So I went off on what didn’t turn out so well yesterday…I have not yet opined about what went better. Two states out of two go to new Republican governors now. The world now knows the Republican party has a pulse.
I just said “the world now knows”; I did not say “it is proven.” The idea that since January we were under one-party rule forever and ever, was always a pre-canned pre-chewed pre-digested idea for simplistic idiots and I don’t think anyone with working gray matter ever believed in it. In the months since then, the growing sense of anger and frustration — and His Wonderfulness’ record-setting free-falling approval numbers — made it abundantly clear that if any regime were to ever lock in an eternal mandate in the U.S. of A., this was definitely not what it looked like. So the Republican party has been assured throughout all of it that to whatever extent a party of loyal dissent was desired and required, they still had a job. And really when you get down to it, that’s about the only function they’ve had for a lot of folks for a very long time. That’s really about the only reason we say anything positive about them here.
So the Republicans aren’t dead, and everyone paying attention knows it. What’s vastly more important than that, though, is…there’s some unhappiness with what the democrats are doing, and everyone paying attention knows that. Sure it isn’t news to you if you have a brain and haven’t been living in a cave. But like Stalin said, quantity has a quality all its own. When more people know, that takes on a truth all its own.
Now the finger-pointing starts. Because there is the Hoffman thing.
We think the most reasonable interpretation is, or might very well be, Taranto’s…who fortunately does a sufficiently thorough job of re-capping things that I don’t need to do it here. Which would make me feel very foolish indeed, since by now everyone’s doing it.
The conventional explanation for this result will be that Doug Hoffman, the de facto Republican in the race, was too conservative for the district and that the GOP would have been better off sticking with its formal nominee, liberal Dede Scozzafava, who this weekend dropped out and endorsed Owens.
This is not implausible, but we’re not so sure. The situation in New York’s 23rd is anomalous and reminds us of Joe Lieberman’s re-election victory as an independent in 2006 — that year’s only major defeat of a Democratic nominee (Ned Lamont, who had beaten Lieberman in a primary), but not one that turned out to signal any peril for Democrats.
Under normal circumstances, political parties work out their divisions in primaries, then unite behind the victorious candidate for the general election. In both the Lieberman-Lamont and Owens-Hoffman races, this process failed — and it did so because of unusual provisions of state election law.
Lamont beat Lieberman in a particularly bitter primary. In most states, that would have been the end of it. Since there was no serious Republican in the race, Lamont would be in the U.S. Senate. But Connecticut allows an unsuccessful primary candidate to get on the general-election ballot as an independent. Abandoned by his party, Lieberman did just that — and thus he was able to re-enact the primary with a more congenial electorate.
In New York’s 23rd District, there was no primary. Party bosses met behind closed doors to pick Scozzafava, who turned out to be unacceptable to many Republican voters. New York is unusual in its practice of electoral “fusion,” which ensures several minor parties of a spot on the ballot. Hoffman got the nomination of the Conservative Party and in effect waged a primary battle with Scozzafava — one that did not end until three days before the election.
Republicans ended up divided because they had no time to reunify after a nasty battle they hadn’t expected. Scozzafava, presumably (and understandably) bitter after being chosen and then discarded by her party, threw her support behind Owens, the Democrat. The problem for the Republicans isn’t that they were divided between “conservatives” and “moderates”; such divisions are an essential part of the two-party system. The problem is that because of New York’s screwy election procedures, the resolution of those divisions was too late and too messy to help them on Election Day. [emphasis mine]
Perfect. But I’ll take issue with one little thing here: It was not understandable for Scozzafava to throw her support behind the democrat. Because that makes her one. I may very well have my bones to pick with the whole “you’re an idiot if you disagree” argument; I resent it when it’s hauled out to support militant atheism, global warming, Al Gore and Barack Obama being smart, George Bush and Sarah Palin being stupid…all that stuff. Along with “Dede Scozzafava is a perfectly decent Republican.”
But when it’s been hauled out and used, I expect the everyday common goddamned courtesy of waiting a couple of years before you say “okay, I can see you’re not buying, you’re right, we were bluffing.” Scozzafava waited one stinkin’ day before proving she was a democrat all along. One day. On a weekend. That’s practically instantaneous.
Up yours, Dede. And I didn’t even mention the matter of 900 thousand dollars. That didn’t belong to the Republican party bosses you managed to bamboozle and swindle…and maybe bully and intimidate. It belonged to the people who donated it. Everyday people, who in all likelihood make a lot less money per year than the typical democrat donor, and might even live a lot less comfortably. It’s a good thing you’re a woman, because if you were a man I’d be able to find the words to aptly describe what you really are.
This brings us to the matter of the big question. I defined it today both at Buck’s place and at Phil’s:
Whaddya think…conservatives lost because they deserted the GOP party apparatus, or the party apparatus lost because it deserted the conservatives?
In whatever way you choose to word that, I know it’s been weighing on the minds of many others and perhaps someone somewhere found a way to express it even more eloquently. Although I doubt it. Regardless of that, though, I’m sure it will figure prominently in spirit as we see many an obnoxious headline in the near & distant future. Take it from blogsister Cassy:
Expect Democrats and the Meghan McCain’s of the GOP to trumpet this as a sign that moderates are what the public really wants, because if they wanted conservatives, they would’ve voted for Doug Hoffman. No mention of the party’s bungling of this race, of course… it’ll just be about how the GOP needs to be less “extremist” and more moderate (meaning more Democrat-lite). Watch.
And that, dear reader, now that you’ve made it this far…that’s the subject of this post.
Blogger friend Buck might be the very first example of what Cassy’s talking about. Pity, that; I consider the both of them to be on my inside cream-of-the-crop blogger-pal circle, and I think the two of them would get along great. I like to think that. Sometimes I have my doubts. But our guy down in New Mexico doesn’t seem to be in a state of good cheer about what’s going on, especially in NY23:
I posted my initial thoughts on NY23 here. And my opinion hasn’t changed a whole Helluva lot. NY23 was a clusterfuck of the HIGHEST order, and there’s plenty of blame to passed around as to why.
I’m beginning to think the GOP doesn’t want me and my kind in the party… especially if folks of the same mind as yourfineself have their way. I am NOT a dogmatic conservative purist, I don’t particularly care for Miss Alaska, and I damned sure don’t like all the “real” conservative bullshit that seems to be taking front and center in the debate these days. I’m rapidly becoming apolitical, and the knee-jerk ultra-conservatives are the primary reason why. Well, them and the fucking Obamatrons.
He posted his thoughts on NY23 “here.” What’s “here”? This is “here”…
I happen to agree with Gingrich… what’s happening in NY-23 sets a dangerous precedent… which is to say an opening for knee-jerk Third Party candidacies whenever and wherever a significant minority of conservatives disagrees with the mainstream GOP. As Newt says: this sort of fragmentation almost guarantees The One’s reelection. Newt and I also seem to be in the minority on this issue, as well. I’m not that much of a political junkie to claim I know what’s going on in NY-23 but I know enough to see things don’t look good for us Libertarian-type conservatives… and the GOP, as a whole. Shorter: What are we doing in this handbasket? And where are we going, anyway?
(Just as an aside: if you read blog-bud Morgan regularly you know that he and I have been sparring on this exact issue since last year’s Republican primaries and well before. It all began when he backed Fred Thompson and I supported Giuliani; the discussion has continued full-tilt boogie since he’s become a serious Palinista. Which I’m not.)
At this point, Buck has expressed himself as much as he cares to and it does present something of a smorgasbord of coherent concerns, some of them quite legitimate. As far as the agreeing with Gingrich — it’s that Greta Van Susteren interview in which Gingrich issues his dire warnings against fracturing. Fracturing is a rather simple and predictable turn of events in political science, becoming a real possibility whenever factions form about anything. Ten people want ice cream for dessert and eight people want cookies. If they all have to have the same thing, it should be ice cream. But wait — a bitter feud erupts over whether it is to be chocolate or strawberry. Final vote: Four for strawberry, six for chocolate, eight for cookies. Cookies win. Cookies shouldn’t-a won, but they did anyway, dadgum it.
Okay, let us get this one thing straight here: I’m not going to sit here and argue this point. Buck’s right. Newt’s right. It isn’t debatable. It’s a fundamental law of the universe.
Here is what is debatable:
The “fracturing” argument is only relevant if you’re concerned about the short term…and within that short term, if you’re concerned about party labels. And so I ask myself: How much do I want Republicans to be in charge of things throughout 2009 and 2010? And the answer is…not very. Look around, folks. They aren’t running squat. That isn’t going to change for fifteen months.
After that, do I have unlimited faith in these people? Like the DailyKOS folks have in democrats? Eh…nope. It comes down to one thing: I’ll give up just about anything for them to win because, and only because, I want the other guys to lose. You want a lot of rah-rah stuff, a whole lot of “no one from our side ever makes a mistake” stuff? You’ve come to the wrong place.
At this point, permit me a rant. A rant about the confusion others have had. The confusion is between doggedly pursuing an agenda to eliminate others, in spirit as well as in body…and…simply refusing to participate in the Great Pretend. I think deep down you know what I’m talking about. Pretending that a baby’s right to be born is of neglible consequence, and that the baby’s mother’s right to enjoy a mother-less lifestyle is of such great significance that it diminishes pre-meditated murder into the phantom zone of things that never actually took place. Pretending that you have an absolute right to work if you happen to belong to a union, and you absolutely have no such right if you do not. Pretending that when the economy’s in the crapper, what we need is a colossal universal healthcare plan that will punish people for refusing to buy health insurance, and that will fix everything. Pretending that when the minimum wage is raised…when income taxes are raised…when property taxes are raised…when capital gains taxes are raised…when estate taxes are raised…people will not change their behaviors as a result. And that if they do, they deserve to be punished good & hard with some kind of a “exit” tax or “unpatriotic” tax.
My rant is this: We only play this cute little “Prove you’re a moderate” game with conservatives. Not with liberals, not with independents, not with libertarians, not with moderate conservatives. As I said at Buck’s place,
I know it’s not easy to admit you’ve been sold a bill o’ goods sometimes…but think about this. The folks on the other side of the aisle that disagree with both of us — I don’t see anyone approaching them to say “change your position on labor unions every other election cycle…or else you’re brittle and intolerant.” I don’t see anyone telling them “repudiate your poster about ‘General Betray-Us’…or else you’re intolerant.”
You know what convinces me somebody’s tolerant? I’ll tell you this: I think Buck’s as tolerant as I ever wanna see anybody be. And that’s a compliment. Because our disagreements about the issues, I can tell, go somewhat beyond what he’d find…let us say…soothing. True, we agree more often than we disagree, both of us have said so on many an occasion and we mean it. But where we disagree, we each have our reasons for sticking to our guns. And there may be misunderstandings there — more on his end than mine — but outside of the misunderstandings, we’ve got hard lines in the sand that are drawn in concrete because they come from different life-experiences. We’re not budging on these.
Yeah well you know what? I still have a standing invitation to zip on over to Portales (or near it) with or without that bottle of Chimay. If Buck can make the time to be here before I can make the time to be there, he’s got the same invite. That’s tolerance. That’s class. And that’s as much flexibility as I expect to see in any man. That is where my admiration for such attributes begins. And I’ll tell you something else — that’s where it ends, too.
I do not…let us repeat that. I do capital N-O-T appreciate people who pretend false things are true, and vice-versa, to make and keep friends. I do not appreciate people who indulge the Great Pretend just to be sociable. I don’t admire it, I don’t like it. I think it is the modern plague of our times.
I don’t think anybody else admires it either.
Ah, but with conservatives — we have another game of pretend we like to play. Keep believing that stuff you believe, conservatives, and you won’t have a friend in the world. But contradict some of it, a little this year, a little more next year…do a little dosie-do, here, there, there some more, until nobody knows what in the hell you’re all about…just reprise Charle’s Durning’s “Dance a Little Sidestep” from the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas…and who knows, maybe, just maybe, you’ll pick up a VOTE!
Yeah, well McCain tried that…and…hey you know what? I’m not going to examine history anymore. What’s the point.
It’s a craven fucking insult to our intelligence. Just stop it already.
Like I said. It isn’t being done to anyone else. It’s a litmus test that is never, ever, EVER imposed on liberals. So there. Now we know what it’s all about, and it doesn’t have anything to do with tolerance. It’s got to do with making things more liberal.
What is tolerance, anyway? There’s another point to be made here. This one, deeper than all of the rest.
I’ve written before about how the Hindu religion got something very, very right…exclusively right. Like many other world religions, they used dieties to symbolize natural elements, natural forces, rudimentary directions of effort. And here’s where they got it oh-so-right, in fact, so right that their view of things has to be invoked time and time again, as it continues to dovetail with whatever’s going on.
There is a deity associated with creating things.
There is a diety associated with preserving things.
There is a deity associated with destroying things.
As you follow these three different “deities”…your behavior changes…and that is because the way you think about things…likewise changes. As I said this summer:
It’s the Morgan Freeberg Theory of the Charismatic Wrecking Ball.
We are divided, fundamentally, into those who want to build things and those who want to destroy things. These two factions of person, do not think of things the same way. They do not live life the same way, so they don’t look at life the same way. Building things is infinitely tougher than destroying things, because things have to fit together with other things — you have to build them just right and line them up just right. You have to measure every step, and you have to adhere to a design. The design has to have taken everything into account that might become a factor during the building process, and this does mean everything. Temperature. Humidity. Slope. PH level. Altitude. Wind speed. Drag coefficient. If it matters, then the design must have taken it into account, and if anything is missing then this is all just a big waste of time.
Builders just aren’t very much fun to watch. They don’t build until they have a line inked in; they don’t ink the line in until they’ve penciled it; they don’t pencil it until they measure it, and measure it again, and again, and pencil it in ever-so-lightly, measure yet one more time, curse heavily, erase…I tell you, watching these people is like water torture.
Wrecking balls are fun to watch. Their mission is far, far simpler, and so they enjoy the benefit of moving in a straight line…to such an extent as they don’t want to move that direction anymore, then they swing back again. With sufficient inertia as to overpower everything else. A wrecking ball can afford to move that way — because it is concerned only with destruction, not with creation.
That’s how people are. If you’re out to destroy things and not build things, you get to move in a straight line just as long as you want. Your actions are utterly predictable, since it’s a physical impossibility for you to abruptly change course or speed. And yet you’re so much fun to watch.
I submit, ladies and gentlemen, in the midst of this age in which we are all supposedly so concerend about showing “tolerance” for each and every li’l thing, and demanding “tolerance” out of each other, for each and every li’l thing…the following:
It is impossible to show true intolerance against an agent of destruction.
This is what blogger friend Buck has missed. Failing to tolerate an agent of destruction — it’s like giving consent for sexual intercourse when you’re ten. Think about the firefighter using a stream of water to extinguish a fire. Showing his intolerance against the fire…destroying the fire. Do you think of it in that way? No, you don’t. Here he is depriving those poor little flames of the oxygen they need to keep on burning. He’s moving through them exactly the same way a harvester moves through a tall grass with his scythe, cutting the flames down.
But what he’s cutting down is an agent of destruction — fire.
He’s not acting as a destroyer. He’s acting as a preserver.
When those nutty…intolerant…fundamentalist…whacko…kookoo…die-hard, inflexible, holier-than-thou, oh-so-smug pro-life conservative Republicans act so “intolerantly” toward the abortion advocacy groups, they’re doing exactly the same thing.
Tolerating an invasion of illegal aliens? That’s just like tolerating fire. It’s no different. It isn’t tolerance. Not really.
I live in California, a place where democrat politicians tolerate lawyers who are looking to stir up extraneous lawsuits in order to make a livelihood where none exists. They tolerate union officials who, in turn, tolerate absolutely nobody else. The place is beyond bankrupt. Is that true tolerance? These are all agents of destruction, not creation or preservation. Once again, is it possible to show tolerance or intolerance toward such things?
I made one other point at Buck’s place about this: Let us call this my “Who is being intolerant to whom?” point:
Palin tells Buck to take a leap – 0
Buck tells Palin to take a leap – 1
Conservatives leave GOP – 0
GOP leaves conservatives – 1
Now I’m going to keep those scoreboards updated for a reeeeeaaaaaal long time, m’friend, but I don’t think they’re gonna change. Seems to me you’ve mistaken the simple concept of “act like what you’re positions really are that important” with the decidedly different concept of “reject people.” In that last exchange, as well as the prior you linked, the only person I see rejecting anyone is you.
Anyway, a lot of this stuff is in how you look at it. Not to get into details too far, but gay marriage as an example. If the state gets to define that, how long do we wait until churches are sued, and perhaps prosecuted, for refusing to conduct marriage ceremonies? You say you want people left alone and left free. Well that’s just another angle to consider. And it’s a very real possibility.
Buck has committed no special sin here. He’s made no exclusive mistake. He has no handicap to call his own. Like many millions of others, he’s been asked to imagine something has taken place — that never really has. And he made the understandable error of complying.
Think back to the greatest show of intolerance you have ever seen Sarah Palin engage. Something about a rape kit, right? Urban legend. Nice try. How about burning library books? Bzzzt. Try again. Puttin’ the hate on the gays? Three strikes. She opposes same-sex marriage but her first veto was against a bill that would have prohibited same-sex couples from receiving state employee benefits. She’s not a gay-hater.
And she’s done nothing to reject Buck.
Buck’s rejected her.
What you’re seeing is Saul Alinsky’s twelfth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Once conservatives are made into something foreign, it is okay to wish all kinds of intolerance upon them…and it’s okay to imagine them saying things they never actually said. We all saw it with the Rush Limbaugh thing with his trying to become a partner with the NFL. Phony quotes, like slavery had its merits, and James Earl Ray should’ve been awarded a medal.
Once the subject has been properly frozen, personalized and polarized…never let the facts get in the way. The Alinsky rule works, because it isn’t a rule at all. It simply is describing and documenting what has already been hard-wired into human nature.
And so I’ll not think any the less of Buck for having fallen for it. Couldn’t if I wanted to. All he’s done is make a human error here. But the fact remains: His thoughts about stalwart conservatives acting in an exclusionary way toward the more “moderate” types — at least in any gratuitous, unprovoked way — are simply those. Thoughts. He’s been duped into inventing them, and pretending he saw ‘em somewhere.
But if Sarah Palin has ever behaved with just a fraction of the nastiness and exclusionary zeal that has become routine for people like George Clooney, Al Sharpton, Dede Scozzafava and Hillary Clinton, it’s news to me. And it’s news to everyone else, too.
Taking your own beliefs seriously has nothing to do with excluding people. All it really means is that you’ve put some thought into why you believe the things you believe…right or wrong…and you’re willing to stick by them. That shows integrity and strength of character. Exactly the kind of thing that we are all supposed to be demanding out of our politicians. We all remember that, right?