Throwing Reagan Through the Overton Window

by Filistro
Okay, I’ll admit to using the  “Overton Window” because I learned it at Nate’s blog and found it such a charming concept. In essence it means (I think)  overshooting your objective so when/if you fall short, the result will still be within acceptable parameters.
This was what Reagan was doing when he advised Republicans to select “the most conservative candidates who could still be elected.” It was advice that stood Republicans in good stead for decades… but now they’ve inexplicably turned their backs on it. The new goal apparently is to select the most conservative candidates on the face of the earth.
As many of you know, I spend much of my time in the dangerous wilderness of Freeperland, studying Freepers in their natural habitat, and I’ve noticed a startling shift in their behavior in recent months. The Freepers no longer care much about winning elections. At the moment they are focused entirely on killing RINO’s.  They have two goals, in sequence. First, they want to remake their own party. Having accomplished that, they want to remake the country.
As a result we see this spate of bizarre Tea Party candidates who even make hardened politicos like Karl Rove quake in their tasseled loafers. What is the purpose of shoving Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell and Rand Paul in the faces of Americans? Is it some kind of “try it, you’ll like it” strategy on the part of the GOP? I wonder if they really think that once we’ve just had a taste of  guns at polling places,  women forced to bear their rapists’ babies,  segregated swimming pools and criminalization of masturbation, we’ll realize that this is what we’ve been hungering for all along?
I don’t think so.
I think this is really a symptom of the impending death of the far right. It simply cannot survive in the face of increasing diversity, shared  knowledge, social mobility and eclectic culture. And here’s another thing… the Republicans are not the rational, thinking party; that label belongs to liberal progressives. The Republicans (at least the extreme “socially conservative” ones) are animated by emotion… fear, anger, suspicion, anxiety, greed, etc. It is a much more primal ethos,  governed by a more primitive part of the brain… the part that is geared to survival and quick to sense danger. This sudden paroxysm of extremity on the far right is simply a reflexive reaction to its impending demise. When confronted by danger and impending doom you can fight, you can flee, or you can adapt. The social conservatives have chosen to stand and fight. They may win a battle or two, but the pace of progress is relentless, and they will surely lose the war.
Unless, of course, they can rediscover Reagan and his Overton window, and learn once again to use it to their advantage.

 


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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133 Responses to Throwing Reagan Through the Overton Window

  1. Mr Universe says:

    Hell, yeah. Fili in the house!Fight, flee, or adapt. It’s true. I wish Democrats would spend more time fighting rather than adapting.

  2. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro:The Tea Party’s goal is a libertarian conservative government. Thus, the minimum criteria for a candidate is that they have to be libertarian conservative, not the most conservative.If the choice is between a RINO and a LC with less chance of winning, you vote for the LC candidate. Voting for a RINO is little different from voting for a progressive Dem, thus winning with a RINO would not advance the Tea Party objective of a LC government.The election will tell, but the Tea Party theory is that running LC candidates everywhere keeps the TP voters more fired up than everyone else and gives us the best net chance of a LC government.As an aside, reread your ranting last sentence and tell me again who is governed by a primal ethos based on fear.

  3. Paola says:

    I’ve talked about this before on 538 but I’m mentioning it again as the parallels are getting more and more striking/spooky.

    In the UK in the 70s the extreme Socialist (and NOT in American terms) Labour government had destroyed the UK’s economy, resulting in the election in 1979 of the Tories under a leader who represented a remarkable change to the status quo (a woman, Margaret Thatcher).

    (Yes, I know the right/left parallels don’t work here but the point is more centrist pragmatism v extremism of any kind.)

    The Labour party’s response was to veer even more sharply and noisily to the left, nominating an unelectable leader; indulging in internecine warfare, particularly at a local level; and culminating in its extreme 1983 manifesto which was subsequently dubbed ‘the longest suicide note in history’. The more moderate members of party left in disgust and joined forces with the centrist Liberal party, splitting the anti-Tory vote even further.

    As a result Thatcher was able to weather the massive recession created by the previous administration’s economic policies unscathed and subsequently reap the rewards of the economic upturn.

    Labour in the meantime indulged in an almighty civil war for the soul of the party.

    To cut a long story short, the Tories were in power for 17 years and were only toppled in 1997 because they in turn veered too strongly to the extreme right and the Labour party finally decided to choose the path of pragmatic centrism with Tony Blair.

    The lesson learned from this (by all in UK politics) is that no party can gain power by appealing only to the 25% of voters at each end of the political spectrum, you have to appeal to a large section of the 50% in the middle.

    Obama understands this (much to the despair of liberal progressives) but the Tea Partiers clearly do not. And I think a study of recent British politics would be instructive to them.

  4. Jean says:

    Bart, as I posted on another thread here: In a nutshell, here’s a comment that sums up the majority view over at redstate, a conservative, turned teaper, right-wing website:”Because I do not view the GOP as an end, but as a means to an end. Viewed from the perspective of a free-market/limited-government agenda, a RINO-dependent majority brings nothing to the table but obstacles. Just yesterday, RINO Voinovich sold out the party by “crossing the aisle” to invoke cloture on a Dem-sponsored business subsidy bill. This crap happens all the time now. It would have continued to happen all the time in the future had Chameleon Castle been added to the Senate GOP caucus.It will happen far, far less in the future, with the addition of a half-dozen constitutional conservatives to GOP ranks (often replacing RINOs and pragmatic careerists). And — most important — the O’Donnell/Tea Party triumph will terrorize the fewer remaining “moderates” like McCain, Graham, and Maine’s liberal Bobbsey Twins about “crossing the aisle.” Looking ahead to their own re-elections, they’ll now see Tea Party bulls-eye’s painted on their backs. I predict that they’ll all begin to start talking and voting like Barry Goldwater, for fear of losing their own cushy seats.O’Donnell’s win means “business as usual” is over. Kaput. Finished. GOP congressmen now know that they either move en masse to the right, no longer selling out their principles, or they’ll be finished. Tell me exactly how that isn’t a huge net plus for our cause?”So Bart, does this about sum up the Tea Party goal – preventing the parties from working together for all Americans – which requires reaching across the aisle.By the way, there may be some teapers who are true LCs, thus not concerned about social issues and imposing social conservative ideological values upon the rest of us, but there are also an awful lot of social conservatives in the teaper ranks. It is the social conservative ideological values and wedge issues that most turns off indys. The ongoing purge within the Republican party seems to include both purging traditional RINOs and replacing them with not only fiscal/libertarian/constitutional conservatives, but also requiring social conservative purity.

  5. mostlyilurk says:

    Bart,I’m curious, what does a government controlled by lc’s look like?

  6. Mr Universe says:

    Yes I am afraid of “Speaker Boehner”

  7. shiloh says:

    The main problem w/American politics is quite basic. Ever since Robert Bork was borked 😉 the Dems and Reps really, really hate/despise each other!and when ailes/safire/atwater/turdblossom launched their hate/fear/boogeyman/misinformation scorched earth president election policy in the late ’60s, losing is/was no longer a viable alternative/option for Reps as they are no longer interested in governing as much as conquering/ruling!In a nutshell, Reps are sore losers!ie total gridlock re: bipartisanship.and add into the mix in 2008, a bi-racial, African/American, Muslim born in Kenya 😉 yada, yada, yada ~ Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America! 🙂 and the wingers have gone totally off the deep end, eh.>Of course the racist/yahoo Reps main problem is shrinkin’ demographics as they may have a short term gain in 2010, but as old white guys continue to pass on and Hispanics continue to multiply, etc. fixednoise/palin/limbaugh/winger racist talk radio will become less relevant … if America doesn’t implode in the interim! lol>As always, no charge for my keen grasp of the obvious …>btw, before 538 had never heard of Benford’s Law and of course still don’t understand what it means. ;)ciao

  8. Bart DePalma says:

    Jean wrote: Bart, as I posted on another thread here: In a nutshell, here’s a comment that sums up the majority view over at redstate, a conservative, turned teaper, right-wing website:”Because I do not view the GOP as an end, but as a means to an end. Viewed from the perspective of a free-market/limited-government agenda, a RINO-dependent majority brings nothing to the table but obstacles. Just yesterday, RINO Voinovich sold out the party by “crossing the aisle” to invoke cloture on a Dem-sponsored business subsidy bill. This crap happens all the time now. It would have continued to happen all the time in the future had Chameleon Castle been added to the Senate GOP caucus.BD: Right on, right on, right on.Jean wrote: And — most important — the O’Donnell/Tea Party triumph will terrorize the fewer remaining “moderates” like McCain, Graham, and Maine’s liberal Bobbsey Twins about “crossing the aisle.” Looking ahead to their own re-elections, they’ll now see Tea Party bulls-eye’s painted on their backs. I predict that they’ll all begin to start talking and voting like Barry Goldwater, for fear of losing their own cushy seats.BD: I suspect that the coming tsunami election will be a “come to Jesus” moment for many in the GOP and the Democratic Party who are up for reelection in 2012. (filistro: this is not a social conservative comment, but a turn of phrase). How long these RINOs and Dems retain the “fear of God” aka the voters is anyone’s guess. I would feel more comfortable with actual libertarian conservatives.Jean wrote: So Bart, does this about sum up the Tea Party goal – preventing the parties from working together for all Americans – which requires reaching across the aisle.BD: The only reason to reach across the aisle is to discuss how best to implement the will of the voters, not for its own sake. After this election, the only reason to walk across the aisle is to discuss how to most expeditiously repeal Obamacare and all the increases in spending since say 2000. If the Dems are not on board with the will of the people, there is not reason to even talk with them, nevertheless compromise.Jean wrote: By the way, there may be some teapers who are true LCs, thus not concerned about social issues and imposing social conservative ideological values upon the rest of us, but there are also an awful lot of social conservatives in the teaper ranks.BD: The social conservatives are on board with the Tea Party to the extent that they support limited government. No one in the Tea Party is campaigning on enacting morality laws. If that is your only concern with the Tea Party and you support limited government, then have no fear and come join us.

  9. Bart DePalma says:

    Sing along to the melody for Lennon’s Imagine:Imagine there’s no ObamacareIt’s easy if you tryNo regulators over usAbove us only GodImagine all the peopleFree to live as they please…Imagine there’s no bailoutsIt isn’t hard to doNo windmills to subsidizeAnd no corporate welfare tooImagine all the peopleFree to live as they please…You may say I’m a dreamerBut I’m not the only oneI hope someday you’ll join usAnd American will be freeImagine no CzarsI wonder if you canNo need for mandatesA land of the freeImagine all the peopleFree to live as they please…You may say I’m a dreamerBut I’m not the only oneI hope someday you’ll join usAnd American will be free

  10. filistro says:

    Bart says ..The only reason to reach across the aisle is to discuss how best to implement the will of the voters, not for its own sake.But Bart… what if the will of the voters IS for parties to work across the aisle?In fact, a whopping 71% of voters, according to this:http://www.insurancemaking.com/politics/32804-brent-mcgoldrick-what-voters-expect-gop-majority.html That’s the whole weakness with your argument. YOU don’t get to decide what “the will of the voters” actually is… and what THEY decide will certainly not please a rigid ideologue like you. If you can’t bend, you’re almost sure to break.

  11. mostlyilurk says:

    Cute song – with apologies to Lennon, of course – but I was actually looking for an answer to my question.

  12. filistro says:

    @mostlyilurk… Bart is unable to answer your question because he has never learned the actual meaning of the word “libertarian.”(I’ve spent two long years trying to teach him, but he’s just such a BLOCKHEAD…:-)

  13. filistro says:

    Way to go, shiloh, you made me google “Benford’s Law” and now I can’t stop thinking about it. These number nerds are so scary. Who spends their life coming up with stuff like this… and do you suppose it’s applicable to PIN numbers? If you could take Benford’s Law far enough, you should be able to guess anybody’s PIN based on laws of mathematical probability. Statisticians could clean out the banks and rule the world!What an exciting place that would be, eh? 😉

  14. shiloh says:

    Deflection er red herrings are Bart’s best friend …btw, Bart really, really, really wanted to post his ‘Imagine’ nonsense at The NTY’s and of course it would never pass muster, soooo538’s #1 Cry me a river! winger troll should send Mr. U a Christmas present 🙂 for providing trolls like Bart an outlet for all his pent up conservative frustrations! lolMuch like Christine O’Donnell never had the immense pleasure of passing thru puberty ~ I crack myself up! 😉

  15. filistro says:

    Wow… I begin to see what parksie was talking about when he suggested Christine O’Donnell had some really embarrassing interview content that would soon begin to emerge!Here’s O’Donnell from 2007, on The O’Reilly Factor: “American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. So they’re already into this experiment.”Even more sinister… the dastardly secret experiments producing humans with mouse brains… and then trying to get them into the Senate.

  16. mostlyilurk says:

    Just as I suspected….it really does appear to be nothing more than a fun silly game to these folks – as if rewritten song lyrics will provide an oh so simple answer to the real issues facing this country and the world. What disturbs me is that these people may very likely end up in a position of power (shudder) and I’m wondering what in the world they intend to do with it. For example, how would someone like Sharron Angle or Christine O’Donnell plan to address the question of a potentially nuclear-armed Iran – with a (not particularly) funny version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” – really, really!?! Yikes.

  17. shiloh says:

    Imagine if palin actually did become president! !@#$%^&*All the Joint Chiefs would resign 😉 and al Queda would be elated as once again America would be a total laughingstock, just like under cheney/bush ~ You bet’cha!Oh the humanity!palin/O’Donnell in 2012 🙂

  18. Bart DePalma says:

    OK.Reverse all increases in non-military discretionary spending since 2000 apart from inflation.Rightsize military spending to the actual threats.Repeal TARP, the “stimulus and Obamacare. Return any appropriated monies to the Treasury as general revenues.SS reform raising the retirement age and have cost of living increases be calculated by inflation and not wages.Medicare and Medicaid reform capping the rise in spending and then figuring out what will fit under that cap.Enact the pending GOP legislation implementing Med Mal reform and opening up free interstate trade in health insurance policies.Enact the GOP bill pending before Congress requiring all major regulations be approved by Congress as legislation.Enact the GOP legislation reversing the Supreme Court decision rewriting the Clean Air Act to include CO2.Defund any area of reform President Obama or the Senate Dems attempt to block. Pass the appropriation bills individually so the President cannot shut down the government by vetoing an omnibus bill and blame the GOP Congress.This would be good start.

  19. shiloh says:

    Bart you really are a sore loser, eh lolbtw, your charlatan wingers will never touch SS as older white folk are the Reps only base …Be careful what you wish for ie if Reps regain the House in 2010, America continues to tank no matter what as most economists agree, the Reps lose the House in 2012.The yin and yang of politics …take care, blessings

  20. mostlyilurk says:

    Thanks, Bart. That list is far more disturbing than your rewritten John Lennon lyrics (not that my opinion does or should matter to you). However, on a more specific note, how would your “typical” tea party representative, if elected, propose to address the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran?

  21. Number Seven says:

    Yeah, a good start to a real depression.Again, Bart, since you believe the real problem is too high labor costs, I ask you to cut your labor costs by 4/5ths and see how that works out.

  22. Jean says:

    Bart,I was expecting a Tea Party platform, not a poem. Maybe similar to the Maine Republican party platform at http://www.mainepolitics.net/sites/default/files/Maine_GOP_platform.pdf

  23. Number Seven says:

    Just spit up some soda thinking about the South Park episode where they grew a penis on the back of a mouse so Mr. Garrison could get his manhood back. The mouse got loose, hilarity ensued.

  24. Bart DePalma says:

    Actually, there are multiple parallels between the Obama socialism and the Brit Labour socialism of the 70s. The road to the nationalization of British Leyland is nearly identical to the Obama nationalization of GM and Chrysler.Like Labour in the late 70s, Obama lost the center to the GOP after the enactment of Obamacare. The reason why this electoral tsunami is so massive and the GOP has its highest polling in modern history is because the Indis are breaking 2:1 to the GOP on top of the highest conservative enthusiasm in my lifetime.I have been avoiding using the term, but this is looking a great deal like a political realignment election.

  25. filistro says:

    @Bart… because the Indis are breaking 2:1 to the GOP on top of the highest conservative enthusiasm in my lifetime.Oh, c’mon Bart. NYT published polling today showing that only 18% of Indies have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party! How can they be “breaking 2 for 1 for the GOP,” which at the moment is wholly dominated by the Tea Party?Both stats can’t be true. I think yours is the one that’s wrong.

  26. Jean says:

    fili,The indys Bart is referring to are the percentage of the Republican party who became so disgusted with the Republican party that they now identify themselves as “independents”. Nevertheless, they are nothing more than what has been and is the base of the Republican party. Those “indys” will vote Republican; but they’re the ones who will hold their nose when doing so.

  27. Jean says:

    fili,Here’s another gem from Christine O’Donnell on a Fox News appearance:(About a Gay Pride parade in NYC)O’DONNELL: But let me tell you something! They — homosexuals’ special rights groups can get away with so much more than nobody else can!COLMES: Well, what are they getting away with here, Christine? Tell me what you’re seeing…O’DONNELL: They’re getting away with nudity!FAY: Oh, right.O’DONNELL: They’re getting away with nudity! They’re getting away with lasciviousness! They’re getting away with perversion!FAY: Oh, Christine…O’DONNELL: They’re getting away with blasphemy!

  28. filistro says:

    @Jean… The indys Bart is referring to are the percentage of the Republican party who became so disgusted with the Republican party that they now identify themselves as “independents”Ah. That makes it all clear. There are real, actual indys, and then there are Bartindys, a completely different animal.Just as there are are actual, serious, thoughtful libertarians, and then there are Bartarians who reject pretty much every bit of the libertarian philosophy… except the liberty to be excused from paying one’s fair share for the privilege of living in a civilized country. When dealing with Bart, I guess it’s helpful to keep the dictionary of Bartspeak right at one’s elbow.

  29. filistro says:

    @Jean… They’re getting away with nudity! They’re getting away with lasciviousness! They’re getting away with perversion!Oh lordy, Jean… you’re killin’ me here! I’m choking on my Hochtaler!LOLOLOLOL….They’re getting away with lasciviousness!!!(wiping tears from eyes, howling with laughter…)

  30. Bart DePalma says:

    BD: … because the Indis are breaking 2:1 to the GOP on top of the highest conservative enthusiasm in my lifetime.Filistro: “Oh, c’mon Bart. NYT published polling today…”BD: Are you seriously going to offer polling claiming that the GOP is only +2 among LVs? The NYT polling is about as transparently biased as the old Kos/R2k polling.Filistro: …showing that only 18% of Indies have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party! How can they be “breaking 2 for 1 for the GOP,” which at the moment is wholly dominated by the Tea Party?BD: The Tea Party does not believe that it dominates the GOP party against which it is engaged in a hostile takeover. Why should anyone else believe this latest Dem spin?As for Indis, they broke about 2:1 for the GOP in VA, NJ and MA.Pew as a pretty good breakdown of the Indis. See the how GOP leaning Indis are more solidly GOP than the Dem leaners are Dem, the GOP leaners heavily outnumber Dem leaners and the GOP leaners are far more likely to vote.http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1693/2010-congressional-horse-race-voting-blocks-swing-voters-partisan-engagement-gapThe Dems have lost the center.

  31. Jean says:

    Bart,re” BD: The social conservatives are on board with the Tea Party to the extent that they support limited government. No one in the Tea Party is campaigning on enacting morality laws. Bart,thanks for your thoughts and opinions. I do think that you strongly believe, and really WANT to believe that the Tea Party is a gathering of folks who very sincerely advocate for a libertarian/fiscal conservative Republican Party.However, when you REALLY want to believe something, perhaps you should consider that you may be blinding yourself to reality. The Tea Party may have started out as a libertarian conservative off-shoot of the Republican party, but the social conservative evangelicals have long had seniority within the Republican party. And THEY are the folks who have been ignored for years by the Republican party, so are now using your Tea Party libertarian idealism to advance their own agenda. They have seniority, so-to-speak, and far more enthusiasm than any other faction, including your libertarian branch of the Republican party, could gin up.

  32. filistro says:

    @Jean… They have seniority, so-to-speak, and far more enthusiasm than any other faction, including your libertarian branch of the Republican party, could gin upNow that’s the most interesting idea I’ve heard for some time. On reflection, I really think Jean is onto something.How ironic (and fascinating) if the Tea Party, which has co-opted the Republican party, is being co-opted in turn by the very evangelical social conservatives whom the GOP has tried hard to distance itself from!But look at the highest-profile Teapers… Angle, O’Donnell, Palin… all espousing religious social conservative policies. It’s right in front of our noses, isn’t it? The wily social conservatives have USED these sincere but misguided Teaper chumps, and their blind, rabid hatred of the president, to shoehorn themselves back into power. But they won’t have the last laugh. That will belong to the voters and ultimately to the progressives. Because if these people sweep to power and then start trying to foist their Taliban policies on an American electorate, we will see a massive refudiation in 2012 that will dwarf any tsunami the world has yet witnessed.We do live in interesting times, don’t we?….. (and this is already getting to be a really interesting website! 🙂

  33. Bart DePalma says:

    BD: The social conservatives are on board with the Tea Party to the extent that they support limited government. No one in the Tea Party is campaigning on enacting morality laws. Jean: Bart,thanks for your thoughts and opinions. I do think that you strongly believe, and really WANT to believe that the Tea Party is a gathering of folks who very sincerely advocate for a libertarian/fiscal conservative Republican Party.BD: That is all the Tea Party folks talk about. Seriously, you need to actually attend some of our meetings. Our local groups have two kinds of meetings – (1) how to get our candidates elected and (2) discussions about the Constitution’s limits on government power and how those limits are being flouted. Abortion, same sex marriage and whatever other social conservative bugaboos you are imagining simply do not come up in our discussions. That is not to say that we do not have social conservatives in our ranks. We do. However, even social conservatives have other interests in life.Jean: “the social conservative evangelicals have long had seniority within the Republican party.”BD: On what do you base this assumption? Look at the polling of concerns of conservatives, self-identified Tea Party folks and GOP voters. Social conservative concerns are WAY, WAY down the list now. Focus on the Family is based here in Colorado Springs and they are steadily going out of business from lack of interest.

  34. Jean says:

    Bart,re: BD: The social conservatives are on board with the Tea Party to the extent that they support limited government. No one in the Tea Party is campaigning on enacting morality laws. I note how you carefully parse your words, “The social conservatives are onboard with the Tea Party TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY SUPPORT LIMITED GOVERNMENT.” That’s your blinders, Bart. To the contrary, the teapers have one and ONLY one agenda – and that is only to advance their conservative social wedge issues – anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, etc. The sad thing is that they have never cared about anything else. They could care LESS about your libertarian or even traditional Republican beliefs. They are using YOU – your libertarian ideals – to advance their own agenda and doing so simply because they see an avenue (the Tea Party) as a vehicle to no longer be ignored by the Republican Party. These social conservatives have never and still do not care about anything but advancing their social conservative agenda. And you as much as acknowledge that with your careful parsing of words.

  35. Monotreme says:

    There is so much nonsense here. Let me take just one whopper in your “spread attack”, a veritable carpet bombing of bullshit.You call R2K polling “biased”. It was not. It was fabricated. Huge difference.This is the same NYT that now employs Nate, the analyst who was brave enough to call Ali of R2K on his fabrication.Would you please answer my earlier question? You wanted to discuss O’Donnell’s platform. I asked you to identify her damn platform, because I’m pretty sure if written down it would read, “I’m a sorta-cute 41 year old virgin who wears red.” When you find her platform or position papers, please post ’em up here so we can discuss them. And please start answering the damn questions, especially those you posed yourself, you gaseous windbag.

  36. Monotreme says:

    (Left salutation off the previous. Can’t delete, so I’m reposting.)Bart,There is so much nonsense here. Let me take just one whopper in your “spread attack”, a veritable carpet bombing of bullshit.You call R2K polling “biased”. It was not. It was fabricated. Huge difference.This is the same NYT that now employs Nate, the analyst who was brave enough to call Ali of R2K on his fabrication.Would you please answer my earlier question? You wanted to discuss O’Donnell’s platform. I asked you to identify her damn platform, because I’m pretty sure if written down it would read, “I’m a sorta-cute 41 year old virgin who wears red.” When you find her platform or position papers, please post ’em up here so we can discuss them. And please start answering the damn questions, especially those you posed yourself, you gaseous windbag.

  37. Jean says:

    Bart,re: : On what do you base this assumption? Look at the polling of concerns of conservatives, self-identified Tea Party folks and GOP voters. Social conservative concerns are WAY, WAY down the list now. Focus on the Family is based here in Colorado Springs and they are steadily going out of business from lack of interest.Thosse social conservative views may be way way down on your list, but believe me, they are NEVER way way down on the list of social conservatives. They simply are better at masking those views – faking it in the interim.As you and I have discussed previously on Nate’s 538, you are aware that I have 11 siblings, unfortunately 10 of whom are right-wing social conservatives. Not only is this what THEY have told me for years, it is also what traditional Republicans, and now “independent” former-Republicans I know tell me and one of the main reasons why those so-called newly minted “independents” have flown the Republican party coop.Wake up Bart. If you truly believe in a libertarian platform, that’s great. Pursue your ideals. But you need to recognizs the enemy in your own camp.

  38. Jean says:

    Monotreme,re: “I’m a sorta-cute 41 year old virgin who wears red.Corrected: “I’m a sorta-cute 41 year old virgin who wears red and who does not masturbate.”

  39. Bart DePalma says:

    Jean:This is hopeless. You are speaking from ignorance and will not let go of some misinformation you have glommed onto. If you have any interest in learning the facts, go to some Tea Party meetings. Nothing I witnessed first hand and am reporting to you is making a dent.Jean: “I note how you carefully parse your words, “The social conservatives are onboard with the Tea Party TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY SUPPORT LIMITED GOVERNMENT.” I like to be precise. The Tea Party folks are united by the idea of limited government. The social conservatives in our ranks share this belief. There are also many social conservatives who believe in expansive government. They are not part of the Tea Party.

  40. shiloh says:

    Again, oh the irony, 538’s winger troll king of misinformation Bart, sayin’ someone else will not let go of misinformation. ;)Hopeless indeed!and apologies to all gaseous windbags

  41. Jean says:

    Bart,This is NOT some misinformation I have glommed onto, as you say. The social conservative wedge issue faction of the Republican party has been there FAR longer than your libertarial conservatives have. It’s your blinders, Bart. Apparently those social cons are so good they have even fooled you libertarians. But that’s fine, it’s your problem, not ours. We true independents, Progressives and Democrats are well-aware of what’s occurring in the Republican Party and working hard to minimize Republican Party/Tea Party influence.And NO, the social conservatives do NOT share your beliefs. You are a vehicle they are using to advance their social conservative agenda. I have absolutely no doubt that you will eventually come to learn this. But it appears that you insist on learning this the hard way.

  42. filistro says:

    @shiloh.. 538’s winger troll king of misinformation BartTo say nothing of the Dean of Self Delusion.Bart says he’s libertarian and stoutly maintains that his Tea Party has nothing to do with social conservatism. No siree bob, it’s all about freedom, liberty and small government. Move along folks, no social conservatism in our party, none at all. We just want to get the government out of our lives.At the very same time his party is REPRESENTED at the highest level by six people (Buck, Angle, Palin, O’Donnell, Miller) who variously want the government to force little girls to bear the babies of their rapists (and their DADDIES), and want the government to keep people from marrying the people they love, and want the government to control the way folks pleausure each other and themselves in the privacy of their bedrooms…. (pretty much the aboslutre ultimate in victimless crimes ;-)But we’re not social conservatives, why would you even think that? We’re LIBERTARIANS.Bart, Bart…. you’ve been had, sweetie. You’ve SO been had.

  43. filistro says:

    6 people… I missed Rand Paul, who is also a “no exception” absolutist on abortion… even for little girls impregnated by rapists or family members.How utterly awful.These people will get, like, 12% of the women’s vote nationally. And that’s being generous.

  44. Bart DePalma says:

    Mono:I could care less what O’Donnell personally believes. If you are looking for a cat fight about masturbation, look elsewhere. The only relevant issues in the race between O’Donnell and Castle and now Coons are:1) Will you vote to repeal Obamacare?2) Will you vote against Cap & Tax when a defeated Dem party attempts to pass it in the lame duck session. The DE Senator is sworn in immediately because this is a special mid term election and can make or break a filibuster.3) Will you vote to repeal the stimulus?4) Are you less likely than your opponent to go off the reservation and support an additional expansion of government power.For all of her peccadillos, O’Donnell is on the right side of all of these issues. These are the issues which the Dems like you throwing mud at O’Donnell are terrified to address.I would vote for a voodoo priestess who is waiting for space aliens to spirit her away to Valhalla if she was the only reliable vote to reverse the Obama and Bush expansions of government power. It would be great to have the second coming of Ronald Reagan running in every race, but it ain’t gonna happen. So you take what is available and look for improvements later.

  45. Monotreme says:

    So, how’re we doing at finding Christine O’Donnell’s platform and/or position papers?Heck, even Fox News can’t find it.Quoting the above, under the headline “Blank Slate”:Meanwhile, anyone seeking information about Republican nominee Christine O’Donnell has to look somewhere other than her official website. There is no information about O’Donnell or her positions on issues on her home page. There’s only a button for supporters to donate to her campaign. A saved version of that page from Tuesday night included tabs with info about the candidate.So, what should we discuss about this candidate, who refuses to disclose a position and/or opinion on anything? What’s her position on apple pie? (OK, we know what her position on warm apple pie is.)

  46. Monotreme says:

    Bart,Thanks for finally answering your own question.Now: where did you find out about these positions? No one else seems to know where she stands on these four issues. If she told you all these things, then you need to let Fox News know, because they’re the ones who called her a “blank slate”.Frankly, I’m appalled that a political candidate for a Constitutionally mandated Federal office doesn’t have any discernable positions on anything just nine weeks before the election. But hey, if you prefer to project your own hopes and dreams onto this fruitbat, move to Delaware and register to vote. Or just stay where you are and vote for Maes. He’ll keep those demon UN bicycles at bay.

  47. filistro says:

    @Monotreme.. There is no information about O’Donnell or her positions on issues on her home page. There’s only a button for supporters to donate to her campaign. Hey, I could run on that platform!”I have no clue what I’m doing. Please send me money.”

  48. shiloh says:

    Fili, trying to figure out who you left or did you just miscount:Buck, Angle, Palin, O’Donnell, Millerhmm, logical guess would be Rand there will be no more debates/interviews Paul.Which begs the question Bartles, how come all your so-called libertarian teabaggers who believe in free speech and the Constitution won’t do interviews, debates or appear on MSM, other than fixednoise, to discuss the issues ?!?Rhetorical question 😉Better to keep quiet and let people think you’re a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt :Dbtw, thank god Bart does not espouse the above axiom …Too funny! 🙂

  49. filistro says:

    Hey Monotreme, this is kind of your field, so… can the human brain be miniaturized into a tiny microchip-size thingie? Otherwise those mice would have great big heads, wouldn’t they?Please rush response. The image of those big-headed mice is seriously beginning to freak me out. I won’t be able to sleep.

  50. shiloh says:

    One of the things I liked about the old site, you could hit preview and see all the posts which had been posted while you were making your own post …carry on

  51. Bart DePalma says:

    Mono:I simply went onto Youtube and looked for O’Donnell interviews where she talked about her positions.O’Donnell is campaigning primarily on a pledge to repeal Obamacare and secondarily as a vote to uphold a filibuster of Cap and Tax during the lame duck session.Of course, you have to navigate past all the Dem media slime attacks to get to a substantive report, but the effort is worth it if you really care to know.

  52. filistro says:

    @Bart… I simply went onto Youtube and looked for O’Donnell interviews where she talked about her positions.She talked about her positions? I thought she was opposed to all that sort of thing.Oh, this is fun… and we have weeks and weeks of it ahead!

  53. Jean says:

    Bart,re: I would vote for a voodoo priestess who is waiting for space aliens to spirit her away to Valhalla if she was the only reliable vote to reverse the Obama and Bush expansions of government power. It would be great to have the second coming of Ronald Reagan running in every race, but it ain’t gonna happen. So you take what is available and look for improvements later.You libertarians and social conservatives appear to be a good match. And the Reublican party is a good home for both of you.From what you said, you are BOTH using each other for your own purposes and, more to the point, you are WELL AWARE of that. Nice to know. Thanks.

  54. Jean says:

    fili,Yup. We have to get our laughs somewhere and libertarian social conservative teaper O’Donnell is a non-stop source of laughs.From a MSNBC Joe Scarborough interview in November 2002:NIES: I’m not concerned that they’re having sex. And I don’t think that anybody on this panel is condoning that it’s OK.The problem is, is they’re not properly educated of the consequences of having sex at a young age. That’s the issue. That’s what we need to talk about. I mean, I’m out on the road at colleges and high schools all across the country. I’m on tour right now, “Reality Bar Crawl.” I’m speaking to kids. I’m at high schools. I’m at colleges. And I know what they’re talking about, because they’re talking about it to me.(CROSSTALK)O’DONNELL: So, Eric, what do you tell them? Do you tell them safe sex?(CROSSTALK)NIES: Hold on. I’ll tell you what I tell them.O’DONNELL: Do you tell them use birth control?(CROSSTALK)NIES: Yes, I tell them to have safe sex. I tell them to be careful. You have to wear a condom. You have to protect yourself when you’re going to have sex, because they’re having it anyway.(CROSSTALK)NIES: There’s nothing that you or me can do about it.(CROSSTALK)O’DONNELL: The sad reality is — yes, there is something you can do about it. And the sad reality, to tell them slap on a condom is not(CROSSTALK)NIES: You’re going to stop the whole country from having sex?O’DONNELL: Yes.

  55. shiloh says:

    Bartles, O’Donnell basically has made her living the past (20) years by running for office lol ie campaign contributions from fools like you to help pay for her lifestyle.America, what a country!So much for O’Donnell being an outsider as she has been running for office her whole frickin’ life ~ OK, since she doesn’t masturbate she had to find some other (((hobby/activity))) 😉 to pick up the slack er take up her time …>Yes Virginia, O’Donnell is more of a train wreck than Angle/Paul/Buck/Miller combined and teabagger fools are still sending her more money!The people of DE are grateful teabaggers are helping to stimulate, pun intended, DE’s economy ~ Much like Meg & Carly are helping to stimulate CA’s economy! :)hmm, wonder if Whitman and Fiorina masturbate, I digress.>O’Donnell is pure solid gold to comedians, eh as the jokes just write themselves!Praise the Lord! and pass the collection basket …

  56. filistro says:

    @ Jean: NIES: You’re going to stop the whole country from having sex?O’DONNELL: Yes.Wow… now there’s a limited government platform for the ages! It just occurred to me that the monotreme is right (as usual)… O’Donnell MUST be a virgin. Since she’s never been married, if she’s not a virgin she woudl have to be a fornicator… and that’s certainly not the kind of behavior we want in our leaders!Shiloh… I sadly fear you are enjoying all this way too much. 😉

  57. shiloh says:

    btw, on the downside she will lose the election, but on the upside O’Donnell can use her teabagger campaign contributions to pay for a house and hopefully she’ll have enough left over to maintain the house. ;)Indeed, O’Donnell and palin are peas in a pod, as mama grizzley quit her job in dreary AK to make a lot of money and are fav (41) year old DE virgin keeps running for office to maintain her lifestyle!A certain symmetry …

  58. Monotreme says:

    Bart,Oh, come on! I have seen plenty of YouTube video of O’Donnell.That’s not a platform, that’s not a position paper, that’s not a campaign. That’s (pardon the expression) verbal masturbation. You can find video of me, too, on YouTube, but it doesn’t represent my campaign position.You asked if we could please discuss her platform and positions instead of her interviews, such as those recommending non-masturbatory chastity both within and without marriage.Now you are picking and commenting on the videos that you like. I picked and commented on the videos that I liked. You just can’t play by the rules, even if you made the rules. It’s Calvinball.

  59. Monotreme says:

    Fili,As I mentioned briefly before, she’s a 41 year old unmarried woman with an abnormally low sex drive.I’m okay with that — all human behavior, including sex drive, is distributed along a Gaussian curve, and her drive is about five standard deviations off the mean.What I do have a problem with is her well-demonstrated and repeated need to impose that low sex drive on the rest of humankind. It’s weird. It’s also not anywhere close to a Libertarian position. I’d sure like Bart (or anyone) to explain to me how telling me what my wife and I can do in the bedroom is in any way, shape or form “Libertarian”.As far as Big Headed Mouse and the Monsters, I.I. Rabi said it best: “Not even wrong.”Or perhaps you’d prefer a paraphrase of Dorothy Parker: “That allegation should not be tossed away lightly. It should be thrown against the wall with great force.”It reminds me of the early days of the Internets, when I used to argue with people on Usenet newsgroups about the existence of viable sheep-human hybrids from bestial sex. The standard answer was, “provide a citation that says they don’t exist.” I can’t prove mice weighing 10 grams with 1400 gram brains don’t exist, nor can I provide you with a citation.She doesn’t believe in evolution, either.

  60. shiloh says:

    @filiShiloh… I sadly fear you are enjoying all this way too much.~~~~~~~~~~hmm, again having voted for McGovern in Nixon’s ’72 landslide, if you can’t have fun w/politics ~ what’s the point! ;)This is why Bartles dying a slowww death on Nov. 4, 2008 when Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America! 🙂 is soooo amusing to me as wingers like Bart are totally discombobulated when Dems are in power! let alone an African/American president ~ gasp!>btw, whatever happened to Nixon ~ Oh yea, he’s the only president in American history, a Republican, to resign in disgrace! 🙂People have got to know whether or not their president’s a crook. Well, I’m not a crook! ~ November 17, 1973Oops!Richard Nixon resigns ~ August 8, 1974>and the bigger irony is Nixon was probably more of a moderate than Bill Clinton!but, but, but his paranoia re: the Kennedy’s totally consumed him and led to his eventual downfall, I digress.This is why wingers really want to take over The House.’Twas beauty killed the beast!’Twas subpoena power that destroyed Nixon, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell, Dean, Colson, etc. etc. etc.Which begs the question: How did Safire and Pat Buchanan avoid jail! lolFond memories.and so it goes …

  61. Monotreme says:

    Here’s the latest (clue-free) tweet from the O’Donnell campaign:Last night’s forum was great. It was refreshing to talk about the issues that matter to DE’s voters. http://politi.co/b4N6Ja #DESEN #tcotThe only “issue” I see in this article is about abortion. I’d be interested in seeing Bart square this one with his assertion that Tea Party-supported candidates like O’Donnell are social conservatives AND Libertarians.

  62. Bart DePalma says:

    Someone at the NYT actually fact checked the latest Dem spin that the Tea Party is alienating Indis and moderate GOP voters and found it to be baseless.http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/opinion/17brooks.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

  63. Bart DePalma says:

    Speaking of the combination off the Tea Party and the lost center, it appears that the Dems have lost nearly all of Ohio in a big way.http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/09/a-democratic-bloodbath-in-ohio/63093/Now that the rest of the polling world has joined Ras in using LV screens, Portman is now completely blowing out the Dem for the OH Senate seat.As Ohio goes…http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2010/senate/oh/ohio_senate_portman_vs_fisher-1069.html

  64. Bart DePalma says:

    Johnson is now ahead of Feingold by 7.http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2010/senate/wi/wisconsin_senate_feingold_vs_johnson-1577.htmlTime to get out the sex wax and get the surfboard ready.

  65. Bart DePalma says:

    Thank you for the white background!

  66. Bart DePalma says:

    Oh, back to black. It was a internet snafu.

  67. filistro says:

    @Bart Someone at the NYT actually fact checked the latest Dem spin that the Tea Party is alienating Indis and moderate GOP voters and found it to be baseless.Ummm… not really, Bart. In your link, David Brooks gives his opinion about the polling numbers. I thought you had been around here long enough to know that numbers trump opinions… but apparently not so much.There IS an interesting nugget in Brooks’ oped, though… he says: “This doesn’t mean that the Tea Party influence will be positive for Republicans over the long haul. The movement carries viruses that may infect the G.O.P. in the years ahead. Its members seek traditional, conservative ends, but they use radical means. Along the way, the movement has picked up some of the worst excesses of modern American culture: a narcissistic sense of victimization, an egomaniacal belief in one’s own rightness and purity, a willingness to distort the truth so that every conflict becomes a contest of pure good versus pure evil.”Wow, Bart… it’s just like looking in a mirror, isn’t it? 😉

  68. Monotreme says:

    Fili:Nail. Head. Bang.Bart:Way to cherry-pick your data. No one ever said Ohio was going Democratic. You casit and masturbate yourself into a frenzy over whether it’s a 28-point win or a 2-point win, but either way, we call Portman “Senator”. Don’t bet he’s gonna follow your DeMint-driven script, though. Like Brown, he’s from the *other* Republican party.You think Lee will win in Utah and DeMint will best Greene in SC? Why not gloat about those while you’re whistling past the electoral graveyard?

  69. Jean says:

    Bart,BD: I would vote for a voodoo priestess who is waiting for space aliens to spirit her away to Valhalla if she was the only reliable vote to reverse the Obama and Bush expansions of government power. Bart, what you refuse to understand is that the social conservative teapers are saying basically the same thing but with totally different priorities:Social Con: I would vote for a voodoo priestess who is waiting for space aliens to spirit her away to Valhalla if she was the only reliable vote to overturn Roe v Wade, stop gay marriage, immigration reform and reverse Obama’s liberal godless agenda. Each faction of the Tea Party is using the other to advance only their own agenda.

  70. mostlyilurk says:

    Bart, Re your last paragraph – I appreciate your honesty – it explains an awful lot. My only hope is that the majority of voters are not like you and will instead do an honest and thorough evaluation of how their chosen candidates plan to actually govern the country based upon their stated positions and beliefs on a wide range of issues. Sadly, I fear that I’m in for a big disappointment in November.

  71. filistro says:

    LOL.. did you all catch this article at Politico where former aides dish on Christine O’Donnell? Pretty funny stuff. My favorite, regarding her insistence (over the strong objections of campaign advisors) to distribute 2 ounce packets of sunblock with the logo “Vote O’Donnell, don’t get burned by higher taxes”:”It was an irresponsible idea,” said David Keegan, who served as O’Donnell’s financial officer. “And half the people in the street thought she was throwing condoms out of the truck.”

  72. Jean says:

    Fili,I was able to get the 538refugee URL over on Nate’s Gubernatorial Forecast blog. I tried the “reply to someone else’s comments, saying nothing much but slip the 538refugee URL in at the very en. It worked!@samuel #2ew: Here’s my take. The media wants a tsunami because it’s an investment in future ratings. If the Dems control the house and senate then no increased ratings for the media.But what the media and statisticians failed to take into account is the people. They are too focused on news stories and models to consider what the people will actually do in November. What they might do today is not the same thing as what they might do in November.I’m not upset with Nate’s models. I don’t need 100,000 simulations to tell me the Dems will lose some seats. I can just stick my head out the door and figure that out. What I get upset with is how they display the information. They display it like it’s fact!It’s called voter suppression folks. They want us to believe the Dems have no chance at keeping the house and senate. They want us to believe today’s model is an accurate reflection of November. They don’t want you to even go vote.You are correct. We fans of nate at http://blog.538refugees.com/ have discussed the same problem and agree that it is a problem, especially with certain news outlets simply attemping to drive their agenda.

  73. filistro says:

    Jean, I saw you post at 538 and was impressed by your clever sneakiness. 🙂 I got one through today too… instead of disapproving, the moderator over there seems almost grateful that we’re doing this. Makes me wonder how much crap they have to filter.I AM a bit puzzled that more people aren’t showing up here. Everybody seemed so pathetically anxious to have an alternate site… but now it’s here, they’ve all been notified and they’re not posting.Any theories?

  74. GROG says:

    Good job on the site. I’ve been entering http://www.538refugees.com in the address bar not realizing I had to enter http://www.blog.538refugees. And Google was no help. I saw the address on NYT thanks to Filistro today.

  75. Bart DePalma says:

    Jean:Actually, I do not think Team Obama has much interest in advancing various social left causes. In fact, they are more than willing to sacrifice them in order to assemble votes for their various projects to remake the economy. See Abortion and Obamacar. Apart from maybe embryonic stem cell research funding, there are no social conservative concerns with this Administration.

  76. Jean says:

    filiI think eventually more folks will stop on by. It hasn’t been long that this site has been up and running. Historically it’s not easy to get the word out about a new site and drive traffic that direction. Getting the word out and time will help.

  77. filistro says:

    GROG!!!My caveman is here… I’m so happy! :-):-):-)Just in time, too. Poor old Bart could use some reinforcements. He’s taking a pretty severe beating so far.

  78. Bart DePalma says:

    Filistro:Volume of atempted responses does not a beating make.

  79. filistro says:

    @Bart.. Volume of atempted responses does not a beating make.Perhaps… but LACK of any response is pretty telling. There have been several good (and well-supported) points in this thread you have simply ignored.. including mine on how the “will of the voters” is actually for parties to reach across the aisle. I score a non-response as a point… which makes this thread: Good Guys 7, Bart 2.

  80. GROG says:

    I’m glad to be here, too! And I’m quite certain Bart can handle himself just fine.

  81. shrinkers says:

    The main problem with Bart’s appeal to the “will of the voters” is that “the voters” is more than one person, and has more than one will. He wants to ignore the will of anyone who doesn’t vote with the winning plurality. That is not following “the will of the voters”. It is merely instituting a tyranny of the majority, something the Founding Fathers were quite leery of (hence, they enacted the Bill of Rights).Following Bart’s “will of the voters” means that if a plurality feels we should burn Korans — or mosques, or Moslems — then that is what we must do. Ignoring the rights or the will of the rest of the nation is a truly bad idea. The other problem with it is that Bart’s position is hypocritical at best. He only invokes the “will of the voters” when he thinks he’s got a plurality. Obama won the 2008 election overwhelmingly. Yet at no point following November of 2008 did Bart insist we should be following Obama’s agenda, even though that was the clearly-stated “will of the voters”. (Bart will now que up a song and dance about how Obama acted differently after being elected than he did beforehand, thus completely sidestepping the issue. Watch Bart dance.)This “will of the voters” nonsense is an empty talking point with no real substance — and would create a dangerous totalitarian regime if actually implemented. Our Constitution has checks and balances to prevent mob rule. Only someone with no respect for a Constitutional Republic can spout that rhetoric as if it was inviolable and inflexible Sacred Truth.

  82. shrinkers says:

    It’s also not anywhere close to a Libertarian position.What’s the difference between “libertarian” and “missionary”?

  83. Jeff says:

    How does Obama propose to address the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran?

  84. filistro says:

    Hi Jeff, nice to see you here. I think you’ve asked this question several times at the other site and gotten no response. I think Obama’s strategy (for various reasons) may be to let Israel take care of it and quietly look the other way while they do so.What do you think… and how would a Republican president deal with Iran?

  85. filistro says:

    @shrinkers… What’s the difference between “libertarian” and “missionary”?LOL… I thought of three excellent responses but none of them would be able to past the moderator.Oh wait… there IS no moderator! This really is kind of like heaven, isn’t it? 🙂 Thanks again to Mr U and everybody else who did all the hard work.

  86. Jean says:

    Bart,re: Apart from maybe embryonic stem cell research funding, there are no social conservative concerns with this Administration.BZZZZT. Wrong, Bart. The social con teapers are still mad as wet hens about Kagan and Sotomayor – both of whom are viewed as dangerous setbacks in the social conservative never-ending quest to overturn Roe v Wade.

  87. shrinkers says:

    @shrinkers… What’s the difference between “libertarian” and “missionary”?LOL… I thought of three excellent responses but none of them would be able to past the moderator..🙂 – I was wondering to see if anyone conflated “libertarian” with “libertine”.What’s the difference between “libertarian” and “missionary”?

  88. Bart DePalma says:

    Shrinkers:The tyranny of the majority refers to situations where a democratic majority seeks to deny liberty to a minority. See Obamacare mandates if a majority actually supported them.When a government seeks to deny liberty to the People agains the will of the People, that is simple tyranny. See Obamacare mandates as they exist.

  89. Jeff says:

    filistro,First, thanks for your efforts to get the word out about this site. Were it not for your loony political views, you’d be a truly wonderful person….==========Yes, the Republicans have nominated a true loony-tune in DE (as have the Dem’s in SC). Shit happens.Charles Krauthammer had an interesting piece today about how if politics is like a game of football, today’s “centrist” Republicans have mastered the art of always starting in the center of the field, then retreating.Any new broadbased movement is bound to attract a certain percentage of nutcases. If you recall the anti-war movement of the 60’s, there were plenty of whack jobs (Bill Ayres, etc). But the left-of-center movement they created has certainly lasted. The Tea Party movement MAY (conditional here) end up being such a movement. Bart’s list of limited libertarian government ideals is perhaps not popular here, but is hardly unreasonable. When semi-socialistic Sweden has essentially privatized K-12 education, vouchers aren’t right-wing fantasies. The French have a “national healthcare” system that many conservatives could have accepted (basic services paid by the State, and 90% of the population supplements with private insurance).Social conservatives and religious conservatives will always be a part of any conservative coalition. However, you might be amazed at how “liberal” many of them are. A few years ago my niece married a small-town cop in East Redneck, NC. No booze at the reception, and pickup trucks everywhere. The best man was black. Nobody cared or seemed to notice. A black man easily won the GOP nomination for congress in Charleston, SC, the birthplace of the Confederacy. His opponent — Strom Thurmond’s son.As for gay rights and all that…. Most conservatives really don’t give a damn about what you do in your bedroom. We’re just tired of our bosses at work dragging us to “diversity” seminars, and we don’t think 5-year-olds need instruction on how to use a condom. Most of all, we’re incredibly tired of the “experts” in DC and state capitals trying to micro-manage our lives, after doing such a great job on the economy, etc. We’re fed up that the political elite takes such good care of itself, at OUR expense. We’re tired of schools that can’t fire unproductive teachers, of government workers making far more then we do, and we’re especially tired of lawyers having to look over anything and everything we do.There’s a lot of room in this country for people to slash the size and power of government without being nuts about it, so please don’t tell me “but don’t you think government should provide courts and fire departments?” Yes, government should — but it doesn’t have to pay firefighters $180,000 a year.I’m a solid, law-abiding citizen who pays taxes. Yes, I DEMAND my medicare and social security — the government has certainly taken enough of my money for me to have earned it. Wanna give it back?

  90. shrinkers says:

    By the way — the DOW looks to close up again today – that would make 10 of the lat 12 trading days, and finishing again over 10,600. Economists are pretty much in agreement that, though we’re not climbing out of the Republican economic hole as fast as anyone would like, the chance of a “double-dip” has receded to essentially nothing, despite the most fervent prayers of the far far right (Bart?)A second Great Depression avoided, somewhere between 3 and 8 million jobs not lost, economists agreeing the unemployment rate would be around 11.5% now without Obama — the stimulus has done a pretty damn good job. Again, despite bartings to the contrary.Of course, it is hard to campaign on what didn’t happen. Which means, if the R’s take over either chamber of Congress, the lack of anything happening for the next two years will fall on them come 2012.

  91. Jean says:

    Bart,re: Actually, I do not think Team Obama has much interest in advancing various social left causes. BZZZT. Wrong, Bart. You, as a libertarian Teaper may not think Obama is advancing social left causes, but the social conservative Teapers sure do. For example, they see Kagan and Sotomayor as a dangerous step backwards in their never-ending quest to overturn Roe v Wade.

  92. filistro says:

    Updated score:Good Guys 10Bart 2Carry on…

  93. shrinkers says:

    Bart:Since the new Health Care Reform act denies no “liberty” to anyone, you’re just being silly.You’re free to die as quickly as you want, whether you have insurance or not. So stop pretending otherwise.Ask how many people on Social Security feel that it violates their “liberty”. You’re just repeating the same nonsense Saint Ronnie used against SocSec. No thinking being can possibly put any credit in such idiocy.

  94. Bart DePalma says:

    Shrinkers:The market started rallying again when it became clear the GOP would take the House and maybe the Senate. There have been a number of small stories in the business news whispering about it. Same thing happened in 1994. We will break Dow 11,000 by New Years after the Tsunami rollls through.

  95. shrinkers says:

    Jean: Let’s also add the repeal of DADT and the various movements toward decriminalization of marijuana. Also support for environmental concerns, an acknowledgment of global climate change, and support of (gasp) the rights of religions other than Christianity. Also equal rights for women (the Lilly Ledbetter Act) and support for sCHIPS. And the desire to close Gitmo and an executive order banning the use of torture.This president has supported lots of socially liberal causes. The far right Teapers have many reasons to oppose him on those grounds.

  96. shrinkers says:

    The market started rallying again when it became clear the GOP would take the House and maybe the Senate. There have been a number of small stories in the business news whispering about it. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! oh my! Hee hee hee hee hee hee!Oh wait, I can’t breathe,….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!(gasp gasp) Oh, I think I’m okay now.no i’m not…HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!gosh, that’s rich!

  97. Bart DePalma says:

    Shrinkers:Under Obamacare, you will only be compelled to buy government approved policies under government approved terms. My insurance has already been outlawed.Tyranny is the correct word, if not e kind imposed by a majority of the People.

  98. shrinkers says:

    Bart:Under Obamacare, you will only be compelled to buy government approved policies under government approved terms. The only automobiles I can buy are ones meeting government-approved regulations. The only meat I can buy has been approved by government inspectors. Screw it, if you don’t like government, move to Somalia.I’m forced to buy FICA. I’m forced to pay part of the cost of aircraft carriers. I’m forced to pay for the FBI even when they don’t harass my neighbor for me. Don’t give me that crap, Bart. You’re just upset that your insurance company can’t screw you so bad any more. I have little patience for masochists who complain when they can’t find a good dom.

  99. filistro says:

    @Bart… The market started rallying again when it became clear the GOP would take the House and maybe the Senate. There have been a number of small stories in the business news whispering about it.Oh good grief. (But then, what can we expect from somebody who thought Obama made a speech and instantly crashed the market by 3000 points?)It’s probably a good thing UncommonSenz hasn’t found us yet. This latest richly specious little gem from Bart would drive him right over the edge.

  100. Jeff says:

    What to do with Iran?Hell if I know. According to Stratfor, Israel cannot attack without US help (refueling, airspace access over Iraq, etc). Stratfor is also dubious as to whether the US can knock out the nuke sites, and also fears closing of the Straits of Hormuz, which would probably send the world into Great Depression 2.0.Probably the only thing that can force the Iranians to change is a blockade of gasoline imports — and you’d need Russian support to accomplish that. Should we trade Georgia, Moldava, and the Baltics for that? No, but the time may come when we wish we had….

  101. Jeff says:

    So,shrinkers and filistro — What are the differences between “libertarian and “missionary.”I may be a whacky libertarian conservative, but I ALWAYS appreciate a good joke!

  102. filistro says:

    Jeff… it’s a knotty problem, all right…. one where there are nasty consequences no matter what decision is made.Maybe the decision will ultimately just be to make no decision and (as always) rely on MAD to keep everybody in check. After all, even if Iran has nukes they’re not likely to start launchng them at Irsael or the US, knowing the hell that would immediately rain down on them.The Iranians may be crazy, but I don’t think they’re insane. I actually worry more about Pakistan’s nukes…. because I think lots of those dudes ARE insane.

  103. Jeff says:

    @filistro:”Replying To: Bart says ..The only reason to reach across the aisle is to discuss how best to implement the will of the voters, not for its own sake.But Bart… what if the will of the voters IS for parties to work across the aisle?”=========I don’t think Bart or I would have any trouble with reaching across the aisle to get Democratic support for dismantling Obamacare….There are probably Democrats who understand that we can’t go on with our current trajectory of deficit spending and over-burdensome regulation, and that raising taxes isn’t going to solve the problem, and we will reach across the aisle and look forward to working with them.By the way, every time I hear “pay their fair share” of taxes, I always want to know who decides the “fair” share?The answer generally seems to be the people who are employed by government or who are part of the ruling elite, aided by the people who are subsidized by government.

  104. Above My Paygrade says:

    Filistro, any article you write that talks about progressives as rational, and the death of conservatism is nonsense. Progressives have never been rational and conservatism is far from dead as you will find out in November. “Quit being so silly,” stated Archibald Asparagus, “Silly Songs with Filistro is officially canceled.

  105. filistro says:

    @Jeff… By the way, every time I hear “pay their fair share” of taxes, I always want to know who decides the “fair” share?In a democracy… voters do.

  106. filistro says:

    @AMP… “Quit being so silly,” stated Archibald Asparagus, “Silly Songs with Filistro is officially canceled.”AMP… better print this out and save it because I’ll probably never say it again… but I’ve actually missed you. And I LIKE you…and sometimes you even make me laugh.Now, enough of that gooey stuff… man the battle stations and “let the wild rumpus begin!”

  107. shrinkers says:

    @Jeff re: reacharound the isle…During the 2008 Presidential campaign, both parties agreed that America needed health care reform. Obama and McCain disagreed on some of the particulars. After the election, the Democrats incorporated many of the Republican suggestions for HCR. The Republicans still voted unanimously against it. And told a series of outrageous lies.Many of the economic suggestions of the Republicans were included in the Stimulus bill. They still voted almost unanimously against it. And spread outrageous lies.The Republicans in the Senate have been filibustering and demanding cloture votes even on appointments they later approve of. And bills other Republicans have proposed, even a scant few months previously. Their interest is in standing in the way; the details of policy are immaterial.The Dems have been desperately trying to include the Republicans in the process of governing. The Republicans have been engaging in pure and simple obstructionism.I do not believe there are more than a handful of Republicans who are willing to actually govern, unless they have a majority and can dictate policy and legislation. The Republican version of “cooperation” is “I would be glad to let you help me do it my way — provided we Republicans are already in the majority.”They’re not interested in actually governing. They are interested only in playing games. I’m pretty tired of it.

  108. shrinkers says:

    @Jeffshrinkers and filistro — What are the differences between “libertarian and “missionary.”I may be a whacky libertarian conservative, but I ALWAYS appreciate a good joke!To be honest, I was hoping someone would tell me.On actual consideration of the question — a true libertarian wouldn’t give a hoot about someone else’s favorite position. So I guess the answer is — One of them is face-to-face. The other is none of your goddam business.

  109. Jean says:

    On a lighter note, an St. Paul, MN Pioneer-Press newspaper editorial today: UFO? LED. OK? We have no official editorial position on lighted kites. So to those who are locked into a lighted-kite position, pro or con, please know that we come to the issue anew. We did not actually know that kites were sometimes lighted until we read, in this newspaper, of a dispute involving a lighted-kite-flyer and local authorities. The flyer, Ernest Sawka Jr., 34, attaches tiny LED lights to the kite string and achieves an effect some of his St. Paul neighbors have confused with UFOs. When he did so in the summer, police were called because locals thought the Martians were landing. Then police found out the kite-flyer was wanted on an unrelated misdemeanor theft warrant. Late Monday night, police heard UFO complaints again and said they found Sawka lighting up the skies again. Sawka said he had just got out of the workhouse for the theft thing and went back to the lighted-kite thing. The police said he did it to “get a rise out of the public” and cited him for various minor infractions. Sawka said he does it because “it’s cool” and not to get a rise out of anybody. He vowed to fight the citations. As scribblers whose business is to get a rise out of the public, and who are often accused of sounding like people from Mars, we are now considering attaching tiny colored lights to our editorials. In the meantime, we lean toward “it’s cool” when it comes to lights-on-kites.

  110. shiloh says:

    @GrogBart can handle himself just fine.~~~~~~~~~~hmm, don’t tell Christine O’Donnell ;)just sayin’>So Grog, will the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan this year?Rhetorical question …take care, blessings

  111. shiloh says:

    @BartSame thing happened in 1994. We will break Dow 11,000 by New Years after the Tsunami rollls through.~~~~~~~~~~So Bart, Obama will be elected in 2012 just like Clinton in 1996, eh. :)btw, who will be the teabagger candidate for pres in 2012 ~ mama grizzley? bachmann? paul? o’donnell? angle? buck? etc.just wonderin’ :)btw again, isn’t it very nice of Mr. U to provide you an outlet to say surf’s up! over and over and over again …take care, blessings

  112. Jeff says:

    Replying To:@filistro”I said: By the way, every time I hear “pay their fair share” of taxes, I always want to know who decides the “fair” share?You say: “In a democracy… voters do.”==========I agree that votrs have the final word, and that is, in part, what the election in November will be about.But I’m still curious…. I keep on hearing people on the left talking about “fair share.” Is taking half your income “fair?” More than half? What level of taxation is “unfair.”

  113. gramma says:

    a realignment election.so——–is this great news for john mccain

  114. filistro says:

    @Jeff: What level of taxation is “unfair.”Well, fair means “even-handed.” So I guess a a “fair share” of taxes is the same amount taken from someone else in your exact circumstances.How much of your income is “fair?” Actually we’ve worked out formulas to decide that, since basic subsistence costs the same for everybody… so if somebody is paying 100% of his income to achieve that basic level he shouldn’t be taxed at all, while somebody who is paying .0001% for that same basic level can pay much more in taxes without suffering life-threatening pain… and there are virtually infinite taxation levels between those two extremes.I think the question is not how much each person should have to pay as his “fair share” to enjoy things like a police force, a military, roads, schools, civic services and some security in old age. The real question I think you are asking is which of those things we should have, and all our answers will be different… so we struggle our way to that answer through an ever-evolving argument.

  115. filistro says:

    @gramma: so——–is this great news for john mccaingramma, that made me LOL! 🙂

  116. Jeff says:

    I’m not actually asking which services we should have — rather I’m asking how you define paying one’s “fair share” for whatever services we do choose to have.I’ll agree — subsistence level incomes shouldn’t be taxed (although they are through sales taxes, VAT’s, etc., not to mention indirect taxes on items consumed, such as real estate taxes paid by the landlord, etc).I’m asking the question because it seems to be a defining issue in the current campaign. How much tax should the “rich” pay? What is their “fair share?” Should poor people have to make any contribution?So much rhetoric is flying and to me a lot of it seems like pure and simple class warfare. Everybody would like “more” and to many the easiest way to get “more” is to take it from somebody else. To others, the way to make “more” available is to grow the economy — but that means other sacrifices, especially by politicians who use income redistribution to buy votes. It may also mean that we don’t put hundreds of thousands of square miles off limits to loggers so we can protect the spotted owl or the striped mosquito. It may mean “drill, baby, drill.” Unfortunately, your answer that “fair share is the same amount taken from somebody else in your exact circumstances….” isn’t a real answer. The tax code doesn’t work that way.If I earn $100,000 per year, how much should Federal, State, and local government take? 25%? 50%? More? Do you define “fair share” as what it takes to satisfy the appetite of government and the people who are supported by government (employees, welfare recipients, etc?), and the people who just think that it would be nice to subsidize “art” and “bridges to nowhere” and all the other wonderful things that can be paid for with other people’s money. To use the examples you cited: I’m happy to pay for police, military, and roads. I’d be pleased as punch to pay for vouchers, so that everybody could have a shot at going to a good school. I’d be happy to have old age insurance that provided a very basic level of living. I’m not happy to pay for “civic services” unless I know what I’m paying for.And I’m not at all happy paying an excessive amount for any of this.

  117. Jean says:

    @Jeff,re: I’m not actually asking which services we should have — rather I’m asking how you define paying one’s “fair share” for whatever services we do choose to have.So how would YOU define payine one’s “fair share” for whatever services we do choose to have. If you want a discussion, put your own opinion out there.

  118. shrinkers says:

    @JeffSo much rhetoric is flying and to me a lot of it seems like pure and simple class warfare.I have to agree. Right wing rhetoric on taxation issues frequently does sound like class warfare. An example of that: “Everybody would like ‘more’ and to many the easiest way to get ‘more’ is to take it from somebody else.” This meme that some Americans want ‘more’ and want ‘somebody else’ to pay for it is an excellent example of class warfare rhetoric. Thank you for the illustration. The quoted sentence contains useless and questionable generalizations and, quite likely, some (conscious or unconscious) dogwhistle racism. Not a good way to have a rational discussion.As a democracy — or a democratic republic, if you prefer — We the People decide what we, as a nation, wish to do, how much of it we wish to do, and how we wish to pay for it. There will always be some who are disgruntled with those decisions. (Though Bart thinks the ‘will of the voters’ should be blindly obeyed, and everyone else should just shut up, because to do otherwise is tyranny.) You are, of course, free to express your dissatisfaction (despite Bart), and, if you can, to change enough minds such that the policy is also changed.We the People have decided that it is “fair” to ask those who have benefited the most from out society to also contribute the most to our society’s maintenance. You are free to have a different definition of “fair,” You are also free to miscategorize this decision as “class warfare,” because freedom of speech in our nation is not limited to the wise and honest.The use of such emotion-laden terms as “class warfare” is an obvious attempt to skew the discussion, to immediately portray the other guy’s position as unreasonable and perhaps blindly hateful and selfish. You may have noticed up above, I used it in precisely that way myself, to illustrate my point. If you wish to have an intelligent discussion about the various possible forms and levels of tax structure, let’s do so. Pre-loading that discussion with mindless rhetorical flourishes — ones intended to shut off conversation — doesn’t contribute anything useful.

  119. Mr Universe says:

    Yeah, I’m working on it. 538refugees gives you the home page. You have to click on Article/contributors to get to the blog. I’m working on it. Sorry.

  120. Mr Universe says:

    “she’s a 41 year old unmarried woman with an abnormally low sex drive.”I can fix that.

  121. Jeff says:

    Jean, you ask how I would define “Fair share” for tax purposes?Fair share? First, government spending needs to be reformed. Government should not be picking winners and losers. It’s unfair to pay higher taxes so that Obama can spend $100 million to subsidize 50 jobs in a battery plant. I really don’t care if you like electric cars — my taxes shouldn’t be paying for your preferences. Period. End of discussion. Non-negotiable. No compromise. ANY tax structure is unacceptable if the revenues are going to be used to pay for the disgusting mess of subsidies and penalties we’ve let lobbyists turn our tax code into.Once we get back to some semblance of rationality and fairness, I believe that everybody should have some skin in the game. Even if it’s a 5% or a 1% bracket, you should pay taxes on April 15th. (And if I were able to make just one change to the US, I’d move the national elections from November to the third Tuesday in April).How to structure Federal taxes? I lean towards a fairly flat, greatly simplified structure. Perhaps 3 or 4 brackets — 5%, 15%, 25%, 35%. Abolish the AMT altogether. Tax the cash value of benefits given by employers (won’t the UAW and SEIU just SCREAM!). Lower corporate taxes to the average paid by other major industrial countries.

  122. Monotreme says:

    You’re against money for research & development, Jeff?Does that encompass the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation? What about DARPA and the huge R&D segment of the Defense Department budget?Or is it just non-defense R&D you’re agin’?

  123. Jeff says:

    shrinkers wrote:”@JeffSo much rhetoric is flying and to me a lot of it seems like pure and simple class warfare.I have to agree. Right wing rhetoric on taxation issues frequently does sound like class warfare. An example of that: “Everybody would like ‘more’ and to many the easiest way to get ‘more’ is to take it from somebody else.”This meme that some Americans want ‘more’ and want ‘somebody else’ to pay for it is an excellent example of class warfare rhetoric. Thank you for the illustration. The quoted sentence contains useless and questionable generalizations and, quite likely, some (conscious or unconscious) dogwhistle racism. Not a good way to have a rational discussion. If you wish to have an intelligent discussion about the various possible forms and levels of tax structure, let’s do so. Pre-loading that discussion with mindless rhetorical flourishes — ones intended to shut off conversation — doesn’t contribute anything useful.===============Here’s where we disagree. I am appalled and disgusted by the use of political power for (in the economic term) “rent-seeking.” We have a tax code that nobody really understands because of the lobbyist-driven exceptions and carve-outs, coupled with the subsidies to favored industries. We have government employee unions that dominate the politics (and dominate the Democratic parties) in California and New York and Illinois and two dozen more states that can no longer afford to provide basic services.And you call that “dog-whistle racism.” I call it a disgusting mess.I am disgusted by the stimulus program, which bails out the UAW and punishes secured bond-holders. That’s a living example of “getting more” by taking from somebody else. Charging “racism” is a cheap and easy way to deflect criticism. The facts of the matter is that the Democratic coalition is largely composed of special interest groups that are supported and subsidized by tax dollars. They are the people who call for others to pay their “fair share” so that THEY don’t have to sacrifice. Government workers don’t create wealth — at best they maintain an environment where wealth can be created. At worst — well, we’re approaching that now. As Daniel Patrick Moynahan (hardly a conservative!) wrote, creating government dependency through welfare was the worst thing we did to poor (often black) people since 1865. The “War on Poverty” was a worse defeat for the US than Viet Nam. I’m hardly the only person who has noticed that Americans increasing want their government to protect them from everything, and to “make it right” when bad things happens. Yet we don’t want to pay the taxes needed to “make it right.” One or the other has to give. I’d like to see lower taxes and smaller government. You would like to see an even more powerful and intrusive government taking more and more. The only way you’re going to find the money is by taking it from “rich people” who don’t pay their ‘fair share.’Class warfare.

  124. Monotreme says:

    It’s good to know, Jeff, that in 35 years of working for the government to educate medical professionals, that I didn’t “create wealth”. I guess those young men and women were just born doctors, and already knew everything there was to know about human medicine, and all I did was make them sit through some boring lectures and other “educational” activities just to pass the time and amuse myself.Or — just spitballing here — I actually created wealth in my government job. Your overly broad and frankly offensive statement proves that your motives aren’t exactly pure. You think your life is an Ayn Rand novel. I think you are puerile and self-centered.

  125. shiloh says:

    @JeffMoynahan also said, Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.As rich get richer, mostly thru stock market wizardry and the middle class disappears. Indeed, Rep conrol of the presidency has been quite friendly to increasing income disparity in America. Soooo, what is Jeff crying about as the top (5%) seem to doing just fine, thank you very much! Saving their money w/no intention of investing in the economy.>Yea, in Jeff, Rudy, Bart’s etc. conservative bubble, the Dem’s are responsible for everything bad in America!and the band played on …Speaking of real revolution as opposed to billionaire sponsored teabaggers, the Reps better start setting aside public funds for an increasing prison industrial complex ie the serfs are becomin’ restless w/their warlords run by the private sector/contractors ~ Oh I’m sorry sweatie pie Jan I’m an Einstein when it comes to debates lol Brewer, has already commenced that operation. ;)Yea, start investing your money in correctional facilities, the next boom industry!take care, blessings

  126. Jeff says:

    Monotreme wrote:It’s good to know, Jeff, that in 35 years of working for the government to educate medical professionals, that I didn’t “create wealth”. Your overly broad and frankly offensive statement proves that your motives aren’t exactly pure.=======If you read my post, I said “government can maintain an environment where wealth can be created.” Perhaps that describe your 35 years of working for the government.” Nowhere do I say that government can or should be eliminated. I believe in (reasonable) regulation. I don’t believe in public employee unions that grow to dominate electoral politics. That’s what we have in many states today, to the point where the private sector is little more than a cash cow for government employees.Why is it that study after study shows that government employees earn more — often much more — than private sector workers doing the same job? Is this “fair?” Why should the majority of government workers also receive benefits that far exceed those in the private sector, from defined benefit retirement to lifetime medical? Why shouldn’t government be periodically re-engineered and downsized?Cry me a river about poor abused government workers. I’m sure that many/most are hard-working and dedicated, but why is it that the even the incompetent ones have wonderful job security. Has your local school district ever fired a teacher? Probably not. Do you think that the hundreds or thousands of teachers in your district are uniformly competent and that every single one of them is a treasure that couldn’t be improved?About 5 years ago our local transit agency was accepting job applications. Unemployment was negligible, yet there were literally thousands of applicants for a few hundred jobs. That wasn’t happening when private sector companies were hiring, but people knew the transit agency would give them a cushy job for life. Why should they be paid so much more than a fair market rate?Last month, the union in that same transit agency is conducting “sick-outs” because management wanted to put a split shift in for lower-seniority workers to staff efficiently and avoid slashing services. The union said: “Unfair. We should be guaranteed8 consecutive hours, even though that means working only for 4 hours during commute hours.”The end of the story? The poor people who ride the bus are losing bus service because the agency can’t keep all the routes open. Rich people don’t ride the bus. Doesn’t hurt them. But the “highly skilled” bus drivers who cost more than $100,000 per year in salary and benefits won’t work a split shift, and so the poor people suffer. As I said, I don’t know what you do. You may well be one of the many government workers who perform essential services in a dedicated, competent way. Or you may be a bloodsucking leach who is overpaid because your union spends $50 million every election cycle opposing any politician who opposes your every wish.

  127. Jeff says:

    Shiloh said:”As rich get richer, mostly thru stock market wizardry and the middle class disappears. Indeed, Rep conrol of the presidency has been quite friendly to increasing income disparity in America. Soooo, what is Jeff crying about as the top (5%) seem to doing just fine, thank you very much!”===The top 5% always does fine. It’s kinda baked into the definition… And the share of taxes paid by the top 5% has also increased steadily over time.But what is the top 5%? Do you measure that by income or assets? Let’s do some basic math. Suppose $100,000 income per year puts you there. If you work in the private sector and want to retire on that, you need to accumulate enough to last you the rest of your life. A good rule of thumb on retirement is to spend no more than about 4% of your savings per year if you’re going to maintain purchasing power and not run out of money down the road(it’s also the rule of thumb on endowments). Social Security will pay you perhaps $20K per year — at age 65 or 66, so you’ll need an extra $500K to retire early.When you do retire, you better have $2 million or more in savings — and you have market risk. You’re also going to have to pay Medicare supplements, etc, for decent medical care out of your income/savings.Accumulating $2 million in savings isn’t easy, and to do so, you probably have been very successful in business or a profession. If you were in your own business you risked your money; if you were in a profession you spent years in grad school, paying tuition instead of earning. You probably earned in the top 5% most of your career, and during your peak years, you earning well in excess of $100K, and saved most of it. But yes, you’re pretty well off! But if you’re a cop or firefighter in California, you work under a different set of rules. First, you get to retire after 30 years of service. In most cases that means age 50, because you didn’t need expensive graduate school, just two years of community college. Unless you were a hopeless fuckup, you didn’t worry about losing your job. Your pension: 90% of your last year’s pay, with inflation adjustments. Between overtime and pension spiking, that usually means your retirement pay matches — or even exceeds — your regular income. If you just made sergeant in the police, you’re making $100K per year IN RETIREMENT. You don’t have to worry about market ups and downs or inflation, because you are guaranteed by the taxing power of State. You get lifetime medical — for you AND your dependents. You’re in your early 50’s, so you’re free to take another job (and you not only collect your 1st pension as a nice income supplement, but if you go to work for another agency, you get yet more pension credits).Best of all, you don’t need to worry about the stock market or any of that other stuff the first retiree worries about. Your pension is guaranteed by the taxpayers.So, which person has the better deal? Who is really in the top 5%?

  128. Jeff says:

    Monotreme wrote:You’re against money for research & development, Jeff? Does that encompass the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation? What about DARPA and the huge R&D segment of the Defense Department budget? Or is it just non-defense R&D you’re agin’?========Don’t know where I said I was against R&D. Can you help me find it?Of the various research funders you cited, my best guess is that the least efficient is in the Defense Department.I actually like R&D. I’d love to see tax incentives for R&D increased, and lower taxes for people who invent things that succeed in the market (instead of having them give up huge amounts of taxes as “their fair share.” I’d like to see the economic incentives in this country changed so that smart people who wanted to get rich went into science and engineering, instead of law and government and finance. ———What you’re doing is a straw man argument that’s typical of the left. When conservatives say that “government is too big” you come back with “but who will pave the roads?”Not all government is bad. I’m an elected official and proud of my local government, and I think the people in it are hardworking and competent (but overpaid compared to the private sector). But I also see huge amounts of waste and inefficiency, particularly at higher levels of government.

  129. shiloh says:

    @JeffLet’s do some basic math~~~~~~~~~~So analytical lol as Jeff’s deflection reminds me of the string quartet playing as The Titanic is sinkin’. ;)Bottom line the rich are fortunate, the poor not so much as shysters/grifters/money changers/frauds try to get in on the ground floor ie human nature.And I’ll spare you my umpteen quotes from the Bible re: wealth/charity/loving thy neighbor as thy thyself, etc. which was posted many times at Nate’s old site.You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem …But again Jeff, nice deflection! :)take care

  130. Monotreme says:

    At 5:27 pm Jeff said:Don’t know where I said I was against R&D. Can you help me find it?At 10:05 am Jeff said:It’s unfair to pay higher taxes so that Obama can spend $100 million to subsidize 50 jobs in a battery plant. I really don’t care if you like electric cars — my taxes shouldn’t be paying for your preferences. Those are R&D subsidies, Jeff.

  131. Monotreme says:

    Jeff said:Government workers don’t create wealth — at best they maintain an environment where wealth can be created. I am, and have been, a government worker for 35 years. During that time, I have created wealth. Therefore, your statement is incorrect. Q.E.D.

  132. Monotreme says:

    I forgot to include a cite for the R&D nature of the “battery subsidy” Jeff hates so much.Here it is.

  133. George in Florida says:

    Jeff:$100K doesn’t get you into the top 5%, not even the top 10%.The top 5% is around $185K.

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