War within the Republican party
Interesting article on focus group responses within the R party. I don't know how widespread the attitudes presented are, but if they are valid representations, there is some serious paranoia among the Rs. I remember back in the 70s there was some similar, although not as scary, fears among the left wing of the D party. This paranoia continued a deterioration of the party's fortunes for some time to come.
I heard some commentary this AM that the business class is deserting the Rs because of the extremism of the base. In the past they have always been able to bridge that seemingly unbridgeable gap by throwing bones to the poor whites who form the base of the Rs and are being radicalized by their waning fortunes and the relative prospering of minority groups, particularly Hispanics. That coalition appears to be fracturing now with perhaps predictable results.
The Ds lost that same base back in the 60s due to LBJ's civil rights record and lost the presidency for 5 of the next 6 elections. I don't know who will emerge in control of the party, but if the base takes over, the business class will have to go somewhere else, probably forming a business wing of the D party. If the business class retains control, where will the base go? My guess is a third party. In either case, the Rs may be doomed to being also rans for decades.
Get the popcorn, the fun is just starting.
Dear Rector and all,
As promised, I'm posting a more in-depth reply to the recent comparison of semi-automatic rifles in the Daily Digest thread, here in the basement/dungeon/controversial topics thread where it's more easily avoided by people not interested.
First of all, as I said in my apology in that thread, I should have tried to share my concerns without being divisive. We all have our way of seeing the world, based on a combination of different perspectives, experiences, and beliefs. Just because I see some of these issues differently doesn't mean that I should disregard the perspectives of others. We are all part of the human story and the uncomfortable juxtapositions here at PeakProsperity are an opportunity for learning about each other, and about the world. That means I have a lot to learn from each person here. So, I will continue to explain why I found the conversation on firearms in that thread to be cavalier, and also why I think the gun culture in America is on balance, detrimental. But, I may be wrong about that.
The reason that I claimed that this conversation was cavalier, and did not recognize the serious implications of owning a deadly weapon were due to ao, "yeah, baby" comment and Steve's (thatchmo) "zombie beware" comment. Both of these reveal an all to common trivialization of the implications of having to shoot people, whether this shooting is justified or not. Rector did not trivialize this, he just shared his preference for another semi-automatic picture.
My response, in which I used two quotes from Matthew to support my belief that non-violence is a core part of Christ's teachings, immediately followed Rector's, and he felt lectured to. Rector, I'm sorry for this. I should have been more explicit in addressing ao, who has referenced his faith a few different times in the last few weeks including here. AO, you are welcome to chose to reference your faith, but then when you say "yeah, baby," in the context of owning a semi-automatic weapon I hope that it's OK for me reference the words of Christ in the context of your position.
In Rector's response he openly states his position on this matter: "In order to preserve justice and order, God has put some sheepdogs in the pasture too."* I am familiar with the pastor, sheepdog and sheep analogy. While the shepherd and sheep part is clearly referenced in the New Testament, I haven't found anywhere where Christ talks about sheepdogs or soldiers carrying out the will of God. Maybe there is such a passage that I have missed, and I'm certainly open to learning about that. I do not know the first appearance of the sheepdog metaphor in Christianity, but I am aware that it was used in medieval Christianity to justify the rule of the nobility. The close connection between the First Estate (the clergy, the shepherds) and Second Estate (the nobility, the sheepdogs) in the middle ages seems to have a lot more to do with political power and religious authority than with the fundamental spirituality of Christ's teachings, but it may be that the role of the sheepdog was sanctioned by Christ himself, and I'm just missing that.
This is the second time in a couple of weeks that I've been compared to a sheep at PeakProsperity. AO compared me to a sheep here and now you have also chosen to compare me to a sheep and yourself to a sheepdog, Rector. It doesn't really bother me very much, as I believe that such comparisons tell more about the line of thinking of the people who make them. This is not to say that I dismiss everything you say or think; I don't. But I do think it's worth considering why both of you have chosen to compare me to a sheep.
To be honest, I was more bothered with how I felt after posting my original post on this topic, for the reason that it was more divisive than I intended. I share that because first of all I want everyone to know that I see myself as just another person, who is fallible and who tries to hold himself accountable to some standards. I don't do it perfectly, and I am aware that there are many fundamental inconsistencies in my ideas and actions. I wonder either of you, Rector or AO, think that you might also be embroiled in any inconsistencies in terms of either your position on these matters, or in your actions, or if you see yourselves as simply right about most things most of the time. In any case, if it helps either of you to label me as a sheep, that's up to you, but what it suggests to me is a desire to divide people into categories, disregarding those that challenge your world-view as sheep. I won't be disregarding either of you in such a way, as we are part of the same community at PP, we are all citizens of the US (although I am currently working and living in Switzerland) and all humans on planet Earth. I might disagree with your ideas, but I don't plan on dismissing you as individuals any time soon.
Specifically, Rector, you claim that my right to free speech is only possible because of military men like you. You also indirectly suggest that I might be a weak liberal man. Again, I am not really offended by this, but I will submit to you a few things.
First, as far as the claim that the military and/or the police are the principle protector of the individual freedoms that Americans enjoy, sorry, but it's not true. I teach students at a school where 50 different countries are represented. Every one of the countries has a military and a police force. In a lot of them, the military and the police run the show. And in others, they don't allow semi-automatic weapons, yet their society still exhibits a great amount of freedom and individual rights. A military and police is one element in a successful liberal*** democratic society, but such a society needs a lot of other elements to remain free and democratic. There are a lot of reasons why the US – especially on the local and state level – remains reasonably free and democratic and men in uniform is only one of them. I have never denigrated America's armed forces and I have no reason to do so now. But, if you or any other a man in uniform tells me that I have free speech because of him, I will respectfully answer that it's a little more complicated than that. The main reason that people in American have free speech is because of a long tradition of democratic political culture and civilian rule, and even that's an oversimplification.
Second, I am weak in terms of fighting. I have never been in a real fight, and I've never served in the military. My experience with guns is very limited. The only time I have shot a pistol was when I was with my scoutmaster, Greg Scott, of Troop 707 in Columbia, Missouri.**
On the other hand, I'm not really weak on several other levels. I've done a lot of outdoor living over the years. I spent my twenties as a whitewater kayak instructor and raft guide in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Chile. I've run a marathon, completed a 4k swim, 120 k bike, and 30k run triathlon in the cold rain. I completed a 53 km ski touring race called the Patrouille de Glacier, starting at 23:00 one night, and ending at 12:00 the next day. The only reason that I bring this up is that you since you chose to showcase your martial abilities, it seems helpful to remind you that there are lots of ways to be strong, and non-violent role models for boys and young men are everywhere to be seen.
As far as any council of sheep taking away your rights to own a semi-automatic rifle. Don't worry, Rector, it doesn't look like that's going to happen. The gun people are certainly getting their way as far as the right to bear a wide range of deadly weapons. Also, I'm not politically active aside from voting and occasionally forwarding some email petition. My main focus in life is teaching at the school where I work, and being the best husband, son, and brother that I can be.
As far as the woman who was raped, I am sorry for her, of course. I also know several women who have been victims of rape, and no doubt some of them would have been able to prevent it if they had been trained and armed in self-defense. So, that shows that there are some advantages to gun ownership.
But, none of those women would be carrying the type of semi-automatic rifles that you, AO, and others were comparing on the thread. You are very welcome to forward her my post, and my follow up posts, including this one. Would you like me to forward your post to Travyn Martin's family? More importantly, how are you so sure that the benefits of pervasive gun-ownership in America, and some of the loosest restrictions on weapons ownership in the world, outweigh the costs in innocent lives including Travyn Martin's? Even if you think that the Stand Your Ground laws are justifiable, are you claiming then that it was 17 year old Travyn Martin who was in the wrong, and that George Zimmerman was just a good law-abiding citizen doing his duty? And, if that's true, then is there nothing wrong with laws that allow such irresponsible killing to be legal. My point here is that there are clearly some very real costs to a society where it is easy to be heavily armed and which celebrates guns and gun ownership to a great extent.
As far as my understanding of natural law, I think I get it pretty well. You will be glad to know that I emphasize John Locke's Second Treatise of Government in both my Comparative Government and US History courses way more than would happen in most other private or public schools. Ditto for the Constitutional Convention of 1787. So, somehow, I have read Locke and the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution pretty closely and yet I have a different view on gun laws and our gun culture. One possibility is that I am a sheep with no understanding of anything. Another possibility is that I, like you, make up an important part of America's tradition of a civil political culture in which intelligent and sincere individuals often disagree.
As far as my quotation of Jesus' words in Matthew, well, I think I struck a nerve there, Rector. These are serious questions and the answers certainly matter, but my reading of Christ's teaching may be more similar to the Quakers' view than to the views of your reading. Does that mean that the Quakers also didn't know how to read the Bible? Again, I think this might be an issue on which reasonable people can disagree.
OK, I'm out of time. I don't have all of this figured out, and I may be wrong. So, I will just conclude by saying this: First, I'm sorry for the divisive nature of my first post. I should have looked for a more constructive way to bring up the points that I wanted to share. Second, I do believe that there was already an unsettling divisiveness and aggressiveness in that thread. Sorry, but comparing semi-automatic rifles in that way is going to be seen by some people, including me, as rather extreme and indicative of a dangerous trend in our society. Third, I will try to focus on things that we have in common on PP in the future, and if there is a thread where it seems to me that the line of thinking indicative of something negative, dangerous, or incorrect, then I will try to voice my disagreement in a way that is more constructive and respectful.
P.S. Rector, I hope that your dove hunting went well. My cousins Mario and Jose Armando, and my uncle Mando, all of whom are from Laredo and still live in Texas (San Antonio and Austin), also go dove hunting. It's one of the things I wished that I had taken the opportunity to learn.
* I did not intend to be condescending, Rector. All I did was state why I believed that ownership of semi-automatic is neither beneficial nor consistent with Christ's teachings, and I did say that the "yeah baby" statement, which you did not write, was immature in the context of deadly weapons.
**This is why I bring that story up: Greg was an excellent scoutmaster and he taught the scouts in our troop to organize and lead ourselves. We planned a lot of the logistics for the monthly campouts and also for the bigger "supertrips" to Colorado, Minnesota, and Ontario. I grew up in a liberal family (surprise, surprise) and Greg was my first exposure to the world of conservative ideas. I read The Fountainhead because of Greg, and developed new views of the Constitution, our democracy, and the justifications for the free market. Even though Greg and my parents disagreed on many national political issues, they had a very deep respect for each other and as far as I am concerned, this was beneficial to our community. They also agreed on many local and state issues. Greg later went to the law school where my mother taught, and then became a law professor himself. My parents helped Greg when they could in order to show their gratitude for the time that he spent teaching me and other boys how to be responsible with each other and in the outdoors. Many of the scouts (and their families) in Troop 707 thought more like Greg, and many of them thought more like me and my family. (Sidenote: Due to my growing concerns about the unsustainable nature of the three E's as well as my increasingly alternative views on our government, my parents and I see things a lot more differently now than we did when I was a young adult. We all change our minds and progress through life.) Last year, Greg died of a heart attack. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of men are grateful to him for the way in which he touched our lives. Rector and AO, the reason I write this is because if we happened to be in the same community, we would probably be pretty good neighbors, as I have no doubt that you are both very kind responsible men. Since we only meet in threads at PP, we only know each other for our ideas on certain issues, and since these are fairly different, we clash. But, I will do my best to see the Greg Scott in each of you, and I ask that you consider seeing in me someone that you know who sees the world differently from you, but who you still respect.
***That's liberal in the classical sense, by which I mean liberty.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-18/republican-civil-war-erupts-business-groups-v-tea-party.html [quote]A battle for control of the Republican Party has erupted as an emboldened Tea Party moved to oust senators who voted to reopen the government while business groups mobilized to defeat allies of the small-government movement. “We are going to get engaged,” said Scott Reed, senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The need is now more than ever to elect people who understand the free market and not silliness.” The chamber spent $35.7 million on federal elections in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based group that tracks campaign spending. Meanwhile, two Washington-based groups that finance Tea Party-backed candidates said yesterday they’re supporting efforts to defeat Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, who voted this week for the measure ending the 16-day shutdown and avoiding a government debt default. Cochran, a Republican seeking a seventh term next year, faces a challenge in his party’s primary from Chris McDaniel, a state senator. McDaniel, who announced his candidacy yesterday, “is not part of the Washington establishment and he has the courage to stand up to the big spenders in both parties,” Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said in a statement supporting him. [/quote] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/orrin-hatch-heritage_n_4115347.html [quote]One day after Heritage Action warned legislators not to vote for the Senate budget compromise, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) warned that the group could become irrelevant if it continues on its radical path. "The right is a multiplicity of various groups, some of which aren't even Republicans but who think they can control the Republican Party, and some of which have been good think tanks in the past but now are losing their reputation for some of this radicalness," said Hatch on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown" on Thursday. "Are you referring to Heritage?" interjected host Chuck Todd. "Well yeah, of course I am," said Hatch. "Heritage used to be the conservative organization helping Republicans and helping conservatives and helping us to be able to have the best intellectual, conservative ideas."[/quote] http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/gop-post-shutdown-civil-war
[quote]Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): "We're not going to go through the shutdown again. People have been too traumatized by it. There's too much damage…We're not going to shut down the government again. I guarantee it."
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.): "This party is going nuts." Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): "For the party, this is a moment of self-evaluation, we are going to assess how we got here…If we continue down this path, we are really going to hurt the Republican Party long-term."
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.): "On our side of the aisle, we've wasted two months focused on something that was never going to happen. I won't say that I did, but a number of folks did. What we could have been doing all this time is focused on those mandatory changes that all of us know our country needs, and we’ve blown that opportunity. I hate to say it.”
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.): Called Republicans advocating for the shutdown "lemmings with suicide vests…They have to be more than just a lemming. Because jumping to your death is not enough."
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Penn.): On his long-held belief that the government shutdown wouldn't work: "I was correct in my analysis, and I'd say a lot of those folks were not correct in theirs."
Karl Rove: "Barack Obama set the trap. Some congressional Republicans walked into it. As a result, the president is stronger, the GOP is weaker, and Obamacare is marginally more popular. The battles over spending, taxes, and debt have not been resolved, only postponed. It's time Republicans remembered that bad tactics produce bad outcomes."
Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.): "All you need to do is look about 200 miles south of here to see the mess that Republicans and Democrats have made of our national government and we should haul all their rear-ends to Camden today to see how bipartisanship works and government works together."
Rep. John Fleming (R-La.): Said that the agreement will "get us into Round 2. See, we're going to start this all over again.”
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho): "I'm more upset with my Republican conference, to be honest with you…If anybody should be kicked out, it's probably those Republicans—and not Speaker Boehner—who are unwilling to keep the promises they made to American people."
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kans.): "I would say the surrender caucus is the whiner caucus, and all they do is whine about the battle, as if they thought being elected to Washington was going to be an easy job."
Erick Erickson, editor in chief of RedState: "We must advance. Two Republicans in the Senate caused this fight that their colleagues would have surrendered on more quickly but for them. Imagine a Senate filled with more. We have an opportunity to replace Mitch McConnell in Kentucky with a better conservative. We should do that…as more Americans watch Obamacare fail them through the Republican primary season, conservatives will be able to put the focus on Republicans who funded Obamacare instead of fighting it. Whether they like it or not, Republicans in Congress will find their names on ballots in 2014. They cannot hide or escape fate."
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.): "Absolutely, I think [the shutdown and debt ceiling fight were] worth it! It's been worth it because what we did is we fought the right fight."
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.): "My No Obamacare Exemption for Washington language has been blocked out by Harry Reid, Barrack Obama and others who want to keep their special subsidy. But it's not going away and neither am I."
Americans for Prosperity: "Our activists are more engaged than ever in this fight, and we intend to hold politicians accountable for their promise to stop overspending." Michael Needham, Heritage Action for America president: "I admire what the House has done in the last couple weeks. It's unfortunate that the Senate hasn't been responsive to the American people…and really has undercut the House throughout the last two weeks."
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas): Called the agreement "a bad deal," and when asked whether Congress would be back in the same situation in a few months, he didn't hesitate: "Yes."
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah): "The media keeps asking, was it worth it? My answer is that it is always worth it to do the right thing. Fighting against an abusive government in defense of protecting our individual rights and freedoms is always the right thing…In Washington, victories are rarely immediate and very few are permanent. Obamacare wasn't enacted overnight and it won't be repealed overnight. We must remind the American people of the harmful effects of this law at every opportunity."
Matt Kibbe, FreedomWorks president and CEO: "Republican leadership has completely lost its way. Not only is this proposal a full surrender—it's a complete surrender with presents for the Democrats."
The Tea Party Patriots: "The Senate deal is a complete sellout. Speaker Boehner and the House should stand firm and reject this deal to reign [sic] in the Executive branch's power before it is too late…The House 'Leadership' must stop playing 'flinch' with themselves, and instead, play hardball with the White House, the Senate, and the House."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas): "The American people rose up and spoke with an overwhelming voice and at least at this stage Washington isn't listening to them…But this battle will continue."[/quote]
The best for Democrats to do? Make that popcorn and watch, silently.
P.S. I'm happy to say that my Congressman is one of 14 right wing Republicans that have been identified as most likely to give up their seats to Democrats next year.
..that my musings of two years ago were pretty right on. The Republican presidential race, metaphorically recognized as the clown car, is as extreme as they can be. The leaders, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and in 3rd Ted Cruz are as insane and ignorant as they come. Of course the msm is desperately trying to pump the also-ran JEB (currently at 3% in the polls) every chance they get. But, Trump just keeps increasing his lead.
This conglomeration of liars and know-nothings may be condemning the party to semi-permanent minority status for a generation or so. If, otoh, they win, they are condemning the US to a laughing stock, unfortunately a dangerous one. The Rs in Congress are leading us down a road to permanent war to keep the pathetic economy barely afloat. It is not worth the trade off.
That's not to mention my No. 1 concern, climate change. The entire Republican Congress (well except exactly 7 members according to a recent poll) is deeply in climate change denial. The rest of the world looks on in bewilderment. Congratulations Republicans, Exxon and the Kochs are firmly in control and the rest of you look like idiots.
Judging by the Republican debate last night, they are mightily trying to gin up as much fear as possible over the scourge of terror related activity in the US. As a reality check, how many people have died of terror related activity in the 21st century. I don't know the number, but including 9/11 I assume it is less than 5,000. Probably much less than 4,000.
Using that as a base line, how should we view 30,000 deaths a year from automobiles? That figures out to 450,000 deaths in the 21st century. My god, people must be peeing their pants any time someone tries to drag them into a car. Oh wait. That's right, people love their autos and spend endless amounts of time and money on the road. Why exactly should I be fearful of Isis in the US?
Doug, riddle me this: If you remove the Kabuki Theater showcase antics between the Republicans and Democrats and focus on these three core topics which mean more to the wealthy and powerful than anything else, then what, pray tell, are the differences between the parties?
1. Foreign Policy.
2. Civil Liberties.
3. Monetary Policy.
Quite frankly the continuity of these policies, regardless of what party is “in charge” is astounding if you look at it objectively, after of course, filtering out the otherwise meaningless side show antics that the MSM instructs people to think and believe are important.
To examine these properly though you have to strip out the “so-called issues” of the day that are hot button issues, such as abortion, LGBQT, gun control, etc, the ones that really get the public frothing at the mouth, because corporate media, such as one the one that you cited, make people froth at the mouth as part of their business models. Clickbait, so to speak. I’ll leave it at that.
Have a look at the more boring aspects of these three issues. The ones that no one cares about and that the vast majority (IMO > 95%) really don’t know a damn thing about save what the MSM tells them.
Then differentiate and convince me that we’re really not talking about a Uniparty, which is nothing more than the same bird, with two wings.
I would love if you took up this challenge.
Allow me to leave you with one of my very favorite quotes from my favorite humorist of all time. It’s relevant here because it is the genesis of the Kabuki Theater, Divide & Conquer, sideshow nonsense that keeps people from really delving into the three apparently “boring” topics that I had previously mentioned.
If you don’t read the newspapers you uninformed. If you read the newspapers then you are misinformed. ~ Mark Twain.