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« The Buffett Rule - Butt stupid is as butt stupid does | Main | Past the Tipping Point – 16nov12 »

14 November 2012

Comments

Russ Steele

Investor’s Business Daily: Look Who’s Refusing To Compromise To Avoid The Fiscal Cliff.
If President Obama wants to get a deficit deal done to avoid the fiscal cliff, his biggest challenge won’t be Republicans, but his own hard-core left-wing supporters.

Two days after the election, Obama’s favorite economist, Paul Krugman, set the tone for the intransigent left in a column titled: “Let’s not make a deal.” Boiled down, his advice to Obama was this: Don’t give in to any Republican demands, even if doing so would “inflict damage on a still-shaky economy.” After all, Obama would be better positioned to “weather any blowback from economic troubles.”

Krugman’s advice may be disturbingly cold and calculating, but he has plenty of company on the left.

Robert Kuttner, co-founder of the liberal American Prospect magazine, suggests Obama should just sit it out, let all the Bush tax cuts expire, the automatic spending cuts kick in and expect public pressure to force Republicans to give in entirely.

The left-wing Daily Kos called any kind of “grand bargain” between Obama and the GOP a “Great Betrayal.”

And several Democratic lawmakers have suggested that the correct approach would be to let the country go over the fiscal cliff, since that will only strengthen Obama’s position.

Douglas Keachie

The country plainly believes Hoovers slogan, updated to the present, "Don't change barrels going over the fiscal cliff."

One fatal flaw in the argument about destroying motivation that seems to be missing on the conservative side, is that they assume that any equalizing of wealth will result in a total deflation of will power of those that have got good doses of it. I think this is a false assumption. As long as such folks can differentiate themselves from the rest by owning an Escalade instead of a KIA, they will work to do so. The only ones that may slack are those that already have piled up so much cash that they really do not see the need for any more, like Romney. How much additional public world service can we expect to see out of him, as compared to say, Jimmi Carter and Bill Clinton? I'd guess even less than we've seen out of the Bushes. but then, where's John Kerry these days? Maybe having more respect for number 2 in a two person race should carry more weight in this country.

I love maps. In fact last night I had a nightmare about maps. I was subbing in a classroom and was trying to explain the Straights of Hormuz, spotted a Britannica set in the corner, buried, and when I went to get the Atlas, discovered it was one where it was supposed to be refilled with updates, but now contained nothing. I asked an aid what's up with that, and was told, "Oh we use the updates for scratch paper." Those who come out of school on the bottom end send kids to school who have lower expectations, and the cycle keeps repeating, and getting worse, when parents and cowering principals and voters, and lawyers and judges, not back up the teacher, by respecting the teacher's word on what went down. Having a second adult or 7/24/365 video in the classroom does help, but dempens free speech.

BTW, I still can't find the original for the map I presented second, and I think it is the best one out there. It shows both population density and degrees of redness or blueness. I especially like looking at Atlanta, It looks like a volcano. What's the matter with being red, btw, red blood is rich in oxygen, blue is anemic. Orange you glad I thought of that?

Douglas Keachie

"Straits" forgot to go back and correct that.

George Rebane

DougK 947am - I appreciate your "fatal flaw" argument since it is seminal to a lot of liberal economic thought that gets translated into policy. I plan to do a 'Liberal Mind' piece on it that involves the perception of risk and how it affects decisions like choosing investments. Of course, I believe that you are dead wrong on the after effects of "equalizing wealth", so that taking on much higher levels of material and personal risk while working much harder will yield only marginal differentials in wealth with those who do neither.

The USSR and Red China have demonstrated the futility of the "equalizing wealth" approach to organizing society. Sadly, it is a piece of history to which progressives are completely blind (no longer taught in public schools), as also witnessed by the retrenchment of capitalism going on in the northern European countries. In America, you and yours are wildly cheering on one more try for the joys of socialism.

Douglas Keachie

George, those on the bottom bottom get locked up altogether in prisons. The next tier above that would be a sleeping cocoon, warm and dry, in a stack of 30 or so other such cocoons. You enter one at a time, get "celled" for the night, and can use the common potty when your door opens and it is your turn. Pathway from potty is an instant shower/then blow dryer, whether you like it or not, regardless of garments, which should have been tossed already. You get a new set each day, and a food debit card, that anaylses your diet and only allows stuff in your cart that the state says you need. You get a 2 foot cube to store your shopping cart contents, and a cart that is yours, and is designed with safety in mind. Each hive has buyback spots for recyclables.

The cocoon contains full internet access, and phone capabilities.

Oh, you got a job, using the above basic bottom?

Guess what? Now you get a larger cocoon, and it is shared with fewer others, and you get to pick out a worker bee costume matched to your employer's desired fashion statement. For a slight fee, the state will allow you to add ornaments. And, you can purchase some junk food, on your food card. And a permanent 4 x 4 storage cube.

This structure can continue right on up, incentivising at every level, until finally the citizen has saved enough to go rent a regular apartment, etc.

Even in my supposed liberal paradise, equal isn't equal, unless you make an effort. Will there be folks who stay in the bottom cocoons forever? Maybe so. Did I mention piped in birth control gases, in all cocoons?

Sci-fi in the making, will be coming soon, to a reality near you.

George Rebane

DougK 1122am - the alternative solution is demographics - developed countries are (or will be) suffering massive population reductions while per worker productivity is going up.

Douglas Keachie

Even at the lowest :free" level you could upgrade to two or more carts, if you could bring in more than one cart's worth of recyclables per day.

MikeyMcD

Ron Paul gave the following exit address (retiring) and it is nothing short of excellent.

http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/transcript-of-farewell-address/

Russ Steele

I heard that Valery Jarrett was running the meeting with the big business leaders. Last time Obama met with the business leaders he gave a speech off the teleprompter and then went around the room. There was no discussion or questioning, Just statements by Obama and then the Business Leaders. He does not know how to talk to business people in economic terms. They would quickly recognize him for the amateur he is.

Ryan Mount

Doug-

When I first read your 11:22am, I thought for sure you were alluding to empirical socialism which was touted by Engels. You know, the whole "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" thang.* Engels would have been a Star Trek fan.

And regarding your 09:47 AM critique of classical liberals, I found it frankly to the point and clear. Although I don't agree with your suggestions/conclusions though. Even if people were convinced that Escalade drivers needed to switch to Kias (what's wrong with a Kia anyway?), the net result wouldn't be everyone driving these arguably sensible South Korean cars. They'd be driving something else probably of poorer quality because Kia wouldn't exist. (Reminds me of the somewhat mediocre movie Demolition Man with Sly Stone. There's only one restaurant [allowed] in that future: Taco Bell. Um. Not.)

Kia exists in a marketplace spectrum, driven by choice and competition which drives out unsuccessful bad ideas. Granted, sometimes the baby gets thrown out with the bath water, but the net effect is we have better cars now because of it.

Exit question: what if we can engineer a Escalade run [as efficiently] like a Kia? That seems to be more in line with how the government attempts to influence the auto industry. Seems to me you're after their hearts and minds. Far more dangerous Doug.


* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_each_according_to_his_ability,_to_each_according_to_his_need

George Rebane

RussS 1217pm - Jarrett running a business oriented meeting would be like me running a marriage counseling session for gay couples - both of us would be totally out of our depth. But it does clearly indicate Obama's respect for that sector of our economy and the national weal.

The people who needed to be at such a meeting were not even invited to come and listen to the crap Team Obama is handing out. I think I know why.

earlcrabb

You didn't mention little Bobby Reich in your economic feeding frenzy. He says 39% ain't enough, and Big O should hold out for 55% top rate. They've all gone cross-eyed and weak in the knees from the prospect of dismantling capitalism.

Paul Emery

Yeah, Romney is certainly getting the dead flowers toss right now. One of the many problems the Pubbers have is a lack of adults in the room. They have no former Presidents to rah rah, Bush 2 being banished, Romney is out of there never to return, McCain hangs in there but is largely ignored and many of the veteran Repubs were dumped by TP's two years ago. Even on the younger side Palin is a fading starlet lucky to hold on to her media gig and Bachmann barely survived reelection. Christie shot his wad when he cuddled up to Obama and Jindel is calling the party "stupid", hardly a gracious move. Ryan is done and Gingrich is too weird My best guess is that it looks like Bush vs Clinton in '16. Jeb not Neil.

Douglas Keachie

You are not dismantling capitalism in my system, you are merely providing a bottom level for free folks displaced by the machines, until we think of something better. Our current system is no system at all, just let them get run ragged waking up wet and cold with not hardly the right attitude for a potential employer. "There's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all." ~Bob Dylan~ And he should know, he had more of a business background than Todd here, right from the cradle. Look it up some time.

Ryan Mount

I'm particularly impressed how Obama's Left flank is telling him to ignore the so-called "fiscal cliff" and play hardball with the Republican House. Let the country drive off the cliff like Thelma and Louise.

The thinking is that team Obama will have more to gain by throwing out those tax credits and harpooning the middle class with higher rates than the Republican Congress will. Rich[er] folk are already shorting the economy (because they can) prior to this passive-aggressive shown down between Mr. President and Mr. Boehner.

Ryan Mount

show*. showdown.

George Rebane

PaulE 130pm - "Ryan is done...", hmmm. I smell another bet coming on.

And regarding your graveside for the Republican Party -
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323894704578113231375465160.html?mod=hp_opinion

Paul Emery

George
He's done as far as Presidential aspirations are concerned. He couldn't even deliver his home town let alone his home state in last weeks election. He was overshadowed by Romney who lost by over 20% in Mass. which shows you what his former employers thought of him. Also as the Party moves to the middle he (Ryan) will have too many Tea Party stains on his suit to have a place on the team. He will be thrown overboard when the Repubs and Obama work out a deal on the budget. Too bad, He seemed like a nice young man. He also has no work skills in the private sector having been a career politician and on the govt payroll most of his life. No real world skills.

George Rebane

PaulE 344pm - "No real world skills." Obama has amply demonstrated that today that should be the least of disqualifiers for a successful political career.

Paul Emery

Quite true George. We can look at our previous President (who was that ?) for further evidence. Actually Ryan can become a lobbyist. He should be qualified for that since he's already cashed in on those contacts. Of course they are really pissed that their investment in the Repubs was such a waste of money.By the way, no losing VEEP has ever advanced in elected politics.

This is real funny, Ryan's explanation as to why he lost in his home town.

"When you join a national ticket for a party, you become more seen as a Republican guy than necessarily a Janesville guy," he continued. "So I think my image, or the thought people had in their minds of me once I joined the Republican ticket, was more 'Paul Ryan, Republican,' than 'Paul Ryan, Janesville guy.'"


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/paul-ryan-election_n_2130885.html

George Rebane

PaulE 418pm - Don't think Bush2's qualifications can quite achieve the Obama lows. After all, he was a successful businessman and a two-term state governor. Obama was (and is) a confirmed nothing.

Paul Emery

Successful businessman? Really. Bush did not make his fortune in the oil fields. He made it at a major-league ball park heavily subsidized by taxpayers. He was an unsuccessful businessman (oil) who, thanks to interesting parts of the tax code made his investors (Mostly powerful friends of his father) a lot of money when his businesses failed.

Bush invested just over $600,000 in the Texans , but Arlington taxpayers invested a lot more, around $135 million worth of sales tax money. Bush the businessman did prosper but not by his bootstraps but with help from huge taxpayer subsidies.

Paul Emery

Oh Yes

http://www.realchange.org/bushjr.htm

MikeyMcD

Paul, did you catch Ron Paul's farewell address? I am still in awe.

I am sure the video is available 'somewhere'

http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/transcript-of-farewell-address/

Russ Steele

Paul,

You have cranked out another Bush PTSD episode. Will you ever be able to move on to see the flaws of the current President, rather than rehashing past presidencies. We can do some thing about Obama's flaws, there is nothing that we can do about Bush's failures.

Paul, buck it up and move on for god sake!

Paul Emery

Mikey

I found the video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Zqi6paX3ong

Billy T

In other news, Placer County is turning from red to blue. Yes, off topic.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/11/14/loose-gorilla-alert-electronic-road-sign-hacked/?test=latestnews

Paul Emery

Russ

I brought up the ugly truth of Bush's "business" experience as a retort to George' accolades of Bush as a businessman.

Ryan Mount

Mikey-

It's a great speech. Every second of it.

Michael Anderson

George, regarding the Conservative (True Blue) vs. Liberal (Radical Red) diagram, I don't understand the point of such a silly map at all. If a physical chunk of land was able vote, i.e. we went from 'one man one vote' to 'one Section one vote,' then I could see the point. But until the Township and Range political party supplants the Democratic and Republican parties, this map does nothing more than somewhat show where America's big cities are located. Any road map from a gas station would do a better job in that regard.

MikeyMcD

Ryan, I can imagine the anguish in Ron Paul's heart as he acknowledges the failure of the liberty movement (from the 1970's to today). Pain.

If you have reason to have hope for liberty's disciples I am all ears (proverbial sense, since I will be reading your thoughts).

From a dark place...

George Rebane

Great speech. I wish he would have addressed the problems of multi-culturalism within national borders, since it is cultures which dictate disparate morals which require government intervention in establishing and enforcing behavioral norms.

Paul Emery

Mikey

Here's my hope.

In my view it has to start with strengthening the Libertarian Party. Gary Johnson was a very respectable and credible candidate but didn't get enough financial support to have a fair hearing. The idea of Libertarians being in the Republican tent has to change. Ron Paul got plenty of dough but he burned it off in the Republican primary. If 15% of the Repubs and 15% of the Dems were to break away you have a viable third party. The Libertarian Party is a work in progress and will need to be expansive and inclusive to achieve viable status but I believe it is possible. Ron Paul's fault in my view is that he stayed a loyal party man even when his supporters were treated like shit by the Republican party and he wasn't even allowed to speak at the convention. Why he didn't bolt and support Gary Johnson I'll never know. Perhaps to keep the shine on his son's ambitions as a Pubber. They did allow a tribute video-hoop de do dah. It was a deep insult. The Repubs also did all they could to keep the Libertarians off of state ballots much like the Dems banished the Greens even having their candidate chained to a chair during the convention.

Lame Ducks Barney Frank and Ron Paul supporting legislation to have the feds support states rights concerning Marijuana laws was in the news today. Strange bedfellows? Perhaps but it's a step in the right direction.

Paul Emery

Correction

Green Presidential Candidate Jill Stein was chained to a chair during the Hofstra Presidential debates

https://www.commondreams.org/further/2012/10/23

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnam1yi5bVs&feature=share&list=UUukxQJsxZWcyv_0IgqGR6-Q

Todd Juvinall

Here is the news for all the 71% Latino voters for Obama. Good luck.

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2012/11/14/latino-poverty-rate-climbs/

Me thinks they were bamboozled. But hey, Obama is cool and while all these folks are looking for a sandwich they can take Obama's picture from their pockets and give it a long wet kiss.

Michael Anderson

Again, regarding the map above, George wrote: "Them socialists sure pack themselves into small areas."

Perhaps it's the other way around? That people packed into small areas tend to follow political movements that are more cooperative than individualistic?

George, you come from the L.A. area. I come from the Bay Area. Even with "cooperation," those places are shitholes as far as quality of life is concerned:

* Driving a 1/2 hour for everything, even a quart of milk; in short, transportation angina.
* A vast wasteland of non-unique strip malls to convey the basic comestibles.
* Tightened behavioral constraints that take the fun our of everything (no chickens or shooting guns in your backyard, for example).
* Higher prices for everything.
* Long lines for everything.

I could go on, but you get my drift. My point is, I think people choose to live there first, and then they seek cooperative ways in their politics and social movements. I would need further evidence that shows people flock to urban density because of the cooperative nature.

Cities ain't going anywhere (they're growing actually), so the Republicans are going to need to appeal to those regions rather than complain about them.

George Rebane

MichaelA 753am - Agreed, save that my 'packing statement' indicated the truth of the matter; not necessarily the causal sequence. However, it is only the Left that promotes the high density future of Agenda21.

Your strong point - "That people packed into small areas tend to follow political movements that are more cooperative than individualistic?" - is, of course, true simply because high density living requires more cooperation,less individualism, and less liberty than low density living.

Obvious from these pages are my beliefs about the beneficent values and life styles of Man. In my opinion the cramped life styles of urban dwellers feed back that also give rise to toxic ideologies of dependence and the expectation of constant outside assistance. The notion of self-sufficiency and the values to which that gives rise is largely absent.

We are a species designed for living in open spaces; we are literally hardwired for that, and naturally have evolved the mentality that supports it. Our very recent tendency to pack ourselves in is an intellectual undertaking that suffers from a large evolutionary lag. This, according to my lights, explains away much of the crap that comes from people forced to live ass to armpit.

Demographers tell us that the world's population will stabilize at about 9B around 2050, and then start slowly decreasing. More developed countries are already on the downward slope and need immigrants to keep the wheels turning. But even that need will soon go away as technology abetted productivity increases. All that will then be left is the social problems of wealth creation and its distribution (which is what we talk about here).

Ryan Mount

The Christian Bible begins in a garden/wilderness, and ends in a city.

Now for people who follow the teachings of the Bible, that would seem to be a non-trivial observation. That narrative means something to them.

George Rebane

RyanM 945am - Interesting observation Ryan. But exactly where are you going with it, and in what light are you interpreting its impact?

MikeyMcD

Ryan, you will find confirmation in the bible with the sin of the Isrealites and the tower of babel (Gen 11). The Isrealites were told to scatter the earth and instead they disobeyed and lived in a condensed city (as is our nature?). The term "this is god's country" when describing the countryside comes to mind... no one ever said "this is god's country" when referring to San Francisco, NYC, LA, Chicago, etc. :).

Totally unrelated: What are the odds of the US helping overthrow the existing Japanese or Chinese government in exchange for forgiveness of our debt?

Douglas Keachie

Actually, cities are a result of the industrial revolution, and the need to keep a large number of worker bees close to the capital investment in production. Cites also form at the junction of different transportation modalities. Whenever you have to get stuff unpacked from the horses and into the boats, and vs versa, cities grow. They also go at logical geographical crossroads, and modern cities can grow around airports. Atlanta combines these two.

Anything new on what to do with those permanently unemployed by automation? Seriously, what happens when the fast food industry finds it cheaper to use robots/robotic modules?

Low Wages, Few Benefits for Workers

The fast food industry hires around 3.5 million workers and pays minimum wage to a higher percentage of its employees than any other industry in the US. The only group that earns a lower hourly rate is migrant farm workers.

Roughly 90% of the nation's fast food workers receive no benefits and are scheduled to work only as needed. There are few if any possibilities for advancement. Assistant managers, a misname designed to entrap workers who are looking to build a career at these chains, are also exploited, often forced to work 50, 60 or 70 hours a week, sometimes off the clock, with no serious opportunities for promotion. Of the 20 or so assistant managers I worked with in my two years at Pizza Hut only one was promoted. All of them were diligent workers who in many cases performed the duties of our store manager (if not more), yet received little more than minimum wage.

In 1998 employee benefits accounted for a miserable 2.5% of total expenses. [Reference Sacks 2000.] Employee benefits are only 8.6% of total compensation. The national average for employees was 27.5% in 1999. Even among service workers it was 26.2%. [Stats from Labor Relations in that Global Fast Food Industry, edited by Tony Royle.]

http://www.socialistalternative.org/publications/fastfood/ch3.html

Ryan Mount

I think one could make a lot of hay from it. My perspective is informed by a past intensive study of William Blake, the English Romantic who tended to take issue with our classical liberal heroes, John Locke in particular. (there's a Blake pun there that probably 5 people on Earth will understand)

I think this garden/city notion informs the cultural divide George. Now, I want to be clear that I'm not criticizing any particular belief system, but I'm just making an cultural and theological observation.

The "end times," which is literally the teleological (sorry for the term, but it's critical to our understanding) end of the Bible, seems to inform the rhetoric of Religious Conservatives, who make up a large chunk of GOP's base. So if one is an academic cynic, it's an easy conclusion to say the rise of the city is an indication of the end. An optimist might see this myth, as I do, as the rebirth of humanity into an Ezekiel-like "New Jerusalem." You know, hippie stuff.

So when I wonder about your "last great century of man," I take that assertion very seriously and it gives me cause for reflection. It may indeed be the end. And that may indeed be a good thing. Or not.

Ryan Mount

Mikey-

I agree with you. My apologetics here is that the City at the end of the Bible, is certainly not Seattle or whatever. I'm just saying there's a text, an owner's manual that some people are consciously or unconsciously following when they choose a City over, well, the Country. And that there are assumptions woven into the fabric of our thinking.

Even the most strident Atheist has to admit, unless they are dumb or an disengenuious asshole, that a text like the Bible underpins much of our daily lives and thinking. I'm merely suggesting, as I did above, that this "good beginning" (the garden) and the "bad end" (the city), informs to some degree our cultural divide. I am also suggesting, that depending on one's disposition and perspective, it may not be a bad ending after all.

George Rebane

As these pages have documented, the rise of cities, in the mid-east spreading to Europe, occurred during the epoch of the Dorian invasions (1200-800BC). As DougK (1043am) points out, further consolidation of populations were abetted by trade, princes controlling wealth generation, and finally industrialization. (We'll leave his class warfare observations for another time.)

Mikey's (1038am) observations are correct according to the Christian teachings and tradition, which BTW are in full retreat in North America and Europe. The city with which the Bible concludes is not a city of man but of God. During biblical writings (until third century AD) cities were seen and admired in some awe as seats of power, not as the ideal of future habitation. That was the sense that John in Revelation described the city of God.

And Ryan's (1043am) reflection on the theme of RR ("last great century of man") deserves more expansion from readers. There are several plausible exits from this century for humankind, none of them include today's business as usual that the unread presume. The bottom line is that Homo Sapiens will not live in the kind of environment that has defined civilization during the last millennium or two. Recent novels - Cloud Atlas and Existence - give describe two very different (albeit poorly executed in their description) futures for us. And these don't begin to even include the advent of peer, let alone superior, AIs. Our public leaders, to a wo/man, proceed with public policies in total ignorance of this.

Michael Anderson

I have to say I'm thoroughly enjoying this morning's course in the humanities, and George's larger call-to-action, "...Ryan's - reflection on the theme of RR ('last great century of man') deserves more expansion from readers," certainly deserves our attention.

But before we get to that, I want to stay shorter term and ask again: What can/will/must the Republicans do to achieve greater penetration in our nation's urban areas? In our winner-take-all political environment, I'm just not sure these larger questions will ever enter into the short-term political strategies of the Republican and Democratic parties.

Our antiquated system gets led by the nose, not the other way around.

George Rebane

MichaelA 1209pm - discussion of your question about Republicans' urban penetration was invited in my recent 'Does Multikulti require Multi-Party?'
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2012/11/does-multikulti-require-multiparty.html

I think that the Repubs will have a hard time fitting all the diverse ideas about illegal aliens under one tent (the Dems have their own problems on other issues). To me the obvious solution is 1) secure the border, and 2)implement an 'earned amnesty' program for those already here. Details on the latter would vary, but none of it will work if the former is not implemented.

Paul Emery

How about voluntary deportation?

Steve Willer


For some real cartography, check this out from a guy named Chris Howard and his public Facebook page. America, its just not the simplistic either this or either that, this red or that blue. When you display what counties really are, a mix of red and blue, it comes out purple. Who is that guy who has been saying we're purple? Oh thats right, Jeff Pelline.

Below is the cartographic display explanation from Chris Howard

"(Most of the country is some shade of purple, a varied blend of Democrat blue and Republican red) what I really wanted was this blended map with a population density overlay. Because what really stands out is how red the nation seems to be when you do not take the voting population into account; when you do so many of those vast red mid-west blocks fade into pale pink and lavender (very low population).

So I created a new map using Mark’s blended voting map based on the actual numbers of votes for each party overlaid with population maps from Texas Tech University and other sources."


http://www.saltwaterwitch.com/img/WhatAmericaLooksLike-2012Election-ChrisHoward.jpg

Cartograms, check it out.
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2012/

Steve Frisch

Jeez Steve, your data is from a well mown democratic university thus it must be wrong. Remember never let facts get in the way of belief!

George Rebane

SteveW&F 307pm, 339pm - I recall there was a similar map presented in one of the recent comment streams here that showed blended colors - hues of purple - to indicate the proportions of red/blue voters.

Such maps have their own shortcomings at least as great as the red/blue plurality maps have. What you both (and your purple buddy) are overlooking is that there is no/insignificant middle ground in today's polarized electorate - the distribution of social ideologies is strongly bi-modal with the bumps at either end of the spectrum and a vast empty valley in the middle. The purple hued maps miscommunicate this inconvenient truth and give rise to a lot of today's Rodney King pabulum of 'Why can't we all just get along?'

MikeyMcD

Michael Anderson 12:09 What can/will/must the Republicans do to achieve greater penetration in our nation's urban areas?

#1.) promise free stuff?
#2.) stop focusing on "social issues" (like abortion and gay marriage).

earlcrabb

You can play with the colors on a map any way you want, the final total of votes tells the story. Dems got 62M, Repubs got 47M. Still looks pretty close to me. I've been hearing about the demise of one party or the other for decades, but both are still standing. (Remember when the Dems lost Congress in '94? They were so depressed that more than a few jumped off bridges.) The proof of longevity in the left's victory will be the economy rather than demographics. If life doesn't get better for voters, they will look elsewhere for relief.

earlcrabb

Oops. Dem total should have read 52 million.

Michael Anderson

I like my pablum mixed with peas and carrots.
http://anonymousmonetarist.blogspot.com/2009/12/todays-secret-word-uh-pablum-narrative.html

George Rebane

I take it from MichaelA's 500pm that the conversation about how purple we all are is over.

For the record (re earlcrabb's 445pm) the popular vote tallies according to CBS is Obama 62,615,406, Romney 59,142,004 (as reported here previously).

Steve Frisch

I'm sorry George, but this canard that there is no middle ground is just nonsense. The problem is one of perspective....you do not see a middle ground because you are so red no other 'color' can be seen.

earlcrabb

George is right, of course. Got distracted by the phone and typed M(as in votes) instead of % of votes. My bad.

George Rebane

The touted middle is like a ground fog, some see it from a distance, but walk into it and it disappears. From Gallup we read -

"Obama's already highly polarized ratings are becoming even more so in his fourth year in office. Thus far, his ratings have averaged 85% among Democrats and 10% among Republicans, for a 75-point gap. That compares with gaps averaging 68 points during his second and third years in office and 65 points during his first. ... That is not unexpected, as Gallup has typically found presidents' ratings to be most polarized by party in their fourth year in office, which is normally the year they seek re-election to a second term. But ratings of recent presidents are far more politically divided than those of less recent presidents."
http://www.gallup.com/poll/158018/americans-views-obama-polarized-election-nears.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=All%20Gallup%20Headlines%20-%20Politics

And the argument that there is no middle ground has not been given here. We only note what the country has understood for at least the last four years - that the middle ground is unoccupied, perhaps because no one can give it a credible form.

In point of fact, the Left pursues its "issue activisms" while screening a discredited ideology that dares not say its name nor list its tenets, and those claiming the middle provide no satisfaction there because they have none to offer. Only those of conservative and libertarian hue argue their points from principles that are always visible and at the ready.

Billy T

In reply to Dr. Rebane's 11/15 post at 5:45pm. It is very clear now. The reason Obama got more votes in 2008 as compared to 2012 is simple. Millions of American voters became racists over the last 4 years. Or, millions of American became racists as direct result of Obama. Or, (it is a long shot), millions of American no long take a liking to the direction Obama is taking the country.

Michael Anderson

Only conservatives and libertarians argue from points of principle? Utter hogwash, George. I give you Bernie Sanders from the liberal left, a socialist through and through and a man of principles if there ever was one. And there are plenty of others like him on the left, but you can't see them because you've discredited their tenets to the point where in your eyes they no longer exist.

And you say the middle have none to offer? Bullswoggle. You just don't like that most folks don't wear their political screeds on their sleeves, reserving the right to change their minds based upon each individual case.

My principles don't come from a single pamphlet, they come from my heart and my brain and my soul. I have no general quarrel with the Bastiat Triangle, but I don't try to squeeze every decision I make, or opinion I hold, through its tiny cake decorating nozzle. Why? Because the BT has flaws--voting for example (but let's save that for another day).

The best judges, the best leaders, are charismatic and hold close true principles. But they also bend without breaking. They find the middle ground. The break trail, and find a way forward. Windmill tilters didn't create this country, it was the blood sweat and tears of ordinary heroes who hit the road hard, day after day after day.

Perseverance, vision, leadership, cooperation, selflessness, humility. That's America's foundation.

Russ Steele

Some election views from Southern California by the DiploMad 2.0

Since the November 6 elections, I have seen what the end will look like: a cross between "Things to Do in Denver when You're Dead," and any number of ultra-bleak walking dead or zombie apocalypse movies. As mentioned before, I am temporarily in southern California. If the cliche proves true that California is the harbinger of things to come, the end draws nigh, and not because of a Soviet nuclear attack. This is a state devastated by lunatic pro-immigration, education, environmental, and fiscal policies. This is a self-inflicted mortal wound. What's doubly weird is that those who have committed this act of collective suicide, if given the chance, would do it all over again. In fact, it is amazing to me how many people leave California for other states but take with them the attitudes and voting patterns that brought disaster to their home state. They are moths to the bright flame of liberalism; they can't figure out why their wings keep catching fire.

I am left stunned by conversations with Obama voters here in California. As a group, there can be fewer more ignorant of basic economic facts and processes. They seem oblivious to the collapsing stock market, and the unemployment, poverty, inflation, and taxation tsunamis about to sweep over us all. Many are wealthy, but have gotten so in arenas several levels removed from the real economy: environmental or consumer advocates and lawyers, working for NGOs, consultants, entertainers, etc. They do not see themselves as part of the one percent, despite their $100,000 Fiskar Karmas, BMWs, Lexus, Jags, and the more modest $42,000 environmentally proper Prius. These people are loons; worse, they are the post-apocalyptic vampires and walking dead determined to drag the rest of us with them to their liberal hell.

L

Small quibble w/ P. Emery at 4:18 PM. Do I not recall that Richard Nixon, a sitting Veep in 1960 lost? Was that the end of him? And I expect a close perusal of history will turn up others as well...L

George Rebane

MichaelA 1015pm - Your answer seemed to be ready before you read my words. I didn't say the Left had no ideology. Of course they have an ideology, it is socialism. And as you point out, leftwing ideologues like Sanders trumpet their beliefs behind the bushes. But leftwing politicians don't come out and say they are socialists, and argue the policies they promote in the name of socialistic ideals. I posted on some recent research by a liberal professor on this.
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2012/08/the-liberals-intellectually-baseless-ideology.html#more

Years ago Upton Sinclair was one of the first to identify this phenomenon when in 1951 he said, "The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label." Democrats have been hiding that name ever since.

And please point me to someone from the self-declared middle who has structured his thoughts enough to assemble them into an ideology of recognizable tenets, and have it acknowledged by other middle-roaders.

The BT is anything but a "tiny cake decorating nozzle", and it is entirely silent on voting. Our Founders thought enough of its principles to enshrine them in our Constitution which was supposed to be the very instrument through which ALL of our public policies had to "squeeze" in order for us to maintain our Republic. We have now abandoned it at our peril.

Great last paragraph that totally misunderstands our history. It was exactly the audacious "windmill tilters" of their time that created the United States. Acting against prudence and the received wisdom of the common round, it was the one out of three colonists, the patriots who did not hue to any middle way, but instead put their fortunes, lives, and sacred honor on the line to give us our country.

Michael Anderson

George, we're splitting hairs, but I wouldn't expect less.

Yes, you are correct. The windmill tilters got the ball rolling, but my point was that they couldn't carry it through and the sod carriers had to finish the job.

We'll have to agree to disagree on what the socialists are willing wear on their sleeves...methinks cranks like Paul Broyles and Senator Joe made them more crafty, much to your dismay.

You wrote: "And please point me to someone from the self-declared middle who has structured his thoughts enough to assemble them into an ideology of recognizable tenets, and have it acknowledged by other middle-roaders."
...which totally misunderstands what a Straddler is all about--they negotiate, they win some and they lose some, they rethink tenets, they push through policy. They are not wishy-washy, they are pragmatic. And they certainly want the pamphleteers to have their day in the sun, but once that's over, if they can't find common cause with the Purple People then they need to move aside so the adults can get some work done.

Speaking of adults, I am increasingly impressed with Mr. Brooks. Here might be your Messiah for the Republican Party to re-enter the Promised Land:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/16/opinion/brooks-the-age-of-possibility.html?hp&_r=0

Ryan Mount

Michael-

The GOP base generally doesn't want Brooks' vision of the future. And that's fine. They can continue to be marginalized as a minority party.

I really don't think the answer is for the GOP, or the Greens or the Democrats to become more like each other, which is what I'm hearing. Specifically to the Democrats and the Republicans, what purpose does it serve the Republic for the parties to ostensibly look and act the same? Which, we should note, has been a complaint from third party voters for some time.

If anything we need the opposite: more diversity and differing opinions. But as a practical matter, all this goes in cycles. And I think the mighty mass of Americans have grown tired (lazy and scared. There, I said it.) of the discord especially with the two major parties and probably wish for a more moderate, temperate government. I do not think that's healthy, nor congruent with a healthy human spirit. Only in the fiercest ideological battles do the best ideas emerge. "Opposition is true Friendship," as Blake noted.

Or to paraphrase Jack Kerouac quoting Allen Ginsberg as they were sitting in a restaurant:

"The world is a cesspool of mediocrity; waiter, there's a turd in my soup!"

Todd Juvinall

This argument about the "center" and the lovie-dovieness it will bring is total hogwash. Politics is about a victory in numbers and the implementation of one's ideas and policies. Harry Reid has practiced this for six years and will be doing it another four at a minimum. Our own State Legislature is practicing the result of the voters empowering them as well. Anyone see a Republican in any of their democrats back rooms?

I recall Bush's attempts at "compassionate conservatism" and his desire to end the rancor and get along with the democrats. They crapped all over him at every turn while he kept turning the other cheek. The left and their stenographers in the lamestream media consider compromise as the R's caving to the D'.;s. When there were 50 Senators from each arty back in the early 2000's, and Cheney would be the tie breaker, I recall the R's giving the D's committee chairs after the cry babies from the D party relentlessly bashed the R's as "unfair" since things were so close in the "number" of Senators. Did it work? Nope. The D's simply bashed constantly and the R's took it. One of my big disappointments with Bush was he always "took it" and to Obama's credit he doesn't turn the other cheek and goes for his goals. You have to to respect his dogged determination.

Until the R's get tough and the press gets fair we will always be battling uphill. But sticking to our principles as the D's do is the best way to victory in the battle of ideas. Over time we will pick up our majority and victories will resume. Oh, a good ground game tot turn out our voters works good too.

MikeyMcD

Speaking of labels (purple, blue, red, pink)...

It is hateful and discriminatory (at best) to place people into classes. The central planners (progressives) seem to start every objective statement with an adjective separating us all into classes... today it is based on income.

Am I the only one that finds this approach to be broken (understatement) from the start? Doesn't a just objective statement require us all to be equal?

Can we expect an objective statement with an immoral foundation that isolates/targets one 'class' to bare good fruit?

Douglas Keachie

The best way to fight class warfare and win is to declare that there are no classes, just as Southerners just to say the blacks preferred thing the way they were.

George is red shift so much that blue is ultraviolet and beyond his senses of vision.

George Rebane

MichaelA 1124pm - Perhaps we are splitting hairs (for a bald man no mean feat, and not to be taken lightly), but then this is the objective and modus operandus of RR. Your description of middle-roaders is welcome and clarifying, as well as corroborating my assessment. What a novel concept 'the middle doesn't have a firm ideology because they are always seeking a solution that needs to be dynamic and flexible'. I can live with that, and now expect self-declared middle roaders (like our friend RL Crabb)to cease referring to a belief system of unstated (unstateable?) tenets.

RyanM 616am - agreed with your assessment of David Brooks. He is neither a Republican nor conservative, but one of those left leaning middle-roaders MichaelA has described.

Mikey 812am - am confused about your seeming differentiation between labeled 'classes' and labeled political ideologies.

DougK 825am - You are confusing my keen vision in the realm of ideologies with my assessment of their relative worth to the society of man.

Douglas Keachie

"Can we expect an objective statement with an immoral foundation that isolates/targets one 'class' to bare good fruit?"

If classes don't exist, then how can one "target" one of them?

MikeyMcD

Labeling someone based on ideology is not an attack on personal liberty. Labeling someone based on ideology does no material harm. Simply referring to someone as blue or socialist or capitalist or purple is not an attack (backed by law) against their personal liberties.

Labeling someone based on income/class for the purpose of targeted (inequitable) laws is a direct attack on personal liberty.

The progressive tax system is the best example of an immoral/inequitable/mob driven 'contract' that by its definition holds one class (minority) to a different law. Immoral: a 'rich' man's private property is different in the eyes of the law than the private property of all others. Stripping a man of his inalienable rights based on his religion, class, weight, sex, wealth is a travesty.

A just objective statement for any government policy requires us all to be equal under the law.

Paul Emery

L
Actually FDR was the losing VEEP in 1920. At least not in modern times.
I was referring not to a sitting VEEP but as a candidate on a losing ticket such as Kerry, Quale, Palin, Edwards and now Ryan. There are of course sitting VEEPS that became President-Nixon, Johnson, H.W. Bush, Truman.

Douglas Keachie

"A just objective statement for any government policy requires us all to be equal under the law. "

If that we coming from anyone but you, I 'd call them a communist.

George Rebane

DougK 954am - Hard to tell with whom you are talking, but your ever illuminating non-sequiturs do get one's attention. How on earth do you equate the quoted statement with what is practiced under communism, a system of governance which structures its citizens into classes and in which laws are class-specific?

MikeyMcD

Rebane 10:03am Ditto. Do the socialists/communists among us ever read the work of their forefathers (Marx, Engels and Lenin)? I have and therefore I can't make any sense out of such statements (Keachie 9:54am).

The suggestion that a communist society could exist without classes (and the class-specific laws that MUST exist) is irrational (ignorant at best). To suggest that those who are elevated to positions of power would not have benefits greater than the lower classes (and completely different laws for themselves) shows a trust in human nature that I cannot comprehend.

Walt

Scratch one more business due to union greed and Obamanomics.
But at the same time the "food police" will be calling this a victory.
Hostess has hung up it's apron. So I wonder if those union guys are now on the phone begging "O" to nationalize Hostess just like he did with GM.

Seen the stock market? A damned pretty sight for the Wall St. haters.

Now to Israel. Not a word out of the White House. "O" (ha,,) said he has Israel's back. We shall see real soon, but as of now,, NO he doesn't.

Now back to my " prepping".

Douglas Keachie

Using the law to make damn certain everyone is "equal."

Douglas Keachie

"To suggest that those who are elevated to positions of power would not have benefits greater than the lower classes (and completely different laws for themselves) shows a trust in human nature that I cannot comprehend. "

So, that explains how the Constitution supports Congress and the other branches of government having LIFETIME HEALTHCARE that is well above the standards set for the rest of the not so equal citizens, née, citizens of the second or lower classes? The Commies are not alone in such behaviors.

The notion that an employer is looking out for the best interest of his/her employees and customers also stretches my trust in human nature. Many are good for that, then then there is Papa John who comes out and says no I don't. I don't think I've ever had their pizza, and now I know I never will.

MikeyMcD

Providing equal protection under the law and 'making damn certain everyone is equal' are two VERY different things.

Using laws/FORCE to 'make damn certain everyone is equal' is the foundation of tyranny.

Having equal laws for all and letting ability, personal values, ambition, self interest, luck and providence to determine success is the basis of liberty.

MikeyMcD

I consider my employees to be members of my family.

Re: congress and healthcare? early signs of how socialist we have become when our politicians vote themselves rights not permitted by their subjects.

George Rebane

MikeyMcD 1220pm - Well said. Sadly, it is a concept totally inaccessible to the Left that believes the state must impose equality through its diverse stratagems that all reduce to the use of force. The corollary that equality and liberty are opposite ends of a see-saw is a truth, that when uttered, never penetrates further than their vibrating tympanic membranes.

Douglas Keachie

You do know hwen I'm pulling your collective chains, don't you? If your employees are members of your family, do they get healthcare above and beyond minimum wage? I don not know what line of work you are in. McDonald's in Brunswick?

Michael Anderson

I don't think they are polar opposites. Liberty is a lot more straightforward than equality.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/equality/

George Rebane

MichaelA 529pm - I'm afraid that you have missed a great point of governance. "straightforward" is a fuzzy concept that means something to you, but has nothing to in the allocation of liberty and equality to a population. People in liberty will achieve with great inequality according to ability and chance. To enforce equality of outcome requires curtailment of liberties; the more equal the end the less liberty in the process, until all wind up as equal slaves.

As I said, this point is so fundamental, historically only the most dedicated collectivist ideologues have missed the obvious trade-off required.

Michael Anderson

GeorgeR 1029pm - I'm afraid you have missed my point. I understand perfectly your governance polarity.

What does straightforward mean?
"straight·for·ward (strt-fôrwrd)
adj. 1. Proceeding in a straight course; direct.
2. a. Not circuitous or evasive; honest and frank. b. Free from ambiguity or pretense; plain and open.
adv. 1. In a direct course or an honest manner."

This is how I describe liberty. It is straightforward. There are no different types of liberty.

There are, however, different manifestations of equality. Like I wrote in my last comment on this thread, equality is complex, but we can certainly start with the two primaries: 1) Equality in outcome, and 2) Equality of opportunity.

I don't support 1) and I mostly support 2). And this is at the heart of why the Republicans and Mitt Romney failed to win the hearts and minds of America this election--the younger and browner voting citizens of this country are increasingly sensitive to equality of opportunity in the 21st century.

This is why the Southern Strategy is fading.

I write these words as a free service to conservatives everywhere who are interested in ensuring that the Republican Party does not go Whig, which they are in danger of doing if they don't get their collective acts together.

George Rebane

MichaelA 1107pm - The discussion and debate and the introduction of their pairing involve ONLY the notion of outcome equality. Pulling in the notion of opportunity equality does dull the point and removes crispness from the discussion without entirely removing the truth of the general notion of their being opposites. As argued by the Left, even the imposition of many forms of equal opportunity come at the price of reducing liberty. Equality under law was the only exception bequeathed by our Founders.

Nevertheless, your concern for the well-being and survival of the Republicans is noted with appreciation. ;-)

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