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Which is just to say that the conservative movement from 1964-2009 was a giant failure. By nominating Goldwater, it invited a massive progressive win that all the subsequent conservative wins were unable to undue. But the orthodox conservative tradition of ‘64 is that it was a great success that laid the groundwork for the triumphs to come.
Which is to say that it’s not just a movement incapable of thinking seriously about the interests of the country, it can’t think rigorously about its own goals. 2009-2010 has already seen the greatest flowering of progressive policy since 1965-66. No matter how well Republicans do in the 2010 midterms, the right will never fully roll back what the 111th Congress has done. And yet, as Andrews suggests, if they win seats in 2010, conservatives will consider their behavior during 2009-10 to have been very successful.
Republican political strategy for the last 45 years makes no sense at all if you believe the people currently running the Republican Party care about governance. On the other hand, if you take the view, as I do, that the current crop of Republicans don’t give a damn about governing, any more than they care about controlling the size of government or doing what’s best for the American people–if you take that view, then it’s not surprising that their strategies are so unsuccessful at advancing conservative positions.
But if what Republican leadership really cares about is amassing personal power, looting the system on behalf of the rich, and destroying confidence in government then the Republican strategy makes perfect sense. Drumming Frum out of a job for daring to criticize a particular tactic, then, makes perfect sense, since reasonable opposition in order to maximize one’s input in shaping policy isn’t really a concern for most Republican leadership.
Obama gets this one absolutely right January 21, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in Morality, Politics.
I’ve made no secret of my irritation with Obama over his right-leaning rhetoric, praise for “bipartisanship” that’s code for giving in to conservatives, and his refusal to take a stronger stand against homophobia. His recent praise for Ronald Reagan didn’t do much to impress me either. But I’ll give this to the man: what he had to say the other day about bigotry was spot on:
For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.
And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.
We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.
Now that’s a message of inclusion I can get behind. Well said, Mr. Obama. I hope we see more of this from you in the future.
Real winners in Iowa: Democrats January 4, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in Politics, Progressives, wingnuts.
11.4% Huckabee (R)
That’s right, folks. Among those who caucused, the third place Democratic candidate solidly beat out the best-finishing Republican. Democrat caucuse-goers’ third choice got more interest than the best member of the Republican clowncar. What’s better:
In 2000, the last time there was a caucus in both parties, Republicans turned out 87,000 voters, while Democrats produced 59,000. There are around 600,000 registered Democrats in Iowa, and about 550,000 Republicans, but when you consider that on caucus nights, Republicans just need to show up and point to a name, while Democrats are committing to two hours of public wrangling, it’s not a surprise that more Republicans show up to be “first in the nation.”
Last night, the Republicans produced around 115,000 voters — an impressive 30% increase.But the Democrats turned out 236,000. That’s an increase of roughly one whole helluva lot.
Oh, the ways the Iowa Dems sets up their caucus does inflate the numbers a little bit–there’s n0 doubt about that. But with a super-long caucus, Democrats still found themselves bringing in two caucus-goers for every one the Republicans managed.
People are ready for a change, and they’re ready for a Democratic candidate to lead them.
Let’s hope the Democratic contenders see the writing on the wall and understand that now is a time to embrace progressives, embrace change. There’s no reason to cower before the Republicans: independents already like what Democrats are offering, and voters are already on board with popular policies like ending the Iraq war, providing health care and a social safety net, keeping abortion legal, and stopping welfare for the rich and corporations. Let’s hope the eventual Democratic nominee–whoever he or she is–sees that the mandate from the people is not to run to a “center” that is increasingly right-wing.
The news is good: let’s make sure our candidates understand why.
Sweet God, we’re only 10% of the population: how can we be responsible for all your problems? November 29, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Politics, Religion, Science, wingnuts.
Melanie Phillips is convinced that the real problems in the U.K. are all about atheism, and those mean atheists who dare to disagree with her. This is really embarrassing stuff:
Oh God! Tony Blair has confessed to religious faith being “hugely important” to him during his tenure as Prime Minister.
The full force of the secular inquisition will not hesitate in pronouncing its anathema upon him for committing this heresy of religious belief.
Oh! Us evil secularists will totally burn him at the stake. Or maybe, just maybe, we’re used to our leaders espousing religious belief and are fully capable of disagreeing with them without wanting to torture confessions out of them. If Melanie Phillips can find one example of a prominent atheist who wants to make Blair anathema for this, I’ll eat my proverbial hat. Now, atheists and religious folks alike are happy to attack Blair for his disastrous policies–and a Christian does exactly that in the comments–but, unlike many religions leaders, I don’t see prominent atheists demanding the heads of those who disagree.
For as Mr Blair also admitted, he was previously unable to be open about this key element of his character because “Frankly, people do think you’re a nutter”.
Too right they do. Especially these days when people turn themselves into human bombs and blow countless innocents to bits in the expectation that they will be rewarded with 72 virgins in paradise.
Islamic terrorism and the demented beliefs that fuel it have given all religion a bad name.
We’re just a few sentences in, and already we see the Christian bogeymen of atheists and Muslims. Like Bush repeatedly mentioning Iraq and 9/11 in the same sentence, it seems she’s eager to conflate two groups who could not be in greater disagreement: secular atheists and religious fundamentalists.
And it just gets worse:
If abortion is murder, why not charge women who seek one? November 29, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Politics, reproductive rights, wingnuts.
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After all, those who attempt to hire an assassin are complicit in the murder that is carried out. But as Amanda notes,
Anti-choicers correctly perceive that their raging misogyny is a strike against them, that their quivering hatred of women who don’t apologize for being daughters of Eve with actual sexualities and carbon-based bodies will tend to draw people short, since half of us are women (with sexualities, due to that humanity thing and all) and the other half still have mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, and friends that they don’t want to see being treated like criminals for the high crime of living your life, even with the dreaded sex in it. And in order to get the stench of misogyny off them, they came across a, um, brilliant? P.R. move: Instead of saying that women are evil, let’s just say women are stupid, that they have sex (and use contraception and have abortions) not because they really want to, but because they’re badgered by men, feminists, and doctors who make so much money off performing a procedure that technically goes on the books as running in the red and is, at places like Planned Parenthood, subsidized largely by more profitable endeavors like supplying contraception. (Not that PP ever runs in the black, since they are a non-profit and subsist not only on fees, but donations and government funding.)
There’s no question that, if abortion truly was murder, one would have to charge the woman carrying the fetus. After all, Sideshow Bob ‘s argument (“Attempted murder, now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry?”) aside, if anti-choicers argument against abortion is legitimate, than seeking out an abortion must be a crime.
But to admit that would never do, so instead we get highlights like this from the Republican youTube debate:
Partial transcript below the fold:
Larry Moran knows way, way more about Biochemistry than I could ever hope to, but he makes a classic category error when trying to defend the idea that race is a biological category. He appears to mean that it is biological, as opposed to social. And his stunning evidence for this? Africans look different from Europeans, and we see genetic differences between human polutations.
We all know what people mean when they talk about blacks and whites. Those are synonyms for Africans and Europeans. Unless Sternberg is being extremely pedantic, he’s arguing that there are no such thing as distinct populations of Europeans and Africans that differ genetically. Races—or demes if you wish—don’t exist according to him.
That’s nonsense, of course, but it seems to be widespread nonsense. I’m beginning to wonder whether the discipline of psychology deserves to be called a science.
There’s an interesting press release out today from Cold Spring Harbor Press [Scientists discover genetic variant associated with prostate cancer in African Americans]. It reports on a study of higher incidence of prostate cancer among African Americans compared to European Americans. The scientists identified a particular locus on chromosome 8 (8q24) that may contain a genetic variant that differs between the two groups.
Other studies show that the incidence of cystic fibrosis is higher among Europeans (whites) than among Africans (blacks).
How could there be a genetic difference between Africans and Europeans if there’s no such thing as race? If these are just social constructs there shouldn’t be any genetic differences that correlate with other features used to distinguish the two groups, right?
Ouch. I like Moran’s blog, and I’m on his side about a lot of issues, but that is lazy thinking. While I’m not a biologist, I am qualified to talk about why what we mean by race is not closely related to any biological concept, because I have studied how race is defined and I know it is not biologically. Moran is wrong about this issue for at least three related reasons: