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Author Topic: Democratic News & Discussion Center 2012
SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Okay. In your first paragraph you dispute the ability to discern whether or not a politician's position is politically motivated or not. Then, in your second paragraph you give your opinion on the President's motivation.

Did you mean that only liberals were deluded?

I'm fully comfortable with the idea that I may be wrong, both about the issue and about the President's motivations. Obviously I don't think I am, but it's happened before and it would be irrational to think it couldn't be the case now.

How about you? Can you admit the possibility that you might be wrong?

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kmbboots
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Wrong about what? That it is sometimes possible to discern a motive for a political change?
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BBegley
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I think Romney's actual positions on gay marriage, abortion, illegal immigration and a host of other issues are actually more moderate than he made out during the primaries. I think he was hiding, at least officially, his actual views on those issues to get through the primary.

In much the same way, Obama has pretty obviously been a supporter of gay rights, but felt that he couldn't get elected supporting gay marriage in 2008. I'm frankly not sure he can do it in 2012. I doubt that it will help him in swing states.

Here's Lincoln in 1858:
quote:
“I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races—that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

Was Lincoln a massive racist who hated slavery, or was he hedging his views to stay within the public mainstream and to avoid being labeled a radical (or whatever they called radicals 150 years ago).
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
oh no now the old evangelicals won't vote for him

The question is, will it hurt him in the conservative minority areas?

It could, if their priests push the issue, but I doubt they will.

Honestly: this move is as clean a calculation as you could possibly make. The question was not whether Obama was pro-SSM; he always was. The question was when would be the most advantageously positioned timeframe to make a Historic (re)Coming Out in favor of SSM as sitting president.

And this is really the time, in the wake of North Carolina going out of its way to prove that it's not quite not the south (good job NC!) and engaging in some collateral damage stripping of rights from incidental non-gay groups of people just to make the statement that they thought it was important to make sure gays knew they were extra super not allowed to have the marriages they already couldn't have.

He "loses" the vote of people he was never going to have the vote of, and "stirs the anger" of a group that is kept amped on a pathological diet of anger and apocalyptic cultural 'warfare' as an exhausting status quo (Limbaugh states on his show that Obama is engaging in a war on traditional marriage; his first, second, third and fourth wives unavailable for comment) and was never going to abate, and he stirs up the approval and incentive of progressives to shake off their disenchantment and get back to the task of dragging us kicking and screaming, morally, out of the 19th century and the pathological fears of older, entrenched bigots.

As for the question as to whether or not this will hurt him; no — it's a dropping of pretense against a group that you neither need nor want the support of; a bloc of americans who will begin dying off over the next couple of decades and ensuring that history sees Obama as a president who signed up again (albiet late) against a group that couldn't wait to sweep themselves into the dustbin of history alongside the anti-miscegenationists.

Meanwhile, I will be off drinking the bitter tears of Freepers and "defenders of traditional marriage" — so, we all win.

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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Here's the issue I have with that. Super PACs are legal. I wish they weren't, but they are. Until they're made illegal, I'd rather use them until they are made illegal.
Ahem:

Here's the issue I have with that. Waterboarding is legal. I wish it wasn't, but it is. Until it is made illegal, I'd rather use it until it is made illegal.

If Obama HAD said, "Super PACs are killing the ability of regular citizens to meaningfully engage in our democracy, and I will not take a cent from them," I would have almost certainly voted for him regardless of any other political stance he might have taken.

More than ever, we need a moralist government. By "moralist" I mean people doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. That means not engaging in torture or wiretapping even though such methods have (allegedly) proven effective in protecting American lives. That means refusing the money of special interest groups even if it means shortening your re-election chances.

Mr. Squicky is right about the President's campaign funds:

NY Times shows Pres. Obama with more than twice the funds of Mitt Romney

Darn right.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Wrong about what? That it is sometimes possible to discern a motive for a political change?

Could your beliefs about the balance of political and personal motivations behind Obama's various stances on gay marriage be wrong?

I guess you haven't stated what your opinions actually are about the President's motivation, merely suggested that you can discern "true" conversion from a more political sort. I've assumed you believe this is an act of bold, courageous leadership, made largely because he finally accepted the moral rightness of the pro-gay marriage position. I wonder whether you would be willing to admit the possibility that your discernment has been colored by your own partisan biases.

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kmbboots
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Wow. You can discern Pres. Obama's heart but not mine. Apparently. Stop assuming.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
As for the question as to whether or not this will hurt him; no...
I think this is an open question. Obviously, it's not actually going to sway any minds -- but there are a lot of bigots in a lot of purple states, and turnout is going to be the issue in the next election. (Speaking as a Wisconsinite, for example, turnout will be the only determining factor in the upcoming special recall election, as the electorate is perfectly split right down the middle and no one is polling anywhere near "undecided.") If the Republicans can fan the flames of religious resentment and ugliness enough to get the bigots to turn out in droves to "protect marriage" or whatever it is they think they're doing, that'll help; Democrats don't have a similar wedge issue to rely on, and cynicism about their party's failure to roll back the wedgiest of Bush's intrusions into civil rights and/or morally questionable acts of war might well keep some of the most idealistic at home.

If that's the case, this is going to be a very ugly election season, as the winningest strategy will be to demonize your opponent in order to drag people to the polls out of fear.

I think Obama is hoping that he can win back his base through half-measures like this that don't require him to repudiate (or even attempt to publicly justify, since that'd require publicly discussing) his Bush-in-sheep's-clothing economic and military policies. But he does need to weigh that against the risk of waking up the Republican base.

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Wow. You can discern Pres. Obama's heart but not mine. Apparently. Stop assuming.

Does anyone have a spoon? This conversation is delicious.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
If the Republicans can fan the flames of religious resentment and ugliness enough to get the bigots to turn out in droves to "protect marriage" or whatever it is they think they're doing, that'll help;

They'll get to work on that right away, of course.
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Hobbes
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quote:
I think Obama is hoping that he can win back his base through half-measures like this that don't require him to repudiate (or even attempt to publicly justify, since that'd require publicly discussing) his Bush-in-sheep's-clothing economic and military policies. But he does need to weigh that against the risk of waking up the Republican base.
Yes. Speaking only for myself, the biggest reason there's a chance I wont vote for Obama is because of Obama, not because of Mitt Romney. And if it were to happen it would be me not voting for Obama rather than me voting for another candidate.

[EDIT: calrification: I'd vote, but my motivation would be coming from the negative rather than the positive]

Hobbes [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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I think, with the possible exception of some Mormons, there is no one on Earth who is going to vote for Romney without actually thinking of it as a vote against Obama. There are other Republican candidates for whom that might not have been true, but the selection of Romney pretty much guaranteed a "not-Obama" platform.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
oh no now the old evangelicals won't vote for him

The question is, will it hurt him in the conservative minority areas?

It could, if their priests push the issue, but I doubt they will.

Yeah, I think this is an interesting question. I've read compelling reports that Obama's election was a key contributing factor to Prop 8 passing here in CA; record turnout among black voters, and black voters overwhelmingly favored Prop 8, much more so than any other ethnic group.

That being said, I kind of doubt it will be enough of a wedge to seriously impact his chances with most black voters.

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Scott R
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quote:
this is going to be a very ugly election season, as the winningest strategy will be to demonize your opponent in order to drag people to the polls out of fear.
It will be even uglier because words like 'socialist' and 'bigot' are being tossed around by people in general (as opposed to just the politicians).
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TomDavidson
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Well, to be fair, I've been willing to call people opposed to gay marriage "bigots" for a decade. And "socialist" isn't actually an insult. [Wink]
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Wow. You can discern Pres. Obama's heart but not mine. Apparently. Stop assuming.

Sorry. I shouldn't have cluttered my response with unnecessary speculation. Would you be willing to admit that your ascription (whatever that may be) of the President's motivations may be influenced by partisan biases which cause it to less accurately reflect reality?
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
It will be even uglier because words like 'socialist' and 'bigot' are being tossed around by people in general (as opposed to just the politicians).

They supposed to be equivalently insulting descriptors? Hee.
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kmbboots
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Sure. Of course, my guesses are not dissimilar to yours. Are you a big Obama fan, too?

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, the President has been somewhat more forthcoming about his changes in opinion and more ready to explain them. If Gov. Romney has been as open about the changes in his (various) opinions I have not seen it and would appreciate a link.

There are also indicators in the President's personal history that could indicate something other than cold, political calculation but I imagine there is plenty of that, too.

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Well, to be fair, I've been willing to call people opposed to gay marriage "bigots" for a decade. And "socialist" isn't actually an insult. [Wink]

Depends on whose mouth is saying the word.

EDIT: Tom, do you accept that calling someone who opposes your point of view a bigot-- even a general, nebulous someone-- is adding to the ugliness of the political debate?

[ May 10, 2012, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: Scott R ]

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SenojRetep
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I disagree with your characterizations of Obama's "forthcomingness". He left it to Eric Holder to talk about why the administration's position on military tribunals changed (a justification which clarified less than it obfuscated). He has yet to speak about what shifted in his opinion on the Afghanistan War, from one that should be prosecuted to one that no longer should be. His position on international trade ("I'm going to renegotiate NAFTA" to signing Columbian and Korean free trade agreements) is another area he's flip-flopped on with no explanation.

In this case, he provided some vague pablum about discussions with his wife and meeting gay servicemen and women, which served more as a vehicle for pointing to his role in ending the unpopular DADT policy.

Romney, on the other hand, has been quite open about the personal reasons he initially supported legal abortion (the tragic death of his brother-in-law's sister due to an illegal abortion), and why his opinion changed (a personal interaction with a stem-cell researcher who, Romney felt, took an overly callous approach to the killing of embryos). You might feel these explanations are disingenuous and are an attempt to elide political motivations (I tend to), but saying he hasn't been forthcoming about his changes of opinion seems a bit farcical to me.

But I imagine my opinion on the matter is colored by my biases as a strong supporter of Romney.

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kmbboots
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I imagine it is, too.

I was speaking of the President's forthcomingness on this particular decision. There are plenty of his positions I wish he would explain better.

I appreciate (as I said I would) information on Gov. Romney's positions. Do you have links?

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Well, to be fair, I've been willing to call people opposed to gay marriage "bigots" for a decade. And "socialist" isn't actually an insult. [Wink]

Depends on whose mouth is saying the word.
By this logic, every descriptor is an insult. I hear that some are contributing to political ugliness by calling Romney a "Mormon."
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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Here's the issue I have with that. Super PACs are legal. I wish they weren't, but they are. Until they're made illegal, I'd rather use them until they are made illegal.
Ahem:

Here's the issue I have with that. Waterboarding is legal. I wish it wasn't, but it is. Until it is made illegal, I'd rather use it until it is made illegal.

If Obama HAD said, "Super PACs are killing the ability of regular citizens to meaningfully engage in our democracy, and I will not take a cent from them," I would have almost certainly voted for him regardless of any other political stance he might have taken.

More than ever, we need a moralist government. By "moralist" I mean people doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. That means not engaging in torture or wiretapping even though such methods have (allegedly) proven effective in protecting American lives. That means refusing the money of special interest groups even if it means shortening your re-election chances.

Mr. Squicky is right about the President's campaign funds:

NY Times shows Pres. Obama with more than twice the funds of Mitt Romney

I would say there is a false equivalency between water boarding and using Super PACs. Even if Waterboarding is legal, I don't believe it has the supposed benefits that proponents claim. While it may not be torture by a textbook definition, the effect of Waterboarding is the same as if the person were tortured. Testimony derived by torture is notoriously unreliable whereas the benefits of using money in elections are easy to see.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an apologist for the continued use of wiretapping and extraordinary rendition. It has been a constant disappointment to me with the Obama administration. While I believe your analogy is uncharitable, I acknowledge your point. I'd love to have a moralist by your definition. But I've become so cynical with the partisanship that I'm more prone to compromising on my values than I'd like. I won't defend wiretapping or torture, but I just can't find personal motivation to attack the administration for using a Super PAC. If you can convince me that it's immoral to a similar degree as torture, maybe I'd change my tune. Until then, I'm more concerned about the substantive differences between the candidates than their mutual shortcomings.

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Scott R
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quote:
By this logic, every descriptor is an insult.
I should have been more specific-- there, I was talking about the term, 'socialist.'

quote:
I hear that some are contributing to political ugliness by calling Romney a "Mormon."
Really? Where?
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Samprimary
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Better ask some other mormon, mormon
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Scott R
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Man. YOU are a supremely convincing proponent of your point of view! You are super effective!!!
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Samprimary
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In the pokemon of internet debates, I'm flying electric type, it's true!
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Scott R
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quote:
I would say there is a false equivalency between water boarding and using Super PACs. Even if Waterboarding is legal, I don't believe it has the supposed benefits that proponents claim. While it may not be torture by a textbook definition, the effect of Waterboarding is the same as if the person were tortured. Testimony derived by torture is notoriously unreliable whereas the benefits of using money in elections are easy to see.
This is terrible to say but the effects of the super pacs will be more devastating to the liberty of the US than the effects of water boarding. If there is a false equivalency it's because super pacs are much much worse.
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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
I would say there is a false equivalency between water boarding and using Super PACs. Even if Waterboarding is legal, I don't believe it has the supposed benefits that proponents claim. While it may not be torture by a textbook definition, the effect of Waterboarding is the same as if the person were tortured. Testimony derived by torture is notoriously unreliable whereas the benefits of using money in elections are easy to see.
This is terrible to say but the effects of the super pacs will be more devastating to the liberty of the US than the effects of water boarding. If there is a false equivalency it's because super pacs are much much worse.
That's what I don't buy. Super PACs have the potential for drastically marginalizing the influence of an average voter to a wealthy special interest. More than that, they have done this. But not all special interests work to the disadvantage of Americans. I believe the potential for Super PACs is devastating, but keeping waterboarding as a legitimate interrogation technique sets a precedent that I'm far less comfortable with should water boarding become standard practice in interrogation.

I doubt we'd get to that point, but so long as it is a legitimate extreme it moves the goal-post on what's acceptable up to the point of waterboarding. Police may now do a generalized strip searches during processing, digital privacy is under constant assault, the TSA continues to gain power, immigration laws are being passed which are an upfront to the 4th amendment. But it's all okay, because it's not as bad as it could be. So long as water boarding is legitimate, it makes it easier to argue that everything less drastic than water boarding is also legitimate.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Vadon:
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
I would say there is a false equivalency between water boarding and using Super PACs. Even if Waterboarding is legal, I don't believe it has the supposed benefits that proponents claim. While it may not be torture by a textbook definition, the effect of Waterboarding is the same as if the person were tortured. Testimony derived by torture is notoriously unreliable whereas the benefits of using money in elections are easy to see.
This is terrible to say but the effects of the super pacs will be more devastating to the liberty of the US than the effects of water boarding. If there is a false equivalency it's because super pacs are much much worse.
That's what I don't buy. Super PACs have the potential for (and have) drastically marginalizing the influence of an average voter to a wealthy special interest.
Super-PACs have marginalized the influence of an average voter who is not a part of any politically-minded groups, and chooses not to donate to any ideologically aligned organization. Right?

And they've allowed this marginalization to be done by wealthy special interests other than, you know, a fabulously wealthy individual, who already had the ability to be a one-man Super-PAC. Right?

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Scott R
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quote:
I would say there is a false equivalency between water boarding and using Super PACs. Even if Waterboarding is legal, I don't believe it has the supposed benefits that proponents claim. While it may not be torture by a textbook definition, the effect of Waterboarding is the same as if the person were tortured. Testimony derived by torture is notoriously unreliable whereas the benefits of using money in elections are easy to see.
This is terrible to say but the effects of the super pacs will be more devastating to the liberty of the US than the effects of water boarding. If there is a false equivalency it's because super pacs are much much worse.
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Dan_Frank
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Is that a double post separated by 30 minutes? Bizarre!

I hope you aren't caught in some sort of terrifying paradoxical time loop, Scott.

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Dan_Frank
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Unless it's like Groundhog Day. That might not be so bad.
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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Vadon:
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
I would say there is a false equivalency between water boarding and using Super PACs. Even if Waterboarding is legal, I don't believe it has the supposed benefits that proponents claim. While it may not be torture by a textbook definition, the effect of Waterboarding is the same as if the person were tortured. Testimony derived by torture is notoriously unreliable whereas the benefits of using money in elections are easy to see.
This is terrible to say but the effects of the super pacs will be more devastating to the liberty of the US than the effects of water boarding. If there is a false equivalency it's because super pacs are much much worse.
That's what I don't buy. Super PACs have the potential for (and have) drastically marginalizing the influence of an average voter to a wealthy special interest.
Super-PACs have marginalized the influence of an average voter who is not a part of any politically-minded groups, and chooses not to donate to any ideologically aligned organization. Right?

And they've allowed this marginalization to be done by wealthy special interests other than, you know, a fabulously wealthy individual, who already had the ability to be a one-man Super-PAC. Right?

This actually highlights what I mean when I'm trying to say Super PACs aren't that bad relative to other problems. [Smile]

Even if we remove Super PACs we still have a political system dominated by two major parties that marginalize independents and third parties. We also still would have a system where wealthy individuals can self-finance their campaign at obscene levels.

I'm not saying Super PACs are good, I'm just saying when both viable candidates (a problem unto itself) use Super PAC funding, I look to other points of divergence.

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Blayne Bradley
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Using SuperPacs and winning may get the Right to realize backing them wasn't a good idea and may predictably turn against SuperPacs while conveniently forgeting their Karl Rove's brain child.

Since being absolutely toxic and holding terrible positions dating back to the Jurrasic can't possibly be why they lose it has to be Obummer's eeeevvvvvvil SuperPac's backed by George Soros and the Gays and the Communist Party.

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Dan_Frank
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I'm glad we can always rely on you to be the voice of wisdom and civility, Blayne.
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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Is that a double post separated by 30 minutes? Bizarre!

I hope you aren't caught in some sort of terrifying paradoxical time loop, Scott.

Nope-- just an iPhone. I hit the back button 30 minutes after posting to refresh the thread, but instead, it reposted. I didn't feel like picking at the tiny buttons on the screen to edit then delete my post, so I left it there as evidence of my non-habituation to mobile-phone browsing. [Big Grin]
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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Is that a double post separated by 30 minutes? Bizarre!

I hope you aren't caught in some sort of terrifying paradoxical time loop, Scott.

Nope-- just an iPhone. I hit the back button 30 minutes after posting to refresh the thread, but instead, it reposted. I didn't feel like picking at the tiny buttons on the screen to edit then delete my post, so I left it there as evidence of my non-habituation to mobile-phone browsing. [Big Grin]
Dude, right? I actually had a double post and thought Dan was referring to me. I thought, "But I deleted it, didn't I?" Then when I saw your post without my response I thought I deleted both of them. The posts haven't been particularly long, but when written on the phone...

Also, the "Report Post" link being within range of my fat thumb when going for "quote post" has resulted in many panicked attempts at hitting the "stop" button.

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Dan_Frank
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Hah! Didn't even occur to me, what with my not having one o' them newfangled smarty-phones.

Vadon, "Report Post" takes you to another page before you actually report it, so your attempts to stop it could probably be less frantic. [Wink]

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Blayne Bradley
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Apparently the Republicans in Wisconsin tried to run Republicans as Democrats to force the Democrats to have a primary challenge in the recall election.

Fortunately they were defeated in their attempt to usurp democracy.

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kmbboots
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That was to be expected. It probably cost the Dems money, though, which was the point.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Apparently the Republicans in Wisconsin tried to run Republicans as Democrats to force the Democrats to have a primary challenge in the recall election.

Fortunately they were defeated in their attempt to usurp democracy.

What now? Do you mean besides the marquee race? Cause I'm pretty sure Kathleen Falk isn't a Republican.

It's intersting that the energy for the recall was Walker's assault on unions, but Falk, who was supported by the major public employees unions, couldn't defeat the more establishment Tom Barrett in the primary. The tentative youth/labor comity around the Occupy movement and the protests last summer really doesn't seem to have had lasting political impact.

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kmbboots
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He is talking about the Democratic primaries for the state Senate and Assembly.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-07-12-wisconsin-recalls-fake-democrats_n.htm

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
He is talking about the Democratic primaries for the state Senate and Assembly.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-07-12-wisconsin-recalls-fake-democrats_n.htm

I see. I can understand the tactic of fielding candidates in order to delay the election an extra month, but it sounds like a few of the Republicans actually committed money to trying to win the Democratic primary. To me, that seems like a pretty silly thing to do, and speaks either of a lack of coherent planning/thought, or to a surfeit of unbridled enthusiasm.
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Blayne Bradley
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You see "tactic" I see "trying desperately to see how to outdo your last act of contempt for the rule of law."
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The tentative youth/labor comity around the Occupy movement and the protests last summer really doesn't seem to have had lasting political impact.
I wouldn't say that. Falk was, IMO, considerably the weaker of the two major candidates; that she had some union support was the only thing keeping her in the race. (Also, the protests last summer had nothing to do with the Occupy movement, which here in Madison also didn't have anything to do with labor.)
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Samprimary
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http://www.npr.org/2012/05/11/152519027/romney-shifts-gears-on-auto-industry-bailout?ft=1&f=1001

Yanno, it's not like I was ever a fan of romney to begin with, but stuff like this moves me from bemusement to just actively really think he is .. yeah. No. Don't like him.

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Blayne Bradley
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Republicans moving to make the suicide pact over the super committee into a murder pact of where instead of defense being cut it's just social security and social spending.
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kmbboots
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Honestly, Blayne. I love Jon Stewart, too, but could you at least "dress up" the stuff you lift from The Daily Show? Or attribute it?
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Dan_Frank
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Kate, I don't think you're in the target demographic for "Zero Punctuation" or the other one on the Escapist... um... oh right, "Movie Bob."

Anyway, they have game reviews and movie reviews, respectively, from people Blayne looks up to.

I only mention it because whenever games or films come up, Blayne invariably parrots opinions he heard from those two sources... sometimes attributed, often not.

So what I'm saying is, this isn't really new. The Daily Show is just presumably his current events "review" of choice.

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