Five Parting Shots From Charlotte

CHARLOTTE - Here are five parting shots from the Democratic National Convention before I depart the Queen City.

The Democrats are just as unified as the Republicans

Republicans are not exactly enthralled with Mitt Romney but they hate President Barack Obama. They really, really hate him. The are going to battle with Mitt Romney. They’ve made peace with Romney and have rallied with a grim sense, a deep belief even, that a second Obama term would be the end of America.

Democrats still really love Obama but the shine has faded. That doesn't matter though, because now the embodiment of everything they can’t stand about corporate America; a candidate whose signal achievement, Romneycare in Massachusetts, laid the groundwork for Obamacare, is aiming to take his job. Obama hasn’t lived up to his following, but it's his followers who worry that they might not live up to him. He’s still The One

How are the Democrats the party of immigration?

As Republicans embrace a restrictive approach to immigration, the Democrats remain the default party of immigrants, even though the sitting Democrat president is deporting people at a higher rate than his GOP predecessor. All week long delegates and officials at the DNC would pay lip service to Obama's support for the DREAM Act, blame Republicans for any and all immigration problems, and then quickly pivot to the president’s domestic policy achievements. Party members appear optimistic that he will improve on immigration if he is reelected.

Nobody in the Democratic Party really cares about the War on Drugs

How low of a priority is reforming American drug policy for Democrats? It’s so low that many rank and file Democrats said “getting tough” on drugs, not legalization or decriminalization, is their preferred reform. It’s so low that the party ran a video featuring the characters from the stoner comedy franchise Harold & Kumar playing to type as dumb liberal patsies who will fall in line for the president just because he asked. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), the loudest voice in the party for a sensible drug policy, is leaving in January. Someone, possibly the Bay State's Michael Capuano or Colorado’s Jared Polis, may take up the torch in Congress.

Don’t ask about drone strikes

Asking high-profile Democrats about drone strikes may only get you waved off, but it can also get you thrown out of the building. Militarist chest thumping on the convention floor Thursday gave the DNC the feel of a Republican convention. For decades Democrats have trailed Republicans in the “who wants to bomb other countries into the Stone Age more” category. No more. The Democrats have caught up and they’re proud of it too.

Charlotte was a better host city than Tampa but poorly organized

The Time Warner Cable Arena has narrow concourses that were packed like sardine cans, making the convention a claustrophobic nightmare. The light rail between the arena and the Convention Center was more frequent than the shuttle system in Tampa. The Arena's entrances would close and open seemingly at random. The festival atmosphere on the sidewalks around the convention center was fun on the first day but the narrow sidewalks were packed and disagreeable by the last day. The abundance of amenities in the immediate area made the convention much more convenient than Tampa.

See you in 2016 in Dallas, Columbus, Philadelphia, St. Louis, or Newark.

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  • ||

    "the shine has faded"...

    RACIST!!!

    the stuff about the dems and the drug war is true

    i see this shit from the front lines. clinton was awful on the WOD. obama is awful. i cannot understand why anybody believed him that he would be good.

    the only two "major" candidates who were decent in the primaries were sharpton and dr. paul, when it came to WOD

    democrats major complaint about the WOD was the "racial disparity" issues with powder vs. crack cocaine. now that that is (mostly at the federal level) cleared up and the statists can go back to throwing people in prison for the contents of their bloodstream without as nasty a racial disparity in results... dems are okey dokey with it.

    even among some of the cops i know, some of the biggest ANTI drug cops are dems.

    they remind me of jack mccoy and his sanctimonious leftist hardline stance.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Why would anyone think that the same people that want to ban big gulps and fast food will also want to legalize marijuana, let alone anything else.

  • John||

    True. But remember the Democrats are in the process of going insane. The same people who would ban big gulps, thing the right to a government funded abortion is sacred because the government shouldn't tell a women what to do with her body. So logical consistency is not one of their hallmarks.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Once again, the party convention is not the bellwether for the voting public at large. These people come to the convention unified behind whatever yapper is propped in front of them.

    The bloc that decides the election, fence-sitters, did not watch the speeches and paid little attention to the coverage. In November they will pull the lever for the guy with the most comforting and competent-looking hair.

    So in conclusion, everyone is an idiot.

  • Xenocles||

    I was just going to ask if you could really judge party unity by watching the convention. It would be like judging fan support by watching the cheerleaders.

  • ||

    FoE wins one internets.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, by that standard, Obama comes in behind Romney and Johnson. Romney's hair is perfect.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Johnson really needs to stop cutting his own hair if he wants to run for national office.

  • ||

    A British Lycanthrope?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I did see him drinking a piña colada at the Trader Vic's in Sarasota, come to think of it.

  • Killazontherun||

    I would object to that last statement, but I'm quite aware of the fact I ran out the battery on my lawnmower by leaving the key in the ignition after putting it back up last week, so yeah, everyone is an idiot. Our idiocy just doesn't pertain to politics.

  • ubercynic||

    Unless you left the ignition ON, I'd say the idiot is whoever designed the ignition circuit, not you.

  • mr simple||

    Don't worry, there's enough idiot to go around.

  • John||

    The Democrats need to figure out what they stand for beyond public employee unions, abortion and bankruptcy. Walter Russel Mead writes pretty persuasively about the end of the blue social model. The question is when that happens, and it is happening now, what will the Dems stand for? Right now they are the defenders of the blue. But they cant' be forever. At that point, the drug war and civil liberties will be all they have left. It will be either embrace that or go the way of the wigs.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    First of all, the idea that modern democrats are good on the drug war or civil liberties is wishful thinking. They're worse on both than republicans.

    Secondly, the dems have been moving in the direction of democratic socialism for decades. I wish that a full embrace of that ideology will ruin them, but I doubt it.

  • John||

    That is just it. They are horrible on the drug war. But when it is no longer tenable to be a full on socialist, what will they have? Fifty years from now the socialist model will be dead. What then?

  • Pro Libertate||

    A commenter in a thread yesterday posted a great Bastiat quote that I think really gets at the heart of the great fallacy in socialist propaganda:

    Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

    We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

    --The Law, par. L. 10
  • John||

    That is a fabulous quote.

  • Pro Libertate||

    My reaction exactly. I don't recall seeing that one (though I've seen many of his quotes) before.

    I'm downloading The Law for my Kindle right now!

  • PapayaSF||

    Here's another I like: ‎"If you want government to intervene domestically, you're a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you're a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you're a moderate. If you don't want government to intervene anywhere, you're an extremist." —Joseph Sobran

  • ||

    The Law is really the quintessential book on liberty. I recommend it for anyone who wants a quick read about what liberty and the proper role of Government should be.

  • ubercynic||

    Although the words are usually used interchangeably, I think there's a useful distinction to be made between "government" and "state", which I would draw as: Government is the means by which the legitimate use of violence is regulated, the state is legitimized coercion. Thus, while anarchists want to abolish the "state", this doesn't mean there wouldn't be any "government".

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I'm not clear on the distinction between "legitimate use of violence" and "legitimized coercion". They seem to be two ways of communicating the same thing (if you define violence to include threats, detainment, etc).

  • ubercynic||

    For example; legitimate use of violence: you use violence to prevent me from killing you. Coercion: you use violence to prevent me from possessing heroin. Legitimized coercion: see "war on drugs".

  • ubercynic||

    P.S.

    if you define violence to include threats, detainment, etc

    I do.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    OK, but self-defense is usually not considered to be an act of "government" in modern speech. So you're going to confuse people about what you mean if you use that definition.

  • ubercynic||

    It wasn't actually a definition (I assume "use that definition" is referring to the word "government"), it was an example (of the "legitimate use of violence"). Maybe I could clairfy by defining "coercion" as the initiation of violence (as defined above) and the "legitimate use of violence" as only in response to coercion.

  • Calidissident||

    While they're certainly not good, I don't know if I'd say they're worse than the Republicans. With the exception of the Pauls and a couple others, most politicians who do care about the drug war are Dems (though it's not many) and more Dems voted against laws like the Patriot Act and NDAA

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Pat Robertson has come out for legalizing MJ. No democrat pol or pundit of similar or higher stature has.

    In CA it was the dems, starting with diane frankenstein, that worked overtime to kill the most recent MJ legalization initiative. It was DNC chair-thing Tony Villar... that worked to kill medical mj clinics in LA. It's been demo pol Obama that has tripled federal mj prosecutions in four years.

  • Skip||

    Imagine if Bush had been dumb enough to say that "Due Process" was just him and his advisers talking about who should be put on a kill list.

    If Obama loses, the Dims will probably add opposition to the kill list as a new plank in their platform like all the fake stuff they whined about when Bush was President.

  • Pro Libertate||

    One of the nice things about the Internet and the modern age is that everything is captured and cataloged for future playback. I think the constant switching back and forth is going to start hurting politicians as we keep seeing it over and over again.

    Previously, we had to trust our memories and the media to remind us of these things. Now, it's easier to check out for yourself. Not everyone will, but more can and do.

  • PapayaSF||

    I predict we are going to be seeing tons of GOP ads consisting of Obama quotes from 3-4 years ago, about how he won't deserve reelection if he hasn't fixed the economy by now.

  • WWNGD?||

    2012:
    Republicans are not exactly enthralled with Mitt Romney but they hate President Barack Obama. They really, really hate him. The[y] are going to battle with Mitt Romney. They’ve made peace with Romney and have rallied with a grim sense, a deep belief even, that a second Obama term would be the end of America.

    2008:
    Democrats are not exactly enthralled with John Kerry but they hate President George W. Bush. They really, really hate him. The[y] are going to battle with John Kerry. They’ve made peace with Kerry and have rallied with a grim sense, a deep belief even, that a second Bush term would be the end of America.

  • John||

    It is 2004. And that is the question, whose base is bigger? It didn't work for the Dems because Bush did the same thing the Dems did and he had more voters.

    The last time there was a base campaign, the Republicans won by a decent margin. Is that still the case? Time will tell.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    If Bush had run in this economy, he would have been trounced easily by Kerry.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yep.

    Obama should be losing by 20 points.

  • WWNGD?||

    Should be, but the republicans chose Romney.
    To continue from my post above.
    In 2004 the democrats had a wealthy arrogant, gun grabbing Massachusetts liberal who supported government health care running again an incumbent president.
    In 2012 the republicans have a wealthy arrogant, gun grabbing Massachusetts liberal who supports government health care running again an incumbent president.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    He wasn't my top, second or third preference.

    However, at this point, all we need is someone that will sign small government legislation and restrain the bureaucracy.

    And Romney is capable of both.

    Obama obviously not.

  • ||

    Where in Romney's background or record is the slightest indication that he's "capable" of supporting small government legislation and restraining the bureaucracy?

  • John||

    Death panels here we come

    Free-market economists have long known that “controls breed controls.” In health care, leading Obamacare supporters are now proposing unprecedented new government controls over all medical spending — private as well as public — to “solve” problems caused by prior controls. Welcome to ObamaCare 2.0.

    In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), several prominent Obamacare supporters have called for a binding “global spending target for both public and private payers.” In regular English, this means a government-enforced cap on how much Americans may spend in aggregate on their health care, both public and private. The co-authors of this article include former Obama administration officials Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (former White House health care advisor and brother of Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff), Dr. Donald Berwick (former head of Medicare), and Peter Orszag (former budget director).

    The authors argue that current Obamacare cost controls do not go far enough. Although Obamacare will reduce government-sector health spending (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid), insurers and medical providers will simply shift those costs onto the private sector. To properly control health care costs (they claim), the government must therefore also control private health spending.

    http://pjmedia.com/blog/in-top.....ng-target/

  • Pro Libertate||

    Just so we're clear on this, I expect the upcoming GOP Congress to repeal ObamaCare. If they don't, then they're fucking worthless.

  • John||

    If they do not, they are worthless. If they don't, there will not be a GOP Congress for long.

  • Killazontherun||

    Exactly, they wont be just worthless, they'll be politically dead. We do hold them to a higher standard because most of them have cognitive awareness even if their votes don't reflect it as often as they should.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Exactly, they wont be just worthless, they'll be politically dead.

    Agreed. It's hard to imagine a party running on a single issue like this for two cycles, winning on it both times and then completely betraying their voters once in office.

    I'm pretty sure that if they win the house, senate and presidency they will repeal it for their own self preservation if nothing else.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    The House has passed it dozens of times, that won't be a problem. They probably won't have the 60 votes to invoke cloture in the Senate. When that fails, they will try to gut it using the budgeting process or other procedural mechanisms, with the media screaming bloody murder the entire way. (Of course, they happily looked the other way when the Democrats did the same to get it through in the first place.)

  • Pro Libertate||

    I seem to recall reading something that allows some end runs in the Senate thanks to the law being declared a tax.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Yes, and I think they will use them. Meanwhile the media will be screaming their lungs out about the End of Democracy.

  • NoVAHockey||

    if it passed by reconciliation in the senate, i can't see why you can't repeal it the same way.

    technically, however, it was separate legislation

    The invoked cloture on the ACA and passed it after buying off Nelson. then immediately passed a different bill amending the ACA through the reconciliation process. and that bill took back the deal that bought off nelson. the cornhusker kickback. it was a clusterfuck from start to finish.

    and it only got through house after Stupak found an excuse with the abortion executive order thing.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Maybe this will be a good reason to finally kill the filibuster. Or at least the ridiculous parallel track modern version of it.

  • ||

    This, from the Gawker link, was awesome:

    But we were kind of disappointed that Obama's signature foreign policy achievement—the deployment of secret flying assassination platforms empowered to liquidate American citizens based on an unaccountable and highly classified selection process that is entirely internal to the White House—got short shrift this week.

  • John||

    Watching the convention was like reading Pravda under the USSR. What was most important was what was not mentioned.

  • Killazontherun||

    Pravda was a hell of lot braver in the rare moments truth slipped through then these people ever would be at any moment in their lives. Those editors lived with a literal gun to their heads, these people willingly lie and mostly to themselves.

  • John||

    http://www.slate.com/articles/.....ists_.html

    Dave Weigel whines about conservative internet trolls were big meanies and forced the Dems to change their convention. The rat fuckers.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Weigel also says he doesn't mean to be derogatory when he says they are trolls. Presumably, he didn't mean to be derogatory when he said they were saboteurs who wrote "distracting" stories.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Saboteurs should be in quotes, but when I tried to post it that way, it was flagged as spam by their 3rd party filter.

    Maybe third parties aren't as great as they're claimed to be.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Anyway, outweighing all the details about God and Jerusalem is the fact that the Democrats showed their true attitude toward vote-counting when Chairman Villawhatever said there was a 2/3 vote to change the platform.

    Democratic vote-counting at work!

    Does anyone even *claim* that Villawhatever's count was accurate, or even plausible?

  • John||

    He was bullied into doing that by the evil Republican bloggers.

  • PapayaSF||

    The parliamentary shenanigans were a hoot, but I am still shaking my head over the sight of a convention floor booing God on live television. In American politics that is not just shooting yourself in the foot, that's blowing your leg off.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Does it count as live television if no one is watching?

  • PapayaSF||

    Oh, yes it does. If the GOP doesn't make sure that clip gets seen by every church-going voter, they are falling down on their job. That, along with the "Catholic institutions must provide birth control and abortion services" thing, should be very persuasive to a huge segment of the population.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I think they were Palestinian sympathizers booing "Jerusalem," not God, but I could always be wrong.

    And it's not, of course, the presiding officer's job to say "well, this is how you *should* have voted, so that's how I'll record you as having voted." But he seemed to think that *was* his job.

    But, yes, we can trust Democratic officials to accurately tabulate the votes without any shenanigans.

    That incident made me a lot more supportive of Voter ID laws.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Villawhatever's

    Fun fact:

    Antonio Villaraigosa was named Antonio Villar at birth and legally changes his last name when he marries Corina Raigosa in 1987. The name change was meant to symbolize the eternal union of two equals.

    They divorced in 2007 after his third public affair.

  • John||

    Weigel is like one of those old college football players who cant' stay out of jail. Every time so and so gets arrested it is "former Enormous State University player...". Weigel will always be "former Reason writer" and out embarrassing Reason.

  • John||

    http://www.theatlantic.com/nat.....pe/262116/

    Gawker writes bizarre piece sympathetic to child rapist.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Does Bill Maher write for Gawker now?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Could you explain the joke about Maher?

  • Fatty Bolger||

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Wow...thank you.

  • Fluffy||

    Meh. The statement that getting a handjob is preferable to ass-rape seems pretty noncontroversial to me.

    If I fall into the clutches of some Gay Rape Gang and they've got me tied up somewhere, and a giant gay bear guy comes in the room and says, "I came in here to ass-rape you a few times...but I've decided to give you a hand-job instead," I will be grossed out, but I will also be pretty fucking relieved.

  • ||

    I didn't see it as soft pedaling. Sounded to my as if the author was trying to take an objective view of the topic. I didn't see any judgment, just rational discussion of the psychology/sociology/physiology of the act.

    This topic has become SO emotionally charged that discussing it at a rational level produces fear of being labeled a sympathizer or worse, being accused of pedophilia.

    You never hear a conversation on the topic that doesn't include the words "monster" or "evil", even when the charge has yet to be proven. How can you fix/mitigate a problem if you cannot rationally talk about it?

    Okay, serve it up.

  • ||

    *me

    PREVIEW BUTTON...blah...blah...blah

  • Ted S.||

    I suggested in another forum during the Jerry Sandusky foofaraw that it's easier to recover from being sexually abused than it is to recover from being a cadaver. (This was in the context of mentioning the Baylor basketball scandal, which came to light after a murder, and which didn't ignite nearly the hyperventilation that the Penn State scandal did.)

    You wouldn't believe the responses I got. Well, you probably would believe them considering what you wrote in the post above. But so much of the hyperventilating in the Sandusky case was people engaging in moral preening: "Look how viruous I am because of how outraged I am at what happened!"

  • Virginian||

    Eh, insert SLD about "pedophiles" who's crime is sleeping with someone who's 17, and of course free speech and all that.

    But I am perfectly ok with allowing honey badgers to maul anyone who actually has sexual contact with a child.

    Of course the actual incidence of this is very low. But it doesn't feel that way to the moron public, because of CSI and Law and Order SVU and of course Chris Hansen. The media makes people feel like they're surrounded by pedophiles, lurking in the bushes and the trees, ready to pounce on sweet innocent children. Just like if you go by media reports, America has more crime every year, even though its actually been on a three decade decline, with like three years of uptick in between. We're safer now then anytime in the Boomer's lifetime, but people are more worried about crime then ever. Which kind of actually helps the crime rate get lower, due to more vigilance, CCW permits, security systems, etc. But also leads to some retarded panicked behavior.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Romneycare in Massachusetts, laid the groundwork for Obamacare

    Here we go again.

    Please explain how MassCare made Obamacare more likely to happen. If you can't, then you can't say it "laid the groundwork for Obamacare."

    If anything, Mass Care provided a cautionary tale about the negative unintended consequences of that genre of health care reform, a cautionary tale the Dems ignored, of course.

  • Lisa||

    I was going to vote for Romney, then I read this
    http://www.nydailynews.com/new.....bled=false

    “One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.
    “Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like.”

    Dude....all you had to do was promise to repeal Obamacare. That's all. I was going to throw my vote at you.

  • Lisa||

    The worst thing about Obamacare is that it is not socialism....it is fascism, which conveniently allows the government to blame the market for any problems that it causes and then use that as a launching pad for a real socialist healthcare system. If Romney is not going to get rid of all of Obamacare it will just make it easier for Democrats to advocate for more regulation down the road, and they will be able to achieve it faster because they will be that much closer.

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