Bonevac on Coulter

by Brian on May 6, 2005

For some unknown reason my browser ended up pointed at “Right Reason”:http://rightreason.ektopos.com/ earlier, and I saw “a post by Dan Bonevac on Ann Coulter”:http://rightreason.ektopos.com/archives/001478.html. Well, I thought to myself, if there are going to be any sensible conservatives in blogtropolis, Bonevac, who is a pretty fine philosopher, should be among them. If someone is going to be able to show what is valuable in contemporary conservatism by distinguishing it from what Ann Coulter does, it should be him. Sadly, that wasn’t to be.

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“I wasn’t a Christian”

by Ted on May 6, 2005

I’d like to draw a little more attention to one of those squares.

(Executive Direcector of Reclaiming America Gary) Cass also presents another small-town activist, Kevin McCoy, with a Salt and Light Award for leading a successful campaign to shut down an anti-bullying program in West Virginia schools. McCoy, a soft-spoken, prematurely gray postal worker, fought to end the program because it taught tolerance for gay people — and thus, in his view, constituted a “thinly disguised effort to promote the homosexual agenda.” “What America needs,” Cass tells the faithful, “is more Kevin McCoys.”

Compare that to evangelical writer Tony Campolo:

Roger was gay; we all knew it, and we all made his life miserable. When we passed him in the hall, we called out his name in an effeminate manner. We made crude gestures, and we made Roger the brunt of cheap jokes. He never took showers with us after gym class, because je knew we’d whip him with our wet towels.

I wasn’t there the day some of the guys dragged Roger into the shower room and shoved him into the corner. Curled up on the floor, he cried and begged for mercy as five guys urinated all over him.

The reports said that Roger went to bed that night as usual, and that sometime around two in the morning, he got up, went down to the basement of his house, and hanged himself.

When I heard about Roger, I realized that I wasn’t a Christian. I was a theologically sound evangelical, believed in all of the points of the Apostles Creed, and had declared Jesus to be my Savior. But I know now that if the Holy Spirit had actually been in me, I would have stood up for Roger. When the guys came to make fun of him, I would have put one arm around Roger’s shoulder, waved the guys off with the other, and told him to leave him alone and not to mess with him because he was my friend.

But I was afraid to be Roger’s friend. I knew that if I stood up for a homosexual, people would say cruel things about me too. So I kept my distance. I had done better, who knows if Roger might be alive today.

I desperately hope that we have more Tony Campolos than Kevin McCoys. Specifically, I desperately hope that there’s more Campolo than McCoy in me.

South Park Republican Bingo

by Ted on May 6, 2005

Alabama legislator proposes bill to ban libraries from buying books by gay authors or about gay people. Middle-aged anti-Bush protestors arrested and strip-searched. Christian lobbying group prepares to fight vaccine against cervical cancer because it might encourage women to have premarital sex. Florida Republican legislator proposes bill to give students the right to sue if they think their beliefs are being questioned or treated with disrespect. Republicans in Congress write one-time-only law purporting to cancel decisions of Florida courts for Terry Schiavo’s parents.
Senate Majority Leader Frist joins questionable characters on “Justice Sunday” to proclaim that the Democrats are prejudiced against people of faith. Christian lobbying group gives “Salt and Light” award for successful campaign to reverse anti-bullying program that includes gays. Focus of the drug war in the United States has shifted significantly from hard drugs to marijuana (trend started under Clinton, to be fair) James Dobson compares the Supreme Court to the KKK. Virginia bans private contracts between gay couples; no wills, medical directives, powers of attorney, child custody and property arrangements, even perhaps joint bank accounts can be recognized.
East Waynesville Baptist Church kicks out all its Democratic members. Bush administration bumps Kerry supporters from international telecommunication standards conference. Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Pat Robertson says that federal judges are a more serious threat to America than Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorists. GOP rewrites descriptions of Democratic amendments to accuse Dems of protecting sexual predators.
Texas legislature bans suggestive cheerleading. Former pro-McCarthy ghostwriter given new job as ombudsmen for the Public Broadcasting System. Senate Majority Leader (and physician) Bill Frist refuses to contradict federally funded abstinence-only materials that claims that tears and sweat can transmit HIV. Conservative media saves Christmas. Texas House of Representatives votes to ban lesbians, gays, and bisexuals from being foster parents.
Top Republican lawmakers propose applying decency standards to cable television and satellite television and radio to protect children from explicit content. Chief of staff for Tom Coburn (R-OK) says, “I’m a radical! I’m a real extremist. I don’t want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!” Bush’s federal court nominee Janice Rogers Brown claims that America is in the midst of a religious war. Kansas Board of Education (not legislature, sorry) holds debate on validity of evolution vs. intelligent design. Texas legislature votes to make gay marriage extra double super illegal by changing the Texas Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

HOW TO PLAY: Well, that’s just the point. Why would you want to play?

(P.S. If anyone can help me get rid of all the blank space up top, I’d be grateful. -FIXED! Thanks, William)

Tax politics

by Henry on May 6, 2005

!http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~farrell/homer.jpg!

There’s an important debate on the politics of Bush’s tax cuts in _Perspectives on Politics_. Larry Bartels’ paper, “Homer Gets a Tax-Cut,” argues that Bush was able to get his tax cuts through because of disconnections in public opinion – while voters’ don’t like inequality and the rich getting richer, they have trouble in “connecting inequality and public policy.” According to NES data, better informed voters were much more likely to express negative views about the tax cuts than less informed voters (interestingly, the data suggests that the relationship between voter information and support is a lot more complicated for the estate tax). Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson argue in contrast that voters knew what they liked, and that “large majorities of voters expressed clear hostility to the tax cut’s size.” In their argument, the tax cuts got through less because the public don’t draw certain connections, than because the Republicans were highly successful in framing the public debate and in framing the _policies themselves_ so as to slash tax rates on the rich without arousing widespread unrest (there’s an excellent discussion of the strategic deployment of ‘phase ins,’ ‘time bombs’ and ‘sunsets’ in the tax-cuts).

In my view, Hacker and Pierson have the better of the argument. Even if Bartels is correct in suggesting that they overestimate the degree of latent public opposition to tax cuts, Hacker and Pierson are surely right in pointing to the key role of agenda manipulation and policy shaping by Bush and the Republican leadership in getting the tax cuts through. They also draw out some very important connections between the changing role of leadership in Congress, the activities of anti-tax lobbies like the Club for Growth and the new tax-cutting agenda. But it’s also interesting that both articles agree that you can’t explain the political success of the tax-cuts by saying that Americans are happy with increases in inequality, and the rich getting richer. Bartels shows that the survey data points unequivocally in the opposite direction. Also interesting is Bartels’ aside that “the public as a whole likes ‘big business’ even less than it likes people on welfare, liberals, feminists, the news media and the Catholic Church.” What this says to me is that there is space for a much greater degree of left-populism in American politics than we’ve seen recently. The problem is not that the arguments of anti-tax Jihadists like Stephen Moore and Grover Norquist accord well with American public opinion; it’s that these extremists have been very successful in using the Republican machine to manipulate the political agenda.

More losers than winners

by John Quiggin on May 6, 2005

I was writing this at the same time as Chris, and don’t have much more to add, but I’ll post it anyway, having had the dubious benefit of a bit more daytime to digest the results.

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Labour wins again

by Chris Bertram on May 6, 2005

I went to bed at 12.30 with things looking increasingly grim for Labour, and I’m surprised that when I got up just before 6 they’d improved considerably. The short version: Labour will win an unprecedented third term, but with a reduced majority of 60-something; the Liberal Democrats have made big gains in votes, but less so in seats (and have hurt Labour); and the Tories’ negative campaign has won them some seats but no increased popularity. Oh, and George Galloway ousted Oona King. But you could get all this just by “reading the BBC”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/default.stm .