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August 13, 2012

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I can certainly see that Ryan helps to "solidify the base." But I'm having toruble with the idea that this was Romney's greatest need. Do you really think that any of the base would fail to turn out to get rid of Obama?

Seriously. Obama has been demonized amongst the Republican base to the point where no further motivation would seem to be needed. So why gild the lily like this?

Because as the past has demonstrated. Hatred/dislike/distrust is not enough to get people how to vote in sufficient numbers. You need to have a positive reason as well.

I think Paul Krugman has it right. Ryan gets the nod because he's a media darling.

Hatred/dislike/distrust/and blameeveryoebut us is what the Republican base is all about. There's no rationality there. There's also no real support for the policies promoted by Republica politicians. How many Republican voters want to change Medicare to a voucher system? How many really want to make birth control illegal or ban abortion in cases or rape or incest? How many want taxes to be cut for rich people? How many wanted the Repubican Congress under Bush to create a huge budget defict?

Lots of Republican voters ahve no idea what Republican politicians actually do when elected. And lots of them would not like what Republican politicias did if they were competent or resposible enough to know.

Here's an example: one of the supervisors for an agency that supplies care providers for disabled people was bemoaning the cuts in Medicaid at the state level and blaming the cuts on Obama because she saw on Fox that Obama had caused the defict by wsasting money on research programs like a 200,000 grant for chimpanzee behavior.

Just think thorought the levels of ignorance, stupidity and gullibility displayed by that woman. And that's pretty typical. Every Republican I know is like that: willfully misinformed so as to justify a basically paranoid and selfish appraoch to citizenship.

That's why the base liked Palin so much: she was ahater just like them.

Ryan? Well he's a hater too., capable of laughing as a seventy one year old man is knocked tothe floor and dragged away for speaking up in defense of Social Security and Medicare. However most of the time, from what I've read, he doesn't come across as a hater. He comes across as a guy who talks about numbers. So wil the base like that, some droid spouting numbers?

In the end most of the people who usually vote for R politicias still will because it isn't a rational decsion and they are the types that insulate themsleves from facts anyway. I do't thik Ryan has the style to rally them more than they already are rallied. If they notce his real policies they won't like them, but they probably won't notice.

"To people who have been paying attention the last two or three years,"

Make that, "To liberals who have been paying attention..." Plenty of people who don't share your values have paid attention to Ryan, and liked what they saw.

This whole "everybody who's the least bit rational agrees with me!" business is a major weakness of liberalism. It keeps you from intellectually coming to grips with ideas you disagree with. It causes you to underestimate the other side.

Plenty of people who don't share your values have paid attention to Ryan, and liked what they saw.

I'd argue that most of those people have no idea what Ryan in fact stands for.

Let's be blunt here.

Ryan wants to modify the tax code so the Romneys of the world, and their descendants, pay essentially no income taxes. That's not some liberal talking point. It's a clear consequence of policies Ryan advocates in his "roadmap."

How does he propose to pay for this? Simple, with entitlement cuts.

And balancing the budget? Well, magic asterisks and the elimination of loopholes he declines to identify.

So while I don't doubt that lots of people like what they see in Ryan, the fact - and I'm talking arithmetic here - is that they've been conned.

It's not a question of "coming to grips with ideas you disagree with," it's a question of rejecting ideas that defy the laws of arithmetic.

... so the Romneys of the world, and their descendants, pay essentially no income taxes.

Combine this with a 0% estate tax and how exactly does it differ from an hereditary aristocracy?

"I think Paul Krugman has it right. Ryan gets the nod because he's a media darling."

I think that's part of it, but it's also the base. Romney had them in a tizzy a couple of days ago because one of his spokespeople praised his greatest achievement as governor. So that's a problem that Ryan as VP choice may solve.

There seemed to be a consensus last election taht Biden was selected to burnish Obama's foreign policy ticket. That sounds like it would be appealing to swing voters to me (in theory, as the earnest myth is that swing voters are earnest analysts not like the captivated bases who'll vote for anybody).

I believe Ryan was chosen for the same reasons as Romney. He was the least objectionable person left after a painful evaluation a long list of hypocrites, poseurs, religious fanatics, sociopaths, lunatics, grifters, and losers. Please do take note: This is a party that briefly but seriously considered Herman Cain and Donny Trump as real possibilities to be president of the 'effing US of A. Really? You can't be serious.

Little more need be said. And yes. I have come to grips with that.

I don't believe Romney's insistence that his policies will prevail over Ryan's could possibly be true. Paul Ryan has been too dominant a presence in fiscal debates to be willing to take a second seat to Romney in that area. The only conclusion I can come to is that Ryan was picked because he is Palin with shoulders and nothing more.

ral: "Combine this with a 0% estate tax and how exactly does it differ from an hereditary aristocracy?"

A hereditary aristocracy feels some obligation to put their own lives on the line in defense of the realm.

Our bunch of rich slackers? Not so much.

"Free tumbrel rides for the 1%ers!" sounds better and better.

"rational Republicans"?!

So, Christie, Pataki and Huntsman qualify as rational? Man, that's one of the most damning dismissals of the modern GOP I've ever seen. Those three have willingly thrown aside the demands of reality and gone frolicking through the trackless wilds of ideology without a map. If they're the most rational the GOP has to offer (and I'm not arguing that point), it's no surprise that Romney and Ryan are the chosen point men. Romney is at least a creature of pure and unalloyed self-interest - Marie Antoinette with a Y chromosome - but Ryan is a dead-eyed True Believer who has nothing but ideology. We've seen his kind before over and over. He's standing with Lenin and Pol Pot, only without their humanity (such as it was).

This whole "everybody who's the least bit rational agrees with me!" business is a major weakness of liberalism.

Brett, to be fair it is also a major weakness of conservatism today. Although among conservatives it alternates with a certain amount of "everybody who is really a patriotic American agrees with me!"

And no matter which side uses it, it is bunk.

Combine this with a 0% estate tax and how exactly does it differ from an hereditary aristocracy?

It doesn't. And with respect to Snarki, I don't think hereditary aristocracies were putting their lives on the line in defense of the realm so much as in defense of their own position, or in an effort to expand their wealth.

This whole "everybody who's the least bit rational agrees with me!" business is a major weakness of liberalism.

Yes, this is a trait exclusive to liberals and no other class of human beings at all, certainly not libertarians or Randroids. That minor in biology really paid off for you.

And no matter which side uses it, it is bunk.

No, it is not.

Have you ever argued with an anti-vaccination person? Or someone who insisted that young earth creationism must be taught in public schools? Or a 9/11 truther? What exactly do you think of them besides "I am more rational than this person"?

Of course, people often use the word rational as a shorthand for 'posesses knowledge', but that doesn't change much since a rational person is one who seeks out knowledge before coming to an opinion.

So yeah, I am more rational than Republicans who advocate budgets where the math doesn't add up.

Turb, both of us are more rational than the extremes -- both extremes. But there are lots of conservatives who know that the various mems you list are utterly daft. Just as there are liberals who know that the extremes of the left are daft as well.

It's handy to just divide the world into two parts (OK, three, if we include moderates as a separate class; which some don't). And then tar all of the other side with the craziest views of anybody there. But it isn't particularly good analysis.

Does this count as bi-partisanship in the matter of one Paul Ryan:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_08/stockman_savages_ryan039214.php

I mean, I know it's like consulting Hannibal Lechter about the modus operandi of other gourmands of human flesh in the tri-State area and THEN having him help you pick out a food processor at the store (I like the emulsify button for my molecular gastriques, thtup, thtup, thtup, slurp) but ....

But there are lots of conservatives who know that the various mems you list are utterly daft

Are there lots of Republicans who know that the Ryan budget doesn't add up?

I'd venture to guess that many of them --more than half, say -- know it doesn't add up, but are for obvious reasons willing to lie about it.

"the extremes of the left are ......... utterly daft."

The Symbionese Liberation Army gave up the ghost long ago.

Now Patty Hearst is probably a foot soldier in the John Birch Society.

Quotation marks for paraphrasing.

wj, the Ryan budget requires cutting the non-defense non-entitlement budget by a factor of 4. Ryan, of course, refuses to say what programs he would specifically cut, but it doesn't really matter: when you're cutting by a factor of four, many programs are going to be eliminated and the rest will be practically destroyed.

So, do you think that policy is rational? Do you think people advocating for it are rational?

Are there lots of Republicans who know that the Ryan budget doesn't add up?

Turb, I have a two-part answer:
a) I don't know about "lots," although Phil may be right. But yes, there are Republicans who know that the numbers in Ryan's budget don't add up.
b) there are conservatives who are not (no longer) Republicans. And even more of them know that the numbers don't add up. (And some of them are not Republicans precisely because of the reality-free feature of current Republicanism.)

wj, the great majority of conservatives identify as Republicans or consistently vote for Republicans.

Turb, there is an enormous overlap between those who identify (or routinely vote for) Republicans and those who self-identify as conservatives. But it is not an identity, by any means.

Further, there are a fair number of people who are, on any objective criteria, conservatives. But they find the label has become so toxic that they decline to self-identify that way. (One Barack Obama comes to mind.) And those conservatives are far more likely than not to see the Ryan budget for the fiscal fairy tale that it is.

"Have you ever argued with an anti-vaccination person? Or someone who insisted that young earth creationism must be taught in public schools?"

Have you ever argued with an anti-nuke activist? Or someone convinced genetically modified crops are toxic? Or maybe just with somebody who thinks that motivated reasoning is primarily associated with somebody else's politics?

I just read a rant on facebook written by an acquaintance. She was bemoaning the fact the few parks in my (former) small hometown have fallen into such a state of disrepair that she can't even picnic there, and her kids have no swings or unbroken equipment to play on, because the city doesn't maintain it.
I guarantee she votes Republican. I started to leave a comment, but it would do no good; you can't reason with people who don't want to listen.

Have you ever argued with an anti-nuke activist?

Hmmm. link

Or someone convinced genetically modified crops are toxic?

Not quite the same, but I get worried about the companies that are doing it, so it's not that genetic modified corps are toxic, it's things like this link Of course, Brett, you are only worried about the government doing, and any attempt at gubmint stickin' they grubby mitts in business is the end of civilization as we know it, so I'm sure there's no problem at all.

Have you ever argued with ...

"Have you ever been hit in the head with a sock full of grit?"
"No!"
*WHAM*
"In future, the answer will be 'yes!'"

Have you ever argued with someone who doesn't fully believe Obama was born in Hawaii because he didn't witness the birth himself?

Have you ever argued with someone who thinks Obama blames anyone and everyone for the drought except himself?

Have you ever argued with an anti-nuke activist?

No. They don't matter because the most powerful anti-nuke activist in the world can't be argued with: the bond market. No one is willing to finance private nuclear power plants because despite massive government subsidies, the technology is so shitty and the operators are so dishonest that even financiers as reckless as Wall St won't touch them.

Or someone convinced genetically modified crops are toxic?

Never met anyone like that.

Or maybe just with somebody who thinks that motivated reasoning is primarily associated with somebody else's politics?

This seems like an idiotic question.


So Brett, do you think everyone who disagrees with you is being perfectly reasonable?

I don't doubt there are quite a few rational conservatives, but few if any are happy with the Republican Party.

David Stockman seems rational. I don't like everything he says (so one would expect I think he's irrational on those points, but I don't).
Here he is in the NYT.

link

Pat Lang seems like a rational conservative. I definitely don't like some of the things he says, but they all seem based on rational thinking.

link

And there are plenty of crazy liberals. It's just that the modern Republican Party makes it easy for liberals to be complacent.

I thought this post by Fallows that is the answer of one of Fallows' questions to Samuel Popkin, "a longtime political scholar at UC San Diego (and longtime friend), and author of a recent book on how presidents position themselves for re-election". Some interesting grafs:

This is a very parliamentary choice. It confirms that the Republican Tea Party insurgents of 2010 have the activist and donor firepower in the party. Romney started his plans for 2012 by first attacking the Detroit bailout as too soft on unions, and then openly touting his Massachusetts healthcare plan as the answer to cost containment. He then had to repudiate his own plan, praise the Ryan budget and maintain hard lines on immigration, contraception and defense to get through the primaries.

...

The choice of Ryan, finally, confirms that Obama, with major assistance from the Republican party and the Romney campaign, has captured the center on social issues and painted Romney into a corner. When the president took a personal stand on gay marriage, the Republican party was mostly silent. It will hardly be mentioned at the Republican convention, eight years after the party gleefully championed ballot measures all over the country to boost turnout from their base. Then, when the president announced a directive on immigration, the best Senator Marco Rubio could say was "The White House never called us about this, no one reached out to us and told us this was on its way."

Nate Silver's analysis at his Fivethirtyeight Blog is that Obama is in the driver's seat in this election despite the painfully slow economic recovery. Republican strategists have known for years that they needed to moderate their positions on gay marriage and immigration if they were going to stay competitive nationally over the long run. President George W Bush fought hard to pass moderate immigration reform. And note his unwillingness to condemn homosexuality and/or even promise to fire gay staffers.

...

If President Obama wins, Democrats should give some credit to Walter Mondale for the honorable race he ran in 1984. After his defeat, no one could say it was the messenger not the message at fault. That defeat provided the impetus for governors like Bill Clinton to work with the Democratic Leadership Council to find new approaches to old issues and bridge racial and economic divides.

I had missed the other posts of Fallows posting Popkin's answers, but I think they are all here in this that I cut and pasted from the blog (sorry, right eye not doing so well right now):

Previously in the Ask Dr. Popkin saga, see installments one, two, and three; and his book The Candidate; and my discussion of it in Obama Explained.

confirms that Obama, with major assistance from the Republican party and the Romney campaign, has captured the center on social issues and painted Romney into a corner.

Hmm, I wonder about this. Gay marriage, or at least neutrality on the subject, maybe. Contraception? Depends on what you mean by that. If we're talking about a conscience exception to BC as part of ACA, that discussion is not over nor is it a foregone conclusion that refusing a conscience exception will be well received by voters. Abortion? Obama's view is not the mainstream view. The mainstream will accept limits on abortion.

Where Obama benefits from the Tea Party movement is that the religious base has co-opted the TP and the two are now blended. It is the ultra religious component that scares many of us and here, Obama has the advantage.

...refusing a conscience exception...

You do mean refusing a conscience exception under certain circumstances, right, as opposed to any conscience exception under any circumstances?

Obama's view is not the mainstream view. The mainstream will accept limits on abortion.

What is his view, such that it opposes any limits? I've never heard or read anything indicating such a thing.

McT, not trying to catch you out, (and at the risk of making this an abortion thread) but when you write:
Obama's view is not the mainstream view.

I realized that I didn't really have an idea of precisely what Obama's views were. This
link gives them, and they don't sound all that out of line with the mainstream. I'm wondering what points you think he isn't in synch.

and here are Romney's link

Under current law, abortion on demand is already limited to the first trimester.

I'm wondering what points you think he isn't in synch.

I think a slim majority would end elective abortion, based on polling, but not in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother's health, but the polling varies with the season, the sample and how the question is framed. I also think, to the extent the electorate appreciates the issues, which isn't much, the question of whether 'the right to choose abortion' should be decided by an unelected court or by state legislatures is one that Obama would lose. I also think that, if his feet were held to the fire, Obama could not articulate a single limitation on abortion that he would enact, late term, sex selection, whatever. This is not the mainstream.

"I also think, to the extent the electorate appreciates the issues, which isn't much, the question of whether 'the right to go to the same schools as the white kids' should be decided by an unelected court or by state legislatures is one that Eisenhower would lose."

The phrase "unelected court" really raises my hackles. If you want to push for Justices to be elected, be my guest; but in the meantime, the Court is as legitimate a branch of government as any other, and when it determines that the states are not playing nice when it comes to respecting people's rights, it has every obligation to do exactly what it did in Roe.

I also think that, if his feet were held to the fire, Obama could not articulate a single limitation on abortion that he would enact, late term, sex selection, whatever.

Why do you think this? It's rather specific, which makes me think you must have compelling evidence to support this notion.

As to the rest, majority disagreement on a few specific points doesn't mean that one's views aren't mainstream, at least not as I understand what that means. [I don't even think there's a sharp dividing line between mainstream and not mainstream (or radical?).]

At one end, you have advocacy of an outright ban - no abortions under any circumstance. At the other, you have advocacy for abortion on demand for any reason prior to live birth, perhaps mandating that any doctor who performs abortions must provide them without regard to timing or justification. These are clearly not mainstream positions.

Somewhere between these two extremes, you have, at least conceptually, the very center of public opinion. How wide is the mainstream, as in, how far does it extend on either side of that very center? It must extend somewhat, because very few people will agree on each and every point, and the mainstream must comprise the views of a significant number of people.

So the question is, leaving aside speculation about Obama holding the most extreme "liberal" view, what evidence is there that he doesn't have a position that significantly overlaps with the postitions of a significant percentage of the population?

i wonder what the intersection of the set of 1) "conservatives" who want to abolish the direct election of Senators and 2) "conservatives" who think unelected judges are a threat to Freedom ™ looks like.

the Court is as legitimate a branch of government as any other, and when it determines that the states are not playing nice when it comes to respecting people's rights, it has every obligation to do exactly what it did in Roe.

You're not alone in this view, but as between a court deciding this particular issue and the people being allowed to vote, I believe the majority would prefer to have a vote on the subject.

Why do you think this? It's rather specific, which makes me think you must have compelling evidence to support this notion.

I think this because, when challenged, that is what Democrat presidents and candidates do. Clinton did it, when faced with a proposed federal ban on partial birth abortions. Wesley Clark did the same thing as a candidate. I can't think of a single viable Dem presidential candidate in the last three cycles who as admitted of any limit on the right to abortion. I think Obama, prudently, would go to great lengths to avoid being pinned down, but if he were to be pinned, this is where I think he would come out.

Clinton did it, when faced with a proposed federal ban on partial birth abortions.

I thought that was specifically because of the lack of an exception for saving the life of the woman.

I can't think of a single viable Dem presidential candidate in the last three cycles who as admitted of any limit on the right to abortion.

That's a rather small sample. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder why a president or presidential candidate needs to admit to a desire to "enact" anything to be in the mainstream, when current law already limits (or, at the federal level, at least allows for limits on) access to abortion as Tom S. noted above. This seems to be a marginal case, given the context in which the discussion is taking place.

(It's a bit like assuming Obama wants to put beans up his nose, because he hasn't said otherwise. Well, sort of - maybe I just like using that analogy, thanks to a high school English teacher.)

You're not alone in this view, but as between a court deciding this particular issue and the people being allowed to vote, I believe the majority would prefer to have a vote on the subject.

They probably would have preferred to have a vote on whether black kids could go to school with white kids, too, and would probably have voted "No." So what?

Rights are rights. They're not up for votes. The particular issue does not exceed the principle at stake.

To expand on Phil's point, there might be some merit in asking, carefully in the abstract, whether something is a right. Equal access to education, for example -- without (in the 1950s, or maybe even today) mentioning race in the context. Perhaps it would work best to ask people if they think that they have a right to whatever it is. That might give some idea of what people really believe rights are.

At that point, if the courts point out that someone's rights are being denied, at least there is firm ground for saying that it is a right in the minds of the population. Even if they wouldn't necessarily support extending that right to others -- rights are right, not least when someone else claims a right that you have already claimed for yourself.

Rights are rights. They're not up for votes. The particular issue does not exceed the principle at stake.

Read Dred Scott. Declaring something to be a 'right' doesn't make it so. And, actually, your unstated premise is mistaken, the role of the courts is not to declare rights independent of some statute or constitution. You can't find that grant of authority anywhere. The courts are to construe and apply the law when presented with a case or controversy within the court's jurisdiction.

Declaring something to be a 'right' doesn't make it so.

Bookmarking this for future reference.

And, actually, your unstated premise is mistaken, the role of the courts is not to declare rights independent of some statute or constitution.

Not only is it unstated, it's not my premise at all. Nor is it what I said.

You can't find that grant of authority anywhere. The courts are to construe and apply the law when presented with a case or controversy within the court's jurisdiction.

And, when presented with a law that violates a legislatures capacity to pass it, to strike it down. In the case of Roe, they determined that the state did not have the power to interfere in decisions and interactions between a doctor and his/her patient when it came to terminating a pregnancy. And they were right to do so.

In the case of Roe, they determined that the state did not have the power to interfere in decisions and interactions between a doctor and his/her patient when it came to terminating a pregnancy.

Yes, this is exactly what they did. Many, not you, but many others, believe the court went way beyond its authority and the constitution. Many, again not you, believe it is a matter for the state legislatures. This began with my point that Obama's view of abortion is less mainstream than some say because he believes the right to choose is a constitutional right and there is a decent number who disagree and who believe it should not be a constitutional right.

less mainstream than some say

But, to date, not "less mainstream" than the Supreme Court. And although there may be a "decent number" who disagree, those people aren't a majority. Whatever "mainstream" means.

By the way, in addition to what Roe said, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons" in other words, the right of women to not have their bodies ransacked, "shall not be violated."

And a lot of women are convening on Washington this weekend to emphasize this point.

that is what Democrat presidents

Do have a grammar problem McKinney? The word is Democratic.

"In the fall of 1990, Exponent II published in its journal an unsigned essay by a married woman who, having already borne five children, had found herself some years earlier facing an unplanned sixth pregnancy. She couldn’t bear the thought of another child and was contemplating abortion. But the Mormon Church makes few exceptions to permit women to end a pregnancy. Church leaders have said that abortion can be justified in cases of rape or incest, when the health of the mother is seriously threatened, or when the fetus will surely not survive beyond birth. And even those circumstances “do not automatically justify an abortion,” according to church policy.

Then the woman’s doctors discovered she had a serious blood clot in her pelvis. She thought initially that would be her way out—of course she would have to get an abortion. But the doctors, she said, ultimately told her that, with some risk to her life, she might be able to deliver a full-term baby, whose chance of survival they put at 50 percent. One day in the hospital, her bishop—later identified as Romney, though she did not name him in the piece—paid her a visit. He told her about his nephew who had Down syndrome and what a blessing it had turned out to be for their family. “As your bishop,” she said he told her, “my concern is with the child.” The woman wrote, 'Here I—a baptized, endowed, dedicated worker, and tithe-payer in the church—lay helpless, hurt, and frightened, trying to maintain my psychological equilibrium, and his concern was for the eight-week possibility in my uterus—not for me!'"

Vanity Fair.

But yeah, McKinney's the one who doesn't think that pregnancy is a medical condition.

Loathsome.

Sapient, there was a reason why I expressed trepidation about bringing up abortion. I specifically asked McT to explain what he was thinking and avoided asking him about his views on abortion. As for the Romney excerpt, I don't recall McT expressing any kind of support for Romney and as for your last comment, McT has said nothing like that in this thread. Perhaps he has said something like that in a previous thread, and you are welcome to link to it, but bringing up what people said in other threads with other people in other contexts seems like a recipe for making sure that nothing ever changes because no one's position is permitted to evolve and change.

Well, lj, abortion is an issue. It's a real issue for women. It's an especially acute for women with medical problems. I'd be happy to send you a private email with my personal testimonial, identity, autobiography, etc. In the meantime, I have a relative now who is on bedrest - due in November. A problem pregnancy. She "is" employed, but whether she will be employed through her pregnancy, and through maternity leave is way in question, since it's not required by law. She doesn't have an income.

Get real, lj. This isn't a theoretical discussion. It's a personal issue with me, with my relative. It is a huge and important social issue for many, many people. I am perfectly happy to be banned. Just do it if you think my comment is out of line.

I think it is absolutely loathsome for someone who considers pregnancy "like driving" (and no, I'm not going to do the research t to find where he said that - if he's evolved, he can say so - it doesn't seem that he has) to be taken seriously here on this blog. It is absolutely loathsome.

Well, sapient, we are crossing messages between here and TiO, so this might be a bit tough for folks to follow, but I'll put it here. I think it is important to talk to the person, and I've seen a number of times where a position expressed by one person is transferred to another person because they are perceived to be in the same block. So it's important to make sure that you are sure.

While I don't recall McT saying anything like that, I admit that I have a hard time keeping up with abortion threads and what particular people say. But my overall impression is that McT accepts that there is good reason for abortions but balks at them in the 3rd trimester and is not opposed to a morning after pill or to contraception (though is worried about the ramifications of requiring contraception to be provided by employers) (McT is welcome to correct me on this)

But something more important is that opinions don't change Instantaneously but they change over time and it is important to give people space to change their opinions. We just had some problems with some of my rhetoric, so I'm not trying to lecture you here, but holding people to what they said previously (and we have not had an abortion discussion in quite a while, I think) like they are campaigning for public office makes sure that they stay where they are, which is great for drawing battle lines, but not so good for discussion.

Again, this is not any kind of warning, but just a thought to try and keep things from moving to a rolling boil. Thanks.

Thanks, lj. I will just say this, and will leave this discussion. Pregnancy is a huge health risk for women. Anyone who denies this, or doesn't factor this into the abortion (or, especially, contraception) argument, is deficient in their moral analysis.

I have no respect whatsoever for people who are over the age of 30 who disagree with this.

McTx,

States have the power to pass laws that bind their residents -- but only within certain limits. A state that attempts to ban publication of newspapers or ownership of muskets will rightly be told by SCOTUS that it does not have the power to do so, because the state's residents are also citizens of the United States -- and citizens of the US have certain federally-guaranteed rights that their state governments are not allowed to violate.

Now, you can argue if you like that a woman's right to own a musket is federally guaranteed because there's explicit language in the US Constitution about "arms", whereas the Constitution is silent on her explicit right to abort a pregnancy (or donate a kidney, or eat beef, or open a Swiss bank account), and therefore "reasonable people" can disagree about Roe vs Wade. You can argue that, but:

Please explain where a woman's right to donate a kidney comes from -- and why "reasonable" people would not be ... unreasonable ... if they argued that her state should have the power forbid her to eat beef, or her county to forbid her to open a Swiss bank account.

--TP

I'd be happy with French or Swedish or German abortion laws. They all seem to strike a much better balance.

It took me some time to accept the current German law, and it remains a hypocritical construction. Formally abortion is illegal but the state is blocked from prosecuting the offenders, if they follow certain procedures. De facto it makes abortion legal in the first 12 weeks in addition to the previous 'need' execptions, i.e. medical (woman's life or health in danger), criminal(rape, incest), social(woman economically or mentally unable to cope). I originally supported the 'needs only' approach but there was so much abuse and inconsistency in application (de facto ban in the South, de facto no restrictions in the North) that this seemingly fair (=balanced) solution became unworkable. The current construction is the result of some decisions by the highest German court that had declared a pure 12 week rule to be too imbalanced to. I think the court was moved into accepting the rather shaky construction we use now by the petulant behaviour of the (mostly RW) opponents. In other words, had the opponents be more reasonable the law would have stayed more restrictive and it was the same behaviour that drove me to the more liberal position too.
I see the same (but more extreme) in the US. By radically overplaying their hand, the anti-choicers undermine their own goals. The courts are, I think, sympathetic to their cause in principle (letting one restriction after the other go through) but balk when the attempts go fully over the edge (e.g. by going after contraceptives too) while at the same time insulting even very conservative judges as liberal stooges. I think Roe would already by a dead letter, if its opponents had stayed with the salami tactics. So, to a degree pro-choicers, have to be grateful for the (on occasion murderous) radicalism of the other side. Btw, I think Obama's reelection chances also hinge primarily on the visible radicalism of the GOP/TP. If the GOPsters could manage to keep their rabid fringe out of sight, Obama would be toast (as would be the US as a country worthy of respect but that's another bucket of renal liquid ).

Hartmut, the situation has certain parallels to the over-the-top behavior of the far left in the late 1960 and early 1970s. Which galvanized the (compared to now extremely tame) conservative movement. It will not be a total surprise if, at some point, we see the same kind of reaction to the antics of the far right.

While I don't recall McT saying anything like that, I admit that I have a hard time keeping up with abortion threads and what particular people say. But my overall impression is that McT accepts that there is good reason for abortions but balks at them in the 3rd trimester and is not opposed to a morning after pill or to contraception (though is worried about the ramifications of requiring contraception to be provided by employers) (McT is welcome to correct me on this)

I would tweak this, but I have tried to keep my views on abortion out of this thread and to limit my comments to whether, in the social issues subset, Obama is more or less in the mainstream than Romney.

Sapient has strong views. We disagree. Sapient imputes ill motive/state of mind to those who don't see things his/her way (sorry, I am unclear on gender and don't view it as relevant in any event). I can't fix that.

Please explain where a woman's right to donate a kidney comes from -- and why "reasonable" people would not be ... unreasonable ... if they argued that her state should have the power forbid her to eat beef, or her county to forbid her to open a Swiss bank account.

Ok, I'm going to try to make two different points here. First, my initial comments were directed to the 'who is in the social issue mainstream' thing that LJ raised. My take is that as between SCOTUS deciding the issue and people voting on it, the 'mainstream' would prefer a vote, not judicial fiat. I am not making a value judgment on which is better, just stating why I think the mainstream may be different from LJ's take.

Now, to address the quote above: we are getting into federal/state law and constitutional issues. Which state limiting what right? Generally, to limit any freedom of action, there has to be, minimally, a "legitimate state interest", not just word salad cobbled together in some kind of mushy rationale. So, I'd reverse the question and ask you, "what legitimate state interest" is served by donating a kidney?"

To take this a step further, the state does have an interest, IMO, in not allowing a private organ market. So, some degree of regulation seems in order. Similarly, the state does have an interest in preventing the avoidance of legally owed taxes and preventing felons from fleeing the country with their ill gotten gains. So, should there be some kind of reporting requirement? I think there is, actually, on the tax return, but couldn't say for sure because I don't have any money offshore (they don't make accounts that small). Finally, does the state have a legitimate interest in forbidding beef consumption? If mad cow or some other contaminant is involved, if there is war time rationing in effect, then 'yes', if it's just a case of Mayor Bloomberg being on another diet fad, then the burden is on him to demonstrate, minimally, a legitimate state interest. Final note: Sebastian probably knows the actual minimum threshold for the state to fiddle with what would otherwise seem to be an obvious personal choice.

Thanks McT for responding both to my request and to this. I should say that living here in Japan, I really don't have a good fix on what is the 'mainstream', which is why I asked.

Thanks McT for responding both to my request and to this.

De nada.

I should say that living here in Japan, I really don't have a good fix on what is the 'mainstream', which is why I asked.

I sizable portion of the commentariat here would say I lack any kind of fix on what is or is not 'mainstream.'

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