Today on Blogcritics
Home » Societal Failure, Voter Despair and a Small Ray of Hope

Societal Failure, Voter Despair and a Small Ray of Hope

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

As may be clear from my recent article about Al Gore, I’m getting pretty desperate for some alternative to the Hillary Clinton juggernaut in 2008. That I’m willing to draft Gore and accept his mediocrity and ecopimping shows just how desperate I am. But recent developments have offered me another faint hope which might be closer to my heart and better for the country as a whole than a Gore presidency. Ron Paul is turning into a real candidate.

Previously, I’ve been skeptical about Paul’s candidacy for a number of reasons, from his fanatical lunatic fringe followers, to his lack of charisma and rhetorical skills, to his naive and unrealistic foreign policy, to his very un-libertarian views on religion and government. I did campaign for Paul and voted for him as a Libertarian in 1988, but since that time his performance as a Republican didn’t inspire me with confidence. I’ve been particularly bothered by his inability to write realistic and passable legislation and his ongoing wrongheaded position on issues like abortion and school prayer. It’s not enough to just vote ‘no’ on every piece of legislation, and I don’t want to see prayer in school or postings of the ten commandments. Plus, looming over it all, was the fact that I just didn’t have confidence in Paul’s ability to raise money, gather support and run a viable national campaign.

To be fair, there’s no candidate with whom i agree 100% on every issue, and no matter who I end up supporting, I’m going to have to put up with some positions I really don’t like to get good positions on other issues which I think are important. Who among us, regardless of party, isn’t in the same situation? Can you honestly say there’s a candidate who you think is utterly flawless and will do everything you want in office and nothing you don’t like?

It does get discouraging. The candidates with all the money and all the press coverage and the backing of party insiders often seem to be the absolute worst choices. The top democrats are making ridiculous promises and the top Republicans seem to have nothing new to say at all. They’ve all sold their souls to special interests, most of which I have fundamental disagreements with. I don’t want a president who’s more loyal to unions or oil companies or military contractors or Jesus or the UN than he is to the voters the taxpayers and the constitution.

Everyone is frustrated and many are ready to just give up and stick their heads in the sand. How can we have so many candidates and have them running for months more than usual, and yet have them be so generally unsatisfactory? It seems like a failure of not just the parties and the system, but of our entire society. The relatively decent candidates are languishing at 1% in the polls while the biggest liars and panderers have enormous leads in fundraising and popular support.

The key to getting media exposure and being able to present yourself to the public is having lots of money, and it seems to be very hard to get that money without selling out to special interests. Candidates end up running campaigns designed not to offend wealthy backers rather than to promote a coherent plan for the country’s future. Candidates with actual ideas and principles get ignored by the media, raise no money and end up desperately trying to score a few points in the debates before they inevitably get sent home as also-rans. It’s a terribly discouraging situation for a voter who wants to be able to pick a candidate he can live with and hope that he has some chance of winning.

As the campaign goes on and on and on, the gaps in fundraising and popular support between the top tier candidates and their minor league competitors gets larger and larger and it becomes more and more difficult for the lesser candidates to raise money and they eventually have to drop out. None have dropped out yet, but expect them to start falling like snowflakes in the winter.

In all of this depressing struggle of venality, raw ambition and inadequacy, there does seem to be a small ray of hope in the latest fundraising figures. While everyone but the very top contenders filed quarterly reports this week which showed fundraising well below expectations, Ron Paul suprised everyone by raising so much money that it puts him neck and neck with some of the big boys. While he wasn’t in the same league as Giuliani ($16 million), Clinton ($27 million) or Obama ($20 million), his $5.3 million put him ahead of most of the Republican field and was a huge increase from his previous total of only $3 million. Unlike leading candidates including Mitt Romney and John McCain, Paul’s total went up substantially from the previous quarter while their fundraising efforts seem to be losing steam. Perhaps even more significantly, Paul has spent very little of his money so far, and has no campaign debt, so he has more actual money on hand than candidates who have raised much more on paper. Perhaps most impressive was Paul’s online fundraising campaign which brought in $1 million in the last week of the quarter.

Paul’s strong showing was such a shock to the news media that they actually gave him some decent coverage, including reports on his fundraising accomplishments from http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN03273615″>Reuters, http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2007/10/02/politics/horserace/entry3319636.shtml
“>CBS News
and the generally hostile http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/03/paul-raises-more-than-5-million/”>NY Times.

Does this mean that Paul is suddenly going to come from behind and win the election? It’s certainly too early to say. But it does suggest that there’s something much more substantial going on with his campaign than just the army of kooks and enthusiasts who have been promoting him on the internet. They may even have a point when they keep saying that the media’s polls are underrepresenting Paul’s support. Some of those polls are certainly distinguished by some pretty questionable methodology.

I think this makes Paul worth considering as a candidate despite his shortcomings. He still doesn’t have Clinton-level money, and he may never have that kind of a massive warchest, but he has enough to stay in the campaign and remain in the public eye. If he somehow managed to beat out the other Republicans and then got access to party money he would have a chance. With Clinton seeming like the inevitable Democrat choice, Paul has a dark horse quality which would work well against her. The contrast would be hard for voters to miss, with Paul’s obvious integrity and clear principles set against Clinton’s ambition and endless pandering. Paul might be able to beat her when polls are showing other candidates inadequate to the job.

Paul’s principle-based politics make Republican insiders nervous, but it ultimately all comes down to beating Clinton. For that Paul may have the right combination of religious values and independent appeal to draw in votes no other Republican candidate can tap effectively, and the major candidates are not polling at all well against Clinton. There are Democrats and independents in large numbers who want to vote for Paul because he’s the most prominent candidate with an absolute opposition to the Iraq War, and he will also draw solid votes from the religious right with his stands on abortion and school prayer. It may be signficant that Las Vegas oddsmakers have lowered Paul’s odds of winning the nomination to only 6:1, remarkably good considering his ‘insurgent’ candidacy.

There’s still more than a year until the election, but as the main primary season starts heating up, I think it may be time to start taking Ron Paul seriously. What he has accomplished this far from a position so far back in the field, is truly remarkable and has earned him some legitimacy. Paul offers a ray of hope in what has become a fairly bleak campaign.

About Dave Nalle

  • http://pleasestopstampingonmyhead.blogspot.com/ Colin

    I can’t track it down now but there is a chap going round on myspace canvassing for the number of signatures (you’ll have to excuse my ignorance of American electoral law) he needs to run as an independent third candidate.

    Big Bill Clinton was interviewed in the Guardian yesterday (guardian.co.uk) talking about his probable/possible future role as a roving saviour of America’s international reputation – a job he says Hillary would like to involve others (“Republican ex-presidents” included, wouldn’t Bush Senior be an ironic appointment) in so doing.

  • moonraven

    WHY are you desperate, Dave?

    Since when are folks like you even a teeny weeny bit concerned about what happens in the world?

    I simply do not believe a word of it.

  • Franklin

    I don’t understand why anyone cares about these small sample national polls before the first primary. Kerry was polling less than 5% nationally at this time in 2003, Clinton was polling less than 5% nationally at this time in 1991 and Carter was polling less than 5% nationally in 1975. If the pre-primary national polls have consistently been meaningless in the past, why would anyone pay attention to them now?

    Even though I’m pro-choice and don’t agree with Paul on the immigration issue, I won’t argue that his positions and voting record are 100% Constitutional. It seems from reading anti-Paul comments in various places that Paul haters either don’t understand the Constitution or disagree with it. If Paul when the nomination, it will be the first time in my lifetime that there would be a major party candidate who was actually a good choice instead of just the lesser of two evils.

  • REMF

    “So, on the one hand, Paul fails an important litmus test for me, by wanting to pull out of Iraq immediately.”
    - RJ Elliott

    So Paul agrees with the vets on the “Veterans Against the Iraq War” web site. Cool.

  • Lumpy

    LOL. Veterans against the war. I saw some figures on them recently. Apparently the group includes only a tiny number of iraq war vets and almost none who served in combat. It’s basically a bunch of fat old hippy handwringers.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    And most of the folks supporting the war wouldn’t know one end of a rifle from the other. Of course, there is no need for something so crass as weapons in the upper reaches of corporate towers (so long as all the entrances and the lobby are armed to the teeth. Can’t let any riff raff in, after all.

    B-tone

  • bliffle

    “Lumpy [URL]

    LOL. Veterans against the war. I saw some figures on them recently.”

    Where?

    Could you share, please?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    It’s true…not one vote has yet been cast, so anything still goes at this point.

    Edwards/Obama vs. Huckabee/Rice?

    Gore/Obama vs. Romney/Paul?

    Obama/Franken vs. Giuliani/Dennis Miller?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I won’t argue that his positions and voting record are 100% Constitutional.

    Paul’s positions are basically constitutional, but he uses the constitution as a way of avoiding addressing certain issues. One of the best examples of this is abortion, where rather than taking a stand on the issue he says it is a states rights issue under the constitution, which is true, but is a cheap way not to have to defend his real pro-life beliefs.

    He’s also just wrong on the school prayer issue. In that instance his position is NOT constitutional in any sense.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    Dr. Joe, you misunderstand me. I’m not saying that your comment is wrong; I’m saying that it sounds scary.

    A mainstream campaign needs to create fervor, but an outsider campaign needs to appear mainstream. You can see the difficult transition in the Obama campaign. Screaming crowds aren’t enough. The campaign has to look confident and presidential. I don’t know how much time Paul has to make that transformation.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Contrary to what you say in a later comment, there are a LOT of atheist republicans, just as there are a lot of gay republicans.”

    Well, I’m an agnostic Republican. Does that count? :-/

    Paul’s position on Church v. State doesn’t bother me, and I generally support his position on abortion. But the Iraq issue is, like, kinda friggin’ huge in this election. So I don’t know if I could support Ron Paul in the primaries.

    But in the general election, as the Republican nominee, against Hillary Rodham Clinton? I’d be selling shit on eBay just to raise cash to donate to him… :-/

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “RJ, don’t hold back. Why not nominate David Duke?”

    Awww, c’mon. “Pitchfork” Pat Buchanan isn’t a Klansman. Hell, you probably agree with him on more issues than you’d like to admit: He opposed the Iraq War, he opposes military action against Iran, he’s against US militarism in general, he supports unionism, opposes “free” trade agreements, opposes deficit spending and the trade deficit, etc.

    Buchanan was calling for strong measures to combat illegal immigration like 15 years ago. And he was called a lunatic for this, especially his proposal to build a fence along the Rio Grande back when he ran for President in 1992. Now, such a proposal has been passed by the Congress, signed by the President, and is supported by the vast majority of the American people.

    So he’s got foresight, too! And he was publicly opposing the war in Iraq before the Left got organized against it.

    Say what you will, he’s been a serious political player for almost four decades now. He’s been willing to break ranks with the GOP on principle time and time again.

    And unlike Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, he’s never been in the Klan. And unlike Democrat Senator Teddy Kennedy, he’s never killed anybody. ;-)

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Edwards/Obama vs. Huckabee/Rice?

    Possible, but unlikely.

    Gore/Obama vs. Romney/Paul?

    Possible, but very unlikely.

    Obama/Franken vs. Giuliani/Dennis Miller?

    I know you’re being funny here, but this is impossible. Franken is currently running for a Senate seat that he (scarily) could win. He would never be picked for VP, and probably wouldn’t accept anyway. Dennis Miller adds absolutely nothing to a GOP ticket, so there is no way Rudy would pick him.

    A much more realistic scenario:

    Hillary-Richardson vs. Guiliani-Huckabee. Now that would be a fight to the finish between four highly capable and competent individuals…

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I hear Mondale’s numbers in the polls are surging

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Heh…

    Mondale lost 49 states in 1984, and lost a Senate race in a Blue state in 2002. Mondale should consider himself lucky that MoveOn.org hasn’t beheaded him yet.

  • Clavos

    Mondale’s still alive???

    Here’s an interesting quote from Wikipedia’s bio of Mondale. It refers to his abbreviated race (replacing the deceased Paul Wellstone 5 days before the election) against Norm Coleman, which he narrowly lost, and which marked his political death:

    “By losing in Minnesota, Mondale is one of very few politicians who have held office and subsequently lost an election in every state.”

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    RJ

    “Contrary to what you say in a later comment, there are a LOT of atheist republicans, just as there are a lot of gay republicans.”

    Somehow, I can’t see the Reps counting on the atheist/gay vote to carry them back to the White House. I don’t know what you mean by “a lot.” Demographically, there are relatively few gays or aheists anywhere in the country. There are probably a few fiscally conservative gays and/or atheists who align themselves with the Reps, but conservative positions against gays, and the influx of religious fundamentalists into the the main stream of Rep politics makes it hard to imagine that a significant percentage of either gays, atheists or even agnostics can stomach mingling with those who pretty much hate them across the board.

    B-tone

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dave,

    Maybe you can conjure a Gore/Paul or Paul/Gore ticket?

    B-tone

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    There are probably a few fiscally conservative gays and/or atheists who align themselves with the Reps, but conservative positions against gays, and the influx of religious fundamentalists into the the main stream of Rep politics makes it hard to imagine that a significant percentage of either gays, atheists or even agnostics can stomach mingling with those who pretty much hate them across the board.

    It’s all a matter of priorities. If you consider things like a strong defense and cutting taxes and protecting US sovereignty to be more important than gay rights or religious issues then the GOP may be attractive despite not being perfect.

    The Log Cabin Republicans are one of the largest issue groups in the GOP, second only to anti-tax and pro-life groups. I don’t have exact membership figures for them, but they do have chapters in almost every state and their membership certainly numbers in the thousands.

    As for atheists and agnostics, very few Republican leaders actually endorse policies which they would object to. The pro-life position on abortion isn’t necessarily even a religious issue, it’s more an issue of when you think life begins, and plenty of atheists still think fetuses at some stage of development are alive. The other major issue would be prayer in schools and even most religious republicans don’t support that. The actual loony fundamentalist segment within the GOP is really pretty small – smaller than the Catholic segment within the Democratic Party.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Dave, they may be small in number, but they make a lot of ugly noise. Perhaps you are not including Limbaugh/Coulter/O’Reilly and their loudmouth supporters/ventriloquist-dummies on here in the ‘loony fundamentalist’ segment. But they use a lot of the same rhetoric, and get agitated (or more accurately, pretend to get agitated) about many of the same issues.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    See, Handy, there’s your basic problem in a nutshell. You trot out 3 names from the media, but the truth is that they aren’t the people who are the problem. Limbaugh, Colter and O’Reilly aren’t driven by the agenda of the religious right. They could care less about gay rights or abortion except insofar as it gets them support.

    The people whose prejudices they are merely echoing are as you point out a small but vocal minority, certainly not more numerous than gays and atheist/agnostics in the party. They’re just less willing to compromise and make deals.

    Dave

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    So Dave,

    You’re suggesting that a significant number, perhaps even a majority of gays, agnostics and atheists are in fact conservative republicans? You spend a great deal of time realing out statistics from who knows what sources. However, in this matter what you are suggesting Dave, is ludicrous. Above, I acknowledged the possibility of a relatively small # of fiscally conservative gays, atheists and agnositics, just as with African Americans and other ethnic minorities, who may well align themselves with Reps and vote accordingly.

    But, I can assure you that an overwhelming majority of all of the above factions, especially gays, agnostics and atheists are largely repulsed by much of the conservative agenda. To suggest otherwise is laughable. To characterize the Log Cabin Reps as a large or influential group is a stretch at best. They have been around since the late 1970s originally dubbed the Lincoln Club, but have had little impact on party positions, especially on the national level. They have enjoyed a bit more success on the state and local level, especially in California where they originated.

    I am a member of two national atheist organizations and they each report that only about 5% of their respective memberships identify themselves as Republicans or otherwise politically conservative.

    You also underestimate the numbers and the power of the christian fundamentalist theocratic movement which I have written about in previous posts here at BC. You casually characterize them as “kooks,” but it is those very kooks who got your man in the White House in the first place. Perhaps your attitude toward them should be a sign to them as to how much they are held in disdain by the Republican party. It is truly disingenuous. Should they break away from the party, in the event Rudy gets the nomination, Reps will play hell competing with whoever the Dems install as their candidate.

    B-tone

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Another Nalle article grasping at straws – this time at the hope that Ron Paul can do what nobody else can against the entire array of the CFR tentacles in the American government, and the banking and oil interests that fund it, to boot.

    Even if there are elections, and even if Ron Paul gets elected – two big IFS, anything he will do or attempt to do will be too little, too late. Much like King Josiah of the ancient kingdom of Judah, whose righteousness delayed the destruction of his kingdom until after he died.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Thank you, Dave, for helping me find ‘my problem in a nutshell.’ I’ve been searching all these years!

    The rightwing loudmouths may well not be sincere about the issues they pick [I've said this all along]. But whether you think they speak for the GOP or not, and whether the ‘loony fundamentalists’ accept them as spokesmen or not, a lot of the same things come out of their mouths. And it distorts the whole political discussion in this country, far more than the so-called ‘liberal’ MSM they would like people to believe they are countering.

  • Irene Wagner

    Those listing one of the armed forces as an employer gave 76% of a total $1.2 million to GOP congressional and presidential candidates in 2002, and 23% to Dems. In 2007, those listing one of the armed forces as an employer gave 59% of a total $200,000 to the GOP and 40% to Dems.

    The trend of military donations is shifting toward the Dem side, with the Republicans still maintaining an edge–but the Republican who *is* favored is Ron Paul, with $19.3K from donors who listed one of the armed forces as an employer. (Mccain got $18.5K.)

    Here a source, there a source. Everywhere a source, source.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    You’re suggesting that a significant number, perhaps even a majority of gays, agnostics and atheists are in fact conservative republicans?

    I don’t believe I said anything about majorities, but such people do in fact exist in significant numbers. Check the stats on church attendance among Republicans. Check how many in the polls support civil unions. The numbers aren’t that far from the numbers for Democrats.

    You spend a great deal of time realing out statistics from who knows what sources. However, in this matter what you are suggesting Dave, is ludicrous.

    No, your suggestion that I said a majority is ludicrous. My suggestion is merely a good common sense assessment of the facts.

    Above, I acknowledged the possibility of a relatively small # of fiscally conservative gays, atheists and agnositics, just as with African Americans and other ethnic minorities, who may well align themselves with Reps and vote accordingly.

    Then all we disagree on is what ‘relatively small’ means and whether the also relatively small number of christian extremists is inevitably going to always be more influential in the GOP than the other interest groups.

    But, I can assure you that an overwhelming majority of all of the above factions, especially gays, agnostics and atheists are largely repulsed by much of the conservative agenda.

    Baritone, you and the other leftists don’t actually get to define the ‘conservative’ much less Republican agenda for us. You also don’t get to decide whether various interest groups can’t also have common interests with Republicans. There is nothing in the core values of the GOP which should not be appealing to agnostics and blacks. As for gays and full-on atheists, me being one of the later, like anyone else picking a political allegiance we have to decide whether the negatives of the party and the people in it are better or worse than the positives. And whether you choose to believe it or not, for more of us than you’re willing to accept the balance comes down on the side of the Republican Party.

    This is not to say that it isn’t hard to be a Republican, especially if you’re gay. There’s no particular prejudice against atheists or agnostics or blacks in the GOP, but there is an anti-gay element in the party, I’ll acknowledge that. But don’t you see that if gays who really do face some challenges in the party are still attracted in enough numbers to organize nationwide and in almost all the states and number in the thousands, there must be SOMETHING that draws them?

    To suggest otherwise is laughable. To characterize the Log Cabin Reps as a large or influential group is a stretch at best. They have been around since the late 1970s originally dubbed the Lincoln Club, but have had little impact on party positions, especially on the national level. They have enjoyed a bit more success on the state and local level, especially in California where they originated.

    Then you’re terribly ill-informed. They are the public face of a much larger body of closeted Republicans who are very influential, not just in elective office, but also behind the scenes as party operatives and strategists.

    I am a member of two national atheist organizations and they each report that only about 5% of their respective memberships identify themselves as Republicans or otherwise politically conservative.

    All that proves is that atheists who are militant enough to join an atheist group don’t want to have anything to do with Christians or a party where they play a role. I bet if you polled your groups and asked them how they felt about christians you’d find them extremely antagonistic towards christians regardless of creed or sect. A lot of atheists follow the Ohare tradition of being as fanatically anti-christian as some christians are anti-gay.

    You also underestimate the numbers and the power of the christian fundamentalist theocratic movement which I have written about in previous posts here at BC. You casually characterize them as “kooks,” but it is those very kooks who got your man in the White House in the first place.

    Then they are fools and dupes as well as kooks. We’re talking about a man who won’t come within 5 miles of a pro-choice rally and who supports civil unions. He doesn’t exactly broadcast their agenda for them.

    Perhaps your attitude toward them should be a sign to them as to how much they are held in disdain by the Republican party.

    It certainly should.

    It is truly disingenuous. Should they break away from the party, in the event Rudy gets the nomination, Reps will play hell competing with whoever the Dems install as their candidate.

    Not if Rudy, backed by a party which is purged of the worst of the religious zealots, can take the party back to its basic values and draw a hell of a lot of independent and even democrat votes as a result. I can tell that this is exactly what scares you.

    One of the reasons why I sometimes think Rudy is a desirable candidate despite his shortcomings on a number of issues is that he WILL force the split in the GOP which I think is inevitable. Speeding it up wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    The problem I see here is that you’re projecting your prejudices onto the GOP. It’s not as monolithic or as suffused with evil as you seem to think it is. I have no idea where you get these ideas from. I’d like to think you were a little brighter than to fall for the cheap demonization of Republicans that gets spewed out constantly by the extreme, activist left.

    If you’re rational enough to be an atheist then you ought to be rational enough to figure out that most of the stuff you’ve been told to believe about Republicans is bullshit. But maybe you’re one of those people who takes to atheism as if it were essentially a religion and rationalism has nothing to do with it.

    Dave

  • Doug Hunter

    I vote republican and I fit into the categories in question. Groups inside the Rep party often aren’t as vocal. The left and their compatriots in the democratic party have that whole angry, protesting, outraged, revolution thing wrapped up.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    RJ, #62:

    Damn, wasn’t concentrating. I thought you said Pat Robertson. Always get those two mixed up…

    I actually quite like Buchanan, for all his sledgehammer-meet-nut approach to the immigration issue.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Constitutional question:

    Bill Clinton can’t run for president because he’s already served two terms, but can he run for vice-president?

    Could there possibly be a Clinton/Clinton ticket…?

    [Earth shakes as all conservative BC commenters fall off chairs simultaneously]

  • http://pleasestopstampingonmyhead.blogspot.com/ Colin

    Dustin Hoffman will star!

  • Nancy

    Oh dear gawd…what a thought-!

  • Nancy

    I think I’m going to write in Robin Williams. Why not? He played a perfectly viable candidate; he can’t do any worse than the current occupant of the WH. And at least he could write his own jokes.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    In answer to the possibility of a Clinton/Clinton ticket, I believe the answer is no, because then Bill would be first in line for the presidency should Hillary be unable to carry out the job owing to, oh, I don’t know, being dead or experiencing extreme hot flashes, or whatever. I don’t believe Bill can retake the oval office under any circumstance short of being the only person left alive. But, maybe not.

    B-tone

  • moonraven

    From reading this nonsense it is clear that in a REPRESENTATIVE democracy, for you folks to get the government you deserve, the next president will be: George W Bush–who will put a coup along with Dick Buttwipe Cheney to avoid elections in the name of a new demolition of the nhow two tallest buildings in NYC.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    “The left and their compatriots in the democratic party have that whole angry, protesting, outraged, revolution thing wrapped up.

    Ridiculous. What about talk radio? And there are no equivalents for Coulter/Limbaugh/O’Reilly on the left. The one that comes closest, Keith Olbermann, uses humor to slice and dice the humor-free windbag O’Reilly. But he gets a much smaller audience, even though he has a much better, more imaginative program.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Handy, you don’t think that John Stewart and Stephen Colbert have a bigger national audience than Limbaugh?

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Could there possibly be a Clinton/Clinton ticket…?”

    Maybe, maybe not. I’m thinking not.

    But they wouldn’t win anyway. The MSM would be highly critical of such a move, the GOP would raise a hundred million dollars overnight, and the activist Leftists would bolt and do the third party thing in 2008.

    No dice.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “The left and their compatriots in the democratic party have that whole angry, protesting, outraged, revolution thing wrapped up.

    Ridiculous. What about talk radio?

    Talk radio listeners don’t riot.

    And there are no equivalents for Coulter/Limbaugh/O’Reilly on the left.

    Well, they tried with Air anti-America. But no one would listen to the inane drivel, so that failed…

    The one that comes closest, Keith Olbermann, uses humor to slice and dice the humor-free windbag O’Reilly. But he gets a much smaller audience, even though he has a much better, more imaginative program.

    If it’s so much better, why does no one watch it? ;-P

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “you don’t think that John Stewart and Stephen Colbert have a bigger national audience than Limbaugh?”

    No. Not even close. Even though the MSM praises them endlessly and has made them into pseudo-folk heroes, Limbaugh has millions more listeners than those two clowns have viewers. Combined.

  • bliffle

    Ron Pauls day is gone, for the simple reason that the past 7 years of unlettered extremism by Bush have created such a hazardous situation that it will require a Big Policy to solve the problems, and Paul is a small policy guy.

    He would have been good in 2000, or even 2004.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    RJ, to your points in #88:

    No, talk radio listeners don’t riot. They yell their outrage to themselves in the cocooned safety of their cars.

    Last time I checked, Air America was still broadcasting in hundreds of markets and on satellite radio and is available on iTunes. It has new owners and appears to have put its bankruptcy troubles behind it.

    Olbermann has a smaller audience than Limbarf because he’s on cable. Talk radio is free-to-air.

  • troll

    Lord…?

    it’s me…if you can spare a moment please protect us from Big Policy

  • moonraven

    Big Policy has already reamed out your asses to the point where it would take wheelbarrels full of dollars to stuff them.

    Welcome to the BIG POlICY MAKERS that brought YOU the Reichstag Fire and 9/11: Adolf Hitler and Dick Cheney.

    I am flushing you guys into the abyss of history even as I type.

    Better luck next lifetime.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Stewart has one of the highest rated shows on cable and Limbaugh is limited to a radio audience. I find it hard to believe Stewart doesn’t reach more people. Hell, i TiVo Stewart every day and haven’t listened to Limbaugh in months.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Jon Stewart also has more wit in his pinkie fingernail than Rush Limbaugh has displayed in the entire history of his program. But I consider Stewart an entertainer more than a partisan commentator. Certainly he gets plenty of laughs, and scores genuinely effective points, at the expense of Bush. But the show satirizes other news programs, pop culture, and even the occasional Democrat too. And it consists primarily of scripted comedy sketches.

    Although Limbaugh and Coulter might wish they were comedians, they are too rarely [ever?] actually funny enough to qualify.

    And PS lotsa old folks [even older than me!] watch Bill O’Reilly and the rest of Fox, accounting for more than half their audience. Olbermann and certainly Stewart are watched by far more people under 40.

  • Clavos

    “Although Limbaugh and Coulter might wish they were comedians…”

    I don’t think Limbaugh is even trying to be funny, that’s not his schtick.

    Coulter, on the other hand, has a rapier sharp, vicious wit which I often find very funny, but if yer a lefty ya ain’t gonna like it.

    Chacun à son goût….

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dave,

    “No, your suggestion that I said a majority is ludicrous. My suggestion is merely a good common sense assessment of the facts.”

    The word “majority” does not appear in your comment. But the tenor of the relevent statements in your comment suggest you are talking about big numbers. Do you in fact imagine that gays and/or atheists/agnostics will in the forseeable future carry more weight within the republican party than the christian right? We would be living in a far different world than we now do for such a sea change to take place.

    Not sure where it was that I attempted to “define” either conservative or republican agendas. It is simply my observation that the conservative/republican agenda is not gay or atheist friendly. If I were you, I wouldn’t count on the gay/atheist vote to carry the day for the GOP next year.

    It’s a big country. People come in all stripes. It is difficult to imagine what any gay, atheist or agnostic could find on the conservative side of the fence that serves their needs. That some do, I don’t dispute. Perhaps they are just as mis-guided as the christian “kooks” you hold in such disdain.

    Do you suppose Rove and his boys sit around and chuckle at what dupes the christers were to fall for their bullshit? Seems more likely now, doesn’t it?

    “They are the public face of a much larger body of closeted Republicans who are very influential…”

    Now you’re giving us the inside poop on the “closeted” gay demographic? Where does such data exist? Have they formed a support group? Perhaps their titular head is Rep. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig. Are these “influential” in the closet reps working toward a “gay plank” in the Rep platform coming out of next year’s national convention?

    “All that proves is that atheists who are militant enough to join an atheist group don’t want to have anything to do with Christians or a party where they play a role. I bet if you polled your groups and asked them how they felt about christians you’d find them extremely antagonistic towards christians regardless of creed or sect. A lot of atheists follow the Ohare tradition of being as fanatically anti-christian as some christians are anti-gay.”

    You are audacious Dave, if nothing else. Militant atheists? Yes, both of the groups I am connected with are armed to the teeth. We have set in motion a midnight raid on the Coors family compound in Colorado wherein we intend to kill two birds with one stone. We should be able to rid ourselves of some major looney christers and at the same time get our hands on some serious brewskies. Then we intend to fan out and take out as many mega-churches as possible before the beer runs out.

    Militant atheists? Does one have to be “militant” to join a group? Should we then assume that all church members are militant? Or is that only reserveed for atheists and maybe the right wing, nut job, para-military assholes?

    We “don’t want to have anything to do with christians or a party where they play a role?” That pretty much takes us out of politics altogether, wouldn’t you say? Or are you assuming the Dems are not christians? I have a right wing fundamentalist niece who believes just that. Reps are christians, Dems are the minions of satan. Her preacher told her so. It must be true. Where do you suppose he got that idea?

    Are atheists antagonistic toward christians? I would guess so given that their faith, and our lack of it is at the crux of our differences. The fact is that while there is certainly a great deal of palpable, open hostility against gays amongst christians, on the whole gays are far more accepted within our society than are atheists. You don’t see any TV shows like “Atheist Eye for the Godly Guy” now do you? The fact is that most gays are christian or “believers” of one kind or other, many of whom fear and despise non-believers right along with religious straights.

    “Then they are fools and dupes as well as kooks. We’re talking about a man who won’t come within 5 miles of a pro-choice rally and who supports civil unions. He doesn’t exactly broadcast their agenda for them.”

    What? Is this Bush you’re talking about? That the sitting president would not attend a “pro-choice” rally or any other such gathering except for those designed with the specific purpose of electioneering and/or fund raising, is hardly news. And remember, this is a man whose father said that atheists should not be considered as citizens. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

    “Not if Rudy, backed by a party which is purged of the worst of the religious zealots, can take the party back to its basic values and draw a hell of a lot of independent and even democrat votes as a result. I can tell that this is exactly what scares you.”

    The republican party as it is currently constructed stands on three legs: 1. The fiscal conservatives. 2. The international conservatives. 3. The social/moral conservatives. Remove any one of those legs, and the whole thing falls into the dust. And I’m not talking about religious “kooks.” I am talking about the millions of voters who, in good faith (no pun intended,) jumped on the Bush/Cheney bandwagon in the belief that their concerns regarding abortion, gay marriage, prayer in school, evolution vs so called “intelligent design” among other issues would be given high priority by the Reps. While some of their expectations were met, now, if Rudy gets the nomination, they fear that their agenda will get buried for the sake of winning the election. Should they revolt, that important supportive leg will be gone. No, I am not “scared” by Rudy or any of the possible Rep standard bearers.

    “Cheap demonizing of republicans?” How dastardly of me. No such things have ever passed your lips regarding Dems or liberals, though, have they? You’ve always been a staunch believer in even handedness and fair play, right? That your spewing of venom toward lefties and Dems does not rise to the level of “cheap demonizing” is that, in your mind, its all true.

    I have come to what I accept as a very rational view of Republicans and conservatives. I have not responded simply to what I’ve “been told to believe about Republicans.” I have listened to the words, and considered the actions taken by most republicans pretty much since Tricky Dick set the tone. It’s pretty much been down hill since.

    I do not consider atheism as anything like a religion. I am in that regard pretty much a loner. I carry memberships in a couple of representative organizations primarily for information rather than active participation. You are, in this regard making more assumptions than you accuse me of.

    All sides tend to demonize the others. It’s the nature of the beast. We are required to “hate” our enemies, whether it’s the Nazis, the Commies, the opposition party, or the cross town football team our high school is playing on Friday night.

    A lot of trash is talked. A lot of charges are made. Most are probably untrue. But in the question of liberals versus conservatives, here, now in the U.S., there is a wide gap between our basic world views. We believe as we believe. In that, we tend to disrespect the other’s beliefs. Perhaps it’s in our genes. By and large conservatives see things in black and white. Liberals acknowledge the gray. I doubt that any bridges which may have been built between us in years past, that have since been brought down, can ever be rebuilt. Perhaps with time. Probably not.

    B-tone

  • REMF

    “Coulter, on the other hand, has a rapier sharp, vicious wit which I often find very funny…”

    No, sorry, Coulter is not funny. Just another loud-mouthed, phony righty.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Do you in fact imagine that gays and/or atheists/agnostics will in the forseeable future carry more weight within the republican party than the christian right? We would be living in a far different world than we now do for such a sea change to take place.

    Hardly. There are lots of moderate Republicans who are accepting of both the religious right and the gays/atheists/agnostics and anyone else who shares their core values. The key thing being that for most Republicans the core values have nothing to do with how you feel about jesus or who you have sex with. Those are secondary considerations for most and only primary issues for small factions. Most Republicans are united by a belief in limited government, fiscal responsibility and a relatively strong national defense. None of those things have anything to do with jesus or who you have sex with.

    It’s a big country. People come in all stripes. It is difficult to imagine what any gay, atheist or agnostic could find on the conservative side of the fence that serves their needs. That some do, I don’t dispute.

    But you clearly are unable to understand why so many republicans do hold these beliefs which you think are inherently incompatible with the values of the party. If they are IN the party and you are outside of it and they hold those values and you can’t understand why, then perhaps the failure is in your undersanding and not in them.

    Now you’re giving us the inside poop on the “closeted” gay demographic? Where does such data exist? Have they formed a support group? Perhaps their titular head is Rep. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig. Are these “influential” in the closet reps working toward a “gay plank” in the Rep platform coming out of next year’s national convention?

    I wish they were coming out. I wrote an article a while back about the problems created by the fact that they are closeted. But you bring up Larry Craig. He’s a good example. He’s hardly alone. Remember Mark Foley? Gov. Jim McGreevey? Congressman Michael Huffington?

    And those are just a fraction of the ones who’ve been exposed. Far more are still in the closet like Charlie Crist who’s running for Governor of Florida in 2008.

    As for gay issues in the party platform, in 1996 Bob Dole met with Log Cabin Republicans, included their (fairly limited) demands in his platform and received their endorsement. They also had a featured speaker at the convention that year.

    Militant atheists? Does one have to be “militant” to join a group?

    The only atheist groups I’ve ever been involved in have had agendas which I would term militant, such as actively working to restrict public prayer and religious indoctrination in schools – both issues I agree with them on. I’m not familiar with atheist ‘congregations’ like those in Christian churches and the only reason I’ve gotten together with other atheists is for political purposes.

    Reps are christians, Dems are the minions of satan. Her preacher told her so. It must be true. Where do you suppose he got that idea?

    From the Bible, I imagine. Like it or not, the Bible clearly does condemn homosexuality and abortion and many other things which most Democrats support.

    on the whole gays are far more accepted within our society than are atheists. You don’t see any TV shows like “Atheist Eye for the Godly Guy” now do you?

    You seem to have this backwards. Atheists/agnostics are so common place as to not be interesting. Gays get attention because they’re intriguing and unusual. No one really cares about atheists. They lack entertainment value.

    The fact is that most gays are christian or “believers” of one kind or other, many of whom fear and despise non-believers right along with religious straights.

    I’d dispute this in two ways. First, nominal Christians are barely a majority in our society, and the percentage has got to be lower among gays for all the obvious reasons, so I’d guess that less than half of all gays are actively christian. Second, most christians are not radical fundamentalists and don’t hate non-christians on principle.

    The republican party as it is currently constructed stands on three legs: 1. The fiscal conservatives. 2. The international conservatives. 3. The social/moral conservatives.

    It’s a good bit more complex than that. I’m not sure what ‘international conservatives’ are, and you’re leaving out major groups like the strong defense conservatives, the constitutionalists, the corporatists and free traders.

    Remove any one of those legs, and the whole thing falls into the dust.

    They’re not legs and the party is not a table. They’re interest groups and they go where their best interests are. Take one away and the character of the party might change, but it doesn’t mean the party goes away.

    And I’m not talking about religious “kooks.” I am talking about the millions of voters who, in good faith (no pun intended,) jumped on the Bush/Cheney bandwagon in the belief that their concerns regarding abortion, gay marriage, prayer in school, evolution vs so called “intelligent design” among other issues would be given high priority by the Reps.

    You’re talking about a tiny group of people here. They’re vocal, but they’re a numerically small group. The key thing is that they can be counted on to turn out when more moderate voters are less reliable.

    Nonetheless, the vast majority of Republican voters – many of whom are registered as independents – voted that way primarily because of other key issues that the GOP runs on like tax cuts, national defense and individual liberty, or because they were just scared of what the democrats would do if they got into power.

    While some of their expectations were met

    Very damned few of them by my count.

    now, if Rudy gets the nomination, they fear that their agenda will get buried for the sake of winning the election. Should they revolt, that important supportive leg will be gone. No, I am not “scared” by Rudy or any of the possible Rep standard bearers.

    What you don’t get here is that if the GOP stops catering to the religious right, then it gains more independent votes and a lot of crossover democrat votes. If Rudy gets nominated it hurts Hillary Clinton’s support enormously because even a lot of Democrats don’t like her. And in the end, unless they make a protest vote, those religious conservatives are going to vote for Rudy because any alternative is even worse for them.

    “Cheap demonizing of republicans?” How dastardly of me. No such things have ever passed your lips regarding Dems or liberals,

    Find one place where I have ever said anything negative about liberals. The democratic partty as it now exists has nothing to do with liberalism. Like a lot of Republicans I’m all for liberalism.

    though, have they? You’ve always been a staunch believer in even handedness and fair play, right?

    That’s what liberalism is all about.

    That your spewing of venom toward lefties and Dems does not rise to the level of “cheap demonizing” is that, in your mind, its all true.

    In the specific instances which I cite whatever I say is likely to be true, yes. Find where I’ve said that the Democratic Party or all of its members as a group are evil or where I’ve condemned them all generically.

    I have come to what I accept as a very rational view of Republicans and conservatives.

    Except that it is fundamentally NOT rational.

    I have not responded simply to what I’ve “been told to believe about Republicans.” I have listened to the words, and considered the actions taken by most republicans pretty much since Tricky Dick set the tone. It’s pretty much been down hill since.

    You have chosen to focus on the actions and beliefs of a few Republicans and extend your disdain for them to the entire party.

    But in the question of liberals versus conservatives, here, now in the U.S., there is a wide gap between our basic world views.

    Liberalism and conservatism are not opposites. Liberalism is the opposite of autocracy as much as anything and conservatism is the opposite of progressivism. The problem with the democratic party is that it believes in progressivism and autocracy.

    By and large conservatives see things in black and white. Liberals acknowledge the gray.

    I find this distinction largely meaningless. Ideologues see things in black and white regardless of their political philosophy and realists see things in shades of gray. There are plenty of folks on the right who have complex views of the world and plenty of folks on the left who see a strict good/evil dichotomy. The Democrats have just as many single issue voters as the Republicans do. Those folks on both sides are a large part of the problem.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    “As Bush has pointed out, unless a candidate is totally irrational, their position on the war is going to change the moment they get their first White House security briefing.”

    Nonsense.

    If the White House had such good info reserved for their Secret Security briefings they should reveal them to the public. No harm could result from revealing these things since The Enemy already knows them.

    No, this is the kind of argument that’s used when you have a small target audience of people who come with few intellectual resources with which to refute them. This is the kind of argument you use when you sequester a targeted person in a room without staff and bombard with indirect threats.

    In fact, if the administration really had such convincing arguments they would certainly bring them out to recruit public support.

    They don’t because of the danger of being exposed as frauds and liars, like the famous yellow-cake and mushroom cloud and WMD incidents.

    Their arguments simply won’t stand the light of day.