatively large companies) are freaking out.

    One buyer told me the other day (I’ve managed to keep my political leanings under wraps these 10 years which IMO speaks to the huge blinders that the people I work with all wear) that 51% of the country has “lost their minds”. My response was that those 51% probably feel exactly the same way about the other 49% and he had to admit that I was probably right, though I got the feeling that he was just saying that to get out of a conversation that he started which clearly wasn’t going the way he had expected it to go. That, and he didn’t see any torches or pitchforks in my possession.

  152. People really do hate rich Republicans more than they hate being out of work. I called that one totally wrong. Surprised the hell out of me. Romney too, obviously. This is not Reagan’s America. Not anymore. Rachel Maddow is cheering. I am not.

    Where did you get this from? Jobs and the economy rated well above personal feelings about Romney or his wealth in pretty much every poll.

    The Republican base couldn’t stomach Romney ‘The Devil Mormon Moderate RINO Flip-Flopper’ any more than the Democratic base could stomach Romney ‘The Extreme Right-Wing Mormon Republican Rapist.’ Ergo, my man Mitt got fucked both ways by the über-messaging. How else to explain less Republican turnout, than for McCain?

    Perhaps if Romney had been consistent in his messaging on a day-to-day basis (to say nothing of the last decade-plus), he wouldn’t have had so many problems

    Protestations to the contrary, the Obama win really is about Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things. Or at least the perception of potential Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things. Being a grownup and paying your bills is hard work. Almost unbearably so. When the government dangles enough lures in the water, the fish will bite. It’s worked that way in every single industrialized Western nation for the last 70 years. Or did I miss the whole point of that insipid Julia thing?

    Yes, you missed the point. By a mile. Assuming you’re talking about the 47% issue when you talk about “Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things,” that group is made up almost entirely (to the tune of 90%+) of retirees, active duty soldiers, the working poor, and the disabled.

    This has nothing to do with white men per se — although it’s worth noting that The Host never wastes an opportunity to hector whites, males, straights, “the privileged,” et al. — and everything to do with shifting opinions on what America the country is for. Is it really just a big benefits package? The answer in 2008 and again in 2012 would seem to be: yup. For white males under 30 . . . they watch their fathers and grandfathers staggering under the weight of the post-Bush economy. Looks like a shit sandwich. Who wants to take a bite of that? No thanks, bro!

    Evidence, please.

    Social issues are now king. Economics? Bah! In a world where most HS grads can’t even balance a check book, it’s perhaps not surprising to discover that other items take precedent. Especially sex-connected items: abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc. America’s brain has been relocated to its pelvis. Maybe its brain was always in its pelvis to begin with? The overriding theme of the sexual revolution was — we want our sex to be guilt-free, cost-free, obligation-free, and consequence free. Romney was a horrible fit with this paradigm, due to his LDS beliefs. I wanted to pretend otherwise, but even I can’t deny the writing on the wall. In America, the orgasm is the highest imperative. Just ask David Petraeus.

    Again, jobs and the economy were by far the biggest issues of the election. The problem wasn’t social issues per se, it was the fact that candidates from Romney and Ryan on down chose to take horrifically bad positions on them and double down at every step of the way.

    Obama was just too irresistably cool. For well-meaning whites of all ages, he offered a get-out-of-racism-4-evar card. For the young, he was also young and looked and spoke in ways that resonated — far more than that fuddy-duddy Romney. Romney represented The Man. Obama represented Da Peepulz. For two elections now, it’s been, power to Da Peepulz.

    I don’t know if you’re being facetious or actually trying to live up to the stereotype John presented.

    Two of the more interesting revelations for me were when my wife said — upon hearing my distress over the Nov. 6 results — “That’s exactly how I felt when Reagan won in 1980!” and the comments from Kerry voters. A lot of Kerry supporters simply could not believe (in 2004) that a majority of Americans were dumb enough to go for Bush Jr. twice in one lifetime. It was positively insane. Mass dumbth never before seen on such a grand scale! It would be the end of the country. Time to pack of up and sail to friendlier shores, and so forth.

    To be fair, the Kerry voters were largely vindicated, at least on the economic and military fronts. And we have decades’ worth of historical data on the economy that vindicates the Democrats on their methods.

    If you believe in stuff like math and science, of course.

    I have to hope that everyone who has voted Obama is 100% correct: that the Democrats have the keys to our national success in the 21st century. Because barring an unforseen event, I think the Democrats will be in the drivers’ seat for a long time to come. The Reagan coalition is seeing its bitter end. Socialism is no longer a dirty word. People (a majority?) really do want the USA to be like Europe. Only moreso? Bigger, better, faster?

    Color me quite terrified. I never did like roller coasters. I’m going to pray it’s just a nice, pleasant ride in the paddle boats instead.

    I find it hilarious that a President that’s raised taxes less than Reagan, implemented the GOP’s preferred health care reform since 1993 (just ask John McCain, who would talk about how awesome the individual mandate was up until mid-2007), and had more national security successes in his first term than Reagan or either Bush is a socialist. At the current rate of usage for the term “socialism,” Romney will qualify for that description. Lord knows Reagan already does.

  153. Sigh, Brad… yes I voted for “stuffs”. Stuffs like: marriage equality, equality regardless of skin color or genitalia installed at birth or modified later on, to stop the wholesale promised cutting of government programs that help the poor while funneling the money to government programs that help the wealthy, and for various other “things”.

    I’m glad that I lost my job when someone other than the GOP was in charge. I was out of work for a year and a half because I was downsized. Job searching and taking care of my dying mother with Alzheimer’s and us living on her Social Security that paid just enough to pay the rent, her insurance and leave us a couple hundred a month to eat on. After she died, there was no income at all other than the few bucks I could get doing odd jobs, so I had to rely on SNAP (or food stamps) which allowed me to eat like a fuckin’ KING! Oh wait, that isn’t what happened at all. As a single individual making $0 income I qualified for a whopping $200 a month or a bit less than $7 a day. You can eat… just not eat good. That whole bullshit story Reagan sold back in the 80’s? It was bullshit then… it is still bullshit.

    The GOP can try to paint the turds of homophobia, racism, misogyny and class warfare*** red, and call them apples–or “traditional values”–but at their core they are still what they are: TURDS!

    So yes, I voted for “Stuffs”. Get over. Oh… and straight white male from the south who should be prime fodder for God’s Own Party… but what the hell… they are against equality so they are against me.

    ***Class warfare is what they have waged since Reagan took office. Economic as all get out. The rich will be allowed to get richer, while the middle class will be reduced to poverty/indentured servitude and the poor will hopefully be reduced to slavery. The Robber Barons didn’t die out… they just waited until all the people who remembered died out.

  154. Protestations to the contrary, the Obama win really is about Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things. Or at least the perception of potential Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things.

    Actually, the protestations are right. What kind of ill conceived fool think “those kind of people” just want “free stuff.” They want the big shiny expensive stuff—and the money to BUY that big shiny expensive stuff.

    The way to win elections is to show them a path so they can have the money to buy stuff. The DREAM act, paying for education at all levels, and so forth, are ways to do so; they may or may not be the best way, but the Republican “plan” had NO way to get there.

    Is it any wonder that people of all kinds (including Asian Americans, who are not usually characterized as “wanting Free Stuff”) opted for a plan over no plan?

  155. You didn’t bring up the most salient point, Mr. Scalzi, Obama won the election through voter fraud and voter suppression. At least that is what my right-wing friends tell me.

  156. Did you ever notice the biggest, loudest proponents of Randian political views tend to be somehwere in the middle? The ones on top are well aware of the maneuvering, compromising, and back-door dealmaking that makes the world go around. They don’t wave Atlas Shrugged around because they know it’s b.s.

  157. Brad: The overriding theme of the sexual revolution was — we want our sex to be:

    I’m totally confused by what you’re trying to keep in place here, Brad.

    guilt-free, Do you feel guilty when you have sex, Brad?

    cost-free Do you have to pay to have sex, Brad?

    obligation-free Do you feel obligated to have sex, Brad?

    consequence free. Do you feel consequences when you have sex, Brad? Burning? Itching?

    In America, the orgasm is the highest imperative

    If you feel obligated to pay for guilty sex, and you don’t even get to come, then I can imagine why you might be feeling the burning/itching consequences.

    I just don’t know if this is something we want to base national policy on.

  158. Thank you Mr. Scalzi–if I hear one more idiot frothing about Obama voters being takers I could rip their eyes out.
    I love the ones who keep saying we didn’t understand the economics. I understood it just fine–it seemed like Romney didn’t. He just expected us to buy a pig in a poke.
    This is going on in my circle as well. One friend who didn’t answer his phone for FOUR DAYS after the election cannot understand why the rest of us went Obama after all the information he sent us on email and Facebook. He is either delusional or just refusing to accept the idea that sending out links from WND or Newsmax about “Obama is not from Hawaii” or pictures of Che and Lenin with Obama’s head superimposed or unflattering pictures of Michele with captions about who does she think she’s fooling do not constitute actual information. If you want me to vote for your candidate–give me a good goddam reason to do so.

  159. Brad, I don’t understand how marriage of any kind is, at its core, about sex. I’d make a terrible crack about the inverse relationship, but I really want to know how you’ve come to the conclusion that gay marriage is about sex. My hetero marriage is not about sex, it’s about a host of personal things, from economic stability and growth to health and mental stability. It’s about providing for the family I have made and continue to make. It’s about love and commitment and partnership. Are you saying you believe marriage is, at base, about sex, or are you singling out gay marriage as somehow being different? I’ve got my suspicions, but I don’t want to judge you for this without hearing your reasoning.

    * Note: I don’t believe marriage is the only way to create a lasting commitment, and I do believe that a marriage is about the things that are important to the people in that marriage; others’ reasons surely vary from my personal list.

    * Note the second: I also don’t for a second believe that healthcare for women, especially family planning-related care, is only or even substantially about sex.

  160. Speaking as someone who got his first job at 12 and has been gainfully employed with no gaps after high school graduate, and who has used almost nothing in the way of social services in the thirty years since, it really, really pisses me off to hear about how I voted for Obama because “want free stuff”.

    As an educated, high income, straight married man, I stand to gain nothing from the current Democratic agenda. I voted for that ticket not because I “want free stuff” but because I care about people who aren’t like me. I voted the way I did because I think it is only right for people like me pay more for people who didn’t have the luck that I did.

  161. All the back and forth here about marginal tax rates on the rich, who is rich, and so on is almost irrelevant when you look at the bigger budget picture. At the moment, the Democratic ‘plan’ (basically keep federal tax rates the same except for the ‘wealthy’) reduces the deficit by $80 billion per year when compared to the Republican ‘plan’. Since the annual deficit is around $1200 billion per year it is quite pointless to discuss these alternatives in isolation. Any real solution is going to have to incorporate a much larger package of tax reform (desperately needed), spending reductions, and policy changes to encourage economic growth.

    Congress and the President must have been out of their mind when they arranged for the ‘fiscal cliff’ to occur during the post-election session of Congress. My guess is that they’ll come up with some half-assed solution involving a lot of hand-waiving at the last minute, which will be too late for any effective planning by the affected parties (i.e. every taxpayer, personal and corporate). Another Washington failure. Then we’ll start all over again with the next Congress in January.

  162. Plenty of women, gays, minorities and non Republican voters love guns and wouldn’t want to begrudge anyone else from owning them.

  163. @paigevest, you have much more valuable things to do with your time than read Rand. Maybe read the SparkNotes/CliffNotes/whatever. And then use some of your free time to send me some of them Hatch chilies, because damn. Nothing smells as good as southern New Mexico during harvest/roasting in front of the grocery store season. I’m drooling just thinking about it.

    @mintwitch, I’m in the same boat as you. I don’t have children, I do have property, I drive everywhere. Yet I always vote to raise my very own taxes to help out the public school system (children are our future, as long as they stay off my damn lawn). To raise money for better public transit, even though I haven’t been on a bus in years. Libraries, even though I buy ALL my books. Supporting the public hospital, even though I have spiffy private coverage.

    The body politic is. Sure, my mouth wants ice cream all the time, but the rest of me thinks veggies are better in the long run. My investments won’t do me any good if I’m surrounded by sickly, poorly educated people. The brain can say “I’ve got mine, Jack!” but if the stomach goes septic, that ain’t gonna last.

    Also, Christians! That Jesus guy had some nice ideas. Being kind to the poor was a biggie. Try living by what he said a little more.

    @cranapia, as I have told you before (elsewhere), you’re my imaginary Antipodean husband. I know, you already have a husband and so do I, so it’s a good thing I didn’t need to cash in on our ficticious relationship, even if we do have similar taste in hunky actors.

  164. “If I were its target audience, I would have stopped reading because you were so snarky and condescending.”

    I’m not the target audience, so maybe my saying I didn’t think it was either snarky OR condescending is meaningful. On second thought, I guess you could make a case for condescending, but only in the most literal sense: descending to the level the audience can understand. Since they seem unable to understand the simplest things, like “Obama is not a communist Kenyan usurper,” I thought it was justified.

  165. Social issues are now king.

    But Brad, it’s not the Democrats that have made hay over social issues during this election cycle. From the all-out assault on reproductive rights, to “legitimate rape”, to the gay marriage thing; these are all controversies that were generated within the GOP. When a large percentage of your party’s base is composed of people that seem like they’ve been transposed in from the ’50s, then yeah, that is a big deal. And people who faced more restrictions back then- ie, wimminz, gay people- are going to be correspondingly more hesitant to put your party in charge. Even if Romney himself is more moderate than his base.

    I mean, I agree with you- I also wish that social issues weren’t so front-and-center. I’ll be honest, I kind of thought that a lot of this stuff was mostly settled. Unfortunately, a significant contingent of Republicans seem hell-bent on being extremist reactionaries.

  166. Not that I expect @Brad to care what I have to say, but what the heck.

    1) People really do hate rich Republicans more than they hate being out of work.

    Purely in economic terms, America was given a choice between the current guy who has presided over a slow but steady recovery, and a new guy who was promising that his recovery would be better… just because. During debate #2 he both promised to create 12 million new jobs, and claimed that “government doesn’t create jobs” — a mixed message that didn’t exactly inspire confidence. He was always low on specifics, except for the infamous 47% clip where he said, “if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see — without actually doing anything — we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.” So the only specific he really offered was his own personal awesomeness.

    So the equation, if you were out of work, was “moderately effective known” vs “extremely vague unknown” — which makes the Obama choice seem pretty rational, doesn’t it? Even more so if you’ve been paying a little more attention and knew that Romney was likely to implement some version of austerity measures, and also knew that those have historically not had the intended effect of boosting the economy — rather, the opposite.

    3) Protestations to the contrary, the Obama win really is about Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things. Or at least the perception of potential Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things.

    Of course I want stuff and things. Who doesn’t? The billionaires devoting massive personal fortunes toward Romney weren’t doing so out of the beneficent kindness of their hearts, were they? Isn’t a lower marginal tax rate “stuff”? They want their right wing stuff, I want my liberal stuff. My liberal stuff includes things like national parks, affordable education, and a safety net that means I don’t have to spend every single day of my life terrified of things like medical bankruptcy. Try as you might, you can’t make me ashamed of that. And I want my nice liberal stuff for everybody. As far as I can tell, the point of right wing stuff is that only the Very Special People get to enjoy it. I would rather have better stuff for the country as a whole instead of better stuff for a select few. For me, that’s liberalism in a nutshell. And all this talk about stuff is making me think of George Carlin…

    4) This has nothing to do with white men per se…and everything to do with shifting opinions on what America the country is for.

    You can keep telling yourself it’s not a white male thing, of course. But that’s not what it looks like over here. Also, I can tell you exactly what America is for. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Look at that! Justice and welfare! Obviously, the people who wrote that were commies and moochers, huh?

    it’s perhaps not surprising to discover that other items take precedent. Especially sex-connected items: abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc.

    We didn’t start that fight, you know. If the right didn’t keep trying to get the state to take ownership of the means of production known as my uterus, I wouldn’t need to talk about it all the time. Nobody seems quite so perverted as a censor.

    6) Obama was just too irresistably cool.

    Hey, something we agree on! It must be a trick. But why is personal likability a bad thing when it’s Obama, but a good thing when it’s Reagan? It’s just one of those things about the presidency. I didn’t like George W. Bush myself, but he still seemed to win that likability contest against Kerry.

    I have to hope that everyone who has voted Obama is 100% correct

    One more thing we agree on. But if it all turns out for the best, will you ever admit you were wrong?

  167. @GryMor:

    As a recovering Lib, I’d love to see some discussions over ends with people who lean Green, but I suspect that means would be an irrevocable sticking point. The “Bleeding Heart Libertarian” outreach is tough enough, and that’s to a target audience within one SD of the center. Mainstream Greens will never agree to a non-regulatory solution.

    I think that your other possibility – the theocons/dominionists/etc. taking their ball and going to the Constitution party or somewhere similar – has a nonzero chance of actually happening. I’m looking forward to it – I could see myself going back to the structure that would be left.

  168. Probably worth pointing out that, in regards to original point #7, from a popular vote perspective, over a half a million more people voted for Democratic candidates for the House vs. Republicans. The only reason we have a divided government is because of gerrymandered house districts.

    Many Republican pundits, George Will, Larry Kudlow, Michael Barone among many others, stated before the election that it would be a Romney landslide. All with a margin of victory either equal to or less than the one Obama achieved. In 2000, an even more divided election, Bush and Cheney claimed a mandate, and in 2004 said they had lot of political capital to spend. The Republicans lost, what is good for the elephant is good for the donkey.

    One of the first things I appreciated was the “Some but not all white men”. I get tired being thrown in with a group of people I generally disagree strongly with.

    At this point, I probably would recommend that Brad T. look at the exit polling as to why people voted the way that they did. I know it is easier for Romney voters to make up reasons to make them feel better instead of actually looking at polls, but maybe, from a reality point of view it would be a good place to start.

  169. Greg re: sex…
    “obligation-free Do you feel obligated to have sex, Brad?
    consequence free. Do you feel consequences when you have sex, Brad? Burning? Itching?”

    I think you may be missing Brad’s points there, Greg.

  170. Edward: The only reason we have a divided government is because of gerrymandered house districts.

    If I had three wishes, I’d wish for an end to gerrymandering and the creation of a fair districting system, condercet voting for the president, and thorium power plants for everyone. I could dig it.

  171. Late to the Ayn Rand party, but I highly recommend King Vidor’s film of The Fountainhead. Vidor was a great director, and he had Gary Cooper, Patricia O’Neal, and Raymond Massey in the leads.

    It’s a laff riot! This was an A-list production. And for some godunknown reason, they let Rand write the script. The dialogue bears no discernable relation to the way actual humans speak to each other.

    Vidor was a great director, working with some of the best actors in the business. But they all speak! In important! Manifestos!

    And let’s not forget hunky, sweaty Gary in the quarry, working the stone with his drill as he gazes at Patricia preening on the precipice.

    I need to read a biography of Vidor (for whose work I have great respect), because I think he was trollin’.

  172. @John > commenters are funnier than usual today. Which is saying something. ;)

    So, @Alan Wright, if you read the opinion that you quoted, you’d see that the actual passage in quotes was from an African-American friend of the editorialist’s who was concerned we’d feel bad that we didn’t get attention. Nothing about “alienation” there.

    The reality is it is unremarkable that white males vote in elections for both sides. What is interesting is that the minorities decided the vote this time. Your argument seems to be that liberal white males will somehow feel disenfranchised by this recognition. But really, the only people likely to interpret this positive awareness of empowerment of women and minorities as being negative are probably not Obama voters. Seriously. What has horrified this liberal white male voter is the way recent electorates have been able to turn away from the fundamental American values of equality and inalienable rights.

    There really is a “rainbow coalition” of groups have have had to fight for civil rights in past and present years. Many blacks, women, Latinos, Asians, Jews, and other groups that have been targets of discrimination have no problem seeing the current struggle for LGBT rights as a parallel of previous movements for equal rights and justice for all, not as “disparate” or somehow distinct agendas.

    People aren’t gloating about Obama’s victory. Some of us are gloating at the right-wing reaction to that victory; we’re amused at seeing how deeply the Republicans managed to delude themselves and how outraged they are, or hopefully were, that the election results matched the poll results. The rest of us are hoping this will be a teachable moment that lets the racist elitists know that they don’t own or speak for America, and that quantitative facts do impinge on our lives, however much they would not wish that to be the case, a lesson we can hope will extend to other issues like global warming, economic policy, healthcare, the relationship between science education and having an educated workforce, etc. There is plenty to laugh at on http://goptears.tumblr.com/.

    Rather than modify indefensible policies or try to rein in the fringe extremists, the Republicans chose to deny the polls they could see, so they became more extreme, inflamed their extremist supporters, and wasted time and effort chasing votes that weren’t there instead of developing a strategy to actually address the concerns of the electorate. We’re kind of hoping that some Republicans will get this and will find some path to rational dialog, but we will be happy to teach them this lesson as many times as it takes.

    The opposite of white privilege isn’t revenge or favoring minorities, it’s equality. Liberal and moderate white males are not threatened or offended by this.

  173. “wailing socialist pancake of misery”, blessed be, I think I’ve found a new name for my fantasy football team. Currently it’s Class Warfare and that just doesn’t have the same frisson, aficion, ikigai, not to mention weltanschauung.

    Oh, and nice beat-down.

  174. Protestations to the contrary, the Obama win really is about Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Things. Or at least the perception of potential Moar Free Stuffs ‘n Thing

    As opposed to the misconception that there was nothing in it for the wealthy Romney voters who really, really wanted those tax cuts?

    People vote their interests. People want things, whether it is a tax cut, or food, shelter, and medicine. The latter 3 seem more basic needs than wants, though.

  175. @Amitava D –

    I think you may be missing Brad’s points there, Greg.

    I think Greg nailed it. The right-wing is obsessed with other people’s sex lives, and has spent a couple of generations now tearing their hair out over the fact that it is possible, at least much of the time, for people to have active sex lives without being made to feel guilty, without being shamed and scorned and ostracized. The right-wing has been maniacally pushing back against that freedom. Brad peeled back a little bit of his tinfoil hat to expose a thin slice of the screaming raging id of Republican base and Greg pinned it to the corkboard for all to see.

  176. RobL@ 3:30 pm:

    Democrats have owned that condescending, “the other side didn’t understand the message” for a long time now. It’s you guys who constantly say “if only the other side would read a book, do their homework, and stop watching their network, they’d totally agree with us.”

    The whole “people would agree with us if they weren’t low-information voters” shtick hasn’t worked well for Democrats, and as a Democrat myself, I get annoyed when my fellow Democrats say it. That it hasn’t worked for Democrats makes it an even worse tactic for Republicans to adopt.

    In terms of “stop watching their network”, I contend that MSNBC and Fox News are both pretty biased sources of information, and anyone who relies solely on such an echo chamber is going to be poorly-served. Frankly, you shouldn’t rely on any one source of news; you should consume a diverse diet of news sources which includes ideas from across the political spectrum.

    Brad R. Torgersen @ 5:06 pm:

    Social issues are now king. Economics? Bah! In a world where most HS grads can’t even balance a check book, it’s perhaps not surprising to discover that other items take precedent. Especially sex-connected items: abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc.

    I don’t know what’s worse: that you don’t understand how someone might possibly come to a different conclusion than you about which candidate is best on the economy, or that you don’t understand how different people might prioritize the issues differently. Leaving aside Mythago’s good point about how abortion, birth control, and gay marriage are economic issues, these issues are also issues of freedom to many people. It’s not sex-obsession to want to preserve your bodily autonomy, right to grow your family at the rate you choose, or want to be able to have the same rights as other couples.

    The overriding theme of the sexual revolution was — we want our sex to be guilt-free, cost-free, obligation-free, and consequence free.

    I don’t exactly undersand what’s wrong with this. Do you really think people should feel guilty about having sex, and that it’s the government’s job to impose that guilt? Do you really think people should suffer “costs” and “consequences” from having sex, and that the government should impose those? Pray tell, what would those “costs”, “obligations”, and “consequences” be? Children that people aren’t ready to raise? Diseases? Marriages with people they hate?

    Romney was a horrible fit with this paradigm, due to his LDS beliefs.

    This has nothing to do with his LDS beliefs. There’s no rule that people have to impose their beliefs on other people. I would have no problem voting for a presidential candidate who thought pre-marital sex, birth control, and abortion were immoral, as long as they didn’t think it was the government’s purview to impose these beliefs.

  177. Greg:
    Since we’re apparently plunging into a hellish free-for-all where nothing means anything, will you join my man-harem and have massive amounts of (safe!) liberal sex with no children produced and hot SF talk in the afterglow? I’ll let you use my Things and Stuff.

  178. Fascinating thread. I could write thousands of words on it. As a resident of NJ, can I posit just one thing? I would like to have seen either candidate visit Camden NJ and give a press conference in front of the ruined blocks and say “this is unacceptable to me and this how I will fix it”. As an American who sadly was hideously corrupted by growing up in Europe, it still shocks me, how certain parts of America look like Mogadishu, I would hope that one day both parties consider that a priority.

  179. Bruce Diamond, there was no threat intended. If you invited some of the Rainbow Coalition to go out shooting with you, some of them would be happy to accept. The only one who wouldn’t have a good time would be the watermelon.

  180. The overriding theme of the sexual revolution was — we want our sex to be guilt-free, cost-free, obligation-free, and consequence free.

    I understand that the Republicans want to do as much as they can to bring back sexual guilt, costs, obligations and consequences, particularly for women, because they’re actually the glue that has held society together for millennia, and without which we’ll all promptly subside into a miasma of sloth and libertinism, which has certainly happened to me once or twice when I wasn’t keeping an eye on things. But there may be a few marketing issues to be addressed first.

  181. Anecdata alert.

    So, I spent my afternoon in a supplier review, hearing wonderful things from a much beloved vendor whose motto is “Our employees are our single most important asset.” This supplier is 99% US based, has doubled production and hiring domestically over the past 4 years, and recently expanded into China and India, where they pay US minimum wage, not local, and provide air-conditioned, single occupancy apartments for every employee, in addition to paid holidays, OT, superb worker safety monitoring, etc. All in accordance w/ my company’s standards.

    And they are booming. Best quality product, unbeatable supply chains, flexibility, zero employee desertion, low general turnover, et cetera, ad nauseum. Lovely people, great company, I’ll be extending and improving their contract for the next two years. I will do everything in my not-inconsiderable power to help this company.

    I have 350+ suppliers, and all of them are graded. I have 1 asshole out of the bunch who blames Obama, now. Before the election he was blaming me, our customers, and the world at large for his declining quality, poor customer service, bad AR, breach of contract, failure to deliver, et cetera. A bad businessperson whose fate I decided about 6 months ago. When we cut him loose, very shortly, I will feel bad for his employees, and help them in any way I can, but I don’t believe his whinging about Obamacare. He’s sucked ass for over a year, and no amount of shifting the blame can shift reality.

    This is what I think about when I read BS about employers cutting payrolls or closing plants because Obama was reelected. I think “you sucked anyway, you loser, and you deserve to fail.” No love, none. I work for a multinational with tons of capital; I can prop you up, or I can cut you loose. I’m the only gay, non-white, female in the room, but it’s 2012, not 1950; I’m not serving coffee. Me and the smokin’ hot, straight Latina in the room are making the decision. It’s a new fucking world, get used to it.

    /rant

  182. Greg: No, see, only women are supposed to be burdened with guilt, expense, obligation, and lifelong consequences for having sexy times. Te mens just get to whistle off to Dixieland. Because we’re sluts, and they are just mens. Just like we’re too weak minded to understand what’s going on in our wombs, and might choose a dangerous, elective abortion, but it’s okay for us to be pressured by society or menfolk into having much more dangerous, elective breast implants or liposuction.

  183. You all are funny. Sounds like you believe in this vast right-wing conspiracy in which the white people are out against the non-whites and voted for Romney because he somehow has stated that he is gonna protect the white man… Really, are you that foolish?
    I stand by my assertion that it is the left that is pushing the whole whites against the rest of the world argument and you look very silly in doing so, pathetic really. Oh I am sure there are soundbites of crackpot right wingers saying these things but if you really think that is what defines the right then you are either stupid, delusional or a little of both.

  184. mintwitch, your company sounds amazing. Investing in America, whoda thunk?

    But how can this be, what with you having guilt-free, no-baby, no-penis sexing?

    Pizza’s here, with the first of my man-harem.

  185. I stand by my assertion that it is the left that is pushing the whole whites against the rest of the world argument and you look very silly in doing so, pathetic really. Oh I am sure there are soundbites of crackpot right wingers saying these things but if you really think that is what defines the right then you are either stupid, delusional or a little of both.

    Because someone who chooses InDaButt clearly is a even-handed rational thinking man who isn’t trying to troll the gay community or anything. Not at all!

  186. Mintwitch

    Feel free to ‘rant’ at will; having reviewed the thread I would simply observe of your verb: I don’t think that word means what you think it means, at least not in this context.

    Perhaps we could do some sort of terrorist fist jab to cheer Brad up…

  187. mintwitch – that last post was very funny. shifting blame not shifting reality, words of gold. Although for Obama shifting blame while it did not shift reality that he is an idiot out of his league it certainly shifted the perception of many people. Whether they are simple minded or not is another discussion. I also loved the boastfulness of how important and powerful you are, made me chuckle I have to say

  188. Actually, I spent some time wondering if indabutt was a coded message as to where the top secret formula for Republicans winning elections could be found.

    Obviously not in time…

  189. Some quick and final post-election notes to some, but not all Snarky White Sci-Fi Writers.

    1. Relax. Mobs of Lilly-white, gun-toting constitutionalists aren’t going to come to your door and take your Prius and your Latte just because you voted for Obama. This may come as a surprise to you, but most, if not all, of the people who voted for Mitt Romney didn’t care how their vote would impact you. They were worried about keeping their job and giving their children a better future.

    2. Second, stop believing Romney didn’t sell the message. Romney did fine. He is a better man than most and should be the President of the United States right now. You may not agree with him, but he is a decent and honorable man.

    3. Many producers of wealth HAVE gone Galt. Their money is now out of the U.S. economy. It’s a fact. Some of them are right under your nose. Let me ask you this. Where is Jeffrey Immelt’s money?

    4. Speaking of Ayn Rand. Let’s talk about the takers. I give you, “Obamaphone!” Please don’t try and tell me that these voters are anything but takers. It’s not politically correct, but it’s the truth. There is a huge segment of the population who vote only for more entitlements.

    5. Ayn Rand WAS wrong in one respect. Only those with vast wealth can Go Galt. I would go tomorrow if I could. I think that you and everyone else who voted for Obama have created a society that I want no part of. You make your living from your creativity. You create things out of your mind that did not previously exist. That is one of the hardest things for the government to tax and destroy. If you created things with brick and mortar and had to get fourteen goddamn licences to build a planter in front of your customer’s house you might possibly have a different opinion of government. The impending regulations of Obamacare will cripple our economy. How many doctors have been hired to implement Obamacare? Zero. How many IRS agents? 16,500. I know you don’t believe this. I wish you were right and I was wrong.

    I’m so depressed writing this. Shit.

    6. Here’s an idea; why don’t YOU widen your political diet beyond the holy trinity of the New York Times, Huffington Post, and The Daily Show and stop believing that conservatives hate women and want tor repress minorities? I’ll watch three hours of Bill Maher for every hour you listen to Rush Limbaugh and we’ll see who eats a bullet first, how about that?

    7. Finally, Relax. You won. Enjoy it. Bathe in it. Wallow around in the awesomeness of it.
    But when if turns out to be a giant suckfest OWN it. Don’t blame Bush. Don’t blame Romney. And don’t blame ME. It’s all yours now.

    Bitter. Eh. Not much.

  190. 1. “…not coming to your door to take your guns”

    The belief that there are few, if any, powerful American politicians who want to significantly infringe the human right to arms, is right up there, in terms of willful blindness, with the belief that raped women don’t need the right to abortion because their bodies will reject the embryo.

    Yes, it’s true: I trust my fellow citizens, even women, even black socialist lesbians from the Chicago ghettos who voted for Obama, with the right and the power to carry the tools that will keep hulking racist white Republican hockey players who believe everything Rush says from raping them, thus avoiding the need for the abortion in the first place, and perhaps even protect other women from needing emergency abortions (as well as blood transfusions, bone settings, and HIV treatment). Although if they want abortions for other reasons, I’ll shake my head in sadness, but it’s really none of my business. Certainly not the federal government’s.

    Also, I’m not foolish enough to believe that only my liberty is at stake. I fear for the liberty of black Chicago lesbians every bit as much as my own. (Those weirdos up in San Francisco, though, I’m not sure about them.)

    Because you know what? In general, I trust people to run their own lives, even in matters of life and death.

    I’m pretty sure Barack Obama doesn’t, when he can be bothered to think about such things. And the only reason he cares about the color of your skin is that he can use it to keep us fighting each other instead of him and his ilk.

    1a. “SuperPACs”
    Yeah, kinda not falling for the idea that Obama won by begging on street corners with a tin cup.

    2. Concur with you on Romney, sort of. He was the Democrat nominee for the Republican candidacy. His message was pretty much the same as Obama’s, only not quite so blatant, and without the race-baiting. The election would have been a lot more interesting with an actual Republican on the ticket.

    (BTW, I did indeed endorse Romney in response to your request for such. I even voted for him, because I was desperate. But damn, that was hard to do.)

    3. I’ve never been able to struggle through much of Rand, so I can’t speak to her. But from what I understand about “Going Galt”, it’s not about ordinary interchangeable working Joes burning their time cards. it’s not about a bunch of rich plutocrat crybabies taking their marbles and going home.

    It’s about business owners large and small finding that hiring other people and paying them to do stuff costs them more money than it makes, due to minimum wage, environmental regulations, mandatory health insurance, lawsuits, price controls, taxes, and all the rest. They don’t just resign their position and leave the office door and the till open for the next guy, they take their despised, hated capital with them. And their marbles. Which they take to homes in other states that aren’t so far gone yet.

    And nobody else with capital steps up, because nobody can afford to run a business that loses money.

    Oh, except the government. That’s what a government is, after all, a business that doesn’t have to make money because it can always raise taxes, or even print more money. Heck, governments don’t even have to supply a product or service that anybody wants; they can just make you buy it, and then not give you what they sold you. Vote for me, chumps, because my vaporware is better than his Real Soon Now. And because Or Else, capiche?

    4. Again, can’t speak to Rand specifically, but golly, this all sounds an awful lot like somebody in the government deciding how much money and other resources people are allowed to have. Are you sure this isn’t a plan for making everybody equally poor instead of equally rich?

    4a. “less strident personal politics”
    If there’s one thing I love about this blog and the bulk of the commenters here, to say nothing of the liberal/progressive/socialist/communist left in general, it’s the utter lack of stridency. Nothing here but Reasoned Discourse, straight up.

    Oops, I said “straight” in a non-derogatory sense, with a male appendage that is positively celebratory. Sorry. Didn’t mean to offend.

    5. Again, can’t speak to Rand.

    6. Can’t speak to your “Holy Trinity”, either, for pretty much the same reason.

    7. I’d relax a lot more if I thought for two seconds that the House has any more understanding of and concern for the concepts of personal liberty and limited government than, oh, say, Diane Feinstein or Rahm Emanuel does; or for that matter, John Roberts or Elena Kagan.

    John Boehner. *snort* There’s a man committed to the founding principles of the Republican Party, yahsure.

    I think he should be first in line for the tar brush and the pillow case.

    “Boehner”. Did I say “straight up” already?

  191. I stand by my assertion that it is the left that is pushing the whole whites against the rest of the world argument and you look very silly in doing so, pathetic really.

    To quote the radical left-wing apologist, Bill O’Reilly:

    It’s not a traditional America anymore… The white establishment is now the minority. The voters, many of them, feel this economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You’re gonna see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way.

    Oh, wait, maybe he’s one of your “crackpot right-wingers”.

  192. InDaBut: Sounds like you believe in this vast right-wing conspiracy in which the white people are out against the non-whites and voted for Romney because he somehow has stated that he is gonna protect the white man… Really, are you that foolish?

    Man, that’s a heck of a strawman. First off, I don’t believe in a vast conspiracy. A conspiracy means all the people are conspiring together, planning together, towards their goals. I believe a bunch of racists can operate towards a common goal of racism without conspiring to do so. It’s called bottom-up systemic bias. Quoting myself:

    Bottom-Up bias is bias that is not organized from some central body, but instead is the outcome of individual members of a population acting independently but in the same direction to reinforce discrimination. Bottom-Up bias can sometimes be seen after an organization enforcing Top-Down bias has been forced to remove Top-Down bias. The organization no longer enforces or organizes the bias, but sufficient numbers of people are familiar with how the discrimination is enforced that they can maintain it long after any Top-Down organization of discrimination is removed.

    Second of all, its not “the white people”, because not all whites are racist. It’s “racists”.

    Third, they didn’t vote for Romney because of anything Romney said. They voted for Romney because Obama was black.

    I don’t know. Maybe you didn’t notice this, but Obama is black. And racists don’t like black people. And Obama’s black. And because racists don’t like black people, they especially won’t like a black person as president. And because a racist especially won’t like a black president, they can individually vote against Obama based on their racism and Obama being black without, you know, conspiring together to figure out, you know, which candidate is black and which one is white.

    That you think white racists would need someone to point out which candidate would satisfy their racist attitudes is hilarious. That you think white racists would need to hear Romney say he’s going to protect the white man before figuring out if they should vote for Romney or a black man, is fricken hilarious.

    I can just imagine in your world the KKK foot soldier who didn’t get the secret conspiracy memo delivering the message from Romney, and now he’s in the voting booth struggling to decide who to vote for, a white man who never came out to say he would protect the white man, or, you know, that n****r. Gosh. Who to vote for. Who to vote for.

    Right.

  193. Billy Quiets:

    Re: Number six: Ironically, I really don’t read Huffington Post (I dislike its “we don’t pay writers” thing) nor do I watch the Daily Show with any regularity, although I will occasionally catch a clip or two online. It’s nothing against The Daily Show, I just don’t watch a whole lot of television, period. I do read the New York Times, however. It certainly did better mirroring Election Night reality than some conservative media I could mention.

    As for this:

    “Many producers of wealth HAVE gone Galt.”

    Well, as noted elsewhere in the thread, we got a fair of it back into the economy through the SuperPAC donations that didn’t pan out. So that’s nice.

  194. Billy

    You haven’t even read John’s post. If you had read John’s post you would realise that your response to point 2 is completely arse over tip.

    How the hell do you expect people to take you seriously if you can’t even manage to parse a perfectly straightforward sentence, and instead claim that John said the precise opposite of what John actually said?

    It’s either illiteracy in action or deliberate deception, and neither of those is going to persuade any rational person that you have anything worthwhile to say…

  195. Just as a note to everyone, this is the sort of thread that will spawn crazy if not steadfastly maintained, so I will probably turn off the comments on it when I go to bed. Figure sometime in the next hour. I’ll turn them back on when I get up tomorrow morning.

  196. @mintwitch, I am your new biggest fan. But not in a creepy way! Honest! I’ll let you borrow my D&D books and everything.

    @Billy Quiets: Don’t give up your day job.

    @DGL: Bill O’Reilly is No True Rightwinger.

  197. IDB: I am not at all sorry that I am not sufficiently modest and self-effacing for your delicate manly sensibilities. I love my work, I respect my coworkers, I am proud of my company, and I kick ass at what I do. That’s right. I ROCK. And I am happy to rock towards social and economic justice. Mwah!

  198. Hey Billy, maybe we should have a bet to see if Obama makes things better or worse after 4 years of presidency. We could base it off of some sort of objective measure such as, oh I don’t know, new housing starts and unemployment, and if those measures improve, you would say Obama improved the economy for those 4 years.

    Oh, wait, you already lost that bet, didn’t you?

    Things are better now than they were 4 years ago, based on the very measures you said was proof Obama’s presidency was a failure. You are immune to the very facts that you yourself presented.

    And over and over, you keep showing up insisting that we’ve all drunk the koolaid and none of us can face reality. It’s like a Young Earth Creationist calling someone unscientific and besides look at all ths proof for evolution, wake up sheeple!

    Wait. Are you being intentionally ironic for humorous effect? XKCD did a hilarioius example of it here. That’s exactly what your doing. Are you intentionally ironic? Or do you think you’re not being ironic here? Now I’m confused.

  199. John, I’m serious about the Rush Limbaugh/Bill Maher thing. I could probably stomach five or six hours of Maher without doing myself in. Give me two shows. Two three-hour shows of Rush and I’ll buy another one of Rothfuss’s damn heifers. Seriously, I’ll buy the fucking cow AND listen to six hours of Maher. I’ll even make a giant pot of stew.

  200. Djmooretx

    We must have been watching different elections, presumably in a different universe, because I saw no signs of Barack Obama and ‘people of his ilk’ endeavouring to recruit people to fight white people.

    Perhaps you could direct me to the events where this happened. If nothing else it should provide a useful footnote in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy…

  201. Oh, and because there seems to be a little confusion in amongst the sturm und drang: Money does not “go Galt.” People “go Galt”. As a grade-schooler you probably called the process “taking your ball and going home,” i.e., the kid who owned the ball taking it and going home in a fit of spite, so that not only did she withdraw from the game but she prevented everyone from playing without her because they no longer had the necessary ball. Or, perhaps, to an angry small child who threatens to run away and stands on the porch shouting “I’m REALLY running away THIS time!” to his amused parents, who know he’ll give up and come inside once he gets hungry for a snack.

    As an adult, if you really wanted to “go Galt” you’d quit your job, pack up your stuff and move to Sealand; or you’d stop running that crucial Fortune 500 company to go take up a menial job flipping burgers; or you’d forsake writing your next 4,394-page space opera epic to sit around and play World of Warcraft all day. Deprived of your industry and genius, the nation of “takers” would collapse, or at least that’s how the fantasy goes.

    So no, moving some of your money offshore so you can spend it here but not pay taxes here isn’t exactly “going Galt”; nor is unfriending all of your liberal buddies on Facebook, nor is talking about how you’re gonna “go Galt” any time now. Of course, actually “going Galt” carries the risk, as Scalzi notes, that not only will nobody care, perhaps nobody will even notice.

  202. @billy quiets

    The impending regulations of Obamacare will cripple our economy. How many doctors have been hired to implement Obamacare? … How many IRS agents? 16,500.

    Bullshit. From FactCheck.org Q: Is the IRS seeking more than 1,000 new workers to administer the new health care law?
    A: Yes. But many of them will be needed to deliver tax credits, not dun taxpayers. IRS says it needs 291 agents to enforce the law, including 193 to “ensure accurate delivery of tax credits.”

    Once again, it appears that reality has a liberal bias.

  203. John

    It’s 4.30 am over here and I had intended a very early night. Of course that went down the tubes, so before you turn off the comments for the night let me thank you for making and keeping this an important conversation.

    Even if I am going to look like a zombie tomorrow and it’s all your fault…..

  204. Is it weird that the thing that has struck me most in this comment thread is the number of people who have apparently never heard the phrase “tone argument”? Or who have heard it but still think it’s a well-reasoned and pertinent critique?

  205. Billy Quiets:

    You’re really asking the wrong person for this one because I can’t watch Maher. I’m not sure why anyone finds him funny, and without the funny, his political rants are just tiresome, even if they are (as I have been led to believe) largely in line with my own politics.

  206. oh, Billy, I hope I’m here the day you have an original thought.

    Also, Jeff Immelt, the chair of GE? He hasn’t gone Galt. He the gorram chairman of the board at GE. He’d have to had vanished to have gone Galt. FFS, I haven’t even read the book and I know that.

    Oh, Imment’s money. I assume you’re suggesting he keeps most of his wealth out of the country, Meaning, he enjoys all the benefits of the American capitalist system, but incurrs one of the costs? What a fucking looter.

  207. Okay folks, bedtime for me. Comments will be back on in the morning. See you then!

    Edit, 6:24am, 11/13: Comments are back on. Play nicely with each other, please.

  208. Scalzi: “Play nicely with each other, please.”

    THIS. IS. WHATEVER! ::front kicks, falls over:: I’m very sorry. I have no excuse for that.

    Mythago:

    “nor is unfriending all of your liberal buddies on Facebook”

    I, like pretty much everybody I suppose, consider “going Galt” the Ayn Rand lingo for “flouncing”. For those who hadn’t seen it via Making Light or Josh Marshall, Eric Dondero had an epic flounce from his own blog in response to the election: http://www.libertarianrepublican.net/2012/11/the-end-of-liberty-in-america-only.html

    As noted at Making Light, it may indeed be the all time greatest flounce. Note, there’s a lot of angry talk about liberals and EBT there. And something about him simultaneously shunning and shouting at people. It’s all a bit confusing, honestly. But, confusing rationale is all part of a great flounce.

    mintwitch:

    “I am not at all sorry that I am not sufficiently modest and self-effacing for your delicate manly sensibilities. I love my work, I respect my coworkers, I am proud of my company, and I kick ass at what I do. That’s right. I ROCK. And I am happy to rock towards social and economic justice. Mwah!”

    I love everything about this. Everything. Solidarity mwah! Okay. My bad. That was a little awkward. But, still, Solidarity.

  209. After a quick perusal, I feel the need to respond to comments such as these:

    “…active sex lives without being made to feel guilty, without being shamed and scorned and ostracized.”
    I had not initially spoken of Brad’s referral to these concepts. Rather, I had specifically spoken of consequence and obligation.
    “Do you really think people should suffer “costs” and “consequences” from having sex, and that the government should impose those? Pray tell, what would those “costs”, “obligations”, and “consequences” be?”
    That’s just the thing; sex *does* have costs and consequences, which thereby entail obligations. I don’t think it’s the government’s job to “impose” these; however, by the same token I don’t think anyone else should be made to deal with them.

    “Te mens just get to whistle off to Dixieland. Because we’re sluts, and they are just mens.”
    I often get this sentiment from pro-choicers, that all pro-lifers have some innate double standard whereby we choose to turn a blind eye to mens’ sexual dalliances while advancing our agenda with the goal of keeping women barefoot and unedumacated. Personally I take rather unkindly to the likes of deadbeat dads et al.

    “moving some of your money offshore so you can spend it here but not pay taxes here isn’t exactly “going Galt””
    No, but outsourcing your entire supply and manufacturing line to China could be. Again I recall the aforementioned NYTimes article, in which Steve Jobs was at some forum with Obama on the stage, going into considerable detail about how many hundreds of thousands of people in China were involved in bringing the Iphone or some such to the market. Obama then asked what might be done to bring some of those jobs back stateside. To which Jobs essentially replied (in a very diplomatic way, no doubt) “Sorry Mr. President, those jobs aren’t coming back.”

  210. One thing these white men (or at least those who think like them) can use for solace, that Mr Scalzi did not mention: they are winning!

    President Obama helped get health care insurance reform passed. This was basically the Newt Gingrich and conservative Republican plan of the mid-1990s. President Obama also escalated and began wars of his own and protected all the Bush-Cheney doctrines (except maybe secret renditions and torture).

    The Democrats of today are more conservative than those of the 1990s, who were more conservative than those of the 1980s, who were more conservative than those of the 1970s. The Republicans meanwhile have been moving every farther to the right. The Democrats are following.

    A Democratic President of the 2020s will no doubt propose and pass his version of the Ryan Budget. And the Republicans and conservatives of that time will no doubt call it Marxist-Maoist-Leninist!

    Have patience, Tea Partiers! Time is on your side!

  211. yeah, I’ve been noticing that Right Wingers seem to be confused about what “Going Galt” means. A lot of them seem to think it means “putting my money in a tax shelter”, which is funny in a wish fulfillment sort of way.

    give me a tax shelter or I’m going to put my money in a tax shelter and then you’ll REALLY be sorry.

    Uh no.

    Also, Billy, I don’t like Maher, so I can’t take you up on your bet either. If I want funny political monologues, I’ll watch Colbert or Stewart. And a lot of Maher’s politics simply boil down to legalize drugs and religion is stupid. Sometimes I’ll be flipping through channels and I’ll watch because there is someone interesting sitting at the round-table discussion with him, but Maher doesn’t let other people talk much,so I usually look for something else to watch. But I’m still waiting to hear from you if you’d be willing to take up my bet with you. I thought that since it was originally your bet that you’d jump at the chance. But I suppose pointing out that you already lost might discourage you from taking the bet. I suppose you’d have to acknowlege being wrong, for one. Not something the extreme Right is well known for. (from birth certificates, to getting pregnant from rape, and everything in between)

    I can see why you keep pushing a bet that has nothing to do with facts and everything to do with who can listen to the most propaganda.

    stop believing that conservatives hate women and want tor repress minorities? I’ll watch three hours of Bill Maher for every hour you listen to Rush Limbaugh and we’ll see who eats a bullet first, how about that?

    Didn’t Limbaugh get into some trouble recently for calling a woman a slut? And then he said something about how she owes everyone a free videotape of her having sex? Sounds like he hates women. And Limbaugh has a bunch of racist quotes, including “take that bone out of your nose and call me back”. So, I’m not sure how you plan to “win” this bet either.

  212. Amitava: I often get this sentiment from pro-choicers, that all pro-lifers have some innate double standard whereby we choose to turn a blind eye to mens’ sexual dalliances while advancing our agenda with the goal of keeping women barefoot and unedumacated. Personally I take rather unkindly to the likes of deadbeat dads et al.

    No one said “all” anything. That’s you’re attempt to strawman the issue. The issue is that a LOT of right wingers have a double-standard for men versus women having sex: Women having sex are sluts. Men having sex are conquerers.

    You’re example of how you personally do not have a double standard is anecdotal evidence that would only be useful against your strawman of how “all” have a double standard. Since the point isn’t ALL, but rather that it is enough to create a problem, your anecdote neither changes the problem nor disproves it exists.

  213. @Amitava D –

    Rather, I had specifically spoken of consequence and obligation.

    Consequences? Well, if you have unprotected sex, there is a chance of pregnancy or disease as consequences. Isn’t it great that we have practical means of avoiding these things? And isn’t it terrible that a segment of our society has targeted those things for elimination?

    Obligation? When we have sex with someone, we are certainly obligated to proceed according to mutual desire and mutual boundaries; it is a pity that not everyone understands that.

    Of course, Brad wasn’t actually speaking of things – he knows it, you know, Greg knows it, and I know it – and so it’s not clear what your point is; perhaps you can clarify?

    That’s just the thing; sex *does* have costs and consequences, which thereby entail obligations.

    Really, help me out here. What, specifically, do you mean?

  214. Perhaps someone said it before and with all due respect (I mean that), you do realize that almost half of your country voted for the other guy. I don’t understand why you feel its necessary to preach to all these people (over 45 million) like all their opinions are completely invalid and disconnected from the truth.
    Barack Obama was reelected, great, democracy at work but it was not a landslide victory, by any measure, and it is not like the Democrats haven’t also invested hundred of millions of dollars in campaign.
    I agree with many of the points you raise but I would think (even-though I am an outsider) that instead of only stating how much Republicans alienated themselves from their voters to reflect what is it exactly that this administration/ Democratic party that infuriate so much the other half of the country.
    I’m guessing that will help more towards patching that rift between the two sides.
    Just a thought.

  215. Amitava D says:

    “…outsourcing your entire supply and manufacturing line to China could be (going Galt).

    No. Shutting down your manufacturing line and closing your business altogether is “going Galt”. Read the f*****g book. Francisco d’Anconia doesn’t close down his domestic copper mines and move his production offshore to take advantage of lower labor rates and the lack of environmental regulations, he destroys his business.

  216. Some final notes for all my Democratic or progressive leaning fellow Americans:

    1) Gerrymandering works.
    2) Less people voted for Romney than McCain. Less people voted for Obama 2.0 than Obama 1.0. Fewer people voted.
    3) It took a titanic effort to maintain the status quo.
    4) A loss would have been harder on us than the Republicans because of gerrymandered House districts and the current assumed career trajectories of the Supreme Court Justices.
    5) It is hard to say which strategy is going to be the right one for America in 2013. I really cannot say whether Obama should have more edge or if the Republicans are ready to keep driving over that cliff and the President will have to do whatever he can to spare some lives.
    5a) My opinion is that Obama would have been better served playing the leader in 2010. The opportunity for him to walk that tall is probably gone forever, unless we get really lucky in 2014 (or if Obama thinks that doing so now will get him really lucky in 2014.) I know people, including probably John, will disagree with me on this one, either because they think he did a great job then or because they think he could not have done better or both.
    6) I am less optimistic that the demographics are that decisive for the rest of this decade or that Republicans cannot tack to them. Frankly I am shocked at how terrible and extreme they have been in this regard. Minor adjustments could still save them. If their bat-shitosity is that hardwired that they cannot make even these small corrections, then I fear for the country more than I feel great about our chances at the polls.
    7) That being said, I am surprised at just how many Republicans are having dissociative episodes these days and not just the talking heads. I can remember hating a lot of election results. I cannot remember ever being surprised by one. The person I expected to win always won. I expected Bush to win in 2000; I was surprised when he lost and then won again. (I don’t think he stole the election; I think Florida did an extremely lousy job at holding its election and Gore made some dumb choices in his recount strategy.) Obama was alway the clear favorite and he simply represents the status quo. Romney was always a dark horse. He was a weak candidate with a weak message and no ground game. His loss represents nothing we did not already know three months ago. Come back to reality and help us run this country.
    8) Everyone was hoping for some change. Absent some ballot initiatives, no one got any. (Though we dodged a lot of venom dipped bullets in VA, IN and MO to name a few.)

  217. @Amitava D: Brad wasn’t simply talking about the merits of a pro-life position. He threw a tantrum about the “sexual revolution” (a social phenomenon which happened probably around the time he was first switching to solids) to argue that if voters reject a rape-apologist candidate, or vote to allow two men or two women to make the same public, serious, legally-binding commitment that exists between Brad and his wife, that’s proof that “America’s brain has been relocated to its pelvis”. To what degree abortion should be legal or available is a question for a different thread, but it’s also a different debate than ‘people only want abortion because something something 1970s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve *huff* *stomp stomp stomp*’.

    Though I will say that these kind of elections are great for revealing what people really think; in this particular case, that certain white dudes are nowhere near as open-minded as they pretend to be for purpose of arguing that their philosophy isn’t close-minded.

    @Other Bill: It was indeed an epic flounce, complete with sticking around to whine for days after announcing he’d be dropping out/going quiet for a while, and the genuinely sincere but hilarious shock that his candidate lost (but but Romney was good looking and Ann Romney was a hottie so how in the name of all that is good did this happen?! I wish I were exaggerating). I kind of hope some local camera crew follows up with him in six months to see whether he’s actually been thrown out of any grocery stores, or whether his “going Galt” is limited to ranting on Facebook.

  218. Brad:

    Marriage equality is, among other things that are also not sex-related (like being able to visit a dying spouse in the hospital and make medical decisions for her), an economic issue. Because our marriage isn’t recognized by the feds, we are forced to file separately for income taxes; if one of us dies, the other will pay inheritance taxes on the house; it would quite literally require an act of Congress for my wife to be able to cover me on her health insurance (she works for NASA – somehow people always think that’s cool, even when they would sneer if I said “she works for the government”); while I could cover her on my insurance it would be regarded as income, unlike for couples whose marriages are federally recognized, and we’d pay taxes on the value of the insurance. Since basic equality seems beneath your notice, these issues that affect the holy pocketbook may be understandable to you.

  219. “You don’t like the rules I’d impose on our economy? Fine. I’m gonna burn *money* to the ground. Okay? And live in the woods. See how everyone does with their economy after I bury my capital in the ground and burn and salt the earth over it. And move out to the woods. Where I can live freedom. See me in a year and we’ll see who’s doing better. Have fun with your Commie-Tsar scene while I’m living my life in the woods. Winning. Hey, you think we could do a barter on a knife before I go? No. Fine. I can make one. With my bear hands. Yeah. And then I’m gonna hunt boar with it. So. Bam. I’m gonna live in a cabin by the river. That I build. Myself. With vines and trees and wild boar sinew. Later losers.”

    That’s going Galt. Which is, like, you know. Totally different than taking a golden parachute to the bahamas in your late thirties. Or even taking advantage of foreign labor markets and regulations. And it is WAY more teenage angst. Breaking peoples lives to make a point in the course of an epic flounce from humanity is unjustifiably awful. Only assholes heard about the coal mine owner that fired his employees BECAUSE election and thought, “well thanks a lot Obama voters, he didn’t do that, you broke that.”

  220. Greg: If I may say so, I see myself as having answered to a false equivalence. Really “Women having sex are sluts. Men having sex are conquerers” doesn’t seem to me to be a conservative/right-wing belief, but rather a machismo asshole one. Will you please show to me a source wherein female promiscuity is excoriated but male promiscuity is lionized? I am genuinely curious, I would be appalled to find this outside of some “masculinist” or quiverfull website. As you should know, I’m all about consistency, eh?

    Eric: “Well, if you have unprotected sex, there is a chance of pregnancy or disease as consequences.” Exactly. Hit the nail on the head there.
    “Of course, Brad wasn’t actually speaking of things – he knows it, you know, Greg knows it, and I know it ” I don’t know any such thing. Again, I can’t speak for his reference to guilt (maybe that’s a Mormon thing? Though hey, I was raised Catholic!), but when it came to “consequences and obligation”, it didn’t seem to be to be entirely bereft of reason.
    “What, specifically, do you mean?”
    Well, as you pointed out, there’s pregnancy and disease. With the latter, this could apply to such things as govt.-financed institutions such as harm reduction programs. With the former, it applies more to the abortion issue. I’d be quite happy to discuss that with you, although having followed discussions here for quite some time I suspect our gracious host would rather us not take the comment thread down that road.

    “No. Shutting down your manufacturing line and closing your business altogether is “going Galt”.”
    Is that so? (not sarcastic). Truth put to it, I’ve never been a big Ayn Rand fan; the furthest I could get was maybe 20 pages of “We the Living”. My impression was that “going Galt” was always something more of a metaphorical expression. That’s certainly what I got from the article I mentioned. But then again, as I said, what do I know? I’ve never read Atlas Shrugged.

  221. GryMor: > Am I crazy to dream of a Libertarian-Green coalition valiantly striving identify and internalize all negative externalities, enabling the market and repairing the common environment?

    No, you’re not crazy to DREAM it, but you’d be crazy to expect it. Sadly enough.

    Your best path there is through electoral reform that would make more than two parties possible. And that means getting electoral reformers into the state houses of lots of states. That hurdle is lower, but it’s still way higher than I expect anyone’s going to be able to jump – especially since no third party I see is actually going out there and focusing their energy on state legislatures.

  222. If one goes Galt, does one announce that they are going Galt? I’d presumed one just disappeared in the dark of the night, leaving a mystery for those left behind.

    You make the seventy page radio address much later.

  223. Amitava:
    I don’t think anyone else should be made to deal with [the "costs and consequences" of sex].

    Ooooook, if you say so. I would like it if you could explain how anything in the last 4 years has pushed these “cost and consequences” onto others in any way beyond the millennia-old social costs of reproduction?

    outsourcing your entire supply and manufacturing line to China could be.

    I should probably leave this alone, as it’s already been dealt with, but I’m struck by how remarkably dumb this claim is.

    PrivateIron:
    Gerrymandering has worked for a very long time. It’s one of those things that people oppose in concept only. No one really wants to live in a “competitive” district.
    I’m not sure I follow the logic of “it took a titanic effort” to get fewer people to vote in a weak economy.
    It’s a status quo system. That’s one of the reasons it works and will continue to work for the foreseeable future. Those ballot initiatives you’re pooh-poohing? That’s the change. For that to occur in one day, in one election, is what passes for “sweeping change” in the US system of democracy.

  224. Mythago:

    “I kind of hope some local camera crew follows up with him in six months to see whether he’s actually been thrown out of any grocery stores, or whether his “going Galt” is limited to ranting on Facebook.”

    Given that Going Galt is sort of like a teenage rebellion angst sort of thing, it wouldn’t be surprising if it did mostly wind up as so much angry ranting on Facebook to his “friends”. “I mean, amiriteuguys? Ugh, whatevs.” [Facebook and LOLspeak just got caught in the crossfire of my mocking of the weird gentleman]

    Besides, I see no successful scenarios where ranting and holding up check out lines works well for him. I see a lot of store bans in his future. A lot.

  225. @Amitava D –

    “What, specifically, do you mean?”
    Well, as you pointed out, there’s pregnancy and disease.

    That was already established, and not what I was asking. The point is, there are any number of ways in which people can have active healthy fulfilling sex lives in all their possibilities and permutations WITHOUT these consequences and costs and obligations (and much more to the point, without the kinds of obligations humans have towards each other being defined and circumscribed by sex), and the right-wing has been spending generations going batshit insane over that. Brad is a prime example of that phenomenon.

    but when it came to “consequences and obligation”, it didn’t seem to be to be entirely bereft of reason.

    If by “reason” you mean “the capacity to -” then, ye cats, it was horrifically bereft. It you mean, “there’s a reason he says these things”, well, yeah, a number of people besides me have broken that down pretty specifically for you.

    So let’s avoid any further confusion: When YOU speak of costs and consequences and responsibility, do you mean that people who have sex should always go into it with the risk of unwanted pregnancy or disease? And would that be all people? Or just certain people? Or only under certain circumstances? Or with someone else’s approval? Don’t squirm away; be specific.

  226. Wow. You people really do suck as much as we libertarians Ayn Randists think. Just read through these comments. And my gosh, makes me want to vomit. We libertarians need to “Di-vorce and De-friend” all the Democrats in our lives. Not a one of you here has any idea that you just killed the United States with your vote for that socialist scumbag piece of shit Obama on Nov. 6. And you have the utter audacity to say that we real Americans should just except that?

    Yeah, the Jews should have just marched quietly off to the gas chambers in Hitler’s Germany. Any of them who protested were just “trouble-makers.” We ain’t going down without a fight. Yes, you socialist pricks may defeat us in the end. But we will die knowing that we fought to our last breaths for liberty, and for the original ideas of America’s founding fathers: “that government is best, which governs least.”

  227. You know, I was going to delete the above comment for just plain overwrought non-sensery, but on second thought, I think I will leave it just as it is. Because it is perfect, in its own feculent way.

    However, this would be a fine time to let folks know that comments like this usually get the Mallet, and subsequent ones of this flavor in the thread will continue to do so.

  228. Other Bill, Eric Dondero is still posting at Libertarian Republican today in spite of the statement about not posting on LR “possibly forever.” After his tantrum got picked up by the right media outlets, not just the liberal ones, he’s all “Mommy gave me a lollipop” happy today. I suspect, like any toddler, once his intense emotion had died down, he wasn’t able to put into effect all his “I HATE YOU, YOU BIG DOODYHEAD” threats. De-friending relatives on Facebook, sure. All the rest of it, I have my doubts. And really, if he never again speaks to anyone he even suspects of being a Democrat, that’s probably a *good* thing.

  229. Oh, wow, King Baby himself showed up while I was writing my post. I guess this does make a liar of him, since he’s speaking to people who might well be suspected of being Democrats.

  230. John Scalzi: So if you’d deleted the above comment, that would’ve been an example of non-sensery deprivation?
    (sorry.)

  231. Will you please show to me a source wherein female promiscuity is excoriated but male promiscuity is lionized?

    That was too easy. From http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/11/broadwell-benghazi/

    A friend of Broadwell is skeptical of the emerging meme — one that serves’ Petraeus’ interests — that a maneater brought down a military hero, as if the most famous general of his generation was some sort of helpless boy.

    The article early talks about how the soldiers like a “good, raucous party” but now Broadwell is being painted as a maneater and Petraeus an innocent bystander.

  232. Doc Rocketscience: I did not dismiss the ballot initiatives. I noted them as the one thing that was actual change.

    Gerrymandering is not new, but it is executed at a much finer lever thanks to technology. Plenty of people smarter than me think that this is more than just a cosmetic change.

    Obama had a truly impressive ground operation in terms of effort and planning; it barely outperformed McCain in 2008. I am not sure why a bad economy would in itself change turnout. And 2008 seems to undermine your point here anyway.

    Not sure what my take away is supposed to be here. Are you offended that I do not squee over grinding out status quo results?

  233. @ Doc

    “No one really wants to live in a “competitive” district.”

    True..ish. I’d love to live in a district where my Republican congressman had to do a little more than just file and smile. Yet since there are Democrats in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that do the same, I doubt any state party really has the incentive to push for change.

    “Those ballot initiatives you’re pooh-poohing? That’s the change. For that to occur in one day, in one election, is what passes for “sweeping change” in the US system of democracy.”

    This ^^^ 100%. State and local ballot iniatives are incredibly important. Also? More likely to affect your everday life than anything that goes on in Congress.

    When people gripe about the “status quo” I get all sorts of frustrated because the game is played by the time you get to Washington D.C. Ending the status quo starts at home in state and local elections. You know, the ones in odd numbered years.

  234. PrivateIron, articles I’ve read in mainstream media since last Tuesday indicated that gerrymandering is what helped Republicans maintain control of the House. Is that what you meant?

  235. Billy Quiets and Brad:

    If I were to go back in time to visit you and Brad in 2006 and told you that the current President had:

    * implemented the health care plan that at the time McCain was on your TV enthusiastically supporting,
    * raised taxes less than Reagan and in fact extended the Bush 2001 and 2003 tax cuts,
    * followed Clinton’s welfare reform by further devolving the responsibility to the states,
    * supported a phone subsidy program signed into law by Bush,
    * brought the American auto industry from total collapse to being among the top sellers worldwide,
    * said on national TV that he believed the gay marriage issue was best served being dealt with by the states,
    * implemented a fiscal stimulus plan made up largely by distributing money to state and municipal governments plus a substantial middle-class tax cut,
    * compromised with his opponents in Congress by offering up roughly a dollar of entitlement spending cut for every dollar taken out of defense,
    * killed Osama bin Laden and taken out scores of Al-Qaeda senior leaders,
    * refused to overturn the Hyde Amendment, and
    * not done a single thing to overturn Second Amendment rights,

    how would you have reacted? Ecstatic, that’s how. You’d be talking about the second coming of Reagan, the rebirth of conservatism in the era of Big Government, how state’s rights were winning over the Federal takeover of everyone’s lives. You’d wonder who the poor sap was that had the misfortune of going up against him, probably some moneybags former Massachusetts politician who spoke fluent French and talked about the big shots he had $50000/plate dinners with like that doofus than ran in 2004. And if I’d told you that his opponent was more or less a draft dodger that had complained about how scary it was to be American in France during the Vietnam War; a man who had spent the last several months of his campaign insulting retirees, active duty soldiers and veterans, the disabled, and the working poor as moochers; that he shared the stage multiple times with super-rich celebrities who publicly spouted off tinfoil-hat conspiracies about birth certificates and had major campaign consultants known for laws that ask brown people to show their papers a la late 1930s-Germany; and further that, on the day an attack on our embassies was committed that he hadn’t even waited until the day was over to lie about the President’s response to it, something Reagan went out of his way to avoid in 1980? I know that you’d be wondering who the un-American sonofabitch was so you could beat him yourself.

    But instead you guys go on near-racist screeds about people voting for “free stuff,” how honorable and consistently steadfast in his positions Romney was, the specter of “Obamaphones,” going Galt, and lying about Obamacare. And then you have the gall to blame it on the NYT, HuffPo, and Jon Stewart, without even bothering to think where you had gotten all of these blatant lies and half-truths from. You claim the left should own all the problems of Congress without ever admitting that things like the fiscal cliff are the result of the Republicans that are functionally running half of the government going back on their word. You take scientific and mathematical evidence and claim that it’s invalid because it just doesn’t feel right, to the point where at lease one of you has stated flat-out that you’re right no matter what proof is offered and that two-way discussion is no longer your preferred method of communication.

    So, instead of being bitter and depressed and scared, perhaps you should be asking yourself why you feel that way, and what exactly is the problem you have with the actual President and his policies rather than some figment of your imagination.

  236. Private Iron:
    Point of order: “Absent some ballot initiatives, no one got any.” sounds a lot like “Except for all the X, there wasn’t any X.” Maybe not dismissive, but not really logically consistent, either.

    I am not sure why a bad economy would in itself change turnout.

    Really? It’s been discussed ad nauseum for the past year. If anything, I think the surprise here is that the turnout was as high as it was.

    And 2008 seems to undermine your point here anyway.

    Not if you include everything else that was going on in the 2008 election, besides the Great Recession, that hadn’t crested (troughed?) yet. Every election is exceptional, but 2008 was exception in many more ways than 2012.

    Are you offended that I do not squee over grinding out status quo results?

    Certainly not. I’m offering up a pragmatic counterpoint to the pessimism in your own post. We can still be friends.

  237. defmid6
    All I know is that it was a lot less emotionally stressful when I got redistricted into Jared Polis’ district, with all of Boulder.

  238. Amitava: If I may say so, I see myself as having answered to a false equivalence.

    Well, you glossed over all the juicy goodness that was Brad’s super-flounce against the “overriding theme of the sexual revolution”.

    The dude just tried to rewrite history right there because he didn’t like how history turned out.

    Doesn’t fly.

  239. Genufett, That was truly rich. Really, really good stuff. Barack Obama Champion of State’s Rights. The second coming of Ronald Reagan. I have heard it all now.

    Last I checked, over half the states in the union are suing the federal government over Obama’s policies.

    As for Obama rescuing the auto industry, give me a break. General Motors still owes billions of dollars of taxpayer money. Obama gave GM to the union at the expense of the bond holders. The Chevy Volt is an overpriced piece of crap that nobody wants to buy. The government never does anything better or cheaper than the free market. Ford survived without my tax dollars.

    As for me going on a “near racist screed” I think you need to quit looking for racism in every person that disagrees with you. I’ve never said or written anything remotely racist.

  240. BW: yes.

    The pessimism of my comment was in context to John’s piece and now John has written his own version as well. Both the left and right have been writing as if Republicans are now doomed. In the short term I don’t see it. The right extends by also saying that America is DOOMED because a guy who changed a few things in the last four years will now call in the UN paramilitaries to reward all the “takers” on the backs of the “earners.” So the “status quo” argument addresses all three tropes: To the Left, the Democrats are not annointed by demographics and the Republicans have gamed the system to make sure that won’t matter for a while anyway. To the Right, Obama spent/will spend a lot of time trying to satisfy your demands, because he really is in the Regan/Clinton center, please stop acting like he orchestrated a socialist putsch last week.

    On logical pedantry: I think what I said is we got X amount of change, not Y amount of change. X change is good, but it’s not Y. I also did not elaborate that I meant EVERYBODY wanted change. The Republicans wanted change obviously. The Democrats wanted change. Neither side is all that happy with the status quo. They more or less cancelled each other out to get it back anyway. I think whether this is good or bad varies by issue and also depends on how both sides react to the disappointment.

    One of my most pessimistic take aways is that I did not see any reason why House Republicans would have to change given these results. They may decide to if their better natures prevail, but I did not see a political impetus for change there.

  241. Billy: The government never does anything better or cheaper than the free market.

    Alternatively, we could have a wager based on whether your assertion here is true or not? Waddya say?

  242. PI:
    I figured that’s what you meant, but I was trying to work with what you wrote. Yes, Y change would have been nice – or not, depending on what exactly Y entails. I think though, that if you look at the way the US system was designed and implemented, that “canceling out” effect was/is considered a feature, not a bug. Just look at the House of Representatives for the 112th Congress for the perils of too much change too quickly.

  243. Genufett, That was truly rich. Really, really good stuff. Barack Obama Champion of State’s Rights. The second coming of Ronald Reagan. I have heard it all now.

    I note that you don’t really address the specific areas which I point out that he did, in fact, support letting states decide policies and fiscal distribution.

    Last I checked, over half the states in the union are suing the federal government over Obama’s policies.

    Well, they sued over one of his policies and more or less lost, although they did get the ability to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, which I should note was approved by a majority of justices considered both liberal and conservative, including one of the justices that Obama appointed.

    The only other thing I can think of them suing for is to repeal the Voting Rights Act, which I don’t think I need to explain how that’s a bad idea.

    As for Obama rescuing the auto industry, give me a break. General Motors still owes billions of dollars of taxpayer money. Obama gave GM to the union at the expense of the bond holders.

    The unions took huge hits as well. And the reason that they still owe millions is mainly because Treasury owns a lot of their stock and is waiting for the stock to increase in value high enough to get their money back. Y’know, like you do when you’re investing in the free market.

    The Chevy Volt is an overpriced piece of crap that nobody wants to buy.

    That’s one car, and has obviously not stopped the US auto industry from reaching better sales.

    The government never does anything better or cheaper than the free market.

    Except for the military, health care (Medicare and Medicaid routinely rate well above private insurers in efficiency and cost savings), providing for retirees, and helping out the poor. Just the little things, i guess.

    Ford survived without my tax dollars.

    You might be shocked to find out that (a) that’s not entirely true, and (b) that Ford disagrees with you.

    As for me going on a “near racist screed” I think you need to quit looking for racism in every person that disagrees with you. I’ve never said or written anything remotely racist.

    To which I give you “Obamaphone,” which if you spent even a few seconds on Google, is either a number of articles talking about how a black woman is excited about Obama giving her a phone–which I already noted is actually a communications subsidy policy created by Bush–or articles criticizing them for making a big deal about how a black woman is excited, etc. The fact that you chose that and an unverified Valerie Jarrett (a black woman working for a black President) quote about vengeance, both of which are from the fever swamps of the nastier areas of conservative conspiracies, as the underpinnings of your argument is somewhat telling. There’s certainly an undercurrent of resentment there, though it might be inadvertent. But it’s more that, as I pointed out, Obama’s policies resemble that of a late-90s conservative a lot more than a late-60s liberal, and yet you parrot a bunch of lies from squirrelly members of the conservative press and treat him as if he’s the devil incarnate. That’s why I said you should be asking yourself some questions about what exactly drives you to do so.

  244. The government never does anything better or cheaper than the free market.

    We need a version of Godwin’s Law for the point at which an assertion will naturally start a ‘What did the Romans ever do for us’ exchange.

    So apart from the healthcare, the roads, the military, utilities (oh? Enron…. just saying), the universal postal service (DHL? You mean that division of the GERMAN Post Office?) blah blah, what can the free market do better or cheaper than the government?

    Shorter form: Dilbert was not set in the public sector.

    As for Ford, Billy, the reason Ford didn’t need public money was simply they were already building cars people wanted and all they actually had to do was pull overseas production back to the US so cars like the Escort and Fiesta could be sold in the US. Why GM didn’t bring in the Corsa and Astra (to name two of their Opal/Vauxhall marques) is beyond me.

  245. @Billy: I just want to offer another perspective here. My husband owns a small company (10 employees). He manufactures things (microwave components for communications systems). He provides all his employees with health coverage, at the company’s expense (no employee contribution to the premium). What he just cannot understand is how large companies, who have all the advantages of economy of scale, continue to moan about how the costs of health care are going to hurt their business.

  246. That whole “we’re just not communicating the message effectively” was heard ad nauseum from the Left after 2004. I felt the same way “no, you got your message across just fine, not enough people liked it” that’s all there ever is to it. That time no one was interested in the messages Left wing politicans were sending, not until 2006 at least. This time it’s the reverse. We heard loud and clear

  247. “Call me naïve, but it would be nice if people voted out of concern for society as a whole rather than out of concern for themselves.”

    Actually, that is why lots of republicans vote republican, even though some think it’s “against their interests”. They actually believe raising taxes on people with higher incomes will hurt the economy and other people with jobs, so they vote against that idea. They could easily vote for more benefits for themselves at the expense of those with higher incomes, but they don’t.

    Similarly, people on the Left don’t merely vote for more benefits for themselves, they believe less income inequality means the entire economy is better off, which includes the wealthy, and they believe they have a duty to their fellow people and think we all should pay our fair share.

    To accuse the average person of not caring about their fellow citizens, or of being stupid, or any of the other tropes that people on the Left and Right both say about the other side, is beyond tribalism, it’s just offensive, obnoxious assumptions about people you don’t know.

  248. Genufett, The Obamaphone lady was specifically advocating that everyone vote for him because he gives us stuff. I don’t give a crap what color she is. It’s the attitude that we should vote for the guy who gives us stuff that other people pay for that I was referencing.

    I didn’t even know Valerie Jarrett was black. Had no idea. This may shock you, but not all people view everything through the prism of race.

    For me, and most other conservatives it’s all about the failure of liberalism. Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama are just liberals to me. I don’t care what color they are.

    Back to Valerie Jarrett, I find the idea of ANY powerful government official talking about getting even with those who didn’t support their policies to be a scary thing. Don’t you? If it was Dick Cheney saying something like that, wouldn’t you find that worrisome? I would.

  249. Billy Quiets: Ted Kennedy was a liberal, yes. Carter, Clinton and Obama? Not really, no. Definitely to the left of the Republicans, but that doesn’t make you a liberal. As for the “failure of liberalism,” I’d hardly say that a movement that has brought Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Act, (more) transparency in government, Obamacare, expanded voting rolls, expansion of women’s rights, expansion of gay rights, expansion of minority rights, and so forth, could possibly qualify as a failure.

  250. The Obamaphone lady was specifically advocating that everyone vote for him because he gives us stuff. I don’t give a crap what color she is. It’s the attitude that we should vote for the guy who gives us stuff that other people pay for that I was referencing.

    Like I said, perhaps it was inadvertent, but every bit of direct coverage I saw of it seemed pretty racialized. And once again, this gets to how you and Brad just love cherry-picking and anecdotalizing things way out of proportion. You found one poorly-sourced article about a random person and blew it up into representing an entire political theory. If you have any proof whatsoever that “something for nothing” is the prevailing attitude of Democrats, let alone Americans, you’re welcome to provide it.

    I didn’t even know Valerie Jarrett was black. Had no idea. This may shock you, but not all people view everything through the prism of race.

    I find it hard to believe that you, but even if that was the case, it means you didn’t even undertake your due diligence on what was said and who said it.

    For me, and most other conservatives it’s all about the failure of liberalism. Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama are just liberals to me. I don’t care what color they are.

    And yet, as has been pointed out many, many times, you’re unable to articulate what any of those failures are without a reality-based argument. On the fiscal policy side, pretty much every economic indicator has performed better under Democrats than under Republicans, both individually and as aggregated by party. Most of those indicators don’t just show that they performed better, but also that having a Democrat in office was a net positive for the economy and a Republican was a net negative. On the cultural side, you’re forced to admit that your party is largely being run by Neanderthals, but claim time and time again that they’re neither representative of the party as a whole (which isn’t borne out by their electoral support) and/or that they’re on the cusp of changing that when it appears that in many cases they’re regressing.

    That’s not to say that there are no conservative good ideas or liberal bad ones, but you never address that, you just keep on repeating something you read on Drudge or saw on Fox as if that made it real.

    Back to Valerie Jarrett, I find the idea of ANY powerful government official talking about getting even with those who didn’t support their policies to be a scary thing. Don’t you? If it was Dick Cheney saying something like that, wouldn’t you find that worrisome? I would.

    Probably, yes. But you have no proof that she did what you claimed, and yet you went forward with it as not just representative of her office and that of the President, but with all of liberalism. If you can’t even be bothered to check on whether or not a simple quote is true, I don’t see how you have the standing to complain about it.

  251. @David Gustafson
    I think you’ll find that all that is exactly WHY Billy thinks liberalism is a failure. That doesn’t make him right of course.

  252. @ BIlly Quiets,
    I really don’t get where all these people think that Obama is some kind of flaming leftist, with the exception of the ACA (Romneycare anyone?) he has governed pretty much towards the center, especially in military affairs. Heck many Europeans think he’s center-right.

  253. @rochrist
    Oh, I know. Just enjoying the irony of comparing a list of true accomplishments with little boys sticking their fingers in the dike because tax cuts ate up the maintenance budget.

  254. Wow I missed the rantings of that librepubdotnet whacko? John the one you decided to keep is a classic Reactionary Whine vintage 2012, can’t imagine what the deleted ones were like!

  255. Billy: . Speaking of Ayn Rand. Let’s talk about the takers. I give you, “Obamaphone!” Please don’t try and tell me that these voters are anything but takers. It’s not politically correct, but it’s the truth. There is a huge segment of the population who vote only for more entitlements.

    And I give you some facts.

    There is, in fact, a government program that will provide low-income people with a free or low cost cell phone. It was started in 2008 under George W. Bush.

    I mean, seriously, Billy. Could you just once object to some political position that is to the left of what you want and criticize it based off even a shred of truth?

    At this point, if you just came out and said you didn’t like Obama because he was black, then at least I could respect you for being honest about 1 thing. As it is, you say up is down, east is west, wishes are horses, and it’s just sad. No more schadenfreude pie for you. Right now, I pity you. Dude. watching you spew out all this nonsense that isn’t true makes me feel about the same way as watching someone I knew with a mental illness talk about the hole in the ceiling where the demons were coming through. Nothing would convince him otherwise.

  256. Actually Greg, I’m starting to think you’ve got a thing for me. You seem a little too strident in your posts lately, if you know what I mean.

    Admit it, you’re crushing on me aren’t you? I think we’ve got a little bromance brewing maybe. It’s kind of cute. I’m flattered.

  257. In Norway Obama would be defined as far right, further so than all parties which are represented in our Storting. The republicans, however, would be what we call “brown”. This is not a compliment.

    So it’s all about where you stand, really. I doubt americans would accept our way any more than we would accept yours.

  258. The Chevy Volt is an overpriced piece of crap that nobody wants to buy.

    Am I the only one that kind of digs on the Volt? When our current cars die, it’s on the list. All the caterwauling about how Chevy is ‘failing’ with the Volt is shockingly similar to the wailing about the Toyota Prius.

  259. Actually Greg, I’m starting to think you’ve got a thing for me. You seem a little too strident in your posts lately, if you know what I mean.

    And, Billy, having lost the arguments (oh, so many arguments) on the merits, is now resorting to distraction.

  260. Said car was made by an immigrant who is going philanthropist in the vein of Gates and Buffet rather than Galt, it’s worth noting. Looks like that pesky wanting to help those less fortunate got in the way of telling the poor to go fuck themselves because he got his and the gubmint is evil again.

  261. Billy, you write:
    “Only those with vast wealth can Go Galt. I would go tomorrow if I could. I think that you and everyone else who voted for Obama have created a society that I want no part of.”

    Where would you go, if you could?

    I am not being snarky. Really, this is a serious question, I’m genuinely curious. Note that I ask this as someone who has moved away from Sweden, partly because I believe that country is socialist and unlikely to change significantly in the foreseeable future.

  262. Billy: Admit it, you’re crushing on me aren’t you?

    Homophobia? Really? That’s all you’ve got left?

    Wow.

  263. You don’t need vast wealth to Go Galt. It only requires that you withdraw from civilization. (Or go off the grid.) Build a shack in Montana, learn how to grow vegetables and hunt game.

    If you can somehow use atmospheric static electricity to power stuff, that’s cool, but if not you could buy some photovoltaics and/or a wind turbine, too.

  264. Billy: Nothing homophobic about it.

    rrrright.

    Lighten up.

    Oh, its my fault you said something indistinguishable from homophobia. Got it.

  265. Greg: “Billy what you’re saying is contradicted by facts. Do you want to talk about something factual?”

    Billy: “U R SO GHEY DERP.”

    Keep up the good work, Billy; the conservative movement is proud of you.

  266. I’m curious. Why all this gloom and doom and “Obama is going to destroy the universe” now? He had 4 years and didn’t destroy it – at least not so I noticed – is it that people think he needs 4 more years to do it? I never did understand that part of the panic. Could someone (not Billy, please (no offense, but I’d like an explanation based on reality, if only loosely)) explain?

  267. Wow, Billy, resorting to “yeah, well you’re GAY so we don’t have to listen to you!” is pretty classic. In fact it’s an ad hominem argument, unlike most arguments that get called that. You just admitted you have no real response to any argument Greg has posed.

    And btw don’t expect actual gay men (of whom Greg is not one) to crush on you with anything other than a large load of bricks. Metaphorically speaking. In fact “don’t fuck Republicans” is a meme in several communities including the gay community.

  268. Billy: Ireland. Which is narrowly beating the USA in economic freedom, according to . Well. The highest tax bracket (with a marginal tax of 40%) starts with an annual income of a whopping $47K. Sales tax of 23%. Public healthcare. Personal handguns are illegal. Abortion is more or less illegal. The president (whose duties are largely ceremonical) is from the Labour Party.

    Libertopia, it is not.

    Which is kind of the reason for my question. In my world, the US is the number one country right-wingers threaten to flee *to*. Well, apart from Monaco, Jersey, Panama, Liechtenstein and similar places, which are the countries you are supposed to technically move to for tax reasons while it is generally understood that you don’t actually live there most of the time.

  269. Bonelady: I’m not sure, but based on the comments of John Sunnunu, my guess is that the Right thinks President Obama is so lazy that he’s only just now getting around to dispatching the lavender helicopters to come take away everyone’s guns and redistribute our phones.

  270. @Billy: What Xopher said.

    I’d also like to point out to you that intent is not magic — claiming you didn’t intend something to be homophobic doesn’t magically make it not homophobic. Especially if you’re not queer yourself.

  271. Bonelady: Why all this gloom and doom and “Obama is going to destroy the universe” now?

    Honestly, I don’t think it’s much different now than it was 4 years ago. 4 years ago, we had birthers. For the last 4 years, we’ve had birthers. And today, we still have birthers. 4 years ago, there were pictures of Witch Doctor Obama. 4 years ago, Obama’s election caused a massive spike in purchases of guns and ammunitionby nutters who were certain Obama was gonna take their guns away. I don’t think there is any story being told about Obama today that wasn’t being told 4 years ago. About the only difference I see is volume.

    It certainly got louder lately.

    Well, no, I take that back. When ACA was passed, there were pictures of Obama with Joker makeup on him. He was called a socialist, communist, fascist, Nazi. (simultaneously by the same person in one sentence. I don’t even know how that is possible, but whatever).

    So, I don’t really think it’s been much different than it has the last 4 years.

  272. To be fair, the racism was Brad’s. Billy seems to be covering the “lol ghey” beat.

    @Sten: the problem is not really money, because there are plenty of developing nations where even a modest amount of savings translates into a high standard of living, and where there are no pesky regulations and zoning laws to impede one’s Great Galtian Enterprise. Problem is that they also tend to lack things like the rule of law and reliable infrastructure. It’s like listening to a teenager bitch about how his parents are total fascists, man, but funnily he doesn’t actually want to leave the free room and board.

  273. You know, if Billy had said “I didn’t mean to be homophobic. I was just teasing Greg. Sorry” instead of “Nothing homophobic about it. Lighten up” my opinion of him would have gone up considerably. Still would if he cops to it and apologizes.

    As it was, my opinion of him went down, remarkable as that seems.

  274. It’s like listening to a teenager bitch about how his parents are total fascists, man, but funnily he doesn’t actually want to leave the free room and board.

    I agree with your point (as I do more often than not where you’re concerned), but mislike your metaphor. I know you meant the teenager who’s griping because his parents won’t let him play X-box after eleven on a school night, but some are actually in an economic trap with genuinely abusive parents. Come to think of it, your metaphor holds up there: there are countries where the laws are really oppressive (the PRC comes to mind); this just doesn’t happen to be one of them.

    So I guess I’m just saying “Ick. Twitch.”

  275. He was called a socialist, communist, fascist, Nazi. (simultaneously by the same person in one sentence. I don’t even know how that is possible, but whatever).

    Ah, the old “he’s a Muslim Socialist who hates God and loves Wall Street” chestnut that I’ve heard so much of in the last four years. Cognitive dissonance is too mild a term for such a thing.

  276. There are some really stupid people who list the Nazis on the left (yeah, I know) because their party name has ‘socialist’ in it. They’re doing this so they can say that socialists are really Nazis (and of course liberals are really socialists, so that makes it OK to fight liberals the way we fought the Nazis, isn’t THAT special?). Jonah Goldberg is a leader of this particular bit of revisionist lying bullshit.

    The fact that that means the Democratic Republican Party (the official name of the GOP) are really the same as the leadership of the German Democratic Republic (the former East Germany) and responsible for the genocidal behavior of the Democratic Republic of the Congo doesn’t appear to bother them.

  277. Mythago: Yes, I know, hence my question. I’m just curious where the go-Galt-people (the ones who are serious enough to have thought it through, at least for a little while) are actually threatening to go. Well, I heard about the Australia suggestion, of course.

  278. DG Lewis: “Then maybe you shouldn’t try interpreting it, nu?”
    This isn’t about my interpretation. The point I’m making is that you seem to rather cynically roll your eyes at conservatives’ references to “Going Galt” because they’re not doing so literally as described in the book, in spite of the fact that many have in fact used it in a much more metaphorical manner than you seem to acknowledge.

    Eric Saveau: “When YOU speak of costs and consequences and responsibility, do you mean that people who have sex should always go into it with the risk of unwanted pregnancy or disease?”
    It’s not a matter of whether there should be risks; they *are* risks. Those risks that can be mitigated, but not elimlinated; they will always be there.
    “And would that be all people? Or just certain people? Or only under certain circumstances? Or with someone else’s approval? Don’t squirm away; be specific.”
    That would be any person who chooses to have sex, period. I don’t know how much more specific I can be. I confess myself to be a little bemused by all your qualifying questions.

    Greg: “Well, you glossed over all the juicy goodness that was Brad’s super-flounce against the “overriding theme of the sexual revolution”.
    I wasn’t addressing his original post, I was addressing the one in response to it that alluded to a conservative double standard viz-a-viz male vs. female sexual activity, something which you stated does in fact exist. Again, I would be most curious to see where in any mainstream conservative/Republican/right-wing discourse you would find the “sexual women are sluts, sexual men are conquerors” theme that you mentioned.

  279. Well, I heard about the Australia suggestion, of course.

    Did you hear about the ones who want to go to Australia because “their President is a good Christian man”? Um…no, no, and no.

  280. Again, I would be most curious to see where in any mainstream conservative/Republican/right-wing discourse you would find the “sexual women are sluts, sexual men are conquerors” theme that you mentioned.

    Um, all of it? Rush Limbaugh spent a week calling a woman whose classmate needed hormonal birth control of health issues a slut, and I would be unsurprised if his show today was all about how awesome Gen. Petraeus is for bagging a smokin’ hot chick on the side.

  281. Amitava: , I was addressing the one in response to it that alluded to a conservative double standard viz-a-viz male vs. female sexual activity, something which you stated does in fact exist. Again, I would be most curious to see where in any mainstream conservative/Republican/right-wing discourse you would find

    A double standard???? Ya mean something like Brad’s case of having the vapors?

    sex-connected items: abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc. America’s brain has been relocated to its pelvis. Maybe its brain was always in its pelvis to begin with? The overriding theme of the sexual revolution was — we want our sex to be guilt-free, cost-free, obligation-free, and consequence free. Romney was a horrible fit with this paradigm, due to his LDS beliefs. I wanted to pretend otherwise, but even I can’t deny the writing on the wall. In America, the orgasm is the highest imperative. Just ask David Petraeus.

    Do you not hear the chorus of dog whistles packed in that paragraph of juicy goodness? Abortion is a woman’s issue. Either you let women have an abortion or you force them to carry all pregnancies to term. What do you think Brad’s mention of “consequence free” was talking about??? There aren’t consequences for men packed in the issue of abortion.

    Cost free? What is that in reference to other than that slut Sandra Fluke’s testimony about contraceptives?

    If you can’t hear it, I suggest you consider the possibility that you may in fact be entirely tone deaf on a certain set of frequencies.

    They are called dog whistles for a reason

  282. Did you hear about the ones who want to go to Australia because “their President is a good Christian man”? Um…no, no, and no.

    My personal favorite is Christians saying that want to move to Israel because they disagree with universal health care, LGBT rights, a sexually forward culture, and state-owned corporations and service providers.

    I can tell you from personal experience that they aren’t amused when you tell them that they must have it confused with Palestine.

  283. This seems to be going back to the original point: I can certainly see the pro-life inference in Brad’s statement. I don’t see how that in any way endorses the gender double-standard that you initially referred to.
    “What do you think Brad’s mention of “consequence free” was talking about??? There aren’t consequences for men packed in the issue of abortion.”
    This wasn’t about the consequences of abortion, it was about the consequences of sex. And as far as sex goes, men share the same responsibility: it takes two people to conceive a child.
    And again, I will point out that I was very specifically responding to the mention of “consequence” and “obligation”. Not cost, guilt, shame or anything else.

  284. As a followup to Genufett’s comments, we had a Romney supporter talking about Ms. Fluke’s desire to rut like a minx and have other pay for it, here at Whatever, either last week or the week before.

  285. Maybe they need a lesson in Democracy 101. It’s fairly simple … it’s numbers …. as Dr Gregory House pretty much summed it up …. ‘numbers don’t lie.’ You might not like the numbers, but if you jump of a cliff, you probably don’t like gravity that much either. But numbers with regard to Democracy can change from year to year if you are prepared to work at it. Attempting to destroy the democratic system instead is pretty much admitting defeat, good luck with that. (But I will be watching you.)

  286. @Amitava D-

    Me: “When YOU speak of costs and consequences and responsibility, do you mean that people who have sex should always go into it with the risk of unwanted pregnancy or disease?”

    Amitava D: “It’s not a matter of whether there should be risks; they *are* risks.”

    Me: “And would that be all people?”

    Amitava D: “That would be any person who chooses to have sex, period.”

    Thank you, sort of. My question was not whether risks exist, because we all know that they do, it was whether or not YOU thought that people should be allowed to take the steps that VERY EFFECTIVELY mitigate those risks (to the 98th percentile or better) and enjoy their sex lives accordingly in personal autonomy. Because that’s precisely what Brad was raging against. From your answer here, it looks like you are in agreement with Brad; that people SHOULD live in fear of disease and pregnancy and slut-shaming INSTEAD OF being permitted to take the effective and reasonable precautions that permit a healthy active sex life, in whatever form and circumstances that they choose, reasonably free of disease and unwanted pregnancy and misguided reactionary opprobrium. Have I read this correctly, or am I misreading you?

  287. Eric: “SHOULD (people) live in fear of disease and pregnancy and slut-shaming INSTEAD OF being permitted to take the effective and reasonable precautions that permit a healthy active sex life, in whatever form and circumstances that they choose, reasonably free of disease and unwanted pregnancy and misguided reactionary opprobrium…”
    Hum. Well, I don’t know if I would say they should live in fear as opposed to, say, awareness. Shame and oppropbrium are never good things, of course. But to go back to the nidus of this conversation line, I don’t see the sexual revolution as being an inherently bad thing. And like all things past, whether it was good or bad is a largely philosophical issue. Whatever else may be said of it, it happened.

    “whether or not YOU thought that people should be allowed to take the steps that VERY EFFECTIVELY mitigate those risks”
    All save abortion. I have no problem with contraception, safe sex and sex education.

  288. @Genufett: And I’m STILL mad at Romney for not telling us what word he would have used instead. Strumpet? Harlot? Jezebel?

    @Sten: I think the slightly brighter ones are trying to use the Mysterious Disappearance part of “going Galt” to cover up the fact that they have no goddamn idea.

  289. This wasn’t about the consequences of abortion, it was about the consequences of sex.

    On what planet are these things separate?

  290. @Amitava D –

    All save abortion. I have no problem with contraception, safe sex and sex education.

    Hm. Checking – you do realize that the anti-abortion movement is also against all the things you say you have no problem with, right? And that they’ve been very clear about that lately? That they see them as all parts of the same problem?

  291. Xopher, I had to drop out of the conversation for awhile to go do some work. Yes, of course I was joking. What the hell have I ever said to make you think that I’m homophobic? Did you miss the comment where I said, “the Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal. It doesn’t say except for the gays. They are just too fabulous.”

    Calling me homophobic is utterly and completely ridiculous. I’ve mentioned on this site numerous times that the biggest fights I have in the Republican meetings are over gay rights. We are giving away the votes of conservative gays because we are wrong as a party on this issue. I’ve said it a bunch of times here, but that doesn’t count. It’s too easy to label me because you don’t like my positions on the other issues. How many times have I said to go check out Hillbuzz.com.

    The fact that I even have to defend myself on this pisses me off.

    Greg, and apparently most of the rest of you, can’t take a joke. And I don’t care what you say, that was some funny shit. He does need to lighten up. I’m supposed to be the one who’s bitter, remember. Greg’s guy won. You couldn’t tell it from his rants.

    Greg throws every comment I ever made back in my face. Except somehow he can’t remember that I’m for gay rights. Because it’s easier to label me a homophobe.

    Well, pardon me, but that ain’t right. I was proud of that comment. I thought if was funny when I made it and I still think it’s funny.

    No apologies. Still a free country. (barely)

  292. Amitava I can’t believe that you’re honestly saying there is no basis to the women as sluts and the man as conqueror theme. This is so inherent in our culture even today it’s sickening. Just ask any woman who’s been raped and has had the bravery to go through a trial. Just listen to news stories when politicians are caught with their pants down explain how they are the victims. It’s a plain fact that our society has different rules for the men and another for women. We even judge our celebrities on a skewed scale. The Petraeus story is just ONE case. Even the Republicans push for a” legitimate” rape bill is proof of this. Unless your beaten it’s not rape. And as it’s been stated before just listen to Rush Limbaugh on this subject. And by excluding anything quiverfull is denying that yes this does exist. Obviously you knew this already which is why you wanted it excluded. So in my opinion anyone who starts spouting. off about consequences is not talking about the consequences for men but for women.

    Greg, mintwitch, mythago and Other Bill you are all my new hero’s for various reasons. Greg I have to tell you I have never laughed so hard as I did when I read your post yesterday to Brad about sex I’m sure you know which I’m referring to.

    Brad and Billy Quiets I have to concur with others you keep arguing the same points with no conclusions that prove your arguments IN factual evidence. Sorry but that’s just how I see it.

    Once again John a great post even if I had to do some research because I never bothered to read any of Rand’s material. Doesn’t seem like it was a great loss though….

  293. @Billy Quiets, “lighten up” and “can’t take a joke” are the equivalent of “they just didn’t understand our message otherwise they would agree with us!” That is, they’re dumb ways of assuming if you failed to communicate then it’s always the other guy’s fault.

    @Bruce: yeah, that was also Billy. When out host told him to knock off the slut-shaming he suddenly wanted to change the subject instead of discussing it rationally.

    @Amitava D: when you start discussing abortion in terms of “consequences” is where the discussion goes off into the weeds.

  294. @Genufett, if you are a straight male, I’d be happy for you to join my man-harem.

    I’m not sure Tesla counts as a REAL AMERICAN CAR, though; it’s made in California, by an immigrant, named after another foreigner. I was behind one in traffic recently and wow, shiny.

  295. Billy Quiets: “Did you miss the comment where I said, ‘the Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal. It doesn’t say except for the gays. They are just too fabulous.’”

    If that’s your idea of a non-homophobic statement in support of gay rights, please know that it doesn’t come across that way. At all. (Free clue: Gays aren’t “fabulous.” Gay people are, like non-gay people, mostly normal people who want to be considered normal people, not exotic Others. This would be like saying “It doesn’t say except for the women. They are just too hot [in the 'sexy' sense of the word].”)

    A generous interpretation would be that you mean well but keep putting your foot in your mouth when you try to express your better intentions.

    “We are giving away the votes of conservative gays because we are wrong as a party on this issue.”

    That one’s much better.

  296. BW, thank you for your assessment. I disagree with it, but that’s cool. Let me ask you a question. If you knew I was gay, would it have been funny?

  297. Billy Quiets November 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm:

    Actually Greg, I’m starting to think you’ve got a thing for me. You seem a little too strident in your posts lately, if you know what I mean.

    Admit it, you’re crushing on me aren’t you? I think we’ve got a little bromance brewing maybe. It’s kind of cute. I’m flattered.

    carcinoGeneticist [CG] has begun trolling billyQuiets [BQ]

    CG: OH MY GOD. THIS IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE SECOND OR THIRD MOST INEPT EFFORT AT BLACKROM FLIRTING I HAVE EVER HAD THE BAD LUCK TO WITNESS.
    CG: NO, MAKE THAT FOURTH, NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT.
    CG: FIRST OF ALL, BILLY, GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE BUCKET. I’M PRETTY SURE GREG’S DISLIKE FOR YOU IS STRICTLY PLATONIC.
    CG: YOU NEED TO FIND A KISMESIS FROM THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU, OR YOU’RE GOING TO END UP AS ONE OF THOSE CRANKS WHO THINKS SOME CELEBRITY IS THEIR HATEMATE.
    CG: THAT KIND OF SAD, POINTLESS OBSESSION WILL JUST GET YOU CULLED WHEN THE DRONES COME TO CALL. OF COURSE, IF YOU WERE PLANNING ON BECOMING A DISUPTANTE, THAT WOULDN’T BE ANY GREAT LOSS.
    CG: NO, FIFTH, ACTUALLY. I KNOW A LOT OF IDIOTS.

    carcinoGeneticist [CG] ceased trolling billyQuiets [BQ]

  298. Eric Saveau: “you do realize that the anti-abortion movement is also against all the things you say you have no problem with, right? And that they’ve been very clear about that lately? That they see them as all parts of the same problem?”
    Ain’t it so, for at least much of the movement, to my everlasting frustration. One of my biggest gripes with the pro-life movement is the extent to which so many of its adherents define their arguments in terms of God, Jesus, ensoulment, etc. The gain for this is very little in my view, and something that I find very bothersome as an agnostic. I remember I was biking down Manhattan on 9/11 two years ago and I saw a pro-life protest, with their pictures of bloody fetuses and so forth. The leader of the protest was going on and on about the evils of abortion. And homosexuality. And the danger of Islam. “We’re SORRY, Lord, we’re so SORRY!” he kept saying. When he was taking a break I approached him and told him outright that I myself was irreligious (I was tempted to also tell him I was gay, but given the content of his speech opted not to for fear that he would immediately tune me out). I tried to explain to him my view that his predicating the pro-life position on exclusively religious terms would only serve to turn off those who didn’t already share his religious background and might otherwise be wavering in their opinion. To which his constant response was “this is a VERY SPECIAL day, a SACRED day, this country is a Christian country-blahblahblah”. Talk about speaking to a brick wall.

    Evette: “Amitava I can’t believe that you’re honestly saying there is no basis to the women as sluts and the man as conqueror theme. This is so inherent in our culture even today it’s sickening…And by excluding anything quiverfull is denying that yes this does exist. Obviously you knew this already which is why you wanted it excluded.”
    When did I ever say there was “no basis” for this concept? As you yourself imply, it’s something that’s unfortunately rather more foundational to American (or perhaps even human) culture than something that falls along a right-left axis. Again, I ask to be shown a mainstream Republican-conservative source where female sexuality is censured but male sexuality is celebrated. I excluded things like Quiverfull because I they’re not exactly mainstream.
    “So in my opinion anyone who starts spouting. off about consequences is not talking about the consequences for men but for women.”
    I’m sure there are many traditional social conservatives who believe that men should face the consequences of their actions as well. This is something that’s been written about even here; I remember a Whatever piece sometime back regarding a guy who wanted a court to void his child support responsibility because the mother of his offspring didn’t have an abortion as he had wanted. It was noted that in cases like this the pro-lifers would generally take a dim view of his argument. I’d be one of them.

    Mythago: “when you start discussing abortion in terms of “consequences” is where the discussion goes off into the weeds.”
    Again, it wasn’t abortion that was being discussed in terms of consequences, it was sex.

  299. Billy Quiets, no, still not funny. If you were a gay character on a sitcom saying it, you would probably get a laugh, but only from the laugh track.

  300. Billy Quiets, the fact that you are on the right side of one issue does not, and will not, give you any sort of pass for being on the wrong side of every single other issue. Which you are.

  301. Amitava: And as far as sex goes, men share the same responsibility: it takes two people to conceive a child.

    That may be how you think it should be done, but that’s not how it actually impacts real people in the real world. In the real world, women have to bear far more responsibility. Your wishful thinking doesn’t change that.

    Well, I don’t know if I would say they should live in fear as opposed to, say, awareness. Shame and oppropbrium are never good things, of course.

    Look, this sounds reasonable and all, but you’ve established else where that you have some rather extremist views.

    Amitava: ““I’d rather a thousand die before a single man is forced against his will to help them”.”

    Amitava: “I don’t think we should be legally obliged to look after the welfare of strangers.”

    Amitava: “I might even support conscription. In that scenario, however, I wouldn’t say that it was “right” or “justified”. The most I could say, given a set of objectives, is that it was “necessary”.”

    Your only allowance for abortion is if the mother is pregnant as a result of rape and her life is in danger from that rape-conceived pregnancy.

    No other allowances given.

    You feel uncomfortable granting a moral right to an abortion under this circumstance (mother raped and life in danger) but you will grant it.

    If the mother gets pregnant from rape but her life is not in danger, you say she is morally obligated to have the baby. If she can’t bear to look at a reminder of being raped every day, you will allow her to give the child up for adoption. But she must deliver the baby.

    If the mother is pregnant by choice, and complications arise such that her life is endangered, you say she is morally obligated to have the baby. Even if there is a 99% chance that she will die delivering the baby, you say she is morally obligated to risk her life to deliver the baby.

    You’re saying these moral obligations begin at conception. The moment a fertilized egg attaches itself to the woman, the moment the woman becomes pregnant, she is obligated to carry that pregnancy to completion.

    You may think the consequences are shared equally when a woman gets pregnant, but your views of what should and should not be allowed only greatly impacts the woman. And I would say that because your views of how abortion should be nigh but entirely outlawed have a massive impact on women but not men, and because you think your views are moral and fair, I would say that has made you tone deaf to situations where consequences and moral condemnations and slut shaming/male celbrating are entirely lopsidedly weighted against women.

    Your views on abortion are entirely weighted against women, not men, and so I don’t expect you to see the various dog whistles like slut shaming and so on. Nor do I feel like it would be of any use whatsoever to try to explain it to you.

  302. BW, Well, there you go. Can’t win em all. Comedy fails sometimes. Too bad. I would seriously double down on tweeking Greg. I just can’t quit him.

    Eric, I’m on the side that I think is right on every one of the issues. I don’t need a pass to believe what I believe. We simply don’t agree on this stuff.

  303. Billy Quiets: Did you miss the comment where I said, “the Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal. It doesn’t say except for the gays. They are just too fabulous.”

    So, you using a stereotype normally used against gays (fabulous) is your way of being funny while supporting gay rights? Would you prove how much you are for racial equality by performing in blackface? Are you indirectly saying that the problem here is that you’re just completely culturally unaware/ignorant of the landmines you’re stepping on? You’re intention does not matter. What matters is how it lands.

    Greg throws every comment I ever made back in my face.

    Yes, because you made up your own facts. You said Obama is bad because unemployment and housing starts are worse now than 4 years ago. I linked you to two reports that showed they were the exact opposite.

    You made a point of pounding home that if given that the facts prove obama wrong, would we be willing to admit Obama was a failure. I then held you to your own standard, showed you that by your own measures, Obama was sucessful, quoted you back to yourself: What then? Will you admit you were wrong? Will you vote for him to have a second term? Just asking. and asked if you would be willing to hold yourself ot your own standards.

    Apparently you can’t do it.

    And apparently you can’t even acknowlege you made a mistake. You’ve gone submarine every time I point out that you are flat out wrong on every measure you’ve thrown up as “proof” that Obama has failed. And yet, you can’t admit your wrong. Instead you ignore every fact that proves you wrong and try to chagne the subject.

    You attempting to change the subject with some gay panic humor was how you got into your current mess. You brought up Obamaphone, and I pointed out that the government program started under Bush. What then? Will you admit you were wrong?

    No, you tried to make a joke at the expense of gays by invoking some homophobia humor. And now that its been pointed out repeatedly that your joke, even if not intended as homophobic, still lands as homophobic, I ask you your own question: What then? Will you admit you were wrong?

    And the answer, again, is no. Billy cannot admit he is wrong. Ever.

  304. Mythago: Yes, I know, hence my question. I’m just curious where the go-Galt-people (the ones who are serious enough to have thought it through, at least for a little while) are actually threatening to go. Well, I heard about the Australia suggestion, of course.

    Somalia the libertarian utopia.

  305. Suffice to say then, that in invoking gay panic it should be understood by all that Billy has lost the fucking argument.

  306. Billy, the remark was homophobic, regardless of your intent. I am completely willing to accept your report of what’s in your heart; however, that’s irrelevant to the question of whether the REMARK was homophobic (which it was).

    More importantly (and closer to the topic or at least a metatopic), it was a dodge from responding to Greg’s critical takedown. “Hey, look over there” and run, that kind of thing.

  307. Greg: I do declare, you saw my last response on your website! I’d forgotten all about that! Would you care to continue that discussion? Or should you like to keep the last word? Anyway, here and now…

    “You may think the consequences are shared equally when a woman gets pregnant”
    I never said that. I said that in conceiving a child, I believe the man and the woman share the same responsibility towards that child.

    “slut shaming/male celbrating are entirely lopsidedly weighted against women.”
    Of course they are. I never denied that. And again, I’ll return to the point that I actually made: where might I find an example of this double standard regarding male vs female sexuality, as reflected in mainstream conservative discourse? Please show me where you’ve read “sexual women are sluts, sexual men are conquerors”, or whatever variant thereof.

  308. Amitava: Of course they are. I never denied that. And again, I’ll return to the point that I actually made: where might I find an example of this double standard regarding male vs female sexuality, as reflected in mainstream conservative discourse?

    This thing? This is that bit where I was saying you’re views are so lopsided and extremist that you are tone deaf to certain kinds of lopsided, extremists views.

    Dude, you think abortion should be outlawed in all cases except a perfect combination of a woman raped AND the pregnancy threatens her life. If she wasn’t raped, but the pregnancy threatens her life, you think she is morally obligated to carry the pregnancy to term and possibly sacrifice her life for the unborn. That is wonky extremist in the moral spectrum. And it means you’re not going to recognize other similarly wonky extremist views as wonky or extremist.

    Like I said, there is no POINT in trying to explain this whole double standard thing to you. You’ve already demonstrated that you are tone deaf in this area in your last post by saying, in effect, “of course women have more consequences than men, I was talking about responsibility. Of course slut shaming/male celebrating is entirely weighted against women, but I was looking for this double standard explicitely spelled out in conservative discourse.”

    Dude. It’s like you’re tone deaf, asking someone to explain these music scales everyone keeps talking about. The idea of spelling this out to you, only to have you inevitably dismiss it because you can’t hear it, makes me want to drink booze until I pass out.

  309. @Billy Quiets –

    Eric, I’m on the side that I think is right on every one of the issues. We simply don’t agree on this stuff.

    And the fact that you think you are right means nothing. This isn’t about not agreeing; it’s about the fact that you have been shown to be wrong, and exactly how monstrously wrong you are, so frequently and consistently, by people who are demonstrably better informed and more honest than you, that your positions on any subject have not a whiff of credibility.

    And it’s worse than that.

    Look, no one is fooled. You are not merely wrong, you are stubbornly, knowingly, lyingly, bigotedly wrong. You have no capacity to admit error, and therefore no capacity to self-correct or to learn. You are impervious to reason. You don’t what what the word logic even means. You don’t simply reject facts, you studiously ignore them; you pretend they don’t even exist. You sing the praises of policies that are known to harm people, and of the power-mad narcissistic asswipes who push and shove for those policies with a knife behind every dead-shark-eyed smile. You have nothing behind your words but whatever is on this week’s list of Approved Talking Points have been issued by the Party. And when reality is shoved right in your face by people who have compiled entire fucking encyclopedias of every falsehood you’ve uttered, you just keep strolling along into Free Market Fantasyland, eyes aglow with visions of a perfect chiseled John Galt who will one day see you as his Dagny Taggart. You are a lousy goddam human being.

    But.

    We do in fact recognize that you are a human being. And, boy howdy, that sure makes us different from your fellow travelers in a big way.

    As annoyed as many people here get with your vacuous posturing, as sick of your bullshit and as tired of your pathological aversion to truth, we know that you are a person. The right-wingers whose venom you spew forth? They don’t. They won’t. To them you are not a person, not a human being. You are marginally useful to them, as long as you stay in your cozy little Log Cabin. But that’s all.

    Us liberals and Democrats and unaffiliated but like-minded people are fighting against that. Fighting for you. We’re arguing and donating and canvassing and getting out the vote for gay rights and marriage equality. You know; all that stuff that the right-wingers say is sick and evil and depraved and immoral and will destroy civilization and should be punished by death. They haven’t lifted a finger, or even curled a disdainful lip, on your behalf. And yet you soldier on for them, taking every sling and arrow from them, much less us, apparently such a bottom that you just can’t help joyfully submitting to their uncompromising authoritarianism.

    Meanwhile we’ve defeated amendments in four states that would have enshrined anti-gay bigotry into law. After the bigots previously gained thirty-two. The tide is turning. But it isn’t turning by itself. WE are turning it. Us liberal types who stand for everything you hate. And we’re doing it without your help. And that’s okay; we can do this for you as much as in spite of you. Because we’re also doing it for our friends and family members, and some for ourselves, and if it benefits you too that’s okay, because we know that if you really want to make a positive difference for everyone you can’t waste your time and effort sifting through humanity to pick out who you want to exclude. You know, like the right-wingers do. You’re welcome.

    You’re on the wrong side of every issue, save one. You’re a lousy person. But you’re a person. We, the liberals you revile, will never lose sight of that much, whatever else you earn from us. You can count on that.

    Good luck with your fellow ideologues.

  310. Amitava, how about this guy.

    In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.

    And please, please don’t equivocate about the relative importance of Wilson. You asked for a specific example. I think you must now acknowledge that such a stance does, in fact, exist. Maybe then you’ll start to see it.

  311. I was behind one in traffic recently and wow, shiny.

    Meh… they’re electric Lotus Elise…. which is shiny, but the Elise is a LOT cheaper.

    That said, I didn’t really get Romney whinging about Tesla in the debates. Elon Musk is a goram American Fairy Story.

  312. The idea that Romney wouldn’t let his religious beliefs influence his governing, except of course for the religious belief that a fertilized egg has a soul and the religious belief that gay sehks makes his god(s) angry, is belied by the fact that when he was governor of Mass., he interfered with government procedures to stop same-sex parents from routinely getting birth certificates for their newborn babies and forced them to appeal to higher levels of officialdom, wasting their time and money and the government’s.

  313. It made sense for disappointed liberals to want to move to more enlightened countries. It does not make sense for frustrated conservatives to try to move to countries that have everything they are trying to keep the U.S. from having.

  314. As far as Petreus ad right-wing hypocrites go, the championship AND proof of a conservative double standard goes to preacher Pat Robertson, who explains that it was OK for Petraeus to have an affair because he was a man and far from home and she was good-looking. In other words, Christian holy traditional marriage vows mean nothing in the face of Manly Hormones.

    If women who have sex must be forced to risk pregnancy, why are right-wing moralists allowing people who break their arms skiing to have the bones set? After all, they knew it was a possibility when they decided to do something risky just for pleasure!

  315. evette: “Greg, mintwitch, mythago and Other Bill you are all my new hero’s for various reasons.”

    And you are my hero for saying something so unnecessarily kind. Thank you.

  316. Greg: “Like I said, there is no POINT in trying to explain this whole double standard thing to you.” Then why even bring it up? You find my beliefs so objectionable that you refuse to substantiate your assertion? I am a touch disappointed.

    Doc RocketScience: I can’t say I’ve ever heard of these Wilson fellows. I never said such viewpoints exist, but is these really mainstream conservative fellows?

    Monado: “Pat Robertson, who explains that it was OK for Petraeus to have an affair because he was a man and far from home and she was good-looking. In other words, Christian holy traditional marriage vows mean nothing in the face of Manly Hormones.”
    Ah now, there we go! Well, I guess I must second Mintwitch’s original sentiment and now eat my share of crow. Yet and still, may I meekly offer the quixotic hope that, er, Mr. Robertson doesn’t represent all (dare I hope the majority?) of us on my side of the issue. Especially when it comes to things like this, or non-Christians being maggots, or 9/11 being divine retribution visited upon America for the eternal sin of accepting homosexuality and womens’ lib.
    “why are right-wing moralists allowing people who break their arms skiing to have the bones set?”
    Not exactly; the argument would not be “they shouldn’t be allowed to be treated”, it would be “nobody else should have to bear responsibility for their treatment”.

  317. Somalia the libertarian utopia.

    Not any more. All that UN and international aid has really paid off (military assistance, anti-piracy measures, food, water, sustainable water purification programmes, sustainable agriculture programmes, free medical aid, financial assistance, assistance in setting up sustainable small businesses, etc), and the worst of the pirates and the warlords are not only out of power, but also out of their cushy pads too. Somalia is real beneficiary of global altruism (or at least global enlightened self-interest). There is a long way to go still, which is an understatement, but Somalia is no longer a place where strong arm tactics are the way to get power.

    It’s really benefiting from all those things the “Go Galt” brigade loathe. You know I’m wracking my brains for a place for all the hate-“stuff” lot should go (anti-abortionists can go to Ireland perhaps), but really the only place I can come up with is “The United States of America” (although an honorable mention goes to the United Kingdom under the current administration which seems to be aiming towards Romney-esque ideals on welfare and austerity taxation, whether that will last beyond the next election is up for grabs though). I can think of lots of countries where fleeing liberals could go for somewhere more attuned to their views, but fleeing Tea-Partyers and Libertarians? America is kinda the place them sorts flee towards. Nobody else in the world seems to want that.

  318. Amitava: Then why even bring it up?

    Well, lets go to the instant replay on that, shall we? How did you come into the conversation?

    Brad: we want our sex to be guilt-free, cost-free, obligation-free, and consequence free.

    Greg: “obligation-free Do you feel obligated to have sex, Brad?”

    Amitava: I think you may be missing Brad’s points there, Greg.

    You completely missed my tone that was satire/mocking and assumed I was serious, and assumed I had missed Brad’s points.

    This is that tone deaf bit again. Of course I didn’t miss Brad’s points. But they were so divorced from reality, they were so much a case of Brad having the vapors about other people having sex, they were so much a case of Brad trying to rewrite history, that his “points” didn’t deserve a serious reply.

    But you think I misunderstood Brad. You missed the satirical tone and thought I was missing Brad’s points.

    No, that was you being tone deaf. And eventually the conversation swings around to you asking me why did I “bring it up?”. And I have to bring it back to point out that your first entry into this conversation was you completely missing the tone of my reply. My reply to Brad. I wasn’t even talking to you, I was talking to Brad. You insert yourself into the conversation demonstrating tone deafness by telling me I missed Brad’s point, when I clearly did not. And then you and I go back and forth and you end by asking why did I bring it up? And I have to bring you back to where I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to Brad, I got Brad’s points completely, found them mockable, and you insert yourself demonstrating your tone deafness by telling me I missed Brad’s point.

    You positions on abortion in particular (and quite a few other moral issues) are sufficiently extreme that Brad’s case of the vapors (or at least the bit about “obligation” around sex) sounded perfectly reasonable to you. That makes you unlikely to understand when someone sees Brad’s post as little more than a dramatic collapse onto a fainting couch, they actually do get his point, they just think its ridiculous.

    You think a woman is obligated to carry a pregnancy to term from the moment the fertilized egg attaches to her body. If her life is in danger, she is obligated to sacrifice her life for that fertilized egg. If she is pregnant as a result of rape, she is obligated to sacrifice her body for that fertilized egg. You grant one and only exception which is that a woman can have an abortion if she got pregnant from rape AND her life is in danger from the pregnancy.

    Your morality treats women like meat and treats a fertilized egg as something so precious that women are obligated to sacrifice their bodies like meat to save those fertilized eggs. It is sufficiently extreme that it made you tone deaf to discussions around “obligations” around sex. And that’s how you started your entry into this conversation.

    I think the degree to which you treat women like meat obligated to save fertilized eggs also makes you tone deaf to when women are treated like meat by men. Which is why you keep asking for someone to give you a specific example of this “double standard” of which we speak, when anyone who isn’t tone deaf will simply nod their head. Of course there is a double standard. Its all around. YOu just don’t hear it.

  319. Greg: But you brought up the issue of double standards, Greg, not I. The conversation may have started with Brad’s statements, but this line of discourse did not. And I will again state I never denied the existence of a double standard here, I only questioned the degree to which it’s endemic and unique to the conservative movement. I asked for was an example, what’s so unreasonable about that? Everyone’s experience is subjective (wink and a nod to you, eh?), if you’re truly interested in having a civil discourse you might do well not to dismiss everyone who doesn’t take as a given what you take as a given as “tone deaf”. Did you read my last post in its entirety? With but a little browsing, you could have had my big juicy mea culpa all to yourself!

  320. Amitava, of course you haven’t heard of him. If you had heard of Douglas Wilson, or any of the other raging misogynists in the world, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion would we?

    Notice how shamelessly you go exactly where I asked you not to. You went straight for “Well, I’ve heard of this, so I remain safe in my confidence that misogyny doesn’t really exist, not in any way that matters to me.” And that’s exactly the message you’re sending when you argue that Douglas Wilson, prominent member of the religious right, author of dozens of books, man who went on a debating tour with Christopher Hitchens, FFS, isn’t mainstream enough. When you won’t even entertain the possibility that maybe you’re not paying attention to this centuries old, pervasive aspect of human culture. Or that the phrases “boys will be boys” and “Madonna-whore complex” should have some meaning for you.

  321. Greg, I’d say there SHOULD be some obligations around sex:

    Obligated to be clear on what STDs you have, and to avoid transmitting them, and if that fails, helping the person you infected to some extent.
    Obligated to be clear on whether children are wanted or not, to avoid creating unwanted children, and if that fails, helping the mother to a pretty substantial extent.
    Obligated to be clear on what degree of emotional attachment you’re aiming for.

    Of all the things you were objecting to, the existence of any obligation at all – some sort – is really not objectionable. Taking it as far as requiring marriage… that certainly is what the right is aiming for, but on the left we must be careful not to dismiss obligation entirely.

  322. *facepalm*
    *sigh*
    I’ll go exile myself take a break. That Newton’s Laws exam isn’t gonna write itself anyway.

  323. Amitava,
    I think other people have pointed this out, but it bears repeating: How is Rush Limbaugh spending days upon days excoriating Sandra Fluke as a slut and a prostitute who should make sex tapes for public consumption not the precise example you are looking for? You can’t pretend that he is not a mainstream representative of the conservative movement. Republican politicians who cross him inevitably have to crawl back and ask his forgiveness. Romney could not bring himself to condemn Limbaugh’s insults, which is testament both to how powerful Rush is and to Romney’s apparent perception that a lot of Romney’s target audience agrees with Rush.

    You might say that that example doesn’t count because Limbaugh did not also, at the same time, explain that he doesn’t apply the same standard to men. He doesn’t have to say that. It’s what he’s in fact doing: He is not calling men “sluts” for testifying before Congress about men’s reproductive-health issues. Of course he isn’t! The idea that men’s reproductive-health issues should be up for grabs in game of political football isn’t even thinkable.

  324. Amitava: you brought up the issue of double standards, Greg, not I. The conversation may have started with Brad’s statements,

    Which was packed with double standards.

    The original post was basically Scalzi telling people like Brad (white men who voted for Romney), ) telling them First off, relax. A rainbow coalition of gays, women and minorities is not coming to your door to take your guns or your freedom.

    And what was Brad’s fainting couch act but a demonstration of a white man who voted for Romney thinking the sex brigade was going to start having orgies on his front lawn.

    And I’m familiar with your political positions. I created a thread on my blog and you and I discussed abortion back and forth for something like 70 posts and I don’t even want to think of how many thousands and thousands of words. The fact that you seem to be trying to portray this as me dismissing you out of hand kind of chaffes my ass. I know exactly what your positions are. And I think its those very positions that make you tone deaf regarding this double standard. I’m not dismissing you out of ignorance over here. 70 posts and thousands of words and not once did you show signs of introspection, of looking at your beliefs. That pretty much burned up my patience karma with you. I’ll let Doc or someone else provide you double-standard links. But not me.

    I’m cooked.

  325. Greg, I’m gonna go buy Greg Gutfeld’s new book which is titled, I LOVE HATE, HOW TO TRIUMPH OVER WHINERS IN THE AGE OF PHONY OUTRAGE. I’ll send it to you when I’ve finished if you want. Here’s his description of it:

    My book is called the Joy of Hate for three reasons. One: the original title, “Black, Lesbian and Proud” was already taken.

    Oddly, by Wink Martindale.

    Two: it refers to the biochemical commotion that erupts in my brain when I feel an urge of strong distaste for something that bugs me. It’s an experience that is both exhilarating but ultimately exhausting (as fruitless as self-pleasure). When I feel that anger, I cannot do anything but scratch at it. It’s a mental mosquito bite and it feels good to keep digging at it.

    Three: the title’s stronger meaning salutes the freedom one feels rejecting, hating, or mocking things you aren’t supposed to reject, hate or mock — meaning the liberal, romantic, misguided opinions operating under the guise of the greater good.

    And four: it exposes people who get off pretending to hate something, or hate you, in order to score political points. These are the phony toleratic — a kook who claims to be tolerant, until he runs into someone who disagrees with him (you). The toleratic travel in packs, called the tolerati. Examples of tolerati: soros-funded bloggers, hyenas, the Manson family, Hollywood. The tolerati traffic in faux hate, as a way to elevate their profile, and lower yours. They will overlook the sleaze on their own side (coming in various forms, like Bill Maher and syphilis), while demanding you apologize for a “cruel joke” that harmed no one.

    The people I describe are your laughable enemies. And mine too. I invite you to hate them with me, joyfully.

    (And yes, I am aware that initially I said there were three reasons for the title, but I gave four. If you had already spotted the flub and felt compelled to deposit an angry comment below, then this book is not for you. It might be for your spouse. I will ask her when she gets out of the shower.)

  326. Shorter Billy Quiets: “Oh, yeah? Well, if you don’t accept the intolerant, then… you’re intolerant! Ha! Didn’t see that coming, didja beeotches!? And you’re faking it, anyway! Or something! So there!”

  327. Billy, I don’t like to watch Maher, but sometimes he has some good points. One of his lines was “don’t tolerate intolerance”, which is an extremely important distinction. The islamophobes get all wrankled when people call them on their islamophobia, and the islamophobia will sometimes try to turn the tables and say the other person is intolerant for not letting have their islamophobia.

    No. We do not have to tolerate the intolerant.

    Your attempt at a lame joke in order to try and deflect attention from all the factual and logical errors you’ve made played on intolerance.

    Most jokes are funny at someone’s expense. You’re joke was funny at the expense of gays. You were directly trying to make someting funny at my expense, but your joke was only funny if it was at the expense of gays. Same goes for your “fabulous” nonsense. It tries to make a joke at the expense of gays by invoking a gay stereotype.

    Everyone sees this. You claim not to see it, but honestly, I don’t think you’re that clueless. Not really. What you have demonstrated time and again though is an inability to admit you’re wrong. I’ve lost count of how many simple, direct, objective facts you’ve gotten wrong, and when pointed out, you simply ignore it and double down with more wrong facts. You never admit a mistake. All you’re doing here is more of the same. You know you made a mistake (granted a small one with the gay panic joke, but still the responsibility is yours), but rather than admit it and move on, you’ve continued to double-down and try to change the subject once again to how none of us can take a joke and now about some silly book you found.

    Whatever.

  328. Doc: “You went straight for “Well, I’ve heard of this, so I remain safe in my confidence that misogyny doesn’t really exist,”
    Except I’ve never said the latter. Did you read my post in its entirety?
    Greg: “70 posts and thousands of words and not once did you show signs of introspection, of looking at your beliefs.”
    And what makes you say this with such self-assurance? The fact that I didn’t change any of my positions? Neither did you, so far as I remember. Does that mean you’ve been rendered incapable of introspection as well? Truth put to it, I’ve expended a great deal of time reflecting upon my beliefs. Well before I encountered you, and even now.

  329. I’ve reached the point where this thread makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a Sharpie and write “OH THE HUMANITY” directly onto my brain.

  330. I don’t know how you do it, but when you write these posts that include words like ‘Obama’, or ‘white men’, you always manage to really annoy me with your tone without actually saying anything that I literally disagree with.

    Maybe the people you seem to be arguing with are abundant in Ohio. I never seem to meet anyone like them.

  331. Amitava, if you’re gonna quote me, quote me. I said,

    I remain safe in my confidence that misogyny doesn’t really exist, not in any way that matters to me.

    Those last 8 words, the ones I bolded for emphasis? They’re important. That’s the message you’re sending when the conversation goes like this:

    Amitava: “Show me…”
    Me: *shows you*
    Amitava: “Show me something else…”

    You’ve demonstrated your position to be evidence-proof. Introspection is not your strong suit.

  332. Doc: “I remain safe in my confidence that misogyny doesn’t really exist, not in any way that matters to me.”
    But I’ve already disputed that paraphrasing, as stated above. Or even in my response to the Wilsons, in which I explicitly stated I never denied such viewpoints existed. I asked if they were mainstream because I had never heard of them. And immediately after I ceded the point (albeit to Monado). Well and good? I acknowledge that there are major voices in the conservative movement that have displayed the aforementioned double standard. Having said that, however, I still would argue that this is not something that’s unique to the right.

  333. Amitava: I acknowledge that there are major voices in the conservative movement that have displayed the aforementioned double standard. Having said that, however, I still would argue that this is not something that’s unique to the right.

    who would be some major voices on the left that expresses the double standard that is women=slut, men=conquerers?

  334. Greg, I have no idea, man. But they REALLY don’t like the blockquote tag.

    Amitava, y’know, goalposts are heavy. You’re going to hurt yourself trying to move them so fast.

  335. Doc: Which of my original queries have I not-so-subtly tried to change? Where did I ever deny the existence of misogyny on the right? My assertion was that it is not exclusive to the right. As I stated earlier:
    “When did I ever say there was “no basis” for this concept? As you yourself imply, it’s something that’s unfortunately rather more foundational to American (or perhaps even human) culture than something that falls along a right-left axis.”

    Greg: “there is no POINT in trying to explain this whole double standard thing to you.”
    Do excuse my petulant inner child :)

    And now I’m away. If this thread’s still open a few days hence, I’ll respond then.

  336. My observation about all this is that it seems to be the left that keeps wanting to make this a racial divide by continuously trying to separate out the white male with rhetoric and opinions such as this.

    The divide isn’t just racial, though- it’s along gender lines, too. So women and minorities can join hands as a monolith in hating those evil white men. And more recently, Scalzi & Friends have taken to including the qualifier “straight” as well. The overall effect, therefore, becomes less a divisive dichotomy than it is painting a particular subgroup as the source of all evil.

    Far from inciting some sort of even-handed slapfight, Scalzi and the rest of this particular brand of toad are surrounding a single group with a firing squad consisting of everyone else.

  337. Oh FFS. Your assertion was that misogyny isn’t a mainstream conservative position, and that’s the one I’ve been addressing. Maybe you also asserted, sometime before yesterday, that it’s not “exclusive” to the right, but quite frankly, I don’t give enough of a shit about your willful blindness to go digging through the thread to find out. Meanwhile, all you’re doing is trying to shift from a No True Scotsman fallacy to a tu quoque fallacy. So, nice work there.

  338. JS- Well if my post was lazy and racist what does that make your entire post? The discussion was about white men and how useless they are. But we can’t bear to see another opinion on the relative usefullness of other racial groups of men?

    What a complete hypocrite and coward.But you obviously can’t handle the truth or can’t debate the point.

    The lights would indeed go out if white men went Galt. ABSOLUTE FACT! Name a similar”catastrophe” if any other racial group of males went Galt?

    Let’s see if you have the intellect to respond or are you merely existing in the echo chamber?

  339. Jim:

    “The discussion was about white men and how useless they are.”

    Actually, it was nothing of the sort, although it’s instructive that you appear to think it was.

    Jim, go be stupid and racist somewhere else, please.

  340. Xopher:

    As I wrote on Twitter just now: “Dear racist dipshit demanding I respond to your comment rather than delete it: You neglect to consider that the deletion is my response.”

  341. The Tesla I saw is the new 4-door non-Lotus unsporty one. Suitable for husband, wife, 2.5 children, groceries, commuting, and other standard American activities.

    That’s why I noticed it. I live in a place where sports-car-Teslas are seen regularly. Not often, but enough that one’s brain doesn’t screech to a halt while you figure out what it was. I hadn’t seen the 4-door one in the wild before, thus my brain ran through all pattern recognition algorithms, came up snake eyes, and had to wait till I got close enough to read the word Tesla.

    When I got home, I immediately SocialMedia’d my besties with the sighting. Score one geek point!

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