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View Diary: Frank Rich on Fox's Shepard Smith (263 comments)

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  •  As a still registered Republican (28+ / 0-)

    I'll go ahead and denounce it.  The crazies in "my" party are indeed pretty scary and it is way past time for some grown up leadership among the Republican leaders.  I'm a straight, white, male and I don't particularly care for a party that merely caters to straight, white, men.  If they are losing me (and they did for the last election) they are in heap big trouble.

    But, with that said, the right suffers from something that the left suffers from too.  By and large, the right (and left) only seem to watch/listen to "news" reports that bolsters their own views.  They live in a self-made cocoon and they don't live in "the reality based community".  

    Take for instance the birthers.  When I heard the claim that Obama wasn't born in the US I didn't think much of it and but thought that he should just release his birth certificate.  The longer he didn't the more it got built up into a paranoid movement.  Anyway, there is very litle reason for the right wing to actually announce that Obama has released his birth certificate.  Those on the left know he has but it appears that it hasn't seeped into the right wing media yet.

    So what I would say is that Shep is right, there are plenty of crazy, hate filled people on the right that think this is the end of their country (I agree with them to a large degree but don't blame Obama and Democrats exclusively for where we are headed).  But use this as a cautionary tale because if you only get your news from left wing sites then you really aren't living in the "reality based community" either.

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 07:47:23 AM PDT

    •  Okay, fair enough. (22+ / 0-)

      But I would like to point out to you the high degree of difficulty someone like me (a lefty) has finding a rightie willing to discuss anything without calling me names and refusing to talk it out.
      Do we all tend to prefer to listen to opinion makers that bolster our own line of thinking?  Sure.  I think that's probably human nature.  But I really do believe lefties are by nature far more likely to CONSIDER the views of righties than the other way around.  
      The greatest strength of the Republican party is also their fatal weakness - Repubs stick together.  Not much disagreement internally allowed.  
      Trouble with that is, when you're wrong, you just keep going with it.  Even when it's obvious you're wrong and voters want you to go in a different direction.  
      I blame most of the Republican party's troubles on Bush and Buddies.  They took your party over a cliff.  Whatever else they were, what they were NOT was conservative.  Until that party's leaders get that fact in their heads, they'll continue to flounder.  
      Which is a tragedy, because we could sure use your help.  ALL of us are in this boat.  

      •  I agree with you (19+ / 0-)

        I think liberals are far more open minded than conservatives.  They tend not to dismiss things just because they are new or different.  But I think each side characterizes the other to an unhealthy degree.  

        When I come here I don't encounter all that much hostility because I frenquently claim that I'm a Republican and I don't try to hide.  But there is still so much hate towards Republicans here that it boggles the mind sometimes.  Repugs, rethugs, evil, fascist, etc. are all thrown around here with abandon (and I won't go into the consipiracy theories).

        Anyway, I do understand it to some degree because if I think that Bush and "my" party screwed the country up it's not too hard to understand why a Democrat would be so much more pissed about it than I.

        BTW- I supported Obama and was very glad that Dems took over Congress when they did so I may not be a typical Republican.  But believe me, Republicans/conservatives are people too and good people at that.  We just need to dialogue more instead demonize the other side.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:17:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It works the same the other way 'round (19+ / 0-)

          I cannot tell you how many times I've been called a moron just for voting for Obama.  Socialist, communist, fascist, it's all been thrown by the other side as well, which makes conversation impossible. So that's why we stick mostly with our own side.  Occasionally I'll try to gently remind people (on tech ticker) that not only losers and pimps voted for Obama (their words, not mine), but he was also supported by Warren Buffet, Colin Powel and many other prominent Americans.  I have once, ONLY ONCE received an informative, polite response from a Republican and I was so shocked I thanked the poster for the reply.

          I, too, am a registered Republican.

        •  You're a breath of fresh air. (18+ / 0-)

          Yes, you're right about the vitriol on both sides, and it's one of the things I worry about the most for the welfare of this nation.  
          Remember when we didn't call each other names?  When we agreed on the end goal and just disagreed on the best way to get there?  
          That was before asking a question would get you called "traitor" and "unAmerican".  The level of distrust and resentment toward each other has been sky-high ever since.  
          It's Republicans like you that will restore your party.  At least I hope so.  We'll continue to disagree on the best way to get where we're going, but at least we can smile at each other over the ballot box, knowing we're going together, and what we all want when we arrive.  

        •  Here's the problem I have with your analysis, (18+ / 0-)

          which I find sane and rational.  In the past (my past, at least, and I'm not young), people could be from opposing parties, but still agree on many things, and be friends.  Because the well was poisoned by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc., to the degree that the Constitution was seriously threatened and the American moral foundation was seriously weakened, it became hard for me to understand the degree to which otherwise-sane Republicans were still willing to go along with their party.  It became hard for me to find anything in common with die-hard Republicans outside of politics, since their views were so fundamentally out of line with my world view and way of life.  Obviously, this immorality at the top was felt by party moderates, because many resigned from the Congress, or switched parties, or dropped out of sight.  Those who remained--and kept themselves out in the public about it--are the most extreme.  Racism, homophobia, anti-immigration, pro-torture, fanatical anti-abortion, and other extreme views (or toleration for them) came to characterize a party that was once mainstream.  I don't know a way out of this.

          It's okay to love our country again.

          by SottoVoce on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:28:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It makes sense to me, actually (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            historys mysteries, Matt Z

            In fact, it makes more sense for someone with theotherside's views. If you have fundamental disagreements with the Democrats, you have to support somebody, and if the chief alternative -- the Republicans -- are being hijacked by a band of violent, xenophobic crazies, the best you can hope to do is to try to bring a little sanity back to the party and hope for the best. Me, I have fundamental disagreements with the Democrats, but mostly from the other side. Where am I going to go, the Green Party? We saw how that worked out.

            "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

            by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:57:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't necessarily disagree with what you (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mnemosyne, Isara, Matt Z, SottoVoce

            have to say but it is frustrating to be accused of racism, homophobia, etc. the way that the left often does to "Republicans".  Republicans are far more diverse than what we are characterized as on this site and others.

            Let me expand a little with the understanding that what I believe isn't necessarily reflected by Republican leadership and so your larger accusation is not without merit.

            On racism- I think that for America to live up to its ideals the income gap between the races needs to be severely reduced/eliminated.  I personally don't like affirmative action laws but nor do I support the government being entirely silent on the matter.  If we are going to favor different groups of people on say college admissions, then I favor an income basis rather than a racial basis.  The outcome would largely be the same but it doesn't have the blatant racial aspect to it.  Yet, I and people like me have been called racists for believing this.

            On homophobia- I personally favor full marriage equality and I realize "my" party is the main obstacle to it.  I can't defend much of what the religious right does on this issue but I don't mind them defending traditional marriage.  With that said, they will lose this because the younger generations understand far better than the older generations that being gay is "normal" for people that are gay.  In other words, it's not a choice and all the arguments that the right wing puts up really doesn't hold water.

            On anti-immigration- I'm all in favor of trying to close down the border pero en el mismo tiemp me gusta la cultura hispanico much.  Open up more legal immigration, give out more temporary farmer visas.  But close down the illegal crossings and eliminate desperate Mexicans dying in our deserts.

            I could go on but the point is that my positions do not come from hate and yet I'm hated and called various things for supporting these issues.  Gotta run but will be back soon.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 10:56:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  but you see, these are honest, thoughtful (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mnemosyne, bablhous

              takes on the issues you mention here.  You are neither shouting out people who disagree, nor are you reviling them as being traitors who dwell outside the "real American" cohort.  Sadly, the leadership of your party, as well as the high-decibel talking heads and columnists, have, in the last 8 years, abandoned this rational level of discourse.  If rank and file Republicans, such as yourself, tried to cool the flames of the more irresponsible, and vocal, voting fringe, there might be hope for the future of the party as a viable, representative balance to the Democrats.

              It's okay to love our country again.

              by SottoVoce on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 01:54:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So true. There really isn't anybody in my party (0+ / 0-)

                that inspires me or really even has my respect.  I guess Ron Paul (although he goes too far) and Gingrich when he is introspective and not a rabid partisan hack (which he has been more so lately).

                What this means is that even if I agreed with a Republican leader, let's say on the need to balance the budget, I can't stand it coming out of the mouthes of the current leaders because after 8 years of Bush and several of those when they held power in Congress they did zip to balance the budget.  Thus, the first step to getting the Republicans back to a respectable party is to go through this hissy fit part.  Then the next is to purge the old leaders.  Then they can think of where they want to take the country and keep in mind the changing demographics.  It's a tall order and the Republicans don't seem up to it.

                We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 04:25:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Can't go with you here (0+ / 0-)

                  Gingrich when he is introspective and not a rabid partisan hack

                  I believe that Gingrich is in large part responsible for the rabid partisanship, and the lowering of the level of discourse, dating from his time in power.  He gathered his troops around him with the message that anything was ok in the pursuit of victory.  From those days forward, the Congress  lost much of its collegiality, and its ability to rise above name-calling and power grabs in order to do the people's business.

                  Sadly, some of the best Republicans (Powell, for example, despite his part in the run-up to war), are not speaking out enough.

                  It's okay to love our country again.

                  by SottoVoce on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 05:04:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  It's good to know that there are Republicans (13+ / 0-)

          like you who are open to dialogue.

          I know so many that I've tried to open dialogues with over the years, but they refuse. I belong to a group of alumni from a former employer and I tried to point out, along with a handful of others, how the policies of the last administration were adversely affecting our group (retirees). We were banned from discussing anything "political" in the group.

          On another email list made up of a subset of those same retirees, I was told to stop sending anything political, as they didn't want to hear it. I would often send emails disputing claims of the wingnut virals that the group specializes in. Often, I would spend hours doing research and adding links to my emails so people could verify the facts for themselves, but when the email was forwarded to the list, the links would be removed.

          I have tried email conversations with a couple others, but when my facts were indisputable, they pulled religious faith out and slammed it on the table. You can't have a fact-based conversation with anyone who retreats to faith when the facts don't support their views.

          Rep Posey from FL has introduced legislation giving credence to the birther bs. As you point out, the GOP needs some adult leadership, but when those leaders step forward, they must be prepared to be vilified by Limbaugh and the dittoherd, which seems to be the base of the party at this time.

          Let's bust them up in little pieces so they can't hold us hostage like this.

          by RustyCannon on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:42:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I hear you (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fury, Isara, Matt Z

            It's hard to open up a true dialogue.  Even on this site it can be difficult and these are people who are pretty politically engaged/knowledgeable.  But even here if you look at most comments they tend to be one or two sentences and add virtually nothing to the conversation.

            But we can't solve these really big problems if we can't even begin to discuss them.  You mentioned the issues of retirees and I would love to discuss this issue but I've made several attempts on this site and there is no engagement.

            I'm sure there are lots that you can teach me but I would hope that you would be willing to understand what the retirement/entitlement issue looks like from my end (38 years old) or from that of my daughter (less than 2 years old).

            I see two generations (seniors and boomers) that have been in charge of the system for over 40 years now and have pushed all the painful choices onto my generation and onto my kid's.  I don't see it through a left/right lens nor a Dem/Repub lens.  All have been complicit in this.  Running up the debt, over promising benefits, under taxing the population, etc.

            We need to keep our promises to our seniors and our boomers, but we need to come up with a fair way to ensure the sustainability of these programs for all future Americdans.  But we never talk about these issues.  I hope that changes.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:33:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I hope it changes too. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rlharry, bablhous, Matt Z

              But when I mentioned retirees, I wasn't even thinking about SS or medicare (although I've planned all my life to have them as part of my retirement). The issues most near and dear to my heart are just collecting the defined benefits from the private corporations that we worked for for 25, 30, 40 years.

              In my case, my employer promised health care throughout retirement, but just as I was being processed out the door, I was told that they just changed the policy and I was going to have to pick up all increases in costs from then on. So far, over 7 years, that increase ha eaten up 10% of the pension I worked for (before taxes). The pension is less than a third of what I was making when working. My healthcare "contribution" goes up over 30% per year. I haven't collected a penny from SS yet and I'm not old enough for medicare yet, but from what I understand, that won't save me a dime when I am eligible.

              These private companies declare bankruptcy all the time and then dump their pension plans on the federal government and we taxpayers end up paying for them too (United Airlines was a big one).

              I will disagree with you that blame for the economic situation can be shared. I don't believe it can - at least not equally. It has definitely been the Republican "Reaganomics" that has gotten us into this mess. It is the mantra of deregulation, government bad, private industry good, taxes bad, spending bad, that took us from being the most prosperous nation on the planet in 1980 to now where we are the biggest debtor nation on earth.

              It has also been, and still is, the Republicans, who fight a national healthcare system. If we had implemented a national healthcare system 15 years ago, we might at least be able to compete with European countries today, but instead, we have the most expensive healthcare on the planet with some of the worst results in the industrialized world.

              We do need to tighten our belts as a nation. That should start with bringing our military home from every corner of the earth and slashing our military budget drastically. We can't keep borrowing from China to police the world when we have so many domestic problems.

              Let's bust them up in little pieces so they can't hold us hostage like this.

              by RustyCannon on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 01:17:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I wish you well. I can only imagine being (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mnemosyne, Matt Z

                promised certain pension benefits and then not being provided them.  

                With that said, we have been living off of borrowed prosperity.  There was a reason why in the post WWII period we had a growing prosperity and were the envy of the world from a business perspective.  We made promises based on some flawed assumptions and it is coming home to roost.  

                In short, we had a huge comparative advantage to be the ecnomic engine of the world (intact infrastructure, dynamic system, huge population, and little to no competition).  Today, most of that has gone away and there is a reason why corporations are seeking overseas labor/manufacturing etc.  We are in worse shape than most of us think and are sorely mistaken that just because the Republicans are out of power that we are in any way heading in the right direction.  Sure, we may not be directly headed toward hell anymore but things are going to get far worse in the next 10 years than most people think.

                We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 01:41:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree with you there. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  We are in worse shape than most of us think and are sorely mistaken that just because the Republicans are out of power that we are in any way heading in the right direction.  Sure, we may not be directly headed toward hell anymore but things are going to get far worse in the next 10 years than most people think.

                  Prior to Reagan, we occasionally borrowed money to get through the hard times, but ever since Reagan, except for the Clinton years, there has been no effort to balance the budget. There have been massive tax cuts with no regard for the consequences.

                  Social Security worked just fine for more than four decades until Republicans decided that they could starve the federal government into dumping it. Reagan also declared war on the unions. It was the unions that gave us a middle class. There was no middle class to speak of prior to the New Deal. We had the rich, the poor, and a small merchant class. Between killing the unions and embracing deregulation, we have seen disaster after disaster since the 80's - the Savings and Loans, the Airlines, and now the banks. Prior to that, we had a relatively stable economy for many decades.

                  Let's bust them up in little pieces so they can't hold us hostage like this.

                  by RustyCannon on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:29:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I've tried to discuss them (0+ / 0-)

              and from my point of view, all I get is a lot of boomer-bashing. I'm more than willing.

              The economists whom I trust believe that there is not a major problem in Social Security; they say that any one of various minor changes can be made eventually, with none required now. This includes Krugman, Stiglitz, Dean Baker, Mark Thoma. Admittedly this is a completely self-selected group, but all of economics is so entwined with politics that there is no objective view, and I chose to trust these guys because they are in favor of social insurance. The Republican Party as you know is not, and they have been working a long-range plan to undermine Social Security by convincing young people that it won't be there for them. So many of the economists who've been blowing this horn are the same free-market fanatics who have no credibility left.

              We need Social Security very badly - if anything, the younger generations need it even more than we do. It was always an insane idea to believe that everyone could build up a large enough nest egg to retire on. Many, many people cannot. Social Security benefits should, I believe, be raised so that everyone gets enough to have their most basic needs met. You should be fighting for this for your own sakes.

              Medicare is another matter. If we're reforming the health care system, I don't understand why we're keeping Medicare separate. Let's get everyone in one system. We know how much money is wasted in the health care system.

              We were in pretty good shape when GW Bush took office. His tax cuts and his wars are what are doing us in. To me, the answers are clear: get out of Iraq, don't ramp up in Afghanistan, raise taxes on those who can afford to pay more, cut the military budget, implement single-payer health care, invest heavily in r&d and infrastructure.

              "There -- it's -- you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --GWB

              by denise b on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 04:52:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I just spent a week with 100 republicans on (30+ / 0-)

        convention.  In the past, although they know my husband and I are democrats, they have been gentle in their teasing and warm and friendly to us.  Not this time...we were referred to sneeringly as "the democrats", and several times were subjected to Limbaugh talking points out of no-where.  We tried to be magnanimous, knowing they must feel horrible about the state of their party, but one can only take so much.  Finally we had to leave a function after one of our "friends" called me a socialist, a communist, a radical and yes even the absurd fascist, all within a matter of five minutes!  It's getting out of control.  Separately, another republican who has been on our e-mail list for awhile, wrote to my hubby asking for info to counter the increasingly vitriolic and racist e-mails coming from other republicans!  It's up to the sane republicans to change this.  We can scream and yell about it but until something truly drastic happens and/or until some leaders in the party themselves put a stop to it, I fear it will just get worse and worse.

        •  Fury, you are so right (11+ / 0-)

          It does seem that the sane Republicans are a dying breed but the few remaining are the only chance to save the party.

          While I cannot excuse the rudeness or the name calling that was directed toward you, it is an incredibly hard time for them/us.  Bush/Republican rule was a disaster for "limited government" rule.  Republicans will not be in power for a long time.  Add to that that are economy is stumbling, that the deficit/debt is out of control, that peak oil is upon us, etc. there is no chance that we are going to have a low taxation society any longer.

          Of course, if you add in the fact that for the more race conscious Republicans (I'm definitely not one of these) they see "white" America going away and for the religious right (I'm not one of these either) they see attacks on this "christian" nation, well, the picture is pretty glum.

          Then you add in no leaders, no policy prescriptions for healthcare, for global warming/peak oil, no serious debate on how to change entitlements, well, it is very dark and you see the loonies lashing out.

          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

          by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:44:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have to wonder then, why do you remain a (8+ / 0-)

            republican?  Why not change to independent (or better yet...a democrat!) On the other hand, I think more republicans should be calling for Limbaugh's head.  He is driving your party over a cliff and taking a part of this country with it.  I was at a funeral recently and while chit-chatting with a man who knew my uncle, all of a sudden, out of the blue, he asks my husband..."Are you a racist?, I am".  It was one of those moments when you are so shocked, you just smile and stutter, not believing what you just heard and wishing later you had said something. Later I asked my husband, what year are we living in, 2008 or 1958?  I was greatly saddened by it.  So much heartache, so many lives lost to bring us the progress we have made and so many so willing to flush it all down the toilet.  So, I'm sorry theotherside, I used to relish a good political argument with a republican but now I mostly feel disgust when someone informs me they are a republican.  We've lost many friends because of it...since we are so strong in our democratic beliefs, we don't allow comments to be made without a response and then it ain't pretty after that.  These extremists have ruined your party and it's up to people like you to change it.

            •  I have thought many times of changing my (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mnemosyne, Fury, Isara, Matt Z

              registration.  I'm pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-education, pro-gay rights etc. and so I would seem a natural for the Dems.  I became a Republican because of my belief that a strong national defense was necessary during the 80's (when I grew up) and my aversion to a strong federal government (power corrupts, witness what happened under Bush).  But socially I'm a libertarian and have much in common with Dems on that front.

              Anyway, there is very little for me in the Republican party and, as you noted, Limbaugh is helping drive the party off the cliff.  I can remember so clearly all the talk about Clinton being a far lefty, hidden socialist back in the 1990's.  Well, as many here point out, he was a DLC-er and a Dem that many progressives really dislike.  Now, to hear Limbaugh say that Obama is a's just so much tripe and is nothing I much want to be a part of.

              And, yes, your story about the racist comment is amazing.  It saddens me to no end to think of the ignorance and hate of some people.

              One final thought, do your best to keep an open mind on Republicans.  A second party is needed in our system and most of us aren't wackos.  It's just that we get drowned out by those that are.

              We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

              by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:42:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Tripe? Calling the president a Marxist, a (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mnemosyne, Matt Z

                terrorist, a Muslim (not that there's anything wrong with that!), etc., etc., etc. is more than tripe. In my opinion they are inciting violence and dangerously close to treason with this kind of talk.  And yes, you do sound very much like a democrat and would be very welcome in the democratic party.  So, either you work from within the party to wrestle it away from the rabid crazies or you switch parties to make a statement to the leadership.  Doing nothing is not an far people have already been killed over this and I fear something bigger might be coming.  Do yourself a favor, so you can sleep at night.  I'm challenging you here: actively work to change the party or leave it.  

        •  That would be hell for me. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fury, sherlyle, Matt Z

          As it is, its like going into combat talking to a Republican; always on edge, hoping you have the come-back ready....

          Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. MLK

          by createpeace on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:08:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hi... what other news media do you listen too? (6+ / 0-)

      I'm interested in what other "real news" you like.  For me it's the Jim Leher Newshour, Charley Rose Show, and for my progressive leaning... Rachel Maddow, of course.

      •  I think I should switch to Leher (12+ / 0-)

        because when I do watch it is always so much more in depth than anything else out there.  It has an obvious left-leaning bias but that's ok.

        So for TV news I mostly have CNN on but most of the news I get from the internet...CNN, Dailykos, Andrew Sullivan, Drudge, a lot of alternative energy sites.

        I basically don't go on right wing sites and only know about them, ironically, from DKOS.  (Yes, I know Drudge is right wing but I was talking more about FreeRepublic and Redstate).

        I'm not claiming it's a great balance but with work and a kid I don't watch/read as much as I did but what can you do?

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:28:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sounds like you're doing what you can. (9+ / 0-)

          And that's okay.  I'd be willing to listen to your view on any subject, because you are making an effort to be informed, not just repeating talking points.  My son-in-law is also a Republican who voted for Obama, sees things pretty much the same way you do.  As he puts it, "I didn't leave my party.  My party left me".  
          Part of the reason we're so polarized right now is that we all sense how deeply in trouble we are.  We know we'd better do something and quick, and we all worry we're coming to the point of no return too fast to come to agreement.  
          But I think we'd better try.  Thank you for coming here, stating up front that you're a Republican, and being willing to discuss all the things we're all worried about.  Americans first, partisans second, right?

          •  Amen (10+ / 0-)

            Yeah, I use the Reagan line about not leaving the party, the party leaving me, as well.

            As for the people understanding how much trouble we are in, I'm not completely in agreement.  Those that follow politics (like those of us here) have a reasonably good idea but I don't even think we entirely get it.  For example, progressives tend to dismiss talk about the problems with Social Security and Medicare as "right wing memes".  They also tend to dismiss any discussion about the problems of massive debt and ongoing deficits.

            Of course, the right has there head in the sand about so many different things (healthcare, climate change, peak oil, on and on...).  I look at all these problems and just don't understand how we can get out of them with the current political leadership we have.

            With that said, I'm so thankful to have Obama as President.  He does seem to "get it" and is the right man for the job.  I know none of the Republicans are up for the task and I really have my doubts about Pelosi and Reid (but that is admittedly my Republican bias coming out).  In short, we have lived off of borrowed time for too long.  I don't see any alternatives to raising taxes and cutting benefits and this country is not prepared to go down a responsible, sustainable path.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:00:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I suspect we'd agree on some of these things (9+ / 0-)

              more than you think.  On the subject of Social Security and Medicare - what are your retirement plans?  It's irritating (to me, at least) to hear these things referred to as "entitlements" when I've paid into it every 2 weeks for all of my working life.  Pensions, funded mostly by our own money, are disappearing.  What are we all to live on, if not on our "entitlements"?  
              Bush wanted to put all that money WE put into our SS accounts into the stock market, said we'd all make a lot of money that way.  Yeah, right.  Somebody would have made money alright, but it wouldn't have been us.  
              Imagine for a moment what it would be like if nobody ever got a pension, or Social Security, or Medicare.  So we all work until we die?  Contrary to the "welfare queen" mental picture most Repubs hold in their heads, the people we're really talking about are regular folks with little kids, elderly people trying right now to decide which is more important - their medicine or food.  
              Are there abuses in these programs?  Of course there are, and together we could fix what's broken.  But to say we don't care about each other, don't care about what happens to our poor, our children, our disabled, and our elderly, is my idea of Hell on Earth.  
              A civilization can always (and SHOULD) be judged by how well it cares for the weakest among them, the most helpless.  Maybe that's my Inner Liberal coming out, but it's a bedrock belief, and I cannot change it.  
              As for some of our other problems - the deficit has been this bad for a long time now.  It's just that now we have truthful accounting.  Sure it looked better when we left off the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, of course it did.  But it was a lie.  Now, how do we go about fixing it?
              My own opinion - free trade is a joke.  If you ship all your jobs overseas, what's going to happen?  You're going to have a shortage of jobs at home, and your entire economy is going to suffer.  And those companies taking full advantage of cheap overseas labor?  They're economic treasonists, in my view.  And the inability to manufacture is weakening our national security.  Being dependent on anyone other than yourself for needed goods weakens us as a nation and makes us vulnerable.  

              •  I hear you on "entitlements" (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mnemosyne, sherlyle, Matt Z, alexa100

                but I hope that you understand that there is no way that these programs are going away.  The question is how we save and protect them for the long run.  I give Bush credit for trying to change SS but he was, as Obama will be, hamstrung by what is possible.  I haven't read the updated report on SS and Medicare but the numbers from the previous report was that for SS there was a $16 trillion funding gap and for Medicare there was a $28 trillion gap.

                You, being much more liberal than I, would, presumably, want to reduce the funding gap by increasing taxes to a larger degree than I would.  Conversely, I would want to cut benefits (means test, raise retirement age, change bend points, etc.) more than you would.

                What is NOT acceptable to me (and hopefully to you) is to merely push the cost from seniors and boomers onto Gen X and their posterity.  Dems are in power and I hope they address these issues BUT the problem is that they simply can't propose a solution (like Bush couldn't propose a solution) because any solution will include tax increases AND benefit cuts and there is just no constituency to do this even though it is not only the right thing to do but the only thing we can do to save those systems.

                We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:52:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I've often said (11+ / 0-)

              that I espouse very liberal views for very conservative reasons.

              First, I believe in doing things at the local scale. I believe local problems are best solved through the initiative of local residents. I believe in local business, responding directly and efficiently to the needs and tastes of its community. I think that, on a small scale, direct democracy is a good thing; no one knows better what a neighborhood needs than the residents of that neighborhood. This is why I object to policies that favor large corporations over small, locally owned businesses; that force uniform planning and development standards on communities at the expense of continuity with local institutions and traditions; and that raise obstacles to financing of small-scale projects, making it impossible to get things done without a rich and powerful "fairy godmother."

              Second, I believe in self-sufficiency, of being able to provide for one's own basic needs, which is why I'm dismayed by corporate practices that uproot the livelihoods of entire communities, sometimes entire regions, and by our flight from manufacturing goods for domestic consumption and profligate spending on imports.

              Third, I believe in neighborliness, and so I deplore the blasting of the American social fabric into 300 million individual, self-interested "consumers" with no responsibility for one another's well-being, as well as the aforementioned corporate disregard for communities.

              Fourth, I believe in the family. My parents have been married since 1963 and raised my sister and me in a loving, welcoming, morally authoritative (not authoritarian) home. I saw what divorce did to the families of many of my friends growing up. In our atomized society, I believe we should do everything in our power as a nation to provide more opportunities for shared bonds of kinship and mutual support. Therefore, I support gay marriage without qualification -- for that matter, support any sort of household arrangement entered into by mutually consenting adults. Why shouldn't we allow two men or two women to share ownership of property, tax benefits, health insurance and hospital visitation rights? For that matter, why shouldn't we allow five heterosexual single mothers to do the same, so that three can work while two take care of the kids? Or a nuclear family with a bachelor uncle, or any other extended family? And why do we allow such a low minimum wage that all the adults in a family -- and sometimes one or more of the kids -- are forced to work to support the family at or above subsistence level? I believe it's a good thing for children to be looked after full-time by a parent; I don't care which one, and I don't believe this should be used as an excuse to force women out of the workplace. But for a parent to stay at home, it has to be economically feasible.

              Fifth, I am not a moral relativist. I believe that morality (as distinct from custom or convention) is absolute, being rooted in our common humanity and the fundamental principle of not causing harm to other human beings. I consider certain actions to be objectively, unequivocally wrong. I believe that human rights are a moral imperative, and I believe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be the best expression of them to date. Consequently, I'm dismayed whenever the government allows, let alone encourages, any person or entity to profit from the exploitation, deception, manipulation or neglect of another. And I believe we need to reestablish our moral power in the world by implementing a foreign policy in which we protect our own prerogatives without violating the prerogatives of others.

              Sixth, I believe in a competitive market economy. But a purely laissez-faire economy doesn't remain competitive for long. An effectively functioning market economy has to be regulated in such a way as to preserve numerousness of participants, freedom of participants to enter and exit, products of comparable quality, and the availability of complete and accurate information to buyers. In our economy, many participants grow so huge as to be able to distort market forces, create barriers to entry and generate a fog of misinformation. Current lingo calls these entities "too big too fail." I call them too big to exist. I'm all for reducing waste, but government has to be large enough to keep the largest businesses under control. When corporations outgrow government, they effectively become government -- witness United Fruit and the East India Company. And while government is at least nominally obliged by its mission statement to look after citizens' interests, corporations are under no such obligation.

              Seventh, I believe in fiscal responsibility. Deficit spending in good economic times is reckless to the point of immorality. The government should tax and spend just enough to carry out its core mission of establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare by providing an economy of scale that allows us to obtain more value than we could achieve with a smaller effort. There is too much government spending that doesn't meet this standard of utility. That being said, our military budget is preposterously outsize, relative not only to the spending of other nations but to our own needs; and thanks to the damage wreaked on communities by indifferent corporations, our spending on welfare is far above where it ought to be, too. Military and welfare spending are drains on our ability to generate and reinvest capital; we need to rebuild our domestic manufacturing sector to create the kinds of stable jobs that reduce the need for welfare payments. The goal of every anti-poverty program should be to make itself obsolete. Then there's personal fiscal responsibility. Should we be buying so much on credit, just because it makes the GDP look more impressive? Should companies be allowed to offer riskier and riskier loans for more and more unreasonably priced homes? And should every household be trying to provide for all its needs alone, without any cooperation? Privatization is inherently wasteful. A single community park provides more benefit for its cost than two dozen yards with pools and playground sets. A neighborhood movie theater is better than a hundred home theater systems. And a clean, safe, punctual public transportation system in a well-designed transit-oriented neighborhood offers vast savings, in the long run, over single-occupant cars running willy-nilly over a sprawling landscape.

              Eighth, I believe in noblesse oblige. You can probably identify better than I the chapter and verse in which it's said, "From those to whom much is given, much shall be expected." Nothing has been expected of the luxury class in this country for the last 30 years except that camera crews be let in occasionally to film their opulent homes for entertainment programs. Thirty years of productivity gains, and three-fifths of Americans have nothing to show for it but stagnant wages and increasing unemployment. All the gains have been reaped by those at the top, and hoarded. This is why I believe in a steeply graduated income tax with a high marginal rate on luxury incomes. The 1950s and early 1960s, supposedly a golden age of broadly shared prosperity, featured among other things a 70 to 90 percent top marginal income tax rate. I believe we could manage 60 percent on household incomes over $250,000 today. Things can hardly get any worse.

              And speaking of productivity, ninth and last, I believe in rewarding work. No one who puts in a full week's work in a job that's essential to the smooth running of our society should be unable to support his or her family, period. And I believe that if all the gas station attendants, fast-food cooks, grocery cashiers and vegetable pickers in America stayed home tomorrow, we'd be hurting a lot more than if all the hedge fund managers took the day off. But without the right to unionize freely, working people will never get the rewards they've earned.

              "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

              by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 10:07:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  comments like this (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bablhous, Matt Z

                make me wish there was a hotlist for comments.

              •  Nice comment, Geenius (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Matt Z

                Your tax comments are kinda scary to me but even though I'm "conservative" I find much to agree with.

                I'm particularly drawn to the concept that if you do a fulls day work that you should be able to have enough food, shelter, transportation and healthcare for you and your family.  The problem is that conservatives don't think like this and progressives tend to only come up with ideas from 60 years ago.

                It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) and/or Digital Socialism, if you are aware of either of these ideas.

                We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 12:07:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not aware of either nt (0+ / 0-)

                  "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

                  by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:20:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Here are some links that I think (0+ / 0-)

                    you would be interested in given your comments on what you believe in:


                    Essentially, the basic income guarantee ensures that all Americans have a certain income that ensures nobody is in poverty.  There is a group that is something like the US BIG group that promotes a version of it.  I won't link to it because they don't have any means test or work requirement and is something I could therefore not support.

                    Digital socialism, as far as I understand it, is to allow technology to create a collectivist body in a voluntary fashion.

                    Here is a  link on it:


                    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                    by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 03:16:26 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  "I didn't leave my party. My party left me." (10+ / 0-)

            I started to realize that back in 1994.  It took me until 2000 to leave the GOP, which I had considered myself since I registered to vote in 1978.  Then it took me until 2004 to realize that I had become a Democrat and act on it.  I'm much happier here.  So are the rest of my family.  They all left the party before I did, including my mother, who did get out the vote for Goldwater in 1964.  Last year, she did get out the vote for Obama--in UTAH!  Thanks to her efforts, along with those of many others, she turned Salt Lake and Summit counties blue.

            "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

            by Neon Vincent on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:04:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Lehrer's newscast and PBS (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mnemosyne, bmcphail, Matt Z

          looks "leftwing" to you because it operates in the "center" of the western jounalistic tradition.

          Americans would find the mainstream news outlets in all western democracies to be "leftist", just as America's media describes the mainstream method of delivering health care in western democracies as "socialist".

          America has no left and there is a concerted effort to demonize the center.

          My God, where do "Liberal" parties fall in the western political tradition.
          In the USA the word Liberal became so abused that this website has to call itself progressive.

          Paradox? The word "progressive" actually was a Marxist term for "fellow traveller."

          America needs a left.  Look what the Democratic Party CAN'T do even with the nominal hold The White House, and both houses of Congress.

          •  Perhaps (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But when Republicans say that there is a liberal bias in the MSM I think the main point that they/we mean is that to us Dems are left and we find it difficult to believe that many (especially on Lehrer) vote Republican.

            Now, progressives would rightly point out that just because you are a Democrat doesn't mean that you are a leftist and I can understand that.

            As far as what Dems can and can't accomplish, they are in a tough position.  They can't raise taxes in this economic environment and it is (IMO) morally reprehensible to continue to have government programs/services without fully paying for them (ie balancing the budget).

            Thank goodness that America (and more importantly the Dems) were able to produce somebody like Obama.  He has the right tone and temperament for these times.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:17:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Hi everyone (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mnemosyne, Matt Z

          Thanks for the insightful comments on this orginal posting.  Great stuff.  

          I happen to think that Jim Lehrer is more to the right than the left but that being said.. does a very good job of hosting with their guests.  I with they had more progressives on the show though.

          Thanks again for the great reading.

    •  The birthers don't believe (9+ / 0-)

      the birth certificate that was released to be valid. It's not that they haven't gotten the news.

    •  Failure of leadership on both sides of the aisle. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sherlyle, Matt Z, Neon Vincent

      Dems are mute as well.

      Look at the bigger picture and you see a Republican party in shambles with few options but to drive the debate to the "mommy issue" (that Republicans are always perceived as stronger than Dems on defense and security issues) writ large and here at home on our shores.

      First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. -Mohandas K. Gandhi

      by ezdidit on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:47:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Amen to that, ezdidit. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bablhous, Isara, Matt Z, ezdidit, Neon Vincent

        Not too happy with our Dems right now, either.  What I want is to see some of them get up on their hind legs and stand for something.  
        They know what we want, they know they're in there because we put them there, but they have "other priorities".  Like keeping in place the status quo.
        But.  They're still yards better than what people like Mitch McConnell envision for us.  We have a chance to put the brakes on with these guys, no chance whatsoever with the other guys, we are.

        •  As long as elected Republicans (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mnemosyne, bablhous, sherlyle, Matt Z

          foment discord with vituperative rhetoric and consent to the incitement of violence on specific individuals by their unelected spokespersons - O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Voight, Savage, et al - Democrats will not want to loom too large either lest they become bigger targets.

          But ask yourself these questions:

          Why do you think we opened so many prisons under Bush?
          Do you think those prison cells are for peace-loving DFHs?

          Do you think this US domestic scenario has not been planned and gamed by DIA, FBI etc.?

          First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. -Mohandas K. Gandhi

          by ezdidit on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:23:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have heard this line of argument (0+ / 0-)

            before and it seems rather off base to me.  I think the reason that we built so many prisons is to house all of our criminals.  Now, I happen to think why we have all of these "criminals" is because we have an extremely ignorant population that hasn't given any serious thought to our drug laws.

            To have 5% of the population and something like 25% of the world's inmates is insane.  And while this may come across blaming the "left" for our drug laws (which I don't do) I think a better line of argument should be attempted that uses moderate to conservative arguments to end the war on drugs.

            Taxes, police corruption, lack of respect for law and order, huge government needed to catch, prosecute and incarcerate drugs users/dealers, etc. is where the argument should focus.  We need to start winning more moderates/conservatives to the cause.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:31:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but I think there's a difference. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sherlyle, bmcphail, Matt Z

      I think the worst thing a liberal site does is present only SOME of the facts. But there are right-wing news sources and Web sites that present things that are completely false, and they get taken seriously. Far more seriously, usually.

      Fight until we win. Then we can begin arguing about the details. - Kwickkick (RIP) 2009

      by RickMassimo on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:29:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree for the most part, but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z, RickMassimo

        in the comments on a diary just a few days ago:

        I'm not saying we're talking violence.  But lately I find myself wanting to reply to crap I read on right wing blogs with "I'll argue with you, but frankly, you guys are starting to make me want to go buy lots of .50 caliber machine gun ammunition."

        I wonder how this is different from what we read on some right-wing blogs. It's just more plentiful on sites like Free Republic.

        It don't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows --Little Bobby Zimmerman

        by ambeeeant on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:41:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just two comments about your post (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, bablhous, Matt Z, theplaintrutho1

      which is largely correct and rational and reasonable and thanks so much for that.

      When I go to the web I am looking for validation and I am indeed deliberately not looking at the other side as I live in a red red state and on most days I can't even bear to read the letters pages of my paper which are mostly filled with rants from the other side.  I am confronted with it everywhere, so much so that even my dentist with whom I've done business for more than a decade has installed a TV screen on his wall which is tuned to Fox.  If that doesn't change by the next visit, I will no longer provide him patronage. The past election has truly unhinged most of the formerly rational folks down here on the right.  That is the state of the political discourse these days.

      Re the birther issue, while most of them are aware that Obama did release his birth certificate, they are simply arguing that it isn't a true copy.  That he must release the original certified copy. None of them recognize that he is an American by the simple fact of who his Mother was, which I believe confers citizenship automatically, or am I incorrect?

      •  I tend to go to the web for the opposite reason (0+ / 0-)

        I am not looking to validate my views but to challenge my views and see where I might be wrong (lord knows that there are a lot of things that I'm wrong on because I'm abundantly human and can only read so much).  That's why I tend to visit DailyKos instead of any of the right wing sites- to learn and grow.

        As far as being a citizen, it may be true that that would make him a citizen as well but that is not enough to make him eligible to be president.  I think the term in the constitution was a natural born citizen meaning that they had to be born in the US.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:59:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, you're right. (0+ / 0-)

          I shouda remembered my government better, after all I once majored in that kind of stuff.  Now, it makes it clear to me why they are so determined to prove that Obama really wasn't born in Hawaii.  I've never bothered to dig into it.  Surely, if there were reasonable questions about the authenticity of his Hawaiian,therefore American, birth they would have been firmly addressed a long time ago.

          I admire you for coming over here to look for arguments to counter your beliefs, but, I read a lot of blogs and rely on those bloggers, all reputable, who also link to outside sites, to keep me apprised of stuff from the other side, both the good and the bad, so to speak.

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