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Friday Talking Points [198] -- Milbank's Unfunny Puns

[ Posted Friday, February 17th, 2012 – 17:21 PST ]

I normally don't do this sort of thing, but today I have to begin this column with a criticism of a single media voice, because the writing was just so offensive. I mean... bad puns? In today's polite society?

The boundaries between politics and show business have become murky ever since Ronald Reagan became president. The lines between the media and politics are equally as blurred. But the line between certain types of comedy and the political/media world should be brighter than ever. This is a lesson Dana Milbank of the Washington Post apparently has yet to learn.

Using ethnic or racial stereotypes as comedy is dangerous ground, even for a professional comedian. Remarks from stand-up comedy have caused outcries in the past few years, leading to (in some cases) ruined careers. Using such stereotypes -- or even outright mockery -- has become all-but-unacceptable for people outside of the ethnic target group.

Those are just the boundaries for comedians. Journalists and politicians -- in the year 2012 -- should realize that whenever the impulse hits to use such imagery or phrases that they should follow one single rule: Don't go there.

Milbank, however, didn't just go there, he then doubled down in an attempt to be funny. You be the judge. Here's the intro to his new article, explaining the flap which occurred after his last article appeared:

When I set out to cover the confirmation of an obscure Hispanic jurist, I had no idea I would spark the Great Tex-Mex Takedown of the 2012 presidential race.

"Line of the day from WAPO's Dana Milbank," President Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina tweeted when the column appeared in the newspaper on Wednesday. " 'The chimichanga? It may be the only thing Republicans have left to offer Latinos.' "

Milbank's original article was a serious look at how the Republican Party is alienating Latinos in America. Most of the article makes a very good point, but it ends with the line Messina quoted, which used the word "chimichanga" from John McCain's recent Senate floor speech to make a snarky point.

However, his response to the fracas is nothing short of cringe-worthy. Here's Milbank, attempting to be funny:

To those demanding my apology, I say: That's nacho place. I flauta your demands. In the chimichanga wars, I will taco no prisoners -- and that's for churro.

The phrases "Holy mole sauce!" and "Not so fajitas" appear later in the article, as well.

The theme of the article is to scoff at phony outrage, or "false umbrage" as Milbank puts it. It contains an extensive list of offenses and apology demands from the political world of the past few years. The point Milbank is attempting to make, though, gets overshadowed by his mockery of his critics, and his doubling down on the whole "Tex-Mex food theme" in puns that even a fourth-grader wouldn't find amusing.

Milbank's first column made a very serious point, and ended with an attempt at snarky humor. Milbank's second column was nothing more than a sophomoric attempt at humor, which (at least for this reader) failed miserably. My guess is that whichever editor gave the green light for the second article is going to hear from a few others who were also not very amused.

OK, enough of my own umbrage at bad puns, let's get on with the meat and potatoes of the column.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

The mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, was just named chairman of the upcoming Democratic National Convention, which is certainly impressive, but he'll have to wait for an award until after we see how the convention is run.

President Barack Obama certainly had an impressive week, getting from Congress exactly what he demanded in the State Of The Union message -- a payroll tax holiday extension for the rest of the year... with "no drama." Speaker of the House John Boehner decided that next week's week-long vacation for Congress was much more important than staging the gigantic battle the Tea Partiers wanted him to wage, and so he caved before the fight even began. By doing so, we just saw how Congress used to work: one side realizes it is on the wrong side of an issue, and quickly retreats because it is holding a very weak political hand.

Republicans were in a lose-lose situation. Either they handed Obama a legislative victory, or they engaged in a "let's shut everything down" fight which would result in everyone's paychecks getting smaller the first of next month.

So they gave Obama his victory, and are assumably now slinking out of the D.C. swamp to jet their way back home or to some sunny locale for some relaxation.

We've got to pass out some Honorable Mentions this week for Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Mike Quigley, for walking out of a hearing on women's birth control held by the Republican House committee chair -- which featured a panel of five men. The walkout was featured heavily in the news reporting, as well as the "no women" aspect. These three Democrats won the game of spin the Republicans were attempting to play, hands down.

But our real Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week is the governor of Washington state, Chris Gregoire, for signing a bill which legalizes gay marriage in her state. On the other side of the continent, New Jersey governor Chris Christie vetoed gay marriage. [Aside: What is with all the Chrises in the news this week? Can't say I mind, it's easy for me to type, personally... ahem.]

Gay marriage is an issue which the Democratic Party should fully endorse. This culture war is almost over, and the pro-gay-marriage team is going to win in the end. Republicans like Christie are going to be seen by history as being on the wrong side of the issue. Democrats like Gregoire are going to be the impressive ones, seen later.

Which is why we see her right now as the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week. Well done, Governor Gregoire!

[Congratulate Washington Governor Chris Gregoire on her official state contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

This one's pretty easy. Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, after getting caught in the Milbank article fray, at least had the smarts to try and walk it back a little. His followup tweet when the storm clouds broke: "Tweeting someone else’s words caused a stir, but the GOP is on the wrong side of every Hispanic voter priority."

He tried to reframe the issue back to the original message of the first Milbank article, in other words.

But for sticking his foot in it in the first place, Messina is still our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week. Campaign managers aren't supposed to be a distraction in the news cycle. Messina needs to think twice about snarky tweets, the next time he feels the urge to quote someone in such a fashion.

[Contact Jim Messina via (naturally) his Twitter account, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 198 (2/17/12)

OK, onwards and upwards to the talking points. Two weeks from today, we will roll over the odometer here at this column, with our 200th offering. I'm not sure how we'll mark this occasion, so any suggestions are appreciated in the comments.

For now, here's a grab bag of talking points all Democrats (especially those interviewed on national television) can use in the upcoming week. Enjoy!

 

1
   GOP doesn't count

What is it with these caucus states? In most primary elections, the job of counting the votes falls on the state elected official who runs the general election. In caucus states, the party itself counts the votes. That's the theory, in any case...

"I see that the Republican Party of Maine apparently is having problems counting. Their caucus only drew one-half of one percent of the people -- less than 6,000 votes -- and the Maine GOP couldn't even count that high. This is after Iowa attempted a recount, and announced that they could not come up with an accurate number since they had lost a few counties' votes. That's two states out of only nine which have voted so far. Maybe the Republican slogan this year for their primary voters should be: Vote GOP, where your vote doesn't count!"

 

2
   Boehner's dizziness

This one was just hilarious. John Boehner made a statement upon completion of the tax cut bill. The Huffington Post reported on it, and found one part of it amusing. I found a separate part amusing, myself.

"Did you hear the spin from John Boehner this week, on the payroll tax bill he agreed to? He said, and I quote:

Last fall, I said that the only reason we're even talking about a payroll tax break or an extension of unemployment benefits is because the president's economic policies have failed. I still believe that to be the case today. The agreement that's been reached to stop a tax hike on middle class Americans is a fair agreement and one that I support.

So, let's get this straight. The Speaker says Obama's economic policies have failed, while at the same time he is offering his support for an Obama economic policy. Somebody better stop the Speaker's spinning, because I think he's getting dizzy."

 

3
   Aspirin? Really?

This one is just too easy.

"I see a prominent backer of Rick Santorum just said that the answer to women's health needs was for them to hold an aspirin between their legs. Wow. That's just... wow. Somebody needs to send the Republicans a calendar, because I don't think they're aware of what decade it is. I mean... aspirin? Really?"

 

4
   Getting Orwellian

There's a wider picture that Democrats really need to be drawing right now. Nancy Pelosi's doing a pretty good job, but other Democrats need to start framing the issue more bluntly.

"Republicans, back in 2010, told the voters to put them in power and they'd fix all of America's economic problems. Instead, once they got into office, they have launched a full-scale attack on women's rights. Mitt Romney, in a televised debate, was asked about contraception and he responded that he didn't think any states were trying to ban contraception. But that is just what the so-called 'personhood amendments' would do in every state the Republicans have been pushing them -- outlaw certain forms of birth control. This is an attack on women, on women's rights, and on women's health. The Republicans should be more upfront to the voters about their goals, and campaign wearing the red sash of Orwell's 'Junior Anti-Sex League.' At least it'd be more honest."

 

5
   Remember Terri Schiavo? Rick can't seem to.

Barbara Coombs Lee recently wrote an excellent article which really should be getting some attention, especially by upcoming debate moderators. Because I'd love to see Rick Santorum answer a few more questions about the issue.

"Rick Santorum, like most Republicans, loves to rail against the government interfering in medical decisions -- at least, when Obama is the target. Seven years ago, Santorum was part of the effort to get Congress to federally intervene in the tragic case of Terri Schiavo. News reports at the time had Santorum actively pushing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to take federal action in a private medical decision. I guess the federal government telling patients and their families what to do is OK with Santorum, at least when it is Republicans in the federal government doing so. Someone should ask him about his blatant hypocrisy on the matter."

 

6
   Just send Congress home

Here's an idea everyone should be able to get behind.

"The consensus in Washington is that now that Congress has passed the payroll tax extension, that absolutely nothing is going to get done for the rest of the year. I've even heard people discussing what Congress will be doing in December, in the lame-duck session. Since we're all agreed that with a Republican House and a Democratic Senate -- in an election year -- nothing whatsoever will get done for the next nine months, why not just send them all home until after the election's over? Of course, we'd have to cut their pay, too. Imagine the budget savings!"

 

7
   Deploy the FLOTUS

OK, I admit I wrote this one just for that title. Because I can just see someone in the political office of the White House barking out "Deploy the FLOTUS!" to the strategy team.

"Has anyone noticed that the First Lady seems to be everywhere in the past few weeks? She's greeting people on the White House tour, she's on late night television, she seems to be all over the place. I, for one, am glad that Michelle Obama is getting herself out there, because she is the best and biggest supporter her husband has, and she's also the best ambassador the White House has to the American public -- who seem to love her."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

78 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [198] -- Milbank's Unfunny Puns”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    Messina needs to think twice about snarky tweets, the next time he feels the urge to quote someone in such a fashion.

    Com'on... Messina should be fired...

    The Left would be calling for the head of any GOP'er who made such a racist comment...

    Deploy the FLOTUS

    Actually, the First Lady is a very polarizing figure with her Marie Antoinette attitude towards every day Americans... It would be a mistake for Obama to deploy the FLOTUS...

    On two other notes that have been bothering me.. I had to wait til Friday to say this, because Friday's are usually a 'free for all' partisan mud bath anyways... :D

    What IS it with Obama!???

    He was out touting a company as being so great and awesome... Yet, it was a company that his administration SUED at the behest of his Labor handlers!

    "The nerve on you. You totally Butterfly Effected history!!"
    -Sam Winchester, SUPERNATURAL, My Heart Will Go On

    Or, if you prefer.

    "Ballsy. Stupid, but ballsy"
    -Tom Arnold, TRUE LIES

    I mean, the chutzpah is astounding from this guy...

    Iran.....

    Haven't seen much of Iran here in these commentaries of late....

    I am struck by the complete and utter 180 of the mindset between "Iran" of the Bush years and "Iran" of the Obama years..

    During the Bush year, Democrats were in the news DAILY, warning Bush about taking on Iran... You couldn't throw a rock without hitting a dozen Lefties crying and whining about Iran and Bush's war-mongering...

    Fast forward to today.. When it's being reported daily that conflict with Iran is imminent, we hear from the Democrats.......

    {{{chhhiiiirrrpp}}} {{chirp}} {{chiiiiiiirrrrrrrpppp}}

    It's cricket city....

    When simply emphasis the fact that the Left was never "anti-war".... Just anti-Bush..

    If it's THEIR guy prosecuting the war, the Left loves it....

    A fact that will, no doubt, be re-enforced once the GOP is back in control of Congress and the White House...

    Funny thing is, during the Bush years, a war with Iran would have been MUCH easier to prosecute, much easier to win and with a lot less loss of American lives...

    Go figure.....

    That's my rant for the day.... :D

    Michale.....

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, let's get this straight. The Speaker says Obama's economic policies have failed, while at the same time he is offering his support for an Obama economic policy. Somebody better stop the Speaker's spinning, because I think he's getting dizzy."

    I don't see the inherent contradiction..

    Boehner said that Obama's overall economic policies have failed. This is true. Even Obama himself has said that Americans were better off before his Presidency...

    But, that doesn't mean that Obama can't get it right every once in a while.. Even a busted analog watch is right twice a day...

    To put it into a different context, I would say that Obama's foreign policy over all has been a failure.. Iran is going to get a nuke, North Korea is still thumbing their noses at the US, Obama has lost Egypt and Libya and is in the process of handing Syria over to Al Qaeda..

    Obama's overall foreign policy sucks royal purple panther piss..

    But that doesn't mean he didn't have ANY successes... He has slapped down the Somali pirates at every opportunity.. And yes, he got Bin Laden by channeling his inner Bush...

    So, there HAVE been a few successes.. But overall, it sucks..

    That's all Boehner is saying...

    Michale.....

  3. [3] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Somebody better stop the Speaker's spinning, because I think he's getting dizzy.

    You could easily extend this to the entire Republican party. I have no idea what they stand for anymore.

    One minute they're against tax cuts, the next they're for them. Then they're for plans to help illegal aliens find a path to citizenship, then they're against them. Then they're against raising the deficit ceiling, then they're for it. Or they're for a healthcare mandate, then they're against it.

    About the only thing that's remained consistent through all of this is that they are solidly for a return to more trickle down theory. They have always been solidly behind giving the wealthy even more tax breaks.

    I'm not sure that's going to go over well with people this election. Which I guess is why they keep focusing on everything else.

    -David

    p.s. I think Romney made a big mistake with his sudden attack on unions. This type of thing is not playing very well in the Midwest right now.

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Welcome back!! :D

    You could easily extend this to the entire Republican party. I have no idea what they stand for anymore.

    Not to belabor this point ad-nasuem, but the same could be said for the Democratic Party...

    If I would have told you in 2008 that we would have a Democratic President who would continue AND expand Bush's wire-tapping, would expand rendition, would continue to torture terrorists at Gitmo, would embrace Wall Street and Corporate donors, would start another war, etc etc and ALL of that would garner ZILCH in condemnation from the Left, you would have signed me up for the rubber room...

    So, it's not just the Republican Party that has gone totally against type...

    The ONLY thing I am sure of, insofar as where a Democrat or a Republican stand, is that they stand for themselves and themselves only.

    Michale.....

  5. [5] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Michale: Actually, the First Lady is a very polarizing figure with her Marie Antoinette attitude towards every day Americans...

    I agree. She may do well with Dem fundraising events, but I wouldn't be trotting her around the campaign trail too much, once the actual race fires up.

    Meanwhile, have you seen this? I can't stop laughing: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/18/usa-campaign-obama-slogan-idUSL2E8DEDRP20120218

    I'm loving "Greater Together" as Obama endeavors to divide the nation with his class warfare tactics. Priceless.

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Chris1962 -

    Good thing FLOTUS isn't listening to your advice.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=146703122

    66 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the first lady, about even with her ratings on Inauguration Day, according to the Pew Research Center.

    For comparison, that's about where Laura Bush stood, and much higher than Hillary (42%).

    Oh, and: she does well with the moderate and liberal Republicans and independents whom Democrats will try to lure away in the fall elections

    In other words, Michelle's exactly what I said she was: a great campaign asset for Barack. The "Marie Antoinette" stories only convinced the faithful Fox News crowd, apparently...

    :-)

    -CW

  7. [7] 
    Paula wrote:

    David makes the point that he no longer knows what Republicans stand for; Michale says the same goes for Democrats.

    With respect to Republicans, I think Corey Robin, in his book The Reactionary Mind, is on to something. His theory doesn't cover the full gamut (and does not claim to) but his basic premise is that "Conservatives" who self-describe themselves as being "on the right" primarily stand for maintaining a hierarchal system where there are a few who make the rules and a many who have to follow the rules. They don't believe in equality; they believe that some people are "superior" and should be allowed to rule over those who are "inferior". The "superior" class isn't static - it's fluid and people force their way into the "superior" class through their own efforts and as result of their gifts. The Galtians/Ayn Rand express this idea.

    From their viewpoint, the "left" is always agitating for things that offer the masses freedom and the abilities to be masters of their own fates but must be thwarted because "inferiors" are not capable of self-determination and must be brought to heel.

    Conservatives are always buttressed by people who are NOT part of the ruling class, but who are comfortable with a worldview that places people at tops and bottoms. It is important to them to feel that there are people who are, by birth, nature, whatever, below them.

    Robin argues that "conservatives" have been prepared (since Burke, which is kind of where he starts) to violently oppose outbreaks by the lower orders. They are "reactionary" in that what they believe in at any given time is a response to the left as opposed to being something intrinsic.

    What do Democrats stand for? First, just as the right is composed of more than self-declared republicans, the left is composed of more than self-declared Democrats. Folks actively involved in the Occupy Movement include a large percentage of Anarchists, for example, who believe in "self-government" by volunteers rather than "government-by-elites". (Anarchists are accused of favoring "chaos" or "no government" but that's incorrect.) There are other factions with varied worldviews - College Professors do look at the world differently than do Union Skilled Laborers. Etc. But, in broad terms they all share a sense that individuals have intrinsic value and have the right to self-determination; that people should be equal before the law and that neither birth, wealth, race, gender, religion, etc. bestows any kind of automatic "superiority" or "inferiority" on anyone.

    Of course, talk to the average self-declared Dem or Repub and you aren't likely to hear any of this, primarily because most people are apolitical. They simply aren't very interested and they aren't very knowledgeable. But the underlying themes are usually pretty easy to spot.

  8. [8] 
    dsws wrote:

    That gives conservatives no credit whatsoever, as far as I can see. That's pretty close to accurate, but any grains of truth are worth paying attention to.

    Old-fashioned Burkean conservatives believe in the value of trial-and-error traditions. They think idealistic schemes are a recipe for disaster, but they don't necessarily oppose the ideals involved. They don't necessarily support hierarchy per se the way other types of conservatives do. And idealistic schemes can indeed go bad in unforeseen ways.

  9. [9] 
    Paula wrote:

    I can't claim any knowledge of what "old fashioned Burkean conservatives" do or don't believe. I will say that the republican party today has virtually nothing to do with beliefs in trial and error traditions. They are the opposite - they refuse to accept as legitimate any evidence that suggests their views de jour are failures in real life. They won't even acknowledge successes if the means to success is not on today's menu -- Mitt Romney has to completely disavow one of his few successes as Governor because his program is eerily similar to the evil "Obamacare".

    And, while "idealistic" schemes can go bad in unforeseen ways, so indeed can greedy schemes, stupid schemes, even tried and true schemes that always end in tears. Things like going off and starting unjustified wars in faraway countries where you don't understand the culture and yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Yes, at one time there were "pragmatic" republicans, even, I will say, honest and honorable republicans. They are dinosaurs now.

    To be fair to them, I think the downfall started with the end of the Fairness Doctrine. Five minutes later you had Rush Limbaugh and between him, all the Rush wannabees around the country, and FOX, we now have had some 20 years of non-stop vitriol, hate, invective, hate, complete lack of any consistency, more hate, 150% disrespect for anyone "not-republican", lies, lies, lies, every form of bigotry and more hate. Democrats have some responsibility here because the went along with it instead of denouncing these people and tactics. By trying to "reach" people through FOX, they legitimized FOX and FOX does not deserve to be legitimized.

    The hard right - the people who watch and listen to the professional hate crowd - have literally developed what I call a "habit of hate". Poke one of them and out erupts something nasty. Their first instinct is to denigrate, to scorn and to decry. No one on the left has any honorable intentions -- ALL they do is lay around drinking or taking drugs while the only good people in America, Evangelicals and hard right Catholics, carry all the weight.

    My husband has exchanges with an old "friend" (a former co-worker) on Facebook and the stuff that pours out of this guy, constantly, is staggering. Only he, and all his fellow gun owners are true patriots. Greed is good! But he is Christian, oh so Christian! But it is entirely justifiable to not only assume all Black people are criminal, lazy and stupid, only stupid people think anything else! Stupid people and liberals, who hate America. Especially people who support the marxist-Kenyan Obama who just wants to take their guns and turn us into communist Russia!

    He (and all his buddies who chime in on FB) has no sense whatsoever of any cognitive dissonance. And they have no awareness of how nasty they appear to be; how they devalue everyone but their fellow hard right travelers. I think this is because they have absorbed the non-stop hate flow from their favored media and it has become part of them. They have no conscious awareness of their thought processes - they don't consciously process what they hear at all - they simply accept it and spit it back out. There's no need to process today's invective since it's as true as gravity. They assimilate without examination.

    With minds functioning (or not functioning) like that, there's no possibility of thoughtful assessments about what has proved itself over time and what hasn't. And, both sadly and dangerously, this kind of "thinking" now pretty much permeates the party. There are a few Republicans sounding the alarm but they have lost control.

    Which is what always happens when you ink a deal with the devil.

  10. [10] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Chris: In other words, Michelle's exactly what I said she was: a great campaign asset for Barack...

    Yeah, until she slips up and reveals that "this is the second time [she's] ever felt really proud of America," or something to that effect.

    You're also neglecting to factor in all the Marie Antoinette spots that will be running, by lord-knows-how-many Super PACs, reminding America of how much she just loves to spend their money (while dictating what they should and shouldn't eat). IOW, she's an easy target. If I were O, I'd be pushing those cute little daughters in front the cameras an awful lot and keeping Marie in the background.

  11. [11] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Chris1962 -

    I wouldn't count on it. In fact, I'll wager 500 Quatloos right here and now that there won't be any anti-Michelle ads run by ANYbody. If you're going to spend millions of bucks on an ad, you assumably want the ad to be effective and do some good for your side. Because he's an incumbent, attacking Obama's wife is (1) going to be seen as irrelevant, and (2) going to backfire because she's already got a 2-to-1 favorable rating with the public, and (3) will backfire because the nastiness of such an ad will immediately turn away independents. She's not even close to being called "marginal," remember, she's 2-to-1. Because anyone who can read a poll can see this, they'll spend their money on other attacks against the president himself -- ones that have a prayer of actually working.

    500 large Q's. Whaddya say?

    Besides, for Marie Antoinette behavior, one simply cannot come close to the queen of modern FLOTUSes (and I don't mean that in a good way) -- Nancy Reagan. Now THAT was some serious let-them-eat-cake behavior. Look it up if you don't remember any of it...

    :-)

    -CW

  12. [12] 
    dsws wrote:

    If it were that bad an idea for the Republicans, wouldn't some Democrats put up a phony-Republican super-PAC and run some anti-Michelle ads in October?

  13. [13] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula -

    That is interesting, and I would check the book out if I didn't already have a huge stack of stuff to read (currently: a treatise on the VA and KY Resolutions, where Tom Jefferson advocated not only nullification but also secession... in 1798, no less...).

    There's another similar book which keeps getting recommended to me (HawkOwl? You out there?) called something like "The Authoritarian Style In American Politics" (that's not it, but it's something along those lines), written back in the early 1960s. Over and over again I keep coming across references to this book, which usually means I should probably read it (that's what led me to read Tocqueville, for instance).

    As for pragmatism, the most interesting study in ignoring what works right now is Mitt Romney in Michigan. He has truly painted himself into a corner, and he will likely lose the state because of it (ironically, to someone who believes the same thing).

    Think about it: Romney's ENTIRE political persona is someone capable of "fixing things" (the Olympics) or being a whiz at running private enterprises. When the bailout of the auto companies happened, Mitt denounced it, and predicted GM and Chysler would fail within a year or two. Here it is a few years later, and Mitt has been proven embarassingly wrong. But wait... wasn't he supposed to be the guy that understood business? You can see the pinch he's in. He can't even flip-flop on the issue, because then he would be admitting how wrong he was in his prediction -- which destroys his credibility as a businessman who understands the future. So he doubles down, and tries to sell the voters of MI that everything would have been peachy keen without the bailout, and what a horrible idea it was to save all of their jobs. Problem is, everyone in MI knows that is the sheerest bunkum.

    So they'll all vote for Santorum, who agrees that the bailout was a bad thing, too. Makes the head spin, doesn't it?

    Even when government does something that works, Republicans seem incapable of admitting it. Which most voters see through, because most voters (and a HUGE percentage of independents) are actually pragmatists themselves, and respect things that turn out OK.

    Romney's dad -- former AMC chairman and MI Governor -- is likely spinning wildly in his grave, right about now.

    Bet Mitt loses MI by double-digits....

    -CW

  14. [14] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    dsws -

    Hah! That was funny...

    :-)

    -CW

  15. [15] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    David -

    What attack on the unions? Did I miss something, or are you just talking about Romney being anti-auto-bailout?

    Do tell!

    -CW

  16. [16] 
    dsws wrote:

    I will say that the republican party today has virtually nothing to do with beliefs in trial and error traditions. They are the opposite

    Agreed. There are no conservatives left in the Republican Party, by what the word used to mean. They're all right-wing radicals now.

    Mitt Romney has to completely disavow one of his few successes as Governor because his program is eerily similar to the evil "Obamacare"

    Btw, you'll notice that our resident transcribers of Republican talking points have given up on calling it Obamacare. Apparently it's too popular for them to want to have his name attached to it now.

  17. [17] 
    Paula wrote:

    Hi Chris!

    Yep, Mitt's Michigan win is definitely in jeapardy and he IS the perfect example of a republican "ignoring what works". His whole candidacy seems to be this ever shifting act and the sort of dark irony (for him) is that the one "not-Mitt" that is really threatening him now is a guy who, while loathsome, is pretty consistent in his loathsomeness. In that way Santorum is like Ron Paul - although Paul's fans are more longstanding whereas Santorum's new fans are turning to him mostly because they can't stand Mittt. But it is the appearance (and to be fair to both) perhaps the actual presence of a set of beliefs these men hold; beliefs they won't jettison for expediency, that attracts their followers.

    Santorum really is a perfect representation of the hard right at this point in time. Mitt, meanwhile, is the perfect tool for the former heavyweights in the party - the Carl Roves and Grover Norquists. He, so it seems, would sign their legislation and let them do the thinking. A statesman-looking empty vessel. But the hoi polloi in the party have rejected the former leadership -- they are rebelling. Where it all winds up is going to be interesting.

    BTW, my husband is wondering if you're referring not to a book, but to a famous essay from about 1964 by Richard Hofstadter called "The Paranoid Style of American Politics" http://studyplace.ccnmtl.columbia.edu/files/courses/reserve/Hofstadter-1996-Paranoid-Style-American-Politics-1-to-40.pdf

    I just looked it up and read it and it is quite interesting. One of his points is the idea that the "political paranoid" sees everything as life and death: "he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders. whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a tuming point: it is now or never in organizing resistance to conspiracy."

    And I thought this was spot on and absolutely relevant today: "He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, the quality needed is not a willingness to compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Nothing but complete victory will do."

    You'll have to try to squeeze it into your reading list!

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    CB,

    I'm loving "Greater Together" as Obama endeavors to divide the nation with his class warfare tactics. Priceless.

    Obama is afraid to use the "CHANGE" mantra again, for two reasons..

    1}Because it will remind all the Independents & NPAs who voted for him (yours truly included) that he didn't make any Change the first time around. Or, more accurately, that his "CHANGE" made things worse. The President himself has stated as much..

    and

    B}Because he knows that the ONLY "change" that Independents and NPAs are interested in, is a change of leadership...

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obama isn't going to have to fight the GOP candidate as much as he is going to have to fight his own words...

    There are dozens of quotes from Senator Obama that indicate a total flip flop, when compared to President Obama.

    Plus, quotes like, "Were Americans better off 3 years ago?? Of course they were." will be GOP spots all by their lonesome... And damn effective ones too...

    I think in the 2012 election, Obama is going to be his own worst enemy.. Especially when he starts re-acting to those spots.

    Everyone knows, Obama is very thin-skinned and can't handle criticism of any kind... We're going to see a very different Obama in the coming months..

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Obama is afraid to use the "CHANGE" mantra again, for two reasons...

    umm, because "change" generally means getting rid of whomever's in office?

    How we gonna run re-form when we're the damn incumbent!
    ~o' brother where art thou

    as for the comparing michelle to marie antoinette, that's just plain silly. antoinette showed complete disregard for the poor and hungry. michelle on the other hand is actually trying to do something to help feed poor children.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/13/news/la-pn-obamas-food-bill-signing-121310

    "let them eat... fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains?" seriously? notwithstanding one overzealous bureaucrat in north carolina, healthier food is a proven factor that can improve the learning climate in poor schools.

    going after a politician by attacking their spouse is poor form, and people know it.

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Joshua,

    umm, because "change" generally means getting rid of whomever's in office?

    Yea, I mentioned that... The problem for Obama is THAT is exactly the kind of change that Independents and NPAs are interested in..

    antoinette showed complete disregard for the poor and hungry.

    You didn't mention all the lavish vacations Michelle has taken while a LOT of Americans strive to put food on the table..

    How come??

    going after a politician by attacking their spouse is poor form, and people know it.

    This would be true IF.... If the politician doesn't put the spouse out there to campaign for him..

    The general consensus around CW.COM here is that, if a family member actively campaigns for a politician that family member is fair game for credibility checks...

    That's my take on it, anyways...

    Michale.....

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    QUATLOO PREDICTION

    And Iran strike will be this election's October Suprise... 10K quatloos

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cc98c9ee-5964-11e1-9153-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1mvANdudh

    Bonus Prediction...

    It will actually happen in Sep or Aug.... Double Down..

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    You didn't mention all the lavish vacations Michelle has taken while a LOT of Americans strive to put food on the table..

    Well it has been a whole month! Just weeks after 17-day Hawaii vacation Michelle hits the slopes with daughters on Aspen ski trip
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2103173/Just-weeks-17-day-Hawaii-holiday-Michelle-Obama-takes-daughters-ski-trip-Aspen.html

    I mean, come on!!!!

    Seriously.....

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:


    -- President’s Day 2012, Michelle and the first daughters in Aspen, Colorado to ski.

    -- Christmas 2011, the first family in Hawaii for an extended vacation.

    -- Summer 2011, in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., for the annual beach break.

    -- June 2011, the first lady, her mother and daughters traveled to South Africa and Botswana.

    -- President’s Day 2011, the first lady and first daughters travel to Vail to ski.

    -- Christmas 2010, in Hawaii.

    -- August 2010, the first family traveled to Panama City Beach, Fla., for some sun and fun at the beach.

    -- August 2010, Obama spent the weekend alone in Chicago for his 49th birthday bash.

    -- August 2010, the first lady and daughter Sasha traveled to Spain for a mother-daughter vacation.

    -- August 2010, summer vacation again at Martha’s Vineyard.

    -- July 2010, the first family went to Mount Desert Island, Maine.

    -- May 2010, the first family had a four-day trip to Chicago.

    -- March 2010, first lady and daughter spend Spring Break in New York City.

    -- Christmas 2009, Hawaii again for the annual break.

    -- August 2009, at Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon for a short vacation.

    -- August 2009, their first summer vacation as first family at Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

    Recession???

    WHAT recession.....

    Hay, the Left made such a big hullabaloo over Bush and his Vacations...

    But, in the here and now, we're in the middle of a completely frak'ed economy...

    Maybe Barack The First and Michelle Antoinette could cool it for a while, eh??

    I am sure we all agree that, in Politics, perception trumps reality...

    And all this looks pretty damn bad...

    Michelle might not be the best Ambassador to the Independents and NPAs.

    I'm just sayin'...

    Michale......

  25. [25] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The general consensus around CW.COM here is that, if a family member actively campaigns for a politician that family member is fair game for credibility checks...

    ONLY if that spouse gets seriously involved in policy differences on the stump. pet projects that everyone can get behind, like "say no to drugs" or laura bush's push for better school libraries (i'm not going to even get into the irony of that one where george is concerned) are par for the course, and not an invitation to personal attacks on the lifestyle of the spouse and kids.

    there's also a HUGE difference between substantive criticism and propagandistic name-calling. michelle o has made a point of getting better nutrition for poor children, hardly a contentious issue where the parties are in deep disagreement. further, it takes a special kind of doublethink to call her by the name of a person who factually did the exact OPPOSITE.

    Everything's different, yet the same. Things are more moderner than before, bigger, and yet smaller. It's computers. San Dimas High School Football Rules!
    ~bill & ted's excellent adventure

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    ONLY if that spouse gets seriously involved in policy differences on the stump.

    Well, I guess we would have to agree what "seriously" means..

    Looking at CW's TP...

    "Has anyone noticed that the First Lady seems to be everywhere in the past few weeks? She's greeting people on the White House tour, she's on late night television, she seems to be all over the place. I, for one, am glad that Michelle Obama is getting herself out there, because she is the best and biggest supporter her husband has, and she's also the best ambassador the White House has to the American public -- who seem to love her."

    ....I would call that getting "seriously" involved...

    michelle o has made a point of getting better nutrition for poor children, hardly a contentious issue where the parties are in deep disagreement.

    I am not claiming she hasn't done some good.. Just as I am sure you wouldn't claim that George Bush never did any good..

    But the question before us is, does the GOOD (helping fat kids) that Michelle Obama have done outweigh the bad (lavish vacations) in the eyes of the Independents and NPAs...

    I don't think it does....

    A thousand "atta boy"s can be erased with a single "oh shit"... And Michelle have had a lot of "oh shit"s in her time...

    further, it takes a special kind of doublethink to call her by the name of a person who factually did the exact OPPOSITE.

    Remember, we're talking perception, not reality..

    When an average Joe hears "Marie Antoinette", what's the first thing that comes to mind? Lavish lifestyle while the peasants suffer..

    That fits Michelle Obama to a T...

    You may not like the comparison. The comparison may not even be factually accurate...

    But you simply cannot deny that, in the eyes of the Independents and NPAs, the perception is dead on ballz accurate...

    And the opinion of the Independents and the NPAs is the ONLY opinion that matters...

    Everything's different, yet the same. Things are more moderner than before, bigger, and yet smaller. It's computers. San Dimas High School Football Rules!
    ~bill & ted's excellent adventure

    I'm sooo proud... {{sniffle}} {{sniffle}}

    :D

    Michale.....

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Another side of the Unemployment numbers...

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/pain_brings_gain_taZkGOAUhXALmhEEyMpmqJ

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    You may not like the comparison. The comparison may not even be factually accurate...

    But you simply cannot deny that, in the eyes of the Independents and NPAs, the perception is dead on ballz accurate...

    of course i can, and i believe CW did just that in [11]. she is extremely popular with the public, so both in reality AND in perception, michelle o is the exact opposite of the image you're trying to depict.

    another thing, michelle (unlike barack, i might add) has done things that have shown prior evidence of actually improving public education. unlike "race to the top" and its red herring reforms, health, fitness and nutrition comprise one of the simplest and most effective ways of improving a child's education for real. limit the junk food, get the kids enough exercise and regular check-ups, and they're better able to pay attention in class. i think i also read somewhere that she was partly behind barack's attempts to limit the hegemony of test scores.

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    of course i can, and i believe CW did just that in [11]. she is extremely popular with the public, so both in reality AND in perception, michelle o is the exact opposite of the image you're trying to depict.

    As always, it depends which polls you read...

    The survey found that just 50 percent of Americans now have a positive opinion of her, compared to the 64 percent who gave her a thumbs up in a similar April 2009 survey.

    http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Sections/NEWS/A_Politics/___Politics_Today_Stories_Teases/Aug%20NBC-WSJ%20Filled-in%20_for%208-11-10%20release_.pdf

    another thing, michelle (unlike barack, i might add) has done things that have shown prior evidence of actually improving public education. unlike "race to the top" and its red herring reforms, health, fitness and nutrition comprise one of the simplest and most effective ways of improving a child's education for real. limit the junk food, get the kids enough exercise and regular check-ups, and they're better able to pay attention in class. i think i also read somewhere that she was partly behind barack's attempts to limit the hegemony of test scores.

    Again, I am not denying the good Michelle has done..

    I simply maintain that it won't help her with the Independents and NPAs....

    Especially if she continues her Marie Antoinette lifestyle of monthly extravagant vacations..

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    Apparently, it's not just me who sees the Marie Antoinette connection...

    Material girl Michelle Obama is a modern-day Marie Antoinette on a glitzy Spanish vacation

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/material-girl-michelle-obama-a-modern-day-marie-antoinette-a-glitzy-spanish-vacation-article-1.200134

    Shit, BO Obama has a better lifestyle than most Americans...

    Michale.....

  31. [31] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The survey found that just 50 percent of Americans now have a positive opinion of her, compared to the 64 percent who gave her a thumbs up in a similar April 2009 survey.

    still less than 20% negatives - you're making my point for me. don't get me wrong, the righties are experts at disseminating and repeating a piece of propaganda, especially the name-calling variety. so i'm not surprised that some people have picked it up and run with it. it's still just about the dumbest frame i've ever heard though.

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    it's still just about the dumbest frame i've ever heard though.

    As I said, what you think of it is not relevant.

    What *I* think of it is not relevant..

    The ONLY question of relevance is what do the vast majority of Independents and NPAs think of it??

    Michelle is popular amongst Democrats, of that there is no doubt...

    Wait til she starts meeting hundreds of thousands of Joe Sixpacks...

    I think we will see a marked turnaround in how much she enjoys the campaign trail...

    Wanna talk about Iran??? :D

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Where can I send your shirt, Michale? ;)

    http://skreened.com/plunderbund/equals-2012#.T0KHjM2jGYQ.facebook

    -David

  34. [34] 
    akadjian wrote:

    He (and all his buddies who chime in on FB) has no sense whatsoever of any cognitive dissonance.

    Hi Paula,
    This has been an area of interest to me for quite a while and I'd add a few thoughts.

    There is actually a method to the dissonance. The trick is that you assume conservatives are interested in having actual back and forth discussions. Often, they're not.

    They've already decided that you're a liberal and not worth arguing with so they use the tactics which they've been taught by conservative pundits to deal with liberals.

    These tactics include how to antagonize liberals. To bait them. To call them socialists or communists or atheists or Hitler-lovers or whatever else will make them angry.

    Why? you say. What wins elections is having the strongest message. There's 2 ways to do this. One, is to have a strong message. The second is to weaken your opponent's message.

    Liberal baiting weakens your opponent's message. They tend to become flustered or fall for the bait and start denying the charges. Denial, of course, often only reinforces the charge. "I am not a child murderer." What do you hear and remember? Child murderer.

    If you don't believe me, listen to or read some Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh and they'll describe their tactics. Just don't pay for it :)

    This is how they've figured out they can win elections in today's media environment - a strong conservative message combined with a muddied liberal response.

    Most people see this as cognitive dissonance, but I think it's more an end justifies the means approach to winning elections.

    If you really corner most conservatives, you'll find that they don't believe half the stuff they're saying. But they hate liberals. And they've been told that if they say these types of things, they'll win. And often it works (I'd go into why but this is a lengthy conversation).

    -David

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Where can I send your shirt, Michale? ;)

    Oh, that's just wrong....

    :D

    Michale

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    There is actually a method to the dissonance. The trick is that you assume conservatives are interested in having actual back and forth discussions. Often, they're not.

    They've already decided that you're a liberal and not worth arguing with so they use the tactics which they've been taught by conservative pundits to deal with liberals.

    These tactics include how to antagonize liberals. To bait them. To call them socialists or communists or atheists or Hitler-lovers or whatever else will make them angry.

    Let's flip that around...

    There is actually a method to the dissonance. The trick is that you assume liberals are interested in having actual back and forth discussions. Often, they're not.

    They've already decided that you're a conservative and not worth arguing with so they use the tactics which they've been taught by liberal pundits to deal with conservatives.

    These tactics include how to antagonize conservatives. To bait them. To call them war-mongers or war criminals or Jesus Freaks or Hitlers or whatever else will make them angry.

    If you really corner most liberals, you'll find that they don't believe half the stuff they're saying. But they hate conservatives. And they've been told that if they say these types of things, they'll win. And often it works (I'd go into why but this is a lengthy conversation).

    Holy crap, look at that!??

    It's STILL 100% accurate.... :D

    Everything you ascribe to conservatives ALSO can be ascribed to liberals...

    They are two sides of the same exact coin...

    Michale.....

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    What it all boils down to is this.

    Ya'all have the prevailing opinion that Democrats and Liberals are better and better for this country than Republicans and Conservatives...

    This, despite the OVERWHELMING and UTTERLY CONCLUSIVE evidence that proves beyond ANY doubt that this is simply not the case...

    Michale......

  38. [38] 
    Paula wrote:

    Hi David:

    I agree with you about Conservative Liberal Baiting.

    Interestingly, this thread caused me to read a couple of things I hadn't previously on this topic (as noted in an earlier reply -- The Paranoid Style of American Politics essay was one, and today, another excellent essay: What is Conservatism and What is Wrong With It? http://polaris.gseis.ucla.edu/pagre/conservatism.html from 2004 by Philip Agre.

    This piece discusses at some length the methods conservatives use to create "dissonance". Agre's premise is pretty much the same as that of Corey Robins in The Reactionary Mind. He states: "Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy." and "Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world."

    "Founded on deception" is key here, and he then elaborates on the 4 tactics used by conservatives to essentially "fool" people into supporting them. To succeed, he posits, "... conservatism must destroy conscience, democracy, reason, and language."

    The discussions about reason and language are very relevant to the "cognitive dissonance" we speak of. You may well have read this, but if you haven't I think you'll find it quite interesting. Having just read this I'm still digesting it, especially the recommendations he has at the end about what we can do about it.

    Meanwhile, I agree that conservatives mostly aren't interested in discussions/debates and also that they don't believe half of what they're saying. That takes me to Agre's point about the destruction of conscience. Conservatives today scream for all sorts of things that only people lacking a conscience (or repressing their conscience) could desire. That they may do it in order to win elections, as opposed to actually believing what they say, is even more unforgivable.

    But, to take your final point "most people see this as cognitive dissonance, but I think it's more an end justifies the means approach to winning elections." I think we have to separate the Manipulators (the leadership) from the True Believers (Tea Partiers and related). The Manipulators see it as an end justifies the means approach but they are discovering that their followers have actually drunk the koolaid. Romney doesn't actually believe most of what comes out of his mouth (but he is a Mormon and believes some of it), but Santorum does. And Tea Partier's do. The dissonance is that they can't actually put together real A + B = C kinds of arguments because what they "believe" is a shifting hodgepodge of completely conflicting concepts. (Concepts tied together by the central thread of hate. They are not FOR things, they are AGAINST things - things the people they hate are for.)

    You can't defend "liberty" and "theocracy" as being compatible but they scream for both. They aren't thinking in terms of election strategy - if they were they would have accepted Romney months ago as their masters have directed.

    Influential Conservatives decided some 30 years ago to mount a coordinated assault on Democracy, the Dem party, and liberals in general. They had at their disposal previously unavailable tools in terms of media and they have used those tools brilliantly. The drawback, though, is that they now have on their hands a rather sizable group of people who, by believing what they've been told, MUST ultimately reject the tellers (not the best written sentence!).

    Per The Paranoid Style (and other studies) it seems that a fairly fixed proportion of humanity leans towards paranoia and authoritarianism. Every generation has their 25-30%. The crime, the sin, of conservative leaders is their decision to activate and manipulate that strain to gain political advantage. They are not to be excused on the basis that they're just using "what works" to win.

    Separately, figuring out effective ways to counter their insidious and despicable tactics is the challenge for principled Dems/Libs/Progs, etc., now.

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Has anyone ever noticed that the Right vs Left mentality in the here and now is nearly verbatim to the White vs Black mentality of the early to mid 20th century?

    "They don't think like normal people do"

    "They don't talk like normal people do"

    "They don't value things that normal people do"

    "They don't love like normal people do"

    It's an amazing case study in the "us vs them" mentality...

    "Fascinating"
    -Spock

    Unfortunately for this country, it's THAT attitude from the Right **AND** the Left that is the biggest impediment to real progress in this country..

    Michale.....

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's like we're all a bunch of jerks....

    http://sjfm.us/temp/Movie.wmv

    :D

    Michale.....

  41. [41] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I think we have to separate the Manipulators (the leadership) from the True Believers (Tea Partiers and related).

    Agreed. This is the beauty of the 1% argument and why I always encourage people to remember who their real fight is with and who they want on their side.

    The classic mistake so many make is forgetting.

    Glad you enjoyed The Paranoid Style ... it's a classic. I'll have to check out the other article you recommended.

    The Manipulators see it as an end justifies the means approach but they are discovering that their followers have actually drunk the koolaid.

    It is interesting, isn't it?

    Separately, figuring out effective ways to counter their insidious and despicable tactics is the challenge for principled Dems/Libs/Progs, etc., now.

    It's not as hard as you might think. Most people are pretty reasonable. All you have to do is remember where they're coming from and what they've heard. Then it's simply a matter of making your case in a way that doesn't trip the programmed emotional triggers. And knowing when to back off and let people decide for themselves.

    Unfortunately, while we tend to be very good at academic arguments, we're often not so good at what salespeople would call a "softer sell". At least this has been my experience with my friends :)

    -David

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am honestly taken aback here..

    An extremely bigoted argument is made and, not only is it given a pass, it is actually praised...

    I am simply gabberflasted...

    Michale....

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    On another note..

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2103967/Didnt-memo-Hillary-Clinton-wears-green-G20-family-photo-wears-white.html

    As much as I might disagree with her politics, I have to say..

    Hillary has class.... :D

    Michale.....

  44. [44] 
    akadjian wrote:

    What attack on the unions? Did I miss something, or are you just talking about Romney being anti-auto-bailout?

    Sorry, CW. I missed your comment earlier. It was all over the headlines 2 days ago.

    http://www.kansascity.com/2012/02/19/3438483/romney-targets-labor-unions-which.html

    Now, it's quieted down. Perhaps because Mittens has come to his senses?

    The funny thing in Ohio is that one of the last times Mittens came to Ohio was around the time our Governor, John Kasich, was fighting a statewide referendum on his union-bashing agenda.

    Mittens wanted nothing to do with Kasich and wouldn't even take a stand on the referendum because it was so unpopular. It went down in flames.

    But I see he hasn't learned.

    I just keep asking myself, if conservative economic arguments are so good, how come they spend so much time on the distractions?

    -David

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    I just keep asking myself, if conservative economic arguments are so good, how come they spend so much time on the distractions?

    I have asked myself the EXACT same thing about liberal arguments... :D

    Michale.....

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like Obama's honeymoon with lowering Unemployment Rates is over....

    Gallup is reporting that the Unemployment Rate is back up to 9%...

    I had a feeling that the lower numbers were due to seasonal hires...

    Doesn't look good for the Home team...

    Michale.....

  47. [47] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    What is Conservatism and What is Wrong With It? http://polaris.gseis.ucla.edu/pagre/conservatism.html from 2004 by Philip Agre.

    As much as it pains me to say it, I think Michale is right on this one. That essay could be rewritten swapping conservative with liberal and aristocracy with "the government" or "socialism" and it would fit just fine in an conservative attack piece. Much like calling a liberal a socialist, this rant has a grain of truth to it but is grossly exaggerated and assumes a level of collusion that I don't think exists.

    There may be historical evidence to his idea but I think he ignores how words change as do the vision of an idealized status quo that we are moving away from. I think the modern american conservative is not looking back to the aristocracy but to a more recent, prosperous and socially stable time in america. It used to be the fifties but that seems to be mostly replaced by an idealized version of the Reagan years.

    I recently read Anathem by Neal Stephenson. It had a great quote that I think describes our political system nicely:

    …the Convox was political, and made decisions by compromise. And it happened all the time that the compromise between two perfectly rational alternatives was something that made no sense at all.

    The dirty little secret about governments that no one likes to talk about is that most of them work. Some work better than others and some barely work at all. But at a basic level they all work.

    I think the conservative/republican economic/social plans could work if properly implemented but create a set of problems I dislike that are not acknowledged nor are likely to be delta with, possibly by design. I usually tend liberal because I think the side effects of the plans are more acceptable to me.

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    As much as it pains me to say it, I think Michale is right on this one.

    Awww right!!!!

    Who are you and what have you done with Bashi!!!!????

    :D

    Michale.....

  49. [49] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I think the conservative/republican economic/social plans could work if properly implemented but create a set of problems I dislike that are not acknowledged nor are likely to be delta with, possibly by design.

    Interesting, Bashi ... such as?

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by "work" and for whom they'll work. They have tended to work very well for the wealthy and not so well for the average American. Is this what you mean? Or something else? Curious.

    Oddly enough, as I'm sure you're aware, the time that most conservatives long for (the fifties) was characterized by many liberal traits such as strong unions and a healthy middle class.

    -David

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oddly enough, as I'm sure you're aware, the time that most conservatives long for (the fifties) was characterized by many liberal traits such as strong unions and a healthy middle class.

    And how is that Middle Class doing these days, after 3 years of Democrat rule??

    Michale.....

  51. [51] 
    akadjian wrote:

    And how is that Middle Class doing these days, after 3 years of Democrat rule?

    Better than they were after 8 years of trickle down theory, deregulation, and war.

    In fact, just today, one of our leading economic indicators, the Dow hit 13,000 for the first time since 2008. Why that almost sounds like Capitalism ... :)

    -David

  52. [52] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    ... such as?

    A classic example is the safety net for the bottom wrung of society. Conservatives or at least republicans don't want to get rid of it but want government generally and the federal government specifically to not run it. They would rather have, depending on which school of conservative thought, charities, local government and/or religious based charities run it. Even though this will generally work, what I dislike about it is as an atheist I'd rather not have an important part of society run by religion. Also since voluntary I see the problem of certain communities not supporting the safety net or not supporting it enough that those in need are forced to move to communities that do support the safety net to a reasonable level. Thus foisting off their societal responsibilities to others.

    The conservatives do not believe they are purely propping up the rich while pushing down the middle class in to the poor. They think by increasing business and wealth that will offer more opportunities that will then bring the poor in to the middle class. Government does not need to interfere with laws like minimum wage and worker protections as the market as it increases will generally take care of the worker as competition for workers increase. Now I don't think that really works but the difference is there is not some long lived illuminati like master plan to prop up a certain group of people while pushing down everyone else down as this article leads one to believe...

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    Better than they were after 8 years of trickle down theory, deregulation, and war.

    Not according to President Obama

    "I don't think Americans are better off than they were four years ago."
    -President Barack Obama, Oct 3, 2011

    I am also constrained to point out that, of the three you mention, Democrats are heavily invested in two...

    Like Matt said before..... TWO OUT OF THREE AIN'T BAD :D

    My only beef is the prevailing attitude that the Democrats are blameless in all this... But that is, factually, simply not correct.

    In the here and now, Democrats share the bulk of the blame.. Because they thought, in essence, the best way to avoid a bankruptcy was to spend trillions more...

    In the annals of stoopid moves, that has to be the STOOPEDIST I have ever been witness to...

    Michale.....

  54. [54] 
    Paula wrote:

    Hi Bashi:

    Any attack on anyone can be flipped - that doesn't mean both are right or that neither are right. Instead, the "attacks" need to be evaluated on their actual merits. "What's Wrong With Conservatives" discusses at length how the right wing deliberately uses the preemptive strike, continuously accusing the left of things it's doing or is about to do.

    You say "I think the modern american conservative is not looking back to the aristocracy but to a more recent, prosperous and socially stable time in america. It used to be the fifties but that seems to be mostly replaced by an idealized version of the Reagan years."

    Really, the Corey Robin's book, the Paranoid Style article and What's Wrong article overlap. "What's Wrong" uses the word "aristocracy" while Robin refers to "hierarchal" systems. In The Reactionary Mind Robins elaborates on this and talks about how the conservative favors hierarchal systems at all levels, starting with the home. They want the male/father to dominate; the women and children to be subordinate; and they want those types of relationships to be mirrored in the workplace and other institutions. Thus, the "average Joe" conservative may not be in the "shot-calling" elite, but he can be in the elite within his immediate environment. And the desire for there to BE elites means there has to be levels and someone has to be on the bottom. Much of the resentment conservatives express about "their hard earned money going to various undesirables" is rooted in the fear that helping undesirables reduces inequalities -- reduces the conservative's hierarchical advantage. Joe Conservative isn't going to admit this - he's going to talk about the Bible or the "natural" or "results of bad social polity" inferiority of others -- the key is the need for there to be inferiority.

    Not every conservative is a paranoid conservative as described in The Paranoid Style article, but the conservatives running around screaming that Obama wants their guns and the Girl Scouts are liberal/lesbians etc. ARE.

    Meanwhile, the truly privileged members of the right - the billionaires and the "upper class" types like the Bush family DO see themselves as superior beings who should rule. A good deal of the venom aimed at Bill Clinton by the beltway establishment was literally about how he was "low class".

    The entire phalanx of extreme Repub governors trying to destroy Unions perfectly exemplify the notion that they should be able to rule by fiat. Just today I was reading about the redistricting in Wisconsin and how the repub legislators signed confidentiality documents to try to suppress the fact that they had simply redistricted the state to their advantage, in secret. The idea that citizens have any right to be heard on these matters is dismissed. Issa's hearings that included no women but featured a bunch of powerful (in their realms) men once again illustrates the repub view that those in charge are allowed to be tyrants. Chris Christie vetoes gay marriage legislation because he can even though New Jersey citizens are for it. The Entire Bush presidency was about doing whatever they could get away with because they felt they had the right.

    And these governors, to a man, lied their ways into office. They talked JOBS but they are delivering on anti-union, anti-women measures (trying to anyway) and are using any number of tyrannical tactics to suppress citizen outcry.

    I said earlier that the conservative needs an inferior. They also need a superior and they serve their superiors - not the public, not the citizenry. They rule to maintain advantage, not for the common good. Each serves the level above him or her -- as Scott Walker in Wisconsin does the bidding of the Kochs, who inhabit the top echelon.

    The whole "hierarchy" concept is crucial to understanding conservatives and it is NOT applicable to the left. I'm not saying there aren't "elites" of sorts on the left but the mindset is very different; the motivations are different, the desired outcomes are different; world views are different.

  55. [55] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I am also constrained to point out that, of the three you mention, Democrats are heavily invested in two.

    Fair enough. After I posted I should realized what I should have said was:

    Better than they are after 30 years of trickle down theory, deregulation, and war.

    Anytime you're willing to fight against any of these, Michale, I'm all for it.

    But you seem to be arguing for more of all three, rather than less. And I don't think this is good for our country. We've seen the results.

    They think by increasing business and wealth that will offer more opportunities that will then bring the poor in to the middle class.

    These days, I think this is what their marketing department believes and perhaps some of those still holding onto the theories of Milton Friedman.

    Unfortunately, the evidence shows this isn't the case. Wages have remained stagnant for most and people are being dropped out of the middle class. The only group who has truly benefited are those at the top.

    I don't think anyone is trying to say there's an Illuminati-like plan devised by legions of Mr. Burns'. What I'd argue is that many of the conservative economic theories that you mention are not supported by evidence. In fact, the evidence contradicts them.

    Look at any of the income or wealth related data from the past 50 years. Who benefits? Hint: it's a few boats, not all. And they're very expensive boats.

    -David

    Correction- Perhaps I should

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    Any attack on anyone can be flipped - that doesn't mean both are right or that neither are right. Instead, the "attacks" need to be evaluated on their actual merits.

    That is true as far as it goes..

    However, if the "attacks" work on ANY level, simply by changing the players around, then it is likely (to the point of certainty) that the "attack" is not based on any factual basis or events, but rather is steeped in prejudice...

    With the utmost respect to him, David's comment is a perfect example...

    I just keep asking myself, if conservative economic arguments are so good, how come they spend so much time on the distractions?

    Turn it around (as I did) and it's still a very good question...

    Why is it that, if Liberals' arguments are so good, why do they spend so much time on distractions??

    The anti-war distraction of the Bush years is a perfect example... The current "Human Caused Global Warming Yet Mother Nature Is Not Co-operating" distraction is another perfect example...

    The problem I see here is that people in here want to stereotype the various political groups....

    While I am firmly on record as saying that stereotypes *ARE* stereotypes for a reason, that doesn't change the fact that, at it's base it's pure and simple bigotry...

    It's the "us vs them" mentality, the class warfare that Obama seems to be so good at fomenting...

    Even though I forget sometimes, I firmly believe that when all is said and done, we are not Democrats and Republicans..

    We are all Americans....

    I need to be reminded of that occasionally...

    I believe that ya'all do too.....

    Michale.....

  57. [57] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let me add, for the record...

    I am not saying that ANYONE ***ANYONE*** here is a racist or a bigot...

    I simply maintain that many of the statements her (my own included) really skirt the border of such sentiments...

    "Peter? Oh, he was borderline for a while. Then he crossed the border."
    -Egon, GHOSTBUSTERS II

    :D

    I am not blameless by ANY stretch of the imagination....

    Michale.....

  58. [58] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I need to be reminded of that occasionally.

    Ok. If your economic arguments are so good, how come you keep trying to talk about "bigotry"?

    Distraction.

    -David

    p.s. Dow is at 13,000. I think after some profit taking it could easily go up another 5%. Still time to invest ... :)

  59. [59] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    I take it easy for a few days, and the comments do have a tendancy to pile up, don't they? OK, here goes...

    Paula [17] -

    Yes, indeed, that is exactly the essay I was thinking of. Thanks for the link, I will find the time to check it out. "Paranoid" was the word I couldn't remember, which made Google searching for it impossible...

    Michale [21] -

    Oh, I certainly HOPE the GOP runs lots of anti-Michelle ads. It would be political suicide, which is why I would cheer such an effort on. You just keep beating that drum, maybe they'll listen to you. Heh.

    (done in Mister Roger's voice:) "Can you say 66 percent approval rating? (pause) I knew you could!"

    :-)

    As for your vacation list, once again, Bush is truly the King of Presidential Vacations, and nobody is going to come close to ever breaking his record. Not even if you add in spouses and children... nice try...

    nypoet22 [25] -

    See above -- I would welcome right-wing attacks on Michelle Obama, because they would backfire so spectacularly. 66 percent.

    I never took cheap shots at Laura Bush (although I did indeed do so whenever possible on her husband), because she seemed so down-to-earth and likeable a person. That is exactly the position Michelle Obama is now in. Attacking her would be foolish, and I'm willing to bet the smart folks in the GOP know this full well.

    Michale [26] -

    You can speculate all you want about the Independents, but I'll stick to actual polling, if you don't mind.

    66 percent. See comment [6] for link.

    [29] -

    Nice data. For August of 2010.

    Now? 66 percent.

    akadjian [33] -

    Now THAT is funny!

    Michale [39] -

    See: Pink Floyd's "Us And Them"...

    It's always "otherness" that gets demonized. Whether over religion, race, ethnicity, nationality -- it doesn't even matter what the subject at hand is, the tactics are always exactly the same. I agree with you on that point.

    akadjian [44] -

    Wow -- thanks for the link, I did miss this. Maybe you're right, maybe Mitt came to his senses. Who knows? Stranger things have happened. Heh.

    BashiBazouk [47] -

    I'm not really responding to you per se, here, just used your comment to enter this particular fray.

    The best (and funniest) satire of political differences, for me, is still the "Big Ender/Little Ender" chasm the Lilliputians had in Gulliver's Travels. Accurately pointed out the "distractions" that the public gets incensed over, and how minor they seem to an outsider looking in. Just thought I'd throw that into the reading list for everyone.

    Michale [50] -

    The middle class began tanking under Reagan, and has continued to do so since -- except for a brief window of brightness under Bill Clinton.

    :-)

    BashiBazouk [52] -

    I believe it was the NYTimes just had a story about where the safety net was actually used the most (it was reprinted with HUGE maps in the San Jose Mercury News today). Appalachia, the Deep South, and a whole lot of very red states are the highest.

    Interesting... so it's not "the working folks" paying for the "freeloaders," it's actually the blue states paying for the freeloading red states...

    Heh.

    OK, seem to have come to the end.

    -CW

  60. [60] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Ok. If your economic arguments are so good, how come you keep trying to talk about "bigotry"?

    I am talking about arguments in general.. If you were to replace the conservative/liberal labels with black/white labels, how would those posts read??

    I would think that would give everyone pause..

    CW,

    Oh, I certainly HOPE the GOP runs lots of anti-Michelle ads.

    No one mentioned running anti-Michelle ads... All I said (and CB agreed) is that the warm crowds that Michelle enjoys now are pure Leftie crowds.. I don't think Michelle is going to get even CLOSE to that kind of reception if she speaks in front of a crowd of Joe SixPacks..

    That's all I am saying...

    As for your vacation list, once again, Bush is truly the King of Presidential Vacations, and nobody is going to come close to ever breaking his record. Not even if you add in spouses and children... nice try...

    Ahhh, but there is a HUGE difference, cost wise, in ONE flight to Crawford, Texas and TWO flights (Maybe THREE, if Bo misses his plane) to Hawaii

    And I'm not even talking vacations home. All of Michelle's lavish vacations abroad is the biggest stink around here...

    If it had been a GOP president and his spouse that took lavish family vacations in the middle of the worst recession since the Depression, ya'all would be screaming to the high heavens.

    The only difference would be that I would be agreeing with you... :D

    You can speculate all you want about the Independents, but I'll stick to actual polling, if you don't mind.

    And I found polls that proved MY point.. That's what's so great about polls.. :D

    It's always "otherness" that gets demonized. Whether over religion, race, ethnicity, nationality -- it doesn't even matter what the subject at hand is, the tactics are always exactly the same. I agree with you on that point.

    Thank ya... :D It's funny how you change one or two words from conservative/liberal to black/white and all of the sudden a well-written political rant becomes a pile of racist garbage...

    All the same concepts are retained, all the same nuances, all the same dynamic...

    Humans...... Sheeeesh :D

    The middle class began tanking under Reagan, and has continued to do so since -- except for a brief window of brightness under Bill Clinton.

    "I don't think Americans are better off than they were four years ago."
    -President Barack Obama, Oct 3, 2011

    NO ONE wants to talk about this quote...

    I wonder why... :D

    Michale.....

  61. [61] 
    Michale wrote:

    When all is said and done, one point is simply undeniable and inarguable...

    Democrats have made things worse, rather than better...

    So, why should they get another four years??

    To finish us off???

    Michale.....

  62. [62] 
    akadjian wrote:

    If you were to replace the conservative/liberal labels with black/white labels, how would those posts read?

    I think the more important thing would be to look at whether or not evidence exists (and the quality of such evidence) to support the arguments.

    For example, let's examine the following statement:
    I just keep asking myself, if conservative economic arguments are so good, how come they spend so much time on the distractions?

    Then, let's look at what the conservative candidates are talking about. It's pretty easy to do.
    - Newt Gingrich today called the Chevy Volt, "Obama's Car"
    - Rick Santorum is talking about religion, particularly Obama's religion, and comparing Obama to Hitler
    - Mitt Romney is trying to paint himself as the "true" conservative by blaming the countries woes on unions

    What I see little of is anyone saying how what they're going to do is going to help the country.

    Now, to be fair. I don't see the media working very hard to ask these questions. Because the media loves all the craziness and conflict. It sells.

    You'd probably say that Democrats do it too. That they focus on distractions. In fact, you have said this.

    Perhaps. But it certainly doesn't look this way in recent news. True, it might be because we're still in Republican primary season. But the Dems look like a voice of reason compared to what I've seen as each Republican tries to prove they're more conservative than the next.

    Now back to the issues ...

    -David

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think the more important thing would be to look at whether or not evidence exists (and the quality of such evidence) to support the arguments.

    I would agree...

    However, as I mention above, if the article is steeped in biased rhetoric, that would taint any "evidence" to the point of being useless..

    I mean, would anyone bother to consider the "evidence" if the point of the missive was proving superiority of black people over white people??

    I don't think so.. Why?? Because the premise or conclusion is faulty. Therefore any "evidence" is moot or, at the very least, suspect...

    Then, let's look at what the conservative candidates are talking about. It's pretty easy to do.
    - Newt Gingrich today called the Chevy Volt, "Obama's Car"
    - Rick Santorum is talking about religion, particularly Obama's religion, and comparing Obama to Hitler
    - Mitt Romney is trying to paint himself as the "true" conservative by blaming the countries woes on unions

    That's campaign rhetoric, not "evidence"..

    Why don't we examine all the "evidence" of Obama's campaign words and compare them to the here and now??

    The problem here is that ya'all only want to examine the evidence that shows Democrats as pure as the driven snow and Republicans as the harbingers of doom and destruction.

    Any evidence that shows the opposite (of which there is plenty) is simply ignored..

    You say I should ignore the conclusion/premise and just examine the evidence..

    Wouldn't that apply to ya'all as well?? Ignore the anti-Obama bias and look at the evidence???

    Perhaps. But it certainly doesn't look this way in recent news. True, it might be because we're still in Republican primary season. But the Dems look like a voice of reason compared to what I've seen as each Republican tries to prove they're more conservative than the next.

    And, during the Dem 2008 Primary with "racist" accusations flying all over the place and it was Democrat on Democrat.....

    THEN it was the Republicans that looked like the "voice of reason" by comparison...

    That's exactly my point..

    You switch the Partys around and all the accusations STILL apply. Are STILL valid...

    Now back to the issues ...

    OK, but let's stick with the issues and forget about Political Partys..

    How about a rant where the words "liberals", "conservatives", "Republicans" and "Democrats" are NEVER used.... Where our status as "AMERICANS" are first and foremost.....

    Howz that? :D

    Michale.....

  64. [64] 
    Michale wrote:

    Of course, I use "rant" in the nicest possible connotation... :D

    Michale.....

  65. [65] 
    Michale wrote:

    "People who receive that unemployment check go out and spend it and help stimulate the economy, so that's healthy as well."
    -Valerie Jarret, Obama Advisor

    It's this kind of utterly moronic pie eye in the sky mentality that indicates to Independents & NPAs that the Obama Administration doesn't have a CLUE about economic issues...

    Families aren't out there spending money on dinner out and new toys for young and old and taking vacations.. Ya know, the kinds of things that REALLY stimulate an economy..

    They are spending the money on necessities like gas and rent and utilities.. Anything left, they are holding onto it because of the uncertain economic times..

    And why are the economic times uncertain??

    Because Obama wasted BILLIONS of dollars are "green" companies that went bankrupt... Because Obama et al thought that the best way to save money was to spend MORE of it...

    Obama hasn't CLUE ONE about how to run a business...

    For all his faults, at least Romney is a successful business man...

    Michale.....

  66. [66] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [60] -

    Um, yes we were. Not you, but me and Chris1962 were specifically discussing ads in [10] and [11].

    Yeah, the Left did scream when Marie Antoinette did many lavish things during the worst recession since the Great Depression. Her name was Nancy Reagan, and the Right told us to get over it.

    So, to return the favor: get over it. Folks love Michelle.

    Polling is only accurate for a certain time period. Your polls were a year and a half old, and therefore irrelevant to the current conversation. These things aren't Twinkies -- they have a shelf-life.

    [65] -

    "at least Romney is a successful business man."

    OK, let's see... Romney came out against the auto bailouts. He specifically said GM and Chrysler would be dead and gone by now if the bailout happened. Well, guess what? They aren't. They're going gangbusters. So now what does Romney do? Double down on the crazy, and state again that the bailouts didn't work and the "free market" would have done better, because private money would have saved the auto companies. This was when the banking system had almost collapsed, and no loans were available, mind you.

    If he were man enough, he'd just come out and admit he called it wrong back then. Oh, but then he wouldn't be such a good "business man" would he? Looks like his vision for the future of jobs and business isn't so good after all, eh?

    It almost tempts me to go back and look up your comments from the auto bailout period. Bet you had a few choice things to say about it back then, eh?

    :-)

    -CW

  67. [67] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yeah, the Left did scream when Marie Antoinette did many lavish things during the worst recession since the Great Depression. Her name was Nancy Reagan, and the Right told us to get over it.

    Well, then... If the Left did "scream" then that means I get to "scream" too... :D

    They're going gangbusters.

    I wouldn't call it "gangbusters".. They are limping along, this is true.. Taxpayers are still out billions of dollars though...

    But, if they HAD collapsed as *I* suggested, then we would likely be well on our way to a much BETTER Auto Industry... An Auto Industry that would emphasis green vehicles....

    It almost tempts me to go back and look up your comments from the auto bailout period. Bet you had a few choice things to say about it back then, eh?

    You bet I did... And I stand by them...

    Or perhaps you are saying that gas guzzling pollution causing vehicles are preferable to the kinds of autos we would be producing if we had started over??? :D

    Regardless of all that, we're talking about who is a better business man..

    Obama, who put this country's economy in the toilet and wants four more years to flush it....

    Or Romney who has actually been a success in business???

    Michale.....

  68. [68] 
    Michale wrote:

    As far as Michelle Obama???

    We'll see how much the crowds like her when it's a room full of Joe and Jan Sixpack... :D

    Maybe she'll say something smart like not being proud of her country or lecture the crowd about eating healthy and the gobble down a McPhat burger.. :D

    Michale.....

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    Practically everything ABOUT the Obama's is "Do as I say, not as I do"...

    Michale.....

  70. [70] 
    Michale wrote:

    I guess it's how our brains are wired...

    If ya'all hear of a political dispute between a Democrat and a Republican, ya'all would start with the assumption that the Democrat is right, the Republican is wrong and then ya'all go on from there...

    With me, I start with the assumption that, since they are both politicians, they are both assholes and then I go on from there...

    It's like we read a report of a bar fight between a Vulcan and a Klingon.. We would immediately assume that the Klingon started the fight and then go on from there....

    It's how we're wired... :D

    Michale...

  71. [71] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Left simply *LOVED* to blame Bush for the high gas prices....

    But Obama dodges responsibility...

    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/obama-doesnt-accept-responsibility-gas-prices/388946

    I think I might just go to sleep til Jan of 2013.....

    Michale.....

  72. [72] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Because Obama et al thought that the best way to save money was to spend MORE of it.

    This is called economics. In times when the private sector is hurting, the public sector can help compensate and keep the economy running.

    It's called Keynesian economics and it works.

    It's worked in the past (to pull us out of the Depression) and it's worked in the present.

    It would work even better if the size of the stimulus were more proportionate to the size of the crisis.

    The worst thing to do in a recession is to cut spending further. The increases the recession in a cyclical fashion.

    at least Romney is a successful business man.

    Ummm ... what CW said. Mittens completely missed the boat on the auto industry. BTW- Do you know who his father was? I'm sorry but Mr. Romney had everything in life handed to him on a silver platter. I guess if this is your idea of successful ...

    -David

  73. [73] 
    dsws wrote:

    As far as I know, Romney was successful in his own right at running Bain. He got there in large part because of every advantage that money and political connection could buy, but for the most part so did the top bosses in all the other firms Bain was competing with.

  74. [74] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's called Keynesian economics and it works.

    Really??

    Seems to "work" worse than trickle down...

    Michale....

  75. [75] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'm sorry but Mr. Romney had everything in life handed to him on a silver platter.

    And Obama didn't??

    Hell, he got the frak'in PRESIDENCY handed to him on a silver platter...

    And our country is WORSE off for it..

    Obama himself said so...

    Michale....

  76. [76] 
    akadjian wrote:

    He got there in large part because of every advantage that money and political connection could buy, but for the most part so did the top bosses in all the other firms Bain was competing with.

    Exactly. Aristocracy. Not meritocracy.

  77. [77] 
    Michale wrote:

    Exactly. Aristocracy. Not meritocracy.

    Lemme ask ya something, David..

    Let's say you do a lot of research on stocks... You research yer arse off and pick some real winners that generate you millions in profit..

    Did you "earn" that money???

    What if someone told you that you DIDN'T "earn" that money and you should give all of it away to people who are too lazy to do the work..

    Wouldn't that piss you off???

    Michale.....

  78. [78] 
    dsws wrote:

    Exactly. Aristocracy. Not meritocracy.

    But still, some level of genuine achievement within the aristocracy. Most of the other aristocrats didn't do as well.

    You research yer arse off and pick some real winners that generate you millions in profit. Did you "earn" that money?

    Legally, "earned income" means money you're paid that's overtly for work: wages, salaries, bonuses, and tips. Even if you do lots of work on stock research, the money you make by buying low and selling high is still "capital gains".

    Economically, you can think of yourself as a firm that has one owner (you) and one employee (you): you pay yourself a market wage for your work, you pay yourself a market interest rate on your money for having it in the company over that time, and you pay yourself whatever's left as a capital gain (or loss) in the economic sense.

    The vast majority of your capital gain (in the legal sense) is a capital gain (in the economic sense). The people who benefit from your charity, if do you choose to give it away as the Bible tells you to, mostly weren't too lazy to get the wages part. They were mostly too poor to get the interest part, and too risk-averse to get the capital-gain part.

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