Things That Keep Republicans Up At Night

A series of things that should make for some sleepless nights over the next few weeks, and in some cases, years.

1.) Abramoff’s cozy relationship with the Feds (via Billmon):

Jack Abramoff, the lobbying scandal figure, has become such a chatty rat that probe insiders say he’s been given a desk to work at in the FBI. We’re told he spends up to four hours a day detailing his shady business to agents eager to nail more congressmen in the scandal. And when cooperative witnesses spend that much time inside, they get a desk. As a result of his help in the ever expanding investigation, we hear that the Feds hope to keep him in a nearby prison after he’s sentenced on his conspiracy admission.

Tim im’d me the link to this yesterday, and stated: “All I can think of is Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2.”

***

2.) America’s unfriendly relationship with the Republican party and the nationalization of the elections:

For months, Rep. Tom Reynolds, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee and who himself is in a tough race, has insisted that GOP candidates would survive a difficult political landscape because House elections traditionally turn on local issues, not national ones.

However, in the new poll, 43% of likely voters say national issues will make the biggest difference in their vote; 24% say local or state issues. That’s the first overwhelming edge for national issues since the question was first asked in a Times Mirror poll in 1994.

A cascade of Republican misfortunes, including a string of ethics scandals and escalating violence in Iraq, has set the stage for a Democratic resurgence. Only an event as dramatic as the capture of Osama bin Laden or a terrorist attack could reverse the trend toward Democrats, analysts say.

“Nobody’s listening to the rhetoric anymore,” says political scientist Gary Jacobson of the University of California, San Diego. “They’re responding to the news.”

When the public stops paying attention to the rhetoric, the GOP is screwed, as the Republican party has been operating in a fact-free fantasy land for a few years. Glenn Greenwald spots a perfect example of this in Hugh Hewitt’s discussion of why he doesn’t believe polls:

How do Bush followers respond to this onslaught of data? With the same methods they used for several years (and still do) to pretend that things were going “remarkably well” in Iraq — namely, by simply refusing to accept facts and insisting that they are the by-product of liberal bias. From Hugh Hewitt:

I get a lot of e-mail asking me why I point to polls like the one favoring Steele when I discount some polls favoring some Democrats.

Because this question comes mostly from lefties, I will pause to explain in as uncomplicated a fashion as possible.

Polling methodology and models favors Democrats.

So polls that show Republicans tied or ahead I see as indicating a race in which the Republican is in the lead.

Polls that show a Republican within striking distance I see as a poll indicating a dead heat.

It shouldn’t be that hard to grasp, even for a lefty.

That is the mindest that has been running our country for six years now. That is how we heard for so long that violence in Iraq was wildly overstated by a Bush-hating media that exaggerated the bombings and the kidnappings and failed to report on the much more significant stories of all the school houses that were being painted and the candy dispensed by Marines to smiling Iraqi kids.

Speaking as someone who bought the party line for far too long, you would be amazed what you can believe if you keep convincing yourself the press, the libs, the universities- hell, everyone but a few on the religious fringe and big business- are out to get you. I was lucky- I started to snap out of this a couple of years ago and hopefully will now apply to both major parties the same skepticism and cynicism I had in the past reserved for Democrats.

***

3.) Bush’s rock-bottom numbers and what people think of him- a majority think impeachment of Bush would not be out of line:

Other parts of a potential Democratic agenda receive less support, especially calls to impeach Bush: 47 percent of Democrats say that should be a “top priority,” but only 28 percent of all Americans say it should be, 23 percent say it should be a lower priority and nearly half, 44 percent, say it should not be done. (Five percent of Republicans say it should be a top priority and 15 percent of Republicans say it should be a lower priority; 78 percent oppose impeachment.) Rolling back some of the Bush tax cuts would be contentious too: 38 percent of Americans say the Dems should make that a top priority; 28 percent say it should be a lower priority; and 28 percent say it shouldn’t be done at all.

Of course, as we all know, polls are biased and, as one of our esteemed readers stated, “Figures lie and liars figure.” In general, I don’t support impeachment, in large part because I still believe in the power of the Republican spin machine. If the Dems come into power, the spinmeisters will try to portray them as ‘crazy Bush haters,’ and I would hate for the Dems to blow a shot at 2008. I really think we need the Dems to win in ’06 and ’08 so the GOP can have some good time out of power, clear out the rot, do some soul-searching, and get back to the basics. Howver, if the Democrats win, and become as ruthless and nasty as the Republicans have been for the past ten years, it will be well-deserved, and I can point to my friends on the right that I warned you all repeatedly. Will it be good for the country? I don’t know, but considering this GOP has not cared about the good of the country for a while, it won’t be much of a change for most of us.

***

4.) The growing dissatisfaction with the GOP from former supporters. Libertarian and former Bush supporter has had it and explains why he voted for the Democrats in 2006 (*** Update*** Bill writes to note he did not vote for Democrats, but, rather he chose not to vote for Republicans), Patterico, who has no love for Democrats, is showing signs that he refuses to swallow the administration bullshit anymore (and in fairness, Patterico has always been his own man- but now he is overtly rejecting the spin), Andrew Olmstead is tired of the administration nonsense (and has been for a while) and is assuming a Democrat victory in a few weeks, and even Tom Maguire is mocking the administration.

Attention party hacks and spinmeisters- you have even lost John Derbyshire:

Look, we’re not ever likely to get a govt. that follows a purely conservative line on all issues. We are an influence, that’s all, and that’s all we can reasonably hope to be. But when faced with a GOP government intent on massively expanding the welfare state, on open borders, and on “nation-building” in remote places, we should acknowledge that we are being no influence at all. We have gone from being an influence for good policies to being an enabler of bad policies.

The only thing we can usefully do then is to assert our existence as a voting bloc in the one way that’s available to us: by not voting. That lays down a warning to any future GOP administration that might be tempted to go as badly wrong on important conservative issues as this one has.

This nation survived Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton; it will survive Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel. Ten, fifteen, twenty years from now, when our kids are voters, some GOP administration and Congress might be tempted to violate core conservative principles as egregiously as this one has. But they will hear key voices, the voices of party elders and wise commentators, warning: “Remember the Great Congressional Massacre of ’06! Let’s not risk that happening again!” And Congress and the admin. will then turn the wheel to the right.

***

5.) Entirely anecdotal, but I have gone through the sample ballot and have chosen my candidates. I will be, for the first time in my life, essentially voting straight ticket Democrat.

Senate: Robert Byrd, (D)
House: Alan Mollahan, (D)
State Senate: Mike Oliverio (D)
House of Delegates: Bob Beach (D), Charlene Marshall (D), Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D), Alex Shook (D)
County Commissioner: No candidate I like
Magistrate: Darris Summers (D)

All Democrats, and the only Republican I would have considered (County Commissioner) I don’t know enough about and am choosing not to vote. Should I learn more about him- probably, but I am willing to punish him for the sins of the national party. Petty and unfair, but a message needs to be sent.

***

All of those signs point to what I hope will be a real bloodbath for the GOP. I hope we get wiped out in the election, and I look forward to the circular firing squad, because I have a lot of ammunition and a flak jacket in the form of my archives (with four years of “I told ya so’s.”).

We need to get rid of the authoritarians, we need to get rid of the big-spenders, the religionists and the gay-bashers, the liars, con-artists, crooks, and thieves, and we need to start over. I really look forward to the day where I have the high ground on tax related issues because my party is not spending us into bankruptcy. I look forward to the day when my party, when faced with difficult scientific questions, turns to the experts (rather than turning on them) instead of Sen. Inhofe and James Dobson and Randall Terry. I look forward to the day when my party once again has enough of a moral standing that we should even be allowed to discuss human rights and torture in foreign regimes. I look forward to the day when we can, with a straight face, argue that we are the party of small government- after, of course, we get rid of the religionists who are trying to dictate who we can love, who we can sleep with, who gets to determine what we watch on tv, and who gets to determine our end of life decisions. I look forward to the day when it is once again the Democrats who look crazy.

But for right now, it is the GOP that is out of touch, out of control, and drowning in it’s own hubris. It is time to throw them an anchor, and it looks like there are a lot of people lining up on the docks to do just that.






76 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    Abramoff’s cozy relationship with the Feds

    See, I’ll say this about the past 40 years. If this had happened in 1966, Abramoff would have totally been wacked by now.

  2. 2
    Pb says:

    Only an event as dramatic as the capture of Osama bin Laden or a terrorist attack could reverse the trend toward Democrats, analysts say.

    Uh-oh.

  3. 3
    John Cole says:

    I caught that, too, PB. AT this point, it is too close to the election that it would backfire on the GOP if they did catch him.

  4. 4
    Punchy says:

    Only an event as dramatic as the capture of a Osama bin Laden video or a terrorist attack could reverse the trend toward Democrats, analysts say.

    Amended.

    Wow, did anyone read those last two paragraphs with the “I have a dream” voice in their head?? Jesus, Sir Cole, where is this stuff coming from? This is the epiphany to end all epiphani. There’s enough here to put Darrell in therapy.

    Well done. Well done, amigo.

  5. 5
    craigie says:

    Reading this blog is now officially more fun than watching clips of Bush saying “stay the course” over and over and over, as Tony Snow says “No we didn’t.”

  6. 6
    legion says:

    Polling methodology and models favors Democrats.

    Wow. Not just “some polls” or “certain polling groups”, but flat-out polling methodology. Hugh Hewett really just said that the entire concept of asking people what they think favors democrats. That tells you everything you need to know…

  7. 7
    Mike says:

    I am not worried about Osama, but rather the Diebold
    November miracle. As long as the Rethug’s appear close in the polls (taken by the CORPORATE media, which has not been liberal for a long time), then Diebold’s thumb on the scales will be enough to tip the difference and allow the Rethugs to pull out another close one. And the Republemmings like Darrell will cheer since they feel that being on the “winning team” is more important than fair elections, and who really needs democracy anyways….

  8. 8
    Mary says:

    Bill Quick, despite his disgust with the Republicans, is still blaming the Democrats for the October Surprise of the Foley scandal hitting big weeks before the election. And his commenters are frothing at the mouth, insisting that the “dummycrats” would be worse. Nice to see that some things never change.

  9. 9
    matt says:

    It’s kind of amazing that the admin doesn’t get taken to task more often for not having captured Bin Laden. Then they essentially co-opt their own failure and use it as a way to try to scare us by pointing out that he’s still out there.

  10. 10

    […] John Cole has had it By Doug It’s disillusionment from erstwhile Republicans like John Cole that should be giving the GOP nightmares. John has a post entitled “Things that Keep Republicans up at Night.” […]

  11. 11
    RSA says:

    We need to get rid of the authoritarians, we need to get rid of the big-spenders, the religionists and the gay-bashers, the liars, con-artists, crooks, and thieves, and we need to start over.

    Crickets. . . “Hello? Is there anyone here?” So who are the favorites for the core of a rebuilt Republican party?

  12. 12
    Doug says:

    Bravo, Mr. Cole. Bravo.

  13. 13
    Gregory says:

    I started to snap out of this a couple of years ago and hopefully will now apply to both major parties the same skepticism and cynicism I had in the past reserved for Democrats.

    Which simply makes you an honest conservative, sir, and the country needs those. Unfortunately, the Republican Party has precious few left.

  14. 14
    manyoso says:

    Hey John,

    I can’t believe the change at this blog. I’ve come here off and on to check out what was going on over the last few years, but I never would have expected this.

    This. Blog. Gives. Me. Hope.

    I dream of a day when even Instapundit and Powerline wake-up with a cold bucket of water in the face. I never thought it could happen, but then I never thought you’d undergo this metamorphosis either.

  15. 15
    Zifnab says:

    I dream of a day when even Instapundit and Powerline wake-up with a cold bucket of water in the face. I never thought it could happen, but then I never thought you’d undergo this metamorphosis either.

    They just haven’t picked up their checks from George Soros yet. Give them time.

  16. 16
    Jason says:

    I truly respect your intellectual honesty, that is why this is one of my favorite blogs. Our country would be better if partisans of both sides had your integrity. In fact I don’t know if I would be willing to go as far as you have and not support my party because they were so wrong they deserved to lose.

    What also impresses me is that you are voting for Byrd, I have been a straight ticket democratic voter for 10+ years and I don’t even know if I could pull the lever for Robert Byrd.

  17. 17

    […] John Cole has a prediction and a hope for the 2006 elections.  He looks as five indicators and opines: All of those signs point to what I hope will be a real bloodbath for the GOP. I hope we get wiped out in the election, and I look forward to the circular firing squad, because I have a lot of ammunition and a flak jacket in the form of my archives (with four years of “I told ya so’s.”). […]

  18. 18
    Perry Como says:

    Wow. Not just “some polls” or “certain polling groups”, but flat-out polling methodology.

    Facts have a well known liberal bias.

    re: impeachment, 51% believe the President should be impeached. Doesn’t that make it a mandate?

  19. 19

    So who are the favorites for the core of a rebuilt Republican party?

    I’ll throw one out there:

    Congresman Ron Paul (TX).

  20. 20
    Krista says:

    You know, John…some of your rants lately would make excellent stump speeches. You want honesty and integrity brought back to the GOP? Well…why not bring it yourself?

  21. 21
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    (1) I gather that you’ve finally been pushed into voting for Byrd by the fact that his opponent this time is John Raese (whom the New Republic described during his 1984 run against Jay Rockefeller as “the Johnny Rotten of West Virginia politics” after he physically attacked a reporter — despite which he almost won)?

    (2) A Zogby Poll about 2 months ago reached the astonishing conclusion that — even if Bush captured bin laden at that point — it would raise him by only 2% in the polls, because a landslide majority of Americans have now decided that he’s been fucking around endlessly in Iraq instead of even hunting for bin Laden, and should have caught him long ago. (Zogby’s statewide polls are notoriously unreliable, but his nationwide ones have a much better accuracy record.)

  22. 22
    Davebo says:

    Patterico showing signs of what??

    Did you read his comments on that post?

  23. 23
    Davebo says:

    Sorry TDV, but Ron Paul is as much a Republican as John Cole is a democrat.

    He’s a great Libertarian though.

  24. 24
    John Cole says:

    You want honesty and integrity brought back to the GOP? Well…why not bring it yourself?

    I went to 50+ dead shows in the 80’s. I think you know what that means. ANd I got a DUI my freshman year.

    And those are the things I am willing to admit to. I don’t think I would have a long candidacy, although it would be entertaining.

  25. 25
    Mary says:

    Maybe we’d finally get video on GooTube of you kissing that transvestite.

  26. 26
    Tsulagi says:

    I have gone through the sample ballot and have chosen my candidates. I will be, for the first time in my life, essentially voting straight ticket Democrat.

    I did the same, but actually I mailed my absentee ballot yesterday. Already in the bank.

    Damn Democrats better win. If they don’t, Weldon-type Pubs might start really going over FEC records taking names for payback. Oh well, the weather at Gitmo is probably nice in winter.

  27. 27
    craigie says:

    And those are the things I am willing to admit to. I don’t think I would have a long candidacy, although it would be entertaining.

    And this is true for most of us. Which is one big reason why we get a never-ending stream of sanctimonious twits running for office.

    In my world, serving in public office would be like jury duty – you’d have to do it. We need less self-selecting for megalomania.

  28. 28
    Krista says:

    I went to 50+ dead shows in the 80’s. I think you know what that means. ANd I got a DUI my freshman year.

    And those are the things I am willing to admit to. I don’t think I would have a long candidacy, although it would be entertaining.

    Um, look who you have in office right now.

    Methinks the bar has been set rather low when it comes to youthful shenanigans involving illicit substances and/or petty crime.

  29. 29
    OCSteve says:

    I find this to be a much more powerful and persuasive piece than any of your eye-bulging rants over the past few weeks.

    Seriously – you make a good case with a lot of data points and present it in a style that does not just cause me to move along without finishing it. One of your best pieces in recent memory. I’ll have to chew on it a while.

  30. 30
    Pb says:

    I went to 50+ dead shows in the 80’s. I think you know what that means.

    That you’d be following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush?

    ANd I got a DUI my freshman year.

    And… um… George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney?

    And those are the things I am willing to admit to.

    True, there is that pesky military service issue. Maybe you shouldn’t mention that–after all, Clinton, Bush, and Cheney didn’t go to war but still won, whereas Gore and Kerry both went to Vietnam and still lost.

  31. 31
    wilfred says:

    Speaking as someone who’s ideologically conservative, but hardly a fanatic about it, I agree with the gist of all this. Conservatives got played by the Republicans, and now find ourselves conflated with self-righteous Christian bigots – the unkindest cut of all. Coming out of this fog reminds of when I quit smoking and the absolute wonder I felt at having thrown away so much money and health on poison. IQ it is.

  32. 32
    craigie says:

    I went to 50+ dead shows in the 80’s. I think you know what that means.

    You’re deaf?

  33. 33
    DoubtingThomas says:

    I don’t even know if I could pull the lever for Robert Byrd.

    Byrd may be an old-time-Dixiecrat style Democrat, but he is intelligent and unwavering in his support of our Consitution and the purpose of Congress. A vote for Byrd over the Republican candidate is a vote for restoring Constitutional law and getting some accountability in the country. John is doing the right thing.

  34. 34
    Krista says:

    I went to 50+ dead shows in the 80’s. I think you know what that means.

    You have an obscene quantity of tie-dyed clothing?

  35. 35
    fwiffo says:

    We need to get rid of the authoritarians, ….we get rid of the religionists who are trying to dictate who we can love, who we can sleep with, who gets to determine what we watch on tv, and who gets to determine our end of life decisions.

    John, you might need to come to grips with the idea that you’re a liberal. Purging the statists (e.g. Holy Joe) from the Democratic party is probably a shorter route to your ideal party than purging the, um, Republicans from the Republican party.

  36. 36
    jcricket says:

    This was a refreshing and well-written post John, but I think there’s something deeper to the problems Republicans have with science:

    I look forward to the day when my party, when faced with difficult scientific questions, turns to the experts (rather than turning on them) instead of Sen. Inhofe and James Dobson and Randall Terry.

    It’s not just the Christianist wing of your party that hates science (Plan B is not an abortoficient, sex ed doesn’t increase sex, AIDS is not caused by being a Jew, Pat Robertson cannot bench press 2000 lbs, etc.) because it conflicts with their agenda.

    The corporate wing of the party hates science too and turns away from experts when their ideas are proven false. The pharmaceutical, tobacco, mining, energy & military contractor lobbyists have no uses for “pure science” – because it invariably conflicts with their business interests (science being all profit/business-neutral and what-not). When science says “your pollutants are killing people” they need that science dismissed.

    The “libertarian wing” (Norquist, et. al.) of the Republican party hate it too. When economic data conflicts with their ideas that tax cuts spur revenue increases, they need that science dismissed. When data shows vouchers or charter schools show that they do worse than public schools, they need that science dismissed.

    Even the “government” (big spender) wing of your party hates science – see how they had to lie about the facts regarding Medicare Part D to get it passed, and implement it in a way that is demonstrably the worst (no government negotiation, donut hole).

    I think that the “anti-science” ethos deep and wide in the Republican party. It’s not a bug at this point, it’s a feature, and it’s part of nearly every “constituency” of the modern Republican party (except people like yourself, who aren’t Republicans anymore).

    I understand that every political party wants the “facts” to line up on their side, but Republicans have so much disdain for the scientific process itself (see Hewitt’s comments about polling methodology) that I see no way out short of purging 90% of the current GOP “constituency” (as defined by all the groups you mention). Republicans have shown themselves to be remarkably impervious to facts on pretty much any issue these days. I don’t see Democrats with the same endemic problems. Maybe you do?

    So I think this core problem (wanting the facts to line up your way so bad that anything else is blasphemy) is gonna stay with the GOP for a while.

  37. 37
    Zifnab says:

    re: impeachment, 51% believe the President should be impeached. Doesn’t that make it a mandate?

    No no, silly. That’s a mandate from the “people”. I mean, if we ran on 51% national mandates, we’d have elected Gore for President. And what then, nation? What then.

    President Bush got a Mandate From Heaven. That’s totally different, in that this one lets you talk to yourself in the third person and commit war crimes in the name of God while still maintaining the moral high ground.

  38. 38
    jcricket says:

    John, you might need to come to grips with the idea that you’re a liberal. Purging the statists (e.g. Holy Joe) from the Democratic party is probably a shorter route to your ideal party than purging the, um, Republicans from the Republican party.

    I tried to argue this with Radley Balko but he clings to the belief that Democrats are worse than Republicans for libertarians to align themselves to (mainly because of smoking bans, universal healthcare and the moralizing of Holy Joe & Hillary on video game violence).

    I think libertarians should either start voting libertarian or stay home. Aligning themselves with the GOP is making them increasingly look like all they care about is tax cuts for the rich and regulation elimination “uber alles” – anything else repugnant done by the GOP is just war-time collateral damage, and fine by them.

  39. 39
    Paul says:

    So Saddam is set to be sentenced two days before the election. Total coincidence of course but I wonder if they could set it up so he is executed the day before the election and televise it on Fox.

    Hannity and O’Reily could give us the play by play if they could stop drooling and maniacly giggling long enough.

  40. 40
    Davebo says:

    In general, I don’t support impeachment, in large part because I still believe in the power of the Republican spin machine.

    Personally I’d want to know what he was being impeached for before I made up my mind.

  41. 41
    Paul says:

    DoubtingThomas, without a supreme court to uphold the constitution it is just a peice of paper. Byrd voted for Roberts and unitary executive Alito. Just sayin……

  42. 42
    manyoso says:

    smoking bans, universal healthcare and the moralizing of Holy Joe & Hillary on video game violence

    It is funny, but over the last few years I’ve found myself going from wholesale liberal to much more libertarian. Besides, in the struggles we face, I’ll happily give up smoking bans to have the libertarians on our side against those who are destroying our country.

    I think libertarians have an opportunity here. People like John Tester and new democrats provide an opening for libertarians to remake the Democratic party. For practical libertarians I think this would be a godsend.

  43. 43
    t. jasper parnell says:

    Does this mean that if a liberal actually does hate America he or she has to vote for the Republicans?

  44. 44
    RSA says:

    Congressman Ron Paul (TX).

    He’d make a good start, though as Davebo observes, that would be the core of a libertarian Republican party than strictly a conservative one. . .not that there’s anything wrong with that, as long as they can keep out fakes like Grover Norquist.

  45. 45
    Angry Engineer says:

    I think libertarians should either start voting libertarian or stay home.

    I’ve voted for third-party candidates in the last three elections (mostly Libertarian), but I think this time around I’m just going to pull the lever for a straight-party Democrat ticket. Still haven’t decided for sure, and probably won’t until I walk into the booth.

    I simply do not understanding why some self-described “libertarians” have such love for the Republican party. Is a slighly lower marginal tax rate worth much more than, say, the right of habeas corpus? Sure, at one point, the Republicans at least pretended to support the 2nd Amendment while the Democrats definitely attacked it, but those days appear to be mostly over.

  46. 46
    Lee says:

    I think libertarians should either start voting libertarian or stay home

    I know of many libertarians that would actually vote Libertarian Party if it was not such a gathering of clowns. As bad as the Dems and Repubs are, the Libertarians always seem to make them look sane.

    I would also agree with Radley that the past Dems are pretty much an anathema to almost everything libertarian. But if the power center of the Dems is really moving out west, that could certainly change (see Tester’s run for Senate).

  47. 47
    Pooh says:

    Byrd voted for Roberts and unitary executive Alito. Just sayin……

    As liberal as I am on SCOTUSE-bait issues, I don’t think I could have in good conscience voted against Roberts. Alito? Well as the pioneer of the signing statement, that’s dingable right there…

  48. 48
    Pooh says:

    John, you might need to come to grips with the idea that you’re a liberal. Purging the statists (e.g. Holy Joe) from the Democratic party is probably a shorter route to your ideal party than purging the, um, Republicans from the Republican party.

    You know, I’m reading Sully’s book right now (it’s pretty interesting, if meandering), and one thing that occurs to me is that the Conservative/Liberal split is describing a political dichotomy that no longer exists. For someone under thirty it is baffling to see the GOP described as the party of freedom in large part because the old collectivist left is dead and has been for a while. No one on the left is calling for massive expansions of state power (ok, maybe universal healthcare, but is there another way to make that work? The current system is manifestly broken [disclosure: some of my clients are providers], and more regulation strikes me as a pound of cure rather than an ounce of prevention) and they haven’t for a while.

    When Sullivan describes the “conservative” mindset – skeptical, empirical, intellectually humble, empathetic – it sounds like “the Reality-Based Community” to me. Perhaps this definition of conservative is inherently centrist, but the current authoritarian leaning of our polity makes it squarely in the liberal camp, so at the moment, I’d say John is a “liberal”. I’ll even buy you an ACLU membership!

  49. 49
    Andrew says:

    Is a slighly lower marginal tax rate worth much more than, say, the right of habeas corpus?

    Yes, duh.

  50. 50
    jcricket says:

    I would also agree with Radley that the past Dems are pretty much an anathema to almost everything libertarian. But if the power center of the Dems is really moving out west, that could certainly change (see Tester’s run for Senate).

    That was the point I tried to make. You have two options:

    One, pick the national party one you think can go more your way “on the whole” and try and influence them. Worked pretty well for the religious right. Worked well for libertarians too, but unfortunately they got hosed on the non-economic part of their agenda (if they care about that). To me it appears that Democrats are far more likely to be socially libertarian (many hate the idea of Holy Joe-esque censorship, aren’t sold on hate crimes laws, etc) and on economic/business libertarianism, there’s at least an opening.

    With the GOP you get the latter, but it’s so open to the point of being farcical (which appeals to Norquist, but most “sane” libertarians at least acknowledge the need to have the occasional regulation). And the GOP is accelerating its move away from libertarian social ideas and belief in science to instead increase the control of one particular branch of one particular religion on our lives.

    Your second option is to vote Libertarian or Independent and attempt to influence the debate through getting your message out alone. You may have zero national influence, but at least you wouldn’t have made an alliance with people (GOP/Democrat) who are an “anathema” to you on huge hosts of issues.

    What’s the other option? I guess, stay home. Or admit that Libertarianism is a farce, a lie, a sham. All the social libertarianism is bullshit & doesn’t matter – you will gladly vote with people who hate something you claim to care deeply about if your taxes are lowered and regulations are eliminated. IOW, admit libertarianism is not a coherent/encompassing philosophy, but instead merely an attractive cover to justify your hatred of taxes + regulations.

  51. 51
    Pb says:

    A party full of Ron Pauls would fund basically nothing–and by that I mean nothing. On the plus side, however, they wouldn’t be nearly as corrupt, and maybe we’d get back to the gold standard eventually, after we abolish practically everything else…

  52. 52
    jcricket says:

    When Sullivan describes the “conservative” mindset – skeptical, empirical, intellectually humble, empathetic – it sounds like “the Reality-Based Community” to me.

    This reminds me of how despite self-professed conservatives controlling every branch of government, people like Sully get to claim those Republicans are not “conservative” since the outcome of that control is not what they expected. As I said before, the outcomes we’re seeing are features, not bugs, of the Republican agenda. Conservatives control the government, and if you don’t really, really don’t like what’s happened, admit you’re not a conservative.

    If liberalism can be redefined to mean “communism” or “far left radical socialism” then GOP = conservative = Republican = Christianist + anti-science + crooked.

    Sully’s protestations are just intellectual wankery.

  53. 53
    Tax Analyst says:

    Attending Grateful Dead concerts and inhaling should not disqualify a serious person from seeking political office in America. I’m being serious when I say that. The “conventional wisdom” of that idea and other “disqualifying” actions is part of what has reduced the pool of “qualified leaders” to the dismal state we now witness. A whole LOT of people attended Rock concerts and, yes, smoked MARIJUANA…and perhaps indulged in other, more serious mind-blending chemical combinations. I’m not advocating honking up lines of heroin on the main desk in the White House Oval Office. Of course, more bravely stated from behind my on-line monniker than on the campaign trail under one’s real name…and I guess therein lies the issue, really…it’s not just having “inhaled”…it’s having your WHOLE LIFE turned upside-down and shaken as media and opponents look through it for even the smallest twig of impropriety to tumble out to the ground. Well…guess there goes my run for CA Gov. next time around. whatever happened to my “in all seriousness” in the post, anyway? OK..so I was serious for PART of this post.

  54. 54
    Punchy says:

    Well…why not bring it yourself?

    Oh dear Lord! Are…you….suggesting….(gulp)…Mr. Cole for U.S. Rep? I smell an earmark for a new Pitty QB and legislation to Gitmo-ize all Annoying Chicks Who Hug Chavez…

  55. 55
    Blue Shark says:

    …Now if only the votes are actually counted as they are cast…wouldn’t THAT be a change?

    …BTW…Welcome to the side of the Light.

  56. 56
    Face says:

    I’m not advocating honking up lines of heroin

    You can snort heroin?

  57. 57
    jcricket says:

    Proving my point (that I should just instapundit-like link to others who write it better), Richard Dawkins puts it in fine contrast:

    Ignorant and absolutist attacks on stem cell research are just the tip of an iceberg. What we have here is nothing less than a global assault on rationality, and the Enlightenment values that inspired the founding of this first and greatest of secular republics.

    I’m not so on-board with the the need to insist “god is a delusion”, but I liked the above quote from what he said and the idea that being run by a bunch of people who view the Rapture as the “BEST THING EVER” is probably not good for society.

  58. 58
    Tax Analyst says:

    Snort heroin? Never done it, but do know folks who have, albeit way-way-way back in the murky past. Frankly, the thought never had much appeal to me. Every junkie I ever laid eyes seemed a full-page, bold-lettered advertisement that screamed out, “DON’T DO THIS SHIT”.

  59. 59
    craigie says:

    Does this mean that if a liberal actually does hate America he or she has to vote for the Republicans?

    Brilliant.

  60. 60
    Krista says:

    Oh dear Lord! Are…you….suggesting….(gulp)…Mr. Cole for U.S. Rep? I smell an earmark for a new Pitty QB and legislation to Gitmo-ize all Annoying Chicks Who Hug Chavez…

    As long as he keeps this blog open, he’ll be kept humble.

  61. 61
    RSA says:

    A party full of Ron Pauls would fund basically nothing—and by that I mean nothing.

    I should have said that I think that Republicans have occasionally made a fine opposition party. Taking the reins, not so much. . .

  62. 62
    DougJ says:

    AT this point, it is too close to the election that it would backfire on the GOP if they did catch him.

    That’s a very good point. I agree completely.

  63. 63
    Bill Quick says:

    John, I didn’t vote Democratic, I merely didn’t vote Republican. I voted for no office holdes at all, although I did cast my customary no vote on every single California initiative that would spend one dime of taxpayer money.

    No, not voting Republican is not the same as voting Democratic.

  64. 64
    Andrew says:

    As long as he keeps this blog open, he’ll be kept humble.

    Well, he’ll certainly be busy, what with campaign manager ppGaz and chief of staff Darrell butting heads.

  65. 65

    […] former Bush supporter has had it and explains why he voted for the Democrats in 2006 (*** Update*** Bill writes to note he did not vote for Democrats, but, rather he chose not to vote for Republicans), Patterico, whohas no love for Democrats, is showing signs that he refuses to swallow the administration bullshit anymore (and in fairness, Patterico has always been his own man- but now he is overtly rejecting the spin), Andrew Olmstead is tired of the administration nonsense (and has been for a while) and is assuming a Democrat victory in a few weeks, and even Tom Maguire is mocking the administration. […]

  66. 66
    scarshapedstar says:

    I really think we need the Dems to win in ‘06 and ‘08 so the GOP can have some good time out of power, clear out the rot, do some soul-searching, and get back to the basics.

    Buddy, it’s all smoke and mirrors. The conservative “basics” are supposed to be starving the beast and not much else. Nobody ever got rich that way, and no politician would dream of it. There’s big-government types who want to spend money out of a genuine (you can call it misguided, but at least it’s something) interest in helping humanity, and then there’s big-government types who think we should spend even more money, but it’s reserved for defense contractors and Big Oil (needless to say, given the current state of bribery campaign contributions, they’re writing checks to themselves), not your sorry ass.

    It doesn’t matter what you think, or what anyone who looks, talks, or acts like you thinks. Every Republican holding a national office is a thieving charlatan, and if you want to get back to basics, you’re going to have to go through all of them. Good luck. You’re gonna need it.

  67. 67

    You want honesty and integrity brought back to the GOP? Well…why not bring it yourself?

    These platitudes appeal only to the lowliest serfs and cowards. The Republican Party is fine the way it is- it is the party of warfare, torture, and mayhem. Madness at swordpoint and spearthrust, piratical excursions to the villages of unsuspecting foreigners, and the rapine and slaughter of women and children. This is the party I support, and will continue to support until my lungs are punctured with steel and the cursed darkness of death consumes my sight!

    I went to 50+ dead shows in the 80’s. I think you know what that means. ANd I got a DUI my freshman year.

    And those are the things I am willing to admit to. I don’t think I would have a long candidacy, although it would be entertaining.

    I have slain over 50 Irishmen. 37 Frankish peasants have fallen before my sword. I once executed 200 Lithuanian captives at the behest of my king. What people would fail to elect you because of a few deaths? Such a nation is worthy only of enslavement and destruction!

    I will make my run for office as Republican candidate, if no one else of worthy heritage or noble deeds is willing to undergo the trial. All who oppose me shall drown in their own blood. This is my solemn pledge to you, the voting public.

  68. 68
    BadTux says:

    We need to get rid of the authoritarians, we need to get rid of the big-spenders, the religionists and the gay-bashers, the liars, con-artists, crooks, and thieves, and we need to start over.

    Word. And spanking the current government in power definitely is a start. But not an end. My daddy taught me, “son, the only politician that ever told the truth is a soon-to-be-unemployed one”. Without an educated public that wants the truth instead of soothing lies telling them they can get something for nothing if they only vote for X, well, we get the politicians we want. And deserve. Alas.

    So kick out the current bunch of goons, thugs, and thieves, but just bear in mind that the next bunch isn’t likely to be much better. More competent, perhaps. Hell, my stupid muscle-brained cat is more competent than the Bush Administration, so that wouldn’t be hard to do. And maybe that’s all we can hope for in Imperial America, is imperial competency… but long term, we need to aim higher. And weaning ourselves and the American public from a culture of lies is the first thing that has to be done.

  69. 69
    Patterico says:

    Patterico showing signs of what??

    Did you read his comments on that post?

    What are you talking about? I had one comment on the post John linked, in which I noted that the Bush talking points re “staying the course” are easily and comically refuted.

  70. 70

    This reminds me of how despite self-professed conservatives controlling every branch of government, people like Sully get to claim those Republicans are not “conservative” since the outcome of that control is not what they expected. As I said before, the outcomes we’re seeing are features, not bugs, of the Republican agenda. Conservatives control the government, and if you don’t really, really don’t like what’s happened, admit you’re not a conservative.

    Republicans got exactly what they asked for. So I agree, anybody who voted Republican and is now asserting that the party isn’t really conservative, is being intellectually dishonest with themselves.

  71. 71
    Andrew says:

    is being intellectually dishonest with themselves.

    Don’t be so coy. That’s just a really, really polite way of saying “hypocritical fucktard moron like Glenn Reynolds.”

  72. 72
    Drug WarRant says:

    On voting strategies

  73. 73
    scarshapedstar says:

    I liked the above quote from what he said and the idea that being run by a bunch of people who view the Rapture as the “BEST THING EVER” is probably not good for society.

    It is kinda spooky having people who relish seeing the world go up in smoke run the world, no? It’s as if you had people who insisted government can do naught but fail running the government, or a guy who said the UN doesn’t exist and/or should be bombed as an ambassador to the UN, or an AM radio asshole who rails against drug addicts while eating opiates like they were ice cream sandwiches, or…

    …ah, crap.

  74. 74
    jcricket says:

    Republicans got exactly what they asked for. So I agree, anybody who voted Republican and is now asserting that the party isn’t really conservative, is being intellectually dishonest with themselves.

    The BS that Glenn, Jpod, Sully, etc. are peddling is stunning – No matter how many Republicans you elect, if the outcome isn’t what you initially claimed (ponies for everyone), just say “well, we didn’t elect true conservatives”. The Christianists (Dobson, Falwell, etc.) also claim these current GOP isn’t “truly conservative”, but by that they mean “not theocratic enough”. It’s the ultimate “get out of jail free” card. I think the technical term for this is called “moving the goalposts”.

    So we’re left with the idea that no one is a conservative except those think-tank denizens who get to claim that tax cuts = revenue increases, invasion = greeted as liberators, get rid of sex ed = reduce teen sex, without ever having to explain why reality doesn’t line up that way.

    Someone who approaches the world from a place of fundamental intellectual honesty might say, “Hmm, I elected an entire party full of people who claimed X would lead to Y. Now it turns out X leads to Z. I guess I was wrong. I no longer believe X will lead to Y.” Instead it’s “Someone else can make X lead to Y, I just know it” (this is the “Tinkerbell” theory). But there appears to be nothing that can convince libertarians or even most Republicans that their core hypotheses/beliefs are just not correct – that is, they don’t work.

    This is why Republicans hate science. Following the scientific method would require them to abandon virtually all of the crap they’ve been peddling for 20 years. They just can’t handle it, so they just try to get rid of science/data as any kind of truth arbiter make it appear as if there’s still a chance they’ll be proven right someday.

  75. 75
    Otto Man says:

    You can snort heroin?

    Only if you want to end up like Uma Thurman’s character in “Pulp Fiction.”

  76. 76
    jcricket says:

    BTW – I think John is remarkably honest and forthcoming, especially given that he’s documenting his “change of heart” and “I was wrong” admissions in public. I totally respect John for that (seriously)! You can’t fault him for thinking differently in the past. Changing one’s mind (unlike what the GOP would have you believe) in the face of significant new evidence is one of the best traits someone can have, IMHO.

    That said, the entire set of elected GOP officials, Republican pundits, the party apparatus and significant portions of GOP constituency (Christianists, “Libertarians”, Far-Right Hawks, Neocons) are all full of crap and should be publicly mocked at every possible instance because they will never come around.

    The other big “part” of the GOP – moderate & independent voters, “Reagan Democrats”, “soccer moms” (whatever) – should be courted and welcomed to “our side” when they do come over.

    Judging by nearly every opinion poll I’ve read, about every issue (stem cells, the war, Terri Schiavo, healthcare, environmental regulations, etc.) they’re already on our side, they just don’t know it yet.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Drug WarRant says:

    On voting strategies

  2. […] former Bush supporter has had it and explains why he voted for the Democrats in 2006 (*** Update*** Bill writes to note he did not vote for Democrats, but, rather he chose not to vote for Republicans), Patterico, whohas no love for Democrats, is showing signs that he refuses to swallow the administration bullshit anymore (and in fairness, Patterico has always been his own man- but now he is overtly rejecting the spin), Andrew Olmstead is tired of the administration nonsense (and has been for a while) and is assuming a Democrat victory in a few weeks, and even Tom Maguire is mocking the administration. […]

  3. […] John Cole has a prediction and a hope for the 2006 elections.  He looks as five indicators and opines: All of those signs point to what I hope will be a real bloodbath for the GOP. I hope we get wiped out in the election, and I look forward to the circular firing squad, because I have a lot of ammunition and a flak jacket in the form of my archives (with four years of “I told ya so’s.”). […]

  4. […] John Cole has had it By Doug It’s disillusionment from erstwhile Republicans like John Cole that should be giving the GOP nightmares. John has a post entitled “Things that Keep Republicans up at Night.” […]

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