Friday, May 1, 2009

Futility of acting on a miscalculation

Recently, the GOP leadership realized just how bad of a mess they're in. They've realized that the people they're supposed to represent are becoming angrier and angrier that they aren't doing the job they were hired to do. They're "launching an outreach initiative" to try to hide the chasm they've dug between themselves and their voters.

They'll fail. They'll fail because they're operating under a whole host of wrong assumptions.

The Democrats are, if anything, worse, depending on the issue. In my opinion, what they've done with and to their voters--i.e., removing the option of choosing schools from families that cannot afford private school tuition, encouraging dependency upon government programs, and telling one of the key blocs of their voters (the blacks) that they cannot get ahead without government assistance because of racism--is far worse, because the majority of their voters don't even see the chasm.

Frankly, I'm unhappy with both sets of congresscritters. I don't appreciate half of the elected Republicans assuming that the nation is swinging left on all issues. I don't appreciate the other half of the elected Republicans (and many Democrats) assuming that the majority of the nation are narrow-minded bigots.

I think many Americans think the way I do: that smaller government is the way to go.

The Republican party assumes that the majority of Americans are socially conservative. If, by that, they mean that most Americans believe in family, and believe in parents loving and teaching their children, they're right. Honestly, I don't think there's a politician out there that doesn't understand that family, however each voter defines it, drives voting. Where I think the Republicans get it wrong is the values they think Americans ascribe to.

Most American voters don't give as much of a damn about the social issues as the Republicans think they do. We aren't so much against civil unions as we are against loud, obnoxious activists that want not equality but special treatment, and as we are against judges usurping the powers of the legislature with their rulings.

The thing is, no one can tell you that you're not married if you feel you are, and no piece of paper can make you feel that way if you don't in the first place. Hence, the rates of infidelity and divorce amongst straight couples.

All that piece of paper does is get your name change filed in records, and permit you to claim certain privileges. Privileges, not rights. A right is something you're born with, and gays have exactly the same rights as straight people do. They have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They have the rights the government is forbidden to mess with by the first ten amendments. They have the right to be offended, or to choose not to be offended, by small-minded creeps--just the same as I have, or as my husband has.

They don't have some government granted privileges, true. And I have no objection to them being granted the same privileges I have, as a married woman. (God knows if they're allowed the government recognition the rest of us have, the marriage penalty in filing taxes would never be an issue again, no matter who's in charge at the federal level.) And I don't think that most Americans feel that differently. It's the word "marriage" that seems to get so many up in arms--on both sides--yet no one realizes that the government doesn't do "marriage," and hasn't since the advent of the easy divorce on a whim laws.

So, no, going farther right into bigotry or farther left into wishy-washy isn't going to fill the chasm. America doesn't care as much about the social issues as the Republicans think it does.

What most of us care about is our individual rights, about fiscal policy (specifically, our taxes and the way the money's spent, about the national debt and ginormous budget deficit) and about foreign policy. Most of us who feel as if we have no representation in Congress believe that the Federal government has taken too much power from both the state and especially from the individual with the laws passed criminalizing everything from driving without a seatbelt to smoking in your own car with the windows cracked if your kids happen to be with you.

I think that what the Republican party forgets is that we hired them to work for us, to represent us in the composition of new laws and the imposition of new taxes. The Republican party forgets that most of us that vote for them are voting for them to prevent the levying of new taxes, or the increase of taxes we already pay (the huge cigarette tax hike is a good example of where they failed to represent us). They forget that we hired them to make sure the federal government doesn't trample our rights as stated in the first ten amendments any further than it already has.

And they all, Republican and Democrat alike in their zeal to increase the size of government through programs the government was never authorized by the United States Constitution to create, forget that we hired them to prevent the federal government from spending us into international debtors' prison.

The Republican party is killing themselves through not understanding that most of us are closer to classic Liberalism than to either Liberal Progressivism or Social Conservatism.

I'll be writing on classic Liberalism next week, just for clarification of what I mean by that.

11 comments:

  1. HOLLY: The Democrats are, if anything, worse, depending on the issue.>>

    DAR
    I notice you don't give any examples. Not one. The record shows otherwise and this is easy to show. The American people are figuring this out.

    HOLLY: "...removing the option of choosing schools from families that cannot afford private school tuition,..."

    DAR
    My opposition to vouchers is having government money funneled to support religion. The founders were against that.

    HOLLY: "...encouraging dependency upon government programs,..."

    DAR
    How is that anything but a slogan?

    HOLLY:
    "I think many Americans think the way I do: that smaller government is the way to go."

    DAR
    Okay, so let's compare:

    "The White House's own numbers best illustrate how shamefully the Party of Reagan has misspent our tax dollars over the last ten years. When comparing its fiscal record to that of the Clinton administration, George W. Bush's White House loses in a landslide."
    -- Republican Joe Scarborough, "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day, pg. 27

    "Using the Bush White House's own numbers, the federal government under Bill Clinton grew at an annual rate of 3.4 percent. But over the past four years under
    George W. Bush and his Republican Congress, the federal government has grown at a staggering rate of
    10.4 percent. More damning is the fact that... George Bush never once vetoed a congressional bill."
    --Republican Joe Scarborough, "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day”, pg. 29 (2004)

    And this is before considering the trillions Iraq is going to cost us. There's the myth, and then there's the reality.

    HOLLY: "The Republican party assumes that the majority of Americans... believe in family, and believe in parents loving and teaching their children, they're right."

    DAR
    When republicans throw around the word "family" it seems to be an empty slogan. No one believes repub's love their families more than demo's, but that's the absurd implication.

    Let me check something I hadn't considered before: divorce rates by party. Oops.

    ***
    October 10, 2006

    Why Do Republicans Divorce More Often Than Democrats?

    Republicans are the party of family values.

    They’re the party that protects the sanctity of marriage. Their morality is stronger than their opposition.

    So say the Republicans. But the statistics say differently.

    Of the top 15 states for divorce rates in 2005, all 15 voted for Bush in 2004. All fifteen.

    Of the 12 lowest states for divorce rates, 10 voted for Kerry.

    http://www.thinkingliberal.com/the_free_radical/2006/10/why_do_republic.html

    DAR
    Can't say I'm surprised.

    HOLLY: "We aren't so much against civil unions as we are against loud, obnoxious activists that want not equality but special treatment,..."

    DAR
    Equality is not "special treatment." Was it special treatment when Blacks wanted to not have to sit on the back of the bus? No, but I bet bigots said it was at the time.
    Gays want, and will shortly get, equality. And those who fight to keep them from achieving their equal rights will soon (very soon) look as bigoted as someone who would today suggest that blacks should drink from a different water fountain or suggest that allowing them to drink from the same one is "special treatment." The young don't care about this issue. They barely understand the supposed concern. They laugh at it. This is an appropriate response. The pious hate to be mocked.

    And this just in:
    "...a new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post gives gay marriage an outright plurality, with 49 percent of adults supporting gay marriage and 46 percent opposed."

    http://abcnews.go.com/images/PollingUnit/1089a6HotButtonIssues.pdf

    Also:

    "...a CBS/NYT poll put support for full marriage rights at 42 percent, versus 25 percent for civil unions and 28 percent for no legal recognition."

    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/04/27/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry4972643.shtml

    We Americans love to blather on about our freedoms and rights, but here are the freedoms and rights gays are enjoying in countries that are ahead of us on this:

    ***
    * Denmark in 1989 became the first country to grant registered same-sex partners the same rights as married couples.

    * Norway, Sweden and Iceland all enacted similar legislation in 1996, and Finland followed suit six years later.

    * Netherlands became the first country to offer full civil marriage rights to gay couples in 2001.

    * Belgium allowed gay marriage in 2003.

    * Canada and Spain legalized gay marriage in 2005.

    * Germany has allowed same-sex couples to register for "life partnerships" since 2001.

    * France in 1999 introduced a civil contract called the Pacs, which gives some rights to cohabiting couples, regardless of sex. These do not include the full rights of marriage.

    * Luxembourg, allowed civil partnerships in 2004.

    * New Zealand recognized gay civil unions in December, 2004.

    * Britain gave same-sex couples in registered partnerships similar rights to married couples in December of 2005.


    HOLLY: "...the rates of infidelity and divorce amongst straight couples."

    DAR
    Is highest in religious republican areas (Oklahoma) and lowest in the first state to allow gay marriage (Mass.). Interesting.


    HOLLY: A right is something you're born with, and gays have exactly the same rights as straight people do.>>

    DAR
    Of course they do not. They will soon. In my lifetime. I am really going to enjoy this. What a time to live! The bigots lose another one. Why are the conservatives always on the wrong side of these things? Because they are stuck in the past perhaps.

    HOLLY: "They don't have some government granted privileges, true."

    DAR
    You just said: "gays have exactly the same rights as straight people do." Obviously, they don't. Some "government granted privileges?" Last I checked it was about 160. Why shouldn't they have these rights? Because of a word?

    HOLLY:
    "And I have no objection to them being granted the same privileges I have, as a married woman.>>

    DAR
    Good, then they should be able to get married. Problem solved.

    HOLLY: "...no one realizes that the government doesn't do "marriage,..."

    DAR
    The government bestows and recognizes the legal contract of marriage. Why do you so often say things that are plainly false? That's a bad habit. It's a good idea to proof read and remove false statements before posting them. That's what I do.

    D.
    -----------------
    Bonus:

    Many may not know that the Presidential Prayer Team (it really is an organization) in its August 15, 2003 newsletter requested that we pray for a suitable definition of marriage to be codified into law. They urge Americans to:
    "Pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles. With many forces insisting on variant definitions of marriage, pray that God's Word and His standards will be honored by our government."

    I'm sure any good religious person believes prayer should be balanced by action. So here, in support of the Prayer Team's admirable goals, is a proposed Constitutional Amendment codifying marriage on biblical principles:

    A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5.) Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

    B. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21) Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

    C. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

    D. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

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  2. Did I mention that I thought Mercutio said it best? "A plague on both your houses!"

    They all suck, my friend. It's just the ways in which they suck, and the futility of denying suckage when the American public can see otherwise.

    As for keeping those dependent upon government dependent...I actually do speak from personal experience. Would you like to e-mail me for the full story of the way Welfare worked up until '96, when President Clinton signed in some real reform? Not the way the government said it should work, the way it actually worked for the people stuck in it.

    And note that I do give credit where it's due. And I think you're probably right about divorce rates by party--the self-righteous always get shown up.

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  3. HOLLY: "As for keeping those dependent upon government dependent...I actually do speak from personal experience."

    DAR
    This is a personal anecdote and does not necessarily reflect the experience of others. Perhaps Joe the Plumber, the man made famous for being against the idea of "spreading the wealth around," had a good experience when he was on welfare. He doesn't talk about it much.

    HOLLY: Would you like to e-mail me for the full story of the way Welfare worked up until '96, when President Clinton signed in some real reform?"

    DAR
    That's okay. I don't doubt it was a disaster and you have clearly been scarred by it. Whenever people have authority or control over other peoples lives (prison, military, social services, religion) there are going to be abuses. It's human nature. This doesn't mean we shouldn't have these situations but rather that they should be implemented better (except for religious power, we don't need that). For some reason the US performs poorly when compared with similar countries in the area of delivering social services (mail service is fantastic however). Maybe it's because the government is in a near constant state of divorce (R v. D) and the far right is constantly trying to destroy or cripple these services under the pretense that they run counter to some bullshit notion of "free enterprise" or "spirit of rugged individualism."

    D.
    -----------------
    The only presidents to add to the debt since WWII have been Reagan, Papa Bush and his son:

    "All other presidents since WWII have contributed nothing to the Gross Federal Debt, which now stands at 63.6% of GDP. Bush has so far added to the debt at the same rate as Reagan, but predicts he will slow down in the future, otherwise the debt would reach 77.7% at the end of his second term,..."

    http://zfacts.com/p/480.html

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  4. "I think many Americans think the way I do: that smaller government is the way to go."HH that ship sunk long ago. Just try to shut down a branch of 'gubbermint.'
    .
    No one wants their ox gored.

    Extra points: Before George W. Bush which had more employees:
    1. Federal Government
    2. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

    .

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  5. I am fully aware that the ratchet effect is in full force. Ideally, smaller government would be better. Realistically, I know damn well it won't ever happen.

    And remember: I did say that neither party was any better than the other. "A plague on both their houses."

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  6. HH: And remember: I did say that neither party was any better than the other.>>

    DAR
    My only objection to this claim is that it's not true. It's not even close to true. One is clearly better than the other and this is easy to show. I've already shown that the record of democratic presidents out performs the record of republican presidents in nearly all objective, normative categories we can judge presidents by.

    For instance, see:

    http://www.academycomputerservice.com/economics/charts.htm

    And: http://tinyurl.com/5gbjeg

    Imagine if the demo's had held all controlling power of branches of government as the repub's have for six of the last eight years. Imagine that the shit had hit the fan, by all normal measurements, as it had under Bush. Would you find it at all persuasive if someone said, "yeah well, both parties suck and one isn't any better than the other." I certainly hope not.

    There comes a time those who had power really need to take some responsibility for their having pooped the national bed so badly. It seems they don't want to take this responsibility but fortunately, the American people are overwhelmingly holding them responsible. And that is as it should be.

    D.
    -----------------------
    "George W. Bush ...is surprisingly vulnerable to a challenge from his right. Issues: his soaring deficits; his preferential option for the rich; his sellout of conservative principle to embrace big government; his failure to protect America's borders and control immigration; his cave-in on the assault-gun law; his concessions to the gay Log Cabin Republicans; his refusal to put a stop to race preferences and reverse discrimination; his free-trade zealotry, which has helped to kill one of every eight manufacturing jobs in the United States while creating jobs in China; and, potentially the most explosive, his "quagmire" in Iraq.”
    -- Pat Buchanan, Atlantic Monthly, 9/03

    Note, this was in 2003, before Bush even inflicted most of his damage.

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  7. Oh, don't give politicians credit they don't deserve. I do not let President Bush off the hook for anything he did to add to government. I don't blame him for things beyond his control, or anything he didn't see coming, either.

    Just like I give President Clinton full props for reforming Welfare, and really didn't appreciate his...indiscretions, let's say...receiving as much national attention as they did with the Starr Report mess.

    It takes a lot of faith to believe that there are people out there who know what's best for you better than you do. I don't have that kind of faith. I'm kind of sorry you do.

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  8. HH: "It takes a lot of faith to believe that there are people out there who know what's best for you better than you do. I don't have that kind of faith. I'm kind of sorry you do."

    DAR
    It not clear what you mean. I don't know of any way I conduct my life that would make someone suggest I ever act as if there are "people out there who know what's best for [me] better than I do."

    Well maybe this: If I have a serious health problem, I go to the doctor because he is a highly trained expert in providing methods to get better he has in the past shown that in this area he "knows what's best for me better than I do." Course, if I disagree, I veto his advice.

    If I have a problem with criminals I will call the police because in dealing with these people they "may know what's best for me better than I do." Course if they don't come quick enough I may just have to shoot them myself.

    Sometimes I take my truck to the shop since some repairs are beyond my ken and the mechanic clearly knows "what is best for my car better than I do." I do know enough to know if they are trying to rip me off.

    So other than these sorts of common sense things, it's not clear how I have the faith you claim I do. Perhaps you can give an example of how I exercise such a faith in other people knowing what's best for me better than I do. I am more of an evidenced based guy and must say I really don't have much faith that you are right about this one.

    D.

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  9. Politicians are the ones banning smoking in public places in many states. Politicians are the ones trying to get new fast food places banned in others. Politicians are the ones proposing legislation to ban drinking on private property within sight of places children congregate in Dover, Massachusetts. Politicians are the ones who passed anti-sodomy laws that discriminate against gays and against married people alike, just because they don't care for fun sex. Politicians are the ones who passed legislation preventing the purchase of alcohol on Sundays, and the ones that have prevented the repeal of that law in some places.

    I'd say politicians in general and on both sides of the aisle have thought for generations that they knew better than the people what was good for the people.

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  10. DAR
    Excellent, you gave several examples. I am on your side with almost, if not, all of them. Except maybe this first one.

    HH: "Politicians are the ones banning smoking in public places in many states."

    DAR
    Well, they are representing the will of the people aren't they? You wanted representation with your tax money. I think some anti-smoking laws go to far but I go by the general rule that you have the right to swing your arm until it hits someone else in the nose. Smoking quite literally does that. I have investigated the second hand smoke science and debated it quite a bit, and it holds up (links provided if interested). Lung cancer kills about 160,000 a year in the US (more than all other cancers combined I think) so this is not something to sneeze at. I am quite libertarian on people taking their drugs as they wish but smoking in public definitely affects others.

    I am on your side on all the rest of your examples so except for some difference on the smoking example, I guess I don't fall into the category of one who has "faith" that "other people know what's best for me better than I do."

    D.

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  11. I'm glad you gave some examples, too, but those are way off-point from your original point, which was about your fear of Obama and larger social issues. I hardly think you really meant relatively inconsequential issues like smoking bans and drinking on an airplane when you said Obama scares you, or that you don't have faith in politicians in general.

    If you really fear Obama, I recommend reading his early autobiographical work "Dreams from my Father" for real insight to his level headed world view. I trust him very much to make careful decisions based on real information and not his emotions, empathy for the lives of citizens (yes EMPATHY), and his willingness to make personal sacrifices if necessary for the greater good. That is real leadership, and when people say they fear him, I just think they are uninformed and emotional.

    How about giving some REAL examples of what you were talking about? You say Obama scares you, now please explain why? Is it just a general scared feeling that you can't explain? Is it because FOX news told you to be scared? If he has said or done something specific to scare you, perhaps further investigation of that particular act would provide an explanation or abatement of your fear, rather than just staying afraid.

    -betsy

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