Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn will seek to offset federal aid to victims of a massive tornado that blasted through Oklahoma City suburbs on Monday with cuts elsewhere in the budget.> more ... (0 comments)
Interesting (and not at all unexpected) finding to come out of a study probing the correlation between political predisposition and openness to energy efficiency:
All participants were asked a bit about their demographic information and their political leanings. Then, one set was asked a series of questions about energy efficiency, which gauged how much the participants valued things like energy independence, limiting carbon emissions, or simply saving money on energy.
In the initial analysis, each of these factors appeared to be a negative for the conservatives, which didn’t make a lot of sense—who actually devalues saving money on energy? But the lack of enthusiasm for curbing carbon emissions among the conservatives was rather dramatic, so the authors separated that out. When it was controlled for, it turns out that the conservatives in the study actually valued energy independence and saving money more than the more liberal study participants. It’s just that they disliked the thought of avoiding carbon emissions so much that it overwhelmed these tendencies.
Anything to fuck those dirty hippies. (via)
Our characters are Liberal Man and Conservative Man, who are chatting in a room about marriage rights.
Conservative Man: Allowing gays and lesbians to marry will destroy the institution of marriage!
Liberal Man: No it won’t.
Conservative Man: It’ll destroy traditional marriage and the nuclear family!
Liberal Man: Yeah, that’s never happened. And if it was going to happen, we’d have seen signs of it by now in all the places it’s legal.
Conservative Man: Come on, it goes against God’s wishes!
Liberal Man: Irrelevant, and debatable besides. American laws aren’t based on Biblical law. Adultery is perfectly legal, for example. So is capitalism.
Conservative Man: If we do this, then my church will be forced to marry gays, and that’ll put us out of favor with the Lord!
Liberal Man: See, that’s just craziness altogether. Literally nobody wants that, and the Constitution wouldn’t permit it beside. You know what your problem is?
Conservative Man: What?
Liberal Man: You see marriage as just one homogeneous thing.
Conservative Man: DAMN RIGHT I DO.
Liberal Man: Oh, get a dictionary already. You think it’s just one thing: The Institution of Marriage. ‘Cept it’s not. All we care about in this conversation is the civil, legal side. The religious side is not really relevant to this debate. You know what, let me get some help here to explain it to you. Hold on a second. [opens door, brings in someone else]
Conservative Man: Who are you?
Stranger: Hey! Look, it’s me from ten years ago! You didn’t tell me about…
Conservative Man: What’s going on?
Liberal Man: Could you explain about marriage?
Older Version of Conservative Man: Yeah, I’m the future you, and I’m saying don’t sweat it. Look, we lost that battle, but it didn’t matter. Nobody forced our church to do anything. The state started issuing marriage licenses to gay people and we just decided to ignore them. No biggie.
Conservative Man: But how can you just change the defintion-
Older Version of Conservative Man: I’ll just stop you there. The definition of marriage is complicated. Like our friend says, you have the civil, you have the religious, and these two have a lot of tensions between them. But the civil side is just bureaucracy, just for the law and all that.
Conservative Man: Just bean-counting.
Older Version of Conservative Man: Right. You can still keep the religious definition as it always was. Which is what really matters to us, right? What do we care what some bean-counters get to fill their charts a little differently? As if we care about them anyway! [laughs]
Conservative Man: I’ll have to think about this. [leaves]
Liberal Man: Well said, though you left out the part about how your church started performing same-sex marriages two years after it became legal. And how you supported it as deacon.
Older Version of Conservative Man: One step at a time.
Interesting post from New York here, that looks at how the coverage of debt issues has shifted over the past few months, toward being actually somewhat evenhanded on debt issues. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased they’ve gotten around to this. Of course, there’s no good reason why they shouldn’t have back in 2010, and doing so could have made life easier for everyone.
Incidentally, it’s interesting to see this shift occurring at about the same time that pretty much everyone has given up on the Obama Administration’s ability to operate on budgets. I actually see this as a positive sign, a very positive sign in fact. It means that liberalism is indeed capable of overcoming the hero worship seemingly inherent in presidential rule, and instead taking a realistic appraisal in the Administration. Republicans would have been much better off if, in 2005, they’d just admitted that Dubya had zero ability to manage U.S. foreign policy. But they couldn’t, since too much of their party’s identity was tied up in the heroic heroism of George W. Bush to see what a morass Iraq and Afghanistan have become. It was all they talked about in ’04, after all. Democrats have less invested in Obama as an economic miracle worker, I suppose. But much of Bush’s coalition was perfectly happy to excuse the disasters on his watch because he was taking aggressive action against the horrific affront to humanity that is Islamofascism*–they were happy with the basic thrust and didn’t need to hear about all those small details–while Obama’s miscalculations mostly involve a complete inability to understand his opposition and make sound decisions on that basis. He never learns and he never gets better. The basic flaw here, again and again, is the thing in Obama that makes him assume that his opponents approach problems from the same basic way of thinking (if not the same assumptions) as he does, and if he just takes care of the substantive issues they have, then a big deal ought to happen. They don’t have that philosophy, and to the extent that Obama gives in on their substantive demands, they’ll just demand more outrageous ones. Virtually everyone from the center leftward gets this except for Barack Obama, and I have little confidence he’ll learn it anytime soon.
* How did this not become a meme? Just toss fascism onto whatever thing you don’t like. Still, this does make for an interesting parallel. Bush’s disasters were supported by his base because they liked the aggressiveness directed at a target they hated. Obama’s critics frequently wish for a more assertive, tough, practical governing philosophy. I don’t really think toughness and aggressiveness alone would accomplish more of his objectives, though the lack of it has dampened enthusiasm among his base for sure.
MotherJones quotes Frank Luntz — a man I trust implicitly and without let — as saying the right’s famously loud mouths onna radio-machine are making things worse [for the GOP] (via).
See, since this sentiment’s patently, excruciatingly the case, I’d be, well, not “impressed”…let’s say “slightly less inclined to mock it” — if the above linked MotherJones article had not first quoted a chunk o’ LuntzSpeak thusly:
It’s not what you say that matters. It’s what people hear.
That’s Frank in a luntzshell, ladies and gentlemen, right there. Or, as Joseph Palermo put it a year ago on HuffPo:
This advertising technician [Luntz] has proved that George Orwell was correct in his prediction that political language would be manipulated by the most powerful elements of society to entrench their power. Like Norquist, Luntz has become a power among the organized Right because his amoral, unethical, manipulative, dishonest, and downright greasy wordsmithing for the 1 percent works wonders and has already polluted our public discourse. With no real watchdog in the press exposing his lies and misinformation Luntz has been free to employ his techniques with great effect for his right-wing clients.
Fortunately for lovers of trooth and defenders of Civilization™, it ain’t just what people hear, it’s what they *want* to hear, and more accurately, what they’ll shell out their hard-earned Bitcoins to hear. The fetid fond of what remains of the GOP loves them some repugnant shit, and, if the free market has taught us anything, wherein lies a buncha suckers with fat wallets and hate in their hearts, earners gonna earn off ‘em, amirite?
In short, if Luntz is really concerned about messaging, he better hope tha dregz start wanting to hear something else — or else that they start maxing out their Diner’s Club cards. Or possibly that Ammurricans get over their love affair with pizza-pie, so sales go down the pooper.
I mean, soda futures are tanking, so who knows?
Article title a quote by Aakash Abbi, in Secret Tape: Top GOP Consultant Luntz Calls Limbaugh “Problematic” by David Corn on MotherJones. For other, more cogent, takes on the Right’s perverse political incentives, see pretty much the whole last couple of year’s worth of Jonathan Bernstein. It’s a theme that comes up repeatedly, the why for the life of me I can’t figure out.
NSFW, play me out:
Yglesias makes a sharp point here:
One possible explanation for [Bush's failures] would be that he’s dumb. Or alternatively that he’s incredibly lazy. The president of the United States has a tough job, after all, and it’s totally possible to imagine a person with roughly correct ideas to nonetheless screw it up through incompetence and blundering. But if conservatives want us to believe that the United States blundered through a major terrorist attack, two major failed military adventures, dismal economic performance, and then finally an epic economic collpase all while under the watch of a very bright and attentive leader then it seems like a much deeper failure of the movement.
Intelligence and ideology were major causes of Bush’s disastrous reign, though there were many others.
I actually think it’s possible to make the scope argument here: that the presidency has grown so ridiculously large and unwieldy that it’s impossible not to find several areas to specialize in and pay only cursory attention to the rest. I definitely think you see this with the Obama Administration, where some areas of public policy are just completely delegated because there’s too much to do. Problem with that is much of that growth has been due to shifts in the scope of foreign policy since WWII, and Bush was absolutely horrible at managing foreign policy. Apart from the wars that sapped any post-9/11 goodwill in the Arab world, Bush managed to tank relations with Russia and much of Europe (with the exclusion, of course, of Poland), allowed Hamas to gain official power in Gaza, and so on. Bush had little foreign policy preparation before entering office–substantially less even than Barack Obama, with those couple years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee–and while he seemingly spent more than the appropriate amount of time on that subject for a president, to the detriment of domestic policy. What with the floods and bridge collapses and all that.
I think the other factor, aside from intelligence and ideology, that led to Bush’s disastrous tenure was character. Bush was no judge of it in others, and his flaws were so apparent that it made it easy for tougher, cannier men in the White House to handle him and turn him to their views. I’ve written in the past that you can make the argument that Bush grew a little bit during his time in office, and that he eventually learned his lesson and stopped letting Rove and Cheney and Rumsfeld jerk him around so much. But ultimately, a president who hadn’t been born to George and Barbara Bush would never have been able to rise to the top without finding ways to keep those flaws in check. Dubya basically went from nothing to a weak governor job to president, and never had to confront his own failures and make changes. There’s no real substitute for it in growing personally and careerwise. This is, perhaps, why the Bush years were so frustrating, because the guy had never really had to grow up.
This, from the typically sharp Dave Weigel about a New Hampshire Senate poll showing Scott Brown down double-digits against the incumbent senator, doesn’t make much sense:
That’s… really not a horrible first test. In Massachusetts, where Brown’s actually from, he got 46 percent of the vote in a 2012 Senate race. Brown scores better than some actual New Hampshire politicians, including two former members of the state’s congressional delegation. (New Hampshire only has two House seats, so serving in that body means representing half the state.) [...]
[H]e could certainly run as a generic Republican moderate who’d undo as much of the Obama record as he could. Why shouldn’t he?
Obviously, nobody can stop him from doing so, but there’s no reason to think that it would be anything other than a self-indulgent waste of time. Comparing Scott Brown to a few obscure officials and former officeholders is a strange test. Brown is a national political celebrity. His win in the 2010 special election was a major national news story. And he just ran an extraordinarily expensive campaign in the same media market as much of the state he now wants to represent. Comparing him to a one-term former Rep. who won in the 2010 election and yet another of the endless Sununu clan doesn’t quite fit in either case. In any event, while Brown would not lose by 11 points to Jeanne Shaheen finally, due to partisans inevitably returning to the fold for the general election, she’s already over 50% against him. Really, a better metaphor would be if in 2010 John McCain had ditched Arizona and run for Senate in Nevada instead to avoid a primary, or if Bob Dole had tried his luck in Oklahoma after losing the presidency in 1996 (I rather wish he had, but that’s another thing altogether). It would have appeared as though someone couldn’t live without having a Senate office and staffers and Meet The Press gigs, which would have been undoubtedly been true in every one of these cases. With Brown, the story seems clear enough. He declined a winnable but difficult bid for John Kerry’s seat and figured he could keep up his profile by throwing out some hints about running for governor and taking a Fox News gig. That would keep up the buzz! Within weeks, he became completely forgotten as Republicans found new handsome macho men with shoulders you could land a plane on. How can Scott Brown compete with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz? So suddenly, Scott Brown desperately tries to find some way back into elected office, and comes off like Norma Desmond, with New Hampshire as Bill Holden, and the 2014 Senate race as the unfinished treatment of Salome. Being as I am, ahem, not much of a fan of Brown’s, I’m torn between wanting him to just go away (I’m fine with him just doing segments on FNC, cause I’ll never hear from him again that way), or go through another humiliating defeat. Okay, I choose the second one. Fuck that chump for ruining the most productive Congress in fifty years.
- Library Grape: Let Them Eat Cat Food: Santorum Calls For Americans To Suffer More
- vegasjessie: Dangerous Fundamentalism: The Taliban and the American Tealiban
- Political Analytical – Insight and Analysis on Politics and Reason: Mike’s Blog Round Up
- Library Grape: What the Crippity-Crap?
- I Want My Mommy!: /* */ /* */ Francis Sedgemore – journalist and science writerCrooked Timber — Out of...
- Why Death Penalty Opponents Are Winning
- Gay Marriage In NY Tonight?
- The Death of the Blue Dogs, Ctd.
- Fact Of The Day
- Lyin' Joe Lieberman Faces a Big Uphill Battle to Re-Election in 2012
- Fun Friday: The Strangest Beach Boys Cover Ever
- DSK DNA Match
- Who Knows What The Future Will Bring
- 50 Most Loathsome People in America
- I Am Writing This Inflammatory And Misleading Headline To Whore For Sweet, Precious LINKS!
- May 2013 (30)
- April 2013 (36)
- March 2013 (56)
- February 2013 (42)
- January 2013 (71)
- December 2012 (67)
- November 2012 (40)
- October 2012 (44)
- September 2012 (35)
- August 2012 (39)
- July 2012 (36)
- June 2012 (35)
- May 2012 (42)
- April 2012 (42)
- March 2012 (64)
- February 2012 (71)
- January 2012 (67)
- December 2011 (57)
- November 2011 (72)
- October 2011 (63)
- September 2011 (55)
- August 2011 (53)
- July 2011 (44)
- June 2011 (71)
- May 2011 (91)
- April 2011 (101)
- March 2011 (104)
- February 2011 (96)
- January 2011 (71)
- December 2010 (73)
- November 2010 (59)
- October 2010 (80)
- September 2010 (64)
- August 2010 (39)
- July 2010 (46)
- June 2010 (27)
- May 2010 (54)
- April 2010 (34)
- March 2010 (38)
- February 2010 (47)
- January 2010 (62)
- December 2009 (57)
- November 2009 (72)
- October 2009 (76)
- September 2009 (50)
- August 2009 (85)
- July 2009 (56)
- June 2009 (141)
- May 2009 (103)
- April 2009 (113)
- March 2009 (66)
- February 2009 (43)
- January 2009 (87)
- December 2008 (18)
Wine Labels2012 Election 2012 Elections Abortion Barack Obama Bullshit Bush Christianity Congress Conservatives Democrats Economy Fail Foreign Policy Fox News Gay Marriage Hatred Health Care Ignorance Insanity Iran Law LGBT Issues Libertarianism Lies Media Mitt Romney Music Paul Ryan Policy Polls Quotes Racism Rebuttals Recession Republicans Right Wing Sarah Palin Scandal Stupidity Teabaggers Torture Truth Video War Crimes War on Terror