In praise of humility

by Michael Bérubé on January 22, 2010

Scott Brown’s election this past Tuesday offers the Democratic Party a new hope.  A new hope for a politics of modesty in place of the politics of arrogance; a new hope for a politics of cooperation in place of the politics of demonization.  Democrats might not realize it now, but they have before them a historic opportunity to seize the day and regain the trust of the American people for at least a generation.  By turning their backs once and for all on the scorched-earth approach of the party’s liberal wing, Democrats can consolidate their legitimate gains while cutting loose their least reliable partners.  They have the ability; all they need is the will.

The problem—if there is one—is that time is tight, and the party will need to move on several fronts at once.  What follows is not an exhaustive list, but rather a series of first steps Democrats will need to take if they are to remain a meaningful majority party.

Scaling back the gay agenda

The voters of Massachusetts know only too well the damage wrought by the Obama Administration’s relentless pursuit of radical GLBTQ policies.  Tuesday’s exit polls revealed that 77 percent of voters were “opposed” or “strongly opposed” to the Obama Administration’s promotion of arranged gay marriages in which prospective partners were “chosen” (or, more accurately, assigned) by a lottery conducted by each state’s Secretary of State.  Opposition to Obama’s “Queering Coupledom” initiative rose to over 90 percent when voters were informed that the program allowed state officials to dissolve existing heterosexual marriages and re-assign husbands and wives to state-sanctioned same-sex couples.

The lesson is clear.  From the moment he chose Harvey Fierstein to deliver the invocation at his inauguration to the week he conducted a special White House “webinar” on Michael Warner’s The Trouble with Normal, Barack Obama has put straight America on notice that he considers the United States to be a Queer Nation.  It is only fitting that the electoral rebuke to Obama’s insistence on the “fierce urgency of queering America now” came in the form of a virile heterosexual Republican who looks pretty darn good with his shirt off.

Full employment and empty arms

Nothing says “socialist maniac” like a full-employment policy, and Obama’s is no exception.  When the markets bottomed out last March, Obama could have taken the opportunity to restore confidence in the world’s financial system and to keep faith with America’s hardworking bank executives and hedge fund managers.  Instead, Obama declared war on the very people he needed to cultivate as allies, announcing the creation of a “Ten Million Good Jobs” program to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure—freeways, tunnels, bridges, high-speed rail, and, most controversially, low-income housing.  Coupled with Obama’s decision to nationalize the banking system and freeze the assets of global financial services firms Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, the “Ten Million Good Jobs” program sounded to many ordinary Americans like a homegrown version of China’s Great Leap Forward, complete with sham production quotas and widespread famine.  It was not long before the Obama Administration’s obsessive drive to reduce the unemployment rate to zero met with significant pushback from voters who understand that freedom isn’t free.  Additionally, Democrats did themselves no favors by ridiculing the GOP’s “alternative budget” last spring, even though the budget clearly promised lower taxes, reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, universal access to affordable health coverage, and limits on federal spending.  Americans may not understand all the details of the federal budget process, but they know rude behavior when they see it, and they know they didn’t send their elected representatives to Washington to get their jollies by mocking their opponents’ proposals for economic recovery.

℞ for health care reform

No issue enrages the Democrats’ far-left base more than health care, and nothing reveals the Obama Administration’s craven capitulation to that base more readily than its take-no-prisoners approach to the issue.  From the outset, when the President himself declared that he would “brush off” skeptics of his plan and would not “suffer fools gladly” in negotiations, the Obama Administration has charged into this sensitive political arena with all the subtlety of the Tazmanian Devil.  Congressional leaders were left out of the loop, as White House advisors told them “we’re not making the mistakes of 1993 again—we’re just going to ram this thing through whether you like it or not.” Give me single-payer or give me death was the rallying cry, and no one should have been surprised when, last August, many voters heard that slogan as a coded call for “death panels” that would oversee a brutal, heartless regime of healthcare rationing for the elderly and disabled.  Fortunately, widely respected healthcare experts such as Betsy McCaughey and Megan McArdle exposed Obama’s Eurosocialistcare for what it was, and the Tea Party Patriots™ were born.  In less than a year after the first national Tea Party™ rally, Scott Brown, Tea Party Patriot™ in good standing, was elected to the Senate.  The symbolism couldn’t be any more evocative: Brown’s election not only renews the original Tea Party revolt in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, it also allows ordinary taxpaying Americans to dance on Ted Kennedy’s grave.

Historians will long wonder what might have happened—and what real social progress might have been achieved—if only Obama had sought a moderate, bipartisan solution to America’s healthcare crisis.

Executive power and its discontents

Prudent constitutionalists have been taken aback by Obama’s slash-and-burn attitude toward federal appointees.  Ordinarily, this would be a wonky, inside-baseball consideration, but Obama’s excesses have registered even with Joe and Judy Six-Pack.  The appointment of Maulana Ron Karenga as Secretary of Education was a warning sign, followed swiftly by “Operation Blackout,” the Obama Administration’s plan to stack the federal judiciary with ACORN-approved attorneys and underqualified campaign workers whose only interview question was “what is it about Barack Obama that makes you want to serve him?”  As longtime Democratic pollster and advisor Patrick Caddell acknowledged in August, Obama’s bench-packing amounted to “a gross violation of the idea of an independent judiciary and a responsible executive branch.”

The politics of vengeance

Obama’s vendetta against the Bush Administration achieved at least one of its goals: it destroyed what little was left of comity and civility in Washington.  Announcing, in only the first week of his Presidency, that he would “not rest until Dick Cheney hangs in The Hague,” Obama proceeded to embark on a program of vilification and vituperation more suited to a banana republic than to the world’s only superpower.  “Dick Cheney was precisely the wrong target for Obama,” notes veteran Democratic advisor Lanny Davis.  “Americans don’t see him as their enemy.  Americans see him as a kind of crazy old Uncle Fester—but an Uncle Fester who kept them safe.”  Obama’s determination to “root out torture,” “bring John Yoo to justice,” and “get to the bottom of those fishy Gitmo suicides” alienated independent voters across the country, who understand intuitively why the Bush Administration had to take aggressive measures to stop terrorism after inheriting the tragedy of September 11, 2000.  “Let’s not bicker and argue about who tortured who,” wrote Democratic advisor Dan Gerstein last April.  “We need to look forward, not backward.”  But the White House would hear none of it, and now it reaps the whirlwind.

Clearly, the Democrats have a great deal of rebuilding to do.  The loss in Massachusetts should serve as a wake-up call to the wing of the Democratic Party that wants the federal government to overreach, overspend, and overprosecute.  Let’s hope that this time, there’s someone in the White House ready and willing to answer the phone.

x-posted

{ 184 comments }

1

Bill Gardner 01.22.10 at 4:39 pm

Yes. And if only Obama hadn’t precipitously ended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…

2

Michael Bérubé 01.22.10 at 4:44 pm

There’s no question that Obama’s “US Out Of Everywhere/ Let There Be Peace On Earth And Let It Begin With Me” foreign policy is going to kill downticket Democrats in 2010. Strangely, however, it seems not to have been a factor last Tuesday.

3

Bill Gardner 01.22.10 at 4:57 pm

I thought he laid his cards on the table when he fired the Republican Secretary of Defense.

4

Michael Bérubé 01.22.10 at 5:06 pm

And replacing him with Kucinich was just a recipe for disaster.

5

Tim McGovern 01.22.10 at 5:15 pm

And let us not forget that millions-strong ‘ghetto march’ Van Jones led to augur in that new jobs program, which blasted covers of Public Enemy’s “It takes a Nation of Millions” for hours upon hours throughout Washington D.C., all done by various other successful black entrepreneurs.

It gave poor Sally Quinn, recovering from a simply fabulous dinner salon the night before, quite the headache. The sheer nerve of it must have reverberated to Joe the Plumber, let alone the vicious columns in such salt of the earth publications like the Washington Post.

6

ajay 01.22.10 at 5:21 pm

On the other hand, Clinton has been a tremendous success as Secretary of State. His only failure has been his inability to repair relations with Venezuela, but that was always going to be difficult, given President Chavez’s long-standing, vehement, and frequently stated dislike of the Parliament of Funk.

7

Casey Jennings 01.22.10 at 5:27 pm

Lets not forget his appointment of AL Gore as Climate Change Czar and the ensuing ClimateCzarGate when all of the members of the IPCC were found guilty of criminal conspiracy !

8

Hidari 01.22.10 at 5:33 pm

On behalf of the league of Very Serious political commentators:

“One more thing: ‘Democrat’ sounds so ’89…..that is so last millenium! Focus group information clearly shows that strong, polysyllabic words, preferably beginning with the letter ‘R’, are associated with strength, leadership, and popular policies like invading Iran. So if Obama was only to ditch partisanship and change the name of his party to something neutral and centrist like ‘The Republican Party’, and, in the spirit of moderation, invite someone like Sarah Palin to be Vice President, then this would be something even the extremist Left Wing media* could get behind. “

* As opposed to moderate centrists like Glenn Beck.

9

P O'Neill 01.22.10 at 5:36 pm

It was the war on Goldman Sachs that finally pushed the voters over the edge.

10

piglet 01.22.10 at 5:45 pm

“By turning their backs once and for all on the scorched-earth approach of the party’s liberal wing, Democrats can consolidate their legitimate gains while cutting loose their least reliable partners. “

“There’s no question that Obama’s “US Out Of Everywhere/ Let There Be Peace On Earth And Let It Begin With Me” foreign policy is going to kill downticket Democrats in 2010.”

Am I right to assume this post is a parody on right wing talk? Or is this a kind of joke too convoluted for a mere mortal to even follow?

11

piglet 01.22.10 at 5:45 pm

Dumb question, joke is on me.

12

piglet 01.22.10 at 5:47 pm

As an excuse, I don’t usually finish reading an article when the first paragraph turns my stomach.

13

Michael Bérubé 01.22.10 at 5:47 pm

And let us not forget that millions-strong ‘ghetto march’ Van Jones led to augur in that new jobs program, which blasted covers of Public Enemy’s “It takes a Nation of Millions” for hours upon hours throughout Washington D.C., all done by various other successful black entrepreneurs.

Um, let’s not forget that Jones’ “ghetto march” actually blasted covers of “Fear of a Black Planet,” and was followed later that week by the “Signifyin’ Summit” in which Henry Louis Gates was invited to the White House to discuss the influence of Esu-Elegbara on American hip-hop. Don’t think for a moment that the voters of Massachusetts have forgotten the slight to Officer James “Acting Stupidly” Crowley. Nor have Asshole-Americans forgiven Van Jones for his unseemly and intemperate remarks about their culture and heritage.

On the other hand, Clinton has been a tremendous success as Secretary of State. His only failure has been his inability to repair relations with Venezuela, but that was always going to be difficult, given President Chavez’s long-standing, vehement, and frequently stated dislike of the Parliament of Funk.

Well, what do you expect of a populist-autocrat like Chavez? Lula, by contrast, has announced an open-door policy toward the Mothership. Again, though, this was simply a nonfactor in Worcester and South Boston.

14

Michael Bérubé 01.22.10 at 5:49 pm

I don’t usually finish reading an article when the first paragraph turns my stomach.

OK, what’s your policy on commenting?

Srsly, I love the fact that CT has a “more” button. For a post like this, the effect just isn’t the same on my own humble blog.

15

David 01.22.10 at 6:05 pm

I love the smell of napalm satire in the morning.

I am going to miss the sense of entitlement and the aura of power I’ve enjoyed as an all powerful leftist thug.

16

Substance McGravitas 01.22.10 at 6:12 pm

Thanks jerks. My little girl will cry when the Federal Pony Program is cut.

17

JoB 01.22.10 at 6:28 pm

Neat trick. But crooked timber is in danger of becoming a pony.

(and let the wrath shower on me: I can see why people would vote against where this is coming from; luckily Obama seems less irritable)

18

Uncle Kvetch 01.22.10 at 6:45 pm

(and let the wrath shower on me: I can see why people would vote against where this is coming from; luckily Obama seems less irritable)

JoB, could you please explain what this means? I really have no idea what you’re saying.

19

Colette 01.22.10 at 6:52 pm

For me, the Obama administration was all over the first time Glenn Beck cried.

20

JoB 01.22.10 at 6:55 pm

It’s about the funky love that I crave.

21

The Raven 01.22.10 at 7:01 pm

Hey, you just earned “Croak of the Day.” Me, I like the part about attacking the coal and oil industries.

22

Michael Bérubé 01.22.10 at 7:04 pm

Would this be a sublime and funky love, or a beautiful and funky love? Because this distinction generated a lot of debate during Obama’s “Wuthering Heights Summit” at the White House last month.

23

bert 01.22.10 at 7:13 pm

http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15330461
No byline? Hah! Your cover is blown, Berube.

24

JoB 01.22.10 at 7:16 pm

Sublime and funky. Definitely.

25

roac 01.22.10 at 7:21 pm

I saw this article on the Newsweek site yesterday under the byline “Howard Fineman.”

There is an excellent counter by Steven Pearlstein in today’s WaPo.

26

Michael Bérubé 01.22.10 at 7:29 pm

Bert: actually, that Economist thing isn’t me. Here’s the giveaway:

It is not obvious, though, that the Olympian Mr Obama knows how to do this, despite all his fine words along the campaign trail about “a new politics”. What he now has to understand is that he is in a weak position: he needs the Republicans more than they need him. To get what he wants, he will have to learn to give them much more of what they want. For instance, he could now offer the Republicans tort reform and genuine cost-control to bring them on board for a slimmed-down health bill: that might be an offer they could not refuse.

I mean, I do pretty broad satire sometimes, but I’ve never gotten that silly. I’m much more likely to point out that voters rightly objected to Obama’s “Cramdown THIS, Motherf**ker” program, which liquidated all subprime mortgages and declared universal amnesty for bankrupt homeowners. But that Economist writer — he’s not even trying to sound remotely plausible. I don’t think he (or she!) understands how important that is when you’re doing parody.

27

Steve LaBonne 01.22.10 at 8:08 pm

Surely we can all agree on a scaled-down, bipartisan bill for sending cultural studies professors to Gitmo. That could be the basis of a new era of comity between the parties!

28

mds 01.22.10 at 8:25 pm

Oh, great, LaBonne. Thanks for pre-emptively setting the far-left negotiating position. Republicans will now demand that the bill require all liberal arts professors be sent to Gitmo. Once the legislation is changed to reflect that, it will then pass the Senate with only Democratic votes. House progressives will object that their version of the legislation shuts down Gitmo, and will be loudly assaulted for derailing the process of passing a Gitmo-related bill of some sort. Whereupon Democratic candidates for open seats lose big in November for not being progressive enough, flipping control of Congress to the Tea Party Patriots(TM), champions of affordable health insurance, big jobs programs, and reining in Wall Street.

29

ejh 01.22.10 at 8:49 pm

Talking of satire, does anybody else think of Clinton as being Tim Robbins to Obama’s Peter Gallagher?

30

piglet 01.22.10 at 8:50 pm

“OK, what’s your policy on commenting?”

Are you asking me that question? I have no policy on commenting. Sorry if that’s not funny just being truthful…

31

ejh 01.22.10 at 8:54 pm

Ah, piglet, you realised that the post was satire? Especially the title.

32

Larkspur 01.22.10 at 10:08 pm

I knew there’d be trouble when Obama appointed Krugman King of Wall Street, and named John Dean as Special Prosecutor, after which there was that horrible interview where Glenn Beck and Dick Cheney sobbed in each other’s arms, and then John Yoo tried to make it a group hug, and then it got really bad. And I still think the cameras should have cut away when Liz Cheney’s head exploded. Stupid MSM. Don’t you miss them?

Come here, piglet, lemme give you a hug.

33

Britta 01.22.10 at 10:38 pm

Michael,

It’s so nice to see such a reasoned and rational response to the excesses of the Godless left and the B Hussein O administration. My relatives did not flee from the Liberal Fascist Socialist Welfare Nanny state that is Sweden to face the same persecution in America. God bless you!!!

34

stostosto 01.22.10 at 10:59 pm

Like Krugman says: He is not the one we’ve been waiting for.

And that Economist piece is mindboggling:

Hence the spectacular rise of the “tea-party” movement, an alliance of ordinary people who are spooked by the huge amount of debt that is being racked up on Mr Obama’s watch. For Democrats to deride such people as “tea-baggers”, a term referring to a sexual practice involving testicles, is political stupidity of a high order.

35

JoB 01.22.10 at 11:05 pm

Did y’all join some ‘The Matrix’ routine?

He is not the one we’ve been waiting for.

;-)

36

Michael Bérubé 01.22.10 at 11:13 pm

I strongly disagree, stostosto — the Economist is spot on here. On my humble blog, we have banned the term “tea-bagger,” because it is disrespectful to Tea Party Patriots.™ Just because they themselves carried signs reading “TEA BAG THE LIBERAL DEMS BEFORE THEY TEA BAG YOU” and organized under the slogan “TEA BAG THE FOOLS IN DC” does not give liberals the license to mock them. And as I made clear in this exceptionally civil post, using the term “birther” is political stupidity of a high order as well.

I would also like to say, for the record, that I do not believe the animus directed against Obama’s stimulus plan last spring had anything to do with race. Many Americans simply realized to their dismay that government spending was out of control, and some of them began to harbor suspicions that the new president was actually a Keynesian. Accordingly, they demanded to see his Keynesian birth certificate, and the White House did itself no favors by stonewalling them. To call these people “birthers” today is to suggest, however faintly, that they are not to be taken seriously, and I respectfully request that you refrain from using that term on this blog as well.

Obviously, I can’t enforce this kind of civility at CT, but at least now you know where I stand.

37

stostosto 01.22.10 at 11:25 pm

Right, Mr Berubé. Contrary to my inclination, I civilly opt for agreeing to disagree, partly in the hope that you will be willing to tell me more about the sexual practice involving testicles which I had never heard about until now. I understand it is uncivil, so I suspect I might like it.

38

Geoffrey 01.22.10 at 11:48 pm

This would be more funny if it didn’t sound like it was written by Democratic political consultants and mainstream political pundits.

Speaking of testicles, I do hope someone is willing to loan a pair to the President, or several people are willing to lease to “leaders” in Congress. They seem in short supply at the moment.

39

Michael Bérubé 01.22.10 at 11:50 pm

Well, stostosto, I have to admit I’m a bit out of my depth here. But thankfully, I own a personal Internet, and it tells me that without question, the go-to public intellectual on this subject has always been one Neal Pollack.

And thank you, Britta. I will work tirelessly to make sure that your relatives did not flee Sweden in vain.

40

Michael Bérubé 01.22.10 at 11:53 pm

This would be more funny if it didn’t sound like it was written by Democratic political consultants and mainstream political pundits.

It would be funny how? Like a clown? What do you mean “funny”? Funny how?

Srsly, the penultimate sentence is lifted straight from Mary Landrieu. I don’t make this stuff up — I’m not that creative.

41

Salient 01.22.10 at 11:55 pm

the party will need to move on several fronts at once.

I like the total contradiction of physics involved in moving on several fronts by backing away from everything, but can’t think up away to advance it here.

42

stostosto 01.23.10 at 12:15 am

Salient, I think a retreat is also a movement.

43

Salient 01.23.10 at 12:21 am

You’d think part of the new party platform would involve resolving all those holds on Senate confirmation for appointees by nominating someone other than D. John Mustard for at least some of the open positions. Obama gigglesmirking when reporters ask him about it in press conferences hasn’t helped anything.

The “favors for flavors defense” was a cute quip, as was the follow-up about having a “full plate,” but come on, Barack, grow up, there’s serious work to be done.

44

Salient 01.23.10 at 12:23 am

I think a retreat is also a movement.

Yes, but is retreat advancing a front?

I guess by retreating, we’re moving the front backwards. Narrowing the scope of our endeavor to something more manageable: a range we can believe in.

45

EWI 01.23.10 at 12:43 am

Tea Party Patriot™

Not to be confused with the Tea Party™, Patriotic Tea Party™, Tea Patriot Pary™ and all the other quick-buck schemes that enterprising GOP members are no doubt falling over themselves to register for the last while.

the Obama Administration’s plan to stack the federal judiciary with ACORN-approved attorneys and underqualified campaign workers whose only interview question was “what is it about Barack Obama that makes you want to serve him?”

Subtle – too subtle, perhaps. You may want to include a link to the glory that was the oaths of allegiance to Dubya.

46

Stephen Leacock 01.23.10 at 1:30 am

Lord Barack said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions.

47

Ted 01.23.10 at 2:23 am

Nothing says “deluded cynicism” like a full-employment policy. The idea that government has the means of creating full-employment is just wrong, outside an ugly authoritarianism.

48

Ted 01.23.10 at 2:31 am

For Democrats to deride such people as “tea-baggers”, a term referring to a sexual practice involving testicles, is political stupidity of a high order.

Maybe Andrew Sullivan is writing their copy.

49

Castorp 01.23.10 at 2:42 am

As an independent thinker, unbeholding to partisanship and the like, I must say this is some sharp analysis. I’m thinking of splitting the vote in 2012 to send President Obama the message that while I want change I don’t want it to be too changey.

50

Alex 01.23.10 at 2:49 am

In all seriousness, Massachusetts was a sign that Americans didn’t want all the Gitmo detainees to be released in the US and given welfare, nor for illegal immigrants to be granted amnesty.

This is not to mention that gruesome day when Obama signed the eco-fascist Copenhagen “Treaty to Impose a Communist World Government” (http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/10/janet_albrechtsen_warns_that_a.php) and banned all attempts at combustion.

But what I hated most, was the administration’s refusal to stand by Israel by failing to use propaganda to convince the American people that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.

51

JJ 01.23.10 at 3:13 am

All this snarky satire is giving me a headache. Just trying to keep track of all those confusing metaphors is producing a pc whiplash.

But, hey! If Saddam Obama really wants to pass a health care reform bill, he should call it the Health Care Reform fo White Folks bill. All the Republicans and Blue Dogs would vote for it and, despite the opposition of the extreme socialists, pass it with a clear supermajority.

(Incidentally, your spellchecker flagged “Obama” — it did it again — but passed over Saddam –idia).

52

Michael Bérubé 01.23.10 at 4:03 am

EWI: Subtle – too subtle, perhaps. You may want to include a link to the glory that was the oaths of allegiance to Dubya.

Please. You’re going to tell me that Monica Goodling isn’t a household name, and that this joke isn’t immediately and universally legible?

Oh, all right, here’s the link.

Alex: true, for Massachusetts voters, the Gitmo-to-workfare program brought back bitter memories of Dukakis’ furloughs-for-rapists initiative of the 1980s. But as I said over at my place, Obama would probably have gotten away with stiffing Israel if only he hadn’t made that personal appearance in the Occupied Territories and dismantled all those settlements with his bare hands.

53

mds 01.23.10 at 4:23 am

But as I said over at my place, Obama would probably have gotten away with stiffing Israel if only he hadn’t made that personal appearance in the Occupied Territories and dismantled all those settlements with his bare hands.

His hands? Jimmy Carter used his teeth. That’s why Barry can only dream of being History’s Greatest Monster.

54

Michael Bérubé 01.23.10 at 4:44 am

And we are talking about some serious teeth.

55

don 01.23.10 at 9:08 am

dumb as a bag of rocks.

56

alex 01.23.10 at 10:52 am

When you have to laugh, or else you’d cry, you’ve probably already lost.

57

Fortuna 01.23.10 at 11:27 am

Democrats might not realize it now, but they have before them a historic opportunity to seize the day and regain the trust of the American people for at least a generation.

Far greater than just historic, should be “histrionic” I think there.

58

JP Stormcrow 01.23.10 at 12:32 pm

I have come up with a succinct description of the first year of Obama’s presidency all by myself (*not* inspired by MB’s post, comment 5, or a quote from the article that is the Rosetta Stone of Inside-the-Beltway dysfunction).

“He came in there and he trashed the place, and it’s not his place.”

I can haz Deanship of Washington press corps now?

59

Castorp 01.23.10 at 12:39 pm

I still haven’t anyone mention what I think was the real turning point, the thing that turned Mass. away from President Obama, his apology for slavery on behalf of the federal government and massive reparations in the form of his “Education for all” program.

60

Phil 01.23.10 at 12:40 pm

piglet’s not alone – I had no idea this was satire until I clicked on ‘more’. Yes, even after reading “the scorched-earth approach of the party’s liberal wing” – ‘liberal’ to me meaning “anti-socialist, anti-public spending, anti-union, pro-individualism and free enterprise, oh and some right-on stuff about gender and ethnicity and stuff”. (Kind of like the GOP, about this time last century.) Viewed in that light, the liberal wing of the Democrats is precisely what’s been dominant over the last year. It’s a trial reading American bloggers, I can tell you.

61

Walt 01.23.10 at 12:42 pm

You libs joke now, but Obama would have done half the things on your list if it wasn’t for us tea partiers. We’re watching you.

62

Simeon Joffe 01.23.10 at 12:56 pm

I think to show true bi-partisanship, he should have enacted the Republican agenda. That would have shown his statements of co-operation to be more than just rhetoric.
A missed opportunity for sure.

63

ejh 01.23.10 at 1:07 pm

Anyhoo, now we’ve all had a laugh, what does anybody propose to do about it?

64

Michael Bérubé 01.23.10 at 1:53 pm

You libs joke now, but Obama would have done half the things on your list if it wasn’t for us tea partiers.

More than half, I’d think, and he would have confiscated your guns and ammunition too, just as he promised us he’d do in our Seekrit Summit in December 2008.

65

JoB 01.23.10 at 2:00 pm

Pass the senate version in the house. After that make a more radical house bill. Put it to a senate vote just before the next elections. Bank on the negative publicity that will imho befall those filibustering.

66

Castorp 01.23.10 at 2:15 pm

Re: Seekrit Summit in December 2008

Was that the one with the theme of refreshing the tree of socialism with the blood of Tea Party Patriots™ or the one about seizing the means of production?

67

Bloix 01.23.10 at 2:48 pm

JoB, who are you talking to? Because whoever it is, THEY’RE NOT LISTENING!!!

68

Michael Bérubé 01.23.10 at 5:33 pm

Sez you, Bloix. I have word that this comment thread is going to set the agenda for the emergence of the Radical Democratic Party in summer 2010.

69

mds 01.23.10 at 5:47 pm

Wait, isn’t “Radical Democratic Party” redundant? I’m pretty sure that was behind the repudiation of the Democratic agenda by the sturdy yeomen of that best-beloved state of wingnuts, Taxachusetts Libertyvilleton.

70

bianca steele 01.23.10 at 6:36 pm

Minor, but there was his backing of the Kerry bill to outlaw barn jackets.

71

Walt 01.23.10 at 6:47 pm

No problem. I bury my guns and ammo over the border in Canada, where weak-kneed socialists are powerless to prevent me.

72

Walt 01.23.10 at 6:51 pm

I see that I fell afoul of the moderation filter, because I dared to mention the ideology that dare not speak its name openly here at CT.

73

Castorp 01.23.10 at 7:08 pm

Don’t worry Walt. I fell afoul of the moderation filter for saying this (this time with _s):

“Re: Seekrit Summit in December 2008

Was that the one with the theme of refreshing the tree of s_cialism with the bl_od of Tea Party Patriots™ or the one about s_izing the m_ans of pr_duction?”

So Crooked Timber’s filter seems to be an equal opportunity discriminater

74

JJ 01.23.10 at 7:19 pm

Good Grief, Walt. I “fell afoul” of that selfsame filter, for simply suggesting that Obama rename the Health Care Reform Act to the Health Care Reform for White Folks Act, thereby generating the Republican/Blue Dog Democrat votes required to produce a supermajority.

By the way, which ideology is that which we dare not…, etc.?

75

libertarian 01.23.10 at 9:00 pm

Just stopped by. You’re linked from somewhere I now forget.

All I can say is “wow”. You lot must be so much smarter than the rest of us.

The OP and commenters here are so far up their own a**holes it would be funny if not for the fact that I bet the majority of you live off my taxes.

Keep it up morons. Haughty elitism resonates well with the voters.

76

Walt 01.23.10 at 9:39 pm

Are you insane? Do you think I need jackbooted thugs showing up at my door? (Normally, I’d be up for it, but with my ammo in Canada, now is not a good time for me.) Really, CT is just protecting us from the all-seeing eye of Obama.

77

Larkspur 01.23.10 at 10:17 pm

“…Speaking of testicles, I do hope someone is willing to loan a pair to the President, or several people are willing to lease to “leaders” in Congress. They seem in short supply at the moment.”

See, that’s another thing that doomed Obama, the way he immediately spearheaded (shut up) then signed an international treaty severely restricting the world market in organ transplants. Hell, you might really really need a pair of wrinklies, or a kidney, or a heart or whatever, and you might find a relatively sturdy Third World entrepreneur who’d be delighted to sell you his…but Obama, anti-capitalist, ruined that completely. And I mean completely, because once the Chinese agreed to stop harvesting and selling bits from all their executed prisoners, even the rich and deserving folks had to wait in line. In line!

78

Hungover Guy 01.23.10 at 10:20 pm

As much as I can understand right now, I think you’re right!

79

Michael Bérubé 01.23.10 at 10:33 pm

Wow, the CT filter was working overtime on the weekend. Sorry about that! Apparently eight comments were being held in moderation for various thoughtcrimes — libertarian’s being, without question, the most egregious.

The OP and commenters here are so far up their own a**holes it would be funny if not for the fact that I bet the majority of you live off my taxes.

That we do, bucko, that we do — and that ain’t the half of it: the majority of us spongers who live off your taxes, Mr. Galt, also have cellular tele-phones. Bwah hah hah hah!

Keep it up morons. Haughty elitism resonates well with the voters.

First of all, it’s “morans,” and furthermore, it’s “Messrs. Morans” to you. But more important, you clearly missed the passage in “Full employment and empty arms” that severely chastised Democrats for mocking their political opponents. I stand athwart the snark, Mr. Galt, yelling “stop!” I only hope my fellow Democrats will learn the lesson in civility you and I are trying to teach them.

Off to have my nightly burger-with-Dijon now. Shall I have it with pinot grigio, or celebrate a little with prosecco?

80

Sandwichman 01.23.10 at 10:43 pm

“Accordingly, they demanded to see his Keynesian birth certificate…”

I would take the refusal to comply as an indication that Obama is perhaps one of those Bastard Keynesians we hear so much about and this explains the absence of a valid Keynesian birth certificate.

81

mds 01.23.10 at 11:11 pm

Shall I have it with pinot grigio, or celebrate a little with prosecco?

Why not do both, like the late Earl Warren?

82

Barry 01.23.10 at 11:55 pm

libertarian: “The OP and commenters here are so far up their own a**holes it would be funny if not for the fact that I bet the majority of you live off my taxes.”

I live off your healthcare dollars.

83

Alex 01.24.10 at 1:00 am

Dukakis’ furloughs-for-rapists initiative of the 1980s

Well I’m just a guy sat in the UK born in ’89, so I did not know what this referred to. I googled (and did find out), but I also found this rather, um, interesting website and article:

http://97.74.65.51/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=31593

84

Mitchell Freedman 01.24.10 at 1:10 am

And when he gave the Congressional Medal of Honor to Noam Chomsky, well, that was just thumbing his nose at everything decent he was trying to accomplish.

_____

And libertarian, I bet you actually live off my taxes. And I’ve been in corporate boardrooms dealing with directors of publicly traded corporations, and dealt with CEOs of other ones. Where have you been, besides dreaming of ponies while reading Ayn Rand?

85

Steve Rust 01.24.10 at 6:33 am

Going after “the gay agenda” in your opening sortie puts a bad taste in my mouth. We’re talking about the most important civil rights issue of our generation and you’re calling Obama’s agenda radical. If this is your recipe for a modest Democratic party that can win the midterm elections then forget it. Why not vote Republican.

86

ProfWombat 01.24.10 at 12:27 pm

Mitch: the Congressional Medal of Honor, until that Obama was installed, had been awarded solely to those in AMerican military service. It wasn’t the least of his perfidies that he, by bald executive fiat, restricted it to tenured professors who’d had at least one paper submitted to Lingua Franca…

87

ffrancis 01.24.10 at 1:53 pm

Walt, if you think your guns and ammo stay safely buried just over the border in Canada, you’re sadly in error. I live just over the border in Canada, and have been making a tidy sum annually for years by digging up concealed American guns and selling them to Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea.

88

libertarian 01.24.10 at 2:18 pm

“And libertarian, I bet you actually live off my taxes. “

I’ll take that bet Freedman. What are you putting up big boy?

“that ain’t the half of it: the majority of us spongers who live off your taxes, Mr. Galt, also have cellular tele-phones.”

Yeah Bérubé, but the majority also have the good sense not to sneer at those who feed them.

Gotta love the attitude around here: shut up dumb rubes, your betters know best.

Like I said, keep it up. The voters love it.

89

VV 01.24.10 at 2:47 pm

libertarian, do you actually have some positions on the issues, or is your whole politics motivated by your loathing of intellect and personal feelings of inadequacy and jealousy, like many of your “peers”?

And, in case you missed it, not many of the bloggers here are running for anything.

90

Mitchell Freedman 01.24.10 at 3:00 pm

Libertarian, you don’t even tell us your real name. When you stop being a pussy who hides behind a phony moniker, we can talk.

And it is to laugh that you think the snark hurled here at you is why Coakley lost, you haven’t seen the vitriol at FreeRepublic or the stuff hurled at Charles Johnson when he left neo-con/Limbaugh land.

91

JJ 01.24.10 at 3:16 pm

“Like I said, keep it up. The rednecks voters love it.”

92

JJ 01.24.10 at 3:32 pm

“Yeah Bérubé, but the majority also have the good sense not to sneer at those bite the hands who feed them.”

93

libertarian 01.24.10 at 3:45 pm

MF, you’re the one challenging anonymous rubes to bets over their taxes.

“And it is to laugh that you think the snark hurled here at you is why Coakley lost”

I don’t think the snarking quarks here had anything to do with Coakley’s loss. I know this site and its authors are inconsequential. But their attitude is emblematic.

94

mds 01.24.10 at 3:58 pm

So … a state with high taxes, substantial union membership, legal same-sex marriage, and a health insurance program similar to the US Senate bill, elected Scott Brown because vacuous fake libertarians on the internet were mocked for their demonstrable intellectual bankruptcy? Despite my earlier invocation of Libertyvilleton, I remain skeptical that MA’s silent Ron Paul fake libertarian majority finally roared.

(I suppose it’s possible that rather than being just another conservative Republican trying clumsily to ape libertarianism by using the word “taxes” a lot, libertarian is trying to out-satirize the original post. Unfortunately, ve’s most likely just engaging in the now-standard “poop all over someone’s rug” troll technique to provoke outrage. Whatever happened to the good old days of arguing that Colin Powell has useless metal arms?)

95

Michael Bérubé 01.24.10 at 4:43 pm

Yeah Bérubé, but the majority also have the good sense not to sneer at those who feed them.

Gotta love the attitude around here: shut up dumb rubes, your betters know best.

Like I said, keep it up. The voters love it.

This from a fellow who opened by calling us “morons” and remarking that we seem to be lodged somewhere in our colons. Well, Libertarian, you’re certainly a clever, witty young man, and as mds points out, your theory that Scott Brown supporters were motivated by snark on left-leaning blogs is compelling. Enjoy your little victory now, my friend, because when the ObamaCorps arrives to confiscate your copy of The Fountainhead and ship you off to the nearest FEMA camp, you’re going to rue the weekend you crossed the mighty and powerful regulars of Crooked Timber.

96

Michael Bérubé 01.24.10 at 4:48 pm

Steve Rust: Going after “the gay agenda” in your opening sortie puts a bad taste in my mouth. We’re talking about the most important civil rights issue of our generation and you’re calling Obama’s agenda radical. If this is your recipe for a modest Democratic party that can win the midterm elections then forget it. Why not vote Republican.

Hmmmm, now there’s an idea. Why not, indeed?

97

libertarian 01.24.10 at 5:25 pm

“your theory that Scott Brown supporters were motivated by snark on left-leaning blogs is compelling.”

Geez, do I have to connect all the dots? The haughty, elitist attitude in your post permeates 4/5 of the MSM, the administration, and a good fraction of elected Democrats. This general “shut-up, we know what’s good for you” attitude from the left is what motivated Scott Brown supporters.

98

William Burns 01.24.10 at 5:32 pm

Don’t forget that the populist appeal of libertarianism is the reason why libertarians keep crushing Republicans and Democrats in election after election.

99

Walt 01.24.10 at 5:36 pm

And it was your ill-informed but condescending attitude that led to the Democrats to still have 59 seats in the Senate, and a majority in the House. And how is the Libertarian Party doing at the polls? That good, huh?

100

Michael Bérubé 01.24.10 at 5:40 pm

Geez, do I have to connect all the dots?

Well, yes! As you pointed out in your initial comment, we’re not very bright around here, and we need to have things explained to us by Superior Intelligences like you.

101

bianca steele 01.24.10 at 5:48 pm

@94: Interesting thought. Has anyone seen a breakdown of proportional Internet usage by state? (Does anyone even know where one would find such a thing?)

102

Maurice Meilleur 01.24.10 at 5:50 pm

Jesus, libertarian–just go Galt already. We can’t miss you if you never leave.

103

libertarian 01.24.10 at 5:52 pm

We’ll see how long the 59 senate seats and house majority last. But hey, I am more than happy for the left to believe Scott Brown was an isolated phenomenon.

Hard-core libertarianism may not be very popular, but its essence — small government, individual responsibility — is. I don’t care who gets elected provided they support those principles.

104

mds 01.24.10 at 6:09 pm

Is it Scott Brown’s support for Massachusetts’ publicly-subsidized mandatory health insurance plan that makes him the choice of hard-core right-libertarians? His desire to retroactively strip equal rights under the law from same-sex couples via referendum? His hostility to the free flow of labor advocated by von Mises? Or just his refusal to purchase a lower-mile replacement for his Japanese-French truck? For all its simpleminded catchphrases regurgitated mindlessly in internet comments, right-libertarianism sure seems to be a tricky philosophy to pin down.

105

ejh 01.24.10 at 6:20 pm

I think its essence can be captured in the British expression “I’m all right Jack” or the less cultured US equivalent, “fuck you”.

106

libertarian 01.24.10 at 6:31 pm

“For all its simpleminded catchphrases regurgitated mindlessly in internet comments, right-libertarianism sure seems to be a tricky philosophy to pin down.”

Unlike left-progressivism, which is well-known for its slavish adherence to a rigidly coherent philosophy.

“Of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

Now where did I read that?

107

ejh 01.24.10 at 6:36 pm

I’m not sure I’ve ever read the term left-progressivism before today.

108

mds 01.24.10 at 6:51 pm

I’m not sure I’ve ever read the term left-progressivism before today.

Well, it might be possible to label William Jennings Bryan and his ilk “right-progressives,” indicating their mixture of economic populism with social conservatism. This could then be distinguished from those whose desire to empower individuals disadvantaged by (implicit or explicit) state-supported concentration of wealth is combined with social libertarianism. Hence, “left-progressivism.” I’ll bet that’s what libertarian was trying to point out: just as there’s left- and right-libertarianism, yet only one gets labeled “libertarianism” by intellectually sloppy default, so too there can be right- and left-progressivism, with left-progressives reserving the progressive mantle for themselves. Something to ponder!

109

Walt 01.24.10 at 7:02 pm

Shut the fuck up, libertarian. Nobody gives a shit what you think. Wait until your supposed “small government” party reaches 42 whole seats in the Senate before you bore us again. This is why you’ve lost control of Congress, and you will probably never have it again, no matter how badly the Democrats fuck up. You waste a trillion dollars on the stupidest fucking war in American history, blow the world economy, and then feel entitled to lecture us yet again on your incredible insight, and your indelible bond to the American people.

110

libertarian 01.24.10 at 7:05 pm

Nothing so sophisticated. I just wanted something that sounded antonymic to right-libertarianism. Word association football.

111

ejh 01.24.10 at 7:07 pm

The point being, it can’t really be “well-known” for anything if you just made it up.

112

libertarian 01.24.10 at 7:07 pm

Walt, are you an Obama advisor?

113

libertarian 01.24.10 at 7:10 pm

At worst “left-progressivism” is a tautology, neither half of which was invented by me.

114

Walt 01.24.10 at 7:20 pm

I am the Man himself. Bring on one of your tired retreads in 2012, and we’ll see how your “small government” philosophy does against me in the rematch. Wait, was invading Iraq “small government”, or was it “individual responsibility”?

115

mds 01.24.10 at 7:22 pm

I just wanted something that sounded antonymic to right-libertarianism.

Well, if we negate both parts, one possibility would be “left-authoritarianism.” Ol’ Hugo has those tendencies, as distinguished from some of the other leftist leaders on his continent. If we negate the first part, we arrive at “left-libertarianism,” a well-established intellectual tradition which approaches liberty and anarchism in a different fashion from principled minarchists and anarcho-capitalists, not to mention from semiliterate Randroids and Paulites who haven’t so much as read Cliff’s Notes on Tucker. If we negate the second part, we arrive at “right-authoritarianism,” which is to say, the modern Republican Party that libertarian has been cheering on. Hence the accusations of intellectual sloppiness and vacuity. Or of having us on.

116

Castorp 01.24.10 at 7:25 pm

“The haughty, elitist attitude in your post permeates 4/5 of the MSM, the administration, and a good fraction of elected Democrats.”

So true. I’m still burning up inside because Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin which newspapers she reads. Newspapers!? Not to mention Charlie Gibson had the gaul to ask her about her “foreign policy” experience. Bunch of elitist thugs.

117

libertarian 01.24.10 at 7:25 pm

“Or of having us on.”

Except that by your definition I am left-libertarian.

Walt: Iraq was dumb.

118

libertarian 01.24.10 at 7:26 pm

I didn’t know Charlie Gibson was French. How’s that for haughty elitism?

119

Walt 01.24.10 at 7:27 pm

Shit, I’m sorry for feeding the troll. (I’ll stop reading the thread so that I’m not tempted to make the problem worse.) But if I were the only one, I would just shut up now. Libertarian has managed to completely derail the thread with his idea-less trash talk. Allowing that is a disservice to your readers. I would 1000x rather have another go-round in the John-Emerson-versus-analytic-philosophy fight than listen to this guy. Listen to someone tell me how I must be living off his taxes (No, smart guy, I’m living off your momma. She’s paying for it, and she tells me that I’m worth every penny) is not a promising avenue for future discussion.

120

Castorp 01.24.10 at 7:30 pm

“I didn’t know Charlie Gibson was French. How’s that for haughty elitism?”

Oh see there you are laughing at us rubes! Keep it up.

(Seriously though, there is no excuse for gall to be spelled that way instead of gaul, esp. if one is talking about an elitist Frenchie like Gibson.)

121

mds 01.24.10 at 7:56 pm

Except that by your definition I am left-libertarian.

You’re a free-market anti-capitalist like Kevin Carson, IWW member? Or more of a Chomsky type? Either way, it makes cheerleading for a guy who asserts that those accused by the government of terrorism have no legal rights even harder to justify.

Shit, I’m sorry for feeding the troll.

Oh, but this is a fun little one, like pushing the button on that hand-held Japanese game. Admit it. And it’s not really derailment when the original post was satirizing, among other things, the pig-ignorant Tea Party Patriot(TM) characterization of the modern Democratic Party in general and the MA special election in particular.

Also, analytic philosophy is more useless than an eel on a unicycle. There, I said it.

122

libertarian 01.24.10 at 8:05 pm

The troll is enjoying his long lunch.

123

libertarian 01.24.10 at 8:06 pm

” it makes cheerleading for a guy who asserts that those accused by the government of terrorism have no legal rights even harder to justify”

When did I do that?

124

mds 01.24.10 at 8:13 pm

When did I do that?

Jeez, youngling, you don’t even know what Scott Brown campaigned on? I’m beginning to have doubts as to the utility of your take on the MA election results.

125

libertarian 01.24.10 at 8:25 pm

I don’t know what “free-market anti-capitalist” means. Sounds like an oxymoron.

I am social-libertarian/economic-libertarian. Gay marriage is a non-issue although I find the idea of male gay couples adopting kids a little weird but that’s probably just because it is still weird today. I think most recreational drugs should be legal. No-one should be denied access to healthcare, but the biggest problem is lack of a level free-market in health insurance and health services. So give individuals the same tax breaks as employers, get rid of “certificates of need”, allow arbitrary groups to negotiate with insurers, remove caps on catastrophic plans, force providers to disclose pricing at the point-of-sale, disallow practices that would be considered predatory in any other industry, such as 10-fold higher prices if you are uninsured.etc. etc.

Unfortunately, because the Democrats fundamentally distrust free markets (and by extension, the public) they’re not willing to try any of this.

126

libertarian 01.24.10 at 8:37 pm

“you don’t even know what Scott Brown campaigned on”

Scott Brown did not “[assert] that those accused by the government of terrorism have no legal rights”.

Sorry to break it to you, but we’re currently involved in a kind of grey war. The criminal justice system was not developed to deal with war situations, nor has it ever been used that way. Allowing some accused rapist or murderer to lawyer-up is not the same as granting full Miranda rights to a guy who just attempted to bring down a plane in the name of global jihad by setting fire to his lunchbox in front of 150 witnesses. The relevant distinction is that in the latter case granting full rights may well result in many more innocent deaths.

127

Henri Vieuxtemps 01.24.10 at 8:42 pm

disallow practices that would be considered predatory in any other industry, such as 10-fold higher prices if you are uninsured.etc. etc.

Right, you will decide what’s “predatory” and what isn’t. Elitist bastard.

128

piglet 01.24.10 at 8:49 pm

126: Which is the same as saying that “those accused by the government of terrorism should have no legal rights”. It is always refreshing to hear a self-identified libertarian explain why authoritarianism is really a good idea.

129

libertarian 01.24.10 at 8:53 pm

“Right, you will decide what’s “predatory” and what isn’t. “

Anti-competitive practices are well-defined in law. Even libertarians accept that free-markets require regulation to ensure fair competition.

130

libertarian 01.24.10 at 8:54 pm

piglet, there’s plenty of room between Miranda and “no legal rights”.

131

JJ 01.24.10 at 9:04 pm

This general “shut-up, we know what’s good for you” attitude from the left is what motivated Scott Brown supporters.

What motivated Brown’s supporters was the chance to channel their anger and frustration from the frat boys who ran the country into a ditch to the mechanics they hired to pull it out, who then decided to leave the country stuck in the ditch and instead subsidized the drivers’ health insurance.

132

ejh 01.24.10 at 9:20 pm

free markets (and by extension, the public)

At this point my Cant Detector went off like an air-raid siren.

133

stostosto 01.24.10 at 11:02 pm

“The haughty, elitist attitude in your post permeates 4/5 of the MSM, the administration, and a good fraction of elected Democrats. “

Huh? It seems to me the haughty, elitist attitude in this post is overwhelmingly directed at Obama and the Democrats.

As Nate Silver remarked the other day, the interpretation of Obama by some on the left was that he would aim at a substantively progressive agenda while putting a popular moderate sheen on his policies, but instead he has in effect stood for a definite centrist agenda which has come to be associated with an unpopular liberal sheen.

I think that’s about right and add the obvious, that that sheen has been effectively manufactured by hysteric screaming on the right by Tea Partiers and others. And that some Massachusetts voters may indeed have voted against the liberal sheen.

134

Alex 01.25.10 at 1:49 am

libertarian fails at libertarianism.

And am I the only one that misses the time when being “elite” was considered a good thing?

135

Greg 01.25.10 at 7:17 am

Alex–nope. A good word wrongly abused.

Michael–ooh, your “superior intelligences” link is good! I would’ve also used this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrjHKMJTh1w

And any world in which Michael Bérubé is blogging is a good one, save the Michael Bérubé blogs the zombie shark dinosaur apocalypse world. That is not a world I would want to live in.

136

libertarian 01.25.10 at 12:08 pm

Alex, “elitist” is not the adjectival form of “elite”.

137

Bernard Guerrero 01.25.10 at 4:27 pm

They only make one error in the article. Any attempt to even begin talking about an agenda like that wouldn’t have resulted in a loss in MA, it would have resulted in democrats being hunted in the streets like rabid dogs. :^) You all seem to think that Barry was elected with more of a mandate than he actually had, as opposed to not-being-Bush.

138

mds 01.25.10 at 4:39 pm

The relevant distinction is that in the latter case granting full rights may well result in many more innocent deaths.

Wow, it’s as if Thomas Paine has risen from the dead.

139

Michael Bérubé 01.25.10 at 6:48 pm

You all seem to think that Barry was elected with more of a mandate than he actually had, as opposed to not-being-Bush.

Bernard — not at all. We’re entirely realistic about B. Hussein Obama’s arranged-gay-marriage, full-employment, single-payer, DOJ-stacking, Cheney-prosecuting, war-ending, cramdown-enforcing, bank-nationalizing, gun-confiscating agenda. It’s those crazed “…and a pony” leftists, with their insistence that Obama should have abolished private property by now rather than trying to negotiate the collectivization of American agribusiness with the likes of Charles Grassley and Ben Nelson, who are causing all the trouble. Jane Hamsher, I’m looking at you.

140

mds 01.25.10 at 7:03 pm

trying to negotiate the collectivization of American agribusiness with the likes of Charles Grassley and Ben Nelson

Looking at Grassley and Nelson’s backers, they already support agribusiness collectivization … just not by the government. Foolish unfettered free-market populists such as they will have no place in the New Order, except as object lessons in the Re-education Camps. Which will be voluntary, since we leftists are admittedly such pantywaists about those the government declares to be evildoers by fiat.

141

Bloix 01.25.10 at 8:40 pm

“we’re currently involved in a kind of grey war. The criminal justice system was not developed to deal with war situations, nor has it ever been used that way.”

For 45 years we were in a Cold War with an enemy that had NUCLEAR FUCKING WEAPONS POINTED RIGHT AT US and hundreds of SPIES AND TRAITORS doing their best to steal our secrets and build even bigger bombs to BURY US. And you know what we did when we caught one of those fucking traitors and spies? We PUT THEM ON TRIAL with LAWYERS AND JURIES AND EVERYTHING and then we CONVICTED THEM and put them where THE SUN DON’T SHINE. And sometimes WE STRAPPED ‘EM ONTO OLD SPARKY and we FRIED THEIR SORRY ASSES. So don’t tell ME in your pissy little schoolmarm voice that the criminal law has never been used to deal with war fucking situations, you sorry piece of shit of a creep of a punk.

142

JJ 01.25.10 at 8:42 pm

Well, I, for one, am certain that Nelson felt so disgusted by his experience as an insurance executive and his appointment to regulate the Nebraska insurance industry and his term-limited tenure as CEO of the corporate State of Nebraska that he could barely swallow his bile long enough to redirect our attention from the public option to the vile possibility of providing abortions for the people who could least afford to obtain one. I mean, who do we think we are? Public criminal patients? Or fine, upstanding consumers of American private enterprise.

143

Alex 01.25.10 at 8:54 pm

So don’t tell ME in your pissy little schoolmarm voice that the criminal law has never been used to deal with war fucking situations, you sorry piece of shit of a creep of a punk.

Interestingly, it seems libertarian does not know that the justice system was born out of a little known thing called the “American War of Independence”.

144

JJ 01.25.10 at 9:01 pm

Right. Those “nuclear fucking weapons” were “pointed right at us” after we had demonstrated to the world that we possessed the moral courage to annihilate hundreds of thousands of people in less than a minute, to protect the privilege to which our rulers had become accustomed. Call it a hundred thousand people per minute. That’s an effective genocidal rate of six million people per hour. The Germans had nothing on us, Dexter.

145

Henri Vieuxtemps 01.25.10 at 9:21 pm

@129 Anti-competitive practices are well-defined in law. Even libertarians accept that free-markets require regulation to ensure fair competition.

It’s because of the nonsense like this you libertarians never get elected. “Free-markets require regulation” – what a crock. Regulations? Law? Fair? That’s fundamental distrust of free markets (and by extension, the public) right there. The only law public needs is contract enforcement and debtors’ prison. What could be fairer?

146

libertarian 01.26.10 at 1:14 am

“Interestingly, it seems libertarian does not know that the justice system was born out of a little known thing called the “American War of Independence”.”

Interestingly, it seems Alex has not heard of Common Law.

And please Bloix, clean the spittle off your chin. It’s gross. If you think the CIA read Miranda rights to captured Russian spies during the cold war then you are even are more of a moron than your shouting-caps rant implies.

147

ed 01.26.10 at 2:23 am

So don’t tell ME in your pissy little schoolmarm voice that the criminal law has never been used to deal with war fucking situations, you sorry piece of shit of a creep of a punk.

Indeed. I don’t think that word “libertarian” means what the commenter “libertarian” thinks it means, no matter how much the commenter likes to use the word. Also.

148

alex 01.26.10 at 8:45 am

Common Law? That’s the thing that has been used to oppress the English masses in the name of monarch and aristocracy for hundreds of years? FTW! Bring it on!

May I say how delightfully this thread has satirised the common level of discourse on the intarwebs? Much more fun than talking about violinists.

149

libertarian 01.26.10 at 10:51 am

Working definition of “libertarian” for ed:

get these government parasites off my back.

150

alex 01.26.10 at 11:53 am

Addendum to #149, “and replace them with expensive lawyers, litigation-happy corporations, patent thickets, and the ultimate unelected lifetime authority of the justices of the US Supreme Court. Or mah gun.”

Ay thenkyew, ay thenkyew…

151

mds 01.26.10 at 1:43 pm

and replace them with expensive lawyers, litigation-happy corporations

Whoa, there. While corporations will no doubt continue to fight one another in the courts (or possibly in the real world with their private armies if governments are sufficiently off their backs), many schmibertarians also support “tort reform” to drastically limit the right of ordinary people to use the legal system for redress of their grievances. So if you’re a big business rather than a big government, this kind of stupid sociopathy is win-win.

152

alex 01.26.10 at 2:04 pm

I rather felt I had implied the same.

153

libertarian 01.26.10 at 2:04 pm

alex, when were you last personally inconvenienced by an “expensive lawyer”, or were a defendant in corporate litigation, or subject to a Supreme Court ruling, or found yourself staring down the barrel of a redneck’s gun?

Didn’t think so.

Now, when was the last time you directly experienced government incompetence and a public servant’s sense of entitlement? For me it was yesterday down at the DMV. Two days before that it was dealing with the local water authority. Last week it was dealing with the local school board. A few months ago it was dealing with the IRS.

You can no longer sh*t in this country without first filing 27 pages of documentation in triplicate with 18 levels of government.

You like your governments big? I suggest you and your friends move to Canada. Or France. Or Russia. Leave the US to the rest of us who still have some self-respect.

154

alex 01.26.10 at 2:41 pm

“You can no longer sh*t in this country without first filing 27 pages of documentation in triplicate with 18 levels of government.”

Really? Well fuck me sideways with a 2-by-4. And there was me thinking that it was a country in which teabaggers could march around openly carrying firearms, and nobody even blinked. Just goes to show. 27 pages in triplicate, eh? Must come in handy if you have a really runny shit.

You really are a dumb fuck, aren’t you? All entitlement and no balls. “Aah, ahh! The DMV hates me, the IRS hates me, the School Board hates me! It’s ALL THEIR FAULT!!!1!” Pathetic.

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alex 01.26.10 at 2:41 pm

Aw shoot, I hit the profanity wall. guess you’ll have to wait for that one to come out of moderation, poopyhead.

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mds 01.26.10 at 2:47 pm

The tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of those who inconvenience us by making us stand in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Wow, it’s as if Patrick Henry has risen from the dead.

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alex 01.26.10 at 3:16 pm

Indeed, as PH was a low-down, squirming weaselly schm*ck [can’t be too careful] who was never in any danger of being given death instead of his liberty. And did his best to f*ck up the constitution.

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ed 01.26.10 at 3:40 pm

You can no longer sh*t in this country without first filing 27 pages of documentation in triplicate with 18 levels of government.

Citizenship too hard for you? Prefer a smaller government? I suggest you go Galt at your earliest convenience. I hear Somalia is beautiful this time of year. Thanks in advance for being so Productive! And keep on bootstrappin’!

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mds 01.26.10 at 3:44 pm

Well, that’s as may be, alex, but (1) he’s a hero to many right-wing Republicans pretending to be libertarians (probably because he tried to screw up the Constitution and its talk of “We the People”), and (2) he wasn’t stupid enough to repeatedly equate state government bureaus with the Leviathan of a strong national government. So the sarcasm still stands.

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alex 01.26.10 at 3:54 pm

Hey, let somebody agree with you once in a while, won’t you?

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mds 01.26.10 at 6:31 pm

Never! Give me disagreement or give me a long line at the DMV!

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libertarian 01.26.10 at 7:22 pm

Like I said Alex, there are plenty of places for dependent weasels like you to fetch up if Big Government is your thing. Heck, you don’t even have to go abroad. I am sure the retired government workers in CA will enjoy living fat off your taxes. They’ve also got you covered even if you’re the unemployed schmuck you seem to be.

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Alex 01.26.10 at 9:18 pm

#153:

The plural of anecdote is not data.

******

And what does common law have to do with the claim that the “criminal justice system was not developed to deal with war situations”?

Like I said Alex, there are plenty of places for dependent weasels like you to fetch up if Big Government is your thing.

That would be “alex” not “Alex”. I’m “Alex”. But weren’t you the one just complaining about the size of the US government? Shouldn’t you take your own advice and take a hike? If you don’t want to stand in line at the DMV, you know what to do.

But I’m English, so to me, foreigners who complain about queueing are little better than barbarians.

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libertarian 01.26.10 at 9:51 pm

#163 You claimed the US justice system began with the American War of Independence. I was correcting that misconception. The US justice system is an extension of English common law.

I’d love to take a hike, but most other western countries have even more intrusive governments than the US (I’ve lived in several, including ‘ol blighty). At least my state government still believes in liberty, although the f*cktards at the federal level are doing their best to completely usurp state rights.

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Michael Bérubé 01.26.10 at 10:16 pm

At least my state government still believes in liberty, although the f*cktards at the federal level are doing their best to completely usurp state rights.

Ah, those lunch counters again. Can’t the f*cktards at the federal level wait until those people are ready for integration?

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libertarian 01.26.10 at 10:48 pm

Ah, I see: Liberty == Racism. Man you are one offensive SOB Bérubé. Or is it just that you’re incapable of holding two distinct concepts in your head at the same time?

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Salient 01.26.10 at 10:50 pm

I’m having some trouble determining whether this thread has been awesome or not.

Can someone here help me figure out how to fill out all these Freedom of Information about Awesomeness papers in triplicate? They only gave me one copy and apparently it’s illegal to Xerox them (because, natch, you can’t copy cool.)

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Bloix 01.26.10 at 11:07 pm

“although the f*cktards at the federal level are doing their best to completely usurp state rights.”

The chief fucktards being Scalia, Rehnquist, Thomas, Kennedy, and O’Connor. See Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000). In the words of the dissenters:

“What must underlie petitioners’ entire federal assault on the Florida election procedures is an unstated lack of confidence in the impartiality and capacity of the state judges who would make the critical decisions if the vote count were to proceed… The endorsement of that position by the majority of this Court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land. “

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rea 01.26.10 at 11:09 pm

Like Krugman says: He is not the one we’ve been waiting for.

[Obi-Wan]: That boy is out last hope.

[Yoda]: No . . . there is another.

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Bloix 01.26.10 at 11:13 pm

And Salient, of COURSE this thread has been awesome. It’s FAFBLOG come to life! I can’t decide if Libertarian is a sock puppet for Fafnir (most likely) or the Medium Lobster (just possible).

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ed 01.26.10 at 11:39 pm

I can’t decide if Libertarian is a sock puppet for Fafnir (most likely) or the Medium Lobster (just possible).

To my limited perception, libertarian appears to be an ordinary pseudo-libertarian (i.e., Modern Republican), self-righteous wanker troll, hardly the brilliant genius that is the Medium Lobster. To my limited perception.

Nor is he Fafnir. Of this I am sure. I checked again.

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mds 01.27.10 at 12:53 am

“Time to blow up the moon!” say Giblets.
“What did the the poor ol’ tides ever do to you?” says me.
“The moon is Big Government!” says Giblets. “Punishing the tides for their insolence is just gravy on the ice cream of liberty!”

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Bloix 01.27.10 at 12:59 am

Giblets! he’s Giblets! Can we do our FAFBLOG faves now?

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Michael Bérubé 01.27.10 at 12:30 pm

Ah, I see: Liberty == Racism. Man you are one offensive SOB Bérubé. Or is it just that you’re incapable of holding two distinct concepts in your head at the same time?

I’m not an either/or kind of blogger. I think I’m one offensive SOB, and I’m incapable of holding two distinct concepts in my head at the same time. Because when I think of the history of Americans who invoked “liberty” and “states’ rights” against the “f*cktards at the federal level” in order to defend segregation, my head hurts. You should acquaint yourself with that history someday! It might make you a more interesting commenter. Then again, it might not.

As for Giblets, I believe he belongs in the Judith Jarvis Thomson thread, where he can blow up the fat violinist who is blocking the mine shaft.

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Salient 01.27.10 at 12:56 pm

You know, I see something like “ham jello” on Fafblog and think, approximately, “??? … !!! … hahaha,” only to learn months later that ham lemon-jello casserole dishes existed as part of this 50s U.S. phenomenon (meme?) and that recipes, like archaeological artifacts, survive from those august years to this day.

If I were halfway more competent at taking what sounds like utter silliness to me at all seriously, I’d be learning a lot more about life, the Universe, and everything from Fafblog…

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libertarian 01.27.10 at 1:45 pm

“when I think of the history of Americans who invoked “liberty” and “states’ rights” against the “f*cktards at the federal level” in order to defend segregation, my head hurts.”

Well I guess that’s it for liberty and states rights then. You’re razor-sharp man, razor-sharp.

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John Protevi 01.27.10 at 2:00 pm

Libertarian, your ideas intrigue me, but instead of subscribing to your newsletter, I wonder if you’d just start your own blog so we could come over there and display the same wit, intelligence, and broad learning that you show here.

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libertarian 01.27.10 at 3:48 pm

“I wonder if you’d just start your own blog so we could come over there and display the same wit, intelligence, and broad learning that you show here.”

Why not start with your own blog? You might get more than 0 comments.

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John Protevi 01.27.10 at 5:00 pm

You want me to comment on my own blog? I had honestly never thought of that! That kind of novel insight is what I mean by the “wit, intelligence and broad learning” you so graciously share with us.

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Alex 01.27.10 at 9:28 pm

You claimed the US justice system began with the American War of Independence. I was correcting that misconception.

Wait, so the US justice system existed before the United States existed?

The US justice system is an extension of English common law.

An extension of, but not the same as, English Common law. There was this thing. Went by the name of the “Constitution”. That and other things around that time, are what I’m talking about. The US justice system was born out of war.

Besides, it could be argued that Henry II made his legal reforms as a consequence of the Anarchy, so it wouldn’t be a great leap to say that English Common law itself came from war.

Anyway, what war has got to do with anything is irrelevant. POWs still have rights, and we’re at war with the Taliban, not al Qaeda, same as no-one went to war with the Oklahoma bomber.

Considering Jefferson et al. were fighting for their rights as Englishmen, if they were alive today, most of them would laugh at the cowardice that leads someone to want to deny legal rights to someone purely on the basis of accusations.

Person A: That guy’s a terrorist!
Person B: No I’m not!
Government Spook: Don’t worry A. The next time you’ll see this guy will be years from now in a body bag in Cuba.

….

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libertarian 01.28.10 at 12:38 pm

“You want me to comment on my own blog?”

No. Sheesh. I was suggesting you display some of my “wit, intelligence, and broad learning” in your own blog. It might earn you a comment.

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libertarian 01.28.10 at 12:45 pm

Alex: “Wait, so the US justice system existed before the United States existed?”

In a sense, yes:

http://www.neohouston.com/2009/06/common-law-civil-law-and-the-supreme-court/

FTA:

early American history shows us that the belief that the common law should generally continue in the US was paramount. In fact, one of the first actions by the legislatures of the new states after the revolution was the so-called reception statutes in which they explicitly accepted English common law, subject to future changes by the legislature going forward. It seems clear that the intent of such actions were to continue the common law judicial approach of interpreting the law as a body of legal principles that included more than just the bold faced words on a piece of paper. Our continuing reliance on common law in areas of contracts and torts is further evidence of this.

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libertarian 01.28.10 at 12:55 pm

” we’re at war with the Taliban, not al Qaeda, same as no-one went to war with the Oklahoma bomber.”

You better tell Al Qaeda because they sure as hell think they are at war with us As I pointed out above, the relevant distinction is there was no threat of follow-on attacks from McVeigh’s cohorts. You can bet that Miranda rights would not exist if individual criminals were usually members of organized groups hell-bent on repeatedly committing mass murder.

“deny legal rights to someone purely on the basis of accusations”

I am not advocating that. The xmas bomber lit himself up in front of 150 passengers. There was a lot more evidence than mere “accusation”. For these cases we need a system somewhere in-between. Have a judge look over the evidence, examine whether there is a significant further threat, whether it is a terrorist attack, etc. Don’t automatically grant Miranda rights in these cases.

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JJ 01.29.10 at 2:48 am

Forget about Miranda rights. The criminals who massacred over one hundred thousand people in less than a minute required neither their non-existent Miranda rights nor even the Bill of Rights. They simply received the gratitude of a grateful nation for ending a war which reduced the population of an otherwise surplus labor force by fifty million workers and motivated the largest economic recovery in the history of global civilization.

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