Monday, January 21, 2013

The Theater of the Absurd: Gun Control

I’m a huge cynic, but sometimes the cynicism from Washington shocks even me. Take the issue of gun control. Obama made a huge noise... gonna take action! The gun control advocates fiercely exploited the bodies of dead children... what about the children! Talk radio spoke about the great gun grab and impeachment... harrumph, Nazi Germany! A battle for the ages was forming!! Don’t make me laugh.

Here’s the reality. Guns are the Democratic version of abortion for the Republicans. The idea of banning guns, just like banning abortion, whips up the vocal part of the base and generates mucho dinero for the political class. But both parties realize that actually pushing these issues is suicidal. For one thing, the public doesn’t like either idea. For another, when you have a sucker on the hook and you are emptying his pockets, you never give him what he wants because then he stops paying out.

So here we are, with both sides doing their best to whip up the suckers and empty their pockets. And then Obama strikes... he issues his proposals. To say that liberals should be underwhelmed and furious is an understatement. Here is what the Hustler in Chief actually proposed:
● Reinstating the assault weapon ban.
● Restoring the 10-round limit on magazines.
● Eliminating armor-piercing bullets.
● Requiring criminal background checks on gun sales.
● Hiring more cops.
● Creating a new federal gun trafficking law.
● Providing mental health services in schools.
● By God, he’s going to nominate the ACTING head of the ATF to become the official head of the ATF.
Yawn. Worthless. Even the NRA used to push for background checks. The 10-round clip thing will only be on new guns, so the billion existing larger clips will still be out there. The assault weapon’s ban is a joke as it just makes manufacturers remove cosmetic features of guns, which can be replaced with aftermarket parts. Gun trafficking is already illegal. Mental health services are already provided in schools. And more cops just means donut sales will go up.

This plan is designed specifically to do nothing. Not a single issue here will remove a gun from anybody’s hand. Not a single issue here will prevent anyone from buying anything they want or shooting anyone they want.

This is a joke.

So are liberals upset? You tell me. The Huffington Post article introducing Obama’s plan fawned over it and actually started like this:
“In a bold and potentially historic attempt to stem the increase in mass gun violence, President Barack Obama unveiled on Wednesday the most sweeping effort at gun control policy reform in a generation.”
Bold? Potentially historic? Sweeping? Huh? Clearly this reporter is delusional, right? Let’s see what the gun control groups say. How about this quote from Josh Horowitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:
“This is a monumental moment. It’s a long time coming and we’re thrilled the president’s putting the full weight of his office behind this.”
Give me a break. Your organization has been waiting for a long time for a placebo?

Stop and think about this for a moment and ask yourself why these people would be declaring this such a victory? In a word: fundraising. By describing this mouse as a lion, they can get the bases on both sides to pour their money into this. The left will pony up to try to finally defeat evil guns once and for all... the right will pony up to save the Second Amendment from extinction! And the truth is, this bill couldn’t be weaker if it was designed by the NRA.

And it gets worse... or better. See, everything Obama is proposing needs to be approved by the House. That means the Republicans get a chance to milk their suckers too and the Democrats get a second chance to milk their suckers. And then the House can make sure nothing happens so they can use this issue again in the future. Perfect balance.

This is more theater of the absurd folks. Both sides are playing their bases for suckers. This bill is about as meaningless as it can possibly get in the way of guns, yet the political machine and its hangers on will tell you that this is life and death. And in the end, both bases will love their sides: the Democrats will have martyred themselves and the Republicans will have stood tall for freedom... and no one will have noticed it was all a big joke. Moreover, since nothing will actually happen, even if some part of this pass, the rest of the public will shrug their shoulders and not need to vote for either side because nothing changed. This is a scam designed to make you think that the parties are at each other’s throats as they quietly work together to jack up the deficit by another half billion dollars.

Anyway, there are two points here. First, don’t let yourself get sold a bill of goods. Don’t get worked up. Don’t give money. Don’t cite any of this as a reason to support your side. They are playing you for a sucker.

Secondly, consider what I’ve said and use this as a test to grade the pundits, the radio talkers, and the politicians. If they are telling you that this is really a world-ending issue, maybe you should ask yourself what else they’ve told you that is crap.


Tennessee Jed said...

how true, Andrew . . . how true. Wasn't there a movie called "Pay Up Sucka"?

Tennessee Jed said...

I guess the election season drained the coffers of both parties.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I have to say that even I'm shocked by the cynicism this time. This one really strains credibility to me and I'm amazed that more people aren't catching on. I think it's a testament to how knee-jerk we've become as a people that neither left nor right notices this con game. This really is a scam.

And you're right, this is probably a Godsend for both parties with the election season having drained their coffers.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Let me add that I think both parties really have exposed themselves as frauds over the past five years. I think it's clear that neither one actually wants to implement any of their own ideas, they just want to make money on their bases. This disconnect has been kind of an eye opener to me just how badly both left and right are being played by Washington.

Kelly said...

Andrew, I think you are right, and in a strange sort of way, this gives me hope because it means the Democrats aren't getting what they want either. Basically, our government is about as bad as it's going to get.

But how do we break this cycle and actually move things back into our direction?

K said...

Andrew: The Dems got two extra senate seats thanks to abortion and probably the Presidency. The name "President Al Gore" is a fictional construct - thanks to his embrace of gun control, in particular the assault weapon ban.


Anthony said...

Great article. Like I said on Saturday, I didn't see Obama's gun control press conference as a big deal because there's no way that the Republicans will pass any such laws no matter how many kids he puts onstage. The only effect will be that some Democrats in red states will find themselves looking for work in 2014.

But like Andrew said, you'd never know that from all of the passion that the press conference generated.

I will disagree with Andrew in that I don't think its a bipartisan scam. Its more like bipartisan insanity.

I'm sure there are people inside and outside of DC who sincerely believe that this is a big deal, that gun deaths will either decrease or that they need to buy extra bullets and canned goods to resist the imminent siege by government forces.

T-Rav said...

Boy, that 10-round limit on magazines will come as a big relief to the thousands of people killed each year by revolvers.

BevfromNYC said...

Anthony, "insanity" is right!

The frustrating part of all this is that the reasonable rational middle ground, and frankly, the place where all reasonable rational well thought out changes take place, is being drowned out by the constant screaming fringe on both sides. The screaming headlines and the constant threats from both sides is just amplified by Washington. And we have a leader who LOVES it. Maybe it's just me, but shouldn't he be trying to find a way to calm the conversation?

How did those before us manage to come to a consensus about "big issues" of their day? I mean, we've amended our Constitution 27 times! I am sure that it was as contentious, but it was contentious in the vacuum of our leaders, and not the population at large.

Up until the internet and 24/7 news cycle, most people went through their day without much thought to what was happening in DC. Now NO ONE can get away from it. So now everyone is in on the "conversation". With 300+ million differing opinions, how do we come to a reasonable, rational consensus of what the REAL problem is with "gun control". First, can't we just define what the problem is now, what existing laws cover the problem NOW, and how they may be adjusted or enhanced to correct the defined problem? Why is this so hard? Does anyone really know WHAT the laws are that already exist first???

It's making me a little crazy because we cannot continue like this. By "we" I mean, our country.

Koshcat said...

I say this with no faith in the current GOP leadership, but this would be a great opportunity for them. Work with the NRA and come up with a bill that might actually do something. For example, I don't know if there any already on the books, perhaps pass a law that any federal crime involving a firearm ups the punishment. Perhaps fund a good system nationally that can be accessed by local law enforcement for background checks prior to purchasing a gun.

Maybe there are better ideas. The point would be again to show who the adults are and who are the fanatics.

I own a few guns and used to hunt. I have never really be a fan of semi-automatics. In some respects they are more dangerous than an automatic. It keeps you from wasting bullets and tends to make your next shot more accurate. Hunters who used semis while hunting, in my small sampling, tended to not be as accurate a shooter. I almost always used a bolt action and I can change to the next bullet in less than a second. Semis in general are unnecessaary.

rlaWTX said...

I've actually heard a lot of "right wing" responses that are quite similar you Andrew's. Admittedly, a few are wondering what TOTUS is going to try and do that he's not saying, but mostly I've heard "WTH was that?"

AndrewPrice said...

Kelly, I don't know if it's a cause to be hopeful. If anything, it makes me think that we're all being played by our government and that there will be a slow march toward ever larger government.

AndrewPrice said...

K, That's exactly the point. Both parties know that pushing these issues will get the public to wipe them out, so they don't actually do it. Instead, they put out fake ideas that they know won't pass and they use those ideas to get money out of their bases.

Look at what Obama is proposing here. None of this will change anything, YET all the Democrats and the gun control groups are screaming to their base that this will change the world... give us money. This is pure cynicism.

What the Democrats have done is propose something that know won't affect hardly anyone and they've made sure it can't pass in any event. Thus, they will never need to answer for it. At the same time, they can squeeze their base and then hit them again later with "the Republicans stopped us" and they can do this all over again in a couple years.

That's why this is meaningless... it's for show.

The abortion thing is similar. The Republicans know that they will get killed if they actually do something about it, so they propose these sweeping constitutional changes which simply aren't possible. Why? Because it means they never need to act and yet they can keep their base donating with these promises.

This is all theater... and thus, it's meaningless. The only power these issues have is to destroy someone who actually tries to push them through, so no one pushes them... not for real.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Thanks.

I don't see any red Democrats losing their jobs over this because they won't ever need to support it. Obama did, which he can because he's not running again, and the various Democrats can pick and choose what side they are on. The ones in blue areas will push this as world changing and will make vast amounts of money on it. The ones in red states will either say nothing or might actively oppose it and thereby endear themselves to their voters -- that way they get conservative credibility. And in the end, the whole thing goes away without a single Democrat ever needing to vote for or against.

On the bipartisan thing, I think what you have is two parties who have found various "milk the suckers" issues and they run with those. I don't think they sit down and say, "hey, let's do this," but I think you have an in-concert action. I think it benefits them both to play complementary roles in these shakedowns and they do it.

And I do think both sides know what the other is doing, but they have no reason to expose it or to even go against it because it's profitable for them both to keep doing what they are doing.

As for some people actually believing this, the bases certainly believe these things or they wouldn't empty their pockets. But I think it's impossible for someone actually involved in these issues to believe that the things the parties propose are meaningful.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, You cynic! Obama's proposal will stop gun murders cold.

Oh, and as an aside, it's great for manufacturers too because people are likely to buy more clips. And then, once you've sold them all, they can repeal this and sell the bigger clips again. It's a win-win! :)

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think the sad truth is that our government is a scam. Honestly, I'm becoming more and more cynical as I watch the political process. The only things the parties are able to agree upon is to keep the subsidies and favors going to donors. Everything else has become theater.

And while it may sound like insanity, I think it's more cynical than that. I think the insanity is just a cover for the two parties to keep doing what they are doing behind the scenes while they make the public think they are actually at each others throats fighting.

Seriously, look at issue after issue and you will see that both parties take positions that are guaranteed never to let anything happen. A constitutional ban on abortion? Ha. An unconditional amnesty for illegals? Forget it.

And if you want real proof, look at Obama's first term. Here is a president who claims a massive agenda. He's got Democratic majorities and super-majorities. Their leaders are some of the most radical the party has ever had. Their rank and file will do as they are told. At that point, one would expect massive changes.

What happened? Nothing.

The only thing Obama got was (1) a financial reform bill written by Wall Street to let them take over small banks, and (2) a "healthcare" bill which put doctors and consumers at the mercy of big insurers. That's it.

There was no immigration amnesty, no gun control, no cap and trade and no new environmental laws, no pro-union laws, no gay marriage, no civil rights/affirmative action, no equal pay for women, no banning of drones, no end to Gitmo or the wars, no massive tax hikes, no nationalization of industries, no loan forgiveness, no internet regulation... nothing on the Democratic list.

Why not? For the same reason this gun control debate is the way it is, neither party actually wants the things they are screaming about, they just want the cover to so they can milk the system without anyone noticing. Everyone is too busy screaming about abortion and gays and guns and the rich to realize what is really going on.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, For years in the 1990s, the NRA promoted the idea of background checks and adding 10 years to any crimes involving guns. The Democrats actually opposed the background checks on the basis that it would be a distraction from the debate.

Interesting, isn't it?

At the time, I thought they were being tactical in the sense that if they let the more rational stuff happen, then they would really lose people for their overall push. But now I'm thinking more cynically that there is no actual push and their real concern was that people would start to ignore the issue if they felt all the reasonable things that could be done were already in place.

As to your point, I think both solutions make a lot of sense. There should absolutely be a background check that covers criminal history and mental illness. I also think adding years to a sentence for use of a gun (which is already on the books in most places) will help too.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Glad to hear it. I mainly hear the guys on the radio who are screaming that this an "impeachment offense". In any event, the left seems to have bought into this garbage hook, line, and sinker that this will change the world and give them what they want. But then that's who this scam was aimed at.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, you laugh, but you just know that in a few days, Paul Krugman will have an article in the NYT explaining how this makes perfect sense and will "continue" our "path to recovery."

As an aside, anybody watch the inauguration? Because I didn't.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, LOL! I'm sure he will. Of course, Paul Krugman is a moron, but still. I can't wait until he realized that unemployment itself causes employment! :)

As for the inauguration, uh... no. Not interested.

ScottDS said...

Up until the internet and 24/7 news cycle, most people went through their day without much thought to what was happening in DC. Now NO ONE can get away from it. So now everyone is in on the "conversation".

^This in a nutshell.

I might be wrong but maybe this is why there are so few good (bi-partisan) works of satire anymore. To be fair, there's that old line, "Satire is what closes on Saturday night."

On the other hand, I just watched RoboCop again, with its parody commercials and "Media Break" news segments... and we're way beyond even that.

Wait, where was I? Anyway, my big pet peeve is when I see comments like, "You know who also liked gun control? Hitler!"

Well, problem solved. We obviously elected a Nazi so let the impeachment begin.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think the problem is that we have an entire system that encourages this. You have:

1. A 24/7 news-ertainment cycle. News is no longer about news, it's about entertainment, and people screaming idiotically is entertainment.

2. The parties have learned that they can milk their bases, so they play to the extremes. But as I point out above, they are very careful not to actually do anything that would awaken the sleeping giant in the middle. Don't forget, politics is played at the fringes. The vast majority of the public ignored politics until it affects them. That means the nuts are driving the debate.

3. Everyone from politicians to talk radio to the news has a vested interest in sounding like they are more pure than the next guy so they stand out and can find an audience, so they drive the debate further and further to the extremes. It's like films upping the ante on violence or sex to stand out.

4. The internet allows every idiot to scream at the top of their lungs. Most people don't have any understanding of history, politics or logic, so they fumble around looking for ways to translate half-baked thoughts into words and they come up with "Hitler" and a lot of hate.

5. The internet has coarsened the culture and made it acceptable for people to say things they never would have said in person. That then reflects back onto society and makes the unacceptable more acceptable.

Nobody every got rich or famous by calmly offering solutions.

Koshcat said...

I don't disagree with what you are saying about how some people, especially the extremes, manipulate the system. I still think the bigger problem is the guy in the white house. If you think back on the last 4 presidents, sure there were battles but all 4 also passed major bills with bipartisan support. Look at what Bush got passed: Tax cuts, Afghanistan war, Iraq war, No child left behind, Medicare prescription drug coverage, TARP.

We can argue whether or not these were good or bad bills, but it is clear that Bush acted as an arbitrator willing to negotiate. It tended to be to the left of what I wanted but that is a different issue. But during all of this the left vilified him and were just plain nasty.

When has this current a$$hole ever negotiated in good faith? He doesn't. As a matter of fact, he always throws gasoline on the embers. Take this issue, instead of asking for calm and let's study this and see if there would have been anything we could have done to help prevent it. Let's have a discussion; a debate. No, he goes out with these crappy, useless demands, and then vilifies anyone who would try to speak ill about it. You are with us or you hate children.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I don't disagree with that either. I think Obama is a real POS. He's a spoiled brat and a bully who is incapable of working with other people. In fact, all the leaks out of the White House suggest that he's seriously disliked among the staff. The Democrats in Congress also seems to dislike him.

BUT... don't be fooled by the focus on the big legislation. 98% of what the government does is done by consensus. Every day, there are dozens of smaller things that get done which no one sees. These involve funding, changes to regulations, exemptions to regulations, appointments, etc. The change to the Animal Welfare Act I wrote about a month ago are a good example.

The only area where there is gridlock is on the hot button issues where the public pays attention -- guns, abortion, war, unionization laws, massive new entitlements, etc. Beside those items, everything runs smoothly and in a bipartisan manner.

But you are correct, Obama is not someone who is capable of getting any support to get anything done.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Let me add two things.

First, on Obama's first term, his personality still shouldn't have been a problem. He would have signed anything Pelosi and Reid sent him, but they sent him nothing. This entire agenda they supposedly had, which they talked about all the time, vanished in smoke the moment they had the power to actually implement it. That should make people suspicious.

Secondly, regarding Bush and Clinton getting things done, the things they got done were things which went against their own side. Basically, Bush and Clinton got things done by agreeing with the opposition and then browbeating their own sides into supporting those things. The only President in my lifetime who actually got the other side to come to him was Reagan.

(The one exception is the Iraq War and that was a no-brainer for the Democrats. They could support is with caveats and then claim the victory if it happened or claim they never supported if it was a defeat.)

Koshcat said...

But that is what all the great ones do, find something that the otherside wants that you can live with and negotiate something you want.

Take health care. Rather than a complex idiotically huge bill, he could have negotiated a small portion that would have been very popular such as the mandate for no pre-existing conditions. This would have been widely popular, relatively easy to estimate cost, etc. Not saying it would have been perfect but we would have had a real debate and probably a bill everybody would have taken credit for.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I agree, and I think it's obvious that Obama is not great... he's not even mediocre. I'd say he's one of the worst presidents by any measure. He's presiding over one of the worst economies in the modern era, he's throwing American military muscle everywhere and getting nothing but failure, he's gotten nothing legislatively that is making anyone happy, and he's bankrupted the country. His legacy will be anger and frustration -- the right hates him as a tyrant and the left sees him as a blown opportunity.

But on your other point, I agree with you that IF the parties were interested, they could achieve a lot of things and fix a lot of the problems in our country. BUT I don't think they're interested.

We are told that the two parties are genuinely interested in improving "America" and they just have different ideological approaches. But the more I look at their actions instead of their words, the more I'm coming to realize that their goals are not the improvement of "America" or ideology, it's helping their donors.

Look at the healthcare bill. You are 100% right that they could have aimed for something smaller which only tinkered to make the system better step by step and they could have (1) really improved the system and (2) won over the public. But looking at the bill tells me it was never about improving the system or imposing ideology, it was about donors. Obamacare is a give-away to insurers and drug companies. Everything it does is meant to benefit those two groups... who happen to he huge donors.

So they created this monster bill and they started screaming "free coverage for all" versus "socialized medicine"... neither of which was ever actually at stake... and both parties staked out nearly identical positions substantively under these seemingly polar-opposite banners. And as the public fretted about free v. socialized, the public entirely missed all the millions of little giveaways within the bill.

I have to tell you, the more I look at bill after bill and action after action, the more I'm feeling like I'm in the film They Live.

Commander Max said...

Beyond the latest issue for this administration.
I want to make an observation about how these people play.
It looks to me like Obama just wants to keep people pissed off.

It is a way keep people off balance, and create a bigger divide. Keep everybody arguing, we are all good a that, regardless of how good we are at it.
Wasn't there some reporter that called Obama, "The Magic Negro", I know Rush made fun of it. But in hindsight it fits, after all magic is tricks and slight of hand.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, Obama is all about distractions. He's learned that it's very easy to distract the right and make them look stupid just by having surrogates suggest way-out-there ideas. The right goes into foam-at-the-mouth mode and soon they fall apart as an effective opposition.

Unfortunately for him, he hasn't figured out how to actually make the second part of this plan work, which is where he get public support to pass something more moderate while the right is in chaos. That's because he just can't work with people.

So ultimately, he's just wasting everyone's time.

I am led to believe, by the way, that his plan for the second term will be divide and conquer, and he hopes to sheer off Republicans to support him. But I don't see that working because his prior behavior has been so toxic.

I don't remember how Rush latched onto the Barack the Magic Negro thing, but the term itself originated with Spike Lee in the 1990s.

Doc Whoa said...

Excellent article Andrew. I've been scratching my head over this too. Obama seemed to make such a big stink about how he was really going to do something serious and this sounds like a total waste of time?

T-Rav said...

Andrew and Max, if I remember right, there was an LAT columnist that had just used the term "Barack the Magic Negro" in a lionizing tone; Rush reported this and then parodied it, at which point it became terrible and racist.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's right. It wasn't racist until Rush said it. Welcome to the crazy world of racism in America.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, His entire agenda has been this way. My personal favorite was Copenhagen where he secured and agreement to try to reach agreement again at some point in the future and his team actually tried to call that "historic." Yeah, historically stupid.

Anthony said...


The tone of the article was ambivalent rather than fawning. The writer's premise was that while Barack hadn't done anything stupid his success was less due to what he said than what he represented, an empty, inoffensive vessel people could pour their hopes into.

Link to the original article below.

For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.
Rush latched onto the term in part because the overall criticism is accurate and in part because race-baiting thrills his base (negro is a term used in modern polite society slightly more often than the other n-word).

Prior to the gay black dude (and later Rush) who labelled Obama a Magic Negro, I'd never heard the term used on an actual person, it was always a reference to plot device (a black man with magical powers who exists just to help a white character realize his dreams). Being called a magic negro is analogous to being called a house n-----.

Moving on to analysis of Obama, I agree with the thrust of your arguments, but I think part of the Democrats' problem in 2008-2010 was that they won because people were fed up with Republican mistakes and excesses (it wasn't a burning desire for liberalism).

So they had a bunch of seats including in districts and states that were usually Republican (part of the reason the Democrats are going to have a rough 2014 is that senators who won in the liberal wave of 2008 are going to face their conservative electorates for the first time).

Anyway, the Democrats could do anything, but anything they did would cost them seats (go conservative, lose liberals, go liberal, lose conservatives, go moderate, lose from both sides).

With nothing to gain, they moved cautiously and did relatively little with their supermajority, picking what they assumed was the least controversial big issue.

They guessed very wrong though I suspect the reaction would have been the same if they had pushed gay marriage or some sort of truly radical gun control measure (the screaming would never have stopped).

Anthony said...

AndrewPrice said...
Doc, His entire agenda has been this way. My personal favorite was Copenhagen where he secured and agreement to try to reach agreement again at some point in the future and his team actually tried to call that "historic." Yeah, historically stupid.
What I found more amusing was the left's delusion that Obama could charm our enemies. I don't think anyone could, but even if it was possible, it wasn't for the standoffish Obama (he's not a backslapper like Clinton and Bush II).

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I'm actually writing about the Senate on Wednesday. I don't think the idea that the Democrats are in trouble washes. I've seen articles talking about 12 Democrats being in trouble, I make the count at 2 and we need six seats.

I really think there is more to the Democratic failure than a desire to placate the public, but it's hard to argue either way. I just note that every single time the Democrats get a chance to put their policies into place, they don't. And every time they do get a bill through, it never does what their rhetoric claimed, it always just seems to help their donors. That tells me, the whole party is just a con.

On race baiting, I don't know if it thrills "the base" or not, or it if just thrills parts of the base, but it seems to be an effective way to get noticed.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Agreed. You can't charm a country into doing something that goes against it's interests. That's never happened in the course of human history to my knowledge. And it was amazingly naive for the left to think that somehow Obama could do it.

I think that goes back to the left being a cult of personality. They worship their leaders and ascribe to them these superhuman skills, whether they have them or not. And when they fail, then they turn against these leaders as frauds.

I also like the Nobel Prize for anticipatory greatness. :)

Anthony said...


Let me clarify that I meant Rush's base and not the conservative or Republican base (those three things overlap, but aren't the same).

Anthony said...

AndrewPrice said...
Anthony, Agreed. You can't charm a country into doing something that goes against it's interests. That's never happened in the course of human history to my knowledge. And it was amazingly naive for the left to think that somehow Obama could do it.

I think that goes back to the left being a cult of personality. They worship their leaders and ascribe to them these superhuman skills, whether they have them or not. And when they fail, then they turn against these leaders as frauds.


In fairness, on the conservative side a cult of personality seems to have sprung up around Reagan. Everybody claims they are the next Reagan and that when he was alive they worked closely together and that if he were here everything would be golden.

Reagan was a wonderful president, but he was not half the president imaginary Reagan was (I've actually heard people say without irony that terrorists didn't dare attack America when Reagan was in office).

I think great men always inspire 'what ifs' but I think such games are pointless, the real life equivalent of the sockpuppeting we do for laughs on this forum.

Kit said...

re: Reagan. I like to say this. Don't be the next Reagan. Be the president that future candidates will say "I'm going to be the next _____".

I think its because the GOP and Conservatism doesn't really have anyone they can rally around.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I can't speak to Rush's base at the moment. But when he started, I never got the sense that his audience was into any sort of baiting (race or otherwise) or that they were zombies, as they were portrayed. To the contrary, the people I met who were Rush fans were well informed, good-natured, asked intelligent questions, had open minds, and took most of his stuff with humor and a grain of salt.

I cannot say the same for the rest of talk radio, but at least with Rush that was true in the past.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, On Reagan, I don't think it's the same thing.

Reagan is viewed as an idea more than a man. Yes, it gets expressed in personal terms, but it's always that he was a great salesman for the ideology and conservatives are trying to ascribe ideas to him. He's basically a revered figure from the past who stood for various principles, whether he really did or didn't.

Liberals on the other hand, see their leaders in messianic terms. They want to devour them. The need to know what kind of clothes the person wears, what kind of food they eat, their habits, their history... it's all personal. You even see liberals talk about including these people in their sexual fantasies.

Moreover, liberals aren't looking for someone with an ideology, they are looking for a person they can simply turn loose to "handle it." There is very little thought given to the person's plans or beliefs, it's all about having faith that the person will do the right thing... whatever that is. And whatever that person ends up doing becomes acceptable -- which is why liberals can call the use of drones a war crime one day and call it perfectly fine the next, because now "their guy" is doing it so it becomes ok to them.

I think there is a serious difference between the two. Also, Republicans don't tend to make people heroes until they are gone, liberals make them heroes the moment they are chosen, even before they've done anything.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I think it's a bigger problem than that, I think there is no conservatism at the moment to rally around.... the ideological cupboard is empty at the moment. And without an ideology, it becomes hard to rally around people.

tryanmax said...

You even see liberals talk about including these people in their sexual fantasies.

Oh, God...that means...that somebody, somewhere...ohhh...Nancy Pelosi...ewww...I can't even say it. Ugh!

AndrewPrice said...

I don't know about Nancy, but there were a lot of reports about Obama and Algore at the time. People were apparently even going to shrinks to deal with these things.

tryanmax said...

Algore is bad enough. Excuse me while I rinse my brain out.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, that's a pretty sick thought. Welcome to liberalism. What I find more bizarre is the need to dress like these people and to find out things like what Obama eats on his pizza. It reminds me of some ancient cult and it makes me wonder how long liberals have been messing up the world?

tryanmax said...

It's funny, I often note how well liberalism stacks up against ancient cult religions, too! LOL! So I guess the answer to your question is, "for a long, long time."

Shifting gears: I was also thinking about how, in this last round of gun talk, it came to light that the most commonly used murder weapon is a baseball bat. Personally, I think blunt-force trauma has to be about the worst way to go. And I don't think too highly of being stabbed, either. Which makes me think there needs to be a campaign to get more guns into the hands of criminals. If someone is going to murder me I want it to be as quick and clean as possible.

"Make homicide humane--demand softer gun laws."
Message paid for by The Committee for the Revival of the Wild, Wild West, The Gunslinger Project, and Ted Nugent.

AndrewPrice said...

If you're gonna get murdered, a gun is the best way to go. It's much better than any number of nasty methods I can think of.

But then, gun control isn't about stopping murders, it's about controlling the public.

I'm amazed at how cult-like liberalism becomes in all of its facets. It really is like a religious belief imposed by a divine leader. What really amazed me (or actually freaks me out) is how liberals can in unison literally change their most "fundamental principles" overnight and seemingly without even getting a memo from the top. It's like they're all hooked up to some transmitters. Even creepier is how many then forget that even a day or two before they believed the opposite.

George Orwell said...

Tell me about it!

AndrewPrice said...

Speaking of George Orwell, I wonder if prior ages were as cynical as the current one? It almost doesn't seem possible, except that we seem to be repeating the Gilded Age right now.

Anthony said...

AndrewPrice said...
Anthony, I can't speak to Rush's base at the moment. But when he started, I never got the sense that his audience was into any sort of baiting (race or otherwise) or that they were zombies, as they were portrayed. To the contrary, the people I met who were Rush fans were well informed, good-natured, asked intelligent questions, had open minds, and took most of his stuff with humor and a grain of salt.

I cannot say the same for the rest of talk radio, but at least with Rush that was true in the past.
I doubt Rush and his base are racist, but like many intensely partisan types on both sides of the aisle, they are happy to race bait the other side. In recent years I've heard Rush use the terms oreo, halfrican and magical negro in reference to Obama and by all accounts he was happy to tell black callers (liberals, I'm sure) to get the bones out of their noses and suchlike.

*Shrugs* I'm sure he has had nothing but good to say about the likes of Thomas or West. As I've observed before, if you want to get a political party to show its ass, put a woman or a minority in a position of high visibility.

Anthony said...

tryanmax said...
It's funny, I often note how well liberalism stacks up against ancient cult religions, too! LOL! So I guess the answer to your question is, "for a long, long time."

Shifting gears: I was also thinking about how, in this last round of gun talk, it came to light that the most commonly used murder weapon is a baseball bat.
Are you talking about globally? That's certainly not the case in the US (firearms are responsible for 67.5% of homicides).

Anthony said...

AndrewPrice said...
If you're gonna get murdered, a gun is the best way to go. It's much better than any number of nasty methods I can think of.

But then, gun control isn't about stopping murders, it's about controlling the public.
Guns are the most effective means to kill someone (its why we don't send out soldiers into combat with baseball bats and knives). They are so effective they can kill by accident (nobody kills anyone with a bat by accident, lots of people have been killed by stray or accidentally fired bullets).

2nd Amendment aside, gun control is pointless because prohibiting something which is widely available and popular has no practical impact.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, I'm merely parroting something I heard, and I may well have discarded the context. I'm not embarrassed, however, as I believe the thrust of my satire withstands the evidence, even if loses some of its bite. The air in the room, on the other hand, you have effectively sucked out. Cheers.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, That's probably true. I know that Rush's audience has gotten big on name calling lately, which is too bad.

Of course guns are the most effective way to kill, and my response to tryanmax was a bit tongue in cheek. If I had to be murdered, I'd rather they did it with a gun than say a team of killer turtles or a baseball bat.

As for the number of murders, the majority are indeed by guns.

Agreed about gun control. It has no practical effect. It's about political power, that's all.

Anthony said...


Apologies, my sarcasm detector was off.

El Gordo said...

I think the slippery slope argument regarding gun control is very plausible. Liberals want to establish a pattern where every time "something happens", we "do something", i.e. impose more and more controls which sound ever more plausible to more and more people.

Who cares if it "works" in practical terms? Since when did that matter? Do trillion dollar deficits "work"? Well, Obama has a 52% approval rating, so the answer must be yes.

Do you still not understand how these fanatics operate? It is about shifting the Overton window. Reaching tipping points. Demoralizing and criminalizing their enemies.

How did Europeans get talked into accepting lower standards of living, higher taxes and prices, pervasive surveillance, their wealth confiscated to pay for utopian schemes? I´m sure it would have sounded outrageous to them even a few years ago.

Sooner or later, another round of measures will really bite. Tocqueville´s timid and industrious animals don´t need guns. They don´t even want them.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, I think the slippery slope argument is a valid one in most cases, and it definitely is in terms of guns. And you're right, that this is all part of a bigger issue to get people used to being controlled.


What strikes me here is that once again, the Democrats have shown that they simply don't want to their ideas to become law. And I think the reason is that they know it will destroy them, so they are just using this as a fund raiser.

El Gordo said...

Andrew, that is probably correct for the time being. In the long run, they do want their ideas to become law: they turn them into laws whenever it is safe to do so. And then conservatives always act very surprised.

Obamacare has yet to destroy them.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, I think in a general sense you are right, but I'm not sure those control either party quite frankly. If they did, I would have expected more progress at some point.

You are right about conservatives, they always act surprised when the obvious happens, and when the public doesn't turn against liberals.

Individualist said...

Why doesn't Obama pass a law stating that people have to aim their guns before firing them? I meam if you really want better gun control this is the best way.....

El Gordo said...

Of course conservatives being surprised is a logical result of being conservative, i.e. defensive of your culture and by temperament ill equipped to understand revolutionaries.

What a true conservative does understand is that some things have real consequences and can never be undone. Hence the current gloom. What motivates him is the fear of permanent loss. And that to me is a great wisdom that conservatives of all stripes are sharing.

The so-called liberal is an instinctive revolutionary. He takes all the good that society gave him for granted and despises the rest. By temperament he always takes the side of "them" against "us". He is not interested in building a good alternative but he knows what he hates, and how to tear it down and take it away. The eyes are always fixed on the horizon. Move on to the next issue, next, next. Whether something "works" is irrelevant to them. And that is why you must understand that changing our language and public image, while good advice for politicians, will not make a real difference. If you take gay marriage or abortion off the table, they will replace it. All revolutionaries (and terrorists) demand the impossible. That´s how they keep things at a boil.

They are demonizing moderate fiscal conservatism just as easily as social conservatism. They already called you - yes, you - unpatriotic, heartless, even a fiscal terrorist. And this from elected officials, not radio hosts or bloggers. Yet they pay no price for that.

Ultimately they MUST attack the constitution itself, and all its institutions. Obama said so from the beginning.

And will it work? Well, the people who enable them today, who are giving Obama his current 52% approval rating, are followers of fashion. People who vote on bullshit feelgood issues (such as gay marriage) are not mature thinkers who think in terms of priorities and real world outcomes. Their reality is formed by the media and their social circle and aspirations. They are not citizens, they are a herd and can be herded. Even if it´s over a cliff.

I know the sort. I talk to them every day. A politician must somehow work with them. I´m not a politican though. I despise the lot of them. They deserve a third and fourth term of Obama even if we don´t.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, The important point that conservatives are not getting is that you don't need to appeal to liberals. The vast majority of the public is apolitical. They are largely conservative in nature with some liberal beliefs and an overall sense of moderation in all things.

Conservatives are losing now because they have lost the middle, not because society turned liberal. Conservatives are losing because all they offer is extremism -- they offer an extreme position on abortion, an extreme position on gays, and basically nothing else. That's the problem.

And right now, conservatives are throwing a tantrum and trying to blame the public for not voting for them, and they throw up their hands and whine "well, the public wants to be bought." That's just not true. The public simply sees no reason to vote for the Republicans because we aren't offering anything except anger.

El Gordo said...

"The public simply sees no reason to vote for the Republicans because we aren't offering anything except anger."

There is truth in that. Of course, it is hard for the GOP to offer something when we are now at a point where any realistic solution involves drastic reform of Social Security and higher taxes on the middle class, aka screwing a generation or two. There is no easy way out anymore. Obama made that inevitable, but why and how should the GOP do the dirty work? (For it will be dirty and not be rewarded)

Nonetheless a professional politican should take your advice to heart; it can only do him good. You hear the same thing from good guys like Mitch Daniels or Bobby Jindal.

I´m not in that business and I believe in the end we may be back to square one because what is "extreme" has become relative. In parts of Europe, being against windmills or for "austerity" is now an extreme right wing position.

I say we have now proof that a candidate can be destroyed without regard to any actual position he or she holds. I´m no longer convinced a completely rational position cannot be painted as extreme either. That must not stop us from holding said position, even if it costs us.
Where do you draw the line?

And yes, voters are the problem. We have exactly the politicians they deserve.

The women you wrote about a few posts back - why can they vote for Democrats they don´t like, but not for Republicans they don´t like? Why was Romney saddled with his more extreme allies, but Obama is not? Because of gays? Romney would not have nominated an anti-gay sec def such as Hagel. Obama did. So what happens? Nothing. Democrats have insulted and vilified far larger groups of voters - including Andrew Price - and I´m not just talking about bloggers and talk show hosts but elected officials. So what happens? Nothing. So what is this REALLY about? It´s about fashion.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, The difference was that while they didn't like Obama, they despised Republicans. And it has nothing to do with fashion, it had everything to do with not wanting the country to go in the direction the Republicans were promising.

In their eyes, the Republican Party stands for this: (1) we think you're immoral and we will do anything we can to control your sexual behavior and force you to marry, (2) we want to shove gays back into the closet or convert them into heterosexuals, (3) we want to deport your Hispanic friends and force the rest to speak English, (4) we want to wipe out the safety net that will protect you if you get hurt or lose your job because it's your own damn fault if you aren't working, (5) we want to tax you so we can give the money to big companies, (6) we want to wipe out the department of education because we hate education, (7) we want to wipe out the EPA because we want companies to pollute, etc.

And honestly, that's not an irrational view of the Republican Party, and that's not media spin. Those are the things the presidential candidates stood for.

Would you vote for someone like that?

In their eyes, it was safer to vote for Obama, despite his flaws, than it was to turn the country over to people who are obsessed with destroying the government and controlling people's sex lives.

Until the party gets a genuine agenda, this image isn't going to change. Fortunately, I think people like Bobby Jindal are on the right track. He seems to get that we need a new direction, and I hope he succeeds.

And in that regard, I totally think a rational agenda is the key. I don't think a legitimate agenda can be smeared by the media, not effectively. They'll try, but the public sees through it. The public is much more rational than conservatives want to believe. But we actually need the agenda for it to work.

El Gordo said...

First, that doesn´t explain Obama´s good approval rating. Can´t blame that on Republicans. A lot of people must like him and at this point it calls their judgement and character into question.

I can understand why certain voters would see the GOP in that light, but it is not rational. It is a caricature. A caricature has a resemblance but it is not the actual thing. Romney/Ryan did not run on these positions. If they can be smeared as extreme, so can Jindal or Rubio or anyone else.

You have not really explained why moderate Republicans are blamed for the excesses of their fringe but radical Democrats are not blamed for the excesses of their friends. Democrats have actual communists in their ranks. "God damn America" and "White people all go to hell" is pretty damn extreme. Alan Grayson is back in Congress. What more does it take?

And still these people need a reason to vote for a Republican but no reason at all to vote for a corrupt Democrat. They deserve fourty years of Obama, if only they had their own country.

Perhaps you can tell, I don´t trust the public anymore. I know too many members of it.

All these stories and analogies from the 1960s and 1970s, I wonder if they mean anything anymyore.

I have spent enough time in Europe to see what a declining civilization looks like. Even American birthrates are down.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, Nine million fewer people voted for Obama in 2012 than in 2008. That's a 13% drop. That's significant. Less than 20% of the population voted for this man. There's way to frame that as the public voting him. The public chose none of the above in record numbers.

As for polls, Obama has historically low approval ratings and even then, the polls oversample Democrats.

And it IS rational to vote against the GOP. First, Romney is not a moderate. He embraced every single kooky right-wing idea the party offered. Social conservatives may have felt he wasn't being truthful, but the fact is that he did embrace them and people noticed.

Secondly, even if he is moderate, so what? There were moderate Nazis too, does that mean Jews should have voted for those moderate Nazis and just not support the hard core ones? Hardly. When a party stands for something you despise, you don't vote for its members under any circumstance. To the contrary, you vote for whatever opposition is available.

And again, as for blaming the Democrats for their radical members, there is a HUGE difference. When a Democrat spouts off something stupid, the Democrats tell everyone, "oh, that's just crazy uncle X, we don't listen to him... we're really moderates." The Republicans, on the other hand, seeth at moderates and foam at the mouth to declare how pure (i.e. fringe) they are. That makes a huge difference on this issue.

El Gordo said...

It´s not that I disagree with you about the need to appear moderate. I´d advise every conservative to hide his positions (if necessary) just as a Democrat lies about his. That is the political reality. I get that.

On the other hand, I´m sure you remember why you supported Romney. They were good reasons. You made a choice like a mature citizen. Others didn´t.

"The Republicans, on the other hand, seeth at moderates and foam at the mouth to declare how pure (i.e. fringe) they are."

A subset of the base does that, but I agree they are much in evidence. I certainly wouldn´t talk like that if I wanted to get elected.

On the other hands, there are truths that are unpopular but they are still truths and I´m not going to pretend otherwise.

I would not have any problem with a Republican having a reverse Sister Souljah moment - if he doesn´t end up affirming the liberal position.

And it is not always true that Dems repudiate their radicals. Obama didn´t HAVE to repudiate Lowery or Ayers or Van Jones or anyone else. You weren´t supposed to mention them. And "Crazy uncle X" is in Congress or a Presidential appointee. Different thing.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, I don't even think moderating is the right word. I'm writing about this next week (have the article already written) -- we need a chance of direction, not a slowdown of speed.

I do remember why I supported Romney, but I also understand why these other people didn't vote for him: (1) he made it hard to see what he stood for -- it took me months of sifting through the debates and reading tea leaves to understand why I liked him, and (2) he's tarred by his association with the rest of the party which was advocating all kinds of things he wasn't.

As for the foaming at the mouth, I think it goes beyond being just a subset of the base. Conservatives of all stripes struggle to prove their purity. Just suggest that you are a moderate and see how quickly everyone in the party turns on you. This isn't a matter of 1% tarring the rest of us, this is a matter of 99% embracing rhetorical extremism and then acting shocked when the public sees them as extremists.

Moreover, it's not about ignoring unpopular truths. There's no truth involve. For example, I may oppose abortion, but I may also find the idea of granting fetuses 14th Amendment rights to be disastrous. Yet, if I don't sign the pledge to push that, suddenly I'm a pro-choice baby murderer. That's the extremist problem. It's not about truth, it's about demanding conformity to extremist dogma.

As for Obama repudiating people... he repudiated his pastor by saying "oh, I didn't listen" and then not being seen with him again, he repudiated Van Jones by firing him. He didn't need to repudiate Ayers because he never claimed an association with him -- conservatives tried to create an association and Obama effectively countered that by not taking the bait and not getting to know him.

By comparison, look at Akin. He was chosen by the Republican Party and its voters to hold a House seat for years, then to run for Senate. And while many repudiated him after his comments, others defended him and his ideas -- notably Religious Right leaders defended him. Even the other day, we had the idiot in Florida who tried to say Akin was right.

So if you're a rational voter, you see Obama acting shocked about his minister and then ignoring him (which brought howls from Wright), you see him dumping Van Jones once the controversy "became known", and you see no link to Ayers except that they knew each other 30 years ago. Basically, you don't see the radical conservatives want you to see. On the other hand, you see a Republican Party that kept sending this clown to be their candidate and you see a good chunk of the party, particularly the religious part, defending him. That's a huge difference.

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