Players and Patriots

The Daily Beast has a fascinating new article about the Death of the Sex Scandal. (Read it at: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/features/view/feature/Sex-Scandals-Have-Lost-Their-Bite The Atlantic The writers suggest Americans have become more cosmopolitan, or jaded, or just plain bored with sex scandals, which are no longer the death knell they once were to political careers, especially on the right. Of course no discussion of sex scandals is complete without reference to Bill Clinton, that wily polictical survivor, who may be partly responsible for this astonishing evolution in American polictics:
The 42nd president of the United States was arguably the first harbinger that the sex scandal had lost its power to end political careers. Even feminists seemed unaffected by his antics. The deeper Ken Starr delved into Clinton’s sexcapades, the more his approval ratings seemed to rise. Today, despite that woman, and everything else, Clinton is a man redeemed. His rehabilitation has been so triumphant that one writer on this site recently wondered if Clinton had set a new bar for the successful post-Presidency.
Meanwhile, the new touchword seems to be “patriotism”, rather than probity and purity. Among Republicans it doesn’t matter anymore how much you love your wife… nowadays  it’s all about how much you love your country. My pet Freepers are deeply into this new politics… and so are Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, with all their dog-whistle talk about “real Americans” and people in Congress who are “anti-American”.

The Freepers have been watching the “One Nation” rally  on the Mall, and many of their comments are predictable.. “Bunch of commie pinkos”, or “No wonder the crowd is slow getting up to  speed, none of these people are ever out of bed before noon”, or “They won’t come unless there’s free food” and so forth. But their remarks about the flag are especially telling … and deeply, brutally offensive. “Why is OUR flag at their rally? ” and “Of course they have the flag there. They’re planning to burn it later”.
The most zealous segment of the Republican base honestly believes it is the only part of America that truly loves America. They consider themselves the only true Patriots. They simply cannot imagine (let alone acknowledge) that anyone on the left could possibly also be a patriot. And in party that not so long ago impeached a president for a brief sexual dalliance between consenting adults… nowadays a Republican can be a player, a pervert, a prostitute or provocateur… as long as he/she is a Patriot.
In 1935, Sinclair Lewis memorably predicted that “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”.
Perhaps it’s time to give some thought to that prophecy.

About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
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64 Responses to Players and Patriots

  1. shiloh says:

    No surprise.One of the first celebrity sex tapes to go viral was Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee in the mid ’90s. Nowadays nobody cares lol ie Carrie Prejean Miss CA 2009 masturbating :::zzz:::Interesting dichotomy, when in the ’60s the press knew about JFK’s indiscretions and didn’t report it, whereas today Miley Cyrus does a risqué ;) photo shoot and it’s front page.Of course the internet has changed everything as mentioned previously :) the (3) P’s ~ Porn, Politics and Poker! where any kind of x-rated material is readily available free of charge, just ask Carl Paladino lol.Again, the irony of the hypocritical religious right, being that Reps try to portray themselves as the only righteous party of god, baseball, hot dogs and Chevrolet when it’s wingers caught in sex scandals who don’t resign: Larry Craig, Sanford, Ensign, Vitter, etc. whereas Spitzer resigned and Edwards had nothing to resign from.Forgiveness is a conservative virtue, eh, except if you’re a liberal!>Young folk just don’t care, which is why Gays will soon, GASP!, have equal protection under the law.Re: Reps and sex scandals it’s really quite basic: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!>There was a historical study in the mid ’70s that reported only (2) U.S. presidents didn’t have extra marital affairs, besides Buchanan who never married ~ Truman and Ford.So, America is becoming like France, the horror, where every male politician has a mistress ;) and don’t tell Christine I only run for office to pay my living expenses! O’Donnell.>Too funny how wingers tried to convict Bill Clinton over a BJ and now he’s the popular politician in America lol.Glad to see Clinton is still drivin’ conservatives Bat Shit Crazy!!! after all these years. :)Indeed, it’s impossible for uptight Reps to chill! and when Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America :) it drove teabggers er conservatives off the cliff …Still Crazy After All These Years …

  2. Jeff says:

    @filistro:You say “And in party that not so long ago impeached a president for a brief sexual dalliance between consenting adults…”============Many on the right would be pleased as punch if we stopped focusing on minor personal issues and instead focused on questions of policy and performance.However, I think if you were to read the Articles of Impeachment, you’d find the accusation dealt with perjury under oath.We can agree that the impeachment was over-reaching, we can agree that sex outside of marriage isn’t a problem, etc. I’m not totally convinced that perjury is something we can say is OK.And by the way, while it’s not a crime (although the courts are increasingly making it so), for an older, more powerful person to have a dalliance with a much younger, weaker person, it is arguably an abuse of power, and inarguably tacky….

  3. filistro says:

    Jeff… do YOU believe that generally speaking, those on the right are more “patriotic” than those on the left?(Be VERY careful how you answer. If you fib, I will know… :-)

  4. Jeff says:

    filisto asked: do YOU believe that generally speaking, those on the right are more “patriotic” than those on the left? (Be VERY careful how you answer. If you fib, I will know… :-)============In one word: Yes.To clarify: There is a strong anti-American bias among SOME members of the left. It is not the right wing that compared the US to Hitler’s Germany (for example, “Amerika?”) and burns American flags and who, back in my college days, chanted “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the Viet Cong is gonna win.” It wasn’t conservatives who called (draftee) soldiers coming home from Viet Nam “Baby Killers” and spat on them. And all too many of those slimeballs haven’t changed in 40 years. It is not the right wing that dallies with Chavez and authoritarian left-wing dictatorships that hate us (we on the right tend to dally with authoritarian right-wing dictatorships that lick our hands….). Yes, this is a fairly small minority of leftists (one hopes!), but a somewhat larger group (again on the left) doesn’t seem to find it in their hearts to condemn them. Please do NOT conclude that I am describing all liberals, most liberals, or even a large minority of liberals. I believe the very large majority of the left is patriotic by most any reasonable definition. It is just that when you look for outwardly anti-American sentiment in this country, you find it predominately on the left (and, to be fair, among the extreme right fringe)In addition, there is also the question of how you define “patriotism.” In many cases, it’s a question of emphasis. For example, Madam Speaker Pelosi used to say that “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” At the time, she was referring to anti-war demonstrators. Once dissenters became identified with the Tea Party, her definition of “patriotism” changed. There are other definitional differences: For example, the right tends to think of the US as “exceptional” among nations. Reagan was quoting Jonathan Edwards when spoke of the US as the “Shining City on the hill.” The right often describes the American theory of government as based on the “inalienable rights of man(kind), or, in other words, rights that are inherent because they are ordained by God, vs. the philosophy behind other constitutions, which tend to define individual rights as something given by the government. Conservatives, when they take an oath to uphold the Constitution, believe they are swearing to upholding the Constitution as written, and look askance at those who think the Constitution says whatever they want it to mean.In other words, define “patriotic.”

  5. mclever says:

    filistro, this attitude from conservatives has been there for some time now. Several years ago, I encountered severe skepticism of my life-long patriotism when I lived in Texas. At the time, my views were best described as moderate, and I had voted for more Republicans than Democrats to that point in my life. However, because I wasn’t sufficiently taken hook, line, and sinker by every single item on the Christian Conservative agenda, I was branded an America Hater by some of my peers. They told me I was a hypocrite for having American Flag and “Support Our Troops” stickers on my car. They simply couldn’t comprehend that someone who questioned Republican orthodoxy might actually be patriotic, with deep-seated and passionate love for one’s country.It boggled my mind.

  6. mclever says:

    Jeff, your Vietnam Era bias is showing.Today’s liberals aren’t the same and reject that over-the-top rhetoric of a generation ago. It could be argued that today’s conservatives are the ones who are unpatriotic with their creation of “free speech zones” and push to incarcerate other citizens simply because they disagree. Today’s conservatives are the ones talking about open revolution (“Second Amendment Solutions”) and disrespect for our Constitutionally appointed government.Who’s more patriotic? There are fringes at both ends of the spectrum. But I certainly could make the argument that the liberals who sincerely want to make America the best country in the world are more honest in their patriotism than those conservatives who cry patriotic elephant tears.

  7. mclever says:

    Fixing italics…

  8. mclever says:

    Hmm, I guess my italics fix didn’t work…

  9. Justsayin says:

    Jeff get your head out of the sand. The treatment that some of our soldiers recieved after Vietnam was dispicable, and I guarantee that alot of those demonstators are tea partiers today, hardly patriotic. I want mine but I don’t give a damn if you get yours. I live in a military town and a lot of our hard working service men and women are both conservative and liberal, and nobody is stupid enough to question either sides patiotism. I view most conservative politicians as hacks and hypocrits and haven’t liked one since IKE. Jeff are you a vet?

  10. Jeff says:

    mclever said: “when I lived in Texas, because I wasn’t sufficiently taken hook, line, and sinker by every single item on the Christian Conservative agenda, I was branded an America Hater by some of my peers. They told me I was a hypocrite for having American Flag and “Support Our Troops” stickers on my car. They simply couldn’t comprehend that someone who questioned Republican orthodoxy might actually be patriotic, with deep-seated and passionate love for one’s country. =============Yes, yahoos of the right. Ugh. Some years ago I lived and worked at the Esalen Institute, in Big Sur. If you don’t know it, perhaps the best way to describe it is that it was where the counter-culture began. It is as “liberal” as it comes. It was also open-minded. I recall working in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day when the cook (a passionate leftist) gathered the entire kitchen crew around the center table and proceeded to lead us in patriotic songs. We sung America the Beautiful, God Bless America, and several other, similar songs (we didn’t sing the Marine Hymn…). When one person objected, because there were a lot of non-Americans present, the cook said “This is an American holiday and we should have no problem singing American songs.”I contrast that to my last job, working in a school near Berkeley, CA, that is best described as doctrinaire left. The students (99% American citizens), do not say the Pledge of Allegiance, because, according to the very liberal Head of School “many of the teachers don’t like America” and would be disrespectful. (on the other hand, if one were disrespectful during an assembly for Cesar Chavez or Martin Luther King, they’d be fired or expelled). The school has a concert each year. The songs chosen ALWAYS include something from Africa, something from Asia, etc., etc. Never once in 15 years have they sung an “American” song.Do I call the cook at Esalen patriotic? Absolutely. The leadership of the school? Arguably open to question.My view of patriotism is what Senator Carl Shurtz said 150 years ago: My Country Right or Wrong. When right, to be kept right, when wrong, to be put right.”Ultimately, “patriotism” is love of country. You can dislike things your spouse or child does, but still love them. You can also carry that love too far, as when a parent refuses to correct a child. But when the love for country dies, you’re no longer a patriot.

  11. filistro says:

    Jeff, thanks for a frank and honest answer. I found what you had to say both interesting and provocative (as I suspect you intended it to be ;-)I have some thoughts on your answer but no time to expound them right now… I’m going out in a few minutes… so check back tomorrow. In the meantime, you all play nice. No whacking each other with your Barbie dolls. We’re trying move past all that. (And it’s SO much easier to avoid outright violence when Bart isn’t here…)

  12. shiloh says:

    ok, this may be posted twice as right after fili’s editorial my post went to “moderation purgatory” or totally evaporated into the time/warp continuum.And it’s just the ad nauseam obvious ie the supposed holier than thou/patriotic Rep party are just common garden variety hypocrites!>>>No surprise.One of the first celebrity sex tapes to go viral was Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee in the mid ’90s. Nowadays nobody cares lol ie Carrie Prejean Miss CA 2009 masturbating :::zzz:::Interesting dichotomy, when in the ’60s the press knew about JFK’s indiscretions and didn’t report it, whereas today Miley Cyrus does a risqué ;) photo shoot and it’s front page news.Of course the internet has changed everything as mentioned previously :) the (3) P’s ~ Porn, Politics and Poker! where any kind of x-rated material is readily available free of charge, just ask Carl Paladino lol.Again, the irony of the hypocritical religious right, being that Reps try to portray themselves as the only righteous party of god, baseball, hot dogs and Chevrolet when it’s wingers caught in sex scandals who don’t resign: Larry Craig, Sanford, Ensign, Vitter, etc. whereas Spitzer resigned and Edwards had nothing to resign from.Forgiveness is a conservative virtue, eh, except if you’re a liberal!>Young folk just don’t care, which is why Gays will soon, GASP!, have equal protection under the law.Re: Reps and sex scandals it’s really quite basic: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!>There was a historical study in the mid ’70s that reported only (2) U.S. presidents didn’t have extra marital affairs, besides Buchanan who never married ~ Truman and Ford.So, America is becoming like France, the horror, where every male politician has a mistress ;) and don’t tell Christine I only run for office to pay my living expenses! O’Donnell.>Too funny how wingers tried to convict Bill Clinton over a BJ and now he’s the popular politician in America lol.Let me repeat, he’s currently the most popular national politician in America!Glad to see Clinton is still drivin’ conservatives Bat Shit Crazy!!! after all these years. :)Indeed, it’s impossible for uptight Reps to chill! and when Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America :) it drove teabggers er conservatives totally off the cliff …Still Crazy After All These Years …>>>Again, nothing new, just the obvious … and holier than thou, self-righteous wingers like Jeffrey are somewhat amusing, especially after (8) years of cheney/bush god talked to me nonsense!take care, blessings

  13. Jeff says:

    mclever said: “Jeff, your Vietnam Era bias is showing.Today’s liberals aren’t the same and reject that over-the-top rhetoric of a generation ago.It could be argued that today’s conservatives are the ones who are unpatriotic with their creation of “free speech zones” and push to incarcerate other citizens simply because they disagree. Today’s conservatives are the ones talking about open revolution (“Second Amendment Solutions”) and disrespect for our Constitutionally appointed government.Who’s more patriotic? There are fringes at both ends of the spectrum.”=============Yes, there are fringes on both sides. And yes, my Vietnam Era bias is showing.I doubt if you live in the San Francisco area, (home of Speaker Pelosi), because to much of the Bay Area, the Vietnam war hasn’t ended. You should read the local papers and see what goes on in SF or Oakland. And Berkeley is beyond belief.”Free Speech zones” are hardly a problem. They exist because of public safety. I don’t care what your politics are, you don’t have the right to shut down a city to make your point. The free speech zones exist because elements on the left use violence as an every-day tactic. Look at any G8 summit meeting. It isn’t accountants and plumbers creating the havoc. Free Speech doesn’t include the right to harass people. Carly Fiorina was speaking to a private group in a private house in my town, and anti-Fiorina demonstrators blocked the street, disrupted the neighborhood, and left behind a mess. In colleges, left-wing students claim the right to shout down speakers of whom they disapprove. Oh, and could you let me know which conservatives wanted to “push to incarcerate other citizens simply because they disagree.” I’d be fascinated…..

  14. shiloh says:

    To whom it may concern:Somebody check the moderation basket …carry on

  15. Todd Dugdale says:

    Jeff wrote:”It is not the right wing that dallies with Chavez and authoritarian left-wing dictatorships that hate us (we on the right tend to dally with authoritarian right-wing dictatorships that lick our hands….).”I don’t see the American Left supporting Chavez at all. In fact, I see myself as quite a minority simply by stating that he is the best leader Venezuela has had in over 50 years. If Bush’s USAID hadn’t made their ham-fisted attempt to overthrow him, Chavez would be history by now. Instead, he became a hero.As far as “dictator” goes, it is a very odd dictator who is elected multiple times, who allows the opposition-controlled media (which is pretty much all of it) to engage in treason on a regular basis, and whose Party suffers significant losses.Imagine if Fox News openly pleaded with foreign leaders to overthrow Obama and replace him with an un-elected oligarchy. That’s what the opposition-controlled media in Venezuela does on a regular basis. It’s called treason generally – not the make-believe ‘treason’ Republicans invented to impugn those Americans who thought the Iraqi occupation wasn’t the best idea ever.Before Chavez, Venezuela was governed by the Punto Fijo Accords. This was an agreement between the two major parties that they would alternate terms, election results be damned. This is the Golden Age that you want to return to?Under Chavez, illiteracy has been virtually wiped out. In fact, there is higher percentage of illiteracy in the U.S. than there currently is in Venezuela. What a horrible “dictator”! After Chavez was re-instated to power, pretty much the only people to be jailed were those who had planned to carry out a ruthless bombing campaign against civilian targets in order to create chaos. They were stopped only by mere luck from bombing primary schools, universities, public gatherings, and highways. Those would be the “freedom-fighters” that Bush elevated into saintly heroes. How awful of the “dictator” to jail people who tried so hard to blow up children in classrooms for “freedom”!Is he a buffoon, an egotist, a blowhard? Yes, on all counts. But he is better than any of the puppets that preceded him. It’s odd to me that the Right never cared about Venezuela or its people prior to Chavez, though.Chavez routinely denounces Obama, and the Pentagon still formally maintains plans for an invasion of Venezuela. This idea that the Left embraces Chavez is a fiction and an exercise in false equivalence.

  16. jean says:

    eff,re: Ultimately, “patriotism” is love of country. You can dislike things your spouse or child does, but still love them. You can also carry that love too far, as when a parent refuses to correct a child. But when the love for country dies, you’re no longer a patriot.You’ve got love it when wingers tell you how much more they LOVE their country. They of course do this at the same time as they hurl the most vile insults at the duly elected President of the United States. They profess their great love of our country by obstructing everything this President does in the selfish desire to deny him any success and the very things the majority of voters elected President Obama to do. They have even opposed legislation that they had originally sponsored! Yes, such love of country. Senator DeMint LOVES this country so much he has vowed to block every single piece of legislation trying to work its way through the Senate. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I can’t take all this right wing love of country. Then of course you have the Sarah Palin’s LOVE, she who divides this country into the “Real America” and the rest of us riff raff. Yes, the right just LOVES America. Oh, and Gingrich spews his LOVE on a daily basis – suggesting that Islam is equivalent to Nazism, that Obama is some Kenyan anti-colonialist and that he is worse than Stalin. A veritable love fest from the right.

  17. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:The socialists and the communists were very much represented at the One Nation rally today.http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2010/10/15-photos-from-onenation-rally-youll.htmlThis is hardly a freeper fantasy.

  18. Monotreme says:

    @Jean:Your essay reminds me of the great Mandy Moore line from Saved! (in this trailer):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je18yGc6jXk“I am FILLED with Christ-love for you [flings Bible].”

  19. Jeff says:

    Todd Dugdale wrote:”I don’t see the American Left supporting Chavez at all. In fact, I see myself as quite a minority simply by stating that he is the best leader Venezuela has had in over 50 years.”==============Proving my point.”Under Chavez, illiteracy has been virtually wiped out. In fact, there is higher percentage of illiteracy in the U.S. than there currently is in Venezuela.”=============Yes, and Castro eliminated illiteracy, as did Stalin. Hitler restored prosperity, and Mussolini made the trains run on time. Remind me to add Chavez to that pantheon.”the Pentagon still formally maintains plans for an invasion of Venezuela.”===========Yup. The Pentagon also maintains plans for the invasion of Canada (sorry filistro), and for repelling an invasion from outer space. “Planning” is what they do.”After Chavez was re-instated to power, pretty much the only people to be jailed were those who had planned to carry out a ruthless bombing campaign against civilian targets in order to create chaos. They were stopped only by mere luck from bombing primary schools, universities, public gatherings, and highways.”============Yup. All those people planning on bombing highways and schools. You forgot to mention their poisoning of wells, midnight Black Masses, and child molestation. And you know this because?????? Fair trials? Or because Chavez says so?And when you say “pretty much all the people jailed” were plotting bad things…. what about the rest of the people that were jailed?”As far as “dictator” goes, it is a very odd dictator who is elected multiple times”=============Most every dictator is “elected multiple times.” ==========I believe Kim Il Sung has been elected multiple times. Stalin and Hitler were elected multiple times. Mao was elected multiple times. And this proves what?

  20. Mr. Universe says:

    Most every dictator is “elected multiple times.”And this proves what?That the word ‘gullible’ isn’t in the dictionary.

  21. filistro says:

    Okay, Jeff, I’ve had some time to think about this.I asked… “Do you think those on the right are more patriotic than those on the left?” Your response… “In a word, yes.”I find your answer appalling but I’ll try to set aside emotion and tell you why in calm and rational way.First, a definition. Patriotism is “love of country.”So in your response you tell me you love your country MORE than a full half of your countrymen do… and then you proceed to detail a whole laundry list of things you hate about your country.It’s like saying, “I love my wife… except for her personality, her looks, the weight she’s recently gained, and certain aspeects of her character.” We all tend to question the first half of that statement after hearing the rest of it, don’t we?I think what Republicans “love” is some idealized vision of what their country could be… if they could only get rid of all the nasty bits. Unfortunately, those other bits are ALSO AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE COUNTRY YOU CLAIM TO LOVE. America is not your dream of some misty, romantic mishamsh of Valley Forge, Galt’s Gulch, the Old West and rural Ohio. And it never will be.America is huge Muslim enclaves around Dearborn, and grinding poverty and hopelessness on Indian reservations, and big colorful Spanish-only communities in border states, and brutal violence and desperation in its inner cities, and hotbeds of liberal thought on college campuses. And half of Americans are Democrats.Do you REALLY love that America, Jeff?If you can’t love ALl of your country, you don’t really “love” it at all. You’re just fooling yourself. Because your country is not the apple-pie ideal of what it would be if you could only get rid of all teh parts of it you don’t like. It is what it is.And all the Democrats I’ve met are people who love their country warts and all. That’s why I support their cause. They’re the true patriots.

  22. Realist says:

    Jeff, it seems you confuse patriotism and jingoism.

  23. shortchain says:

    Realist’s comment popped up just as I was thinking exactly the same thing.Jeff, you also appear to be confused about the difference between free and fair elections (as monitored by various international bodies) — you know, like they’ve had in Venezuela to re-elect Chavez, for all his faults — and the ones that real dictators hold for show, such as in the old USSR, Nazi Germany, Mao’s China, … and today’s Afghanistan under American occupation.But, by all means, do continue to regurgitate the last 40 years’ worth of right-wing talking points. None of us here have ever heard them before, I’m sure.

  24. shiloh says:

    ok, maybe the 3rd time is the charm.And it’s just the ad nauseam obvious ie the supposed holier than thou/patriotic Rep party are just common garden variety hypocrites!>>>No surprise.One of the first celebrity sex tapes to go viral was Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee in the mid ’90s. Nowadays nobody cares lol ie Carrie Prejean Miss CA 2009 masturbating :::zzz:::Interesting dichotomy, when in the ’60s the press knew about JFK’s indiscretions and didn’t report it, whereas today Miley Cyrus does a risqué ;) photo shoot and it’s front page news.Of course the internet has changed everything as mentioned previously :) the (3) P’s ~ Porn, Politics and Poker! where any kind of x-rated material is readily available free of charge, just ask Carl Paladino lol.Again, the irony of the hypocritical religious right, being that Reps try to portray themselves as the only righteous party of god, baseball, hot dogs and Chevrolet when it’s wingers caught in sex scandals who don’t resign: Larry Craig, Sanford, Ensign, Vitter, etc. whereas Spitzer resigned and Edwards had nothing to resign from.Forgiveness is a conservative virtue, eh, except if you’re a liberal!>Young folk just don’t care, which is why Gays will soon, GASP!, have equal protection under the law.Re: Reps and sex scandals it’s really quite basic: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!>There was a historical study in the mid ’70s that reported only (2) U.S. presidents didn’t have extra marital affairs, besides Buchanan who never married ~ Truman and Ford.So, America is becoming like France, the horror, where every male politician has a mistress ;) and don’t tell Christine I only run for office to pay my living expenses! O’Donnell.>Too funny how wingers tried to convict Bill Clinton over a BJ and now he’s the popular politician in America lol.Let me repeat, he’s currently the most popular national politician in America!Glad to see Clinton is still drivin’ conservatives Bat Shit Crazy!!! after all these years. :)Indeed, it’s impossible for uptight Reps to chill! and when Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America :) it drove teabggers er conservatives totally off the cliff …Still Crazy After All These Years …>>>Again, nothing new, just the obvious … and holier than thou, self-righteous wingers like Jeffrey are somewhat amusing, especially after (8) years of cheney/bush god talked to me nonsense!>You’re either w/us or against us! as hopefully for cheney/bush ;) and Barrtles’ teabaggers god will judge them using the Bell Curve. :)take care, blessings

  25. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:Thought I would pop in during my holdover at O’Hare.Patriotism is indeed love of county and there is no monopoly on patriotism. Both totalitarians, libertarians and everyone in between can be patriots. The question is what kind of country you love.The country I love is the land of the free where I am at liberty to live as I please so long as I do not harm another. For that country I have fought on battlefields and it is for that country I fight to preserve today on less deadly political battlefields.Thus, the question becomes whether you share my patriotism for our land of the free or not.

  26. Jeff says:

    filistro said: “I find your answer appalling…. So in your response you tell me you love your country MORE than a full half of your countrymen do… and then you proceed to detail a whole laundry list of things you hate about your country.”==========You didn’t read my comment fully, and I have no idea of what you’re referring to by a “laundry list.”What I said: “I believe the very large majority of the left is patriotic by most any reasonable definition. It is just that when you look for outwardly anti-American sentiment in this country, you find it predominately on the left (and, to be fair, among the extreme right fringe).”In other words, if 5% of the left is anti-American, and 1% of the right also, then ON AVERAGE, more of the left than the right is unpatriotic. Nowhere do I say I’m more patriotic than half the country. Nor do I think it possible to measure patriotism, in the same way that one can measure “liberal” or “conservative.”=========You say “I think what Republicans “love” is some idealized vision of what their country could be… if they could only get rid of all the nasty bits.”I agree with that. I think the same is true of the Left, who also “love” an idealized vision of the country, and who also want to get rid of the nasty bits. But you then leap to (totally unwarranted) conclusions. Why would you think I don’t care about “grinding poverty” on Indian reservations, or care about doing something to improve conditions? Is it because I don’t share your belief in HOW to solve the problem? Nor do I have a problem with “big colorful Spanish-only communities in border states.” My father’s parents lived in ethnic communities also and ended up marrying across ethnic and religious lines — which for the times was about as controversial as inter-racial marriage was 20 or 30 years ago. But where I do have a problem with “Spanish-only” communities is that they are Spanish-only. I believe in the melting pot. Countries who have multiple languages and cultures have a fairly low success rate (despite the examples of Canada, Switzerland, and India). ===========You say “If you can’t love ALl of your country, you don’t really “love” it at all.”For the first time, I have to say you’re talking total BS. I don’t love the politicians who are bankrupting us, the mindless short-term focus of bankers that pumped out money heedlessly because Fannie and Freddy would make them whole, or the gang-bangers in the inner city who shoot children.And please, PLEASE don’t try to tell me that you love the anti-gay Mormons, the fundamentalist Baptists in the South, or the Tea Party. I won’t believe you. But they’re part of America also….==============I hope you can agree with me that 150 years ago, Senator Carl Shurtz defined patriotism perfectly: My Country Right or Wrong. When right, to be kept right, when wrong, to be put right.”We can always disagree with the “how” to get there.

  27. shiloh says:

    Have found a way to beat the system! :)After (3) failed attempts …Players and Patriotsok, ok, just wanted an excuse to use smilies.btw this way, if you make a typo, you can always correct it. ;)carry on

  28. shortchain says:

    Not to be so bold, but Bart’s definition of patriotism is a bit self-referential.As for Jeff, remember, Jeff, love the sinner, hate the sin. It’s a feature of our country that people can be asses, dishonest politicians, shysters, grifters, etc. You may not love these people, but you really have to love the system that allows such freedom.

  29. shortchain says:

    didn’t work the first time. Like a madman, let’s just try it again.

  30. Monotreme says:

    Jeff wrote:And please, PLEASE don’t try to tell me that you love the anti-gay Mormons, the fundamentalist Baptists in the South, or the Tea Party. I won’t believe you. But they’re part of America also….I know you were talking to Filistro, but your comment resonated with me, so I’m jumping in. I think you’ve classified me as one of the “Lefties” on the site you so revile, so I guess one Lefty defense is as good as another.As luck would have it, I lived for 24 years in East Texas, Tennessee and Mississippi working and playing alongside “fundamentalist Baptists in the South”. I now live and work in Utah, so “anti-gay Mormons” are over half of the people I live and work with. In the winter, my “anti-gay Mormon” neighbors plow my driveway when they get up first, and I plow their driveways when I get up first. I’ve attended several “anti-gay Mormon” Christmas pageants and funerals.None of that has changed my deep-seated belief in liberal values, nor my love of country. As always, I deeply resent your attempts to divine my deepest feelings or motivation — or Filistro’s, or anyone else’s here, for that matter. We can discuss politics without resorting to demonizing the “other”. We simply disagree, is all. It’s not that one of us loves the United States of America more than another. It’s that we have honest differences of opinion.

  31. Gainsbourg says:

    There is a strong anti-American bias among SOME members of the left. It is not the right wing that compared the US to Hitler’s Germany (for example, “Amerika?”) and burns American flags and who, back in my college days, chanted “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the Viet Cong is gonna win.” It wasn’t conservatives who called (draftee) soldiers coming home from Viet Nam “Baby Killers” and spat on them. And all too many of those slimeballs haven’t changed in 40 years.If you’re willing to mention the woman spitting on the G.I. myth I wonder what other stuff you’ll make up. Here’s that myth about the G.I. getting spit on debunked in a veterans site. http://tinyurl.com/32r8uhqIt is not the right wing that dallies with Chavez and authoritarian left-wing dictatorships that hate us (we on the right tend to dally with authoritarian right-wing dictatorships that lick our hands….).What’s the difference? Hussein didn’t turn out to be much of a friend and neither did the Afghani Muhajadeen. But by the time they started hating us they were already armed, by us, and posed a bigger threat. 9/11, anyone? There are other definitional differences: For example, the right tends to think of the US as “exceptional” among nations. Reagan was quoting Jonathan Edwards when spoke of the US as the “Shining City on the hill.” The right often describes the American theory of government as based on the “inalienable rights of man(kind), or, in other words, rights that are inherent because they are ordained by God, vs. the philosophy behind other constitutions, which tend to define individual rights as something given by the government.So just because the right likes to blow smoke up its own ass this means that they’re more patriotic? By the way, what part of we the people don’t you understand? Government is not some spooky entity that allows us to do stuff. A government by the people for the people, remember?

  32. shiloh says:

    @BartlesFor that country I have fought on battlefields~~~~~~~~~~Quoting Jeffrey from a previous thread ~ Bullshit!>and again Bartles, good to see you’re enjoying your vacation as you make love to your BlackBerry! ;)

  33. Alki says:

    “The most zealous segment of the Republican base honestly believes it is the only part of America that truly loves America.”**************************************The teapers and Rs in general have a strong sense of entitlement. I suspect it comes from being white and having a strong patriarchal core. I think that’s why they believe they are the true Americans.For hundreds of years, they have been led to believe they are minor gods and the sole creators and benefactors of this great land. That changed in 2008 and nothing has been the same since. I think this author in the Village Voice says it best:White America Has Lost Its Mindhttp://www.villagevoice.com/2010-09-29/news/white-america-has-lost-its-mind/1/

  34. Alki says:

    @ Jeff”What I said: “I believe the very large majority of the left is patriotic by most any reasonable definition. It is just that when you look for outwardly anti-American sentiment in this country, you find it predominately on the left (and, to be fair, among the extreme right fringe).””************************************What you consider to be anti American sentiment I consider to be healthy criticism. For an example, I do not like the last six decades of US foreign policy. Its seems we came out of WW II thinking we were God’s gift to the world and have acted accordingly.Apparently, with God on your side, you can do just about anything and still be above approach. The unmitigated audacity of invading Iraq is the accumulation of all those decades believing that we defecate perfume. And yes, I think American foreign policy provoked the radical fringe in the Muslim world and helped lead to 9/11. Do I think 9/11 was justified? Of course not. However, this pretending on the part of the right that we were virginal innocents who got blind sided is the biggest bunch of horse puckey to hit the earth and accomplishes nothing. To often, that’s the right’s definition of patriotism. Deny reality or pretend it didn’t happen and then proceed to go to war.Sorry….count me out.

  35. Jeff says:

    shortchain said:As for Jeff, remember, Jeff, love the sinner, hate the sin. It’s a feature of our country that people can be asses, dishonest politicians, shysters, grifters, etc. You may not love these people, but you really have to love the system that allows such freedom.I agree with “hate the sin, love the sinner” and I do love the system that allows such freedom. It’s just frustrating that some people don’t recognize sin…. :-)=========Monotreme wrote: I know you were talking to Filistro, but your comment resonated with me, so I’m jumping in. I think you’ve classified me as one of the “Lefties” on the site you so revile, so I guess one Lefty defense is as good as another. I don’t revile “lefties.” By and large I think their policies are counterproductive and often lead to outcomes nobody wants to see. My comment to Filistro had to do with her saying: “I think what Republicans “love” is some idealized vision of what their country could be… if they could only get rid of all the nasty bits. Unfortunately, those other bits are ALSO AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE COUNTRY YOU CLAIM TO LOVE….. America is huge Muslim enclaves around Dearborn, and grinding poverty and hopelessness on Indian reservations, and big colorful Spanish-only communities in border states, and brutal violence and desperation in its inner cities, and hotbeds of liberal thought on college campuses. And half of Americans are Democrats.Do you REALLY love that America, Jeff?If you can’t love ALl of your country, you don’t really “love” it at all. You’re just fooling yourself.”+++++I took that as a strong implication that I don’t love poor Indians, Arabs, or Hispanics, and therefore, I’m not a true patriot. Quite frankly, I resented both the implication and the conclusion. It’s the worst kind of (using your term) demonization, and frankly, I’m amazed because it’s out of character for her. And I think it totally fair to ask in return if she loves the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, because they’re also part of America. ====Monotreme again: “As always, I deeply resent your attempts to divine my deepest feelings or motivation — or Filistro’s, or anyone else’s here, for that matter.”I’m not trying to divine your feelings or filistro’s when I say she doesn’t love the Tea Party. I think that has been made quite clear. That’s her privilege, just as it’s mine to dislike various groups on the left. ========And Monotreme once again: “We can discuss politics without resorting to demonizing the “other”. We simply disagree, is all. It’s not that one of us loves the United States of America more than another. It’s that we have honest differences of opinion.”I fully agree with you. And you called me out in an earlier thread for referring to “Queen Pelosi” and “the Great One.” Will you also call out those people who call anybody to the right of Bob Dole racists and all the other demonizing names?

  36. shortchain says:

    Jeff,It’s quite possible to feel love for a system that allows people to scream “keep your federal hands off my Medicare”, and to hope the people who feel that way live long enough to understand just how stupid they were when they said that.It’s perfectly fine to love that an intellectual lightweight like Sarah Palin can become a cause celeb while thinking the people who think she’d make anything but a truly dreadful leader need to read their history more carefully. Didn’t they learn anything from the recent period in which a pleasant but incurious man was elected President?It’s not that anybody to the right of Bob Dole is a racist — it’s actually quite a few to left of Bob Dole as well as a huge number to the right of him — racist tendencies cut across the spectrum. But pretending they aren’t hugely more frequent in the right isn’t grounded in reality.

  37. filistro says:

    Jeff… my brother-in-law, of whom I am inordinately fond, is a gay-hating Mormon… (probably one of Treme’s neighbors.)He’s also a warm, generous, self-made millionaire who pulled himself up from his bootstraps, running his own small mfg plant, and who freely admits that his records show his business always does better under Dem administrations. But he is opposed to Obama because “that guy’s ruining the country.” Whenever I drive through Salt Lake on the way to Vegas and stop to visit them, I wind up pounding on him with my fists (literally) and howling in frustration… then we all hug and go out for ice cream.He has never giving up trying to convert me. He still thinks I have “spiritual potential.” (What a blockhead :-)I got annoyed with your post because you blandly asserted you are “more patriotic” than about half the population in a country you purport to love.I’m over it now, though.

  38. Jeff says:

    shortchain wrote:”Jeff, It’s not that anybody to the right of Bob Dole is a racist — it’s actually quite a few to left of Bob Dole as well as a huge number to the right of him — racist tendencies cut across the spectrum. But pretending they aren’t hugely more frequent in the right isn’t grounded in reality.”========I have to agree when Monotreme when he said: “As always, I deeply resent your attempts to divine my deepest feelings or motivation — or Filistro’s, or anyone else’s here, for that matter.” Assuming motivations for others is a dangerous game.If you’re saying that EVERYBODY has some degree of racism in them, I wouldn’t argue. I’d even agree that the most virulent, out-spoken racists tend to be on the right (although anti-semitic racism has moved out of the fundamentalist Christian camp and into the some of the far left). However, I would recommend you read Clarence Thomas’ autobiography, or Thomas Sowell, or a number of other black conservatives, who find the soft bigotry and condescension from the left more damaging and more hurtful than the outright bigotry more often found on the right. When it comes to race and bigotry, we all live in glass houses and should be careful of throwing stones.

  39. shortchain says:

    Jeff,Every time I hear objectively meaningless garbage like “we all live in glass houses” I know that I’m hearing the apologia of someone attempting to justify their own deficiencies by projecting them on others.You have not one iota of reason to cast any aspersion of racism, no, not even of the “soft bigotry” that conservatives like Thomas and Sowell find so hurtful, in what we on the left have said in this thread. That you bring it up stinks of projection.I’ve got stuff to do, I’ll have to get to it.

  40. shrinkers says:

    Every time I hear objectively meaningless garbage like “we all live in glass houses” I know that I’m hearing the apologia of someone attempting to justify their own deficiencies by projecting them on others.Usually it is the most guilty one in the room who says, “There is more than enough guilt to go around …”

  41. Jeff says:

    filistro said: “I got annoyed with your post because you blandly asserted you are “more patriotic” than about half the population in a country you purport to love.”============No, I did NOT say that. Please read the damn post!Once again, I said “Please do NOT conclude that I am describing all liberals, most liberals, or even a large minority of liberals. I believe the very large majority of the left is patriotic by most any reasonable definition. It is just that when you look for outwardly anti-American sentiment in this country, you find it predominately on the left (and, to be fair, among the extreme right fringe).”Let me put it a slightly different way. Lets say we can agree that 95% are “patriotic.” Where on the political spectrum do you find the other 5%? I said there is a right-wing fringe that is basically unpatriotic. I hope you would agree that there is a left-wing fringe of which the same could be said.I then said that, IMHO, there are more people on the left than the right that make up that 5%. Suppose it was 2% right nuts, 3% left nuts. In that case, our magical balancing scale would tilt right. ==============The tone of your article — to me — was snide and unfair to the 95% of conservatives who are reasonable people. We can all have fun sniping at the extremes of the other side, but there should be relatively little of that, as compared to discussion of issues (as opposed to shouting of talking points). You frequently comment on what you see at Free Republic. I think you spend too much time there, and have incorrectly concluded that they are representative of the Right, and considered mainstream by conservatives. Freepers, to me, are nutjobs, and I’ve said so repeatedly. MOST conservatives would agree. In the interest of balance, who do YOU think are the nut-cases on the left? Or do you think there aren’t any? Let me give you a counter-example. Suppose somebody posted that: “The Democratic Party is led by a man who consorted with terrorists (Ayres), worshiped with a racist (Wright), and tried to appoint communists to important jobs (Jones). His wife has said that for almost all of her life she has found nothing in her country to be proud of. What kind of party would have somebody like that for a leader?” Grossly unfair? Inflammatory? Not promoting dialog, except among the true believers? I hope you think so. But many of the posts (not to mention the comments) take the left version of that as gospel. Nate Silver dealt with facts, not invective, and that’s what made 538 such a great site.From what I’ve seen, you (and others, including Monotreme) aren’t totally closed-minded. I see occasional flashes of tolerance from you (your comments on your Mormon brother-in-law made me grin). I doubt if I’ll ever persuade you to vote Republican (especially since, as a Canadian, you can’t). But I also have to say that I have great sympathy for your brother-in-law…. :-)

  42. shortchain says:

    Jeff,You love “facts” so much you have yet to demonstrate that you have any.All you have brought to this thread are assertions without evidence (such as your most recent one that “most conservatives” regard freepers as nutjobs) and the usual tu quoque projective arguments.Read your comments over. Not a single thing in them except assertions that we are expected, in your mind, to accept as self-evident. Repeatedly, we have pointed out that you have no evidence or are factually wrong. At which points you simply move on to another assertion.Which makes it pointless to even read your comments, let alone respond to them.

  43. mclever says:

    Jeff, as much as I appreciate your attempt to be reasonable with your 95% example, I find the flaw to be in your assumption that of the hypothetical 5% of unpatriotic Americans, the majority would be on the Left. That, to me anyway, is an unproven assertion.My suggestion would be that we tend to see the worst in those who disagree with us. It’s a human failing that we notice and remember the flaws of our opponents while excusing those of our allies. Thus, one who leaned politically left would be more inclined to notice the anti-Americanism, bigotry, absolutism, etc. of conservatives, while excusing similar attitudes on the fringe left. And likewise, someone who leaned right would be more likely to remember and notice those things that upset them about liberals than they would about those whose thinking is otherwise more aligned.If someone who agrees with you screams and threatens violence if things don’t go their way, it’s not as upsetting as hearing someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum saying the same thing.

  44. mclever says:

    One additional thing to consider, is that the definition of patriotism also varies across the political spectrum.Those on the right tend (by the nature of conservativism being preservation of past ideals) to be more jingoistic in their patriotism. They tend to be in denial of any flaws and to perceive any criticism of the country or its direction as anti-American. Patriotism means never doubting, never wavering, never questioning that America is the God-blessed, best country EVER!!!Those on the left tend (by the nature of liberalism being the willingness to question and pursue change) to look for opportunities for progress. With intense love of freedom and participatory nature of democracy, their love of country tends to be more idealized and sounds softer in comparison to the hard jingoism of the right. On the left, it’s OK to wonder if a better policy might have averted a crisis, because such wondering leads to improving our great country, as We The People were so empowered to do by the brilliantly-conceived Constitution. The Constitution established a set of principles that are intrinsically evolutory, which those on the left see as part of what makes America so great.While the devotion to country may be equivalent on both sides, the expression of it is different. To the jingoists, its easy to label the left as unpatriotic, because anyone who wonders if there might be a way to improve things is suggesting that America isn’t perfect. How dare they! To the reformers, anyone who isn’t willing to make America better must want it to fail. How dare they!See how easy it is to label “other” as the enemy?

  45. filistro says:

    Speaking of Freepers and patriots… the Freepers this morning are convinced the new warnings of an imminent terrorist attack (probably in Europe) are a blatant attempt by the Obama administration to drive up fear and terrify the voters into staying with the Dems in November.They think it’s absolutely DESPICABLE to use fear in this way in an attempt to influence an election. Only Obama, they say, would stoop this low.Words fail me. No, really.I wish my Mormon Republican brother-in-law were nearby so I could hit him really hard. (I find that often helps at times like this :-)

  46. mclever says:

    filistro, Surely anyone outside the echo chamber can see the transparency of the Freepers objections. Right? Right??

  47. filistro says:

    @ Mclever… Right? Right??Oh yes… that’s definitely the operative word. They’re on the RIGHT… so this latest little bit of utter hypocrisy shouldn’t surprise me.I have two theories about the wingers and their tragi-comical myopia on issues like this:1.) They’re all living on freedom fries and doughnuts….(it’s an act of defiance and solidarity because they know the healthy left disapproves of bad food choices)… and as a result they all seem to suffer from a really severe irony deficiency2.) they’ve all been masturbating way too much and have, sadly, gone blind.

  48. Jeff says:

    shortchain wrote:Jeff,”You love “facts” so much you have yet to demonstrate that you have any. All you have brought to this thread are assertions without evidence (such as your most recent one that “most conservatives” regard freepers as nutjobs) and the usual tu quoque projective arguments.”============Evidence for my assertion about the Free Republic being a collection of fringe nut-jobs:1. I have never seen the Free Republic website cited in any conservative publication or website. Not National Review, not the Weekly Standard, not the American Spectator (which I don’t often read).2. I’ve not seen any cites to FR in any mainstream political commentary or publication. Not the Post, the SF Chronicle, Business Week, Time, or Forbes. Nor on Real Clear Politics or Politico, or the Wall Street Journal’s (subscription) daily political e-mail. 3. I know quite a number of conservatives, and my wife is an officer in the local Republican Women’s club. Out of let’s say 100 people, I know ONE person who is a Freeper, and maybe 2-4 more who have made comments that I regard as potentially Freeper “fringe territory.”Based on the above, I believe I can reasonably assert that the Free Republic folks are “fringe.” And yes, I may well be wrong. It is possible that there are occasional references to FR in some mainstream publications (probably in the same combination of amusement and horror as postings on here). It is also quite possible that I don’t hang with a representative selection and that there is a whole conservative world out there of which I know nothing. But I would also submit that I’ve not seen any evidence from the left that freepers are in the conservative mainstream, only opinions and assertions from people who would like that to be true, because it discredits their opponents. ++++++As for your broader assertion that I don’t cite facts. Go back to the beginning of this thread and look at my first post. Filistro stated that the impeachment of Clinton was about sex. I pointed out an important FACT: the impeachment was about perjury. That’s a felony. Yes, it could be argued that the question should never have been asked in the first place, that the impeachment was politically motivated, and/or that felony perjury does not rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But before an argument starts, it’s important to state the facts correctly.If we are going to have a discussion about Republicans supposedly changing their obsession from sex to patriotism, it might be helpful to have the FACTS correct when we start. That wasn’t the case. And if the discussion is about what motivates Republicans, we are talking OPINION (and one would think that the OPINION of a Republican might have some value). As Monotreme (and others) have correctly pointed out, it’s very dangerous to make assumptions about what other people think, and why.

  49. shortchain says:

    Jeff,The plural of anecdote is not data. The fact that you don’t see a web site mentioned does not mean that it’s not a prominent source of conservative commentary. Just as we do not accept, as evidence, what the voices in your head whisper in your ear.It has been mentioned consistently in the top half-dozen conservative blogs for years. Along with other sites such as Hot Air, Volokh, etc, etc. This, as opposed to your anecdotes, can be verified by Google.And you will pardon me, but the prosecution of Bill Clinton for ginned-up lawsuits (which were eventually shown to be utterly lacking in substance), so that he could be asked about his sex life was about sex. That was the point of the exercise. The theory that it was about “perjury” was a fig leaf to cover the hypocrisy of the GOP. The American public overwhelmingly understood this, which is why, in 2006, the GOP lost its power.So the only “fact” you’ve brought, by you own admission, is not, on examination, a fact at all, but merely a right-wing talking point.Have a nice day.

  50. Alki says:

    Generic Congressional BallotRasmussen comes out with the best generic poll for Dems for the past year!Generic Congressional Ballot: Republicans 45%, Democrats 42%http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/generic_congressional_ballot

  51. shrinkers says:

    Rasmussen comes out with the best generic poll for Dems for the past year!One might see a pattern here, if one was inclined to recognize patterns.

  52. Jeff says:

    shortchain demonstrates a problem common to political (and many other types) discussions — people tend to form opinions, then focus on the facts that support them. In the end, their opinions BECOME the facts.====In the real world, life is far more complicated. Take the current state of the US economy. The basic economic facts are not seriously disputed. Unemployment is X, GDP is Y, etc. Much work goes into goes into developing these facts, and economists have abtruse arguments among themselves as to measurement techniques, etc. The next challenge is determining what these facts mean. There are many more people who study the economy and stock markets than study politics. “Success” is not a zero sum game like in politics, where there is a winner and a loser. In the markets, “winning” means doing relatively better than others.Yet if you read financial publications, you will find that highly regarded, successful analysts generally disagree as to what’s happening, and what will happen next. And this in in an environment populated by intelligent, reasonable people, none of whom are invested in “buy” or the “sell” parties the way that people are invested in political parties.Politics is very different, and almost entirely about opinion and philosophy. Very few issues are cut-and-dried, because when they are, there’s rarely argument. On most disputed issues there are valid arguments to be made on both sides. The “facts,” such as they are, often point in different directions, and when you’re trying to predict the outcome of policy choices, there’s no way to know for sure. There’s still a strong debate as to whether Roosevelt’s New Deal helped or hindered the recovery from the Great Depression, and that’s 75 years ago!Nate Silver shows how difficult it is to predict a zero-sum solution 30 days in advance. It is hubris to try and predict the results, 10 or 20 years out, from thousands of pages of a health-care law that will be supplemented by tens of thousands of pages of yet-to-be written regulations. It’s fairly pointless to try and point to “facts” when discussing HC reform, because there are facts which point one way, facts that point in the opposite direction, facts which are ambiguous, and most important of all, facts we don’t even know.It’s very much to the point to discuss opinions and WHY the opinions are held. That’s how we learn about the other side’s perceptions, what they consider important, and where common ground can be reached. That’s how compromises and improvements can be made. If each side thinks the other is stupid or evil, we’re never going to work together. If the HC “debate” is between evil conservatives who want people to lose their homes to medical bills and die in the streets for want of care, vs. liberals who want to socialize the country and put all decisions into the hands of unelected bureaucrats who will decide whether you “deserve” to live or die, nothing is gained, and we will all lose.

  53. shortchain says:

    Jeff,”between evil conservatives who want people to lose their homes to medical bills and die in the streets for want of care, vs. liberals who want to socialize the country and put all decisions into the hands of unelected bureaucrats”Such a fine straw man you’ve constructed.Look, I gave you evidence, which you could easily check, together with a method for checking it. Since you didn’t try to dispute it, I presume either you didn’t bother to check, or you did and found that it was indisputable.You, on the other hand, gave us reports of personal experience, which we cannot possibly check. Personal experience, by its nature, does not transfer.I don’t think you are stupid or evil. I think you think you believe that you have the right of the right-versus-left argument, but I think you are mistaking your limited personal experience and biased perceptions for reality.And no, it’s not pointless to point out facts in the HC debate. There are facts. Such as that insurance companies can no longer drop people who get sick. Such as that there will be no more “death panels” under the ACA than there are “death panels” today. Such as that the plan was, in all important aspects, a Republican plan, yet the GOP voted — and campaigns — against it.These are facts, not the personal opinions of anyone. And these facts are utterly damning of the right wing.Politics, as played by the GOP, isn’t about philosophy or opinion. It’s about fear and wedge issues, suppressing the vote so as to achieve an electoral majority, and then running the country for the benefit of the wealthy.BTW, there is no such thing as a “zero-sum” solution in polling or elections, because people can simply not vote.

  54. Jeff says:

    Shortchain.I’ll see your left-wing talking points and raise you two right-wing talking points….. :-)==========I’m constantly amazed by how people can turn their opinions into fact.You state “And you will pardon me, but the prosecution of Bill Clinton for ginned-up lawsuits (which were eventually shown to be utterly lacking in substance), so that he could be asked about his sex life was about sex.”I stated in my post that there can be multiple explanations as to why Clinton was impeached. I even mentioned a number of reasons that I doubt very much you would disagree with. However, the cold hard FACTS are that:1. Bill Clinton lied under oath.2. Lying under oath is a felony.3. Most people could expect to be prosecuted for a felony.4. As President, Bill Clinton could only be prosecuted through articles of impeachment. Martha Stewart went to jail for lying under oath about something which wasn’t even criminal. Her crime was perjury. Perjury strikes at the very core of our judicial system. One can choose to overlook it, or excuse it, but the FACTS cannot be denied.You say: “So the only “fact” you’ve brought, by you own admission, is not, on examination, a fact at all, but merely a right-wing talking point.” So, you’re really saying that right-wing talking points are factual. :-)======Next, Free Republic. I said they were a fringe group of nutcases that had no credibility among conservatives. You disagreed, and said “The fact that you (Jeff) don’t see a web site mentioned does not mean that it’s not a prominent source of conservative commentary. It has been mentioned consistently in the top half-dozen conservative blogs for years.”=====So, WHY were they “mentioned?” Was it favorable? Were the names “Pelosi” and “Obama” also “mentioned?”I did as you suggested and Googled “Free Republic” and looked at the first 10 pages of entries. Do it yourself. You’ll find mostly blogs, but also Salon, Wonkette, Der Spiegel, the WaPost, and the HuffPost, mostly commenting on the latest FR stupidity. There was also one (negative) comment at Little Green Footballs. There’s quite a few entries about their legal problems, a couple of references to “nutbags” and various cites describing how supporters of Ron Paul and Rudy Guiliani are barred from the site (now THERE’s a wide range of conservatism!). Also on the FR shit list are other conservatives such as Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Matt Drudge.These are the FACTS you asked for. Can you cite approving references by one or two mainstream conservatives? ANY conservative? Or are you just spouting left-wing talking points? :-)Finally, let me correct another of your statements. You said “BTW, there is no such thing as a “zero-sum” solution in polling or elections, because people can simply not vote.”Sorry, but “zero-sum” means that what one person wins another person loses. That describes elections quite well. Oh, and remember “Have a nice day….”

  55. filistro says:

    Jeff… the owner and webmaster at Free Republic, Jim Robinson, is also the chief organizer, fundraiser and spokesperson for the “Tea Party Express” which is the largest and most powerful wing of the Tea Party. So yes, Freepers may be “fringe” by the standards of ordinary Americans… but they are definitely a major accepted power group within the “new” Republican party. You may pretend they are “just a few kooks” but in reality they are the Republican base.

  56. shortchain says:

    Jeff,On the contrary, it is an extremely rare event for someone to be asked a question about their private sex lives, let alone charged with perjury for lying about this.If you think otherwise, please name one person who was so prosecuted.

  57. Jeff says:

    filistro said:”Jeff… the owner and webmaster at Free Republic, Jim Robinson, is also the chief organizer, fundraiser and spokesperson for the “Tea Party Express” which is the largest and most powerful wing of the Tea Party.So yes, Freepers may be “fringe” by the standards of ordinary Americans… but they are definitely a major accepted power group within the “new” Republican party. You may pretend they are “just a few kooks” but in reality they are the Republican base.=============I don’t know, so I question what factual support you have for the statement that Robinson is the chief organizer, fundraiser, and spokesman. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’ve not seen that documented. And frankly, I disagree that freepers are the “Republican base.” Sorry.

  58. Jeff says:

    shortchain wrote:Jeff,”On the contrary, it is an extremely rare event for someone to be asked a question about their private sex lives, let alone charged with perjury for lying about this.If you think otherwise, please name one person who was so prosecuted.”===========I’m not sure why you say “on the contrary, it’s extremely rare….” I didn’t say it happened frequently, or even occasionally. I said that Clinton perjured himself under oath, that perjury is a very serious felony, and that the only recourse against a sitting president who commits a criminal act is impeachment by the House. That allows the Senate to determine whether his actions amount to “high crimes or misdemeanors. I’m not sure why we’re arguing about these facts.Clinton did have the option to tell the truth, and I believe he could have said “I refuse to answer questions about my personal life” and not have been impeached. But he chose to commit perjury. And as for “name one person who was prosecuted for perjury for lying about their private sex lives….” That’s really an absurd challenge.But I’ll suggest to you that it would not seem unusual for people to lie about their private sex lives in either divorce court cases or criminal sexual misconduct cases, and that it would not seem out of the ordinary for perjury in such instances to be prosecuted.

  59. Jean says:

    Jeff,re: I know quite a number of conservatives, and my wife is an officer in the local Republican Women’s club. Out of let’s say 100 people, I know ONE person who is a Freeper, and maybe 2-4 more who have made comments that I regard as potentially Freeper “fringe territory.”And I have 11 siblings, 10 of whom are very right wing evangelical wedge-issue Republican Party/Teapers, every one of who fits quite comfortably in with the freeper crowd.And these right wing evangelical tea partiers, those you refer to as the “fringe” element of the Republican party, OWN the Republican party. It may have been a hostile take-over, but indeed, they do have seniority – they’ve been the Republican party base far longer than you new low-taxes, small government teapers have been.

  60. shortchain says:

    Jeff,I notice you can’t show any actual evidence beyond what the voices in your head tell you.You could, of course, ask a real lawyer if they’ve ever heard of such a case, where not only were such questions allowed in a civil case but a perjury charge was lodged as a result.I did exactly that. Answer: nobody had ever heard of one. But don’t take my word for it. For a change, you go out and actually try to find some evidence for yourself.Until you do, don’t bother pretending that you have any “facts”.

  61. filistro says:

    Jeff… here you go.If you doubt me, just google “Jim Robinson” and “tea party express”. (It’s not really wise to doubt me on Freeper matters, though. I spend a LOT of time in Freeperville, making field notes.)

  62. Jeff says:

    @filistro.I did as you suggested and googled Jim Robinson and Tea Party Express. You are correct, he seems to be a mover behind the TPE. I did more research and found this at CBS News:”But the fundamental disconnect is less about candidates or even individuals than it is about local vs. national control. The best Tea Party, from the perspective of many who see themselves as tea partiers, is a local Tea Party. That ethos is well represented by the Tea Party Patriots, a decentralized umbrella group that operates far differently that the Tea Party Express.The Tea Party Patriots have no centralized authority, opting instead for a hivelike, “organized but not organized” structure, as National journal reports:By conventional measures such as staff and budget, the Tea Party Patriots is minuscule. Viewed another way, however, it is, to use [co-founder and national coordinator Jenny Beth] Martin’s expression, “gi-normous.” Lacking dues or bylaws, the network’s closest thing to a membership roll is the list of groups that have registered with its website, now approaching 3,000 and spanning the country. The website, teapartypatriots.org, lists almost 200 tea parties in California alone.”http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20016540-503544.html==================As I see it, the Tea Party movement is not a monolithic organization. The Express/freeper version seems to be centered on the East Coast. I’m in California, and the TP people I know have nothing in common with the freeper version.It is my hope — and belief — that the TP will be absorbed into the Republican party and will invigorate it with sensible grass-roots energy. I also hope and believe that in that absorption process that the nut-case fringe will be eliminated. Rational TP-backed candidates can win (Scott Brown in MA), the “Delaware Ditz” will lose. I could be wrong. If the freepers end up taking over the TP, and the TP ends up taking over the GOP, I’m going to be voting for a lot of libertarians! I also think we would see the breakup of the GOP and a new party with millions of people like me. Fortunately, we’re not at that point (yet) where that is necessary.The Democratic Party went through a similar convulsion between 1968 and 1972 and managed to purge the more extreme elements. I can only hope Republicans do the same.I’m very conservative on economic issues, fairly libertarian on social issues, and a strong believer that the more decisions are made locally, the better (subsidiarity). If my party leaves me, I would leave my party. Thankfully, that hasn’t yet happened. I believe the great majority of Republican candidates are reasonably sound and far from the TPE/Freeper fringe. And when it comes to that fringe, I think you and I are on the same page.Thank you for alerting me to this — it’s one of the benefits of this site, and a damned good reason to put up with the left-wing diatribes and talking points :-)

  63. Jean says:

    Here’s an interesting survey and likely not much of a surprise to most of us here.American Values Survey: Religion, Values and the Mid-Term ElectionsThe survey confirmed several attributes of the Tea Party movement. Compared to the general population, they are more likely to be non-Hispanic white, are more supportive of small government, are overwhelmingly supportive of Sarah Palin, and report that Fox News is their most trusted source of news about politics and current events. But the survey challenged much of the other conventional wisdom about Americans who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement: -Nearly half (47%) also say they are part of the religious right or conservative Christian movement. Among the more than 8-in-10 (81%) who identify as Christian within the Tea Party movement, 57% also consider themselves part of the Christian conservative movement. -They make up just 11% of the adult population—half the size of the conservative Christian movement (22%).-They are mostly social conservatives, not libertarians on social issues. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and less than 1-in-5 (18%) support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.-They are largely Republican partisans. More than three-quarters say they identify with (48%) or lean towards (28%) the Republican Party. More than 8-in-10 (82%) say they are voting for or leaning towards Republican candidates in their districts, and nearly three-quarters (74%) of this group report usually supporting Republican candidates.

  64. Jean says:

    The American Values Survey: Religion, Values and the Mid-Term Elections is at:http://www.publicreligion.org/research/

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