Freedom is Slavery

Last week, the first-act conflict of Broadway standout Next Fall became moot, when President Obama ordered hospitals to extend to same-sex couples the same basic courtesy enjoyed by traditional couples: the right to visit your spouse in the hospital. It’s about the most uncontroversial decision imaginable: who could deny someone the right to visit the love of their life, even if they don’t approve of their love?

Well, RedState.

Actually, the article agrees at the outset with the premise of the right, but disagrees with its assertion, characterizing it as an abuse of federal power, and a twisting of discretionary funding towards social aims (“Barack Obama Will Decide Who Visits You In the Hospital”).

Fine. There’s something to that. But this is a costless change in policy. It literally hurts no-one, except those who feel some indefinable tear in the moral fabric of their country whenever someone different from them is happy. The order does nothing more than ask hospitals to acknowledge what the wishes of an incapacitated patient would be. It opens a previously closed option, which RedState reads as a requirement that the new option be exercised.

This doesn’t make much sense, but it’s a growing rhetorical strategy on the right: characterize options as requirements, or choice as mandate. Just so, the public option became, for all rhetorical purposes, a single-payer system. And, when arguing against gay marriage, we never hear about the individual couples, but about how the way others live their rights means you’re legally required to accept it. That’s not how the law works.

It’s obviously also an incredibly self centered way of looking at the world, and one at odds with our history (“Oh, so now we’re free from England… so you’re saying we have to govern ourselves!??! Fascists!“). But it’s probably the only way to argue against freedom.

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89 comments

  1. “…who could deny someone the right to visit the love of their life, even if they don’t approve of their love?

    Well, RedState.”

    I’m just picturing how your mornings look every day.

    There are other conservative websites out there Ames. I realize that Red State makes for easy blog fodder in much the same way that it would be easy for me to read Firedog Lake every morning and fire off a quick rebuttal.

    Wouldn’t it be much, much more interesting if you took more carefully nuanced conservative sources and took a similarly-nuanced counter-point? Afterall, you’re always harping about how terrible partisanship is. Compromise is in the fine details.

    You finally seemed to get over your Glenn Beck obsession. Maybe it’s time to take Red State out of your favorites on the ol’ iPhone?

    1. And how else would I find out about RedState postings? I certainly don’t want to read that stuff every day. Keep up the good work Ames.

      P.S. Please consider reading Conservapedia as well. My mental well being precludes me from reading it at length. Also, my irony meters are all broken.

      1. Well it’s obvious you don’t consider Red State to be a credible source for policy discussions, etc. Why would you want to know what they are talking about?

      2. Because they drive the dialogue of irrelevancies upon which the right is so precariously poised.

  2. As always, the right defies parody.

  3. P.S. Hi, Mike! Are you saying that we don’t need to take RedState seriously, because nobody really listens to them?

    1. I’m saying that Red State is right up there with Keith Olberman in the partisan war. I have no interest in reading that stuff from either side. I also don’t think anyone really engaged in policy gets their marching orders from Red State. The kind of politicians that read Red State are the ones that get a lot of time on TV and have absolutely no impact on actual policy (Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin come to mined). Honestly, do you think Mitch McConnell is reading Red State?

      1. …except Olbermann usually makes some kind of sense.

        1. I haven’t found that. And even so – you have to cut through so much snark and hate that the small kernels of logic he might occasionally deliver are lost on all but the most thick-skinned of viewers.

          1. Well, every Olbermann clip I’ve seen seemed right on target, and badly needed. Mind you, I mostly watched him in the 2004-2007 era, but I can’t imagine he’s changed that much. His snark generally made my day, and was a welcome reprieve from the otherwise-omnipresent Bush-worship which saturated the mainstream media at the time.

            If you have some specific examples of where he’s gone astray, do feel free to share.

            1. I think – when it comes to Olberman, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I often find moments where Rush Limbaugh makes perfect sense to me. I suspect you don’t.

              1. This isn’t about personality, it’s about specific points.

                I’ve rarely — if ever — heard Limbaugh say anything that made sense, but maybe I just don’t have a large enough sample from which to extract a few grains of validity.

                If you disagree with something Olbermann said, let’s talk about that — not turn this into some kind of “he said she said” all-points-of-view-are-equally-valid exercise in cultural relativism.

                1. What I’m saying is – for example, different perspectives are going to interpret what people say differently. For example, universal healthcare sounds like a great idea to you, whereas it sounds insane to me.

                  If you want specifics – I don’t keep a Wiki to organize my thoughts like you do. I haven’t watched Olbermann in quite some time so it would be pretty hard for me to site a specific example here.

                2. Just because we have different opinions about which ideas are good and which aren’t doesn’t mean that both of us are equally right.

                  One of us is wrong about this; obviously I think it’s you. I can explain *why* universal healthcare sounds like a good idea to me; can you explain why it doesn’t sound that way to you?

                  1. But we aren’t talking about policy. We’re talking about evaluating one person’s opinion on policy. I don’t agree with Olbermann on the most fundamental level of…well…anything. It’s not just about him endorsing healthcare – it’s the reasons he gives for doing so.

                  2. Why should the evaluation process be any different? If the reasoning is good, it’s good — regardless of whether you agree with the conclusions. If someone’s making a bad argument, it’s still a bad argument even if you agree with their conclusions.

                    1. “…it’s still a bad argument even if you agree with their conclusions.”

                      And that’s sort of my point with Olbermann. He’s a tool. If he’s ever made a point worth hearing it never may it through the haze of hate and crap that comes out of his mouth. So, as i said, i’ve never heard him make a logical point.

                    2. A *tool*? Of WHAT? It would be great to think we had a few “tools” on our side…

                      But seriously — you agree that what matters is the content of the argument, you say you’ve never heard Olbermann make a coherent point, but you can’t give an example?

                      Okay, I’ll give you one: here’s Olbermann, Sept. 26, 2006. (Press the [Launch] button to view the video.) I challenge you to find any flaws in Olbermann’s facts or argument.

                      If he’s a tool, he’s a tool of the truth. Would that we had a full set.

                    3. Fine Woozle – I’ll play along with your clip. Let me just spitball as i watch the first few minutes:

                      -Says WhiteHouse propaganda worse than Tokyo Rose.

                      – Calls the Bush presidency the worst since Buchanan.

                      – Calls the Iraq War a failure.

                      – Says if he had embarrassed himself as a journalist he would quit (we’re still waiting Keith).

                      – Says Clinton wasn’t distracted while in office and then spends 3 minutes explaining how if he was distracted it was the GOP’s office.

                      – Says Bush made up the stories of prevented attacks since 9/11

                      Alright, had to quit there. Too painful. I literally felt like I was listening to the Emperor’s speech to Luke in RotJ. “Yes, Luke…feel the hate.”

                    4. Umm… but all those points are correct.

                      No?

                  3. So, you’re saying that Bush was *not* the worst president since Buchanan?

                    I was going for “worst president of all time”; it seems pretty clear to me that the decisions he made in office put the final nails in the coffin of America’s honor, national unity, credibility, and sanity.

                    The Iraq War was not a failure? By what imaginable measure was it anything else? Blackwater and KBR profit levels, possibly? Most Money Left Unattended By A Roadside? Most Lies Told? Most Accurate Shooting, “Own Foot” Division?

                    Those two should be good to start with, I think.

                    1. As a historian by training I know better than to try and rank a President that has been out of office for 2 years. Couple that with a more thorough understanding of other presidencies and no, he’s not even close. But liberals typically only have an attention span of about 4 years so I can see where you might make that claim.

                      As for his other points – yeah, some of them are just wrong. Discounting the prevented attacks after 9/11 – which Obama has now confirmed did happen.

                    2. Oh come on, Mike — we’re not talking about how Bush will be regarded in the year 2525, which nobody can do yet; we’re talking about evaluating him on the basis of the available evidence right now. On the basis of that evidence, how can you assign him a position anywhere above the dregs? Evidence, please — not opinions. What did he do that was any damn good?

                      Nice ad-hominem put-down, though. Practice that one regularly and you’ll go far in conservative circles.

                      And you’re changing the subject. How was Iraq anything but an abject, utter failure? We didn’t even have any criteria by which to measure “success”, any standards by which to determine victory — so how could it possibly *ever* be anything other than a failure? What were we trying to do there?

                    3. Evaluating him right now I would put him in the bottom half at best. I could name at least 10 presidents that belong under him.

                      As for Iraq – the war isn’t actually over, so again, assessment seems awfully short-sighted. Sort of like evaluating WWII during the Battle of the Bulge.

                      You and I have discussed liberal disreagard for history before. Your policies rarely ever play to more than the most contemporary of audiences with little regard given to the big picture. Liberalism is by nature always forward-looking, so that is understandable, though not preferable.

                    4. I’ll admit that there *might* have been worse presidents than Bush, but he does rather stand out. I would be interested in the list of those you believe to have been worse, however; it would seem well worth my time to learn more about them.

                      Your argument about the Iraq war remains vague and largely based on authority (paraphrase: “I’m trained as a historian, I should know best.”) On what actual basis, what evidence, what results, measured by what standards, do you believe that the Iraq War was even remotely not a failure? (Note that I’m setting the bar very low here; it shouldn’t be hard to make your case, if you have one.)

                      You argue that we can’t know the full cost-benefit ratio at this early date, that history will decide.

                      No. Unless you — or the architects of the war themselves — can explain what the goals are, and why they expect those goals to be met in 20 or 50 years, then those benefits are entirely incidental — pure dumb luck! — and the architects and pilots of that war (including Bush) do not get any credit.

                      (Note that these are the same people have consistently failed at even the shortest-term prediction — remember “victory is just around the corner?” Note also that we were repeatedly promised a quick victory — so any “deferred gratification” represents a lie, however beneficial it may turn out to be. I would much rather support a delayed victory for honest reasons than a short-term victory that won’t really happen.)

                      It’s as if I went on a drunken driving spree and just happened to run over a bank robber. It doesn’t do me any credit; it was just dumb luck that the really stupid thing I was doing just happened to include one good outcome.

                      Also, “the liberal disregard for history”: is this what you’re referring to? Or this? I’m not seeing what you’re referring to.

                      In any case, you’ll need to show me some evidence, because from here that claim — in addition to being ad hominem (implication: “you’re a liberal and therefore inept at evaluating these things because all liberals are”) and somewhat insulting — looks like straight-up reality inversion.

  4. Thanks, supporters :) !!

    Two additional points. First, it’s a sign of the mainlining of the fringe that RedState IS taken seriously. CNN just hired their “editor in chief,” the guy who referred to Justice Souter as a “goat-fucking child molestor.” Second, I wasn’t criticizing RedState for this posting specifically. I was taking it as a sign of a more common rhetorical tactic. So the post’s relevance isn’t cabined to RedState.

    1. So why not make the same point by demonstrating you actually read more than one conservative site?

      1. Mike: I recommend ConWebLog, if what you’re looking for is more general coverage of the right-wing media. RedState is prominently featured — they seem to be more consistently bizarre than many other outlets — but they also cover WhirledNutsDaily, NewsBlusters, Faith2Action, Newsmax, and others.

        1. …er, sorry, that’s “ConWebBlog”.

  5. I have to agree with Mike, Ames. Joseph Farah’s article on this was far stupider.

    1. link http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=143173 because I broke the anchor tag somehow.

  6. List for Woozle:

    John Adams
    James Buchanan
    Ulysses Grant
    Taft
    Wilson
    Harding
    Hoover
    Ford
    Carter

    I would also include FDR as one of the worst and one of the best. I realize that is a wishy-washy answer but he did some horrible things and also some really great things. Example: Trying to load the courts = bad. The Civillian Conservation Corps = good.

    As for liberal disregard for history – liberals tend to think horizontally while conservatives think vertically. The concept was explained well here:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/198cdapm.asp

    “The Liberal says, in despairing disbelief: Can’t you sense the world around us? Don’t you care about its disapproval? The Conservative says, in despairing disbelief: Can’t you sense the generations behind us? Don’t you care about their disapproval? Liberals live “horizontally,” spiritually in touch (they believe) with all the world’s nations. Conservatives live “vertically,” spiritually in touch (they believe) with their forebears and with generations to come.”

  7. Mike:

    Your list includes some I would have expected and some I wouldn’t have guessed; I’ll look forward to reading more about the verdict of history on those guys… and comparing them to the outlook forward from Dubya.

    As for the liberal/conservative horizontal/vertical dichotomy —

    First off, this is yet another logical fallacy — sort of a combined overgeneralization plus ad hominem: “You are a liberal, and liberals have poor judgment on item X, therefore you have poor judgment on it as well.” You imply that therefore my arguments have no merit, without actually showing how they are wrong. Fail.

    Second… What is this conservative obsession with holding up some entity as quasi-sancrosanct and then using that entity’s supposed likes and dislikes (which conservatives feel free to invent) as the basis for all argument? It’s yet another form of argument from authority, utterly empty of content. “Previous generations would say…” or “God says…” or “E.F. Hutton says…” — who cares what they think, if they don’t explain why they think it?

    Why, also, should it not be the generations yet to come who should matter more? The generations behind us are dead; why should they care? They don’t have to live with the consequences of their advice; we do. We have the benefit of more experience than they had; it is we who are wiser.

    Even granting your premise that we should take more heed of earlier generations than of those in the present, I doubt very much that the more thoughtful and caring members of those earlier generations would have any brighter view of the War on Peace than I do.

    Finally, one must also consider the two aspects of opinion: (a) currying favor just because you want people to like you, and (b) seeking credibility so that when it’s crunch time you will have support for necessary but unpopular actions. I can’t imagine that conservatives could dismiss the need for the latter.

    If that’s the case, then explain how the War for Terror has been in any way a positive thing for America or the world (even potentially), and stop changing the subject.

    1. Woozle:

      I found this point the most interesting:

      “Why, also, should it not be the generations yet to come who should matter more? The generations behind us are dead; why should they care? They don’t have to live with the consequences of their advice; we do. We have the benefit of more experience than they had; it is we who are wiser.”

      Would you say, for example, that the scholars of the middle ages were smarter than the scholars of 5th century Arabia?

      Knowledge does not always carry on to the next generation and it’s arrogant to imply the wisdom comes with age. Case in point – I’ve met a lot of really, really stupid old men and really, realy brilliant young men.

      As for future generations – I call foul on your contention that liberals care more about the future than conservatives. If you re-read the quote I cited it says: “Conservatives live “vertically,” spiritually in touch (they believe) with their forebears and with generations to come.

      Think about it, what are conservatives always saying? We’re saying that if you do A thrn B might happen and that would be bad for future generations. Liberals say, “There are people hurting NOW, we must act and we’ll sort it out later.” Look at gay marriage – conservatives wory it will affect marriage as an institution in a negative way 10-20-50 years from now. Liberals worry that there are unhappy gays in 2010 that must be helped to feel better. You all live in the now, the horizontal. We live in the before and after, the vertical.

      1. I would also add that in my experience of working with liberal-run non profits for 10 years and then spending 10 years in a very conservative corporation, liberals approach business in much the same horizontal way. They struggle to think longterm. Conservatives tend to do much better in that respect.

        1. oneiroi · ·

          You keep making these generalizations Mike.

          You worked for “liberal non profits” worked for one “conservative” for profit office, and that’s comparable and how things are?

          The RNC has been a financial mess lately, should I hold that all conservative companies that way?

          Aren’t liberals worried about the future when they talk about…the patriot act, the environment, the arizona law, a lot of the things the ACLU fights against. Aren’t a lot of these things about protecting people in the future from further incursions/hardships?

          Using your logic, I could turn around and say, conservatives are concerned about the future, only because they are afraid of any change in the present.

          That doesn’t necessarily mean they “care more” about the future. It is just as indicative of being concerned about the present status quo.

          And disregard for history? A lot of the things I hear from the “Tea Party” are from misinformed psuedo historians. Most Republicans can’t even get a firm grasp on the facts of the Reagan administration right.

          I just hate these generalizations when most of the time, both sides do similar things.

          1. Oneiroi – if you can’t speak in generalizations then blogging and commenting is pointless. Ames engages in genrilizations about the Right every day – without them, why read?

          2. oneiroi · ·

            Let me put it this way then, I think those generalizations are wrong.

            Liberals are no more historically inaccurate than conservatives. Conservatives are no more concerned for the future than liberals.

          3. Actually, I would go further than oneiroi — my understanding is that liberals in positions of power have a much better sense of history and planning for the future than do conservatives.

            Further, the number of self-identified liberal Congresscritters known for distorting facts can be counted without using one’s toes; the number of self-identified conservative Congresscritters known for not distorting facts (or even completely inventing them from scratch) is a similar number. (Of the living, only one comes to mind: Ron Paul.)

            1. If it’s 10 or less for Dems, please share your list Woozle.

            2. Tentative list for you:
              Mary Landrieu (e.g. when caught supporting insurance companies in their efforts to block reform, claimed that Obama had never campaigned for a public option; implied at least once that the public option would be a deficit-enhancer)
              Blanche Lincoln (e.g. stating support for a public option while also promising to filibuster if the bill included one)
              Bart Stupak (e.g. claimed that the healthcare reform bill would use public funds to pay for abortions — which it never did — and on that false basis helped stall further progress)
              Ben Nelson (haven’t found any outright lies, but his excuses for being against healthcare reform are as nonsensical as those coming from the GOP; active supporter of Stupak’s scheme)
              Evan Bayh (e.g. demanding that Dems compromise more with the GOP so the GOP won’t retaliate later — when the GOP has done nothing but retaliate and stonewall in response to appeasement from Dems since Obama took office.)

              That’s all I’ve been able to come up with for now. If you have a longer list, please give at least one example of a lie or distortion for each.

              1. Woozle, I really expect better of you…

                You might want to add the Congressional Dems under investigation, of which I believe there are 7. It’s extremely sad that you didn’t include Barney Frank, Chris Dodd or Charlie Rangel.

              2. I’ve heard things about Dodd and Rangel, but nothing substantial yet — and none of the con complaints about Frank seemed to be on firm ground either… but I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

                Unless, of course, you’d care to enlighten me with examples of what lies or distortions they are guilty of.

                1. Nothing substantial on Dood or Rangel? Oh man. That gives new meaning to the idea of living in seclusion. I would question how much contact you have with the outside world if I didn’t know you have access to the internet.

                  I knew you had drank the liberal kool aid but I had no idea you were such a loyal soldier for the DNC.

              3. Examples, Mike. You can’t bawl me out for ignorance if you can’t actually support your claim.

                I found this.

                I’ll grant you Burris. He was a jerk from Day 1, and should probably consider joining the GOP; he’d be a better fit.

                Just looking at the allegations listed for Rangel — if true, yes, that’s pretty awful, but it’s not the level of betrayal we’ve been talking about.

                Perhaps I should be more clear: I’m talking about public distortions of fact relating to matters of public policy, not how they conduct their business. All of the allegations against Rangel seem to be of the latter type.

                Apparently Dodd isn’t currently under investigation, so I’m not sure what your beef with him is.

                1. Woozle,

                  I consider lying on your taxes (Rangel), lying about your involvement in changing bills and accepting VIP loans from lobbyists (Dodd), using your office to help out your lover (Frank) to be fairly egregious. Maybe you consider political hyperbole on the floor of the senate to be worse, i guess we just have different standards.

                2. Hmmm. Personal foibles or polluting American discourse, while actively working against the peoples’ interest. Tough call.

                3. First — regarding those personal transgressions, you’re still talking about allegations, not proven facts.

                  Second, and more importantly… well, hell, ACG said it best: what’s worse — (a) violations of rules of personal conduct, or (b) polluting American discourse, while actively working against the peoples’ interest?

                  I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time seeing (a) as anything but a distraction from (b). If we can ever manage to clean up all of (b), then we can raise the quality-bar a bit and go for ridding Congress of the (a)-level violations.

                  In the meantime, I just can’t bring myself to care about tax evasions or nepotism from one set of politicians when the lies told by another set lead to horrible policy decisions that will be with us for generations.

                  But I guess you conservatives have a hard time seeing the long view, and really only care about the horizontal consequences — “But these leaders are sinning now! Who cares if they’re otherwise making good long-term policy?”

                  1. (Aside: I really hate WordPress for its lack of delete or edit functions.)

                    Let me rephrase my last sentence a bit; the point is not that they’re consistently making good policy, the point is that the GOP leaders seem to be consistently making bad policy — and that that is far more important than a handful of personal peccadilloes which may not even pan out.

                    So: “But these leaders are sinning now and need to be punished! Who cares if other leaders are betraying our future with their lies and deceptions? That’s the future, we’ll worry about it when the time comes — this is now!!”

                  2. What you fail to notice with Rangel is that he used his committe memberships in irresponsible ways to affect legislation. That is beyond a ‘personal foible’. Dodd allowed himself to be heavily influenced by lobbyists and also the administration, where he changed financial legislation, lied about it, and then suffered such a beating in the press he is retiring.

                    Those decisions affect more than just the people around them. these are powerful men who control powerful political tools in our government. The way both you and Ames minimize the impact of their actions is just kind of unbelievable.

                    This thread is impossible to read through at this point and when you guys start making excuses for political corruption i think that’s a signal for me to drop this one.

                  3. Examples, please? I don’t see anything damning in Sourcewatch (Rangel, Dodd) or even Conservapedia Rangel, Dodd).

  8. Mike — I will amend my comment: It is we who are wiser — if we have the wit to learn from what has gone before.

    Obviously there were some serious interruptions in the continuity of historical knowledge between 5th century Arabic scholarship and European scholarship in the middle ages; the latter did not have the benefit of the former.

    Where is the interruption in historical knowledge between the present and the past generations you cite as authority?

    As for the rest: again, you’re overgeneralizing about liberalism — one’s personal experience with individual businesses claiming to support liberal causes has absolutely nothing to do with the validity of liberalism itself — and you have yet again evaded the question:

    On what basis do you expect that history will ultimately vindicate Bush and the Iraq War?

    Olbermann was absolutely right, and you can’t demonstrate otherwise.

    1. Specifically on the Iraq War I think history will vindicate because Iraq is off the table as a dangerous player in the middle east, and stability of the region was the ultimate goal. It’s one less dictator to worry about. The end.

      1. That’s it? That’s the big payoff?

        And you believe the region is more stable than before, or is that something which will happen later on (due to the wise planning and foresight of Bush & Co.)?

        1. I think it is more stable.

        2. The Middle East may look more stable in the short term, but that’s only because there are 100,000 US troops stationed in the region. But what will happen when they are withdrawn?

          Long-term stability in the Middle East is 95% dependent on the Palestine conflict. And on that issue, the Bush administration not only wasted 8 years by doing absolutely nothing – that would have been bad enough in itself – but also seriously undermined future attempts at dealing with the conflict by reinforcing the regional perception of the US as an imperialist aggressor.

          On a very long list of Bush’s incompetent moves on the foreign political area, that one thing was probably the worst.

          1. So by that standard – the complete lack of success on the Israel-Palestine issue in the current administration will mean they are failures on foreign policy?

            There’s some speculation that the Israel-Palestine issue is not the Alpha and the Omega over there. I’m farly sure that the average man on the street cares much more about food than Palestine

          2. No, the standard is having a reasonable policy which is likely to incentivise (there’s a good Conservative word for you!) the parties of the conflict to seek a lasting agreement. Bush did not have that – he engaged a bit in the Road map process, and there were a couple of low-key summits, and a couple of state visits and so on, but no effective and consolidated policy. Big waste of time, and of the bit of momentum that was built up during the Bush Senior and Clinton years.

            …the average man on the street cares much more about food than Palestine

            Last I checked, famine was not a particular problem in the Middle East – except of course in Iraq after the invasion – so I’m pretty sure you’re not right about that. The Palestine conflict is a huge issue in the ME public opinion, and is incidentally also an excellent source of legitimisation for the various remaining dictatorships in the region. If the Neo-cons had really been serious about democratisation of the ME, they’d have been well advised to look at this issue first of all.

            Also re: “speculation”, I might have some “speculations” of my own about who’s doing that sort of “speculation”. Hint: It begins with an ‘I’ and ends with ‘srael lobby’.

        3. “Stable” by what definition?

  9. The right lets itself be generalized lately. Remember when you thought Palin was the best thing in the world? Even you’ve been tricked into their crazy hype.

    1. I could say that the SF Gay Pride Parade allows gays to be ‘generalized’ every year…something tells me you would oppose that.

      Or to link it to that other discussion – if the police grab a Hispanic-looking dude and demand ID on a street in Flagstaff, aren’t they really just ‘generalizing’.

      1. How does it allow them to be “generalized”? Participation is voluntary.

        1. So is being a Republlican.

          1. And so is being a liberal.

            The point of the word “generalization” as a criticism is when it is overgeneralization. I can say “Republicans seem to be unable to think for themselves due to their worship of authority”, but I can’t then turn around and use that as proof that a particular Republican idea is bad — much less that Republican ideas are bad in general, even if that is what I happen to believe.

            You seem to be doing this with liberalism, however, and that’s the problem.

            1. What I am saying is that I see a tendency for liberals to behave a certain way. Ames sees tendencies for conservatives to act certain ways. Both are generalizations.

              1. Yes. What’s your point? You were over-extrapolating from your generalizations, which is not ok. Did Ames say “All Republicans are X, therefore Republican idea Y is nonsense”?

                1. When you generalize and extrapolate – it’s so hard to see the line in the sand Woozle. I suspect you are more lenient on liberals doing so – I on conservatives.

                  1. If you’re not going to give any examples to support your point, Mike, then there really isn’t any point in continuing this debate.

                    1. What examples do you specifically want me to give? I explained how I believe liberals are short-sighted on things like presidential assessment, gay marriage, etc. How many specific references will make you happy?

                      You could also give me that list of 10 or less Democrats.

                    2. Are you saying that allowing gay marriage to be on an equal legal footing with heterosexual marriage is an example of a short-sighted position?

                      Other than that, I don’t see where you have given any examples of liberal statements or positions that you believe to be short-sighted. (“Presidential assessment” is too vague.)

                      Working on the list. I have to go back and check, as I didn’t really have any particular names firmly in mind; I just know it doesn’t come up very much, and mainly with “Blue Dogs”/”Conservadems” — and even they don’t seem to have the penchant for outright lying that is the hallmark of the authoritarians who seem to be the majority in the GOP these days.

                    3. I consider an unwillingness to consider the longterm ramifications of gay marriage legalization to be short-sighted.

                    4. Belatedly, I noticed your earlier explanation of your position on gay marriage:

                      conservatives worry it will affect marriage as an institution in a negative way 10-20-50 years from now.

                      The problem with that is that conservatives have yet to offer a coherent explanation of why they believe this to be the case — and there is considerable evidence that the opposite is true: gay marriage helps reduce the divorce rate, for example, and leads to more stable families. It also provides a “sink” for unwanted children, which I thought to be something conservatives would be very much in favor of.

                      It’s not that liberals don’t care about the future — that is, as I have said, a total straw-man; it’s just that we actually look at the evidence when estimating how different decisions will affect that future.

                    5. With the current monogamy rate for gay men – i don’t know if I would get my hopes up for them improving the divorce rate.

                    6. Mike. Evidence is what counts. What’s yours?

                  2. If the case for marriage is that it preserves and strengthens the monogamous instinct, isn’t arguing against gay marriage, because everything short of marriage fails to secure the same benefits, somewhat to very disingenuous?

    2. And you’ve never been duped into suporting a candidate that turned out to be a bust? Let’s remember that Palin circa August 2008 looked a lot better than Palin circa 2010.

      1. Palin *never* looked viable, except maybe for 48 hours or so before we knew anything about her.

        1. Actually she did. Look at her interviews prior to being nominated. She mostly only talked energy policy and guns and was articulate on both issues. She was known for bipartisanship in Alaska. She was good looking. All the right elements it seemed.

          1. I don’t remember details, but I remember arguing strenuously against her as a potential VP long before the election. So maybe you should just trust my judgment on candidates more? ;-)

            I don’t think I’ve ever heard/read a Palin interview that wasn’t incomprehensible word salad; if you’ve got any, please fire some links at me.

            1. Her older interviews are hard to find – but try this clip from Charlie Rose:

              This was the first time I saw her and I remember talking about her with other conservatives who thought she would be a good choice. I’m not embarrassed to admit she looked like a good choice back then.

              1. I would say she doesn’t sound incoherent there, but there really isn’t enough substance to figure out where she’s coming from. I certainly wouldn’t vote for someone on the basis of a single one-minute sound clip, anyway.

                1. She sounded like that the whole show. I don’t know what happened to her after that. Maybe a bump on the head. Maybe smoe really bad PR folks around her.

  10. Mortgage-backed securities 2008 looked a lot better than MBS’ 2010, too, but like Palin, the information was there; people just ignored it.

    Yes, gay pride parades, as extravagant, self-directed fun, are a pretty poor way to evaluate the gay community. But are you saying Sarah Palin’s the same thing? An acknowledged farce that’s always been just that? Because running for the vice presidency rebuts the very innocuousness, and self-claimed ridiculousness that makes gay pride parades “atypical fun” rather than “typical.”

    As to the difference between racial profiling and inferring based on candidate preference, wow, not even touching that.

    1. I would bet you if I had 100 individuals random in front of me I could do a better job of picking out the illegal aliens than you could in guessing policy preferences in a room with 100 Republicans. Feel free to prove me wrong.

      1. You mean they aren’t all in favor of cutting social services and reducing taxes for the rich (in the guise of reducing it for everyone else)?

      2. Mike, if your point is that Republicans are a dysfunctional bunch with no united policy positions, such that no-one can really guess what they’ll say, except that they’ll filibuster anything that moves, I’ll grant you that. But I’m not sure it’s a good thing.

        1. I’m saying that the generalizations you make about Republicans are just that.

          1. Are they inaccurate generalizations? If so, how?

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