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  #1  
Old 11-02-2009, 09:03 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Live From Upstate New York! (Matthew Yglesias & David Weigel)

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  #2  
Old 11-02-2009, 09:30 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Live From Upstate New York! (Matthew Yglesias & David Weigel)

Welcome back, David! (And you, too, Matt!)

Dave has been doing yeoman's work covering the lunatic fringe that has taken over the Republican Party, mainly at The Washington Independent. If you want to keep up with the insanity that has consumed the conservative movement and the Republican Party, Dave's work is indispensable.

Thank you for all your efforts, Mr. Weigel.

— David Weigel at The Washington Independent.
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  #3  
Old 11-02-2009, 10:00 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default I don't understand this strategy.

I'm curious to know why so many on the left have chosen to not focus on their own accomplishments, or to at least try and spin current events as accomplishments worthy of a majority party, and have instead opted to focus on the other party's craziness.

It strikes me as a mistake to invest so much time damaging the other partys brand name, when the next big round of elections will be for the
House/Senate/Governor. Historically, the parties brand name appeal is not as important in these more local elections, at least relative to when there is a national elections (President).

Also on a personal level, tracking the Republican base's schizophrenia seems somewhat distasteful, as you will be inevitably making the election(s) more base. Not to mention I really don't care if there is a R or a D next to someones name, all I care about is the individual running.
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  #4  
Old 11-02-2009, 10:16 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
I'm curious to know why so many on the left have chosen to not focus on their own accomplishments, or to at least try and spin current events as accomplishments worthy of a majority party, ...
Well, you said it yourself: spin. Who wants to do that, at least without getting paid for it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
... and have instead opted to focus on the other party's craziness.
Partly because it's entertaining, mostly because it's the most worrisome aspect about politics today, and it certainly does not get enough attention in the MSM.

At least, that's how I see it.
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  #5  
Old 11-02-2009, 10:18 PM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
I'm curious to know why so many on the left have chosen to not focus on their own accomplishments, or to at least try and spin current events as accomplishments worthy of a majority party, and have instead opted to focus on the other party's craziness.
It doesn't seem to be the strategy of the elected Democrats. If it's the strategy of liberal pundits, fundraising groups, etc., there are two purposes: the first, to convince Democrats in office that the Republicans are not going to work with them and that they should stop watering their plans down in the name of bipartisanship; the second, well, to raise money.

I have to say I find it a bit irritating to be told all the time that liberals should stop paying attention to the crazies on the Republican side because it doesn't do us any good; it's essentially saying that they're not important and don't have any effect on the political climate. I don't think that's true at all.
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  #6  
Old 11-02-2009, 10:58 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
I'm curious to know why so many on the left have chosen to not focus on their own accomplishments, or to at least try and spin current events as accomplishments worthy of a majority party, and have instead opted to focus on the other party's craziness.
This isn't true. We can focus on and talk about more than one thing, and we do. It's just that the wingnut/loon faction that now controls the Republican Party is interesting, and important.

Note: I do recognize that not all Republicans are actually deranged or crazy. Most of the ones I know in real life are perfectly normal. Mainly we're talking about the activists, the people who control the party, and the people who speak for and represent the movement and the party, i.e., the professional class of Republicans.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
It strikes me as a mistake to invest so much time damaging the other partys brand name, when the next big round of elections will be for the House/Senate/Governor. Historically, the parties brand name appeal is not as important in these more local elections, at least relative to when there is a national elections (President).
You may be right; I don't know. I do feel that the dangerous lunacy of the Republican base cannot be ignored and is a serious problem, both for the Republican Party and the nation. (And ultimately the world, given America's importance on the national stage.)

Further, I think the hysterical derangement we see in the conservative movement today is going to get a lot worse in the coming years, especially if Republicans don't do well at the polls. If Republicans win a lot of seats in 2010, it may tamp down some of the violent and revolutionary tendencies among the more extreme teabaggers. I suspect that a lot of the violent impulses and extreme views are fueled by conservatives' feelings of powerlessness, so winning some elections might help the more extreme teabaggers feel that they can achieve their goals by working within the system.

If, on the other hand, Republicans continue to be frustrated at the polls, we will see increasing calls for violence, revolution, and secession, along with an increase in actual instances of violence and intimidation.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
I really don't care if there is a R or a D next to someones name, all I care about is the individual running.
I have a hard time understanding how anyone can say this. The parties are so different. Only in the complete absence of any values or ideology can I imagine someone not caring what party they vote for. The direction the country will head under R's and D's is so very different, it's baffling to me that you would be happy to go in either direction.

Last edited by TwinSwords; 11-02-2009 at 11:01 PM..
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  #7  
Old 11-03-2009, 08:01 AM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post

[...]

I have a hard time understanding how anyone can say this. The parties are so different. Only in the complete absence of any values or ideology can I imagine someone not caring what party they vote for. The direction the country will head under R's and D's is so very different, it's baffling to me that you would be happy to go in either direction.
The range of issues in which I have any idea what I am talking about is rather narrow. As such, on most things I usually just end up throwing up my hands and thinking "I have no idea what policy X's aggregate effects will be". For example, the last thing I really started to look through whose ab initio cause for me to start looking at because of politics was Climate Change. Three years later, I still am a fence-sitter, who is unsure of what should be done. This line of events really is the mode for the set of events that contains all the times I tried to become informed about some political issue.

As for my lack of a general philosophy, I tend to either see both sides as making worthwhile points or see both sides as not being experimentally justified. For example, on the various permutations of the redistribution argument, I see the argument about it not being fair to tax those who have (presumably) worked harder to achieve success at such disproportionate rates as a reasonable argument to make. However, I also see that there is a vast difference in initial conditions for people, and a progressive tax schema is needed to keep wealth from becoming hereditary.

The above reasons are why I tend to look at the attributes of the candidates themselves, instead of just making a checklist of positions, and voting for someone who agrees with me more.
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  #8  
Old 11-03-2009, 10:40 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
I tend to look at the attributes of the candidates themselves, instead of just making a checklist of positions.
Starwatcher! You have written a brilliant post, and BHtv is the place to say it. I agree with your philosophy (or lack thereof). Your entire post is reproduced below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
The range of issues in which I have any idea what I am talking about is rather narrow. As such, on most things I usually just end up throwing up my hands and thinking "I have no idea what policy X's aggregate effects will be". For example, the last thing I really started to look through whose ab initio cause for me to start looking at because of politics was Climate Change. Three years later, I still am a fence-sitter, who is unsure of what should be done. This line of events really is the mode for the set of events that contains all the times I tried to become informed about some political issue.

As for my lack of a general philosophy, I tend to either see both sides as making worthwhile points or see both sides as not being experimentally justified. For example, on the various permutations of the redistribution argument, I see the argument about it not being fair to tax those who have (presumably) worked harder to achieve success at such disproportionate rates as a reasonable argument to make. However, I also see that there is a vast difference in initial conditions for people, and a progressive tax schema is needed to keep wealth from becoming hereditary.

The above reasons are why I tend to look at the attributes of the candidates themselves, instead of just making a checklist of positions, and voting for someone who agrees with me more.

Last edited by Simon Willard; 11-03-2009 at 10:46 AM..
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  #9  
Old 11-05-2009, 08:53 AM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

You have mentioned in a previous thread that you believe the parties are more similar then I and most others believe.

Could you explain your reasoning?

Edit:
From my vantage point, the rise of hyper-partisan news sources (such as Fox or MSNBC), is radically polarizing the electorate. How can there ever be consensus among the electorate (instead of a perpetual 55-45 split), when the two sides cannot even come togethor and agree on basic facts about reality (which I would argue is largely an artifact of partisan news sources) ?
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Last edited by Starwatcher162536; 11-05-2009 at 08:58 AM..
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  #10  
Old 11-05-2009, 12:16 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
You have mentioned in a previous thread that you believe the parties are more similar then I and most others believe.

Could you explain your reasoning?

Edit:
From my vantage point, the rise of hyper-partisan news sources (such as Fox or MSNBC), is radically polarizing the electorate. How can there ever be consensus among the electorate (instead of a perpetual 55-45 split), when the two sides cannot even come togethor and agree on basic facts about reality (which I would argue is largely an artifact of partisan news sources) ?
The question isn't directed to me, but at least until pretty recently I would have said that the parties were pretty similar, certainly more so than portrayed by their more rhetorically-extreme advocates. I might still make that argument, although the Republicans are making it hard, especially since it seems unclear how to separate what they really advocate vs. what they are happy to use to rile up the tea party mobs (who don't seem to really have that much in common with traditional Republicanism in a lot of ways).

I was just thinking about this in light of the attack on Obama's so-called extremism. The major culprits in this attack are the growth of the deficit, cap & trade, and health care, it seems, as not even the nuts seem capable of portraying his foreign policy as remotely radical. So look at those issues. I've actually got major problems with both cap & trade and the health care reform as currently envisioned, but hardly because either is particularly leftist. Both are pretty much a combination of a sop to centrism and the powers that be and basically politics as usual (don't want to have too much change). I'm not especially left-wing (I'd guess my posts here would put me as something of a moderate), and my problem with the health care plan is that it doesn't really address the problems it should, because it's too moderate.

So that leaves the deficit, which I find the weirdest of the apparently polarising issues of the moment, in that it seems most directly related to (1) the bailout of the financial sector (supported by the Bush admin and almost certain to have been supported by a President McCain, even if he had trouble figuring out how to work it as a campaign issue) -- not a traditional lefty policy, but the kind of issue where mainstream business-oriented Republicans and the particular pragmatist and DLC sectors of the Dems who have been big influences in the party in recent years tend to agree; (2) the stimulus -- again a policy that owes as much to mainstream thinking about economists and business interests as some supposedly leftist idelogy and, again, a policy that I suspect a Republican president would have followed to a certain extent, although with different pork projects to be embarassed by; and (3) a recalculation of the budget going forward revealing the cost Bush's own policies, such as the wars and the tax cuts (assuming they wouldn't be allowed to expire). Plus, of course, the negative effect on tax revenue caused by the recession.

While there has been an element of rhetoric in the Republican Party that has, since Reagan (probably since Goldwater and even tied -- in a different way -- to Nixon's silent majority stuff, but the issues seem to have evolved quite a bit since then), at least, tried to play up a connection between populism and supply-side econ and constant tax cutting, the only aspect of this for which there has really been much apparent support by Republican administrations is the tax cutting, and the idea of the Republicans as the populists is weird. Perhaps less so if they really become a regional party, though (which I'm skeptical about, just because I expect them to pull it together eventually).
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  #11  
Old 11-05-2009, 12:47 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
So that leaves the deficit, which I find the weirdest of the apparently polarising issues of the moment, in that it seems most directly related to (1) the bailout of the financial sector (supported by the Bush admin and almost certain to have been supported by a President McCain, even if he had trouble figuring out how to work it as a campaign issue) -- not a traditional lefty policy, but the kind of issue where mainstream business-oriented Republicans and the particular pragmatist and DLC sectors of the Dems who have been big influences in the party in recent years tend to agree; (2) the stimulus -- again a policy that owes as much to mainstream thinking about economists and business interests as some supposedly leftist idelogy and, again, a policy that I suspect a Republican president would have followed to a certain extent, although with different pork projects to be embarassed by; and (3) a recalculation of the budget going forward revealing the cost Bush's own policies, such as the wars and the tax cuts (assuming they wouldn't be allowed to expire). Plus, of course, the negative effect on tax revenue caused by the recession.
i think you're problem here is thinking. you know, being rational. The point of "oh noz - the deficit!" hand wringing from the right is to obstruct everything in Obama's agenda. It has nothing to do with actually thinking about the issues, or trying to understand why we are in the situation we are in, or trying to solve problems.

once you realize that they are just digging in their heels for pure power-politics reasons, their actions and "concerns" become easily understood.

but people say i'm cynical...
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  #12  
Old 11-05-2009, 12:58 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
but people say i'm cynical...
When it comes to mainstream Republicans activists and the like, and to some extent the actions of politicians, I actually do think you are more right than cynical (not that the two are mutually exclusive).

What I'm puzzling through is whether the rhetorical games means that there's really a difference between the parties or whether the fact that I think the situation would be pretty much the same on these matters no matter who was elected allows me to maintain my traditional view that the parties aren't so far apart as all that.

It also makes me frustrated with those of good faith who seem to be falling for the rhetoric or imagine that Obama is some hardcore lefty, but oh, well.
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  #13  
Old 11-05-2009, 01:05 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
i think you're problem here is thinking. you know, being rational. The point of "oh noz - the deficit!" hand wringing from the right is to obstruct everything in Obama's agenda. It has nothing to do with actually thinking about the issues, or trying to understand why we are in the situation we are in, or trying to solve problems.

once you realize that they are just digging in their heels for pure power-politics reasons, their actions and "concerns" become easily understood.

but people say i'm cynical...
When I have to deal with some cousin's blowhard right-wing boyfriend or whatever I play a little game with him:

1) who was the last guy to hit .400?
2) what's the debt right now anyway?

They always get the first one right and never get the second.
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  #14  
Old 11-05-2009, 01:05 PM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
....what they are happy to use to rile up the tea party mobs (who don't seem to really have that much in common with traditional Republicanism in a lot of ways)...

...I've actually got major problems with both cap & trade and the health care reform as currently envisioned, but hardly because either is particularly leftist. Both are pretty much a combination of a sop to centrism and the powers that be and basically politics as usual (don't want to have too much change)...
It is always hilarious too see the left trying to define their preferred policies as those of the centrists but a take or of some 16-17% of the economy is not centrist nor is the placing of regressive tax policies on energy, even with the various Robin Hood clauses of rob the rich to redistribute to the poor, centrist.

Perhaps some of the more partisan name calling, in an attempt to re-brand those individuals participating in the summer protests (mobs, teabagers, right wing fanatics etc.) many of which, if not the majority, are just working folks expressing their concerns, has been unproductive. While arguments can be made to say there are or are not national ramifications to the Democratic blood bath in Virginia, or the failure of the entrenched Democratic machine in New Jersey to hold the Governorship I believe that the most telling evidence is the nearly 2:1 margins of the independents favoring the Republicans. Spin it all you like in these two instances the middle dramatically shifted to the Republicans and it is the independents that decide most national elections.
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  #15  
Old 11-05-2009, 02:10 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Given that I've been a swing voter in plenty of elections, have been as turned off by the leftist faction in the Dems as anyone, and was delighted that the DLC and Clintons moved the party to the center, as it made me able to fit okay in one party vs. the other, trying to define me as hard left is silly.

Plus, polls consistently suggest that the US population is more to the left on health care than the current approach reflects.

The Republicans have a problem with a certain type of moderate voter (and I know that moderates aren't all that popular around here, so I'm certainly not calling myself that to be liked -- fact is that like a lot of people my politics vary depending on the issue and I don't tend to like extreme partisanship, although that's currently changing in reaction to the Republican strategy). Now, they may not want people like me even looking in their direction, and on the national level I've been more of a Dem than not anyway, but given that the dividing line isn't all that clear I don't think calling mainstream policies socialist and the like makes sense. It certainly doesn't further an exchange of ideas and understanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piscivorous View Post
but a take or of some 16-17% of the economy is not centrist
I assume this is supposed to relate to healthcare? You mean takeover? That's not a fair take on what is actually being discussed, although looking at other countries and who supports various plans and also looking at polls, again, says that you are wrong in how you are pegging even more liberal healthcare reform efforts.

On cap and trade, just look at some of the wonkish approaches to the issue discussed on the right. It's hardly an extreme idea.

Quote:
Perhaps some of the more partisan name calling, in an attempt to re-brand those individuals participating in the summer protests (mobs, teabagers, right wing fanatics etc.)
Act like a mob, and I'll call you a mob. I haven't used the other terms. I haven't even decided how much of a true partisan split this is, like I said.

Quote:
Spin it all you like in these two instances the middle dramatically shifted to the Republicans and it is the independents that decide most national elections.
When conservatives say stuff like this, I'm never sure whether it's really a prediction (based on wishful thinking, in my opinion) or spin. For whatever reason, they seem to like to insist that they are on the upswing, no matter what. Dems seem to get off on being more pessimistic. I don't find the predictions especially interesting -- it seems more like people going on about how their team will win in advance (and I never do that -- I think it's a jinx -- so maybe that makes me more natural a Dem, politics aside).
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  #16  
Old 11-05-2009, 07:55 PM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Given that I've been a swing voter in plenty of elections, have been as turned off by the leftist faction in the Dems as anyone, and was delighted that the DLC and Clintons moved the party to the center, as it made me able to fit okay in one party vs. the other, trying to define me as hard left is silly.
When did you last vote for someone from the right? Reagan? Because if you liked Clinton it would follow that Gore and Kerry were your guys as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Plus, polls consistently suggest that the US population is more to the left on health care than the current approach reflects.
It would be better if you actually link to these polls as there are polls on both sides of the issue. But even the pollster.com aggregate average is 50.3 against 42.6 for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
The Republicans have a problem with a certain type of moderate voter (and I know that moderates aren't all that popular around here, so I'm certainly not calling myself that to be liked -- fact is that like a lot of people my politics vary depending on the issue and I don't tend to like extreme partisanship, although that's currently changing in reaction to the Republican strategy). Now, they may not want people like me even looking in their direction, and on the national level I've been more of a Dem than not anyway, but given that the dividing line isn't all that clear I don't think calling mainstream policies socialist and the like makes sense. It certainly doesn't further an exchange of ideas and understanding.
If the definition of socialist involves state control of production and industry then what is not socialist about the bailout of the fiscal institutions with it's attendant salary controls by the unelected, unconfirmed pay Czar. The arguably illegal takeover of GM and Chrysler to the detriment of the secured creditors in favor of the non secured creditors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
I assume this is supposed to relate to healthcare? You mean takeover? That's not a fair take on what is actually being discussed, although looking at other countries and who supports various plans and also looking at polls, again, says that you are wrong in how you are pegging even more liberal healthcare reform efforts.
Once again you provide some fancy rhetoric with nothing to back it up accept you opinion. Not that I am opinionless but some actual data would be nice. I would recommend that you look to the Citizen Insurance program in FL. I live close enough to the coast that my one and only option insurance protection against hurricanes is the state run Citizens Insurance. It was sold to the public as the insurer of last resort with rates higher than were available to those that live less than a quarter mile further west. After the hurricane seasons of 04-05 the rate structure was changed to compete with private insurers. Now the State is the largest insurer of property in FL with many private insurers abandoning the state or refusing to write new policies altogether. All underwritten by state subsidies. Given that government benefit programs almost always expand (SS benefits, Medicare, Medicaid are good examples) how can one not assume it will be different with health care replacement.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
On cap and trade, just look at some of the wonkish approaches to the issue discussed on the right. It's hardly an extreme idea.
Would love to discuss the "wonkish" from the right solutions but it is hard to do so when the is no reference to what you think they are.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Act like a mob, and I'll call you a mob. I haven't used the other terms. I haven't even decided how much of a true partisan split this is, like I said.
Apparently you have never really seen what a mob does if you think that the demonstrators this summer fit that bill. One need only look back to Chicago in 1972 or France in 2006. Go to any of the major economic conferences and note the barbed wire and armed police surrounding the delegates. Those people are expecting mobs. An individual or two or twenty shouting down their representative is rude yes; far from mobish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
When conservatives say stuff like this, I'm never sure whether it's really a prediction (based on wishful thinking, in my opinion) or spin. For whatever reason, they seem to like to insist that they are on the upswing, no matter what. Dems seem to get off on being more pessimistic. I don't find the predictions especially interesting -- it seems more like people going on about how their team will win in advance (and I never do that -- I think it's a jinx -- so maybe that makes me more natural a Dem, politics aside).
While I have lived my life by the fiscally conservative ideology that I espouse, I can assure you I am far from a social conservative. Some would say that this make me a Libertarian but I'm with Groucho on this one and would join that group either.
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  #17  
Old 11-05-2009, 11:04 PM
PreppyMcPrepperson PreppyMcPrepperson is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by piscivorous View Post
When did you last vote for someone from the right? Reagan? Because if you liked Clinton it would follow that Gore and Kerry were your guys as well.
I don't know about Stephanie, but I was a Clintonite, and supported Gore and then Kerry for President, but vote for Republicans in most local races.
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  #18  
Old 11-06-2009, 03:32 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by PreppyMcPrepperson View Post
I don't know about Stephanie, but I was a Clintonite, and supported Gore and then Kerry for President, but vote for Republicans in most local races.
I'd actually disagree, of course, that supporting Clinton means that one would support Gore and Kerry (obviously it didn't, for a number of people, and by the time Gore ran he could be seen to the left of Clinton, depending on what one cared about, and Kerry too, also depending).

In any case, my point is simply that I'm typically a swing voter, and yes that includes voting for plenty of Republicans in statewide elections (including both Senate and Governor).
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  #19  
Old 11-05-2009, 08:04 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Don't kid yourself. You're a liberal. You might have the temperament for moderation in all things (and a nice thing that is too), but your policy preferences in the current political context make you a liberal.
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  #20  
Old 11-05-2009, 11:09 PM
PreppyMcPrepperson PreppyMcPrepperson is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Don't kid yourself. You're a liberal. You might have the temperament for moderation in all things (and a nice thing that is too), but your policy preferences in the current political context make you a liberal.
Not quite. None of what Stephanie outlined alludes to the cultural and social aspects of liberalism or the defense and foreign policy aspects of liberalism. Without making assumptions about Stephanie's views on these points specifically, let's take a hypothetical: where would you classify someone who is hard left on economics but hard right on social and defense issues?
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  #21  
Old 11-06-2009, 02:47 AM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
Without making assumptions about Stephanie's views on these points specifically, let's take a hypothetical: where would you classify someone who is hard left on economics but hard right on social and defense issues?
Stalinist? That was facetious. A union member from the forties? What prominent person in the US today fits this profile?
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  #22  
Old 11-06-2009, 02:20 PM
PreppyMcPrepperson PreppyMcPrepperson is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by kezboard View Post
Stalinist? That was facetious. A union member from the forties? What prominent person in the US today fits this profile?
No prominent person. As I've said elsewhere on this site, I'm not making any claims about the positions of political leaders but of voters. They are not usually the same thing. And I'd argue that Hillary Clinton supporters in Spring 2008, or the folks Ross Douthat is talking about in his book (the folks sometimes crudely described as "White, rural and working-class") seem to fit this bill--eager for state protection on economic issues, hawkish on defense and distrustful of coastal cultural liberalism.
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:48 AM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
And I'd argue that Hillary Clinton supporters in Spring 2008, or the folks Ross Douthat is talking about in his book (the folks sometimes crudely described as "White, rural and working-class") seem to fit this bill--eager for state protection on economic issues, hawkish on defense and distrustful of coastal cultural liberalism.
Yeah, I kind of know what you're getting at -- somewhere between the images of John Edwards (pre-Rielle) and Mike Huckabee, or something. I just don't know how "distrustful of coastal cultural liberalism" translates into a party platform, and I don't think that it's just a matter of positions on things like abortion and gay marriage.
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Old 11-08-2009, 02:36 PM
PreppyMcPrepperson PreppyMcPrepperson is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by kezboard View Post
Yeah, I kind of know what you're getting at -- somewhere between the images of John Edwards (pre-Rielle) and Mike Huckabee, or something. I just don't know how "distrustful of coastal cultural liberalism" translates into a party platform, and I don't think that it's just a matter of positions on things like abortion and gay marriage.
It's economic and defense planks of this you're missing. This constituency is hard left on economics--anti-trade, desirous of big government support programs etc, hard-right on defense and center-right on social issues.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:59 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by kezboard View Post
Yeah, I kind of know what you're getting at -- somewhere between the images of John Edwards (pre-Rielle) and Mike Huckabee, or something. I just don't know how "distrustful of coastal cultural liberalism" translates into a party platform, and I don't think that it's just a matter of positions on things like abortion and gay marriage.
I tend to agree. The whole Walmart Republican movement seems to be based on the idea that there's something in Republicanism for the white (and in some cases the hope is to get the non-white, too) working class, and that you can encourage this by modifying Republicanism with recognition of the economic liberalism (even if they don't always admit that's what it is) of many in these groups.

However, the trend of these people into the Republican party really does seem to be a cultural reaction in the current climate, so I'm not seeing it translate into a real set of programs. And that's especially so as that would highlight the splits in the Republican Party.

The current cultural basis for a lot of this just seems stupid, though, so I'd prefer that the splits get highlighted and argued through.

Arguably, this is something of an echo of the Reagan Dem thing, when you had groups who were culturally pissed at certain elites in the Dems (starting longer ago -- the aftermath of stuff like the '72 convention and kicking out of Daley and Meaney, for example) and who may have liked the traditional union and economic policies of the Dems, but were much more hawkish and socially conservative.

As I went on about in another thread, however, I'm not sure that works, because there's not currently a clear polarization on foreign policy, social issues seem to becoming less important or just stuck, and, most significantly, the economic leftism [edit: by the Reagan Dems, I mean] in the '70s and '80s was combined with fear about crime and racial polarization that was different than exists now.

All that said, however, it does seem that there's been a switch with many working class whites more likely to vote Republican and a lot more professional class types firmly in the Dems.

Last edited by stephanie; 11-09-2009 at 02:16 PM.. Reason: clarify as noted
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:08 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
[...]

Paul Krugman's column
of today has some relevance to this discussion. He has a darker view of the changing nature of the Republican Party ...

Quote:
... the G.O.P. has been taken over by the people it used to exploit.
... and he worries that this is no laughing matter.
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:36 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Krugman should come out and say what's bothering him.

Are posters that make Hitler comparisons are in bad taste? OK, so they are.

The GOP is controlled by the extreme right? There has been some movement in that direction. Ordinarily this means the GOP will be even more marginalized than it is now. Good news for Dems.

The GOP will take advantage of voter frustration with Obama? Well, gosh, and why not? That's how it should work. That's as wholesome and American as Mom's apple pie.

The GOP is not interested in governing, but rather preventing others from governing? I'm not sure about the validity of this Krugman fear, but it's certainly a legitimate position for the GOP to say they want less government, and act accordingly.

Finally, the coup de grace: Krugman warns the country may become "ungovernable". But no explanation of what that means. Now it's starting to sound like paranoia on Krugman's part.
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Old 11-09-2009, 03:06 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Krugman should come out and say what's bothering him.
Seems to me he does -- he is concerned that the GOP is increasingly dominated by people who are more interested in acquiring power by preying on people's fears and anger than they are in finding solutions to problems, and that when such people are in office, even in the minority position, they spend their efforts doing nothing but impeding progress. He points to California as an example, where he sees the GOP as preventing steps that have to be taken; e.g., to resolve the budgetary crisis.

It also seems to me that this ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
... it's certainly a legitimate position for the GOP to say they want less government, and act accordingly.
... is too simplistic a position, and in fact, resonates with what Krugman worries about when he talks about what passes for leadership in the GOP these days. You're certainly entitled to hold a belief in "less government," and as a matter of principle, it is one I share on a number of policy questions. However, you can't just be all "less government" = "problem solved!" when we have to deal with issues like a serious recession, high unemployment, and climate change. It's as unthinking as opposing all tax cuts without exception as the first sentence in one's political creed.

To address a couple of your other points:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Are posters that make Hitler comparisons are in bad taste? OK, so they are.
Here, Krugman's point was that there was no condemnation by anyone in the GOP at the event, and only a very mild statement by Cantor after the fact. He was using this to illustrate how the GOP leadership is not showing leadership, fears the wingnuts, or perhaps only cares about representing them, as opposed to other constituent types.

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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
The GOP is controlled by the extreme right? There has been some movement in that direction. Ordinarily this means the GOP will be even more marginalized than it is now. Good news for Dems.
Perhaps so, and as it happens, I agree there's a good chance it could play out that way. But Krugman (and others) don't see things that way -- there's a worry that the combination of tough economic times and a swell of emotion could mean bad news for the Dems. This strikes me as a legitimate worry -- history is full of examples of demagogues succeeding through irrational appeals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Finally, the coup de grace: Krugman warns the country may become "ungovernable". But no explanation of what that means. Now it's starting to sound like paranoia on Krugman's part.
If you know where Krugman is coming from -- he has touched on this theme in past columns and blog posts, as I recall -- then you know that he means by "ungovernable" that there won't be a way to effect policies that he believes are necessary, be they stimulative measures to help the economy and create jobs, actions taken to address climate change, regulations to get the financial services industry under control, etc.

Now, first, you can legitimately disagree that government should be involved in as many things as Krugman thinks it should, but to say they should stay out of everything seems to me naive at best. Second, there is a limit to what can be said in a seven- or eight hundred word column, and I think you're being unfair not to take that into account.
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Old 11-09-2009, 03:38 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Seems to me he does -- he is concerned that the GOP is increasingly dominated by people who are more interested in acquiring power by preying on people's fears and anger than they are in finding solutions to problems, and that when such people are in office, even in the minority position, they spend their efforts doing nothing but impeding progress. He points to California as an example, where he sees the GOP as preventing steps that have to be taken; e.g., to resolve the budgetary crisis.

It also seems to me that this ...



... is too simplistic a position, and in fact, resonates with what Krugman worries about when he talks about what passes for leadership in the GOP these days. You're certainly entitled to hold a belief in "less government," and as a matter of principle, it is one I share on a number of policy questions. However, you can't just be all "less government" = "problem solved!" when we have to deal with issues like a serious recession, high unemployment, and climate change. It's as unthinking as opposing all tax cuts without exception as the first sentence in one's political creed.

To address a couple of your other points:



Here, Krugman's point was that there was no condemnation by anyone in the GOP at the event, and only a very mild statement by Cantor after the fact. He was using this to illustrate how the GOP leadership is not showing leadership, fears the wingnuts, or perhaps only cares about representing them, as opposed to other constituent types.



Perhaps so, and as it happens, I agree there's a good chance it could play out that way. But Krugman (and others) don't see things that way -- there's a worry that the combination of tough economic times and a swell of emotion could mean bad news for the Dems. This strikes me as a legitimate worry -- history is full of examples of demagogues succeeding through irrational appeals.



If you know where Krugman is coming from -- he has touched on this theme in past columns and blog posts, as I recall -- then you know that he means by "ungovernable" that there won't be a way to effect policies that he believes are necessary, be they stimulative measures to help the economy and create jobs, actions taken to address climate change, regulations to get the financial services industry under control, etc.

Now, first, you can legitimately disagree that government should be involved in as many things as Krugman thinks it should, but to say they should stay out of everything seems to me naive at best. Second, there is a limit to what can be said in a seven- or eight hundred word column, and I think you're being unfair not to take that into account.
Sorry I don't have time to acknowledge every point you make. In brief, I think you are clarifying that much of Krugman's column can be explained as a partisan rant. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm looking for insight.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:29 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Sorry I don't have time to acknowledge every point you make. In brief, I think you are clarifying that much of Krugman's column can be explained as a partisan rant. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm looking for insight.
Sometimes insight is gained by stating clearly what the problem is. PK continues on this theme today, in a blog post titled "Armey of Ignorace," referring to what he calls a "seriously disgusting interview" with the teabagger-in-chief.

Quote:
There’s a persistent delusion, on the part of many pundits, to the effect that we’re actually having a rational political discussion in this country. But we aren’t. The proposition that the Community Reinvestment Act caused all the bad stuff, because government forced helpless bankers into lending to Those People, has been refuted up, down, and sideways. The vast bulk of subprime lending came from institutions not subject to the CRA. Commercial real estate lending, which was mainly lending to rich white developers, not you-know-who, is in much worse shape than subprime home lending. Etc., etc.

But in Dick Armey’s world, in fact on the right as a whole, the affirmative-action-made-them-do-it doctrine isn’t even seen as a hypothesis. It’s just a fact, something everyone knows.

Truly, sometimes I despair.
Following PK's link to the interview, I was reminded of that scene in Bulworth, where the insurance industry lobbyist says to the Senator that the people he represents shouldn't be compelled to sell house insurance to "those people," because, "Why? So they can smoke their crack, get AIDS, and burn their house down?"

When that movie came out, it seemed a little over the top, which was fine, as it was a satire. Now? Well, like PK, sometimes I despair.

(h/t: DougJ)
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Old 11-09-2009, 06:54 PM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
All that said, however, it does seem that there's been a switch with many working class whites more likely to vote Republican and a lot more professional class types firmly in the Dems.
That's not what some political scientists say:

http://www.amazon.com/Red-State-Blue...7810788&sr=8-1
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Old 11-10-2009, 12:46 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by Unit View Post
That's not what some political scientists say:

http://www.amazon.com/Red-State-Blue...7810788&sr=8-1
I've read that book and it's not disputing the stats I was referring to, but looking at a different issue. The big point in that book (which goes on to discuss various aspects of the issue) is that poorer states are more Republican than richer. Also, in poorer states, party allegience can be predicted based on income, whereas in richer states there's far less corollation between income and party affiliation. (Gelman tries to control for the race-related aspect of this and says that the conclusion still holds, and I remember being convinced when reading the book.)

On the other hand, nationally, working class whites (or non-college-educated whites) have been moving over to the Republicans, whereas upper income and professionals (or, in other polls, college-educated whites*), who used to be firmly in the Republicans are moving over to the Dems. Probably this is largely reflective of what's going on in the richer states. There are a variety of stats which show these changes, and here's one paper, by occasional blogginghead Ruy Teixeira, about it.

*I acknowledge that the two divisions I'm talking about are somewhat different, and am not trying to claim otherwise.

Last edited by stephanie; 11-10-2009 at 12:46 PM.. Reason: extra "and"
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  #33  
Old 11-06-2009, 11:21 AM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Beats me.

Let's look at today's news:

Quote:
Democrats only had to break three separate filibusters in the Senate to get this passed! The first filibuster was broken by a vote of 87-13, the second by a vote of 85-2, and the third by a vote of 97-1. The fourth and final vote, the one to actually pass the bill, was 98-0. Elapsed time: five weeks for a bill that everyone ended up voting for.

Why? Because even though Republicans were allowed to tack on a tax cut to the bill as the price of getting it passed, they decided to filibuster anyway unless they were also allowed to include an anti-ACORN amendment. Seriously. A bit of ACORN blustering to satisfy the Palin-Beck crowd is the reason they held up a bill designed to help people who are out of work in the deepest recession since World War II. Details here and here.
-- http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezr...erative_b.html

Is stephanie really on this fence between these two parties? I doubt it.
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:53 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
Don't kid yourself. You're a liberal. You might have the temperament for moderation in all things (and a nice thing that is too), but your policy preferences in the current political context make you a liberal.
Oh, in the current climate I think that's probably true, and I am pretty clearly a liberal on certain issues that are currently prominent and tend to be discussed on this forum (health care being one, although I think the American public is to the left of the current admin in some ways on that issue, as I mentioned before) and probably more so than I've been in the past. (For the record, a lot of the issues I'm more conservative on just don't come up much or seem like that much fun to discuss.)

My point was more that I think it's fair to say that if you really look at what the mainstream Republicans have done, it's hard to say precisely where the parties split, but it's not really normally on the issues that are currently being screamed about by Beck et al. as socialist. Almost all the current stuff seems more rhetorical than reflective of genuine beliefs.

In fact, since this is an Yglesias diavlog, I'll point out that just today or yesterday some nutty rightwing commenter at his site was going on about Bush being a socialist. That wasn't surprising, it's basically become commonplace from certain types of conservatives. Yet, it can't be true that Republicans are those who think the ideas promoted by Bush and Obama and other mainstream pols are socialism and those supported by, whom?, the teaparty types and Glenn Beck since c. 2009 are the real true Republicanism? Thus, I'm back to my suspicion that unless a real realignment is going on, which it might be, the parties are less far apart on economic issues than they let on and that the real difference on social issues is one between subcultures which exist within both parties, even if both have somewhat officially picked sides on those various issues.
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:39 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
You have mentioned in a previous thread that you believe the parties are more similar then I and most others believe.

Could you explain your reasoning?

Edit:
From my vantage point, the rise of hyper-partisan news sources (such as Fox or MSNBC), is radically polarizing the electorate. How can there ever be consensus among the electorate (instead of a perpetual 55-45 split), when the two sides cannot even come togethor and agree on basic facts about reality (which I would argue is largely an artifact of partisan news sources) ?
My primary thesis is this: The electorate is not polarized. And the electorate is fundamental. Everything else, including "parties" must be understood relative to the people.

If you graph a histogram of the people on a left/right axis, you will find a normal (Gaussian) distribution. The peak is the political center. The job of each party is to cover the left side (D) of this curve, or the right side (R) in such a way as to maximize votes. Since the normal distribution is peaked at the center, there is an almost irresistible force drawing the parties together (at least when they understand the game and want to win).

Different people may have different ideas about what it means to be left or right. But you can pick any definition and project the voters onto this axis (from what is really a multi-dimensional distribution) and you will get a normal distribution.

The normality of the distribution proves the lack of polarization. The true meaning of that word (not every understands this) is not that the distribution is wide, but rather that the population is pulled away from normality and clumped toward the tails of the distribution. So if everyone is clumped together in one of two camps (liberal and conservative), there is much polarization. I deny the existence of any polarization at all. The party bosses can polarize the parties by acting extreme, but this has little to do with the underlying distribution of the electorate.

It's true that we have a more polarized news sources, as you say. It's not like the 1960's when everyone got the same message from the evening news. And it's possible that Rush can whip his listeners into a temporary frenzy. But I believe if you question people carefully and individually about issues, you will learn that there is such diversity of opinion that you still get a normal distribution.

That's not to claim that the populace is unchanging. What was acceptable 100 years ago may be unthinkable today. But what you do with this observation is unclear. It's really going out on a limb to say that the country has moved to the left or right, because of the complexity of issues and the changing weight of importance we put on issues. The only thing one can do with high confidence is identify the center.

These are the fundamentals. I read these long arguments in the comment section where people argue about who has the momentum, who is being extreme, etc. But far too many commenters don't understand that their mental models should be built atop the above-mentioned fundamental picture.

Are the parties different? In a properly functioning two-party system the parties are somewhat different, but they cannot drift too far from center without losing voters. If you feel the parties are vastly different, it means you have developed great sensitivity to the issues that divide us. This is a judgement call; there's no absolute yardstick on which to measure political divisions. Things that seem like life-or-death to a political activist can seem like small details to the average citizen.

Finally, you ask how we can ever reach consensus. A properly functioning two-party system insures that there is never consensus on the issues that divide us. That's just a statement of tautology. We have consensus on many other things - the things we don't debate. There is widespread agreement in this country that we should allow women to vote and have full legal rights, despite the fact that this is not universally accepted around the world. So our yardstick for measuring the importance of gender issues is scaled quite differently than in, say, Saudi Arabia.

The bottom line is that I am not very concerned about extremists. Even if they show up holding signs and chanting slogans, you can safely ignore them. This system has enormous stability due to the large negative feedback a party receives when drifting too far from the center. The center rules! When a person falls into fits of apoplexy because of the existence of an entertainer like a Glenn Beck (or a Rachel Maddow), he is simply being pulled by emotions. These media stars might affect the party elites and others who live in a echo chamber, but they don't sway the electorate as a whole.

Circling back to your brilliant post, you expressed the difficulty of deciding on the proper path. The path will be chosen by the back-and-forth oscillations of the political system as it makes mistakes and feels the pain of those mistakes. Negative feedback rules! It's messy and painful, but it's the best we can hope for. So, yeah, you can't know what policy is best. Don't try to decide if you should choose paper or plastic to save the world. The best thing you can do is put a diverse collection of intelligent people in office.

Last edited by Simon Willard; 11-06-2009 at 11:21 PM..
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:15 AM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post

If you graph a histogram of the people on a left/right axis, you will find a normal (Gaussian) distribution. The peak is the political center.
Are you sure? Have you checked? There are bimodal distributions, you know. You're making a pretty big claim here.
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:29 AM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Circling back to your brilliant post, you expressed the difficulty of deciding on the proper path. The path will be chosen by the back-and-forth oscillations of the political system as it makes mistakes and feels the pain of those mistakes. Negative feedback rules! It's messy and painful, but it's the best we can hope for. So, yeah, you can't know what policy is best. Don't try to decide if you should choose paper or plastic to save the world. The best thing you can do is put a diverse collection of intelligent people in office.
Good lord, that is some serious Pangloss you got there. Those oscillations ain't always so happy.
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  #38  
Old 11-07-2009, 08:31 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

I think Simon would say that parliamentery systems are probably inherently less stable then ours.
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Last edited by Starwatcher162536; 11-07-2009 at 08:41 PM..
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  #39  
Old 11-07-2009, 08:30 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

Thanks for the repsonse.

Btw, when I was talking about consensus, I was not talking about a general consensus on all issues, but was instead talking about consensus forming on what the optimal solutions are for specific problems.
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  #40  
Old 11-03-2009, 03:11 PM
PreppyMcPrepperson PreppyMcPrepperson is offline
 
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Default Re: I don't understand this strategy.

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Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
I have a hard time understanding how anyone can say this. The parties are so different. Only in the complete absence of any values or ideology can I imagine someone not caring what party they vote for. The direction the country will head under R's and D's is so very different, it's baffling to me that you would be happy to go in either direction.
Read this.
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