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December 18, 2007

Comments

Hmmmm. Smells like social class to me. The urban latte drinking conservatives undoubtedly have a condescending attitude (based on class biases) toward the blue collar folks in the megachurches in the exurbs.

But what the urban conservatives really fear about Huckabee is that he may go off the reservation and not support policies which shovel even more money to the wealthiest 1%.

That, and he'll lose.

Not another one from Arkansas!

Yeah, some states are clearly underrepresented in providing presidents and vice presidents ;-)
An interesting observation form uggabugga: Huckabee does not allow his old sermons from his time as a baptist minister to become available to the public. Anything too embarassing in them?

"They're happy to make out with them behind the football bleachers on Saturday night, but ignore them in the lunchroom on Monday."

The analogy I think you're looking for is: They're happy to fondle each other in a Minneapolis airport mens room...

I don’t really agree with this though, largely because it gives mainstream urban conservatives too much credit. Sure, they’re not crazy about fundamentalism, but I don’t think they’re actually scared of it. In fact, I think they’re largely indifferent to it.

I’m not exactly sure what a “mainstream urban conservative” is, but…

We conservatives have our whackos just as liberals have theirs. Most of the time they are background noise, so from that perspective I think you’re correct (indifference). Consider the obviously crazy homeless guy preaching on the sidewalk. You can walk by him every day without thinking too much about him. Then one day you wake up and discover he’s not only running for mayor but seems to have substantial support…

It all comes back to our screwy primary system IMO. Nationally there aren’t enough fundamentalists for him to be elected. But if enough of them are concentrated in key states he can become the candidate.

Then you’ve got Ron Paul raising $6M in a single day. That’s obviously a lot of support nationally. Who are those people?

None of this bothers me too much. Having written off Republicans for this cycle I can just enjoy the show for the most part.

We conservatives have our whackos just as liberals have theirs.

And you conservatives put your whackos into government.

I think Publius is correct that the fear is losing, and not only losing, but losing big-time.

With Huckabee as the nominee we could see major Democratic gains in both houses. I suspect that there are conservatives who are resigned to probably losing the White House, but hope to keep enough seats in Congress to block dramatic actions. These are the people terrified of a Huckabee nomination.

But what the urban conservatives really fear about Huckabee is that he may go off the reservation and not support policies which shovel even more money to the wealthiest 1%.

I think allmaya has it. It saddens me to admit it, but the business wing of the Republican coalition has become just as dogmatic as the social cons and the neocons. They won't have anything to do with raising taxes to balance the budget and/or increase social services to the poor at the expense of big business and the wealthy.

And for that matter, the neocons distrust Huckabee, too. He's not pro-torture and pro-endless war enough for their taste.

Jes: Not exactly an elected position. Not exactly news that this administration is brimming with unqualified lackies. And as far as putting our whackos into government, that’s a little ironic coming from a citizen of a country that has returned George Galloway to parliament for two decades. ;)

Heh. When I first clicked on Jes' link, I read it as "William J. Bryan." I was gonna complain that she couldn't find any recent examples.

"and why some level of 'pandering' to unions is justified – it ultimately advances progressive policies"

I always had the idea it was justified because we were for improving the lot of working people, actually.

Just want to agree with what allmaya, what riles the business wing is that Huckabee talks about ALL the stuff the Bible says Jesus taught and believed.

And the money-changers up in the temples on the Potomac and on the Street are none to pleased.

You guys are starting to make this Huckabee character sound like a decent guy - almost Edwards-like (Edwardsian?).

Then you’ve got Ron Paul raising $6M in a single day. That’s obviously a lot of support nationally. Who are those people?

They are people who hate establishment politicians (as Huckabee's supporters do), but don't consider themselves Christianists, that's who. Both are kindred spirits of Howard Dean's supporters four years ago.

Eventually, Huckawannabees and Ron Paulists will have to accept whatever establishment candidate the party forces on them.

You guys are starting to make this Huckabee character sound like a decent guy

Never fear. Anybody who'll release a serial rapist/murderer because it'll screw a political rival could never make it as a decent guy.

And that's not even counting the anti-science sentiment...

OCSteve: Not exactly news that this administration is brimming with unqualified lackies.

Goalpost move. Boykin may or may not be an unqualified lackey. He is an anti-Islamic outspoken whacko, and he was appointed to Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

And as far as putting our whackos into government, that’s a little ironic coming from a citizen of a country that has returned George Galloway to parliament for two decades.

George Galloway is less of a whacko than any of the current Republican candidates for President. By British standards he's mildly eccentric for an MP - but unlike your American politicians, MPs need to have a certain modicum of intelligence and political savvy just to get elected. Our worst MP would be above average in your Congress: our political system imposes more electoral pressure than yours does. (I never liked George Galloway personally, and his politics are by British standards quite a jump from mine. But it was great watching him administer a verbal trouncing to your Senate committee: they were obviously so unused to dealing with a politician who has to be able to think on his feet!)

And that's my random bit of patriotism for the day. Our politicians can beat up yours! :-p

I’m not exactly sure what a “mainstream urban conservative” is, but…

The entire staff of NRO appears to live in New York City. Limbaugh shuttles between NYC and urban Florida. Coulter divides her time between NYC and DC. Tre/vino lives in SF. Even those Powerline guys live in urban Minnesota.

It's all about the ressentiment for that variety of conservative. I don't see Jonah Goldberg settling in comfortably in, say, rural Alabama.

They're essentially the "workers of the mind" of the Republican Party, the bourgeois vanguard of the conservatariat.

Where to start .........

God, forget the popcorn. I can't eat I'm so enthralled with the Repup comedy up on the screen.

In my local paper today, Jay Ambrose, the conservative pundit, calls Huckabee's positions on issues "leftist".

Why write or talk at all if words are bleached of all meaning and convey .. nothing?

Leftist?

Let me do my part to restore the language: Jay Ambrose is a jacka3s, by which I convey the original meaning: he is the braying scion of sterile mulishness, who, together with his brothers and sisters, is good for nothing but kicking down the sides of barns and carrying water for the powers that be. He is a small, domestic animal resembling the horse but with shorter ears and a longer mane; an as#s. He is a foolish, stupid, obstinate person; a blockhead, bozo, cuckoo, fathead, goofball, twat; a zany; a goose. He stars on a T.V. show named after himself featuring people performing various, dangerous, ridiculous, and self-injuring stunts and pranks, like inserting his head up the other end of himself, not to be distinquished from the braying end.

That goes for Jonah Goldberg, too.

I don’t really agree with this though, largely because it gives mainstream urban conservatives too much credit. Sure, they’re not crazy about fundamentalism, but I don’t think they’re actually scared of it. In fact, I think they’re largely indifferent to it. To the extent they actually care about these social issues in the first place, they know that Huckabee’s fundamentalism will never command legislative supermajorities. And even if it did, most of them live in places (and with incomes) that keep them and their children safe from things like birth control bans or abortion restrictions. Let the poor 14-year olds in rural Mississippi fight that battle.

This really has very little to do with it. The problem is that Huckabee sounds like John Edwards on fiscal matters, which is anathema to the main street/wall street aspect of the Republican coalition. What you're missing is that many mainstream conservatives put a higher priority on fiscal matters (as compared to social matters) than the talking heads would have you believe. Most Republicans may feel a certain way about school prayer, but the part of the Republican coalition that cares passionately about it is very low.

For me, of course, Huckabee represents the worst of all worlds: I disagree with him on social matters and I disagree with him on economic and fiscal matters as well.

Typepad made me spell jackass the wrong way, I think, and here's the second half of the comment.

See, Huckabee is the Alien who evolved (he can't even believe it) into something just a little less ridiculously vicious than your average Republican candidate, much to the disappointment of the Republican Party whose only true mission in life is to cut their own taxes and kill or render useless as much of government as possible either by implanting their noxious seed throughout the body politic or dissolving government by salivating acid from their triple-snapping jaws.

Huckabbe, who should learn how to spell his own name, is the cuckoo who forgot to stop reading the Bible after he was done with the Old Testament, where smiting, punishing, angry kabob barbecuing, casting out, and joyless begetting are the chief activities.

No, somehow he got his hands on the New testament and found out what Jesus might do, which is the awful nightmare for the denizens of the Club for Growth for Me and the Kudlowian wing of the Republican Party and the Norquistian Society for Underwater Oxygen Deprivation in Bathtubs.

Huckabee is the pro-Christ Anti-Christ in the Party of the anti-Christ Anti-Christs.

He must be stopped.

Unless he wins the primaries. Then Mitt Romney will declare Mike an honorary Mormon and Rudy Ghouliani will lend Mike his honorary firehat and the keys to his pad, and John McCain will chuckle that mysterious all-knowing chuckle, and Fred Thompson will glare all jowly at liberals who criticize Mike and the Club for Cancerous Growths and the American Association of American Americanism for the Defeat of unAmerican unAmericanism and the IRS will fall into line because the tearing asunder of this weird, noxious coalition of the pious and the mean that would make Linclon throw up in his beard cannnot be allowed to occur.

Besides, none of the conservatives, who are bluffing, will vote for Hillary the kinky Christmas tree decorator or Osama Bina Crackhead.

P.S. All conservatives here at Obsidian resemble no one mentioned in this comment, which really cramps my powers of generalization.

von: What you're missing is that many mainstream conservatives put a higher priority on fiscal matters (as compared to social matters) than the talking heads would have you believe.

That would be because the "fiscal matter" of keeping the rich richer and the poor poorer and the middle class desperately uncertain and clinging, while certainly a conservative high priority, is impossible to get most people to vote for unless you lie a lot. It's also useful to wave distracting flags about "morality" and "terrorism". That many people vote for politicians whose real aim is to keep most of the people who voted for them in grinding poverty and most of the rest in desperate financial uncertainty, because the politicians knew to mouth the right words about being "pro-life" or "strong on national defense", is one of the tragic ironies of American politics.

Conservatives have a big disadvantage: they can't afford to explain honestly what their fiscal policies are. If people understood what they intended and what the implications were for people on ordinary incomes, they wouldn't vote for them.

Huckabee is taking advantage of all the right "morality" signals for the poor suckers who vote against their fiscal interests for conservatives - but anyone who actually cares about sensible fiscal policies would be voting for a Democrat. ;-)

Typepad made me spell jackass the wrong way, I think, and here's the second half of the comment.

See, Huckabee is the Alien who evolved (he can't even believe it) into something just a little less ridiculously vicious than your average Republican candidate, much to the disappointment of the Republican Party whose only true mission in life is to cut their own taxes and kill or render useless as much of government as possible either by implanting their noxious seed throughout the body politic or dissolving government by salivating acid from their triple-snapping jaws.

Huckabbe, who should learn how to spell his own name, is the cuckoo who forgot to stop reading the Bible after he was done with the Old Testament, where smiting, punishing, angry kabob barbecuing, casting out, and joyless begetting are the chief activities.

No, somehow he got his hands on the New testament and found out what Jesus might do, which is the awful nightmare for the denizens of the Club for Growth for Me and the Kudlowian wing of the Republican Party and the Norquistian Society for Underwater Oxygen Deprivation in Bathtubs.

Huckabee is the pro-Christ Anti-Christ in the Party of the anti-Christ Anti-Christs.

He must be stopped.

Unless he wins the primaries. Then Mitt Romney will declare Mike an honorary Mormon and Rudy Ghouliani will lend Mike his honorary firehat and the keys to his pad, and John McCain will chuckle that mysterious all-knowing chuckle, and Fred Thompson will glare all jowly at liberals who criticize Mike and the Club for Cancerous Growths and the American Association of American Americanism for the Defeat of unAmerican unAmericanism and the IRS will fall into line because the tearing asunder of this weird, noxious coalition of the pious and the mean that would make Linclon throw up in his beard cannnot be allowed to occur.

Besides, none of the conservatives, who are bluffing, will vote for Hillary the kinky Christmas tree decorator or Osama Bina Crackhead.

P.S. No conservatives here at Obsidian resemble anyone mentioned in this comment, which really cramps my powers of generalization.

Typepad made me spell jacka3s the wrong way, I think, and here's the second half of the comment.

See, Huckabee is the Alien who evolved (he can't even believe it) into something just a little less ridiculously vicious than your average Republican candidate, much to the disappointment of the Republican Party whose only true mission in life is to cut their own taxes and kill or render useless as much of government as possible either by implanting their noxious seed throughout the body politic or dissolving government by salivating acid from their triple-snapping jaws.

Huckabbe, who should learn how to spell his own name, is the cuckoo who forgot to stop reading the Bible after he was done with the Old Testament, where smiting, punishing, angry kabob barbecuing, casting out, and joyless begetting are the chief activities.

No, somehow he got his hands on the New Testament and found out what Jesus might do, which is the awful nightmare for the denizens of the Club for Growth for Me and the Kudlowian wing of the Republican Party and the Norquistian Society for Underwater Oxygen Deprivation in Bathtubs.

Huckabee is the pro-Christ Anti-Christ in the Party of the anti-Christ Anti-Christs.

He must be stopped.

Unless he wins the primaries. Then Mitt Romney will declare Mike an honorary Mormon and Rudy Ghouliani will lend Mike his honorary firehat and the keys to his pad, and John McCain will chuckle that mysterious all-knowing chuckle, and Fred Thompson will glare all jowly at liberals who criticize Mike and the Club for Cancerous Growths and the American Association of American Americanism for the Defeat of unAmerican unAmericanism and the IRS will fall into line because the tearing asunder of this weird, noxious coalition of the pious and the mean that would make Linclon throw up in his beard cannnot be allowed to occur.

Besides, none of the conservatives, who are bluffing, will vote for Hillary the kinky Christmas tree decorator or Osama Bina Crackhead.

P.S. No conservatives here at Obsidian resemble anyone mentioned in this comment, which really cramps my powers of generalization. In fact, I don't even recognize Huckabee in this comment, who is whatever comes out his mouth the last time he spoke.

My university was co-ed, but shortly before I arrived there, the women had a curfew and had to be in their dorm by a reasonable hour (I think it was 10, though that sounds scandalously late) (It also, until 1976, refused to celebrate the 4th of July, because that was the date that Vicksburg fell) At any rate, one of my profs told me about when he was on the committee to review the cases of those coeds who had broken the rules. One very contrite couple came and explained that they were watching TV together and had both drowsed off and when they woke up, they had missed the curfew.

The committee thought this was a reasonable explanation and were feeling sympathetic, so one of them asked what they did when the realized that the woman had missed curfew. The male student said, "Well sir, we jumped up, pulled our clothes on and went straight back to the dorm".

Huckabee believes in taxing school prayer. ;)

Huckabbe, who ought to learn how to spell his own name, is the cuckoo who forgot to stop reading the Wible after the 7ld $Testament, where smiting, punishing, angry kabob barbecuing, and joyless begetting are the chief activities.

Somehow he got his hands on the *ew Estiment and found out what Jesus might do, which is the nightmare for the denizens of the Club for Growth for Me and the Kudlowian wing of the Republican Party and the Norquistian Society for Oxygen Deprivation in Bathtubs.

Huckabee is the pro-5hrist Anti-6Ch6i6t in the party of the anti-C6r6is9t anti-$Ch?i%ts.

He must be stopped.

Unless he wins the primaries. Then Mitt Romney will make him an honorary Mormon and Rudy Ghouliani will lend him his honorary firehat and the keys to his pad, and John McCain will chuckle that mysterious all-knowing chuckle and Fred Thompson will glare from amid his jowls at those who criticize the Huck and the Club for Cancerous Growths and the "American Association of American Americanism for the Defeat of unAmerican unAmericanism Like the Death Tax Although We're O.K. With Death" will fall into line because the tearing asunder of this weird, noxious coalition of the pious, the mean, and the cheap cannot be allowed.

The Huck's campaign rhetoric will switch to destroying government the day after he wins the primaries.

Besides, despite their bluffing, the conservatives mentioned in the post won't vote for Hillary the kinky Xmas tree decorator or Osama Bina Crackhead, who will both raise taxes.

I misspelled certain terms to elude filters.

Huckabee believes in taxing school prayer. ;)

Huckabbe, who ought to learn how to spell his own name, is the cuckoo who forgot to stop reading the Wible after the 7ld $estament, where smiting, punishing, angry kabob barbecuing, and joyless begetting are the chief activities.

Somehow he got his hands on the *ew Estiment and found out what Jesus might do, which is the nightmare for the denizens of the Club for Growth for Me and the Kudlowian wing of the Republican Party and the Norquistian Society for Oxygen Deprivation in Bathtubs.

Huckabee is the pro-5hrist Anti-6Ch6i6t in the party of the anti-C6r6is9t anti-$Ch?i%ts.

He must be stopped.

Unless he wins the primaries. Then Mitt Romney will make him an honorary Mormon and Rudy Ghouliani will lend him his honorary firehat and the keys to his pad, and John McCain will chuckle that mysterious all-knowing chuckle and Fred Thompson will glare from amid his jowls at those who criticize the Huck and the Club for Cancerous Growths and the "American Association of American Americanism for the Defeat of unAmerican unAmericanism Like the Death Tax Although We're O.K. With Death" will fall into line because the tearing asunder of this weird, noxious coalition of the pious, the mean, and the cheap cannot be allowed.

The Huck's campaign rhetoric will switch to destroying government the day after he wins the primaries.

Besides, despite their bluffing, the conservatives mentioned in the post won't vote for Hillary the kinky Xmas tree decorator or Osama Bina Crackhead, who will both raise taxes.

I misspelled certain terms to elude filters.

Huckabbbe, who ought to learn how to spell his own name, will tax school prayer ;)

LJ, that story is even funnier on this thread.......

Spam filters are very Republican today.

Trying to get a handle on this movement, I'm reading David Kuo's memoir, Tempting Faith. What strikes me most about the book, which I'm now about halfway thru (Bush just elected), is that after several years in the middle of DC power politics, after having successfully lobbied for a place at the table for faith-based charities, worked for 2 Senators, etc., Kuo seems to know absolutely nothing about policy. He knows a LOT about politics -- who to talk to, how to write a speech, where to give it, how to massage egos, who gives money...but seems to have zero interest in legislation unless someone has told him a particular bill will help the poor and/or the evangelical movement.

It's not just that he seems never to have noticed the authoritarian and punishing side of the Republican and conservative movement, nor to have an opinion on any aspect of foreign policy. After all, you can't be an expert on everything, and he had his own goals -- to help the poor and mend what he saw as society-wide discontent and demoralization (in both senses of the word.). But he also seems not merely ignorant, but incurious as to how changes in financial and labor laws may have helped create the very poverty and anomie he decries. When he looks for root causes, he asks only whether there is a way for more people to Find Jeezus.

The whole idea of structural causes of social problems is a closed book to him, except as a tool to beat up on welfare programs. People suffer because they are a) poor and/or b) poor in spirit, and you fix it by giving them a) money, and b) religion. George Bush is Good because he Cares and Has Faith. He is Not So Good because somehow he didn't prioritize charity enough. That George Bush's whole approach to life is to expand and maintain a toxic global class system is not on the radar screen.

Civil liberties also aren't on the radar screen, they're not mentioned at all. You don't need privacy, a fair trial, or a vote when you've got Jeeezus, I suppose.

I can understand this approach to life, and even sympathize with it, but I think it's tragically wrong, dangerous, and self-defeating. I'm afraid that Huckabee represents more of the same. Even if he himself is genuinely compassionate, I don't trust anyone from that camp to make policy.

"No, the fear is not of fundamentalism itself. The fear is losing. "

No, the fear is that Huckabee will win the nomination because he is insufficiently belligerent.

If Huckabee were as belligerent as Giuliani and wanted to 'double gitmo' and had NPod advising him, the GOP would be falling all over each other to support him.

That would be because the "fiscal matter" of keeping the rich richer and the poor poorer and the middle class desperately uncertain and clinging, while certainly a conservative high priority, is impossible to get most people to vote for unless you lie a lot.

I understand that it's easier to deal with cartoon villians rather than to try to understand the other side.

von wrote: "What you're missing is that many mainstream conservatives put a higher priority on fiscal matters (as compared to social matters) than the talking heads would have you believe."

Really, von?

You haven't paid much attention to the last seven years, have you?

Did mainstream conservatives merely hide Clinton's surplus?

von wrote: "I understand that it's easier to deal with cartoon villians rather than to try to understand the other side."

By their fruits shall ye know them, as the saying goes.

And the results of Republican rule fit pretty close with Jesurgislac's model.

apparently the biggest problem with conservatism is that nobody's tried it yet.

"nobody's tried it yet"

Quiet, our luck may run out.

"Conservatives have a big disadvantage: they can't afford to explain honestly what their fiscal policies are."

Sure they can. It is really much easier than liberals. We want you to keep more of what you earn, and we won't go out of our way to make you feel guilty if you want to earn more.

It is constantly amazing how much strawmanning you get away with Jesurgislac. I honestly can't think of how far I would have to go to get to equivalently ridiculous statements about liberals compared to what you say about conservatives. "Liberals want to take your money because they think you are too stupid to know what to do with it," is close but still doesn't get there.

I've been enjoying this show, too.

I also think that the dislike of Huck expressed byy righhtwing bloggers is a relflection of thhe fear that the robberbarons that run thhe party hhave thhat HHuck is a populist. The NRC sent out its orders to thhe right blogisphere: attack Huck! Attack him as too liberal, weak on Iraq, a tax and spender! So the righht blogisphere obeys, they being mostly suck ups to the robber barons.

Upthread someone (von?) mentioned thhat non-religious Republicans are mostly motivated by concern for their money and thhe nation's finances. (Micheal Moore says that if you want to communicate withh a Republican you hhave to get past the fear that you are after thier money). There are two groups of money-motivated Republicanns: the ones who think the fedral budget should be managed they way thhey manage their own budget,-- ie donn't spend money you don't have--and the Norquist followers thhat want to bankrupt thhe governnment inorder to force an end to the New Deal. There are more of the former than the latter, but the latter are in the leadership and thhe former have, for the most part, failed to notice. It's high time they did since the Republican party hasn't been the party of fiscal conservatism for thirty years. Ironic that thhe fiscal conservatives wouuld get excited by a threat to their money comingfrom from Huck when their own party had been deliberately screwing up thhe budget for decades.

But, whatever, Huck is still a thhreat to the object of their worship. So it will be very entertainning to me if the evangelicals succeed in foisting him on the party.

It will aslo be interesting to see how the eveangelicals react if they aren't successful. Will they line up behind Romney? Or will they stay home?

My worry is that Huck mighht be more appealing to independents than we think. God help us if he actually got elelcted and not because he mighht spend ouur money.

Von: I understand that it's easier to deal with cartoon villians rather than to try to understand the other side.

Yes, that's another Republican tactic: turn the other side into cartoon villains, and idealize the real villains of your own side.

In 1979, the wealthiest 1% of households in the US owned 20.5% of the nation's wealth.

After 12 years of Republican Presidents, and 8 years of a right-wing Democrat, the wealthiest 1% owned 38.1% of the nation's wealth. (From this site - which also includes the interesting stat that in 2006, the wealthiest 10% of households in the US owned 69.8% of the nation's wealth.)

Are you at all interested in understanding your own side, Von - why government policies are made to make the rich richer and the poor poorer? Or would you rather turn your own side into cartoon angels without looking too closely at what their fiscal policies are actually about, and demonize the opposition?

Sebastian: We want you to keep more of what you earn, and we won't go out of our way to make you feel guilty if you want to earn more.

Right. That would be why conservative governments put taxes up for people on a low income - who really do earn their money, and lower taxes for people on a high income, especially people who have unearned income coming in... You really don't know much about conservative fiscal policy, do you?

Social Democrats, USA
Copyright: 1996, SD, USA

Kristol described the current Republican coalition as consisting primarily of two main strains: economic and social conservatives. The economic conservatives are anti-state and the social conservatives are anti-liberal who view liberalism "as corroding and subverting the virtues that they believe must be the bedrock of decent society." He believes that the differences between the economic conservatives and the social conservatives produce "tensions" between the two groups. Kristol's long range view is that the social conservatives represent "an authentic mass movement that gathers strength with every passing year."

from:
Splitting the Republican Coalition

The Huck doesn't want his old sermons released because Fundie Southern Baptists have hardcore views about Christians (Good white people) and non-Christians (The Outsider).

Here is one of many places in the Bible in which the spiritual condition of those who are without faith in Christ is represented as death. Unbelievers are obviously alive physically, emotionally, intellectually, but, at the same time, they are dead. As Paul puts it, they were dead, even while, in the next verse they lived and followed the ways of this world. These are dead people who are alive and active. It is a powerful way of describing their spiritual situation, their situation before God, of course, precisely because of the nature of death as separation, disintegration, and hopeless finality. Already in Eden, God had told Adam that if he ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil he would die. And he did die, even thought he did not cease to be physically alive in the world. And from that point onward "life" in the Bible is not understood as existence, pure and simple, and "death" is not understood as annihilation or destruction. "To be dead" in the Bible is not non-existence but, rather, a condition of inner disintegration, of thorough brokenness as a human being, an existence characterized by a failure to attain to the true purpose, character, and fulfillment of human life, made, as it is, in the image of God. It is this understanding of death, side by side with the more ordinary meaning of the term, that accounts for countless expressions in the Bible, expressions like Paul's speaking of the "life worthy to be called life" or the Lord saying to a seeker, "Let the dead bury their dead," or the sinister sound of the phrase "the second death" in Rev. 20:14. In none of these cases is death used of the literal passing from physical life, still less of complete destruction and annihilation. Instead the term is used of a miserable and benighted condition of existence. "The wages of sin is death…" the Scripture says, and that death is already with people and in people while they remain existing in this world. In this sense it is possible for the dead, the truly and profoundly dead, to be full of life and activity. But their existence must lead to ruin and not to the life that is worthy to be called life - that is, it must, unless the grace of God intervenes. Later on, in 4:18, the same idea is expressed without the use of the term "death." Speaking of the unbelieving world, Paul says, "they are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God…" That is what death means in 2:1.

Yes conservative politicians lie about their fiscal policy. Yes, it's because they have to.

Supposedly conservatives want to be prudent about spending the tax payer's money so that we can keep as much as possible of what we earn. That sounds nice but there isn't a sinngleconserrvative politician annywhere that actually goes to Congress to work toward that policy.

Some conservatives in Congress are Norquist followers and wnat to cut taxes for therich while spendinng for everything inncluding two wars in order to bankrupt the governnment so at some point innt the future a whole swath of programs will have to be eliminatied (Medicare, Medicaid, farms etc). The Norquist followers have to lie or no one would vote for them.

The other conservatives, the cut taxes and keep on spending because it's the path of leasst resistance ones, also have to lie. They lie they tell is that they will cut pork or social spending or wasteful spendinng. TThey won't. In order to get elelcted they have to support the pork, social, and wasteful spending in their own district. In order to get other Conngresspeoiple to support their pork they ahhve tovote for the other guy's pork. So they deliver on the cvut taxses part of their promise but the cut spending part is a lie.

Democrats onthe other hand are honest. They say thhat if you want something, you have to have a tax base sufficiennt to pay for it.

James Joyner had a cartoon the other day. It showed two politicianns. The Dem had a button that said "Tax and Spend" The Republicanhad a button that said "Cut taxes and spend".

Except that no conservative ever admits that they want to cut taxes annd spend. So they lie.

This is why it is easier for your typical right-wing Christian to embrace cells and zygotes as life needing protectition while embracing the mass-death of millions of Middle Easterners as life, that is not really life at all.

Fused with your typical racist views of your right-wing alpha-males and you get quite a dangerous nationalist movement.

There are two groups of money-motivated Republicanns: the ones who think the fedral budget should be managed they way thhey manage their own budget,-- ie donn't spend money you don't have--and the Norquist followers thhat want to bankrupt thhe governnment inorder to force an end to the New Deal. There are more of the former than the latter, but the latter are in the leadership

This analysis seems 100% right on to me.

My personal take on it is that I'd be happy to discuss policy with folks in the first camp anytime, but that folks in the second camp should be run out of government on a rail, with tarring and feathering optional.

von or Sebastian, I'd be interested in your thoughts here. Does wonkie's analysis align with your own?

Thanks -

I understand that it's easier to deal with cartoon villians rather than to try to understand the other side.

Von, several years ago, when Trent Lott made his little gaffe about Strom Thurmond's Presidential run, I finally gave up making excuses for the R party leadership. No, I said, I'm not going to bend over backwards to find innocuous reasons why so many of them keep end up saying things like this. They say things like this because they are racist, or don't think racism is important. Full stop. The rest of the party puts up with it, or encourages it, for the same reasons.

Sometimes, most times, things really are just what they keep looking like. Bill Clinton is a skirt-chaser, Hillary Clinton is power-hungry, most politicians lie sometimes to keep the voters off their backs;

and Republican policies keep benefiting the rich at the expense of the poor and the middle class because most of the leadership either wants it that way or doesn't care. And their party lets them get away with it for the same reasons. I've heard all the excuses in the world, all the absurd economic theories for how this will grow the economy and trickle down, and yet it keeps on keeping on. I'm done with excuses.

'Doesn't care,' can include, is baffled by bullsh*t, and I think that does happen a lot. Franks's book, What's The Matter With Kansas speculates that the pulpit-pounding on "values issues" obscures, perhaps deliberately, the fact that government is much better at handling money than morals, so that most people who get their politics from the pulpit simply lose track of the idea of using government to improve workplaces, financial institutions, trade balance, etc. That, together with the profound innumeracy of the American public, makes pulling the wool over most people's eyes relatively easy. Look how long Bush kept spinning a non-existent Social Security plan.

My take on American fiscal politics in general is this:

There is about 30-35% of voters who think there are lots and lots of things that the government should be doing and are willing to pay for it with much higher taxes (though many of these want it to be much higher taxes on other people).

There is about 30-35% of voters who think there are lots of things the government shouldn't be doing and are willing to cut those government functions so that everyone can get lower taxes (though many of those want the cuts to be from things that never significantly benefit them).

Both of these groups have a principled side, though in many cases it can be tinged with selfishness (about who pays or who gets benefits cut).

There is another group of about 30-35% of voters who want great new benefits for themselves and lower taxes for themselves. Democrats pander to them by saying they will give lots of benefits and will raise taxes on other people. Republicans pander to them by saying that they will cut taxes for them. This group is wildly confused about how much things actually cost (as opposed to the sometimes marginal confusion about costs that occurs in the other two groups.) Many people in this group call themselves 'conservative' and many call themselves 'liberal'. But really they are just expressing their similar levels of selfishness in different modes.

Good politicians would try to convince them to join one of the other groups. Actual politicians in the US don't typically do that. They latch on to one of the more responsible groups (who can't vote for the other side) and then pander to the irresponsible middle.

What actually happens with fiscal policy is that the party out of power pretends to be concerned with fiscal responsibility until it gains power (see the Gingrich revolution and the recent neck-breaking turnabout from people like Krugman). When the economy does fantastically well, it sometimes works out. When not, not so much.

"To be dead" in the Bible is not non-existence but, rather, a condition of inner disintegration, of thorough brokenness as a human being, an existence characterized by a failure to attain to the true purpose, character, and fulfillment of human life, made, as it is, in the image of God.

maybe that's what Huck was talking about when he said:


    It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations — from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia.

"the ones who think the federal budget should be managed the way they manage their own budget."

I'm sorry, but the analogy of the government as a family sitting around the kitchen table clipping coupons and cutting on back on orthodonture to buy the skidoo is craptomogrific.

Which Republicans or anyone else in America, outside of Henry David Thoreau, have no mortgage, no credit card debt, no student debt, no corporate debt, no money market funds and Treasury bond funds which invest in Federal debt, no auto loans, life insurance not borrowed against, no investments in leveraged buyout candidates, all of which when added up would turn out to be an unfunded liability, and since families have no taxing authority (though I'm sure some famililies ARE rather taxing), don't make me stop this car and come back there.

If the government is a family with a weekly budget, then my family and I will sit down around the kitchen table tonight and cut out the hostilities with and the carpet bombing of the neighbors by slashing the Defense budget and the extra appropriations for the Iraq War. We're just a little short this month because Junior lost his paper route and I forgot my keys to the Treasury printing presses.

Oh yeah, Grandma, we're privatizing Medicare and I see your Social Security check has stopped arriving, so out you go, parasite!

Government-equals-a-family-sitting-around- the-kitchen-table is bushwah rhetoric thought up by Grover Norquist's cleverer cousins.

Government isn't a business either.

Families aren't a business either, though I'm sure there are some who have fired the dog and had him escorted him to the street by a security guard.

It's government, which might be able to borrow a few management principles from business and a few table manners from families.

But that's it.

Now, sit up and eat your peas!

"necrophilia" to Huckabee and the other R candidates means "Death Tax!!!"

I think Obama endorsed it.

See, whereas Bush speaks in code to the religious wing of the party, Huckabee will speak in code to the fiscal family guys wing of the party.

The Goldman Sachs family, and the Merrill Lynch's down the street who never cut their lawn. Don't forget the News Corp. family and their pesky kids, Neil, O'Reilly, and Rupe Jr. And the Norquist's who seem nice but look so serious when they go to their mailbox. And there's the gunfire in the middle of the night.

Democrats pander to them by saying they will give lots of benefits and will raise taxes on other people. Republicans pander to them by saying that they will cut taxes for them. This group is wildly confused about how much things actually cost (as opposed to the sometimes marginal confusion about costs that occurs in the other two groups.)

Republicans actually pander to this group by telling them that they will cut taxes and thereby increase revenue so the benefits will be provided. Now, this is an outright lie that has somehow become one of two or three essential beliefs that a Republican Presidential candidate must proclaim.

What actually happens with fiscal policy is that the party out of power pretends to be concerned with fiscal responsibility until it gains power

Some truth here, but I don't think the "pox on both your houses" approach is fair. The last quarter-century featured two Republican Presidents who ballooned deficits well above previous post-WWII levels, and one Democrat who reduced them, amid cries of impending doom from the right. We also had another Republican President, Bush Sr., who was pilloried by many in his own party when he demonstrated a touch of fiscal responsibility.

No one's perfect, but the Democratic record on fiscal responsibility is miles better than the Republican one. It helps a lot if you don't believe fairy tales about self-financing tax cuts.

"and one Democrat who reduced them"

Assuming you are talking about Clinton, that just isn't true as a matter of fiscal policy. The major complaint of Democrats during the the post-Gingrich revolution years was that they weren't able to convince Republicans to spend the 'surplus' enough. And the fact that the surplus was a phenomenon of the health of the economy rather than government tax and spending policy is underlined by the fact that it was gone before Bush got his tax and spend policies in place.

It isn't a pox on both their houses approach either really. There isn't a party that talks about what things really cost and how we pay for them. Even pseudo-fiscal Democrats at best talk about getting rid of the Bush tax cuts 'to bring things into balance', but they immediately segue into enormous new spending programs as if getting rid of the Bush tax cuts will pay for all of that too. Getting rid of the tax cuts gets us within striking distance of even. It doesn't get us anywhere near vast new spending plans.

But I'm not mainly complaining about the political parties. I'm complaining about Americans who refuse to try to deal with reality in spending. You see it in personal spending habits as well as in government preferences. Lots of people really do want to get lots of valuable stuff for free.

"It helps a lot if you don't believe fairy tales about self-financing tax cuts."

There is a reflexive problem among liberals. The self-financing spending program which will leverage the enormous efficiencies of the federal government to get huge services for free. Don't tell me you haven't heard of that one... ;)

Seb,

Just so I'm clear, are you saying that it is not a commonly held belief amongst prominent republicans that reducing taxes increases revenues?

The self-financing spending program which will leverage the enormous efficiencies of the federal government to get huge services for free. Don't tell me you haven't heard of that one... ;)

Actually, no, I haven't. The closest I have ever heard of to a proposed self-financing government program is local transit programs, which aren't self-financing, they're just somewhat self-maintaining if they charge high enough tolls or fares.

Now, if you're talking about programs where we raise taxes so individuals don't have to pay more for less service because we take advantage of economies and efficiencies of scale and of mass buying power, that I have heard of, it's called the army. Or the police, or the DoT, or rural electrification, ... And those work quite well at saving money, compared to the cost of private security guards, roads, or cross-country power lines.

Another one along those lines that works well in all other Western countries is socialized medicine. Somehow, I am assured by conservatives, it can't work here. Maybe because we're too stupid to know how to spend the money. Or was that the liberal view, I forget?

"Just so I'm clear, are you saying that it is not a commonly held belief amongst prominent republicans that reducing taxes increases revenues?"

What part of my comment do you think you're addressing?

"Maybe because we're too stupid to know how to spend the money. Or was that the liberal view, I forget?"

I believe I made it rather clear that was a strawman description of liberalism on par with Jesurgislac's strawman description of conservatism, not a description of my beliefs about liberalism. If you want me to respond *to me*, it would be easier to read what I write and talk about it. I have lots of writing you can respond to, my beliefs may be wrong, but you certainly can't say that they aren't available.

If you want to respond impressionistically against Republicans, merely using me as a springboard, I hope you won't mind if I won't bother engaging in the defense of this other person or persons.

Seb,


I was addressing the very first part of your 4:40 comment. Specifically, I was addressing your usage of the quotation "It helps a lot if you don't believe fairy tales about self-financing tax cuts."

I assume that you take issue with that quote. Am I correct? Assuming that you take issue with it, I'm trying to figure out what your specific disagreement is. Do you think that the term "fairy tales" is inappropriately applied to this aspect of republican economic orthodoxy? Or do you contest that any such orthodoxy exists? Or did you just include the quote accidentally?

I want to be very clear that I'm not trying to be snarky. I'm trying to communicate clearly and I'm mystified by the misunderstanding (which probably is my fault because apparently at least 2 people seem to have misunderstood).

The context is that Bernard suggested that a pox on both their houses approach wasn't fair because Clinton (I think) was better. I had a longish response to that general idea.

Then:

"It helps a lot if you don't believe fairy tales about self-financing tax cuts."

There is a reflexive problem among liberals.

I feel like even without context I was pretty clear here. Saying 'reflexive problem' suggests (to me) that yes there is a problem here and there is also a similar problem there. But in the context of my 3:08 and 4:38 comments, I don't see how you could possible get to the idea that I'm unaware of Republican stupidity about cutting taxes. I specifically talk about it as 'pandering' to people who want to have both more government entitlements and lower taxes.

Where did I go wrong?

Seb,

I think you went wrong in your phrasing. I read "reflexive problem" as saying "liberals compulsively do this other thing that I'm about to describe which has nothing to do with the quote above...".

Perhaps I misread, but I usually read the word reflexive as meaning "by reflex" and not as meaning "corresponding".

Ahh, sorry. You were thinking of it as a socio-psycho descriptor and I was thinking of mathematics A=A. Though it would have been better to say it was a symmetric property A=B; B=A.

I can see how that would be a problem. "Liberals make a similar logical error when they advocate policies as essentially self-funding...." would have been better. Thanks for explaining it to me.

Kevin Drum has been saying similar things lately. Yes - the plutocracy would never be elected by a rational common public, so the only way their power structure can be propped up is by trickery, by chumming up with a corrupted form of religious mysticism (the sort who couldn't care less what Jesus said about the sheep and the goats, and even gum up the Wikipedia article (since fixed, I think) about it.) But the plutocracy doesn't really want the religous folk gaining real power, since they might impose inconvenient moral standards of the puritanical kind - or worst of all, actually start caring about public, social justice, and environmental ethics after all, as more and more are doing (in disgust of the previous tradition, in part.)

Seb,

The major complaint of Democrats during the the post-Gingrich revolution years was that they weren't able to convince Republicans to spend the 'surplus' enough.

Cite please?

Even pseudo-fiscal Democrats at best talk about getting rid of the Bush tax cuts 'to bring things into balance', but they immediately segue into enormous new spending programs as if getting rid of the Bush tax cuts will pay for all of that too. Getting rid of the tax cuts gets us within striking distance of even. It doesn't get us anywhere near vast new spending plans.

Cite please?

Before I go rooting around for cites, may I assume that you specifically do not believe my statements to be true?

I love it.

You *sensible* fiscal conservatives made this coalition with people you knew to be off-base in order to win, in order to give us all the most catastrophic presidency in living memory.

You've made your own bed. Now lie in it.

Now the barbarians are at the gate and they want admission into your beloved party.

I think the problem stems partly from the fact that conservatism as an identity has become an identity of ideological purity. One false move and a Republican is no longer really a conservative. Meanwhile, look how much the Democrats are bending to get someone they think is electable: Hilary "Let-Me-Turn-Pakistan-Into-Glass" Clinton. She does not even sound like a Dem half the time.

As my first bit of evidence about deficit fakery I offer Krugman's December 22, 2006 op-ed. After almost 4 years of increasingly shrill harping on the dangers of the federal deficit, the Democrats win the Senate and House and only one month later Krugman decides that the deficit isn't really worth fixing if Democrats can push through new programs:

"Suppose the Democrats can free up some money by fixing the Medicare drug program, by ending the Iraq war and/or clamping down on war profiteering, or by rolling back some of the Bush tax cuts. Should they use the reclaimed revenue to reduce the deficit, or spend it on other things?

The answer, I now think, is to spend the money — while taking great care to ensure that it is spent well, not squandered — and let the deficit be. By spending money well, Democrats can both improve Americans’ lives and, more broadly, offer a demonstration of the benefits of good government. Deficit reduction, on the other hand, might just end up playing into the hands of the next irresponsible president."

Hmmm, deficit not a bid deal when I can spend on my preferred programs. "In other words, we're still deep in the fiscal quagmire, with federal revenues far below what's needed to pay for federal programs. And we won't get out of that quagmire until a future president admits that the Bush tax cuts were a mistake, and must be reversed." cite

If you reverse the tax cut and then spend it you are "still deep in the fiscal quagmire, with federal revenues far below what's needed to pay for federal programs."

You just aren't complaining about it anymore.

I believe I made it rather clear that was a strawman description of liberalism on par with Jesurgislac's strawman description of conservatism, not a description of my beliefs about liberalism.

You did, I was not trying to say otherwise, but I see it reads like I was taking that as your actual position. Sorry.

I still don't know what you're talking about re self-financing proposals, altho it's good to know you didn't mean reflexive in the sense I thought you did.

Assuming you are talking about Clinton, that just isn't true as a matter of fiscal policy. The major complaint of Democrats during the the post-Gingrich revolution years was that they weren't able to convince Republicans to spend the 'surplus' enough.

I don't doubt you can find quotes from Democrats who wanted to spend more, but that doesn't make it a "major complaint." There were certainly plenty of influential Democrats who wanted the deficit reduced. Robert Rubin comes to mind.

And the fact that the surplus was a phenomenon of the health of the economy rather than government tax and spending policy is underlined by the fact that it was gone before Bush got his tax and spend policies in place.

This is an odd argument considering that Republicans vigorously opposed the Clinton increases, and generally predicted economic doom. To claim thety were the true champions of fiscal rectitude is silly.

I also think you overlook a few things. First, there are those who think sound fiscal policies helped create the boom. As to the tax cuts, the deficit exploded in 2002, with the on-budget deficit going from .3% of GDP in 2001 to 3.1% in 2002, as they began to kick in. It went to 5% in 2003 and 5.9% in 2004. No, it wasn't all the tax cuts, but they sure didn't help matters.

In short, whatever qualifications and hedges you want to put around it, the fact is that Clinton (who did you think I was talking about?) was far sounder on fiscal matters than any recent Republican President. You can raise a raft of objections to the rosiest assessments of Clinton, but to deny that statement is just unrealistic.

the Democrats win the Senate and House and only one month later Krugman decides that the deficit isn't really worth fixing if Democrats can push through new programs

Well, I think the point Krugman was trying to make is that it's kinda a mugs' game. Why should the dems delay their priorities to put thinks back in some sort of order only to see GOP raid the cookie jar yet again 8 or 10 years down the road?

The deficit is either a super, back-breaking deal or it isn't. Krugman said it was for at least four years in a row. But apparently he just didn't like what Republicans were spending things on--that is a rather different story.

Hmmm, deficit not a bid deal when I can spend on my preferred programs.

That's not what Krugman's saying, though. What he's saying is, essentially, that American understanding of government has become so attenuated over the past decade that we need a public demonstration of the good that government can do so that we'll actually start taking it seriously, instead of trying to starve it (and the less fortunate) to death. What's the point of painfully bringing government back from the brink if -- as Fledermaus just pointed out -- the GOP just uses this pain to rape it all over again?

IOW, he's addressing one of the most fundamental problems in American politics: a large number of people regard government itself as illegitimate and a perpetual evil. Any attempt to bring sanity back to government must also include efforts at getting people to see that government has a necessary place in their lives, contra Reagan and his "small goverment" (read: Big Money) acolytes. That's the only way we'll stop electing people who neither know nor care what good governance is, and the only way we'll ever get back on track as a nation.

The GOP has helped create a Frankenstein of social conservatism which they have long depended on the win elections. Now, it appears to biting their asses. For Huckabee to be the GOP nominee would be poetic justice.

Another irony is that on most (not all) social issues, Americans seem to be moving somewhat leftward. He is the wrong candidate at the wrong time.

Jackmormon: It's all about the ressentiment for that variety of conservative. I don't see Jonah Goldberg settling in comfortably in, say, rural Alabama.

Thanks. That makes sense. Actually I don’t see rural Alabama being very comfortable with that arrangement either…


Jes: Goalpost move. Boykin may or may not be an unqualified lackey. He is an anti-Islamic outspoken whacko, and he was appointed to Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

By “you conservatives put your whackos into government” I assumed you meant we elected them. That argument can be made in some cases unfortunately, but then you linked to a whacko who was appointed rather than elected.

Galloway meanwhile has been repeatedly elected. And if he is considered “mildly eccentric” over there I need to start following your politicians more closely because I’m obviously missing out on some killer entertainment value. ;)

Our politicians can beat up yours!

Ah but Coleman could have the CIA abduct old George and keep him locked up in the Big Brother House until he confesses all! ;)

By “you conservatives put your whackos into government” I assumed you meant we elected them.

Oh, goodness me, no. Conservatives haven't been relying on elections to get your whackos into government since Bush was appointed to the Presidency after losing the election, back in 2000.

And if [George Galloway] is considered “mildly eccentric” over there I need to start following your politicians more closely because I’m obviously missing out on some killer entertainment value. ;)

Yep. ;-) Now, for really eccentric, try googling Boris Johnson. His appearances on Have I Got News For You (available on YouTube) are particularly good value.

By “you conservatives put your whackos into government” I assumed you meant we elected them.

Oh, goodness me, no. Conservatives haven't been relying on elections to get your whackos into government since Bush was appointed to the Presidency after losing the election, back in 2000.

And if [George Galloway] is considered “mildly eccentric” over there I need to start following your politicians more closely because I’m obviously missing out on some killer entertainment value. ;)

Yep. ;-) Now, for really eccentric, try googling Boris Johnson. His appearances on Have I Got News For You (available on YouTube) are particularly good value.

How many of the "appointed" reactionaries believe Israel is to usher in The End Times?

I suspect most of the right-wing Christians being "appointed" have all kinds of strange beliefs...and the elected ones have only never been confronted with what they actually believe.

If they all claim the Bible to be the actuall words and thoughts of God to be interpreted literally and in One Way, then many of our elected "conservatives" seem believe exactlly what Boykin believes.

How many of the "appointed" reactionaries believe Israel is to usher in The End Times?

I suspect most of the right-wing Christians being "appointed" have all kinds of strange beliefs...and the elected ones have only never been confronted with what they actually believe.

If they all claim the Bible to be the actuall words and thoughts of God to be interpreted literally and in One Way, then many of our elected "conservatives" seem believe exactlly what Boykin believes.

Seb,

If you intend "Democrat" to refer to anyone who has voted or advocated for democratic party candidates for office, then your statement regarding what "pseudo-fiscal Democrats" talk about might be correct. On the other hand, there's always someone who is willing to advocate any position (c.f. Paul, Ron on the gold standard for a policy position that I honestly thought I would never see referenced in my own lifetime).

When last I checked, Krugman was not actually a Senator or Congressional Representative. In fact, he's not an elected anything, and he's not participating in the leadership of the Democratic party in any way. I don't think he's even advising any of the Democratic presidential candidates. So it seems kind of strange to tar all Democrats with what some random journalist writes. You'll note that if I wanted to argue that republicans had a strong anti-immigrant wing, I wouldn't talk about Lou Dobbs; I'd talk about Tancredo. Perhaps it would be more persuasive if you could find an actual elected official who made similar comments. You know, say Hillary or Obama or Edwards or a major Senator or Rep or Howard Dean or Bill Clinton or someone who is actually officially affiliated with the Democratic party.

"For Huckabee to be the GOP nominee would be poetic justice."

With no poetry and precious little justice.

Huck does have a strain of economic populism that scares not only Wall Street Republicans but moderate Democrats. If he locks up the religious right, his economic populism will appeal to a reasonably wide range of voters if they don't pay attention to some of his other ideas.

It's amazing, but the only group that hasn't switched sides in politics in America in the past century appears to be Big Money. The parallels with William Jennings Bryan and Huckabee are amazing (though I understand that Bryan was a bit better as an orator).

I think that's wrong.

All of the various right-wing religious groups (really, right-wing Protestant Groups) were all congealed on the right during the late 70's.

ex-Dixiecrats blow hards and elitist Northern Protestants were motivated by "the state's" tyranny...you know civil rights for blacks and women. Even abortion was added after the fact. Most of the pro-choice judges were moderates who attended mainline churches.

Huckabee is a right-winger, all the way, his priority may not be where they THINk it is, but he knows who has power on the right. What they fear is his REAL views on interpreting scripture, and if he wins, that will be thrown in his face. A LITERAL interpretation of THE WORD OF GOD.

Scary stuff, even if he agrees with most of your other program.

Now, for really eccentric, try googling Boris Johnson.

Feh. UK politics just hasn't been the same, eccentric-wise since the Screaming Lord Sutch departed this mortal coil.

In the 1980s, in order to solidify their shift from divorce to abortion, the Religious Right constructed an abortion myth, one accepted by most Americans as true. Simply put, the abortion myth is this: Leaders of the Religious Right would have us believe that their movement began in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Politically conservative evangelical leaders were so morally outraged by the ruling that they instantly shed their apolitical stupor in order to mobilize politically in defense of the sanctity of life. Most of these leaders did so reluctantly and at great personal sacrifice, risking the obloquy of their congregants and the contempt of liberals and "secular humanists," who were trying their best to ruin America. But these selfless, courageous leaders of the Religious Right, inspired by the opponents of slavery in the nineteenth century, trudged dutifully into battle in order to defend those innocent unborn children, newly endangered by the Supreme Court's misguided Roe decision.

It's a compelling story, no question about it. Except for one thing: It isn't true.

More:
On the Racist Origins of the Anti-Arbortion Movement

The history of the Protestant churches' witness on the abortion issue in the last 30 years has been complex, contradictory, and challenging. In the early 1970s, there was a sudden capitulation to the secular pro-abortion persuasion on the part of several mainline Protestant denominations. This has been a scandal to the many pro-life believers who found themselves at odds with their denominational leadership on a vital issue.

This unfortunate reversal led to the founding of pro-life groups within those denominations. As the timeline on page 16 indicates, these churches - - with the notable exception of the Southern Baptists - - have not yet come back to their life- affirming position. However, pro-life resolutions continue to gain increasing support. (The vast majority of these pro-life groups are members of the National Pro-Life Religious Council. See below and story, page 8.)

At the same time, other Protestant churches, such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, maintained strong pro-life policies.

Some of this complicated and ongoing battle within Protestant churches is captured in the timeline and the story that follows.

">http://www.nrlc.org/news/1999/NRL199/sween.html"> The Protestant Churches on Abortion: Complex, Contradictory, and Challenging

In the 1980s, in order to solidify their shift from divorce to abortion, the Religious Right constructed an abortion myth, one accepted by most Americans as true. Simply put, the abortion myth is this: Leaders of the Religious Right would have us believe that their movement began in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Politically conservative evangelical leaders were so morally outraged by the ruling that they instantly shed their apolitical stupor in order to mobilize politically in defense of the sanctity of life. Most of these leaders did so reluctantly and at great personal sacrifice, risking the obloquy of their congregants and the contempt of liberals and "secular humanists," who were trying their best to ruin America. But these selfless, courageous leaders of the Religious Right, inspired by the opponents of slavery in the nineteenth century, trudged dutifully into battle in order to defend those innocent unborn children, newly endangered by the Supreme Court's misguided Roe decision.

It's a compelling story, no question about it. Except for one thing: It isn't true.

More:
On the Racist Origins of the Anti-Arbortion Movement

The history of the Protestant churches' witness on the abortion issue in the last 30 years has been complex, contradictory, and challenging. In the early 1970s, there was a sudden capitulation to the secular pro-abortion persuasion on the part of several mainline Protestant denominations. This has been a scandal to the many pro-life believers who found themselves at odds with their denominational leadership on a vital issue.

This unfortunate reversal led to the founding of pro-life groups within those denominations. As the timeline on page 16 indicates, these churches - - with the notable exception of the Southern Baptists - - have not yet come back to their life- affirming position. However, pro-life resolutions continue to gain increasing support. (The vast majority of these pro-life groups are members of the National Pro-Life Religious Council. See below and story, page 8.)

At the same time, other Protestant churches, such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, maintained strong pro-life policies.

Some of this complicated and ongoing battle within Protestant churches is captured in the timeline and the story that follows.

">http://www.nrlc.org/news/1999/NRL199/sween.html"> The Protestant Churches on Abortion: Complex, Contradictory, and Challenging

In the 1980s, in order to solidify their shift from divorce to abortion, the Religious Right constructed an abortion myth, one accepted by most Americans as true. Simply put, the abortion myth is this: Leaders of the Religious Right would have us believe that their movement began in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Politically conservative evangelical leaders were so morally outraged by the ruling that they instantly shed their apolitical stupor in order to mobilize politically in defense of the sanctity of life. Most of these leaders did so reluctantly and at great personal sacrifice, risking the obloquy of their congregants and the contempt of liberals and "secular humanists," who were trying their best to ruin America. But these selfless, courageous leaders of the Religious Right, inspired by the opponents of slavery in the nineteenth century, trudged dutifully into battle in order to defend those innocent unborn children, newly endangered by the Supreme Court's misguided Roe decision.

It's a compelling story, no question about it. Except for one thing: It isn't true.

More:
On the Racist Origins of the Anti-Arbortion Movement

The history of the Protestant churches' witness on the abortion issue in the last 30 years has been complex, contradictory, and challenging. In the early 1970s, there was a sudden capitulation to the secular pro-abortion persuasion on the part of several mainline Protestant denominations. This has been a scandal to the many pro-life believers who found themselves at odds with their denominational leadership on a vital issue.

This unfortunate reversal led to the founding of pro-life groups within those denominations. As the timeline on page 16 indicates, these churches - - with the notable exception of the Southern Baptists - - have not yet come back to their life- affirming position. However, pro-life resolutions continue to gain increasing support. (The vast majority of these pro-life groups are members of the National Pro-Life Religious Council. See below and story, page 8.)

At the same time, other Protestant churches, such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, maintained strong pro-life policies.

Some of this complicated and ongoing battle within Protestant churches is captured in the timeline and the story that follows.

">http://www.nrlc.org/news/1999/NRL199/sween.html"> The Protestant Churches on Abortion: Complex, Contradictory, and Challenging

The major complaint of Democrats during the the post-Gingrich revolution years was that they weren't able to convince Republicans to spend the 'surplus' enough.

I’m sure you can find quotes from Democrats to that effect. That doesn’t qualify it as “the major complaint of Democrats.” There were influential Democrats who strongly supported fiscal responsibility. Robert Rubin comes to mind. Is there an equally influential Republican who has opposed the never-ending tax cuts that are now Republican orthodoxy?

You make an odd argument, anyway, considering that Republicans vigorously opposed Clinton’s tax increase, and generally predicted economic doom as a consequence. Gingrich, IIRC, suggested that the only sensible course was to put all one’s assets in gold. Suddenly you proclaim them the champions who restored sensible fiscal policies after the foolishness of Reagan-Bush Sr.?

And the fact that the surplus was a phenomenon of the health of the economy rather than government tax and spending policy is underlined by the fact that it was gone before Bush got his tax and spend policies in place.

You overlook a few things. There are those who argue that the boom was helped by sane fiscal policies. As to the size of the deficit, the on-budget deficit exploded from .3% of GDP in 2001 to 3.1% in 2002, as the tax cuts started to kick in. It went to 5% in 2003 and 5.9% in 2004. The only previous post-WWII deficits greater than 5% came in 1946,1983, 1985, 1986, 1991, and 1992. The largest Vietnam era deficit was 3.2%, in 1968. Now, you will claim the problem wasn’t all due to tax cuts. No, but they were undeniably a big factor.

Offer whatever hedges and objections and qualifications you like to Clinton’s fiscal record. The plain fact is that he had a vastly better record on these matters than any recent Republican President.

The major complaint of Democrats during the the post-Gingrich revolution years was that they weren't able to convince Republicans to spend the 'surplus' enough.

I’m sure you can find quotes from Democrats to that effect. That doesn’t qualify it as “the major complaint of Democrats.” There were influential Democrats who strongly supported fiscal responsibility. Robert Rubin comes to mind. Is there an equally influential Republican who has opposed the never-ending tax cuts that are now Republican orthodoxy?

You make an odd argument, anyway, considering that Republicans vigorously opposed Clinton’s tax increase, and generally predicted economic doom as a consequence. Gingrich, IIRC, suggested that the only sensible course was to put all one’s assets in gold. Suddenly you proclaim them the champions who restored sensible fiscal policies after the foolishness of Reagan-Bush Sr.?

And the fact that the surplus was a phenomenon of the health of the economy rather than government tax and spending policy is underlined by the fact that it was gone before Bush got his tax and spend policies in place.

You overlook a few things. There are those who argue that the boom was helped by sane fiscal policies. As to the size of the deficit, the on-budget deficit exploded from .3% of GDP in 2001 to 3.1% in 2002, as the tax cuts started to kick in. It went to 5% in 2003 and 5.9% in 2004. The only previous post-WWII deficits greater than 5% came in 1946,1983, 1985, 1986, 1991, and 1992. The largest Vietnam era deficit was 3.2%, in 1968. Now, you will claim the problem wasn’t all due to tax cuts. No, but they were undeniably a big factor.

Offer whatever hedges and objections and qualifications you like to Clinton’s fiscal record. The plain fact is that he had a vastly better record on these matters than any recent Republican President.

(I broke this into two comments because Typepad thought that a single long one was spam).

I have more to say but I can't get it past Typepad's spam filter. All Sebastian's fault, no doubt.

Huckabee:

The appeal of Huckabee to evangelicals is that he is, genuinely, one of them. His appeal to non-evangelical social conservatives, ditto. And, at least on the surface, he's a nice enough guy. That's enough right there to make a dent in Republican primaries.

There are a number of reasons that he makes professional Republicans grind their teeth. He's a hick. He's not a national security or fiscal hard-ass. His references to the Bible refer to the Sermon on the Mount as frequently as they do to the Levitical code.

I think he's out of his league in terms of running a crisp professional Presidential campaign, but maybe he'll pull the Republican nomination out of his hat after all. It would make for an interesting race.

All of the above does not constitute an endorsement. Just observations, nothing more.

My take on American fiscal politics in general is this:

Seb, thanks for your reply.

For fiscal '07, actually running the government per se made up about 18% of the budget. Defense was something like 17%. Debt service, about 9%.

The balance -- well over half the federal budget -- were transfer payments for unemployment and welfare, social security, medicare and medicaid.

The things that fall, under any sane understanding of the term, within the proper scope of government don't cost that much. Ron Paul and folks like him talk about 86'ing the departments of energy and education. That is, frankly, a lot of malarkey, and will net nothing more than pocket change.

The big ticket items are defense and, for lack of a better term, the "social safety net". And, by far, we pay more for the latter.

The fly in the ointment going forward will be health care. Non-health care items -- unemployment, SS retirement benefits -- are not going to grow at anything like the same rate as health care.

We currently manage the delivery of health care in a manner that is neither fish nor fowl. It is neither primarily the responsibility of government, as it is in countries similar to ours, nor is it primarily the responsibility of the private sector. As a result of this somewhat schizophrenic approach, we pay more for less value than any comparable nation in the world, bar none.

IMVHO, the secret to bringing fiscal sanity back to the USA is sorting out how we will manage the delivery of health care over the next 50 to 75 years. And the trick there will be deciding whether the public or private sector will hold the whip hand.

It could be, actually, a pretty ugly fight, but I'm not sure how we can avoid it.

Sort of off topic, my apologies. Just something I've been thinking about.

Thanks -

Huckabee:

The appeal of Huckabee to evangelicals is that he is, genuinely, one of them. His appeal to non-evangelical social conservatives, ditto. And, at least on the surface, he's a nice enough guy. That's enough right there to make a dent in Republican primaries.

There are a number of reasons that he makes professional Republicans grind their teeth. He's a hick. He's not a national security or fiscal hard-ass. His references to the Bible refer to the Sermon on the Mount as frequently as they do to the Levitical code.

I think he's out of his league in terms of running a crisp professional Presidential campaign, but maybe he'll pull the Republican nomination out of his hat after all. It would make for an interesting race.

All of the above does not constitute an endorsement. Just observations, nothing more.

My take on American fiscal politics in general is this:

Seb, thanks for your reply.

For fiscal '07, actually running the government per se made up about 18% of the budget. Defense was something like 17%. Debt service, about 9%.

The balance -- well over half the federal budget -- were transfer payments for unemployment and welfare, social security, medicare and medicaid.

The things that fall, under any sane understanding of the term, within the proper scope of government don't cost that much. Ron Paul and folks like him talk about 86'ing the departments of energy and education. That is, frankly, a lot of malarkey, and will net nothing more than pocket change.

The big ticket items are defense and, for lack of a better term, the "social safety net". And, by far, we pay more for the latter.

The fly in the ointment going forward will be health care. Non-health care items -- unemployment, SS retirement benefits -- are not going to grow at anything like the same rate as health care.

We currently manage the delivery of health care in a manner that is neither fish nor fowl. It is neither primarily the responsibility of government, as it is in countries similar to ours, nor is it primarily the responsibility of the private sector. As a result of this somewhat schizophrenic approach, we pay more for less value than any comparable nation in the world, bar none.

IMVHO, the secret to bringing fiscal sanity back to the USA is sorting out how we will manage the delivery of health care over the next 50 to 75 years. And the trick there will be deciding whether the public or private sector will hold the whip hand.

It could be, actually, a pretty ugly fight, but I'm not sure how we can avoid it.

Sort of off topic, my apologies. Just something I've been thinking about.

Thanks -

Huckabee:

The appeal of Huckabee to evangelicals is that he is, genuinely, one of them. His appeal to non-evangelical social conservatives, ditto. And, at least on the surface, he's a nice enough guy. That's enough right there to make a dent in Republican primaries.

There are a number of reasons that he makes professional Republicans grind their teeth. He's a hick. He's not a national security or fiscal hard-ass. His references to the Bible refer to the Sermon on the Mount as frequently as they do to the Levitical code.

I think he's out of his league in terms of running a crisp professional Presidential campaign, but maybe he'll pull the Republican nomination out of his hat after all. It would make for an interesting race.

All of the above does not constitute an endorsement. Just observations, nothing more.

My take on American fiscal politics in general is this:

Seb, thanks for your reply.

For fiscal '07, actually running the government per se made up about 18% of the budget. Defense was something like 17%. Debt service, about 9%.

The balance -- well over half the federal budget -- were transfer payments for unemployment and welfare, social security, medicare and medicaid.

The things that fall, under any sane understanding of the term, within the proper scope of government don't cost that much. Ron Paul and folks like him talk about 86'ing the departments of energy and education. That is, frankly, a lot of malarkey, and will net nothing more than pocket change.

The big ticket items are defense and, for lack of a better term, the "social safety net". And, by far, we pay more for the latter.

The fly in the ointment going forward will be health care. Non-health care items -- unemployment, SS retirement benefits -- are not going to grow at anything like the same rate as health care.

We currently manage the delivery of health care in a manner that is neither fish nor fowl. It is neither primarily the responsibility of government, as it is in countries similar to ours, nor is it primarily the responsibility of the private sector. As a result of this somewhat schizophrenic approach, we pay more for less value than any comparable nation in the world, bar none.

IMVHO, the secret to bringing fiscal sanity back to the USA is sorting out how we will manage the delivery of health care over the next 50 to 75 years. And the trick there will be deciding whether the public or private sector will hold the whip hand.

It could be, actually, a pretty ugly fight, but I'm not sure how we can avoid it.

Sort of off topic, my apologies. Just something I've been thinking about.

Thanks

My take on American fiscal politics in general is this:

Seb, thanks for your reply.

For fiscal '07, actually running the government per se made up about 18% of the budget. Defense was something like 17%. Debt service, about 9%.

The balance -- well over half the federal budget -- were transfer payments for unemployment and welfare, social security, medicare and medicaid.

The things that fall, under any sane understanding of the term, within the proper scope of government don't cost that much. Ron Paul and folks like him talk about 86'ing the departments of energy and education. That is, frankly, a lot of malarkey, and will net nothing more than pocket change.

More below....

The big ticket items are defense and, for lack of a better term, the "social safety net". And, by far, we pay more for the latter.

The fly in the ointment going forward will be health care. Non-health care items -- unemployment, SS retirement benefits -- are not going to grow at anything like the same rate as health care.

We currently manage the delivery of health care in a manner that is neither fish nor fowl. It is neither primarily the responsibility of government, as it is in countries similar to ours, nor is it primarily the responsibility of the private sector. As a result of this somewhat schizophrenic approach, we pay more for less value than any comparable nation in the world, bar none.

IMVHO, the secret to bringing fiscal sanity back to the USA is sorting out how we will manage the delivery of health care over the next 50 to 75 years. And the trick there will be deciding whether the public or private sector will hold the whip hand.

It could be, actually, a pretty ugly fight, but I'm not sure how we can avoid it.

Sort of off topic, my apologies. Just something I've been thinking about.

Thanks

Seb,

If you intend "Democrat" to refer to anyone who has voted or advocated for democratic party candidates for office, then your statement regarding what "pseudo-fiscal Democrats" talk about might be correct. On the other hand, there's always someone who is willing to advocate any position (c.f. Paul, Ron on the gold standard for a policy position that I honestly thought I would never see referenced in my own lifetime).

When last I checked, Krugman was not actually a Senator or Congressional Representative. In fact, he's not an elected anything, and he's not participating in the leadership of the Democratic party in any way. I don't think he's even advising any of the Democratic presidential candidates. So it seems kind of strange to tar all Democrats with what some random journalist writes. You'll note that if I wanted to argue that republicans had a strong anti-immigrant wing, I wouldn't talk about Lou Dobbs; I'd talk about Tancredo. Perhaps it would be more persuasive if you could find an actual elected official who made similar comments. You know, say Hillary or Obama or Edwards or a major Senator or Rep or Howard Dean or Bill Clinton or someone who is actually officially affiliated with the Democratic party.

Seb,

If you intend "Democrat" to refer to anyone who has voted or advocated for democratic party candidates for office, then your statement regarding what "pseudo-fiscal Democrats" talk about might be correct. On the other hand, there's always someone who is willing to advocate any position (c.f. Paul, Ron on the gold standard for a policy position that I honestly thought I would never see referenced in my own lifetime).

When last I checked, Krugman was not actually a Senator or Congressional Representative. In fact, he's not an elected anything, and he's not participating in the leadership of the Democratic party in any way. I don't think he's even advising any of the Democratic presidential candidates. So it seems kind of strange to tar all Democrats with what some random journalist writes. You'll note that if I wanted to argue that republicans had a strong anti-immigrant wing, I wouldn't talk about Lou Dobbs; I'd talk about Tancredo. Perhaps it would be more persuasive if you could find an actual elected official who made similar comments. Like, perhaps, Obama or Harry Reid or Dean.

George Galloway's political influence is negligible - he is one of over 600 MPs and nothing more. Because he's loud and has fairly extreme views, he's able to get a lot of publicity. Does that sound like a fair number of US senators/congressmen?

On the other hand, there's no UK politician, as far as I know, who is pro-torture (or even the 'Oh, it's not really torture if you just make them think they're going to die for a short time'). Which isn't to say necessarily that the UK government isn't sometimes complicit in torture (as they were in Northern Ireland), but at least we're still publicly ashamed of it. Because we've seen all the WW2 movies: we still remember that torture is what the bad people do.

"And if he is considered 'mildly eccentric' over there I need to start following your politicians more closely because I’m obviously missing out on some killer entertainment value."

Jeepers, yes!

UK parliamentary sketchs are frequently hilarious. One can go back centuries for this, or read recent stuff. Definitely killer.

Someotherdude, if you are going to play the 'racist origins of the anti-abortion movement' game, I get to start talking about the much better documented, much more direct line eugenics roots of the pro-choice movement. Let's just not go there. And in the anecdote as evidence category, both my parents voted Republican for the first time in their lives in direct response to Roe.

Russel, "IMVHO, the secret to bringing fiscal sanity back to the USA is sorting out how we will manage the delivery of health care over the next 50 to 75 years. And the trick there will be deciding whether the public or private sector will hold the whip hand."

I agree. I suspect that whichever hand has to act first to shut grandma off those last days of super-expensive care that doesn't do any good will decisively tip the balance over to the other side.
I agree with this.

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