Party Trumps Person

I have asked Retired Spook to post this as a thread because as we near Election Day I think we need to consider the fact that we will not be voting for a person, but for a political system. Amazona

I have taken a lot of abuse here on this blog for making this statement, criticism which I think reflects a basic lack of knowledge of how our political system works. The other day I was listening to a Denver radio talk show host, Mike Rosen, who has often discussed his theory that Party Trumps Person, and he spoke to a caller who explained that he has always voted for the person he thought would be best for the job and wondered why Mike disagreed with this approach.

Mike gave a very concise and detailed explanation, and then referred listeners to the column he had written in the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News during the last Presidential campaign, a written version that is essentially what he had just told the caller. He said all we have to do is substitute “Romney” for “McCain.

In part, he says: “I say party trumps person because regardless of the individual occupying the White House, his party’s coalition will be served. A Democratic president, for example, whether liberal or moderate (conservative Democrats, if any still exist, can’t survive the nominating process), can only operate within the political boundaries of his party’s coalition. The party that wins the presidency will fill Cabinet and sub-Cabinet discretionary positions in the executive branch with members of its coalition. Likewise, the coalition will be the dominant source of nominees to the federal courts, ambassadorships, appointments to boards and commissions, and a host of plum jobs handed out to those with political IOUs to cash in.

It works the same way in the legislative branch. After the individual members of a new Congress have been seated, a nose count is taken and the party with the most noses wins control of all committee and subcommittee chairmanships, the locus of legislative power.”

This is important for us to remember. While it may feel more principled to vote for someone from the opposing party because you feel he or she is a better person than the one from your own, I suggest that the wiser course is to consider the result of having the other PARTY filling all these discretionary positions, committee chairmanships, etc. and vote for the party, and then work to make sure that the next party candidate for this position is a better one.

Your candidate is only one component of a political machine, and while he or she may represent a view you like, he or she will probably not be a deciding factor in a vote but will add to the total of party representation in the House or the Senate.

I take Mike’s statement a bit farther, as I think it is important to understand that when you vote for a party you are really voting for an ideology, because voting strictly by party, without this being based on ideological conviction, is really nothing more than Identity Politics.

For the first time in a long time, the Republican Party is taking a stand on ideology, openly stating its focus not just on issues but on broader ideological concepts such as adherence to the Constitution, reducing the size and scope and power of the federal government, fiscal responsibility, and redistribution of power to acknowledge state sovereignty. The Democrat Party is not running on its ideological agenda, which is for all intents and purposes the opposite of the Republican ideology, but we can see it in its actions and the issues it promotes.

And at this time, in this place, understanding of ideology and long-term agendas is more important than ever before, as well as an understanding of how the process works.

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40 thoughts on “Party Trumps Person

  1. neocon1 October 7, 2012 / 5:54 pm

    One party for goodness
    One party for evil

    • neocon1 October 7, 2012 / 5:57 pm

      Democrats Boo God, Cheer Bill Clinton
      Conservative HQ ^ | 6 Sep 12 | CHQ Staff

      It was a truly astonishing spectacle at Wednesday’s Democratic National Convention. Bill Clinton, the disgraced former President was cheered, while amending the Democratic Party platform to include a single reference to God as the source of human potential was jeered and booed.

      Nothing speaks louder to what is at stake in this election than the reaction of rank and file Democratic Convention delegates to referencing God in their Party platform.

      Look at the pictures and video of the moment the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments had been approved despite the fact that a large group of delegates objected. It wasn’t indifference or mere convention rowdiness — it was red-faced anger and gut-level hostility.

      The Democratic Party has long-been a bastion of the kind of secular liberalism that views religion as some kind of quaint superstition held by ignorant people out in the boondocks, but this was something different.

      It was a collective howl against the strictures and structure of traditional Judeo-Christian values and society.

      And it more than explains the rest of the Democratic Party’s platform.

  2. M. Noonan October 7, 2012 / 6:39 pm

    It is actually a shame that we can’t very often vote for the person rather than the party – because the two parties have diverged so greatly and, at bottom, the Democrat party has become the vehicle by which intrinsically evil things are advanced – things like elective abortion. While I can, morally, vote for a pro-life Democrat I won’t do it – because that pro-life Democrat will merely add to the power of the pro-abortion Democrats who make up the overwhelming majority of the party leadership…and they will ruthlessly advance that particular evil.

    Used to be, a person could switch a bit back and forth because both parties, at bottom, held to the same sort of morality. Now, they don’t. I’m hoping that we can eventually hammer the Democrats so badly that they’ll split and become Social Democrats and Christian Democrats…then a conservative could spread his votes between Republicans and Christian Democrats as seems best.

    • Ricorun October 14, 2012 / 7:38 pm

      At first I thought the mistake was mine, but it has become apparent that, for whatever reason, responses on this thread are not following any sort of logical order.

      (Moderator Note: We have noticed that things are getting screwy like that – our cracker jack technical support team is on it, but the phone lines to Burkino Faso are down…please be patient)

    • Ricorun October 14, 2012 / 7:41 pm

      Oh shoot, why should I care?

    • Ricorun October 15, 2012 / 12:22 am

      Me: At first I thought the mistake was mine, but it has become apparent that, for whatever reason, responses on this thread are not following any sort of logical order.

      (Moderator Note: We have noticed that things are getting screwy like that – our cracker jack technical support team is on it, but the phone lines to Burkino Faso are down…please be patient)

      I sure hope this is an honest mistake, because I never would have said what is implied (re: “Oh shoot, why should I care?) in the context in which it appeared.

  3. Retired Spook October 7, 2012 / 6:55 pm

    I’ve voted in every general election and all but one primary since 1966. I’ve voted for some Democrats for municipal and county offices where I felt they were either more qualified or more honest, but I can’t recall ever voting for a Democrat for national office, and for the very reason that this post describes. I can recall my parents often voting a split ticket in the 50’s and early 60’s, but mid-60’s was the watershed moment for the Democrat Party where it became the party of an ever-expanding welfare state, the party of a “living Constitution, and the party of high taxes — and they’ve gradually shifted further left from there.

    • Ricorun October 7, 2012 / 7:45 pm

      Part of me would like to provide a more detailed response, but I doubt it would be posted. Already I have a detailed response on another thread that has been “awaiting moderation” all day. So let me be brief:

      I agree with the fact that the elected president is the one that fills numerous positions at his or her discretion. But most of the highest of those require Senate oversight. That includes federal judgeships, including the Supreme Court. And we all know how that often goes — Senators generally don’t want to offend the president, so they give him what he wants. The situation is, in many respects, more egregious in the legislative branch, because it’s true that the “party with the most noses wins control of all committee and subcommittee chairmanships, the locus of legislative power.” But the effect of the difference is open to interpretation, I suppose.

      At any rate, it used to be that there was a considerable amount of overlap between members of the Republican and Democratic parties when all of the various issues of concern in modern-day life were considered. There were Democrats who were social conservatives, Republicans who were defense liberals, so on and so on. That mix created a vibrant dynamic that withstood our rather unique and potentially restrictive two-party system. But now, apparently, we are being asked to jettison that vibrant dynamic and vote along strict party lines. Spook says, “For the first time in a long time, the Republican Party is taking a stand on ideology, openly stating its focus not just on issues but on broader ideological concepts such as adherence to the Constitution, reducing the size and scope and power of the federal government, fiscal responsibility, and redistribution of power to acknowledge state sovereignty.” But he gives no indication as to whether those “ideological concepts” will actually work when applied to actual issues. Apparently it’s enough to sound good.

      Spook also says he takes “Mike’s statement a bit farther, as I think it is important to understand that when you vote for a party you are really voting for an ideology, because voting strictly by party, without this being based on ideological conviction, is really nothing more than Identity Politics.” Apparently any “ideological conviction” that is not one’s own is nothing more than “identity politics”. “Mike” said pretty much the same thing. But the most disturbing part of it is his characterization of the Republican coalition: “an alliance of conservatives, middle- and upper-income taxpayers (but not leftist Hollywood millionaires and George Soros). He proceeded to add further conditions with which to assess loyalty within that group, parsing it up even further, as if his original characterization wasn’t troublesome enough.

      Truth be told, I’m pretty much taking the devil’s advocate role here. I continue to have faith in the Republican Party, even though I am genuinely concerned about the message they’re putting out. In that respect, I’m pretty sure Spook and Mike Rosen wanted to sound more inclusive. But they didn’t. And that’s a major problem. And it’s not just them, it’s an endemic problem. The fact is that too many people perceive the core constituency of the Republican party as exactly what Mike Rosen (and perhaps Spook) said it was: an alliance of conservatives, middle- and upper-income taxpayers — excluding leftist Hollywood millionaires and George Soros, of course. My take-home point is, THAT PERCEPTION IS TOXIC! And if it persists, that perception will become MORE toxic over the years.

      Okay, that wasn’t all that brief. But it was easy to say cuz I didn’t have to look stuff up, And oh man, I could say SO much more. I think I have some very good ideas that would rob the Democrats of some of their core constituencies. In fact, all it would really take is a loosening up on the idea that there exists a “Vast Left Wing Conspiracy”. IMO, the Republican Party is on the wrong side of many issues that give Democrats so much influence, and it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, many of them wouldn’t require much in the way of change in basic ideology either.

      (Moderator Note: You sure? Looked around and don’t see any comment of yours awaiting moderation)

      • dbschmidt October 7, 2012 / 8:05 pm

        A minimalistic response for your posting. It may be “perception is toxic” plus that has been hurting the GOP (of which I am not a member); however, that is what they are apparently cutting through this year which sends additional fears throughout the Democratic members. The GOP always has been more acceptance of differing views but the perception was not there as well.

        This time around it is on the basis of ideology of, to put it simply, more government and control (which liberals either need or think they will be part of the ruling class–neither of which are true) or the Constitutional conservative beliefs in individual freedom. Make your choice.

        If you follow and understand the American history–you will recognize this as the fourth time the Progressives have tried this and it will be their fourth failure–except this time, Constitutionalists will not stop pushing back until we have reversed all the damage the Progressives have done.

      • Amazona October 7, 2012 / 9:06 pm

        Rico, the thread post is actually mine, posted for me by Spook.

        “I have asked Retired Spook to post this as a thread because as we near Election Day I think we need to consider the fact that we will not be voting for a person, but for a political system. Amazona”

        Your post indicates a rather profound misunderstanding of my thread post. For example, you say ” Apparently any “ideological conviction” that is not one’s own is nothing more than “identity politics”. ” This doesn’t even make sense.

        What I said, and what I meant, is that for one to vote for a party without understanding and agreeing with the ideology of that party is really no different than voting for a person because of his appearance or race or gender or personality. It is identity politics.

        I don’t even know how one could HAVE an ideological conviction that is not his own. That just doesn’t make sense.

        Erroneously speaking of Spook instead of me, you say “But he gives no indication as to whether those “ideological concepts” will actually work when applied to actual issues. Apparently it’s enough to sound good.”

        No, it is NOT “enough to sound good”. And there is an indication that these ideological concepts actually do work when applied actual issues. There is proof that these ideological concepts actually do work when applied actual issues, the proof being the explosion of economic prosperity and personal liberty achieved in this nation in the 19th Century and the first two decades of the 20th Century, when the ideological concepts of adherence to the Constitution, restrained size and scope and power of the federal government, fiscal responsibility, and state sovereignty defined the governance of the United States.

        You assert “He proceeded to add further conditions with which to assess loyalty within that group.” More nonsense. Nothing he said had anything to do with "loyalty" to a group, any more than pointing out blond hair being a characteristic of Swedes would be a claim that one would have to have blond hair to be "loyal" to Sweden.

        You would be expected to disagree with this thread, as you have already stoutly defended what you call the "pragmatic" approach of voting for candidates based not on their party affiliation or underlying ideology, or yours, but on how those candidates appeal to you at any given moment on any given issue. You and I have already had this discussion.

        No one is "being asked to jettison" any "vibrant dynamic" of productive interaction. How silly. No, what people are asked to acknowledge is the consequence of handing power to a political system with which one might not agree, with which one might strongly DISagree, because of a belief that it is more principled to vote for an individual irrespective of that individual's political allegiance or underlying ideology.

        Mike Rosen states, very clearly, what many people do not think about—the actual power given to a party when it holds the White House or either house of Congress. Regarding the House and Senate, it is extremely important to understand that ….the party with the most noses wins control of all committee and subcommittee chairmanships, the locus of legislative power.

        It was control of a committee that allowed the Senate to block Bush judicial nominees from up-or-down votes, even for nominees who received the highest possible ratings and the support of more than 90 Senators, effectively blocking the entire process. How many people understand how committee chairmanships,
        etc., are assigned?

        Basically, your entire effort to respond shows nothing but your failure to understand the thread post, starting with who wrote it and going on to what it means.

      • js03 October 7, 2012 / 9:32 pm

        great post

        I think that the entire system needs an overhaul. We have left the criminals in charge of thier prison for so long, that we forget what our nation is supposed to be like.

        In short, if they kill the entire lobby industry, that would go a long way to help to find the cure, but we need stricter laws regulating elected officials to insure that they dont just continue on with the same corrupt behavior when we turn our attention to something else.

      • Ricorun October 7, 2012 / 10:47 pm

        Comment to Moderator Note: My comment on the other thread has recently been accepted. Thank you (or whoever) for that.

      • Amazona October 8, 2012 / 10:17 am

        js, as prone to corruption as the current lobbying system is, I don’t think we can get rid of lobbying. From a purely pragmatic point of view, it is the only way most of us can gain access to our legislators.

        I think the problem is that the seat of power is in Washington DC and therefore that is where the lobbying takes place. It is my belief that a move back more power at the state level would mean that lobbying would follow.

        A lobbyist who has to take his client’s wishes to a state legislature is in a very different position than if he is trying to influence a US Senator or Congressman. For one thing, there is a little more scrutiny, as it is a lot harder for a state senator to slip away on a luxury golf junket paid for by a lobbyist without anyone noticing, as one example. It is far more open at the state level.

        I used to manage a very high end restaurant in Denver, and we always saw lobbyists wining and dining state legislators, and we knew all of the characters involved. There is nothing wrong with taking a legislator out to lunch to pitch a client’s perspective on a bill or an issue, but at the state level it is a lot harder to go beyond lunch in public.

        And the stakes are smaller. If you are trying to move the United States Congress in a certain direction, the results are going to be national. But if you are trying to move a state legislature in any direction, the results are going to be much more specific to that state, more localized, and vastly smaller in scope. That means less money being thrown around.

      • neocon1 October 8, 2012 / 12:47 pm

        ANNNND it WASNT “brief” but hey it IS reek-O

        I think I have some very good ideas that would rob the Democrats of some of their core constituencies.

        you EITHER agree with…… murdering babies in the womb,the homosexual agenda, rejection of God, marxism, anarchists, theft of property, through re distributive taxes, kissing muzzies arse, the re definition of marriage (see homosexual agenda) the abandonment of the constitution, smaller WAY less intrusive federal government , states rights.

        OR you DONT, there is no reason to lower standards to “**include**” anyone, you like what the party stands fore COME on over, you like the Godless, leftist plantation stay the hell away!!!

      • Ricorun October 12, 2012 / 11:16 pm

        Spook: You’re posts are so all over the map, it’s difficult to tell where you stand ideologically, but I think you’ve got the “loony” part right.

        It may be difficult for YOU to tell where I stand ideologically, but it’s not hard for ME. And I don’t think I’m a loon. Perhaps your confusion comes from the fact that my investment strategies (about which we’ve talked at length in years past) don’t necessarily follow my ideology (again, we talked about that a lot too). But the fact is, my ideology is directed at what I think SHOULD happen; my investment strategy is directed at what I think WILL happen. The two are often not the same. I hope that helps.

        In a nutshell, my “ideology” is this: whatever works. I’ve said that many times on this blog and given many examples on all sorts of issues. I have also said many times that having a personal ideology only explains how you approach a problem. Likewise, as I’ve tried to explain many times that one can still be a pragmatist with a coherent set of beliefs, and still not be an ideologist. In fact, I have argued that it is a better way to be. I have said this many times before as well: someone who is a pragmatist first and foremost changes their beliefs when facts and logic don’t fit those beliefs, whereas someone who is an ideologist first and foremost tries to change the facts and logic when they don’t fit their beliefs. The latter is something I simply cannot accept. I will never be an ideologist first and foremost.

        I could go on forever providing examples of stringent ideologies favoring both the “Left” and the “Right” (capital letters in each case, I suppose) don’t make any factual or logical sense. And if I don’t provide a something approaching a complete list, with all the nuance required, I realize I open myself up to criticism — even further attempts at describing me as “loony”. But let me point out a few:

        – On the extreme Left side there is the belief that war is wrong under any circumstances; that regulation of the economy is always a good thing; that higher tax rates are always a good thing; that a smaller military is always a good thing; that ethnically-based affirmative action programs are necessary; that support for the poor is always required no matter the circumstances… yadda, yadda, yadda.

        – On the extreme Right side there is the belief that war — even a nuclear first strike — is an appropriate first response, because diplomacy is worthless; that less regulation of the economy is always a good thing; that lower tax rates are always a good thing; that a larger military is always a good thing; that affirmative action programs are a bad idea even if they are not ethnically-based; that support for the poor should be up to private charities… yadda, yadda, yadda.

        Just so you know, I am purposely painting both ideological extremes with a broad brush. But I’m guessing this is the interesting part: The self-identified conservatives on this site think I got my description of the extreme Lefties pretty much right — but when I described the extreme Righties, they didn’t think my description didn’t come particularly close to describing their own personal beliefs. Likewise, I’m guessing the self-identified liberals on this site think I got my description of the extreme Righties pretty much right — but when I described the extreme Lefties, my description didn’t come particularly close to describing their own personal beliefs. Am I right?

        To the extent that I am right the only possible conclusion is that individuals respect their own personal “point of view” despite the ideology the party they are partial to is trying to impose on them. But at the same time they magnify the personal differences between themselves and someone partial to the other party. And I cannot accept that, either.

      • Amazona October 12, 2012 / 11:45 pm

        “I have said this many times before as well: someone who is a pragmatist first and foremost changes their beliefs when facts and logic don’t fit those beliefs, whereas someone who is an ideologist first and foremost tries to change the facts and logic when they don’t fit their beliefs.”

        Nonsense. This is just an effort to rationalize the inability to commit to an objective concept of how best to run the country.

        Oh, you can make this argument if you first get to define “ideology”. But here on this blog the word has been repeatedly defined, in political terms, as the belief in the best way to govern the country. It’s not as if one can believe in following the Constitution (a political ideology) and then decides to “change the facts and logic when this does not fit (his) beliefs”. That doesn’t even make sense.

        As far as I can tell, your “coherent belief”, such as it is, is that running the country according to its rule of law is OK, as long as you agree that it “works”, but then veering to the opposite end of the political spectrum is also OK if then you decide that for some reason, or for some purpose, that also “works”. You seem to be saying that there should be no consistent rule of law, such as the Constitution, because gee, if someone decides that it isn’t “working” for some reason then it is fine to just adopt some other political system.

        And you call this slapdash excuse for constantly changing law “pragmatic”.

        Of course if you choose to define “ideology” and you then apply your definition to something other than political ideology, you can make up any scenario you like. But core, basic, political ideology is about how best to govern a nation.

      • M. Noonan October 13, 2012 / 1:30 am

        Ricorun,

        Whatever works? All that does is allow other people to define your ideology for you. Its also a sure-fire way to eventually get it completely wrong because “whatever works” will always tend towards “easy way out”, which is almost invariably the wrong thing to do.

        The first duty of anyone who wishes to engage in any debate – economic, political, theological, what have you – is to define the terms. Meaning: What is it you want? What is it you will die in the last ditch to defend? And no good just saying something like “freedom” unless you are willing to clearly and concisely define “freedom” as you understand it. Only by offering your interlocutor such a definition can a debate happen – I must know if you agree or disagree with my definition. If we agree, then no need to debate. If we disagree, then we can have at it. But if I don’t know, precisely, where you stand then I dare not debate you – in fact, my only rational action is to take a prejudicial stance towards anything you say or do because I won’t be able to tell if you are just saying something because it is “whatever works” at the moment for you.

        Give us your dogmas and we’ll give you ours and we’ll have a debate – but there is no point coming to a debating site and saying “I believe ‘whatever works’ and that you’re wrong”.

      • Ricorun October 15, 2012 / 12:36 am

        Okay, let me try this again — I hope this post appears, and appears in the right place…

        Mark: Whatever works? All that does is allow other people to define your ideology for you. Its also a sure-fire way to eventually get it completely wrong because “whatever works” will always tend towards “easy way out”, which is almost invariably the wrong thing to do.

        For starters, I reject the notion that doing what works “will always tend towards the easy way out.” Rather, it’s more obvious that “easy ways out” tend NOT to work. What I’m really saying is that when forming policy, one should be guided by data and logic more than just belief. When data and logic are consistent with beliefs, great. But when they are inconsistent, then it is more appropriate to change your beliefs to fit the data and logic than to try to change the data and logic to fit your beliefs. That’s easier said than done, of course, because in many instances the data are incomplete. But let me give you an example which you might think is extreme or you might not (certainly some people here don’t): I am opposed to teaching Intelligent Design in a science classroom. The simple reason is that ID is a poor scientific theory. Its most obvious failing is that it’s not testable, and scientific theories are required to be testable. All ID postulates is that every once in a while God comes down and adjusts something. Where do you go from there? ID doesn’t predict anything about why, or when, or where such adjustments will occur in the future. It doesn’t even postulate anything about what the intelligent force is. Of course we’re supposed to assume the intelligent force is God, but according to ID theory it could just as easily be some sort of alien like the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And yet for some folks, ID theory is so important to their ideology that they will go so far as to suggest that there is a conspiracy afoot to keep God out of the science classroom, or even that the very definition of scientific theory needs to be changed to fit their beliefs. For whatever reason they just can’t bring themselves to believe that ID is simply a crappy theory. And that, I would say, is a very good example of an instance where one’s ideology is so strong that it prevents a person from accepting the facts and logic, and thus compels them to try to change the facts and logic rather than adjusting their beliefs.

        I am, in fact, willing to postulate that whenever a person sees some sort of grand conspiracy afoot, what they are in fact likely to be experiencing is a dissonance between their ideology on the one hand and very compelling facts and logic on the other. There are people out there who still believe that we didn’t land on the moon in 1969, but rather that it was an elaborate hoax to spend money on missile technology or whatever; that Bush was behind an elaborate plan to fly planes into the WTC and the Pentagon on 9/11 just to have an excuse to invade Afghanistan and Iraq; and perhaps the biggest (and certainly the most current) conspiracy theory of all, that anthropogenic global warming is an extraordinarily massive, elaborate, incredibly well-organized hoax designed to destroy the global economy in order to establish world domination of some sort. For the record, I reject them all because the real facts and logic don’t point there.

        With respect to the last (i.e., global warming), and as I’ve said many times, I also believe that it’s basically an energy issue, and the energy issue is huge; I further believe that the time is ripe for a transformative approach to it, and that the US has an opportunity RIGHT NOW to gain world dominance in that sector — just like we did in the computer/communications/information technology sector in years past, not to mention many, many other examples over the years, starting with the trans-continental railroad. You, Mark, asked a while back something to the effect of, “Where is our Hoover Dam?” To me, the next “Hoover Dam” is staring us in the face! For that reason I am definitely not in favor of the US government pulling the plug on “seed money” to emerging industries, because if those seeds are planted well they act as significant leverage for private investment in that sector.

        Given that, it might sound strange that I’m voting for Romney because of his rhetoric on the campaign trail. But I’m doing so precisely because I don’t believe his campaign rhetoric. Rather, I believe he understands the economic fundamentals far better than Obama. I also believe that once in office, presidents jettison the more extreme ideological elements dictated to them by the base of their party, and realize they represent ALL the American people. I suspect that people on the extreme right prefer to believe that Romney’s tenure as MA governor was an outlier, that he experienced some sort of epiphany in between then and running for president — even though nothing of any consequence interceded. I also suspect that people on the extreme left prefer to believe that Romney’s tenure as MA governor was an outlier, that his true colors were shown on the presidential campaign trail. Either way, the evidence suggests that he has shown the chops to get things done — and in a very pragmatic way, despite the blowing of the ideological winds.

        Okay, so back to the subject, i.e., “the New Hoover Dam is staring us in the face”… Given Romney’s track record over the years, I believe he understands economic leverage in a more nuanced way than Obama — and certainly in a more nuanced way than anyone here on this site, where a rather simple form of ideology reigns supreme. Said in another way, I’m pretty sure Romney understands that most of the other developed nations of the world are engaging in policies designed to provide leverage to their native industries. And given the fact that they are, it becomes pretty much a no-brainer to me that we should do the same. I mean come on, are we really going to cede dominance in such an important sector of the global economy to China, just because of an ideology that suggests markets should be left to themselves?? I’m sorry, but I just can’t wrap my head around that. We are no longer in a situation where individual companies which are critiCal to the success of our economy (read: companies who are too big to fail), much less whole industries (e.g., the financial industry), should be able to function without effective regulation.

    • Ricorun October 8, 2012 / 1:20 am

      Amazona: Rico, the thread post is actually mine, posted for me by Spook.

      Well, that was about as clear as mud. But thank you for the clarification. So I assume further that you were responsible for this comment as well… “I have taken a lot of abuse here on this blog for making this statement, criticism which I think reflects a basic lack of knowledge of how our political system works.”

      You’ve taken a lot of abuse on this blog? From whom? And is the “abuse” of which you speak in the form of personal, ad-hominem attacks of the nature you dispense so readily youself? Or are they just vigorous disagreements with your ideas? I see a fundamental distinction between the two. Perhaps you don’t?

      As far as a “basic lack of knowledge of how our political system works”, I think I answered that question. In fact, your comment, “It was control of a committee that allowed the Senate to block Bush judicial nominees from up-or-down votes, even for nominees who received the highest possible ratings and the support of more than 90 Senators, effectively blocking the entire process” suggests it is YOU who doesn’t understand the process. The fact is that individual Senators have extraordinary powers in that regard. As a result, Obama judicial nominees have been subjected to unprecedented delays — worse than in the Bush years — even though the Democrats control the Senate.

      Anyway, to reiterate my take-home point: to the extent that “party politics” become synonymous with a singular “ideology” (one for each party, that is), we as a nation are in big trouble. There may be only two parties, but there are myriad individual points of view — myriad “ideologies”, if you prefer that term. The real world is a big place, and it is wrought in technicolor, not black and white. Our two-party system has been able to deal with that precisely because both parties heretofore extended big tents with considerable overlap when it came to individual opinions.

      You said, “What I said, and what I meant, is that for one to vote for a party without understanding and agreeing with the ideology of that party is really no different than voting for a person because of his appearance or race or gender or personality. It is identity politics. I suggest that what you’re missing in that statement is the fact that there are many “identities” involved, all possessing different ideologies (however ill or sharply defined). Basically, the only thing they have in common with each other is that they have less in common with what Mike Rosen identified as the core constituency of the Republican Party: “an alliance of conservatives, middle- and upper-income taxpayers (but not leftist Hollywood millionaires and George Soros).” That’s identity politics too. The good news is that I think it’s a pretty easy problem to fix. But it also seems to me that the Republican Party hasn’t bothered to try very hard. I further suspect that the reason is very much what you alluded to: that if you’re not sufficiently pure of ideological heart (as defined by the party line), we don’t want you. That’s certainly the message I’M getting from you and others on this site. And if you view ME as a Loony Leftie, the Republican tent is way too small.

      • J. R. Babcock October 8, 2012 / 7:58 am

        Well, that was about as clear as mud. But thank you for the clarification.

        What part of this statement wasn’t clear, Ricorun?

        I have asked Retired Spook to post this as a thread because as we near Election Day I think we need to consider the fact that we will not be voting for a person, but for a political system. Amazona

        I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and I had no problem understanding that Retired Spook was posting this for Amazona. Neither did I have any problem understanding the gist of her argument. For most of my life I felt there wasn’t much difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party; they just moved left at different speeds. That changed in 1994, and I voted straight Republican for the first time. That Gingrich-led group quickly lost its way within a few short years, but the Tea Party movement is having a phenomenal influence at the grass roots level, and, one by one, old guard, establishment Republicans are starting to be sent into retirement. I think, at least at this particular point in history, the essence of this post is right on the money.

      • Amazona October 8, 2012 / 9:41 am

        Rico, I have commented on my perception that you are pompous and tiresome, which is not an ad hominem attack as it was directly related to comments of yours which were pompous and tiresome. It is hardly the same as calling you a big poopy-head.

        I can now comment on my perception that you are also a whiner—from your shrill insistence that a mild comment about why you have returned here, which you have been determined to view as a major attack on you as a person, on your bride, on your relationship, and your whining about having a post in moderation (hey, it’s happened to all of US without whimpering), we get a lot of waaaaaa waaaaaa from you.

        You missed the point of my post, or you purposely distorted it. Whatever.

        You just mumble along about how a single party can have many ideologies, how someone can have an ideology that is not really his, and whatever else tumbles through your consciousness. You still don’t make sense, and you are still pompous and tiresome.

        I still say that there are two basic ideologies at play in this election, one of constantly enlarging and unrestricted federal size scope and power and one which wants to return to a more Constitutional concept of governing the country. I still say that a vote for a person in one of these ideologies is a vote FOR the ideology, even if the reason for the vote is that he is your cousin or has dimples, and we need to understand that.

        The fact that you first could not understand the simple comment “I have asked Retired Spook to post this as a thread because as we near Election Day I think we need to consider the fact that we will not be voting for a person, but for a political system. Amazona” and then complained that the reason you had so much trouble with it is that it is “clear as mud”, pretty much explain your constant befuddlement and your massive ego.

      • Amazona October 8, 2012 / 9:51 am

        I think you have, however, managed to actually explain something, though inadvertently. You say: “There may be only two parties, but there are myriad individual points of view — myriad “ideologies”, if you prefer that term.”

        No, I do NOT prefer the term “ideology” to describe a mere “point of view” but the fact that you do explains at least some of your befuddlement.

        Thank you.

        I have suspected for quite some time, ever since you became so overwrought at the idea of a single core ideology defining a political party, that you had somehow come to think of ideology as an opinion, an issue, a “point of view”. This is a tremendously shallow and superficial understanding of the term, and therefore quite consistent with your efforts to post on the subject.

        So I suggest that you continue to be “pragmatic” and vote willy-nilly for whichever “point of view” catches your attention at any given time, and continue overlooking the fact that one who has an appealing “point of view” on something is still going to, when in office, represent his party and therefore the underlying ideology of that party.

        “I further suspect that the reason is very much what you alluded to: that if you’re not sufficiently pure of ideological heart (as defined by the party line), we don’t want you. That’s certainly the message I’M getting from you and others on this site.”

        Utter crap, but sad in a way, exhibiting as it does such a complete (though predictably ego-based) misunderstanding of pretty much everything that is said here by any conservative. Maybe you ought to take a blog sabbatical and work on flushing out those filters that distort all incoming data.

      • Retired Spook October 8, 2012 / 9:53 am

        And if you view ME as a Loony Leftie, the Republican tent is way too small.

        You’re posts are so all over the map, it’s difficult to tell where you stand ideologically, but I think you’ve got the “loony” part right.

      • neocon1 October 8, 2012 / 12:51 pm

        reek-O

        e Republican tent is way too small.

        BS
        see above….the “tent” is open to ALL who would come, we do NOT recruit, bribe, or put OPM and carrots on a stick.
        you either AGREE with what the GOP stands for and join OR you DONT………really VERY VERY SIMPLE ….even for a blowhard

      • Amazona October 8, 2012 / 1:13 pm

        But you see, neo, rico does not think in terms of ideology. That is way too complicated and too demanding of not only comprehension but of commitment.

        The Left is about collectivism and government control. It uses issues like abortion, gay “marriage” and so on to attract the rico-types who remains steadfastly ignorant of the underlying ideology but who are easily sucked in by emotion-based issues and “points of view”. So the ideology of collectivism and government control is represented, on the surface, by the things you mention, the wallpaper and curtains of the structure with no understanding at all, or interest in, the foundation upon which it is all based.

        I knew people who passed up a discounted house (owner got transferred, had to sell fast) with a custom deck and full landscaping, because one bedroom was blue with elephant wallpaper. This is, to me, a metaphor for so many on the Left, and those waffling about in no-man’s land like rico—–so focused on an “issue” that they are oblivious to the real meaning of what they are voting for, or against, in their pursuit of or rejection of, some superficial thing that gets their attention and matters to them.

        (I said, to this couple, “The guy is a handyman, he built the deck and did the custom trim, so why didn’t you tell him you’d buy if he stripped the wallpaper and painted the room beige? He would have had it done by the next day, because he wanted to sell the house.” The concept was baffling. Their whole focus was that they didn’t want to live in house with a child’s room painted blue, with cartoon elephants on the wall, and that was all they considered.)

        I see this kind of tunnel vision all the time, mostly in those who vote on the Left, because they have the same kind of tunnel vision when it comes to how they vote, and they do not connect their issues to the underlying ideology.

        For example, a woman might vote Dem because she thinks abortion should be available to anyone who wants it, and this is not linked in her mind in any way to the ideology of the party offering it as an inducement. But chances are, someone voting GOP will be able to explain, though maybe not with great articulation, that he is doing so because he thinks high taxes harm the economy, or he believes in a small and restricted federal government.

        So don’t bother rico with a list of what he is voting for when he so pragmatically votes for a Dem here and a Republican there because of the individual’s stated position on specific issues. It is way too complicated. Your comment “….you either AGREE with what the GOP stands for and join OR you DONT…..” is meaningless to him because he doesn’t base his vote on what either party stands for.

    • Ricorun October 14, 2012 / 7:15 pm

      Mark: Whatever works? All that does is allow other people to define your ideology for you. Its also a sure-fire way to eventually get it completely wrong because “whatever works” will always tend towards “easy way out”, which is almost invariably the wrong thing to do.

      For starters, I reject the notion that doing what works “will always tend towards the easy way out.” Rather, it’s more obvious that “easy ways out” tend NOT to work. What I’m really saying is that when forming policy, one should be guided by data and logic more than just belief. When data and logic are consistent with beliefs, great. But when they are inconsistent, then it is more appropriate to change your beliefs to fit the data and logic than to try to change the data and logic to fit your beliefs. That’s really what I’m saying.

      Perhaps I shoud leave it there for now (and see what happens in the “moderator” world.

      • Ricorun October 14, 2012 / 7:29 pm

        The Moderators have spoken. Maybe it was my mistake, maybe it wasn’t. At any rate, my above comment was intended as a reply to Mark’s October 13, 2012 at 1:30 am comment, which he made in response to my October 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm comment.

        Should I go on?

      • M. Noonan October 14, 2012 / 10:16 pm

        No, no, no! First discern what is right and then say, “what needs to happen to obtain ‘right'”. You must first define your dogma – you must first find the truth and then go towards it. If you don’t do that – if you don’t, that is, have a goal – then you will never get anywhere and will eventually get it flat wrong.

  4. GMB October 7, 2012 / 6:58 pm

    Again, I will ask the question. How big of a budget deficit can the next President have and still be considered to have a successful administration? How much money can the repubs spend over tax receipts, over the next four years and be considered successful?

    Time for talk is long gone. The repubs will getting one last chance to prove that their party does have differences from the donkrats.

    Use it, please.

    • dbschmidt October 7, 2012 / 7:15 pm

      IMHO, None. The spending has to be curtailed at least to how much money the government (at all levels) leaches off of us. That would be in the first 4 years.

    • doug October 8, 2012 / 12:08 am

      Well, Party over Individual will get us Ryan’s plan which gives us budget deficits through the next two generations. Party over Individual gets us an individual at the head of the party who believes in bigger government power – if only at the state level.

      We aren’t winning a darn thing. Our hope for a victory is that the size of government grows fast rather than darn fast. That government power is greatly increased, just at the state level.

      The idea that for the first time the GOP is taking an ideological stand is LAUGHABLE at best. The stand they are taking is the same stand all our politicians take in regards to base line budgeting. Yes, they want a smaller government….smaller than the 3 times as big a government that they project, they only want the government to double in size, the debt to double in size, rather than triple. They want the government to control your healthcare, just not at the federal level. They want to force your kids to eat salads at school and die of exhaustion in sports after limiting their calorie intake (yes, the GOP members voted for that as well).

      No, the party has moved as left as can be when it comes to the size and scope of the government and paying some lip service doesn’t fix it. As of right now the GOP and it’s nomination of the enabler of Obamacare and the so called fiscal conservative VP nominee who wants to balance the budget 3 decades from now, it’s not party time.

      • tiredoflibbs October 8, 2012 / 6:14 am

        little dougie regurgitates: “Well, Party over Individual will get us Ryan’s plan which gives us budget deficits through the next two generations.”

        As opposed to the +$1 trillion deficits we have now.

        “Party over Individual gets us an individual at the head of the party who believes in bigger government power – if only at the state level.”

        Uh, which is where it is supposed to be.

        “We aren’t winning a darn thing. Our hope for a victory is that the size of government grows fast rather than darn fast. That government power is greatly increased, just at the state level.”

        In which, the people will have an easier time controlling it at the state level – WHERE IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE!

        “The ideat that for the first time the GOP is taking an ideological stand is LAUGHABLE at best. The stand they are taking is the same stand all our politicians take in regards to base line budgeting. Yes, they want a smaller government….smaller than the 3 times as big a government that they project, they only want the government to double in size, the debt to double in size, rather than triple.”

        Uh, do you have some sources for this rather than dumbed down talking points designed to scare the pants off of the weak minded?

        “They want the government to control your healthcare, just not at the federal level.”

        Really at what level? We have the federal government controlling health care now at the federal level.

        “They want to force your kids to eat salads at school and die of exhaustion in sports after limiting their calorie intake (yes, the GOP members voted for that as well).”

        LIKE WE HAVE NOW!

        “No, the party has moved as left as can be when it comes to the size and scope of the government and paying some lip service doesn’t fix it. As of right now the GOP and it’s nomination of the enabler of Obamacare and the so called fiscal conservative VP nominee who wants to balance the budget 3 decades from now, it’s not party time.”

        The “enabler of obamacare”? Again, that is at the state level which is authorized by the Constitution. Too bad you are ignorant of this FACT and keep using that old dumbed down talking point.

        So you want to keep everything as is….. keep obAMATEUR…. keep the massive deficits expecting to raise our debt to $25 TRILLION… keep SocSec and Medicare on its bankrupting course. …keep us on the great social experiment that has failed to numerous times in the past.

        Pathetic.

      • GMB October 8, 2012 / 7:26 am

        As soon as I see that the repubs have the will to stop the to smallest of liberal programs I will believe there is a difference in the parties.

        Let the repubs prove the intent of their words with actions. Start with NPR and PBS. Two wholly liberal organizations funded with every ones tax dollars.

        Small potatoes? Yeah so? Start somewhere?

      • Amazona October 8, 2012 / 10:49 am

        ” Party over Individual gets us an individual at the head of the party who believes in bigger government power..” …if that’s what you vote for.

        If you vote for a party which has, as its core ideology, a commitment to a smaller, more severely restrained federal government, then this is what you should get. If you vote for Candidate A because he represents the party that claims to have this ideology, and then after the election both Candidate A and the party fail to honor their commitment to this ideology, you know two things:

        1. That there is a lot of support for the IDEOLOGY, because the people claiming to represent it won the election, and

        2. It is time to turn your back on them and take this ideological foundation with you in a search for people who WILL abide by it, either by reforming the party from within or by starting a new party based on this ideology.

        If you think about it, this is where we are now. The Republican Party strayed from its supposed commitment to small federal government, fiscal responsibility, and adherence to the Constitution. It became just an identity, without much of a real difference between it and the Dems.

        But the ideology of the old GOP rose up in a grass roots movement of outrage and opposition, made itself known, and proved its appeal to voters by winning so many seats in the midterm election.

        Now we are at the next stage of the process——the party has been informed that it WILL reform itself or this political power will be turned against it. All we can do now is see how effective we are at holding the GOP’s feet to the fire, keeping it in line with the ideology of the grass roots movement, and giving it a chance to reform.

        If it does not, and I can guarantee it will not do it overnight if it does at all, the ideas behind the movement will be gaining ground, gaining followers, and will turn against the established party and form a new party based upon this ideology.

        (NOT “points of view” but actual core principles.)

        It’s a messy and arduous process, made more so by the rigorously organized and focused opposition, which is not distracted from its goal.

      • dbschmidt October 8, 2012 / 10:52 am

        Doug,
        If you even understood the enumerated duties of the Federal government you could understand why I believe the vast majority of my tax dollars should be sent to my state rather than the federal government.

        GMB,
        That is one of my personal peeves–when a talking head comes on TV or radio and says something like “Well, xxx is only a couple of millions of dollars so it is too small to worry about” or some such nonsense Everything is on the table when I do my budgeting–nothing is too small.

        Don’t want to go all Yogi on all y’all so I will stop now.

      • Amazona October 8, 2012 / 10:52 am

        ” They want the government to control your healthcare, just not at the federal level.”

        No, they want each state to have the freedom to decide whether or not it wants to be involved in health care, and to what extent.

        I really don’t understand the resistance to state sovereignty. I have always thought this was the keystone of our nation, and that its erosion is responsible for much of what has gone wrong here, but I keep seeing strident opposition to the idea.

        Opposition or just not understanding it…….

    • Amazona October 8, 2012 / 10:33 am

      We did not lurch from a strictly Constitutional form of government, where every new law or idea was first subjected to the terms of the 10th Amendment before being put into practice, overnight. And it is foolish to think we can undo the damage, untangle the bad legislation, excise the unnecessary and shift the necessary to state control, that quickly either.

      For now, I will be happy with a commitment to start whittling away at the excess, to repealing the core legislation that has been the foundation of so many of our problems (such as the CRA) and to moving steadily in the direction of shifting more power to the state level.

      Transitions are hard, and dangerous. Every program that is moved from federal to state control will involve each state deciding if it even wants that program, how it will structure that program, how it will staff that program, how it will pay for that program, all of which has to be done before any actual transfer of responsibility is attempted. Times 50, for every program. Some transitions will be easier than others. For example, every state has a Department of Agriculture, and a Department of Education, so it is easier to expand an existing agency than it is to create one. But still, this is going to be a long and difficult process, and one full of dissension over what should be done, what will be done, etc.

      I do think we can build momentum as we proceed, and that the first efforts will be the hardest and the most rancorous, with the most opposition.

  5. dbschmidt October 7, 2012 / 7:13 pm

    Even though this country is founded on a two-party system–the actual ideology of each of the parties has always been in flux. The Democrats have been overtaken by the Progressives while the GOP has been reined in by the Constitutional Conservative movement. I still take my time and vote the person rather than the party when I can but this has been a long time coming.

    /onto soapbox
    This is why I constantly push to remove every revision any Progressive has entered onto the political battlefield including a need to repeal the 17th amendment. For you that have no idea–from the only true source of information (other than HuffPo) for the left–Wikipedia

    The Seventeenth Amendment (Amendment XVII) to the United States Constitution established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote. The amendment supersedes Article I, § 3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures.

    This was passed and pushed by Progressives to eliminate the need for Senators to restrict their view to only their State’s interests. Also explains why Sen. Reid gets over 90% of his campaign money from out of State “donations.” Add in the Unions from casinos and his war chest is nearly insurmountable.

    Repealing just this amendment will significantly cut the lobbing power and corrupt money in Washington DC.

    /off soapbox

    There is much to due but it will take at least the 120 years it took to lose the country to these folks to gain it all back and their are many facets that need reform but I will fight until I am put into the ground to give to my brother’s children an America I could be proud of (like Queen Mooch) once again.

    Then again on our local news they had several people who voted for Obama last go around and one said he was choosing the republican candidate because (paraphrasing) “We gave Obama a chance and he screwed up” whereas the Obama once again voters claimed things (not paraphrasing) “Higher moral order and h”human needs” which means what? Maybe Casper could answer because one was a liberal puke teacher here in NC.

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