The Republican candidates’ debate

I watched the New Hampshire debate between the Republican presidential candidates.

Pawlenty is articulate; Bachman sounds like a good campaigner; Paul makes a lot of sense; Gingrich is a fountain of ideas; Santorum seems solid; Cain sounds like a good guy; Romney sounds more conservative than he has seemed.

Pawlenty opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest and the mother’s health (a huge loophole)?  Santorum takes a very strong pro-life stance, as does Bachman.

Notice that the alleged extreme Republicans, the Tea Party caucus’s Bachman and the libertarian Paul, are the peace candidates, opposing America’s involvement in the multiplying number of wars we are engaged in.  Peace-leaning Democrats should give the Tea Party credit for being more anti-war than their president.

On the whole, though, the candidates seem to be mostly agreeing with each other rather than distinguishing themselves from the others.  That’s what voters need at this point.

But do any of them seem as if they could be president?  I suspect that most American voters these days are influenced not so much about what candidates believe or what they would do as about whether they (1) like them  (2) have an image that seems presidential.  Yes, Americans are basically conservative, but they won’t vote for someone who comes across as angry.  They will vote for a Reagan, an optimistic, cheerful conservative.  Another important factor is “presence.”  Reagan had it; Obama has it.  I’m not sure that any of these candidates do.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Alan

    High-level sources are saying that Governor Rick Perry of Texas will probably announce his candidacy sometime in July. If so, I believe Rick Perry offers a fairly conservative record, over 10 years of executive experience, a likable personality, and a presidential image. Additionally, I believe he will stand out on the economy: Texas was one of the only, if not the only, states that was “adding” jobs during the lowest point of the recession. Perry will draw the mainstream Republican vote, could pull some moderate Democrats, and is already a Tea Party favorite in Texas.

    If Perry joins the race, I predict he will win the Republican primary in a landslide.

  • Alan

    High-level sources are saying that Governor Rick Perry of Texas will probably announce his candidacy sometime in July. If so, I believe Rick Perry offers a fairly conservative record, over 10 years of executive experience, a likable personality, and a presidential image. Additionally, I believe he will stand out on the economy: Texas was one of the only, if not the only, states that was “adding” jobs during the lowest point of the recession. Perry will draw the mainstream Republican vote, could pull some moderate Democrats, and is already a Tea Party favorite in Texas.

    If Perry joins the race, I predict he will win the Republican primary in a landslide.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure Obama has much presence, anymore. Reagan at least had “teflon.” So did Clinton. I don’t think Obama has it – he is more like Bush II – a weak candidate and president who can defeat a weak field if the stars align.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure Obama has much presence, anymore. Reagan at least had “teflon.” So did Clinton. I don’t think Obama has it – he is more like Bush II – a weak candidate and president who can defeat a weak field if the stars align.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I don’t know that Obama really has that presence. Put his speeches side to side with Reagan’s, and I’d hope that even liberals would admit that the difference is painfully obvious. Reagan spoke from the heart to the heart. Obama speaks like a professor, but isn’t burdened with the actual difficulty of actually knowing something worth communicating.

    I could be persuaded by Rick Perry, or really almost any of the other candidates except for Gingrich. That said, I’d promote Newt to get the current occupant out of the White House.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I don’t know that Obama really has that presence. Put his speeches side to side with Reagan’s, and I’d hope that even liberals would admit that the difference is painfully obvious. Reagan spoke from the heart to the heart. Obama speaks like a professor, but isn’t burdened with the actual difficulty of actually knowing something worth communicating.

    I could be persuaded by Rick Perry, or really almost any of the other candidates except for Gingrich. That said, I’d promote Newt to get the current occupant out of the White House.

  • Jeremy

    My favorite part of the debate was how Romney explained how he opposed Obama’s new health-care plan, while Obama’s plan was modeled after Romney’s own plan in Massachusetts.

  • Jeremy

    My favorite part of the debate was how Romney explained how he opposed Obama’s new health-care plan, while Obama’s plan was modeled after Romney’s own plan in Massachusetts.

  • Joe

    @Jeremy – that will be Romney’s biggest challenge and the prime reason I won’t vote for him.

  • Joe

    @Jeremy – that will be Romney’s biggest challenge and the prime reason I won’t vote for him.

  • Ryan

    I would vote for Ron Paul in a heart beat, but I found him much more impressive in the last round of debates (for the 2008 election). In those debates he seemed to be much better at making a personal/emotional connection with people. In this debate, it seemed like all of his answers were technical and full of financial jargon. I fear that it will be his undoing.

  • Ryan

    I would vote for Ron Paul in a heart beat, but I found him much more impressive in the last round of debates (for the 2008 election). In those debates he seemed to be much better at making a personal/emotional connection with people. In this debate, it seemed like all of his answers were technical and full of financial jargon. I fear that it will be his undoing.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    OBAMA ALL THE WAY!!!

    (if this country is going to go down – then let’s just get it over with quickly)

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    OBAMA ALL THE WAY!!!

    (if this country is going to go down – then let’s just get it over with quickly)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Notice that the alleged extreme Republicans, the Tea Party caucus’s Bachman and the libertarian Paul, are the peace candidates, opposing America’s involvement in the multiplying number of wars we are engaged in. Peace-leaning Democrats should give the Tea Party credit for being more anti-war than their president.

    This strikes me as a bit naive, at least on behalf of Bachman (I’m far more likely to believe that Paul takes this position on principle, which he consistently does, which is why he’s not going to get nominated).

    First of all, it’s not exactly unexpected for GOP candidates right now to strike an anti-Obama tone in anything and everything they can. It’s basically what unites them, and so far, it’s the GOP’s main message (cf. “Change”).

    And, should any of them have records that go that far back, it would be interesting to see what they thought of “the multiplying number of wars we are engaged in” back when they were run by a member of their party. Still a principled stand, I wonder?

    Regardless, as was the case with Obama, I don’t expect any of them (again, save Paul) to hold to such a stance once in office. It’s the nature of the position.

    But hey, go ahead and make the same mistake you criticized the Democrats for last time and nominate Bachman. I’ll make some popcorn.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Notice that the alleged extreme Republicans, the Tea Party caucus’s Bachman and the libertarian Paul, are the peace candidates, opposing America’s involvement in the multiplying number of wars we are engaged in. Peace-leaning Democrats should give the Tea Party credit for being more anti-war than their president.

    This strikes me as a bit naive, at least on behalf of Bachman (I’m far more likely to believe that Paul takes this position on principle, which he consistently does, which is why he’s not going to get nominated).

    First of all, it’s not exactly unexpected for GOP candidates right now to strike an anti-Obama tone in anything and everything they can. It’s basically what unites them, and so far, it’s the GOP’s main message (cf. “Change”).

    And, should any of them have records that go that far back, it would be interesting to see what they thought of “the multiplying number of wars we are engaged in” back when they were run by a member of their party. Still a principled stand, I wonder?

    Regardless, as was the case with Obama, I don’t expect any of them (again, save Paul) to hold to such a stance once in office. It’s the nature of the position.

    But hey, go ahead and make the same mistake you criticized the Democrats for last time and nominate Bachman. I’ll make some popcorn.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, GOP talking points in the past decade or so have made it somewhat more difficult for those without “executive experience” (basically, state governors) to get nominated by their party.

    Now, as with many political principles, this one may be abandoned when convenient, but I do think it lends an automatic lead to any current or former governors: Perry, Romney, Pawlenty, (Daniels?). Not surprisingly, that list of candidates is one I consider far more serious than the list of who debated last night.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, GOP talking points in the past decade or so have made it somewhat more difficult for those without “executive experience” (basically, state governors) to get nominated by their party.

    Now, as with many political principles, this one may be abandoned when convenient, but I do think it lends an automatic lead to any current or former governors: Perry, Romney, Pawlenty, (Daniels?). Not surprisingly, that list of candidates is one I consider far more serious than the list of who debated last night.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Experience, exshmerience…

    if a guy who has never really run anything (no business experience at all) and who barely had his feet wet in government, and who had less than stellar grades in school, can be President…then ANYONE can be President.

    Get real.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Experience, exshmerience…

    if a guy who has never really run anything (no business experience at all) and who barely had his feet wet in government, and who had less than stellar grades in school, can be President…then ANYONE can be President.

    Get real.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@10), exactly. A good chunk of the current Republican candidate crop seems to have as its slogan, “I can be every bit as terrible as the current President.” Doesn’t seem like much to run on, but we’ll see how that works out for them.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@10), exactly. A good chunk of the current Republican candidate crop seems to have as its slogan, “I can be every bit as terrible as the current President.” Doesn’t seem like much to run on, but we’ll see how that works out for them.

  • DonS

    A pox on candidate debates in June of the year before the presidential primary. And, a pox on Republican primary debates moderated by liberal media figures.

  • DonS

    A pox on candidate debates in June of the year before the presidential primary. And, a pox on Republican primary debates moderated by liberal media figures.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I was curious what the average Republican thought of the debate, so I turned to the scientific poll results at FoxNews.com, which asked “Who won the GOP presidential candidate debate?”

    The scientific results, in descending order:

    Rep. Michele Bachmann 28.27%
    Rep. Ron Paul 27.98%
    Mitt Romney 18.27%
    Herman Cain 13.56%
    Newt Gingrich 5.43%
    Tim Pawlenty 4.25%
    Rick Santorum 2.24%

    I’m sorry, but that’s hilarious. No. Freakin’. Way. … Are the results going to look like that in a year. All that said, that’s gotta hurt for Pawlenty. Just … gotta hurt.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I was curious what the average Republican thought of the debate, so I turned to the scientific poll results at FoxNews.com, which asked “Who won the GOP presidential candidate debate?”

    The scientific results, in descending order:

    Rep. Michele Bachmann 28.27%
    Rep. Ron Paul 27.98%
    Mitt Romney 18.27%
    Herman Cain 13.56%
    Newt Gingrich 5.43%
    Tim Pawlenty 4.25%
    Rick Santorum 2.24%

    I’m sorry, but that’s hilarious. No. Freakin’. Way. … Are the results going to look like that in a year. All that said, that’s gotta hurt for Pawlenty. Just … gotta hurt.

  • Bob

    It was the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players.”

    Lots of new ideas…

    Wait, there were none.

    ZZZZZZ

  • Bob

    It was the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players.”

    Lots of new ideas…

    Wait, there were none.

    ZZZZZZ

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    I’m with the late William F. Buckley Jr. who said, “Id rather be ruled by the 1st 2000 names in the Boston phonebook than by 2,000 people from Harvard.”

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    I’m with the late William F. Buckley Jr. who said, “Id rather be ruled by the 1st 2000 names in the Boston phonebook than by 2,000 people from Harvard.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@15), I don’t think either of those entities is running for President.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@15), I don’t think either of those entities is running for President.

  • SKPeterson

    As it stands right now, I will be exercising my civic and moral duty by not voting in the 2012 elections, at least for President. And don’t give me that “lesser evil” claptrap or “the perfect is the enemy of the good” line. The evil is not that much less and none of them on either side are anywhere near good, so let’s just give it a rest, shall we?

  • SKPeterson

    As it stands right now, I will be exercising my civic and moral duty by not voting in the 2012 elections, at least for President. And don’t give me that “lesser evil” claptrap or “the perfect is the enemy of the good” line. The evil is not that much less and none of them on either side are anywhere near good, so let’s just give it a rest, shall we?

  • Jonathan

    @10 Your observation about George W is well taken, but his gross incompetency only underscores the crying need for a qualified candidate.

  • Jonathan

    @10 Your observation about George W is well taken, but his gross incompetency only underscores the crying need for a qualified candidate.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Other than Newt, a brilliant man with tragic hubris, I am impressed by the quality of this field. Cain lacks experience, and so would seem a better fit for Vice President, but I would rejoice should any of these candidates be our next President. There is a basic goodness about them that I find appealing. They understand the virtues of our constitution, the importance of the family, and the limitations of government. They all have excellent biographies, and have distinguished themselves with impressive achievements. I certainly can find particular areas of disagreement with each of these candidates, but would hardly be a better candidate myself (!) – so I will happily go into the voting booth rather than stay home, thankful that our country still has leaders who are willing to step forward and put themselves and their families through the grueling process that is the American democratic process. A “perfect” candidate will never be found, but thanks be to God there is certainly no need to talk of “lesser of two evils” here. This is definitely a good slate of candidates. The GOP should be smiling right now.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Other than Newt, a brilliant man with tragic hubris, I am impressed by the quality of this field. Cain lacks experience, and so would seem a better fit for Vice President, but I would rejoice should any of these candidates be our next President. There is a basic goodness about them that I find appealing. They understand the virtues of our constitution, the importance of the family, and the limitations of government. They all have excellent biographies, and have distinguished themselves with impressive achievements. I certainly can find particular areas of disagreement with each of these candidates, but would hardly be a better candidate myself (!) – so I will happily go into the voting booth rather than stay home, thankful that our country still has leaders who are willing to step forward and put themselves and their families through the grueling process that is the American democratic process. A “perfect” candidate will never be found, but thanks be to God there is certainly no need to talk of “lesser of two evils” here. This is definitely a good slate of candidates. The GOP should be smiling right now.

  • Suzanne

    I don’t have cable and didn’t watch the debate. None of the GOP field impresses me much. I wouldn’t vote for Palin if no one else was running. I live in an area that has seen an estimated 18,000 jobs disappear in the past 10 years. I hear a lot of “I’m not Obama” speak, but I’m not hearing much about how to boost job growth except to help corporate profits grow. They are growing and so is unemployment. so we need new ideas.

  • Suzanne

    I don’t have cable and didn’t watch the debate. None of the GOP field impresses me much. I wouldn’t vote for Palin if no one else was running. I live in an area that has seen an estimated 18,000 jobs disappear in the past 10 years. I hear a lot of “I’m not Obama” speak, but I’m not hearing much about how to boost job growth except to help corporate profits grow. They are growing and so is unemployment. so we need new ideas.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Actually, Suzanne, new ideas are not needed. Economics and history show us what works. The Republicans are promoting policy prescriptions that are in accord with this.

    You seem to suggest that there be some “new idea” that would “boost job growth” apart from profits. However, it takes money to hire someone. The money could come from a corporation or small businessman having the funds (through savings, investors, or revenue/profits), a government taking the money from someone/somewhere (i.e. taxes), or a government printing money. After all, at the end of the day, the worker needs a check. Given that state jobs cost about 50% more than private-sector jobs, due to various inefficiencies intrinsic to government, the most effective way to create lots of jobs is by creating the conditions for small businesses, individuals, and, yes, corporations to create them. (Small businesses create the most, btw, which is why Democrats like to move the focus onto the ‘evil’ corporations.)

    It is true that corporate profits had an uptick in the latter part of 2010. And there was a slight drop in unemployment for a few months before its recent rebound. However, those profits were nowhere near historical highs, were measured before taxes, and have not been sustained. Even so, we would have seen more job creation had not capital been frightened away from new hires because of the massive changes in regulation, the uncertainties in the tax policy, and the new health care law. Add to that the more favorable business climate in other countries (even France has lower corporate taxes than the US!) in the modern, global economy and it is no mystery why we have sustained unemployment.

    Simply put, there is no need for a new idea. A simple return to pro-growth tax rates, less regulation of commerce, and – very important – a commitment to consistency and dependability in tax, trade, and regulatory policy is all that is needed.

    This last point, dependability, is often overlooked, but is essential to coaxing capital into investing in jobs. Capital is a coward. If investors can’t trust what government is going to do 2,3,5 years down-the-line, it stays in the bank. This is what kept the Great Depression going so long: Roosevelt and his “Brain Trust” were inveterate tinkerers. Hoover was too! (He was a great engineer, but a lousy President.) Today, such constant “fixing” of things by the state makes things even worse – because money now just flies electronically all around the world, rather than waiting it out here in our banks.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Actually, Suzanne, new ideas are not needed. Economics and history show us what works. The Republicans are promoting policy prescriptions that are in accord with this.

    You seem to suggest that there be some “new idea” that would “boost job growth” apart from profits. However, it takes money to hire someone. The money could come from a corporation or small businessman having the funds (through savings, investors, or revenue/profits), a government taking the money from someone/somewhere (i.e. taxes), or a government printing money. After all, at the end of the day, the worker needs a check. Given that state jobs cost about 50% more than private-sector jobs, due to various inefficiencies intrinsic to government, the most effective way to create lots of jobs is by creating the conditions for small businesses, individuals, and, yes, corporations to create them. (Small businesses create the most, btw, which is why Democrats like to move the focus onto the ‘evil’ corporations.)

    It is true that corporate profits had an uptick in the latter part of 2010. And there was a slight drop in unemployment for a few months before its recent rebound. However, those profits were nowhere near historical highs, were measured before taxes, and have not been sustained. Even so, we would have seen more job creation had not capital been frightened away from new hires because of the massive changes in regulation, the uncertainties in the tax policy, and the new health care law. Add to that the more favorable business climate in other countries (even France has lower corporate taxes than the US!) in the modern, global economy and it is no mystery why we have sustained unemployment.

    Simply put, there is no need for a new idea. A simple return to pro-growth tax rates, less regulation of commerce, and – very important – a commitment to consistency and dependability in tax, trade, and regulatory policy is all that is needed.

    This last point, dependability, is often overlooked, but is essential to coaxing capital into investing in jobs. Capital is a coward. If investors can’t trust what government is going to do 2,3,5 years down-the-line, it stays in the bank. This is what kept the Great Depression going so long: Roosevelt and his “Brain Trust” were inveterate tinkerers. Hoover was too! (He was a great engineer, but a lousy President.) Today, such constant “fixing” of things by the state makes things even worse – because money now just flies electronically all around the world, rather than waiting it out here in our banks.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “It was the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players.”

    Translation: They weren’t sexy.

    “Lots of new ideas…

    Wait, there were none.”

    Yes, mercifully.

    Giving home loans to folks at high risk for default was a “new idea”.

    It failed spectacularly.

    The idea that it wouldn’t work was an old idea.

    ZZZZZZZZ

    Boring is good. It means nothing bad is happening.

    No new ideas?

    Good.

    New ideas in politics are not like new ideas in science and technology. New ideas in politics are just schemes to transfer wealth from one constituency to another.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “It was the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players.”

    Translation: They weren’t sexy.

    “Lots of new ideas…

    Wait, there were none.”

    Yes, mercifully.

    Giving home loans to folks at high risk for default was a “new idea”.

    It failed spectacularly.

    The idea that it wouldn’t work was an old idea.

    ZZZZZZZZ

    Boring is good. It means nothing bad is happening.

    No new ideas?

    Good.

    New ideas in politics are not like new ideas in science and technology. New ideas in politics are just schemes to transfer wealth from one constituency to another.

  • Grace

    Martin – 15

    Harvard isn’t your problem, it’s your ego, it needs a plaster cast, one that fits over the ego you thought you had.

  • Grace

    Martin – 15

    Harvard isn’t your problem, it’s your ego, it needs a plaster cast, one that fits over the ego you thought you had.

  • Suzanne

    Sorry, Phillip (#21) I’m not buying it. Increase corporate profits and the jobs will follow sounds logical, except that in the new age of greed, the top guys keep the money for themselves and the rest of us suffer. 1% of the US population owns around 25% of the wealth; in other words, it isn’t trickling down. Why would a corporation who can move operations overseas with no penalty, hire workers for next to nothing, and keep the profits want to expand in the US when that would cut into CEO pay and profits? I understand that businesses exist to make money, but in this day, they are making money only for the top people to keep it. The free market is not holy, but many seem to think it is. It has flaws like anything else in this world, and must be regulated to some extent, or we will end up a nation of serfs. The middle class in this country is dying. I know far too many 50 somethings who have been laid off, who are ready, willing, and able to work, but are unemployed and watching everything they have worked their lives to support vanish, while corporations rake it in , weasel out of paying taxes and refuse to pay their workers a living wage. I used to be a strict conservative, free market lover, but what I’ve seen in the past few years has changed my mind…

  • Suzanne

    Sorry, Phillip (#21) I’m not buying it. Increase corporate profits and the jobs will follow sounds logical, except that in the new age of greed, the top guys keep the money for themselves and the rest of us suffer. 1% of the US population owns around 25% of the wealth; in other words, it isn’t trickling down. Why would a corporation who can move operations overseas with no penalty, hire workers for next to nothing, and keep the profits want to expand in the US when that would cut into CEO pay and profits? I understand that businesses exist to make money, but in this day, they are making money only for the top people to keep it. The free market is not holy, but many seem to think it is. It has flaws like anything else in this world, and must be regulated to some extent, or we will end up a nation of serfs. The middle class in this country is dying. I know far too many 50 somethings who have been laid off, who are ready, willing, and able to work, but are unemployed and watching everything they have worked their lives to support vanish, while corporations rake it in , weasel out of paying taxes and refuse to pay their workers a living wage. I used to be a strict conservative, free market lover, but what I’ve seen in the past few years has changed my mind…

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Suzanne, you say want the profits to be invested in jobs. I agree. The answer then lies in the other two parts of my explanation to you: regulation and reliability. Also, you fixate on “corporate profits”, yet the majority of new jobs are created by small businesses.

    Also, there is no “new age of greed”. The human condition is as sinful as it as always has been. This understanding of man is central to our US Constitution. What we are seeing over the course of the last few years is not “a new age of greed”, but a new age where our government had abandoned our constitutional principles. Now we reap the harvest of this folly.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Suzanne, you say want the profits to be invested in jobs. I agree. The answer then lies in the other two parts of my explanation to you: regulation and reliability. Also, you fixate on “corporate profits”, yet the majority of new jobs are created by small businesses.

    Also, there is no “new age of greed”. The human condition is as sinful as it as always has been. This understanding of man is central to our US Constitution. What we are seeing over the course of the last few years is not “a new age of greed”, but a new age where our government had abandoned our constitutional principles. Now we reap the harvest of this folly.

  • Suzanne

    Maybe not a new age of greed, but an age of unregulated greed, but any time I mention regulations, I’m accused of being a socialist, or worse. Businesses hire people and they do so to make profits, I get that, but businesses are made up of sinful people and business is no more or less benign than government. The love of money, after all, is the root of all evil, not the government.

  • Suzanne

    Maybe not a new age of greed, but an age of unregulated greed, but any time I mention regulations, I’m accused of being a socialist, or worse. Businesses hire people and they do so to make profits, I get that, but businesses are made up of sinful people and business is no more or less benign than government. The love of money, after all, is the root of all evil, not the government.

  • DonS

    “businesses are made up of sinful people and business is no more or less benign than government.”

    Bingo! You unwittingly hit on the problem with assuming that the magic of “regulations” will resolve our ills, Suzanne. As you said, government is no more benign than business, but regulations carry the weight of law, coercion, and corruption in the name of power and greed. That is why so many people fear our reckless urge to regulate to cure our societal ills.

  • DonS

    “businesses are made up of sinful people and business is no more or less benign than government.”

    Bingo! You unwittingly hit on the problem with assuming that the magic of “regulations” will resolve our ills, Suzanne. As you said, government is no more benign than business, but regulations carry the weight of law, coercion, and corruption in the name of power and greed. That is why so many people fear our reckless urge to regulate to cure our societal ills.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Given that regulations have gone up exponentially in the past 20 years, your idea that more is needed because of “ungregulated greed” is simply not convincing.

    I’m certainly not an anarchist. And I did make a generalist argument about regulation. But it is more fruitful to speak of specific regulations. Since you think it is bad, Suzanne, to be “called a socialist”, what regulations would be propose that are not socialist “or worse”?

    I do think that business are less benign than government. They don’t have guns. And the power of government is far beyond that of any given corporation. So the temptation to corruption is far greater. And the accountability much lower. And, ironically, many of the corporations that you can point to as having unhelpful behaviors in recent years have behaved according to the carrots and sticks put in place by the “Fixers” in government. The Republicans are proposing instead to close those loopholes, giveaways, and incentives and level the playing field – similar to the way Ronald Reagan led a bipartisan group of conservative Republicans and pro-business Democrats to reform the tax code in 1986. (Alas, the “Fixers” with all their “new ideas” have totally moved us away from that great accomplishment with all their tinkering over the past 25 years.)

    I sympathize with the job losses you have experienced in your community, but urge you to think more thoroughly about your conclusions here.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Given that regulations have gone up exponentially in the past 20 years, your idea that more is needed because of “ungregulated greed” is simply not convincing.

    I’m certainly not an anarchist. And I did make a generalist argument about regulation. But it is more fruitful to speak of specific regulations. Since you think it is bad, Suzanne, to be “called a socialist”, what regulations would be propose that are not socialist “or worse”?

    I do think that business are less benign than government. They don’t have guns. And the power of government is far beyond that of any given corporation. So the temptation to corruption is far greater. And the accountability much lower. And, ironically, many of the corporations that you can point to as having unhelpful behaviors in recent years have behaved according to the carrots and sticks put in place by the “Fixers” in government. The Republicans are proposing instead to close those loopholes, giveaways, and incentives and level the playing field – similar to the way Ronald Reagan led a bipartisan group of conservative Republicans and pro-business Democrats to reform the tax code in 1986. (Alas, the “Fixers” with all their “new ideas” have totally moved us away from that great accomplishment with all their tinkering over the past 25 years.)

    I sympathize with the job losses you have experienced in your community, but urge you to think more thoroughly about your conclusions here.

  • Suzanne

    I fear leveling the playing field back to the days of the “robber barons”. Businesses, left to their own devices, will simply lower pay and benefits as much as they can to increase the profit for the company, but why would they spread that wealth around? In the 80′s , I believe business saw their employees as partners and the mentality what is good for the business is good for the workers. My experience in the business world the past 3 or 4 years shows me that is no longer the case, except in rare cases. The mentality is now that the employees are simply human capital to be used and dispensed with at will.
    As far as regulations, laws that regulated investment banks since the Great Depression have gradually been revoked until we got to the meltdown of 2008 because, in essence, nobody was really watching them any longer. What regulations do you mean that strangle business? The German economy is booming in spite of the fact that they have socialized medical care, something we have been assured over and over would do the country in, and the average citizen there pays taxes at a much higher rate than the US. I see way too much of the Ayn Rand mentality in modern conservatives, which, in my opinion, in essence says that your only value to society is your ability to be a success. As a Christian, I can’t buy that.

  • Suzanne

    I fear leveling the playing field back to the days of the “robber barons”. Businesses, left to their own devices, will simply lower pay and benefits as much as they can to increase the profit for the company, but why would they spread that wealth around? In the 80′s , I believe business saw their employees as partners and the mentality what is good for the business is good for the workers. My experience in the business world the past 3 or 4 years shows me that is no longer the case, except in rare cases. The mentality is now that the employees are simply human capital to be used and dispensed with at will.
    As far as regulations, laws that regulated investment banks since the Great Depression have gradually been revoked until we got to the meltdown of 2008 because, in essence, nobody was really watching them any longer. What regulations do you mean that strangle business? The German economy is booming in spite of the fact that they have socialized medical care, something we have been assured over and over would do the country in, and the average citizen there pays taxes at a much higher rate than the US. I see way too much of the Ayn Rand mentality in modern conservatives, which, in my opinion, in essence says that your only value to society is your ability to be a success. As a Christian, I can’t buy that.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Suzanne,

    You aren’t making sense. How does leveling the playing field bring back “the day of the robber barons”? Why would so many liberal Democrats be in agreement with conservatives on closing loopholes in the tax code if this were so?

    I’m sorry you had bad experiences with recent employers. I can understand that your resentment is making you want Big Brother to fix things, but history shows that the government that takes over the economy for the sake of the people inevitably takes over the people for the sake of the economy.

    Regulations? They are legion. The federal registry is over 70,000 pages long! And most of it harms small businesses – because corporations have the legal teams and economy of scale to cope with them. (Indeed, they often favor regulations because it stifles competition. You want to “stick it” to greedy corporations? Then support lowering regulations so that those corporations will have to deal with competition!) Some regulations are important for safety or for commerce, but in the end each one places a cost that is passed on to consumers. Given the economy, were there really 350 additional areas that needed regulation in 2010? No wonder capital stays away – you can’t build a light bulb manufacturing plant for fear Uncle Sam will outlaw your product. Even a well-connected supercorp like Boeing is going to have to deal with years of lawsuits over labor relations because they dared build a new plant in (gasp!) South Carolina. (A Right-to-Work state)

    I do appreciate your concern about the “Ayn Rand” mentality. I agree that too many Republican voters look at efficiency as the prime value. Certainly Christians understand that other values trump efficiency. (One huge reason I generally vote Republican is because I value life, for example, and so support candidates that are opposed to abortion & euthanasia, and support adoption and promote family values.) Clean air and clean water are more important than efficiency, for example. And so government has a role, because, as we confess as Christians, man is by nature sinful and unclean.

    But I would argue that the genius of the American Constitution was that it was consistent with the doctrine of Original Sin, and so put checks and balances on power so that we can avoid tyranny. The modern Democrat party does not acknowledge this, but instead sees government as a perpetually innocent and benevolent creature. I look around and see TSA arrogance, Post Office laziness, Bureau of Motor Vehicles incompetence, and downright malevolence from the IRS, the ATF, and the DEA – and reach a different conclusion.

    I find it interesting, though, Suzanne, that you are a “former strict conservative” and yet you are so well-versed with so many Democrat talking points. Did you get catechized into the Left first and then have bad experiences with your job or was it the other way around? Just curious. Or did you never really understand the arguments for conservatism, but supported the GOP in the 80′s for other reasons?

    btw, Germany GDP is at 1.5% That is not exactly booming. True, they have lower unemployment now. That’s because they elected the conservatives, who, under Chancellor Angela Merkel emarked on a deregulation campaign to make it easier to hire – and fire – workers.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Suzanne,

    You aren’t making sense. How does leveling the playing field bring back “the day of the robber barons”? Why would so many liberal Democrats be in agreement with conservatives on closing loopholes in the tax code if this were so?

    I’m sorry you had bad experiences with recent employers. I can understand that your resentment is making you want Big Brother to fix things, but history shows that the government that takes over the economy for the sake of the people inevitably takes over the people for the sake of the economy.

    Regulations? They are legion. The federal registry is over 70,000 pages long! And most of it harms small businesses – because corporations have the legal teams and economy of scale to cope with them. (Indeed, they often favor regulations because it stifles competition. You want to “stick it” to greedy corporations? Then support lowering regulations so that those corporations will have to deal with competition!) Some regulations are important for safety or for commerce, but in the end each one places a cost that is passed on to consumers. Given the economy, were there really 350 additional areas that needed regulation in 2010? No wonder capital stays away – you can’t build a light bulb manufacturing plant for fear Uncle Sam will outlaw your product. Even a well-connected supercorp like Boeing is going to have to deal with years of lawsuits over labor relations because they dared build a new plant in (gasp!) South Carolina. (A Right-to-Work state)

    I do appreciate your concern about the “Ayn Rand” mentality. I agree that too many Republican voters look at efficiency as the prime value. Certainly Christians understand that other values trump efficiency. (One huge reason I generally vote Republican is because I value life, for example, and so support candidates that are opposed to abortion & euthanasia, and support adoption and promote family values.) Clean air and clean water are more important than efficiency, for example. And so government has a role, because, as we confess as Christians, man is by nature sinful and unclean.

    But I would argue that the genius of the American Constitution was that it was consistent with the doctrine of Original Sin, and so put checks and balances on power so that we can avoid tyranny. The modern Democrat party does not acknowledge this, but instead sees government as a perpetually innocent and benevolent creature. I look around and see TSA arrogance, Post Office laziness, Bureau of Motor Vehicles incompetence, and downright malevolence from the IRS, the ATF, and the DEA – and reach a different conclusion.

    I find it interesting, though, Suzanne, that you are a “former strict conservative” and yet you are so well-versed with so many Democrat talking points. Did you get catechized into the Left first and then have bad experiences with your job or was it the other way around? Just curious. Or did you never really understand the arguments for conservatism, but supported the GOP in the 80′s for other reasons?

    btw, Germany GDP is at 1.5% That is not exactly booming. True, they have lower unemployment now. That’s because they elected the conservatives, who, under Chancellor Angela Merkel emarked on a deregulation campaign to make it easier to hire – and fire – workers.

  • Suzanne

    Philip,
    I rarely ever voted for a Dem until the last election and I’ve been voting since the ’70s. I come from deep, deep conservative roots. I have family members who were strict Repubs until the past few years. The modern Republicans have learned, in my opinion, to tow the party line about family values, etc. in order to get people like you on board. In our area, the “family values” congressman was caught sleeping with the staffer who helped him make abstinance videos and publicly declared that it wasn’t so bad because at least the millions of hits on YouTube meant people were learning about abstinence and that the culture of Washington made him do it.
    Government can be ruthless, I agree, but business can be just as ruthless, taking your ability to earn a living, spend time with your family, etc. all in the name of higher profits. That is what has soured me on the GOP; the lip service to family values, the tax cuts to the rich while we spend untold billions on war with no concern about paying for it, the seeming belief that all commerce is benign and good and that those at the bottom of the economic scale are there because they are lazy and stupid. The right’s grand experiment in Indiana to privitize a prison ended in a prison riot during which the guards, who were paid very low wages in the name of efficiency and profits, simply walked away.
    The Post Office, by the way, is a self supporting corporation owned by the Federal Government but for which it gives virtually no subsidies. Postage in the US is lower than most any other country in the world.

    Have you ever read Sinclair’s “The Jungle”? That is where we are headed once again, I fear.

  • Suzanne

    Philip,
    I rarely ever voted for a Dem until the last election and I’ve been voting since the ’70s. I come from deep, deep conservative roots. I have family members who were strict Repubs until the past few years. The modern Republicans have learned, in my opinion, to tow the party line about family values, etc. in order to get people like you on board. In our area, the “family values” congressman was caught sleeping with the staffer who helped him make abstinance videos and publicly declared that it wasn’t so bad because at least the millions of hits on YouTube meant people were learning about abstinence and that the culture of Washington made him do it.
    Government can be ruthless, I agree, but business can be just as ruthless, taking your ability to earn a living, spend time with your family, etc. all in the name of higher profits. That is what has soured me on the GOP; the lip service to family values, the tax cuts to the rich while we spend untold billions on war with no concern about paying for it, the seeming belief that all commerce is benign and good and that those at the bottom of the economic scale are there because they are lazy and stupid. The right’s grand experiment in Indiana to privitize a prison ended in a prison riot during which the guards, who were paid very low wages in the name of efficiency and profits, simply walked away.
    The Post Office, by the way, is a self supporting corporation owned by the Federal Government but for which it gives virtually no subsidies. Postage in the US is lower than most any other country in the world.

    Have you ever read Sinclair’s “The Jungle”? That is where we are headed once again, I fear.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    So, I guess this means that you have renounced church membership, too, since Christian pastors have also been found behaving also in hypocritical behaviors?

    And does Obama gets a pass from you now on Libya now that you have been catechized into socialism? At least Bush followed the War Powers Act.

    Postage would be even lower if the Post Office didn’t do things like have employees sit in waiting rooms doing nothing so that they can be “on the clock” while fulfilling their union contract. But, hey, I guess you are OK with monopolies as long as they are owned by the Feds?

    Yes, I’ve read Sinclair. Silly socialist screed at the end ruined an otherwise good book.

    I continue to respond to your points and questions. You avoid mine. That is common among the paid “net activists” of the Left. So is the tactic of claiming conservative roots. And claiming that “modern Republicans” are substantially different now. (As if Ronald Reagan were not our hero!) Coincidence?

    If not, I again urge you to reexamine your roots and learn from the authors who informed them. It appears you never understood why your family was conservative. Maybe they didn’t either! Perhaps that is why you so easily jettisoned your ‘conservatism’. I don’t know. But I do know that the Federalist Papers, de Tocqueville, Hayek, von Mises, Buckley, Sowell, and Johnson have much more to teach you than historical fiction and the HuffPost. Take the David Mamet challenge and see where you wind up! :)

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    So, I guess this means that you have renounced church membership, too, since Christian pastors have also been found behaving also in hypocritical behaviors?

    And does Obama gets a pass from you now on Libya now that you have been catechized into socialism? At least Bush followed the War Powers Act.

    Postage would be even lower if the Post Office didn’t do things like have employees sit in waiting rooms doing nothing so that they can be “on the clock” while fulfilling their union contract. But, hey, I guess you are OK with monopolies as long as they are owned by the Feds?

    Yes, I’ve read Sinclair. Silly socialist screed at the end ruined an otherwise good book.

    I continue to respond to your points and questions. You avoid mine. That is common among the paid “net activists” of the Left. So is the tactic of claiming conservative roots. And claiming that “modern Republicans” are substantially different now. (As if Ronald Reagan were not our hero!) Coincidence?

    If not, I again urge you to reexamine your roots and learn from the authors who informed them. It appears you never understood why your family was conservative. Maybe they didn’t either! Perhaps that is why you so easily jettisoned your ‘conservatism’. I don’t know. But I do know that the Federalist Papers, de Tocqueville, Hayek, von Mises, Buckley, Sowell, and Johnson have much more to teach you than historical fiction and the HuffPost. Take the David Mamet challenge and see where you wind up! :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow, Phillip (@32). Paranoid much?

    That is common among the paid “net activists” of the Left. So is the tactic of claiming conservative roots.

    You disagree with someone, so you just kind of let it slip that you suspect they’re a paid enemy activist? Is that how it works? Because, you know, I’ve heard that accusing others of being paid political activists is actually a sure sign that someone is himself a paid political activist.

    It appears you never understood why your family was conservative. Maybe they didn’t either!

    Wow, and so charitable, too! Gosh, why wouldn’t anyone want to be a conservative, with people like you on their side?

    I mean, everyone knows that only idiots favor left-wing ideas, right? There’s never any rationale whatsoever for such thinking. Which is why only idiots think that way. Right? Right?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wow, Phillip (@32). Paranoid much?

    That is common among the paid “net activists” of the Left. So is the tactic of claiming conservative roots.

    You disagree with someone, so you just kind of let it slip that you suspect they’re a paid enemy activist? Is that how it works? Because, you know, I’ve heard that accusing others of being paid political activists is actually a sure sign that someone is himself a paid political activist.

    It appears you never understood why your family was conservative. Maybe they didn’t either!

    Wow, and so charitable, too! Gosh, why wouldn’t anyone want to be a conservative, with people like you on their side?

    I mean, everyone knows that only idiots favor left-wing ideas, right? There’s never any rationale whatsoever for such thinking. Which is why only idiots think that way. Right? Right?

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    tODD, that’s hilarious!

    But fair enough. Since you imply the question, I’ll give you an answer: I’m not a volunteer or paid “net activist”.

    See how easy that was? Don’t know why you think the question is so offensive.

    And I don’t look at fellow citizens as “the enemy”. But you seem really happy to jump to THAT conclusion even as you uncharitably judge me for simply asking a question that was based on some reasonable observations.

    I’m not aware of the GOP or conservative groups having organized volunteer or paid efforts to campaign in cyberspace, but that there are some on the Left are well-reported. Including a recent ad for such work in the HuffPost. Frankly, I don’t think it is a big deal. I hope the conservatives catch up with the times on this.

    Either way, Suzanne is not “the enemy.” I enjoyed this dialog with her and wish her well. The context of my closing appeal to her only made sense IF she were not a committed activist.

    Re: whether left-wing ideas equate with idiocy, is that how you think? So, therefore conservatives are idiots because they disagree with you? Right? Right? (or do I say, Left? Left? LOL) Two can play that game. Personally, I think one can be wrong or misinformed without being an idiot.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    tODD, that’s hilarious!

    But fair enough. Since you imply the question, I’ll give you an answer: I’m not a volunteer or paid “net activist”.

    See how easy that was? Don’t know why you think the question is so offensive.

    And I don’t look at fellow citizens as “the enemy”. But you seem really happy to jump to THAT conclusion even as you uncharitably judge me for simply asking a question that was based on some reasonable observations.

    I’m not aware of the GOP or conservative groups having organized volunteer or paid efforts to campaign in cyberspace, but that there are some on the Left are well-reported. Including a recent ad for such work in the HuffPost. Frankly, I don’t think it is a big deal. I hope the conservatives catch up with the times on this.

    Either way, Suzanne is not “the enemy.” I enjoyed this dialog with her and wish her well. The context of my closing appeal to her only made sense IF she were not a committed activist.

    Re: whether left-wing ideas equate with idiocy, is that how you think? So, therefore conservatives are idiots because they disagree with you? Right? Right? (or do I say, Left? Left? LOL) Two can play that game. Personally, I think one can be wrong or misinformed without being an idiot.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Phillip (@34), don’t be fatuous.

    I was clearly only responding in kind to your ridiculous implication that Suzanne was a “paid ‘net activist’”. In the same way that your comment to her was ridiculous and over-the-top, so was mine. Of course, I knew I was being ridiculous when I did it to you. Did you know you were being ridiculous, as well? I don’t think you communicated that.

    But you seem really happy to jump to THAT conclusion even as you uncharitably judge me for simply asking a question that was based on some reasonable observations.

    Really, you’re going to hide behind “uncharitably judging” others … now? Hmm. Guess such a defense isn’t for everyone.

    Anyhow, we can all read what you wrote. You didn’t “simply ask a question”, nor was it based on “reasonable observations”. You implied that she was a paid activist merely because you didn’t think she was answering your questions. That’s a ludicrous inference, not a “reasonable” one.

    As for “the tactic of claiming conservative roots” being one of your “reasonable” signs, you do note that pretty much every True Conservative (as judged by you, of course!) would also fail by that metric as some potential double agent.

    Again, paranoid much?

    Re: whether left-wing ideas equate with idiocy, is that how you think?

    Again, perhaps you should reread your own comment, wherein you suggested to Suzanne, “It appears you never understood why your family was conservative.” Note how you equate her (not-conservative-enough for you) position with a lack of “understanding”. You do the math, Phillip.

    Ah, but cries of “uncharitable” are only for True Conservatives to raise! I forgot!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Phillip (@34), don’t be fatuous.

    I was clearly only responding in kind to your ridiculous implication that Suzanne was a “paid ‘net activist’”. In the same way that your comment to her was ridiculous and over-the-top, so was mine. Of course, I knew I was being ridiculous when I did it to you. Did you know you were being ridiculous, as well? I don’t think you communicated that.

    But you seem really happy to jump to THAT conclusion even as you uncharitably judge me for simply asking a question that was based on some reasonable observations.

    Really, you’re going to hide behind “uncharitably judging” others … now? Hmm. Guess such a defense isn’t for everyone.

    Anyhow, we can all read what you wrote. You didn’t “simply ask a question”, nor was it based on “reasonable observations”. You implied that she was a paid activist merely because you didn’t think she was answering your questions. That’s a ludicrous inference, not a “reasonable” one.

    As for “the tactic of claiming conservative roots” being one of your “reasonable” signs, you do note that pretty much every True Conservative (as judged by you, of course!) would also fail by that metric as some potential double agent.

    Again, paranoid much?

    Re: whether left-wing ideas equate with idiocy, is that how you think?

    Again, perhaps you should reread your own comment, wherein you suggested to Suzanne, “It appears you never understood why your family was conservative.” Note how you equate her (not-conservative-enough for you) position with a lack of “understanding”. You do the math, Phillip.

    Ah, but cries of “uncharitable” are only for True Conservatives to raise! I forgot!

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Oh well, it was a nice discussion until tODD dropped in.

    Suzanne, I wish you well. And I stand behind my appeal to you: reexamine your roots. Not that you wind up where I am at, but that you truly have an understanding of what you embrace, and what you reject.

    Cheers!

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Oh well, it was a nice discussion until tODD dropped in.

    Suzanne, I wish you well. And I stand behind my appeal to you: reexamine your roots. Not that you wind up where I am at, but that you truly have an understanding of what you embrace, and what you reject.

    Cheers!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wait, Phillip (@36), don’t go! You haven’t accused me of being a paid activist yet! Don’t you even suspect me?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Wait, Phillip (@36), don’t go! You haven’t accused me of being a paid activist yet! Don’t you even suspect me?

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    tODD,

    Being a paid activitst or being a volunteer activist is not a crime, nor is it immoral. I can be a very patriotic thing to do. I have no will toward anyone who does such work. Like I said, may conservative groups catch up with the times!

    I didn’t draw any conclusions about Suzanne. Yet you, who unhesitatingly draw all sorts of conclusions about me, seem to think it wrong that I even wonder and so ask to see if I’m right or not.

    For the record, I don’t think you are paid. I do wish the Dems were hiring folks like you to make their arguments, though!

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    tODD,

    Being a paid activitst or being a volunteer activist is not a crime, nor is it immoral. I can be a very patriotic thing to do. I have no will toward anyone who does such work. Like I said, may conservative groups catch up with the times!

    I didn’t draw any conclusions about Suzanne. Yet you, who unhesitatingly draw all sorts of conclusions about me, seem to think it wrong that I even wonder and so ask to see if I’m right or not.

    For the record, I don’t think you are paid. I do wish the Dems were hiring folks like you to make their arguments, though!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Phillip (@38), your opinion on paid activists certainly seems to have mitigated since all of several comments ago (@32) when you first introduced the topic to this thread.
    Whereas you now feel “no [ill?] will toward” such people, way back in the day (@32), the accusation of being a “paid ‘net activist’” certainly appeared to be just one among a litany of accusations you were lobbing at Suzanne. In addition, of course, to lying about the foundations of her political ideology.

    What’s odd about this is that you actually think that paying for ersatz conversation in order to achieve some undetermined political end is a good idea. I have no idea why. But then, you pay more attention to “HuffPost” (name-dropped twice so far!) than I do. Maybe we can both blame that.

    I didn’t draw any conclusions about Suzanne. Yet you, who unhesitatingly draw all sorts of conclusions about me, seem to think it wrong that I even wonder and so ask to see if I’m right or not.

    Okay, I’m sorry, but that’s just sad/funny. If you are being paid to write these things, please find a new day job. But I doubt you are. Because that’s a pathetic defense. It’s not like it’s that hard to scroll allll the way up to comment #32, where you said:

    I continue to respond to your points and questions. You avoid mine. That is common among the paid “net activists” of the Left. So is the tactic of claiming conservative roots. And claiming that “modern Republicans” are substantially different now. (As if Ronald Reagan were not our hero!) Coincidence?

    Oh, so all that was just you “wondering”? No conclusions being drawn?

    Well, if it’s that easy, let me give it a try: your conversational style here, Phillip, is very reminiscent of the style used by men who wear frilly women’s underwear and like to kick puppies. Coincidence?

    Now, please understand, I’m not drawing any conclusions when I say that. I’m just wondering whether I’m right or not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Phillip (@38), your opinion on paid activists certainly seems to have mitigated since all of several comments ago (@32) when you first introduced the topic to this thread.
    Whereas you now feel “no [ill?] will toward” such people, way back in the day (@32), the accusation of being a “paid ‘net activist’” certainly appeared to be just one among a litany of accusations you were lobbing at Suzanne. In addition, of course, to lying about the foundations of her political ideology.

    What’s odd about this is that you actually think that paying for ersatz conversation in order to achieve some undetermined political end is a good idea. I have no idea why. But then, you pay more attention to “HuffPost” (name-dropped twice so far!) than I do. Maybe we can both blame that.

    I didn’t draw any conclusions about Suzanne. Yet you, who unhesitatingly draw all sorts of conclusions about me, seem to think it wrong that I even wonder and so ask to see if I’m right or not.

    Okay, I’m sorry, but that’s just sad/funny. If you are being paid to write these things, please find a new day job. But I doubt you are. Because that’s a pathetic defense. It’s not like it’s that hard to scroll allll the way up to comment #32, where you said:

    I continue to respond to your points and questions. You avoid mine. That is common among the paid “net activists” of the Left. So is the tactic of claiming conservative roots. And claiming that “modern Republicans” are substantially different now. (As if Ronald Reagan were not our hero!) Coincidence?

    Oh, so all that was just you “wondering”? No conclusions being drawn?

    Well, if it’s that easy, let me give it a try: your conversational style here, Phillip, is very reminiscent of the style used by men who wear frilly women’s underwear and like to kick puppies. Coincidence?

    Now, please understand, I’m not drawing any conclusions when I say that. I’m just wondering whether I’m right or not.

  • Suzanne

    I can assure you that I am not a paid activist and that is one of the funniest things I’ve heard all day! And I can also assure you that I do go to church nearly every week, and always have, but this is part of what sours me and many others against the so-called Christian Right. If you don’t agree with their economic policies, you obviously do not believe in God.
    If your picture is truly your picture, Philip, you are young. I was closer to your age during the Reagan years, and there was a different mindset then, one in which people worked for a strong economy because it was good for the whole country. I don’t see that any longer; now, I see the wealthy wanting to make laws to benefit the wealthy and the rest of us be damned. I know far too many middle aged people who have watched everything they worked their lives to accomplish vanish, in great part due to the greed of Wall Street, while the people that caused the problem walked away with their multi-million dollar salary packages intact. Most of them will never recover…

    I didn’t like the ending of The Jungle, either. I don’t think Socialism is the answer, although it does seem to work pretty well in Sweden! But without government and/or union intervention, the horrors of the meat packing industry, or the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, or the use of child labor would never have been addressed. Some government policies are useful and needed, as are many government funded entities such as firefighters, police, schools, and the like. These cost money, whether we like it or not, and privatizing does not solve every problem (Did I mention the privatized prison in Indiana at which the poorly paid guards simply walked away when the inmates rioted and set fire to the building? It’s no longer in business or has reverted back to govt control.) Most businesses will look to the bottom line and nothing else, and if that means locking their workers in a sweat shop, they will. But we support a government who regulates against such things.
    Hopefully, the economy will turn around, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I often think of the woman I met last summer who was returning to her native country of Serbia or Croatia (I can’t remember for certain) because the economy there was better. Who’d a thought?

  • Suzanne

    I can assure you that I am not a paid activist and that is one of the funniest things I’ve heard all day! And I can also assure you that I do go to church nearly every week, and always have, but this is part of what sours me and many others against the so-called Christian Right. If you don’t agree with their economic policies, you obviously do not believe in God.
    If your picture is truly your picture, Philip, you are young. I was closer to your age during the Reagan years, and there was a different mindset then, one in which people worked for a strong economy because it was good for the whole country. I don’t see that any longer; now, I see the wealthy wanting to make laws to benefit the wealthy and the rest of us be damned. I know far too many middle aged people who have watched everything they worked their lives to accomplish vanish, in great part due to the greed of Wall Street, while the people that caused the problem walked away with their multi-million dollar salary packages intact. Most of them will never recover…

    I didn’t like the ending of The Jungle, either. I don’t think Socialism is the answer, although it does seem to work pretty well in Sweden! But without government and/or union intervention, the horrors of the meat packing industry, or the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, or the use of child labor would never have been addressed. Some government policies are useful and needed, as are many government funded entities such as firefighters, police, schools, and the like. These cost money, whether we like it or not, and privatizing does not solve every problem (Did I mention the privatized prison in Indiana at which the poorly paid guards simply walked away when the inmates rioted and set fire to the building? It’s no longer in business or has reverted back to govt control.) Most businesses will look to the bottom line and nothing else, and if that means locking their workers in a sweat shop, they will. But we support a government who regulates against such things.
    Hopefully, the economy will turn around, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I often think of the woman I met last summer who was returning to her native country of Serbia or Croatia (I can’t remember for certain) because the economy there was better. Who’d a thought?

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Well bless you, Suzanne, for putting the best construction on my words! :) I did regret the implication that in saying I respect those who do politics vocationally or avocationally would be honorable in putting out false personal narratives, and so I apologize for that inference. THAT type of “activism” I don’t agree with. However, I hope you take it as I compliment that I think you write well enough and argue your case well enough that you really could do this as part of a campaign team. You’re good! :)

    But just as I was off in thinking you might be an activist (paid or volunteer), you are off in thinking I’m young. I wish I were! But my life has taken me on almost the opposite path. When I was young I did volunteer work for the local Democrats, particularly for Texas congressman Bob Gammage who ran against…..Ron Paul! I even got to meet Rosalyn Carter in Gammage’s office and thought it was pretty cool! But even then I was a conservative Democrat. I admired men like Scoop Jackson, Pat Moynihan, Alan Dixon, Paul Tsongas, Bob Casey. Don’t see Dems like that anymore.

    Though I have sympathy for many of the libertarian/Randian leanings of the “far right” (I oppose the Libya war, for example, and think marijuana should be decriminalized), I do believe that government regulation is necessary and desirable. The question is how much. I think we’ve gotten way too much.

    My core critique against economic conservatives is, as I said, that they value efficiency over all things. Efficiency is important, which is why I support “leveling the playing field” by getting rid of tax loopholes and corporate welfare and then lowering the overall tax rate, but it is only a tool. A just society needs to ask then “to what end.” I see in the majority of the current GOP Presidential candidates men & women who have that “just end” in mind.

    Which takes us back to the topic! :) Again, thanks for the dialog. I still think you are too hard on the GOP – particularly on the moral issues. I know the immoral pastor needs to be defrocked and the crooked politician needs to be booted, but I don’t hold Weiner or Rangel against the Dems nor pedophile priests against the Catholics. And I find it remarkable that one could go from being a Reaganite in the 80′s to a leftist today. But, as you say about your Serbo-Croatian friend, “Who’d a thought”? ;)

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Well bless you, Suzanne, for putting the best construction on my words! :) I did regret the implication that in saying I respect those who do politics vocationally or avocationally would be honorable in putting out false personal narratives, and so I apologize for that inference. THAT type of “activism” I don’t agree with. However, I hope you take it as I compliment that I think you write well enough and argue your case well enough that you really could do this as part of a campaign team. You’re good! :)

    But just as I was off in thinking you might be an activist (paid or volunteer), you are off in thinking I’m young. I wish I were! But my life has taken me on almost the opposite path. When I was young I did volunteer work for the local Democrats, particularly for Texas congressman Bob Gammage who ran against…..Ron Paul! I even got to meet Rosalyn Carter in Gammage’s office and thought it was pretty cool! But even then I was a conservative Democrat. I admired men like Scoop Jackson, Pat Moynihan, Alan Dixon, Paul Tsongas, Bob Casey. Don’t see Dems like that anymore.

    Though I have sympathy for many of the libertarian/Randian leanings of the “far right” (I oppose the Libya war, for example, and think marijuana should be decriminalized), I do believe that government regulation is necessary and desirable. The question is how much. I think we’ve gotten way too much.

    My core critique against economic conservatives is, as I said, that they value efficiency over all things. Efficiency is important, which is why I support “leveling the playing field” by getting rid of tax loopholes and corporate welfare and then lowering the overall tax rate, but it is only a tool. A just society needs to ask then “to what end.” I see in the majority of the current GOP Presidential candidates men & women who have that “just end” in mind.

    Which takes us back to the topic! :) Again, thanks for the dialog. I still think you are too hard on the GOP – particularly on the moral issues. I know the immoral pastor needs to be defrocked and the crooked politician needs to be booted, but I don’t hold Weiner or Rangel against the Dems nor pedophile priests against the Catholics. And I find it remarkable that one could go from being a Reaganite in the 80′s to a leftist today. But, as you say about your Serbo-Croatian friend, “Who’d a thought”? ;)