Today on Blogcritics
Home » The Texas GOP Leadership is a Pack of Idiots

The Texas GOP Leadership is a Pack of Idiots

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Tis the season for getting glossy, 4-color political circulars. I've gotten more than my share from all the local candidates and some special interest groups, but the one which caught my eye today came from the Texas GOP, outlining in black and white what they think are the best reasons I should vote for their candidates as a group.

Under the heading "Decide Whose Values Guide Texas" this neat, concise, and clearly presented ad lays out five 'values' issues with definitive boxes which show NO for the Democrats and YES for the Republicans. Then it wraps up with "The Choice is Clear, On Tuesday, Nov. 7th, Vote Republican." It's bold, effective, and to the point. Clearly they hired a good marketing firm to put it together. Too bad the actual content was selected by a committee of blue-haired old ladies and congenital idiots.

Here are the five issues which they think people are going to be excited to hear the GOP supports and the Democrats don't.

Parental Notification for a minor daughter's abortion. First off, plenty of Democrats support parental notification in one form or another. Second, it's an issue so complicated and morally ambiguous that taking a firm stand on it is politically untennable. Why lead off with something about which there are so many questions and so many potential pitfalls?

The Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage between a man and a woman. Presumably chosen because they want to make sure all Republicans are seen as small-minded homophobes who think a religious sacrement like marriage ought to be enshrined in state law in obvious violation of the idea of separation of church and state. President Bush and many prominent Republicans support civil unions with full legal equivalency to marriage for gay couples.

Laci Peterson's Law, which protects pregnant women from violence. First off, no law protects people from violence. This and other laws like it merely make sure violent offenders are suitably punished. Second, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act had widespread support in both parties, including from some Texas Democrats in Congress. It also passed overwhelmingly three years ago and was signed into law by the President. So exactly what are candidates from either party in this election going to have to do with it? It's active law. This horse has already left the gate.

A ban on burning the American flag. The stupidity of hanging your hat on this issue can't be overstated. It's mindless boosterism which rapes the Constitution and makes a piece of cloth more important than the rights of American citizens. Republicans ought to be first in line to oppose this silliness, and the last time it was voted on, several Texas Republican lawmakers voted against it. What's more, the latest version of the bill is authored and sponsored by Democrats, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barbara Boxer in the Senate, so suggesting Democrats oppose it is ridiculous.

Judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution. With the second and fourth issues they've already proven they don't give a rat's ass about the Constitution, so why should we take this seriously? It does sound good, but GOP appointees were responsible for the obscenity that is the Kelo decision in the Supreme Court, so my confidence in their ability to read and understand the Constitution isn't so high. The Kelo decision is still a major sore point with the public and reminding them of how GOP judges have failed them seems like a really bad idea.

So the issues they chose to highlight are pretty poor choices. Some of them they shouldn't be supporting in the first place, while others have true bipartisan support. They're not exactly staking out firm ground to run on. I guess that would be okay if the GOP didn't have anything better to campaign on. The problem is there are huge, important issues, on which Republicans have powerful and persuasive positions. Why are none of them mentioned. In particular, what happened to:

Controlling our borders and stopping illegal immigration. This is an obvious winner for the GOP. They just passed the border fence bill. Texas is a border state. Republicans have an established position of strength in opposition to illegal immigration, and all the major advocates of immigration control are Republicans. Plus, for those with a more moderate perspective on the issue, President Bush supports a guest worker program in addition to border enforcement. This ought to be a slam dunk, obvious winner. Why isn't it on the list?

Keeping taxes low for economic prosperity. Another unqualified winner. Everyone hates taxes. The economy has recovered largely as a result of GOP tax cuts. Democrats want to do away with tax cuts with an instant hit of over $2000 a year for the average tax payer and some of them are even campaigning on raising taxes. This is another unbeatable issue. It ought to be first on the list. Where is it?

Protecting America from terrorism. Despite the controversies surrounding the Iraq war, last week's Newsweek poll still shows the public still has confidence in Republicans dealing more effectively with the War on Terror than Democrats. Why not take advantage of this issue? Again, it seems like a no-brainer. Where is it in this ad?

These three issues are just the most obvious. There are plenty of other old standards and relatively uncontroversial issues they could run on. There'd be more if the Texas GOP hadn't come down on the wrong side of so many issues at the urging of Governor Rick Perry. But still, whatever happened to gun rights, school choice, and a sound energy policy? They could even take a clear position on protecting eminent domain here to counter the negative impression of the Kelo ruling.

Anyone with a bit of sense ought to be able to rewrite this flyer to make the GOP and its canididates more attractive than the Democrat alternative. Keep it to five issues, and make them Immigration, Tax Cuts, Terrorism, Property Rights, and School Choice. You'd have voters come marching to the polls enthusiastically. You'd be giving them something worth standing up and fighting for.

The flyer is lukewarm and weak and fails utterly if its mission is to inspire the base to turn out. It's even more disastrous if it's supposed to attract independents or crossover voters who are more than likely going to be repelled by the Gay Marriage and Flag Burning issues. If this is the best the GOP can do in Texas, and it's typical of their efforts nationwide, then candidates ought to be demanding more competent support from the party, and they certainly shouldn't be surprised if they lose control of Congress next week. A party this weak and directionless deserves to be hammered by the Democrats. Maybe that will make the hacks in charge wake up and figure out what the party's real values and priorities ought to be.

Powered by

About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • Lumpy

    If they really think flag burning is what gets voters motivated maybe they think repub voters are as dumb as the left keeps claiming they are.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    On reflection I almost wonder if this incredibly lame flyer really originated with the Democrats – it would be a brilliant move – but sadly the credit line at the bottom references the Texas GOP, so they just have to take the blame.

    I wonder how much donated money they wasted on this crap. Donors should ask for their money back.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Unbelievable how the GOP can shoot itself in the foot.

    If this keeps up, TX Dems should just lay low and let the Republicans lose on their own.

    DOMA and flag burning!!

    Sheesh…

  • Lumpy

    I would think a mailer like this might be okay if it was a targeted mailing. You’re not an old baptist granny from Waco are u?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Clavos, the dems aren’t doing much better since they nominated the giant personality vacuum known as Chris Bell for governor.

    But no, I’m not a granny from Waco. More of a middle aged atheist father from Austin.

    Dave

  • JustOneMan

    Dave,

    Now that you are “out of the closet” and moving to the left…how does it feel? Are you happy that you are free to be who you really are?

    An out of the closet left wing loon!

    JustOneMan

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    As usual you make absolutely no sense, JoM. But keep up the good work.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    Look on the bright side: you may be the only Texan who’s actually read that flyer.

  • BriMan

    “The Texas GOP Leadership is a Pack of Idiots”

    So what’s news about that?

    “Democrats want to do away with tax cuts with an instant hit of over $2000 a year for the average tax payer and some of them are even campaigning on raising taxes.”

    Really – says who? The RNC again? Campaign rhetoric of the RW. Always a reliable source of information regarding their opponents. When the Dems get control of Congress (that is if Diebold hasnt already insured the outcome) let me know how much your taxes go up.

    I have heard of some Dems campaigning on raising taxes but always with a qualification that the RW loves to leave off of their criticisms that is increased taxes for the very rich which is typically defined as income over $500K annually. And of course repealing the inheritance tax which only affects less than 1% of Americans anyway but is a major source of funds for the treasury (not to mention a hedge against the aristocracy that did away with the tax recently).

    BTW – my taxes went up under Bush and I make about $100K annually. Not just income tax but sales taxes (because our local gov’ts had to raise them to make up for the rape of the federal treasury), increased rent because of increased property taxes (so schools could meet their budgets since Bush didnt fund No Child’s Behind Left), and much much more money in gasoline taxes.

    The Bush tax cuts are the biggest misnomer & crock of crap I have ever heard or personally seen and people that believe they netted a gain are either rich, lucky, foolish, or not paying attention.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Really – says who? The RNC again? Campaign rhetoric of the RW. Always a reliable source of information regarding their opponents. When the Dems get control of Congress (that is if Diebold hasnt already insured the outcome) let me know how much your taxes go up.

    What I’m talking about here is writing a more effective ad flyer. Regardless of whether the democrats plan to raise taxes or not, that’s a believable argument to make based on their past performance and statements many of them are still making today.

    I have heard of some Dems campaigning on raising taxes but always with a qualification that the RW loves to leave off of their criticisms that is increased taxes for the very rich which is typically defined as income over $500K annually. And of course repealing the inheritance tax which only affects less than 1% of Americans anyway but is a major source of funds for the treasury (not to mention a hedge against the aristocracy that did away with the tax recently).

    You forget the estate tax. A lot of people in Texas who have small businesses or family farms are very concerned about what happens with it.

    BTW – my taxes went up under Bush and I make about $100K annually. Not just income tax but sales taxes (because our local gov’ts had to raise them to make up for the rape of the federal treasury), increased rent because of increased property taxes (so schools could meet their budgets since Bush didnt fund No Child’s Behind Left), and much much more money in gasoline taxes.

    No one’s federal income tax went up under Bush. Poor people were entirely removed from the tax rolls and the rest of us got at least a 2% cut. As for increases in local taxes, any unfunded mandate has that potential. It didn’t happen here in Texas, and since this is an article about TEXAS politicking, that’s what matters.

    Dave

  • BriMan

    So it doesnt matter what is true only what is believable? That is what is wrong with political dialogue in this country – that is called manipulation. That is unethical and should be illegal especially when there is written representation of what the Dems plan is.

    The Estate tax is the Inheritance tax – show me how many people qualify for this…by definition, it does not affect family farms or small businesses – that is simply a falsehood perpetuated by the people it does affect to have it done away with.

    Texas doesnt have an income tax – but many states do and had to raise their rates to make up for the shortfall in federal funding. Since I am in one of the states that do – my income taxes went up under Bush. It doesnt do jack to lower federal taxes if all it does is shift the burden which it did and which is my point.

    So Texans didnt have to pay more in gas taxes or sales taxes huh? WOW – secede while you can.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    So it doesnt matter what is true only what is believable? That is what is wrong with political dialogue in this country – that is called manipulation. That is unethical and should be illegal especially when there is written representation of what the Dems plan is.

    Briman, you have no grasp of the difference between truth and lies and fantasy and reality as demonstrated by your prior comments, so you’re hardly qualified to make judgements on this topic. As far as most rational people are concerned the fact that democrats will raise taxes is obvious. Candidates here in Texas have said it publicly, including the democrat candidate for governor. So it’s a fact, whether you like it or not, even if they haven’t actually DONE it yet.

    I’m sure you’d like to limit free spech and have campaigns run only on the versions of the facts that are approved by the central committee, but the democrats aren’t in power yet, so we’ll have to wait a little while to rewrite the constitution and get rid of that pesky 1st amendment.

    The Estate tax is the Inheritance tax – show me how many people qualify for this…by definition, it does not affect family farms or small businesses – that is simply a falsehood perpetuated by the people it does affect to have it done away with.

    Again, utter bullshit. The criteria for the tax is dollar value of real property and assets, not the nature of those assets. Relatively small farms in the Austin area are well over even the higher standards set by the current tax code. Farms are businesses which are asset rich and cash poor. The organic farmer down the road from me farms 200 acres with an assessed value of close to $5 million. It didn’t cost anything near that when they bought it, but expanding suburbs have raised property values. Their cash income is enough to cover the hefty real estate taxes, mortgage payments and feed and clothe their family. They don’t have $1.8 million lying around to pay estate tax should the farm pass to their kids in the next few years, much less what it would be if democrats had their way. So they’d either have to sell off enough of the land to developers that it wouldn’t be a profitable farm anylonger, or get a new mortgage with a huge payment or just give up farming alltogether. Since the kids have been raised as farmers and are going to agricultural schools, you’re going to be putting them in a bit of a bind, not to mention destroying their heritage. And it’s not good for the country, because pretty soon only large agrobusinesses will be able to afford to continue to operate farms at all.

    The same is true for a LOT of small businesses – not that the democrats care. There are certain businesses which are very long on assets and relatively short on cash flow. This includes things like country stores which keep huge amounts of hardware and other goods in stock and sell them very slowly. All of that inventory shows up as assets of the business. One local feed store keeps about $2 million worth of inventory on its rather large lot, which itself is worth about $1 million. Another business that ceases to exist when the owner dies.

    Texas doesnt have an income tax

    That doesn’t mean Texas doesn’t have taxes. The money comes from property taxes which are some of the highest in the nation.

    – but many states do and had to raise their rates to make up for the shortfall in federal funding. Since I am in one of the states that do – my income taxes went up under Bush. It doesnt do jack to lower federal taxes if all it does is shift the burden which it did and which is my point.

    Texas runs a tax revenue surplus fairly regularly because we’re growing faster and have a stronger economy than other states, so this isn’t an issue so much here. And keep in mind that I’ve never endorsed unfunded mandates, and I think no child left behind is just as stupid as you do.

    Plus, it’s not the tax cuts whcih raised your taxes, but the unfunded mandates. Without them the tax cuts would have been even more beneficial. Without the tax cuts the unfunded mandates would probably have been devastating.

    So Texans didnt have to pay more in gas taxes or sales taxes huh? WOW – secede while you can.

    You think that’s just a snide remark. There are plenty of people here who are serious about it.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    So Texans didnt have to pay more in gas taxes or sales taxes huh? WOW – secede while you can.

    Neither do Floridians, and we don’t have an income tax either.

    What we DO have is a budget surplus.

    Oh, and a Republican state government.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    And a growing population like Texas, because intelligent people are moving there from the industrial wastelands of the north.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    I keep telling you, Dave – just because that jackass Kennedy is for throwing open the borders doesn’t mean that Dems in general are for illegals & against immigration controls; it’s just that Kennedy gets more hype – and the Republicans play it up more – that the facts that the bulk of Dems don’t like hordes of illegals here any more than Republicans do. As for the Texas Dems letting the Republicans shoot themselves, seems to me that’s exactly what most of the Dem party HAS been doing for the past couple of years. They certainly haven’t been making good use of all the gaffes the GOP has been handing them on silver platters.

  • BriMan

    Dave –
    you are so anti-tax that you are willing to erect any strawman that rationalizes your stance. I understand the farmer’s situation you speak of because my family did quite well farming sugar cane in southern LA. We were also land-rich and money poor. And when my great-grandfather passed the land on to his kids – THERE WAS NO ESTATE TAX. No land had to be sold. The farm kept going w/o a hitch. In fact, the operation expanded. Did he have to pay other taxes while he was alive – of course. You expect me to feel bad for someone who was lucky enough to have the value of his land shoot up so much that he cant afford to farm it any longer? Wahhh. Pleasant problem. Knee-jerk reaction – blame taxes.

    The American Farm Bureau Federation acknowledged to the New York Times that it could not cite a single example of a farm having to be sold to pay estate taxes. (sorry I dont have the link – Go to the NYTimes if you have a subscription.)

    Most recently, an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office confirms that exceedingly few family farms and small businesses face the estate tax.

    The CBO report found that if the current exemption level of $2.0 million had been in place in 2000, only 123 farm estates and only 135 family-owned businesses nationwide would have owed any estate tax. The number of taxable farm estates drops to 65 nationwide at a $3.5 million exemption level, the level that takes effect in 2009. The number of taxable family-owned business estates falls to just 94 under the $3.5 million exemption.

    I recognize that the exemption levels have been raised under Bush and I have no issue with that – but I do have an issue when you are willing to spew inaccuracies about a tax that you seem to judge piecemeal on a single personally known (to you) case.

    So you would axe completely a tax that affects only several dozen (at most) of the entities that you feign concern for because you are a rabid anti-tax zealot. You will cry and scream about farms and businesses when the number affected can hardly be pluralized. Dont you have any issues that affect millions that you can whine about instead – at least I wont feel like you are concerned about all of the people in Alaska dying of falling coconuts.

    As for limiting free speech – there are laws against people who go around spreading lies against other people. Is this a limit on free speech too? Manipulating facts or in your case blatantly misunderstanding and massaging the facts to suit your rationalizations isnt illegal but I take issue when you say the truth doesnt matter if what you are saying is believable. That is an incredible statement and one I think that points to an ideological cause at the expense of truth. This has been pointed out to you so many times about so many articles you have written and you finally summed it up for us. Free speech is just another strawman you choose to construct.

    As for unfunded mandates – why do think they were unfunded? Let me tell you – TAX CUTS. So dont spew the beneficence of Bush tax cuts w/o acknowledging the large downside (or is that too close to truth and liberalism for you?)

    I dont think succession is just a snide remark – I know how serious that is taken in my ex-homeland. But glaringly – you chose not to respond to my point about peripheral taxes. The RW will get theirs somehow – they just wont call it taxes. What a relief….

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You are so anti-tax that you are willing to erect any strawman that rationalizes your stance.

    Hardly. I’ve written here in support of tax reforms which include increasing some taxes. But there are good taxes and bad taxes. Taxes which take away from individuals based solely on their wealth or income are unfair. Taxes which assess peoples actual consumption of public services and their drain on public funds are a much better idea.

    I understand the farmer’s situation you speak of because my family did quite well farming sugar cane in southern LA. We were also land-rich and money poor. And when my great-grandfather passed the land on to his kids – THERE WAS NO ESTATE TAX. No land had to be sold. The farm kept going w/o a hitch. In fact, the operation expanded.

    You seem to be supporting my point then. It worked back in those days because there wasn’t an estate tax. Would it work as well today – or more to the point, after the Democrats cut the estate tax exemption down to $500,000 as has been proposed.

    Did he have to pay other taxes while he was alive – of course. You expect me to feel bad for someone who was lucky enough to have the value of his land shoot up so much that he cant afford to farm it any longer? Wahhh. Pleasant problem. Knee-jerk reaction – blame taxes.

    Why should someone HAVE to give up a family business for money? This attitude is great for agrobusiness, but where will we be when the small farmers who are already vanishing are totally gone? I’m not just thinking about the traditions or the welfare of the family, but the diversity of our food supply. When all the small farmers are gone where will we get organic produce or unusual vegetables or hormone free beef? Is ADM going to waste time on this? Have a lovely Beefmato.

    And note that I say this despite owning stock in ADM. I can see which way the wind is blowing.

    The American Farm Bureau Federation acknowledged to the New York Times that it could not cite a single example of a farm having to be sold to pay estate taxes. (sorry I dont have the link – Go to the NYTimes if you have a subscription.)

    If you do a simple web search you can find dozens of personal stories about people who’ve faced exactly that situation – both farms and businesses. Given the track record of the NYT I doubt they tried very hard. They aren’t exactly in touch with the heartland or sympathetic to that part of our society.

    Most recently, an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office confirms that exceedingly few family farms and small businesses face the estate tax.

    If even one of them was oppressed by it then that would be too many. I admit that at the current exemption level the cases would be few, but I’d be troubled if there are any.

    The CBO report found that if the current exemption level of $2.0 million had been in place in 2000, only 123 farm estates and only 135 family-owned businesses nationwide would have owed any estate tax. The number of taxable farm estates drops to 65 nationwide at a $3.5 million exemption level, the level that takes effect in 2009. The number of taxable family-owned business estates falls to just 94 under the $3.5 million exemption.

    That’s just dandy, but that’s 94 too many for me, and did they provide figures for what happens when the ‘soak the rich’ wing of the democrat partty gets in there and knocks the exemption down to $500,000 as it was just a few years ago?

    So you would axe completely a tax that affects only several dozen (at most) of the entities that you feign concern for because you are a rabid anti-tax zealot. You will cry and scream about farms and businesses when the number affected can hardly be pluralized. Dont you have any issues that affect millions that you can whine about instead – at least I wont feel like you are concerned about all of the people in Alaska dying of falling coconuts.

    It’s a matter of principle. The destruction of an entire lifestyle and segment of our economy which has been ongoing is what bothers me. This could be the final nail in the coffin of the family farm, not to mention all sorts of small businesses. Bush has tried to prevent that – much to his credit. I think it remains a reasonable argument in a state with many small farmers in it, to raise concerns about what would happen if the democrats had free reign with the estate tax.

    As for limiting free speech – there are laws against people who go around spreading lies against other people. Is this a limit on free speech too? Manipulating facts or in your case blatantly misunderstanding and massaging the facts to suit your rationalizations isnt illegal but I take issue when you say the truth doesnt matter if what you are saying is believable. That is an incredible statement and one I think that points to an ideological cause at the expense of truth. This has been pointed out to you so many times about so many articles you have written and you finally summed it up for us. Free speech is just another strawman you choose to construct.

    You clearly don’t understand the difference between a lie and an interpretation of the truth. Everyone who is trying to present an argument for a cause is going to present THEIR side of it. That’s certainly true in a political flyer like the one this article is written about. There may be only one set of facts, but how those facts are interpreted is and will always be subjective. You seem to think that facts are absolute and that there’s only one way to interpret them. That’s not the case. They have to be taken in context, in light of other factors and there’s always room for interpretation.

    It is a perfectly reasonable argument to say that Democrats want to raise taxes. They are on record as opposing tax cuts, raised taxes the last time they were in a position to do so, and have individually and as a group endorsed the raising of taxes. Saying that they are for raising taxes as a generalization is entirely accurate.

    As for unfunded mandates – why do think they were unfunded? Let me tell you – TAX CUTS. So dont spew the beneficence of Bush tax cuts w/o acknowledging the large downside (or is that too close to truth and liberalism for you?)

    Wrong. The unfunded mandates were unfunded because no one voted funding for them. That could have happened regardless of tax cuts. It’s a matter of where the congress chose to put their spending emphasis. IMO it should be illegal to pass a federal mandate without funding it. It allows legislators to deceive the public and puts an unnecessary burden on the states. The solution to unfunded mandates is to not pass them if they aren’t going to be funded. The law and the funding for it should be part of the same piece of legislation.

    I dont think succession is just a snide remark – I know how serious that is taken in my ex-homeland. But glaringly – you chose not to respond to my point about peripheral taxes. The RW will get theirs somehow – they just wont call it taxes. What a relief….

    If the money is generated by economic growth spurring increase in revenue – as has been the case since the tax cuts – then how can anyone complain?

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Dave, your attitude towards truth sadly reflects the reality of the current Neocon/Republican party when you say the veracity of it doesn’t matter, it’s whether or not it’s believable. A lie is a lie is a lie; there is no such thing as “massaging” the truth, or “interpreting” the truth. The truth stands alone & – among honest people, that is, not politicians – is NOT subject to “interpretation”. But then that’s the crux of the whole dichotomy between us the regular people & politicians, isn’t it: to politicians, everything is relative & subject to “interpretation”. That’s why they’re amoral & corrupt, and perceived as such by the general public.

  • Clavos

    Actually, Nancy, the relativity of truth is a very liberal idea; the whole concept that nothing is absolute, of nothing being black or white but rather shades of grey, has been promulgated (and practiced) by liberals, especially those in academia, for a long time.

  • Nancy

    Clav, ol’ buddy, it’s been practiced by liberal & conservative POLITICIANS for a long time. Most of the rest of us live within certain set latitudes of moral relativism that are pretty limited by long experience that if you do thus-&-so, it’s bad for society or other people, so you don’t do it. Only politicians & Obi-Wan Kenobi practice “from a certain point of view” as a routine matter of judgement, and frankly I thought he was a skank for doing it.

  • Clavos

    Nancy, my personal set of moral values was mostly instilled in me by my atheist father, and has nothing to do with religion. However, my values are NOT relative or situational; they are absolute and not subject to modification to fit circumstances — I don’t believe in that.

    Most conservatives are not moral relativists, either; in fact relativism is anathema to conservative thinking.

    Relativism is fashionable thinking these days, especially in education. Students are taught to be non-judgemental; that everyone’s philosophy is valid — no one is “right” or “wrong”.

    To me, that’s the very definition of relativism.

    And it has spread far beyond the political arena.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Nancy, you’ve confused ‘truth’ with fact. Fact is certainly objective. It is what it is, with the exception that it may be subject to criticism of the methods by which it was determined to be fact.

    Truth, on the other hand, is largely subjective and often a matter of belief. In religion you can even have ‘revealed truth’ which is only true because God is credited with it.

    We all start with the same facts, but the significance of those facts is open to interpretation, and more than one interpretation of those same basic facts can be ‘true’ at the same time.

    After an auto accident you can say “what a tragedy for the people involved”, and that’s true. I can say “well, at least that drunk driver can’t kill anyone else” and that’s also true. The facts are the same, but the truths we derive and the perspective we have on the event are radically different.

    Or to give a political example, we now have 4.4% unemployment. I can say that this is a remarkably low number compared to other historical periods. That’s demonstrably true. You can say, that means there are almost 8 million people out of work. How horrible. Both statements are true and their perspectives are entirely contradictory.

    Actually, Nancy, the relativity of truth is a very liberal idea; the whole concept that nothing is absolute, of nothing being black or white but rather shades of grey, has been promulgated (and practiced) by liberals, especially those in academia, for a long time.

    And I accept that principle because it is both obviously ‘true’ and because I’m a liberal. Nancy is most decidedly NOT a liberal in any true sense of the word. She’s a moral absolutist who just happens not to be politically conservative.

    Dave

  • http://bonamassablog.us Joan Hunt

    In California, we regularly see proposition after proposition asking us to approve the prop we voted for in the last election. “Yes, I want the money I voted to go to schools in the last three elections to still go to the schools and not the administration. Yes, we still want all our schools retro-fitted for earthquakes and repaired to minimum health and safety standards. Poll us again in two months and we’ll still be saying the same thing.

    It never ends, does it?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    They do that here too, Joan. The voters of the City of Austin voted down commuter rail 5 times in five slightly different forms, but they kept putting it on the ballot until one of the proposals got approved, and once their foot was in the door suddenly the whole plan was on despite having been voted down repeatedly.

    Dave

  • http://pearlsbee4swine.blogspot.com Jayson Harsin

    Such trenchant criticisms of the TExas GOP. But your challenging interrogation of their platform/talking points is, as usual, curiously asserted.
    “In particular, what happened to:

    Controlling our borders and stopping illegal immigration. This is an obvious winner for the GOP. They just passed the border fence bill.”

    Wasn’t that an empty, un-funded, like so many others? No money promised? Of course, it was approved by many as a symbolic act, just like the cynical No Child Left Behind, and just as many lily-livered Democrats voted for the War in Iraq because the PR machine had swayed public opinion in its favor. Not prudent to vote against it if you fear an opponent could seize upon it and turn you into a traitor.
    How much is it estimated to be? How much is this war costing? Tax and Spend. Funding? This from a guy who doesn’t believe in income taxes? [I’ve yet to see you make a serious argument that even attempts to engage the strongest arguments of your opponents–and don’t even play the game that they have nothing to throw against your “airtight” invincible reasoning]
    (BTW, another hot button distraction from the opinion poll dives their party leader infects them with like a virus, along with flag burning, etc. etc.). There are, as usual, so many things to disagree with here, but the refusal to actually engage your readers (not to mention other major public arguments/positions on the issues you repeat on an endless loop) has shown me it’s a waste of time.

  • http://pearlsbee4swine.blogspot.com Jayson Harsin

    P.s. and you have the nerve to cite Hitler’s “Big Lie.” Big Lies indeed. Be careful not to look in the mirror.

  • Lumpy

    Jaysin, from my reading you seem to have entirely missed the point of this article. From what I read it’s not about whether GOP policies are good or bad, but about how a specific campaign advertisement could have been more effective.

    Your ‘bush is satan’ style ranting is increasingly becoming like white noise that distracts from the discussion.

  • http://www.pearlsbee4swine.blogspot.com jayson

    Lumpy,
    Nice “I’m rubber, you’re glue” strategy. Look Dave and a couple of other people who post and write on these pages constantly fully embrace this tabloid/sensationalist political culture that eschews rational-critical debate as much as possible. I’ve demonstrated why many times in these areas, as have others. You, he and your clubmates constantly use shockjock-like metaphors to frame “discussion” from “satan-style” to “idiots” “assholes,” “bullshit,” “cuckoo” etc. etc. As commenters above have said, this is a thoroughly anti-rational, anti-logical form of political engagement. (show me where I’ve ever used such deprecative metaphors to gain gain authority for and frame what I have to say. If you want this Goebbels-esque type of communication war, well be careful what you wish for. It has led to tragedy elsewhere and why should you have the hubris to assume that won’t happen here. This style of communication has led to a deeply deeply factional nation. Democracies have historically been short-lived, and though the U.S. is the oldest living democracy, it’s also noted what a young country it is. See how long it will survive if people like you continue to conduct politics through illogic and ad hominems. It’s successful in the media market because it’s attention-grabbing. But that doesn’t mean it’s good for democracy.
    As someone says above, DAve’s article embraces this kind of branding and belief production to win at any costs. Within his simple and benevolent “critique” of the GOP talking points are typically buried controversial claims, as I have pointed out above. So surprising that you wouldn’t see that.
    Jayson Harsin

  • Clavos

    Jayson, in #28 writes:

    You, he and your clubmates constantly use shockjock-like metaphors to frame “discussion” from “satan-style” to “idiots” “assholes,” “bullshit,” “cuckoo” etc. etc.

    And:

    show me where I’ve ever used such deprecative metaphors to gain gain authority for and frame what I have to say.

    And in the VERY NEXT SENTENCE writes:

    If you want this Goebbels-esque type of communication war

    Hmmmm…pot calling the kettle black??

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony G

    Clavos said:

    “If this keeps up, TX Dems should just lay low and let the Republicans lose on their own.”

    Democrats EVERYWHERE, especially Pelosi, are laying low because they are afraid someone might ask them what their going to do while in power.

  • http://www.pearlsbee4swine.blogspot.com jayson

    That is the first time I’ve made such a claim linked to a nasty metaphor–Goebbels. I am sorry for that, but if you read Goebbels, as I have, and note what he says about repetition, producing belief-as-truth, there are horrible parallels here. I dont’ make such extreme associations unless I think people are going down that road. Of course I don’t think Dave or you, Clavos, are Nazis a la Goebbels. But I find you practicing his techniques that do not respect rational argument. I’ve tried to demonstrate that several times in these spaces. It’s fine if you are not persuaded. But I have not tried to do it through these ad hominems. I use Goebbels as a sincere warning, because, to repeat, as others have said, this style of communication is dangerous.
    “[…] So a state of affairs has been reached where a good proposal honestly put forward is just as suspect as something thoroughly bad, and the result is that just as the speaker who advocates some monstrous measure has to win over the people by deceiving them, so also a man with good advice to give has to tell lies if he expects to be believed. (From Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War).”

  • BriMan

    Some facts for Dave-

    Estate Tax Facts

    What is the estate tax?

    The estate tax is levied when large accumulations of wealth are transferred from the estate of a person who has died to the estate’s beneficiaries.

    Who is affected by the estate tax?

    This year, for an estate to be subject to the tax, its value must be greater than the basic exemption of $4 million per couple. Individuals can exempt $2 million. Since 2001, the exemption level has gradually increased from $2 million per couple. The exemption level will reach $7 million per couple, or $3.5 million per person, in 2009.

    Because of the high exemption levels, only the wealthiest one half of one percent of Americans are subject to the tax today. In 2009 that number will drop even lower to approximately three-tenths of one percent (0.3 percent).

    The “effective” rate: After deductions, what tax rate do estates actually pay?

    Because of the large exemption and other deductions, the effective tax rate on estates is lower than the “statutory” or “nominal” rate. For instance, with a $3.5 million exemption per person and a top statutory rate of 45 percent, estates worth $10 million or less would on average pay an effective rate of only 12 percent. This is lower than the income tax rates on capital gains and on most wages.

    So you see Dave – the Estate tax “problem” is a tempest in a teapot. Your unflagging concern for the very rich is not only not admirable, it is suspect. And by suspect I mean your motives which I believe are purely ideological to the point that truth becomes a casualty in your hands. You say you just have a different perspective on the facts and I say you are waging class warfare on the less-than-rich (which the above points out is 99% of us.) These people are already getting a fair shake.

    Now back to those falling coconuts….

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    BriMan, it’s nice to see you hear extolling the virtues of the Bush revisions to the estate tax. I’ve got no problem with the estate tax as it is currently formulated. I’m even willing to consider that it might be too generous.

    What I’m concerned with is what would happen if the democrats get into power and reduce the estate tax back to the way it was under Bill Clinton. With that level of exemption, people who inherit no more than a family home which has increased in value because of a good location, would be forced to sell it in order to pay the estate tax on it.

    Yes, under Bush’s estate tax people are getting a more than fair shake. But the struggle between the parties is a struggle for the future of the country, and you can’t just ignore that the democrats have done in the past and say they are going to do in the future.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Dave and a couple of other people who post and write on these pages constantly fully embrace this tabloid/sensationalist political culture that eschews rational-critical debate as much as possible.

    Did you just call me a leftist in some obscure way? Reason is at the heart of everything I write. I start with facts, analyze them rationally and then apply opinion as needed.

    I’ve demonstrated why many times in these areas, as have others.

    Sorry Jayson, all I’ve seen from you are arguments from emotion and unproven assumption with nothing resembling fact or reason to back them up.

    You, he and your clubmates constantly use shockjock-like metaphors to frame “discussion” from “satan-style” to “idiots” “assholes,” “bullshit,” “cuckoo” etc. etc.

    Show me one example of my use of any of these terms or anything similar in an argument. Occasionally for effect I may use an epithet in a comment, but show me where I’m being irrational or using shock to distract from argument.

    You’re attempting to set up a straw man here, but it’s failing because it’s so obviously and ridiculously counter to the truth.

    As commenters above have said, this is a thoroughly anti-rational, anti-logical form of political engagement. (show me where I’ve ever used such deprecative metaphors to gain gain authority for and frame what I have to say. If you want this Goebbels-esque type of communication war, well be careful what you wish for. It has led to tragedy elsewhere and why should you have the hubris to assume that won’t happen here. This style of communication has led to a deeply deeply factional nation.

    The style of communication you describe has been overwhelmingly practiced by the left in this nation. It is their campaigns of disinformation and distortion which have brought us to the place we are at today.

    Democracies have historically been short-lived, and though the U.S. is the oldest living democracy,

    Switzerland and England both have democratic systems of government which are older than the US government.

    it’s also noted what a young country it is.

    As a nation the US is older than France, Germany, Italy, all the Eastern European countries and most of the third world.

    See how long it will survive if people like you continue to conduct politics through illogic and ad hominems. It’s successful in the media market because it’s attention-grabbing. But that doesn’t mean it’s good for democracy.

    What’s shocking here is that I agree with almost everything you say, but stand amazed that you would try to apply these criticisms to my work and be completely oblivious to where the problem really lies.

    As someone says above, DAve’s article embraces this kind of branding and belief production to win at any costs. Within his simple and benevolent “critique” of the GOP talking points are typically buried controversial claims, as I have pointed out above. So surprising that you wouldn’t see that.

    Did you even read the article? I criticize the flyer for picking poor issues to promote and suggest some which are more substantive and legitimate. I’m not arguing for winning at any cost, I’m arguing for making a better presentation of the good things the GOP has to offer so that they can attract votes on justifiable grounds.

    As someone earlier pointed out, you’re completely missing the thrust of this article. In a nutshell it’s asking why run on bogus and manipulative issues when there are real issues where the GOP has a positive message that they could run on instead. How can you possibly have a problem with that idea?

    Dave

  • BriMan

    Dave-
    I think it absurd that concentrating the energies of Congress on something as minor (to the vast majority of Americans) as the Estate tax is just a cynical and obvious ploy to pay back some major campaign contributors. I do not favor regressive taxation in any form.

    You keep saying how sad it is that people should be penalized for windfall wealth. Wealth is not always a good thing – I have seen it tear families apart. What can a man do with more than he can spend except strut and wonder who his real friends are?

    Aristocracy is definately not a good thing – the founding fathers sought protections against it in our founding documents. There is a strong undercurrent of anti-aristocracy in most of Jefferson’s writings even though he considered himself an aristocrat. There is a man leveling with himself. The Estate tax is purely an anti-aristocracy measure. If you were really such a believer in self-determination then you wouldnt care what happens to dad’s assets once he kicks. Let the kids make their own way right? Self-Determination – the Golden Rule of “free” markets.

    Truth is – the very rich dont have problems perpetuating their estates and they dont deserve a lionshare of our sympathy.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I think it absurd that concentrating the energies of Congress on something as minor (to the vast majority of Americans) as the Estate tax is just a cynical and obvious ploy to pay back some major campaign contributors. I do not favor regressive taxation in any form.

    I agree with you on regressive taxation, and nothing is more regressive than the estate tax was under Clinton. I think the estate tax is about right as it stands right now, and the planned increases for the rest of the decade seem excessive. What I’m concerned about is that a Democrat overreaction to the super-high exemption level will result in a return to the regressive estate tax of the 80s and 90s.

    You keep saying how sad it is that people should be penalized for windfall wealth. Wealth is not always a good thing – I have seen it tear families apart. What can a man do with more than he can spend except strut and wonder who his real friends are?

    I’m not talking about enormous wealth here, just passing on family savings and assets. That’s my concern. For huge wealth there are already ways to protect and pass on wealth, like trust funds to shield the wealth and pass it on to future generations in a controlled way.

    Aristocracy is definately not a good thing – the founding fathers sought protections against it in our founding documents. There is a strong undercurrent of anti-aristocracy in most of Jefferson’s writings even though he considered himself an aristocrat. There is a man leveling with himself. The Estate tax is purely an anti-aristocracy measure. If you were really such a believer in self-determination then you wouldnt care what happens to dad’s assets once he kicks. Let the kids make their own way right? Self-Determination – the Golden Rule of “free” markets.

    Aristocracy is bad if it’s based on heredity and carries with it special priveleges not available to the rest of the population. Without those things it’s not really aristocracy. On a purely economic basis, concentration and perpetuation of a certain amount of wealth is highly desirable. You need to have a monied class in a capitalist society to provide funding for new start up businesses and a market for the sale of financial instruments. Hell, you even need them as a source for the majority of the tax revenue the government runs on. What was that stat I quoted earlier. More than 80% of the tax revenue is gathered from the top 20% of income earners who earn less than 50% of the total income?

    Truth is – the very rich dont have problems perpetuating their estates and they dont deserve a lionshare of our sympathy.

    Absolutely. My concern is for the class of people who are in the area between the middle class and the rich. The people who have enough money to be targets for those who want to redistribute wealth, but not so much that they’re beyond vulnerability.

    Dave

  • http://www.pearlsbee4swine.blogspot.com jayson

    Dave,
    All I’ve seen from you are fake expressions of reason, i.e., poor reasoning. You are a practioner of framing pseudo-arguments in tabloidesque emotional terms (e.g. “big lie” quoting Hitler!!!). You then try to “argue” by making claims and using very weak cherry-picked evidence to support them, all the while setting up straw arguments to knock down phantom opponents. Anyone who’s carefully read my responses to your “arguments” in the recent past knows this. So,unfortunately now it’s important to stress your STYLE of “reasoning,” which as I say, is quite typical of the larger political culture,where serious engagement of the strongest arguments of the other side is avoided at all costs. Will you write here that you actually research the strongest arguments against your “anti-tax” doctrines (notice I never say “radical,” “extreme right wing,” etc etc, even though I might feel that way; such labels are excuses for argument)and that you represent them in your articles or comments before trumpeting your own views?

    Re: Oldest existing democracy Please explain your superior view to the U.S. Government, which among many others stands by this claim. A quick search shows this is repeated by many authoritative voices you cite on many other occasions. Another one in a headline from the U.S. Govt: “Celebration of World’s Oldest Democracy Offers Lessons for Côte d’Ivoire.” Hmm. There seems to be some confusion that couldn’t be a problem of interpretive nuance, could it? I’ll leave it up to your excellent research skills to clear up the matter for us. Hint, the U.S. has the same Constitution, with Amendments, of course. Other countries have scrapped old ones and thus re-new themselves as governments.

    It’s always difficult to tell whether you just don’t know the other positions that complicate the issues which you simplify, or if you do and you deliberately obfuscate and silence them. Either way, it’s not a particularly handsome trait.

    Re: Young country. Ever heard of the Treaty of Westphalia? What year was that? The problem, as it often is with your use of language and reasoning is in equivocations and not clearly stating the differences that develop out of them. Here the issue is what one means by country. You switch to nation. Clever.

    a better presentation of the good things the GOP has to offer so that they can attract votes on justifiable grounds. Yes,it was that to which I initially reacted, re: the border fence as a great missed platform item. You swept under the rug the issue of it being an unfunded, empty mandate. Why? Because who cares? It’s about winning and that would’ve been a superior strategy.

    The style of communication you describe has been overwhelmingly practiced by the left in this nation. It is their campaigns of disinformation and distortion which have brought us to the place we are at today.

    I’ve been saying all along (not that you listen) that this style of communication is rampant among all political stripes. It must be foregrounded and overcome, for the good of the country and the world. I’ve further shown how you engage in it and how you support it.

    ETc Etc Etc.
    Now, will you tell me, again, that this is not reasoning but just emotional appeals? You can, but the most astute readers here will see through your games. By the way, I supplied evidence for what I thought were your tabloidesque, shockjock, emotional frames for your claims. You simply assert: “Sorry Jayson, all I’ve seen from you are arguments from emotion and unproven assumption with nothing resembling fact or reason to back them up.”
    Jayson Harsin

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    All I’ve seen from you are fake expressions of reason, i.e., poor reasoning. You are a practioner of framing pseudo-arguments in tabloidesque emotional terms (e.g. “big lie” quoting Hitler!!!). You then try to “argue” by making claims and using very weak cherry-picked evidence to support them, all the while setting up straw arguments to knock down phantom opponents.

    Jayson, anyone who’s read my articles (which you clearly haven’t), ought to be aware of how I write and my extensive use of sources. I don’t cherry pick. I use every source I can find, focusing primarily on neutral sources. I do NOT include partisan sources from either side, and if that’s cherry picking, I guess I’ll have to live with it. I notice that whenever you try to refute my data you bring up some partisan source which is wildly spinning the data and try to tell me I’m cherry picking for not including it. In grad school they taught me to use primary sources, so I go and look for the actual data and do my own analysis of it. That seems like the only legitimate way to do this.

    As for quoting Hitler, I do think it’s useful to make an article interesting and attract readers, and if quoting Hitler grabs peoples attention, I don’t see how that’s really a problem.

    Anyone who’s carefully read my responses to your “arguments” in the recent past knows this. So,unfortunately now it’s important to stress your STYLE of “reasoning,” which as I say, is quite typical of the larger political culture,where serious engagement of the strongest arguments of the other side is avoided at all costs.

    My style of reasoning is to lay out the facts and then draw conclusions from them. That seems to be a pretty standard approach, but if you’ve got a better suggestion I’ll listen to it. Of course, better does NOT mean repeating propaganda from partisan sources, which is what you seem to think I should be doing.

    Will you write here that you actually research the strongest arguments against your “anti-tax” doctrines (notice I never say “radical,” “extreme right wing,” etc etc, even though I might feel that way; such labels are excuses for argument)and that you represent them in your articles or comments before trumpeting your own views?

    Good lord no. I don’t research arguments at all. I research facts. I do read articles on issues like taxation from more than one perspective, but when it comes to doing my own writing I do my own research and draw my own conclusions. Sometimes I’ll pull source material from the media or from polls in addition to neutral government sources, but even in those cases I use the data not necessarily the analysis.

    Re: Oldest existing democracy Please explain your superior view to the U.S. Government, which among many others stands by this claim. A quick search shows this is repeated by many authoritative voices you cite on many other occasions. Another one in a headline from the U.S. Govt: “Celebration of World’s Oldest Democracy Offers Lessons for Côte d’Ivoire.” Hmm. There seems to be some confusion that couldn’t be a problem of interpretive nuance, could it? I’ll leave it up to your excellent research skills to clear up the matter for us. Hint, the U.S. has the same Constitution, with Amendments, of course. Other countries have scrapped old ones and thus re-new themselves as governments.

    Jayson, what you don’t seem to be able to do is differentiate between facts and marketing. It’s great for the US Government to claim it’s the oldest democracy. It sounds great. The only problem is that it’s not a pure democracy and if democracy means only having popular representation chosen by election, then it’s not the oldest. England has had elective government representation for at least 400 years without a change of basic legal system or government structure. This is just a fact.

    It’s always difficult to tell whether you just don’t know the other positions that complicate the issues which you simplify, or if you do and you deliberately obfuscate and silence them. Either way, it’s not a particularly handsome trait.

    It’s always difficult to tell if you’re being deliberately obtuse, or just reading things into my writing which exist only in your imagination.

    Re: Young country. Ever heard of the Treaty of Westphalia? What year was that?

    1648. And since that date Switzerland has had functioning democracy of one form or another in most of its Cantons, and it has been identified as a single autonomous nation. What’s your point here?

    The problem, as it often is with your use of language and reasoning is in equivocations and not clearly stating the differences that develop out of them. Here the issue is what one means by country. You switch to nation. Clever.

    Neither country or nation is a precise term. If I was being precise I would say ‘state’. But if you want ambiguity, constitutional scholars might argue that at most our history of democracy goes back no further than 1865, because constitutional rights were suspended in most of the country in one way or another during the civil war.

    a better presentation of the good things the GOP has to offer so that they can attract votes on justifiable grounds. Yes,it was that to which I initially reacted, re: the border fence as a great missed platform item. You swept under the rug the issue of it being an unfunded, empty mandate. Why? Because who cares? It’s about winning and that would’ve been a superior strategy.

    That’s correct. I was writing about good strategy, not about good law. If you’ve read any of my other writing you ought to know that I oppose the border fence on principal, whether it’s funded or not. It’s an idiotic idea and a huge waste of money, so I’d just as soon not waste money on it and not see it built at all. But this article was about marketing the GOP, and if that’s what you’re doing then mentioning the passage of the fence law is better strategy than most of what was in this flyer.

    I’ve been saying all along (not that you listen) that this style of communication is rampant among all political stripes. It must be foregrounded and overcome, for the good of the country and the world. I’ve further shown how you engage in it and how you support it.

    Look up. I wrote an article here which is basically opposed to using bogus and manipulative issues to push a party. It’s something I’d rather not see the GOP do. And to their credit they do it far less than the democrats do.

    Now, will you tell me, again, that this is not reasoning but just emotional appeals? You can, but the most astute readers here will see through your games. By the way, I supplied evidence for what I thought were your tabloidesque, shockjock, emotional frames for your claims.

    These terms don’t mean anything to me. They are buzzwords which are content free. I don’t deal in emotions or ‘games’ for the most part, or when I do it’s pretty clear that I’m writing a different kind of article.

    What ‘game’ am I playing when I suggest that the Texas GOP wrote a crappy and poorly targeted advertising circular? I just don”t see any basis for your argument here. There’s not even anything to counter, because it appears to be based on an alternate reality which exists only in your head.

    Dave

  • http://pearlsbee4swine.blogspot.com jayson harsin

    Dave,
    Thrilled that you took the time to respond, despite the form that your response takes.

    Of course it’s just in my “alternate reality,” but it appears to me you turn in circles–and you are quite comfortable with it.
    It’s hard to decide where to begin to respond to your new sets of claims, but I’ll take a shot.
    The question is not one of facts. You appeal to facts over and over again, as if you have some monopoly on this precious resource and when you stumble upon some information and you deem it worthy of the appelation, thus it becomes so.
    As I mentioned at length in responses to you in some of your other recent articles (in both comments sections and articles of my own)you don’t seem to get that different methods and emphases produce different knowledges, conclusions, your facts. Unless you are well-skilled at analyzing those methods and their presentation of data or representation of events taken as truth, you will blindly use them to form arguments, which as you partially admit, you couch in sensationalist frames.

    Why not look at and discuss several different studies or views and be able to argue why one is better than another (not from your ideological viewpoint–that it conforms to your hopes, desires, values but from the level of critical reasoning–how does each hold up?)? Again and again, you have nothing but scorn for this attention to complex issues. Go back to your attempt to describe the roaring economy in your “Big Lie.”
    As I pointed out, you set Pelosi and Dean up as straw figures via their talking points without even bothering to find what strong arguments (claims and reasons based on research that produces what you call “facts”) exist out there from which they may have constructed their talking points. Then you go on to cite your government source for average wages, etc, though at other times you seem to think government sources are not to be trusted.
    It’s another rhetorical trick to claim that something is a fact just because your authority says it is. You evade the ethical responsibility, at times, of noting that not everybody thinks this is fact (and they are not necessarily anti-science, -logic, -reason), or that what you’re calling fact is interpreted differently by different people. Jobs are up. What kind of jobs? Wages are up over a certain period. And what are they when inflation-adjusted?
    Beneath most of our disagreements, as I see it, is a theory you assume that there are “just facts,” out there, which assumes that language doesn’t construct and orient us toward what is fact or fiction (strangely, while you are all the while speaking in a way that tries to orient your audience in clear ways toward the issue at hand). Nation or country? Pure democracy, democracy. etc, etc. You sometimes play the card that claims of fact are not obvious, then other times you turn around and tell me/us that there are just facts that you use, not arguments. There are facts, but they must be agreed upon and it must be clear what exactly is at issue when we call something a fact. As I’ve shown with your piece on the Big Lie and others, you constantly assume you understand what is fact, it’s obvious, it’s not open to interpretation. I’m left again and again to direct you toward the eternal problems of interpretation. You operate under a transparency theory of representation. Things happen in the world and when they pass into language to be represented, they

    Again equivocations. When I say you don’t represent or engage the strongest public arguments of your opponents (not talking about me) on huge issues for you and your party platforms, such as taxes, I mean just that. Those positions are carefully reasoned and supported by what you call facts. You never engage, you simply swipe and go on claiming and giving your reasons. That deprives publics of careful consideration of alternatives to your position and why yours is better. You don’t seem to respect that kind of work.
    You proudly say you don’t research arguments but facts. Hmm. As if when people get the evidence they will draw the same conclusions? Please, the issue is always about how people use what they call facts (if one first agrees they are) to support larger claims, and in politics, often claims that are of policy. This, therefore we should do this.

    Your appeal to facts doesn’t help us much in the complex world of public life and politics.
    And by the way, what are these excellent non-partisan sources you have that on any subject will always give us just the facts? I’d love to dialogue with such an oracle, or at least record it. Once again, you assume that if you or you and others perceive a source as non-partisan, then it’s information is transparently factual. It is not that some sources definitely have false information parading as fact and others need not be questioned or interpreted. But you must excuse my delusions, I live in an alternate reality…one where facts are not apolitical and one where strong argument (as the fallacies textbooks suggest) is vital.

  • http://pearlsbee4swine.blogspot.com jayson harsin

    cut off above: …You operate under a transparency theory of representation. Things happen in the world and when they pass into language to be represented, they are NOT in the same form as they exist in the world. People struggle to describe things in their interests. And many describe things in ways with not conscious interest at all, but their are plenty of other ways of seeing them, different questions studies can ask, different words they can use to interpret the data they’ve produced.

  • Lumpy

    Wow jayson. You sure took a lot of words just to say that you disagree with dave primarily for purely partisan reasons. Which is all that’s left when you strip away the reams of BS.

    Your main objection boils down to you not liking his work because he doesn’t reach the same conclusions you do or what you were told to think by the NYT.

    Boring and predictible.

  • http://www.pearlsbee4swine.blogspot.com jayson

    Lumpy,
    Your predictable interpretation only proves my point. It’s hardly just about contrasting values. It’s about how to represent information honestly and engaging in argument, not just blowing smoke (or screaming epithets) to divert attention or make the discussion stop. But you’ve never shown any interest in those things so don’t surprise me now.

  • Zedd

    Dave Sez: No one’s federal income tax went up under Bush. Poor people were entirely removed from the tax rolls and the rest of us got at least a 2% cut. As for increases in local taxes, any unfunded mandate has that potential. It didn’t happen here in Texas, and since this is an article about TEXAS politicking, that’s what matters.

    Yeah but my property taxes went up because of the increased in immigration. The school taxes are out of control. You were here when Bush was making woopie with Fox a few years ago, practically busting down the boarder with his size 10 boots, getting some more cheap labor for his buddies….

    BTW While Perry won (yuck poo), the large counties went Dem. The state is shifting back!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    School taxes are out of control because the average school district in Texas is 50% administrators. Otherwise our property taxes went down.

    As for immigration, it’s what keeps our cost of living down, and without it we’d be in pretty dire straits between infllation and a labor shortage.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave are you kidding?

    Do you know how many illegal immigrants are in our school systems getting free lunches? Have you seen the number of portables outside of all of the schools? You probably live in the rural areas but in my “metropolis” we cant build schools fast enough. The districts are also not getting funding for the additional testing and prep that they have to do now.

  • Zedd

    Dave: Labor shortage???

    That is another lie that comes from the elite.

    Do you know that Mexican land owners are claiming a labor shortage and hire South American illegals for (here goes..)lower wages!

    The rate of increase of illegals correlates with the decreases in the unemployment rates of African American young males (you know the people who have BEEN doing those jobs since afeter the turn of the century). The spin is that no one will do the jobs. The TRUTH is no one will do the jobs for $3 an hour because they can’t, its illegal.

    Dave you are so niave. You believe these guys. They convince you that raping Americans is good for YOU and you buy it no questions asked.

    Illegals cost us $90billion a year. Mexico recieves $13billion from the dollars that come back into the country from workers wireing funds. This amount is the greatest revenue from “exports” for Mexico outside of oil. Now you know why Fox was all lovey dovey with Bush.

    Do you realise that the increase in encarseration rates for young AA males also aligns with the increase in the number of illegal jobs. Who do you think was doing the low skilled jobs all of this time? Why did they all of a sudden stop doing them, all at once?

  • Zedd

    Wonderful nuggets from The Dubya……

    “Bob is a former President of Texas A&M…..” Sooooo!

    “Do you think I am nuts”… ah yes!!