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Dec 10, 2012


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It seems that the voters figured things out......



Andrew Brod

Actually, that American Spectator review just illustrates Mann-Ornstein's point. It repeats the standard GOP talking points about Obama being a radical, "spurn[ing] every offer of compromise from Republicans," and being the primary cause of partisanship in Washington. It's fine to believe those things, but believing those things is precisely what Mann and Ornstein are talking about.


Conservatives shapeshift into John Birchers and then complain that a moderate Democrat is radical. Perspective is everything.

formerly gt

Yes. We're all in agreement that conservatives in general are loathsome and republicans in particular are amoral opportunistic liars who pander to those who still clinging to God and guns.

If the conservatives will just shut up and go along, then the rest of America can finally be transformed into the Democratic utopias that are Chicago, New Orleans, California, and New Jersey.

Once we finally rid our society of outdated concepts like personal responsibility, personal property, individual freedom, private charity, national borders, and morality, we'll all be fine.


"We're all in agreement that conservatives in general are loathsome and republicans in particular are amoral opportunistic liars who pander to those who still clinging to God and guns."

Greensboro's Mr. Conservative agrees with you.

Worst person on the internet

"Actually, that American Spectator review just illustrates Mann-Ornstein's point....blah blah blah."
And of course, the objectivity and of the Huffington Post's points are sacrosanct.
Indeed, perspective is everything. You guys are too much.


"Perspective is everything."

That's the best explanation I've heard for the reason Obama gets away with a second term as a failed president.


"Greensboro's Mr. Conservative agrees with you."

I seriously doubt that the Robbie Perkins and the Linda Shaws of the world "cling to God and guns" as a focal point of their philosophies.

Andrew Brod

I don't think HuffPo is objective, and to call a site with so many NSFW photo pages "sacrosanct" is silly. Try another straw man.

In any case, do consider the logic of my comment. If Mann and Ornstein claim that Republicans are extremists because they believe X, then a response that confirms that Republicans do indeed believe X doesn't contradict the Mann-Ornstein claim. If anything, it supports that claim. So if you really care to make a case, you might consider explaining why believing X isn't extreme. That would at least be on point.

Worst person on the internet

Your “logic” assumes as a given that M&O's labeling republicans as extremists for believing someone else is an extremist must be definitionally factual and could not be extreme itself, despite the inherent slipperiness of defining extreme.

Also, you apparently accept as fact the underpinning of that labeling, that “the single biggest story of the race was the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth” is both true regarding that characterization (despite the fact that they nominated their most moderate serious candidate) and that it was the biggest story of the race. What is your logic that justifies that presumption, that converts your agreement of that opinion into a factual basis for defining someone who differs as extreme? How is that different from me arguing that repubs call Obama a radical because he is?

This is no more complicated than person X calling person Y an extremist because person Y believes person z is an extremist, and concluding that person X is indeed right because his perspective aligns with yours. But I guess you wouldn't see that. That perspective thing again.

Please, Andy that strawman thing is so lame and worn-out, and Roch could sue you for copyright infringement.

BTW I already read that book, just another partisan hit piece, written by weakly disguised partisans, and weakly disquised by it’s title as objective, which is what interested me to buy it. They sell well, especially around the holidays. Let’s face it, we all like our views challenged, but we like them reinforced better.


" It repeats the standard GOP talking points about Obama being a radical, "spurn[ing] every offer of compromise from Republicans," ...

I think Bob Woodward confirmed Obama's unwillingness to compromise in his book.

As CP points out, one has to assume that they know the absolute truth in such matters.

Ergo, it's okay to write an article about how extreme Republicans are based on their labeling of Obama as extreme. By the same token, labeling Republican's as extreme must also be characteristic of extremism.

It's simply more of the "they are extreme because they don't agree with me" method of discourse.

I must also note that on many occasions when the term "extreme" has been deployed in this forum, I have challenged the accuser to explain why something is or isn't "extreme" when measured against popular sentiment. Needless to say, few responses were received and the thread usually died shortly thereafter.

The "off the rails lurch" was also not confirmed by election results in most races other than the White House. It was however confirmed in 2010 when extremist Democrats truly had their asses handed to them.

Andrew Brod

I call a spade a spade and a strawman a strawman. If you don't like it, you might consider not relying on strawmen.

In fact, my argument rests on neither of the things you two claim, such as: "one has to assume that [Mann and Ornstein] know the absolute truth in such matters." All I did was characterize their argument and note that Spag's attempt to counter it did no such thing. That was hard for you two to take, I can see.


Except that the AS article did refute some of the evidence presented by Mann and Ornstein by placing it in a broader context, e.g., what they label extreme could just as easily be applied to Obama and Democrats.

Republicans are extreme for being obstructionists. Obama is also obstructionist, but he isn't extreme. Why? Because I don't want his agenda obstructed but I want him to obstruct the GOP.


Worst person on the internet

Thanks for walking me through your logic, Andy. I totally see it now. It was a tough dose of reality for us to swallow but I'm trying to keep a chin up. You are one straight-talking, hard-hitting guy for sure.

Andrew Brod

Damn straight.

Worst person on the internet

Bob Woodward, BTW, IMHO, is an excellent political writer/reporter, about as close to unbiased as it gets, whether on Nixon, Bush, Clinton or Obama. Kind of the Tim Russert of print. If he has an agenda, he disguises it well.


"despite the fact that they nominated their most moderate serious candidate"

Mr Elsie Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip is much more sensible than F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel.

Andrew Brod

Never mind the fact that the GOP nominated Jethro Q. Walrus Titty after he ran far to the Very Silly end of the spectrum during the primary, and then the right wing of the party effectively prevented him from moving to the moderate middle until it was too late.

So yes, at heart, the GOP's "most moderate serious candidate" is probably truly a moderate. But he had to run as a right-winger.


And the moderate Democrats who ran are ?

Ed Cone

I'm not sure that Barack Obama, a Wall Street-coddling security-state-lover who borrowed his centerpiece legislation from the GOP is far enough left to qualify as a moderate, but there's one possible example.

Worst person on the internet

I think that guy who was independently determined to be the most liberal practitioner of his only other job, is truly a left-winger, but he had to run as a moderate.

Ed Cone

I'm not saying he ran as a moderate, I'm pointing to major examples of him governing as something closer to a conservative than a liberal.

Andrew Brod

I dunno -- maybe Obama is in fact a left-winger at heart. I don't believe that's true, but fine, we'll say it is. However, regardless of his heart and regardless of how he ran, he's governed as a moderate. The proof's in the pudding.

In contrast, we don't know what pudding we would have gotten with Romney. All we know is how he ran, and the fact that he was effectively forced to run as a right-winger is the point of this thread.

Andrew Brod

Obamacare: Invented by the Heritage Foundation and implemented in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney.

Cap and trade: First implemented on the national level by George H.W. Bush and featured prominently in John McCain's 2008 platform.

Gitmo and the war in Afghanistan: Invented by George W. Bush.

Some liberal.


The Obama as socialist gag is a prime example of what Ornstein is pointing to.


Romney is a "right winger"? An "extremist"? Based on what?

So if Romney and Obama cancel each other out, you have to look elsewhere for a shining example of moderate Democrats.

Here again lies the problem with the narrative. If the GOP are extreme, then why do they control the House, most governorships and state legislatures, and are pretty close in the Senate?

It just goes to show that what is "extreme" is relative and the use of the term is frequently at odds with popular opinion. So when one speaks of false equivalences and denial of facts, denying that the GOP has broad support thus undermining the claim that they are "extreme" has to be way up there.


"the use of the term is frequently at odds with popular opinion"

Indeed. The public is overwhelmingly hep to repealing the Sixteenth Amendment, returning to the gold standard, and eliminating the minimum wage in the Mariana Islands.


Do you have any data to support your contention regarding public opinion? How many elected Republicans support returning to the gold standard and eliminating the minimum wage in the Mariana Islands?

And if these are widely held extreme positions, why did American's vote for Republicans who hold them?


Sorry, that was an unconscionably low blow quoting from the Republican National Convention Platform.

Jim Buie

"Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party from Eisenhower to the Tea Party,"
a book by Geoffrey Kabaservice, documents the GOP lurch rightward. While Spag can attack Mann and Ornstein as liberals masquerading as moderates, it's quite hard to attack Kabaservice's history of the GOP, and the collapse of the moderate Republican, 1980-2010.


"Based on what?"

It's based on the Revisionist School of Nearly Everything's creed, which allows them to make things up as they go along for convenience of the worldview.

It's SOP here, as well we know.


"which allows them to make things up as they go along for convenience of the worldview"

Kinda like an Etch-a-Sketch.


Great. So how is it that these extremists control the House, the majority of governorships and state legislatures and nearly half of the U.S. Senate?

Once you separate "extremism" from popular opinion, you are left with a definition based on your own subjective opinion which is pointless to debate.

You are an extremist because I said so and I don't care if more people agree with you than me.

Andrew Brod

Yes, how does the GOP control the House of Representatives even though Democratic Congressional candidates won more votes nationwide? How did the GOP win 9 of North Carolina's 13 seats in Congress even though Democratic Congressional candidates won more votes statewide?

I wonder, I wonder.

It certainly appears that the GOP's rightward lurch cost it in 2012. It lost the presidency, it lost Senate seats, and it lost House seats in those states that weren't redistricted by GOP-dominated state legislatures. And while the GOP holds 30 of 50 governorships, it lost 7 of 11 gubernatorial elections last month. This wasn't a good election for the GOP, and setting aside inflammatory words like "extremist" doesn't change that.

Now, reasonable people can disagree about why this was a bad year for the GOP. Some will argue that it was because the GOP wasn't conservative enough and that the party's best bet in 2016 is to double down on the party's conservative values. All Democrats can say is, yes please, do that.


The GOP relentlessly repeated the lie that Obama cut Medicare benefits. Why? Because 68% of Republican voters don't want them cut. What do congressional GOPers want to do with Medicare? Cut benefits. Who's zooming who?


So by that analysis, in 2010 Democrats were extremists.

Or in the alternative, the difference between being "too conservative" (which of course explains all GOP losses everywhere) and being a mainstream moderate (all Democrats) is .3% of the popular vote.

Andrew Brod

"So by that analysis, in 2010 Democrats were extremists."

No, that's not what that analysis says.

I'm not sure what your 0.3% refers to, but Obama won the popular vote by 3.6%.


It's funny 'cause it's true.


"The GOP relentlessly repeated the lie that Obama cut Medicare benefits."

They just jumped the gun. That sort of thing is forthcoming via imperial edict, eliminating first dollar coverage on Medicare Supplement policies purchased by beneficiaries.


The new 2013 Winger Lie features all-wheel drive and power-folding seats.

Jim Buie

Let's get specific. It's fair to say that the GOP's inflexible (extreme?) position on tax cuts for the wealthy and refusal to touch defense spending undermined their credibility on the deficit; their extreme hostility to undocumented immigrants and lack of interest in immigration reform hurt them with the growing number of Hispanic voters; their (extreme?) position on abortion -- no exceptions to bans, even in the case of rape or incest -- hurt them with women voters; their (extreme?) opposition to any kind of health care reform hurt them with those voters who are already benefiting from Obamacare rules. If Republicans want to "come back," they will pragmatically dispense of these extreme positions.

Refuse to compromise on taxes, push the country off the fiscal cliff, block immigration reform for another 2 to 4 years, continue with a no-exception pro-life position, expend energy on a rear-guard action against health reform, disdain 47% of Americans, force the Republican nominee to run as a self-described "severely conservative" candidate and the party is likely to see more losses in future elections.


"dispense of these extreme positions"

Mann and Ornstein's point isn't so much about positions as epistemology: how the GOP thinks and how it fails to grasp reality. Like Romney's pollsters believing phantom enthusiasm was going to overcome everyone else's numbers.

Andrew Brod

A new poll "indicates that a slight majority of Americans sees the Republican party's policies and views as too extreme, a first for the GOP."


If it's only a "slight majority" then they can't really be "extreme" unless extreme simply means failing to get majority approval.

If the study is correct, then the line between "extreme" and mainstream is only a few percentage points considering nearly 40% believe the Democrats are too extreme. It could also mean that those who think either party is too extreme are actually in the minority and are therefore the extremists.

Andrew Brod

Nice spin. But no. You're confusing the slight majority with what the slight majority believe.

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