Civil Discourse Now

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Response to a defender of Paul Ogden about the "tea party," part 2

Bill Thompson, this is to continue my response begun yesterday:

   5) I cited "Know Nothings" for the sociological component of fear. I generalized about the attitude of the "tea party"—again, I argue, a rather vague concept—that I have seen expressed on signs at rallies or in quotes from supporters. What you see as a "limited, legal immigration process," such as that you say the "tea party" favors, I see as a wall built along our border with Mexico and draconian laws enacted that discriminate against anyone who "looks" like she or he might be of Latino descent. The fear element is the same, in either case.

   6) As for President Obama’s waffle on creationism: you are correct. I believe that is horrendous for the chief executive of a corporation that addresses matters of science every day—whether private sector corporation or a government—to waffle in such a manner. for the civil response to my blog. Let me respond, point-by-point.

   7) Mitt Romey went that far right. In 1994 he said he was pro-choice and pro-gay-rights. He veered back to pander—the popular word onto which the media glommed—to the right-wing. To drop back and say he only adopted his party’s platform as his position ducks the fact that the tea party pushed candidates last spring to go ever-further right wing. (Remember the cheers for Rick Perry as executioner-governor or the boos of the gay serviceman overseas?) As to Paul’s reference to Romney as "a card-carrying member of the GOP establishment" I would say (a) there is no such group or card, unless the card is a black American Express ® card, the kind with really, really high limits (don’t leave your 18-bedroom home without it) (b) Other Republican candidates, in 2008, did not Romney because he stood for nothing (see "Game Change," by Heilemann and Halperin) and (c) Republicans, generally, have shunned Mitt since the election.

   8) Paul did not mention "urban types." The comments about African-Americans and Latinos having voted heavily for Romney were made by Romney and Ryan, for starters. I am offended by the tone Romney took (where he also said the President bought their votes with "gifts"), the implication being that those segments of the population are not "real" voters. Romney’s former chief of staff (I think that is who made the statement yesterday) claimed Romney "really" won the election because he won the votes of people with median incomes over $50,000—as though others do not count. When you conclude "and black people don’t see a place for them under the Republican tent," I would say that is natural. People, against whom a party’s policies are aimed, naturally would not want to be in that "tent."

   9) Your suggestion about the Democratic platform probably is correct, at least in part. The issues to which the "tea party" clings, that I have cited, are no longer viable for a political party in the United States in the 21st Century.

   Thanks for the response and the civil tone. btw, you’re not the former Governor of Illinois—one who was not convicted of anything, served in the 1980s—are you?

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Comment by Bill Thompson on November 30, 2012 at 2:03pm

More rambling ->

5) The most I ever knew about the Know-Nothings, I learned from Wikipedia yesterday. It appears they were mightily energized against the Catholic immigrant influx. That seems weird in retrospect, but even today a lot of Catholics and a lot of Protestants do not get along.

It's too easy to label a group as xenophobes. In France, famously, a subset of recent immigrants has taken over specific neighborhoods, which are now unsafe for native French people; the left brands anyone drawing attention to this phenomenon as a xenophobe or racist. It isn't xenophobia or fear that causes some people, including the Tea Party, to draw attention to the fairly open border between US and Mexico, and the cost to state and federal governments of supporting those who utilize this open border yet are unable to care for themselves. Or to draw attention to the drug trafficking.

It might be xenophobia to express concern that a US citizen can't get a job at a Gap store in Laredo unless they know Spanish. Gap is in business to sell stuff, so rules are rules.

I disagree there's a wall at the Mexican border, it's more of a sieve. The laws in place must not be that harsh, since millions of illegal immigrants live and work in the US.

But the border is set up that way because thats how the powers that be want it. Business gets cheap labor, plus an ongoing damper on construction wages. Government gets more workers to prop up Social Security, and a stream of potential voters who may one day vote for more government. The police state gets to expand and spend money, in order to carry out the War on Drugs.

6) Yup.

7) Romney went well right of his original stances. But I wouldn't have expected Mr Obama to expand the drone war. If "the tea party pushed candidates last spring to go ever-further right wing", it didn't have any effect. The positions Romney adopted had been the party's position for a long time. One of the memorable things about Romney is that he didn't talk about TP's primary goal, reducing the size and role of government.

8) Everyone's votes are "bought" in one sense or the another, because we all vote out of self-interest.

The labor vote was absolutely bought by Mr Obama's auto bailout; instead of letting GM go bankrupt, reorganize, and continue from there with the same employees, Obama stepped in to maintain not just the jobs, but also the UAW's high wage levels and pension benefits. Pro athletes would make a lot less money if franchise owners had to build their own stadiums. The fair thing is to get the government out of the business of playing favorites.

9) The stances on gay rights, abortion, and immigration ?  Hard to tell.  Here's where Mr Obama stands:

> He got DODT right, but only recently declared support for gay marriage.
> He favors death even for babies who are born after having survived the abortion, which is the mark of an irrational mind.
> He's done little on immigration. Doing "more" would be a blanket pardon for anyone who's committed the federal misdemeanor of entering the US illegally. Doing "more" would be ending prosecution of federal drug crimes.


- Not one of the many famous ex-governors of Illinois !

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