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October 10, 2003

TEXAS REPUBLICANS REDUX....Based on a few emails I've gotten, I want to make one additional comment about my Texas Republican platform post from yesterday.

The Texas GOP represents a radical movement that has no place in American politics. Their goal, if they are allowed to reach it, is to completely dismantle the social safety net and impose a harsh and unrelenting theocratic regime regarding abortion, gender, divorce, and other social issues.

Most Republicans don't share these goals. In fact, the real point of yesterday's post was that while a large majority of Republicans find these attitudes absurd, most of them are in denial about what's happening in their party and pretend that this is nothing more than a weird little fringe group to be ignored. They have somehow convinced themselves that Tom DeLay — a man who rather clearly endorses the views of the Texas Republican party — is some obscure backbencher, not the House majority leader and a man with real power and real influence.

Every party has extremist elements. I can live with that, especially since most extremist elements have little actual power. But some political movements are so odious that decent people need to take active measures to shun them. In the same way that Democrats purged their party of communists in the 40s and Jim Crow racists in the 60s, and the Republicans purged their party of the Buchananites in the 90s, Republicans need to purge the Texas strain of messianic intolerance currently growing on their right wing. It is not harmless, it is not small, and it is not a joke.

Consider this. Suppose that very serious, very miltant communists took over the New York State Democratic party and wrote a platform advocating, say, nationalization of key industries and confiscatory taxation of all income over $50,000. And suppose that one of these New York Democrats had enough support in the party to become House majority leader. And then, finally, suppose that as communist influence spread throughout New England and beyond, Democrats pretended that nothing was amiss. A few communists here and there are harmless. Most of them don't really believe that stuff anyway, and we're just compromising with them on a few minor issues. Honest.

Republicans would — rightly — be aghast and would refuse to accept bland assurances that nothing serious was going on. And what I want is for the vast majority of decent mainstream Republicans to understand that something very similar is happening to them, and to insist that their party marginalize and repudiate the Texas strain of social destruction currently growing like a cancer on their right wing. It's been done before, and it can be done again.

Posted by Kevin Drum at October 10, 2003 10:38 AM | TrackBack


Comments

The idea that Texas-style Republicanism is just some small and relatively unimportant faction is just ignorant of reality. This faction already has enormous power beyond the confines of Texas. To cite just one example, look at how our country's school textbook publishers have to make sure that their books meet the requirements of the Texas education people, simply because it would be cost-prohibitive to have a separate set of "Texas only" books out there in circulation.

I've defended AmeriCorps vehemently, because in my town -- a suburb of Buffalo, NY -- the local AmeriCorps has done a lot of good, and now they're shut down because of Tom DeLay and his group of cohorts who ignored the program's broad support and kept it off the floor of the House.

These people have power and they know how to use it far beyond Texas.

Posted by: Jaquandor at October 10, 2003 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a good article on Tom Delay:

Part I: Tom DeLay's Axis of Influence
Stephen Pizzo, AlterNet
May 10, 2002

Read Part II: DeLay's Judge Dread

Read Part III: DeLay's Godfather

Read Part IV: DeLay's Unregulated Pacific "Paradise"

http://www.alternet.org/print.html?StoryID=13104

Posted by: dwain at October 10, 2003 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin They have already won. With the Texas redistricting, the House is in Repub control for our lifetimes. With the deficit, the safety net is toast.

They won because too many Democrats thought they should be reasonable with their "moderate Repub friends". Warren Rudman and Ted Kennedy are as responsible for ths catastrophe as Tom Delay. We should have kicked them all away from our dinner tables ten years ago.

Posted by: bob mcmanus at October 10, 2003 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Your analysis is as perfect as it is scathing, Kevin.

The question is: how far down will they take the country for the sake of the Party?

"They" = Bush supporters. Fox News, Paul Gigot, David Brooks, Matt Drudge, Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds, etc.

Posted by: scott zimmerle at October 10, 2003 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Bob: they haven't won yet. And we can't let them.

They may control Texas, but we have to fight to make sure that both Democrats and Republicans repudiate this stuff in the rest of the country. We need to send them back into some fringe third party of ranters where they belong.

Posted by: Kevin Drum at October 10, 2003 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

I agree almost completely with your analysis, Kevin, I'm just darker. I think everyone needs to be much, much more exercised about this, because the coup has already occurred, and the insurgents are simply consolidating their power. The federal tax cuts have doomed the safety net, broken the social contract, and eviscerated our national future. The radicals have the big club in their hands and they're already swinging it.

It's been so swift and terrible that hardly anyone can face the truth yet (it CAN happen in America and already has). In the medieval chaos sure to come, the theocratic absolutists will only gain more power. Pussy-footin' around won't get us anywhere, but I see most folks too afraid to lose what they think passes for security to confront the bad guys with the required clarity of argument and emotional intensity. Doesn't look good.


Fighting this might be easier if we could pin 'em down with a good moniker. Haven't seen it yet.

Posted by: John H. Farr at October 10, 2003 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Read Krugman. It is over.

In ten years or so, either we have massive tax increases, default on our bonds, or destroy the safety net. We let them slip it by, thru propaganda, controlling the agenda, and outright lying.

We are like the Europeans throughout the thirties
"How bad can they be, really" I haven't wanted the company of a Republican since Bob Dole said Watergate was a vicious left wing plot.

Posted by: bob mcmanus at October 10, 2003 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans purged their party of the Buchananites in the 90s

Huh?

Posted by: squiddy at October 10, 2003 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Let's nof forget that the former Senate Majority Leader was also one of these theocrats.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Warren Rudman is a great example. Aghast at the budget for years, attacked personally by the Christian right, grossly offfended by the tactics in South Carolina...he still goes along, never yells on TV "My party has been overtaken by monsters."

There simply are no decent republicans.

Posted by: bob mcmanus at October 10, 2003 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

"Their goal, if they are allowed to reach it, is to completely dismantle the social safety net and impose a harsh and unrelenting theocratic regime regarding abortion, gender, divorce, and other social issues."

This is mostly true, though I'm not sure what makes the proposed changes to abortion and divorce law theocratic. These laws existed as Texas Republicans want them in every state until the 50s and 60s. It wasn't a "theocratic regime", it was the choice of those in the state.
What I do think deserves a place in American politics is the states rights issues that the Texas GOP is strongly in favor of. If a state wants no fault divorce, fine. if a state wants to outlaw abortion, that should be fine. If a state doesn't want its tax dollars spent on pills for old people, it shouldn't have to. If a state wants to pour billions into inner city schools, it should be able to without agreeing to all kinds of conditions with Washington.

This is the idea the country was founded upon, and though I wouldn't agree with everything the Texas GOP would like to do if it could without interference from Washington, I do agree that they ought to be able to make those changes if thats what their electorate wants.

Posted by: Reg at October 10, 2003 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

They've won. These extremist whackos run the Republican party. And, since they can coerce monolithic support from the reasonable men left in that party because they control the purse strings, what they want will eventually come to pass.

Posted by: Chuck Nolan at October 10, 2003 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

If a large majority of Republicans opposed the views of the Texas Republican Party, or found them absurd, then why are Texas Republicans so powerful?

Republicans are the beneficiaries of a pervasive double standard in our culture and media that tolerates rhetorical and behavioral extremes from Republicans but not from Democrats.

Posted by: obruni at October 10, 2003 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Kevin, amazing posting. But I sense a bit of hesitation in appending the proper name to the 'Texas Republicans.' Whether you use Born-again Christians or Christian fundamentalists, the cruelty you speak of derives frmo this crowd's obsession with following the Bible. It is the 'Taliban' wing. They kill doctors for performing legal abortions. They force the President's hand (as if it needed forcing) on Israel. And all because of religious fervor. The fiscal elements are important, but those seems to be an outgrowth of a fanaticism that began with religious convictions.

It might be un-PC to call it what it is, but we have an entire segment of the U.S. population that is completely fucking nuts. And they're Christians.

Posted by: Marc at October 10, 2003 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Also, the states rights idea isn't necessarily a bad thing for the left. California would be better able to enact a socialist, green utopia if Washington and the Supreme court was more accomodating at allowing them to institute their programs.
People could choose which type of government they would like to live under.


"We are like the Europeans throughout the thirties"

Heh, more subtle hints that the right is a bunch of Nazis. Get off it, you sound ridiculous.

Posted by: Reg at October 10, 2003 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Why stop with letting the States determine particular legislation? Why not let the counties of each state determine whether marijuana, abortion, alcohol, divorce, etc are legal?

Posted by: marvin at October 10, 2003 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

The Texas GOP represents a radical movement that has no place in American politics.

Absurd. You don't have to agree with them in the slightest to recognize that the Texas GOP's brand of social conservatism and economic libertarianism has deep roots in American politics and history. Heck, I agree with a great deal of their platform -- particularly the economic stuff -- myself. On social issues, where it comes to abortion and divorce, at least, I probably agree with them more often than not. Do I, then, have "no place in American politics"?

Let's flip it around: From the perspective of conservatives like myself, the illegitimacy of modern liberalism springs from its apparent disregard for Constitutionality, heritage, etc. These things place the American left in the wrong in our civic discourse. Many go so far as to argue that the views of liberals like you have "no place in American politics." And they mean it.

Of course you disagree, just as I disagree with your statement above. The common thread here is that they, like you, are declaring certain viewpoints outside the bounds of discourse mostly because they simply disagree. I would argue that you're both guilty of a constricted view of American politics and history. Very few things are outside the pale of democratic discourse: racism, perhaps; totalitarianism, perhaps. But abolition of Social Security? Differing interpretations of the First Amendment? That's all in bounds.

You and Krugman both seem to confuse the preservation of America with the preservation of the public policies you prefer.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Reg is right! States should be allowed to do what they want! If states want to give the right to vote only to white male landowners, they should have that right!

Ummmm, not. Some of us believe that reproductive choice is a basic civil right, and that no government, state or federal, should be able to remove that right.

Posted by: Alex R at October 10, 2003 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

They're bad because... what? They're extremists? Sorry, that's not an argument. Their extremism might be part of the appeal. If you sense a crisis, it's obvious business as usual.won't do.
They're religious? Religion, fundamentalist or not is nothing new in US politics. Remember Prohibition or the Bryan campaigns? The only thing relatively new might be the alliance with faux rednecks like Bush, and even that's been there since the Reagan years.

Posted by: che at October 10, 2003 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't think I was trying to be subtle :)

Anybody wonder what this country would look like if John McCain had stood up in the summer of 2001 and said "These people are just too irresponsible
and ideological. There are character flaws at the heart of this party and I am joining Jim Jeffords."

Actually, if asked, I say i hate Repubs because of the stolen 1876 election and the way they treated Al Smith in 1928. There is a consistent history here, not of policies only, but of behavior that should be unacceptable

Posted by: bob mcmanus at October 10, 2003 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

che, what's new is that they hold nearly every major position in the United States government. The Presidency, the House Speaker, almost the entire House, much of the Senate, the Department of Justice, potentially the EPA, various federal judgeships (perhaps more soon), a dozen or so governor's chairs. and what's new is that none of the people in their own party seem to mind their fanaticism. no intra-party dissension whatsoever.

Posted by: Marc at October 10, 2003 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

"Heh, more subtle hints that the right is a bunch of Nazis. Get off it, you sound ridiculous. "

No analogy is perfect, but this one is close in that it describes how rfeasonable people stood by while nut cases took control and led the world to ruin. I do indeed see that happening if these extremists are not stopped.

Posted by: obe at October 10, 2003 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

the preservation of America with the preservation of the public policies you prefer

ie "progress"

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

"Why not let the counties of each state determine whether marijuana, abortion, alcohol, divorce, etc are legal?"

This would be fine with me, but this isn't the constitutional structure. Counties are creations of states, which have sovereign power. States are not creatoins of the federal government, they are both sovereigns.

"Some of us believe that reproductive choice is a basic civil right, and that no government, state or federal, should be able to remove that right."

The key word here is "SOME". Lots of people believe it is murder. The key problem is that states have never really given up their powers to regulate in many areas where they have no power, it has been stolen by the Supreme Court and Congress. Sometimes it is necessary to take away states rights, slavery and segregation are two examples, and both are fairly clearly areas where the federal government does have some power.


Posted by: Reg at October 10, 2003 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Will you people just stop with the "they've already won" crap?

Do you really think that attitude will change things? Do you think that GIVING UP is the right thing to do?

Yes, bitter. Yes, angry. But if you plan on staying in this country you'd damn well better not quit.

Posted by: P6 at October 10, 2003 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Well, hell, if it's rooted in history it must be good.

Posted by: Atrios at October 10, 2003 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Why stop with letting the States determine particular legislation

States are the sovereign organizations in our federal system. There is nothing wrong in that.

My simplistic worldview is that the constitution and federal government should be on the side of guaranteeing minimums of liberty not maximums.

eg. federal restrictions on abortion -- bad
federal restrictions on medical marijuana -- bad
federal intervention in civil rights -- good (in principle)

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Well it's nice to see Tacitus stand up for those who murder doctors who perform abortions and state emphaticazlly that they deserve a seat at the table....but of course, ANSWER does not.

What a flaming hypocrite.

Posted by: obe at October 10, 2003 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Rachel Corrie reference in 5....4....3....2....

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

I more and more think that my friend who supports U.S. balkinization is on the right track. Let places like Texas break off and do their thing. If they're so sure the policies of McKinley would a superpower make, let them give it a try.

Posted by: Magenta at October 10, 2003 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

What the hell. Texas Republicans are responsible for the murder of abortion doctors?
Did they join a march sponsered by People for the Killing of Abortionist Devils?

Posted by: Reg at October 10, 2003 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

"No analogy is perfect, but this one is close in that it describes how rfeasonable people stood by while nut cases took control and led the world to ruin. I do indeed see that happening if these extremists are not stopped."

I think there's a small difference between standing by while a dicatator who advocated the elimination of Jews and the forcible takeover of large parts of the world gains power and standing by while elected officials who advocate getting rid of Social Security gain power.

Posted by: Ken at October 10, 2003 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Eh, let it go. There's no point in wrangling over that one.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum wrote:

"In the same way that Democrats purged their party of communists in the 40s and Jim Crow racists in the 60s, and the Republicans purged their party of the Buchananites in the 90s, Republicans need to purge the Texas strain of messianic intolerance currently growing on their right wing."

Except that the Democrats purged neither the Communists in the 1940's nor the racist nuts in the 1950's and 1960's. That's so ahistorical that it would be a lot closer to the truth to say the Southern racists like Eastland and Russell could have purged the liberals than the other way around.

The Democrats were fortunate that the hardline, pro-Stalinist leftists walked out of their own accord in 1948 to marshal under Henry Wallace because no one was really going to be able to kick them out except through a long internal organizational battle like what occurred in the labor movement at the same time ( this took about twenty years.) While Truman instituted loyalty oaths and investigations his administration basically tried to quash inquiries into bona fide Soviet spies like Hiss,Currie and other fellow travellers.

As for the racists, the Southerners ran Congress with an iron fist, especially in the Senate. Ironically in view of today's subject, the Texas Democrats had particularly strong influence since Sam Rayburn was House Speaker and LBJ - no liberal then- was Senate Majority leader. The Southerners, by the way, were among Joseph McCarthy's most loyal supporters in his witch hunt. If you have any doubts look up the vile antics of John Rankin on the House Un-American Affairs committee.

There was plenty of friction, even mutual hatred, between Northern Liberal Democrats and Southern Democratic racists but the Liberals did not run these people out of the party.

Sorry Kevin, the Democrats are worse on this issue than anything the GOP has ever entertained.

Posted by: mark safranski at October 10, 2003 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

"If they're so sure the policies of McKinley would a superpower make, let them give it a try."

Agreed. And if the policies of France would turn California into a beautiful garden of happiness, I say go for it. Just let me visit once in awhile to see the redwoods.

Posted by: Reg at October 10, 2003 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Tacitus -

"Differing interpretations of the First Amendment?"

That's a nice way to put it... abolishing the Wall between Church and State is a differing interpretation.

Posted by: bardp at October 10, 2003 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

"I think there's a small difference between standing by while a dicatator who advocated the elimination of Jews and the forcible takeover of large parts of the world gains power and standing by while elected officials who advocate getting rid of Social Security gain power."

Personally, I think there's a big difference. But you're understating the Texas Republican stance. Imprisoning homosexuals, pulling out of world bodies, and forcibly reintroducing Christian doctrine into public schools is a far cry from 'getting rid of Social Security'. And as far as takeover of large parts of the world, you'll have to ask the PNACers.

Posted by: sidereal at October 10, 2003 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

while elected officials who advocate getting rid of Social Security gain power

Krugman, and other rational centrists like me would have no problem if this were the Republican's announced platform, instead of it being a stealth plank that is still hidden in the TX's party document.

The anti-democratic issue that Krugman harps on is that Republican national policy is driven for this goal, yet Republicans are too craven to bring their case to the american people, or when they do, like Bush did in 2000, their case is one of flim-flam deceit.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

"Sorry Kevin, the Democrats are worse on this issue than anything the GOP has ever entertained."

Are you seriously suggesting that, right now, there are more racist elements in the Democratic party than the Republican party? Seriously?

The answer, if you have any sense, is no. And the answer is a large part of the reason I'm not in the Republican party.

Posted by: sidereal at October 10, 2003 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

I vote libertarian, incidentally.

And if I thought the goal of the party was a country like Booth Tarkinton wrote of and Pullman paternalism, I would be more moderate.

But the goal of Repubs is coast to coast Mississippi, circa 1920

Posted by: bob mcmanus at October 10, 2003 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, the proper construction is of course "democrats were worse on this...

With the important addendum that those same "bad" dixiecrats went republican in the 60's and 70's -- eg. Lott.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

You've seen one redwood, you've seen them all.

Posted by: ronald reagan at October 10, 2003 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

"Well it's nice to see Tacitus stand up for those who murder doctors who perform abortions and state emphaticazlly that they deserve a seat at the table....but of course, ANSWER does not."

Obe, you're pulling an 'Andrew Sullivan'.

If someone opposes the war in Iraq, they do not "want the taliban to win," as Sullivan says. If someone is worried that Bush's policies are not good for the economy, they do not "want unemployment to go up.," as Sullivan says of Paul Krugman. And, if someone is a conservative, constitutional purist, who agrees with the policies of the Texas Republican Platform, that does not mean that they "stand up for those who murder doctors who perform abortions."

Posted by: A-ro at October 10, 2003 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

"But the goal of Repubs is coast to coast Mississippi, circa 1920"

Good God, you have to be joking. Is this really what you kooks think?

Posted by: Reg at October 10, 2003 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Reg: You're right, only SOME believe that reproductive choice is a basic right. But don't try to convince them that they should acquiesce in allowing the states to decide for themselves if they are going to respect this right. If you believe that, say, voting, or privacy, or the right to bear arms, are fundamental rights, you will not accept the notion that the federal government should have no power to enforce those rights.

Tacitus: you seem to be saying that the Texas GOP platform is not totally unreasonable, and that you would even agree with most of it. Which parts, I ask? Maybe it's a failure of my own imagination, but when I put on my "reasonable conservative" hat, the only planks that I might find acceptable are those privatizing (eliminating) social security, the minimum wage, and maybe reducing the number of Cabinet deparments. I don't agree with those positions, but I can see why a "reasonable conservative" might. But seriously: teaching creation in science class? Going back to the gold standard? Eliminating Supreme Court judicial review? These still seem like nuts to me...

Posted by: Alex R at October 10, 2003 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Reg,

I'll give you, "goal" is to strong a term. I do consider a very likely result, however.

That's why I'm for balkinization. At least I could move a bit east or much west and continue to enjoy the fruits of progressivism. I think things got a lot better after Teddy Roosevelt.

Posted by: Magenta at October 10, 2003 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Their goal, if they are allowed to reach it, is to completely dismantle the social safety net and impose a harsh and unrelenting theocratic regime regarding abortion, gender, divorce, and other social issues."

An unusually stupid statement, even for a blog. Have you ever even been to Texas, or have you spent the last decade holed up in the Bay Area, fervently trying to convince yourself that the rest of the country thinks like you? FYI, they don't, and I thank God for it every day.

Posted by: Aaron Katon at October 10, 2003 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

teaching creation in science class? Going back to the gold standard? Eliminating Supreme Court judicial review?

I actually don't agree with those, Alex -- although I'm agnostic on the gold standard part.

And yeah, Texas is a great place. I think you should come visit, Kevin. You'd particularly enjoy the Austin-San Antonio corridor.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

You (Tacitus) did equate those many many normal middle class Americans who marched against the war with Stalinists, or said they were standing with Stalinists, and portrayed them as so henious and extreme that they were outside the realm of what is acceptable in Ameican political discourse (a point you drove home with your shocking, violent photos). But when confronted with the Texas GOP who openly profess their wacky and extreme and scary agenda, you treat them like harmless Rotary Club Republicans who are in the mainstream of American politics.

So yes, you are a hypocrite. Point noted.

I decline to engage in your mud slinging contest. When you get caught being a hypocrite, out comes the knife and you start slashing like a Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: OBE at October 10, 2003 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

the Austin-San Antonio corridor

where all the sane texans congregate.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

"That's why I'm for balkinization. At least I could move a bit east or much west and continue to enjoy the fruits of progressivism. I think things got a lot better after Teddy Roosevelt. "

Things were on an upward trend long before Teddy Roosevelt. And would have stayed on an upward trend.

"Reg: You're right, only SOME believe that reproductive choice is a basic right. But don't try to convince them that they should acquiesce in allowing the states to decide for themselves if they are going to respect this right. If you believe that, say, voting, or privacy, or the right to bear arms, are fundamental rights, you will not accept the notion that the federal government should have no power to enforce those rights."

What I'd like to know is how in the hell "reproductive choice" became a basic civil right while every other medical prodecure and drug can be denied to us on the whim of the FDA?

Posted by: Ken at October 10, 2003 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

CalPundit says most Republicans do not accept the views of the Texas Republican Party. Yet Tacitus, one of our favorite reasonable Republicans, accepts these views.

Posted by: obruni at October 10, 2003 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

"If you believe that, say, voting, or privacy, or the right to bear arms, are fundamental rights, you will not accept the notion that the federal government should have no power to enforce those rights."

I disagree. I think that states ought to be able to change voting rights, privacy rights, gun rights, and free speech rights however it wants without interference.
I think the basics that should be enforced is that equal protection ought to be given. That is a basic principle I think everybody agrees to, that everybody is equal under the law. This is what I think ought to be enforced on the states.

I know the basic libertarian position is that all these rights ought to be enforced onto the states, but I favor the federalist position that doesn't apply the bill of rights to the states. But I remain confident that any state taking away core rights will lose citizens very very quickly and will be forced grant those basic rights. (but, like guns and abortion, people will have preferences and different positions, and we ought to grant them)

Posted by: Reg at October 10, 2003 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

This is a good post, but I have to quibble with two points

>In the same way that Democrats purged their party of...Jim Crow racists in the 60s...

I don't recall Dems purging their party of Jim Crow racists. As I recall, they left--and moved over to the Republican party--of their own volition.

>...and the Republicans purged their party of the Buchananites in the 90s...

It sure looks to me that the "culture war" Buchananites are still IN the Republican party. Or did I miss something when RNC chairman Ed Gillespie indicated that they would be running on an anti-gay "culture war" in his interview with the WashTImes a couple of weeks ago?

Posted by: raj at October 10, 2003 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Fighting this might be easier if we could pin 'em down with a good moniker. Haven't seen it yet."

I came across an amusing one today: The Texas Taliban...

Posted by: jim in austin at October 10, 2003 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Proper grammatical construction noted. Thank you Troy.

What removed the Southern racists from positions of leadership in the Democratic party was mainly death, old age, the Voting Rights Act and the new primary system of party rules. Strom Thurmond was an exception and by segregationist standards he was considered a " moderate " and a maverick.

No, Sidereal I'm arguing that the Democratic Party does not have the record of removing extremist elements that Kevin suggests it does.

And while I'm at it, it's dishonest intellectually to attempt to represent today's GOP as responsible for the Democratic Party's role from Reconstruction to circa 1970 as the " Party of the White Man ". That's the history of the Democratic Party like it or not.

Posted by: mark safranski at October 10, 2003 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Best to read all the posts there, Obruni.

I decline to engage in your mud slinging contest.

You seem pretty wrapped up in your own, Obe.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Tacitus,

Could you be more specific about how you support the Texas platform? Do you think, for example, that evolution is just a scientific "viewpoint" or "opinion" that should be balanced by creationism? Or that the Supreme Court should have no role in deciding issues involving the Bill of Rights (including, I presume, the 4th Amendment)? Or that consensual sexual acts between adults should be criminalized? Or that we should retake the Panama Canal?

I'm assuming you agree that the federal income tax should be abolished, but correct me if I'm wrong there. I won't even go into the practicalities of that proposition (do these Texans have any idea that the majority of our federal income taxes goes to the Pentagon and bond-holders? I won't even go into the Constitution's skepticism toward a large standing army . . . )

Posted by: BriVT at October 10, 2003 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

You don't have to agree with them in the slightest to recognize that the Texas GOP's brand of social conservatism and economic libertarianism has deep roots in American politics and history.

This is what passes for logic? That alleged "deep roots in American politics and history" mean something necessarily has an acceptable place in our discourse? Do I really need to make up a list of things which have "deep roots in American history" which any reasonable person would be appalled to see a return of today?

Let's pick an easy example that doesn't fall under Tacitus' exceptions ("racism" and "totalitarianism" - which he only says perhaps ought to be outside the bounds of acceptable discourse):

For much of this country's history, married women had almost no property rights and no contract rights whatsoever. And no woman had suffrage rights.

According to Tacitus, supporting a return to these policies would be "acceptable" because, hey, these ideas have deep roots in American politics and history.

Posted by: DavidNYC at October 10, 2003 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of conversations I have had with a friend who has been (Rockefeller) Republican since High School. In the 80'san d early 90's, he was always telling me I was alarmist. He wrote off Pat Robertson as a religious kook who had no support in the party. He saw everything through the lens of Eastern Republicans, who were fiscally conservative and socially liberal. When I pointed out to him that the Republican Party west of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon line WAS extremely religious and socially backwards, he'd say "These guys can't win - nobody would support them".

It's been interesting to talk to him over the past five years. He now thinks the Republicans are crazy. He thinks the impeachment was insane. He voted for Clinton and Gore. He thinks that Bush is turning our country into a banana republic and is actually worried about where he can put his investments so they won't be decimated when the dollar drops 50% over the next few years. He even went so far as to wonder if it wouldn't be better for the country if the South seceded.

I don't think this change is because I'm persuasive. I think there are moderate Republicans who are realizing that simply cutting taxes no matter what is not a political philosophy that will work for this country, and other than that there is not much else holding the Republican party together. I do see a change coming in 2004 - the denial is becoming impossible to sustain.

Posted by: HankP at October 10, 2003 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

but I favor the federalist position that doesn't apply the bill of rights to the states

Actually, I'd prefer a consistent federalism to the selective federalism the current administration is running.

Florida vote not going your way? Intervene!
California wants to stop offshore drilling? Intervene!
Oregon passes right-to-death law? Intervene!
Cancer patients in Santa Cruz want to grow their own cheap painkillers? Intervene!

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with tacitus that much is just fine.
My main objections come in with the criminalization of sodomy, not allowing gays to adopt kids (should be birth parents choice), the kooky gold standard thing (which really isn't in the platform), the disallowance of the Supreme court to judge on the bill of rights (it should only be barred from applying the bill of rights to the states in my view), and the UN (though I would favor massive reorganization to exclude all countries engaged in blatant human rights violations).
I don't know how reasonable you all would consider my preferred platform, but I don't think it has "no place in American politics".

Posted by: Reg at October 10, 2003 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

This is what passes for logic?

By definition of Conservatism, yes.

Life was just so much better in the 50's, donchaknow.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

According to Tacitus, supporting a return to these policies would be "acceptable" because, hey, these ideas have deep roots in American politics and history.

You're in no position to be griping about poor logic, DavidNYC. My point was pretty clearly that these things were not outside the pale of American political discourse: this is an entirely different question from whether they're desireable or even moral. You're just punching at straw men, here.

BriVT, in answer to your specific examples: 1) I have no patience with creationism whatsoever. 2) Abolition of judicial review is absurd. 3) The state does have the power to regulate consensual sexual acitivty. 4) If it were 1980, yes, I'd abrogate the Panama Canal Treaty, but as it is, there's no point. 5) And yes, I'd love to see the income tax abolished, but I think a flat tax would more or less eliminate its fundamental injustice.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Tacitus has stated he agrees with the majority of views heralded by the Texas Republican Party Platform. Everyone who'd argue that Tacitus is a moderate conservative Republican, please take note. For the record, Tacitus, please identify which specific positions you agree with:

  • The United States should return to the gold standard and abolish the Federal Reserve.
  • The Supreme Court should not be allowed to decide the constitutionality of laws regarding abortion, religion, or anything else related to the Bill of Rights. In these areas, Congress should be allowed to pass any laws it wishes.
  • We should completely do away with separation of church and state.
  • Gay sex should be a criminal offense.
  • All abortion of all kinds should be permanently outlawed by constitutional amendment.
  • Gays should be treated like child molesters and should not be allowed to visit children unsupervised.
  • The Biblical story of creation should be taught in science classes.
  • Social Security should be abolished.
  • The federal minimum wage should be abolished.
  • The EPA, HUD, HHS, the Department of Education, and several other federal agencies should be eliminated. Since these departments supervise all federal welfare programs for the poor and sick, they are presumably advocating the complete abolishment of the federal welfare state.
  • Get the United States out of the UN.
  • Take back the Panama Canal.

You agree with 7 or more of these positions? Please point them out Tacitus. Do you wish to abolish Social Security? Are you for locking up homosexuals? Comparing them to molesters like Santorum and friends? No more separation between Church and State? I know you don't like the UN, but do you wish to abolish it? Hope not since you said Bush should pony up to them for our vital interests in Iraq... No more federal minimum wage, Tacitus?

If the so-called "moderate" conservative Republicans like Tacitus truly endorse this shit, then I sure would like them say so loud and clear. Then we can all stop promoting people like Tacitus as a "moderate".

The American people need to hear the voices of people such as Tacitus and those who endorse this crap. For too long they've hidden behind their soft words, afraid to speak up and endorse their true predilections... Hell, they get intensely defensive when presented with their own platforms.

Please, speak clearly Tacitus. Point out the majority of points you endorse. Lets hope your elected Republican representatives can do the same so the American people can hear the truth about what you folks truly believe, what you truly will do... Perhaps then we can finally get out from under this boot you've placed on our collective necks.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

I know the basic libertarian position is that all these rights ought to be enforced onto the states, but I favor the federalist position that doesn't apply the bill of rights to the states. But I remain confident that any state taking away core rights will lose citizens very very quickly and will be forced grant those basic rights.

Um, Reg, if you don't grant people basic rights, why exactly would you give them the right to freedom of movement into a state that gives them better rights? You seem to think totalitarian states would just let people leave, which runs counter to human nature. If a state decided, for example, to rewrite its voting laws to exclude certain people, why would they let those people leave? That doesn't make any sense, honestly.

Posted by: Magenta at October 10, 2003 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

What removed the Southern racists from positions of leadership in the Democratic party was mainly death, old age, the Voting Rights Act

Ding, ding. You hit it on the last one there. It was the Civil Rights legislation of the early 60s that caused the Southern racists to leave the Democratic Party. That legislation was championed by the Democratic Party. By doing that, they knew the results of that action (LBJ famously said something like, "We've given the South to the GOP for a generation" when signing the Civil Rights Act) So, yeah, the Democrats pushed the racist elements out of the party by their actions.

How else can a political party indicate people aren't welcome? You can't actually force people to change their party registration.

Posted by: BriVT at October 10, 2003 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Reg fails to grasp the degree to which the Bush agenda has antagonized Democrats. I've had a lifelong contempt for breathless rhetoric. In the past couple of years, I've become increasing angry at the tactics employed by the national GOP. It has gotten to the point where I've lost faith in my ability to even reach across the partisan canyon.

We've seen mid-decade gerrymandering for the first time in more than 50 years. We've seen a partisan gubenatorial recall for the first time since the red-baiting post WW I era. Longstanding gentlemans agreements on things like judgeships have been cast aside. Our nation has a huge deficit and the administration doesn't even pretend to have a plan to deal with it. We were led to war on the basis of a nonexistent WMD threat, and there is no accountabiiity. Our international alliances built up over 50+ years are in tatters.

Up until recently, the national parties were responsible enough to permit the cold stubborn facts to influence policy. This does not seem to be possible for Bush; there is literally no set of circumstances under which he would agree to, say, revisit his tax policies in light of fiscal facts.

Instead of mocking instinctive moderates like Kevin, GOPers should be very worried about the radicalization of the folks on the center-left. If nothing else, having the GOP removes all barriers to political hardball could be very painful for those on the right if they are swept from power...

Marc

Posted by: Marc at October 10, 2003 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, Tacitus, please identify which specific positions you agree with:

Which ones involve hurting poor people and minorities? I'm for all those.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Tacitus:

Let me ask you this:

If you had not yet been born, and somehow you were given a choice of inhabiting an America with a flat tax, or inhabiting and America with a progressive tax structure.

Keep in mind that you wouldn't know who your parents would be, how smart you would be, whether you have birth defects, etc.

Which would you choose, and why?

Posted by: praktike at October 10, 2003 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

but I think a flat tax would more or less eliminate its fundamental injustice

Which is?

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

It would be nice if the SCLM demanded that Republicans (Bush) defend the positions of Texas Republican Party the way Democrats must defend every past statement or vote.

Posted by: obruni at October 10, 2003 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Well, differing rates of taxation isn't exactly equal treatment under the law, is it?

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

"You're in no position to be griping about poor logic, DavidNYC."

DavidNYC ably refuted your point Tacitus. You argued that because much of the crap in the Texas platform has deep roots in American history, it was absurd to say it has no place in modern American politics. I saw no other logical argument for what you describe as an absurd statement by Kevin. David pointed out that by *your* logic, repeal of women's rights would still have a legitimate place in modern American politics. Refute that or get out of the kitchen, Tacitus.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I fail to see how a flat tax rate (which we already had before the 2001 tax cuts, btw) is any less unfair (in the categorical sense) than a putative, but non-confiscatory progressive tax...

The $10M/yr wage earner at Forbes' 18% flat tax rate would still be getting fleeced in your line of thinking.

The only consistent position if one believes wealth falls under equal-protection is for user-fee and per capita taxes.

Note that this country was decidedly not founded on per-capita taxation, but more of the marxist "from each..."

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Which ones involve hurting poor people and minorities? I'm for all those."

And so, once again, Tacitus retreats into the protection of his isolated short quip. You remind me of a cornered hound who initially volleys forth with a resounding battle cry only to suffer repeated licks before backing into a hole to lick your hurts and defend your new meager position.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Well, differing rates of taxation isn't exactly equal treatment under the law, is it?

I confess.

It's not exactly equal treatment to tax people at different rates.

Now, questions of justice aside, argue that a flat tax is socially beneficial.

Posted by: praktike at October 10, 2003 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Brivt wrote:

"Ding, ding. You hit it on the last one there. It was the Civil Rights legislation of the early 60s that caused the Southern racists to leave the Democratic Party. That legislation was championed by the Democratic Party. By doing that, they knew the results of that action (LBJ famously said something like, "We've given the South to the GOP for a generation" when signing the Civil Rights Act) So, yeah, the Democrats pushed the racist elements out of the party by their actions."

No, Civil Rights legislation was championed by Northern Liberal Democrats and Northern and Northeastern moderate Republicans. If Democratic liberals could have pushed such legislation through on their own they would have done so but they coludn't *because of the raw political power of Southern Democrats*.

And the shift of party affiliation of Southern states ( as opposed to particular officeholders being voted out in the primaries) came as a long term trend. " Yellow Dog Democrats " had to die out before the states went GOP which was why there were still a large number of Conservative Southern Democrats in Congress (" Boll Weevils")during the Reagan years. And if any racial issue drove the switch of white Southerners it was probably court-ordered " forced busing "in the 1970's not Voting Rights in 1964.

Posted by: mark safranski at October 10, 2003 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Um, Reg, if you don't grant people basic rights, why exactly would you give them the right to freedom of movement into a state that gives them better rights?"

Hmm, good question. I'm talking in the framework of the system we have, and the power to regulate commerce pretty clearly gives Congress the power to guarantee the freedom to travel. Also, without the freedom to travel, one comes awful close to slavery, which by its own terms applies to everybody.

Posted by: Reg at October 10, 2003 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Tacitus: OK, I see that perhaps you didn't agree with as much of that platform as I assumed from your post.

Somewhat off-topic, regarding the gold standard:

I don't know if it would be the end of the world, but it strikes me as a bad monetary policy. If there is anything that the Greenspan era has shown, it is that the ability of the Federal Reserve to control the money supply by setting interest rates and related measures is incredibly valuable. I won't say that they have been perfect, or don't have their own agenda, but the low-inflation growth that our economy has seen has been impressive. On a more fundamental level, the gold standard would give the US a money supply with no real ability to grow, except by mining more gold. But to have stable prices, the money supply needs to grow with the economy. Why should we tie our economic growth and price levels to how much gold people are able to dig out of the ground in Canada or South Africa?

(Disclaimer: I'm not an economist, just applying my own economic common sense here. A real economist might be able to amplify or correct me on this...)

Posted by: Alex R at October 10, 2003 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

You're right! I'm out of here!

Seriously, DavidNYC appeared to miss my point: there's very little that's simply wholly beyond the bounds of American public discourse. That's not the same thing as saying that all things within American public discourse are good; obviously the repeal of women's suffrage is bad.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

It is if you acknowledge the incremental decrease in dollar efficiency, or 'true value' as dollar amounts go up. Silly economists, always fudging up the simple arguments.

Of course, aggregating all of the rich folks' inefficient money into a massive store of even more inefficient money (the federal budget), sort of makes the problem worse, doesn't it?

Posted by: sidereal at October 10, 2003 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, differing rates of taxation isn't exactly equal treatment under the law, is it?"

With that kind of logic forget about housing subsidies for the poor, any kind of welfare, means testing for medicare, college grants, social welfare, the good of society, hell in a handbasket, etc, etc, etc...

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

entire segment of the U.S. population that is completely fucking nuts. And they're Christians

That's an example of how the radicals have been able to bend public discussion in their favor. Nowadays everybody associates the term "Christian" with those rightwingers.

Please bear in mind that Christian is a much wider term and includes Catholics, Episcopalians etc., many of whom have completely different attitudes to most political issues from those (IMO) pseudo-Christian wingnuts.

Greetings
Karl Heinz

Posted by: khr at October 10, 2003 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, differing rates of taxation isn't exactly equal treatment under the law, is it?"

Differing levels of justice depending on the lawyer you can pay isn't equal treatment under the law, either. Nobody said life was 100 percent fair. And nobody said "fairness" was always justice.

When I hear right-wingers whine, it always strikes me as such petty jealousy. Like little kids who have a Mrs. Fields brownie but worry that their teacher gave some poor kid an extra cracker.

Posted by: Magenta at October 10, 2003 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

That's their base.

They're not exteme to thousands and thousands and thousands of small, petty people living thorughout this country.

A friend of mine went with her boyfriend to Oklahoma (I think, maybe alabama) to meet his parents. They're both living in Seattle. The very first thing this guy's aunt said to her was:

"You aren't one of them evolutionists, are you?"

The very first thing out of her mouth, and this guy's family are not back-water freaks, they're middle class "regular" people where they live.

OC is full of conservatives, sure, but for the most part they're pretty, rich people driving new cars living basically harmoniously alongside people unlike themselves. Much of this country is full of people who only want to live in a closed, socially-similar society. They jut don't "have their own opinoins", they can't live thinking other people aren't living according to their beliefs.

That's their base. The whole of the south almost, most of the interior, Texas... small, xenophobic people who hate the idea of people being allowed to live in a manner they find offensive.

The sad, sad truth is their platform does have a place in this country- and that's the horrible reality of the situation.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

But I remain confident that any state taking away core rights will lose citizens very very quickly and will be forced grant those basic rights. (but, like guns and abortion, people will have preferences and different positions, and we ought to grant them)

This is an intersting position, because it essentially sets up the states as competing corporations, offering alternative services and prices in a bidding war to attract the most customers. Another way of viewing the states might be as members of a republic, who, on condition of their acceptance into the republic, agree that the rights and laws enshrined in said republic's central government will be upheld within the state itself.

Under this concept, states cannot "opt out" of granting basic rights. If they do not grant basic rights, the federal government is obligated to step in and force the issue. We're not talking about serving Coke or Pepsi with the happy meal, Reg. We're taking about people's lives and the fabric of a civil society. States don't get to "opt out" of civil rights, or any other federal mandates.

This isn't a new concept, Reg. This arguement has been waged since 1787, and hasn't abated. The principles on which this country was founded have just as much to do with a strong central government as with states' rights.

By the way, your "federalist" position--a creature so disconcerting that one of the first federalists, James Madison, had to part ways with it--has nothing to do with states' rights, by the way. The elitism of a ruling class the Federalist Party believed in is enshrined in John Jay's famous remark: "Those who own the country ought to govern it."

The Texas Republican platform should NOT be allowed to come to pass for Texas or anyone else for the simple reason that it stands in direct contrast to the constitution of the U.S., and would adversely affect the lives of tens of millions of people. States' rights are trumped by the requirements of the country as a whole and the rights of its citizens.

Posted by: Simon at October 10, 2003 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Note that this country was decidedly not founded on per-capita taxation, but more of the marxist "from each..."

A Clark voter, I see.

You remind me of a cornered hound....

Don't be insulted if I don't answer your braying bullet points in order at your command, Adam. BriVT got his queries answered. What's the difference? Hm.

The pity is that guys like Obe probably can't help themselves. You have a choice.

Now, questions of justice aside, argue that a flat tax is socially beneficial.

Well, if you don't think that justice is ipso facto "socially beneficial," I'm not sure we've got common ground, here.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm...used "by the way" twice in one sentence. Gotta get me a copyeditor.

Posted by: Simon at October 10, 2003 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, differing rates of taxation isn't exactly equal treatment under the law, is it?"

Well there's some argument to be made that the rich benefit disproportionately more from society than do the poor, and hence they should pay more for their greater benefits.

Posted by: Nick at October 10, 2003 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, many typos. You get the point though.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the repeal of women's suffrage and maybe the return of Jim Crow aren't beyond the pale of American political discourse

But that doesn't mean I have to talk to such People

Or talk to those who think these things are not good ideas, but are willing to have the discussion

or tolerate those who watch the discussion in silence

or have Republicans in my house

Posted by: bob mcmanus at October 10, 2003 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody said life was 100 percent fair.

In that case, why try? Cripes.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

I have certainly read publications in a religious journal that indicated that women's suffrage is a necessary evil of the age and encouraged women in the denomination to vote only because they had to cancel the vote of women who would vote the "wrong" way. But if they could, they'd end it entirely.

Posted by: Magenta at October 10, 2003 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

One irony: if DeLay-style "theocrats" ever fully had their way, the first book they would have to outlaw is the Bible. It would be too dangerous to have subversives like Amos, Isaiah, Micah and Jeremiah available to the public.

One question: if these "theocrats" want to teach "creation science" in the schools, which creation story do they pick out of the 8 or 9 available in the Bible? Do they like the order of creation in Genesis 1 better than the different order in Genesis 2 and, if so, why?

Posted by: Allen Brill at October 10, 2003 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin--

I don't view DeLay as the rightist equivalent of Marxists. Maybe of Nader & the Greens (have you been to Oregon lately?), but unless DeLay is talking about Gulags and KGB raids on unwed couples, I think you're overstating things a bit.

Posted by: Kevin Murphy at October 10, 2003 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

"There simply are no decent republicans."

Whoever wrote this is telling the god's honest truth.
As I see it, anyone who believes that loyalty to the party trumps loyalty to the country is a traitor.
As for the Christians.. ugh.
My mother (56) put is best: "When I was a girl growing up in Brooklyn, there were Jews and Christians. And Christian meant you were Catholic or Lutheran or Episcopal or whatever. Now, it means something totally different: it means those fucking lunatics who believe the world is flat. We have to take it back, like the gay people took back queer, and the black people took back nigger."
She's right too: I have a number of friends who are Catholic, Lutheran, what-have-you. But i have no friends at all who are "Christians."
Indeed, I go out of my way to antagonize "Christians."

Posted by: Brendan Skwire at October 10, 2003 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Then I would agree with you Tacitus, but that was not how I understood your position. I now see you simply think everything is within the pale of modern political discourse, "racism perhaps", "totalitarianism perhaps" ... Are you simply arguing that these things have a legitimate right to be debated? Sure, then I agree with you.

However, much of that crap on that Texas platform which you so agree with belongs in the very same league as racism, totalitarianism. You radicals deserve to be heard, free speech and all... I just wish you'd be more honest and open about your beliefs. Now, that you've publicly stated an affinity for the majority of the Texas platform beliefs, we all know not to think of you as any kind of moderate. That's good, because at least we know where you are coming from.

Now, please detail the other specific positions you agree with. Its good to have specifics, don't you think? Perhaps you can initial each page of the Texas Platform so we can have an unblemished look at your true thoughts. Don't be afraid or shy Tacitus. Go ahead.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

AdamW: the conservative argument is that these programs do more harm than good.

SSI is an interesting example. If people just saved 15% of their income, the average joe would have $1M in the bank after 40 years (40k -> 60k income, 5% return), good enough for ~27 years of retirement

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

The point, Tacitus, is that when poor people claim something is "unfair" (say education) the right calls them whiners.

But when the haves are being put upon, well, then that's a social injustice. Spare me. You don't want fair. You want more.

Posted by: Magenta at October 10, 2003 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Don't be insulted if I don't answer your braying bullet points in order at your command, Adam. BriVT got his queries answered. What's the difference? Hm."

Oh, I'm not insulted Tacitus. Not at all.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Adam, Adam....Bray, bray, bray.

Read the thread, Adam. Or not, more likely. Yes, I'm a dangerous radical. Bray. I'm exposed as a faux moderate. Bray, bray.

Now excuse me while I go sing.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Spare me. You don't want fair. You want more.

Ah, the direct correlation of politics and morality. Always a refreshing perspective. Healthy for the polis.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Have fun in Africa. I'm having a lot of fun watching your blog while you're away.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of which, where's yours?

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Ah, the direct correlation of politics and morality. Always a refreshing perspective. Healthy for the polis."

Lick. And so, once again, Tacitus retreats into the protection of his isolated short quip. Lick. Bark. Lick.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm exposed as a faux moderate

yes, you are.

Kevin:

The Texas GOP represents a radical movement that has no place in American politics.

You:

Absurd. You don't have to agree with them in the slightest to recognize that the Texas GOP's brand of social conservatism and economic libertarianism has deep roots in American politics and history. Heck, I agree with a great deal of their platform -- particularly the economic stuff -- myself. On social issues, where it comes to abortion and divorce, at least, I probably agree with them more often than not. Do I, then, have "no place in American politics"?

yes, paraphrasing Kevin:

steathily dismantling the 20th century welfare state and theocratic appeals to authority have no place in American politics.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

While Tacitus spins his webs, the TX repubs gorge like termites on the foundations of the US Constitution - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

There appears to be much ado about... something here, but IMO the post that got it most correct is Marc's at 12:17 (and Kevin's that started it off) Most of the rest is just so much bloviating...

Posted by: dm at October 10, 2003 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

My blog fell as a casualty of internecine warfare prompted by the Democratic presidential race.

Short answer, Rick deleted the blog after I responded to some of his less-then-rational posts on Dean.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

For those who said I would quit

No, and Tacitus shows how the fight must be fought

You attack the "moderates" as if they were the racist fascists, until they prove they aren't

This how Repubs drove communism out of the country
in the fifties, by, for example, making every teacher sign a loyalty oath....democrats turned on their own extreme left out of desperation

You attack the moderate republicans without mercy or compassion, until they destroy their wingnuts

Posted by: bob mcmanus at October 10, 2003 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I suggest "Armageddon Republicans" as the moniker.

I agree with you, McManus, but it's a tough row to hoe, isn't it?

Isn't Reg just the cutest thing? A never-ending source of wonder.

Posted by: Zizka at October 10, 2003 01:01 PM | PERMALINK

"... in the fifties, by, for example, making every teacher sign a loyalty oath."

In this case, its the Texas Republicans themselves who require a loyalty oath. To their radical agenda. They are required to read and initial each page of the Texas Party Platform. Can you believe it?

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 01:03 PM | PERMALINK

"While Tacitus spins his webs, the TX repubs gorge like termites on the foundations of the US Constitution - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED."

You mean the same US Constitution that limits the Federal Government and requires it to act within the limits of a set of enumerated powers - a set that most certainly does not include Social Security, the FDA, minimum wage law, Pell Grants, etc., etc., etc.

So tell us again what happened to the foundations of the US Constitution?

Posted by: Ken at October 10, 2003 01:07 PM | PERMALINK

You're in no position to be griping about poor logic, DavidNYC.

Whether or not my logic was poor has no bearing on whether or not your logic was poor. Your employment of this tactic is also a logical fallacy - the ad hominem attack.

My point was pretty clearly that these things were not outside the pale of American political discourse: this is an entirely different question from whether they're desireable or even moral. You're just punching at straw men, here.

You are drawing a distinction where none exists. I simply questioned your standard. You said that if an idea has deep roots in American history, they are not outside the "pale of democratic discourse". (You also listed two possible exceptions: racism and totalitarianism.) In other words:

If "deep roots", then "within pale" (except racism or totalitarianism)

I noted that the idea of women lacking property, contract and voting rights has a deep history in this country. Based on your standard, this idea would be within the "pale of democratic discourse". In other words:

Women's lack of rights has deep roots; ergo
within pale

I don't see any problem with this logic.

Posted by: DavidNYC at October 10, 2003 01:08 PM | PERMALINK

Tacitus: Can you at least admit that the platform of the Texas GOP is not, in any way, "moderate"? And that by comparison, the platforms of the Democratic Party in New York and California are by no means as left as the Texas GOP is to the right?

Heck, compare the Texas GOP platform to that of the Constitution Party.

Reg: I'm sorry, but I will never understand this idea that it's ok to violate rights, as long as it's a state government doing it as opposed to a federal one. Am I really going to sit back as my rights disappear and be thankful that at least it's my neighbors who are doing it, and not people in Washington? If a right to free speech, or to own guns, or whatever, is a *good thing* that should be protected, then it needs to be protected from abuse both at a federal and state level.

Posted by: aelph at October 10, 2003 01:10 PM | PERMALINK

Well that thread went down hill in a hurry... Once again the Tacitus Affect is apparent.

What will you do with this kind of power, Tac? Fight crime? Solve the mid-east crisis? Wear a multi-colored, spandex costume?

I'm personally in favor of the wealthy paying their fair share in proportion to their apparent benefits of society. Roads and interstates certainly benefit capital more than they do labor, same with defense, a healthy educated workforce as well. However, I have no desire to see european style tax rates so I like people willing to fight to stem the rise of taxes so that Robert Byrd can't name another building after himself(or aircraft carriers after still living presidents).

Reg,
This is mostly true, though I'm not sure what makes the proposed changes to abortion and divorce law theocratic.

Theocracy

n 1: a political unit governed by a deity (or by officials thought to be divinely guided)

Banning abortion, or divorce, or sodomy, or the teaching of evolution because the bible says that it is wrong is an example of this. That's what makes the desired laws theocratic.

Posted by: ChrisS at October 10, 2003 01:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think you could get an idea into Mark Safranski's head with a 16 lb. maul.

The story is simple. 1860 (or before) -- ~1968?: Southern racists are Democrats.

~1956 -- ~1967 Civil Rights movement has some successes, led by Northern Democrats, some Republicans, and spearheaded by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson.

~1970 -- present: racists migrate to the Republican Party. Racists remaining in the Democratic party change their tune (e.g. Byrd, Gore Sr.)

No secrets there. But Safranski will be peddling misinformation as long as he lives.

Posted by: Zizka at October 10, 2003 01:11 PM | PERMALINK

Progressive taxation is more equal for people with different wage levels than a flat tax would be. The reason is this: Money is not worth as much to the rich as it is to the poor. "Rediculous!" I can hear (an have heard) convervatives say. But think of it this way: a progressive tax on wages is just an approximation of a flat distribution of pain. How much pain does it inflict on a $1 million earner to give up %18 of that? Is it more than the pain in causes a minimum wage earner? 70% in the top bracket is way too high, but 18% does not inflict equal pain under the law.

Posted by: coward at October 10, 2003 01:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'll be honest, I'm rather confused by the whole concept of federal rights not applying at the state level. If the only purpose of the federal government is the enumerated functions (regulating commerce, the military and protecting property rights) then why have a Bill of Rights? Who exactly did they apply to?

The federal government, which has absolutely no role in your day to day life, can't restrict your free speech but your state can. Whoopdee! Why would the founders even have debated something so absolutely meaningless? If these aren't universal rights, I don't see the point in having them at all.

Posted by: Magenta at October 10, 2003 01:14 PM | PERMALINK

So tell us again what happened to the foundations of the US Constitution?

They be strengthened. Interstate commerce is indeed a compelling mandate (though I agree it is often abused, eg. gun control laws).

Regardless of what "general welfare" is supposed to mean, Reg's cute theories of a mobile pick-and-choose workforce fall flat if one's social insurance is tied to your state of residence.

Federalism, like libertarianism, works fine in theory, but
I'm an American first and Californian second -- and that's the way it should be.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 01:14 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

This post is a much more measured, thoughtful and insightful post than your last one. I'm still not convinced, but this is much closer to the truth IMHO than your last piece. Thanks for thinking about it some more. I will too.

Posted by: spc67 at October 10, 2003 01:16 PM | PERMALINK

beneath every pro-"state's rights" argument is anarchy. you're dealing with someone arguing that the government that defends them shouldn't be in a position to do anything else, even though the citizenry has very clearly tasked them with services beyond defense - and the power to raise funds to pay for those services.

take their arguments to their logical conclusions and all forms of governance are illegitimate and every person is a sovereign nation.

all this because they don't want to pay taxes on earnings afforded to them by the system of governance we have in place.

i love this country and the services provided by the government. i gladly pay my taxes to prove it.

Posted by: powerless in tx at October 10, 2003 01:18 PM | PERMALINK

Bredan,

Yer right. "Christian" means something quite different today than it did, say, 20 years ago even. I think the primary difference is people who are generally intolerant and self-centered order their world along lines of their hatreds. They've given themselves a simple identity that means "I hate fags, muslims, secularism, and Darwin (among other things)".

That way, anywhere they go someone sez "I'm a christian" they know what is meant.

Apparently catholics aren't even christian any more. More and more I hear people make a distinction between christians and catholics, in fact I've heard people say, in response to "are you catholic?", say "no, I'm christian".

One thing all this establishment of "Christian" as the go-to font of hate has done is made me proud to be catholic, even though I'm like most catholics and don't have any faith to speak of and never go to church. The pope still sez "don't wear rubbers" and other idiotic stuff, but he does not, and for a long time the church has not preached hate in any way.

Anyhoo, you're right. Christian is a key word now, it denotes predjudices, not faith.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 01:18 PM | PERMALINK

"The pity is that guys like Obe probably can't help themselves. You have a choice."

Thanks for proving my point, Rush.

The problem with you is that you are unable to argue honestly, which is why it is so easy to point out your hypocrisy. You want to win and make the other guy look stupid. Beyond that, you have few if any principles at all.

Posted by: obe at October 10, 2003 01:20 PM | PERMALINK

Taking Tacitus' defense of the TX GOP Platform as 'not outside the pale' at its face, why can't we say the same for the Communists in Kevin's nice little thought-experiment? E.g., having a 90% top tax bracket is not 'beyond the pale', and a few industries are nationalized (the government owns the roads & controls a monopoly on the mail) and people have at least talked about nationalizing health care.

If the comparison with communism holds up, then it's hard to see how Tacitus' comments make for much of a _defense_ of the TX GOP.

Posted by: JW at October 10, 2003 01:21 PM | PERMALINK

What ChrisS said at 1:10.

Reasonable Progressivity == not bad, Confiscatory == bad

Theocracy is moral appeals to authority, eg. fairy tales and law codes of the Israelites.

4/5ths of the Founding Fathers are sidled up to the bar comiserating at the implacable stupidity of the American electorate, no doubt.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 01:21 PM | PERMALINK

"We are like the Europeans throughout the thirties
'How bad can they be, really'"

Well, only sorta. I mean, to the defense of the main-stream European governments of the 1930s, they had just survived the most catastrophic war in Western history, and were suffering through the worst economic depression since the Middle Ages. The European governments had other things to deal with (crippling unemployment, ruined infrastructure, colonial upheaval, et cetera), and lacked the resources to "put down" the extreme political parties. Moreover, unlike today, the rise of extremist political movements was more a result of the prevailing socio-economic conditions.

But your point still holds, in a sense. Indeed, were we to suffer an economic downturn on par with the Great Depression, or some sort of horrific war, I can easily see appeasement of the Radical Right becoming the overarcing political tactic of the day. Imagine how horrible things would become if the Radical Right were allowed to feed on the same kind of dreadful conditions that our grandparents and great-grandparents lived through?

Posted by: Brant Casavant at October 10, 2003 01:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, if you think Texas sounds bad from there, you should try living it! Here in the Fort Bend County Outback, my congressional representative is some guy named Tom DeLay. What a guy, as you know.

I wish I could share your confidence that the Democrats have the wherewithal to come back and undo the damage the DeLays and Bush Jr.s and Cheneys and Ashcrofts have done to our country and our Constitution. But from here in South Texas, it doesn't look good.

It's to the point where I have actually advocated that the most efficient way to affect political change in Texas is for everyone who is not a member of the Republican Party to join up pronto and outnumber the Fringies currently running everything.

I was at least half-kidding when I blogged to that effect a month ago. Now that the bastards finally are approving a map to disenfranchise my vote here, I'm not laughing anymore.

The Democrats here have been neutered, and looking at the Democrats in Washington for the past three years leads me to label them likewise.

Think about it. If every registered Democrat and independents (like me) would immediately join the Republican Party, a collectively more sane political voice might be heard.

Now look, I know in my heart I'm going to give Dean/Clark or Clark/Dean one last shot. But if that doesn't work, we need to ramp it up a notch and take back our government by working within one party.

Even if it is the part of malevolent racist assholes.

Posted by: UncleBob at October 10, 2003 01:23 PM | PERMALINK

And if any racial issue drove the switch of white Southerners it was probably court-ordered " forced busing "in the 1970's not Voting Rights in 1964.

Changes in Congressional delegations are slow due to the incredible advantages of incumbency. Incumbents can hold onto their positions for a long time; for most of them it is convenient to keep the same letter after their name. Presidential politics adapt to realities in a much quicker manner, and the Nixon "Southern strategy" was explicitly based on the Civil Rights movement and its association with the Democratic Party.

Sure, some Northeastern Republicans supported the Civil Rights legislation. But, it was the majority of Democrats who rebuked their Southern racist brethren who were the driving force behind those advances in American liberty. Yes, the Southern Democrats were against it; that's the whole point of the argument. The majority of the party chose to associate themselves with Civil Rights. That act caused the slow dissolution of the Democrats in the South.

btw, I was a child of the busing period in the South. I was one of 2 or 3 white children in my class during my first few years of school before more white kids were bussed in. It was a big fight, but it was more a continuation than a new battlefield.

Tacitus: Do you agree that there is a difference between saying something has "no place in American politics" and saying something "should not be mentioned or ever discussed." Because you seem to be arguing that by saying the former, Kevin is implying the latter.

Posted by: BriVT at October 10, 2003 01:24 PM | PERMALINK

Case in point for the wealthy getting a greater benefit from the state:

Carrier Corp, a subsidiary of United Technologies, has recently announced that they will be axing 1,200 jobs in Syracuse, NY (where the defending NCAA basketball champions play in the Carrier Dome, but that's tangential). In response the corporate shills George Pataki and James Walsh have announced plans to subsidize Carrier to the tune of $42,000,000 per year in order to keep the jobs in Syracuse. The CFO and CEO of United Technologies, since 2000, have seen their annual income rise between 50% and 150% each year. How are they not benefiting more from government money? Is Carrier Corp's sole benefit to the area to provide jobs? If so, why not just take the $42 mill, skip the businessmen, and invest directly into Syracuse? Wouldn't that be more efficient?

Posted by: ChrisS at October 10, 2003 01:25 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if you don't think that justice is ipso facto "socially beneficial," I'm not sure we've got common ground, here.

Tacitus:
I don't pretend to think that I'm going to convince you or any other libertarian of the value of progressive taxation.

My concept of justice comes from John Rawls; yours comes from Milton Friedman.

We all come from different starting points; I think justice occurs when we have equality of opportunity, and I think that progressive taxation is a way to compensate for unequal starting points.

If I had time, I could find plenty of empirical evidence to show that our economy has done better since many of the government programs you abhor have come into being. If you're interested, I'll dig it up for you, and we can talk about that.

Posted by: praktike at October 10, 2003 01:27 PM | PERMALINK

Tacitus comes here as a Zen warrior to disrupt. He feels that as long as he follows certain rules of civility we have an obligation to pay attention to him. He claims that that's rational debate, and that if we don't talk to him we're uncivil.

At a certain point debate is useless. At that point you fight it out in the polls and in Congress, and one side wins and the other loses. Civil rights laws weren't passed because the segregationists were persuaded, but because they were politically beaten.

With Tacitus, our concern is how to beat him and the Texas Democrats (with whom he presumably has some small differences, of course). We're not trying to persuade him, and we'd be idiots to care what he thought of us.

On his site he list four reasons not to be a democrat. 1. We're militarily soft. 2. We're budget busters. 3. We try to keep government secular. 4. We don't respect Southern culture.

Speaking for myself, I'll cop to #3 and #4. I really don't think that the South provides a good example in any way whatsoever for the rest of the country. I likewise strongly support the separation of Church and State.

On #2 -- ha, ha, ha. Bush is really a prince, isn't he, Tac?

On #1 -- I can't support Bush's war plans as I understand them. The Iraq war is not the war we were sold, but I didn't buy it anyway. Tacitus is welcome to it.

In sum, there's really nothing to negotiate about. We're neither going to teach Tacitus anything, nor learn anything from him either. What we can do, of course, is throw little snarky jabs back and forth, but what a goddamn waste of time. (Theoretically we could invite him along on the basis of Bush's wretched budgeting, but there's those other three points and that's not going anywhere.)

Much the same holds for Reg, but reg is no Zen warrior. He's like a guy who, in his dreams, whips Shaq one on one. The Internet allows durable, persistent people to think they're staying in the argument when they're not.

Posted by: Zizka at October 10, 2003 01:28 PM | PERMALINK

The European governments had other things to deal with

plus the revolutionary Reds organizing and flexing their strength...

My dear ol' Grandpa (1911-89) always said that the US would fall to the fascists before the commies.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 01:29 PM | PERMALINK

steathily dismantling the 20th century welfare state....[has] no place in American politics.

Rubbish. The "20th century welfare state" does not enjoy sacrosanct, much less Constitutional, status. It's fair game for attack or dismantling if the people support it.

Rick deleted the blog....

Wow. I really thought you were at least civil with each other.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 01:29 PM | PERMALINK

Bah Federalism. The issue was settled by the civil war. Federalism was good in theorey, but in practice, the South, very specifically, the Southern States could not be trusted with it.

And now the South has arisen again. Does anybody believe this is a coincidence? Would I feel better if people from Indiana and Wisconsin were in charge. Of course. I simply don't trust Delay and Bush.

Why the South is the perennial toilet that keeps overflowing is a great question, having less to do with slavery than most people think. The settlement of Kentucky to Alabama to Texas by Scotch and 1st wave Irish, the religious history, the poor land etc is also important.

But I am old enough to be as sick of Southerners as Israelis are of Palestinians

Posted by: bob mcmanus at October 10, 2003 01:29 PM | PERMALINK

Well...if nothing else, I've managed to get Zizka to cough up that there were/are racists in the Democratic Party.

Not bad for a day's posting. I'll count this one in the " win " column

Posted by: mark safranski at October 10, 2003 01:30 PM | PERMALINK

ChrisS:

42M / 1200 employees = 35k/per.

...hmmm...

Granted an established name like Carrier has more earning potential than 1,200 schmoes on the dole...

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 01:31 PM | PERMALINK

hell the guy who congressman is Delay

mine used to be Martin Frost, which may explain my real bad mood

Posted by: bob mcmanus at October 10, 2003 01:32 PM | PERMALINK

Tim: In what way are you a Catholic, exactly? (Indeed, if "most Catholics" are like you - which I doubt, by the way - how are they "Catholic" at all?)

Which group is it that uses "Christian" as code for "intolerant and mean"? Certainly it's not Christians. The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party sounds more likely.

Disclosure: I'm not Christian (or Catholic!). But anti-religious bigotry is at least as bad as religious bigotry, and should be stood up to in exactly the same way.

Adam: I don't see "abolishing separation of church and state" in the Platform you linked to. Please point out exactly where you got that? I DO see "We reclaim freedom of religious expression in public on government property, and freedom from governmental interference" ... how is the latter compatible with elimination of separation?

Perhaps you meant this (admittedly poorly written) line? "Our Party pledges to do everything within its power to restore the original intent of the First Amendment of the Unites States and the concept of the separation of Church and State and dispel the myth of the separation of Church and State."

Obviously, when they say "dispel the myth of separation", they mean "establish a church", right? Nevermind that the previous clause mentions restoring the intent of separation? While I'm not sure I agree with the most likely results of such a "restoration" in all ways, every argument I've ever heard about the "intent" of the founders regarding separation was that the State is prohibited from establishing a (state) Church, or preventing free exercise of religious belief. That's all that's in the Constiution and can be gleaned from period sources. That you (and to some extent I) might want it to say "the State shall never have any relation to Churches at all in any way" does not, however, make that so.

What any given person wants the Constitution to support has, (un)fortunately, no relation to what it does, in fact, say. If the desired outcome is constitutional separation of church and state (note that the phrase is NOT used in the first amendment), then an amendment to that effect should be proposed, and put up for ratification.

Posted by: Sigivald at October 10, 2003 01:34 PM | PERMALINK

'You don't have to agree with them in the slightest to recognize that the Texas GOP's brand of social conservatism and economic libertarianism has deep roots in American politics and history. Heck, I agree with a great deal of their platform -- particularly the economic stuff -- myself. On social issues, where it comes to abortion and divorce, at least, I probably agree with them more often than not. Do I, then, have "no place in American politics"?

You're right Tacitus. But the problem is is that many of the right's arguments against the New Deal/Great Society government we have make it seem as if the problem is in the utility of these programs rather than their constitutionality. It's one thing to think that taxes are intrinsically wrong. It's another to proclaim that they have no benefits and are completely prohibiting growth. The same goes for a big program like Social Security or welfare. SS may have problems and welfare was not the greatest thing in the world, but neither of them deserve the absolute demonization they get from the anti-government right, at least on utilitarian grounds. It's just easier to present your views as an inevitable solution to huge problems, rather than a shift from one form of somewhat-workable gov't to another.

All of which is why I think that in most cases, conservatives who are so against big gov't are simply dangerous. They don't present the case soundly or fairly and don't seem to have the slightest inclincation in even acknowledging reality. I don't know why this is. The animosity towards big government in this country is very tough to understand, since, by all measures, it hasn't been that bad, and compared to the alternatives may be far better.


Posted by: Thomas at October 10, 2003 01:34 PM | PERMALINK

Tacitus: I said, or tried to anyway, say "Stealthily dismantle the welfare state"

Kevin said "completely dismantle", which is similar.

The Repubs, aren't running on this, but I'm with Krugman that this is their true policy goal (cf. Norquist).

If the national GOP had this plank in their platform it would at least be honest. Bush's latest concession on senior meds is evidence of some sort of conflict.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 01:35 PM | PERMALINK

Rubbish. The "20th century welfare state" does not enjoy sacrosanct, much less Constitutional, status. It's fair game for attack or dismantling if the people support it.

Tacitus, you know that problem with the current crop of republican's plans to dismantle the "20th century welfare state" is because it isn't being attacked in daylight. Politicians are legitimately trying to force the decision of cutting social security or massive tax hikes across the board. How many republicans are going to get elected if they come out and say flatly that they are going to repeal the Social Security Act? In fact, I'd love to see the bill proposed by Tom Delay, if that's what he truly belives with his heart.

Posted by: ChrisS at October 10, 2003 01:39 PM | PERMALINK

“Social Security is a defining American promise, and we will not turn back. This issue is a test of government’s capacity to give its word and to keep it, to act in good faith and to pursue the common good.”
                                                               — George W. Bush 

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 01:43 PM | PERMALINK

And if any racial issue drove the switch of white Southerners it was probably court-ordered " forced busing "in the 1970's not Voting Rights in 1964.

There isn't much to say here except, horsehit! That's just horseshit. Southerners, who were mostly Democratic at the time, fought the Civil Rights Act tooth and nail. It passed with votes from a combination of Norther Republicans and Democrats.

The next election, in 1968, the South went solid Republican for Nixon. Johnson knew when he signed the Civil Rights Act that he had lost the South for the Democratic Party, and he said so. He still did the right thing.

Posted by: Pug at October 10, 2003 01:43 PM | PERMALINK

I swear, someday in the not too distant future, this country is going to split in two.
I'm conflicted as to whether or not I want to see this happen in my lifetime.
On the other hand, it would certainly make for interesting times.
On the other hand, t'll be sad to see the red states devolve into third-world-domn.

Posted by: WillieStyle at October 10, 2003 01:46 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I have to say that for a lot of my life I had a certain fondness for the South. Or at least my romanticized view of the South. I loved visting in the South and had a great respect for it.

But, as I get older, I just can't abide the arrogance. I'm tired of the type of Southerners who insist *I* should be embarrassed about my patriotism while they choose to display an enemy flag on U.S. soil.

These people proudly practice "identity politics." They brag about an identity based in ancestors who bore arms agains the United States and attack my patriotism. They mourn the loss of Jim Crow and pretend they are somehow more just. They claim to be better Christians than I and turn their backs on any form of social justice.

To be honest, I'm just tired of it. There is nothing wrong with Northern intellectuals. There's a proud tradition of great achievement for our country, not the least of which was *winning* the Civil War, fouding the progressive movement and working toward the goal of opening the American dream to more Americans.

Posted by: Magenta at October 10, 2003 01:46 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, talk about coming late to the party. Anyway, had to comment on this:

I think there's a small difference between standing by while a dicatator who advocated the elimination of Jews and the forcible takeover of large parts of the world gains power and standing by while elected officials who advocate getting rid of Social Security gain power.

This could just as easily say:

I think there's a small difference between standing by while an elected demagogue [Hitler was elected by a majority of the population] who advocated the elimination of Jews and the forcible takeover of large parts of the world gains power and standing by while an unelected demagogue [Bush v. Gore?] who advocates the elimination of Muslims and the forcible takeover of large parts of the world (including Panama it now seems) gains power.

Posted by: Thumb at October 10, 2003 01:51 PM | PERMALINK

conservatives who are so against big gov't are simply dangerous

They are demagouging against evil "taxes", but not the services these taxes (mostly...) provide.

Which is ironic given the red/blue state federal funding disparity, another post where Kevin nailed the issue.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 01:51 PM | PERMALINK

"If I had time, I could find plenty of empirical evidence to show that our economy has done better since many of the government programs you abhor have come into being. If you're interested, I'll dig it up for you, and we can talk about that."

All that would show is that the government programs didn't manage to completely halt or reverse the march of human progress. It doesn't show that we wouldn't be better off still today if those programs hadn't been implemented.

"They be strengthened. Interstate commerce is indeed a compelling mandate (though I agree it is often abused, eg. gun control laws)."

Could you point to any regulation that the Interstate Commerce clause doesn't empower the Feds to institute?

If not, why would the Founders have put in an enumerated list of powers that includes it?

"Bah Federalism. The issue was settled by the civil war."

The issues that were settled in the Civil War:

1. No more slavery.
2. The states had new limits placed on their own powers.
3. The Federal Government was empowered to enforce the limits spelled out in (1) and (2) above. No other powers were added to the Federal Government
4. States that tried to secede would be invaded and brought back forcibly into the fold, by any means necessary (if Sherman had nukes, for example, does anyone seriously think that Atlanta would be habitable today?)

That's it. The end of Federalism was not "settled" by the Civil War.

Posted by: Ken at October 10, 2003 01:52 PM | PERMALINK

Slightly shorter version of Kevin's latest obsession:


Everyone who disagrees with him about those things is insane, mad. For example, to alter in any way a social program invented in the 1960s or 1970s, within Kevin's presumed lifetime, is "radical". In particular, stuff like affirmative action is inoffensive (because Kevin agrees with it); stuff like partial privatization of Social Security is radical and beyond the pale (because Kevin disagrees with it).


The other brilliant idea contained in all this analysis is that you can tell almost everything there is to know about a political party by looking at its party platform (in some state - pick one to your liking). The Texas Republican party platform is radical and beyond the pale (see previous paragraph); therefore Republicans are radical and beyond the pale and need to police their own of beyond-the-pale ideas with which Kevin disagrees. Meanwhile, the California Democrat party platform is relatively milquetoast, which proves that all Democrats are moderates and have no responsibility to worry about anything similar.


In particular, this is all based on the notion that if the Democratic party consistently contained and got support from a significant faction of people who (say) are for all intents and purposes socialists (will never oppose a single socialist program), they would surely put it in their party platform for all to read because although people who admit to being socialists have a tough time winning election in most places, party platforms are all about honesty and openness rather than PR. So, since it's not there for all to read in their platform, it must not be a significant force within the party or comprising support for the party.


The conclusions are: (1) Agree with Kevin about X, Y, Z or you're insane and beyond the pale. (2) The Democratic party en masse is completely moderate because they don't admit to anything else. (Which, when combined together, means that whatever Democrats do, as long as they keep their party platform moderately-worded, is the definition of the acceptable center, and the more one disagrees with their actions, the more unacceptable and beyond the pale and, perhaps, insane one becomes.)


I would say this whole line of thinking offended me but really it's just pathetic hackery. I consider myself fairly conservative but I would be embarrassed to speak this way with (D)s and (R)s reversed, at least if I did so while above the age of 15 or so. If you ask me, the proper response to someone who insists that people who disagree with him must be insane is to grow the hell up. But the sad part is, from his nice large full-body blog photo, Kevin looks to be older than I am. So I think it's a lost cause and a better solution would be to cease visiting his blog.

Posted by: Name: at October 10, 2003 01:54 PM | PERMALINK

Does Tacitus really think that if all Republicans nationwide frankly adopted a plan to privatize social security, they would continue to be the majority party in Congress? They would not. Not after the last five years of stock market meltdown. People like the "security" in social security. The problem with the Republicans' position is that they come out supporting social programs that have the wide support of the public (see the Bush quote above), but they pretend no one will have to pay for it. That's just dishonest. Schwarznegger's plans to balance the budget, lower taxes, and increase education spending (among others), are typical. It can't and won't be done.

Posted by: David in NY at October 10, 2003 01:58 PM | PERMALINK

Reg's disagreements with the TX GOP:

not allowing gays to adopt kids (should be birth parents choice)

This seems like a workable compromise. It's certainly nobody but the birth parents' business, that's for sure.

I'd go further and requiring explicit allowance by the birth parents.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 01:59 PM | PERMALINK

Basing a law on religious law is not the same as establishing a government whose officials claim their authority comes from God.

A theocracy, for example, would give the Pope or the head of the Southern Baptist Convention official, temporal governmental power.

A theocracy would most likely execute persons convicted of blasphemy, whether by hanging or the stake, and would most likely outlaw all other religions.

A theocracy would declare, at a minimum, "The United Christian Church of Crawford, Texas is the official religion of the U.S.A." Even then, however, we have good relations with quite a few countries with established churches, including Greece and the Scandinavian nations, which have a reputation in the U.S. as socialist.

Abraham Lincoln believed that slavery was wrong because God said so. Martin Luther King believed that segregation was wrong because God said so. Susan B. Anthony believed in women's equality because God said so. They stated their beliefs as such in no uncertain terms. Tom Paine also believed, before the French revolution spurred him to become a deist, that government by kings was wrong because God said so, and wrote it in Common Sense. This is true even though the Bible does not directly outlaw slavery, segregation, male supremacy, or government by kings, using those words, nor does it directly outlaw abortion in clear enough language to satisfy Frances Kissling. Billy Sunday also wanted to outlaw the saloon because he felt that God said so.

Religious appeals have been around since before the beginning of the Republic. The only way to remove them is to establish an atheist state, which is what the actual, not fantasy, communists have done whenever they took power. That is why the word "communist" frightens people so much in America, not nationalization of key industries and confiscatory taxes of those making over $50,000. I wonder what our allies in Scandinavia and Greece would say about those. Far from being communist proposals, such laws were enacted in postwar Western Europe, which had endured murder by the pagan Nazis and sat across the Iron Curtain from the atheist communists. And these proposals, many of them socialist, were enacted often by Christian Democratic parties, with an appeal to the Christian New Testament and Jesus' statements against exploitation of the poor. In other words, they justified the reverse of DeLayism because they believed that God said so.

Posted by: Jonathan Maccabee at October 10, 2003 02:00 PM | PERMALINK

You know, the Democrats always wring their hands about whether or not they can carry any Southern states. I think it's time for a change in strategy.

They need to attack the Republicans as the party dominated by right-wing Southerners. The Southern-fried GOP. The Republicans in the South have done it for years, demonizing any Yankee on a national ticket. Maybe it's time for the Yankees to kick ass again.

In elections up north tie Tom DeLay to every Republican like it's his brother, because if you vote for a Republican representative in New Jersey, you're voting for The Hammer. Defeat their moderates, as was suggested above.

For all the resentment in the South towards Yankees, there is equal disdain for bible-thumping Rednecks like DeLay up north.

Posted by: Pug at October 10, 2003 02:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well, differing rates of taxation isn't exactly equal treatment under the law, is it?

Unless you favor a truly radical interpretation of the equal protection clause it damn well is. The law treats people differently all the time. Citizens are treated differently from immigrants. Criminals are treated differently from law-abiding citizens. People with severe mental problems or disabilities that render them unable to work are legally entitled to federal benefits; the rest of us are not. People over 18 are treated differently from those under 18,as are those over and under 67. People in states with small populations are better represented in our electoral system than those in states with large populations.

(I am not going to go into the horrible justice system in some parts of the country because I think that is unconstitutional--though the Supreme Court disagrees with me.)

Normally (unless it falls into a limited number of intrinsically suspect methods of discrimination), if there is a rational basis for the distinction and it serves a legitimate governmental purpose, it is constitutional under the equal protection clause. That's pretty widely accepted.

Raising money for the government is a legitimate purpose. Ability to pay is a rational basis for allocating the tax burden.

Do you think need based college financial aid at state universities is unequal treatment under the law? How about the mortgage and child tax credits?

And if you're not actually making a legal argument but a moral one, I disagree with you even more.

Posted by: Katherine at October 10, 2003 02:02 PM | PERMALINK

if Sherman had nukes, for example, does anyone seriously think that Atlanta would be habitable today

Just as much as Hiroshima and Nagasaki are, sure.

Interestingly, the firebombing of German and Japanese cities was similar in spirit to Sherman's March to the Sea. Hadn't thought of that.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 02:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well that thread went down hill in a hurry... Once again the Tacitus Affect is apparent.

I can't account for the behavior of folks like Adam and Obe who bear nutty grudges, ChrisS. Or Zizka (and KevinA over at Kos) who writes self-nullifying long-form essays on why I should be ignored. You should see it when Tristero shows up. Now there's a bitter man who's not afraid to show it.

Anyway, I'll always give as I get, but you can't accuse me of dragging things down on my lonesome.

Money is not worth as much to the rich as it is to the poor.

That's actually a pretty good argument. Problem is, a "distribution of pain" is a subjective measurement, while a proportion of earnings is objective.

Taking Tacitus' defense of the TX GOP Platform as 'not outside the pale' at its face, why can't we say the same for the Communists in Kevin's nice little thought-experiment?

Why can't you? There's a strong communist tradition in American history and politics as well. Henry Wallace, the Democratic "new left"....it's there. Not that I like it, of course.

Because you seem to be arguing that by saying the former, Kevin is implying the latter.

Isn't he? Why else would he say it?

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 02:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Just as much as Hiroshima and Nagasaki are,
sure."

Yeah, you're right. If he'd had little baby nukes, then Atlanta would survive. If he'd had anything bigger, he probably wouldn't have even had to use them. Lee wasn't crazy, after all.

Posted by: Ken at October 10, 2003 02:07 PM | PERMALINK

Word of caution:
Despite residing the the southern part of the United States, Texas is not the South. It is its own creature - its own country, really - and the rest of the South doesn't much care for it.

Posted by: apostropher at October 10, 2003 02:08 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, don't accept the notion that taxation in this country is, as a whole, progressive. The Social Security Tax is wildly regressive as are sales taxes and many state taxes. And unearned income (capital gains & dividends?) earned only by the well-to-do are now taxed at preferential rates. So the Federal Income Tax just evens things out. Not to say that a more progressive tax would be unfair, just that the bellyaching by Tacitus and his ilk about the injustice of it all is a little misplaced.

Posted by: David in NY at October 10, 2003 02:10 PM | PERMALINK

Abraham Lincoln believed that slavery was wrong because God said so. Martin Luther King believed that segregation was wrong because God said so. Susan B. Anthony believed in women's equality because God said so.

bullshit. The Enlightment knocked out this Judeo-Christian godism. I don't recall MLK saying "God told me... judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"

People's anti-abortion, anti-evolution, etc. public morality is theocracy in spirit if not letter.

Tacitus is correct in his anti-Democrat screed that religosity demands respect.

But appeals to authority are demagoguery and shows you simply don't have a rational case to make.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 02:11 PM | PERMALINK

David in NY:

Schwazenegger paid less tax % than me in 2001.

(counting payroll taxes of course)

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 02:12 PM | PERMALINK

hmm... you did say "treatment", not "protection". So it's possible I misunderstood you. But given that you think it's inherently unjust and that you said "equal X under the law" I don't think I did.

And, Tacitus has never claimed to be moderate, folks. He's not. At all. (He's said that if the democratic party got too much power we could be on a slippery slope to Stalinism.) Just more honest, polite and reasonable than most in advancing views I find very immoderate.

Posted by: Katherine at October 10, 2003 02:13 PM | PERMALINK

And unearned income (capital gains & dividends?) earned only by the well-to-do are now taxed at preferential rates

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It seems unfair on the surface, but rewarding risked capital with preferential rates makes some economic sense.

There's an issue with people now able to incorporate as tax-dodges to get the 15% rate, but this can be dealt with I hope.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 02:15 PM | PERMALINK

All that would show is that the government programs didn't manage to completely halt or reverse the march of human progress. It doesn't show that we wouldn't be better off still today if those programs hadn't been implemented.

OK.

There are several ways to prove this statement wrong. I think the simplest is for me to say this:

1) A government program provided electricity to hundreds of thousands of rural Americans, who never would have been able to purchase it in the free market
2) A government program gave people who lose their job the ability to feed their families while looking for other employment
3) A government program pushed millions of senior citizens above the poverty line

Progress? I think so.

It was not free enterprise that did these things. Free enterprise is great, but it's important to recognize what markets can and cannot accomplish on their own.

I stuck to programs, but I could continue with regulation, if you need some more.

Posted by: praktike at October 10, 2003 02:17 PM | PERMALINK

"I can't account for the behavior of folks like Adam and Obe who bear nutty grudges, ChrisS."

Wow, I didn't know I hurt your feelings so Tacitus. I hold no grudges.

"Anyway, I'll always give as I get, but you can't accuse me of dragging things down on my lonesome."

Uh, yes we can. That is exactly what you do Tacitus. Over and over, you've proven this yourself. You trudge along here and there and once in awhile find a post from the Left which irritates you to know end by cutting to close to the truth for your conservative sensibilities. You then scour said post for one sentence or one piece of minutia which you turn your guns on, full blast.

When other posters call you on it you devolve into obnoxious and single serving quips. Your take on DavidNYC is a case in point. You refused to address David's legitimate counterpoint, instead preferring to launch a half-hearted ad-hominem all the while spouting vagaries. Seeing illusionary straw men.

But, hey, that's your way. We get it. Have fun in Africa Tacitus.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 02:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sigivald-

Were you raised agnostic or something?

I was raised catholic, baptised, CCD school, though I never got confirmed, all that crap. Catholic is an identity as much as it is a religion, just like anything else.

It's a well-known stereotype/joke that if you were raised catholic it means your aetheist now. The umbrella term is "lapsed catholic". I can identify as catholic if I want to or not, depends on the question. If you ask me if I'm religious I'll say "no". If you ask me if I'm Jewish, or Christian, or Muslim, I'll say I was raised catholic. If you ask me "are you the god-father to your neice and did you go to the whole ceremony thing ordained by the church and what-not" I'll say "yep".

It's an identity, it doesn't have to imply religiosity.

And who are these christians you ask? Where is the cave you live in?

How about the christians who shoot abortion doctors and those who harbor the killers? How about those insane people going ballistic over that graven image, the ten commandments in the courthouse? How about the folks who preach that fags are gonna burn in hell? The ones that call Islam a religion of terrorists? Those folks who want to put a monument up to that gay kid who got beat to death saying "On [date] on this spot [I forget his name] went to hell because he was ahomosexual."

Those Christians. It's an identity, an identity of hatred.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 02:21 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone remember Tacitus' trip down the GI's are "sitting ducks" road on Kos? Man that was a fun one. A great example of your habits Tacitus. You know, I'll bet you can't even recognize these traits in yourself. Funny that. So many others recognize it in you. Ahh well, let it never be said that introspection is one of your strong points. You crack me up Tacitus, you really do.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 02:22 PM | PERMALINK

Troy - i'm terribly sorry, but Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speeches were riven through with religious imagery. To deny a religious background and motivation to his life's work is to completely misunderstand the man.

Posted by: aphrael at October 10, 2003 02:23 PM | PERMALINK

I can't repeat this enough:

"The Libertarian Utopia is all the freedom you can afford, and not one drop more".

Substitute "freedom" with health care, educational opportunity, justice, secure retirement, etc. etc.

Rugged Individualism as public policy only made sense when there was workable land free for the taking. We're past that now, and need to work, as a society, toward a more egalitarian, meritocratic society.

Like one where anyone can become president, like a poor white kid from Arkansas, not just privileged sons of ex-presidents.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 02:24 PM | PERMALINK

imagery is not foundation. That same God told the slavers and segregationists they were right, too.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 02:26 PM | PERMALINK

hey, what's wrong with the "nationalization of key industries", don't you think we would in less trouble if some companies like Enron, Exxon or Halliburton, for that matter, were in the hands of the state?

P.S. I'm not a commie :)

Posted by: novakant at October 10, 2003 02:27 PM | PERMALINK

Tacitus wrote:

"Why can't you? There's a strong communist tradition in American history and politics as well. Henry Wallace, the Democratic "new left"....it's there. Not that I like it, of course."

Err, Tac, maybe in J.E. Hoover's, McCarthy's & Coulter's imagination, but the CPUSA's peak membership was, at most, 60,000. If "New Left Review" circulation ever broke 10,000, I'd be seriously shocked. The US & the UK had miniscule communist parties, compared to other Western countries. And Wallace wasn't CPUSA.

Posted by: Tom at October 10, 2003 02:27 PM | PERMALINK

Troy, I don't think your comment about the justification for lower rates on capital gains and so on really meets my point, which is that we don't have a progressive tax system -- that is, as a matter of fact the rich (or even the upper middle class) don't pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes than the relatively poor. On the other hand, I'm not sure I know enough to say as an empirical matter what the proper rate for taxation of capital gains is.

Posted by: David in NY at October 10, 2003 02:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Heh, more subtle hints that the right is a bunch of Nazis. Get off it, you sound ridiculous. "

You know, to us here in Europe -- English speaking, familiar with American, UK, *and* European history, American politics seems increasingly grotesque. You simply have no idea how far to the right you've drifted. Europe really is a good reference here: by comparison it's stayed where it was in the last 30 years, whereas even Nixon would be an unacceptable liberal in today's America.

You guys mightn't like to hear it, so let's sidestep Godwin's law. The current Republican right might not be a bunch of Nazis. But they're well on track for being the new Francoists. I'm sure you're reassured.

Posted by: thin white duke at October 10, 2003 02:31 PM | PERMALINK

David: I agreed with your point about non-progressivity, even saying so earlier in the thread with a reply to Tacitus.

Schwarzenegger's tax returns were made public, and he paid less taxes than I.

Being a multi-millionaire, this may or may not be fair to him-- after all, there probably is some limit on how much one benefits from the "social contract", and flat-taxing his ass might indeed be just as unfair as a progressive tax.

People in his wage bracket set their own salaries anyway, so have the power to "adjust" for the desired after-tax receipt.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 02:33 PM | PERMALINK

Name: wrote:

"The other brilliant idea contained in all this analysis is that you can tell almost everything there is to know about a political party by looking at its party platform (in some state - pick one to your liking)."

Hate to tell you, but that's the purpose of a party platform. These documents are important; you'll see that on the actual Texas GOP party platform (as opposed to the Montgomery County GOP version), the part on abolishing the Federal Reserve was taken out and replaced with some "audit of Fed" or suchlike. That means when the party platform was hashed out, most of the Republican Leadship Council's agenda was taken up, apart from the bit about getting rid of Alan Greenspan's employer.

So, the Texas GOP is agnostic on whether we should go off fiat money, but invading Panama to annex the Canal is fine & dandy.

[snip - Democrats, Reds-under-the-Beds gambit]

"So I think it's a lost cause and a better solution would be to cease visiting his blog."

Don't the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

Posted by: Tom at October 10, 2003 02:35 PM | PERMALINK

Safranski, I've said exactly that half a dozen times when you weren't there. I had it up on my site months ago and it may still be up there archived somewhere.

What you say is capable of misleading uninformed people and is presumably intended that way.

Make yourself a T-shirt to spread the word:

THE DEMOCRATS **USED TO BE** THE PARTY FOR WHITE RACISTS

THE REPUBLICANS **NOW ARE** THE PARTY FOR WHITE RACISTS

Posted by: Zizka at October 10, 2003 02:37 PM | PERMALINK

Duke is exactly right.

Brian Eno wrote a couple of good pieces over the last year or so that basically could be summed up thusly:

What's happening to you guys? You used to be cool.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 02:38 PM | PERMALINK

From the Mercury: He added that Schwarzenegger believes ``If I'm paying a lot of taxes, then I'm making a lot of money.'

In 2000, Arnie paid 34.7%, and 2001 he paid 28.3% in state and federal taxes.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 02:39 PM | PERMALINK

Name: wrote:

"In particular, this is all based on the notion that if the Democratic party consistently contained and got support from a significant faction of people who (say) are for all intents and purposes socialists (will never oppose a single socialist program)"

Let's put this one to bed once and for all. There are two organizations in the US that are members of the Socialist International. One is Social Democrats USA (SD-USA) and the other is Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). (The two split over the Vietnam War).

DSA's platform is here:
http://www.dsausa.org/about/where.html

SD-USA's platform is here:
http://www.socialdemocrats.org/newsocialdemocrats.html

SD-USA's platform includes the following:
"America today is rich and strong. Our business and financial sectors have confounded skeptics by aggressively exploiting the globalization of trade and new technologies. Our military has defeated brutal dictatorships in distant countries with minimal losses to our troops, or to civilian populations. Old problems endure, and our changing economy and unprecedented global power have created new ones. But this is surely a time of great promise."

"Social democracy can complement and even strengthen capitalism by helping maintain the framework of rules and obligations that encourage the market to operate with efficiency, vigor, fairness, legitimacy and the fullest possible participation of our citizens. Experience shows that, contrary to both the ideologues of laissez-faire and the dire predictions of the Marxists, a capitalist economy that is complemented by a soundly conceived social-democratic social and regulatory system promotes greater prosperity for both rich and poor. "

Gosh, those socialists sure are scary, aren't they?

Posted by: Tom at October 10, 2003 02:43 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, great thread. Isn't it interesting that the same "fringe" group of social conservatives that helped FDR build the major political machine of the last century (and install our social welfare system) is now the basis of GWB's new political machine (goal, remove same system).

I think I heard someone complain that the GOP wasn't "upfront" in it's goal of removing social-welfare. If I remember correctly, it would be an ironic end, since almost none of our programs were created in an "upfront" manner.

Posted by: Ross at October 10, 2003 02:44 PM | PERMALINK

A great example of your habits Tacitus. You know, I'll bet you can't even recognize these traits in yourself....You crack me up Tacitus, you really do.

Are you sure you don't bear a grudge, Adam? Perhaps "nutty obsession" would be more accurate.

Whatever noun you use, nutty goes with it.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 02:46 PM | PERMALINK

Pug

Re: 1968 election

Umm...George Wallace ? What party was he in again ? What states gave him his 46 electoral votes ? What political party did he remain in -and get reelected governor - until his death ?

Before you say I'm full of shit, get your facts straight.

The South did not become solidly Republican until the last few election cycles (though it has been trending that way for several decades). Carter and Clinton both carried some Southern states in three elections up to twenty years apart.

This " we Democrats are the Party of good and light and the GOP is the Party of racism " is a mythology not borne out by history. Yes, a section of your party fought hard for civil rights but a large part did not and the Southerners who went GOP are mostly of younger generations than the one that fought tooth and nail to preserve Jim Crow.

The story you guys are peddling is feelgood propaganda but that's all it is.

Posted by: mark safranski at October 10, 2003 02:48 PM | PERMALINK

Let me continue my defense of the justice of progressive taxation:

I assume you don't think that the only truely fair tax system would tax each person for the same dollar amount. Am I right in that?

If so, you are acknowledging the need for some differing treatment based on of ability to pay. But you are giving gross income a value as the fair, objective measure of that which it does not deserve. As people pointed out a few weeks ago, the same income can make you rich in a rural area not supporting any kids & with a big account, and lower middle class to poor trying to feed a family of seven and pay off education loans in New York City. And then there's the point about the decreasing marginal utility of the dollar as your income increases.

You could also argue for consumption as a measure, or net worth, or discretionary income. Personally I think consumption is a really lousy measure. Wealth is the one favored by a lot of economists but it raises practical problems--it's even harder to get an honest measurement of that than of income, and you get situations where the house goes up in value and the owner is forced to sell or rent to pay their taxes. (The estate tax was a wealth tax, but you guys got rid of it.) Our tax system is making some attempt to tax based on discretionary income--a very imperfect attempt, but a legitimate one. (And in my opinion the imperfections come more from loopholes at the very top, the failure to account for cost of living, and the huge advantage given to homeowners, than from the differing marginal rates.)

Posted by: Katherine at October 10, 2003 02:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Well that thread went down hill in a hurry... Once again the Tacitus Affect is apparent.

TACITUS REPLIES:

"I can't account for the behavior of folks like Adam and Obe who bear nutty grudges, ChrisS. Or Zizka (and KevinA over at Kos) who writes self-nullifying long-form essays on why I should be ignored. You should see it when Tristero shows up. Now there's a bitter man who's not afraid to show it."
____

Out comes the knife, true to form. I thought publicans were big on personal responsibility.

Lets' look at how this works. Tacitus comes over here when he sees Kevin has posted something particularly noteworthy that undermines the right or Bush or whatever. He bursts onto the scene and makes some assinine statement to grab attention and try to steal the thunder from Kevin's powerful point. In this case, it was as follows:


"'The Texas GOP represents a radical movement that has no place in American politics.' [From Kevin's post]

[Tacitus' reply] "Absurd. You don't have to agree with them in the slightest to recognize that the Texas GOP's brand of social conservatism and economic libertarianism has deep roots in American politics and history. Heck, I agree with a great deal of their platform -- "

He agrees with a great deal of the platform? That should have been warning enough to end the discussion right there. Unfortunately, it did not, and much of it from there consists of little more than attacks on anyone who pointed out the absurdity of his position.

BTW Tacitus, if you will admit you were wrong with your ANSWER BS, and apologize for your childish and offensive behavior, I will never bring it up again.

Posted by: obe at October 10, 2003 02:49 PM | PERMALINK

More and more I hear people make a distinction between christians and catholics, in fact I've heard people say, in response to "are you catholic?", say "no, I'm christian".

That's an old distinction, not a new one. Heck, when used by Protestants that line goes back to, oh, the sixteenth century. On the other hand, an older colleague of mine (mid-sixties) tells me that in the 1940s and 1950s, her fellow Catholics referred to themselves as "Catholics" and to Protestants as "Christians."

Posted by: Miriam at October 10, 2003 02:51 PM | PERMALINK

fwiw, I think the Georgist land-tax policy kicks ass.
I don't think it can or should replace all other taxes, but I find its logic totally self-consistent.

It makes Libertarian social independence (a good thing) more workable with its economic independence (good only in theory):

Geolibertarian FAQ

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 02:53 PM | PERMALINK

You guys are all arguing Texas politics and haven't even noticed that David Bowie called us a bunch of Francoists! Thin White Duke: had you used Mussolini, I could've worked "Il Duce" into a pun somehow ! Damn your eyes !

Posted by: boonie at October 10, 2003 02:53 PM | PERMALINK

The story you guys are peddling is feelgood propaganda but that's all it is

Wasn't it less than a year ago that the Senate Majority Leader from Mississippi said something like this:

"When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either".

Wallace ran as an independent in the 1968 election.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 02:59 PM | PERMALINK

Miriam,

Well, yes, I suppose it would go way back, but rather than "No, I'm presbetyrian", it's "No, I'm Christian". Which means... what? Basically I think anymore Catholics aren't considered christian at all, hence the "papist" smear.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 03:00 PM | PERMALINK

OK- I will first admit that I only got through the first fifty comments or so before deciding I should point a few things out;

1) Some, though not all, of these planks are being misrepresented. For instance; acknowledging a judeo-christian background is far different from throwing out the seperation of church and state. Also, teaching creationism along with darwinism is far different than teaching only creationism and rejecting any other theories from being mentioned.

2)America is already Balkanized to a degree; That is why some states allow things that others do not. (age of consent, same-sex marriages, concealed carry. Even taxes (there is no state income tax in Texas)). If you want reasons why we should not break up any further, look at the civil war and the federalist papers.

3) If this bizarre and schizoid vision you have of America as it would be under republican control ever were to come close to actual fruition, then those of us in Texas have a built in failsafe: Guns, lots of us have lots of guns. Do you think the Jews of the warsaw ghetto would have been put into railroad cars and murdered by a national socialist regime if they were allowed to own guns?

4) If the recent turn of events in California has not shown you that maybe, just maybe, the middle of America sees radicals hijacking the left more than the right, you may want to reconsider who has the hidden agenda.

5) About code words, and secret meanings; if you find the codebook, let me get a copy, because the TX VRWC must have run out, and I did not get one. I always figured that when someone says "christian" they mean "Christian" which means they believe in the teachings of Christ, not "intolerant and mean." I wonder if this is the same codebook that says what "is" is.

6) reading the Democrat view of History, Texas and us VRWC types, is downright hilarious. I suppose if I was paranoid, it would be scary. The Democrats never really purged communist influence; if you guys had, you would distance yourselves from ANSWER- go to their website and look at who runs it, who it links with, and you will find many communists. Texas is no more a hotbed of conservative thought than Arkansas is a hotbed of liberal thought. The VRWC does not try to convert the world into some sort of cult compound. We want to be rewarded for our productivity, we want to be able to raise our kids, and we want to be able to defend our families. We just happen to think that the government won't do any of that as well as we will, because we are the ones who benefit most directly from it.

I am probably trying to explain stuff to a signpost here, but I thought I would try.

Please, carry on- I appreciate the entertainment!

Posted by: doc Russia at October 10, 2003 03:01 PM | PERMALINK

To be clear, most "Christians" are really great people.

It's the fundamentalist whack-jobs that give Christianity a bad name.

Creationism, militantly pro-life, anti sex-ed, public prayer and other displays of religosity in the commons, etc.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 03:03 PM | PERMALINK

boonie, I was merely pointing to the coming together once again of the interests of the rich and of an intolerant religious populism... though since Franco's religious allies were very definitely "Catholic" and not "Christian", maybe I should have thought again... :)

Posted by: thin white duke at October 10, 2003 03:05 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think the Jews of the warsaw ghetto would have been put into railroad cars and murdered by a national socialist regime if they were allowed to own guns?

Of course. The Germans had artillery, and the will to use it. "Red Dawn" scenarios sound great, but if & when the chips fall armed rebellion against the state will go down just like Ruby Ridge & Waco (and OK City, of course).

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 03:06 PM | PERMALINK

Zizka,

First, I cannot possibly be here 24/7 to monitor the ideological consistency of the crowd that posts here regularly. If you have said as much in the past, good for you.

Secondly, as is habitual for the Left in its current decayed intellectual state, you assume my argument, being effective, must be therefore based upon sinister motivations. Thanks, I'll take that as a sign that the moment of reasonable and civil discussion with you is nearing the end.

Thirdly, that there are ppl who are racists within the Republican Party is undeniable. They inhabit both parties ( come visit Chicago sometime and see how the Democratic Party operates here) and come in many shades and degrees. The GOP has it's problems on race but nothing remotely comparable in either kind or in degree to what prevailed historically in the Democratic Party.

Posted by: mark safranski at October 10, 2003 03:07 PM | PERMALINK

My last post today.

Troy, Wallace was a Democrat even if he ran independently.

Posted by: mark safranski at October 10, 2003 03:10 PM | PERMALINK

Doc, you sound like a reasonable person with solid principles rather than an idealogue out to deamonize anyone who disagrees with your ideology. Even though we are probably far apart politically, I sense I would really enjoy having a discussion with you and would be able to disagree with you without being belittled or attacked. Heck, you might even respect me. Boy, I wish there were more conservatives around like you.

BTW, I have yet to hear anyone align themselves with ANSWER, including myself, although my kids and I did go to one of their marches.

Adios! I'm out of here early today.

Posted by: obe at October 10, 2003 03:11 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP has it's problems on race but nothing remotely comparable in either kind or in degree to what prevailed historically in the Democratic Party.

You'll have a moral leg to stand on after the Repubs purge their party as painfully as the Demos did.

From my perspective, the bad apples like Thurmond and Lott just switched barrels.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 03:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Are you sure you don't bear a grudge, Adam?"

No Tacitus, I don't. Are you sure you aren't a little bit paranoid Tacitus? After all, you've asked and I've answered. Not everyone's out to get ya Tac.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 10, 2003 03:13 PM | PERMALINK

those of us in Texas have a built in failsafe: Guns, lots of us have lots of guns

It's no failsafe. Iraq had a very, very high gun ownsership rate under Saddam. There were a few armed revolts in the WW2 ghettos; people fought incredibly bravely but they were crushed in a matter of days. Not that I think Texans are going to need to defend against their state government by force of arms, of course, but the idea that no one can take away your freedom if you have guns is weird and inaccurate.....I know we don't like lawyers, but they're really a much more pleasant way & better way of vindicating constitutional rights.

Posted by: Katherine at October 10, 2003 03:18 PM | PERMALINK

You people are insane. Thank G-d you spend most of your time on the Internet.

-Indie

Posted by: Indie Pundit at October 10, 2003 03:18 PM | PERMALINK

doc Russia:

I only respond to your first point:

Judge Roy Bean, or whoever the hell it was in Alabama also said he was "just acknowledging" our Judeo-Christian background when he slammed down a giant honking stone copy of the 10 Commandments in the dead of night. He knew full well that what he was doing was grandstanding, controversial, and was likely unconstitutional, but he did it anyway. What do you suppose the purpose of this was, other than to provoke an ideological war ? This man has nothing on his mind but the promulgation of ideas that some of us find repugnant. Let me be clear: moderate Christians (by definition) do not do this. The people who feel we are on the road to wrack and ruin because we are not sufficiently pious in our public discourse are the same people who believe, variously, that God hates Fags, that Islam is inherently evil, and that 9/11 was some kind of divine retribution. They are increasingly apocalyptic in their viewpoints, and brook no opposition to their views. Tom DeLay may very well be one of those people.

Posted by: boonie at October 10, 2003 03:19 PM | PERMALINK

Doc,

Also, teaching creationism along with darwinism is far different than teaching only creationism and rejecting any other theories from being mentioned.

Doc- You don't understand the theory of evolution (not darwinism), what a scientific "theory" is, nor what science is, I suspect.

Creationism isn't another competing theory among various theories, it is a belief system based upon the writings of the Bible. It has nothing to do with science, it's about faith, which is about as far from science as you can get.

Science is simply the sums of observable, verifiable fact and phenomenon.

The theory of evolution is not "just a theory" as Reagan would put it, it is the most probable explanation for the development of the planet to date, based upon scientific data. It has nothing to do with belief. You don't "believe" in the theory of evolution, you accept it to varying degrees. Evolution is simply what seems to have happened according to all the evidence.

Saying evolution and creationism are just two competing theories is like saying the theory of gravity versus gaurdian angels holding everything down are two competing theories.

Creationism is not science in any way, shape or form and has no place being taught as science.


And the gun thing...come on, did you notice how every Iraqi seemed to have a gun? Do you really think citizens with rifles in this day an age could take on any state apparatus?

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 03:20 PM | PERMALINK

Indiepundit-

You're a tool. Thank God you'll never get the opportunity to breed.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 03:22 PM | PERMALINK

"The Democrats never really purged communist influence;"

Maybe you should research the CIO's purging of the CP out of CIO-affiliated unions in the 1940s.

"if you guys had, you would distance yourselves from ANSWER- go to their website and look at who runs it, who it links with, and you will find many communists."

OK, name an ANSWER activist with a position in a State or County Democratic committee. You made the accusation; back it up.

Posted by: Tom at October 10, 2003 03:23 PM | PERMALINK

Troy,

You and I are on the same side politically, but you're just wrong about MLK. The speech was full of biblical quotes and allusions as were all his speeches. There are plenty of people who call themselves Christians who deserve your condemnation. There are many who are fighting right alongside you for the same issues, and doing so, in part, because of their religious faith. It's easy enough to add some qualifiers to specify who you're talking about. It's not necessary to condemn all Christians anymore than it would be to condemn all Texans.

Posted by: Allen Brill at October 10, 2003 03:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think it would be wise to tone down the rhetoric -- the Texas Rebpulicans are lunatics, to my eyes, but that doesn't mean they have no place in American politics. It means we should fight them, and make sure that everybody really understands what they stand for -- and make people pick a side based on fact, not spin.

I agree with Kevin, mostly, but there is an important flaw -- the Texas Republicans aren't fringe. I suspect that a large majority of Repulicans, and even some independents, would nod their heads in agreement at almost every single plank in the platform. Those that think parts of it are 'absurd' (Tacitus, a moderate, so they say, but I don't know him), don't seem to really mind that the parts they don't agree with are there.

The truly scary part is that a lot of Americans actually do agree with this crap platform. Dark times are ahead, I think. Hope I'm wrong.

But these kinds of platforms are increasingly possible in the US because of the decline of Liberalism, and the rise of reactionary Conservatism.

Posted by: Timothy Klein at October 10, 2003 03:30 PM | PERMALINK

Allen:

I scanned the MLK speech before posting that.

"It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation..."

is the only quote that stands out to me as "God said so".

My argument is simply "God says so" is theocracy. I have absolutely no arguments with the mainstream christianity, they are indeed a force for good in the nation.

But I have no truck with the fundies; they suck, and they want to re-install their suck philosophy as public policy.

Passing laws to match "God said so" is theocracy, the tyranny of authority over reason, and I reject it and its proponents, eg. Scalia and his Opus Dei crowd, Santorum, Falwell, Robertson, Ralph Reed, etc. etc.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 03:44 PM | PERMALINK

thin white duke,

Just curious, do you have any clue as to what the Blair-ites think of the current crop of repubs regarding issues other than Iraq? I can understand that the continent is aghast about Franco-ist America, but I have no idea how Blair's apologists are spinning all of this...

Thanks for any insights you might have.

Posted by: dm at October 10, 2003 03:45 PM | PERMALINK

Tacitus is hardly a moderate, regardless of what he thinks. Press him on any of the so-called Christian issues, and you'll find him as happy to punt the relevant parts of the Constitution as any theocrat. The fact that not even the Creationist plank bothers him, and he thinks this is mainstream, is revealing.

Posted by: Ulrika O'Brien at October 10, 2003 03:45 PM | PERMALINK

Timothy,

I think it's an increase in pettiness and spite. Really. What did the great liberal pushes do? They made people who wanted to live in socially, ethnically-similar, closed societies confront people they didn't want to have anything to do with. Even if not by physical proximity, the fact that the rights of blacks, homosexuals, etc., were being defended and asserted on a national scale made these people bitter and spiteful.

I think what we're seeing now is the assertion of the right to hate and discriminate on the part of those who historically thought the US was all about keepin' them niggers in line, as an example.

We had the great liberal awakening, we're witnessing the great asshole's backlash. The past 15 years or so have really emboldened them and they're feeling their power and just going for it. The Republican party used to be the party of rich people (to borrow someone's phrase), now it's the party of bitter assholes.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 03:45 PM | PERMALINK

Mark, don't make me cry. You are still misleading people. Jesse Helms is a Republican today for a reason. Neo-Confederates are an essential part of the Republican core coalition. (When someone proposed a statue of Lincoln in Richmond, it created an enormous controversy which was not in any way fringe, but included several Republican state officeholders. A smidgen of irony there, eh?) I'm sure you can find areas of racism in the Democratic Party, but it's not a cornerstone of Democratic strategy.

The "Democratic Party historically"? Sure, over 180 years. Now? No. Deception again. But tell you what: let's trade. You can have Jackson, and we'll take Lincoln. Are you cool with that?

Tacitus, my self-refuting avoidance was in the area of a "Don't make eye contact" warning. I wouldn't actually want anyone to ignore you entirely, but if someone would usher you out the door, the conversation around here would improve.

Posted by: Zizka at October 10, 2003 03:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Indiepundit-

You're a tool. Thank God you'll never get the opportunity to breed.


Posted by Tim at October 10, 2003 03:22 PM"

Why Tim? Are you and your leftist friends going to institute forced abortions for population control?

-Indie

Posted by: Indie at October 10, 2003 03:48 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that not even the Creationist plank bothers him, and he thinks this is mainstream, is revealing

Tacitus explicitly disavowed that particular plank.

fwiw, I like Tacitus. He's slime at times, but are there any better repub apologists?

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 03:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Indie",

No, see "tool" means, like, "dork" or "moron" or "muttonhead", and dorks and muttonheads don't usually get tail.

But then again I'm sure there are "Future Frigid Republican Housewives" mixers at your alma-mater so you might get lucky.


Also-

"great asshole's backlash" should be "assholes'". I didn't mean to imply there's one, giant asshole floating over Mississippi or something.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 03:55 PM | PERMALINK

Forgive me for pointing out the obvious, but is there anything more hysterical than a democrat from California complaining about the extremism of a political party in another state.

Posted by: Jon Black at October 10, 2003 03:57 PM | PERMALINK

Tim,

You must not be getting a lot of play if you're so concerned about my sex life. I certainly don't give a damn about your sex life.

-Indie

Posted by: Indie at October 10, 2003 03:59 PM | PERMALINK

democrat from California complaining about the extremism

What extremism?

This?

Don't make me laugh.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 04:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Forgive me for pointing out the obvious, but is there anything more hysterical than a democrat from California complaining about the extremism of a political party in another state.

John"

Give this man a dollar.

-Indie

Posted by: Indie at October 10, 2003 04:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jon-

Several things.

For one- When I was a kid this other kid was riding his 10-speed, waaaay to big for him, and he waved at me and this other kid, "Heeey guys! Hey!", and at that moment the brake-handle assembly came off the handlebars and dropped down into the spokes of the front wheel.

That bike flipped up, he fell flat on the ground, and the bike came down right on top of him.

That was hilarious.


"Indie"- I'm very concerned about your sex life. In fact, it's all I can think about.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2003 04:05 PM | PERMALINK

Reg,

I don't know how reasonable you all would consider my preferred platform, but I don't think it has "no place in American politics".

This is from away on up there, but it highlights a misconception that echoes through this thread. What "has no place in American politics" is not any single plank in the Texas GOP platform, it is the full package, plus the engine promoting that platform. Bickering about individual planks, on either side, and bickering about hypothetical platforms, is really beside the point. In his post, Kevin simply asks Republican supporters to take alook at the Texas GOP platform as a whole, and give it a smell test. If anything in it has a bad smell to you, you should reject it.

In British politics, the party manifesto is vetted pretty carefully by the electorate; it is considered a program for action by a prospective government, and it paints a vision of the society the party wants to create. If there is anything in there that is abhorrent to the electorate, the party can expect to fail at the polls. Tony Blair is now Prime Minister because the Labour Party removed the clause requiring unilateral nuclear disarmament from its manifesto, I believe when Neil Kinnock was party leader. With that change, and with a weakening of union authority in party decisionmaking under Blair, Labour became electable for the first time in decades.

Cherry-picking does not address the issue.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape at October 10, 2003 04:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Forgive me for pointing out the obvious, but is there anything more hysterical than a democrat from California complaining about the extremism of a political party in another state.

"John"

Give this man a dollar.

-Indie

Gosh, is that still the going rate for a clue wherever you kids are? "John" certainly could use a clue or ten, and it sure is nice of you to help out, Indie -- though I do think you'd be better off addressing your own deficit, so I'll cover John on this one.

Posted by: nina at October 10, 2003 04:45 PM | PERMALINK

If this bizarre and schizoid vision you have of America as it would be under republican control ever were to come close to actual fruition, then those of us in Texas have a built in failsafe: Guns, lots of us have lots of guns. Do you think the Jews of the warsaw ghetto would have been put into railroad cars and murdered by a national socialist regime if they were allowed to own guns?

doc Russia is right. Citizens can achieve the democratic ideal in the face of oppressive government if they have guns. They do not require field training, superior firepower or command and control; it is enough that they are filled with a single, inspiring ideal that is common to all. Like in the movies.

Looks like democracy has come to Iraq, then; time to go home. That sure was easy.

Look, if you are really serious about the democratizing effects of violence, you should support the carrying of concealed explosives. That gives everyone veto power over being ordered around. I give the idea to you gratis, and I'll throw in the idea of forming a National Explosives Association at no extra charge.

Sorry to be rude, old friend, but I've been around the world a bit in my time, and it's just not possible for me to take blustering talk like this seriously anymore. You're a prat. Try to work on becoming an ex-prat.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape at October 10, 2003 05:00 PM | PERMALINK

Funny thing in an infamous Court case in the 30's the SCOTUS ruled a federal shotgun ban constitutional because they weren't "militia-type" weapons.

Like say RPG's and 50cal autocannons...

What the gun nuts fail to understand is that the best way to fight an army is to infiltrate it and steal their weapons outright. No modified full-auto AR-15's required.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 05:07 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't mean to imply there's one, giant asshole floating over Mississippi or something.

I'm sure there's some cosmology that features this.

Sounds vaguely cargo-cultish, but with an edge...

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 05:11 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that not even the Creationist plank bothers him, and he thinks this is mainstream, is revealing.

And you're basing this on....? Time for you to read the whole thread, Ulrika.

Zizka (hey, you negated yourself again), try looking at where the spleen is coming from, here. Yeah, the tone might improve if I leave. The Middle East might improve if Israel disappears. Neither are likely.

As for me wanting to thwart Kevin Drum....pfah. He's the sort of Democrat I want more of. A man with the courage of his convictions (even if they're wrong, to my mind), and yet, thankfully, not even slightly a jerk. Contrast with Atrios, Hesiod, Kos on a bad day, et al.

Yeah, I know you don't respect that. I do.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 05:43 PM | PERMALINK

...a platform advocating, say, nationalization of key industries and confiscatory taxation of all income over $50,000.

O.K., I'm still waiting for the bad part.... ;-)

Posted by: Dr Morpheus at October 10, 2003 05:49 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think the Jews of the warsaw ghetto would have been put into railroad cars and murdered by a national socialist regime if they were allowed to own guns?

They did have guns, it was called the Warsaw Uprising. And lookie there, it didn't do them a damn bit of good because they were still crushed by the Nazi blitzkreig. The EXACT same thing would happen should any armed rebellion happen in the US. Any argument to the contrary is just NRA wishful thinking.

Posted by: Dr Morpheus at October 10, 2003 06:39 PM | PERMALINK

Damn, there a lot of smart people posting here.

Posted by: dorsano at October 10, 2003 06:53 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq these days is a pretty good test of the NRA doctrine of armed resistance...

Wonder how the debate lines up on that. NRA people don't expect the ba'athists to win even with AK-47's, while "gun grabbers" aren't so sanguine.

Weird.

Posted by: Troy at October 10, 2003 07:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Those traditional Republican moderates have long been accepted into polite political circles only if they understand that their proper place in Sacramento, Albany or Washington is to serve as pliant small-town lending officers to the dominant Democratic leadership."

This statement really ticks me off. "Traditional Republicans" led the woman's suffrage movement, built the U.S. public school system, gave birth to a great tradition of conservation with Teddy R. and enforced the court ordered school desegregation rulings under Eisenhower.

Since the 1st part of the 20th century, the U.S. has taxed labor, capital and corporations in some measure. We've levied a progressive tax on earned income and have taxed large estates. Over the long haul, that tax policy has created the greatest economic engine in the world. The model is so sucessful that it's been copied by industrialized democracies all over the world. "Traditional Republicans" were instrumental in the construction of this tax policy.

In my opinion, the author is trying to blow smoke up my a%$.

Posted by: dorsano at October 10, 2003 07:42 PM | PERMALINK

"You don't have to agree with them in the slightest to recognize that the Texas GOP's brand of social conservatism and economic libertarianism has deep roots in American politics and history."

Would George Washington have understood it? Most of the issues didn't even exist in his time. Some he would have understood and disagreed with: the Framers held that the ethical basis of law was "natural law" rather than christianity--the Lord Protector and the Salem witch trials were relatively recent history then and establishing a state religion was not an attractive idea. Lincoln would not have understood much of it, either, and probably would have objected to some of what he did understand.

A moment's historical reflection tells that those roots you write of do not exist. I ask that you--and all honest conservatives--question your thinking here, because I fear you have wed yourself to a monster.

Posted by: John Hackworth at October 10, 2003 08:36 PM | PERMALINK

Both Lincoln and Washington would have recognized explicit religiosity in public life, rhetoric and policymaking. They would not have recognized the modern welfare state. I don't think you're right, but if we accept for the sake of argument that you are, then you've just delegitimized American leftism since Wilson.

Posted by: Tacitus at October 10, 2003 08:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised everyone has so far let Tacitus get away with this whopper.

"Well, differing rates of taxation isn't exactly equal treatment under the law, is it?"

Of course it is. Everyone has the right to the first thirty thousand dollars they earn each year, tax free. Everyone has the right to the next twenty-five thousand they earn, taxed at seventeen percent. Everyone has the right to the next fifty thousand dollars taxed at twenty-eight percent. And so on. That's equal treatment under the law.

What he seems to object to is not that people are treated differently -- they're not -- but that dollars are treated differently.

Posted by: eyelessgame at October 10, 2003 09:39 PM | PERMALINK

As one who is down here in Texas reading your comments has made me feel like I am not the only one totally sicken by this illegal action. We do have the Christian Taliban here. Theyare a group of perinoid people that have invaded our schools, work, even facet of our lives here. They are in the process of turning this state into a one party state and most people do not understand how they are being punished by the Republican actions. They are working to remove a number of congressmen who have lots of seniority. This will make it so Texas will only be able to lay over and die. My county will be stripped of a relationship with neighboring counties that have been in place for over 100 years. We will now have a relationship with a county that we have nothing in common with and since we will have no voice the Taliban will be stronger yet. The people are so gullible or scared that they will belive the Taliban rather than speak out for themselves or the truth. Shrub's whole life down here has been a sham but the media who is tied to them keep it going. Do not believe the ranchman persona it ain't so. The Taliban here are only here for one thing to line their pockets at our expense. They teach the children and edited form of history to where they have no real idea of what really has gone one- Vietnam was 1 sentence in my daughter's history book. They are in the process of trying to dry up portions of the Rio Grande fortheir profit. They have stipped the environment to where you wonder if anything can be saved. I fear that there is no hope. They took over Colorado, now Texas-- who will be next?

Posted by: Sandy at October 10, 2003 09:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the tone might improve if I leave. The Middle East might improve if Israel disappears. Neither are likely.

how about responding to people who've made serious arguments and not attacked you, as a compromise? :)

Posted by: Katherine at October 10, 2003 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

As far as I'm concerned, this is the most interesting line from the 2002 platform (at http://www.texasgop.org/library/RPTPlatform2002.pdf):

"We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values."

How far does "oppose homosexuality" go? Discrimination in housing? Probably. Discrimination in employment? Almost certainly. Reading in the bible that "they shall surely be put to death", and, out of faith, acting upon it? I sure hope not.

Posted by: J David Eisenberg at October 10, 2003 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Tacitus: "Lincoln and Washington would have recognized explicit religiosity in public life, rhetoric and policymaking."

Washington was a Deist; Lincoln would have despised the small-minded religiosity of the Texas GOP. Neither man was religious in that sense.

I don't understand your point on the legitimacy of the left. I don't think any group has a lock on legitimacy; while my beliefs are very different from the Framers, I agree that choice is the point of democracy. I am disgusted by the need to rewrite history to legitimate anything.

Posted by: John Hackworth at October 10, 2003 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Remember that the Republican Platform of Texas is what brought up the issue of 'the Framers original intent.' To be honest, the Framers are 200 years dead, and their inent now his tangential at best. What matters for us is right now. That is why the Constitution is a living body.

Posted by: Timothy Klein at October 11, 2003 01:22 AM | PERMALINK

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

~
oh, for republicans (nay, politicians) cut from that cloth!

Posted by: Troy at October 11, 2003 01:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Mr. Lincoln's maxim and philosophy were: 'What is to be, will be, and no prayers of ours can arrest the decree.' He never joined any Church. He was a religious man always, I think, but was not a technical Christian."

Mary Todd Lincoln in William Herndon's Religion of Lincoln, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, p. 118

Oh, that [his Thanksgiving Message] is some of Seward's nonsense, and it pleases the fools.

Abraham Lincoln, to Judge James M. Nelson, in response to a question from Nelson: "I once asked him about his fervent Thanksgiving Message and twitted him with being an unbeliever in what was published." Quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, p. 138

Posted by: Troy at October 11, 2003 02:08 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Tactitus has some Jefferson quotes tucked away supporting his assertion, but this:

A professorship of theology should have no place in our institution.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Cooper, October 7, 1814, referring to the University of Virginia

Seemed most apropos to the thread (there are of course dozens of Jefferson bon mots that argue against recognizing "explicit religisosity" for anything but idiocy).


Posted by: Troy at October 11, 2003 02:45 AM | PERMALINK

Pug, Mark, et.al.,

I hate seeing this descend into a "South vs North" discourse. First, as someone observed, Texas is not the South, it's its own beast.

Second, this bullshit Republican redistricting strategy began in Colorado and Pennsylvania, but got more notice in Texas for several obvious reasons.

Look at redistricting in between census years as just one front in the Karl Rove/Tom DeLay strategic political war. Remember when DeLay became House Speaker and promptly did away with the custom of allowing congressmen with seniority to hold leadership positions on committees? It caused a hell of a stink, but he trashed that "custom."

In the Texas Legislature, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced that, if necessary, he would suspend the "custom" of placing a "blocker bill" at the top of the state Senate legislative calendar - a practice that, through complicated fol-de-rol, requires at least 21 of the 31 senators to vote to suspend rules and allow debate and votes on real legislation.

What's been going on here is that Karl Rove and the boys have sat down and identified political customs that have no legal teeth, and which can be manipulated to the Republican Party's advantage. Right-wing fringies out there (if they're not crying over Moral Leader Rush Limbaugh's confessed drug addiction) will no doubt respond with self-congratulatory comments about what shrewd chess players they are.

But even GOP appologist George Will recognizes the danger of this strategy: "Many of the practices that reduce the friction of life are "only" customs. And when the cake of custom crumbles - it is much easier to break than to bake that cake -- it is replaced either by yet more laws codifying behavior that should be regulated by good manners or by a permanent increase in society's level of ongoing aggression."

Posted by: UncleBob at October 11, 2003 05:34 AM | PERMALINK

The 2003 Republican party:

1. Experts at propaganda and social manipulation through rampant lies and control of the National media.
2. Christian fundamentalism is a core foundation of the party.
3. Extreme Idealogues, dissent is not allowed in the party ranks, those that break ranks are drummed out. ei Moderates
4. Their goal to destroy every progressive law and program of the last hundred years.
5. The exploitation and subversion of the checks and balances of U.S govt, on both the State and Federal level, for partisan gain.
6. The party is aggressive and violent. There are no institutions either national or international that are off limits. ei the State Dept or the U.N. Critics of it's policies are targeted for destruction ( see #3), through personal attacks or outright lies.
7. The vilification of "Liberals" as unpatriotic and dangerous to the well being of America.
8. It's number one priority is the Republican party, the well being of the U.S. both economically and socially comes second. Even if the Constitution stands in their way.

BTW, I don't see a distinction between The Texas GOP and the National party.

Also I agree that comparing the GOP to facists is incorrect. They are another beast entirely. History will remember the Republican's, the Nazi's and the Communists as distinct forces of destruction.

Posted by: Chris at October 11, 2003 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Thought provoking and informative.
BUT
While checking the facts about the Montgomery County Republicans with the link provided in the story, I was under the same assumption that you are, this is a fringe group of Texas radicals and really no mind or very little attention should be paid to them.
Well I quickly went to the state of Texas Republicans Party web site, to see what there views are on this matter, if you download the entire PDF file from the web site and read and compare it to the article, you will see that they are almost identical, the only difference I see is the Year 2002 versus 2000 and they make no mention of getting rid of the Federal Reserve System, otherwise identical.
This will lead me to visit the National Republican Party's web site and to see what there platform is but does it really matter being that GW is the big dog in the Party right now.
What we have do, is to follow the rest of the party's elected officials to see which of them subscribe to this monarchy vision of his.
And get the current administration out of office.

JimV

Posted by: Jim V at October 11, 2003 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who wants to eliminate the minimum wage has never tried to live on it. Stop by my house sometime. I'll set you up at the local labor pool. Right after that, I'll help you find the tree you'll be living under.

There is only one reason to eliminate the minimum wage: pure, unmitigated greed. And once we have established that about a person, why would anyone listen to any other idea they had? After all, we've already established that their brain is broken.

Posted by: Benedict@Large at October 11, 2003 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

he slammed down a giant honking stone copy of the 10 Commandments in the dead of night. He knew full well that what he was doing was grandstanding, controversial, and was likely unconstitutional, but he did it anyway. What do you suppose the purpose of this was, other than to provoke an ideological war ?

The purpose of this was to get reelected, pure and simple. AFAIK, in Alabama judges are elected for limited terms. He knew full well that grandstanding for "Christian" values would get him a lot of votes next election. Have no doubt: If Alabamans were Muslims, judge Moore would have set up Suras from the Quran.

An awful lot of politicians professing "Christian" values are not devout. They are false prophets - see the many preachers who have been unmasked as hypocrites.

Posted by: khr at October 12, 2003 04:53 AM | PERMALINK

The ease with which these folks lump gays and lesbians with sexual predators makes me sick to my stomach. At first glance, t's kind of like saying that all business owners are evil because some of them are crooks, or that all straight people are sexually obsessed nymphos because they go to Spring Break and Mardi Gras. But you know? It's worse than that. It's really more like saying that all fathers can't be trusted because a significant numbers of dads molest their little girls, therefore, fatherhood should not be recognized. It's nuts. More on this at Points West

Posted by: Scott Moore at October 12, 2003 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously, DavidNYC appeared to miss my point: there's very little that's simply wholly beyond the bounds of American public discourse. That's not the same thing as saying that all things within American public discourse are good; obviously the repeal of women's suffrage is bad.

Incorrect. I did not miss your point - you missed mine.

Your point was that a discussion of the repeal of women's rights is within the pale of American public discourse. My point was that a discussion of the repeal of women's rights is indeed beyond the pale of American public discourse.

Now, you may call me a censor if you wish, or even make a remark about "liberal PC-police", but that has nothing to do with either your point or mine. There are simply things that I, and many others, will not accept discussion of. Even you acknowledge that there are limits to what might acceptably fall within American public discourse.

The difference between us, of course, is that you think a discussion of the rollback of women's rights is acceptable to have, and I (and, I am sure, nearly everyone else posting on this comment board) do not.

Posted by: DavidNYC at October 12, 2003 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

"OK.
There are several ways to prove this statement wrong. I think the simplest is for me to say this:
1) A government program provided electricity to hundreds of thousands of rural Americans, who never would have been able to purchase it in the free market"

Never? I seriously doubt it.

Electricity would have kept spreading from the cities out into the boonies as the infrastructure got cheaper. Sooner or later, the people out in the sticks would have been able to pay for it themsleves.

Maybe somewhere along the way, someone would have developed some nifty fuel cells for the rural market.

In any event, if we'd let things develop, everyone would have long since gotten electricity, and gotten it far cheaper than they do at present.

"2) A government program gave people who lose their job the ability to feed their families while looking for other employment"

In the absence of the program, you'd see its role taken over by "savings" and "charity".

"3) A government program pushed millions of senior citizens above the poverty line"

And ended up saddling younger folks with huge costs. Why do we consider senior citizens more worthy of keeping out of poverty than younger folks, anyway?

"Progress? I think so."

Maybe, if you ignore what those resources could have been used for instead.

"It was not free enterprise that did these things. Free enterprise is great, but it's important to recognize what markets can and cannot accomplish on their own."

Free enterprise did create the electricity, food, and other things that the government redistributed. And kept creating more and more of them every year, long before the Progressive Era.

"I stuck to programs, but I could continue with regulation, if you need some more."

You mean the regulations that keep the skies clear of personal aircraft? The regulations that increase the costs of selling tickets to space tenfold? The regulations that drive up the cost and lengthen the schedule of every step in the march of progress in the drug industry, meaning thta our present state of the art is decades behind where it should be? The nationalization of the broadcast spectrum, that allowed an end-run around the First Amendment and severely limited the development of personal wireless communications for decades? The regulations on stringing wires that (together with the nationalization of the spectrum) guaranteed that the only entity that could build the Internet was the US military, leaving the rest of us out in the cold until the government finally decided to let us in on their nifty network?

Those regulations?

Posted by: Ken at October 12, 2003 06:49 PM | PERMALINK

Arthur King wrote:

"A serious analysis of everything republican shows that they are trying to undo the American revolution, returning our society to that of Europe before 1789 where the entire work force was slaves to the rich aristocracy, ruled over by the dictatorship of the christian church and it's king."

Yes, I suppose that's why they want to protect a right to arms, so that the slaves can't harm their "masters". That's why they want to protect the integrity of voter registration and voting, eliminate "straight-ticket" voting, so the they can remove the right to vote. That's why they are against encryption "back doors" and national ID cards, so they can more easily track "the slaves".

Yeah, sure, that's a *serious* analysis alright.

Actually, the platform statement on SS (although not Kevin's "summary") isn't much different than George Bush's campaign promise--even if it isn't as specific as Bush was. Bush wanted to allow individuals to invest some of their SS taxes in return for smaller payouts when they retired. (Although Bush wanted to guarantee that the total payout would never be less than for those who stayed completely in the program.) When nearly half the electorate (heck, even if only 40% of the electorate) votes for a candidate with that in his platform, that position is hardly "extreme" or "militant lunacy" or any of the other pejoratives thrown at it.

The Cali Dems on the other hand...a "right" to "public education" at the "college" level? That's *not* extreme? Then, there's the "immigration" plank which basically aims to throw open the "social safety net" to illegal immigrants and their families and then has the chutzpah to proclaim that they want to "Protect Californians from being displaced by foreign guest worker programs." (I suppose those Californians displaced by illegals or their families aren't worthy of "protection". :-)

Posted by: minimus publicitus at October 12, 2003 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Social Democrats, USA
815 15th Street, NW Suite 511
Washington, DC 2005
Copyright: 1996, SD, USA

Splitting the Republican Coalition

Irving Kristol is a leading spokesman among neoconservatives. He co-edits the Public Interest, a journal that is often an excellent source on political and economic matters. Kristol did a piece for the Wall Street Journal in June called "Times of Transformation." In it he delivers a seminal analysis of the current political scene. The article, although not so intended, suggests a winning strategy for Democrats.

Kristol points out that the conservative revolution in the Republican Party occurred in 1964 when Rockefeller lost the presidential nomination. He argues that the liberal revolution captured the Democratic Party in 1972 with the nomination of George McGovern.

Kristol described the current Republican coalition as consisting primarily of two main strains: economic and social conservatives. The economic conservatives are anti-state and the social conservatives are anti-liberal who view liberalism "as corroding and subverting the virtues that they believe must be the bedrock of decent society." He believes that the differences between the economic conservatives and the social conservatives produce "tensions" between the two groups. Kristol's long range view is that the social conservatives represent "an authentic mass movement that gathers strength with every passing year."

more...
http://www.socialdemocrats.org/miller.html

Posted by: H at October 13, 2003 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

A few comments on guns (in case anyone is still reading)...

1. US. v. Miller (1939) returned the case back to the original trial court for a hearing on whether a sawed-off shotgun was an appropriate militia weapon. That hearing was never held because Miller turned up dead. Various circuits (and circuses) have mis-interpreted Miller as deciding the issue against an individual right interpretation until the Emerson decision (5th circuit). The Supreme Court may take Silviera v. Lockyer (from the 9th circus) to decide the issue this spring.

2. I find it interesting that the left is so interested in "rights" that don't appear in the constitution, like abortion (umbras of penumbras and "good ideas" not withstanding), the "right to medical care", or the "right to welfare payments" and so on. Meanwhile, they so despise rights that are specifically written into the constitution, like the free exercise of religion, freedom of political speech (see Campaign Finance Reform), or the right to keep and bear arms.

3. When talking about armed rebellions, it's amazing how the left forgets its favorite war (and especially the mythology they've created around it). Vietnam was the place where sturdy, virtuous peasants won a guerrilla war against the mightiest (although corrupt) armed force on earth. If poorly armed Vietnamese peasants could do it, why does anyone think that well-educated (and much more heavily armed, BTW) Americans cannot? You use your pistol to fight your way to your shotgun or rifle, which (if necessary) you then use to fight your way into the National Guard armory.

My understanding is that the US military actually conducted a simulation of what would happen in a military takeover. They concluded that, along with the armed population, there would be sufficient defections from the military that the coup would fail. Part of the reason for the defections would be that soldiers would be faced with a choice between death (by execution) if they do the right thing (oppose the coup) and death (from an armed populace) if they do the wrong thing (support the coup). In that case, the soldier is more likely to frag his officer and take his chances doing what he thought right. The company-grade officers know that, so they'd frag the field-grade officers, who in turn would probably lead their troops to headquarters to arrest the coup-supporting general-grade officers, who know that and so would turn against the coup leaders. Other scenarios like a President suspending elections would probably work similarly. In any case, if it comes to fighting the carnage would be too great for anyone to contemplate, and so everyone stays within the main boundaries of the law--or quickly corrects anyone who steps too far outside. You might think the 2nd Amendment isn't necessary, but then again, it might be like telling someone who's gone 40 years without cavities that they don't need to bother with all the brushing and flossing and dental cleanings every 6 months since they've never had a problem.

4. The Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto began with 6 (count 'em, 1 2 3 4 5 6) guns, sent the Germans packing for three months and then and held off a German division with artillery support and poison gas for nearly a month. Even in the gun-ban "ghettos" of NYC, Wa. DC, and Chicago there are probably more than 6 guns per *block*.

5. In some ways, Iraqis actually have a greater "right to arms" right now than Americans. Full-auto AK-47s are legal in Iraq (and probably can be purchased for less than $200). Full-auto AK-47s can only be purchased in some US states and must be registered, a $200 tax paid, and must have been owned and registered prior to 1986. (Remind me again, which country is a conquered, occupied country and which is the land of "the free and the home of the brave"?) The reason all that armament isn't causing trouble (and believe me, if Iraqis wanted to cause trouble...) for the US is that most Iraqis support the US (60-70% according to polls) and most of the rest at least figure that it isn't worth fighting the US--at least for now. Finally, according to some eye-witness reports, a lot of the Iraqis themselves are going after the trouble-makers. So it helps that the supportive Iraqis are armed.

Posted by: minimus publicitus at October 13, 2003 01:23 AM | PERMALINK

It should be pointed out that roughly zero (0) of the demands of the Texas Republican platform have actually been implemented by the supposedly extremist, out-of-control GOP. This despite the fact that the very same out-of-control extremist GOP is in control of congress and the white house. Would anyone care to explain how this could possibly be?


Also, I find the concept of "Communism = High Marginal Tax rates = Privatizing Social Security = Outlawing abortion" to be amusing, if nothing else.

Regards, Döbeln

-Stabil som fan!

Posted by: Döbeln at October 13, 2003 05:10 AM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it be great if they adopted a platform more like this?

1) All citizens must possess equal rights and duties.

2) The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.

3) All unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

4) Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in blood and treasure, all personal profit arising from war must be regarded as treason to the people and the state must enact total confiscation of all war profits.

5) There must be nationalization of all large corporations that supply basic services i.e. Energy, Phone, Rail, Transportation, Health, and any other sector deemed vital.

6) There must be profit sharing in large industries.

7) There must be a generous increase in Social Security and payroll tax abatement for the working poor.

8) As big business is eliminating the local grocer and driving living wage manufacturing jobs over seas, it is necessary to immediately communalize large stores which will be rented cheaply to small trades people, with the strongest consideration given to ensure that small traders deliver the supplies needed by the State, counties, and municipalities in order to expand and maintain a sound middle-class.

9) In order to end the agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose and the abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

10) There must be a ruthless war be waged against those who work to the injury of the common welfare. Usurers, profiteers, exploiters, etc., are to be punished regardless of creed or race.

11) Roman law or The Representative Republic, which serves a materialist ordering of the world, must be replaced by international common law and direct democracy.

12) In order to make it possible for every capable and industrious person to obtain higher education, and thus the opportunity to reach into positions of leadership, the State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people and expanding affirmative action to create equal access to leadership positions. The curricula of all educational establishments should be adapted to practical life with outcome based educational methods. The conception of the State Idea (science of citizenship) must be taught in the schools from the very beginning that all Americans are instilled with a sense of global citizenship. Higher education must be provided to all at state expense.

13) The State has the duty to address national health concerns by; expanding welfare, by prohibiting all juvenile labor, elimination of Big tobacco, regulation of fast food, elimination of genetically modified foods, by increasing physical fitness through national funding and oversight of health (including reproductive health) and physical education in all schools, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of children.

14) The regular army must be abolished in favour the creation of mandatory national service that all classes and races are equally represented in our military and that the burdens of war not fall disproportionately on the poor and minorities.

15) There must be a legal and legislative campaign against those who propagate deliberate political lies and disseminate them through the press. In order to return to a free and open press not dominated by media conglomerates, we must have a return to the fairness doctrine, and all advertising and corporate financial interests in media, or corporate influence on media must be forbidden by law, and we demand that the punishment for transgressing this law be the immediate suppression of that media outlet.

16) We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state, insofar as they do not espouse intolerance and preach hatred.

17) The party as such represents the point of view of a positive spirituality without binding itself to any one particular confession. It fights against the materialist spirit within and without, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of human kind can only come about from within on the principle: COMMON GOOD BEFORE INDIVIDUAL GOOD

18) In order to uniformly institute needed reforms and to guarantee state cooperation there must be a strong central Federal authority. As such, all judges must be vetted based on the meaning of “general welfare” in article I sect. 8 and on other important constitutional issues including privacy. If need be the 10th amendment itself should be amended.

The formation of professional committees and of committees representing the several states, to ensure that the laws promulgated by the central authority shall be carried out by the federal states.

Our leaders must undertake to promote the execution of the foregoing points at all costs, if necessary at the sacrifice of their own lives, and as such should be represented on the front lines of any military action taken.

Posted by: progressive guy at October 13, 2003 07:26 AM | PERMALINK

On Republican Extremism.

Posted by: Mike Van Winkle at October 13, 2003 08:13 AM | PERMALINK

I love showing up late for posts.

A couple of things.

First, I was (trying) to argue in favor of specfics of this platform in the original thread (lost in the crash) but the only thing I was challenged on was the separation of church and state. So I gather that this platform is not that extreme.

Second, I must have missed where the left was going to address their fringe groups (ELF...)

Posted by: Ron at October 13, 2003 09:16 AM | PERMALINK

The key problem with the original post is that it is fundamentally unamerican. That isn't to say that it should be illegal, but it does really miss the point of a democratic republic, which is that all non-violent factions get to participate in the political process and settle their differences without warfare or civil unrest.

By saying "(t)he Texas GOP represents a radical movement that has no place in American politics" you're saying to probably the most heavily armed segment of the population and also to the segment that is most overrepresented in the infantry and other combat branches, you cannot get your political agenda into law without violence. No matter what your personal beliefs, that's just wrong and dangerously naive to boot.

Note, I haven't said whether I agree with the TX Republican party or anything about my own beliefs, just that peaceful voting in a legislature beats the hell out of a shotgun blast to the chest.

So who's for violence? Because that's the ultimate conclusion of throwing out a large chunk of the population out of the political process.

Posted by: TM Lutas at October 13, 2003 03:36 PM | PERMALINK

freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.

if i want to pray, i'll do it at home, or do it at church. i will not do it in a state-funded classroom, because it will be a prayer not of my choosing; nor will i pay taxes for it. churches are funded, correctly, by the at-will donation of their laity. the state is funded by the social contract in the form of taxes. i accept the burden of taxation [grudgingly] as i accept the rule of law [grudingly], as long as the state does also.

i love the lord jesus christ as surely as i love his words; but the people who want to make our government over into a christian government, and make our society over into a christian society, as god in heaven is my witness i will make those people my sworn enemies until the last breath of life is out of my body.

Posted by: r@d@r at October 14, 2003 04:40 PM | PERMALINK

Thumb wrote "Hitler was elected by a majority of the population"
Minor point. Hitler lost the presidential election to Hindenburg. Hindenburg -appointed- Hitler as Chancellor in 1933. It wasn't an elected position. I'm really tired of hearing that.

Troy wrote "oh, for republicans (nay, politicians) cut from that cloth!"

You desire a politician who would suspend the writ of habeus corpus, would order the arrest of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and order the arrest of members of the Maryland State Legislature on the suspicion they would support the south?

Might want to rethink that.

Posted by: Tristan at October 18, 2003 01:12 AM | PERMALINK

Right, How many of you mass murdering communist looters and moochers do I have to stab?

STOP STEALING MY MONEY ASSHOLE COMMUNISTS. HAND OUT OF MY POCKETS. I STAB YOU ALL!

You will LEARN and learn good when I STAB you.

Posted by: Bad Commie at January 19, 2004 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

I went through this thread and apart from the "main" issues, I noticed that no one really put together the good names that were suggested for the group that we were talking about.
How about doing unto the Texans what is done unto Democrats? I vote that the term "Texan Taliban" be printed up on t-shirts, flyer, billboards and hoardings till every single Republican has to stand up and prove, using the program referred to above, how they are *not* like the Taliban.
This might be fun ...

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Posted by: ïðîäàæà àâòîìîáèëåé at April 7, 2004 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Let's call them the Texas Taliban.

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