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May 01, 2013

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Hi gang! Can anyone -- like, say, cleek -- link me to the original statement of Cleek's Law:

Today's conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.

Here's one variant. I don't know if that's the earliest one though.

that's the Law.

but here is the original post.

... as Turb just posted. :)

Today's conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.

So, are you saying that liberals come up with new ideas everyday, and conservatives consistently think those new ideas are not so good? And is it different when reversed--when conservatives come up with an idea, liberals are open to discussion and negotiation?

Maybe it's old ideas that must be opposed, McKTx. After all, the Constitution is an out-of-fashion document that's maybe a hundred years old, or older.

So, are you saying that liberals come up with new ideas everyday, and conservatives consistently think those new ideas are not so good?

it's not that "conservatism" thinks the new ideas are not so good on the merits, but that it finds ways to oppose the new ideas, simply because liberals think the new ideas are good.

you should be able to find plenty of evidence of this without trying too hard. a few high-profile examples of this popped up in the news this week, in fact.

And is it different when reversed--when conservatives come up with an idea, liberals are open to discussion and negotiation?

my 'Law' says nothing about its converse.

individual mandate

cap and trade

background checks

(Sorry, blog owners. I'll stop now.)

i should point out that neither i, nor my law, are related in any way to cleeklaw.com.

(yipe)

The Iraq War and the Credit market implosion were not the result of a conservative ideology, they were the result of Criminal Stupidity.

Lets call what happened in West Texas what it was - The fireworks to celebrate Bush/Perry success with deregulation.

I have no idea where I fit in the liberal/conservative spectrum, don't even know what those words mean anymore.
For now I am voting for candidates that at least try to present themselves as Smart and caring for the welfare of others.

I respect that this is not the place for my vitriol and please delete if I am not helping with the conversation.

It's tribal.

Maybe it's old ideas that must be opposed, McKTx.

They might not be old, even if they aren't all that new. They could be pre-existing ideas that liberals (or Democrats) adopt. Such ideas become bad by virtue of said adoption.

"individual mandate", "cap and trade" and "background checks"

If one Democrat, or one slice of the liberal community at one time supported something--I don't know, say invading Iraq--may I freely and without objection impute that to every liberal and every Democrat and then accuse all liberals and all Democrats of agreeing to something and then, if it doesn't go well, hypocritically acting as if they'd never agreed in the first place or pretending that, in their naivete, they simply weren't fully informed?

I just want to know the rules on broad brush ad hominem.

how will knowing those "rules" disprove the law?

I don't get how ad hominem applies. We're talking about the nature of how some opinions are formed. You may not agree with how other people are characterizing that, but it's not a matter of invalidating those opinions based on the identities of the people holding them.

No one is saying, for example, "Don't listen to John McCain when he argues against cap and trade. He's just a jerk, so he must be wrong." No one is saying, "Don't listen to all those Republicans in congress arguing against the individual mandate. They're just a bunch of jerks, so they must be wrong."

What I'm saying is, "Look at these ideas that were generally favored by conservative Republicans, but that suddenly became terrible ideas when put forth by (barely) liberal Democrats."

We have a representative democracy here in America. Don't the the naive merit representation? Actually IMHO a politician who blames their poor decisions on ignorance need to look for a new job.

I don't get how ad hominem applies. We're talking about the nature of how some opinions are formed. You may not agree with how other people are characterizing that, but it's not a matter of invalidating those opinions based on the identities of the people holding them.

To me, it is self-evident that labeling one group's thought process negatively because it reflexively opposes another group's positive thought processes and ideas is ad hominem.

What I'm saying is, "Look at these ideas that were generally favored by conservative Republicans, but that suddenly became terrible ideas when put forth by (barely) liberal Democrats."

I disagree with the premise--some Republicans, probably not conservative Republicans, supported some of these ideas at different points in time and in different contexts. A certain sitting president opposed the individual mandate. Does that make him a conservative, or a liar, an opportunist, or someone who, in a different context, has made a good faith and informed decision that what was once not a good policy decision merits a second look?

I do not remember a time when conservative Republicans generally favored background checks, individual mandates (always a subset of national healthcare and therefore almost uniformly opposed by conservative Republicans) or cap and trade (also opposed from the outset by most if not the vast majority of conservative Republicans, particularly in the context of Democratic proposal). So, I think your fundamental premise is mistaken.

For many years, up until very recently, the widely held view among Democratic public officials was that marriage was only the union of a man and a woman. Now, no one really believed that was Obama's true view. It was opportunistic and deceptive, but probably necessary to avoid defeat at the hands of the otherwise eminently defeatable McCain/Palin ticket.

The more interesting change is the number of conservatives and moderate Republicans who have or are rethinking their position on this topic. Not in opposition to 'liberals', but rather in opposition to current Republican orthodoxy. What some would call independent thinking.

The self-laudatory groupthink that liberals have ideas, good ones for that matter, and conservatives don't; they simply oppose whatever good ideas liberals have is hugely entertaining to someone outside the elect. To shorten future discussions on this and related topics, can we agree to call this "liberal privilege"?

The self-laudatory groupthink that liberals have ideas, good ones for that matter, and conservatives don't; they simply oppose whatever good ideas liberals have is hugely entertaining to someone outside the elect.

Well, generally, people think their own ideas are good. That's why they have them in the first place.

But I don't think all liberal ideas are good, nor do I think conservatives limit themselves to opposing good liberal ideas, according to cleek's law. Good, bad or otherwise are all up for grabs.

individual mandate

cap and trade

universal background checks

Don't the the naive merit representationexploitation?

Now you're talkin'.

Now, no one really believed that was Obama's true view. It was opportunistic and deceptive, but probably necessary to avoid defeat at the hands of the otherwise eminently defeatable McCain/Palin ticket.

I agree. Obama's a politician and a flawed president.

But Democrats, post-Southern strategy at least, haven't been nearly as hostile to the ideas of gay marriage or civil unions as Republicans. They didn't suddenly decide gay marriage was okay because Republicans suddenly decided it was bad.

People change their minds in good faith sometimes, including conservatives and Republicans. I don't think cleek's law applies to every change of heart. Some fall outside the pattern being described.

Actually, I'll give you universal background checks, but not the other two.

cleek's law applies to only the things that it are consistent with it; otherwise, not.

I used to think that about conservatives, but today I completely disagree.

Slarti: cleek's law applies to only the things that it are consistent with it; otherwise, not.

Well, we're talking social science here, not physics.

Actually, I'll give you universal background checks, but not the other two.

Bush One may have looked at something, but that doesn't mean the view was shared generally by conservative Republicans, nor does it mean that the regime he recommended approximated what is now being discussed.

Was the Heritage Foundation's proposal--one think tank--sandwiched in a 2500 page bill?

Obama on the individual mandate--you missed that one.

President Obama claims to stand for a strong national defense. Does that mean all Dems share his view? Ditto drones, Guantanamo, still being in Afghanistan, blah, blah, blah.

Here's McKinney's Law: Reflexive ideologues think they are smart as shit and that their polar opposites are mentally differently-abled. They are particularly enamored of their own simplistic formulations.

Prove me wrong.

Here's McKinney's Law: Reflexive ideologues think they are smart as shit and that their polar opposites are mentally differently-abled. They are particularly enamored of their own simplistic formulations.

Prove me wrong.

I can't. I agree.

President Obama claims to stand for a strong national defense. Does that mean all Dems share his view? Ditto drones, Guantanamo, still being in Afghanistan, blah, blah, blah.

Liberals are more likely to openly disagree with each other, generally speaking. That's why they're not as politically effective as they might otherwise be (not that I'm suggesting they should get into a closer approximation of lock-step - just noting what is).

I don't see the parallelism between Obama's adoption of the individual mandate and cleek's law. Perhaps you have an example of something Obama supported but suddenly opposed once conservatives began supporting it.

can we agree to call this "liberal privilege"?

perhaps we can agree that some people have no sense of humor... ?

Liberals are more likely to openly disagree with each other, generally speaking.

HSH, if you had said "Liberals today..." you would have had a case. But I seem to remember the time, a few decades back, when liberals were at least as hysterically opposed to any heresy as conservatives are now. Just as I can remember a time when Democrats were as devotedly determined to be ideologically pure, no matter how many elections it lost them.

The Democrats eventually got over it; I expect the Republicans will, too. The only question is: how long, and how many lost elections, will it take? Since there seemed to be more non-liberal Democrats, even at the height of their ideologically-driven phase, than there are non-conservative Republicans today, it may take longer. But it will happen eventually.

Or someone will just piss all over the board ;).

Nice vid LJ.

Here's McKinney's Law: Reflexive ideologues think they are smart as shit and that their polar opposites are mentally differently-abled. They are particularly enamored of their own simplistic formulations.

that's a fine law, as well. a little wordy, though. :)

but look at this:

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) revealed that some members of his party opposed expanding background checks for gun sales recently because they didn’t want to “be seen helping the president.”

this is why my little aphorism gets repeated. it's this kind of stuff makes it completely obvious that "conservatism" is, in fact, driven at least in part by reflexive hatred of liberals. a solid majority of the country is in favor something, including many "conservative" representatives who nevertheless won't vote for it because the idea was championed by a liberal.

and, remember, aphorisms like this are not unbreakable predictive laws, they are descriptive, illustrative. you can't really prove something like that wrong, you can only stop it from being applicable. you have to stop it from a useful shorthand for what "conservatives" actually do and say. but as long as there are GOP lawmakers and pundits who acknowledge that they'll fight common sense just because liberals like it (and there's currently no shortage of those), it will be applicable.

do liberals oppose some things that have become "conservative" ? sure. but it doesn't seem like its got quite the same urgency (?) as the converse.

If conservatives have had any construtive ideas about any issue of importance in the last thirty years, they've been keeping it pretty quiet.

But I think the term 'conservative" is inaccurate in terms of the last thrity years or so of American politics anyway. "Reactionary" is a better word. Or even "righwing lunatic fringe". The Repubicans in Congress are a truely contemptable collection of the ethically and intellectually impaired. Nasty people. Ideas? All they have for ideas are tactics because all they ahve for goals is the furtherance of their pursuit of power and wealth for themselves.

cleek: ... many "conservative" representatives who nevertheless won't vote for it because the idea was championed by a liberal.

cleek, "reflexive hatred of liberals" may be exaggeration but demonization of the term "liberal" was, as I'm sure you recall, a deliberate political strategy codified by Newt Gingrich back during the Clinton administration. Now we see the outcome of this strategy, perhaps magnified by the electoral success of President Obama, who surely pushes hot buttons just by existing.

I harp on this sometimes because I really resent it, just as I imagine McKinneyTexas resents being lumped into a liberal-hating group, which I feel sure is unfair to him.

I resent McKinneyTexas being lumped into a liberal-hating group too and I wish the ghouls who have taken over the Republican Party would stop demonizing him for being so lovably unlumpable.

[I live to be a straight man for the Count! Von, two three, ah ah ahh!!]

perhaps we can agree that some people have no sense of humor... ?

It's those other guys. Douchebags, all of them.

you all realize you're getting bent out of shape about a comment - not a post, a comment- that cleek made, on another web site altogether, almost three years ago, right?

just asking.

I'm not sure which of us are getting bent out of shape, but I am fairly confident I am not one of them.

I am amused. This is much more fun than the serious poo-flinging activities we engage in.

I try not to get bent out of shape unless I'm naked.

*RIMSHOT*

McKinney's Law I will except as an axiom yet somehow feel personally offended. I may be simple minded and can't control myself at times.

I know I'm ignorant however I once took a survey that rated me in the top 2% of Americans for political awareness. WE'RE DOOMED

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/02/house-of-un-representatives/

An essay on the subject of Republican extremism and the conservative philosophy of "If Obama is for it, we're against it."

What really annoyes me is the lack of intellectual honesty shown by voters and pundits who continue to pretend that the House Republicans are normal people with "ideas" within the boundaries of reasonable political discourse.

What really irritates me is the constant restating from the left that House Republicans don't have ideas, then bounding the obviously inaccurate statement by using clever terms like "within the bounds of reasonable political discourse". You don't like their ideas. I get it. A majority of the people in the US voted for House Republicans, and Republican Governors, and Republican State Legislators. Their ideas are clearly within the bounds of reasonable political discourse.

A majority of the people in the US voted for House Republicans

that's not true. the GOP won a majority of districts. but add up the number of people who voted for a R rep v the number of D reps, and the D's win.

the GOP won the districting battle. but they're losing the popular vote. as usual.

from Laura's link:

Or that, in the aggregate, Democrats got 1.4 million more votes for all House positions in 2012 but Republicans still won control with a cushion of 33 seats.

...

As a whole, Congress has never been more diverse, except the House majority. There are 41 black members of the House, but all of them are Democrats. There are 10 Asian-Americans, but all of them are Democrats. There are 34 Latinos, a record — and all but 7 are Democrats. There are 7 openly gay, lesbian or bisexual members, all of them Democrats.

Only 63 percent of the United States population is white. But in the House Republican majority, it’s 96 percent white. Women are 51 percent of the nation, but among the ruling members of the House, they make up just 8 percent. (It’s 30 percent on the Democratic side.)

Yeah, yeah yeah, popular vote blah blah. The majority of "communities" voted Republican? Pick a criteria. Even if I accept the assertion, I accept the possibility, the point I made is valid if Republicans lost by a few million popular votes.

The majority of "communities" voted Republican?

a Congressional district is a "community" ?

talk about picking your definition!

Well, I have to admit, if you look at Barney Franks district lines, you know the Republicans didn't redistrict Massachusetts. :)

I actually wish that many of the opinions expressed by (R) members of Congress were weird outliers in terms of broad public opinion.

Unfortunately, I don't think that's so.

As Marty notes, redistricting or no, they actually do get elected and re-elected, year after year.

It's true, I don't like their ideas, but their ideas are far from outside the mainstream of American social and political thought.

There's lots of polling info that indicates that their positions are outliers. the fact that Repulbican politicians have to misrepresent or code-talk their positions is also an indication of how far out of the mainstream they are.

Most Americans, includig most Republican voters support background checks for gun sales.

How many Americans want Medicare to be turned into a voucher system? How many believe that cutting taxes for the wealthy creates jobs? How many think that life should be defiined as beginning at conception? How many think birth control pills shouldn't be covered by insurance?

It isn't a fluke that House Republicans and many in the Senate believe in weird conspiracy theories, indulge in exaggerated and hateful rhetoric, deny global warming, and in other ways demonstrate defects of character and mental processing. For the last thirty years the Republican party has deliberately polarized issues as part of their effort to expand their base by pulling in fringe people who used to not vote. Now in order to survive a primary the Republican politician has to eithr be or pretend to be as stupid, hate-filled and paranoid as their new base of voters.

But most Americans are not conpriracy therorists or haters. Maybe most Republican voters are, but most Americans are not.

Michelle Bachman gets re-elcted year after year partly because there are voters in her district that are just as extremist as she is. But the other reason she gets re-elected is because there are voters who vote for her in spite of her extremism because they see something ( a tax cut? Tribalism? Habit of voting for Republicans?) for themselves that allows them to rationalize voting for a person who is clearly unfit for public office.

That kind of enabling of wacko politicians is in my opinion bad citizenship.

And another thing! Just because some politicians sayys something out loud doesn't make the statement within the baoundraies of reason. One of the really harmful things Republica politicians are doig to us is desensitizig people by sayig out loud thigs that a reasonable person would be ashamed to say. Recent example: the claim that "the governemt" is buyig up ammunition to deprive gunowners of their right to bare arms.

That sort of wacko statemet is normative from House Republicans and not usual from Senate Republicans.

How many people wanted the ACA to pass? The polls don't define positions defines outside the bounds of reasonable public discourse, or we would have quit talking about gay marriage a decade ago.

Background checks, well they sound great to everyone, but 75% of Americans are afraid of a gun registry. So the devil is in the details.

I respect your positions, and agree with some, but claiming mass intellectual dishonesty is just a step too far.

How many Americans want Medicare to be turned into a voucher system? How many believe that cutting taxes for the wealthy creates jobs? How many think that life should be defiined as beginning at conception? How many think birth control pills shouldn't be covered by insurance?

IMO there are a very large number of Americans who whole-heartedly endorse every one of those things.

The Medicare thing, maybe less so, but certainly every other thing in your list. Hands down.

Unfortunately so, IMO, but nonetheless so.

I bet I could go into almost any public place in the US, swing a cat, and hit somebody who sincerely believes that the US government is buying up ammo in order to prevent private folks from stocking up.

I think that's borderline certifiable paranoia. It's also a mainstream opinion.

IMO it's hard to blame Congresspeople for being nuttier than a fruitbar when the things they think and say are common as mud.

75% of gun owners in America are afraid of a gun registry sounds more believable to me.
Have several gun carrying friends who have no problem with a gun registry and no fear of the feds coming for their guns.

Republicans didn't redistrict Massachusetts.

yes, it's true: gerrymandering exists, and all parties do it.

however, that does not change the indisputable fact that most of the people who voted for a House member in 2012 voted D.

popular vote winner = Dems.

But then I live in the Republic of California where we already keep a data base.

Background checks, well they sound great to everyone, but 75% of Americans are afraid of a gun registry.

as i'm sure you know, a background check does not require nor imply a gun registry.

Jeff, yes we have a gun registry. Bu tnobody is coming for our guns. And you can, in fact, find a gun store (more than one) in such not particularly conservative places as San Francisco and Berkeley. Which makes the whole "they will use it to take our guns" meme seem more than a little out of touch with reality.

I'm really stunned by the idea that Republican ideas are mainstream. And I was mistaken when I said the party has no ideas: there's Ayn Rand, Social Darwinism, the cult of privatization, the push to roll back the New Deal and bring back the Gilded Age.

But Republican politicians cannot honestly discuss trheir ideas because they kow their ideas are unpopular.

That's why they need their own fake news station.
That's why they have to distract the electorate with wedge issues.
That's why they employ the tactics of voter suppression and gerrymandering.

For example: Ryan wrote a budget that called for turning Medicare into a voucher system, gutting the funding for Medicaid, makig unemployment primarily a state expense, tax cuts for the rich, of course. Every House Repub voted for and so did most of the R Senators.

So that list of extremist and highly unpopular ideas must be the party lie for Republican politicians.

But note: the ruining of Medicare was only goig to effect people not currently on Medicare. Why not? Because the R's know that their demographic is old and likes Medicare. Also note how the whole party went into the Romney/Obama race spouting some manufactured crap about how OBAMA was cutting Medicare. Not them. Oh no not them!

Like Romney's campaign staffer said: etchisketch. All Repubicans running for national office lie. They have to because their ideas are not widley supported.

Another example: the defict. Which the Republicans, Ryam among them caused. Their oft repeated lie is that the defict was caused by the Hate-the-Other-du-jour. The truth is that the R's in Congress created it during the Bush years.

No, the party of religous fanatics and robber barons does not have mainstream ideas with wide support. That's not their appeal.

SACRAMENTO — The state will send dozens of new agents into California neighborhoods this summer to confiscate nearly 40,000 handguns and assault rifles from people barred by law from owning firearms, officials said Wednesday.
[...]
California is the only state in the nation to operate a database that cross-references gun owners with those who are subsequently disqualified from owning firearms. But budget cuts have prevented the state Department of Justice from keeping up with the list, which grows by 15 to 20 names every day, officials said.
[...]

Jerry Brown OKs funds to seize guns held illegally: The governor approves $24 million to confiscate weapons from people who can no longer own them due to criminal convictions, restraining orders or mental illness.

I'm really stunned by the idea that Republican ideas are mainstream.

Me, too.

I will talk about social and political issues on blogs. In real life, I will not, because there's no point.

With the possible exception of Medicare, all of the things you (Laura) have enumerated in this thread have widespread popular support.

Medicare is the exception, because anyone who lives long enough will benefit from it. SS too, to some degree. But in both cases, what is off limits is, as you point out, "MY Medicare" and "MY Social Security".

If anyone figures out how to frame that discussion as "you'll get YOUR Medicare / SS, we're just gonna cut that OTHER guy's", those programs are toast.

We're pretty close to that now.

The ideas espoused by Congressional (R)'s, including if not especially the House (R)'s, including if not especially the recently elected "Tea Party" House (R)'s, are solidly in the American mainstream.

If you want to know who's marginal, check out the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Can anyone even name a single member? If you're considering the Senate, it's easier, because there IS only one member.

Social Darwinism, Ayn Rand, privatization, accumulation of private wealth into increasingly few hands.

As far as I can tell, these are actually pretty popular ideas.

Maybe people aren't as nice as we might wish they were. Or, they're just scared sh*tless. Or, maybe the just really believe, for whatever reason, that the very best way for anything and everything to happen is for everyone to do it for themselves, and let the chips fall where they may.

Either way, the end result is same / same.

I really think that you are mistaken, Russell. Unless I am misunderstanding you. There's some poll data on the Washington Weekly on the subject of background checks. the jist of it is tht Dems in Red states should support background checks because the conservative opposition is small. Support for background checks is mainstream.Opposition is extermism.

I see no indication at all that there is support for the Ryan budget outside of Congress. Repulican politicians have to discuss it in terms of lies and distortions (reforming Medicare) because there is no support for voucherizing.

Issue by issue is like that. How many "pro-life" people want abortion to banned altogether? Even in missississippi and attmept o define life as beginning at conception failed. Heck evenmy fundamentalist neighbor knows tht women sometimes need to get a late term abortion for medical reasons. (She was aghast to learn about Republican attempts to interfere with medical pracitce. "This isn't the Middle Ages" she said. I said, "Time to stop voting for those creeps.")

I have another acquaintance who claims to be a liberatarian and reads Ayn Rand. He lives with his mother who is on SS and Medicare. He used to work for the state government as a seasonal firefighter and now is on disability. His daughter gets insurance through the state. He is vehemently opposed to Obamacare.

That's the essence of Republican philosophy and appeal right there: government for me and not for thee and you pay for it.

That is a philosophy that has wide appeal on the abstract level. But the holders of tghat philosophy become less inclined to vote Republican when one of two things happens: times get so rough that they recognize that government assistance is needed, or Republicans start attacking their life support system.

That's why Rand Paul had to say that he supported TVA (after making attacks on socialist government programs the mainstay of his pitch)

In other words when the Republican message is a generic and abstracted appeal to selfishness, sure, they get lots of votes. But when people start seeing what Repubicans actually do once they have the chance to enact policy...

Because real Republican policies aren't popular at all. That's why Republicans will votge against funding forFEMA in other states but demand it for their own.

There are gazillions of examples of this. Even Republican politicians don't want to enact their own policies in their own states.

Republicans are very good at appealing to the worst in human nature and there is always a lot of that around. But the capacity to bring out the worst in people and get them to the polls fueled by their baser instincts is not the same thing as having popular policy proposals.

I have another acquaintance who claims to be a liberatarian and reads Ayn Rand. He lives with his mother who is on SS and Medicare. He used to work for the state government as a seasonal firefighter and now is on disability. His daughter gets insurance through the state. He is vehemently opposed to Obamacare.

You're making my case for me.

I guess I don't get how. But I think we are talking past each other.

He isn't really a libertarian because he doesn't want to apply the philosophy to himself or his family or anyone he knows. He just likes to think that he is "in the know", smarter than other people, because he claims to believe things other people don't believe. It's a kind of contrarianism, a loser's pretentiousness.

He has no idea what Repubican policies are. I remember one day he was all excited about the worthlessness of federal employees. It was that period when R politicians all decided to lay off bums on welfare for a while and assault unions by way of discrediting federal and state employees. So here's this guy, falls for the rightwing meme immediately: "What are federal employees for anyway?" So I told him: forest rangers, the people who process your mom's SS checks, FBI, etc etc. After a while he had to admit that federal employees do a lot of essential services. Of course that didn't really change his mind. As a rightwinger he was supposed to hate on federal employees so he insisted that although the ones I mentioned were important there are all these other government employees that are overpaid and unnecesary...not having any clue at all, of course, that the Republican party was demonizing federal and state employees as part of the effort to extend right to work for less laws into the rust belt.

If a Republican said," I am attacking government employees because often they have unionjobs with middle class pay and I can't stand for that. I know that in many states they are the backbone of the economy and that the ripple effect on small businesses would be bad, but I don't care. I just want to undermine unions and pass work for less laws because the corporations that fund my campaign want that" the Republican would be telling the truth, but would not get elected.
.

BTW here's another example of how Republicans have to misrepresent their policies since there policies are bad and unpopular--- the Family Flexibility Act which would allow businesses to require overtime but stiff their employees by giving them time off instead of time and ahalf pay, thus getting more work hours out of people for less pay.

So, no I don't think there is much actual support for Repubican policies. I think Repubicans are very good at lying about their policies.

But I think we are talking past each other.

Could be.

I can't really speak for the quality of the thought process of folks who espouse "conservative" ideas. Most likely there are some who hold them thoughtfully, and some who have no clue WTF they are talking about.

I also agree that, if folks did think through what the actual consequences of "conservative" policies would be, not least for them, those policies would be less popular.

Not completely, there are folks who recognize that they, personally, would be materially harmed by conservative policies, and who embrace them nonetheless. But I do think that, if folks actually thought about it for five minutes, "conservative" policies would be less popular.

What I disagree with is that the ideas and the positions themselves are, in any way, marginal or outside the mainstream of current-day American social and political thought.

As far as I can tell, they are not.

And, I'm not sure what folks are embracing are all lies, it seems to me that many conservative politicians and spokespeople are quite clear - crystal clear - about what they intend.

Many if not most libertarians are the RW equivalent of what over here was once called 'salon bolsheviks', people that publicly praise extreme ideology and justify the real world effects as long as it does not touch themselves.

" It's a kind of contrarianism, a loser's pretentiousness."

This.

This is what disturbs me:

"Fascism is always made by disappointed people."

The quote is, famously, from Ernest Hemingway, who had seen the real thing.

What puzzles me is why so many people are disappointed.

Just check which rules supreme: greed or envy?
The first means: I want to have more than others, equal is NOT OK (keep ME up).
The second means: No one should have more than I, equal is OK (keep THEM down).
By tendency the former is Right* and the latter Left**.

*the idea of 'natural' winners ;-)
**the idea of 'natural' losers ;-)

It could be that we are making different assumptions about the word "support". My assumption is that someone cannot support what they don't understand--their support is for a fantasyy in their head, not what they think they are supporting.

OTOH, maybe people can support what they don't understand.

In any case I don't think the Repubican program of Social Darwinism, Ayn Rand ideology, religious extremism, fiscal irresponsiblity and corruption is popular. I think it is misunderstood the way Repubican poiticians intend that it be misunderstood: "reform" of SS, Medciare and Medicaid; vague-to-meaningless slogans about being pro-life or pro-family; vague-to-meaningless slogans about being anti-big government; anti-tax claims which are deliberately misrepresentated as attemtps to reduce taxes on the middle class when the real agenda is to shift taxes off the wealthy ad on to everyone else; and so on.

All this dressed up in hate and fear mongering, delivered through the filter of a fake news station and a network of extermist propagandists.

The point is to appeal to citizens who don't think carefully enough when it comes to politics.

I don't think it is, for most Americans, a matter of keeping these people up or these people down. For the Repubican base it is clear that they tend to see everything as a threat to their position, but that's jus tthe thirty percenter prespective. To the R base, it's a zero sum game: anythig other people get is perceived as taken from them. Gay people get married? Oh no! Our marriges are threatened! Voting rights protection? On no, those people are cheating whe they vote! Health insurance for people other than those Repubicans who are already on Medicare or vet's benefits? Oh no! They just can't grasp the concept that it might be possible to serve someone else's legitimae interests without taking away from theirs. But that's a minority perspective, the view from the hardcore Repubican voter.

I believe that the rest of us just want people to get a living wage for their work, have enough of us payig enough in taxes to support a decent, responsible society, and support government programs that deliever services that people cannot reasonably afford for themselves. yes, to do that rich people would have to pay more in taxes than they do now, but that's not dragging people down. It isn't even leveling the playing field. It's just people payig their membership dues in a way that is porportional to their resources.

OTOH, maybe people can support what they don't understand.

Yeah, I think they can and do. I think that's the nub of any apparent disagreement we've had in this thread.

There are certainly some folks who hold what are now called conservative positions from an informed and thoughtful perspective.

But "the base" - the folks who continue to elect (R)'s to public office - I think don't really have a very good grasp of what the real dynamics and consequences of the policy issues are.

Apologies in advance to anyone who thinks I'm insulting them. I'm just looking around and talking about what I see. That's what I see.

What puzzles me is why so many people are disappointed.

I don't find it puzzling at all.

Other than a fairly select group of white color professionals, in general nobody's got any money. And a lot of people live at the mercy of dynamics that they, generally correctly, feel are outside of their control.

"Disappointed" doesn't begin to cover it.

"The point is to appeal to citizens who don't think carefully enough when it comes to politics."

If you read through the comments, this gets said in several ways. Over and over. I think I consider all of these issues pretty carefully, understand both sides pretty well, and disagree with you often.

Your assumption, at its core, is the Republicans operate in bad faith and anyone who agrees with them is just not thoughtful or smart enough to figure it out. Or they are just bad people.

None of those things, on a wide scale, are true. We just come to different conclusions.

and disagree with you often

That just serves as proof that you don't think carefully enough, Marty.

The majority of people in the economic condition you're describing, russell, did not vote for Republicans. Most Republicans have money - the higher a voter's income in 2012, the more likely the voter would be voting for Romney. Those people have no reason to be "disappointed." Even the stock market went up under Obama.

The dynamics might have been a bit different in the Red states, which can just as easily be described as the neo-Confederate states. But I don't think the votes there have anything to do with disappointment in the economy. Many just feel a cultural bond with the Republican party, based the Republican embrace of states' rights and Bible belt rhetoric. And even in red states, many Republican Congresspeople won only because of gerrymandering. The majority of voters in the country voted for Democrats for Congress. (Gerrymandering certainly played a huge role in Virginia politics, where the majority of voters voted for Obama AND Democratic Congressional candidates, but Republicans were sent back to Congress.)

Wealthy Republicans aren't disappointed - they just don't want to pay taxes. Less wealthy Republicans have been persuaded by cultural rhetoric, but they don't have any more reason to be "disappointed" than those who voted for more progressive government, other than the fact that someone who they don't identify with is in the White House.

I agree with Laura that many of the "libertarians" who aren't wealthy are contrarians who bought into the Ayn Rand mythology.

That just serves as proof that you don't think carefully enough, Marty.

With all due respect to everyone posting here on ObWi, I will offer the following thoughts.

I've been participating regularly, if not daily, on political blogs for something like ten years. Lately here on ObWi, before that on almost purely conservative blogs, notably RedState.

I was on RedState, specifically, for a couple of years, each and every day almost without exception, back in the days of Krempasky and Domenech and Trevino and Erickson and Yousafzadeh and streiff and "Thomas Crown".

All of you conservative folks here who think it's tough going hanging out on ObWi, I can tell you that I feel your pain, and I can also tell you that whatever level of swimming upstream you think you encounter here is small beer in comparison.

And, I had a very good and cordial relationship with all of those guys, and was invited to post on the front page there quite a number of times.

So, I am comfortable saying that I'm not just hanging out online to point and laugh at stupid dumb-ass conservative yokels.

I also have a number of family members who are VERY VERY conservative including my mother (when she was alive), a couple of uncles, sister, and a couple of brothers in law.

I've also been alive and more or less paying attention throughout the Bush years, and through the recent Tea Party ascendancy.

What I have taken away from all of that is the observation that MANY MANY MANY folks who identify as conservative frequently are lacking in some basic information.

They're not stupid, or incapable, but they are lacking information. Either they don't have it, or what they do have isn't very good. Or, frankly, in many cases, they don't do much with what they have.

That observation is the product of spending many, many, many, many, many hours, conversing with conservatives, asking them to explain their point of view, and asking them to explain their reasons for why they think and believe as they do.

And, asking all of those things out of a genuine desire to know. Not to play some kind of weird game of "gotcha", but to deal, frankly, with more or less daily episodes of finding myself asking "WTF?!?!"

A lot of folks who self-identify as conservatives aren't working from very good, or very complete, information. And/or, they have not spent a lot of time putting what information they do have through anything resembling a critical thought process.

I will say that, on RedState, the one guy who I found the most thoughtful was the guy who posted as Thomas Crown. He was also the guy who viewed Pinochet is kind of hero. It was a curious experience, for me, to find myself with a sense of great respect and affection for a guy who thought Pinochet was kind of a good guy, but there you have it.

That perhaps gets into the "bad people" issue, but that's probably another topic.

At any rate, at least he'd thought it through.

"What I have taken away from all of that is the observation that MANY MANY MANY folks who identify as conservative frequently are lacking in some basic information."

I don't doubt this true, I could restate it replacing conservative with liberal, or progressive, and have no doubt that it is true.

Politicians sell unicorns and fairy dust. It is the, what was that word used earlier...pretentiousness of those who believe that all the people that agree with them are the well informed ones that I object to.

I have a great deal of experience similar to russell's where it concerns discussing things with self-described conservatives who run with bad, little or poorly connected information.

But I also have a few liberal friends who don't seem to know much beyond the points of view they're "supposed" to hold. They will agree with me on many things, but for reasons they can't explain very well. So I, personally, recognize that people who agree with me aren't always well informed.

I also recognize that there are very well informed people who disagree with me based on a fundamental disagreement, say, about some nuance of human - at what point do people change their behavior given some increase or decrease in some incentive? That sort of thing.

All that said, in this country, today, I think there's more reflexivity on the right. It's not everyone on the right, and the right doesn't have a monopoly on it. It's just that, if you find it, that's where it's more likely to be.

I'll throw this out there, for whatever it's worth: If someone in America is an abject racist, do you think that person is more likely to be conservative or liberal? I'm sure you can guess my answer, but I'm curious to see how our more conservative commenters would answer.

hsh,

You would have to define abject. If you mean vocal, obvious, then I would agree that they would tend to be conservative, although I have several acquaintances that would not fall neatly there.

As for racism at its most insidious, people who feel sorry for "those" people and promulgate the worst stereotypes, different answer.

But, then, that's often the difference between racism in the north and south.

And since it is one of the two or three topics I have decided to never discuss on a blog again, that will be all I have to say on it.

Just didn't want to leave your question hanging.

I don't doubt this true, I could restate it replacing conservative with liberal, or progressive, and have no doubt that it is true.

I, personally, recognize that people who agree with me aren't always well informed.

I have no disagreement with either of these statements.

I'll even go further, and say that in virtually *any* context in life, it's dead common for people to strongly hold points of view that they haven't thought very much about.

There's only so much time in a day, and for any given subject, most people have other demands on their time and attention that are, to them, more compelling.

I also recognize that there are very well informed people who disagree with me based on a fundamental disagreement

Likewise.

IMO the fundamental difference between the conservative and liberal points of view in the US is the degree to which you think people in a political or social community are responsible to, and for, each other.

And/or, what the boundaries of "political and social community" are.

Again IMO and only IMO, the rest is kinda noise.

Kindly note the repeated IMO's. As always, MO and a dollar will get ALMOST get you a small regular coffee at Dunkin's.

All of that to the side, what's really clear to me is that the points of view held by most elected officials with an (R) after their name are (a) really what they think, and (b) pretty commonly held within the public at large.

So, not to pick a fight with Laura, but yes, I think that the standard set of Republican positions are solidly mainstream.

Well, I enjoy theorizing about people and their motives, etc., but it really doesn't matter. When we're talking about economic policies, there's something that really shouldn't be ignored: history. Austerity doesn't build the economy. Tax cuts don't create jobs. These kinds of things have been tried, and they haven't worked.

Head Start has been shown to help kids. Why does anyone object to helping kids - they didn't do anything wrong. People rely on Social Security and Medicaid. As a result, they don't have to rely on their adult children as much as they did in the olden days. That helps families during the time that they're trying to support their children: they don't have to be the sole support of their parents too. The reality is that these are the kinds of programs that work very well, and they're the very ones that Republicans keep trying to cut. It defies logic, history and experience, not to mention common sense.

Sure, maybe Warren Buffett could have done much better on his social security money than the feds. Blah, blah, blah. I am not as patient (obviously) as russell and hsh.

And as far as mainstream goes, I guess that depends on how you define mainstream. The Republican point of view is definitely a minority view. Unfortunately, because of our electoral system, it's far too well represented in Congress.

I could spend the next several days unpacking a lot of what has passed here. This is why I like ObWi.

To illustrate why conservatives believe as they do, to the extent I can generalize, I will use Obamacare, taxes, the budget/deficit and the decision to invade Iraq as examples. Regarding social conservatives, I will use abortion and same sex marriage. Here goes:

Obamacare--The legislative process was objectively awful. No one actually saw or read the law before it was voted on. This was by design. Last minute deals were cut to get senate hold-outs to switch their votes. Obamacare didn't outlaw slavery, so the fact that Abe Lincoln, according to a movie, went along with some unsavory stuff to pass the 13th amendment doesn't cut it. All in all, the process was disgusting and expecting people to trust and respect the authors of that process is just BS. Sorry, no offense, but just as Bush and particularly Cheney do not get a pass on BS'ing everyone into invading Iraq, Obama, Pelosi and Reid do not get a pass on that sh*itty abomination. If you are true believer, maybe the ends justify the means, but for those of us who dissented, we were railroaded and having been railroaded once, don't come looking for forgiveness going forward. That was bridge-burning writ large. If I am missing some key information here, feel free to enlighten me.

Leaving process aside, the substance of Obamacare, to the extent anyone understands it, is not solid grounds for trusting liberal judgment. Some number of thousands of pages of regulations have been passed to supplement the 2500 pages of legislation (I keep hearing 15,000, but that could be urban legend). No one is reporting a decrease in cost anywhere. If anything, the early indications are that OC will increase already increasing costs. I'm not going to go into an extensive litany of what is being said and reported about OC, but very little if any of it is cause for happiness. Just the opposite, in fact. If the bad news turns out to be true, if OC turns out to be a truly screwed up deal of unprecedented proportions, then everything that was said about it, pre-passage, by its supporters was a big-ass lie. Worse, it is a virtually irreversible burden imposed on generations of Americans.

So, if I am reflexively opposed to new ideas and initiative emanating from the same quarter, it isn't without basis in experince.

During the run up to the vote on OC, if you can call it that, Republicans and conservatives were criticized for not being constructive, for not offering alternatives, for not trying to make it work. First, that's hard to do when you are shut out of the legislative process. Second, if one is simply not on board with an idea, such as OC, it really is ok and really is not ignorance or venal to simply oppose it. One does not need to have a great alternative in mind when someone else comes up with a really bad idea.

For example, invading Iraq was a really bad idea, certainly in hindsight. The opposition didn't really have an alternative, they just said, "no, it's wrong and it's stupid and you will be creating an even worse problem". Ok, that was a fair response, particularly in hindsight. Why is it fair for liberals to simply oppose Iraq but not for conservatives to simply oppose Obamacare?

Put differently: Opponents of that endeavor were not wrong for failing to come up with an alternative for deposing Saddam. They were justified in arguing for the status quo and keeping options open even if Saddam himself was an unsavory bastard we could all live without. Not every problem, even every big problem, demands an immediate, untried, open-ended solution.

Conservatives, if not Republicans, don't like sh*tloads of debt. They also don't like high marginal tax rates, not because they love the uber wealthy (sorry Laura, but really, that isn't it). Rather, on a macro basis, they either understand economics or, like me, they don't understand economics but reasonably intuit, that sucking more and more money out of the private sector and funneling it through the public sector is a long term loser. Money taken in as taxes is money that is not available for investment (apparently, liberals love gov't investing but the private sector, not so much). I am not saying that every excess private dollar goes into investments. Per Bloomberg, a certain former Vice President has a cool 200 million in the bank after selling his Apple warrants and his TV network. Maybe that is investment, after all, assuming that certain someone doesn't just tie the proceeds up in a perpetual trust to ensure this his descendants, like the Kennedy's, never have to actually get a job and live with the consequences of his philosophy. But, leaving that aside, on a macro basis, there are several million of us who do save and invest and when our taxes go up, there is that much left for us to put to that purpose.

Somewhat as an aside, conservatives like the private sector because they believe, on a macro basis, that creativity, hard work and the profit motive produce a better end result than, say, crony capitalism. The private sector produces more jobs and more money for more people than any other process in the history of the world. It is just plain better. And taking money away from that process and the benefits it produces for so many without a compelling reason is not only bad policy, it is wrong. Conservatives believe that people should be allowed to keep what they make except for true public needs. And we are a lot less inclined to find a *true public need* every time we look out the window.

And even that is an overstatement. Anecdotally, conservatives today are conditioned to pay income tax and social security tax. A tax rate up to 33-35%. plus FICA, is widely viewed as fair, among conservatives. Gov't spending for SS, for scholarships for proven, deserving students who lack means, national defense, capital assets such as bridges and roads, a court system, law enforcement, etc. are all well within conservative values. A safety net for the truly disabled is within our means. Medicare, whether it is a good idea or not, is institutional now and can't be eliminated. It has to be reigned in. It has to be means-tested, and its benefits have to be rationed. We just don't have the money. So, with respect, it is simplistic, unthinking BS to say that most conservatives want to make the rich richer and leave everyone else to be entirely on their own. We do feel that, for the most part, the incentive of going hungry, going without shelter or clothing etc is a prime motivator for those who would otherwise live a subsistence existence on whatever they can get from the system and we believe it is better to force that limited class of person to experience life's hard realities and make personal adjustments than it is to enable dependency. Most liberals live their private lives like this and force their children to go to school and get jobs and get the hell off the parental tit. They just don't apply that personal experience to the rest of society.

Back on the private sector topic: How many start-ups got stimulus money, spent lavishly and then went belly up? Does anyone out there have a head count? How many owners of those start-ups gave money to Obama? Anyone see a pattern? In the private sector, you get to pick what you invest in, and if you lose, you lose. On the gov't side, you are buying gov't support (something your competitors don't have) and taxpayers are underwriting the risk. Sorry, but conservatives think that's stacking the deck and morally wrong.

So, in a nutshell, we don't like high marginal tax rates because they retard the private sector, which we like a lot more than the gov't deciding who wins and who loses.

Also, we like a reasonable degree of honesty from our national leaders. You may think Republicans speak with a forked tongue, and in many instances I would agree (which is why I am not a Republican), but for the life of me, I don't see how anyone can take Obama's words on fiscal responsibility, compare them to his policies and not conclude he isn't the World's Biggest Snake Oil Salesman. Seriously, there isn't one f'ing non-defense program anywhere that can't be just eliminated? Not one? After 5 years in office, after promising all kinds of economic pie-in-the-sky, he can't cut anything? Jesus.

And what has he done to get people back to work? To get the economy going? I'm talking about the private sector, BTW.

On the social conservative side, yes, the Republican Party has an excess of religious zealots, many of whom are anti-gay marriage and pro-life (in varying degrees). However, views are changing on the gay marriage front, almost monthly. On abortion, they are changing too, but not in favor of the absolutist position of NOW and others. I'm a pro-life (with exceptions for heightened threat to the mother's health, rape and incest), pro-gay marriage conservative. I've come to both of these positions, to paraphrase Marty, after much, much thought and deliberation. I've just reached a result with which liberals disagree.

Final note (directed at Russell, who I really like): life is uncertain and almost all of us are subject to whim and vagary to one degree or another. It has always been that way and always will be that way. Creativity and individual freedom are inherently uncertain and volatile. Some will always have more than others, in good ways and in bad. That said, there isn't a time or place in history where *as many people* have lived as well as pretty much every person in America lives today, in terms of food, shelter, clothing and medical care. The bigger and more diverse a country becomes, the more friction you get at the lower, outer periphery. The fundamental problem I have with liberals is the damage the would do, unintentionally for the most part, to the vast majority by constantly trying tweak society at the outer edge.

Ok, end of rant. Have a nice day.

Ok, I just posted the World's Longest Comment, twice, and after being told that it's posted, it isn't. I've saved it for posterity, but I'd like at least one person out their to have the chance to ignore it. So, if it's in the spam trap, please, in the name of all that's good and worthy about the human race, release it.

Interesting discussion. I tend to turn off when people raise these questions of the popularity of various programs or points of view, so to me, the question of whether policy X or program Y is popular seems like a diversion from does this program/policy make sense. I mean, it seems like Here comes Honey Boo Boo is pretty popular. (this is not to imply anyone here likes or dislikes Honey Boo Boo. My brief brushes with it leave me uninterested, so maybe I'm missing something)

In terms of electoral gamesmanship, popularity is, however, the gold standard, because you can't get people to vote for things that are not popular. But if you hitch your wagon too tightly to popularity, you end up being like Jennifer Rubin. Which is something I wouldn't wish on anyone.

And I just dropped into the dashboard and liberated McT's comment, so none of this is related to what he wrote. I also noted a comment by Laura and one by Count-me-in, from 2 and 3 days ago respectively. I think that you both have posted them in revised form, but if you didn't, let me know and I will take them out of the amber.

Obamacare--The legislative process was objectively awful.

It generally is.

No one actually saw or read the law before it was voted on.

That is objectively not true.

This was by design.

Assumes facts not in evidence, or is simply evidence of paranoia. Your pick.

Last minute deals were cut to get senate hold-outs to switch their votes.

Like the passage of Medical Part D under the GOP's watch? I am gobsmacked.

Obamacare didn't outlaw slavery, so the fact that Abe Lincoln, according to a movie, went along with some unsavory stuff to pass the 13th amendment doesn't cut it.

Objection. Not relevant.

All in all, the process was disgusting and expecting people to trust and respect the authors of that process is just BS.

Sorry. That is just pure BS.

Sorry, no offense, but just as Bush and particularly Cheney do not get a pass on BS'ing everyone into invading Iraq, Obama, Pelosi and Reid do not get a pass on that sh*itty abomination.

The current of hysteria runs deep among conservatives.

If you are true believer, maybe the ends justify the means

Typically, the ends are used to justify the means by nearly everybody.

but for those of us who dissented, we were railroaded

No. Your side lost an election and a subsequent legislative battle.

and having been railroaded once, don't come looking for forgiveness going forward. That was bridge-burning writ large.

Why, exactly, would I bother to?

If I am missing some key information here, feel free to enlighten me.

We could get into the weeds on the legislative history, the players, and the policy, but the lack of detail is stunning, and thus a detailed reply cannot be put down at this time.

Enjoy your next round, Tex.

Legislators who don't read legislation (or have their staffers do it) aren't doing their jobs. Period.

And Obamacare wasn't jammed thorugh. The core idea was from the heritage Foundation, and had been tried out in Massachusetts with the approval many Republicans in Congress who considered it a modle of what their party should be promoting. (There's a youtube of Boehner praising Romneycare in that light)

The rest was hammered out with repeated concessions to Republicans in Congress. Republicans were able to move the goalsposts several times, in fact.

No, that crap from Republican Congresspeople about not being able to influence the development of the bill or not knowing what was in the bill--just more lies.

"But 'the base' - the folks who continue to elect (R[D])'s to public office - I think don't really have a very good grasp of what the real dynamics and consequences of the policy issues are."
Otherwise, they'd all be voting for libertarians. :)

McKinney, I've been so grateful for the common ground we've found on some issues lately.

I can't agree here, however. Americans have so long been so far behind the rest of the democratic world in health care coverage. It was embarrassing to work for a company that had British owners and employees who got 6 weeks of vacation, and extensive health care benefits while their American counterparts (me) got "the usual."

The fact that we're even arguing about issues that support the basic dignity of the American people baffles me. As Laura pointed out, Obamacare was originally a Republican plan. If the left had been able to shove healthcare down the throat of Republicans, it wouldn;t have looked like Obamacare. Rather, it would have been something like Medicare for all.

And if it's irreversible, it's only because people won't want to lose it.

"It was embarrassing to work for a company that had British owners and employees who got 6 weeks of vacation, and extensive health care benefits while their American counterparts (me) got "the usual."

I am so sick of this argument. Europe is in the throes of their next recession, the unemployment in much of Europe is 20%+, they were forced to implement almost catastrophic tightening, their banks are under capitalized by half what the TBTF banks are here, their unions are in the street complaining about 36 hour work weeks and more and more companies are leaving most of Europe because it doesn't pay to try to manufacture there. Every day someone on the news reiterates that people are investing here, even though our economy is practically stagnant, because we are the best house on a bad block.

Then, when Republicans say that we should make sure we don't get into that position we are considered evil and told we should be more like Europe.

Then, in the next breath we get lectured about not learning lessons from the past. You don't have to look at the past.

The outcome of liberal policy is there, real time, every day. It ain't us that don't learn from experience.

England isn't Europe. And, yes, there's been a worldwide recession, and austerity programs haven't helped, nor has the fact that governments have bailed out banks which took huge risks on credit default swaps.

Maybe we should turn the conversation back to where we started - information, facts, and lack therof.

So it's European healthcare that's causing their economic problems, or was there some other point? I certainly wouldn't advocate adopting every aspect of Europe's economic structure, not by a long shot. But, looking at how they handle healthcare, I'd probably start by considering outcomes in that specific area.

"Maybe we should turn the conversation back to where we started - information, facts, and lack therof."

Facts, nothing I said wasn't a fact. No, England isn't Europe, they just started their next recession. Yes healthcare along with every other social democratic supported policy, in toto, is the reason they are broke. Yes austerity has helped save the banks and the Euro, now they are loosening up to help the economy.

They are now implementing expansive monetary policy, along with fiscal austerity.

Do you have any facts that you think make any of my facts not true? No, except to say this particular program or that particular policy aren't the cause. No, altogether they add up to the cause. Just like they are starting to here.

But now we have entered the circular discussion that paralyzes our country.

We should not spend more than we afford to pay for.
We didn't cause the deficits.
We shouldn't cut program a-z because some person benefits from it.
But we don't have that much money.
Well, we didn't cause the debt.
Well, we should raise taxes on the rich.
Well, even if that is a good idea it doesn't make the least bit of difference in the deficit.
Well, we didn't cause the deficit Bush did.
No, ACA is exploding the deficit.
But, it is still the deficit.
So we should tax the rich anyway.
OK we taxed the rich more and it didn't change the deficit. So, what should we cut.
We should tax the rich more.
But, that still wont touch the debt.
It will reduce it some.
OK, but what should we cut?
We shouldn't cut program a-z because some person benefits from it. Besides, Europe pays for all those things.
But they are way more broke than we are already.

Well I guess its ok to spend more than we can afford to pay.

On a slightly calmer note, the problem is like this. When economies are doing great everybody gets a bonus. When I got a bonus at work I didn't buy a bunch of stuff that meant I had to get a bonus every year to pay for it. So the years i didn't get a bonus i just didn't have any extra money.

As a country, and in Europe, we get the bonus and buy stuff that costs us that much every year. Then the years come when there is a recession and we not only have to borrow what we expect to make, but the extra we added.

It doesn't matter why we have a recession, at all, the problem is that we are still having to borrow the bonus.

And the infinite money supply doesn't fix that. The debt eventually gets high enough you can't borrow the bonus plus the interest.

Plus, Every program is like a puppy. Everyone likes puppies, they are good, everyone agrees. So, once in place, if you can't afford them you become broke or a puppy hater.

You can talk about different peoples views of what we owe each other, the community, or whether some just hate puppies.

I think it speaks well of the folks whose puppy is the defense budget that they were truly worried enough about the debt that they gave up their puppy. If there has been a single thing that reinforces my view that there are serious people trying to solve what they believe is a serious problem, its that the defense cuts haven't been overridden.

Facts, nothing I said wasn't a fact.

You cited a couple of facts: (1.) Europe is experiencing high unemployment and (2.) well, not much else.

A society does not "tighten its belt" by throwing millions out of work. It commits economic and social suicide. Austerity is a disastrous policy choice and is not, by any means, dictated by economics. And if I see or hear one more time the claim that "we can't afford it", I'm going to puke on somebody's shoes.

The core idea was from the heritage Foundation

Said core idea was published to pretty much nonexistent enthusiasm on the right. But: Heritage Foundation! Automatic widespread approval on the part of Conservative sheeples!

And surprise, surprise: Romney is actually kind of liberal, in some respects. No one who has been paying attention would be shocked by this.

Said core idea was published to pretty much nonexistent enthusiasm on the right.

Well, back to this: many people on the right are just knee-jerk contrarians. Almost nobody (including those on the right), thinks that the pre-Obamacare health care system works well, or is cost-effective. Yet, they've never come up with their own policy option (or not one that they will own up to). They had six years under Bush with a Republican Congress and a Republican president, and the only thing they did about health care was the Medicare Part D option, the hugely costly (when deficits didn't matter) boondoggle for pharmaceutical companies.

(But, of course, they really don't hate the bene's all that much - at least, not when they're getting them.)

many people on the right are just knee-jerk contrarians

Yes, when we're not mindlessly lapping up absolutely everything that Rush Limbaugh says.

You have us nailed, sapient. We're whatever it is you don't care for at the moment.

When economies are doing great everybody gets a bonus.

Not to set off another round of "Bush sucks! No, Obama sucks!", but we had a bonus.

In the late 90's, the economy was ridiculously strong, and we had a bonus. We had years where the budget was, if you squinted just right, balanced.

And that bonus got pissed away. It got pissed away on Medicare Part D, two wars, and a tax cut that we knew would put us back into debt AT THE TIME IT WAS PASSED.

So, we screwed up.

Now, we owe money and we need to pay it back.

And, not for nothing, but among the creditors are all of the people, including you and me, who spent their entire working lives paying extra into SS in order to build up a surplus to fund the dreaded boomer retirement that everyone is so freaked out about.

Remember? Reagan and Tip had lunch and a martini and they worked it out, back in '83 or so.

I'm absolutely in favor of raising tax rates back to the Clinton-era levels. Because we had a bonus, we pissed it away, and now we need to pay the bills.

There is nothing in the current political discussion that makes me want to reach for my pitchfork more than the idea that people should have to accept limits and reductions on benefits that *they have paid for, over their entire working lives*, so that somebody making six figures and up won't have to pay another nickel on their top marginal dollar.

Will it single-handedly eliminate the whole deficit? No. Will taking my lunch to work instead of buying at the cafeteria single-handedly pay off my mortgage? No.

Nonetheless, I brown-bag it.

With one hand, we built up a rainy day fund, and with the other hand we pissed it away. And, we knew we were doing it when we did it.

If you make six figures and up, you can find a way to pay another nickel. That includes me, so yeah, raise my taxes.

We spent the money, we knew we were spending the money, now the bill is due. Pay the freaking bill.

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