Thursday, October 20, 2005

Don't make RINOs an endangered species

Lately, there's been a lot of rage going around at RINOs. (For those who aren't familiar with the appellation, it stands for "Republicans in Name Only"--or what used to be known as "Rockefeller Republicans" in a somewhat less acronym-mad era).

Quite a few members of the dread "Gang of 14" are RINOs, assumed to have sabotaged hopes for the real conservative nominee for Supreme Court Justice that Bush could--and would--have chosen, if only the Gang of 14 and the RINOs didn't exist.

So, get rid of 'em, who needs 'em? say many real conservatives in the Republican Party.

It wasn't so very long ago that the Republican Party considered itself a "Big Tent," a party in which moderates were welcome and considered an asset. The phrase was coined in 1988 by Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater (as mentioned in this Time magazine article from 1999, which features an almost cuddly Karl Rove--the times, they have a-changed, haven't they?). Interestingly enough, the Time article cites Rove himself as having transformed Texas from a Democratic to a Republican state by following Big Tent precepts.

So, what's happened? Perhaps certain Republicans have forgotten that they didn't get where they are today by alienating the middle. Of course it's also true that--as Jerry Falwell points out in this article--they didn't get where they are today without the evangelical Christians and other cultural conservatives, either. The problem now is how to keep both under that shrinking tent.

I'm neither a Republican nor a conservative, but I do have an opinion (trust a blogger to always have an opinion). I don't think the answer is to replace RINOs with traditionally conservative Republicans in states where the latter simply have no chance of winning. I happen to know about one of those states, from which two of the most prominent and vilified RINOs of all hail: Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Senators from Maine and RINOs extraordinaire.

Perhaps the fact that Maine has a long Republican history blinds many conservatives to the fact that it is a solidly Democratic state in many ways, and that the only Republicans who have a chance of being elected there are RINOs. Maine is not New Hampshire (another state of which I have more than a passing knowledge), which is fairly evenly divided, and whose two Congressmen and two Senators are all Republicans in more than name, as opposed to Maine's two RINO Senators and two Democratic Congressmen.

Take a look at Maine's results in the 2004 presidential election. A landslide for Kerry, despite the fact that the Bushes have ties to the state. Does this seem like a place where a conservative Republican could win? Don't think so.

To drive the point home further, look at this map of counties in Maine and how they voted in 2004. You would be hard pressed to find a bluer state--and keep in mind that the south is where the people are (same is true of New Hampshire, by the way; and in Vermont there just aren't any people). Those two lone light pink counties in Maine are very sparsely populated.

Compare it to the map of New Hampshire in 2004, a state in which the vote was very close indeed. Not only are the counties far more evenly divided, but some of the areas that voted for Bush are quite populous. This is a state where conservative Republicans have a chance, although it's not easy.

So, please explain. I don't get this failure to look at things pragmatically. Is it that ideological purity thing again? Would very conservatives Republicans rather a candidate be "right" than elected? Would they prefer the election of a clearly liberal Democrat to that of a person who is in fact a centrist? I don't see how that would benefit them--but hey, it's not my issue. Just trust me when I say that throwing Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to the wolves and replacing them with non-RINOs (love those animal metaphors!) will probably lose you two Senate seats, if that's what you're after.


At 12:56 PM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a conservative Republican from NYC, where we are grossly outnumbered, and have no practical hope of winning any election with a "hard right" position on social issues. On welfare reform, crime, and "quality of life" issues, conservative positions remain popular even in the "bluest of blue" states. That's because sane voters vote based upon their own self-interest, not upon some abstract ideology. Reducing the number of welfare recipients by getting them jobs, reducing crime, and reclaiming NYC's public spaces for its people were something every New Yorker could (and did) vote for.

For Republicans, winning locally means a pragmatic attention to improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Rudy Giulani was the best example of a pragmatic, effective Republican. He was by no means a "RINO", although he was pro-choice and a moderate on social issues. Prior to his taking office, things had gotten so bad under his predecessors that experts on urban governance were beginning to proclaim that NYC was "ungovernable". With his stellar performance, Rudy disproved that. (There are plenty of DINOs in NYC, BTW. Rudy's election also proves that.)

But the short response to your post is that smart politicians of both parties are voter-friendly, consistent with their underlying philosophies. Ideological purity is valuable only as an indicator of what public policies the candidate will pursue. If the policies reduce crime, and improve quality of life, they're winners. It's often the ideology of the hard-core , uncompromising constituencies that hamstrings politicians who must accomodate the base to get nominated as candidates for public office. Right now, I'd say that this is more a problem for Democrats than for Republicans. Their base is skewing hard left at the moment, particularly on the Iraq War and foreign policy.

At 1:17 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

You raise a good point.

In fact, the 'Party of Lincoln' has morphed from a party of the moneyed to a party of the working class, precisely because they responded to the little guy and his values. They did not dictate values, as the hard right wants to do now.

If they continue in this vein, they will lose the support of the very membership they covet so much- middle Americans, that very wise and accomodating group of voters, that are far more tolerant than the agendistas would have you believe.

It's about the people and not the agenda. Most Americans will, in the end, do the right thing.

At 1:42 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Dean Esmay said...

As much as I loathe the phrase "the little guy," I would agree that Republicans started winning when they started reaching out on issues that mattered to ordinary middle class people who all along have less desired cradle-to-grave nanny state security so much as a safety net and a chance to get ahead and a secure place to live while doing it.

At 1:44 PM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous john moulder said...

From anonymous: It's often the ideology of the hard-core , uncompromising constituencies that hamstrings politicians who must accommodate the base to get nominated as candidates for public office. Right now, I'd say that this is more a problem for Democrats than for Republicans. Their base is skewing hard left at the moment, particularly on the Iraq War and foreign policy.

Yeah, but public opinion is following the lead of the lefty anti-warriors. Like it or not, the terrorists, with the help of the MSM anti-war news campaign, are winning the public relations war; they don’t have to win the actual war, all they have to do is keep setting off a few bombs & the MSM & Democratic party “base” will do the rest for them.

Meanwhile the ideologues & elitists amongst the Republicans are busy billy-clubbing their chosen President. Their party has won the majority of every elected office on every level of government. The Republicans have a slight lead in state Governors, control Congress, their candidate resides in the Whitehouse & if they will cease their tantrums the Judiciary is all theirs but they have forgotten how they got there. Maybe I’m just projecting my own feelings but I sense a Republican set-back looming. The only problem I have with that is the country of Iraq will probably go down with them.

The US has a chance to have 4(Israel, Turkey, Afghanistan & Iraq) democratically run US-friendly countries right in the center of the Middle East! In the long run, that is the only real hope of protection from Islamofascism. OBL & his ilk cannot function very well without the collusion of sympathetic ‘rogue’ states. But I fear it is not to be.

At 1:52 PM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred:

I think you'reprobably right in your post above. But I have a couple of questions:

1. If the GOP has morphed into the party of the "little guy" because it represents his values, does it also represent his pocketbook, his health, his community's needs? The "little'guy's" real income has gone down, many of his jobs have disappeared etc etc

2. If you look at some of the top guns in the GOP--Cheney, Frist, DeLay--how do represent the values of the little guy, or care about his interests?

3. Are you not worried that the GOP will drift, more and more, into the hands of a hard, un-Christian Christian right, a group pushing a Chrstofascist agenda?
Or, have you already secured a seat for the Rapture? (Just kidding on the last question.)

At 2:06 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

erasmus, read my religion/spirituality post. Seriously.

Now, to answer your questions, in order:

Government isn't responsible for directing economic realities. If it were, there would still be wagon wheel makers. Job loss is eventually replaced by job creation, as newer iechnologies take hold.

Health care is an issue- but until we demand-really demand, by virtue of of our votes, real change, expect more of the same. In the end, the medical/insurance/pharmaceutical interests will find out they are not as bullet proof as they think. Look for them to point fingers at each other, soon enough.

As to the politicians, republican politicians are in touch with their constituents as Teddy Kennedy, et al, are with theirs. They are all con men- all of them.

I don't give a rats ass about 'Christian' values. Religion, while not to be oppressed, does not in my book, need to foisted upon the community.

Personally, I find those who would push religion as offensive as those who would deny religion.

At 2:20 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger karrde said...

For all the talk about the ideologues taking over the GOP, we need to remember that politics is the art of the possible.

Folks like the RINO's in Maine aren't replaceable by any more strictly conservative Republicans. The National Party can grouse and complain about that, but I assume that the State-level leaders will talk sense to them.

(I am assuming that the state-level party officials know this. I am also assuming that some happy balance exists between National-level Party leaders and the Platform and the State-level Party Leaders who deal with electable Republicans in the State.)

I may be wrong here--anyone with more experience in what the National/State-level dialogue is like can correct me--but I suspect that ideologues will have a hard time gaining power over everything at the National level when they don't have almost all of the State-level party branches going along.

On the other hand, I often wonder if the religious branch of social-conservatives is caricatured falsely as a bunch of fascists. They might be much happier if certain contentious issues were settled by the State governments, not by judicial fiat.

(Think about Roe vs. Wade. It invalidated all state laws regarding abortion, including those state laws that allowed abortion under limited conditions. It raised abortion to the level of Constitutional right, when it had previously been a legislatively-granted right.)

At 2:21 PM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred:

Amen to your last sentence, so to speak.
But the push is on. And who is even trying to deny whom the
opportunity to worship--five times a day, for three hours every morning, in any house of worship, in Anytown, USA? Not even the despised Civil Liberties types dream of preventing/denying worship in churches, synagogues, mosques, private homes.
Ain't that enough "freedom of religion?"

At 2:56 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

Lindsey Graham is not in a RINO state. He is from a Conservative state, he just has national aspirations so he decided to reject Conservatives. But good luck to him running for President as an ex-Senator.

You have a very good point, and that is probably why I dislike the practice of politics. It's all about compromising principles. Maybe that is why Dems haven't been doing so well lately, they don't have any principles to compromise. (Zing!)

To Erasmus: I agree that religion should have its place. I'm tired of atheism being foisted on the public like that is the majority opinion.

I just threw that out there, I don't really agree with it, even as a Christian. Just wanted to show the other side of the coin, especially if you're going to shamelessly threadjack.

At 3:00 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

Also, can we define "Moderate"? Does that mean pro-war and pro-welfare state? Or does it mean, anti-war and anti-welfare state? It seems to me that the moderate group is too nebulous to appeal to as a whole. There doesn't seem to be a defintion for them as they define themselves by what the Left and Right do. Perhaps only by appropriating the biggest issue of the day would they support you (in the last election: being for the Iraq war).

At 3:43 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger ExPreacherMan said...

As a Conservative for 50 years, I take umbrage with the notion that we accept the concept of "dilute your principles" for the sake of "getting along or winning." The very word "Conservative" means stand up and fight for basic constitutional principles.. and then convince others we have the right answers. We use the RINOs because they are there.. We must convince their constituents to embrace "Conservative" in thought and deed. Such is the only way to bolster Conservatism... Otherwise conservatives are doomed to the ash-heap of history along with the Gerry Fords of our country. "Principle" is the principle, never compromise!!

At 3:50 PM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...


OK, guilty of a partial threadjack. I wanted to find out what the response was to what I perceive as drafting God into national politics. A conservative response.
Back to topic:
What is a genuine conservative, if the creature (still) exists? Is Bush's agenda conservative? Why, or why not? Where's the "conserve" in current conservatism?

At 4:44 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

The Gang of Fourteen was created around the issue of nominees to federal courts wherein a procedural, obstructionist (preventing a vote) initiative was mediated via a pragmatic and compromising approach. Well and good as it goes, given the conciliatory nature inherent in the political enterprise.

But general talk of "requirements of ideological purity" is far less appropriate when a more critical and singularly focused subject is involved, such as the Miers nomination to a life tenured justice position on SCOTUS. No one is suggesting a "loyalty oath" be required. But an ordering of priorities is involved and conflating general notions of "ideological purity" with the critical and singular issue of a SCOTUS nominee does not sharpen the debate.

If the President dares to suggest that 1 + 1 = 2, but the Left/Dems and Dems suggest that 1 + 1 equals 3, should the Gang of Fourteen mediate a solution to decree that 1 + 1 = 2.75? If so, should we as citizens content ourselves with that compromise? If the issue only concerns counting the number of angels on the head of a pin or the number of fantasist maunderings invoked in the latest MoDo or Krugman-esque column, maybe so. But if the issue is more focused and singularly important, say an engineering project, I'd suggest otherwise. No one is suggesting a "loyalty oath" be required, but priorities are involved and a commensurate response to each priority is, not unreasonably, warranted.

At 4:51 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger terrye said...

Neo con has a point.

There are a lot of hysterical pundits out there screaming about the RINOs, but if not for the RINOs they would not even be a majority party.

So much of the complaints I have seen about Harriet Miers stem from some fear she is not conservative enough.

I would say she is more conservative than the average American is.

Fanaticism is not appealing to most people.

Most people prefer moderation and consensus.

I do understand the issue with Roe V Wade and states rights. But the original court case used for precedent was Griswold V Conneticut which had to do with the right of married people in Conneticut to obtain birth control.

When I found myself in a debate with someone who felt the court had no right to overturn Griswold I realized my own belief in compromise would not work with this person.

But without moderates like me conservatives might well not be able to win the majority in the Senate or the White House. In which case there would be no nominees for the Supreme Court to fight over.

So how are the RINOs and moderates any less a part of the party?

I have to admit, I have been so disgusted with some conservatives lately I have wondered if maybe there was hope of the Democrats regaining their senses and fighting the war.

The war is what keeps me voting Republican. I just tolerate a lot of the other stuff.

At 5:23 PM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous The Unknown Blogger said...

Sorry for another attempted threadjack, but I just can't let this go:

Karrde wrote:

[Roe vs. Wade] invalidated all state laws regarding abortion, including those state laws that allowed abortion under limited conditions. It raised abortion to the level of Constitutional right, when it had previously been a legislatively-granted right.

This kind of talk was getting thrown around in an earlier comment but I let it go. Karrde's statement is simply false. Roe did nothing of the kind.

The Texas statute that Roe overturned banned all abortions except those recommended by a physician for the purpose of saving the life of the mother.

[By the way, Roe states: "Similar statutes are in existence in a majority of the States." So, far from being a "legislatively-granted right" it was more like a "legislatively-denied right."]

However, (quoting from Roe:

The decision leaves the State free to place increasing restrictions on abortion as the period of pregnancy lengthens, so long as those restrictions are tailored to the recognized state interests.

The decision vindicates the right of the physician to administer medical treatment according to his professional judgment up to the points where important state interests provide compelling justifications for intervention.

Up to those points, the abortion decision in all its aspects is inherently, and primarily, a medical decision, and basic responsibility for it must rest with the physician.

To me, this a perfectly reasonable decision which allows those female citizens of these United States who may someday find themselves unfortunate enough to live in a state dominated by overly zealous self-righteous busybodies to at least have some measure of control over the course their own lives will take.

Those who argue they want Roe overturned not because they want to ban all abortions but because they want the states to be allowed to regulate it are misinformed: Roe obviously and clearly allows for state regulation of abortion.

At 6:04 PM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A handful of observations from a self proclaimed classical liberal (AKA in the contemporary political sense as a "conservative") from Maine:

1. Face it, the hot button divisive issue is abortion. At opposite ends of the spectrum of debate are those that want abortion banned and at the other, unfettered access to abortion at any point in a pregnancy. At its core, the debate centers around the desire for unlimited sexual license. How else can you explain the alliance between, as an example, Hugh Hefner's Playboy, Inc., and otherwise uncompromising feminist organizations? Abortion is the crux.

2. Naomi Wolf nailed it on the head: abortion ends the potential for human life, so get over it. If that statement sounds harsh, you can salve your conscience with the historical fact that when one political, social, or economic group succeeds in dehumanizing a subject, anything is acceptable. The Germans have a word for it, translated to English "under-men", literally "subhuman". You can look it up, and it evokes unpleasant memories. Or, closer to home, the Plessy decision effectively let us go about with the thought that people with dark skin were 60% as human as those with white skin. Again, unpleasant memories.

3. When I hear the hard left state that they fear the "Christian Right" more than Al-qaeda, I have to wonder about their sanity. Who would you trust your kids with more? A Sunday School group, or a made-for-Al-Jazeera TV beheading get together?

Along the same line, what do you think when you're walking down 31st at Lex late at night and two hulking black men turn the corner and start walking toward you? How quickly does the fear turn into embarrassment when you see them walk into the AME Church, Bibles in hand?

4. A society ignores religion at its own peril. A stable, liberal republic has a vested self interest in citizens who practice self restraint and at least believe in the ideals of a moral code, regardless of whether they follow it to the letter or not.

5. And yes, I would prefer someone other than Senators Snowe and Collins. I'm working on it.

At 6:04 PM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...

OK, let me get at this topic in another way. In the mid-1950s I read Russell Kirk's "The Conservative Mind," a splendid work. Now, adapted from a much later work ("The Politics of Prudence"), the Russell Kirk Center features an adaptsation of "Then Conservatives Principles" on its website (

"There exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order."

The ten principles are admirably presented and display a humane vision of humanity and society.

If you read the ten principles (from the belief in an enduring moral order to attention to the principle of variety and the reconciliation of permanence and change), you understand why the mix of (traditional) liberalism and Kirkian conservatism seemed so splendid to observers of America or young immigrants like me.

BIG BUT: I cannot find most of these excellent principles reflected in the actions or words of so-called conservatives since the Reagan revolution, including in the leaders of the current administration or their religious supporters.

Now, it is quite easy to make the same argument about the disintegration of classical liberalism as well.

Maybe that's why real-life comedies like the Judy Miller show replace old-fashioned debate. Who made off with the principles?

At 6:30 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger terrye said...

I understand that prolifers are determined to end all abortion, but I have a word for you: Prohibition. How did that work out? Well if you were a member of the mafia, it worked out great.

Ban all abortions and women will go to butchers.

Or Mexico.

I knew a woman many years ago who waited and waited to get pregnant. Finally she did. She was so excited. Not long into her pregnancy she was told the baby was deformed. In fact she was told he would never leave the hospital if he was even born alive. The doctor recommended she terminated the pregnancy for fear that a spontaneous abortion might cause her damage. After much turmoil she terminated.

Well the local right to life group got hold of this information and they began to picket the hospital.

This woman was so heartbroken her family feared for her sanity and yet she had to be sneaked out of the hospital. After all there is no right to privacy is there?

This happened years and years ago, but it has always effected my attitudes toward abortion. I do not see it as debauchery, but personal tragedy.

At 7:58 PM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terrye makes a poignant comment.

Often I hear a similar track taken by those supporting same sex marriage. It goes something like this: "It will make no difference whatsoever to my marriage if the nice gay couple down the street get's their business, not mine, so why not?"

It's a great point. And totally irrelevant to the issue at hand.

Terrye tells of a scenario that should evoke sympathy and concern from any person of goodwill. But it has no bearing whatsoever to the larger argument facing society as a whole. Certain people within a large society will ALWAYS be disadvantaged by certain laws, customs, regulations, and social mores. Often tragically so.

A student of Civil War history intuitively understands that the end of slavery had profoundly negative economic implications for many people. To them I would say, "And your point is...?"

Ultimately you have to decide within your own conscience whether you are willing to end the potential for human life for reasons be they economic, social, for health and well being, or just plain irresponsibility and self-centeredness. There will always be one-off circumstances that create impossible ethical dilemmas...but in this case I am referring to the other 98% of circumstances.

At 8:18 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger terrye said...


My point was that a bunch of zealots took a tragic situation and made it worse than it had to be.

They were too busy judging that poor woman to even try to understand what she was going through.

The facts meant nothing to them.

In the last few days while the Miers business has been going on I have seen a side to some conservatives that I have to admit scares me.

I don't have a problem with under God in the Pledge of Allegiance or putting Christ in Christmas. I understand how some people have deep convictions of faith that make it impossible for them to abide certain behavior.

But the attacks on Miers and the ferocity with which the attacks have been carried out make me think some of the conservatives I respected are really kinda nuts.

I mean that. There is something unhealthy about the whole my way or the highway debate that leaves me cold.

At 9:53 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

Ferocity of attacks on Miers by Conservatives is what concerns you? Have you not read a liberal publication in the last 5 years?

At 10:53 PM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...


You describe "some people (who) have deep convictions of faith that make it possible for them to abide certain behavior."

"Make it impossible?" What rubbish. If that "certain behavior" is not illegal, unethical or harmful to others, let these people bite their lips or acquire a stiff upper lip, or maybe lock themselves in their basements.
Live and let live, unless it violates the law or exposes you or the community to harm. Love thy neighbor unless he's a fag? Some deep conviction of faith.

At 8:17 AM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Hampshire looks like Iowa in terms of red vs. blue numbers. When I lived there, I couldn't understand how *the Bible Belt* could elect democrats (with their views on abortion, etc). Have to factor in the subsidies for the farmers. Quality of life.

As far as religion goes, it's alot like love...tends to be blind to certain aspects.

If *certain behavior* is not condoned by a practioner's faith, it then becomes difficult to look outside the box and ponder the greater picture. Harder yet for them to *bite their lips* when perceived wrongs are taking place.

*Love thy neighbor unless he's a fag?* When I was a *Conservative Christian* I never thought along those lines. It was more like *Love the sinner, hate the sin* and even that is a harsh wording of what I did believe. I know there are people out there that cannot/will not distinguish between the two, but many do know the difference.

I think that the extreme groups, on either side, are important. It helps the rest of us know what the ends of the spectrum are and where to compromise.

The best course of action in regards to abortion and maybe some other issues would be to let the states deside for themselves. As much as abortion rubs me the wrong way, I would have been less likely to get in someone's face about it if it was something decided by the state. Cause I could just move.


At 9:45 AM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:
3. When I hear the hard left state that they fear the "Christian Right" more than Al-qaeda, I have to wonder about their sanity. Who would you trust your kids with more? A Sunday School group, or a made-for-Al-Jazeera TV beheading get together?

Do you just parrot the right wing? Can you see that maybe they fear the christian right more than al-qaeda, because the chance al-qaeda affecting them is very small, where as the chance of having to deal with christian right is almost 100%

At 10:02 AM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Can you see that maybe they fear the christian right more than al-qaeda, because the chance al-qaeda affecting them is very small, where as the chance of having to deal with christian right is almost 100%"

Anyone who is more fearful of the chance of being "affected" by someone, than of the effects themselves, is off their rocker.

It's like refusing to take vitamins, because the chance your body will be affected by them is 100%, while the chance of being affected by not taking them is miniscule.

At 10:26 AM, October 21, 2005, Blogger terrye said...

When I say "can't abide" I don't mean they should start lynching epople...I mean their faith makes it impossible for them to condone certain behavior.

Not condoning a certain kind of behvior is not the same thing as outlawing it.

the word here is tolerance.

At 11:06 AM, October 21, 2005, Blogger Rosita said...

Why I can neither support the Democratic Party nor the Republican one:

I left the Democratic Party, because in my opinion it abandoned principles of accountability, self discipline and strength of character to defend its opinion.

Despite that, I cannot support the present configuration of the Republican party. I dislike its obsession with ideology rather than objective debate, and more importantly its pandering to elements that represent the most mean spirited, narrow minded and bigoted amongst us.

In my opinion, both parties have lost the Progressivism that served them so well in the past, and helped shape the success of this country. I now remain a steadfast independent, increasingly alarmed at the growing erosion of this country's strengths and hallmarks. It used to be that America's place in history was one of ingenuity, hardwork, creativity, toleration and objectivity-a country that invested in itself. After 911 and my brother's death, a new realization dawned on me-it had become acceptable to hinge our success on the exploitation of others, and protecting our 'self interest' was no longer about protecting the superiority of our ideas and values but rather protecting our monopolization of power.

Clearly the days of enlightened self interest are long, long gone and we are the worse off because of that.

At 11:32 AM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...


OK, I understand where you stand. Problem is, for me: I too, as a "freethinker," can't abide some things. "In God We Trust" on our money. I'm part of "we," (citizen, served in the Army, pay taxes, try to do no harm to others and contribute to community), but I don't trust in God. Nor do I understand or abide "one nation under God." Are other nations not under God? Belgium, under or not? How about Norway? How can you tell? Now this used to be silly stuff, for me, and I do abide because it is not against any law and I can't really claim it does me any harm.
But it seems to me, and to others, that the Xian right does want to do things that infringe on others. Gay marriage, for example. What's it to me if two guys want to get married? How do they threaten anyone? I mean, have you read the studies about the harm done to children when their straight parents divorce, when dad finds his young trophy wife #2? Lots and lots of harm. But did anyone want to outlaw divorce? No, the Sr. Vice President who found trophy chick and left wife and kids after 21 years is a pillar of the church or synagogue, and we abide. Tsk, tsk, tsk, but hey, that's human nature and powerful guys must feed the ageing ego. But two guys, who may be happy and productive members of a town--oh, the horror of it. And why?
Well, on the website of the church Harriet Miers belonged to (Valley View Christian Church in Dallas), we find:
"We believe the Bible to be the only infallible, inspired, authoritative Word of God."
Key word ONLY

Maybe God left a few other words around for His flock.
Where's the tolerance?

At 12:20 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger terrye said...


I understand how you feel to a point as well... but considering the fact that that the word Christmas has to be replaced with Winter Holiday in more and more schools it is hard for some Christians to feel they are not under siege. After all if not for them there would not even be a Christmas and yet it is becoming the holiday that dares not speak its name.

I grew up in a time when Laurie and Rob Petrie could not sleep in the same bed and we did not even discuss homosexuality in public so it is hard for me to understand why people are suddenly feeling threatened by all this.

Are you under the mistaken impression that gay marriage was legal until recently or that abortion used to be acceptable?

At 12:23 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger terrye said...

and erasmus:

The point is not that Miers church thinks their faith is the true faith...the point is they will not put a fatwa out against you if you disagree.

I get the feeling a lot of people are forgetting who the enemy is.

At 12:49 PM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...


I do know who the enemy is, and I don't want our country to become like some of the enemy: ruled by religious (here: Biblical) law, with an authoritarian church getting into a great many aspects of our life. (The details and roadmap for how it might be accomplished here can be found in such works as the textbook used in some religious schools, "America's Providential History."
No, the church in Dallas will not put out a fatwa against me--never suggested that. I want them to practice their faith as their light guides them.

At 1:27 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger terrye said...


That is the kind of statment that annoys me because it shows a complete lack of understanding of our history.

The truth is most Americans do not support gay marriage, whether they go to Harriet's church or not.

People have this idea that all of America is or could be like San Francisco, it is not and it never will be whether the president is a womanizer like Clinton or a Methodist like Bush.

At 1:40 PM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...


True, a majority does not support gay marriage. But what does "support" mean here? Some states will grant licenses, others won't. OK by me. But if you're a CPA in Mobile, why should you be bothered if two guys get hitched in Framingham, MA?

Never would expect the USA to be like San Fran, nor would I wish it. I always want there to be towns like Wells, Maine and Hillsboro, NC, both very unlike SF. What made you think I'd want to impose SF mores or lifestyle on all of America?

It is interesting that identified Clinton as a "womanizer" and Bush as a Methodist. Doesn't Bill belong to a church? Why not identify Bush as an ex-alcoholic, if past vices of both are the key identifiers?

At 2:11 PM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me Erasmus is the intolerant one around here. Freedom of religion doesn't mean elimination of religion, no matter how much you think the world would be improved by it.

At 2:17 PM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...


Where do I propose something like "elimination of religion?" Wouldn't dream of it.
As Robert Benchley once said, when asked for his philosophy of life: "Live and let live, with special emphasis on live."

At 3:09 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger terrye said...


I referred to Clinton as the womanizer because he was/is one. His church going was strictly for the sake of the peasants and we peasants knew it.

I referred to Bush as the Methodist, not only because he is one but because people associate him with and often fault him for his faith.

As for gay marriage I think that if people had waited another 20 years there might have been a change in pulic sentiment, but they chose to jump the gun.

But not all social conservatives are that religious, they are just strong believers in traditional values.

At 9:10 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

To Neo-Neo,

The psychology of Republicans is rather too simple to summarize.

It's basically an act of desperation, not of fancy.

I make an educated guess that hardcore Republicans have a stake in the Constitution and etc. Therefore they see people who pull the strings of the Democrats, out to destroy the Constitution, and they feel personally threatened. As any serf would when a noble walks around trailing a lot of dead serf bodies with him.

Therefore, they want to be represented, on the simple basis of survival.

Moderation, in this case, is seen as compromise and weakness, allowing the enemy (and I mean enemy, not opponent or loyal opposition) to redraw breath for another attack.

Republicans see Australia, Germany, France, and Ukraine, and they see the results of compromising American values for victory. Republicans, the hardcore ones, would rather vote Democrat just to kick the Republicans out of office so that the Republicans would get their principles right, then vote Republican and stay with the status quo.

These Republicans are patriots first, Republicans last.

Their interest is vested in the Constitution, in the freedom of speech, balance of powers, and Second Ammendment. Not the Republican political party.

The debate, in fact, is the uncertainty of whether compromise IS or IS NOT giving the enemy time to foment dissension and anarchy and overthrow.

I have not made a decision, yet, personally.

But some Republicans have. And they are the ones who clamor, not for victory or power, but just for simple traditional human rights.

The real human rights.

And they will do anything to achieve the preservation of human rights. Politics is not set in stone. Before it is, Republicans believe that they can change the course of American history before the end.

The choice with terrorism is clear cut. Never give them a breath of safety, never give them a moment of rest, never leave a body unburned.

But the choice concerning the ACLU, Democrats funded by the guilty rich and power, Democrats owned by Special Interest Lobbyists and Unions, and the erosion of Fundamental American Freedoms, well that choice is a lot more uncertain and unclear.

That is my conclusion, Neo.

At 9:16 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Where do I propose something like "elimination of religion?" Wouldn't dream of it.

That's like saying, "where did Stalin propose a plan to starve millions". Stalin didn't, nor did you propose a plan.

But that doesn't change the consequences of the Five Year plan, millions starving, nor does it change the consequences to the plans to remove religion from American society.

At 10:35 PM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous erasmus said...


What in the name of Belzebub are you talking about?
Stalin? How did he get into this? What "plan" to remove religion?

Good night.

At 9:17 PM, October 23, 2005, Blogger knoxgirl said...

Erasmus said:

"if you look at some of the top guns in the GOP--Cheney, Frist, DeLay--how do represent the values of the little guy, or care about his interests?"

Pelosi is the richest person in Congress.

I'm no particular fan of Drist, DeLay, et al... but don't make the mistake of thinking any politicians on either side are looking out for anyone's interests but their own.

At 6:20 AM, October 25, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

What "plan" to remove religion?

The inability to reason through simple sentences, is one reason the battle is uphill and not downhill.

People don't get it, and what is more enlightening, they don't want to get it.

"if you look at some of the top guns in the GOP--Cheney, Frist, DeLay--how do represent the values of the little guy, or care about his interests?"

Local governments care for the little guy, bit federal representatives care about bigger issues than the Worker's Socialist Party of Haven.

Another thing people don't want to understand. There's a reason and a rhyme to the chaos.


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