Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In Humor There Is Truth

Two politicians walk into a bar. . . actually, it was the Al Smith Dinner and both Obama and Romney were together on stage trading jokes. Some of these were particularly funny and they definitely highlight the talking points of both campaigns. I figured you might enjoy some of the best one-liners. Enjoy!

Romney on the Deficit: “In the spirit of Sesame Street, the President’s remarks tonight are brought to you by the letter O and the number 16 trillion.”

Romney on the Economy: “This president already has a compelling new campaign slogan: ‘Are you better off now than you were four weeks ago?’”

Romney on Obama’s Socialism: “We’re now in the final months of the president’s term. As President Obama surveys the Waldorf banquet room with everyone in white tie and finery, you have to wonder what he’s thinking. So little time, so much to redistribute.”

Romney on the Catholic Church: “If you’ve got a church... you didn’t build that.”

Romney on the Media: “The media have a certain way of looking at things. When suddenly I pulled ahead in some of the major polls, what was the headline? ‘Polls show Obama leading from behind’.”

Romney on the Media: “I have seen early reports from tonight’s dinner – headline: ‘Obama embraced by Catholics, Romney dines with rich people’.”

Romney on Obama’s Campaign: “It’s good to have someone you can depend on at the end of the day. I have my wife, Ann. President Obama has Bill Clinton.”

Romney on his Mormonism: “Usually when I get invited to gatherings like this, it’s to be the designated driver.”

Obama on the Debates: “As some of you may have noticed, I had a lot more energy in our second debate. I felt really well-rested after the nice, long nap I had in the first debate.”

Obama on the Debates: “Four years ago, I gave Chris Matthews a thrill up his leg. At the first debate, I gave him a stroke.”

Obama on Romney Being Rich: “Earlier today, I went shopping at some stores in Midtown. I understand Governor Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown.”

Obama on Romney Being Rich: Referring to everyone being dressed in white tie and tails, “or as Gov. Romney calls it, business casual.”

Obama on Romney’s Likeability: “After my foreign trip in 2008, I was attacked as a celebrity because I was so popular with our allies overseas, and I have to say I am impressed with how well Governor Romney has avoided that problem.”

Obama on Clint Eastwood: “Everyone please take your seats, or else Clint Eastwood will yell at them.”

Obama on Foreign Policy: “Monday’s debate is a little bit different because the topic is foreign policy. Spoiler Alert: We got bin Laden.”

Obama on Catholicism: “Gov. Romney, your father was born in Mexico and had five kids. Are you sure you’re not Catholic?”

Basically, Romney continues to talk about the economy, the deficit, and poke Obama for not running a good campaign. Obama continues to play class warfare by attacking Romney for being rich, and he’s struggling to put the debates behind him. Just looking at the two strategies in a vacuum, it’s clear why Romney is now pulling ahead in all the polls. I also think it’s interesting that Romney shows a strong sense of humor. He had the audience laughing a LOT. I am reminded more and more of Ronald Reagan every day.


Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - I couldn't help but feel like Obama appeared to be a beaten man.

DUQ said...

I thought Romney was hilarious, both in terms of his jokes, the tone, and his delivery. Obama still strikes me as angry and snippy.

DUQ said...

As an aside, we have another stupid rape comment from another GOP candidate. This time in Indiana. That's a race we should have won, but are struggling with and my guess is this will kill him off. I'm getting sick of these retards.

T-Rav said...

I saw some clips of their speeches. It was pretty funny, all around, and nice to have them being light-hearted toward each other for once.

BevfromNYC said...

Romney just gets better and better. Even my most ardent Obamanistas admitted that Romney was great at the Al Smith dinner. Obama looked very uncomfortable when Romney was making them roll in the aisles too. Which was just icing on the cake!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Romney keeps impressing more and more and I have to say that I'm seeing every more comparisons to Ronald Reagan. First, the ideas he gave in the debates started to sound very Reagan-conservative. Secondly, he stared using Reagan-like lines. And now, he's proving to be quite charming when you get to know him. I am impressed.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I don't know what to make of Obama at the moment. He's definitely not a happy man, nor does he appear comfortable in the role he's playing.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, "Snippy" is a good way to put it. Obama always strikes me as snippy. He seems to have no patience for the demands of being President or for other people. And I think that hurt him a lot in terms of getting his agenda in place.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, What now?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It's too bad that this kind of spirit can't translate over into politics. People can disagree without hating each other... except in the modern era apparently.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - I also get the impression that Romney is the same in person. The word I keep reading over and over about Romney - Presidential. He has a Presidential demeanor.

DUQ said...

Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock said he doesn't support abortion in the case of rape because: "I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

He did try to back away from this after the debate by saying that he didn't mean God preordains rape, but that is clearly what he said. This is upsetting people and again, rightly so.

tryanmax said...

Most of Obama's jokes are aimed squarely at Romney. Romney's jokes about Obama are more oblique. That alone shows Romney has a better command of rhetoric. I'd say both men are about equal in terms of the force of their jabs, but Romney's approach appears softer. Obama appears "meaner" by default.

Similarly, Romney is better at self-deprecation. Whereas Obama magnified his own weaknesses, Romney actually makes light of strengths. Consider the "nap" joke vs. the "designated driver" joke.

Finally, no white politician could have gotten away with Obama's "Mexico" joke.

Have I sapped all the fun out of it yet?

T-Rav said...

Andrew, if it's what I think DUQ is talking about, Mourdock in Indiana said during the last senatorial debate that he did not believe in abortion in cases of rape, because God has called life out of a bad situation. Or something to that effect.

I agree with the statement, so let's just get that out of the way, and he did at least avoid the wacky "science" Akin deployed. But given the closeness of the race, he had no business getting into an issue he knew was controversial, so yeah, this was pretty stupid. Personally, I would like to flog the electorate first, but since we can't do that, I guess we'll just have to flog our candidates until they agree to stay on message.

T-Rav said...

Ah, never mind.

tryanmax said...

At least Mourdock will sink or swim on his own. If I recall, he was one of the candidates that was supposedly put in jeopardy by Akin's remarks. I didn't buy it then and I certainly don't buy it now.

DUQ, I must disagree that Mourdock was "clearly" stating that God preordains rape. You put the quote up yourself. The subject of the statement is "when life begins." I'm not going to take you back to grammar school; I think you can sort it out from there.

There is nothing terribly appalling about Mourdock's statement. It is a consistent sanctity-of-life statement. In the aftermath of the Akin affair, it was revealed that most rape pregnancies--if not miscarried--are brought to term.

The problem is that it has become unallowable to discuss life in the same conversation as rape. Or, rather, abortion alone is the de facto appropriate response to rape. As with Akin, what Mourdock is first and foremost guilty of--all other intentions aside--is speaking about a taboo subject: rape babies. No one wants to think about them, let alone talk about them. But if everything related to them is up for public policy discussion, I don't see why they should be left out.

Tam said...

The way I interpreted Mourdock's statement was that blessings come from misfortune, even horrific circumstances. I'm sure we can all point to difficulties in our lives where we came out stronger and look back and can be thankful for the trials. I felt like he was saying that life is sacred and babies are blessings and gifts from God. I won't ever pretend that I can understand a rape victim's feelings and I would not judge someone in those circumstances for their decisions, but I just don't see this particular statement as that awful.

T-Rav said...

Tam and tryanmax, well said. Incidentally, I'm not sure this will get as much traction as some people worry it will. I haven't really seen much about it on the big online news sites; actually, most of the talk is coming from other conservatives (which maybe is a sign that everyone should shut up). And while Mourdock's statement was tactically inadvisable, I think, it was considerably better than Akin's, in that he at least acknowledged that rape is a real and terrible thing. It may not be that bad.

Jen said...

I hadn't heard about the Murdock comment until I read it here, and regardless of what he said, there is no way I'm going to vote for Donnelly. I didn't for the congressional race, and I'm not about to do it this time. I also thought that Murdock was a Tea Party candidate, at least that is what I heard when he campaigned against Lugar.

As for what Romney said during this dinner, I laughed at almost everything he said. I admit, I didn't bother with Obama's.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I get the same feeling about Romney. He comes across as very much what you see is what you get. That's rare in politicians but I think it lends him a lot of credibility.

And you are right, the word that I hear most often now is presidential, and he really does seem it. In my estimation, it's been a long time since we had a presidential president and this is a very good sign.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Wonderful. I found the article after I saw your quote and I get what he was trying to say, but he said it very, very poorly. This couldn't have happened at a worse time either because he had just drawn even.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Excellent analysis and I agree entirely. Romney's jokes appear softer because his delivery is less direct. He talks around Obama rather than at him... almost third person. Obama's jokes are much more direct and accusatory.

Also, you are right that Romney is making fun of his own strengths whereas Obama is poking his own weaknesses. That's interesting. I know that their jokes were written for them, but this tells me that Obama's team really does not include very good writers.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I looked it up when I saw DUQ's comment and I understand what he was trying to say, but he really should have said it differently. When you talk about something as touchy as rape, especially when you combine that abortion, you need to be 100% clear that you are in no way condoning rape. Unfortunately, I don't think he was clear. I think he did imply that rape is just part of God's plan.

I don't know the effect this will have because it's not like Akin's garbage, but the timing is really bad, especially for such a close race, and following on the heels of Akin's much worse comments.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I'm going to disagree on two points. First, I think this statement is highly ambiguous. It can legitimately be read either way, and the public is not going to take the time to give him the benefit of the doubt because of what Akin said. We live in a soundbite age and when you venture into dangerous territory, you run these risks, especially after everyone is already upset over something similar someone else said.

Secondly, I don't think this is taboo at all. What I think you are seeing is not some sense that we can't talk about it, what you are seeing is an intense backlash to the idea itself. This is a tiny minority position that makes a lot of people either incredibly uncomfortable or downright sick that someone would advocate having the government force rape victims to carry these children to term. Even people who generally oppose abortion find this to be way too far over the top. And then you add the fact that this position is often argued by people like Akin with cult-like arguments and what you are seeing isn't a taboo subject, but an argument that most people think of as an obscenity.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, I think that is exactly what he was trying to say, but he broke the first rule of talking about controversial topics: always be 100% clear. I think few people will parse this and will instead go with their first instinct of what they heard. How that ultimately plays out, that's not clear yet. But this won't help. It can only hurt. He should have kept his mouth shut.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, We'll have to wait and see what the ultimate effect is. You are right that this isn't as bad as Akin's statement, but this race was also much closer. And he did try to correct himself immediately afterwards when he was asked about it -- he didn't double down like Akin did. So we'll see.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, I wouldn't vote for the Democrat either.

I thought that some of what Obama said was funny, but not consistently. Romney's stuff was funny across the board. I think ultimately, this tells us that Romney has better writers, Romney has a better delivery, and Romney has a stronger personality.

I think this also tells us that Obama's campaign is not a happy place to work.

Anthony said...

I haven't bothered to watch the video of the dinner (guys leery of offending anyone or making themselves look bad aren't going to tell riveting jokes) but based on the selection above, Romney's comments are funnier than Obama's.

As for Mordouck, at least he did not display the ignorance of basic biology that Akin did. Still, if I were running for office and I believed as Mordouck did I'd just stick with 'I believe all life is sacred' rather than start talking about pregnancy as a result of rape and/or incest being part of God's plan.

*Shrugs* Mordouck and Akin are in conservative districts and while they are idiots, they are conservative idiots, so they might win despite their idiocy (parties can forgive idiocy so long as the idiots toe the line).

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Normally, I wouldn't have bothered either except that I saw some excerpts and Romney was really funny, so I watched. Overall, Romney was funnier, though both had their moments.

On Mordouck, that's the key -- just stick to platitudes. The people who share his view on this already know what he believes and nobody else is going to be swayed. So don't mention it.

And you are right that he didn't go into weirdo biology, so this may not hurt him. It's hard to say. But as for being in a conservative district, that's the problem. Both of these guys are running for Senate seats we should have won easily and which are currently in question and may cost us the Senate. That's the real problem. Mordouck has actually been behind until recently, and Akin remains behind.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, we'll just have to remain split. I see comments like those made by Murdock and Akin as small fires and the reaction by the majority of conservatives as tankers of gasoline.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's ok. But honestly, don't underestimate the visceral reaction people have to this. It's the other side of the partial birth abortion coin. This is the argument that turns people who would normally be on the pro-life side against the pro-life argument, just as partial birth abortion turned pro-abortion people against the pro-abortion side.

Patriot said...

Andrew.......I think in order to be funny, you must first be likeable. The impression I have of Obama is that he is not that likeable in person. The concept of Obama is much nicer than the reality of him. Therefore, when someone like that tries to touch one of the more visceral responses in humans, humor, than they fail because they are thought of as on a higher level. They can't relate to the little guy. That's why Obama's humor, on the stump, is VERY sarcastic, biting and hurtful. He DOES NOT have a sense of humor, as I don't think he can really see the humor in things.

I have been a Romney supporter for years ever since I started reading up on him when he ran the Olympics. "Hmmmm, a Mormon running the Olympics? This should be interesting. Who is this guy?" When I founf out more about him and his personal character, the more I liked him, respected him and thought of him as a fine leader. Nothing since then has changed my opinion of him.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, It's taken me a long time to like Romney, but the more I see the more I like. He really impresses me all around these days and I think he's going to make a great President.

I agree with you about humor and Obama. Humor doesn't work unless you are likeable in the first place and despite the polls about people liking Obama, I don't get the sense that he is at all likeable personally or that people genuinely like him -- so much as "don't dislike him." I think he comes across as very selfish, rude and curt. And his humor has fit with that, being biting insults rather than anything goodnatured or even anything witty.

I've even read articles from journalists about who much they dislike him personally after dealing with him for any length of time. Basically, they only support him ideologically at this point.

Individualist said...


Rape is an Act of Man but whether or not an act of copulation (is this the nuetral clinical way to talk of this) will result in conception is left to chance. When religious people (allo of them and not extremists) talk of the results of random chance on our lives it is cauched as "God's Will".

Murdock's statement was simly the natural way one would talk of this. The problem is that in this day and age the "spinning" of an argument by the "trollish" parsing of words has become the norm.

So becuase a bunch of pro choice liberals don't like those who disagree with them they will repeat this argument in an attempt to add the connotation that the statement condones rape even though reasonable analysis of the statement indicates that this can't be so.

Let us be clear. to truly accept the assumption that Murdock said God Preordained rape or condoned it or however it is cauched is STUPID. but that is not the point because few peiople will ever hear Murdock's exact words or listen to him as he said it.

Instead what they will hear and read are countless blogposts and newspaper retellings of the incident admonishing Murdock for thinking God is responsible for rape.

There is an article on the bigs about Charlie Gibson's interview with Palin. It takes the full transcript and bolds those words that were not edited out. Reading it one can see that the manipulation of the media was such that the interview could be literally called a lie.

This is the unfortunate world we live in and it is why the subject of abortion should not be discussed. Put out a position paper explaining what you think so that various groups don't say you dodged their question when they give you candidate surveys. Have a single one line answer and try to sound conciliatory to the other sides beliefs and then don't talk about it. It can never be to your benefit to do so.

tryanmax said... is why the subject of abortion should not be discussed.

Indie, I cannot agree with your conclusion. There may be many reasons why abortion should not be discussed, but that the opposition will obfuscate and misconstrue isn't one of them.

ellenB said...

I heard a lot of this on the radio and I laughed a good deal at Romney's jokes, but I didn't laugh at Obama's jokes. And I don't think that was because I don't like it, I just don't think he was all that funny.

ellenB said...

Do we have any reliable polls since the debate?

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, I haven't had a chance to look for polls yet. I didn't find most of Obama's jokes to be that funny and I think tryanmax explains why above -- they are mean-spirited or poorly aimed. I think he has bad writers.

T-Rav said...

Yeah, I have to agree with tryanmax. If we took that line, we wouldn't discuss anything. It's more about being pragmatic and choosing your battles, not avoiding making waves in general.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I agree. What to discuss is about picking your battles. Avoiding something just because you think the other side will distort your argument won't work. You just need to get better at clearing up their distortions.

Joel Farnham said...

This "gaffe" by Mourdock has unintended consequences. Primarily bringing God back into the equation of abortion. By claiming Mourdock says God approves of Rape, liberals are inadvertently pushing God wouldn't do that. I repeat, God wouldn't do that.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, That's not necessarily true. What they are saying is, "this guy is a nut who believes that God causes rape." That doesn't say anything about their own beliefs at all, except that they don't accept the idea of a God who causes rape -- which doesn't suggest that they believe or don't believe in God who doesn't cause rape.

Joel Farnham said...


I don't care what the liberals believe. The underlying message is God does not approve of rape.

Patriot said...

Someone should list all the things we should not discuss as a society...for fear of getting liberals panties twisted... (sorry ladies)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Ok, but so what? What rational person is arguing that God does approve of rape?

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, There are many things you don't discuss as a polite society because people simply don't want to hear it. And it's not liberals who don't want to hear the abortion debate -- they talk about it all the time. It's everyone who isn't foaming at the mouth about this issue who doesn't want to talk about it.

Patriot said...

Also...please list all the things God get christian panties in a twist. We DO NOT KNOW what God believes. He gave us free will and we created a society based on biblical tenets...15, no...10..10 commandments. Did God write the commandments? Only if you believe in the inerrancy of the bible.

This is why we leave God out of political discussions. A no win situation. Render unto Caesar and all that...

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, Unfortunately, too many people don't realize that.

Nice Mel Brooks reference, by the way! :)

Joel Farnham said...

You don't see it, but I see it clearly. Liberals for many decades have said God does not exist. I believe there was a famous headline that went, "GOD IS DEAD." Now, liberals have this message, that God (something they do not believe in or cynically pay homage to like Biden) does not approve of rape.

Last time I checked, something that doesn't exist, cannot approve or disapprove anything. How can it? It doesn't exist.

But, God does exist at least according to this liberal argument.

Anonymous said...

Alright, I will just say a few things, which Romney actually exemplifies in his debating that any politician, should they wish to look the least bit competent, should do.

1) Abortion should be a one-liner answer, if you want to get preachy, you've lost the vote. Very few people care for a religious justification, not just the secular ones, but plenty of religious ones too.

2) Be innovative on the issues: As Romney shows, his election is about more than beating Obama, he demonstrates from debates, speeches, and other means of communication that he is more than willing to research and update his knowledgeability on a variety of issues, even bring new issues to the fold. The reason why Romney hasn't had a Todd Akin moment is because he specifically diversifies and keeps adding new issues. I should have put this as number 1 because a competent leader relies on actually learning new info.

3) Just live it. Who sounds more appealing? A guy who has to preach like Obama or Akin does about who is good and who is evil, or someone like Romney who largely lets you try and prove how bad he is only to turn up empty, there's appeal in all but the extreme-left circles to the fact that Romney is more concern in living principles of his own than preaching them, a problem that plenty of politicians just don't get.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Two points.

First, that's flat out wrong that liberals are atheists. Liberalism has embraced the atheist community as an identity group, but most liberals like most conservatives are religious. They go to church and everything.

This idea that liberals are all godless is more laughable boogeyman garbage.

Secondly, your argument is flawed. I can criticize you for claiming that all unicorns wear sweaters without implicitly accepting the idea that unicorns exist.

Ben L. Kemer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tryanmax said...

If I may, I think I see what Joel is seeing but having trouble expressing. The comment by Murdock will probably not take legs because it is awkward for his pro-abortion opponents to handle.

The spin was that Murdock said God intends rape. Most will find it absurd that anyone would make such an absurd claim. The only way to gain traction is to keep pushing that Murdock believes in a crazy pro-rape God. This only raises the question of what God--if he exists--does approve of. Very few pro-abortion people will want to get into that conversation regardless how they perceive God. Even if they do believe that God disapproves of rape but is approving of abortion, they know they can't say so.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Romney hasn't really said anything that he couldn't back up. I get the feeling he's not someone who lies.

tryanmax said...

P.S. This is why I agree with T-Rav that conservatives need to shut up on this one. Because all they will do is push the crazy pro-rape God idea on behalf of the liberals who know they can't push it themselves.

Ben L. Kemer said...

I agree, Andrew, but at the same time, it does feel great to start digging into some of the background information and know a little more. It was interesting to go a little beyond what was discussed and find that there had been a real seaport with a name in the Mediterranean.

Joel Farnham said...

Thanks tryanmax,

I thought all that was obvious. My bad.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think you're being too logic. This is politics. It is very easy for someone to attack without providing any counter argument or needing to get into logical discussions. They could just say, "look at the sicko who thinks rape is God's will and who wants to impose his twisted religious beliefs on us." I never need to get into what I do or don't believe to make that attack, nor will there be a back and forth that let you try to turn this into what I believe. This is one-way fire and the accused is the only person on the hot seat.

It's like saying, "I accuse you of being a child molester." Everyone will watch to see how you try to explain that away and no one will care about my own beliefs or background.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, This is a no-winner for conservatives, which is why they need to stop choosing people who don't know how to handle these issues.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, It is interesting. I wonder what they were using it for?

tryanmax said...

Andrew, perhaps, but I think you are too focused on the mediated discussion and not enough on what conversations take place when the TVs and radios go off. Plus, it's a little different than the child molester example just b/c 99.999% of folks are on the same page with that one.

This is totally the kind of thing that is bread & butter to the armchair punditry. It's practically inevitable that the conversation turns to "what does and does not God approve of?" If this thing does manage to grow legs--which I doubt--it will be a matter of hours before everyone had "he shoulda said" on their lips.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think it turns to that on religions conservative sites only, but nowhere else. Places like Huffpo and moderate sites will just dismiss the guy as Akin II based on the "he thinks God loves rape" argument. You will not see anything approaching a true discussion.

And I can tell you that many of the conservatives I know don't even want to hear about the issue. They do not have a positive view of that position or the politicians who take it and they simply don't want to talk about those people. And the few who have, have said things you will not want to hear.

Individualist said...


As to whether or not we shuld be allowed to discuss abortion? Yes we should.

Whether one SHOULD discuss the issue in the context of running for office. Not if you wish to be elected.

Why... because no matter which side you are on (For, Against or Don't Care) you will lose votes.

The only way to correct it from a pro life standpoint would be an ammendment to the constitution. Could anyone get elected on that platform point?

Why waste political capital on something has no benefit and you can't change? I don't like it but what is the Point to it?

tryanmax said...

Andrew, Indie, each of your last comments underscores the real difficulty with the issue: it only sways those looking for a reason to sway. That's why the comment in isolation bothers me far less than the negative reaction to it from his own side. What our side should be saying to those looking to shift is "this is no reason not to support the man" instead of "we agree he's a nut; don't support him" b/c that latter message gets received as "don't support him or his (our) party." It's defeatist.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think the problem (and why there is a conservative reaction) is that for conservatives to win, they need to start attracting younger women and moderates. And you can't do that if you let a guy issue a statement that sounds misogynist without denouncing him -- especially when this happens regularly on the right.

I think what you are seeing is that conservatives have decided to put in place a no tolerance policy on religious-based lunacy. I think you are seeing the rest of the party deciding to denounce and try to throw out the Religious Right guys who can't separate their "beliefs" from their roles as a candidate. This is the same thing I saw in the late 1980s when conservatives savaged any conservative/Republican who made (or appeared to make) a racist statement because they wanted to drive that out of the ranks and make it clear it was no longer acceptable. And the end result was that it worked out very well for us.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, This is the key point in what you said: Why waste political capital on something has no benefit and you can't change?

Talking about constitutional amendments that will never happen to impose things that will upset the majority of the public and give the other side reason to caricature you is downright stupid. Yet, that is exactly what fringe groups want. They want to hear these false promises because it makes them feel powerful.

The Republicans need to stop pandering to these idiots.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I see a little more distinction available. If the guy issues a blatantly misogynistic statement, by all means denounce him. But if he merely issues a statement that can be construed as misogynistic, more consideration is required. I'm not saying he should be default stood by, but he shouldn't be default rejected as is happening currently (and not just Murdock and Akin). It's a fine line, I am aware, but unless it can be found and walked, we end up where we already agreed we must not go, and that is ceding any argument that can be distorted. I'd be a little less contentious if I could be convinced that the GOP weren't merely ceding this issue.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think the problem for Mourdock is the timing because of what Akin said. I think that Mourdock's statement is fairly easy to correct and explain away as him just not speaking clearly during an emotional moment. He could then clarify what he meant and hopefully dig himself out of the whole. BUT because his statement follows Akin's idiocy so closely, he is caught up in the backwash of that and that is making his statement appear worse than it is and is putting conservatives on the defensive right away.

Frankly, what he should have done last night is to issue an immediate apology and clarify what he did and didn't meant. That would have given conservatives something to latch onto rather than just the statement and he denial.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I'm not sure what you mean by ceding the issue. I'm not sure which issue you mean is being ceded?

tryanmax said...

I see the GOP as slowly ceding the abortion issue. This is in part b/c of an unclear goal. The conservative aim should be to throw it back to the states, but in practice the aim appears to be to get everyone to stop talking about it. This is in major part b/c the left has made it an all-or-nothing subject. Conservatives need to remind people that it is not an all-or-nothing debate. When they instead run scared from marginally controversial statements, they reinforce the all-or-nothing falsehood.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The problem is that the people pushing the issue treat this as an all or nothing subject. They demand that all Republican candidates pledge to pass a constitutional amendment banning all abortions and then bring this up in every press conference and debate... or else. And if you don't spit and tear up when you talk about the issue (like Ricky S.), then you are written off as immoral, atheist trash.

Not only is this pointless because it has a 0% chance of passing, but it comes across as extreme and obsessive. But as long as these people hold their grip on the party, nothing will change.

That said, I think a lot of people would like to shove these folks back out of the party and go with something more productive and less likely to turn off average voters. But that would take a sea change in terms of the party leadership and talk radio.

In terms of running scared, I think the problem is one of tactics and lack of return on investment. What good does it do to talk about the issue? The two fringes have their position and are utterly intolerant of anyone who isn't on their side. The people in the middle really don't care much about this issue and when they are asked about it, they go for heavily-restricted but legal. No one is going to change camps. So there's no reason to talk about it.

Moreover, it's hazardous to the health of things like blogs. I know that if I write anything about abortion, some people will come and post fringe stuff that turns off the other regular visitors. Why do I want that? In fact, look at what it did at BH. When that abortion doctor got shot, all these a-holes showed up and started talking about how the guy deserved it. I knew that if BH didn't censor those comments, things would get out of hand. They didn't. And within a few days, people who had been at the site since the beginning left because they wanted no part of a site that foamed at the mouth about abortion. Few of them ever went back.

It's all downside to talk about that issue.

Individualist said...

The fact of the matter is that in the end there are three true statements that cannot be argued regarding an abortion:
1) The Fetus is Alive. It is a living growing thing.
2) It is human. At ever point in its development it has human DNA.
3) In order to have an abortion you have to kill it. Someone has to willfully terminate that life.

I can understand although I disagree with someone who argues that abortion should be allowed regarding issues of development of sapience etc

What I cannot fathom is anyone who cannot understand why the issue of deciding the legality of abortion is an important one to consider and that there is real concern that it should not be allowed. That to my mind is an individual that either has no capacity for empathy or thought or is a heartless monster. Anyone that thinks that no one has a right to consider the moral implications of this is the nut job. Mind you I am not painting people who decided to be Pro Choice just the ones that cannot give consideration as to why this is an issue.

As to someone who is prolife I can absolutely understand their position and it does not make that individual stupid. Some may think they are wrong but I get really upset when I hear this type of narrative especially as it comes from liberals because it is wrong and the arguments are wrong.

This begins with the lie in the name they use, “Pro Choice” meaning women are concerned about the use of their bodies. The narrative suggests that an abortion is an eviction procedure. Planned Parenthood talks to women this way specifically to ignore the moral implications of what is being planned.

But I pose this argument. I explain that in 10 to 15 years I believe we will have artificial incubation chambers using the cloned DNA of the mother. I believe in 25 years they will be safe and by 35-40 years the artificial gestation chamber will in fact be able to insure healthier stronger and more intelligent children can the mother’s womb.

When I suggest that this will obsolesce abortion as a medical procedure because no women will ever have to carry any child longer than she wants no Pro Choice person agrees that abortion should then end. They have varied arguments but they all boil down to the fact that the existence of the child is part of the woman.

This is not a choice to do with what she wants with her body. It is a choice to do as she wants with the child's life. The number one reason I despise it is that it is a Lie. It is a delusion designed to assuage the conscience of people who chose this.

I knew a woman a while back who tried to have a child five times each one a miscarriage. She confided in me she went to have an abortion at age 15 at a Planned Parenthood clinic without telling her mother. The procedure was botched and her uterus was scarred by it.

Yet anyone who would suggest to a woman that no abortion is completely safe would be labeled and idiot, or a nut job. How can 15 year girl walk into a clinic and walk out one and a half hours later have made an informed choice? How can the doctor have possibly had time to understand the status of her health? I don't trust that without the political pressure doctors who perform the procedure would agree to handle it this way.

Far as I am concerned people have the right to be on either side of this issue. But if you ask me who are the contentious people unwilling to consider the other side’s argument it is the Pro Choice crowd.

tryanmax said...

I think our major point of agreement is that it's a tough nut to crack. And I must admit I keep getting pulled away from my main thesis, which is that I don't see any benefit from trashing those who say something off-putting. The takeaway is never that we want that element out of the party, only that our party is divided. Plus, I think it reads a bit like we doth protest too much.

tryanmax said...

P.S. ...and just look what the subject has done to this thread. I take all due responsibility.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, This is exactly the problem.

Your argument is premised on a GUESS. As a matter of FAITH, you believe that life starts at conception. Faith is something you believe which cannot be proven, otherwise it would be fact. But you then create these three "truths" which are not truths at all, but are only logical extensions of your GUESS, but you don't seem to realize that -- you actually think these things are objectively true.

The other side does the same thing, only their guess is different than yours and their "truths" are different than yours.

The two sides will never agree because they are arguing over a question of FAITH.

So what is the point in having that discussion? Neither side is going to give up their guesses because there are no facts which can change their minds. And people who don't share either side's guesses don't want to get involved because the guessers are utterly obnoxious in their stridency.

And in terms of who is more contentious, I can tell you both sides are unpleasant, contentious, obnoxious and intolerant.

Having this debate only annoys people, and that is why I don't want to get into it.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, As for getting rid of people, it's all about numbers. If you can lose 6%, but in the process pick up 12%, then you do it. That's how politics works. That's how we got the Religious Right in the first place, as they were the Religious Left in the 1960s and early 1970. They left when the Democrats adopted the gays and the atheists and Reagan/Falwell made an effort to bring them over. Now they are delving into hard-core environmentalism, foreign aid and social justice -- all of which put them firmly on the left again. I think it's only a matter of time before they go back.

Individualist said...


You can argue that sentience does not start at conception. You can't argue that life starts at conception. A bird is a living thing. So is an insect or a single cell bacteria.

As I stated you can argue when sapience (personhood begins) but you can never prove when this begins.

The problem I have is that the other side won't discuss what that means and are dishonest about it. They state it is about a woman's right to do with her body as she sees fit but when told the child could survive outside the womb (Which is true to a certain extent now, medical computers can keep a fetus as much as five months premature alive and healthy and growing in oxygen chambers) then the argument is changed.

Essentially a woman has decision making authority over the life of this child to most Pro Life advocates. Even if the child can survive outside the womb. Once science replaces the womb in the culture with something better that argument will have less weight and the real crux of the argument will have to be dealt with. Patricide, just as the Romans who drowned babies thought to be weak.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Of course you can argue that life doesn't begin at conception because we don't have a genuine definition of the word life. We just know it when we see it. And people disagree about whether or not a collection of cells is life. Again, you are using your faith to create a fact where there is no fact.

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