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Ian McColgin
04-30-2012, 07:10 AM
'Even Worse Than It Looks': Extremism In Congress?
by NPR STAFF
April 30, 2012

Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein are no strangers to D.C. politics. The two of them have been in Washington for more than 40 years.

They came together in 2006 to write a book about dysfunction in Congress, called The Broken Branch. But their assessment of Congress today is even more dire so dire, they've called their new book It's Even Worse Than It Looks.

Mann, a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution, and Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), join Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep to talk about the book, which comes out this week.

The book claims that democracy in America is being endangered by extreme politics. From the first day of the Obama administration, Ornstein says, our constitutional system hasn't been allowed to work.

"When we did get action, half the political process viewed it as illegitimate, tried to undermine its implementation, and moved to repeal it," Ornstein says.

Ornstein and Mann make no secret of who they blame for most of the dysfunction in Congress.

"One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition," they write.

Ornstein says some of his colleagues at AEI, which is known as a conservative-leaning think tank, "are going to be quite uncomfortable" with him getting behind such a statement.

"We didn't come to this conclusion lightly," he says. He points out that he and Mann have been highly critical of both parties in previous works. For example, they called the Democrats "arrogant, condescending, [and] complacent" after Democrats had been in the majority for 40 consecutive years up to 1994.

"But for Republicans currently inside Congress, you have a new set of litmus tests and a new outlook that leads them in directions where you can't say that there is such a thing as climate change, you take positions on things like immigration that are simply off the rails, and if you compromise, you are basically defiling what the party stands for," Ornstein says.

"We're not exactly neutral or balanced, are we?" says Mann. But a central message of their book, he says, is that norms of non-partisanship in the media and elsewhere sometimes do "a disservice to the reality."

"It disarms the electorate in a democracy when you really need an ideological outlier to be reined in by an active, informed public," Mann says.

Mann and Ornstein recognize that many people will likely be skeptical of the argument that things in Congress today are so much worse than they used to be.

Last year, Ornstein wrote a piece for Foreign Policy magazine about the 112th Congress titled "Worst. Congress. Ever." He says a lot of people wrote to him and said, "Oh, come on, what about the period right before the Civil War?"

"And I said, 'I'll grant you that. Do you really want to be compared to the period right before the Civil War?' You know, maybe we are better than we were in the period leading up to the Civil War, but that left us with a virtual fracture in our society. We don't want to see that happen," Ornstein says.

Some might argue, however, that a politics of extremes is necessary at times. Solutions are not necessarily to be found in the middle sometimes we may have to go to the edges to solve our problems.

"I think that's a reasonable argument," Mann says. "I don't believe in a golden mean; I don't believe you find policy wisdom between two polar points. I don't dismiss that possibility, but I look at the platform that's so ideologically based, that's so dismissive of facts, of evidence, of science, and it's frankly hard to take seriously."

Ornstein adds: "We're not against conservatives. Some of our heroes are very, very strong conservatives here. We're not against strong liberals, either. ... The problem is not one that is resolved by just turning it over to one side to do simplistic solutions that are based on more wishful thinking than reality. It's finding that hard reality."

# # #

[Clearly, I'll be getting the book soon. Looks fascinating.]

Osborne Russell
04-30-2012, 07:38 AM
The polarization is mostly political, not ideological. It's one strategy to adopt to a winner-take-all game.

In order to make it look ideological, the right has to take extreme positions, such as involuntary vaginal penetration. Outside the political context, the bulk of Republicans would be horrified by such things. They had to be led there by the party propagandists, who believe they have to be progressively outrageous in order to get attention. They're right of course, but to what extent? The limit hasn't been found yet. Sure Santorum got denied, but that's only one failure of one bid to go nation-wide. Several states have been captured by the far right and they will find someone stronger to put forward as President in the coming years.


"One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier – ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition," they write.

This is the real deal. It's the little people dreaming of being giant killers. They know the giant is out there because they themselves feel small.

Ian McColgin
04-30-2012, 07:46 AM
I agree that those doing the polarizing are not ideological, at least not in a coherent manner. They are an interesting experiment in manipulating the dark side of American populism and combining it with an apparent willingness to 'go nuclear' over almost everything.

Nicholas Scheuer
04-30-2012, 08:08 AM
Good piece, Ian! I fear the next step might be a "Throw The Bums In Washington Out!! ALL OF THEM!!!" Demagogue able to mass enthusiastic crowds of an uncritical electorate, like Hitler did.

Rich Jones
04-30-2012, 08:08 AM
How much of this is caused/supported by 24 hour cable pundits? Fox, Limbaugh, MSNBC all rant and rave their positions. Limbaugh is by far the worse. I find him a true threat to democracy. Elected Republicans who try to defy him are subjected to his vile hate. Weak minded voters are then told to kick them out of office. So, these politians foresake their ideals and, with tails between their legs, submit to tyranny.
Likewise, clowns like Norquist telling Republican politians to line up behind him or face his considerable wrath.
Until we find a way to neutralize the Fox/Rush threat to our democracy, this horrible trend will continue.
MSNBC has it's rant's, but all in all, they follow logic, not hate filled lies and misleading statements.

BrianW
04-30-2012, 08:10 AM
As Mark would say... "vote'em all out you sheeple!"

I'm willing to ditch my representatives.

skuthorp
04-30-2012, 08:35 AM
"One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier – ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition,"
Same applies in present Australian politics exactly, sad to say. Our version of the GOP is firmly attached to the 'divine right to rule' principle, if that position possesses any principle at all.

BrianW
04-30-2012, 08:36 AM
On what basis would you think the replacements would be any different?

Because... they would be different people?

;)

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
04-30-2012, 08:39 AM
I like polarized glasses.

Waddie
04-30-2012, 09:17 AM
As a libertarian/liberal on social issues and a conservative on financial issues I don't really have a dog in this fight as neither party has shown much fiscal restraint over the past 20 years or so. And it's only a matter of time before demographics makes the Republican party a permanent minority. Then it will be interesting to watch the Democratic party wrestle with the massive problems facing the nation. It's been a hoot watching California wriggle to and fro under the command of Democrats. Jerry Brown making cuts like he's a Republican in Democratic camouflage.

Maybe the Republicans made "compromise" a dirty word because to them it represents the proverbial "camel's nose under the tent". Maybe they feel that every time they "compromise" it ends up advancing the Democrat agenda that much further. And then the Democrats come back during the next term and want yet another "small" "compromise", until they get just about everything they want. Why would a Republican, who favors market reform to a nationalized health care system, "compromise" on the health care act when the end result is still nationalized health care? Maybe this same Republican suspects the ultimate goal of the Democrats is single payer nationalized health care, and the Democrat's strategy is to get one "small compromise" after another until that goal is achieved.

In the final analysis, though, the Democrat's will win out, as it's a numbers game. I think then the nation will miss the lack of real opposition, and the Democrat's will have a devil of a time fulfilling the expectations they are inculcating in the general Democratic base.

regards,
Waddie

2MeterTroll
04-30-2012, 09:56 AM
I would assume that throwing the whole lot out at the same time would simply kill the country. however: getting rid of the stagnant by voting out all of the incumbents till none of them have any real cronies on the hill, might be a workable solution. From my perspective its the entrenched power that is the problem, Every one of these guys wants to be on the winning team.

probably an artifact of being picked dead last for every competition as children.

Osborne Russell
04-30-2012, 11:41 AM
How much of this is caused/supported by 24 hour cable pundits?

Most of it. These people, who never seemed to have found time to read any history or science, seem to find thousands of hours to listen to broadcasts -- note, no reading required. They are sub-literate, meaning, between illiterate and literate. They can read a stop sign.


Until we find a way to neutralize the Fox/Rush threat to our democracy, this horrible trend will continue.

All you can do in the end is argue and point the way out. It's an individual moral decision to suppress your own intellectual conscience and curiosity, and envy and hate those that don't suppress theirs.

Since they are fundamentally cowards they like to clump together and that's what the broadcasters are selling.

Waddie
04-30-2012, 12:57 PM
Norman Bernstein;3396116]Maybe because they might finally face reality, and realize that health care is simply one of those things that does not work as an unregulated 'free market' kind of thing? And that every other nation in the developed world realized this decades ago, and as a consequence, have substantially less expensive health care with better results?

"Maybe because they might finally face reality"; Your "reality", like "truth", may be different to different people.

"health care is simply one of those things that does not work as an unregulated 'free market' kind of thing"; I think a Republican would say, how would you know, it's never been tried.


'Compromise' means that each side has to give in a little on their goals and ideologies. The AHCA represents a substantial compromise on the part of Democrats, who would much rather see nationalized health care.

"who would much rather see nationalized health care"; and there you have it, exactly why Republicans see no point in compromise, because the next term new bills will be introduced to further the country along that path.

"What are the Republicans willing to compromise with? ; A better question might be why should they compromise at all if the end result is the attainment of the Democrat agenda? Is it simply better to go down fighting, since demographics will undermine their status anyway?

If I were a Democrat I would welcome Republican intransigence; it should hasten their demise. But be careful what you wish for......

regards,
Waddie

Ian McColgin
04-30-2012, 01:11 PM
I don't think that right wing broadcasters caused the polarized environment. We had about as much polarization in the immediate run-up to our Civil War and there were no broadcasters then, just broad sheets.

It's interesting to see how the South's cause, overtly in defence of slavery, was in the economic interest of only the very small minority of very wealthy southerners who owned slaves in any serious numbers. It's also interesting to note that these conservatives or right of that era kept up a frenzy of popular paranoia that the North was out to get them despite all the compromises that kept abolitionists from legally forcing the issue in the South. This paranoia was somehow fueled by the notion that if a slave-owner could not take slaves to any part of the Union, that was an assault on southern virtue.

The analysis by Mann and Ornstein draws striking similarities to those days. Nor is this a phenomenon unique to US society. The European right behaved much the same way in the wake of the "Year of Revolutions" and again in many places in the '30s.

Most non-liberal movements whether of the left or of the right are built on discontent. It just seems that the right is better able to focus its discontent on a non-compromise negative agenda.

Osborne Russell
04-30-2012, 01:57 PM
A better question might be why should they compromise at all if the end result is the attainment of the Democrat agenda?


This illustrates the point of the article. It's a zero sum game; a gain by the Democrats is by definition a loss by the Republicans because the the Democratic agenda is not in the public interest even if it does command a majority.

Waddie
04-30-2012, 03:03 PM
Norman; We have been doing it that way, forever... you can't say it hasn't been tried.

Hey, I'm for single payer, but to be fair health care in this country has always been heavily regulated, especially by the states. Some states allow only a couple of providers to operate, and you can't buy coverage across state lines. And it can't be a true open market since it's never had any transparency at the hospital, doctor or insurer level. However, even if it were a true market system, it's probably not the best way to provide health care.


Norman; Ahhh, I get it. 'We're losing the demographic race, so we might as well jam up the works, and obstruct, for as long as we can."
This is pretty much the same philosophy as the Kamikaze pilots of WWII.

Now you got it. Eventually the Democrats will be in full control. It's really just a matter of time. Then the excuse that the Republicans "blocked everything in the Senate" won't wash, and it will be interesting to see how they handle total power. But like I said, be careful what you wish for..... a Democratic utopia might be less than you imagine..... :)

regards,
Waddie

leikec
04-30-2012, 04:42 PM
Hey, I'm for single payer, but to be fair health care in this country has always been heavily regulated, especially by the states. Some states allow only a couple of providers to operate, and you can't buy coverage across state lines. And it can't be a true open market since it's never had any transparency at the hospital, doctor or insurer level. However, even if it were a true market system, it's probably not the best way to provide health care.






Now you got it. Eventually the Democrats will be in full control. It's really just a matter of time. Then the excuse that the Republicans "blocked everything in the Senate" won't wash, and it will be interesting to see how they handle total power. But like I said, be careful what you wish for..... a Democratic utopia might be less than you imagine..... :)

regards,
Waddie

Political parties evolve, and events tend to shape the electorate in ways that can't always be predicted. I'd not hold my breath waiting for a "permanent" democratic majority if I were you.

Jeff C

Tom Montgomery
04-30-2012, 05:14 PM
This mess we find ourselves in is primarily the result of a largely cynical and uninvolved electorate.

Is the cable 24-hour news cycle a big contributing factor to this? You bet. Are the talk-radio demagogues a big contributing factor to this? You bet. My guess is more people are alienated by this nonsense than those who are energized by it.

But the fact is that most Americans do not bother to vote. Those who DO vote rarely or never write to their elected representatives expressing their opinion (whether by snail-mail, email, twitter or otherwise). The people who are really INVOLVED are largely the rabid partisans on both sides. The vast political center (what Richard Nixon characterized as the "silent majority") has mostly opted out of the process entirely.

A bad situation.

Keith Wilson
04-30-2012, 06:10 PM
I suggest everybody read Mann And Ornstein's article - look here (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-just-say-it-the-republicans-are-the-problem/2012/04/27/gIQAxCVUlT_print.html). The title is :Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.
They're right.

wardd
04-30-2012, 06:13 PM
someone explain the business model that makes a profit with cradle to grave medical care for everyone

2MeterTroll
04-30-2012, 07:32 PM
the silent majority seem to be slipping away to the screaming foaming at the mouth wing-nuts. the problem is the majority out there is supposed to be what knocks the politics back to center.

This last election cycle folks where outraged over a country that had gone almost totally fascist; voting for change. Well a little changed, much of the fear is gone but any fundamental change in the country has continued to be non-apparent. IMO At the core of the problem is Education about, access to and direct response from the elected officials. A guy surrounded by security and staff that only lets vetted folks in earshot (most of whom seem to be in his fan club) is not accessible. A form letter is not a direct response. Education about the office held that is lagging by 170 years is not an education.

we no longer have an informed electorate or an educated electorate; one out of two would be a nice change now.

Ian McColgin
04-30-2012, 07:43 PM
This thread is about the phenomenon of polarization, not the particular issue of health care finance which has had any number of threads of its own. If anyone has more to say on health care itself, perhaps a thread on that topic would be in order.

Tom Montgomery
04-30-2012, 07:46 PM
Thank you, Ian.

If only more thread originators would hold posters accountable to staying on topic.

PeterSibley
04-30-2012, 08:44 PM
"health care is simply one of those things that does not work as an unregulated 'free market' kind of thing"; I think a Republican would say, how would you know, it's never been tried.


"who would much rather see nationalized health care"; and there you have it, exactly why Republicans see no point in compromise, because the next term new bills will be introduced to further the country along that path.

regards,
Waddie

Do Republicans EVER look outside their borders other than to plan wars ?

Waddie
04-30-2012, 09:22 PM
Thank you, Ian.

If only more thread originators would hold posters accountable to staying on topic.

Too bad, guys.....once you start a thread you don't control it. And the health care topic was only used as an example. Quit being so fascist - you don't run things yet....

regards,
Waddie

Ian McColgin
04-30-2012, 09:30 PM
The health care finance reform is an interesting example since the law that was passed was essentially the Republican proposal, mandate and all, from earlier and is not unlike the Massachusetts law that the then governor took such credit for. The law's merits are not so relevant here as understanding why the Republicans have drawn such a hard line on the issue.

BrianY
04-30-2012, 10:03 PM
If I were a Democrat I would welcome Republican intransigence; it should hasten their demise. But be careful what you wish for......

regards,
Waddie

meanwhile the country is going all to hell...that's nice. The problem is that neither the dems or repubs...but mostly the repubs IMO...care one wit about the good of the COUNTRY as opposed to the good of the PARTY. Welcoming the Republican intransigence is obviously something that only a Democrat who puts party over country would do.

We're all just fiddlin' away while Rome continues to burn. Call me a lunatic but I beginning to believe ol' TylerD and his talk of revolution.

Waddie
04-30-2012, 11:20 PM
The health care finance reform is an interesting example since the law that was passed was essentially the Republican proposal, mandate and all, from earlier and is not unlike the Massachusetts law that the then governor took such credit for. The law's merits are not so relevant here as understanding why the Republicans have drawn such a hard line on the issue.

I thought it was the perfect example, since it is close to what Gingrich proposed back in the 80's, and is like the Massachusetts program. But since it was endorsed and promoted by a Democrat President it was their duty, I tell you, to oppose it with all their energy to the last breath----which they will.

But today I followed an interesting piece of pure politicking by the Democrats. Obama said he wouldn't wait for Congress to act on important issues, and said he has his people on the job every day looking for wrongs he can right by executive order. Apparently he could have ended discrimination on federal contracts by executive order today, but refused to sign it, and now says he is waiting on Congress to pass comprehensive reform....yeah, right.... John Stewart had a field day with it on his program. Can you say campaign issue ?? At the expense of Gays, women and blacks trying to scratch out a living.

Another Democrat issue I just don't agree with is Card Check. Essentially it does away with the secret ballot when voting on unionizing a workplace. I thought the secret ballot, or Australian ballot as it was once called, is a precious part of our American value system. I personally don't think anyone has a right to know who or what I for for, or against, no matter what, no exceptions. There is only one possible reason for wanting to know how someone voted in this "unionizing" circumstance...so union thugs would know whom to pressure. (Now, I don't think all union organizers are thugs, but the ones who favor Card Check are).

The Democrats aren't as bad as the Republicans, but they play some games, too.

Sorry about the thread drift.... :)

regards,
Waddie

Ian McColgin
05-01-2012, 05:37 AM
Those are issues about which one can argue, disagree, vote upon, and live with the result. Or are they? The polarization we see is the astounding plethora of issues - nearly anything Obama ends up agreeing with - that the Republicans are willing to stop the government over. That's why the whole "super-majority" bit.

To some extent absolute opposition is built into our system, like the presidential veto but while that needs a super majority to overcome, we now see in the Senate the minority parlimentary devices to have a super majority to even get a measure on the floor, to even talk about it.

It's not the individual issues. None of these is the end of civilization as we know it. It's the absolutist demand of "our way or no way."

John Smith
05-01-2012, 06:24 AM
How much of this is caused/supported by 24 hour cable pundits? Fox, Limbaugh, MSNBC all rant and rave their positions. Limbaugh is by far the worse. I find him a true threat to democracy. Elected Republicans who try to defy him are subjected to his vile hate. Weak minded voters are then told to kick them out of office. So, these politians foresake their ideals and, with tails between their legs, submit to tyranny.
Likewise, clowns like Norquist telling Republican politians to line up behind him or face his considerable wrath.
Until we find a way to neutralize the Fox/Rush threat to our democracy, this horrible trend will continue.
MSNBC has it's rant's, but all in all, they follow logic, not hate filled lies and misleading statements.

Leads me to a couple of questions: First did anyone catch Maddow on Meet the Press discussing women getting less pay?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NYHWp31u40
How does anyone hate Obama enough to vote for Romney?

John Smith
05-01-2012, 06:34 AM
On what basis would you think the replacements would be any different?

I would guess it depend who is replaced by whom.

One of the problems in congress today is those who replaced members.

This gets back to the FOX et al lies. We have had a significant number of bills pass the House under Pelosi only to die in the senate, not for a lack of a majority vote, but for the lack ofa 60 vote majority. We've had bills in the senate where 57 - 59 democrats have voted FOR them but fell to the filibuster, and the democrats are somehow at fault for these bills not passing.

Meanwhile, we have seen republicans running states and what their "smaller, less intrusive" government looks like. I am unable to understand some of their positions, other than their religion is perhaps more important than our constitution. Obviously their pledge to Norquist is more important than our constitution.

I don't think it's a partisan observation, but an honest assessment of the facts, that leads me to say today's republicans scare the hell out of me.

Garret
05-01-2012, 07:18 AM
Without 2 (or more) parties that are willing to talk to each other & compromise, the US will be a far worse place to live in. We need a debate from differing viewpoints.

I put a lot of blame on the Norquist pledge - but even more, the willingness of the folks who signed it to tie their hands by taking an absolute position. IMO, that's simply wrong.

Osborne Russell
05-01-2012, 07:55 AM
But since it was endorsed and promoted by a Democrat President it was their duty, I tell you, to oppose it with all their energy to the last breath----which they will.

What is this duty that requires them to oppose that which they favor?

skuthorp
05-01-2012, 08:14 AM
government, as opposed to Government, is the responsibility of the electorates representatives, that is their job, not to be spoilers, nay-sayers, obstructionist to any of their rivals policies without compromise or proper care. Ideology has become policy, those who seek power at any cost are in possession of the levers but not operating them.
In my blacker moments I envisage voting out every sitting member regardless of party for three elections in a row to break the party system and force, in our case, parliament, to operate as it was designed to.

Waddie
05-01-2012, 09:34 AM
What is this duty that requires them to oppose that which they favor?

Their duty to oppose ANYTHING favored by Obama, even if they at one time favored it themselves. And in this environment, Democrats felt they had a duty to oppose Bush on each and every issue. Democrats are now continuing policies they criticized Bush for; like drone attacks, extending the debt ceiling, etc. That is now the primary role of the opposition - to throw bombs... it doesn't have to make sense.

regards,
Waddie

tigerregis
05-01-2012, 10:08 AM
Loyal Opposition is to ensure The Government remains true to a constitution. Their role is not to impede legislation; their job is to "improve" it.

Ian McColgin
05-01-2012, 10:17 AM
Actually, it's simply false to say that Democrats felt a duty to oppose Bush 43 on everything. There was a massive threat of fillibusters in one area - Bush court appointees - but seven D's and seven R's made a deal that thwarted that idea in exchange for the R's not attempting to change the fillibuster rules. Needless to say, it's now the R's that like the easy virtual fillibuster. When Obama was elected the R's hit the ground running with obstructionism on an unprecedented scale which, given natural Democratic Party diversity, they could push even when the D's had a bit over 60 senators.

It really is different now and it really is one party doing it.

Osborne Russell
05-01-2012, 11:19 AM
Their duty to oppose ANYTHING favored by Obama, even if they at one time favored it themselves. And in this environment, Democrats felt they had a duty to oppose Bush on each and every issue. Democrats are now continuing policies they criticized Bush for; like drone attacks, extending the debt ceiling, etc. That is now the primary role of the opposition - to throw bombs... it doesn't have to make sense.


1. Yes, it does.
2. In what environment, created by whom?
3. Continuing a policy is not the same as initiating it. I don't like a pink bathroom but I'm not going to switch to orange halfway through. My objections to pink were not heard at the time the decision was made. That does not . . . can you dig it . . . does not mean that I was in favor of pink all along. Viewing the situation RATIONALLY . . . ahem . . . the best use of scarce resources is to finish painting and move forward, or should I not say "forward"?

Waddie
05-01-2012, 11:45 AM
Osborne Russell; Continuing a policy is not the same as initiating it.

Whoa, Hoss, your boy doesn't get a pass by saying, "he started it..". Sometimes continuing a policy you strongly opposed as the opposition is worse than initiating that same policy. It is the height of hypocrisy. At least the person who initiated it believed in it. It is well within the current administration's power to end things like drone attacks, which they were critical of before, but have now expanded. Obama didn't have to sign the extension and expansion of the Patriot Act. Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling when he was a senator during the Bush administration, but then requested that Congress raise it under his administration. Could it be that raising the debt ceiling was necessary no matter whose administration it is, and to oppose it, whether a Democrat or Republican, is simply opposition bomb throwing.

regards,
Waddie

John Smith
05-01-2012, 11:49 AM
Their duty to oppose ANYTHING favored by Obama, even if they at one time favored it themselves. And in this environment, Democrats felt they had a duty to oppose Bush on each and every issue. Democrats are now continuing policies they criticized Bush for; like drone attacks, extending the debt ceiling, etc. That is now the primary role of the opposition - to throw bombs... it doesn't have to make sense.

regards,
Waddie
Democrats, as I recall, did not oppose Bush on everything he wanted to do. Not like this.

Anyone who puts party loyalty above country ought to be voted out.

wardd
05-01-2012, 12:59 PM
i've recently come to realize that the filibuster should be gotten rid of or modified to time limited device, say a week or month

as it is now the party using the filibuster can use it to stymie the party in power so the party in power is not judged on it's policies

i think it's time to let the party in power enact it's policies and be judged on them come election time

Ian McColgin
05-01-2012, 01:06 PM
The fillibuster could be fixed with a simple return of the Senate rules to the time when a fillibuster took actual talking. Like in the days of Wayne Morse opposing the Vietnam war. And the fillibuster is over when no one is left talking, as in when they run out of steam. This modern fillibuster by announcement that one is thinking of intending to contemplate the idea of a hypothetical fillibuster is totally for wimps.

leikec
05-01-2012, 01:07 PM
Actually, it's simply false to say that Democrats felt a duty to oppose Bush 43 on everything. There was a massive threat of fillibusters in one area - Bush court appointees - but seven D's and seven R's made a deal that thwarted that idea in exchange for the R's not attempting to change the fillibuster rules. Needless to say, it's now the R's that like the easy virtual fillibuster. When Obama was elected the R's hit the ground running with obstructionism on an unprecedented scale which, given natural Democratic Party diversity, they could push even when the D's had a bit over 60 senators.

It really is different now and it really is one party doing it.


Good post.

The democrats aren't pure as the driven snow on this, but the republicans are indeed guilty of "obstructionism on an unprecedented scale."

Jeff C

wardd
05-01-2012, 01:15 PM
i bet the republicans change the filibuster next time they are in power

johnw
05-01-2012, 02:58 PM
The question is, why has polarization gone so far? It's not the pundits. We've had these conditions before.

johnw
05-01-2012, 03:08 PM
There's a pretty good book on this subject, by the way. This chart comes from it.

http://voteview.com/images/MPR_Figure_1_3_2009.jpg
More here: http://booksellersvsbestsellers.blogspot.com/2011/10/where-immigration-polarization-and.html

It appears we are at our most polarized since Reconstruction, and once again, we've got high immigration and strong nativist sentiment. A Democratic pollster described the Democratic coalition as "diverse America and whites comfortable with diverse America." Discomfort with immigrants leads to people having strong feelings about who a "real American" is. They tend to think the immigrants are taking jobs, reducing the leverage workers have for negotiating higher wages, and using services that the "real Americans" pay for. There's a reason that in the Republican primaries, any sort of compromise on immigration issues was toxic.

wardd
05-01-2012, 03:52 PM
The question is, why has polarization gone so far? It's not the pundits. We've had these conditions before.

i see it as the republicans moving so far right that polarization is the result

it's not because both parties have become more extreme

even with the rightward (not to be confused with forward a marxist word ) movement of the dems the gulf has widened with the extreme rightward shift of the reps

johnw
05-01-2012, 05:13 PM
i see it as the republicans moving so far right that polarization is the result

it's not because both parties have become more extreme

even with the rightward (not to be confused with forward a marxist word ) movement of the dems the gulf has widened with the extreme rightward shift of the reps

Which does not answer the question of why they've moved so far to the right.

wardd
05-01-2012, 05:56 PM
Which does not answer the question of why they've moved so far to the right.

not hard to answer, it's in their genes, it's a process that has been in motion since goldwater and the more it moves rightward the faster it moves

i don't think a goldwater republican would be unhappy with todays reps, the only question he would have is what took so long

Garret
05-01-2012, 06:05 PM
i don't think a goldwater republican would be unhappy with todays reps, the only question he would have is what took so long

I disagree. I think he'd be very unhappy - particularly with the power of the religious right. AuH2O warned about them taking the party over.

johnw
05-01-2012, 07:05 PM
not hard to answer, it's in their genes, it's a process that has been in motion since goldwater and the more it moves rightward the faster it moves

i don't think a goldwater republican would be unhappy with todays reps, the only question he would have is what took so long

If that were true, they'd have been as far right all along as they are now. We need to explain why they moved farther out.

wardd
05-01-2012, 07:16 PM
If that were true, they'd have been as far right all along as they are now. We need to explain why they moved farther out.

a learning curve, they moved as fast as they thought prudent

now that the true believers have ascended they have lost all inhibitions

Keith Wilson
05-01-2012, 07:36 PM
The question is, why has polarization gone so far?A very interesting question. I don't have a satisfactory answer. It would be more accurate to state it as: "Why have the Republicans moved so far right?". The Democrats are pretty much exactly where they were twenty years ago.

Here's a partial list of contributing factors, IMHO. They're in no particular order. None is sufficient by itself.

- Decentralization of sources of information, driven by technological change. Walter Cronkite had to appeal to a majority and stay pretty much in the center, lest his ratings drop. Fox News does not.
- The shift of conservative white southerners to the Republican party starting around 1960, complete by about 1980
- The shift of moderate and liberal New Englanders to the Democrats over the same period, resulting in:
- Ideological division of the parties, rather than cultural/historical/regional
- Lee Atwater, and his successor and student, Karl Rove. Atwater realized that with a closely divided electorate and low rates of voting, one could win by moving away from the center and getting one's supporters more motivated to vote. This was a purely tactical move that had large long-term consequences.
- Increasing immigration to areas that historically hadn't had much, particularly the old Confederacy.
- Relative economic decline of the white working class, due to technological change, decline of unions, and globalization, among other factors.
- The housing bubble and recession; that was just more fuel on an already-existing fire.

There are also factors completely internal to the conservative movement; What we're seeing, as I've said before, is something akin to a feedback loop in physical systems, where moving right pushes other people yet farther right, and more-extreme-than-thou is the way to win primaries, if not elections. The conditions have to be right for a feedback loop to start, but once going, it runs under its own power until it crashes.

One point: The current dysfunctional state of the federal government is in the interest of one party only. If one is in favor of radically reducing the scope of government, making people cynical and angry about how badly the government is working is a very useful tactic. The most effective way to do that is to f*ck things up.

johnw
05-01-2012, 07:58 PM
A very interesting question. I don't have a satisfactory answer. It would be more accurate to state it as: "Why have the Republicans moved so far right?". The Democrats are pretty much exactly where they were twenty years ago.

Here's a partial list of contributing factors, IMHO. They're in no particular order. None is sufficient by itself.

- Decentralization of sources of information, driven by technological change. Walter Cronkite had to appeal to a majority and stay pretty much in the center, lest his ratings drop. Fox News does not.
- The shift of conservative white southerners to the Republican party starting around 1960, complete by about 1980
Actually, that pretty much started with the 1964 Civil Rights Act.



- The shift of moderate and liberal New Englanders to the Democrats over the same period, resulting in:
- Ideological division of the parties, rather than cultural/historical/regional
- Lee Atwater, and his successor and student, Karl Rove. Atwater realized that with a closely divided electorate and low rates of voting, one could win by moving away from the center and getting one's supporters more motivated to vote. This was a purely tactical move that had large long-term consequences.

Nixon started that in his run for the presidency in 1968. Attwater was just an apparatchik, Nixon was the strategist.



- Increasing immigration to ares that historically hadn't had much, particularly the old Confederacy.
- Relative economic decline of the white working class, due to technological change, decline of unions, and globalization, among other factors.

Immigration ties in to the media income and inequity problem, because immigration has been associated with workers having less leverage in negotiating wages. Even jobs that can't be easily outsourced to another country are subject to this.



- The housing bubble and recession; that was just more fuel on an already-existing fire.

There are also factors completely internal to the conservative movement; What we're seeing, as I've said before, is something akin to a feedback loop in physical systems, where moving right pushes other people yet farther right, and more-extreme-than-thou is the way to win primaries, if not elections. The conditions have to be right for a feedback loop to start, but once going, it runs under its own power until it crashes.

One point: The current dysfunctional state of the federal government is in the interest of one party only. If one is in favor of radically reducing the scope of government, making people cynical and angry about how badly the government is working is a very useful tactic. The most effective way to do that is to f*ck things up.

Keith Wilson
05-01-2012, 08:09 PM
Actually, that pretty much started with the 1964 Civil Rights Act.I'd say earlier - the revolt of the Dixiecrats in 1948, Brown vs Board of Education in '54, the support of northern liberal Democrats for the civil rights movement in the late '50s and early '60s . . . . The 1964 Civil Rights Act was a one large step in a longer process.


Nixon started that in his run for the presidency in 1968.I don't think Nixon used the "fire up the base" strategy all that much in '68 or '72; he ran a pretty conventional "capture the center" campaign, helped by the fact that the US left was caught in its own self-destructive feedback loop at the time.


. . . . immigration has been associated with workers having less leverage in negotiating wages.Very good point.

johnw
05-01-2012, 08:25 PM
Keith, I think you'll find the Southern strategy was Nixon's.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/05/26/080526fa_fact_packer?currentPage=1

Packer's article lays it out pretty well. It's been the Republican strategy since then.

Keith Wilson
05-01-2012, 10:13 PM
Keith, I think you'll find the Southern strategy was Nixon's.Oh, yes, certainly. But I think we're talking about two different things. Nixon's southern strategy was the idea of splitting conservative southern Democrats from the rest of their party and getting them to vote Republican (Abe Lincoln being long enough dead). He didn't do it by becoming more ideologically extreme, but by convincing them that the Democrats had left them behind (they had) and that they were really Republicans. Nixon was ideologically a very centrist establishment Republican of the time, considerably to the left of Goldwater and Reagan.

Atwater's tactical innovation was something different, although there's some overlap. Historically the winning strategy had mostly been 'capture the center': look moderate and win over the undecided swing voters in the middle. He realized that in a close election, increasing the participation of one's own part of the electorate was at least as effective, and could be done without moderating one's positions at all - quite the opposite, in fact; immoderate positions and rhetoric gets "the base" more excited. This tends to make the electorate more polarized over the long term. It also requires higher and higher doses to be effective, to the point where a blithering loony like Allen West is taken seriously in the Republican party.

C. Ross
05-01-2012, 11:14 PM
Seems to me that Mann and Ornstein might widen their lens beyond partisan politics to the culture at large.

I consider myself right-center, but over the last twenty years I have felt the center of gravity of American culture - culture, thought, behavior, beliefs, not just politics - move towards me and then to the right of me. Atwater, Rove, Gingrich, Norquist, whoever else you want; these guys did not make conservative rain, they simply caught the runoff.

I have no particular insights into why this has happened. Many can fill in the blanks better than I.

But I have also felt the absence of thought, and discipline, from the left. From 1980ish-2000ish the Right generated many ideas, the Left very few. Many of the ideas from the Right were really good. Welfare reform and broad multi-lateral trade liberalization (passed under Reagan, Bush 1 and centrist Clinton), serious tax and entitlement reform (passed under Reagan and Bush and Clinton), true fiscal conservativism (Clinton and Gingrich/Dole/Lott), Cap and Trade (European conservatives), deregulation (Carter through Bush), disciplined monetarism (Volker through Greenspan), to name a few, were really good ideas. Some were good ideas that overreached or were poorly executed - No Child Left Behind, for example. Some were astoundingly dumb (Iraq).

Quick: what are the great ideas that the Left pioneered between 1980 and today? Crickets.

My opinion is that the Left has mostly played defense for the last 30+ years. Following this playbook, a Republican/Tea Party majority (which I do not admire or respect) played "hold the ball". What did President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid do? Fret. Fuss. Roll their eyes. Read admiring pieces about themselves in Slate and Huffington Post. They passed one Landmark piece of legislation - a ginormous Keynesian/porkbarrel/unleash-Democratic-dogma-hell mess of a stimulus bill which made the center nervous and which more than anything else created fertile ground for Tea Party reactionism. And it was based more than anything else on 80 year old discredited economic theory! Under similar but less adverse circumstances, President Reagan passed his tax and spending bills, took his case to the American people, compromised deftly where necessary, and moved the ball. President Obama, to my frustration, complains to the refs about cheap shots but seems unable to raise his game to win.

The mess we have is no more President Obama's fault than World War II was Neville Chamberlain or FD Roosevelt's fault. But to use Mann and Orenstein's analogy, I do not see the President or the Democrats moving the ball past the fifty yard line, taking their case to the American conscience and awareness as Reagan did.

johnw
05-02-2012, 12:38 AM
Cris, Reagan compromised deftly because there was someone to compromise with. Boehner can't deliver his caucus when there's a compromise in view. Obama even used the Republicans' ideas on health care reform, figuring the Republicans would play ball with it, but they abandoned their own ideas because they wanted a Democrat to fail.

And the notion that the Republicans don't believe in Keynesian economics isn't quite right. Remember Bush's 2007 stimulus? And in the Reagan and Bush II recessions, they didn't cut government spending. They only want to do that when they think it might hurt the Democrats, which is why the government only shrinks during Democratic presidential administrations. In 2003, they were happy to run deficits because the country was in trouble.

Hurting the country to help your own party is unpatriotic, so it isn't the patriotism they claim that's behind the Republican intransigence. I don't see the conflict we call polarization as an ideological split or a matter of economic doctrine. Policies based on Republican ideas, like Rombamacare and cap & trade, start out as market-based solutions proposed by Republicans, and become "socialism" as soon as Democrats agree that they are good policy.

There's something more tribal at work here. Policies don't change their ideology when they are championed by different people, that would be people changing their ideology, and Obama adopting Romneycare as his model should be a major triumph for the ideas of the right -- if the right had not abandoned the idea. Conservatives object to the people on the left rather than their ideas, is my conclusion.

The question the right is really concerned with isn't who has the better ideas. It's who is a real American. That's why the argument defies rational analysis and why it is so bitter. While the left still seems to think the question of what policies work best is important, the right seems to think the real issue is that the left are not real Americans, therefore cannot legitimately hold office. It has less to do with wonks than with Lincoln's Cooper Union speech.

Waddie
05-02-2012, 05:04 AM
Instead of asking why won't they compromise we ought to be asking why should they compromise? Look at most of the Republican districts, especially now after the latest re-districting. Even if you were to "throw the bum out", it is likely a new and even further to the right bum will take his/her place. Most Republicans would soon have a tea party type of challenger if he/she did practice compromise. What do even Democrats say about Obama when he does compromise - that's right - he's accused of caving in. So are Republicans when they compromise.

There are Democrats in districts that are so safe for them that they can afford compromise - on some issues - but there are also many Democrats in seats that aren't so safe for a "compromising" wimp who caves to the Republicans. Some of the safe districts are in New York and California. And then there are the Blue Dog Democrats - whats left of them. A lot of good siding (compromising) with the Republicans did them - they mostly lost their seats in the last election. For the Democrats compromising depends on how safe their own district is, but for Republicans no district is safe for a compromiser....

I've always thought that the vast majority of politicians work primarily to get re-elected. They generally do whatever it takes to do so. They will adopt whatever posture and opinions that keep them employed for another term. And unless you're running for president, how the small percentage of independents, which seldom influence you re-election, feel about your job approval is not really important. But keeping the base behind you is.....

That's my explanation for why the politicians won't compromise, but why aren't the great unwashed masses, whose votes send the bums to Congress in the first place, supporting compromise? Because being hard line is good for business. The more evil the opposition the more money it's worth. And in America it's always about money. Just follow the money. I'm an NRA Endowment member. Making the opposition out to be the worst Commie inspired gun grabbers in the history of the world is always worth millions every election cycle. The NRA needs strong opposition - it works. I could name many Democrat and Republican organizations that know the importance of having their own versions of the evil opposition in order to ramp up their supporters. Even God needed Satan. Sharpton and Jackson both know how important reminding their base of how horribly racist this country is; it makes raising money and twisting corporate arms much easier. Of course the media benefits immensely from the polarization. It's great for ratings and makes household names out of clowns that couldn't hold down a real job to save their lives. It also helps to fill a long boring 24/7 news cycle if you can nitpick every nuance of the opposition.

But who really benefits the most from polarization are the true 1%er's. The British compiled an empire with the motto of divide and conquer. It is not by accident that the 1% control most of the media and the banks. It is not by accident that they give financially almost equally to both sides. I'm not claiming there's some sort of official, highly organized plot out there to keep us in factions. We have a natural tendency toward tribalism; they do exploit that and know how to make money off of it.

And finally, government has changed. 75 years ago most ordinary citizens (outside of war years) went about their lives with barely a perception that government at the national level existed. Almost all laws were local and people didn't expect very much from government. Expectations in general were lower. Today government permeates all aspects of life. We've placed tremendous expectations on government, from retirement to health care to education to how the economy performs, to....That's probably a natural progression as a civilization matures, but it makes everything government does much more important. It also greatly empowers lobbies and special interests. And involves lots of money. Now everyone has a stake in what laws are passed and they naturally get very determined to see that things go their way. It's important. And that costs money. Lots of money. Is it any wonder then that the 1% now have much more influence - and are just as determined that things go their way?

If the premise of the novel Animal Farm has any validity, some among us will always be "more equal than others" and if that's true we will always have polarization to some extent.

regards,
Waddie

Osborne Russell
05-02-2012, 12:45 PM
Whoa, Hoss, your boy doesn't get a pass by saying, "he started it..". Sometimes continuing a policy you strongly opposed as the opposition is worse than initiating that same policy. It is the height of hypocrisy. At least the person who initiated it believed in it. It is well within the current administration's power to end things like drone attacks, which they were critical of before, but have now expanded. Obama didn't have to sign the extension and expansion of the Patriot Act. Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling when he was a senator during the Bush administration, but then requested that Congress raise it under his administration. Could it be that raising the debt ceiling was necessary no matter whose administration it is, and to oppose it, whether a Democrat or Republican, is simply opposition bomb throwing.

What evidence is there that Obama was in favor of these things all along?

Keith Wilson
05-02-2012, 05:52 PM
75 years ago most ordinary citizens (outside of war years) went about their lives with barely a perception that government at the national level existed.75 years ago was 1937. You have heard of a small matter called the New Deal, right?

While the role of the federal government has indeed expanded, the claim that it didn't affect most people's lives 75 year ago is simply incorrect.

Waddie
05-02-2012, 06:20 PM
Osborne Russell;What evidence is there that Obama was in favor of these things all along?

Read it again. The part about continuing a policy you originally OPPOSED.

regards,
Waddie

Waddie
05-02-2012, 06:27 PM
75 years ago was 1937. You have heard of a small matter called the New Deal, right?

While the role of the federal government has indeed expanded, the claim that it didn't affect most people's lives 75 year ago is simply incorrect.

I never said it didn't affect people 75 years ago. The extent to which government can, and does affect ordinary people 24/7 has grown exponentially since the beginnings of big government in the 1930's. Coupled with the expansion of expectations placed on government, and the continual expansion of government into every aspect of life, along with a major media who makes it's living off of polarization, and it's not hard to understand why the electorate would become polarized.

regards,
Waddie

ChaseKenyon
05-02-2012, 06:47 PM
How much of this is caused/supported by 24 hour cable pundits? Fox, Limbaugh, MSNBC all rant and rave their positions. Limbaugh is by far the worse. I find him a true threat to democracy. Elected Republicans who try to defy him are subjected to his vile hate. Weak minded voters are then told to kick them out of office. So, these politians foresake their ideals and, with tails between their legs, submit to tyranny.
Likewise, clowns like Norquist telling Republican politians to line up behind him or face his considerable wrath.
Until we find a way to neutralize the Fox/Rush threat to our democracy, this horrible trend will continue.
MSNBC has it's rant's, but all in all, they follow logic, not hate filled lies and misleading statements.



We must be VT NH mountain folks as sorta neighbors because we seem to share the same logic and conclusions bout politics and media.

We are starting in to BBQ season. I'll even make up some double IPA for a get together.

Garret
05-02-2012, 06:50 PM
We must be VT NH mountain folks as sorta neighbors because we seem to share the same logic and conclusions bout politics and media.


I'd simply say that we have our eyes & ears open, but I guess I'm one of those suspect norther New Englanders.... ;)

wardd
05-02-2012, 06:57 PM
I never said it didn't affect people 75 years ago. The extent to which government can, and does affect ordinary people 24/7 has grown exponentially since the beginnings of big government in the 1930's. Coupled with the expansion of expectations placed on government, and the continual expansion of government into every aspect of life, along with a major media who makes it's living off of polarization, and it's not hard to understand why the electorate would become polarized.

regards,
Waddie

does that include transvaginal ultrasound?

skipper68
05-02-2012, 09:21 PM
Didn't read AGAIN. (Seen the "Vaginal" word)BUT I plugged my PC into my daughters outlet to charge it. ZZZAPPED me twice!. Told her the polar was BAD. She had NO concept why that third prong was there. Bad mom or she NEVER listens to me..Kinda on subject.?!

WX
05-02-2012, 09:32 PM
someone explain the business model that makes a profit with cradle to grave medical care for everyone
Is it meant to make a profit?
Do your armed forces make a profit?
It's a service for the good of the nation.

WX
05-02-2012, 09:36 PM
does that include transvaginal ultrasound?
Yep and your annual prostate physical.:)

skipper68
05-02-2012, 09:39 PM
Yep and your annual prostate physical.:):D :D :D Wait till you get THAT bill!

Waddie
05-02-2012, 11:28 PM
Originally Posted by wardd http://forum.woodenboat.com/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?p=3399098#post3399098) does that include transvaginal ultrasound?


WX; Yep and your annual prostate physical.:)

Government is right there every time you take it in the rear..... :)

regards,
Waddie

WX
05-02-2012, 11:34 PM
:D :D :D Wait till you get THAT bill!
Now if you had a national health system like ours it wouldn't be a problem.:)

johnw
05-03-2012, 02:11 AM
Now if you had a national health system like ours it wouldn't be a problem.:)

ifonly.

wardd
05-03-2012, 12:20 PM
Is it meant to make a profit?
Do your armed forces make a profit?
It's a service for the good of the nation.

in this country it is

John A. Campbell
05-03-2012, 06:42 PM
Sure wish there was some way you guys plus Richard Jones could include me in your group. I've been wanting, for a very long time, to move to New England and if it wasn't for family roots, I'd do it right NOW! Sure getting tired of these Texas republicans, this severe drought, stinging insects (was stung in my armpit and on my finger last night by a scorpion), unbridled population growth, and extremely hot weather......I guess I'm just a 73 year old dreamer......
I'd simply say that we have our eyes & ears open, but I guess I'm one of those suspect norther New Englanders.... ;)

Garret
05-03-2012, 06:46 PM
Texas has Republicans? I prefer publicans myself.... ;)

'salright, some of my best friends are Republicans & we have fun jabbing each other. Though I must say NNE Republicans tend to be a lot more centrist than elsewhere - not that we don't have our own whackjobs!

Keith Wilson
05-03-2012, 10:37 PM
The extent to which government can, and does affect ordinary people 24/7 has grown exponentially since the beginnings of big government in the 1930's. Not "exponentially", but that's a mathematical quibble.

I think "size of government" is an utterly wrong measure. Better or worse lives is the measure. While the US government, like every other human institution, is very far from perfect, I think the evidence shows that most of its activities have made life better for the county's citizens.

If spending is the measure, the federal government hasn't grown much as a percent of GDP for 50 years. There's a lot of noise, but the trend is nearly flat. Much if the recent uptick is a result of the drop in GDP.

http://politicsandprosperity.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/government-spending-as-percent-gdp_21.jpg?w=480&h=300

2MeterTroll
05-03-2012, 10:52 PM
I think it has more to do with the change in the role of federal government. the fed is supposed to deal with the states and such not so much the personal invasiveness that we see today. the states are supposed to be dealing with the human population far more closely. it seems that the state has let the fed do all its thinking for way to long and the population now thinks its the feds job to deal with them.

sadly i dont see the states standing up and wresting back the rights they are supposed to have. It would be nice to see more stuff like AZ's fence; while i dont agree with them on the fence its the states right to put it up. I can argue that the US was not set up for the type of connectivity we have these days. things are to immediate for most states to be the self supporting entities they once where.

Waddie
05-03-2012, 11:58 PM
Better or worse lives is the measure. While the US government, like every other human institution, is very far from perfect, I think the evidence shows that most of its activities have made life better for the county's citizens.

Whether it makes lives better or worse isn't the issue, it is the fact that the government is now in your life 24/7, for better or worse. From the time you wake up this morning to the time you wake up tomorrow, government will be there with you, helping you select what you have for breakfast, what kinds of bristles can be used in your toothbrush, whether or not you're on Daylight Savings Time, and the formulation of the gas in your car. Much of what governemnt does is beneficial. Consumer protection laws are beneficial. Environmental laws are beneficial. And each law is a catfight to legislate as every issue has a legion of lobbyists willing to spend millions on their clients behalf. That makes every tiny aspect of life polarized. Not that many years ago there was no such thing as lobbyists for the internet. Once issues arose and government started legislating, companies and groups who have a stake in the internet or want it to move in their preferred direction started spending millions on efforts to direct legislative efforts. And now we have polarization as some want more regulation while others prefer the largely un-regulated medium they know and love. It will only get worse.

regards,
Waddie

johnw
05-04-2012, 01:29 AM
I think it has more to do with the change in the role of federal government. the fed is supposed to deal with the states and such not so much the personal invasiveness that we see today. the states are supposed to be dealing with the human population far more closely. it seems that the state has let the fed do all its thinking for way to long and the population now thinks its the feds job to deal with them.

sadly i dont see the states standing up and wresting back the rights they are supposed to have. It would be nice to see more stuff like AZ's fence; while i dont agree with them on the fence its the states right to put it up. I can argue that the US was not set up for the type of connectivity we have these days. things are to immediate for most states to be the self supporting entities they once where.

I don't buy it. The federal government wasn't that big in the late 19th century, but if you look at the chart in post 51, you'll see that polarization was pretty high back then.

Waddie
05-04-2012, 03:42 AM
johnw; I don't buy it. The federal government wasn't that big in the late 19th century, but if you look at the chart in post 51, you'll see that polarization was pretty high back then.

It's apparent from the chart that the cause of polarization in the late 1800's and again more recently was partly the result of immigration fears, but that doesn't invalidate the idea that the expansion of government into daily life is a major factor.

regards,
Waddie

Keith Wilson
05-04-2012, 07:36 AM
It's apparent from the chart that the cause of polarization in the late 1800's and again more recently was partly the result of immigration fears . . . Not at all. Correlation is not causation. It may be, but the correlation doesn'tt demonstrate that at all. Here's another thing that correlates very closely; is it the cause? One cause?

http://blog.american.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/041312ps.jpg

Osborne Russell
05-04-2012, 09:19 AM
And now we have polarization as some want more regulation while others prefer the largely un-regulated medium they know and love.

The medium they thought they knew. Rugged pioneers settling the new land which was conquered by the federal government. Growing crops and building a civilization with water provided by the federal government. Engaging in commerce and transportation fostered by the federal government. Now some yanker in a tract house in Arizona complains of too much federal government, right down to the bristles in his toothbrush. "It's like your whole life is just a function of a huge machine !" No s*** Sherlock. If you don't like it and what something to be done, how about starting by addressing your own ignorance of how it came to be?

wardd
05-04-2012, 10:19 AM
i can't see how obama is anywhere near as intrusive as the republican party at large

look at all the laws being pushed from anti worker, womens health to voter suppression and tell me who is more intrusive

2MeterTroll
05-04-2012, 11:01 AM
one cause certainly; in the same time frames tighter restrictions where put on workers. when ever the top percentile gets to high the laws of the land get skewed to favor them and the working class takes it in the shorts. Traditionally we had riots and demonstrations; the threat of a working class uprising used to change things. nowadays with all the layers of security the lawmakers and president are insulated so much i dont think it would make a difference. This time around the fed is in folks homes to the point that folks are afraid to do anything. Communications that once took weeks now takes seconds and decisions no longer go through the state to be vetted and acted on or not. the fed wants total compliance instead of states having the spine to say no to some BS new law.

states are sucking at the fed teat for funds instead of setting tax rates early enough to have a savings, in order to get those funds they have to comply to federal regulations like speed limits Etc. Its not the fault of the fed so much as of the states themselves. the country is supposed to be a republic composed of distinct entities now it might as well be a single unit for all the distinction.





Not at all. Correlation is not causation. It may be, but the correlation doesn'tt demonstrate that at all. Here's another thing that correlates very closely; is it the cause? One cause?

http://blog.american.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/041312ps.jpg

Waddie
05-04-2012, 11:21 AM
Keith Wilson; Here's another thing that correlates very closely; is it the cause? One cause?

They're probably all part of what causes polarization. There is usually no single cause of a social phenomenon that large.

regards,
Waddie

wardd
05-04-2012, 12:09 PM
They're probably all part of what causes polarization. There is usually no single cause of a social phenomenon that large.

regards,
Waddie

the dems are still pretty close to where they have always been but a tad more to the right but the reps have wandered off the chart to the right, so i would say the right is more responsible for the rift

johnw
05-04-2012, 01:15 PM
They're probably all part of what causes polarization. There is usually no single cause of a social phenomenon that large.

regards,
Waddie

That's the theory of overdetermination, which I've always had doubts about. It's more likely that one thing has multiple consequences. For example, increases in immigration undermine the bargaining position of workers, who resent immigrants and get caught up in the question of who is a real American and while they resent the inequity, don't blame the rich for it but blame the people they compete with for jobs. You'd see an increase in immigration leading to an increase in inequity and an increase in ethnic tensions, all of which would increase polarization and all of which would have the same root cause. Of course, there could be more than one root cause, but to have the same effect, they would have to play into the same economic/political dynamic. For example, blacks being allowed to compete on a more even playing field, and women entering the work force tend to have the same effect on the bargaining power of the white male worker as immigration, and the base of the Republican party is more white and more male than the base of the Democratic party. Resentment against feminists, immigrants and civil rights legislation would be united by the same economic dynamic.

That's what Marginal Revolution is talking about here:

http://marginalrevolution.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/MaleMedianIncome.png
http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/06/the-great-male-stagnation.html

Guys used to use the phrase "free, white, and 21" to describe being in a good situation. Now you are financially better off to be married, because your wife is likely to be working, and being white isn't the advantage it once was. The loss of white male privilege leads to while male resentment. Is anyone surprised?

Waddie
05-04-2012, 01:28 PM
johnw; That's the theory of overdetermination, which I've always had doubts about. It's more likely that one thing has multiple consequences. For example, increases in immigration undermine the bargaining position of workers, who resent immigrants and get caught up in the question of who is a real American and while they resent the inequity, don't blame the rich for it but blame the people they compete with for jobs. You'd see an increase in immigration leading to an increase in inequity and an increase in ethnic tensions, all of which would increase polarization and all of which would have the same root cause. Of course, there could be more than one root cause, but to have the same effect, they would have to play into the same economic/political dynamic. For example, blacks being allowed to compete on a more even playing field, and women entering the work force tend to have the same effect on the bargaining power of the white male worker as immigration, and the base of the Republican party is more white and more male than the base of the Democratic party. Resentment against feminists, immigrants and civil rights legislation would be united by the same economic dynamic.

Whatever you call it, the factors you mention probably do contribute, add in some other factors already mentioned; a good start toward explaining polarization.

regards,
Waddie

johnw
05-04-2012, 07:27 PM
Whatever you call it, the factors you mention probably do contribute, add in some other factors already mentioned; a good start toward explaining polarization.

regards,
Waddie

That's just another way of saying the same thing the text you quoted argues against. I'm saying there's likely a primary cause that leads to a variety of consequences. It's you that's making the argument that there are multiple causes for a single consequence.

Keith Wilson
05-04-2012, 07:31 PM
The country is supposed to be a republic composed of distinct entities now it might as well be a single unit for all the distinction. This country is "supposed to be" what its citizens want it to be. With modern communication and transportation, we are a single unit for all practical purposes. Government is more effective if it reflects that reality.

I would feel a lot better about "states' rights" arguments, had they not been historically largely used to defend the indefensible, from slavery on.

2MeterTroll
05-04-2012, 08:12 PM
This country is "supposed to be" what its citizens want it to be. With modern communication and transportation, we are a single unit for all practical purposes. Government is more effective if it reflects that reality.

I would feel a lot better about "states' rights" arguments, had they not been historically largely used to defend the indefensible, from slavery on.

yep its also the thing that made the country diverse enough to have shipyards in the west that could crank out a ship a week. Aluminum
smelters that supplied a war effort Ect. there are up sides and down sides to everything; as a note we are not an amalgamated country, not by a long shot. trying to treat us out west like you folks get treated in the east would get you in some real hot water. the things you folks in the civilized world seem to think is appropriate to do to each other is truly horrifying. The expected rudeness the callus disregard for any type of personal space, the nosiness, the buying a sticker to show what town you belong to. Ugh!!! i was so glad to be out of the mess in the east coast and mid west i darn near kissed the ground.
the cultural differences are profound and the trying to force what works in MN or NY on folks out here is the worst kind of stupid. Ending slavery was a fed thing, ending segregation was a fed thing. Stopping a granny from getting fresh venison is a state or local thing. no way an idiot from IL is going to understand someone poaching a deer to feed the hungry. the thinking that we are all like cogs in a machine and are interchangeable is one of the things that is causing the problem. I dont want to be like you i dont want to live like you do, Why should i be subject to your rules and morality?

Garret
05-04-2012, 09:38 PM
yep its also the thing that made the country diverse enough to have shipyards in the west that could crank out a ship a week. Aluminum
smelters that supplied a war effort Ect. there are up sides and down sides to everything; as a note we are not an amalgamated country, not by a long shot. trying to treat us out west like you folks get treated in the east would get you in some real hot water. the things you folks in the civilized world seem to think is appropriate to do to each other is truly horrifying. The expected rudeness the callus disregard for any type of personal space, the nosiness, the buying a sticker to show what town you belong to. Ugh!!! i was so glad to be out of the mess in the east coast and mid west i darn near kissed the ground.
the cultural differences are profound and the trying to force what works in MN or NY on folks out here is the worst kind of stupid. Ending slavery was a fed thing, ending segregation was a fed thing. Stopping a granny from getting fresh venison is a state or local thing. no way an idiot from IL is going to understand someone poaching a deer to feed the hungry. the thinking that we are all like cogs in a machine and are interchangeable is one of the things that is causing the problem. I dont want to be like you i dont want to live like you do, Why should i be subject to your rules and morality?

Wow - that's a big brush you've got there. You may have had negative experiences in the east & midwest, but to imply that everyone in those places acts the way you describe is a lot much. For example, I know a few folks in IL who have gotten plenty of deer out of season (& not wasted any of it). I have neighbors here in VT who are some of the most polite & courteous people I've ever met. I have met people from the west who were incredibly rude.

So?

Waddie
05-04-2012, 09:44 PM
This country is "supposed to be" what its citizens want it to be. With modern communication and transportation, we are a single unit for all practical purposes. Government is more effective if it reflects that reality.
I would feel a lot better about "states' rights" arguments, had they not been historically largely used to defend the indefensible, from slavery on.

What if we can't all agree on what we "want it to be"? Majority rule? What if we don't want to be a "single unit"? Sounds like the "Borg" to me ...

regards,
Waddie

2MeterTroll
05-04-2012, 10:51 PM
Wow - that's a big brush you've got there. You may have had negative experiences in the east & midwest, but to imply that everyone in those places acts the way you describe is a lot much. For example, I know a few folks in IL who have gotten plenty of deer out of season (& not wasted any of it). I have neighbors here in VT who are some of the most polite & courteous people I've ever met. I have met people from the west who were incredibly rude.

So?

yep same size brush used. individuals are different the general social moors are not. I grew up part of my childhood in Chicago. if i had wanted a wide brush i could compare the entire mid west to cook county. Spent 5 years in VA if i treated anyone in my life the way the general population treated folks i would be ashamed to death. several years living and working in texas and the other gulf states makes me never want to spend more than a month in the place ever again. it is the amalgam of the society, we have our share of obnoxious folks every one does. the Culture is the over reaching thing in this case and i found the culture in the east not at all to my liking. From the fences across the beaches to the homeless frozen to the grates.



Did i have fun yep, i did. did i meet some great folks, again yep!
would i voluntarily live out east or midwest nope, not for money. South not for love or money.
The big part is that i wont tell you your way of life is wrong and you need to make laws to bring things closer to the northwest coast.
this seems to not be a principal subscribed to by the cultures in the east; we get forced to do as the populous east does.
weather it makes a lick of sense or not. an example is Montana; why does a place with that few long flat straight roads and minimal population need to drive 60 mph? Why is the fed involved in the decision? Montana was doing fine with no speed limit; turns out folks in the east took it to court cause they couldn't do the same on the NJ turn pike.
not cool! and not folks out easts problem or issue. All the same we get to comply with the wishes of folks who dont live in our culture.

I might have to have Erica figure out how to get the point across more politically correct.

Garret
05-05-2012, 06:27 AM
I don;t have an issue with what you've got problems with, it's who you're blaming. "Out East" is just too vague. For example you complain about NJ. Here in VT, folks from MA on down are called flatlanders. It's not a complimentary term. We've got plenty of folks fro outside the area moving in (it's cheaper here) & trying to make it into what they left. Think that doesn't tick people off?

Chicago ain't all of Illinois. I've spent a decent amount of time in rural IL & neighboring Iowa. Just a teensy bit different from Chicago.

The Feds don't actually require any state to set a particular speed limit. What they do is withhold highway funds if you don't. I realize that means that they effectively do - but any state is free to set the limit to whatever they want if they're willing to forgo the $.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't blame everyone in the east. It just isn't that simple.

2MeterTroll
05-05-2012, 07:01 AM
As i said individuals are great the culture i ran into was not. I didnt spend much time in all the states. so in that sense you are correct in that i used a big brush. it might have to do with the way things are presented here when some eastern judge, organization, or court gets involved in other states business. I have no problem with all the cultures and that is the point of my argument The states need to be able to manage themselves to handle the issues relevant to the state.
Keiths argument is that we should all be controlled by a central authority. I dont agree in the slightest. the green hills are the green hills and i am sure you wouldn't want the same rules that we have in coastal oregon or central washington. it wouldn't fit the culture. however; that is what is being suggested. the divisiveness IMO stems in large part from the idea that the entire country should be run by folks that have no idea of the culture on the ground. this is the condition we find our selves in and i dont think it was the idea when the US was set up. the states where responsible for managing the people, the fed was responsible for managing the states. the states give up control for money and now folks in washington are making rules that cannot apply to the whole country. the east is the more populated so it gets the biggest voice.

I am not trying to insult anyone i am just trying to add what i see as a part of the problem.



I don;t have an issue with what you've got problems with, it's who you're blaming. "Out East" is just too vague. For example you complain about NJ. Here in VT, folks from MA on down are called flatlanders. It's not a complimentary term. We've got plenty of folks fro outside the area moving in (it's cheaper here) & trying to make it into what they left. Think that doesn't tick people off?

Chicago ain't all of Illinois. I've spent a decent amount of time in rural IL & neighboring Iowa. Just a teensy bit different from Chicago.

The Feds don't actually require any state to set a particular speed limit. What they do is withhold highway funds if you don't. I realize that means that they effectively do - but any state is free to set the limit to whatever they want if they're willing to forgo the $.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't blame everyone in the east. It just isn't that simple.

Keith Wilson
05-05-2012, 08:51 AM
Keiths argument is that we should all be controlled by a central authority.Thanks, I love dressing up as a straw man. ;)

Some things should obviously be local. There are regional differences , although far less that there were 50 or 100 years ago, and local conditions vary. (FWIW, Minnesota is as different from New York as it is from Tuscaloosa or San Francisco or Washington state; lumping us in with "the east" is wildly inaccurate.) OTOH, we are more integrated as a nation than we have ever been; goods, services, money and people flow faster and more widely than ever before, and some kinds of laws have to be national, or even international, to be effective at all. Financial services regulation generally has to be uniform to have a prayer of working, since money moves at the speed of light, and most pollution laws have to be national at least. Some things simply don't work when implemented on a state level. OTOH, one can certainly go way too far in that direction. Your example of the speed limit in Montana is certainly something that should be adapted to local conditions. Driving across North Dakota in a modern car on the interstate at 55 mph would be a small slice of hell.

My main objection is to the originalist argument that because something worked in 1790, that's the way it "should" be. This makes no sense. If you think a particular arrangement works better (by whatever criteria you like), make that argument. But we don't live like we did 220 years ago, and the way we run the government has to take that into account.

2MeterTroll
05-05-2012, 09:52 AM
it cant work like 1720 there weren't that many states as far flung. the point is that the government still acts in a method that does not work at all in the modern age. you cannot make central authority decisions for places 2000 miles away. the setup for the states was to allow them to govern themselves with only a little intervention by the fed. what we have now is the fed in every state and making laws that are supposed to be in the realm of the states themselves.

Ua keith the problem is that when you dress as a straw man you make me want to catch you on fire. }:):pmad:

Keith Wilson
05-05-2012, 10:41 AM
you cannot make central authority decisions for places 2000 miles away.Sure you can. There is a great benefit to uniform laws. That's why the constitution specifies that the feds have the authority to regulate interstate commerce - (most commerce, these days).


the setup for the states was to allow them to govern themselves with only a little intervention by the fed Yes, indeed. That was when it took weeks if not months to communicate between New York and Georgia, and an awful lot of people lived, worked, and died within 20 miles of where they were born.


. . . the fed in every state and making laws that are supposed to be in the realm of the states themselves. Here you go: "supposed to be" again. How about "I think should be"; that's what you're really saying. If you think the states should handle certain decisions instead of the central government, you need to explain why that would work better. "Supposed to be" and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee

Waddie
05-05-2012, 11:52 AM
Sure you can. There is a great benefit to uniform laws. That's why the constitution specifies that the feds have the authority to regulate interstate commerce - (most commerce, these days).

Yes, indeed. That was when it took weeks if not months to communicate between New York and Georgia, and an awful lot of people lived, worked, and died within 20 miles of where they were born.

Here you go: "supposed to be" again. How about "I think should be"; that's what you're really saying. If you think the states should handle certain decisions instead of the central government, you need to explain why that would work better. "Supposed to be" and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee

Following your logic why have "representation" at all?
We elected representatives to travel to a distant city and make decisions we couldn't all gather together to make nor was it possible to be very well informed, so representative democracy made sense. In this age of instant communication why not let the public vote directly on major issues and restrict the size of government to what it takes to implement those decisions?

regards,
Waddie

wardd
05-05-2012, 11:53 AM
Following your logic why have "representation" at all?
We elected representatives to travel to a distant city and make decisions we couldn't all gather together to make nor was it possible to be very well informed, so representative democracy made sense. In this age of instant communication why not let the public vote directly on major issues and restrict the size of government to what it takes to implement those decisions?

regards,
Waddie

isn't that what the republicans want?

Keith Wilson
05-05-2012, 12:40 PM
. . . why not let the public vote directly on major issues Well that has its points. I'd like to think that the public would elect representatives who would study issues in more depth than most folks have time for, and thus make better decisions, but we both know how it works all too often.

2MeterTroll
05-05-2012, 11:06 PM
Ya know i really hate arguing with someone who is trying to get me to change a phrase cause they don like it! I wont change the GD phrase because it's in the fricken charter for the GD states! That is the Freeking way its supposed to be! got that in one? just because you dont like the ways the states rights where used changes nothing. the charters haven't changed or been abridged just what the states them selves allow the fed to do, weather by force or coercion.




Sure you can. There is a great benefit to uniform laws. That's why the constitution specifies that the feds have the authority to regulate interstate commerce - (most commerce, these days).

Yes, indeed. That was when it took weeks if not months to communicate between New York and Georgia, and an awful lot of people lived, worked, and died within 20 miles of where they were born.

Here you go: "supposed to be" again. How about "I think should be"; that's what you're really saying. If you think the states should handle certain decisions instead of the central government, you need to explain why that would work better. "Supposed to be" and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee

Keith Wilson
05-05-2012, 11:14 PM
I wont change the GD phrase because it's in the fricken charter for the GD states! That is the Freeking way its supposed to be! got that in one? Eh? Sorry, you don't get to decide that. The Supreme Court does, and it's "supposed to be" how they say. Everything the federal government currently does, all those things you object to, every bit of it is constitutional according to the court. If you don't like their interpretation of the constitution, you can work to change it.

2MeterTroll
05-05-2012, 11:25 PM
My my my Since most of it hasnt come in front of the court; its kinda hard for them to rule on now aint it? most of the problem here isnt that the fed has by force taken the power from the state as much as its coerced it from the states. When the state is broke its hard to say no to a life line with the note attached that if you touch it you are bound to follow this new little rule.

Thank fully the prior occupant pushed things to far and states are finally waking up again. several have told the fed to shove it on things of late (soon i expect to see some good ol coercion going on again).

its pretty clear you think things should be your way so take it away Keith cause you went off the end with this one. TaTa.

wardd
05-06-2012, 07:56 AM
My my my Since most of it hasnt come in front of the court; its kinda hard for them to rule on now aint it? most of the problem here isnt that the fed has by force taken the power from the state as much as its coerced it from the states. When the state is broke its hard to say no to a life line with the note attached that if you touch it you are bound to follow this new little rule.

Thank fully the prior occupant pushed things to far and states are finally waking up again. several have told the fed to shove it on things of late (soon i expect to see some good ol coercion going on again).

its pretty clear you think things should be your way so take it away Keith cause you went off the end with this one. TaTa.

from the perspective of the right should the fed gov be helping states that are broke?

maybe i don't want my tax dollars wasted on states that can't take care of themselves

seems simple to me, no help, no conditions and the states are free to go their own way

oh, and that pothole in front of your house, fix it yourself