Another Country Club Republican Bites the Dust

This time it’s Sen. Dick Lugar [R-IN] getting the Tea Party ax in the primary. Dick Lugar is the type of Republican who Democrats love although seldom actually vote for. If you’ve got a spending bill, cut it by 5% and you have Dick Lugar’s vote. He’s a “moderate,” you see.

Donkaphant

With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?

Want to blame Republicans for spending like drunken Kennedys during the GWB era? Dick Lugar’s your man, what was wrong with the GOP, except he’s a “moderate,” so he gets a pass.

No longer, though. If the GOP is going to win elections, it’s going to win them fair and square with real Republicans, not fake ones.

Mebbe it was Sen. Lugar’s fronting for the execrable “Law of the Sea ” treaty that reduces the United Steezy into just another arm of the Euroweinie enviro-diplomatic complex. My jingoistic self is thoroughly appalled. I wouldn’t give you two cents for the rest of the world combined over the United States of America.

So call me pisher.

In any case, the 80-yr-old Sen. Lugar’s brand of Republicanism has had its day, where any “moderation” is a demerit on the GOP record and any guts are proof of the GOP’s “extremism.”

It’s not win-win mugwumpery, it’s a lose-lose Rockefeller Republicanism where the critics nail the GOP either way, coming or going.

If the GOP is to reform, and it must—it got no credit for GWB’s Democrat-lite “compassionate conservatism”—it’s to be as the adult alternative to Barack Obama’s “Audacity of Hope” and Dick Lugar’s Audacity of Professional Politicianism, where there’s little difference between Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Find the Elephant in the Room.

As Harry Truman said about his Democrats, when faced with the choice between a fake one and the genuine article, the people will pick the real thing.

Republican Dick Lugar, at least in this here 21st century, is no longer the real thing. I thank him sincerely for his service to our nation as a good man above suspicion or reproach. But agreeableness and acquiescence to both Dubya/Rove’s Compassionate Conservatism and Barack Obama’s Audacity of Whathaveyou has left our nation in a terrible mess.

Sen. Lugar, good man that he is by most or all accounts, helped get us in this mess. It’s good that he’s been defeated in his party primary, for he is incapable of getting us out of it.

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237 thoughts on “Another Country Club Republican Bites the Dust

  1. Mebbe it was Sen. Lugar’s fronting for the execrable “Law of the Sea ” treaty that reduces the United Steezy into just another arm of the Euroweinie enviro-diplomatic complex. My jingoistic self is thoroughly appalled. I wouldn’t give you two cents for the rest of the world combined over the United States of America.

    Wow.

    Just wow.

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    • There’s more ‘wow factor’ than just that graph. I’m sorta stunned. I’m thinking Tom’s either shitty on Don Quixote Windmill Ale, or Mad As Hell And Not Gonna Take It Anymore.

      Prolly both.

      And embarrassing either way.

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      • Defend The Law of the Sea treaty, Mr. Stillwater, and kindly leave me out of it.  I think it stinks.  If your mileage differs, say why and leave the ad hom at the door.

        The topic is actually Dick Lugar’s primary defeat. I approve.  Please, state your case and do not hide behind each other’s skirts.  Surely you can argue as individuals and don’t require the safety of the pack.  To hunt and hide within the safety of the pack is, well, ungentlemanly even for gentlemen of the most ordinary sort.

        I trust you can meet the minimum standards of the LoOG’s comment policy.  You’ve always managed it when you’re at your best.

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              • Tom, you know I have no beef with you outside of our disagreements on policy, theology, and to some extent philosophy.  You play some mean keyboards and you’ve got good taste in beer and music and your wife is a hell of a lady.

                I think you’re in a weird spot,  I got no useful counsel for you on what to do there.  I wouldn’t do things the way you’re doing them, but I ain’t you, so therein lies the rub.  My mission ain’t yours, and my purpose ain’t yours, and I can’t say as to what you’re doin’ don’t fit yours.  That isn’t my call, and oughtn’ not to be.

                It just looks stormy from my viewpoint, brother.

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          • Tom, delete me all you want. I’m not sure what that threat is supposed to accomplish anyway. I think you’re often a troll, and increasingly a troll. You spout off about what you think is the case by offering a bunch of hyperbolic, emotion-laden, evidence-free assertions and expect people to treat those opinions as if they comprised an argument. They don’t. They’re only designed to incite. Which is the definition of trollery.

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          • In somber agreement with Mr. Stillwater on this point; your behavior is the definition of trollery, useless or not,  fucking or not.

            And your editing of his comment just makes his case that much stronger.

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            • Who is this new commenter appearing from nowhere, “Patrick Smith,” another sockpuppet?  Regardless, welcome to the LoOG, sir. May your days be many and your comments bright.  You’ve made such a grand entrance and filled a much-needed void.

              The topic is Dick Lugar, BTW.  Not me.

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              • I got tired of the ad hom a long time ago.
                I can’t imagine responding to someone’s piece only to tell them that the author is a useless POS.
                It has to do with that thing about walking in the yard.
                My yard I walk on. The neighbor’s yard, not so much.

                Now, Tom in particular has been the victim of quite a number of ad hom attacks in these pages.
                What it amounts to, as far as I can tell, is two things:
                1). I have no available logic, and am deficient in reason. Instead, I’ll swear up a whirlwind; and
                2). I prefer to cling to infantile behavior rather than to embrace adulthood.
                I think all of the ad hom comes from varying degrees of these two concepts taken together.

                There are a lot of times that I don’t comment, because I believe that what I have to say about a particular matter would do nothing to further the discussion.
                I find that to be a valid concept.

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                • Do we maybe suspect that there is a reason Tom gets more than his share of ad Homs? Is it a little jarring to see Tom of all people playing the civility card?

                  I think there is a tendency for many commenters to forgive Tom his excesses as a case of Tom being Tom. Not sure that is the best approach.

                  On the substance, and granted that this fits to some extent with my priors and YMMV, but what I’d like to see – if we are looking for a REAL contrast, would be to see the triumph of the Paul wing of the tea party. But that’s a minority of a minority. Instead we geof the keep the government’s hands off of my Medicare, gays and liberals are going to hell, subsidize the oil and gas industry, Obama isn’t killing enough Muslims branch of the Republican party. The problem isn’t extremism or even conservatism, but stupidity and venality. Not that there isn’t plenty of that going around on the left as well.

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        • “Euroweinie enviro-diplomatic complex.” that isn’t exactly LOOG quality posting. Its more like the name calling you deride in others.

          “I wouldn’t give you two cents for the rest of the world combined over the United States of America.” If one of us claimed conservatives were just “jingoistic” and didn’t give a poopie about anything but the US you would go into All Umbrage, All The Time mode about how we were so mean and stereotyped all conservatives as small minded and morally adrift. But when you say it…..well i guess i agree.

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          • Oh, sorry for having fun, Greg.  I’ll try harder to be boring and bloodless and hide my POV next time, just like our nonpartisan Mr. Isquith does.

            In the meantime, enjoy, and engage the argument if possible.  Dick Lugar’s day is done, and the GOP spendthriftiness is getting to be less and less a valid impeachment of the party—unlike say, The Life of Julia, which proudly advertises Democrat womb-to-tomb governmentalism as a desirable way of life.

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            • It’s always just fun when you do it and a grievous insult when people do it to you. I read through Nob’s post that Pat found and linked to. There is a lot of content there to back up his view on the treaty you mention. I don’t see any content in your post about it.

              So i’m guessing its cool with noting your proud jingoism now and you are fine with that? How does that stand up with that morality stuff you talk about? Are American lives more worthwhile? Does the big G Man smile down on us and not others?

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              • I’ll be happy to discuss the Law of the Sea treaty with Nob, Greg.  Just not exactly this particular minute. I’m a little busy, as you might have noticed.

                ;-P

                The topic of THIS post is Dick Lugar’s primary loss. Discuss that, por favor.

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                • Oh yeah tom, because LOOG posts always stay locked like a frickin laser on the original topic. That is the LOOG all right, welcome. You attacked something, more data was raised and you are breaking out your Richard Gere lawyer character tap dancing from the movie version of Chicago style responses.

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                  • But you didn’t argue on ANY topic, Greg.  Get a topic.  You need a topic, and I don’t count as one.

                    ;-)

                    I didn’t argue the Law of the Sea treaty before because it was in no danger of being ratified by the Senate. With Dick Lugar on his unmerry way to a well-earned retirement, I do hope it doesn’t rise from the crypt. It was dead, dead, dead and I want it to stay that way.

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                    • Why can’t you be a topic? How about jingoism, is that a topic? How about do you believe Gosh favors the US over other countries? Define a “real” Republican? Bonus points for not providing a platinum example of a No True Scotsman fallacy?

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              • As I quoted elsewhere:

                I suppose no man can violate his nature. All the sallies of his will are rounded in by the law of his being, as the inequalities of Andes and Himmaleh are insignificant in the curve of the sphere. Nor does it matter how you gauge and try him. A character is like an acrostic or Alexandrian stanza; — read it forward, backward, or across, it still spells the same thing.

                Still, I do think just calling him a “fucking troll” plays into his hands. At this point, after countless discussions about him, everyone knows who Tom is (except maybe Tod and Burt, who like him personally, and therefore may find it difficult to see). You might as well just sit back and enjoy it. At some point, the League powers that be will have to decide whether Tom is a front page fit with the culture they’re trying to promote. If they do, well, that’s too bad. If they don’t, it will be interesting to see how things play out.

                Tom, I do love your ability to insult, and then throw the comment policy at someone for insulting you. In a sense, this post, and the way the comment section is shaping up, is your apotheosis. I can only hope you throw in a bit of your casual racism to make it complete.

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            • It’s a valid impeachment of the party until they prove to me otherwise.

              As in, “Here are the hard choices.  Your political future will largely go down the toilet if you make these choices.  Choose the form of The Traveler and perish!”

              They’re going to cave, Tom.  Stimulus now, austerity never.  Or they’re going to die as a political force in the country.  There are too many Boomers to cut Social Security.  There are too many military families to cut the defense budget.  There are too many people who are out of work and can’t find a job in our economy who need unemployment to keep their house payment going.

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              • Pat- Lots of R’s in the congress are True Believers like Paul Ryan. They are sure they are right and will resist any compromise, They will try to fish unemployment and SS. You are betting there are a handful of non-crazy R’s who will pull them back from doing what they say. Do you see what happens to non-crazy R’s, they lose to TP’s in the primary.

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                • Greg, the alternative is to fire the missile.

                  There are repercussions to firing the missile.  You want to see single payer?  You want to see a free reign to get funky with the liberalism all the way down the road and back?

                  If the GOP takes back both houses and the Presidency in 2013, their choices are put up or shut up.  If they choose put up, they’re gone.  Out.  I know this because Ron Paul wants to put up and everybody in the general electorate laughs about the seriousness of his attempts to get elected.  You want a marginalized GOP?  Imagine the fallout if in the first half-decade of the baby boomers reaching retirement age, social security is cut.  You want a marginalized GOP?  Imagine the fallout if a limping economy craters from a substantive decrease in government spending *and* unemployment gets cut.

                  A Democrat’s paradise.  No credible GOP contenders for twenty years on the national stage.

                  I bet they choose “shut up”, or try to.  But you can’t get away with “shut up”, either, if you’re dominated by people who refuse to compromise on anything.

                  So the outcome doesn’t look good for the long-term viability of the GOP as a national party on that score, either.

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                  • Pat,

                    Last Summer, they almost fired the missile. They happily taunted the happy fun ball,a nd we’re all lucky they didn’t manage to make it explode. GOP backers got a daffy wakeupcall, that they couldn’t scream loud enough to be heard by 40% of the GOP caucus, who were too busy listening to their priests.

                    Teaparty’s wrong, dead wrong. — economic terrorists, if I’m still allowed to quote Republicans around here.

                    And I’m not just saying that in a partisan context. They’re literally bad for America — and I can’t stand their backers either.

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              • I think your cynicism is prob right, PatC.  France just elected a frigging socialist and stuck its ostrich head back in the sand.  That’ll be a joke they’ll come to regret.

                But Sarkozy was even less appealing than Dick Nixon.  That took some damn doing!

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                • Oh, hell, Tom, I don’t look at it as cynicism.

                  We’re watching a game that was rigged on a table 67 years ago.  Since then, they’ve done gone and set up slots over there in the corner, and another gambling pit over there that’s just as crooked as this one was, and in the meantime most people in the joint are working in uniform and not even invited to play at our crooked goddamn table.

                  Undoing fifty years of gamesmanship can only happen one of two ways: everybody has to act like grownups, or somebody needs to burn down the casino.

                  I see the casino burning down, and at that point everybody is going to suddenly care a lot more about everybody else for a while.  Humans are at their best when conditions suck.  Is that cynical?

                  Maybe it is.  I’m just goddamn tired.

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            • One man’s fun is another man’s ad hom.

              Tom, actually I have no problem with your idea of “fun.” as long as you understand and accept that others will return it in kind. The dish it out but can’t take stuff is pretty pathetic.

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          • It’s a truism that Reagan and Goldwater would be considered dangerous leftists these days. Hell, read what Cheney, Will, and the usual suspects thought about his negotiations with Gorbachev, and you’ll see that Reagan was considered a useful idiot even in those days.

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    • Waiting for reinforcements, Nob?  A little open-ended piffle?  Wow.  Try standing up on your own two feet instead, brother.  I don’t think much of the rest of the world, that’s true.  Especially not Europe.  On the whole, they disgust me, both present and past and I say so quite unapologetically.

      And when you are your fellows are into your anti-Western cups, so do you.

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    • I’ve seen a lot more of southern Indiana than any other part of the state.
      But the place is fairly conservative. They would be willing to elect a Democrat, but I don’t see a “progressive” ultra-liberal gaining traction there.
      I would say the No. 1 issue in Indiana is jobs. I think the people there would be more inclined to vote for someone that they thought would bring jobs to the state rather than someone that they thought would extend unemployment benefits and do little to address jobs.

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      • It seems to me that Indiana may be conservative overall but it’s not deep red territory. Didn’t Obama give it a pretty good run? It will likely turn on the specific candidates. A conservadem may very well beat out a Teabagger.

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        • Nah, Indiana is about the reddest of the red, along with New England. but… Republicans ain’t red no more. They’re starting to smell an awful lot like yeller dogs.

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        • [i]Didn’t Obama give it a pretty good run?[/i]

          Obama won Indiana by a slight margin. And it’s not like the state hasn’t had Democratic senators before. Evan Bayh anyone? Okay, so he wasn’t much of a Democrat but he did have a (D) by his name. My understanding is that the Democratic candidate is in the Bayh mold so may have a chance to win.

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        • That’s the way I call it myself. It’s more about what type of Democrat is running.
          More national attention brings more national money, and imho tends to support candidates that aren’t such a good fit for the state.

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      • Unlike the Teapartiers, I WANT some damn conservatives (ala the grangers) in the Dem caucus. Tester does a decent job representing Montana.

        Indiana and Illinois are Lincoln Republican home base — they’re going to elect a fiscal conservative even if the rest of the entire country has forgotten about it. Nah, I lied, New England’ll do the same thing.

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        • As usual Kimmi, you don’t know what you’re talking about. New England is RED? Perhaps on planet Kimm1, but here on earth it sure doesn’t seem that way. Or does 100% of the House seats (2008) belonging to DEMOCRATS mean that Red for you is the Democrat color and Blue is the new Republican color? What a maroon.

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  2. If the GOP wants to regain real legitimacy in the eyes of this observer, tilting after President Obama’s campaign rhetoric is immediately high-tailing it down the wrong road.  Barack Obama is not the Democratic Party, any more than George W. Bush was the GOP.  Even more to the point: campaigning against the guy who ran in 2008 is a sure way to lose in 2012.  The hope tag line was just that: a populist tag line.  It didn’t “work”.  The GOP lost in 2008 not because anybody really thought Obama was going to be the golden child, that was all a bunch of marketing.  The GOP lost in 2008 because they governed terribly from 2000 to 2008.

    Being the anti-Obama might get you elected, but there’s nowhere to lead from, there. You win in 2012 with this schtick, you’ll lose in 2016, and it will be a hell of a butt-whumpin’.  Why?

    I read an article the other day about Ryan proposing to get rid of the TSA.  I was all set to cheer until the fourth paragraph, where the solution was to privatize the thing. Not rational paring down of its ridiculously escalating budget.  Not re-scoping the mission.  No, the solution isn’t “make government smarter” or “get government out of the way”.  The solution is still, “hand a government function over to a private actor, because that will make things better”.

    This isn’t any different from yesterday’s GOP.  The only difference between them is that today’s GOP isn’t in power, and yesterday’s was.  Today’s GOP can argue all they want about cutting Social Security, and look good for the camera, because it’s not going to happen and they can claim it’s not their fault.  It’s the undergraduate-level game theory version of nuclear escalation.  You throw the GOP back in power and you know what’s going to happen?  I will bet you money it will not be fiscal responsibility.  So far, I haven’t seen a goddamn plan for fiscal responsibility.  I’ve seen marketing.  I buy it not.

    Comment: if the GOP takes the path of hacking away its moderates, they will have zero negotiating positioning available in 2013, assuming they win.  There is no there, there.  Your only choice is to gut government, because no compromise can occur.  And I mean gut it, good.  If you get enough people in the door, it’s theoretically possible that you’ll be stuck with the Presidency, and the Senate, and the House.  This would be the worst possible result for the GOP, as a national party.

    If this happens, you will not win a national majority again for 25 years.

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      • You can get away with it, to some extent, in some states.

        You can’t get away with it on the national stage.  If you believe that statism or government intervention is bad (and I’m sympathetic to some particular claims of this, but certainly not all of them), and that it is addictive, you have to use your brain about how to get people off the addiction.

        Cold turkey does not work very often.

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    • I hear you, PatC, but the word “Democrat” does not appear in your analysis except for “Barack Obama is not the Democratic Party.”  Therefore to discuss the GOP is to do so in a vacuum.  Gruel sucks, but it beats eating dirt.

      I don’t blame you for this; I’ve been noticing it as a pattern in these things.  That the Republicans suck is an article of faith, the de rigeur starting point for most LoOG discussions.

      I also disagree that “Barack Obama is not the Democratic Party.”  I very much think he is: I think he’s the embodiment of it far more than Bill Clinton ever was.

      I’ve only linked to this Harry Truman speech [and with all due props] about 10 times. Democrats should really read it.  Obama could give it tomorrow, and frankly i think it would be both more honest and effective.

      http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=14116#axzz1uLdhVJhg

      Tell the damn truth about who you are and what you believe.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

       

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      • The Democratic party, if left to its own devices, will do a fine job of setting fire to the casino all on its own, Tom.

        Granted.

        Is the idea to let the casino catch on fire?  Well, then, it doesn’t matter who’s in charge, that’s where we’re headed.  At least some people will get to retire.

        If the idea is *not* to let the casino catch on fire, then somebody has to act like grownups.  I still say neither side is.

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        • PatC, for good or ill, the Tea Party is a reform movement.  Without it, the GOP is Democrat lite, just as it was in the Dubya years when it set fire to the casino.

          Will bouncing a Lugar or a Bob Bennett, electing 60-100 Tea Partiers to Congress make any difference?  I dunno, but it’s all we got.  Romney is only a technocrat, but Obama is an ideologue, and his Life of Julia is the road to perdition.  It has never worked and it never can work.  That’s my view, call me pisher.  I’ve been called worse.  Today.

          ;-P

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          • You can’t be a reform movement if you don’t know where you’re going.  I don’t think the Tea Party knows where it’s going.

            I think they have thoughts.  Their thoughts are somewhere.  But I’m not sure where.

            The Tea Party and Occupy aren’t reform movements, they’re anti-movements.  They’re rebelling against whatever strikes them as bad about their former movement.

            But there’s a reason why things were that way.  Several reasons.  If you don’t acknowledge what those reasons were, and how you’re going to bypass them, you’re flipping the switch on the nitrous tank when you’re 100 feet from the cliff.

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  3. Lugar is not, and never has been, a moderate.  He was, as you point out, a professional politician but he was a conservative more in the old Taft tradition, not at all in the Rockefeller wing.  Look at the man’s votes for the last 35 years for heaven’s sake, he only looks moderate next the reactionaries who have taken over his party.  Sheesh, if you want to blame Lugar for his demise don’t point to his alleged moderation (based on one committee vote), point to his (general) lack of spine in opposing the radicalization of the Republicans over the last twenty years.

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    • Karl, pls do limn the diff between the GOP’s Taft wing and Rockefeller wing [ancient history, mostly].  I think I know where you’re going, but I dunno which one Bob Dole would be.

      I put Lugar in the free-spending part of the GOP, accompanied by the proviso that I don’t have a big problem with Pres Obama’s foreign policy as a bone of partisan contention either way.

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      • Well… Taft really is ancient history (he died before I was born) and issues have changed tremendously in the interim;  however, I use him as the model for anti-New Deal (pro-business,  limited government) advocacy.  Taft was also famous for non-interventionism, up until Pearl Harbor he opposed helping the Allies fight Germany in WWII (outside of Ron Paul, that side of Republicanism has disappeared).  I probably should have written “Goldwater/Reagan wing.”

        The Rockefeller wing was often described as liberal and was more tolerant of government welfare programs and civil rights.  The term I sometimes heard was “good government Republicans.”

        Funny you mention Dole, I lump him with Lugar and almost referred to him when writing my mini-rant.  He, too, started out as a hard-right character but through years of professional politics ended up as a semi-moderate as his party drove ever rightward.  That’s the trick here — these latter-day moderates are the same men who were at the right end of the Senate in the 1970s (yeah, this is old news).

        I assume that your real beef with Lugar is not so much that he was a real “moderate Republican” (like Snowe, say) but that he practiced politics with the occasional compromise or horse trade.

        As you are fond of links, here’s Reagan man George Will agreeing with me about the good Senator; and here’s an overview of his later votes

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      • Supposed fiscally responsible Republicans are free-spending as well (look at Ryan’s votes from 2000-2008). He just doesn’t want to vote for big government for liberal aims or if the government is run by Dems. He voted for TARP, the auto bailout, No Child Left Behind, the 2006 highway bill (with the “Bridge to Nowhere”) and the prescription drug benefit. So who, aside from Ron Paul, is in the non-free spending wing?

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        • There is no non-free spending wing, which is why a voter has to prioritize his spending (and taxing) preferences, try to make them known to incumbents and candidates, and vote accordingly.

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  4. Pingback: Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia go for Romney – The Courier-Journal | Amazing News

  5. No longer, though. If the GOP is going to win elections, it’s going to win them fair and square with real Republicans, not fake ones.

    I was talking about the GOP with my father-in-law, who’s a real died-in-the-wool conservative here in Canada, a CFO at Deloitte and probably the sort of guy who would be a country club conservative if he lived in America. He’s said to me before that he couldn’t vote Democrat because of their relationship with trial lawyers and because he’s a “real serious fiscal conservative.” So you know the type. We were talking about the current crop of the GOP and he told me that he’d have no idea who to vote for in the US, and then asked in some notable tone of desperation, “Don’t you have anybody down there who’s fiscally conservative and socially liberal?!?”

    I don’t know if that combination would make you a real or a fake Republican.

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    • What a “real Republican” is, is difficult to say. Very few of the people calling Luger a “fake Republican,” a “Rockefeller Republican,” or a “Rhino” would have been saying as much 10 years ago. The same goes for whatever Tom says about GWB: 10 years ago, they were the real Republicans, and they were in many ways to the right of the predecessors in the 90s. But they lost: they lost in ’06, and they lost in ’08, and a few of them lost to their own party in ’10. So now there’s a battle within the Republican party to decide who the real Republicans are: the ones who, a few years ago, were the only people who had the are right answers but are now just Democrat-lites, or the ones who think the way to get past ’06 and ’08 is to disown what they once championed wholeheartedly, claim they never liked it in the first place, and become something (at least on the surface) even more distinct from the Democrats. I suspect that what you’ll see is a pretty divided party for some time. Ultimately, though, they’ll go where the money is. And the money will be where there’s more money to be made. Something tells me that direction will then be widely regarded by Tom and his ilk as the “real” Republicanism, whatever direction that is.

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  6. I have no particular beef with Lugar, but six terms in the Senate does not count as a career tragically cut short.  If the Republicans want to turn their back on 32 years of fiscal irresponsibility and do something about balancing the budget, good for them.  Of  course, if what they want to do is Reagan/Bushonomics on steroids, takxing a meat-axe to revenues, funding every defense program some ex-flag-officer got hired to lobby for, and going for the record on undeclared, unfunded wars, and claiming they’re fiscal conservatives because school lunches were farmed out to 7-11 and Beechnut, all I can do is hope the republic survives then.

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    • Kind of where I’m at with it.
      I’ve been thinking that the Republican Party has been needing a management turnover for some time now. At least the Tea Party took care of that. The worst of what’s left (eg McConnell) will be due to retire before too long.
      Not sure how the Tea Party would get along with Romney though.

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      • tyeah, well, it needs another one. maybe they need to find someone intelligent this go around. Savvy the people in charge right now might be, but they don’t know jack about negotiation or politics,

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        • That’s why I’m sanguine about his losing. As a supine moderate republican he’ll campaign as a moderate incumbent and have excellent odds of reelection then vote the party line in DC and be functionally indistinguishable from a frothing tea party zealot. At least this way if a frothing tea party zealot ends up in DC I can say “Oh well at least he campaigned as one”.

          Then again maybe I’m just grasping for good news after the log to the head of North Carolina’s new draconian anti-gay anything amendment.

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            • I was pretty unhappy about it. The husband tried to console me by asking “Honestly, what on earth is in North Carolina that you wanted to visit anyhow?” But I still feel bad about it. Something about having entire sections (even if they’re small sections) of the country turn into zones where you are at serious risk if you travel to them is dispiriting.

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              • North Carolina’s an odd state. Like Virginia, it has large population centers that are extremely liberal, and it’s dragging the whole state in kind of an odd purple direction. The demographic migration is a little more mature in Virginia, though, which is why Virginia seems like it’s probably just a blue state at this point.

                In any case, there’s hope that this will change relatively quickly. It would be easy enough to pass another amendment allowing civil unions as soon as it becomes clear exactly what this amendment has done. At least I hope so.

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              • …I feel worried for my safety driving a Prius out into the boonies (the Volvo, not so much, even though it’s far more expensive. peasants never pick on the rich). It’s not just you.

                (of course, we do see poachers out in the boonies. poachers on park land, which is really poaching…)

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                • I’m not talking about that kind of risk Kimmi; my mother in law despises me. In North Carolina right now if we got into an accident and my husband ended up hospitalized all the legal safety nets we’ve assembled would be so much toilet paper if she parachuted into town with her goddamn lawyer.

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                    • Yes, this ought to be covered under “freedom of religion.” MY religion says it’s perfectly okay for gay people to marry, yours doesn’t? Oh well, they’re still married.

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                    • This is a good reason why giving states the right to deny other states’ marriages is the sort of thing we need to do away with. There really are occasions where federalism makes no sense.

                      As recently as 10 years ago (and perhaps even closer than that), a national solution would have been to deny gay marriage across the board.

                      Personally, I was quite happy for federalism under those circumstances.

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                    • I’m not advocating that the federal government force all states to perform same sex marriages; I’m advocating that states are duty-bound to recognize – at least for certain purposes – marriages performed in other states. With the exception of the current gay marriage business, I believe that has actually been the historical norm for all other marriages. (I may be wrong about mixed-race marriages.)

                      The point is I can see no principled reason why my decision with anyone, for any reason, to establish that person as my next of kin or decision-maker or whatever – which a marriage contract does – should be null and void as soon as I step across a state line. That seems like exactly the kind of thing “full faith and credit” should prohibit.

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                    • Although, that said, I am ALSO advocating that the federal government force states to perform same-sex marriages. This seems like a relatively straightforward application of equal protection. But that’s not the argument I was making.

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                    • FWIW I actually don’t support federal mandating of gay marriage. I’m okay with it being left to the states fully. What that means, though, is that those residents in states where they’ve been granted marriage rights should be treated by the Feds as if they’re married which is not currently the case. I also very much object to the blanket nature of the gay marriage bans that conservatives push; not only do they prohibit judicial judgments for SSM but they usually also wipe out civil unions and other non-marriage attempts to help alleviate the very real day to day problems that same sex couples face.

                      Occasionally some conservatives try and suggest that isn’t their intent but of course the falsehood there is patently obvious; especially when you have these repeated examples or even more glaring ones like in Wisconsin where there is no SSM so instead the anti-SSM forces are going after civil union registries with the compliant support of the conservative governor.

                      They’re damn fools about it of course; if sub-SSM alternatives yield the same attacks as SSM itself then there’s no rational reason for any gay person or their allies to contemplate aiming any lower. The zealots have pretty much guaranteed their own utter defeat on the subject; it’s just a matter of when now unless some sort of sea change occurs. The hypocrisy and the stupidity of it is jarring though.

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                    • Not to tell the gay community how to run their business but I’ve long thought that the best way to go is one where they argue that the government ought to recognize their marriages rather than allow them.

                      The “we’re married” “no you’re not!” argument is *NOT* one that the social conservatives have sufficient footing to argue. “The government should let X happen!” “The government should forbid X” is one that they can win.

                      Change the argument to one that they cannot win.

                      Not to tell the gay community how to run their business, of course.

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                    • FWIW I actually don’t support federal mandating of gay marriage. I’m okay with it being left to the states fully.

                      I’d go further than that and leave it purely up to the individuals involved.

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                    • @JB: The argument the SocCons actually make is “You can’t force us to recognize your marriages. That would interfere with our freedom of religion.” They can and do win that one at the ballot box.

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                    • “The argument the SocCons actually make is “You can’t force us to recognize your marriages. That would interfere with our freedom of religion.” They can and do win that one at the ballot box.”
                      The problem is that no one is asking any individual person or religion to recognize a marriage. They are asking the government to. I’ve sat in churches where I was told that my union with a half-Jew/half-Lutheran wasn’t a marriage in the eyes of god. Fortunately, I could take one step outside the church and reassume the full rights and privileges of marriage. And the Catholics can go right on insisting I’m not *really* married. Just as they can do with gays if and when gay marriage is legally recognized.

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                    • While I support their right to not recognize the marriages, I think that they should be forced to not recognize the marriages rather than continue to argue about the legality of the marriages.

                      “We’re married. Our marriages demand recognition and protection!” is a much stronger argument than “We should be allowed to be married!”

                      Force the social conservatives to look at the church’s signed marriage certificate and say “We don’t recognize that.”

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                  • Force the social conservatives to look at the church’s signed marriage certificate and say “We don’t recognize that.”

                    I think that’s like forcing Harvard to look at a mail-order doctorate and say “What, are you kidding me?”, but I could be wrong.

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    • Tom, feel free to delete this again. I will just post it a third time, with even more exclamation points. You may not believe this, but it is just possible to out brat you, and I intend to do so.

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        • Sure, I wrote a comment containing one word, “Perfect.” Tom deleted it (and apparently a reply to it by Stillwater). I wrote “Perfect.” to which Stillwater replied again, and I told Tom in a separate comment that he could delete it, but I’d post it again. So he deleted it, and now I’ve written “Perfect!!” again, and suggested that if he deletes it I’ll write it again.

          The point of “Perfect,” by the way, is that this is pretty much the perfect TvD post: no real content, a bunch of political talking points, inflammatory language, and a quote or two to make it sound like he’s at least got something to say, even if he’s not really saying it, all designed to get a rise out of people (which it did). His behavior in comments (e.g., insults and then throwing the comment policy at people, or suggesting that Nob was waiting for someone to come help him until realizing Nob knew more about the subject than he does, and then saying, in essence, that he’s too busy to respond), which actually took place mostly after my first “Perfect,” only makes the whole thing that much more perfect. This is meant to be similar to my “Yay!” when Tom shows his… views on race, and “99” when he goes full sophist.

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  7. First you tear into “moderates.”

    Then you bring up the Law of the Sea debate. You even challenge Stillwater to debate it, before switching back to insisting the topic is “Dick Lugar’s defeat.”

    In your article I can see many possible topics. It could be a debate over whether Lugar was really a “moderate.” Or a debate whether actual moderates are even welcome in the Republican Party any more. Or a debate over the Law of the Sea treaty. Or a debate over whether you are correct insisting there is an “adult alternative to Barack Obama’s “Audacity of Hope” and Dick Lugar’s Audacity of Professional Politicianism”. Or a debate over Jingoism.

    Or a debate over whether we should call you a “pisher.” Which seems to be what Mr. Stillwater was doing.

    Rather than accepting my criticism that your behavior was trollish, absent any of the other words Mr. Stillwater used, you chose to impugn me with an ad hominem attack linking to something I’ve never seen nor heard of before.

    Stepping back to the question of whether it was the right thing to do or not, history is not kind to you. Senatorial candidates who unseat an incumbent in their party primary tend to lose, and badly. Sometimes they even lose to the guy they unseated who chooses to run as a 3rd party candidate. But the one thing that they don’t have a history of doing is winning, which means that by making this choice, the Republicans and Tea Partiers have quite possibly ceded that seat to the Democrats for the next 6 years.

    Which would actually be fine by me. The less butts that you collection of cro-magnon throwbacks have in the seats of government, the better.

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  8. In one part of this essay, I might have gotten some information on why conservatives don’t like the Law of the Sea Treaty.  That might have been interesting.  And new to me.  And possibly supportive of the overall post, too.

    But I didn’t get that.  Instead, I learned that Tom likes to call names, and that he feels his masculinity to be threatened in the presence of European males.  I already knew that, so the post was suboptimally informative.

     

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    • I’m in agreement with all of this. There are the seeds of at least four good posts here and I know Tom is capable of producing them. I also enjoy the fruits of his scholarship on Founding era culture and religion. Of course, like the rest of us, Tom writes about what pleases him. As he should. If what interests him is the horse race, well, sometimes I like that sort of thing too.

      I find the repeated hand wringing over the man and his posts to be tiresome and overwrought. I’ve no more appetite for refereeing the boundaries of optimal argument or serving as arbiter of whose attacks are ad hominem and whose reach the merits. Here, elsewhere, with Tom or anyone else. I do think the blog needs a solid conservative voice or two. So here’s what I’ll suggest: if you’re on the left and you think Tom is incapable of making a good contribution around here, find us someone on the right who you think will do better.

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      • Burt, I wrote a snarky comment to Tom upthread pretty much echoing what you guys both said here. In response he told me to ‘stop hiding behind other people’s skirts (???) and state my case’, at which point I said my case against him is that I think he’s a troll. He then edited my comment (subsequently unedited) and said he’d delete anything I said that wasn’t on topic. So, to recap: I wrote what you just said (in a bit more colorful language :) and was edited and threatened with deletions. How, exactly, is any of this hand-wringing?

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        • … at which point I said my case against him is that I think he’s a troll.

          Am I the only one that sees something wrong with this?

          Do you really want to know what I think you are for taking it upon yourself to come on the man’s thread and say such a thing?
          But really, I think I could make a better case than that.

          Really, it’s this sort of thing– the idea that “Everyone really gives a sh!t about what I happen to think about every little thing, and I can’t wait to share it!” that I find disgusting.
          There are two fantastic authors here– Rufus & Murali– that, as a matter of course, write outstanding posts, yet consistently get very few comments.
          Why don’t you comment on that stuff if you’re so anxious to flap your trap?
          Just wondering.

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        • Stillwater, that isn’t hand wringing. But it is overwrought. And sinking to the level which you condemn. Hand wringing is the “Whatever shall we do with Tom?” commentary. You either trust EDK as editor or you don’t. I agree this post was not TVD’s finest work product. I’ve written some dud posts too. But it hardly seems to matter what he posts. If it isn’t completely inoffensive to progressives we get these two to three hundred post threads bemoaning TVD’s style and precious little engagement on the merits.

          I’m sick of it. Everyone who participates in this recurring kabuki is to blame.

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            • I don’t see it as my job to be his advocate, if that’s whhat you mean. I stuck up for Tim when he expressed an unpopular POV. That was before I met him. I know from his past work here that Tom can offer really good stuff. To the extent that you see me as his defender or as unwilling to see whatever it is that I’m supposed to be seeing and not, that is almost certainly the result of good work he’s done in the past.

              Another part of my distress at our collective exercise in Group Hate is that it seems impossible to extricate ideological, or worse yet partisan, tribalism from intellectual critique. To the extent there is intellectual critique, it gets blended in with personal attacks and name -calling.

              When I see it starting I tend to bail out of the thread altogether. I just don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to get down in the weeds and figure out who started it and who’s at fault. I just want it to end.

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              • Well, since you have taken it upon yourself to be friend to the needy and defend Tom’s ability to do good work here, might I ask that you sit him down (figuratively, if need be) and have a discussion of some kind? Not that I think he needs to be treated like a child, but sometimes this is what friends are for. I’m quite certain Erik has created an email sidebar in the past to ask me to cool it. If not him, someone else.

                I note that none of what you’ve said on this post has attempted to defend anything Tom wrote in the OP or the thread that followed. If it’s your contention that we’re flipping out for partisan or ideological reasons, it seems to me that the best thing here would be to find some innocuous, unprovocative thing Tom has written and show us all flipping out just because he’s a conservative. Or he could write something new and see if we flip out. I disagree with the claim you’re making, and I suspect it’s not terribly motivated by facts.

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                • When I begin a stement in court with the phrase ” With all due respect to the court, ” the judge knows she’s about to get a serving of disrespect. I want to avoid and disclaim any such connotation here.

                  With the respect incumbent of one Gentleman of the League due another, I find that when it comes to TVD the facts seem to quickly stop smattering. In this thread, for instance, how many comments have been about Dick Lugar, the Tea Party, the Law of the Sea Treaty, American exceptionalism, or the desirability of polarized rather than centrist choices in a healthy democracy? Compare to how many are about

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                  • Ugh. Tablet commenting is awkward.

                    Compare that to how many are about the role of TVD at the League, argumentative style or assignment of ulterior motives, or other meta issues.

                    I’ve no taste for the meta. Already I feel as though I’ve wasted my time and energy even saying as much as I have here. I don’t think it’s weird to find all of…. this…. wearisome. It’s okay if you and I disagree about that, right?

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                    • I’ll just agree with Kazzy’s comment below. I think you give Tom entirely too much credit and the rest of us entirely too little. But I like you, I think you do awesome work here, and my fight is not with you. I’m done with this. As Chris said somewhere else in this thread, everyone knows exactly what Tom is at this point. I can’t gain anything by pressing this except agita.

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                  • “With the respect incumbent of one Gentleman of the League due another, I find that when it comes to TVD the facts seem to quickly stop smattering. In this thread, for instance, how many comments have been about Dick Lugar, the Tea Party, the Law of the Sea Treaty, American exceptionalism, or the desirability of polarized rather than centrist choices in a healthy democracy?”
                    A great number started that way, with Tom quickly dismissing those comments as not getting at the point of his post. Which prompted a lot of the conversation… the inability to actually engage WITH Tom since he shuts down conversation any time he is challenged.

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      • Burt, I sent an email to Bruce Bartlett unofficially inviting him to take the prestigious conservative chair here at the League. I even offered to pay him (in compliments) but he hasn’t responded; I suspect he’s daunted by the prospect of having Koz read him out of the right wing in the comment threads.

        Not to be discouraged I then extended the offer to Ross Douthat. I hear he’s writing for some left wing rag in New York; he must be desperate to get out of that dive. No response from him either but I have a feeling that Krugman stole the letter because I’ve had to turn him away four times. I keep telling him “Paul, you’re not a right winger; Elias would break my kneecaps if I bring in competition for the liberal chair at the League. Also that beard is giving me the creeps.”

        I figured Reinham Salam would be a plausible shot since I hear that they don’t feed you anything at NRO but saltines and you’re always tripping over all the empty gin bottles Derbyshire left behind when they turfed him out. I think Reinham is interested but none of his responses can escape the hermetic seal of the NRO echo chamber. I tried mailing him our web address but my sources tell me it burst into flames as soon as it hit the NRO server.

        Anyhow three times as many tries as I’m willing to put in. Now if you’ll excuse me I think I hear Krugman pushing copies of his treatise on currency exchange under my door. I need to go get the garden hose.

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            • I’m perfectly willing to back off now, since Tom no longer feels the need to even pretend to be something he’s not, so it’s quite clear who he is every time he comments or posts. I’m not sure how much that will help, though, because he really irks a lot of people (intentionally, much of the time).

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            • Erik, I’ll apologize for my part in this. Calling Tom a useless f******* troll was inappropriate. Really, Chris is right about all this stuff – ‘yay’ and ’99’ and ‘perfect’ are about the best you can do with someone who trolls at the depths Tom frequently does. It’s safer and causes less headaches for everyone involved. Cuz when Tom really gets (t)rolling, his whole point is not only to stir the pot, but keep it stirred, which prevents any recognition of a truth, or a fact, or a refutation from ever gaining any clarity. I guess Tom thinks that’s a form of winning. Which is why his comments and posts are increasingly disappointing to me.

              And I’ll leave aside all the deletion/edit nonsense as something tangential to the central issue here. Which is this: if Tom wants respect in this community, or at least less ridicule, then he ought to abide by certain minimal standards of discourse himself. He ought to argue more (Hint for Tom: the word ‘argument’ is technical term that means more than mere disagreement!) and vilify/ridicule/mock/jeer/etc less. If the past is any predictor in this regard, I don’t see any signs of improvement on the horizon. It only seems to be getting worse.

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              • MR.BARNARD: (shouting) What do you want?
                MAN: Well I was told outside…
                MRB: Don’t give me that you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!
                MAN: What!
                MRB: Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke! You vacuous toffee-nosed malodorous pervert!!
                MAN: Look! I came here for an argument.
                MRB: (calmly) Oh! I’m sorry, this is abuse.
                MAN: Oh I see, that explains it.
                MRB: No, you want room 12A next door.
                MAN: I see- sorry. (exits)
                MRB: Not at all. (as he goes) Stupid git.

                Also, wasn’t there a post about someone’s small penis and liberal fascism recently?

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                    • You know, I remember back when people were saying we needed to ban Bob Cheeks because he was humiliating the site by posting comments here, and I worried about where we’d draw the line. Would we ban every conservative here who liked to stir things up? People said the issue wasn’t that Cheeks was a conservative; it was the way he expressed his opinions, which was too trollish. Luckily, we publicly shamed him and he left. So, now, we’re supposed to get rid of Tom because he shames the site and it’s not because he’s a conservative, but because he’s a troll. A handful of you are insistent that he’s humiliating to the site. Okay, so then we do that. Next up, of course, would be Tim, who people have already said is humiliating to the site, not because he’s a conservative, oh no no, but because of how he expresses his opinions, etc. etc. After him would be Mike, although nobody seems to get mad at him, which is good for me because, if it’s not clear by now, I’d be next in line. Thankfully, nobody ever reads my posts! Whew! Anyway, I’m old enough around here to remember when the site had a really wide array of different political positions among the posters and commenters. Now, not so much. But, I know, I know- it’s not the opinions that are the problem; we’re just trying to get rid of the trolls. Well, once that’s done, we can get back to having a robust discussion (about the dangers of political tribalism)!

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                    • Rufus, I’m not sure why you’re addressing this to me. I was a vocal opponent of banning Bob. I would be a vocal opponent of banning Tom, if that were on the table. I just point out who Tom is, and question whether he belongs on the front page as a result. He’s only ever really written one thing (except, I should note, some of his posts on religion and the American founding), with the only difference between that thing as he wrote it last night, and that thing as he wrote it in the past, is that he’s now given up all pretense of saying anything substantial (remember when his posts were all elision and quotes, obliquely glancing at a point without ever actually getting there? now he just mows headlong into not getting there). And he does most of it to score points and raise hell. If you want that on the front page, that’s fine. Jaybird and I have had this conversation before, and I’m perfectly fine with people disagreeing. I’m just airing my view, which is that of one regular commenter, and nothing more.

                      I also would be opposed to banning Tim, and I don’t really have a problem with him posting on the front page, even if I think he’s almost always talking out of his ass. I have no problem with Mike, except that he’s from Louisville (that’s a joke, I have no real problem with Louisville, it’s a lovely city to look at as you drive down I-65 towards Munfordsville). I wouldn’t want them to ban you either, and I do read your posts.

                      There is, in fact, a liberal blogger here who I think belongs on the front page only slightly more than Tom, which is sort of like saying Rebecca Black’s “Friday” is only slightly less awful than Lisa Gail Allred’s “Three Second Rule” (if you don’t know it, get thee to YouTube). I don’t go after him like I do Tom because I haven’t really paid much attention to him (he doesn’t comment much except on his own posts, and I pay much more attention to comments than the posts of most of this blog’s authors), but I will say that I thought partisan politics wasn’t really what this blog was about; that’s why Erik created an entirely separate blog to write about it himself, isn’t it? I will note that I thought partisan point-scoring on the topic of Treyvon Martin was about as disgusting as anything Bob Cheeks ever said, though.

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                    • Rufus, I think this is a bit of a mischaracterization of what’s going on. Tim isn’t an embarrassment to this cite, in my view anyway. On the contrary. He advances and articulates actual arguments in support of his views; he opens up the discussion to opposing evidence, accepts it, responds to it, either concedes it or disputes it. Mike D also isn’t an embarrassment to the site. He presents, argues, disputes, etc, in a constructive way by addressing relevant criticisms or counter-arguments. That’s all good. It’s also what doesn’t occur in posts and comments by TVD. I also disagree with a prior view expressed about (apparently) Elias. I think he does good work as well – arguing, presenting evidence, fairly responding to criticisms, etc etc.

                      I don’t have any deep insights into what the hell should happen at this site. It’s not my site, for one thing. But I also have no idea how these types of issues should be resolved. One thing is clear to me tho: TVD doesn’t argue in good faith. Because he doesn’t argue at all. He’s doing something else, something which isn’t conducive to debate or dialogue or civility. Which is ironic, since those are the failings he consistently levels against his critics.

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                    • Also, Rufus, some liberals have been banned as well. It seems to me two such people have been banned in my memory. So the politics part drops out. It’s something else.

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                    • oh no no, but because of how he expresses his opinions, etc. etc. After him would be Mike, although nobody seems to get mad at him, which is good for me because, if it’s not clear by now, I’d be next in line

                      No, I am next in line. I have already been told that I get a pass on a lot of things because I’m not American, and that if I were, there would be more push-back against the things I said.

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                    • I was quite opposed to the whole Bob fiasco but let’s not ignore that Bob (Cheeky provocateur that he was) was always about half way daring/pleading to be censored or banned in much of what he wrote. He always needled people in a manner that suggested a desire for martyrdom (My best to the Missus Bob if you still are reading).

                      FWIW I personally think that Tom’s presence as a front pager has merit. I don’t like what he writes but I think there’s value in him writing it and (especially) in seeing what he writes torn apart in the comments that follow his posts. Yes Tom’s tone and especially his debating style is evasive and infuriating but again I really feel that having him here, expressing his view in the way he does and then seeing it debated and disassembled has value. Also occasionally Tom does make points and he’s a reliable conservative voice which is awfully useful.

                      Additionally I think that having Tom present and posting helps toughen the community against any danger of creeping group think. If by keeping him around and having him annoy us and demonstrate his brand of conservative style we inoculate ourselves against the urge to start exorcising more rational, thoughtful and honest conservative members of the league; well; that’s some significant utility.

                      I’d note that other than the occasional one liner comment calling him a troll or uncivil yelling I’ve seen very little response that has been beyond the pale to my lights. I say let Tom stay, let him speak and let the commentariate tear him (politely) apart for as long as Tom has the stones to do it and endure the response (and the commentariate the creativity and vinegar to keep paying attention to him).

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                    • The “who has the thinner skin” arguments between TVD yelling that he does and the usual suspects who scream that, no, they do is one of my least favorite arguments here.

                      You’re *BOTH* right.

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                    • Rufus, if you’re still reading, though I haven’t read much of his stuff, I would be virulently opposed to banning Tim or revoking his authorship privileges. HOLY CRAP, has that REALLY been suggested? In our limited interactions, Tim and I RARELY disagree. But we have had FANTASTIC conversations, ones I still ruminate on because of the way they appropriately challenged my own thoughts while also allowing space for me to challenge his. So, my opposition to Tom has nothing to do with his ideology.

                      I should also say that

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                    • Ugh, got cut off…

                      I should also say that if someone like Kimmi were afforded the platform that Tom was, I would likewise be raising some issues with it. And our worldviews, as far as I understand Kimmi’s (which is hard, given the crap she spews most of the time) are much, much more similar than they are different. Again, methodology, not ideology.

                      It should also be noted (and I’m directing this at Murali as well) is that Tom has a history with many of us from previous blogs. I wouldn’t and don’t expect you to know or understand this, but realize that there are some longstanding issues at play that transcend the LoOG.

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                    • It should also be noted (and I’m directing this at Murali as well) is that Tom has a history with many of us from previous blogs

                      I was there too remember? I just don’t think that what happened before should matter.

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                    • Murali-
                      I didn’t realize you were there. My apologies. Did you use the same name? Nonetheless…

                      I absolutely think it DOES matter. Especially if we follow through on your family analogy. If you wanted to bring someone into my family that I had a history with but I accepted nonetheless, and then that history repeated itself, I’d sure as hell say, “There is a clear pattern here.”

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                    • So, I went out last night and did stuff and now I’m back. Lemme see here. Chris, it wasn’t intended to much as a response to just you as something I’d been meaning to say recently and this seemed like a decent place to put it. The same conversation seemed to be going on on a couple threads.

                      In regards to Tim, I understand that you guys aren’t talking about revoking his posting privileges and didn’t before, but I also distinctly remember at one point commenters saying he was a great shame and embarrassment to the site. Actually, that sort of backhanded compliment: “This is such a great site, and this one person in bringing it all down” is less compelling to me because I’ve heard variations of it about more than one person here. Murali’s right- sorry I forgot him there.

                      As for y’all’s issues with Tom, of course politics comes into it. You can say it’s not all about politics and I’d probably agree, but don’t kid yourself that Tom being the League Republican doesn’t factor in. Note Tod’s post at the top now about gay marriage. It’s not much more substantive and certainly no less provocative than anything Tom posts. But, does it bug me? Or you? Or any of us? No- because we agree with it. I mean, if he’d just posted: “On gay marriage, Republicans are bigots,” it wouldn’t have gotten a rise out of me. But, if Tom had posted anything comparable, I’d be ready to argue. Why? Because I’m not a Republican.

                      For me, Tom’s contributions here fall into two categories: 1. empty and rather puerile provocation, and 2. expressions of standard Republican ideas, usually in a flip style. I’d say his OJ post was the former and this post was the latter. At any rate, I usually respond to the latter with a shrug of the shoulders, as I did with this post. But, it seems to me that three or four of you respond to pretty much all of his posts the same way- usually by telling us what great shame he’s brought to the site and what an embarrassment it is that we don’t kick him off.

                      I think my big question therefore is, if there are some of us who don’t really have a problem with Tom posting here and find posts like this one at least interesting, and there are some of you who vehemently have a problem with Tom being here, should your vote be weighted more heavily than ours?

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                    • I think my big question therefore is, if there are some of us who don’t really have a problem with Tom posting here and find posts like this one at least interesting, and there are some of you who vehemently have a problem with Tom being here, should your vote be weighted more heavily than ours?

                      Nope.

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                    • Rufus,

                      Of course nobody’s vote weighs more (except Erik’s, and, if he wishes, other FPers). But I find it amazing that you could say his contributions fall into two categories, “1. empty and rather puerile provocation, and 2. expressions of standard Republican ideas, usually in a flip style,” and still think he adds value to the League.

                      For my part, it’s his persistent refusal to engage in sincere debate that is what makes him such a drag to have around. Look above–he consistently refuses to actually engage on issues he says he’s willing to engage in. His posts are all either puerile or flip repetitions of talking points because that’s all the man can do. For a while he got by on making oblique references to big name thinkers, but he never actually got into discussing how their ideas really apply, so he couldn’t really build and sustain an argument by referencing them; it was all just name-dropping.

                      No, my vote doesn’t weigh more than yours. But there’s been no vote, so that’s not yet an issue to be concerned with. If there ever were to be a vote, I hope you’d think seriously about what value comes from a guy who contributes nothing but puerile instigation, standard talking points, and name-dropping, and who cannot actually sustain an in-depth intelligent debate. Is that really the standard you personally would set for the League?

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                  • Ryan:

                    It is amusing to see you call out TVD as a troll so easily but you seemed quite content to let Kimmi act worse in other threads. If TVD is going to be booted then shouldn’t Kimmi be as well?

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                    • That’s a good point, but not in my mind the decisive one. I don’t think FPers necessarily ought to be held to a higher standard of discourse on every measure. No, the Problem of Tom is that he’s dishonest. I don’t think he thinks he’s dishonest, which is a big part of the problem here. It seems to me he thinks he’s playing by the rules. That’s why Chris’s take on it is important, and my responses to Tom trollery are pretty stupid. He may be trolling, and he may even be aware he’s trolling, but he thinks it’s the way the game is played. From his pov, he’s doing what everyone else does. So when I (or anyone) respond to his trollery as the trollery it is, he thinks he’s been successful. Not because the trollery has been called out, but because he can’t distinguish between argument and disagreement.

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                    • TVD is a front page author. Kimmi is a commenter. Different standards apply.

                      Yes, different standards apply, just not in the way you think they do. We should be giving TVD more allowance in virtue of him being a front-pager. Being a front-pager, he is like family and you give family that allowance. Seriously talking about kicking out TVD is kind of like seriously talking about disowning the irritating brother. You do not call family a waste of space. At least not where I come from.

                      Let me make this very clear. Questioning why TVD is a front pager, asking why he bothers to write, etc crosses a line. Mr Van Dyke may not be on the best of behaviour. It may even be that he often resorts to emotionally loaded language while at the same time criticising others from using it. He may write things in a style that is deliberately aimed at provoking a reaction.(I’ve done that before as well). He may even tend to link to obviously partisan hacks as though they were serious people Some or even all of the stuff may be problematic, but none of them crosses the line. None of them directly threatens to fracture the community that we have built here.

                      Questions as to the fitness of a front-pager to be a front-pager directly threaten the unity of the league in a way any number of the things TVD has done do not, no matter how aggravating the things he does may be. If you find something he says problematic a “Dude! not Classy!” works just as well without being all about kicking TVD out.

                      For a moment, just stop and think how horrible some front pager must actually be in order to be kicked out. His behaviour to date has not been that bad.

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                    • Murali-

                      I respectfully disagree. Posting is a privilege here. With the privilege comes a certain responsibility. Tom has repeatedly failed to wield that responsibility appropriately. And, FWIW, I have never called for TVD being banned. I have simply asked for a review of his privilege as a front pager and a more broad explanation of the way in which FPers are chosen. Of course, I am not entitled to all these things. But when you have regular commenters saying, “Seriously, WTF? I’m being personally attacked by a main author here who subsequently hides behind the commenting policy? F this noise,” you’ve got a real problem on your hands.

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                    • We should be giving [X] more allowance in virtue of him being a front-pager.

                      That’s a rather perverse argument, regardless of who you’re talking about. Once you’re in, you get to be less serious and more rude? Since it’s the FPers who set the tone for a blog, that’s a recipe for sending a blog into a downward spiral.

                      On a single-author blog it’s fine, assuming the blogger accepts what he creates. But on a blog that’s seriously striving to be better than that, this makes no sense at all. This should not be taken as a comment on the OP or the person who is the subject of this thread–it is a comment only on Murali’s logic.

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                    • I believe I overspoke when I said I would ban Tom. I wouldn’t really kick him out of here, as I don’t think that’s very productive. I would, however, either remove his front page privileges or sit him down for a looooooong talk. The notion that our “unity” isn’t already fractured by his behavior strikes me as kind of wishful thinking.

                      I do regret not coming down harder on Kimmi for her antics as well.

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                    • FWIW, I have never called for TVD being banned. I have simply asked for a review of his privilege as a front pager and a more broad explanation of the way in which FPers are chosen.

                      When I say kicked out, I mean kicked out from that semi-exclusive club of being a front pager, not banned. Although, if I were demoted from the front page, it would likely be too shameful for me to show my face ever again. So, forcible removal of FP priveleges might as well be banning. There would just be so much loss of face.

                      But when you have regular commenters saying, “Seriously, WTF? I’m being personally attacked by a main author here who subsequently hides behind the commenting policy? F this noise,” you’ve got a real problem on your hands.

                      AFAIK, its not TVD’s style to start with personal attacks in the comments section. It is certainly not his style to have personal attacks in his posts. TVD’s style is to make broad statements that buy into partisan memes, some or even many of which may have an ugly underbelly. TVD rarely goes for the personal attack, he prefers the broadside which will be broadly offensive. Now, it may be the case that my eyes just skipped all the personal attacks. Or it may be that TVD’s personal attacks are so oblique and veiled that someone who is not perfectly familiar with the nuances of american vernacular would miss it. But I doubt that this is the case.

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                    • TVD rarely goes for the personal attack, he prefers the broadside which will be broadly offensive.

                      Read the response to Nob at comment 1 in this thread – currently #30. Read the response to my comment 2 in this thread – #3 and my response to that #4. I think you’ll see personal attacks there. It’s hard to come into a thread late and see the progression of comments – they lump in terms of responses and aren’t linear on a time line.

                      Part of my reaction to Tom at 4 was because of his response to Nob’s comment at 1. I won’t say any more than that, but read them. In sequence. And you’ll get a different picture of what transpired here, and that Tom does in fact engage in personal attack. By my lights, his first two comments on this thread were personal attacks. Now, I might deserve some flack. But Nob? In that context?

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                    • Murali-
                      Tom called me an idiot once, completely unprovoked. I’ve been called worse and can handle such nonsense from nobodies like him, but let’s not pretend such things haven’t and don’t happen when he is the one behind the keyboard.
                      I understand you are attempting to take a more reasoned approach to a very hot button issue and, generally speaking, appreciate you when you do this. But Tom has proven impervious to reason and everything else people have done to try to change the tenor and tone of their dialogues with him. Sticks don’t work, carrots don’t work, ignoring him doesn’t work, going directly at him doesn’t work, “99” doesn’t work… nothing work because he is a deliberate provocateur who looks to unsettle the status quo just for the sake of doing so. He wants to watch the LoOG burn, largely because he perceives the broader mindset here that is not in complete alignment with his worldview as some sort of oppressive regime which he is righteously combatting by any means necessary.
                      It is amazing just how far from reality he has slipped.

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                    • it is a comment only on Murali’s logic

                      I must be slipping. :-) That’s the second time you’ve commented about my logic recently.

                      That’s a rather perverse argument, regardless of who you’re talking about. Once you’re in, you get to be less serious and more rude? Since it’s the FPers who set the tone for a blog, that’s a recipe for sending a blog into a downward spiral.

                      Possibly. The thing is, I take the family analogy very seriously. To extend the analogy, giving someone front-page privielges is like adopting that person into the family. When you adopt someone, it is totally legitimate to make sure that the person you are adopting meets certain standards of character etc. No one wants to adopt a kid with delinquency problems. However, once adopted, if a kid does subsequently develop delinquency issues, that doesn’t mean you throw the kid back into the orphanage. You try to work things out. And you don’t even as a rhetorical move threaten to throw the kid back into the orphanage if he doesnt change.

                      In a number of ways, you guys know me as well or better than RL friends and relatives. That means that you guys are important to me and therefore warrant more forgiveness than I would offer a total stranger. I ask this, in the spirit of familiality: Stop Fighting! Please!

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                    • Murali,

                      I don’t think it’s a family, as much as a constructed voluntary community, but let me run with your example. There is a person who is very closely related to me who engaged in a series of actions designed (consciously or not) to damage my relationship with my children. Objections had no effect, but a threat to deny any and all contact with my kids did, and to this day I allow that person to have only minimal contact with me. My kids are happier, I’m happier, and my relationship with them is unstrained. So my take is that a family member has a responsibility to hold to a particular level of behavior, and that if they don’t, and their behavior threatens the well-being of the rest of the family, threats of expulsion–as a last resort, following moral suasion and verbal reprimands–may be necessary. Not only have I had no regrets about the action I took, I have no doubts that the action was necessary for the emotional well-being of my kids.

                      As I said, this is an intentional voluntary community–a standard has been proclaimed. Those who are the most public face of the community have the greatest responsibility for maintaining that standard. If they don’t, it’s appropriate to take whatever responses are necessary to ensure the standard is maintained. Expulsion/banishment will normally be an over-reaction if it is the first step (although the quick expulsion of one particular liberal FPer was wholly appropriate), but if lesser measures fail, it is appropriate.

                      Again, though, commenting only on your comment, not on the particular case under discussion here.

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                    • Mr Van Dyke may not be on the best of behaviour. It may even be that he often resorts to emotionally loaded language while at the same time criticising others from using it. He may write things in a style that is deliberately aimed at provoking a reaction[…] He may even tend to link to obviously partisan hacks as though they were serious people

                      Murali, no offense, but if I ever come under this kind of attack, don’t feel obligated to defend me.

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                    • I appreciate the various people that argue the point “what Erik intended when he started” about who should be on or off the island, or have this status or that status. It’s a good enough sentiment, especially since Erik has succeeded in making something so special. But I’d say part of Erik’s genius is that he made something that continually evolves; the League is not static. And so the question that one might choose to ask is, what kind of sight do we want to evolve into being? All of our answers might differ, but here’s mine:

                      When I think of what I love about the League, there are two things in particular that I cherish: the diversity of thought in the writing, and the spirit of community. There are quite a few sites that offer the former, and far more that offer the latter, but none to my mind that succeeds at both as well as this joint.

                      The diversity, of course, is paramount. To say that I don’t agree with much that Tom writes would be a classic understatement; and I recognize that’s not exactly a unilateral sentiment. For that matter, I don’t agree all that much with Tim. Or Murali. Or to be more precise, I don’t think I agree much at first blush, before I engage with them. For me, one of the joys of this site is being able to make connections and find commonalities with people that at first seem so diametrically opposed from myself. If you asked me after my first day here who I would most likely never, ever agree on anything, it would have been Jason – hands down. As it turns out, it’s been gratifying to learn over time how little he and I disagree about; these days I’d describe us as two people trying to reach the exact same place on very different roads.

                      For us to begin saying, “you can be a conservative, but you can’t be that kind of conservative”… or “you can be liberal, but you can’t be that kind of liberal” …. or to say you can believe this if you are a commenter, but not a writer … or to say if you disagree with me, I will delete your comments… these things don’t make us stronger, they make us more common. You really disagree with something someone here believes? My best advice is to consider it a gift to be able to talk to them about where each of you is coming from – it’s a gift that you too seldom get these days.

                      But a cohesive community is just as important. Tom (and others) like to say these days that Bob was banned because of his views. But that’s wrong and misses the point. Aside from the fact that he wasn’t actually banned, it’s important to note that Bob’s welcome wasn’t worn out because his opinions were “edgy.” It was worn out because for whatever reasons over time his primary reason for coming to the site wasn’t to make certain kinds of arguments, it was to disrupt the community. His swan song, that women can’t think and shouldn’t be allowed on the site because of their inherent intellectual lacking, I would wager wasn’t something he even believed. It was simply an attempt to fish with the community, and I suspect for no other reason than to see if he could fish with it. I’d say to anyone that had decided they didn’t want to be here, “why the hell are you here?”

                      To everyone on all sides that is constantly involved in all of this hubublaoo, I’d ask what you’d like this site to evolve into. Maybe the things you like about the League are the same as me, but maybe it’s different. In any case, I’d ask if you think continuing this gets us closer or farther to that vision. If you think none of this applies to you, fair enough. No need to argue. If you think it might, then to quote JB, be that change you want to see.

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                    • Scott,
                      a note: when you bitch at me for not being “gentlemanly” enough, I do take your concerns seriously, and respond to them as such. I’ve yet to see such from Tom — seems to degenerate into hollering from all sides.

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                    • Tod-
                      One of my favorite things about the league is the opportunity to really deeply engage with folks that think differently and are coming from wildly different life experiences. Outside of work, pretty much everyone I interact with on a social basis are within a year or two of me in age. Probably 3/4 of them grew up within an hour of a set of three specific cities. Most are of similar ideological mindsets. All but one of us are currently childless. We’re all straight. Most of us are white. (I have many folks in my larger circles who break these molds, but I’m talking about the folks I’m most likely to belly up to the bar with for a beer.)
                      But I come here and I can talk with Hanley who probably has 10 or 15 years on me and hails from the Midwest (I think, right?). I can talk with the good doctor, who is not only a doctor, but is gay, has kids, and also probably a decade or more older than I (apologies if I’ve mischaracterized your age!). There is Murali, from half a world away, whom I don’t even understand sometimes but who is always civil, engaging, and thoughtful in his discourse. JB has invited me to do some guest posts on his subblog and despite some indication that we might share some demographic similarities, he is a comic book guy and a gamer and I’m a jock. Though our interactions have been few and far between, I would say an exchange I had with Tim (about Muslims and “branding”) was probably the single best example of what the LoOG was about. That is what I *LOVE* about the League. I hate echo chambers. Hearing a bunch of people affirm what I already know/think/believe doesn’t get me anywhere. As a teacher, I know that we only grow when we are challenged. Here at the league, I enjoy being challenged. But for challenges to be fruitful, they must be conquerable (Zone of Proximal Development anyone?!?!?!). Why I object to Tom (and why I objected to Cheeks and why I’ll probably start objecting to Kimmi) is because the challenges they pose aren’t conquerable. And I don’t mean “conquerable” in terms of winning the argument. I mean in terms of being able to survive the challenge and come out the other side stronger. This might happen by challenging ones convictions only to have them ultimately strengthened or by completely turning them over or anywhere in between. I simply don’t feel this happens with Tom. And, yes, I know, better to ignore it. And I know part of my personal growth will be evident when I can do that. But it is maddening to see a place that has been so impactful repeatedly have holes poked in it because someone seems to delight in irking others.

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      • let’s free TVD so he can go on to greater stardom in the wingutosphere and beyond. outside goal of reviving his tv career on fox. he can play the mean ol’ libruls silenced me victim.

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  9. The only thing I don’t really understand in this post is your critique of Bush. Surely you don’t think that the real problem voters had with him was that he was too much like a Democrat with the “compassionate conservatism” stuff. I mean, people criticized him about a ton of things, but I don’t remember the main one being that he was too much of a compassionate conservative or was too free with social spending. I think most people assume that “compassionate conservatism” was just a campaign slogan that didn’t really amount to much.

    So, are you saying that Republicans blame Bush for compassionate conservatism? I’m going to guess that, if you looked at the areas where Bush dramatically increased spending, they’d be weighted more towards the guns than the butter side of the equation. But, from the post, it sounds more like your criticism of Bush is just that he didn’t cut spending, but still got bashed by critics in spite of all his “compassionate conservatism,” so he’d have been better off cutting more spending or being more hard line in general. In fact, you seem to be saying that the path to victory for Republicans is to be increasingly hard line, which frankly sounds to me like an alcoholic saying his life will improve if he can just start drinking more booze. But, we’ll see. Maybe it’ll work.

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    • It would be instructive to go back to the comments of a long-defunct blog and dig up what a certain conservative commentator thought of George W. Bush while still in office.

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    • The biggest complaints I hear about Bush from conservatives (as I remember) are about Medicare Part D.
      There are a sizable number still upset about the Patriot Act, but those tend to be the ones with strong libertarian leanings.
      No Child Left Behind tends to be hated by the Left, but the Right seems to embrace it still.
      Conservative complaints about Bush’s spending tend to come from the Tea Party types.

      I’ll have to think a bit more about that.

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  10. How much data would it take for Tom (and/or people like him) to accept that Republicans love huge government, love huge deficits, and love irresponsibility, they just love it differently?

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  11. Pingback: On Dick Lugar - Big Tent Revue

  12. What is a “country club” Republican?  I know what a country club is and I know what a Republican is and I’m sure many Republicans frequent country clubs, but I honestly don’t know what that term is supposed to say about the individual.

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    • It basically means rich white dudes who are fiscally conservative but less socially conservative. Tom’s use of it here is meant to mean something a bit different, which is to say, it’s a stand in for Republican in Name Only or, as he puts it, “Democrat-lite.”

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    • My understanding is that the term is meant to depict a GOP elected official who has betrayed party principles in order to be invited to the country club. It’s a phrase used by the TP to say that the only reason the GOP looks as corrupt and ineffective as its counterpart is because the Republican party is run by people who aren’t real Republicans.

      It’s kind of like how the leftists of the early Reagan era used to argue that the only reason Communism wasn’t working in countries were it was being used was that those Communists just didn’t believe enough.

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      • It’s actually a pretty old term. Traditionally, it’s meant about what Chris says: a staid, somewhat stodgy, rich guy of the type that belongs to a country club and, above all, values stability of the social order. If this means turning a bit of a blind eye to things that aren’t entirely “conservative,” so be it- order and stability are more important to them than ideological purity.

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        • If so, it seems silly to use that as a term of derision, if it was indeed used that way here (it’s becoming impossible to know what certain words mean when certain folks use them). Agree or not, I see little reason to offer blanket criticism for a system of prioritizing. Sure, we can debate whether someone who fits that definition is a “true conservative”. But if we equate not being a true conservative (or a true liberal or a blankety blank) as being wholly deserving of derision, we’ve pretty much shut down all conversation except amongst those who do fit the definition.

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          • I don’t think it’s really a term of derision.
            Not any more that SoCon, deficit hawk, or any of the other terms that could be used to describe various factions of their coalition.
            It’s more of a term defining the boundaries of their strategic alliance, as I take it.

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    • at best, it’s a syn for Rockefeller Republican

      at normal, it means a republican who will compromise (like hatch)

      at worst, it means anyone who’s been blackmailed this month.

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  13. here is TVD’s giveaway: “That the Republicans suck is an article of faith, the de rigeur starting point for most LoOG discussions.”
    it’s always projection.

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  14. I’m a fan of Luger (my former Senator) because he is as responsible as anyone for promoting the securing of loose nuclear material.

    In response to this, my mom (who voted for his opponent, Mourdock) said, “but what’s he done lately?”

    My response was, “I don’t really care; there’s nought else that matters as much.”

    For those asking about NW Indiana (“The Region,” as they pretentiously call it), it’s important to keep in mind that it’s Democratic, but not very liberal. And so Mourdock might be in for a tough race against a Democratic opponent, Donelly, who’s been described as a “pro-gun, pro-life, pro-Keystone pipeline, anti-illegal immigration and anti-climate change legislation Blue Dog.” A poll from March 20 showed Donnelly with a 6 point lead over Mourdock, so a Democratic win is plausible, although obviously not yet predictable. The same poll showed Donelly getting trounced by Luger, so again we see the problem the Tea Partiers are creating for their home party.

    I didn’t bother trying to explain that to my mom.

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  15. Since this comment thread seems to have become yet another referendum on TVD, I might as well weigh in. (What the world would do without my opinion, I’ll never know.)

    Lord knows, I disagree with Tom about put near everything. But on those rare occasions when he chooses to comment on something I’ve written, it often exposes me to a viewpoint different from my own that’s important for me to hear. I’ve learned things from what he’s said, and have even found out that I was wrong about something on an occasion or two. I would be very sorry to see him go.

    This post was not his best work. I am having a little bit of trouble with his saying something as obviously provocative as “I wouldn’t give you two cents for the rest of the world combined over the United States of America” and then feigning irritation when people choose to discuss it. It’s as though someone were to take the stage to recite Shakespeare’s sonnets, then suddenly drop trou and take a massive dump in front of everyone, and respond to cries of protest from the audience by telling them to focus on the beautiful words of sonnet 116. You can’t say something like that and then politely remind them that the post is about Lugar, dammit. Defend what you said or don’t, but please let’s not pretend the objections to what was written are invalid.

    However, he makes me a better thinker, and I’d prefer to have him stay.

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  16. Sorry, everybody, I was busy yesterday—did I miss anything?

    [NB: No Democrats were harmed in the posting of the post except Ted Kennedy a bit, who is dead.]

    On a related note, this op-ed caught my eye, the money quote being “The reaction to my blog post ranged from puerile to vitriolic. ”

    The problem remains the same as it was 2500 years ago with that hemlock guy. Anyone who believes in human progress is a fool.

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    • Dude, you should read her blog post. The response was too much “fucking troll” for my taste, but she deserved a good skewering for what she wrote. And she got it. Unfortunately, I think because of the “fucking troll” people, she will be incapable of actually reflecting on what was wrong about her post. Oh well, that’s not uncommon.

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      • As a grad student in the final lap of the PhD, if someone attacked my dissertation based on a description of a few sentences they’d read somewhere without bothering to ask me for a sample chapter, talk to my adviser, or just ask me a few questions about it, I’d think she was a fishing asshole. My response would be pretty detailed and very public, if only to push back against this generational mentality that getting the “gist” of a topic by reading a paragraph or two on the Internet is just as good as actually doing the real work of research before you hold forth on the topic like you’re an authority. Do I think she should have been kicked off a blog for doing the same sort of lazy-ass griping that most of us do in private? No. 95% of blogging is talking out your ass anyway. But, then again, I don’t think the Chronicle of Higher Education exactly fosters a serious discussion about the academy by having a blog in the first place.

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        • Yes, Rufus, I’m having this discussion privately with an academician of my acquaintance and my point is rather yours. That 6500 academicians took the time to call for her firing is the part that’s lacks all sense of proportion.

          I’ll also add that I’m familiar with the trivia that passes for dissertation, as is my private correspondent, and he agrees it’s often not history, but booklength footnotes to history. Likely, the criticism is correct: I noted I’d like a copy so I could mock it more authoritatively.

          And of course, lost in all this is her relevant point for readers of the Chronicle, that what passes for PhD work is often either trivia or partisan screed [the attack on John McWhorter]. The 6500 circled the wagons and fired off “puerile and vitriolic” counterattack instead of, um, giving her a liberal and open-minded hearing. They could and should have learned something.

          But so it goes.

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          • Her post was comically incompetent and indefensible…i really truly mean that. Her post was shite. Should she have been fired, i don’t know and i don’t really care. She made a massive claim based on minimal readings of incomplete works of students. Ridiculous. If you make a big claim, you better be able to back it up. There was nothing to hear in what she said, since she had nothing to base her claim on.

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          • There is a major flaw in the Anglo-American style of dissertation, in my opinion, in that one is required to put forth a supposedly new interpretation no matter what the topic of the dissertation is, and then prove that one’s new interpretation makes previous ones obsolete. You’re supposed to disagree with the people who came before you in the dissertation, which forces people to turn their research on an interesting topic into a position that they’re arguing against someone else. I think it’s fine for what it is, but more than a bit forced in many cases.

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            • That’s why science rocks. In order to write my dissertation, I just had to do experiments. In fact, when a couple experiments in a research line were coming out as we’d predicted, my advisor said, “Alright, let’s use these for your dissertation.” I then had to do 3 more experiments, but I would have done them anyway. The only real difference between a dissertation and writing it up for an academic journal was then the research review and a bit more detail on the methodology and statistical analysis (I had to talk about power analysis — no one talks about power analysis in psych journals, though that’s probably a problem).

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              • Ditto this. My dissertation research developed out of the literature on cooperation, and we developed a computer simulation to look at what types of parameters promoted or inhibited the evolution of cooperative behavior in our sims. We didn’t have to try to refute anyone, just add something new to what had come before.

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        • Right, I think firing her was a bit extreme if it was just for this offense (I’ve never read anything else by her). But condemning an entire discipline based on a few sentences of a few dissertations is pretty much the height of intellectual irresponsibility.

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