April 29th, 2009

The specter of Specter haunts the Republican Party

I’m going to start out by saying something that will shock a few people, I suppose: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Republican Party.

Not only that, but I doubt I ever will be. I doubt I will join any political party again, although I was a card-carrying Democrat for many years. I consider myself an Independent.

So perhaps I’m not the best person to be analyzing what Arlen Specter’s defection means for Republicans. Then again, perhaps I’m more objective than those more ideologically driven.

One thing that’s for certain: Specter’s “ratting” (as Churchill and the Brits would call it) was the most practical sort of decision: Arlen Specter did what was best for Arlen Specter. In doing so, he probably acted no worse than so many other self-centered narcissistic politicians (I know; that’s somewhat redundant)—and at least he’s honest about his non-principled motivations.

Specter had already been angering the vast majority of his fellow Republicans for years, and his support of the stimulus bill was the last straw. With “friends” like this, the Congressional Republicans must have thought, who needs enemies? In what way, exactly, could Specter be considered a Republican any more? And, looking at his record, I don’t see how.

And so it became clear that Specter would be challenged in the primaries by his own party, and would go down despite the fact that he is popular enough state-wide to win re-election. If Specter thought the best thing for Pennsylvania (and himself) would be another term of Specter in the Senate, then his path was clear: he had to become a Democrat or face defeat.

Just what do the Republicans lose by his move? The commentary in the press and blogs indicate that it’s the magical 40 votes that could have stopped some of the ultra-liberal Obama agenda. But was Specter ever one of those votes? I’m not familiar with his entire voting record, but I don’t see any indication that he was.

Yes, if he is now caucusing with the Democrats, the pressure will be on for him to become even more aligned with them. But wasn’t he already aligned with them on nearly every vote that mattered?

I’m more interested in the general question of how big a tent the Republican Party should be, and what it actually stands for. As I’ve written before, no party in America can win without playing to the middle. Those who are looking for ideological purity (such as Jim Demint, for example, who said “”I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs”) may find themselves left with just that: purity and unity of mind in a powerless party.

But if you forsake all principles, what’s the point of power, anyway? If Republicans turn into Democrats Lite, why bother to run for office? That makes sense, too—at least, to those who are motivated by some sort of coherent ideology rather than the self-serving need to have the perks of Senate membership.

One of the problems for Republicans and conservatives is that the middle in the US has shifted to the Left in recent years—or has it? Polls are confusing, but this one, published only a few months before the 2008 election, seems to belie the leftward trend the country has taken since:

Overall, Americans are against the core principle behind Barack Obama’s domestic economic policy – income redistribution – by an astounding 84% to 13%. Republicans oppose it 90%-9%, Independents oppose it 85% to 13%, and even Democrats oppose it 77% to 19%…

A separate question finds Americans more likely to believe government is doing too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses (50%) as opposed to saying government should do more to solve the country’s problems (43%). This broad question is not directed specifically at the economy, but reinforces the general idea that many Americans are leery of too much direct government intervention in fixing the country’s problems.

So how is it that a Congress and an administration dedicated to doing just those things is gaining power and influence rather than losing it? Some of it no doubt is the fear engendered by the economic crisis, which occurred some months after the poll. But the idea remains that many Americans would vote for “true conservatives” and “real Republicans” if we only had some principled and personable ones around who could clearly articulate the message.

And perhaps it’s even true that this would work. Ronald Reagan was all those things, and he brought many people under the Republican tent and kept them there for a long time.

But short of an unlikely Reagan reincarnation, Republicans seem to be condemned to wander in the desert for a while. Americans don’t seem to be hearing what they have to say right now, and I don’t think it’s just due to lack of charisma. Nor do I think the Specter defection is all that meaningful: he was honestly no Republican at all, not even a moderate one.

What is most important for the Republican Party is to decide what its core message will be, and how to show the American people they mean business about it. The majority of voters may remain amenable to this message if it resonates with conviction as it did when Reagan stated it [emphasis mine]:

We should emphasize the things that unite us and make these the only “litmus test” of what constitutes a Republican: our belief in restraining government spending, pro-growth policies, tax reduction, sound national defense, and maximum individual liberty. As to the other issues that draw on the deep springs of morality and emotion, let us decide that we can disagree among ourselves as Republicans and tolerate the disagreement.

The principles I highlighted in bold are the ones that draw me to vote Republican. Just as Reagan says, they are the ideological and policy issues the party ought to articulate and emphasize if it wants the best hope of implementing any of its agenda—and of blocking the ultra-liberal one currently in ascendence.

[NOTE: It is interesting that the Reagan quote was offered in an op-ed in today's NY Times by Olympia Snowe, RINO of Maine. Republicans must decide where to draw the line, and it's not always easy. Snowe, for example, voted for Obama's stimulus bill (as, of course, did Specter)---hardly an example of the restraint of government spending that Reagan mentioned and that she quotes in the Times.

But Maine may now be such a blue state that targeting the very popular Snowe in a primary, as Republicans did Specter, is probably not the answer. Therein lies the dilemma. In the 2008 Presidential race, Obama took Pennsylvania 55% to 44%, but in Maine the margin of victory was a whopping 58% to 41%. And that was in an election in which Snowe nevertheless won by a 61 to 38 margin, a bona fide landslide.

This is the sobering reality of what Republicans face today---although that doesn't mean the situation will be the same in 2010; there are always black swans and wild cards.

But they can't be counted on to happen, or to help Republicans if they do. Meanwhile, Republicans must be realistic and focused if they wish things to improve. That means deciding what principles are truly important to them, and then framing them in a coherent and appealing manner.]

105 Responses to “The specter of Specter haunts the Republican Party”

  1. strcpy Says:

    Well, all I can say is if he “helps” the democrats as much as he did the Republicans he couldn’t have gone to a better place!

  2. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    You see many of the the problems clearly, Neo.

    How to attract enough voters to the Republican Party without moving so far toward the center that core conservative principles are diluted so much that the Party is a RINO party?

    Can Republicans clearly enunciate several core conservative principles that resonate with enough voters across most of the political spectrum to win, and if elected, can they stick to them this time?

    And, does it matter if Republicans stay true to core conservative principles if that means they cannot attract enough voters to elect enough Republicans to Congress to have any chance at all of stopping the Obama train wreck?

    I really don’t know all the answers but, I do know that Republicans need to find leaders of the stature, ability and steadfast principles of a Reagan in order to have any chance to win and, as of this moment; I see no such leader or leaders on the horizon. They also have to keep their word once in office. The “Contract With America” was a great success in electing Republicans to Congress, but these congressmen’s subsequent forgetting, turning away from and violations of the promises contained in that Contract were a major factor in their loss of majority status. Let’s face it, most members of Congress these days are sleazy–about on the order of, and as trustworthy and truthful as a used car salesman–and it will be hard to make voters trust and believe in them or in any “principles” they may say they stand for or believe in.

    Many of the current Republican members of Congress are way too comfortable in Congressland–showered with perks, benefits, power and adulation– have sold out, and have voted for bills and policies that violate the core beliefs of many conservative voters, nor have they tried hard enough to fight for the policies that are truly conservative, turning off voters who before their sellout were likely to vote for them. These voters—count me among them—are disgusted with the big spending, “go along to get along” Republicans who currently inhabit Congress; you can see what their “bipartisanship” has gotten them.

    I would like to say that a “long time in the wilderness,” might be just the thing to enable Republicans to really understand, craft and recommit to a few key conservative principles, however, Obama & Co. are moving so fast to revolutionize and frog march America far leftward towards Socialism and perhaps Tyranny, that it is unlikely there would be much of an America left to come back to, after a few election cycles in the “wilderness.” So, I guess the answer is to go with the best of “what you got right now,” supplemented with whatever new faces Republicans can develop and put up for the 2010 and 2012 elections. One thing I do think, though, is that Republicans have got to quit being so even-tempered, nice, polite and non-confrontational if they want to win; candidates for office need to get in there and mix it up, get in the face of Democratic opponents and point out the Democrats’ every stupidity, lie, evasion and failure, while presenting an alternative, positive, coherent, conservative Republican message.

  3. askmom Says:

    My years in politics, and in Washington, D.C., have convinced me that there are three different factors that meet, shift and counterbalance each other in each election. The first, obviously, is political philosophy. The second is constituent relations. The third is “glitz and grit” – the charisma, sticky ethical problems, good or bad looks, connections or lack of them, that influence all human relations.

    Specter has struck out on all of these factors. He is in a desperate shambles, trying to salvage the end of his career. And all in vain. He’s angered or betrayed everyone on both sides of almost every possible fence and his health is fading. Reid will shamelessly use him for a short time and then drop him onto an ice floe.

    Specter could have retired with some shreds of dignity, but no one who’s watched him over the decades expected that. He’ll carry his delusions of himself as a distinguished statesman right over the cliff. Look for more flailing, and realize it has little or nothing to do with the Republicans (or Democrats) and everything to do with Arlen Spector.

  4. Jamie Irons Says:


    I have a two sentence, twelve word campaign platform that I think could win:

    (1) Stop federal budget growth.

    (2) Defend the country, its constitution, and its prestige.

    Jamie Irons

  5. marine's mom Says:

    Thank, Neo, for making things clearer for me, as usual. I couldn’t help thinking, when I heard Specter on the radio yesterday, that I am amazed that people are still voting for him, no matter what party he represents. He should retire while he is still, questionably, ahead.

  6. FredHjr Says:


    I’m still trying to determine if the nation has indeed truly shifted Left-of-center. I am suspicious of the results of the poll you cited, because the trends in the 2006 and 2008 elections seems to suggest otherwise. The victories of the Republicans over the last couple of cycles were by razor-thin margins. The young people under the age of thirty are most definitely Left-of-center. So are single females.

    Specter has made a political calculus and is returning home to where he originally was in the first place. He only came over the Republican Party by a political calculus when the Carter administration was circling the drain and a backlash against the Democrats was brewing. A major change in the political mood of the country was beginning to crest back then.

    The opposite has happened today, and Specter thinks he’s riding the wave. 2010 and 2012 will pretty much give us the lay of the land for certain.

  7. Oldflyer Says:

    I believe that I am as critical of the Republican Party as anyone; however, I recognize that it is the only choice that offers any hope. Even if it isn’t much.

    My wife and I have this debate; I say that regardless of how distasteful it is, you have to put your money where your mouth is, and she says not one thin dime. But, then she is terribly distressed at the result. I have vowed to get more involved in party activities at the local level. If I don’t, then I have no right to complain.

    I do not think that the Republican Party or the Conservative Movement help themselves by focusing so hard on Ronald Reagan. I am glad that he was President; I think that he was the right man at the right time. But, by putting him on such a high pedestal, people are doing two things; they are obscuring that he was far from perfect, and they are setting an impossible standard for anyone else. He was four Presidents ago; it is time to move on with the best we can find.

    I agree with Neo’s core principles and believe that the party and movement must adhere to them as a minimum. I am pro-life, but recognize that this cannot be a litmus test for a political party. We cannot have it all, so the GOP and its supporters need to think in realistic terms about common-sense limits that can be supported by the Party and its candidates; e.g., parental notification, serious controls on partial-birth, a reasonable waiting period, counseling on alternatives, etc.

    It is a fact that Politicians frequently do not rise to even reasonable standards. Specter could serve as a poster boy for the self-serving politician. Sadly, that is the state of American politics and the level of engagement of the electorate.

    I expect the climate to get worse for Conservatives. In future, how many good people are going to subject themselves and their families to the abuse that Sarah Palin endured? If Conservatives don’t toughen up and fight back against the media and the nut-cases on behalf of our candidates, we won’t even have a choice in the future.

  8. gcotharn Says:

    Reagan’s quotation is perfect.

    This generation of damnable Repub politicians has been snuggling closer to an imagined independent voter who wants more government spending. There exists no significant bloc of cafeteria style independent voters, ie. I agree with a couple Repub small government issues here, a couple Dem big spending issues there; this is what I believe, now who is going to snuggle closest to what I believe?

    Independent voters are not politically astute; do not much follow politics. God bless em. They are the sanest people in America. Independent voters are busy living their lives. Every election, independent voters hear a bit of chatter from acquaintances and friends whose opinions they trust, and they might watch a speech here or there. They take their instincts about what they saw into account, and they take their respected friend’s opinions into account, and they go to the polls as an expression of patriotism, and they vote.

    A politician cannot snuggle up to issue positions which are close to where these voters are: these voters are nowhere. A politician attracts these voters to come and join him where he already stands. These voters love America, but they don’t have strong issue opinions. They are waiting to be wooed, waiting to be won. If you try to go where they are, you end up in the big middle of nowhere, which is exactly where this generation of damnable Repub politicians has taken the party.

    Your Reagan quote is outstanding. Reagan was inspiring, and he was pragmatic. He was not dogmatic. In any area, in any issue, he attracted what voters or Congressional allies he could, then he happily moved on to the next thing. The key is: he did not compromise or walk away from his basic principles. He invited voters and Congresspersons to come and join him in standing for his basic principles.

  9. jon baker Says:

    Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac: The average voter probably has no idea these companies were Quasi-governmnet bodies BEFORE the first Bailout. They encouraged bad loans by buying them from bankers. ” socilizing the risk while privatizing the gains.” Many of our fellow citizens think of it as a failure of the “free market” . It was a perversion of the free market that is to blame for much of this. Ignorance is killing us. Deliberately propagates lies.

  10. jon baker Says:


  11. Artfldgr Says:

    back in the early days where people of certain mind and desire moved into unions and schools, and other important cultural points, one of the more interesting points that they informed to use was that communists should take over one or both parties by registering and running as another party since the US has no laws and bingind loyalty oaths to prevent trojan horses. the rest, shall i say, is history. over the years the places that did make those distinctions or prevented teaching of it, had their laws changed and the process has contined even up to the past few years.

  12. Artfldgr Says:

    Also once the newspapers and information channels are compromised in some way, and they no longer tell or reflect valid information, the populaiotn is cut loose from their sense of how the world is and what the rest of their fellow people think. read the editorial of the daily news (no name, just words), and you would think that obama did such an amazing amount of work and had such blazing success, that the liberal delusional person who wrote it said that now you can say he isnt the first black president, he is just president. (that will come back to haunt them)

    even worse… some of the most destructive policies are some of the best.

    anyone have any idea what will happen when he injects all that research money? fed research grants have been pretty flat since 1970 (see aaas, i cant copy everything). its private money that has increased from being smaller than fed in the 50s, to being 3 times as large as them. but this move will double the size of the graph and make the federal portion 10 times larger, making the public side of it 1/3 the size.

    i would point one here to get the thread to what will happen http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=888&full=1

    however the most important thing to find is an interesting story by a man named Szilard. those of you with a deep knowlege of history may find that name familiar. he had a lot of skill thinking differently than others… he predicted the wars, and the rise of hitler and other interesting things.

    his story basically points out that if you wanted to halt science and really just stop it, all you had to do was initiate a competitive situation for grants and let the process of state disbursment, waste so much time in grant writing, boards, and other things that little actual research will be done.

    the years he does this, no research will be done as every administrator orders his most productive researchers to generate paper to fish for grants. the grants will come willy nilly, and lots will be wasted on redundant machinery (anyone want to invest in some of the new tech i have and help bring it to market? :) )

    it will make everyone chase down every inane idea if not that, it will give the appointees so much power to make or break what areas are worked in and what they write.. the cato paper does mention lysenko and other politics.

    oh, by the way.. the other thing Szilard is famous for is conceiving the key thing that made nuclear weapons possible, rather than just an hg wells mcguffin.. (his mentor i think was einstein). he was also the first to stand against nuclear weapons too. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Szilard

    In 1933 Szilárd fled to London to escape Nazi persecution, where he read an article written by Ernest Rutherford in The Times which rejected the possibility of using atomic energy for practical purposes. Although nuclear fission had not yet been discovered, Szilárd was reportedly so annoyed at this dismissal that he conceived of the idea of the nuclear chain reaction while walking to work at St Bartholomew’s Hospital waiting for traffic lights to change on Southampton Row in Bloomsbury, though his friend Jacob Bronowski notes that he never knew Szilárd to wait for traffic lights.[1] The following year he filed for a patent on the concept.

    dont piss us smart guys off, eh?

    Szilárd was well known to his colleagues as an eccentric, lightning-quick thinker who “seemed fond of startling people” with strange, seemingly incongruous, yet extremely perceptive statements and questions. He was also extremely good at predicting political events. He is said to have predicted World War I as a boy, and when the Nazi party first appeared, he predicted that it would one day control Europe. In 1934, he foresaw the details of World War II. He then made a habit of residing in hotel rooms, with a packed suitcase always on hand. He often did a lot of his best thinking while taking a bath.

    and finally

    In 1960, the prominent intellectual Leo Szilard suggested, at a time when federal support of research was growing, that scientific progress could be effectively halted by instituting a competitive grants system such as now exists. In 1978 a total of about 47,500 proposals were submitted to the various federal agencies.[7] Researchers under such a system must describe their projects and goals. One estimate is that at least three weeks is spent writing each proposal (it can take as long as three months, or even three man-years for group proposals). The review process adds another three mandays per proposal, for a total of 575 man-years spent on review. This is time spent by leaders in the field, time presumably taken away from productive research. The total time investment (writing and review) is approximately 3,300 manyears of research time. But since most university researchers spend about half their time teaching, this figure may represent the entire equivalent research time of 6,600 academic scientists. On top of this, grant applications are rejected from 60 to 90 percent of the time (depending on the program), with a more typical range of between 70 and 85 percent. If a grant is approved, progress reports can require an equal amount of time. One study estimates that proposal and progress report writing reduce research output by one paper per year per faculty member, or a 10 to 20 percent loss in research output.[8]

    so now you know enough to figure out where this boon to science will end up.

    [anyone want to bet how long this appears someplace in an article? please note that there is no real way to get to this information unless you remembered it, come across it doing other research, or someone like me posted. so far i waited to see if anyone remembered]

    obama with spector the defector now can implement this kind of thing, and be hailed a hero till we suffer (and even after that it seems).

    but given spectors pragmatism, he was either offered the win in the election, or he doesnt realize that if its a real vote, no one will vote for him after htat move for those reasons as that would imply he thinks they are stupid. normally someone in his position would just have to bow out given the angles. but say he was promised that acorn would move mountains for him if he tried? the presumption of the end buys the politician?

    that makes me speculate about using a speculum on spectors head to see how he thinks this is a spectacular idea… (sorry got carried away and made a complete spectical of myself, I ‘spect I might be in trouble)

  13. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    A very interesting comment today on Glenn Beck’s TV program–that explains a lot–from Dr. Drew Pinsky, co-author of “The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Seducing America.” Pinsky commented that he saw people today as responding to the various “Emergencies” declared by Obama & Co. as if such emergencies were of unprecedented scale (how about WWII?) and as if similar things had never happened or been overcome before.

    Dr. Pinsky went on to say that it has been his experience–working with patients over the last several decades, more and more of whom were coming from an environment of increasingly “broken homes”–that they often could not trust or were able to get close to their mothers and fathers and thus, ended up being unable to trust anyone, or to want to get close to anyone else either, and that this was one reason he saw for the way many people today might be reacting to today’s emergencies in a way different from how people would typically react to crises in the in past.

    This was an “aha” moment for me.

    I must admit that I never thought about the implications of the breakdown of the family and skyrocketing divorce rates for the attitudes and behaviors of great numbers of people coming out of these situations, when they were confronted by the broad array of “problems,” “situations” and “crises” we all face in life, or what their instinctive approach might be to government and politics, in a democracy that just assumes that people will have a certain basic level of trust for one another and just assumes, as well, that it will be natural for them to band together to face and solve crises.

  14. Hong Says:

    With Specter’s final betrayal and Franken’s likely theft of Minnesota we Conservatives really have nothing left to lose. The Dums have the 60 vote majority and little can be done to prevent the railroad journey to Socialist Hell. We cannot stop the decay but serve as Cassandras to the future when some sanity returns and then do our best to repair the wreck. Little more can be done. Trying to pander to the very voters who despise us is a waste and rather pathetic. Lets support those who can debate and argue conservative principles with the dogged, unbending will of a Lynne Cheney. I think we need them now more than any other bland Republican with a good smile.

  15. Beverly Says:

    We are now in the role of the Fighting Opposition, folks. We have to “stand to” for the good of our country.

  16. Ozyripus Says:

    Neo, I’m not one bit surprised you aren’t a Republican; your kind of thinking and humor is more common among old-line Democrats than old-line Republicans; and it’s painful to leave the fold completely. As an ex-Democrat — well-before you — I would also observe that party affiliation might be less important than how one lives — I doubt you’d disagree.

    We forget that there used to be numerous “conservatives” among Democrats; where else did the “Reagan Democrats” come from? Harry Truman would be an anathema to current activist Democrats. But, as a Democrat, it took me years to find out/realize how effectively Eisenhower got us (and me!) out of Korea, after our nice upper classes had decided their children shouldn’t go, and there was no more political support. Nixon took even longer, but at a personal and familial level, I began to identify with the fellow and respect his courage. He surely was more realistic than most of us Democrats at the time; and loyal to the troops.

    Perhaps we should complain less of the Republican leadership, and reflect more on the citizens they represent. Might peoples and nations get the governments they deserve? Might our own society have changed while we were drifting into middle or “advanced” age?

    Aren’t we now an euphemistic society, intolerant of any candor? Sex and racial quotas are “affirmative action.” Caring about the poor has become a fine way to settle into a government job with a taxpayer-supported defined-benefit pension. Higher education has become highschool with guaranteed-graduation and progressive grade-inflation to make sure all mediocrities succeed (that started with student rating of Professors in the ’70s). Etc., etc.

    Granted old guys always say the young folks are going to ruin. But, what if Obama does quite nicely represent our current, dominant society? I hate to say so, but that fits my observations.

    Might the question be, then, how we live our own lives, right now!, and encourage our children and grandchildren to live their lives with responsibly (the basis of Republican values, so-claimed, at least)? And to have as much fun as possible while doing it? (There are a lot of opportunities, including schadenfreude!)

    One more item: In the historical race, winners have to have more children than their opponents, children that survive and dominate, that is. That means 3+ here in the contemporary U.S.A. Hence, advice to Republicans: emphasis the fun and joy of that race!

  17. SteveH Says:

    Perhaps this wandering in the desert while watching things unravel is exactly the medicine people need.
    We wouldn’t even have become a country if King George had failed at delivering enough misery.

  18. rickl Says:

    I started out as a Democrat, although in my youth they weren’t far enough left to suit me. (But today’s Democrat Party would have probably fit the bill perfectly when I was in my 20s.)

    By the mid-90s, after discovering Ayn Rand, I was registered as Libertarian, which changed to Independent when that party lost automatic ballot access in Pennsylvania in the late 90s.

    Although I had already started voting for Republican candidates several years before, I finally changed my registration to Republican in 2004, for the specific purpose of voting for Pat Toomey against Arlen Specter in the primary. Toomey lost 51-49, and I still believe that was largely because President Bush and Senator Santorum campaigned for Specter. Supposedly their support was part of a deal in which Specter would support Bush’s Supreme Court nominees. But it still rankles me.

    I don’t know whether Toomey can win a general election, since Pennsylvania has been trending steadily leftwards over the last 20 years or so. Obama won the suburban counties by a margin that absolutely shocked me.

  19. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Margaret Thatcher once said that the problem with socialism is that, eventually, you run out of other people’s money.
    The first solution to that is to inflate the currency.
    That impoverishes even more people.
    Maybe then you have a revolution.
    Britain’s was Thatcherism. It was good, while it lasted, but the Europhiles and their voters voting to get other people’s money are back in the saddle.
    Still, I gather from some UK news that unrest is increasing, much of it having to do with the insular Muslim community’s pressure on the rest of the country and the ‘crats’ pre-emptive surrenders.
    What a mess.

  20. Occam's Beard Says:

    The leftward move strikes me as a collective (appropriate) character defect, driven by the notion that achievement, self-esteem, freedom, and prosperity can be secured without effort or sacrifice.

    Instead, lefties turn the equation around, and consider the lack of any such desirable attributes reflects a deficiency of society, rather than of the individual in question, who of course is entitled to all such attributes. And therein lies the character defect.

  21. jon baker Says:

    I wonder how many people realize Keith Olberman makes millions working for a company that was bailed out with taxpayer money:


  22. maneocon Says:

    While I fully agree with Mr. DeMint, I do not see how that stance is “serving” this country. Yes, principles matter at an individual level. Imperfect though I am, I struggle to remain true to my principles.

    And a few excellent Republican leaders have quit the scene compelled by their principled stance of “term limits”. Don’t get me wrong – there have also been few DeLays and few Specters. But in politics and in life, perception matters. And where do majority of the public perceive their opinions about this law or that candidate – of course, MSM. And the current generation has lost all ability for critical thinking. They merely want a summary – no matter who summarized it for them, it is taken to be ‘truth’. And as a result, Global Warming is the ‘truth’. That America ‘tortures’ is the truth.

    Way to battle that is through charisma. Be honest, but don’t be blunt. Say it in ways they want to hear. I myself am not too good with this sort of thing. I struggle everyday.

    McCain was a maverick, but he played the media card (in the past) to satisfy his “ego”. Going into the polling stations in 2008, no one really knew his voting record, only his media stunts. He sounded awfully lot like a Democrat. So, why not vote for the real deal. I believe it was our weakest ticket in 40+ years.

    Contract with America was the coming of age of the leaders growing up under Reagan aura. They faded into the background. We need new faces. And we have exciting ones. But they are not yet ready – definitely not 2010. But there is promise. In the meantime, let’s not give up the fight.

  23. nyomythus Says:

    The Religious Right ruins everything for the Republican Party — their morals are amoral for our secular constitution and culture. It’s time to cut them and embrace the ideas of evolution (science and biology) and gay rights (individualism and civil rights) — this, for starters.

    Just like the Republicans nobly lead the way over Democrats to liberation in Iraq — the Republican Party can also champion classical liberal principles of science, individualism, and civil rights.

    Yes We Can!!

  24. nyomythus Says:

    Let religion (the Religious Left) ruin the Democrats for a change.

  25. jon baker Says:

    nyomythus said “…their morals are amoral for our secular constitution and culture.”

    Then perhaps you can personally lead the charge to have the signatory paragraph of the secular Constitution stricken from record: “Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.”

    And while you are at it, lets tear up the Declaration of Independence : ” the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ”

    The framers did not want another Church of England or another “Holy Roman Empire” but your comments speak more of the French Revolution than the American one.

  26. Hong Says:

    Embracing gay marriage and abortion would be Republican suicide. There is no Republican party without those moral principles. Individual choice does not extend to destroying innocent life or the institutions that promote them. It’s better to lose elections than to sacrifice core morality; and lets not be the ones who water it down to suit popular trends.

  27. Gary Says:

    about once a month you get really aggressive and somewhat wacky. I wonder what causes that? Not a Republican geez who woulda thought!

  28. nyomythus Says:

    jon baker Says:

    Why would we do all that?

  29. nyomythus Says:

    I think all the speaking on that matter was done by you.

  30. Danny L. McDaniel Says:

    Specter was a weak Republican and he will be a weak Democrat. He actually started his political life as a democrat in the Keystone State. At 79 years of age Sen. Specter is the poster boy for term-limits. This whole events mask his political opportunism and nothing else. Those who say the Republican Party is dead should remember that fours ago Barak Obama was no where in the Illinois State Senate and the Democrats were considered weak.

    In politics six weeks is equal to one 365 day calender year. One calendar year is equal to 8 1/2 political years. In other words, four years is a life time in politics, and to think other wise is to not understand the dynamics of democracy that run on a train schedule such as the United States – elections every two years.

    Obama has yet to do anything substantive. He talks and travels alot. Actually, Bush was the stay at home do nothing president. Obama is the traveling frat boy that can’t seem to stay home. You have to admit the White House does resemble a fraternity house. Wait until President Obama has to face-up and deal with an international crisis. Then we will see what he is made of. Historically, foreign policy determines the direction of domestic policy.

    Danny L. McDaniel
    Lafayette, Indiana

  31. Tom Says:

    FACE IT: THE BATTLE’S LOST. And the best (despite gross imperfections) this world has ever seen is inevitably disappearing, not to be resurrected. In the twilight of my years I see what my children cannot, and the wisdom of age is little comfort when unheeded.
    We are undone. It is unravelling, in slow motion, but inexorably. We don’t have the numbers or stomach for revolt, unlike the Founders, so we’ll get what our pacifism and cowardice deserves.
    Obama=Chavez. (one last time)

  32. Oblio Says:

    Yes, we finally get to a debate about religion and science, which is really a debate in disguise about sex and status. That’s not the only issue, of course, but that is the one that allows Republicans to be smeared as “mean” and creates metropolitan and suburban social pressure against the Republicans (think of Perez Hilton and Carrie Prejean as representing this dynamic in miniature). This has disproportionate influence on young women and therefore on young men. So Republicans will need to find a way to address the underlying social anxieties about sex and status without coming off as accusatory, which is what young people fear.

    Populists became alienated from Bush and the Country Club Republicans (of which I am one) over the twin blows of apparent support for illegal immigration and bailouts for bankers. Ultimately, the populists will fall away from the Democrats because the populists are patriotic and culturally traditional, because they pay taxes, and because affirmative action and multiculturalism are a one way deal at their expense. Nor will the populists like academic lawyers following the Law-Professor-in-Chief trying to use the law for partisan effect, and like the Queen of Hearts baying “Sentence first–verdict afterwards!” Populists really don’t like lawyers much at all.

    The more uncontrolled the Democrats get, the more populists will understand that they are being played by a new elite of New Class politicians and their politically connected friends. Imagine the Chicago machine on a national scale. You already see this beginning to happen in the Tea Parties.

    Republicans got swept up in a perfect storm of fear and anxiety about sex, fear about the economy, and a kind of moral panic over race, and fatigue over partisan toxicity in Washington related to the war. The hurricane will eventually break up.

    Republicans will make their comeback when they can convince a few key constituencies that they are the ones who stand for Courage and Hope. That’s what the Gipper did. Ultimately, the current administration is only going to offer recriminations and payback, no matter what rhetoric they use to try to frame the discussion.

    We don’t have to look far for the basic texts: the classics (Burke, Smith, etc.) come easily to hand. When I start out explaining Republican principles, I start with Madison (Federalist 51):

    If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

    Republicans need to own Freedom as their brand.

    I think the Republicans actually have a good case, but they will need courage and they will need to take the case to the people over and over, with great patience and good humor.

  33. Ozymandias Says:

    I think you have a good point. Young people have massive anxiety about sex. Most young men and women want it, but they are very insecure about the reasons or the ways to get it. Any accusations or well-intentioned “family-values” talks usually drive them into the Democrats who not only promise “freedom” but also funding for sexual liberation.

    I think the key is to connect the concept of freedom with personal responsibility. People need to know that they have the ability to do many things, but they are responsible for their actions. They cannot delegate the government to solve their personal problems, either socially or economically.

    I take it that you are arguing for the Republican Party going back to Classical Liberalism? I think if we offer the perspective that we are actually the real philosophically liberals (like Smith, Burke, the Founding Fathers) rather than the progressives who have usurped the brand.

  34. Ozymandias Says:

    Sorry, the consistency of that last sentence tanked…

    it should be:
    “I think if we offer the perspective that we are actually the real philosophical liberals (like Smith, Burke, the Founding Fathers) rather than the progressives who have usurped the brand, we can win back many Americans who are still taught what America originally was and continues to be about.

  35. br549 Says:

    Boy, Tom, I wish I could disagree with you. But I can’t.
    The young, in their late teens and early 20′s, have no idea about politics, unless in college, and then seem to believe what they have been fed. People who should know, who voted for Obama, don’t know who Joe Biden is. On my drives home from work on Thursdays, I actually have to turn off Hannity during the man on the street portion of his show. It scares me.

    When I leave the “management” area of my workplace and cruise the manufacturing, assembly, and shipping and receiving areas and speak with the younger people out there, I am always amazed at what they don’t know. They know nothing about the things discussed on this and many blogs across the net on a daily basis. They don’t watch the news, and don’t care. If they know anything, it is only the headlines above the fold, seen by happenstance on their way out the door of the local convenience store. Hell, they didn’t even know their employer pays half their S.S. taxes and more of their health insurance than they do. More than I could believe were even unaware of the current flu scare going on. Totally oblivious. The dumbing down of America has worked – I’d say beyond the wildest dreams of those who have been behind it for a long time.

    Those same people want something for nothing. They have no interest in “becoming” what it takes to obtain and retain the things in life they want. And who takes good care of what they have been given as opposed to what they spent a major portion of their lives working for? Including freedom.

  36. SteveH Says:

    To say democrats embrace science is a gross misunderstanding of whats going on. Global warming? Science has never been so demeaned and whored out to political whims.

    As for sex. The younger crowd will figure out they’ve been dealt a great disservice by those wishing to take away its deeply personal aspects, and turned it into a recreational activity like golf or rock climbing.

  37. Scottie Says:

    The repub problem is they are losing the battle of big ideas.

    When Reagan ran for President, he could clearly place himself in the role of siding with the little guy against an overintrusive federal government that could seemingly do nothing right – even down to defending embassy staff (or later rescuing them!) in a 3rd world nation.

    The dems good fortune is they are in charge of a government that is functional now – ironically in large part due to many years of repub rule in Congress and the White House.

    The repubs likewise attempted to keep themselves in office by gradually becoming dem lite and voting for larger and larger excesses in government.

    When it came time to defend those practices, they no longer had a leg to stand on as they had pretty much abandoned Reagan’s vision of the smallest government necessary being the best.

    When running as dem lite against a real dem, there wasn’t much to choose between the two – and never forget the influence the MSM had on the last election.

    Those who would have tended to vote repub stayed home.

    Then there is image…..

    If Bush tried to go through a door that someone had locked or pronounced *nuclear* differently than the talking heads did on the evening news, it played over and over again as a national joke and “proof” of incompetence.

    Yet Obama’s many more numerous gaffes generally slide by with little commentary on either the evening news or the late night talk shows, continuing a tradition they started during the primary season.

    So you have a perfect storm working against the repubs.

    After having their collective a$$es handed to them in the last election, you have 2 factions (well, more than two but we’ll simplify for sake of discussion) in the repub party fighting for control.

    One faction is the so called “moderate”, the other is the so called “right wing”.

    Reagan was from the right wing, Bush the elder was from the moderate wing.

    Keep in mind, Bush the elder adamantly opposed Reagan during the primaries leading up to the 1980 election cycle.

    Bush the elder was brought in by Reagan to unify the party, but I have a feeling he was never happy about it.

    Reagan won 2 terms, Bush came in with people thinking he was going to be a 3rd Reagan term and he went off the Reagan course by raising taxes (among other things).

    After only one term for Bush, the dems won control with Clinton gaining the White House – and the “moderates” lost control of the party to “right wingers” like Newt Gingrich.

    Next election cycle, the repubs gained control of Congress – with right wingers at the helm.

    The moderate party slowly regained control of the repub party over the years (remember the gang of 12 who stymied the repubs over judge appointments?), and their man was the standard bearer for the party during the last presidential election.

    We all know how that ended.

    The right wing seems to want to return to a more Reaganesque vision for the party – and the moderates are having fits now.

    So yeah, in Spector’s world view he may see the repubs becoming more “right wing” and the party moving rightward and leaving his own views behind – but that sort of viewpoint ignores the fact that any recent party daliences to be seen as “moderate” were relatively recent historical developments.

    Hopefully the repubs will return to their basic views from the Reagan era – and at least then we’ll have a battle of ideas rather than a choice between mild and mediocre socialism.

    The best thing the repubs could do is to clean their own house, as any politician who is nominally repub but doesn’t stand with his party on the bigger issues is simply stabbing them in the back at this point.

    Better an enemy you know than a friend who is untrustworthy and unreliable when you need them.

  38. Reaganite Republican Resistance Says:

    This cynical, self-serving move had absolutely nothing to do with values, policy, or any high-minded thinking of any kind- though President Obama surely would like for you to think that.

    Everybody knows he did it because he was down 21% in the polls leading-up to the GOP primary for his seat- and Joey Pluggs made a deal with him, he already admitted as such. The sad truth is that this hack has spent three decades in the Senate, while accomplishing little.

    And Barack and him have a lot in common- as unprincipled political opportunists, I’m sure they’ll get along just great.

    Just a little over a month ago, the Senator said in an interview that he wouldn’t switch parties due to the importance of checks and balances.

    And back in 2001, Sen. Arlen Specter, then a Republican, proposed a rule forbidding party switches… he was upset when Vt Sen. Jim Jeffords’ left the GOP to become an independent.

    Who knows what the truth is with this guy, you’ll never get it from him.

    With all due respect, Senator- don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out. Nobody on our side’s going to miss you.

  39. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    So many excellent comments here about the deeper streams running through this. Wolla Dalbo, Occam’s Beard, Oblio, Ozymandias – thank you. (Some others had good comments about the current events discussion, but I am going deeper here).

    I have railed against a biased media and Democrat lying and shallowness, but I remind myself these days that people choose to be fooled at some level. Whether it is chicken or egg, it remains true that people who take responsibility for their lives view politics quite differently than people who expect the society to bear them up. That taking of responsibility has usually included marriage and the raising of children, with the idea that providing an atmosphere of nurturance and development for a child was a more important reason for marriage than was attraction. People are married for fewer of their child-raising years these days (though they may have more spouses), and having fewer children. While marriage and child-raising are not exact proxies for being a responsible adult, they are certainly correlated. For example, single mothers are more dependent on society, which makes them dependent on government.

    Nor is this an either-or situation, BTW. We are tending toward less individual responsibility as a people.

    We have then, a large portion of the electorate that believes that society should perpetuate their adolescence indefinitely: a job for extra money and amusement but not for support; removal of sexual restraint and consequences; a government that supplies the parent function of organizing and supervising us from a distance. The political consequences of this cannot be erased overnight. It is certainly true that the Republicans could do a better job of PR, but ultimately conservatives are telling people what they would rather not hear, and that may be insuperable. Tom’s despondency (above) may indeed be our eventual lot.

    But I don’t think so. Reality has a slow but inexorable grind through the muck. Those who have taken responsibility for themselves will tend to do better, prosper, raise competent children. They will be a smaller percentage than before – they will not rule the political realm. The increasingly immature populace will find ways to take more money and stability from them. But this will, in the end, create a persecuted aristocracy who will make new choices. Pray that these will be noble of heart.

  40. nyomythus Says:

    Ozymandias Says:

    “I think if we offer the perspective that we are actually the real philosophical liberals (like Smith, Burke, the Founding Fathers) rather than the progressives who have usurped the brand, we can win back many Americans who are still taught what America originally was and continues to be about.”

    I wish, one of the main obstacles is that there is such a branding against classical liberalism, because of the word liberal, Hannity to Limbaugh — they’re like Billy Grahams, they can’t change their misinformed message because it’s a business, an industry, it’s raking in the buck.

    I truly think progressive Democrats, the vast majority, are beyond reform — this is a job that only the Conservative can do because they are the only Party that embraces core principles of love of country and who will actually defend democracy.

  41. Baklava Says:

    I myself am a centrist. Both Republicans and Democrats are left of center.

    I most identify myself with Republicans but so many of them are big spending more regulation types.

    What we need are politicians who do not care about party label but do what is right:

    Specter doesn’t KNOW what is right. He’s about himself.

  42. Artfldgr Says:

    come here the new spector the defector karaoke!!!


    Sung to the Scottish bagpipe tune “Scotland The Brave”
    Lyrics by Laika the Space Dog

    Snark! When your polls are falling
    Snark! Hear Obama’s calling,
    Loudly and dumbly calling, down through the glen.
    There where Arlen is creeping,
    Now feel the bile a-leaping,
    Why didn’t he change parties way back when?


    Cowering in stagnant shame,
    Arlen, your “Scottish Law” was lame,
    You belong with Moonbats hanging in a cave,
    And you’ll go down forever,
    Not as a Republican never,
    You’ll never get my vote ever, Arlen the Knave.

    Low in the Senate Chamber,
    Safe and away from danger,
    Chicken is the heart that beats beneath Arlen’s lies.
    Toomey was going to beat you,
    Commies, the old friends that greet you,
    Blind as the greed that shines from traitor’s eyes.


    Far off in moonbat places,
    Glad are the socialist faces,
    Yearning to have a majority clad Obama reign.
    Where liberals are now a-scheming,
    Liberty’s heart is a-screaming,
    Longing and dreaming for the homeland again.


    see the link for the rest…

  43. Ozymandias Says:


    My point is that there has been a swap between the terms. In the rest of the world, center-right and right-wing parties are “liberal” while center-left and left-wing groups are “social democrats” or “socialists”.

    Hannity and Limbaugh attack left-wingers, fellow travelers, and unprincipled Republicans. They use the word “liberal” because it is the mainstream term and it is safer than accusing that their targets are “communists” or “socialists”. If we redefine the term “liberal” to suit its original definition, I’m sure that they will leave us be.

    I’m proposing a systemic marketing campaign for the GOP that brands us as true liberals and classically American. We don’t even have to change our platform. There is a reason that progressives cringe when patriotism is in the air because the progressive worldview is about stepping outside of the boundaries of nations. We can have a monopoly on being the American party for America rather than the vague multicultural party of interests that is in power at the moment. We use freedom’s classical definition rather than the relativist definition that Obama and the Democrats repeat all too often. How could Hannity and Limbaugh oppose that? They would become marginalized like MSNBC if they tried to shoot that down.

    In short: Let’s be Coca-Cola Classic, not New Coke.

  44. Occam's Beard Says:

    Ozymandias, I’ve got the campaign theme/shibboleth. Ask a liberal if he loves America, and note the answer. You’ll get either a “Yes, but,” or at most an Obamaesque “I love my country, but to say the unadorned, unhedged words, “Yes, I love America.” The words stick in their throats. It’s utterly diagnostic.

    So I propose calling them “Yes butters.”

  45. Ozymandias Says:

    @Occam’s Beard

    Very good point. Progressives have to argue that life is too complicated so that their “but” answers cover up their real answers. They have to argue that we are conducting witch hunts to hide their true views on nationalism and patriotism. They also have to identify the current definition of patriotism as misguided jingoism so that they can say that they themselves are patriotic. Their excuse that life is complicated extricates them from defending themselves.

    Life is complex, not complicated. Life has clear patterns and trends that can be observed despite its many moving parts. If it were complicated this would mean that there would be no answers to sort through the jumble of information, and thus every answer has a certain amount of validity. This is the beginning of moral relativism, and in my opinion moral relativism is antithetical to patriotism. This is the philosophical basis behind the “yes butters” though process.

  46. Ozymandias Says:

    That was meant to be “thought” not “though”. Excuse my sloppy typing.

  47. SteveH Says:

    We rarely talk much about technology’s role in a dwindling work ethic and dependance on the state. I think its a big one.

    I don’t know what percentage of jobs nowadays are performed in a 6 x 5 cubicle, but it has to be huge, and getting bigger every day. We have to consider this is a most unnatural way for so many to spend a third of their life.

    We have the opposite problem of sweat shops. The no sweat shops!

  48. Lee Says:

    Republicans need to throw off the albatross of the “religious right”, or the “nannyists” of the right. Stick to national defense and fiscal responsibility.
    If the core principal is “limited government”, or “freedom” as some others have put it, then put up or shut up. Yes, Hong, that means getting out of the way of a woman’s right to choose. That means gay marriage ( without weasel phrases such as “domestic partnerships” ). That means legalization of marijuhana.
    We need to decry our own nannyists as well as those of the left. The “no trans-fatters”, the “global warmers”, the “smoking nazis”, etc.

  49. Oblio Says:

    Lee, why are you so exercised about these social issues? I don’t think it follows at all that regulation in some matters means there is a lack of freedom.

    The question is not whether government is limited in the scope of its action, but what limits it? The traditional republican answer would be, “The law and the consent of the governed, expressed through their elected representatives.”

    I take it as a corollary of Madison’s statement that people, not being angels, need some regulation (“government”), even if self-regulation is the most desirable state. It does not follow that only the government should provide regulation, or that the government should refrain from providing regulation if self-regulation fails, as it will.

    The best outcome for the freedom of an individual is probably many sources of regulation: self-discipline, tradition, a sense of honor and fear of shame, family expectations, social norms, religion and finally government. These multiple sources of authority are essential in non-totalitarian systems. It is not necessary for individuals to submit to all these authorities to keep good order; nevertheless, a person must submit to at least one.

    I don’t think it at all strange or inimical to freedom for the government to regulate marriage or the termination of pregnancy, the latter on a couple of different (and competing) grounds. I also don’t think it strange that people would want to their representatives to change the law, if there is consensus for changing the law.

  50. jon baker Says:

    Its strange how so many want to throw off the core of the Republican party to gain the votes of the wishy washy middle- many of whom are “johny come latelys” to the Republican party. I am no fan of “Compassionate conservatives” like Huckabee because of his previous support of the Mexican invasion- and thats what it is- an invasion. Here in the Southwest we will be reminded of it even more in a few days at Cinco de Mayo. Bush lost most of my support for the same reason. Nor was I a Mccain fan really. Nor am I a fan of certain big government ideas that come from these “compasionate conservatives” like mandating school testing from the Federal level. I believe strongly in the tenth admendment.

    But as far as abortion goes -it is not negotionable for those of us who are against abortion, the baby, aka “fetus”- deserves the same protections as any other human. We cannot compromise on this. If John MCcain had hit Obama harder on his support of partial birth and his opposition to the “born alive protection” act, it might have made a huge difference. I suspect there were many people who never realized how radical Obama is on the abortion thing- much of it in that great wishy washy middle who have only a passing interest- and knowledge of- politics

  51. jon baker Says:

    I think most people who read this site are aware of the bias in the media. But you should ask yourself, with all the gore and blood and guts shown in various media outlets- why do you so rarely see pictures of aborted babies? If they are just “Fetuses” why do they not want you to see that? Why? Be warned before you open the link below:

  52. tehag Says:

    The first proponent of the current form of the Democrat party was FDR. Over the decades the ‘take control of the economy’ and ‘set up concentration camps’ wing of the Democrat party has become the whole of the party. Now in control of the media, courts, legislature, and executive, predicting their policies is easy. The Republicans have been on the losing side for over 70 years, appearing to win only when they became Demos, Lite.


  53. Paul Gordon Says:

    The Devil he blew upon his nails, and the little devils ran,
    And he said: “Go husk this whimpering thief that comes in the guise of a man:
    “Winnow him out ‘twixt star and star, and sieve his proper worth:
    “There’s sore decline in Adam’s line if this be spawn of Earth.”

    Empusa’s crew, so naked-new they may not face the fire,
    But weep that they bin too small to sin to the height of their desire,
    Over the coal they chased the Soul, and racked it all abroad,
    As children rifle a caddis-case or the raven’s foolish hoard.
    And back they came with the tattered Thing, as children after play,
    And they said: “The soul that he got from God he has bartered clean away.

    “We have threshed a stook of print and book, and winnowed a chattering wind,
    “And many a soul wherefrom he stole, but his we cannot find.
    “We have handled him, we have dandled him, we have seared him to the bone,
    “And, Sire, if tooth and nail show truth he has no soul of his own.”

    “Tomlinson” ~ Rudyard Kipling

  54. Lee Says:

    “I take it as a corollary of Madison’s statement that people, not being angels, need some regulation (”government”), even if self-regulation is the most desirable state. It does not follow that only the government should provide regulation, or that the government should refrain from providing regulation if self-regulation fails, as it will.”

    As a general rule of thumb, I agree. The problem is others deciding how much “regulation’ is needed in individual rights issues. Speeding, food and manufacturing regulations, etc. are generally for safety concerns, protection, etc. But the specific cases (among others not mentioned ) I cite ( with the possible excepion of legalization ) are, both from right and left, issues of “legislatiing morality”.
    It is not government’s, or society’s job to decide my best interest. “Some” regulation is one thing, banning is another. Sex and porn, just don’t display or perform lewd acts in public. Drink( or smoke), but don’t drive. No public smoking, fine. Don’t tell me I can’t partake a legal product at home. If the state needs to secularize the religious institution of marriage, it’s hypocritical to impose who can or can’t get married based on morality.
    If Yahweh gives us free will, why should I expect society to enforce morality( and, just whose definition are we using anyway?)? Sorry, just not into that whole “Shari’a” thing.

  55. Oblio Says:

    Lee, nobody is talking about instituting Sharia. That’s not helpful at all, and just inflames the discussion.

    Even in places that manage to block or restrict the sale of alcohol, I don’t consider that to be Sharia. I went to Utah for a ski holiday over Christmas week and discovered that you have to be a “member of the club” to order a drink in a bar. In the scheme of things, this is a modest enough accommodation to local sensibilities; after all, I am only a tourist, and I am completely free to go somewhere else to ski if I so desire.

    In principle, I am with you in being opposed to the unwelcome intrusion of the nanny state on many matters of everyday life, whether informed by traditional religion or by the newer religions of Socialism and Greenism.

    Where I part company with you is probably in understanding marriage not merely to be a matter of private preference. It has been regulated time out of mind, and the West has chosen more restrictive versions of marriage for reasons that have served society well. The same is true for pregnancy, where there are issues of public health and murky, complex philosophical and legal questions about the impact on another person to be considered. In both questions, I would proceed carefully before removing restrictions, but this is not what has happened. Instead we have seen a judicial usurpation of issues that should be resolved through the republican legislative process.

    By this logic, I may believe that Vermont and Maine are trying an experiment in gay marriage that may well have unforeseen toxic side effects–not the least of which is state interference in religious freedom, in violation of the 1st Amendment–but at least they are following republican forms. If they wanted to legalize polygamy or polyandry, I would think that they have taken leave of their senses.

    And by this logic, if the citizens of Illinois wants to have lax regulations for abortion, that is their business; yet if a regulation crosses the line to allowing infanticide, I would expect for a lot of people to be outraged, and I would be outraged myself.

    I reject totally the notion that a law must be invalid if it conforms to the religious beliefs of a sizable number of voters.

  56. Lee Says:

    “If they wanted to legalize polygamy or polyandry, I would think that they have taken leave of their senses.”

    Why? If all are consenting adults, why should it bother you?

    “…not the least of which is state interference in religious freedom, in violation of the 1st Amendment…”

    Don’t quite follow. The way you worded this, and the context, implies that not being allowed to suppress gay peoples’ rights is an infringement on your right to practice your religion. Kind of like muslim taxi drivers won’t transport people carrying booze or their dog. But such comparisons are “inflammatory”, right?

  57. Oblio Says:

    Lee, the danger is in state sanctions against religious organizations that refuse to specific services for gays. It has already happened to Catholic adoption services in Massachusetts. If you don’t think there is the possibility of a 1st Amendment problem here, you aren’t paying attention.

    And do you really not have any idea about the danger of polygamy to society? I don’t think you have thought through it. Or are you saying that you are in favor of anything goes where marriage is concerned, bounded only by the condition of being between consenting adults?

    From the tone of your last paragraph, I seem to have struck a nerve without intending to. For the record, I am not in favor of suppressing anyone’s rights, and the exercise of my religion doesn’t require or involve my spending a nanosecond worrying about the sexual practices of other people. Neither do I operate a public accommodation, as the Somali taxi drivers in Minneapolis do. To the extent that you are needlessly personalizing the exchange, I would say that your comments are more asinine than inflammatory.

  58. Lee Says:

    I guess it’s only as “personal” as you take it personally.

    “It has already happened to Catholic adoption services in Massachusetts.”

    Good. The organisation doesn’t own these children. It’s not their place to allow their beliefs to decide who’s “proper” enough to raise one.

    “…and the exercise of my religion doesn’t require or involve my spending a nanosecond worrying about the sexual practices of other people.”

    But apparently you spend quite a bit of time pondering it as a domestic policy issue, or what alleged negative impact such things will have on society, and apparently have come to the conclusion they are bad and need to remain banned. If I wanted to marry a cheese goat, let alone several people or the same sex, what possible impact could that have on anyone else?

  59. Ozymandias Says:

    Apparently, Jim DeMint might be reading this blog. His ideas for a new Republicanism are very similar to the ones that several of us have brought up. Check it out:

  60. Oblio Says:

    Lee, I guess you ARE in favor of non-regulation of marriage. No slippery slope for you, not even a requirement about consenting adults: just dive on in, the water is fine. This is wildly outside anybody’s definition of mainstream thinking on this issue. The only company you are keeping philosophically is with the most radical gay and feminist theorists who want to undermine if not abolish marriage altogether.

    To suppose that Republicans could benefit from adopting that as a policy position is ridiculous; it goes far beyond what the Democrats, including Obama, are willing to say in public.

    If you didn’t intend to personalize the discussion, you should avoid saying

    an infringement on your right to practice your religion

    which insinuated that I am somehow in a similar situation to taxi drivers who want Sharia in America. In fact, my denomination is openly and aggressively pro-gay in both its practices and its public policy stance. If you didn’t intend that, I will construe your comment as careless instead of asinine.

    Finally, I am very clearly delineating the differences between issues that are clearly in the public sphere–such as the regulation of marriage–and discussion of private behavior where the government interest should be limited as much as possible. I think that one should think deeply about the former, and leave thinking about the latter to people who find it titillating.

  61. njcommuter Says:

    Lee Says:
    If I wanted to marry a cheese goat, let alone several people or the same sex, what possible impact could that have on anyone else?

    Well, that depends on whether you think your “marriage” qualifies you to take responsibility for rearing a child.

    And on other things, but the rearing of children is the most important.

    We now have scientific evidence of what has been evident to thoughtful people all along: that a child, male or female, gets different things from hir mother and hir father. On what social theory would you put that at risk? We already know that children who grow up without fathers are at greater risk of becoming criminals. We haven’t got the evidence on people who grow up without their mothers, but it seems unlikely to be good.

  62. Oblio Says:

    njcommuter, I don’t think we should hijack this thread to debate the merits of gay marriage. I have been trying to avoid that and focus instead on the principles of political philosophy.

    The central question is really about what the Republicans need to do to stage a comeback. I don’t think that they can win by trying to appease gay rights activists or pro-choice activists. I also don’t think that traditional or conservative positions on either fundamentally compromises their potential to play the role of the party of Freedom, though Republicans can expect to be smeared by single-issue voters who only care about these specific social issues.

    One smear that must be contested is the assertion that there is no difference between socially conservative Christians and Islamicists who would impose Sharia. That meme is pervasive on the cultural Left.

  63. Lee Says:

    “One smear that must be contested is the assertion that there is no difference between socially conservative Christians and Islamicists who would impose Sharia.”

    Never said there were no differences, merely some similarities. Call it a difference of degrees, but the thought process (morality) and solution (laws) are the same.

  64. Ozymandias Says:


    Jesus actually made a point of establishing the separation between religion and government. I can’t recall the exact quote, but a follower asked him whether he should pay taxes to the Romans who ruled Judea, and Jesus’s response was, “Pay Caesar what is due to Caesar and pay God what is due to God.” His main point is that laws cannot make one a better person because the impetus must come from within.

    Adding his teachings of love and forgiveness to the mix, its clear that Christianity is quite different from the rule of Sharia and the Islamic Caliphate, which require absolute submission in every respect, not just mentally, to the exhortations of Islam.

    I think it is appropriate to think that PEOPLE like to make others similar to them. But I would argue that this tendency exists among any ideological or religious movement despite their actual doctrine (libertarians like yourself included). It certainly does not come from Christian religious dogma. However, Islamic dogma does specifically command the physical, mental, and spiritual submission to the will of Allah, unlike Christianity which merely presents maxims by which one should live. Even in heavily religious Christian communities, there are no thought police or religious police like the Commission for the Prevention of Vice and the Preservation of Virtue in Saudi Arabia.

    Thus the “thought process” that you describe is applicable to ANY political or religious movement. The logical solution from the problem your statement poses would be the abolition of ideology and dogma, which I am sure that you do not want.

  65. Ozymandias Says:

    Excuse me, that’s the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Preservation of Vice. I forgot what the actual meaning of CPVPV was.

  66. Ozymandias Says:

    Additionally, I’ll point out that there is still a claim of enforcing morality (limited coercion and plurality) in a libertarian system by relaxing laws (an additional form of regulation). The “thought process” is thus the same even for those in favor of limited government

  67. Oblio Says:

    Lee, the meme is as I said it is, and you were trading on it. If you wish to articulate the differences in degree and kind, feel free to do so. This is the first we hear of differences from you, and you try to sneak back in with a cryptic comment about some “similarities.” Right now it feels like you are trying to avoid taking accountability.

    Oz rightly points out that anybody who ever had an idea and wanted it incorporated in regulation has the same similarity. I say you wanted the shock value of bringing Sharia into the argument, and you are trying to discredit a point of view by summoning up connotations to attach to your adversary that you are unwilling to defend.

    Let’s hope there is a libertarian somewhere who can do better.

  68. Ozymandias Says:

    Excuse me once again, “preservation” should be “prevention”.

  69. Ozymandias Says:


    As a classical liberal, the problem that I see with libertarianism is that there are multiple different definitions about what is libertarian and what is not. This is why you could have a “neo-libertarian” like P.J. O’Rourke support the Iraq War and Ayn Rand (depending on whether you think Objectivism is Libertarian) supporting WWII, but Ron Paul and Bob Barr clamoring for non-interventionism.

    I think many libertarians are confused about where to draw the line between theoretical values and reality. I consider myself very libertarian on social and economic issues, but I’m not an idealist. I think libertarians should understand that the Republican party is the only place where they will be accepted. Otherwise they’ll just become marginalized Andrew Sullivan clones.

  70. Lee Says:

    “This is the first we hear of differences from you, and you try to sneak back in with a cryptic comment about some “similarities.” ”

    Actually, just a clarification, since the assumption was from others and you that I was making direct correlations, as opposed to the “watered down” version of oppression around here versus the “full-strength” type from Shari’a.

    Jesus doesn’t just separate church and state, he decrys religion as well. “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” He also said the second greatest commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself. Well, guess what, people? Your neighbor is gay. And no matter how you justify it to yourselves, relegating them to “second class citizen” status (denying them rights you take for granted as “norma” citizens) is wrong. Period.

    I’ve asked over and over exactly what harm society suffers if gay marriage and adoption are allowed. The assertion has been made and repeated. Now explain how, exactly.

  71. Oblio Says:

    Lee, you may ask all you like, but I have already stated that I am not going to debate the merits of allowing same sex marriage in this forum. The topic of the thread is what Republicans need to do to make a comeback. This is Neo’s place, and she set the topic. If she ever decides to make same sex marriage the issue, I will consider sharing my views on marriage, which are anthropological (and lengthy) rather than religious.

    In the meantime, I will accept your explanation that whatever oppression you believe there to be is “watered down” in comparison with Sharia. I will also point out that you seem to believe that you are entitled to ask questions but not answer them, and that you can compel an answer by addressing me in the imperative. In this, you are mistaken.

  72. Lee Says:

    “I will also point out that you seem to believe that you are entitled to ask questions but not answer them, and that you can compel an answer by addressing me in the imperative.”

    And I will point out that I, in fact have been the only one answering a slew of questions. I’ve only asked the one in return. Now you hide behind the “off topic” excuse when It was you who started asking questions “off topic” in the first place. If you expect clarifications of my positions, I expect the same courtesy to be extended in return. Just don’t expect me to remain silent when you’re accusing me of the crap you yourself are pulling.

  73. Ozymandias Says:


    Your argument is far too emotional. Gays are not second-class citizens. Even though gay marriage is not allowed, gays have the right to marry whoever they want within the set of the opposite gender, just like the rest of us “normal” citizens. You are effectively arguing for ADDITIONAL rights that are based on the idea of a supposed legal difference between gays and straights. This is very different from your “second-class citizen” assumption.

    As for your argument with Oblio, he was challenging your assertion. It isn’t about what he thinks, since you started by accusing the religious right of being an “albatross” on the GOP without any basis in fact or even political theory. Oblio is perfectly entitled to try to wrest out your actual thoughts and assumptions from your original assertion. Your argument has been entirely based on emotional or personal reasons rather than empirical evidence or rational analysis.

    You are very exercised about social issues, but you don’t seem to understand what Oblio is saying about them. You don’t seem to understand the fallacies in your own rationalization either. Play ball.

  74. Oblio Says:

    Lee, you clearly feel some emotional engagement with the topic, but I don’t think a reasonable person would believe that you have answered a slew of questions (I count three that I asked, with no responses from you), or that your questions were meant to clarify anything.

    In addition, feeling strongly about an issue doesn’t entitle you to set yourself up as the Grand Inquisitor, or perhaps as the Perez Hilton of our little beauty pageant.

    I will take it as read that the Republican Party will not get your support anytime soon.

  75. Lee Says:

    “Even though gay marriage is not allowed, gays have the right to marry whoever they want within the set of the opposite gender, just like the rest of us “normal” citizens.”

    Thank you for making my point. As you point out, “gay marriage is not allowed.” But hey, at least they can have what they don’t want, because it’s good enough for us “normal” people. Why smoke marijuhana when you can drink booze like us “normal” people.

    And I have answered every question put to me. Just because they weren’t answers you wanted to hear, doesn’t mean they haven’t been answered. And just because you disagree with the answers, doesn’t mean they are “irrational” or “emotionally charged”. If you expect me to “play ball”, you shouldn’t have invited me to a card game.

    Now for the third time, I have yet to hear any answer, let alone a “rational” one, as to how gay marriage, or polygamy, etc. is a detriment to society.

    “I will take it as read that the Republican Party will not get your support anytime soon.”

    Actually, I’m a registered Republican. Because the republicans support more issues I support, just not all. The democrats don’t, and libertarians don’t support national defense as much as I would like. To see as much of my personal agenda put into practice as possible requires a republican majority. What we’re discussing is ways republicans can become a majority party once again. My answer is “less restrictions”, yours is “the status quo”. The status quo is why republicans are the minority now.

  76. Oblio Says:

    Lee, I stand corrected regarding your party preferences.

  77. Ozymandias Says:


    I’m contending with your assertion that “less restrictions” are needed. Oblio pointed out originally that the issue is branding, not content. Young people and others need to feel that the GOP is not the “mean” party and that we aren’t severe concerning different lifestyles. That being said, that doesn’t mean that we should forsake both the Religious Right and the family-values crowd to appease metropolitan and urban demographics who are very unlikely to go Republican.

    You have yet to propose WHY “less restrictions” would make the Republican party the majority party as opposed to just your personal preference. I don’t disagree that your personal views are perfectly valid and acceptable. But they are not facts.

    I don’t think that you understood my post on gay marriage, which I am neither for nor against, when I asserted that the “rights” in question don’t exist for anyone. It’s not singling out the gays unless you treat the gays as a separate and distinct legal entity subject to different rules from everyone else, which is profoundly undemocratic and spits in the face of republican principles.

    Personally, I think the biggest problem with the Religious Right isn’t their convictions but their representation of those convictions. Mentioning “God” or “Jesus” all the time does not help us when we are trying to establish ourselves as a pluralistic party and society. We need them to present their arguments from a secular and philosophical standpoint, because as Oblio has pointed out, anthropological and philosophical analysis proving those convictions can exist. In that sense, I do agree with you that they help rally our enemies, but their constituency is important to the GOP.

    How would you keep both the Religious Right and propose the necessary ideology shift to accommodate your views? Additionally, if you want to debate demographics and election constituency segmentation, I’d be happy to oblige. But you need to defend why your ideas would lead to the Republican party making a comeback.

  78. Oblio Says:

    Oz, you should say that there are non-religious arguments that support the case against same sex marriage, rather than “proving” the case.

    Rasmussen’s latest polls suggest things are less dire than they seem.


    On the other hand, this poll shows a big increase in young people who report being alienated from their churches:


    Reading through the article, it seems that the underlying story is about “social issues.” I suspect what they are saying is, that they associate their churches with teaching about traditional sexual morality. When I think back on my college days, during the so-called Sexual Revolution, I don’t think any of us would have looked good compared with those yardsticks, and the young women would have looked particularly bad.

    This must lead to a lot of cognitive dissonance and anxiety, whether the churches are actively accusing anyone or not. I note that my own denomination is laissez-faire on these issues, but that hasn’t been enough to keep the young people on board.

  79. Lee Says:

    “It’s not singling out the gays unless you treat the gays as a separate and distinct legal entity subject to different rules from everyone else,…”

    Not at all. You claim gays can marry anyone of the opposite sex, like everyone else. But when gays can marry someone of the same sex, you will be able to as well. It’s not like they’re asking for something you can’t have, but asking for the same privilege you enjoy, to marry the person they love. How does that go above and beyond what you have?

    “How would you keep both the Religious Right and propose the necessary ideology shift to accommodate your views?”

    Already stated. When you treat your neighbors with love and respect, instead of derisiveness and disrespect, then you can claim to be walking in Jesus’ footsteps. Too many people these days are too willing to “cast the first stone” because their sin isn’t as bad as the other guy’s. Instead of worrying whether God’s favor is with this nation, worry about whether you are in God’s favor.

    You’re either for “limited government” or not. I thought liberals were the ones who use government to coerce behavior they find acceptable. We need to demonstrate when we talk about “tolerance”, we mean it.

    Apparently I’m not going to get an answer to my one question. When did you guys start acting like liberal trolls? Or just Obama wannabies?

  80. Lee Says:


  81. Oblio Says:

    Lee, no reasonable person would think that Oz and I are trolls, or that we haven’t had serious things to say. I’ve already said I would not speak to that question, partly because it is not a good faith question in that it asks me to defend a position I haven’t taken. It’s a rookie mistake to answer a question like that. In addition, what I have to say on the topic is long and somewhat complex, but you can infer something about the direction I would take from my earlier comments.

  82. Lee Says:

    Oblio, you stated:

    “Where I part company with you is probably in understanding marriage not merely to be a matter of private preference. It has been regulated time out of mind, and the West has chosen more restrictive versions of marriage for reasons that have served society well.”

    So, what I asked is for you to explain how allowing different forms of marriage can be detrimental to western society. If your position isn’t that society is served well by restricting who can get marriage, or detrimentally by looser definitions, then your statement sure implies it’s your position.

    “It’s a rookie mistake to answer a question like that.”

    Why? Is this some kind of contest, or something? I thought people come here to have discussions, or conversations.

  83. Oblio Says:

    So, what I asked is for you to explain how allowing different forms of marriage can be detrimental to western society.

    No, you didn’t. You should go back and re-read the thread. But you have arrived at a worthy question. However, it is very late in the day for this topic, which is much, much broader than the question of same sex marriage.

  84. Lee Says:

    Twist, turn, pirouet. Duck and dodge. And you whine because I compare your behavior to leftie
    trolls? If the shoe fits…
    If you don’t want to answer the question because you may look intolerant, than just say so. Don’t hide behind the “vagueness” you perceive the question, or claim how “tired” you are( how much work is involved answering a simple question, anyway?) or that’s it’s not on topic. After all this time, you and I are the only ones here, anyway.

  85. Ozymandias Says:


    All of your points directed at Oblio and me have sidestepped the argument by picking and choosing parts of the debate and ignoring the rest. You ignore the real points that we raise and instead you infer things that we have not said.

    Your obsession with exacting an answer about gay marriage is also indicative. Should Oblio choose “wrongly” you can lambast him for being a “homophobe” or “intolerant” when his answer could convey none of those sentiments. It is quite obvious that Oblio has thought long and hard about the issue at hand and that he might be operating under different principles than you are. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Your behavior is thus neither gentlemanly nor scholarly.

    On to other points that you have talked about
    1.) What makes you think that you can’t treat your neighbors with love and respect and still be opposed to gay marriage?
    2.) I believe the limited government that we are addressing operates under different definitions than yours. Oblio made a quite powerful argument about the spheres of authority contained in the public life. His definition of limited government would be reduced government authority over these other authorities so as to prevent the creeping totalitarianism that has been growing steadily since the days of Wilson.
    3.) Jesus was against people worshiping him prematurely. He was against the human element of religion and how easily it can be corrupted (note the money-changers in the temple). But you cannot imply from what you’ve read that he was anti-religion.
    4.) We are arguing the political philosophy behind the Republican party’s comeback and what should be done. You’ve argued that decreasing our commitment to social conservative principles will lead to a comeback. I don’t think that’s right necessarily. As we’ve pointed out, we cannot win the gay-rights activists, feminists, and civil rights activists because deep down they are motivated by Marxist assumptions. However, you can portray the GOP positions on social issues in a principled, objective manner. Bringing in talk of “love” and “fairness” which are vague and subjective terms is as detrimental to the conversation as talking about Jesus. On one side you have Marxist theology and terminology, and on the other Christian theology. You can argue the points without either of these. Please try.

    So will your definition of “love” and “compassion” by supporting gay marriage really win back a majority for the GOP? The Left will just re-brand us again. You can’t do anything about that, because they have no stable ethical code, and thus they cannot be trusted. I don’t think that you’ve thought through the strategy yet. You have yet to talk about concrete demographics or reasons why supporting gay marriage will help the GOP.

  86. Lee Says:

    “All of your points directed at Oblio and me have sidestepped the argument by picking and choosing parts of the debate and ignoring the rest.”

    One thing at a time. I would have moved on to the other topics we’ve brought up, if only Oblio would actually answer the question, instead of putting forth hurculean efforts of deflection to avoid doing so.

    “Should Oblio choose “wrongly” you can lambast him for being a “homophobe” or “intolerant” when his answer could convey none of those sentiments.”
    Also: “You ignore the real points that we raise and instead you infer things that we have not said.”

    The only “point” brought up so far by either of you is that I haven’t thought through what harm these things could have to society. When I asked for specifics, the only response I get is this game of whack-a-mole that’s been dragging on for at least two weeks, now. It’s not my wish or intent to “label” anyone. I just want an honest answer. Besides, why do you or anyone care what some anonymous poster “thinks of your opinion” anyway? Do you think the “thought police” are going to come for you?

    Will respond to other things you brought up later.

  87. Ozymandias Says:

    I’m sorry to disillusion you, but “labeling” is a very convenient and post-modern way of winning a debate post facto. If you can label Ronald Reagan as a racist (as some historians have done) then you can automatically invalidate his actions and opinions. If you can label Oblio and me as homophobes then you will automatically be able to call us biased and unable to conduct an impartial debate on the issue at hand.

    I have no opinion about gay marriage. I think the issue is far more complex than bumper sticker slogans, and I am reserving judgment until all the non-emotional evidence is brought before me. Right now, the religious arguments do not appeal to me but neither do the “love” and “equal rights” arguments which I have already demonstrated hold no water. There is a deeper issue here than these shallow superficial arguments would indicate. I’ve had lengthy conversations on this with my girlfriend, an ardent liberal, and I’ve determined that there is indeed something else that exhorts gay-rights activists than the points that they present.

    Here is my lengthy political and philosophical answer to your question about gay marriage:

    The harm that I see concerning the current application of gay marriage is political. Activist judges and politicians are exerting a great deal of power to see gay marriage legalized through undemocratic means. Interpreting the constitution to allow gay marriage is a violation of Amendment 10 of the Constitution and of the separation of powers by effectively legislating from the bench. Even if the rest of the nation is homophobic or intolerant of gay marriage, it is still coercive or detrimental to democratic principles to force all of the states to issue marriage licenses for homosexuals. It also will not kill the issue to decide it federally (see Roe v. Wade). I would argue that legalizing it before a constituency was ready for it would bring instability by inciting additional hatred against homosexuals and gay-rights activists, as well as
    Currently, the majority of people in the United States oppose gay marriage, and my gut feeling is that they would be immensely irritated or angry if the government were to legalize something that they did not vote for.

    Furthermore, even if one were to legalize gay marriage (as opposed to civil unions), the logical conclusion would be to level class action law suits on churches that refused service for married gays, which I view as a clear violation of the separation of Church and State. Since these three principles are inherent to American governance, I have more of an issue with the proposed method for obtaining gay marriage rather than the practice itself.

    Gay-rights activists have also got the wrong end of the stick in my opinion. I feel if they really cared about the rights in question (visiting rights, etc…) that they would push for domestic partnerships or civil unions rather than full-out marriage. Two things are possible: either they are pushing for marriage for shock value or they want the symbolic recognition of marriage. I find both motivations logically meaningless.

    I argue that for gay-rights activists to get want they ostensibly want that they should push for civil unions and domestic partnerships. They can be legally married without imposing on religious beliefs. Additionally, I feel that the decision to allow civil unions must be decided by popular statewide referendum or by a duly appointed and elected representative state legislature. If the state decides that “marriage” is on the ballot, it cannot impose itself on all denominations. That would be my transitive answer to how I think that gay rights groups should proceed.

    I’ve reread the thread, and its very unclear when this “question” started. Please repost the original question as I am under the impression that you have changed the question considerably since you asked it first.

  88. Oblio Says:

    Lee, I suggest you go back and re-read the thread.

  89. Lee Says:

    The original question:

    “If I wanted to marry a cheese goat, let alone several people or the same sex, what possible impact could that have on anyone else?”

    And yes, since we’ve been playing this game of roundabout for weeks now, the question has been reworded from it’s original form, because apparently, neither of you were smart enough to deduce what I have been asking. Seems pretty clear cut to me. And at last Oz has actually given an answer.

    “Furthermore, even if one were to legalize gay marriage (as opposed to civil unions), the logical conclusion would be to level class action law suits on churches that refused service for married gays, which I view as a clear violation of the separation of Church and State.”

    Didn’t work that way against the Boy Scouts. Churches are private organizations.

    “They can be legally married without imposing on religious beliefs.”

    The whole reason government began regulating marriage in the first place was to impose on the religious beliefs of the Mormons, who believed in polygamy, like the Biblical patriarchs. When you go to government to be united in matrimony, it is called “marriage”, not a “civil union”. If you want a religious ceremony and symbology, go to church.

    “Additionally, I feel that the decision to allow civil unions must be decided by popular statewide referendum or by a duly appointed and elected representative state legislature.”

    I agree.

    “I would argue that legalizing it before a constituency was ready for it would bring instability by inciting additional hatred against homosexuals and gay-rights activists,…”

    And the emancipation of slaves created the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups. What’s your point?

    “As we’ve pointed out, we cannot win the gay-rights activists, feminists, and civil rights activists because deep down they are motivated by Marxist assumptions.”

    We wouldn’t be trying to win over these people. We want to appeal to gays, women, and average people interested in a fair application of civil rights, not leftist or marxist activists.

    “If you can label Oblio and me as homophobes then you will automatically be able to call us biased and unable to conduct an impartial debate on the issue at hand.”

    If I had wanted to do that, I already would have. Besides, I already said I wouldn’t. Do you think I’m lying? Or just trying to level the playing field for the “Your argument is far too emotional.” crack, implying I am “biased and unable to conduct an impartial debate”, because it would be a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

  90. Oblio Says:

    Lee, I don’t think Oz is emotional about this at all. You on the other hand, are working yourself into a lather about this. My original question was, Why?

  91. Ozymandias Says:

    As I’ve already stated, I have fewer issues with gay marriage than its proposed application and its proponents’ objectives.

    On to the rebuttal:

    Ku Klux Klan members were a minority. The emancipation was popularly supported in the North, and so there were a minority of hate groups there. The non-landed elite in the South was also somewhat relieved that the elites had lost their working force, which meant more jobs for them. My point is that if you irritate the general population (see Roe v. Wade) you risk the sustainability of your venture as well as the political instability that will ensue.

    The problem that I see with even attempting to appeal to gays, women, or “fair” people is that their worldview is still dictated by Marxist assumptions on identity and class. The application of “fair” rights is also subject to multiple different definitions. Is wealth redistribution “fair”? Is fair trade “fair”? Your definition of “fair” is different from my definition of “fair” possibly because “fair” has been defined throughout time as a subjective Aristotelian mean. How can we appeal to “fair” minded people?

    What you don’t consider is that the Left very much wants to make churches either extinct or public organizations. The boy scouts is essentially a club that has membership restrictions. A church on the other hand that deals in the legal business of officiating a marriage is subject to public laws concerning marriage. Thus gay-rights activists can sue churches for refusing a public legal service.

    My point is that this whole talk of “marriage” by gay-rights activists is motivated by something else, not by their claim to these additional rights.

    I was not insinuating that you were lying, but your demeanor has been insulting and peremptory. Whenever I deal with people that exhibit your behavior, I make very sure to lay the ground rules of the discussion before I proceed. That way, I can expose any bad faith arguments.

    I am giving you the opportunity to rise to the challenge of an intellectually impartial and dispassionate exercise in the application of pure reason. Please oblige me.

    I am also curious why you are so exhorted by this subject when I have been careful to criticize the application of your views rather than directly attacking your viewpoint. I respect your opinion and I wish that you respect mine.

  92. Lee Says:

    “Your definition of “fair” is different from my definition of “fair” possibly because “fair” has been defined throughout time as a subjective Aristotelian mean.”

    Really? I would have thought “your” definition of fair would be the same as the dictionary’s, which is how I used the word.


    In particular: “Free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: A fair decision; a fair judge.”

    How does “your” definition of fair differ from “my” definition, or some Marxist’s? And we’re not discussing wealth redistribution or trade, we’re discussing why I feel Republicans can gain politically by dropping socially restrictive issues from their platform.

    “I was not insinuating that you were lying, but your demeanor has been insulting and peremptory. Whenever I deal with people that exhibit your behavior, I make very sure to lay the ground rules of the discussion before I proceed. That way, I can expose any bad faith arguments.”

    You might try taking what I say at face value, instead of proceeding from some assumption there’s a hidden meaning behind my words, or operating in “bad faith”. And you claim I’m “insulting and peremptory”? In what way? Because we disagree about this issue, my arguments are “emotional”? If I’ve used extreme analogies to your arguments, it’s to emphasize a point. The fact you and Oblio have reacted so strongly suggests there is some emotion on your part.

    More later.

  93. Lee Says:

    “Ku Klux Klan members were a minority. The emancipation was popularly supported in the North, and so there were a minority of hate groups there.”

    Just because a majority of people felt slavery was wrong didn’t mean a majority considered blacks to be “equal”.


    BTW, equality didn’t come from legislation, but the “activist” courts. Brown vs. Board of Education. Just because a majority of people are wrong, doesn’t make it okay. By your logic, it’s a good thing Obama was elected because there may have been riots if he wasn’t.

    “A church on the other hand that deals in the legal business of officiating a marriage is subject to public laws concerning marriage”

    Actually, that’s the state’s function now. All a church does is put a veneer of religious approval to the fact. You aren’t issued a license by the church. If that’s what you’re worried about, I would be willing to add provisos protecting churches from litigation.

    “I am giving you the opportunity to rise to the challenge of an intellectually impartial and dispassionate exercise in the application of pure reason. Please oblige me.”

    Have been all along. Your claim to the contrary doesn’t alter that. Perhaps it’s you who needs to drop the condescension.

    “…their worldview is still dictated by Marxist assumptions on identity and class.”

    Then what’s the point of this discussion? If true, it’s a moot point. Republicans will never be the majority again. Deal with it.

  94. Oblio Says:

    Lee, you surely aren’t acting in good faith. People can’t take what you say at face value because you have been intemperate from the start, with your talk of Sharia and marrying your cheese goat.

  95. Lee Says:

    Believe me, Oblio, I’m the real deal. If I seem “intemperate”, it’s only my natural reaction to those who rationalize and justify their intolerance and bigotry. If you bristle at being compared to muslim fundamentalists, maybe the analogy has hit a little close to home. Just because I’m not persuaded by your feckless rationalizations doesn’t mean I’m not acting in good faith.

  96. Oblio Says:

    Lee, I was right the first time: your comments are unjustifiably accusatory and asinine. I had thought that you had perhaps just been careless and let your rhetoric become a little overheated. But now you are displaying real and undeniable ugliness, and it is now clear that it was there all along.

    I’ll leave you here to stew in darkness, alone.

  97. Lee Says:

    The only ugliness around here you see are your own shortcomings reflected back at you. Good luck with that.

  98. Ozymandias Says:

    Lee, why do you feel that you need to have the last word?

  99. Lee Says:

    I don’t like leaving unanswered questions hanging, Oz. If you have no more, I’ll leave the last word to you.

  100. Ozymandias Says:

    You’ve left a great deal unanswered. If you had to answer every question raised on this topic, you’d be on here a while. Like why you think that we are actually bigots when we have been trying to make principled arguments, just as a quick example.

    I’ll check back on your progress in a couple of weeks. Hopefully by then you will have completely cleared up or interpreted the mess that has been wreaked on this blog.

  101. Lee Says:

    “If you had to answer every question raised on this topic, you’d be on here a while. Like why you think that we are actually bigots when we have been trying to make principled arguments, just as a quick example.”

    Considering it’s taken you guys this long to answer just one of my questions is why this has become the never-ending thread in the first place. Sorry if after three weeks, I’ve forgotten some of your questions asked to deflect and distract attention from the one I asked.
    In my opinion, prejudice can never be justified, no matter how “principled” the arguments made to justify it. It just doesn’t wash. Conservatives constantly decry the left’s hypocracy when it comes to “tolerance” of those they disagree with, or choose to live different lifestyles. Well, it’s time conservatives live up to the better standard they claim they practice, and truly tolerate those they disagree with.
    You once said the “love” thing doesn’t sway you. Just try doing what’s right, then.

    If you remind me of some of your other questions, I’ll try to answer them, too. Don’t worry, I won’t try deflection and obfuscation like some around here.

  102. Lee Says:

    BTW, it appears more Americans agree with me:


  103. Lee Says:

    “According to a Washington Post/ABC poll released in April, 49 percent of Americans say they support gay marriage, and 47 percent are opposed.”

    From link above.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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