Monday, December 10, 2012

The Wisdom of the Gypsies

Last Thursday, the Senate passed a bill, introduced by a Republican, which exempts animals used as “extras” on television and film productions from the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. Why am I writing about this? Because this is wrong on several levels and it highlights a problem I’ve had with the Republican way of thinking for a long time.

Under the Animal Welfare Act, anyone who uses animals in any commercial endeavor must follow certain health and safety requirements to protect the welfare of the animals they use. For films, this includes paperwork requirements which document the way the animal is handled throughout the production to ensure that the animal is not mistreated.

The bill passed last Thursday was introduced by Louisiana Senator David Vitter, a Republican. What Vitter wants to do is to amend the Animal Welfare Act to eliminate the paperwork requirement for anyone who uses their own personal pets in a film rather than animals obtained from a commercial facility. The thinking behind this is that presumably, someone who owns a pet has an interest in maintaining the animal’s welfare for emotional reasons and therefore shouldn’t need to prove they are “providing a caring environment for the animal.”

Ok, first, this reasoning is nonsense. Every pet owner knows people who should never be allowed to own pets. We’ve all seen animals abused, beaten, starved and abandoned by their supposed caring owners, so this idea is crap. Moreover, how do you keep this exception from eating the law itself? What keeps a director from simply claiming the animals he’s using are his pets, and then abandoning them the moment the film is over?

... but that’s not the point.

The point is that this again highlights the problem with Republicans: they do the Democrats’ dirty work.

First, why are WE helping film companies? Yes, Vitter represents Louisiana and films are big business for them, but film companies are the enemy!! The Republicans need to stop doing things to help people who hate us. If film companies want something, let them get it from the Democrats... not us. Teach them that if they choose a side, then they cannot look to us for help or favors.

More importantly, however, consider “the optics” on this. When the Animal Welfare Act passed, I can guarantee you that the Democrats all patted themselves on the back and all their liberal followers felt quite morally superior knowing that they had legislated cruelty out of existence. Smug... smug... smug... smug... smug... smug...

Now ask yourself what happens when we introduce a bill like Vitter’s bill? Well, first, we help make laws like this more palatable because we fix the problems with them. Thus, we prevent a public backlash against Democratic overreach because we are alleviating the consequences of that overreach. Secondly, and this is the real kicker, we allow the Democrats to disingenuously smear us for attacking the thing they were trying to protect. In other words, since we are backtracking on their perfect bill, they can accuse us of “hating” animals or old people or whatever the bill was aimed at, even though they know they would have needed to backtrack if we hadn’t. This is so frustrating. It lets them remain smug because we are doing their dirty work!!!

Please Republicans, stop being patsies.

And this isn’t the first time, this is just one in a long line of examples where we let the Democrats pass some feel-smug bill and then we make ourselves the bad guys while simultaneously making their feel-smug bill more palatable.

Ask yourself this. How long do you think affirmative action would last if it applied to the NFL and other sports teams, to films, to television shows, to interest groups like the NAACP, to every business everywhere no matter how small? There would be a massive backlash and the whole thing would be crushed in a wave of public outrage. So why didn’t that happen? Because while the Democrats passed a broad bill which let them smugly claim they had ended discrimination.... the Republicans did the dirty work of carving out all the exceptions which kept the public from freaking out. We made their stupidity work. And in the process, they disingenuously smeared us for hating minorities as evidenced by the exceptions we created, without which the program would have imploded.

It’s the same with bill after bill. All their environmental laws, their anti-discrimination laws, their military/government contracting social engineering stuff, their workers’ rights laws, etc. .... all of it was unworkable and unpalatable to the public, until we came along and did their dirty work and made these things function. And in return, they always disingenuously smeared us for hating whatever it was they claimed they were trying to protect.

It’s time to stop enabling them.

It’s time to make sure that Democratic laws hit as many people as harshly as possible when they pass. No exceptions. No carve outs for sanity or to save the economy.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying do nothing. What I’m saying is that if something is the right thing to do, then we do it our way and we claim credit for it. But if it’s one of their lunatic bills, then you stop making those bills work, stop saving the public from the consequences, stop saving the Democrats from the backlash. Let those bills apply far and wide and attack the Democrats all along the way. Attack them for the harm they’ve done to real people. Attack them for NOT exempting people. Attack them FOR exempting people. Attack them every single time they amend the bill to fix a problem they create. Wipe the smug off their faces.

There is an old gypsy curse: “May you get everything you wish for.” It’s time the Republicans learned the meaning of this and taught it to the Democrats and their followers.


Patriot said...

Andrew.....You've hit upon one of the more frustrating aspects of the current "old-guard" GOP. The mentality that we can do the one better. 'Why, we'llshow those democrats that we really DO care about X.'

Take the Kennedy/Bush act, "No Child Left Behind." Lovely label, wrapped in pure compassion for children. What 'compassionate conservative' wouldn't leap at the chance to attach themselves to this act?! "we'll show them.....we really DO care about children." Without ever questioning the social engineering and educational brainwashing behind the act itself.

I'm beginning to think that the Repub Party needs to go the way of the Whigs.

Patriot said...

As Exhibit #1, we give you "Ladies and Gentlemen......Charlie Crist!"

Anthony said...

I agree with Andrew's point, but dealing with laws one disagrees with either by watering them down or not enforcing them is a time honored strategy (on both sides of the aisle) I doubt is going anywhere.

In the case of this particular law, it sounds to me like the sort of tweak lawmakers love to make for deep pocketed 'friends', since its a small tweak that will impact very few people and be of concern to few outside those impacted.

This sounds like a twist on the tragedy of the commons to me. It would be better for conservatism if we let bad laws inflict all their horrors on an unsuspected populace, but it is better for individual lawmakers if they carve out exceptions.

Tennessee Jed said...

why did he do this? As you mentioned "films are big business in Louisiana." The film industry still holds allure to a lot of people. I look at "country" music and see signs as to how Hollywood is co-opting it as quickly as possible. Liberals run media corporations so lets start having CMA events in Vegas, and letting country stars who had a fan base of red state types rub elbows with t.v. and movie stars. Pretty soon, they become liberals as well to fit in. Well, you get the idea.

tryanmax said...

As Abraham Lincoln said, "The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." Yet Republicans keep taking the strictures out of the laws.

This is where I take issue with equating the Republican Party with conservatism as a philosophy. IF conservatism is a philosophy of principles (a notion for which there is increasing doubt) then exceptions and carve-outs are anathema to it. Real principles cannot be sliced and diced; one does not attain flight by simply making an exception to gravity.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, The No Child Left Behind Act was a mess. It was an attempt to sell a good idea -- testing and accountability -- to conservatives while selling massive funding to liberals. Naturally, the liberals agreed and immediately watered down the parts they didn't like.

I think the problem with the GOP is that they lack the cynicism it takes to be good politicians. When the other side wants to commit suicide, you let them... but the GOP doesn't. They step in to try to save the Democrats from their own mistakes and they get blasted in the process, yet they keep doing it.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I don't think Crist is really part of this issue, he's an opportunist, that's all. Both sides have them, ours just get played up in the media.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I agree. I don't see the GOP getting smarter about this, not unless they appoint someone deeply cynical like me as their overlord. Look at the fiscal cliff talks, the GOP is all over the place on those and yet the guiding principle for each group is "we need to save America from what Obama wants" -- not "let them pay the price for their stupidity." That's the wrong answer. That's like buying lower-proof alcohol to save an alcoholic from their pain. But that is the 100% GOP view of politics. They need to get over that impulse, but they won't because they simply don't understand enough about human nature.

You are right too about this being a problem of individual lawmakers having an incentive to do the wrong things. That's where the GOP needs a stronger whip... and a principled plan. They need to pick issues which they will make political and identify companies that are off-limits for favors. And on those issues, they need to demand 100% conformity. Unfortunately, the idea doesn't even occur to them.

And I'm not saying this change to the Animal Welfare Act is one of those changes, I'm just using this as yet another example of why they are the enablers of everything the Democrats have done to America.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's why he did it. They gave him money, they talked about local jobs. And he never once thought about the things I talk about, nor did anyone else in the GOP.

The Democrats were smart. They passed this thing without even voting on it through unanimous consent. So the only name on this is a GOP Senator. They can all deny every actually voting to make this change and the media will dutifully report that no Democrat technically voted for it.

Again, I'm not saying this particular change is that big of a deal, but it's all part of the pattern. Once again, we do their dirty work for them and we will be painted as the bad guy. You can bet the animal rights groups will mention this, especially if any animal gets killed on set.... "this is because the Republicans hate animals."

Total hypocrisy and we keep falling for it.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's the thing the Democrats have learned so well. They pass a law that says "Discrimination in any form is illegal."

That will never work and they know it. But it's the thought that counts, right? So their followers are all happy because they did the impossible.

IF the law gets implemented, the public will go insane and undo the whole thing immediately and rip the Democrats apart -- who will be forced to backtrack immediately. It will be a disaster.

BUT the GOP comes along like some group of fools and the stick in all the exceptions and carve outs to keep the public from going insane and making the bill work well enough to survive.

The Democrats blast the GOP for "hate" for adding the carve outs. Then they claim purity for passing the law, claim the GOP is "anti" the law for watering it down, and then blame the GOP for all the negative effects of the law because they interfered.

I see this every...single...time. The GOP needs to wise up on some of these laws. If they are bad things, don't help the Democrats. That only enables this whole thing. Let them outrage the public by passing the law, let them outrage their followers by then trying desperately to backtrack. And the whole time you attack. You attack them for mistreating the public, then you attack them for cynically going back on their principles when they try to fix the problem they created... then you demand repeal.

That's how this works. Instead, we do our best to make the whole thing work for them. That needs to stop.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, By the way, I get your point about conservatism and carve outs. It's true that if you believe something as a matter of principle, then a carve out makes no sense. But in politics, you often need to go with expediency over principle just to move the ball.

I think the problem is that what conservatives are trying to do with these carve outs in liberal laws is they are trying to protect the public from the Democrats. That's another conservative instinct -- to try to protect people. That needs to stop. That needs to give way to teaching people needed lessons.

Patriot said...

Andrew...Off topic a little bit here, but topical nonetheless. This Korean rapper, PSY, just performed at the White House for Zero and his cronies. Supposedly he has rapped in the past about killing American soldiers. No problem for our President! Continue to party on dude!!

Why don't the repubs come out and say something to the effect of: "Look we understand that President Obama loves to entertain and doesn't care about the moral or anti-Americanism of any performer he invites to the White House. That's his right as the President. What we DO object to is to invite a racist who used to rap about killing black American soldiers. One would think our first African-American President would be told that the performer he's listening to, used to rap about killing other Black Americans."

This would show the pefidy of the President and how he doesn't care about the killing of American soldiers. The assumption of course, is that when someone sings about killing American soldiers, that they only mean white American soldiers. If you know Koreans, they, along with many other Asians, can be some of the most racist people on the planet.

That would make for a good press conference question from our brave and intrepid WH press corpse wouldn't it?

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I've known quiet a few Asians and you are right, they are deeply, openly racist.

I don't know that I would say "black soldiers" but I would certainly make a bigger deal of this to drive home the idea that Obama is anti-military. This is the perfect example of what you don't let go unnoticed. This is also where conservative activists need to be staging protests outside the White House.

DUQ said...

Excellent point as always Andrew. It bothers me a lot that the Republicans keep letting themselves be taken advantage of. I don't know why they can't stop doing these things? They really are the Charlie Brown party.

DUQ said...

Patriot, I agree about the rapper. The Republicans should be screaming bloody murder on that one over and over and over until he backs down. It's frustrating that they aren't talking about it, especially because they need a distraction from this fiscal cliff disaster.

Patriot said...

Andrew...My point is that this is the only way to show the utter hypocrisy of zero's anti-military views. No big deal if a rapper raps about killing American soldiers. Throw race into the mix and then it will become a news item and maybe elicit a comment from the throne.

Patriot said...

Thanks Duq.....Unfortunately, the repubs in congress have no spine for this sort of battle. They are sheep afraid of the wolf media.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks DUQ. I think the problem is that the Republicans don't understand the difference between governing and politics. They act like the party of responsible government when they need to realize that they should be acting like politicians.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I think you make a good point, but I would be more subtle about it. I would find other ways to throw race into it than to just say "he wants to kill black soldiers." That's going to seem fake and will shift the issue from Obama and the rapper to Republican racism.

DUQ said...

Patriot & DUQ, I think the problem runs even deeper than them not having the spine for it, I think the idea honestly doesn't occur to them. I think they see their role as achieving the best result for the country no matter what the circumstances. They need to realize that sometimes the best thing for the country is to let the country suffer the consequence of its actions so you can pick up the pieces later.

The Democrats on the other hand see their role as gaining power. Pure and simple.

Patriot said... a point. The lib/dems are not subtle at all when making their point. Granted, they have a platform with useful idiots to back them up, while we have those same idiots reading into every utterance and subtlety that the repubs make. I think we need to be direct and have the lib/dems explain for once why they aren't racists.

DUQ said...

That should be Patriot and Andrew.

Patriot said...

DUQ.....I read it that way anyway!! :)

AndrewPrice said...

Confused DUQ? LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, The difference between us and them, however, is that they have the media on their side and they've been doing this so long that it sounds natural from them. It would sound bizarre if the Republicans suddenly said "he wants to kill black soldier." It would be much better to use images of black soldiers or to find other ways to subtlety bring up race without it sounding like we are trying to bring it up specifically.

DUQ said...

It's the sign in thing. I keep having to type my name and sometimes I just keep tying it. I've written comments to myself before by accident.

Patriot said...

Andrew....however we do it.... we just need to START DOING SOMETHING!!!

We're getting killed out there!

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I hear you. They need to start doing something other than just going by instinct... their instincts stink.

DUQ, It happens to all of us.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I get what you're saying about not digging your heels in to keep the ball moving, but if you consider where principle arises in a truly meaningful way, it's really a non issue.

Let's start with the Animal Welfare Act example. There's simply no reason for the Republican Senator's bill to come forward.

Now think of any Democrat bill that purports to end discrimination, nastiness, and hurt-feelings. As a rule, such bills really only restrict people's freedoms. So you take one of two principled stances: oppose the bill as an affront to liberty or support it b/c the voters demand it (if they do).

Now, if the shoe is on the other foot and the Democrats want to water down a Republican bill, that's another issue. Although, I tend to think the answer to that is to keep legislation simple, propose as few measures at a time as possible. That makes things very difficult to water down and paints a clear picture of who stands where.

tryanmax said...

FYI, I do realize the budget bill is its own animal, my comments can't really apply to that.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I would agree with that. When the Democrats propose something, I think you need to decide if it's a matter of principle or not. And if it isn't, then they you need to decide if it's something you want to claim.

If it's a matter of principle then you oppose it all or nothing -- no compromise to help it. If it's something you like, then you shape it and claim it as yours. It's that simple.

And if the bill is something you are proposing, then you talk in the absolute, but you can accept a watered down version just to get it passed -- attacking the Democrats for watering it down. Then you immediately keep working to get it un-watered down all the while attacking the Democrats for standing in the way of goodness.

I think that's the way they need to look at things.

And with things like this Animal Welfare exception, there's no good reason to do this. Let the Democrats fix their own mess and attack them when they do.

tryanmax said...

I just had this whole scenario enter my mind:

The Democrats offer a bill entitled the "Loving Pat Act" which states that all Americans will receive a loving pat on the head. It sounds great and the media is immediately on board.

However, a few conservative analysts note that the bill defines "pat" as "a sudden and direct blow" and "head" as "the area between the forehead and chin." They explain their opposition to the bill. Some radio commentators start referring to is as the "Slap-in-the-Face Act."

Republican leadership joins in opposing the bill, but decries the commentators' language as hyperbolic. Instead, they question whether it is the government's place to pat Americans on the head. Democrats accuse Republicans of hating people who just want to be loved.

A smaller group of Republicans, realizing the potential pain to be inflicted by the act, but fearing it has too much public support to be defeated, propose an amendment. They concede that the government has every right to pat Americans on the head, but they want to limit the effects of the pat by administering a mild topical anesthetic prior to the pat.

A fierce debate ensues and eventually a compromise is reached. The Democrats agree to allow the administration of anesthetic if the pat can be enhanced by a balled-up hand in order to be felt. Republicans announce this is the best deal they can get.

The bill passes into law. Government officials begin administering anesthetic to American citizens and then punching them in the face. There is enormous public outcry.

The Democrats assert that no one could have foreseen Americans getting punched in the face from a bill entitled the "Loving Pat Act." Republicans counter that they had warned of it. Democrats respond that Republicans had merely called it a slap, so they clearly had no idea either, and besides, they didn't even want people to receive a pat on the head in the first place.

Election Day arrives. Democrats win in a landslide.

AndrewPrice said...

Oh boy. I would like to laugh at that, except it sounds pretty close to what keeps happening. Let me add though...

1. The Democrats will actually blame the Republicans for allowing punches... something the Democrats never allowed... they just wanted loving pats and the Republicans will start pointing fingers at each other.

2. The Republican leadership will oppose this by arguing that Americans should pay for their own loving pats and will then propose requiring insurance companies to provide loving pat coverage... for rich people only.

3. Talk radio will accuse the Republicans of abandoning their principles and will argue that if they were in charge, they would pass a bill banning any sort of patting... private or otherwise.

4. Rick Santorum and his friends will argue that gays should not be allowed to pat each other.

5. Andrew decides to start blowing things up.

tryanmax said...

As long as we're adding to what turns out to be an apt metaphor, here's what I forgot:

Republicans will attack "Loving Pats" as an unfunded government entitlement. Democrats will call patting an "investment" and use accounting gimmicks to show the pats pay for themselves.

Leading up to the vote on the bill, Democrats will make high-profile cases of cancer-stricken minority transvestite children who have never been patted in their lives.

Democrats pundits will assert that Republicans are secretly happy with the punching, b/c they hate everyone.

The UN will declare "Loving Pats" a basic human right. They will then condemn Israel for not patting the Palestinians lovingly enough.

Lady Gaga will write a song about how she loves to be patted.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Yep. And then you would start hearing morons everywhere saying things like, "why do Republicans want to let rich kids punch poor kids?"

ScottDS said...

And Oliver Stone will make a movie where Jim Garrison investigates the "second patter!"

(And ditto on the Rick Santorum thing.) :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Nice addition Scott! LOL!

tryanmax said...

How did none of us remember to include an exemption for lawmakers? We're slipping. We're slipping.

AndrewPrice said...

Good point. I blame the fact that none of us are actually selfish assh*les enough to actually be legislators... so we always forget the perks.

I remember when the House Post Office scandal hit... my first thought was "how do you make money with free stamps?" Boy was I naive about the ways of blatant corruption. :(

DUQ said...

Don't forget the creation of lobbies like the National Right to Pat People (NeRPP) or PAT-A.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Yeah, we don't want to forget about those people either! Ug. Is our system crappy or what?

T-Rav said...

Hey, did you guys see that Stephen King movie where that old Gypsy put a curse on the fat guy and made him thinner and thinner? Because, I mean, if we're talking about Gypsies and all....

Incidentally, I agree this is dumb legislation. Trying to take away protection of animals against cruelty is awful. I always put Band-Aids on my kittens' gunshot wounds, because that's the humane thing to do. Get with the program, Vitter.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I thought about using the poster from that film, but I didn't think people would get it.

I actually don't care about the legislation itself. What bugs me is that the Republicans are doing the bidding of leftist movie companies and once again doing the Democrats' dirty work.

Individualist said...


I agree. The GOP ha got to understand that being the Democrat Lite Party does not work. We cannot get any credit by marketing ourselves as Diet Progressivism or Liberalism Zero. Alt the great taste of Big Government with none of the spending calories.

We need to be the party that provides the Fruit Juice, Water and Vitamins of healthy Free Market Entrepreneurship, the alternative to Big Government junk food.

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