Balkinization  

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Dead in the Water

Gerard N. Magliocca

The President's legislative agenda, that is.  Fresh from its reelection, the Administration faces the very real prospect that it will get nothing significant through Congress this year (or next).  Remember gun control?  That went nowhere.  Immigration reform?  On ice in the House of Representatives.  A big budget deal?  Nope.  Climate change legislation?  Forget it.

So what happened?  Maybe this is Sandy's dysfunctional Constitution at work.  Maybe it is the problem the bedevils most presidents in their second term--they lose clout because they are lame ducks.  I think, though, that there are a few special factors at work now that were not present for prior presidents.

1.  The 2010 Gerrymander:  Republicans did very well in the midterm elections.  More important, they did very well in a year that determined congressional redistricting and that was loaded with elections for governors in big states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin).  This was an odd conjunction that (I think) was unprecedented.  The result is that the subsequent redistricting was very favorable to the GOP.  Even though Democrats received more votes in congressional races nationwide in 2012, the Republicans held the chamber.  Nobody seems to think that Democrats have a chance of doing better in 2014.  Thus, the House has a greater margin to resist presidential leadership.

2.  The Senate filibuster:  The view that it takes 60 votes to get any significant (non-budget) legislation through the Senate is now a widely accepted norm.  That was not true (except for civil rights laws) until  the Bush 43 Administration.  This, of course, makes it much harder to get things passed.

3.  Chief Justice Roberts' opinion in The Health Care Cases:  If you look at what the Chief did in Sebelius, one could conclude that he saved the Republican majority in the House and some Senate seats.  I tend to think that a decision striking down the Affordable Care Act would have energized the President's supporters and given him a powerful issue in the campaign.  You can make the opposite argument, of course, and I'm not sure history offers any clear guidance on that question.  But it's something that I'm looking into.

Comments:

Gerard:

What gerrymanders? The GOP won a landslide with the last Democrat drawn districts and would have done so again with those same districts in 2012. The Democrats are disproportionately an urban and minority party which is geographically concentrated and thus is at an inherent disadvantage under any geographic districting system.

The reason that the Democrats cast a majority of ballots in 2012, but handily lost the house is that their turnout was restricted to largely urban and minority districts and Team Obama successfully suppressed roughly 6 million white votes from the remaining largely GOP districts with the most expensive negative campaign in history.

The President is not enacting his agenda for two reasons.

First, none Obama's policies of immigration amnesty, firearm restrictions, GHG cap and tax, and more taxing, borrowing and spending can muster even plurality support among voters. The President has never convinced the dogs to eat his dog food.

Second, unlike nearly every one of his predecessors, Obama has not even attempted to lobby and swing opposition lawmakers to form coalitions to support his legislation. Instead, Obama generally tours the country to attack and ridicule the opposition. This may work in Chicago community agitating, but it does not pass legislation.
 

I don't agree. A Democratic gerrymander in 2010 could have easily fragmented GOP voters in many large states to maximize their number of seats. It is uncommon for a party to win the House while getting fewer total votes in all House races.
 

Gerard:

The existing districts in the 2010 Midwest and PA were Democrat gerrymanders snaking out from their urban strongholds into the suburbs and rural areas.

I don't see how The Dems could have made it any worse for the GOP in 2012 if the voters had not fired over 600 Democrat governors and legislators in 2010.

The GOP does not need to gerrymander (create unusually shaped districts across areas of interest to gather Democrat voters) because the Democrats are already in nice neat compact urban and minority districts.
 

Once a President demonstrates that he will not enforce any part of a law he disapproves of, legislative compromise becomes impossible. Maybe you should take that into account, too.
 

Once legislative leaders demonstrate that their sole purpose is to obstruct the President because of his race, you can expect the executive to ignore it. One clear line in the sand is the debt limit, the President will continue to incur debt over the limit without the approval of Congress. That only takes 34 votes.
 

The legislature is ENTITLED to thwart the President, whose constitutional duty is to "see the law faithfully executed", not "to implement his policy objectives regardless of whether or not the legislature enacts them".

Your race card is overdrawn.

But the point remains: Compromise of any sort is fundamentally reliant on trust. Once the President abrogates to himself the power to decide which laws, and which parts of the law, will and will not be enforced, there can be no more legislative give and take, because the opposing party knows that nothing they gain in negotiations will actually be delivered.
 

Non-enforcement, including prosecutoral discretion, has been an executive prerogative, at least in practice, for quite some time.

Obama's moves there is not the basis to the intransigence and position cited by the OP (written by someone who has stated in the past he leans Republican) in #2.

I also don't think it is because of his race. That's something a minority (ha) latches on to, but if he was white as the driven snow, something else would be used.
 

Joe:

Obama waiving several provisions of Obamacare, immigration and tax laws for political supporters is not prosecutorial discretion in any meaning of that term.

Caesarism and corruption come to mind, but not prosecutorial discretion.
 

Team Obama successfully suppressed roughly 6 million white votes per Mr. DePalma.

I cannot leave this unchallenged. Your link writes: "If these white voters had decided to vote" -- not a word about suppression.

Compare this with blatant attempts to suppress Democratic voters, such as reducing the days that voting would be available in Ohio, voter ID requirements in PA that were supposed to turn the state to Romney according to their chairman (and that in the absence of actual documented voter fraud), and numerous other attempts to reduce the Democratic voter franchise.

And we haven't forgotten Florida in 2000, throwing many eligible voters from largely Democratic demographics off the voter rolls.

Mr. DePalma is once again redefining a term, in this case "suppression", to push a false view. Negative advertising does not suppress votes. Acts by the state to reduce the franchise, or by officious and frightening men in suits like the pre-judicial Rehnquist, suppress votes. I don't know if he is blind or cynical here, but his misrepresentation should not stand.

(... and still waiting on an honest discussion from him about his explicitly anti-pollster prediction that Romney would win big in 2012.)
 

I don't know if he is blind or cynical here, but his misrepresentation should not stand.

# posted by Blogger Larry Koenigsberg : 3:33 PM


He's a lying sack of shit. Glad I could help.
 

"the Democrats are disproportionately an urban and minority party which is geographically concentrated and thus is at an inherent disadvantage under any geographic districting system."

Only in a 'geographic districting system which does not use where people are in the geography as the basis for its districts. People vote, not geography. Districts should be worried about having more or less equal distributions of the people, not geographical lines.

As Mr. Magliocca notes it is unusual, and inherently fishy, to have a party win the House while having a minority of votes cast for the House.

"Team Obama successfully suppressed roughly 6 million white votes"

I'm not sure if it is more sad or funny that a defender of a party which is actively engaged in trying to suppress the vote through actual restrictive voting policy changes in many states is complaining of the Obama campaign 'suppressing' votes via...negative campaigns. And, of course, forgetting that Obama faced more negative ads than he deployed.

"Caesarism and corruption come to mind, but not prosecutorial discretion."

It seems Mr. Tushnet's "In the Weeds" post is relevant to invoke here.

 

I would have to agree that it's dubious to claim the Obama administration suppressed 6 million Republican votes. While there certainly were efforts at vote suppression, (See the admitted behavior of the IRS, which evidence suggests spread to a whole alphabet soup of agencies. They did a pretty good job at suppressing the sorts of groups which had been responsible for the Republican turnout in 2010.) a fair minded observer would attribute a good deal of the suppression of Republican votes to the Republican establishment.

The party establishment quite correctly sees the Tea Party movement as a threat to it's continued control of the Republican party. Given a choice between losing elections with establishment candidates, and winning them with Tea Party candidates, they went for the former, and got what they asked for.
 

Brett, the IRS "scandal" turned out to be a wingnut fantasy. There was no scandal. As for the GOP winning with Tea Party candidates...
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...

thanks for the best laugh I've had in a long time...




 

Brett, the IRS issues are troubling, but I doubt they had much impact on turnout given that conservative independent organizing groups spent much more in 2012 than they did in 2010. I think you've noted the better explanation: Romney, who was a terrible candidate that few were excited about. The GOP really has to get out of this 'next in line' mentality with its nominees.
 

Ah, the standard reasoning partisan Democrats like 'Bartbuster' apply:

1. There are no Democratic scandals.
2. This is about Democrats.

therefore

It is not a scandal.

I honestly think that Obama could cut somebody's throat on live TV, and a plurality of Democrats would deny that anything wrong had happened.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Larry:

Team Obama summarized its reelection startegy as "kill Romney." Their words, not mine.

They successfully sought to accomplish this by running over half a billion dollars in negative ads painting Romney as an evil plutocrat and thus alienating the white working class vote that turned out en masse to fire hundreds of Democrats at all levels of government in the previous election cycle.

The alleged GOP "voter supression" efforts of voter ID and the like sure did not diminish minority turnout.
 

Mr. W:

Districts do have roughly equal numbers of people.

Obama's election strategy of turning out the urban areas and supressing the vote everywhere else is what created the anomoly of Dems winning the total number of votes, but losing a large majority of districts. Obama lost in all the districts the GOP won.
 

Brett, the problem isn't that I don't believe that there was a scandal, the problem is that wingnut IRS employees admitted in testimony to Congress that there was no scandal. You'd know that if you occasionally ventured outside of the wingnut misinformation bubble.
 

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Team Obama summarized its reelection startegy as "kill Romney" says Mr. DePalma.

Actually this was a single anonymous purported Obama staffer as reported in Politico. That does not represent a "Team" and Mr. DePalma exaggerates magniloquently to say so.

In his falsifying advocacy he refers to negative advertising by his opponents as voter suppression. Then does Republican harping on Obama's imaginary Kenyan citizenship or imagined Muslim religion constitute voter suppression? Is taking "You didn't build it" out of its infrastructure context, voter suppression?

This is just electioneering.

On the other hand, recall Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, who said, in listing his accomplishments to a partisan Republican crowd: Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done. You can see him saying it, and hear the applause, on Youtube. A judge forestalled this chicanery, this attempted voter suppression.


And as for actual voter suppression, those who resisted it by standing in line for 8 hours were heroes. But those who left after 7 hours were suppressed.
 

Larry:

What do you believe the purpose of negative campaigning to be? To get out the vote? Negative campaigning is expressly designed to depress turnout for your opponent.

The GOP did indeed try to give as good as they got in this regard. However, Team Obama was playing three dimensional chess while Team Romney was playing checkers. The Dems were actually targeting individual voters while the GOP was doing standard ad buys for entire media areas.

Give the devils their due.

As a result, 2012 does not resemble any prior election in US history.

This is the first president with a shrinking labor force to gain reelection.

This is the first president whose signature policies were all underwater with voters to gain reelection.

This is the first president who lost millions of votes from his first election to win a second term because turnout for his opponent was even worse.

None of this happened accidentally.

Team Obama targeted the traditional white working class swing vote which has determined most elections of the past century with a campaign specially designed to keep them home. The Democrats knew they lost this demographic in 2010 and did everything they could to keep them from voting for Romney.
 

Blankshot, do you really not understand the difference between making unfair rules that will prevent people from voting (a favorite GOP tactic) and making the other candidate look bad so that people won't vote for them (aka campaigning)?

Of course you do. You're just a propaganda spewing troll.
 

This is the first president who lost millions of votes from his first election to win a second term because turnout for his opponent was even worse.

# posted by Blogger Bart DePalma : 10:37 AM


Dumbfuck, 59,948,323 people voted for McSame. 60,932,795 voted for Mittens. Only in Bartworld is 1 million more voters considered a worse turnout...
 

" the problem is that wingnut IRS employees admitted in testimony to Congress that there was no scandal."

Yeah, I'm familiar with this: Essentially, they just demonstrated that they're so far gone they can't even see that what they were doing was scandalous. "Sure, we targeted the Tea party for special attention, who wouldn't?"
 

Numbnuts, they didn't target the Tea Party, they targeted any group that appeared to be mostly political. Which, of course, is exactly what they were supposed to be doing.
 

Concern for disparate impact seems to be selective. The whole reference to the IRS thing is basically a besides the point to the OP.
 

"Obama lost in all the districts the GOP won."

Doesn't this fact along with your other one (that turnout in the GOP areas was lower then usual) really show how little Democrats are in those districts? Of course that is kind of what gerrymandering is all about...

"Negative campaigning is expressly designed to depress turnout for your opponent."

Not necessarily. It strikes me as just as likely to make someone go out and vote for the opponent of the candidate portrayed negatively.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

BD: "Obama lost in all the districts the GOP won."

Mr. W: "Doesn't this fact along with your other one (that turnout in the GOP areas was lower then usual) really show how little Democrats are in those districts? Of course that is kind of what gerrymandering is all about..."


Quite the opposite.

Gerrymandering is creating unusually shaped districts herding opposing voters into a few districts and then leaving your own voters with a narrow advantage in the remaining majority of districts.

I have yet to see proponents of a GOP gerrymander actually point out any strangely shaped gerrymandered Dem districts and, in the primarily northern districts where the working class voters stayed home, apparently the GOP has more than the narrow advantage indicative of gerrymandering.

 

"they didn't target the Tea Party, they targeted any group that appeared to be mostly political."

If by "targeted", you mean that a few groups with liberal names were subject to normal review, and passed within days, while Every Last Group with "Tea party" in their name was subject to endless, abusive questioning, sure. They were both "targeted" for wildly differing values of "targeted".
 

Of course they were, Brett. That's why the IRS employed wingnuts admitted that there was nothing scandalous going on.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

For those who are interested in the ever growing IRS targeting scandal, the Tax Prof website has an outstanding and comprehensive set of links to news stories.

To date, the scandal has expanded to Obama appointed Chief Counsel in DC and the FEC.

We are one degree removed from Team Obama.
 

LOL These poll numbers are GREAT news for John McCain!!!

I'll bet you're also 1 degree away from proving that his birth certificate is phony...
 

Our SALADISTA on the phony tax scandal demonstrates once again that he's in the "I'ssa fool" category.
 

"Gerrymandering is creating unusually shaped districts herding opposing voters into a few districts"

People don't physically move in redistricting and gerrymandering, the political lines do. In the latter the lines move so that many voters of the party out of power are found to be heavily concentrated in a few districts. The line drawing following the 2010 elections created lines where Democratic votes were concentrated into a few districts. You've admitted this yourself, you just say it is the Democratic voters fault for 'moving' into these districts rather than of the line drawers who knew where the populations and voting patterns were. The GOP made sure to draw them so that even, according to you, in losing 6 million voters they were able to still win a majority of districts.
 

Mr. Wiskas, the simple fact is that Democratic voters ARE concentrated in small pockets. That's reality.

In order to erase this fact, you'd have to either switch to some form of single district proportional representation, or create districts which were wildly, blatantly gerrymandered. Any system of compact districts following geographic and political boundaries is going to hurt Democrats, simply because they're huddled together in pockets where 90% or more of the population votes Democratic.
 

Brett

What I am saying is that it is silly to think of gerrymandering in purely geographical terms. It's a political practice with a political intent and political effects. So a district isn't gerrymandered, at least not in any concerning way, if it is 'shaped funny' or 'not compact.' It is gerrymandered when it results in exactly what resulted in the 2012 congressional elections: a party which wins more districts with less votes for it than the other party.

If the population is clustered in urban centers then it makes sense to have several small but heavily populated urban districts and then a very few large thinly populated rural districts, or have districts which thrust relatively slim wedges into the urban centers and then extend out into large, sparsely populated rural areas.
 

"It's a political practice with a political intent and political effects."

Yes, and that's precisely what you're demanding: That the district lines be drawn with the political outcome in mind, rather than ignoring how people vote, and just drawing compact districts. You'd shoehorn into the same district people geographically and culturally distant from one another, for no other reason save to effect the political outcome.

You are, literally, demanding gerrymandering be done, or else you will claim gerrymandering is taking place. It's Orwellian, there's no other description that applies.
 

If the population is clustered in urban areas, you simply do exactly what we normally do: Make the districts in urban areas smaller, so that every district contains about the same number of people.

Rather than designing them so that they have weird shapes, but all contain just a few more Democrats than Republicans.

Oh, and surprise, surprise: "IRS agent: Tax agency is still targeting Tea Party groups"
 

Add Brett to the "I'ssa fool" category - not a surprise, surprise!
 

Brett:

Can you imagine the posts here if the IRS was targeting leftist groups under Bush?
 

Blankshot, the IRS was targeting leftist groups under Obama.
 

Our SALADISTA perhaps ignores the Bush/Cheney romp beyond beyond LBJ's "Guns and Butter" with two - count them - two tax cuts coupled with two - count them - two unfunded wars that were significantly contributory to the Bush/Cheney Great Recession of 2008.

But this post by Gerard makes no reference to the phony IRS scandal. Yet our SALADISTA when caught (once again) with his factual pants down brings up the phony IRS scandal in a futile attempt to sidetrack the discussion. Our dyslexic duo, Bert and Brat, are joined at the hip in the manner of Sen. Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn.
 

Brett

Creating compact districts can be done to gerrymander in the political sense if you know, and are counting on, the kind of population distribution we're dealing with now.

And yes, of course your suggestion of how to deal with urban clustering of population is the most sensible one. I gave that one myself. The other one I mentioned only as an alternative of how to create districts that acknowledged urban clustering (not voting patterns, just where the people in the state are).

"Can you imagine the posts here if the IRS was targeting leftist groups under Bush?"

Count me as one liberal that finds the apparent partisan, political targeting of IRS benefits disconcerting, to say the least.

 

Sorry folks, but I have to ask.

BB, what leftist groups did Lois Lerner and her merry band of Democrat IRS bureaucrats harass and delay?

To date, the Democrats have offered one group which trained Democrat politicians to run for political office that IRS denied status as a political group. No one claims this was improper.

Maybe you have better evidence?
 

BD: "Can you imagine the posts here if the IRS was targeting leftist groups under Bush?"

Mr. W: Count me as one liberal that finds the apparent partisan, political targeting of IRS benefits disconcerting, to say the least.


My friend, you have always been consistent in your positions regardless of the party at issue.

That is why I enjoy our conversations.
 

Blankshot, the IRS has acknowledged that it also targeted groups with liberal sounding terms in their names. And, as you pointed out, a liberal group was denied status.

In short, it wasn't a scandal. Stop your whining.
 

Also, I'm pretty sure that none of the Tea Party groups were denied status, even though most probably should have been denied status. And you think I'm supposed to be upset about that? LOL
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

BB:

IRS Democrats were not looking to deny status and allow these groups to appeal for relief in the courts. Instead, IRS delayed applications of Tea Party, pro-Israel Jewish and other conservative groups for years starting in 2010 to get past the 2012 election. Dozens are still being delayed and have filed suit for a mandamus from the court stopping the obstruction.

The Democrat defense that IRS also used progressive screening terms for reviews fell apart almost immediately when it was disclosed that IRS Democrats did not actually conduct reviews on progressive organizations, which generally sailed through. That harassment was reserved for conservative groups on orders from Washington.
 

Sure thing, Blankshot. That must be why IRS employed wingnuts admitted that there was no scandal.
 

All they "admitted", was that they didn't think it was particularly scandalous to discriminate against conservative groups. Which doesn't so much establish that there wasn't a scandal, as explain WHY there was a scandal: The agency is run by people who don't understand what sorts of things they aren't ever supposed to be doing.

It's just what you should expect when essentially everybody running the regulatory and enforcement agencies like the IRS is member of one party: There's nobody there to say, "Hey, wait a minute, should we be doing this?"
 

So, you're saying that wingnuts are easily led sheep who will act against their own best interests?

That would certainly explain a lot.

 

Ok, Bartbuster, it's generally not a good idea to expect anything you say to make sense, but in this case I can't even figure out the point of your raving. Can you explain it well enough to raise it from "Meaningless babble", to simple "utter nonsense"?
 

Brett, it was GOP WINGNUTS employed by the IRS who admitted that there was no scandal. You seem to think that your fellow wingnuts can't be trusted.
 

"a very few large thinly populated rural districts"

Of course, under USSC precedent, districts have to roughly contain equal numbers, which makes thinly populated districts along with a few heavily populated ones problematic.
 

Bart DePalma : 11:11 AM

That was a tour de farce!
 

Larry Koenigsberg said...

" Team Obama successfully suppressed roughly 6 million white votes per Mr. DePalma.

I cannot leave this unchallenged. Your link writes: "If these white voters had decided to vote" -- not a word about suppression."

You don't understand Tea Party - persuading somebody not to vote for your opponent is voter suppresion; keeping them from voting is supporting voter rights.
 

Brett said...

" I would have to agree that it's dubious to claim the Obama administration suppressed 6 million Republican votes. While there certainly were efforts at vote suppression, (See the admitted behavior of the IRS, which evidence suggests spread to a whole alphabet soup of agencies. They did a pretty good job at suppressing the sorts of groups which had been responsible for the Republican turnout in 2010.) a fair minded observer would attribute a good deal of the suppression of Republican votes to the Republican establishment."

It's a flat out lie, and even admitted so in his statement (which falsely equates negative advertising with voter suppression).

As to the IRS scandal, all that anybody needs to judge the scandal is that Daryl Issa had a bunch of IRS employees in to testify under oath, and then refused to release the transcript. Case closed.


 

Brett/Barry:

The GOP certainly did not do itself any favors nominating yet another establishment RINO in Romney, but that alone does not explain the complete collapse in white working class turnout in 2012.

Romney = McCain = Bush, but there were no similar collapses from 2000-2008.

What makes 2012 different apart from Team Obama's campaign?
 

Blankshot, Romney got almost 1 million more votes than McCain, you imbecile.
 

BB:

Read the links I posted that account for population growth and educate yourself.
 

Bart, I for one think Romney was considerably worse than Bush or McCain. Romney had a much harder time overcoming his elitist image than Bush (in large part to Romney's gaffes) and had much earned reputation for flip flops on many issues. Bottom line, Romney was considerably harder to like for white working class voters that might lean Republican in a Presidential election.

Another rule that seems to be a hard and fast one in recent history is: don't nominate anyone from the Northeast!
 

Also, I'll note that Romney was particularly bruised from his primary contest. The negative campaigning from his own GOP rivals was pretty heavy, and his negatives among the supporters of Santorum and Paul, for example, were unusually high I should think. I knew Republicans who didn't love Bush or McCain, but the dislike of Romney by many of them was especially intense.
 

He was also utterly precluded from attacking Obama's signature, and remarkably unpopular, initiative: Obamacare. Precluded from attacking it due to it being modeled after his own efforts.

He could, I suppose, have said, "I tried this in Mass., but at least I've learned from the mistake.", only I suspect he didn't believe it was a mistake.
 

Blankshot, the fact that the population is growing does not guarantee that you're getting those votes. GOP voters are dying. That isn't "voter suppression".
 

The Republican Party is troubled by various things they can't defend because it is unpopular, such as their pretty absolutist abortion policy when a majority support choice at least in some cases.

As to the PPACA, a plurality according to polls support it, while we go over the top if we add people who wanted more government involvement. Yes, when a majority either supports something or wants more government regulation, railing against it is a bit problematic.

The public is -- sadly not that atypical -- as a whole not that informed about the ins and outs of the legislature, but from what I can gather (though we don't rule by direct plebiscite), they do support chunks of the legislation.

The most unpopular is the individual requirement, which is misunderstood (continual b.s. about 'everyone' needing to have it etc.), including the general understanding that to get all the stuff they want, it too would have to be included. Or, something like single payer, which is again more liberal.

Yes, this would be hard for Romney to explain.
 

One could equally say that the Democratic party is saddled with an absolutist abortion policy it can't defend before a population most of whom think abortion SHOULD be restricted after the first trimester or so. American abortion law, even in Texas, is considerably more lenient than the European norm, and far to the 'left' of public opinion, thanks to judicial fiat.

The real problem the GOP has, is that it's establishment is part of the political class of this country, whose views on a wide variety of issues differ systematically from the general population.

It's quite difficult to defend even a popular position, such as opposition to illegal immigration, or restrictions on late term abortion, if you don't actually agree with that position. It's difficult to win fights you really want to lose.

On the other hand, it's difficult to conceal the fact that you're fighting to lose, once you've got the numbers in Congress needed to win. That's the dilemma the GOP has faced since '94: They can no longer make a show of fighting the good fight, and then losing, in order to get the votes AND the policies they want. They now have enough members in Congress that, when they take a dive, their base KNOWS that's what they've done.

That's what's really been hurting them, IMO.

The Democratic party has a converse situation: The party's official positions are much more in tune with America's political class, even if they stand in opposition to public opinion on a lot of issues. So they could defend them with some vigor, but have to avoid doing so too honestly.

So you get these amnesty bills for illegal immigrants, with fake border enforcement provisions tacked on, with the understanding that nothing will come of that part of the law. Or you get nominal legal restrictions on late term abortion, but the regulators avert their gaze from the Kermit Gosnells supplying the late term elective abortions the Democratic party actually supports.

It's a messed up system, that's for sure.
 

Brett's comment brings to mind Will Rogers':

"I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

I think this still stands today, at least for me. Perhaps the GOP with its shrinking base can claim Brett as its Will Rogers (sans a sense of humor).
 

Mr. W/Brett:

The problem with the argument that Romney was a uniquely bad candidate who would have caused millions of white working class voters to stay home without any help from Team Obama is that most of the loss in voters occurred where Team Obama was actively attacking Romney. Contrary to GOP pre-election fears, the Bible Belt whites in the South actually turned out in force for the Mormon Romney.

It is all in the Trende series of articles to which I linked at the outset.
 

The Democratic Party supports a range of abortion regulations, including limits on federal funding. A recent poll, fwiw, found that people in Texas wanted either to hold the line or have less abortion regulations.

Brett's selective libertarian sentiments come out here -- unlike guns, control of one's body is a matter of "judicial fiat," not constitutional protection. See also his views on voting rights and same sex equality.

"The real problem the GOP has, is that it's establishment is part of the political class of this country, whose views on a wide variety of issues differ systematically from the general population."

That's part of the problem, including if "establishment" means "rank and file members in Congress." It would be useful for them to change this, including on matters such as same sex equality, but who am I to give them political advice.

BTW, pro-choice media sources were in the forefront in reporting about Gosnell, and are fully on board with stopping such criminals. Republican supported policies aid and abet him by inhibiting health care, including delaying abortions and denying funding for early abortions.

Cf. European policies. If we take their approach, there would be more restrictive policies to some degree, more access, but still exceptions for later abortions in various cases.
 

"unlike guns, control of one's body is a matter of "judicial fiat," not constitutional protection."

Here's a clue: One is explicitly provided for in the Bill of Rights, the other is not. One would think that would have something to do with the basis for declaring which was a constitutional protection, and which judicial fiat.
 

"Here's a clue: One is explicitly provided for in the Bill of Rights, the other is not."

Explicit protections (like being free from unreasonable seizures of one's person, including forced pregnancies) might have something to do with it though the 9A suggests it might not be the end all.

If we are down to sidebar sniping of this nature, it might be time to go.

 

Joe:

Keeping and bearing arms is a fundamental liberty.

Killing one's children is not.

Indeed, the only proper law restricting liberty is to prevent one person from harming another.

Easy distinction for a libertarian.
 

Our SALADISTA's libertarianism:

"Indeed, the only proper law restricting liberty is to prevent one person from harming another."

How did that work for Trayvon and his right to keep, bear and eat Skittles?
 

Here's our SALADISTA's a-PAUL-ing libertarian dynamic duo bumpersticker for 2016:

PAUL R-AYN/RAND PAUL 2016

Half-ATLAS, SHRUGGED our SALADISTA, multi-tasking by holding his nose.
 

The evidence says, it worked out great until he decided to assault Zimmerman.
 

The evidence says that Zimmerman interrupted Trayvon's right to keep, bear and eat Skittles, which were not concealed, by the way, as were Zimmerman's motives and a weapon designed to kill. Skittles being eaten by a 17 year older don't kill, adult assh***s with guns do.
 

Particularly when you're trying to beat them to death.

As near as I can tell, the 'liberal' scenario here is that Zimmerman accosted Martin, shot him in cold blood, and then used Martin's lifeless fist to deliver self-inflicted black eyes and a broken nose. Then engaged in a few break dance moves to contuse the back of his head on the pavement. Have I got that right?


 

Brett, Zimmerman was told to leave the kid alone by the police. He clearly ignored what they told him. He confronted the kid, got his ass kicked, and decided that murder was his only way out. The only reason he isn't in jail is because he killed the prosecution's best witness.
 

You seem to be under the misapprehension that not being "ignored" constitutes a legal excuse to beat on somebody. But then, you seem to be under a lot of misapprehensions, so that's par for the course.

If there's been one thing about the whole Zimmerman/Martin controversy I've found enlightening, that has to be it: I've always wondered why liberals seemed convinced that people carrying guns automatically equals widespread slaughter. Now I understand: You have such a remarkably low threshold for resorting to violence, that you assume that the only way to avoid everybody becoming a murderer is to deny them the means!

You figure I can't have a gun, because YOU would be shooting anybody who looked at you wrong, if YOU had a gun. Twisted, but at least it seems to make some kind of sense.
 

Brett, do you really think it's ok for me to confront you, get my ass kicked, and then shoot you dead because I feel threatened? That appears to be what happened here. If you think that situation is ok, I definitely hope it happens to you. The only problem is that I doubt you could kick anyone's ass.
 

Brett shows his true colors with this description of alleged acts by Trayvon:

" ... engaged in a few break dance moves .... "

Of course even Brett knows that Zimmerman did not testify at the trial so as to avoid subjecting himself to cross examination. All the evidence indicates that only Trayvon and Zimmerman directly witnessed the events of that evening and Zimmerman kept Trayvon from testifying by killing him and opted to take the fifth by not testifying at the trial.

I wonder if Brett's mixed race son is a fan of break dancing.

But deep down, Brett is indeed a coward who needs an arsenal of weaponry to save his sorry ass getting kicked by a break dancer.
 

"Brett, do you really think it's ok for me to confront you, get my ass kicked, and then shoot you dead because I feel threatened?"

Yes, as a matter of fact. If you "confront" me, SOMETHING PEOPLE ARE LEGALLY ENTITLED TO DO, and I respond by "kicking your ass", you're not required to take it on faith I'll stop short of crippling or killing you. You can shoot me dead.

This is an eventuality I avoid, not by insisting that everybody I might assault be kept disarmed, but instead by the obscure tactic of not kicking people's asses. It's a remarkably effective tactic: Nobody I've viciously assaulted has ever shot me, because I don't viciously assault people!

Is it your contention that Martin, by virtue of being black, was somehow either incapable of executing this simple strategy for avoiding being shot? Or maybe his race excepts him from the general legal requirement to refrain from committing assault?

We know that Martin committed upon Zimmerman acts which are, yes, frequently sufficient legal basis for shooting somebody. We have no evidence, or even indication, that Zimmerman did anything to Martin which would have been sufficient excuse to "beat his ass". Lot's of utterly baseless speculation that he must have done SOMETHING to render him the aggressor, but no evidence.

Shag: Yes, Zimmerman didn't testify at the trial. Smart move, he wasn't legally required to do so, and given that the prosecution of him was politically driven in the first place, why should he have given them any slightest chance to pursue ungrounded perjury charges, too? I'd have done the same.

True, Martin couldn't testify. The physical evidence sufficed.
 

Check our "George Zimmerman's Biggest Defender: A Racist With a Criminal Past" at Mother Jones:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/08/frank-taaffe-george-zimmerman-racist-white-voice

So Brett doesn't take the Gold, but like in horseshoes, close enough counts.
 

"We have no evidence, or even indication, that Zimmerman did anything to Martin which would have been sufficient excuse to "beat his ass"."

That's not true. We know that the police dispatcher told Zimmerman to leave him alone. Clearly that order was ignored. It sure looks like Zimmerman provoked a fight.

 

Brett, I assume you're fine with Martin shooting Zimmerman if he felt threatened?
 

Technically, what they told him was that they didn't "need" him to follow Martin. He wasn't actually directed to refrain from doing so, not that such direction would have been legally binding anyway, in a place where Zimmerman was entitled to be.

And, if you think anything we have any indication Zimmerman did was proper cause to beat on him, you're a dangerous person indeed.

But, yeah, if Zimmerman had given Martin rational reason to fear for his life, he would have had cause to shoot him. Being "a creepy ass-cracker" doesn't cut it.
 

We don't know what Zimmerman did to provoke the fight because he conveniently killed the witness. You appear to be fine with that, and I'll be fine with it if it happens to you.
 

BB

I think Zimmerman was guilty of being overzealous in his watchmen duties in following Martin, but that in itself wouldn't justify Martin assaulting him. You have to have more than 'feeling threatened,' you have to have an objectively reasonable belief you are in imminent danger of harm. Being followed, while admittedly creepy, probably doesn't fit that. Being attacked does, so that is why Zimmerman's shooting would be justified.
 

Bart

I don't think much can be concluded from what you report about the turnout being lower for Romney in areas Obama's negative ads were playing rather than in the South, because the reason Obama likely did not run his ads in the latter is he likely correctly concluded that the solidly Republican South was going to vote for Romney regardless.

Consider this: Romney and his SuperPac surrogates actually spent more money attacking Obama than Obama's campaign spent attacking Romney. So why didn't Obama's vote count get 'more suppressed' than Romney's leading to a Romney victory? I think the answer is that Romney already had little enthusiasm for him from most GOP leaning blocs.

It seems more likely that Obama played ads in areas where enthusiasm for Romney was already quite low rather than that his ads created this enthusiasm deficit.
 

Perhaps for Brett:

"Being a creepy ass-cracker"

personalizes his claim that:

"Nobody I've viciously assaulted has ever shot me, because I don't viciously assault people!"

that he's a harmless, pussycat of a "creepy ass-cracker" which he backs up with his arsenal.
c
 

Mr. W, since the other person is dead, I am not sure just what went down, including why TM felt threatened. In effect, if TM was charged, I don't know if he should have been convicted.

I would say "either," since I think GZ's verdict was probably right given the evidence submitted. Many who are "left leaning" agree with this, without assuming too much about the overall legitimacy of GZ's actions and TM's guilt.

(This is not applied to W., but to some elsewhere, especially some of the Volokh Conspiracy threads on the case).

I also don't know how "justified" the shooting was. That is not the same thing as saying not guilty of 2nd degree murder (overcharge probably) or manslaughter (might have been valid) given the evidence submitted.

This business about killing people is offensive. Please stop it BB. I say this as someone who you know is not very sympathetic about some of the other person's positions.
 

Mr Whiskas, we don't know what Zimmerman did to provoke the fight because he killed the witness.
 

I have no intention of "stopping it". That is the sort of world that a-holes like Brett want. I'm all for them seeing the consequences up close.
 

Such is your right -- it's not my blog anyway -- but such offensive lashing back benefits divisive types, types we might deem trolls or certain parts of our anatomy. Such over the top responses make even people supportive not take you seriously. So, you are just helping him out in that fashion.

My comment is therefore partially a bit selfish. I don't want to help the promotion of bad arguments by making opposition come off as offensive. But, if you want to help Brett out, be my guest.
 

It's not a bad argument at all. If he's killed by the same sort of stupidity that he thinks is a good idea, it pretty much proves that my argument is right.
 

"If you think that situation is ok, I definitely hope it happens to you."

Hoping people die isn't a great argument for me. You think his logic could lead to him dying. Fine. It is not something to "hope" for though.
 

Sure it is. If he gets killed I win. It's only a problem if I care if he dies, which I don't.

You don't think that people like Brett care if you die, do you? Hell, they talk about 2nd amendment "solutions" all the time. What do you think that means? It means they want to kill you to get what they want. Personally, I'd prefer that they kill each other. That way we all win.


 

You see, Bartbuster is actually right that he shouldn't be trusted with a gun. His only problem is that he generalizes his own bloodthirsty nature to other people.

His kind of attitude is actually fairly common on the left. That's why every experiment in "communism" ends in a genocidal totalitarian horror. Why "Occupy" camps got so nasty. 'Liberalism' encourages people to be pure consequentialists, to believe the end justifies the means. Which licenses people with nasty impulses to rationalize going with those impulses.

In a few years, Bartbuster might have his ideal job, as a death camp guard. But I doubt he'll ever make it too high up in the command structure. That's reserved for the high functioning sociopaths.
 

Dumbfuck, I never said that I was going to kill you. I'm hoping that one of your fellow wingnuts kills you.


 

By the way, high comedy about me being bloodthirsty from someone who keeps threatening "2nd amendment solutions"...
 

I care if he dies in that situation. I'm sure he is touched at that. Is that a bell I hear? I think I earned my wings.
 

Maybe Brett won't kill you during the 2nd Amendment Rebellion.
 

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