297 comments posted · 3 followers · following 4

10 years ago @ Left, Right & Cent... - Third Party Politics -... · 1 reply · 0 points

Kenny- you are 100% right that a headline that addresses the President merely as 'Obama' is evidence of disdain for our current President. Also, the fact that reporters frequently use the word 'dolphin' when talking about porpoises is proof of anti-cetacean-ism.

10 years ago @ Left, Right & Cent... - Third Party Politics -... · 1 reply · 0 points

I'm guessing that 'spoiling the discussion' is code for: trying to include an argument for something that the left dislikes.

10 years ago @ Left, Right & Cent... - Third Party Politics -... · 0 replies · +1 points

'Do we need a third party?' is, it seems to me, the wrong question. It may sound crazy to some, but I think that we need two more parties.

A third party might shake things up temporarily, but I don't think it can make a lasting difference. The appeal of a third party is that the majority disapproves of the two existing parties and a new independent voice seems like it would have to be an improvement. The problem is that most everyone intuitively believes that the new voice will somehow sound more like *their* voice than the existing ones.

It's unlikely that the ideology of any third party would alienate fewer people than the two we have now. Unless it's focused on a single issue, it's hard to see what a third party could use to unite the presently disgruntled voters behind it. The only significant thing that dissatisfied voters tend to have in common is their dissatisfaction. How many election cycles can that model last- especially given that it will take a long time before the effectiveness of a new party can become comparable to the existing ones?

Arianna is correct that the 'left vs right' paradigm is insufficient today (even though I believe she's come to that conclusion for the wrong reasons). The Libertarians, with whom I disagree more often than the Dems or the GOP, make a convincing case for the idea that political ideology should be seen on at least two axes. The Pew Research 'Beyond Red and Blue: Political Typology' reports show that it's common for those who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, or who are socially conservative but fiscally liberal, to feel uncomfortable with the fact that they end up throwing in with the 'least worst' party. Adding two parties, rather than one, could serve these existing constituencies and allow for coalition building where none is possible today.

12 years ago @ Left, Right & Cent... - Jobs/Economy; FinReg; ... · 0 replies · +1 points

I wasn't trying to say that they had betrayed (politically) conservative principles, or that they'd violated the constitution. Rather, I was trying to say that they had betrayed their own principles regarding how the constitution should be interpreted

The Citizens United decision was a betrayal of originalist principles about interpreting the constitution (ie, the theory more often associated with the "conservative" justices of today's court, but neither politically conservative nor liberal), but it was not necessarily a betrayal of non-formalist principles about interpreting the constitution (ie, the theories more associated with "liberal" justices). The consequences of the case (as opposed to the reasoning behind the decision) are consonant with conservative political ideology, but are anathema to a politically liberal ideology.

Whether or not you think the decision somehow violated the constitution will depend upon what theory of constitutional interpretation you endorse. If you believe that Furman v Georgia and/or Kennedy v LA were constitutional, then while you can claim that the effects of Citizens United will be for the country (especially if your politics are left-leaning), but I don't see how you could claim that it betrayed the constitution in any objective sense. Just as a politically liberal person could see Griswold v CT, Doe v Bolton & Roe v Wade as correct decisions arriving from a correct non-formalist (eg, instrumentalist, pragmatist, realist) interpretation of the constitution, a political conservative might also see Citizens United as a proper non-formalist interpretation of the constitution.

Unless you endorse some sort of formalism (whether the originalism advocated by Scalia or the textualism advocated by Hugo Black, or something else) you're giving the justices an open invitation to let their view of what would be beneficial to society intrude into the formulation of law which will constrain the freedom of every American citizen.

That's why the so-called "liberal" justices are more dangerous.

12 years ago @ Left, Right & Cent... - Jobs/Economy; FinReg; ... · 5 replies · 0 points

Kudos to you U.S.M.C. vet. I agree, but what worries me more than Kagan is that Ginsberg will retire before the '12 election. If Obama is reelected, I guess we deserve the liberal activist nominees he gives us, but only one president has gotten more than 2 nominees confirmed in his 1st term since WWII- Nixon., and congress refused 2 of his nominees (and 3 of his picks didn't even make it to nomination).

12 years ago @ Left, Right & Cent... - Jobs/Economy; FinReg; ... · 10 replies · 0 points

What a truly bizarre comment. What model do you have in mind for a more stable democracy without a standing army? Even the Swiss have a standing army. I just can't imagine what you have in mind.

12 years ago @ Left, Right & Cent... - Jobs/Economy; FinReg; ... · 4 replies · -1 points

What decisions like Citizens United show us is that conservative originalists have betrayed their principles. Still I'd rather have a fallible originalist than a constitutional pragmatist whose 'living constitution'' theory doesn't even give them principles which would constrain them from taking into account (necessarily subjective) views about social change, how meaning has evolved, etc.

The latter group are dangerous.

12 years ago @ Left, Right & Cent... - Jobs/Economy; FinReg; ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Well in my part of the world your response would be considered an ad hominem attack coupled with a straw man argument. You might wish to examine your lack of logic.

First, I've never said anything approaching that the "unemployed.. don't really want jobs." Personally, unlike the GOP, I support extending the unemployment benefits regardless of whether it adds to the federal debt.

Nonetheless, I am suspicious of the DEMs, whom you consider victims (without giving any justification for such a view). If the DEMs truly believe that the loss of unemployment benefits would be a tremendously unjust/unethical hardship to impose on American families, then one has to wonder why the issue of deficit neutrality vs. emergency spending has become such a sticking point.

Faced with a filibuster which could delay getting relief to those who need it, I tend to think that if I were a senator, I'd not quibble too much over the source of the funding, So far, the GOP (with a couple of exceptions) feels that the principle of not incurring greater debt is more important than ensuring the benefits not be interrupted. DEMs say that this is evidence of indifference to those who are suffering in this economy- yet at least to this day, the DEMs are (by action rather than words) showing that they are willing to risk (and indeed for some it may already be too late) an interruption of benefits to defend their right to use emergency funding!

How does that make them more empathetic? If they are so much more concerned about the disadvantaged than the GOP why not accept their funding mechanism? I do believe that the DEMs are more sympathetic to economic disadvantage (although not to the degree which they claim) than the GOP- so why are they waiting for Byrd's replacement. That doesn't speak of a sense of urgency? I think that it's to bludgeon the GOP with the issue for political advantage. Do you have a better explanation?

12 years ago @ Left, Right & Cent... - Jobs/Economy; FinReg; ... · 0 replies · +2 points


Tony (like many reasonable people) rejects the notion of a "living constitution" which gives unelected officials with lifetime appointments the authority to mold the constitution to their liking - as if it were made of Silly-Putty.

Slavery wasn't eliminated by judges reinterpreting the constitution. It was eliminated by an amendment (the 13th) to the constitution. Regarding the meaning of the language in the constitution as stable over time doesn't preclude amending it! That's just Bob being inflammatory.

The claim about segregation isn't as unreasonable as the one about slavery, but it's still wrong. The supreme court declared specific instances of segregation to be unconstitutional (eg, racial zoning of housing - Buchanan v. Warley; racial segregation in situations involving interstate transportation- Morgan v. VA & Boynton v. VA; racial segregation in public education- McLaurin v. OK State & Brown v. Board). These decisions chipped away at the institution, but left most segregation legal -until- the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Since the Civil Rights Act is a law passed by congress, it (like a constitutional amendment) is compatible with Tony's view of the constitution. Neither slavery nor segregation were ended by the use of Bob's 'living document' theory.

12 years ago @ Left, Right & Cent... - Jobs/Economy; FinReg; ... · 2 replies · 0 points

Has no one else noticed that the DEM leadership seems to be dragging its feet regarding options to extend unemployment insurance?

For example, with two moderate GOP votes hanging in the balance (Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins) why did Reid wait so long to offer the extension as standalone legislation and untie it from (more controversial) federal aid to state budgets?

Scott Brown (and probably most or all of the other GOP senators) would support it if the unemployment benefits were paid for from the $40B of unspent stimulus money (which DEMs agreed to do for business tax breaks but not unemployment insurance)!

George Voinovich would support the benefits if only half the cost were offset with the stimulus money. That would be the one vote they'd need.

I suspect that the DEMs enjoy having this filibuster drag on because they can bash the GOP with it and have a talking point going into the midterms.