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January 20, 2010

Dennis the Peasant Nails It

Frodo asked what we thought about Scott Brown's victory. I haven't written about his candidacy because frankly, although I very much wanted him to win, I was having trouble biting back the snark.

I think it's great that he did win and I think the folks who are saying this is no big deal or doesn't mean something are wrong. Dennis the Peasant summed it up very well:

There are a whole lot of Democrats - progressives and moderates alike - who have stifled serious misgivings about Obamacare for a very long time. They didn't like it, but they were willing to play the game for the sake of the party. Brown's victory ends the pretending. If the party cannot hold the bluest seat in the bluest state, then it's every pol for himself from this point on.

The same cannot be said with cap-and-trade: It's been stillborn since it left the House. Only Obama and a few senatorial loonies are still pushing that bit of dreck. Brown's victory simply removes any hopes Bambi's team had of getting most Democratic senators to swallow any part of it. The only question now is whether Obama is smart enough to quietly drop it and move on to more pressing matters (like the economy).

However, Matt misses the essential point: This isn't about supposedly lilly-livered senators like Evan Bayh, this is about bad legislation that voters do not want. The pros are coming to the conclusion that biting the bullet for the sake of Bambi's ego is simply no longer a viable alternative politically. The children (and that includes Matt) are going to have to deal with it.

So what was I biting my tongue about? It never ceases to amaze me that the very same folks who jumped on the Dede Scozzofava is a big fat RINO bandwagon have been going gaga over a candidate who is arguably even more liberal than Scozzofava

Brown’s score puts him at the 34th percentile of his party in Massachusetts over the 1995-2006 time period. In other words, two thirds of other Massachusetts Republican state legislators were more conservative than he was. This is evidence for my claim that he’s a liberal even in his own party. What’s remarkable about this is the fact that Massachusetts Republicans are the most, or nearly the most, liberal Republicans in the entire country!

Shor’s research shows us that even compared to Dede Scozzafava, Scott Brown is a very liberal Republican.

The point is that the "base's" support for Brown is a bit ironic in light of their continual excoriation of so-called RINOs. It's also a vindication for what many moderates (including yours truly) have been saying all along: rigid ideological litmus tests and a small tent approach are a sure fire prescription for staying out of power.

Now that we've won, I'll be happy to tell you what I think. Any party that thinks they can ignore what voters want (even if what voters want isn't entirely rational, which it often isn't) is doing politics wrong. The Dems were just handed a stinging reminder of the truth of that principle. But it applies to us as well.

The Republican Revolution began with us winning back 4 key seats. Three of the victors who returned us to power were liberal or moderate Republicans. In other words, what Ace said.

No one's going to like me for saying this, but so much for purity. I prefer being in a position to fight idiotic ideas like ObamaCare.

Now if Dennis would just publish that photo of him in a Speedo, my day would be complete.

Posted by Cassandra at January 20, 2010 08:37 AM

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Comments

I think the NY-23 fight was worth having; although, in fairness, the Democrat who won was probably the best of the three candidates. Party politics aside, he seems like a genuinely decent guy, a military officer, and a good man from farm country.

In other words, for a New Yorker, he's my kind of Democrat. He's the kind of Democrat I like to see elected from Georgia, and I'm glad to vote for myself.

Neither of the Republicans were really as appealing; but in a close race, it may sometimes be worth trying to drive the party towards conservatism. There wasn't much to lose in a single House seat, with an honorable opponent.

This Senate race was for much bigger stakes. That implies a different strategy.

Posted by: Grim at January 20, 2010 09:33 AM

Its funny that you say that Scott is a liberal Republican. Coakley's campaign tried to label him as a far right conservative, supporter of rape and someone who kicks puppies. I wouldn't say he's liberal or conservative, rather he's a moderate and a pragmatist. Of course it is all semantics anyway. The definition of what makes a liberal or conservative changes state by state, and even county by county in some cases.

I know Scott from serving with him in the same organizations in the national Guard, and I can tell you he will make a very good senator. He is smart but doesn't take himself too seriously. He is one of those guys who could go there and work out compromises with his ideological opposites in the other party. That is something we seem to have lost in Washington over the past 10-20 years.

Posted by: Frodo at January 20, 2010 09:41 AM

I have no problem with trying to get the most conservative electable candidate in a race.

That's just common sense.

My point here was that the folks who maintain that a moderate candidate is unacceptable per se (IOW, better to lose the election to a Dem than to elect someone who's not a "real conservative") should have opposed Brown on those grounds.

And they didn't.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 09:42 AM

It never ceases to amaze me that the very same folks who jumped on the Dede Scozzofava is a big fat RINO bandwagon have been going gaga over a candidate who is arguably even more liberal than Scozzofava.

Well, yes. But to my knowledge there was no conservative candidate in the race, was there?

It doesn't really seem inconsistent to me to choose to support a liberal republican in a race between a liberal democrat and a liberal republican but then support a conservative republican in a race between a liberal democrat, a liberal republican, and a conservative republican.

It's simply seeking the most conservative person in the race.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 20, 2010 09:45 AM

Well, it's not me who is saying he's a liberal Republican Frodo. What I linked is a comparison of his voting record on the issues to the voting records of other Mass. Rethugs.

It seems to me that if you rank in the bottom 1/3 on "conservative" or party line votes, it's probably not too big a stretch to say you are more liberal than your fellow pols.

It's not surprising that he would seem "conservative" to Coakley - he is, by comparison. And let's not forget that most Dems think W was somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, while the Rethug base think he was to the Left of Abby Hoffman.

That was sort of my point :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 09:48 AM

It's simply seeking the most conservative person in the race.

But that isn't what the folks I'm talking about advocated. What they were saying was that it was better to lose than to support a moderate. So I think my point stands.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 09:49 AM

Once again:

My point here was that the folks who maintain that a moderate candidate is unacceptable per se (IOW, better to lose the election to a Dem than to elect someone who's not a "real conservative") should have opposed Brown on those grounds...And they didn't.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 09:51 AM

"But that isn't what the folks I'm talking about advocated. What they were saying was that it was better to lose than to support a moderate. So I think my point stands.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 09:49 AM"

And that is how we wound up with Teh WON, and I suspect, more than a few of the Congressional widgets currently occupied with the raping and pillaging of the nation...

While I've been voting for, ha!, approaching 40 years, and I can't recall not having to hold my nose when entering the voting booth.

But I have to suppose that some folks are just masochists who would rather suffer and share that misery with their fellow citizens than to be bothered to hold their nose and choose the lesser of two weevils. Strange folk, that.

Posted by: bthun at January 20, 2010 10:10 AM

What they were saying was that it was better to lose than to support a moderate.

I agree with you as far as that goes, it's just been my experience that those people (I fought with not a few of them re: McCain) was that they hadn't said anything about Brown one way or the other. Most of those I saw supporting Brown were of the "F*&*it! McCain: The least objectionable democrat running" camp.

For example, I don't remeber AFE exactly lending his ginormous codpeice to the Brown bandwagon. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 20, 2010 10:24 AM

My comment wasn't aimed at afe since he didn't do any of the things I described. It does apply to quite a few bloggers who have been very vocal about ideological purity and were scornful of moderates like me who said that having the critical mass to effectively oppose one party rule MATTERS.

afe sticking to his guns doesn't surprise me. My point is that many of the folks who were jumping onto the ideological purity bandwagon with great abandon were equally sure that Brown's victory represents some kind of victory for real conservatism.

I'm just pointing out that there doesn't seem to be much evidence to support such a conclusion. I think Dennis' take was more reality based ;p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 10:29 AM

There's a reason I'm an Independent. I don't believe there is a "purity" in either party. Never has been but the Moderate platform bit the bullet in the Clintonista era when he ran all us conservative Dems right out of the party.

I agree with you on this one Cassie (now there's a novel concept), the silence has been deafening.

Posted by: JHD at January 20, 2010 10:38 AM

I agree with the following: "Any party that thinks they can ignore what voters want (even if what voters want isn't entirely rational, which it often isn't) is doing politics wrong. The Dems were just handed a stinging reminder of the truth of that principle. But it applies to us as well." In fact I posted something similar on my FB page last night. Both parties for far too long have ignored what the voters want. I've seen it here in Colorado and the bounce back is starting to happen. It will most likely gain momentum with this win. Having party folks descend from on high and 'crown' the next great candidate backfired big time in a very very blue state. The voters sat up and took huge notice and said 'enough!'

Brown does 'fail' the conservative test (and I hate those litmus thingies). But where he won I think is that what he is standing for resonated with 52% plus of 2.25+ million voters in MA yesterday. We should all take notice and relearn from that.

Posted by: Nina at January 20, 2010 10:41 AM

Like I said, for those who did do that, I'm in complete agreement with you.

I just haven't seen it.

Those like AFE, seemed to me to be silent and those that weren't silent seemed to me not to be like AFE.

But then, we all know that no part of the blogosphere escapes my attention. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 20, 2010 10:41 AM

I think it is impossible to find someone running for office who will match your opinions position by position. The best you can do is find someone who is the closest to your ideology. In some case that does involve holding your nose and voting for some one you don't necessarily like. What annoys me however are those people who don't vote on ideology, but rather on straight party affiliation. Though I vote Republican the majority of the time, I do on occasion vote for the best possible Democratic candidate. Talking to many of my co-workers yesterday it was amazing how many said that Coakley ran a horrible campaign or that they didn't like her, but wanted the seat to remain in the Democratic party's hands.

Posted by: Frodo at January 20, 2010 10:43 AM

People keep talking about litmus tests... I don't get it. Does Brown have a low pH?

Posted by: MikeD at January 20, 2010 10:54 AM

The point is that the "base's" support for Brown is a bit ironic in light of their continual excoriation of so-called RINOs.

Obviously, if you think RINOs are about political purity, then this would be hypocrisy. Since the protest against RINOs aren't about political alignment, but basic character attributes such as integrity and awareness of anti-American threats, this is perfectly consistent.

Politics are local, and people's interests are more than the sum of the letters RINO. Everybody has different reasons for their behavior. Forgetting this is a major mistake.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at January 20, 2010 11:02 AM

JHD, there are many contributing factors in Brown's victory. For one, he stated flat out that he would vote to block Obama-care. That is a pretty bold statement for someone running for a state wide office in a blue state like Massachusetts. That he won by staying this is an indicator with peoples unease with the current legislation being jammed through (with the apparent mentality that even bad legislation is better then no legislation).

Brown ran a traditional grass roots campaign, traveling the state (yes in his pick up truck) and meeting regular people. In doing this, he established himself as a "nice guy" in peoples eyes which paid huge dividends when Coakley ran those awful attack ads. People just wouldn't believe them.

Another helpful factor was he had an easy primary against perennial pseudo candidate "Jack E Robinson" (yes that's his name) so he didn't have to spend everything he had in his election account to win.

Martha on the other hand spent every dime in he campaign coffers to win the primary, apparently thinking the general election was a formality. Then she ran an awful awful awful (did I say awful?) general campaign.

1. When she won the primary, she stopped campaigning ala Mike Dukakis in 1987.

2. She concentrated on getting the backing of Union leadership and city and town political groups but never met real people. In one interview she was asked why and she said something to the effect of "what do you want me to do, stand out in the cold at Fenway Park and shake hands"? Referencing Scott Brown standing outside Fenway on New years Day shaking hands of people going to see the Bruins play there. Ironically she did just that (shaking hands in the cold) on election day outside the commuter rail station, but it was too little too late.

3. She devised these hateful attack ads that were so dark and sinister that they actually turned off voters, ala Kerry Healey running against Deval Patrick.

4. She not only backed the concept of trying terrorists in US courts, but went on to say there were no terrorists left in Afghanistan so we should pull out! This may sell in the crowd in a Boston coffee bar, but in the suburbs this went over like a lead balloon.

5. Gaffs - Referring to Red Sox great Curt Schilling as a Yankee fan, airing a commercial where the state was spelled "Massachusettes" and channeling Sarah Palin by citing a sister who lives overseas as foreign policy experience (generating the snark - can she see Russia from her sisters house?)

6. History - Her past sins came back to haunt her as her role in the Fells Acres injustice was reviewed.

7. Finally personality. Scott comes off as (and is in reality) a nice / friendly person. she comes off as an automaton. No personality, no people skills, no empathy.

Posted by: Frod at January 20, 2010 11:05 AM

Oh and I forgot one of her biggest gaffs in a state with a large base of Irish Catholic voters.

When discussing legislation Scott initially supported. This bill would allow health care workers to demure from providing treatment that went against their religious beliefs. They could instead ask someone else to provide the treatment. This is where they generated the Scott would deny rape victims treatment ads. When pressed about this, Coakley stated "devout Catholics should not work in emergency rooms"!

Posted by: Frodo at January 20, 2010 11:38 AM

Since the protest against RINOs aren't about political alignment, but basic character attributes such as integrity and awareness of anti-American threats, this is perfectly consistent.

I think it's a dangerous (and needlessly insulting) case to say that RINOs are politically moderate due to a lack of character or integrity :p

Sometimes people just disagree on the best solution to a problem. It seems a bit problematic to define simple disagreement as a character flaw. That's been my point all along - that many of the folks railing about RINOs are criminalizing policy disagreements.

It's one thing to argue, "I think you're wrong about X for the following reasons". It's another to say, "If you don't agree with me about X, you lack integrity."

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 11:50 AM

When pressed about this, Coakley stated "devout Catholics should not work in emergency rooms"!

OK, here's where I have another point of disagreement, Frodo. Do I like blanket statements like Coakley's?

No. But on the other hand, what happens when you are admitted to a hospital and no one on duty is willing to give you care b/c doing so violates their religious beliefs?

At what point do employers get to say, "Sorry guys but the requirements for this job are X, Y, and Z. If Y and Z violate your religious beliefs you are perfectly entitled to those beliefs but you are useless to me as an employee."

Does a soldier get to be in the military but say, "Hey, picking up a weapon violates my religious beliefs"?

Of course not. This is one area where I think conservatives are on shaky logical ground. Substitute devout Muslim for devout Catholic and ask yourself: would that change where I come down on this issue?

If it does, you aren't applying your position evenly across the board - it's more outcome based than rules based.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 11:57 AM

IOW, the government should not be able to force an employee or employer to perform abortions (or prosecute or otherwise legally sanction an employee/employer for refusing to do so). But by the same token, I don't think it's right to force an employer to give someone a job if they're only willing to provide certain services and that doesn't meet the employer's business needs.

We're entitled to our convictions, but not to force them on others.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 11:59 AM

Go to the Rott. It has been up for awhile.
The original photos.

Happy Drooling!

Bwahahahaha....

Posted by: Cricket at January 20, 2010 12:00 PM

Please, Dennis in a speedo? Now feature that on a trampoline. Oh my.

This election was about one thing, arrogance. I believe, what nailed the republican's coffin shut was the same approach to immigration reform. The "sit down, shut up, we know what we're doing" approach to legislation.

I don't think for a moment the republicans, will understand the basic message. Scott Brown is no true blue "conservative" by any stretch of the imagination. But, he didn't run on that. He ran on the, I'm your spokesperson ticket. That's the takeaway people should be thinking about.

It's clear to me that the democrats don't get it either.

Posted by: Allen at January 20, 2010 12:32 PM

Cass already responded to the RINO character and integrity statement but I have to respond as well.

The whole Republican In Name Only reminds me so much of what the Clintonistas did to us Southern Dems back in the day that I really have a problem with not only the label but the ostricizing it incurs. For all my life I've been a fiscal conservative and social moderate. Big government programs are a travesty and are always in the red hence I rarely support them. Big government in general is a travesty as a fiscal rip off of taxpayer money. There is no fiscal responsibility in a massive central government. None. Big government is the problem not the solution.

At the same time there is a need for government intervention in some social areas. The problem lies in the performance of the government and not the intent. Stroll through some of the poorest areas of this country and you'll see what I mean. Not to mention phyical infrastructure that should be a government repsonsibility. Etc., etc., etc.

Where the proof meets the pudding is the enactment and performance of what needs doing. These social concerns are what make me a Moderate. Of course I'm right of center. You can't have social care without having the fiscal where-with-all to enact and sustain. By forcing taxes to mandate a social program without the fiscal responsibility to performane the basic mandate government creates an entitlement mentality and kills off charity. Government forced charity has not, does not, and will not ever work. Government should instead support local and state governments in their need to supply services. It's the whole federal mandate thing that is driving out hospitals into bankruptcy. The pwoer should be shifted back the the states and away from a massive federal government. Only in that way can we see any real progress in social programs that work.

In short, if I were registered Republican you'd be calling me a RINO. Then we'd have a fight on our hands when you deemed me lacking in character or integrity. That bothers me a good bit frankly. You judge me because of my political beliefs without knowing a thing about me? What about your boy Brown? He fits the same mold as far as I can tell from what little I know of him. Seems there's a double standard in there somewhere.

The abortion issue in hospitals? How can an employee take a job and refuse to do it on religious grounds? If you do not care to perform abortions then work at a Christian hospital that refuses to perform them. I don't get that one. I personally would be looking for work as I would not perform abortions but then I would not have put myself in that situation to begin with. Just makes sense to me to choose your own profession and parameters within that profession. Why should the government even be involved? Sorry, that is letting the fox into the henhouse.

Posted by: JHD at January 20, 2010 12:35 PM

My point about the "devout Catholics should not work in emergency rooms" was more intended to highlight what a bad candidate she was instead of the actual legislation itself.

But I really didn't have a problem with the legislation because I saw it as an attempt to broker a compromise. As I understand it, it was written so that the patient wasn't denied the health care services, only that it allowed certain heath care workers to ask someone else to perform procedures that were against their beliefs ... boiled down, abortions.

I suppose if you had a health care worker who Jehova Witness who objected to giving injections and blood transfusions you might have a serious jop compatibility issue!

Posted by: Frodo at January 20, 2010 12:44 PM

In case you were wondering, I support keeping the government out of mandating abortions in hospitals as a "right" for anyone. Just in case my position wasn't clear from the above paragraph. The individual has to choose what they are willing to do if the government mandates abortions be performed by private institutions. You can't pass a law to allow employees to pick and choose which part of their job they're willing to perform. Period. It would simply be bad law following bad law. The endgame is voting these idiots out of office and stopping idiotic legislation like this to be enacted in the first place. You'd play hell trying to repeal the abortion law once enacted. Once big government gets their nose under the tent it's all over. What you are seeing is an end run to put the government in the medical business without voter permission to do so. Come hell or high water they are intent on taking over the healthcare industry.

Which brings us all the way back to why it was so important that Brown win last night.

Posted by: JHD at January 20, 2010 12:48 PM

In case you were wondering, I support keeping the government out of mandating abortions in hospitals as a "right" for anyone.

So do I. But on the other hand I think an employer who wants to provide abortions (which are legal, by the way) shouldn't be forced to hire employees who refuse to perform them. Period.

As JHD said, if your religious scruples limit the services you're willing to perform, find a like minded employer or find another line of work. There's a huge difference between demanding the right to act according to the dictates of your conscience and demanding that other people make it painless for you to do so.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 12:54 PM

Dede Scozzafava was even more liberal then her Democratic opponent and she supported the health care monstrosity. Brown may be more liberal, but he was the most conservative in the race, he opposed Obamacare and he opposed giving foreign terrorists the same rights as American citizens. That explains the support to my satisfaction.

Posted by: Billb at January 20, 2010 12:57 PM

I don't disagree with you Bill, but none of that addresses my point (which was that it's not better to lose than to elect someone who's not a "real conservative").

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 01:09 PM

I agree with you for the most part, Cassandra, though I think in this case you're misinterpretting what many conservatives felt about Scozzafava. It's not that she was a RINO and they were thinking "better a Dem than a RINO"- what they were thinking is "better a *conservative* Dem that we might be able to work with, than a RINO."

On it's own, that situation would not have caused too much of a hullaballoo. Most likely if that were the end of the story, most Republicans would have supported her, even if grudgingly. But the story didn't end there because Hoffman was on the scene- a perfectly viable, socially conservative candidate who would likely have won the election had Scozzafava not been involved.

In that situation it was a choice between a conservative, a RINO, and a squishy Dem.

Brown's victory is a different situation, a different seat and different set of consequences for his victory and his defeat. I don't think his support was inconsistant.

Posted by: Jewels at January 20, 2010 01:35 PM

I'm not sure I intended my observation to apply to all conservatives who opposed Scozzafava! That's a pretty broad brush tack for a blogger who consistently takes issue with broad brush characterizations :)

It was specifically aimed at those who wanted the RNC to impose ideological litmus tests on candidates as a precondition of support for their candidacies, or who specifically said "real conservatives" should not support moderates (and Brown *is* a moderate).

... what they were thinking is "better a *conservative* Dem that we might be able to work with, than a RINO."

Again, I have no trouble with this prescription. But that's not what many conservative bloggers were saying :p

So far everyone who has taken issue with my comments has repeated the exact same arguments I made in refuting the "I'll only support a real conservative and if there isn't one, I'd rather lose the election" mantra :p So I'm unlikely to disagree with you all.

I think we've had an object lesson in what happens when we can't even muster enough votes to block the opposing party when they try to force bad legislation that doesn't have the support of a majority of voters down the nation's throat.

It's the one size fits all, all or nothing approach that I take issue with, and so far the arguments I'm hearing all seem to admit that that's not a winning position (assuming I understand you all correctly).

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 02:00 PM

The problem here is it's not a binary setting. The statement "All moderates are RINOs" is false, but the statement "There is no such thing as RINOs" is also false. Some of this goes back to 1994; in the rush of moderate-to-conservative Democrats to cross the aisle (or, to paraphrase Reagan, to stand still while the aisle swept under them), there were some opportunists and carpetbaggers who swept in, using the GOP as a flag of convenience. Scozzafava, if the info I had on her was correct, was in favor of: Obamacare, cap-n-tax, and card check. That doesn't leave a lot of room to be labeled anything other than leftist.

Brown, as far as I know, is opposed to those three things. We can fairly say he's not a leftist. Is he what we'd label "right wing"? Maybe, maybe not. But he sounds like someone who is willing to at least consider conservative positions. At that point, I'll take that.

And while I'm here, I'll throw out an example of someone who I think gets labeled unfairly as a RINO: McCain. I disagree with a lot of his positions on domestic policy, but if we agree that the preservation of the Union and the deafeat of Islamism is the #1 conservative priority right now, McCain is right there. I voted for him in 2008 -- didn't like it that much, but I did it. There are any number of reasons why someone else would have been a better candidate, but those don't have much to do with where McCain is on the left-right spectrum. They have more to do with unfortunate personal characteristics: his rather poor judgment in choosing his associates (witness the trash being spread by his former top campaign aides), and his willingness to prostitute himself for the media.

Finally, Cass: I think you'd better re-word that last sentence. You don't want a photo of Dennis in a Speedo.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at January 20, 2010 02:15 PM

"it's not better to lose than to elect someone who's not a "real conservative".
*Out steps the singing Abbot tenor, Roberto Gibbs, to divert attention from the Massachusetts vote of January 20th in the year of Teh Won, 2010, should the rabble wise to the the power within their grasp if they would but discard the counterproductive Inquisition of those believed to be less than of TRUE Conservative habit.*

And thus it came to pass,
Cardinal Alexrod, lead Cardinal in the strategic pursuit of the Statist's Consumption of the assets of the Public,
and Overseer of the Order of The Won True Anointed of Hardaport Whilst Professing Centerism before the Unblinking Eye and Gullible Global Community,
along with the Congressional Bishops of the Order of the Descended from Highwaymen,
did seek solace in the period immediately after the letting of blue blood and prior to the post, summer solstice casting of lots by the great unwashed.

And so after interminable minutes of deep reflection and spiritual oneness with the FundingSoros, on the eve of loss of the Lyin's of the Senate Seat...
Thereupon did they arrived at a unifying message.

And that message, to be spread from the Wholey Wee_wee'd, through an ever compliant network of Media-Criers bewailing the unjust, obstructionist, racist,
< insert derogatories here >, etc., etc., etc.
was to resist with all effort those seeking a return of the jackbooted oppression of Power over the People, those gentle and eco-friendly, pre-Renaissance, CapnTax, solar-powered, if you got it -- we'll take it, toiling in the hay and dung garden beside the White House proletariat.

*And the call to atone was heard throughout the land of the Hardaporters and so it came to pass that the call was answered by the Faithful,
and their cry was Da^^^3d the people, full speed ahead.*

Posted by: Tuck, Friar at January 20, 2010 02:20 PM

I think the term "RINO" often denotes "someone I don't like/trust" rather than "someone who is a political moderate/someone I disagree with".

I also think Lindsey Graham is a great example of this phenomenon. I may not always agree with Graham but I don't think he's an opportunist.

He has displayed political courage too many times for me to believe that of him. So has McCain, as much as I often disagree with him. Great points, Dave.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 02:28 PM

Wow. You were asked what you thought about Brown's victory last night and all you got is, "I think it's great that he did win...". To me, that has all the conviction of a soggy pancake hitting the floor. And then the main point of your answer to "What do you think of Brown's victory?" is snarking on those who didn't excoriate him ala Dede Scozzofava.
Not a word about what Scott Brown did to win his election in, arguably, the bluest state in the country. Not a single word about how he built a coalition of conservatives, libertarians, independents and even Democrats (a coalition that you yourself have stated many times as a necessity for taking back control of Congress and the White House.) who came together under the tent of a few strongly supported platform points -- ie, no to Obamacare, terrorists are not entitled to the rights of American citizens -- to achieve victory.
Now, I certainly didn't expect Susie RahRah with a big "Huzzah", and, I guess it's good that you're *happy* that he won....I can only guess, because, "I think it's great that he did...." surely isn't ringing any endorsement bells in my ears.
FWIW, I did expect a little more excitement (not sure if that's the word I really want, but there it is) that what you've been preaching about for over a year now had not only come to fruition, but had also won the day. And no, I'm not talking about a blowing of your own horn moment. But certainly a reiteration of your general premise: People of differing ideologies can put aside their differences and come together to work for a common cause -- and win.
And all you've got snark is at what some people didn't do?
Nice.

Posted by: DL Sly at January 20, 2010 02:31 PM

"So far everyone who has taken issue with my comments has repeated the exact same arguments I made in refuting the "I'll only support a real conservative and if there isn't one, I'd rather lose the election" mantra :p So I'm unlikely to disagree with you all."

AH. I see what you are saying now. And it's a pretty good point.

I agree, people who will only support people they agree with 100% of the time are going to find themselves in a party of one.

People who supported Brown despite whatever squishy tendencies he may have- and yet formerly claimed that they would never again support someone not completely and utterly conservative- they are either unaware of Brown's more liberal beliefs (I am actually unsure of what these are as well) or they got caught up in the excitement and decided to support him anyway.

Or maybe they just like his truck. ;)

Posted by: Jewels at January 20, 2010 02:49 PM

Please accept my profound apologies for not saying what precisely you wanted me to say in precisely the manner in which you think I should have said it.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 02:51 PM

My last comment was in response to DL Sly, not Jewels.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 02:52 PM

Sly- you do realize you just threw a hissy fit because Cassandra didn't do something namely gush over Browns amazing victory. (which it was, and which she admit she is happy to see happen) Then you criticize her for... doing what you just did?

"And all you've got snark is at what some people didn't do?"

Posted by: Jewels at January 20, 2010 02:55 PM

excitement (not sure if that's the word I really want, but there it is)

Orgasmic. The word you are searching for is

orgasmic noun

1. the physical and emotional sensation experienced at the peak of sexual excitation, usually resulting from stimulation of the sexual organ and usually accompanied in the male by ejaculation.
2. an instance of experiencing this.
3. intense or unrestrained excitement.
4. an instance or occurrence of such excitement.
5. intense occurences are directly related to proximity of egg salad.

Posted by: JHD at January 20, 2010 02:57 PM

"I have no problem with trying to get the most conservative electable candidate in a race.

My point here was that the folks who maintain that a moderate candidate is unacceptable per se (IOW, better to lose the election to a Dem than to elect someone who's not a "real conservative") should have opposed Brown on those grounds."

I think you're comparing apples and oranges, among other errors.

1. IIRC (and I admit I could be wrong), in the NY-23 race, Hoffman was clearly more conservative than Scozzofava, and already had some poll recognition. In the MA race, the TP candidate was polling at around 1%, which was pretty low at that point in the cycle. To rephrase, In NY-23 you had a 3P candidate with a chance, in MA not so much.

2. In the article ultimately referred to, it is pointed out that, IN CONTEXT (i.e. the area they were campaigning in), Brown was more conservative than Scozzofava, MA being more liberal generally than that particular area of NY. Context is important.

3. re: your "...better to lose..." comment, I would hope - I'd pray, were I religious - that conservatives learned the follow of that strategy in November '08.

PLEASE tell me they did.


Posted by: alanstorm at January 20, 2010 03:02 PM

Dede Scozzofava was a turncoat. Maybe the people in her district knew that and didn't articulate it well.

Ymarsaker is correct here: "Politics are local, and people's interests are more than the sum of the letters RINO. Everybody has different reasons for their behavior. Forgetting this is a major mistake."

Cassandra said:
'No. But on the other hand, what happens when you are admitted to a hospital and no one on duty is willing to give you care b/c doing so violates their religious beliefs?

What they are not willing to do is not life threatening so they ship you to another hospital.

At what point do employers get to say, "Sorry guys but the requirements for this job are X, Y, and Z. If Y and Z violate your religious beliefs you are perfectly entitled to those beliefs but you are useless to me as an employee."'

What right do you have to tell a business that you have to offer this service? The hospital is Catholic so I do not believe that your point stands.
If abortion is the only thing that a nurse or doctor doesn't do for religious reasons, do you believe that they should not work in a hospital? I'm guessing that abortion is maybe .01% of all hospital procedures.

Posted by: Russ at January 20, 2010 03:11 PM

What right do you have to tell a business that you have to offer this service? The hospital is Catholic so I do not believe that your point stands.

Where did I say anything about telling a business they have to provide abortions, Russ?

What I said was that if a business decides they want to provide a legal service, the government has no business forcing them to hire people who aren't willing to provide the service.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 03:15 PM

I think part of the problem with some candidates is that they get hand-picked by party bosses without input from voters. The party machine gets behind the "chosen one" and any other contenders (thinking primary, here) are at a distinct disadvantage. Isn't that how Scozzofava ended up the (R) candidate in the general?

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 20, 2010 03:25 PM

If abortion is the only thing that a nurse or doctor doesn't do for religious reasons, do you believe that they should not work in a hospital? I'm guessing that abortion is maybe .01% of all hospital procedures.

How do you know that abortion is the ONLY thing Russ? What about Muslim workers. Wiccas? Pagans? etc. ad nauseum. Everyone gets to pick and choose. Correct? How would you like to be their employer? Again, the problem boils down to stopping the lunatics BEFORE they can pass those types of idiotic laws.

Once enacted it becomes a personal decision and the consequences of that decision. Individual rights. The individual has the right not to perform anything that goes against his/her beliefs but there are consequences to those rights. A business would fold if forced to try and discern each and every worker's religious beliefs and the work they will perform under their guidelines.

Posted by: JHD at January 20, 2010 03:25 PM

"Please accept my profound apologies for not saying what precisely you wanted me to say in precisely the manner in which you think I should have said it.

Alright. 0>:~}

"Sly- you do realize you just threw a hissy fit..."

A hissy fit? Really?

"...namely gush over Browns amazing victory."

Show me, exactly, in my comment where I wanted her to *gush*. I'll wait. And while you're busy, I'll reiterate my point for you to further miscontrue:
Rather than focusing on what *others* didn't do -- ala the NY-23 election -- perhaps we should be encouraging and reinforcing that, Hey!, after all the disenchantment of the last two years, people of varying ideologies united under one tent focused on what is best for America, put aside some of their ideological purity and elected someone who is actually listening to the American people. Nothing major, just a group of people who thought more of their country than their ideological purity.
And, yeah, I think that deserves something more than snark.
Because living amongst the perpetually offended has gotten us.....where?

Posted by: DL Sly at January 20, 2010 03:45 PM

I think part of the problem with some candidates is that they get hand-picked by party bosses without input from voters. The party machine gets behind the "chosen one" and any other contenders (thinking primary, here) are at a distinct disadvantage. Isn't that how Scozzofava ended up the (R) candidate in the general?

Even more directly. In New York, there are no primaries for vacancies in the House--she, like the other candidates, was literally hand-picked.

Posted by: silverpie at January 20, 2010 03:47 PM

It occurs to me reading Miss Ladybug's comment that part of the argument here is really about the nature of the GOP leadership. I think it's a given that in 2008 (and for some time before that), said leadership was both ineffectual and ineffective. The leadership has been equally diffident towards moderate and conservative candidates. It's not really a moderate vs. conservative argument; it's an argument about whether we're going to try to win, or settle for the status of permanent minority party. The national leadership seems to be willing to do the latter, just as they were willing to concede the MA seat to Coakley. That's what Scott Brown is really about.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at January 20, 2010 03:56 PM

I always did say the peasants were revolting.

Posted by: Marie Antoinette at January 20, 2010 03:57 PM

They're always revolting. Now they're rebelling.

Posted by: Bowen at January 20, 2010 04:03 PM

"I always did say the peasants were revolting.

Posted by Marie Antoinette at January 20, 2010 03:57 PM"

Is it time for the scrub in the stream? Already?

And whilst I look for my soap, I'll agree with Miss LB. And I will mention closed primaries along with term limits for the congregation's consumption.

Now I'm off to find a stream.

Posted by: Tuck, Friar at January 20, 2010 04:08 PM

Did my little comment (verbal victory jig) cause all this? My my.

On another note, I have another reason to be gratified by Scott's win. As a National Guardsmen (Shire militia) I painfully remember how Dan Quayle's and George W. Bush's service in the National Guard was ridiculed by the left and the media when they ran for and served in office. Scott ran highlighting his service in the National Guard and it was considered a strength by both sides of the political fence ... so it is gratifying how much our reputation has improved since the bad old days of being called the "weekend warrior". Just took two wars to rehabilitate us!

Posted by: Frodo at January 20, 2010 04:22 PM

I think that deserves something more than snark.

And it got something more than snark. With the exception of the last sentence, this was a serious post.

One may agree or disagree with my analysis (and several readers have done both in the comments). This is an activity I subsidize out of my own pocket.

On the day I start taking money for writing, it's possible I'll buy into the notion that I have some nebulous duty to say what other people want me to say or defend myself against arguments I never made. Unlikely, since I don't know of a single author who believes they have a similar duty, but I suppose it's technically possible.

In the mean time, that kind of argument will succeed only in thoroughly pissing me off.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 04:23 PM

In the mean time, that kind of argument will succeed only in thoroughly pissing me off.

Thoroughly? As opposed to a minor twit or slight panties in a wad? Full blown thoroughly eh? Daaaaaaaaaaaaam! Haven't seen that in awhile! Heh!

Think I'll perform a strategic retreat and go cook TLB some supper before I start having hallucinogenic fantasies again! :-o

Posted by: JHD at January 20, 2010 04:53 PM

"...I have some nebulous duty to say what other people want me to say or defend myself against arguments I never made."

I stated, "Now, I certainly didn't expect Susie RahRah with a big "Huzzah",". Key word there is *expect* in case you were too pissed off to see it. I *expected* that you might, at least, touch on the singular proponent that got Scott Brown elected - his ability to form the very coalition you have advocated on this site many times over the last year. Where that equivocates to you having to defend an arguement you never made? Well, you've lost me on that one. And where I have placed upon you some "nebulous duty", I have yet to see as well. Unless, of course, having expectations are now to be construed as having placed a requirement of some sort.
And I hardly think that's what you're saying.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at January 20, 2010 04:57 PM

Unless, of course, having expectations are now to be construed as having placed a requirement of some sort.

Expectations are not duties, but the comment did read an awful lot like a complaint. And people that complain about free ice cream usually find it dumped on their head.

Unless you like that kind of thing...

Not that there's anything wrong with that. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 20, 2010 05:17 PM

Unless you like that kind of thing...

Always with the sex and relationships :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 05:24 PM

I think you miss the point. Yes, there are a few conservative bloggers and other commentators who want ideological purity, and you are correct that that is suicide, but the ones I've followed had a quite different orientation.

Scozzafava was and is not simply a RINO. Her positions on the issues, her endorsements (both in and out), and her opinions as stated made her a left-of-center Democrat who had bamboozled the Republican Party into bankrolling her campaigns. She said out loud (though not in those words) that she would be a loyal subordinate to Nancy and Harry. That being the case, what good would it have been to elect her just because she had an (R) by her name? If she says out loud that she supports the whole Democratic Party agenda, from health care through global warming all the way to abortion on demand, what advantage do Republicans gain from electing her? Another warm body in the caucus? Since such a person would be bound to let her Democratic friends know what went on, that would be a loss (to a spy), not a gain. And yes, in such a case I'm happy to see the Democrat win and might vote for him or her -- at minimum it isn't putting a fifth columnist into Republican strategy meetings.

Regards,
Ric

Posted by: Ric Locke at January 20, 2010 05:35 PM

Hey! I heard that S&R talk all the way down here at the stream!

Posted by: Tuck, Friar at January 20, 2010 05:35 PM

Scozzafava was and is not simply a RINO. Her positions on the issues, her endorsements (both in and out), and her opinions as stated made her a left-of-center Democrat who had bamboozled the Republican Party into bankrolling her campaigns. She said out loud (though not in those words) that she would be a loyal subordinate to Nancy and Harry. That being the case, what good would it have been to elect her just because she had an (R) by her name?

I'm confused. Where did I make any of the points you're refuting here? What I did do was make a very narrow argument that you summed up quite well:

...there are a few conservative bloggers and other commentators who want ideological purity, and you are correct that that is suicide ...

I think the confusion arises here:

but the ones I've followed had a quite different orientation.

If they had a different orientation, then by definition they're not the ones I took issue with in this post. Quite possibly because I didn't express myself well, a lot of people are extending my arguments to people they were not intended to apply to.

Trust me, I'm already sorry I brought it up :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 06:03 PM

"What I said was that if a business decides they want to provide a legal service, the government has no business forcing them to hire people who aren't willing to provide the service."

I will concede the point.

My confusion comes because the hospital in question is Catholic and it is the Catholic hospital that does not do abortions. As long as they have the same right of association as any other business then we are on the same page.

The wisdom of a hospital that refused to hire a doctor or nurse that didn't do abortions remains in question.

Posted by: Russ at January 20, 2010 06:17 PM

In all seriousness, yikes!, I hope I don't depress myself in the effort, Cass, I think you did a good job of expressing yourself. Your point is the same one you have repeatedly hammered home, for quite some time.

I'm not sure I understand the reasons for the tension in the thread, but then I'm a fairly simple hillbilly with few redeemable social skills and a tenuous grasp of the language.

Now if were up to me, I'd advise that we, all of us on the right side of the political divide, the center to the hard astarboard gang, savor the moment. We can, in the days ahead, discuss the finer points of Brown's campaign. That, IMHO, is where we need to expend our thoughts and energy. Figuring out how to achieve the same result, but on a larger scale.

And as far as snark goes, I reserve the right to snark, belittle, mock mercilessly, generally taunt and remind progressives that their mother was a hamster and their father smelt of elderberries. At least until the hostess invites me to cease and desist. At which point, I'll take my snark and go elsewhere.

If the left side of the political spectrum does not merit the most intense snark and mockery that can be brought to bear, I'm gonna retire my keyboard and take up sporting clays from the kitchen window. At least until it's time for the application of the tar and feathers coupled with transport via rail, as in railroad cross ties.

285 days and a wake up, folks.

Posted by: bt_can't-hep-it-I'ma-redneck_hun at January 20, 2010 06:38 PM

I don't know, bthun.

I thought I was being clear, but then I don't have hours and hours to pour over my posts in some fruitless attempt to come up with perfect words that can't possibly be misunderstood.

All I know is that I'm sick of being accused of being called a radical feminist when there is no reasonable construction of my writing over the past 6 years that supports that conclusion.

I'm sick of being called a man hater when I criticize the actions of some men (though oddly I'm never accused of being a woman hater when I criticize the actions of some women - why is that?).

I'm sick of being told I have "attacked" people when I merely disagree with their opinions. Disagreement on the merits is not an attack.

Stick a fork in me. I'm done.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 07:01 PM

Brown is the shining star, not because he's any kind of conservative, but because he's NOT a DEMOCRAT party minion. It's not about conservatism; it's about throwing the Kennedys out. It's not about anyone's ideal conservative savior; it's a big fat red STOP sign aimed at the nutbags in Washington today. It's not about conservative idealogical purity; it's about just saying NO to the statist takeover attempt.

Posted by: lethargic at January 20, 2010 08:32 PM

Quite possibly because I didn't express myself well, a lot of people are extending my arguments to people they were not intended to apply to.

No, you expressed yourself very well. What's happening is that people are responding to the meta-narrative, which you have inserted yourself into, possibly without intending to.

We have gotten a lot of it from Frum, et. al. "You have to support the RINOs so we have enough Republicans to accomplish anything." But if the RINOs will not attempt to accomplish what we want to accomplish, if they reliably act in concert with Democrats to block or frustrate what we want to accomplish, what's the point in supporting them?

And it works both ways. If the RINOs won't support us they aren't likely to assemble a big enough party to accomplish anything, either -- and constant dissing from the Frums is not "support".

I fully realize -- and did from the beginning -- that you were only addressing a tiny corner of the issue, but it's impossible to respond to that bit without widening the view at least a little. The whole point of the "can of worms" metaphor is that you can't restrict yourself to only one worm when the lid pops off.

Regards,
Ric

Posted by: Ric Locke at January 20, 2010 09:35 PM

Here's the thing, Cassandra.

Who, exactly, are those ultra-pure bloggers (and other media personalities) you're talking about? Those who will absolutely refuse to vote for anybody in the (R) ticket who didn't score 100%?

Is it Ace? Allah? Would it be Michelle? Moe Lane? The Freepers? Or are you talking about Rush? Maybe even [gasp] *Glenn Beck*? Because I don't recall any of them doing what you described. Well, maybe Moe and the Freepers, because I haven't read them in ages.

In fact, in my several years of reading political blogs, just about every conservative blogger and media personality out there has called for a level of common sense voting.

Those who don't are commenters, usually. And let's face it, they had a point. It may very well have taken Obama to bring about the tea parties. And the economy wasn't going anywhere good regardless.

And there was a lot of doom-and-gloom out there when Obama won. Yes, he was bad for the country. But then again, imagine how much worse it could have been. And the Democrats had full control over the legislative and the executive, and a huge chunk of the judiciary as well. For almost a year, they had a filibuster-proof supermajority.

Posted by: Gregory at January 20, 2010 09:36 PM

Gregory:

Does it even matter what I write? I cited Ace approvingly in this very post in support of my argument against litmus tests. I referred to the very same Ace post a few weeks ago as "one of the smartest things I've read in 6 years of blogging". It's hard to imagine a more unequivocal statement than that. And yet here you are, asking me if I think Ace is an ideological purist?

This is exactly the kind of thing that frustrates me.

Ric: thanks for the explanation :) I am not all that familiar with Frum so you're right - I wasn't aware of the 'meta' aspect. I do think we need enough Republicans/conservatives in Congress to mount effective opposition to things like ObamaCare (and even Olympia Snowe, who frustates me no end, has so far sided with the party on this one).

But I agree that if a candidate consistently votes against his or her party, they're not much help. To me, the question of how much support makes a candidate "reliable" is trickier than many folks make it out to be given that not all votes are equally important. To me, a candidate who sided with the party 90% of the time but crossed the aisle on critical national security votes isn't "reliable". But then Lindsey Graham reliably sides with the party on votes like this and I constantly hear calls to turn him out of office.

Again, I don't always agree with Graham. Hell, I don't always agree with just about any Congresscritter. What matters to me is integrity and support for the issues I think are most important to the survival and prosperity of this country. I can bend on matters of less importance.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 10:50 PM

Cass, I think the only bit I have to disagree with in that statement concerns Snowe. She is one that I classify as a RINO; I don't recall that she has voted with the party on any major issue in quite some time. And she was very much leaning towards supporting Obamacare, until some of her people got a look at some polling data, and I think she started having visions of Linc Chaffee in her head. Ya gotta draw the line somewhere.

I don't count Graham as a RINO, although I have to admit he confuses the hell out of me sometimes. I could give you a better example; I'd have to go dig up some names, but back in mean old days of the 1970s, the whole damn party at the Washington level was full of "get-along-go-along" Republicans, which is what we'd call RINOs now. They'd go along with wholesale leftism in exchange for getting their names on a minor bill here and there, and staying in the good graces of the Washington cocktail-party circuit. Heck, I'd pretty much consider Nixon a RINO -- he supported universal wage and price regulation! Even Snowe wouldn't go for that.

The Tea Party movement is going to wind up moving one of the major parties in its direction. Right now that looks like it's going to be the GOP, but that is by no means for certain yet. However, even if it is, that's going to be a somewhat different direction than it is going now. It's actually starting to look like there is going to be a real American consensus on scaling back entitlements and the overall size and influence of government -- something that neither party has seriously advocated or pursued in half a century.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at January 20, 2010 11:58 PM

Heck, I'd pretty much consider Nixon a RINO -- he supported universal wage and price regulation! Even Snowe wouldn't go for that.

*snort*

Dave, even I think Snowe is probably a RINO, though I will openly admit that I haven't researched her voting record so I have no basis for saying this other than the fact that she annoys me. The question is, though, is there anyone else electable in her state that would be better? Don't know the answer :)

My point was just that I was surprised that she was resisting ObamaCare as hard as she has.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 21, 2010 12:11 AM

Cassandra: Yes, I know you're not targeting any of those bloggers. That's my point. Who are you targeting? (On that note, maybe I should go and buy the sarcmark)

Because I cannot figure it out.

You're talking about

the very same folks who jumped on the Dede Scozzofava is a big fat RINO bandwagon

bearing in mind that *everybody* ripped up Dede, and not just the "base". Whoever the "base" are.

It would seem to me that (a) you're talking about a small proportion of people and (b) most Republicans are willing to be incremental in their approach and apply common sense.

Mind you, I don't disagree with you. I'm happy with someone who I can work with 80% of the time.

I just think that what you think the "base" refers to as a RINO and what a *real* RINO is are different. And I think you're not giving the Republican 'base' enough credit for being flexible and willing to grit their teeth and pull their lever. And that you're not considering that a Republican may very well vote for Scott Brown as Sen from Mass and yet deny him the presidential primary, *given the exact same voting record*.

Posted by: Gregory at January 21, 2010 12:17 AM

First of all Gregory, I'm not "targeting" anyone. If there is one thing I have consistently tried to avoid here at VC, it's arguing the person rather than the idea.

Of course when I do link to a particular blogger or pundit so we can evaluate and discuss what they said, I generally end up arguing over whether that particular essay or post was typical of the entire body of their work (who cares? that's beside the point), or whether I think some other person I didn't write about is good or bad for the party (also beside the point)... rather than whether the ideas expressed in the essay I linked have merit or not (the actual point).

I've said over and over again that THIS is what I want to discuss - ideas, not people.

If I had all the time in the world, I'd search through my old posts and list every person I've "targeted" (i.e., had the temerity to disagree with) in the past. But I'm not going there. In my previous comment I wasted time responding to a question you just admitted you already knew the answer to.

I'm not going to do that any more. Once again you're trying to get me to spend valuable time arguing about something other than the point I was trying to make, which is that ideological purity demands aren't a winning tactic (and the recent victory by Scott Brown demonstrates that rather well), not that every person in the base or who opposed Scozzofava is an unthinking a**hole.

I'm also not interested in defending positions you ascribe to me, nor in convincing you that you're wrong about what you imagine I think. That takes time I don't have, and it's ALSO beside the point. A similar exercise in discussing positions I don't hold and never expressed just went over 400 comments.

You're welcome to decide what I think for me. I'm just not interested in refuting your opinions about what I think, just as I'm not interested in rebutting someone's opinion about whether I'm a man hater or a feminist.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 21, 2010 05:58 AM

Cassie,
I have always loved your writing and the comments. I am thrilled that Mr. Baker won, liberal tendencies aside, because sometimes, moderates bring something to the table that both sides can live with.

Frodo, Baker's opposite is the Dashing Senator with the absetee voting record and a stellar record in Vietnam.

As to Cassandra being a manhater or a feminist...
*spit gag*

Oops. Now I have to clean my screen.

Posted by: Cricket at January 21, 2010 08:46 AM

All I know is that I'm sick of being accused of being called a radical feminist when there is no reasonable construction of my writing over the past 6 years that supports that conclusion.

I'm sick of being called a man hater when I criticize the actions of some men (though oddly I'm never accused of being a woman hater when I criticize the actions of some women - why is that?).

I'm sick of being told I have "attacked" people when I merely disagree with their opinions. Disagreement on the merits is not an attack.

Geez, I wish I had gotten here sooner. Cass... you are not, can not be responsible for others misapprehensions. I know the temptation is to self-examine and say "how could I have explained this better", but you can't. Just as surely as the sun rises in the East, people will glom on to the exact phrase that boils their blood, and lash out tarring you (the speaker/writer) as an exemplar of everything that pisses them off about someone else who espouses a similar opinion. Not just on the internet either.

In a sense, you become their strawman. They want a goat to pin their animus on to, and something in your statement is going to provide that trigger. Sure, you could have ten years of writing history to back up your position that demonstrates your credentials, but that becomes irrelevant to the reader who has misapprehended.

Trust me, the only thing for it is to ignore the blatantly stupid accusations. Seriously, the radical feminist thing actually makes me laugh when folks accuse you of it... it's like calling Obama a far right radical. But, do remember, there are folks who BELIEVE that. Somewhere in this world are folks who cannot see a difference between George Bush (who really was a LOT more moderate than the previous two Republican administrations). Hell, I know folks who thing Fox News is just as liberal as MSNBC, and others who can't see a difference between CNN and Fox News.

I guess what I'm getting at is, you can't control the perceptions of others. You can state your case and defend it, but at the end of the day, the written word is only so good at expressing the subtleties of language. And believe me, lady... you are SO much better at this than 99% of folks I've read. You are exceptional, and even so folks will misapprehend. It sucks, but there it is. The Company loves you anyway. Never doubt that.

Posted by: MikeD at January 21, 2010 09:24 AM

I think the misunderstanding comes from a fundamental disconnect.

For instance: one can make the statement that it is foolish to go into outer space naked.

This is invariably true. But since we are unaware of anyone who has argued differently, we don't understand where you are coming from.

We're well aware that there is a Purity Camp and a Lesser Evil Camp. It's just that non of us seems to have seen any Brown supporters in the Purity Camp.

And so it is invariably true that supporting Brown from within the Purity camp is hypocrisy, there doesn't seem to be any actual hypocrits and so were a little lost.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 21, 2010 10:02 AM

"We're well aware that there is a Purity Camp and a Lesser Evil Camp. It's just that non of us seems to have seen any Brown supporters in the Purity Camp."
That's a fair assessment YAG. And it pretty much describes the notes I've taken while observing the political solar system from the camp in which I sleep. I know that the Purity Camp is out there. Heck, when I'm having one of those moments where I'm operating, exclusively, on the signals from the lizard brain, I often feel a powerful tug to pack up and move my Political Winnebago to that camp.

That I do not note the location or membership of that camp does not mean they do not exist. I've seen (heard or read) their purity pronouncements all too often.

It was not so long ago that McCain (not my ideal representative for POTUS by any stretch, not even close, but I assumed the position and pinched my nose in an effort to try to avoid the current obamanation) was being thoroughly trounced, by the purity vetting crowd on the right.

To contrast and compare, I would ask if anyone has seen anything similar on Brown? I have to admit that, having entirely too much time on my hands, I read a good deal of news and opinion on the intertubes. Yet, I've not seen or heard a peep from the right on Brown's lack of pure conservative chops.

From that, I, in my simple state of hillbillyness, see the point that Cass offers. To me the lack of purity pronouncements on Brown reveals either, a lack of consistency, or a full flowering of hypocrisy, on the part of the purity gang.

Or maybe they have, as someone noted above, become more enlightened after remaining conscious for one year of Teh WON, Harry and Nan's efforts to hopeychange the Republic. That whole lesser of two evils thing that big people recognize as the point of the exercise.

If so, and I hope it is a lesson learned, I will welcome the purity gang to the fold with those of us who lived through a few of the previous Democrat controlled sessions of Congress. Like those years when LBJ, then Carter, and the Billygoat were at the helm.

Those years were not the best of years for the nation, or for most of her her citizens. But they were very useful examples for the purpose of aligning ones perspective.

Apologies for the windiness.

And if this comment is out of kilter, in any way, please tell me so I can send a virtual arse-kicking to my outsourced, Costa Rican proof-reader.

Cheers.

Posted by: bt_mercilessly-mocking-the-hecklers_hun at January 21, 2010 11:14 AM

iYet, I've not seen or heard a peep from the right on Brown's lack of pure conservative chops.

Nor have I, but we've argued numerous times that silence != approval when Dems try to say "Why aren't you speaking out against X?"

The vast majority of the screaming from the Purity Camp has been of the "I'm just gonna stay home then!" variety. With regard to Brown, that's a pretty laughable threat coming from a Purity Camper in Alabama and so they say nothing at all.

And, just a hunch, there's probably not a ton of Republican Purity Campers in MA.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 21, 2010 12:28 PM

Heh. All too true Yag. And I'll not go any further down the rat hole whilst splitting hairs concerning denouncing, denouncers who fail to denounce and those who do [not] cheer them on...

"And, just a hunch, there's probably not a ton of Republican Purity Campers in MA."
I reel, then right myself and acknowledge your coup de grâce. MEDIC!

I suppose we'll see if the lesser of two weevils philosophy is adopted this July -if not earlier- through November, and two years hence. Or if the RINO-blasters return, in force, come the post-primaries, general election, campaign season.

As a side note, it does seem as though the general mood of the electorate might have an impact on, not only policy, but party process wrt candidate selection and backing. A plus IMHO.

Posted by: bthun at January 21, 2010 12:53 PM

Make that an impact on all, with the exception of, apparently, the damn the torpedoes leadership.

Posted by: bthun at January 21, 2010 12:56 PM

lesser of two weevils

Or perhaps lesser of two Weebles (their positions wobble but they don't fall down*).


*OMG, I've handed Cass ammunition! [cue dramatic chord and pensive voice] What have I done!

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 21, 2010 01:06 PM

I have to say that the level of discourse around here is right enjoyable.

*checks watch, heck it's five o'clock somewhere*
*lifts gooseneck towards hostess and attending villains*

A Salute to civility! Even when it's strained, eh what say Mullah Omar Muhammed Abdullah bin Sadr, Ahab? =;^]

Cheers.

Posted by: bthun at January 21, 2010 01:35 PM

OMG, I've handed Cass ammunition!

Never give a woman ammunition, Yu-Ain :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 21, 2010 01:50 PM

The Truthiness Tables!!! They never lie!

Posted by: Mizz Cricket at January 21, 2010 02:04 PM

Now that I stop to consider

"Or perhaps lesser of two Weebles (their positions wobble but they don't fall down*)."
I'm reminded of an astute observation made by someone recently that goes something like this:
"That is, if I think A is best and my wife thinks B is best yet she has the superior argument I can fully make the decision to do B and still be "wearing the pants" because *I* now believe B to be the better choice.

It has to do with accepting responsibility and ownership for your decisions and not pawning them off and/or blaming someone else. "It's not *my* fault, *she's* the one who wanted to do B" is a cowards answer. The correct answer is "You're damn right we did B, it was a better choice than A"."

Yep, a wise fellow knows when to weeble. =;^]

Posted by: bthun at January 21, 2010 02:56 PM

The vast majority of the screaming from the Purity Camp has been of the "I'm just gonna stay home then!" variety. With regard to Brown, that's a pretty laughable threat coming from a Purity Camper in Alabama and so they say nothing at all.

Actually there have been other threats, like "Not one dime to a party that supports/allows RINOs". State borders don't matter a whole lot there - I didn't notice the outrage over Scozzafava or the passion for her opponent being limited to NY voters.

I've thought a lot about this, and I'm just not willing to go back and document every time I've written about this issue just to prove a point I dont' care about. As soon as I do that, there will be another "request" for me to prove I wasn't doing something else I don't care about either. I'm also not willing to play "name names". That's never been a tactic I use and I see no reason to start now.

If I disagree with someone specifically, I link to their essay so you all can read it yourselves and make up your own minds. And if - as often happens - I'm not interested in "attacking" (rolling eyes) another bloggers or bloggers, I introduce the subject in a more general way that allows us to discuss it without people's noses getting out of joint over the admittedly awesome destructive power of my personal opinions (which we all know are the ne plus ultra of dispositiveness rather than being merely... my personal opinions - worth every freaking dime you all pay for them).

That said, let me remind you that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence just as my failure to write about something or write about it in the desired manner proves nothing about whether I am sincere or care about an issue. I haven't written about Haiti either - mostly b/c everyone else is doing a bang up job and I have nothing original to add.

Hosting discussions about controversial or touchy topics demands the assumption of good faith from all involved. And yes, words are often imprecise and subject to misinterpretation.

I suppose I had hoped that after all this time, if there was ambiguity about what I meant, my words would be construed in light of the principles I have repeated over and over again at VC:

1. Simplistic explanations and broad brush characterizations, while emotionally satisfying, rarely provide an accurate picture of a world that isn't that simple but is populated with groups of people who don't all think and act alike.

Corollary: if I'm constantly saying I don't like such tactics, interpreting any ambiguity in my writing in a manner that clearly conflicts with my stated principles is either a risky bet or a presumption that I'm not arguing in good faith.

2. Intelligent people of good faith can and do disagree.

I'm not in the habit of calling people I disagree with stupid or needlessly insulting them. If you're not sure whether I just insulted you or your dog, I probably didn't.

3. When in doubt, go back and read what someone actually said rather than rewording it so you can tell them what you think they meant.

I would like to think that I have not been guilty of falsely attributing quotes or ideas to others, so I'm not sure why I'd suddenly start now. There are only so many new tricks this old dog is capable of learning. However, if someone wants to take my refusal to go archive diving or name names as "proof" that I'm arguing with a straw man, all I can say is that you will have to go on thinking that.

I'm tired of trying to prove I'm not acting in bad faith. I'm sorry if someone thinks I am, but as Mike so kindly pointed out I don't control what other people think of me. I will say that if that's the impression I give off, those who believe that should not be reading anything I have to say because by their definition, I'm a dishonest and untrustworthy source.

That's all I have to say on this matter. I'm backing away for a while until I cool down. When I'm still madder than hell even after sleeping on it, it's best for me not to engage.

Finally Yu-ain, this isn't aimed at you. I seized upon your comment b/c you said something I don't agree with. Also, you are a man and as I've so often been reminded, I'm a man hating man hater who hates men. Despite your loathsome manparts, I'm not angry at you. If I were, I'd contact you privately and work it out. I can't be any plainer than that and I'm going to assume that's the end of that.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 21, 2010 03:15 PM

I didn't notice the outrage over Scozzafava or the passion for her opponent being limited to NY voters.

No, but that's for reasons that don't exist in the MA-Sen race:
1) The National GOP leadership stuck their nose where it didn't belong to promote a candidate the locals didn't want.
2) The GOP didn't back the lesser Weeble. They backed the not the absolute worst Weeble. There was a better choice available, but the GOP actively worked against him. So you don't have just the Purity Camp up in arms on that one. You also get some of the Lesser Weeble camp ticked off as well. As there was no more conservative option that the GOP could have choosen but didn't there was also no corresponding backlash.

Had the GOP stuck their nose in to select a republican candidate rated at the 15th percentile and then supported him over Brown, I think you would have seen a similar national backlash. Since they didn't, we don't.

Hosting discussions about controversial or touchy topics demands the assumption of good faith from all involved.

Yes, it does. And I hope I haven't given the impression that I think you are. I truly just don't understand.

I know there is a Purity Camp who make "Not one Dime" threats. I just haven't seen any who supported Brown.

The Swap Set (those that supported Brown but opposed Dede) all seemed to come from the Lesser Weeble Camp who were mad at the GOP because the GOP didn't support the least weeble.

You say you aren't addressing those people, but those seem to be the only people who exist.

And so I truly have no idea who you *are* addressing.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 21, 2010 05:02 PM

Well, now I'm confused too. Cass, explain to us again why you hate men so much. ;) Seriously, even though there have been some harsh words here and there, I think it's been good because it has people talking again about what it means to be a conservative and about what conservative goals should actually be. Let's face it, George W. Bush was never that great about explaining *why* he did the things he did, and McCain's campaign was pretty incoherent on that score too. It's been some time since conservatives had leadership who could explain to the electorate what conservatism actually is, or ought to be.

So now, after the events of the last two years, the people have taken that job on themselves. That's part of what the Tea Party is about. Conservatism and moderate-ism are going through a refocusing and sharpening process. There's a lot of people who are saying to themselves, maybe not in so many words, but they're saying it: "What does it actually mean to be an American? What are the things that Americans should believe in, and given that, what are the policies that Americans should support?" People are seeing Obamaism and they are saying: "OK, we've seen what we don't want. So what is it that we do want?"

In the process of going through all this, there's going to be some name-calling. A certain amount of that has to be overlooked; it's the result of people who are very passionate about what they believe in, and sometimes their hearts get ahead of their heads. There's a regime change taking place; a lot of the old rules are out the window and nobody's really sure what the new rules are yet. I think we may be on the edge of a political realignment the likes of which the country hasn't seen since the Great Depression. And ten years from now, the argument we're currently having may look awfully silly.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at January 21, 2010 08:35 PM

I am rendered speechless by YAG, for he has stated my bewilderment and confusion far better and with far greater clarity than I could have possibly done with my clumsy blunderbuss of a keyboard.

Therefore, I shall withdraw from the fray, while the blog mistress still has a modicum of tolerance for me. At least, so I can hope ;)

Posted by: Gregory at January 22, 2010 09:56 AM

And by the way, I'm still having nightmares about Dennis in a Speedo. So thanks a bunch for that visual image.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at January 22, 2010 10:19 AM

You say you aren't addressing those people, but those seem to be the only people who exist.

You seem to be confusing "the only people I'm aware of" with "the only people who exist". But they are not one and the same.

I've already stated my position on this one, guys.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 22, 2010 10:27 AM

Look, I really don't want to weigh in on the discussion here--it would take a level of close reading that I usually save for work.

But I do want to share my impressions of Dede. I live in an area that shares TV station coverage with NY-23, even though I'm hundreds of miles away. And I tend not to watch ads on TV, changing channels to avoid them, or using the DVR so I can fast forward through them.

But I still saw some ads about the NY-23 campaign. Once I made sure that it wasn't my district (can any New Yorker actually remember what congressional district they're in?), I sort of tuned out the ads. But one thing I remember--the attack ads from Dede made her sound like a liberal democrat, so I assumed she was the Democrat candidate and the other guy was the Republican candidate. The actual Democrat candidate didn't surface in ads until rather late in the campaign, and when he started attacking Dede, attributing the same positions to her that she was attacking in the Conservative candidate, I got very confused. I finally sorted it out.

As to her selection, NY-23 spans about 5 or 6 counties, most of which are low population since they encompass the Adirondacks. Dede was a state senator from the Albany area, and as large cities tend to be more Democrat than Republican, she had tailored her views accordingly. Since there was no primary for this election, each county Republican party committee had to choose a candidate, but my understanding is that they never met as a group; that is, each county came up with a list of candidates, and when the heads of the county Republican parties met, they basically compared lists that their local committees had come up with. Dede emerged from this screwy process as the Republican candidate.


That's why she never had good support from the registered Republicans across the district, and why she spent a lot of her time campaigning against the Conservative Party candidate.

My point in mentioning all this is that it appears from some of the comments that folks assume Dede was the pick of a united Republican Party machine, which was far from the case. And for her to drop her candidacy several days before the election (which was too late to remove her name from the ballots) and support the Democrat candidate puts her in a separate category that cannot be defined simply as "RINO."

Posted by: Rex at January 22, 2010 10:48 AM

Interesting points, Rex. You've given me a lot to think about.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 22, 2010 10:56 AM

You seem to be confusing "the only people I'm aware of" with "the only people who exist". But they are not one and the same.

I believe that I've already said they aren't. But given your completely understandable reluctance to provide examples, we are left only with our own experiences, and so it appears that you're arguing with thin air.

I can take it on faith that you say you aren't. But it still looks as weird as if you wrote a post about people who think it's smart to go into outerspace naked.

I agree in principle, but it seems to be debating in a vacuum. *groan* :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 22, 2010 11:51 AM

given your completely understandable reluctance to provide examples, we are left only with our own experiences

Understood. I'm OK with that, actually. I just don't have the time/energy right now to provide what you want and frankly it's not important to me. I don't demand you be satisfied with that, but at the same time (at least to me) the point I was trying to make was well described by bthun earlier: given all the angst about electing "real conservatives" and ideological purity over the past 12 months, it's odd that we haven't heard vociferous objections from the base about Brown's squishiness on issues they have said were not subject to compromise:

It was not so long ago that McCain (not my ideal representative for POTUS by any stretch, not even close, but I assumed the position and pinched my nose in an effort to try to avoid the current obamanation) was being thoroughly trounced, by the purity vetting crowd on the right. To contrast and compare, I would ask if anyone has seen anything similar on Brown? I have to admit that, having entirely too much time on my hands, I read a good deal of news and opinion on the intertubes. Yet, I've not seen or heard a peep from the right on Brown's lack of pure conservative chops. From that, I, in my simple state of hillbillyness, see the point that Cass offers. To me the lack of purity pronouncements on Brown reveals either, a lack of consistency, or a full flowering of hypocrisy, on the part of the purity gang.

You riposted that silence does not equal approval or complicity. But the point you neatly elided past is that these folks were arguing that silence was UNACCEPTABLE and that anyone on the right who didn't fight and die on that hill was willfully aiding and abetting the forces of evil.

Having said that (and there were a LOT of bloggers who said that) they can't very well fall back on silence when it suddenly becomes expedient.

Trust me - I don't need convincing that this was a huge victory and - even if he isn't a "real conservative", the benefits of taking that seat far outweigh the minuses. In fact, that's what I've always argued. So I'm happy he won.

I just find it amusing that suddenly all the "we're gonna die on that hill" voices seem to have gone silent when faced with the practical consequences of dying on the hill they swore to defend to the death.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 22, 2010 12:15 PM

I just find it amusing that suddenly all the "we're gonna die on that hill" voices seem to have gone silent when faced with the practical consequences of dying on the hill they swore to defend to the death.

I agree that there was more silence. I just attribute it to a different cause than the Purity Brigade.

Had there been a third candidate rated at the 15th percentile compared to Browns 34th and the GOP machine backed that person instead, I think the uproar would have be equal. I also believe that had there been a third candidate rated at the 50th percentile and the GOP backed Brown instead, I think the uproar would also have been equal. Consequently, had Hoffman not been in the race, but rather the 3rd candidate had been between Owens and Dede politically and the GOP backed that person instead of Dede, I think these same people calling Dede a Big Fat RINO would have been staunch supporters of her.

In other words, I don't think it had anything to do with either person's conservative creds on any kind of "absolute" scale (the way the Purity Camp works), but with their relative positions of the available candidates (the way the Lesser Weeble Camp works).

I know this isn't your paradigm, I'm just saying I can't see things from your paradigm if I don't know what it looks like. (I'm not asking you to provide examples. I know why you won't, I agree with you completely and in your place I wouldn't do it either even if you paid me. [Bush Sr.]Not gonna doit. Not prudent at this juncture.[/Bush Sr.])

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 22, 2010 12:56 PM

In other words, I don't think it had anything to do with either person's conservative creds on any kind of "absolute" scale (the way the Purity Camp works), but with their relative positions of the available candidates

But you are making my point for me, Yu-Ain. The purity brigade were arguing that the absolute scale was the ONLY one that should be applied. They explicitly rejected the idea that local or relative standards should be applied.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 22, 2010 01:17 PM

I don't follow.

I've never said the Purity Brigade didn't work on an absolute scale.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 22, 2010 04:22 PM

I didn't say you said that.

I said that if you admit that the purity brigade were demanding the application of an absolute scale (which you do) and if you admit that they were demanding this absolute scale be consistently applied (which they were) then by their own rules staying silent wasn't an option.

You're saying they stayed silent because supposedly they were applying a standard they had explicitly rejected earlier:

Had there been a third candidate rated at the 15th percentile compared to Browns 34th and the GOP machine backed that person instead, I think the uproar would have be equal. I also believe that had there been a third candidate rated at the 50th percentile and the GOP backed Brown instead, I think the uproar would also have been equal. Consequently, had Hoffman not been in the race, but rather the 3rd candidate had been between Owens and Dede politically and the GOP backed that person instead of Dede, I think these same people calling Dede a Big Fat RINO would have been staunch supporters of her.

This explanation ignores both the purity brigade and by extension, my question: why were the purity brigade silent? They never agreed with a relative scale.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 22, 2010 04:56 PM

then by their own rules staying silent wasn't an option...[snip]...why were the purity brigade silent?

This is the part I don't necessarily agree with. I think by their own rules they can't voice support, but not that they must always voice opposition.

I oppose almost everything that comes out of Obama's mouth and I think this opposition should be applied consistently, but I don't bother voicing that opposition upon every utterance. Not even every major utterance.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 22, 2010 06:32 PM

In short, if I were registered Republican you'd be calling me a RINO.

Here's my advice. Take a wiser perspective.

Getting faux offended that somebody called you something that they haven't actually done, is even more non-sensical than Obama's "I won" comment.

The whole Republican In Name Only reminds me so much of what the Clintonistas did to us Southern Dems back in the day

Stop right there. Emotional attachments are not transferable to political arguments. There's an identity problem there.

Sly's seems unsatisfied with Cassandra's focused priority on RINO, aka ideological purity, vis vis Brown's supporters. But that focus on RINO is itself a part of ideological purity, because it is subjective and not particularly all embracing. I said that politics are local and such a stance won't accept external views as being equivalent to local views. What people who didn't have to be governed/represented by Dede or Brown felt, is not as important as those who did have to be. If the issue was about whether the RINO label was legitimate or whether it helped anyone politically or whether local or external factors were valid or not, then something worthwhile might have been presented. As it is, simply creating a hypothetical as a form of an argument that isn't an argument, against people that aren't judged as actual people, is not so good all in all. As it is, I'm not satisfied with this false priority list either. Some of this is due to the consensus arrived at by YAN at the bottom of this thread, and some of it isn't.

It would have been better if Cassandra had specifically attacked somebody, because then there would be something concrete to argue about. Since this is almost purely hypothetical, however, issues get pretty fogged up by the emotional component. It becomes more like an aesthetical value judgment than an argument. The more substance in an argument, the higher the chances that it can be verified one way or another. That's a good thing in my view.

It was specifically aimed at those who wanted the RNC to impose ideological litmus tests on candidates as a precondition of support for their candidacies, or who specifically said "real conservatives" should not support moderates (and Brown *is* a moderate).

"Those" people don't seem to exist. It's hard to make a statement of fact based upon what doesn't exist. It is not that there isn't a person like that out there, it is that a generic statement doesn't constitute an argument. The argument specifically points out those that actually did something. That requires individuals, specific individuals, and not generic archetypes or statistical norms.

The statement that "He destroyed that city" being justified by "there are people who exist that have destroyed cities" is not exactly... valid.


unfairly as a RINO: McCain. I disagree with a lot of his positions on domestic policy, but if we agree that the preservation of the Union and the deafeat of Islamism is the #1 conservative priority right now, McCain is right there.-C

I'd consider him a RINO on the basis that he's too sympathetic to the Left, sorta like Bush. But unlike Bush, McCain doesn't have the track record, actual successes, against America's enemies to counter-balance the issue. Bush got taken in by Kennedy and the Left on a lot of issues, like No Child Left Behind. McCain, however, made his own legislation to help Dems and the media with campaign finance. It's hard to say which one is worse. It's hard to call Bush a Republican in Name Only because he became the symbol of the Republican party. To reject him, was to throw away the party's platform, mostly. McCain is in a different slot, in that senate seat of his.

It's not that McCain has political problems, although he does have that, but because he simply works too much with the Left. By compromising away the basic platform upon which the Constitution rests, the Republican party, if you use McCain's guidelines, is just going to become a mirror image of the Democrat party. Same as in Britain, where both parties argue mostly about how much they will increase the national health service funding. Obviously he thinks that is the right way to go. He thinks that is the way the Republican party should go, the moral way to go. But as 2008 demonstrated, what people think and what actually works may not be entirely the same.

At this point in time, I trust his wife's political and strategic sense more than his.

There are any number of reasons why someone else would have been a better candidate

What I care about is that they have an actual spine and will to fight. Rather than compromise away this nation based the 'deal looked too good'. Arguing about what to fight about may come next, however. Those like the Republican Chair Steele, basically have no steel in their spine, so we never get to figuring out what he is actually fighting because he won't.

Again, the problem boils down to stopping the lunatics BEFORE they can pass those types of idiotic laws.

Why don't you calm down a bit, JHD. If it makes you feel better, the lunatics are already passing laws and are already in power.

Cass, I think the only bit I have to disagree with in that statement concerns Snowe.

I agree with C Dave on this point. Mentioning Snowe as part of your statement/observation/description was sub-optimum. Anything else that comes after that may have been entirely irrelevant, but that itself was all too relevant: in a wrong way.

If there is one thing I have consistently tried to avoid here at VC, it's arguing the person rather than the idea.

How is talking about 'the very same folks' avoiding the personal arguments. Once such a statement is made, the justification required to back that statement must definitely be about the connections between the aforementioned people.

I think it's a dangerous (and needlessly insulting) case to say that RINOs are politically moderate due to a lack of character or integrity

Again, when people use the word RINO, it's not just because of how you view RINOs. It is about how they view RINOs: a distinction there. If you had perhaps listened to their actual concerns, you could have crafted a statement of your position that could actually be verified one way or another. RINOs are not particularly moderate politically, as you use the term moderate. That's just your opinion. But it's not the opinion of everyone that ever called someone a RINO. To solely define RINOs on the issue of political purity is only one way to look at it. But if you choose to do that, that's not caused by 'other people' (irony), so to speak. If you wish to reject what others think and feel when they use the term RINO, when you wish to focus solely on RINOs as being political victims of a litmus test for conservative ideological purity, then you might as well accept that and communicate just what it is you expect to be talking about.

If you don't want to talk about how other people view RINOs, then how is it that you can accurately describe their position or thoughts in opposition to your own. It's one thing to state your own position on a favored subject: an entirely different issue to state somebody else's position about a topic you feel near to.

I don't operate in this kind of sphere, however. So I can't really accept your premises as true simply because you state them as so. I don't accept the premise that Brown's supporters were against Dede S. I don't accept the premise that Dede's bandwagon got attached to Brown's cart. I don't accept the premise that the RINO label can only refer to a political moderate that is being persecuted solely for ideological reasons. I don't accept such things, whether it is just a hypothetical what if scenario at this spot or if it is an all encompassing description of the real world. I have seen no reason to. They may be true or may not be true, but I don't have a reason to pretend one way or another.


Shor’s research shows us that even compared to Dede Scozzafava, Scott Brown is a very liberal Republican.

That's an ideological litmus test in my view. The logical train wreck this can produce is too complex to describe. So I'll just describe how this affects the premises that are available.

the very same folks who jumped on the Dede Scozzofava is a big fat RINO bandwagon have been going gaga over a candidate who is arguably even more liberal than Scozzofava

The assumption here is that those 'very same folks' actually cared about labels such as liberal or conservative in the fashion that Shor's research explored. Kick that assumption out and everything falls apart. It's as simple as that. If you do that, this next one falls as well.

three of the victors who returned us to power were liberal or moderate Republicans.

Now, if the people actually disliked RINOs because they had integrity issues, wouldn't stick to representing the individuals over the DC/Democrat special interests, then you could kick this premise out as well. Instead of them being liberal or moderate Republicans, an ideological or absolute spectrum litmus test, they could have just been people with character traits that people trusted. As simple as that. It all falls apart if a simple thing like that becomes true.

The entire paradigm shifts. Because then it is no longer about RINO political purity or liberal vs moderate anything. It is now about what people trust in to solve their problems, which is not an absolute political spectrum but simply an absolute reality standard. It is not dictated by a single person, but by the accumulated Brownian motion, so to speak.

Political moderates are not necessarily good people. They could be opportunists, traitors, or corrupt individuals that figured out they could get more money playing both sides of the aisle. But it is often predictable that those of certain character traits will tend towards moderation. Not a specific moderation, just a general description, rather than a political purity aspect. And if this non-ideological anti-purity perspective was the primary and most important motivaton behind calling Republicans RINOs, then this is a paradigm shift. Every argument based around the assumption that RINO is a political label used to harm people, collapses.

No one's going to like me for saying this, but so much for purity.

So what we end up with is that the people characterized as being for purity, if they weren't actually for purity, would not have lost and Cassandra, you, would not have won anything. Because you weren't in a contest or struggle to begin with. That's what can happen by shifting around the truth values on simple premises. It's often why people don't like changing their assumptions after they have invested time and energy into them.


But again, I would like to note that I don't have to accept people's premises at face value. I don't decide to believe or accept them until there's actually a pretty good reason to. A proof or justification would be nice. Absent that, some logic would work as well for a substitute. I can look for the 'purity brigade' but since I believe I won't find them, there's no reason for me to move anywhere. The statement isn't true or false to me, just invalid in that it lacks substance.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at January 24, 2010 01:00 AM

No one said you (or anyone else for that matter) have to accept anything at face value, Ymar.

As a matter of fact, I specifically said that I DON"T demand anyone accept what I said at face value. Yu-Ain seems to understand my explanation. Being unwilling to try and convince you of something I've written about many times and demanding you accept my word for it are two entirely different things.

It's just not worth it to me.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 24, 2010 01:21 AM

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