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April 04, 2021

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My vote in 2020 counted 1 of 11 million or so. Still the way it should work.And my candidate didn't win. For that matter in 2016 either.

But, I'm thinking the filibuster is a more meaningful concern, and that is more important. This two years will pass and it will be moot for a few years but in 2025 the Democrats could regret killing it.

Marty: "WE" are doing it for noble reasons, it just happens to help us be in charge.

Marty,

I can't tell whether that comment of yours at 1:50 was meant to address my 1:41 or not.

And I can't tell whether the final line, as quoted and standing alone, is about the nobility of Republicans filibustering everything at the federal level, or artfully suppressing votes at the state level, or what. I suppose it depends on what "WE" you mean.

But never mind those things. If you are as sincere and reasonable as GftNC gives you credit for, please explain how

The executive was setup to recognize the voice of the people

squares with the Electoral College structure.

--TP

the 60-vote-threshold filibuster has fuck-all to do with any "We". it has nothing at all to do with the Constitution or the design of the government or representation or democracy. it's a modern creation, literally younger than everybody here. it's a Senate rule, one of countless that Senators agree to in order to make their anti-democratic club function, and it was designed to remedy a series of previous procedural abuses by the minority.

that it's the only Senate rule anyone can name is because it's such a ridiculous bunch of nonsense that it's essentially one of those News Of The Weird things that you're shocked to learn is actually real. and we keep having to have explained to us over and over because it flies in the face of common sense and how people naturally think our government should work.

I'm beginning to think that Marty's political ideal mostly consist of making all collective action as difficult as possible so that only a tiny set of collective desires, pursued with heroic effort, get mandated.

Goodbye, climate.

it's: GOP 4E, Dems suck it.

Goodbye, climate.

the climate is a liberal hoax. just like COVID.

it literally doesn't exist. there is weather and the flu and that's that. suck it libz.

"We were set up as a representative republic, in large part, because a straight democracy was simply technologically impractical over the distances involved at the time that the nation was set up"

This of course is not the case. We were set up this way because none of the states were prepared to cede all of there sovereignty to a central government

The trouble with this thesis is the obvious detail that the state governments are also set up as representative democracies.

The Democratic party spent the last four years standing in the way.

In the way of WHAT? The Republicans successfully passed the tax cut. Was there anything else that they tried to do (in the first two years, obviously), and which got filibustered? Not that I recall. So, educate me, what were the Democrats standing in the way of, and how did they do it?

My vote in 2020 counted 1 of 11 million or so.

In Florida.

There are 49 other states.

But, I'm thinking the filibuster is a more meaningful concern, and that is more important.

It's certainly a more immediate issue, and more consequential. Which is to say, it could actually happen something like soon, and it would have a large effect.

The effect would be that it wouldn't take 60 votes to bring legislation to the floor, and it would only require a majority to pass it.

in 2025 the Democrats could regret killing it.

Quite possibly so.

Equally possibly, if they leave it as is, they'll regret that, too. And not just then, but now.

It's sensible to look forward, but you also have to deal with what's in front of you now.

Right now the (R)'s in the Senate, who neither represent the majority of the people who live in this country nor even a majority in the Senate, can bring legislation to a halt.

Since passing legislation is the raison d'etre of Congress in the first place, that seems... undesirable.

If the counter-argument is that the legislation shouldn't pass in the first place, my response is "says who?".

We're a republic, but that doesn't mean that the interests and preferences of the people who live here are to be ignored.

I get that we don't want to trample on the rights of the minority, but "trample on their rights" is not the same as "they don't get their way".

oh, the Dems filibustered the hell out of the GOP during the Trump years - 314 times!

they did it almost 2x as much as the GOP did under Obama. 175 times!

which was more than 4x as the Dems did it under Bush. 39 times!

which was almost 3x what the GOP did under Clinton. 15 times!

which was equal to all of the times from Johnson through Bush 1.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/08/senate-record-breaking-gridlocktrump-303811

and it's not going to get better. and it serves no purpose but to kill democracy.


We're a republic, but that doesn't mean that the interests and preferences of the people who live here are to be ignored.

and, of course, nothing in the concept of "republic" has anything to do with a 3/5 majority vote requirement in any chamber.

in 2025 the Democrats could regret killing it.

kill it. kill it now. dead dead dead.

But cleek, those numbers are mostly for who -- blocking nominations. (Of, usually, manifest incompetents. Although that is beside the point.)

But my question was about what? What legislation was blocked by a filibuster?

If the filibuster is killed, then the Dems will pass a bunch of legislation that will be broadly popular but will enrage and energize the GOP base. Then the GOP base will work extra hard to tamp down voting to eke out an electoral win and repeal a bunch of broadly popular legislation, which they will try to manage by using more vote suppression to relieve electoral pressure and make their seats safe.

But the only thing that I see changing in any of this is that with the option above, some broadly popular legislation gets passed. I don't think any of the other particulars will be altered. That pattern is already present even with the filibuster.

Ending partisan redistricting seems like the best way to see a shift in behavior because it would restore the electoral pressure that the GOP *should* be feeling.

I get that we don't want to trample on the rights of the minority, but "trample on their rights" is not the same as "they don't get their way".

True enough, but underlying that is the belief that it's perfectly fine, even desirable, for people with certain views (and skin color) to trample on the rights of the majority. That's the entire point of all of this from start to finish. The rest is just lipstick on a pig.

Perhaps relevant, in full or in part.

What I do observe is that, to my knowledge, no (D) is arguing that fewer people deserve to vote, or ought to vote.

In my book, nuff said.

From russell's link:

The framers had absolutely not created a democracy, he wrote, but rather had worried about “a tyranny of the masses” who would vote for laws that redistributed tax dollars into projects that would benefit themselves.

Because heaven forbid that anything should be allowed to stand in the way of those who are strong and clever and grasping enough to redistribute unfair shares of the bounty of nature to benefit themselves.

Also, FWIW, I am in favor of non-partisan redistricting for all states, even those with a current Democratic majority.

Consent of the governed (in representative forms of government) only matters if there is a meaningful way of registering and bestowing consent in a prescribed, transparent, non-disruptive plebiscite to ensure that those governing still have consent.

Interesting stuff. In the copyright thread, Marty wrote
I would suggest that politically we would still define some people as poor because it is a relative measure that is convenient to address a certain constituency.

I started to write a reply asking Marty to define the certain constituency, but I thought why bother. We'd just go around with the you are calling me racist and I'm not merry go round.

I realize, after GftNC's ponderings and the replies, that viewing that sort of observation can be quite different when viewed formally vs functionally.

Formally, if someone really feels strongly about condition X, such as the necessity for moral strength in voting or independence as an indication of deservedness, holding that the group that supports the opposite can be viewed as not be prejudicial. Any group that goes against the principle would be subject to dismissal, so the person can assure themselves, formally, that they are being prejudiced. That's the whole point of the Anatole France quote about the majestic equality of the law, which is also at the top of this blog post, which might be interesting to read, after you finish this comment, of course.

Functionally, this is obviously not the case, and, as folks have pointed out here, many of the provisions in these laws seem to have been targeted, as the appeals court in NC wrote 'with almost surgical precision'. But if you never think about the function, just about the formality, you can assure yourself you aren't being prejudiced. And hey, precision is a good thing, isn't it?

I bring up an oldie but a goodie that may be misremembered by me, when a commenter no longer here was being challenged about problems with police violence, he said nonsense, he would support police being given the death penalty for perjury. So his conscience was clear. It was hard to tell if he really thought this or if it was just a convenient exit to assure himself that he wasn't going to fall for any liberal claptrap. Who knows?

I hear an almost inaudible roar asking me what this has to do with linguistics, where formalism and functionalism have been locked in a death match. This post by Martin Haspelmath notes that generative linguists are abandoning the comittment to innateness, which, to a functionalist like me, would seem to be giving up on the Generative Enterprise (a phrase from Chomsky that Pullum sends up in an essay in his book The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax and Other Irreverent Essays on the Study of Language)

The obvious conclusion from all this is that formalists need to be put in stocks and pelted with rotten veggies. It's the only way to be safe.

Reading russell's link to Heather Cox Richardson, I was reminded of one of my Poli Sci professor's arguments - the federal government's expansion is proportional to, and a result of, the expansion of the franchise.

We, the people is constant, but who counts as people changes. To our credit, that has usually meant a move to open and expand the circle, not pull up the ladders and close ranks. That seems to me like it is a progressive and utopian thing, but it looks like we have some vociferous dissent.

Skipping back past lj's comment, which is going to take me some time to process -- this is more or less a repeat of my previous comment from a different angle.

Every time someone complains about taxes and "redistribution," I would like a reminder to pop up that the complaints only come after certain people have already taken for themselves an outsized (sometimes obscenely outsized) share of what the earth offers to all of us.

If you believe, as I do, that there is enough on this planet for everyone, and that everyone by rights owns enough of a share to live a life of dignity, then "taxes as redistribution" are only the correction (usually feeble enough) of a prior and longstanding redistribution from the many to the few.

It's kind of like McKinney cherry-picking a starting point for his argument about the west's superiority. Pick the right starting point and argue to the death that only approved facts are relevant, and you can prove anything -- at least to yourself.

who counts as people changes. To our credit, that has usually meant a move to open and expand the circle, not pull up the ladders and close ranks. That seems to me like it is a progressive and utopian thing, but it looks like we have some vociferous dissent.

I have to vigorously disagree. It isn't a progressive thing. It's merely the right thing to do. They are not automatically the same thing IMHO.

Come, come, wj,

Unless "conservative" has lost all mooring to etymology, "change" is the liberal preference as a general thing. Someday, perhaps, the status quo will be such that liberals are content with it and conservatives agitate for change -- change other than regression to some previous status quo, I mean.

--TP

I have to vigorously disagree. It isn't a progressive thing. It's merely the right thing to do. They are not automatically the same thing IMHO.

Small-p progressive, as in moving towards improvement, not merely changing in a value-neutral direction.

Not meaning to claim the principle for a particular political brand.

Unless "conservative" has lost all mooring to etymology, "change" is the liberal preference as a general thing.

But "conservative" doesn't mean wanting stasis. It means viewing potential changes skeptically, and expecting some cost/benefit analysis of the change and its consequences (both intended and unintended but predictable). It means preferring incremental changes to sweeping ones -- for all that the latter may sometimes be a necessity.

nous, fair enough. Apologies for reading more into your wording than was intended.

wj,

The GOP legislators in GA passed a change to the state's election law. Maybe they viewed the changes skeptically; I don't know.

I am certain they did a "cost-benefit analysis", but also pretty sure it was not of a pure, civic-minded sort.

If you want to denounce them as NOT conservative, I honor your sentiment. But then your argument would be with them, not with me.

--TP

Trotting out that old saw, "We're a republic, not a democracy" is simply dumb.

There is no need to waste time and breath to rebut it, refute it, ponder and explain more nuanced meanings, or seriously consider it at all.

It is just fucking dumb.

It means preferring incremental changes to sweeping ones

Take executing Louis XVI or violent rebellion against George III for example! Incremental is as incremental does.

Take executing Louis XVI or violent rebellion against George III for example!

You will note that I did say, explicitly, that sweeping changes "may sometimes be a necessity." Preferring incremental change doesn't mean rejecting anything else out of hand.

Then the GOP base will work extra hard to tamp down voting to eke out an electoral win and repeal a bunch of broadly popular legislation...

Will they? When push came to shove, and the Republicans had the trifecta, McConnell could not deliver 50 votes to defund the ACA. He didn't deliver money to finish a wall on the Texas border. He didn't kill the filibuster and write the single sentence into the CAA, "For the purposes of this act, CO2 is not a pollutant" that would have rendered Massachusetts v. EPA irrelevant.

Michael Cain - that's assuming we follow their argument for not abolishing the filibuster because of that "race to the bottom," and also assuming that, per the last 30 years or so, the GOP continues to not do policy.

Worst case, even if unlikely, I still don't see how the threat changes anything about how the parties behave.

But "conservative" doesn't mean wanting stasis. It means viewing potential changes skeptically, and expecting some cost/benefit analysis of the change and its consequences

I recognize and respect this as an expression of prudence in public affairs. That said, I'm not sure it applies to change as much as it applies to how we respond to it.

Change happens, ready or not, and is typically driven from the bottom up, and/or by circumstances that are completely outside of the scope of public policy per se.

The public sphere just plays catch up, well or badly.

I'm splitting hairs a bit here, but I guess what I'm trying to drive at is that change per se is not usually something we can choose or not choose. All we can choose is our response.

their argument for not abolishing the filibuster because of that "race to the bottom,"

On the evidence of the past couple of decades in Congress, the options are
a) a "race to the bottom", or
b) no race, only because one side isn't running. Even though the other is, and has been.

You will note that I did say, explicitly, that sweeping changes "may sometimes be a necessity."

Well, yes I did. So the question is who gets to decide what constitutes "sweeping" and "necessity".

change per se is not usually something we can choose or not choose. All we can choose is our response.

Changes will come. Once upon a time, they came relatively slowly. But today, that's simply not the world we live in. Nor one we can get to -- short of participating in an extinction event all our own, I suppose.

So the question is who gets to decide what constitutes "sweeping" and "necessity".

My inclination is to say that everybody is going to have to make their own . . . wait for it . . . judgement. And their collective judgements determine the answer -- that's how democracy works.

My personal judgement is that, on a number of topics currently, incremental changes have demonstrably proven inadequate. So something more is now necessary. It appears that there is developing democratic concensus on that as well.

The framers had absolutely not created a democracy, he wrote, but rather had worried about “a tyranny of the masses” who would vote for laws that redistributed tax dollars into projects that would benefit themselves.

whatever the Framers' intentions, the 60-vote threshold filibuster was not among them. that was invented, like me, in 1970.

What legislation was blocked by a filibuster?

less than was blocked by Trump's ridiculously bad negotiating skills, true.

Calling Trump's negotiating skills "ridiculously bad" flatters him. He appears to have none at all.

Trump seems to have NEGATIVE negotiating skills.

Trump's skills are the skills of a confidence man. He convinces people to take unwise action out of greed and then leaves them to either protect themselves when the scheme goes south or twist in the wind as he leaves them on the hook. His art is not negotiation, it's temptation.

What nous said.

I like to think of him as Former President Screwtape.

That senior demon would take great offense at that. He would not have reached his sublevated position had he been such a bungler. He took great pride in receiving all for nothing in return while leaving his clients satisfied (until the great reveal post mortem that is).

if Manchin is being a colossal delusional dumbass about the filibuster, you can guarantee he'll be twice that over SCOTUS reform.

but Biden is looking like he could go there nonetheless.

I've been briefing my ass off the last two weeks and need a short break and this will be short:

Trump's skills are the skills of a confidence man.

I think you are giving him way too much credit. He's a narcissist with zero compensatory mechanisms. That means he says whatever makes him look good or gets him what he wants. A con artist knows the end game and works the mark to that end. Trump just wants to make himself look and feel better. Plus, he's a bully, which is also part of the narcissist's game book. That's why his so-called negotiating skills are for shit.

What McKinney said.

I think you are giving him way too much credit. .... his so-called negotiating skills are for shit.

Because he didn't actually care about policy outcomes, foreign or domestic. When the end goal is his own profit, he doesn't need to "negotiate," and he's a damn good scammer.

He pocketed nearly $350 million during the 2020 campaign alone, and we still don't know how much of the rescue act passed in early 2020 he diverted to himself ($500 million unaccounted for, because he fired the Inspectors General who were supposed to monitor where the money went).

Not to mention his ongoing grift of his supporters, with the opt-out repeatable donations, and being labeled a DEFECTOR if they do opt out.

He's shit at everything except conning people out of money. But conning people out of money is what he cares most about.

what's tragic about Trump (pre-2016) is that his minimal skill set was enough to keep him wealthy (if not as wealthy as he wanted people to think).

there are a lot of suckers out there.

https://www.lewisu.edu/experts/wordpress/index.php/donald-i-meet-richard-iii/

And yet, we are opined: "We've had worse Presidents."

And yet again, 75 million co-conspirators rushing to the egress in Trump's thoroughly successful and evil grift.

There will be no justice because America hasn't the WILL to look in the mirror.

What McKinney said.

Trump’s negotiating skills are:
1. Talk about how great he is
2. Yell
3. Sue

And if all of that fails, whine

I'd like to think that Former President Screwtape has no real skill, that he's only a shallow narcissist, but what kills me every time is that he's never had the capital himself to launch any of his many projects. He's always had to convince someone else to back the project, and how that happens confounds me. He convinces people to put his name on a project that they paid for, and then convinces them to clean up after him and protect his name when the whole thing turns to crap (as russell said back in the day with his Midas-of-shit comment).

And how about all the poor bastards he suckered into Trump University, or whatever the hell it was called? And all the marks (R voters) he conned to vote for him "because he was such a successful businessman"?

And what CaseyL said.

p.s. None of this means he isn't also a shallow narcissist, bully etc, with zero compensatory mechanisms.

To take a different perspective, what does it say about the United States that Trump is considered to be a success by (goes to 538 to check) almost 40% of the population?

Rather than a what he said, I'll put it here for emphasis.

There will be no justice because America hasn't the WILL to look in the mirror.

I can't reconcile these two propositions:
1) The United States of America is a "great" nation; and
2) The US has an electoral system and an electorate that allowed He, Trump to become its president.
Liberals and conservatives both are invited to relieve my perplexity. Libertarians too, for that matter.

--TP

Liberals and conservatives both are invited to relieve my perplexity.

Nations, not unlike the people who make them up, are not all one thing or the other. They can be great at some things, but terrible at others. If you insist on viewing them thru a binary lens, you are going to be perplexed more often than not.

Get a big enough database with enough tables built on surrogate data, guesses, and subtly wrong algorithms and the data returned gets downright spooky and perverse.

I swear that my time doing data analysis and writing SQL was a better political education than a lot of political philosophy I have read.

I can't reconcile these two propositions:
1) The United States of America is a "great" nation; and
2) The US has an electoral system and an electorate that allowed He, Trump to become its president.

one possibility:
Presidents don't matter anywhere near as much as commonly thought. the real power is in Congress (Senate, especially). the President sets a tone, becomes a figurehead, scapegoat, lightning rod, band leader, etc.. but his time is short and his influence temporary.

The federal government seems to be becoming a triumvirate: speaker of the house, senate majority leader, and the president. Everyone else is playing increasingly bit parts in political theater.

They can be great at some things, but terrible at others.

I'm guessing Tony P knows this, but his perplexity regards a nation that is supposed to be great in general while terribly screwing up something extremely important. Like a supposedly great NFL wide receiver who runs great routes, is really fast, but can't catch the ball. Still great at some things, but not another, right?

I would agree with CharlesWT at 09:35 and just add the rather unique situation of a senate split 50:50 (giving the VP a role of importance) and someone like Joe Manchin* in a position there that gives him essential veto power on everything (as long as the GOP remains in its 100% NO position). If he switched to the GOP he'd lose that power in an instant.

*no, I have not forgotten about Sinema. She's just a wee more discreet.

Presidents don't matter anywhere near as much as commonly thought.

Well, I dunno'. In an era of increased political polarization approaching Antebellum levels, The gridlocked (for reasons) Congress has simply abdicated its central role of initiating and passing policy, leaving the Executive and the courts to move into the resultant power vacuum.

but there's only so much a President can do (domestically) with exec orders or regulation tweaking. he can't change voting laws or build many roads, etc..

Biden will get the blame for not doing the things he said he wanted (Congress) to do. and that's Congressional GOP's entire plan.

"he can't change voting laws or build many roads The Wall, except with funds illegally diverted from other parts of the budget."

He could drone-strike MAGAt insurrectionists, also, too.

Biden will get the blame for not doing the things he said he wanted (Congress) to do. and that's Congressional GOP's entire plan.

It could play out that way. On the other hand, it appears that Biden will get at least a few things done -- very popular things. Which can be evidence of good intent. Then in 2022 he can campaign for Democratic Congressional candidates with a theme of "remove the roadblocks!" It's a message that has been used with success by a couple of past presidents.

He could drone-strike MAGAt insurrectionists, also, too.

this would be welcome.

...it appears that Biden will get at least a few things done -- very popular things.

If we take Manchin, Sinema, and McConnell at their words, Biden's legislative accomplishments are done. McConnell says he has his caucus in hand and they will not vote for anything Biden. Manchin says he wants an infrastructure bill, but not if it goes through reconciliation. Sinema says she supports a voting rights bill, but not enough to weaken the legislative filibuster. So continuing resolutions for the budgets and no more it is...

it's really pretty amazing that it's going to be one ostensible Democrat who killed Biden's Presidency.

oh well. at least we got some C19 relief.

now, 3.5 years of nothing but complaints about how DC gets nothing done from people who don't understand the all-important democracy-ensuring and Founder's-given filibuster.

(i got some extra apostrophes, thanks to Biden)

Apostrophes' make democracy work better. So maybe thank Manchin. ;-)

now, 3.5 years of nothing but complaints about how DC gets nothing done...

No complaints from me. From my point of view, gridlock is often better than the alternatives.

I think this is why I fundamentally don’t trust libertarians. I mean functionally what is the difference between wanting gridlock because the alternatives are worse and wanting gridlock because you want to keep the status quo?

what is the difference between wanting gridlock because the alternatives are worse and wanting gridlock because you want to keep the status quo?

None
Zip
Zero
Nada

McConnell's demand that corporations stay out of politics (frantically amended to not include stopping donations) seems to be headed for an Epic Fail.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/04/11/companies-voting-bills-states/

They're not staying out. And they're looking to stop donating to McConnell and Co. over voting rights and other issues dear to the hearts of the far right. Too many companies have looked at their markets and drawn the obvious conclusion about what they will look like going forward.

gridlock is often better than the alternatives.

How do you know?

From my point of view, gridlock is often better than the alternatives.

maybe the view from the ivory tower on the top of Mt Libertania isn't a very representative POV.

From my point of view, gridlock is often better than the alternatives.

If you had said "better than the alternatives currently on offer" you might have gotten a better reception. Most of us can accept that the alternatives that have been proposed have flaws -- whether we think the flaws outweigh the improvements or not. As written, it's easy to (and several of us did) take it as saying that NO alternative would be better.

what is the difference between wanting gridlock because the alternatives are worse and wanting gridlock because you want to keep the status quo?

If you had said "better than the alternatives currently on offer" you might have gotten a better reception.

I'm not going to make this a two day hang out, because the issue isn't that difficult. First of all, in pretty much every language I know of, words have meaning. This is true in English, at least for the time being. "Worse" and "status quo" have two different meanings. In the obvious context of two virtually evenly divided parties, it is not a particularly heavy mental lift to derive that Charles was saying that "that neither getting their way is better than either getting their way." So, ad hominem to begin with and less than rigorous analysis thereafter.

A recurring rhetorical device I see here is critiquing (a usually contrarian) point of view for 'failure to phrase it just right', which is a non-existent, hindsight standard that is a useful tool only for those who can't muster a substantive response. Anyone with the intellectual wherewithal to comment here is capable of looking past the universal and very common lack of perfect communication and determining the writer's likely intent. Sideshows like picking apart someone's language use--particularly without at least doing them the initial courtesy of asking for clarification--says a lot more about the dart thrower than the target.

To illustrate: if the Repubs were in charge, pretty much everyone here would be perfectly fine with gridlock preserving the status quo, not to mention being vigorous defenders of retaining the filibuster (and since every Democrat senator except Manchin and Sinema have been squarely on both sides of this issue, all 48 of them can take either side going forward and claim consistency).

Charles WT is too nice. He was in no way unclear. He prefers--as do I--gridlock to what the parties are serving up these days. This is called "not agreeing with the prevailing points of view." It is refreshing and I recommend it.

Love of gridlock appears to be an enduring right/libertarian trope, so I see nothing remotely refreshing about it. YMMV.

A recurring rhetorical device I see here is critiquing (a usually contrarian) point of view for 'failure to phrase it just right'

Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to blame Charles for such a failure. I was trying to suggest something which, going forward, might better communicate what I thought, after further reflection, he might have intended. Sometimes one can attempt (however awkwardly) to help, without intending an attack.

Love of gridlock appears to be an enduring right/libertarian trope, so I see nothing remotely refreshing about it. YMMV.

truly.

decades of context around what people mean when they say it can't be ignored because words also have literal meanings.

AlaMcTex quotes two different people in order to make his point without separating them. Too busy to make the proper reference or a recurring rhetorical device? I leave it to the reader to decide.

Love of gridlock appears to be an enduring right/libertarian trope, so I see nothing remotely refreshing about it. YMMV.

Perhaps--would you prefer gridlock or Republican ascendancy?

Sometimes one can attempt (however awkwardly) to help, without intending an attack.

Ok, fair enough; however, it was Charles' failure to say it just right that, as you said, resulted in the push back. Let me float a different hypothesis: many if not most people these days are at Political DefCon 4 and any perceived challenge to "their side" is met with instant, often escalated, retaliation instead of giving some thought to whether what cuts against their personal grain might actually have something to it.

Charles made no personal attacks on anyone, but look at the responses. I think--in this particular instance--the situation speaks for itself. People are substituting verbal hipshots for reasoned analysis and response. And, if anyone wants to say, McKTex, isn't that a bit of the pot calling the kettle black, I would agree, but I've somewhat lately tried--and continue to try--to make that a thing of the past.

AlaMcTex quotes two different people in order to make his point without separating them. Too busy to make the proper reference or a recurring rhetorical device?

Having done the same numerous times myself, I can't really fault anyone else who does so as well. :-)

Perhaps--would you prefer gridlock or Republican ascendancy?

Are those my only choices? And is Republican ascendancy necessarily the current Party of Trump Republican ascendancy? That doesn't sound like much of choice.

That doesn't sound like much of choice.

Now you are getting my point.

Charles made no personal attacks on anyone, but look at the responses.

Perhaps I'm merely tone deaf. But I didn't see any personal attacks in the responses. Attacks on the (perhaps, as noted, mis-perceived) position? Definitely. Attacks on the ideology more broadly? Sure. But personal attacks? Was there something specific like that which you saw and I missed?

Having done the same numerous times myself, I can't really fault anyone else who does so as well. :-)

Yes, but I haven't seen you doing drive-bys.

Now you are getting my point.

I'm guessing you would prefer gridlock to Party of Trump ascendancy, too. That doesn't mean you'd prefer gridlock over just about anything else.

That doesn't mean you'd prefer gridlock over just about anything else.

And I did not say that. Here is what I said, "In the obvious context of two virtually evenly divided parties, it is not a particularly heavy mental lift to derive that Charles was saying that "that neither getting their way is better than either getting their way." To me, it seems clear I am speaking of current times. I'm not sure what else there might be that I *would be* referring to.

So, back to my question: gridlock or today's Repub's--what is your call?

WJ, just so you don't think I wasn't responding to you separately, I'll repeat my statement from above, "So, ad hominem to begin with and less than rigorous analysis thereafter." The part responding to you follows the word "and."

ad hominem to begin with

It's the ad hominem part that I'm missing. Not just in my responses, but in any of them. Who attached Charles personally? What did they say that you read as a personal attack? As I say, maybe I'm tone deaf, but I'm just not seeing it.

So, a poster's name and time stamp. A quote. Something concrete. Please.

What I'm trying to say is, I'm willing to try to do better myself going forward. But clearly I need some help recognizing what is problematic. Thank you.

I'm guessing you would prefer gridlock to Party of Trump ascendancy, too.

That is what I said and, recognizing my presumptuous in reading Charles WT's mind, I'm pretty sure that's what he was saying. Which is why telling someone they are untrustworthy--along with everyone who shares that person's belief--is kind of shitty IMO. He may be wrong--I don't think so, in fact, as stated, I agree--but his position is not different than yours or anyone else's here if the positions were reversed and the Repubs held the senate only by the VP's vote. You'd be delighted with gridlock and devoted fans of the filibuster. So, really, who is trustworthy and who is simply opportunistic?

Who attached Charles personally? What did they say that you read as a personal attack? As I say, maybe I'm tone deaf, but I'm just not seeing it.

Ok, thanks for asking for clarification. I'm quoting the ad hominem below.

I think this is why I fundamentally don’t trust libertarians

The above is not engagement on the merits, it is questioning integrity or just a straight out slur--what if I or Marty began by saying, "this is why I distrust libs . . . )? Who would warm up to that?

Moreover, what passes for *engagement* is sloppy, ineffectual and shitty logic, as I plainly demonstrated in direct response to his assertion. Of course there is a difference between "no change" and "the change that the Dems or the Repubs would inflict if they had their way."

Anyone here who thinks I am wrong is free to tell me, but in fairness, I think it is incumbent on dissenters to address Charles WT's statement reformulated to imagine "the Repubs in charge".

To paraphrase me (again), the beauty of the status quo is entirely in the eyes of the beholder.

I'm going to amend my overly broad use of the ad hominem characterization. That was too much for all but one commenter. I'm going to characterize the remaining comments as snidely (to one degree or another) dismissive. Which is not ad hominem. So, my apologies for that.

Gridlock lovers are nothing new. They tend to be anti-government. A government that doesn't do anything is the next best thing to no/minimal government. That's all it is and predates the Trump presidency and takeover of the GOP.

Also, too, the sort of obstructionism that Mitch McConnell has espoused - a relatively recent and well-known source of gridlock - belongs to one party and not the other.

Yes, I prefer gridlock to idiocy. I don't prefer it to good government (an admittedly subjective thing, but one on which there used to be occasional bipartisan agreement).

I'm going to amend my overly broad use of the ad hominem characterization. That was too much for all but one commenter.

OK, I'm getting a grip now. Thank you for the clarification.

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