Thomas Friedman's Evolving Relationship With Democracy

It'll come to you in the next six months.Tom TomorrowThomas Friedman has a history of fantasizing about a more authoritarian political system. "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks," he wrote in 2009. "But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century." In America, by contrast, the enlightened ones faced an obstruction: "the Republican Party is standing, arms folded and saying 'no.'"

Friedman wrote another one of those pieces this week, but this time he gives his fantasy of unchallenged rule a new name: "democracy."

If democracy means anything, it means that, if you are outvoted, you accept the results and prepare for the next election. Republicans are refusing to do that. It shows contempt for the democratic process.

If you can stomach a full course of Friedman, you can read the rest here. The least self-aware moment comes when he complains about "the rise of a separate G.O.P. (and a liberal) media universe" that has allowed politicians to "only operate inside these bubbles." This is a bit rich coming from a pundit whose head disappeared long ago into a Davos-shaped ass. Is there any prominent columnist more guilty of living in a bubble than Thomas Friedman?

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  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    If democracy means anything, it means that, if you are outvoted, you accept the results and prepare for the next election. Republicans are refusing to do that. It shows contempt for the democratic process.

    Unless you're a liberal and are outvoted, at which point the fight for Justice continues.....

  • Brett L||

    Friedman is exactly right, which is why we have a small 'r' republican government.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Damn the Constitution, full steam ahead!

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE

    Tony and Bo Cara Warning!

    TURN BACK NOW

  • Spoonman.||

    A disappointment for a thread where the post contains this:

    This is a bit rich coming from a pundit whose head disappeared long ago into a Davos-shaped ass.
  • Mainer2||

    ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE

    Tony and Bo Cara Warning!

    TURN BACK NOW

    You warned me, but did I listen ?
    And on a Thursday, too.

  • Tony||

    Not a single article on Republican dysfunction--despite this being among a fraction of a percent of news publications not blaming them for the shutdown. Yes clearly Tom Friedman is the real problem.

  • Adam330||

    I think that WaPo, NYtimes, etc. have that angle covered.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Tony||

    Thank you for sourcing my claim?

  • RightNut||

    Wow your fantasy is so strong you can deny direct evidence. Tony we aught to throw you in a zoo so people can marvel at your uncanny abilities.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    That's equivalent to a three possession game! Oh no! The GOP has gone full blown NY Giants!

  • RightNut||

    In Tony's world, this is evidence of the justice of his cause. In the real world its evidence of press bias.

  • Long Range Boredom||

    In Tony's world if you get enough people to say anything it's true.

  • AlexInCT||

    CONSENSUS!

    So it has to be true.....

  • Tony||

    Of course it is.

  • Long Range Boredom||

    This just in, Tony in favour of every majority-driven massacre of history.

  • Tony||

    Of course I am.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|10.3.13 @ 10:25AM|#
    "Not a single article on Republican dysfunction..."

    Yeah, like asking the lying POS to negotiate, that sort of dysfunction.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Well he does have a point. A good thumbnail definition of democracy is "the majority gets to decide what the laws are today, and the minority better shut up if they knows whats good for them".

  • Adam330||

    If democracy means anything, it means that, if you are outvoted, you accept the results and prepare for the next election. Republicans are refusing to do that. It shows contempt for the democratic process.

    1) the Rs won the House, right? Oh yes, that's right, they did.
    2) if that were true, then why even bother sending Rs to congress? Why even bother having a congress?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -the Rs won the House, right? Oh yes, that's right, they did.

    Yes, but an enthusiast of democracy would likely point out that they won it even though garnering a few million less votes overall than the Democrats.

  • Adam330||

    and that matters because?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Because it undercuts your reply?

    If someone is arguing based on the value of democracy it is not a response to point to the results of an election in which the winners got less votes.

  • ||

    If politician A (D) from New York receives 1m votes over his opponent and politician B (R) from Nebraska receives 10k votes over his opponent, you think that means the dems should control the house?

    How does that even make logical sense in your head?

  • KDN||

    Democracy enthusiasts tend to be skeptical of federalism as well. The belief is that the nationwide vote is the only one that matters, if you can't get a majority of that then your victory is not quite legitimate and definitely not democratic.

  • AlexInCT||

    They believe that up until the moment they don't have the majority of votes, then they love the fact that we have a republic and not a majority mob rule.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It makes sense according to the idea that government derives its legitimacy from the will of the people and that will is best ascertained by consent of the majority.

  • Quinn||

    Except the majority spoke in those districts and the will of the people was executed by sending those winners to the house. Democracy was executed in the representative fashion our country runs on. It doesn't matter what people in another district think, in the same way it doesn't matter what those people in another nation think about our presidential election.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Democracy was executed in the representative fashion our country runs on.

    You have proved my point here in your qualifiers. An enthusiast for democracy can rightly say that our system is designed in certain republican and federalist way that does not correctly gauge overall public choice.

  • Quinn||

    And an enthusiast of democracy could argue the presidency does not gauge overall public choice because it is limited only to our nation, but I'm sure we can both agree his decisions have ramifactions that effect those outside of the US. Democracy has worked just as intended, it's just that in this case those outside of the districts do not get a vote on that district.

  • Adam330||

    Are you interpreting Friedman to be calling for a new system of allocating representatives? Because I sure didn't get that.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I am interpreting Friedman as arguing that whoever reflects the overall public choice has a mandate, and simply pointing out that such a person is of course not going to be rebuked by pointing to an election in which the winners had a minority of the public choice. That is all.

    As I have conceded and said from early on a better response to someone like that is to note that under our system legitimate authority does not always come from the side with the most public support.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    An enthusiast for democracy can rightly say that our system is designed in certain republican and federalist way that does not correctly gauge overall public choice.

    So we expel the rule of law and replace it with rule of men. Sounds great.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    They would like for the rule of law and of men (meaning a majority) to be more closely synced, yes. Of course, the same could be said of our Founders relative to the governments they were familiar with at the time.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Our Founders had a proposal that appealed to the primacy of the individual over the collective. That is a great distinction from unbridled democracy.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Locke also believed that any attempt to diminish the power of the legislative body over the executive was tantamount to a state of war and justified rebellion.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Yes, but our Founders may have been more concerned with legislative usurpation, see the talk of the 'legislative vortex' in Federalist 48.

  • ||

    Are you arguing that the two wolves deciding what's for dinner is the best way to do things, or just that that is what a democracy enthusiast would want?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    @Designate

    He's being pedantic. Blue Tulpa indeed.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    What a tiresome rejoinder. How is it 'pedantic' to point out that a certain response is non-responsive to someone?

    Enthusiasts for democracy are bound to find 'but we won the House' to be non-responsive since 'we won the House' with less overall votes, and the entire foundation for the enthusiast for democracy is that systems which gauge the overall popular vote are better. Pointing out that is not a good response to them is hardly 'pedantic' unless you use that term to mean 'arguments that I did not think of but now that it is pointed out I do not care for.'

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    What does "less overall votes" even mean?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It means that of all the votes cast in the nation (since the House makes laws that apply to the nation overall), the side that retained the House got less than the side that is in the minority there.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It means that of all the votes cast in the nation (since the House makes laws that apply to the nation overall), the side that retained the House got less than the side that is in the minority there.

    We don't have a nationally elected House. Is it unfair that 30 of 50 States are governed by Republicans, given that "overall" votes allegedly favored the Democrats?

    I still don't understand how you think it's representative of anything that just because 90% of Philadelphia's voters are Bluetards means they get to choose who represents Kansas in the House.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    And my point is that we do not live in a direct democracy so the question is largely moot. We have a Constitution, we have a Bill of Rights, we have numerous fundamental documents that limit the power of the majority over the individual. That is not direct democracy. The suggestion of overturning that system of rules and checks is tantamount to revolution and stinks of coercion by force.

    The Legislative branch seems to have finally found its spine. Of course the American public will be shocked as it thought Congress had long since become a rubber stamp. A branch of government other than the Executive exercising its authority is practically unheard of in the last 40 years.

    This is a fundamental change in American politics. It may be painful, but that is only because it is long overdue.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    To some extent, both. The democracy enthusiast would, as one might think given the moniker I have hung on them, be much more enthusiastic than me about how great democracy is. I simply think, like Churchill, that is the worst form of government other than every other form (in other words, two wolves deciding to eat the sheep is terrible, but one sheep deciding to eat two wolves is worse).

  • tarran||

    If politician A (D) from New York receives 1m votes over his opponent and politician B (R) from Nebraska receives 10k votes over his opponent, you think that means the dems should control the house?
    It makes sense according to the idea that government derives its legitimacy from the will of the people and that will is best ascertained by consent of the majority

    Actually, it doesn't. Consider the Nebraska vs New York Congressional elections.

    In New York, most of the seats were won by Democrats, and with several seats being won by republicans. I crunched some numbers using Politico as my data source.

    In districts the Democrats won, the Democrats garnered a total of 3,000,506 votes, while the losing Rep candidates received 1,243,123 votes. Conversely, the Republican districts had 786,870 votes cast for Republicans vs 651,992 votes for Democrats.

    In Nebraska, it was a clean sweep, Republicans garnering 483,482 votes to Democrats 264,152 votes to win all three districts.

    In comparing the two, I can argue that the winning Democrats (3,000,506 votes) clearly crush the number of Republican votes (1,507,277), but that ignores the votes cast for losing Democrats and Republicans. When those are factored in, the totals are 3,916,652 votes for D's against 2,513,475 votes for R's.

  • tarran||

    Theoretically speaking, if all districts had identical population sizes, where who you vote for is entirely governed by where you live, the number of reps each party fielded would mirror the population exactly.

    And if political views had no correlation due to geography (the same percentage of people liked D’s vs R’s in ach district nationwide), we would have a single party rule as the dominant party won each district.

    Thus, comparing which set of winners garnered most votes really is a poor proxy for actual popularity.

  • NoVAHockey||

    they didn't get less votes.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Overall they indeed did.

  • NoVAHockey||

    of all the lefty memes out there, this might be the most insipid

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Popular vote totals for each party for Senate in 2012 can be found here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.....ions,_2012

    Same for House:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.....ions,_2012

    I assume you do not need the Presidential listed.

  • NoVAHockey||

    funny, my scoreboard shows
    232, 200, 3

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    How silly of you. From the start I have been talking about overall popular vote.

  • NoVAHockey||

    which is meaningless. that's my point. it's meaningless

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Golly, it's almost like we set up a system so that population centers like NYC and such can't dictate who is going to represent the people of let's say Kansas.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Indeed. And that is a system that Friedman and Tony are going to think is wrong because it is not truly democratic. So how silly is it to answer them when they say the President the President should be followed here because he better reflects the will of the people by saying 'well, the House won their elections!'

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I must have missed the part where we said that democracy = majoritarianism.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Overall popular vote is not our system.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Popular vote totals for each party for Senate in 2012

    Who gives a flying fuck about the Senate when the subject is the House?

  • #||

    It's tough to make national totals though for the House. Because the parties don't chalange every district. In addition, in the districs that arent winnable but a token chalanger is put up anyway, those candidates tend to more reflect their districts than the national parties - meaning conservtaive dems tend to run in longshot gop districts, and liberal republicans tend to run in long shot dem ones. So I get what your saying, but as long as the totals arent anywhere close, its tough to compare national house votes.

  • Adam330||

    We have a systems of allocating representatives that depends on geography. The national vote is meaningless in our system. Any system of representation has to have some sort of method of allocating representatives that will not match the pure vote of the entire populace. The system is still democratic.

  • AlexInCT||

    "Because it undercuts your reply?

    Methinks someone needs a lesson in civics and how this republic - not a traditional democracy, where the mob rules and forces the minority to do whatever they want - was set up to make sure all states got proper representation instead of just the more populous ones picking the winners all the time.

    It’s not an accident that liberals always pine for the more authoritarian types of government when they have power. Totalitarianism is embedded deep in their psyche. For our own good, they will tell you though. Bipartisanship and negotiations to the left mean do what we want/say.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    If these fellows are going to advocate winner-takes-all democracy, they should acknowledge that other countries with such a system have a virtually all-powerful lower legislative house whose leaders become the executive. Which would make Boehner Prime Minister.

    So by Friedman's standards, it's Obama and the senate defying the Will of the People (TM) by refusing to bow to the all-powerful lower house.

    Since I don't accept his premise, of course, I don't accept such a conclusion.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    But again, they would simply point out that the way our lower house works the winners can, and in this instance did, get less of the overall votes.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The same thing can happen with the Presidential election. Certainly with Senate elections. The House remains the more democratic body - the whole number is up for re-election every two years.

    The Constitution does not know anything of overall national votes, only votes in particular areas - states and Congressional districts.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    That proves my point.

    Remember when Bush won with less popular votes than Gore? How silly would it be to say 'the people have spoken so Bush has a mandate'?

  • Brett L||

    Bo, 434 of the Electoral College votes are apportioned by population. Total number of voters in a presidential election has little to do with the will of the people.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    That's a defect of *any* parliamentary system. The ruling party never gets a majority of the voters, many of whom "throw their votes away" on third parties and others of whom send a distinct political message by staying home.

    The parliamentary system, I contend, is in the real world the very embodiment of the winner-take-all principle, assuming that people like Friedman are actually interested in democracy and not in sneaking Chinese-style dictatorship into the constitution.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It's a good fucking thing we don't live in a democracy then, isn't it Bo?

    Honestly, this may be one of your dumbest arguments yet.

    Blue Tulpa!

  • Lady Bertrum||

    He is pure pedantry.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    What is funny is that I have said the exact same thing as you are saying now before you said it (see my discussion with John Thacker, infra).

  • Brandon||

    Jesus christ, you pedantic twat, it's "fewer" of the overall votes. If you're going to be a pedant, you at least need to be correct.

  • robc||

    A true enthusiast would also point out that the Ds failed to break 50% of the vote, so they wouldnt have a majority anyway.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -the Ds failed to break 50% of the vote

    For what branch? Cite?

  • Brett L||

    Any branch. The voter participation rate rarely reaches 60% of eligible voters, so you'd have to win 84% of all voters in a 60% participation election to have your 50%+1 "will of the people"

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Oh, I see. That is an interesting point, but I am talking about of votes cast.

  • robc||

    So was I.

    For the House, the Dems had 48% and the GOP 46%.

  • Adam330||

    Why are you throwing in that rule? Certainly "will of the people" means all of the people, not just those that vote, right?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Good point. If anything, the fact that the majority of people don't vote means we should heed their call and not have a government.

  • Libertymike||

    Congratulations, you have just won the Price is Right Showcase!

    Come on down!

  • Enough About Palin||

    ^^^^THIS^^^^

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Certainly "will of the people" means all of the people, not just those that vote, right?

    Contrary to certainly I would think that it rather obviously does not mean that, as long as everyone was free to vote.

  • Brett L||

    But the underlying assumption Friedman argues from is that the results would be the same if the consequences were different, which is a poor assumption as it has never been true.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    A true enthusiast might also point out that public support for Obamacare is only at 37% while opposition is at 42%

  • ||

    Guess it's a good thing we aren't a straight democracy then.

    Also, just because politicians from NY and CA are able to garner a crap ton of votes, since republicans are practically non-existent in those states, doesn't mean they should have taken over the House.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Well, if you value reflecting the overall popular will more than other concerns, then yes that is what it means.

    But your first point is the better answer to people who feel that way.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Well, if you value reflecting the overall popular will more than other concerns, then yes that is what it means.

    Uhhh, What libertarian in their right mind values popular will over other concerns?

    Just repeating, we're a republic by intentional design, not a pure democracy.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You can be a libertarian and still hold to democracy as a 'meta-value.' I want libertarian policies enacted but I would not favor installing them in an authoritarian way.

    Similarly, a person can be a Christian but think forced, but real, conversions are a bad thing (even though the result is everyone gets saved).

  • Lady Bertrum||

    "meta-value" as you're using it here is meaningless. We already have an articulated structure for our democracy. If you think this structure is undemocratic - fine, but then you better offer a structure that specifies how you'd like it to be more democratic and get others to agree with the change. Good luck with that.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -We already have an articulated structure for our democracy. If you think this structure is undemocratic

    This is all I am saying (and I am not saying so much as pointing out that people like Tony and Friedman likely hold this view and that pointing out that our election results for the House are not going to rebuke them since they see those results, with some good reason, as falling short of the value their entire argument rests upon).

  • Lady Bertrum||

    And why would a libertarian indulge this bastardization of the Constitution? Why would we legitimize their argument by engaging it rather than pointing out the gross stupidity?

    This is the time when we get to say FYTW. We are a constitutional republic - fuck you, that's why.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -We are a constitutional republic - fuck you, that's why.

    Yes, as I have said from early on in this discussion that (vulgarities aside) is a much better answer than 'if you think democracy is so great then look, we won the House!'

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    *THAT* was your only point, Bo? What a waste.

  • Libertymike||

    No, you guys got to flex some intellectual muscles. Isn't that good?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    "meta-value" as you're using it here is meaningless. We already have an articulated structure for our democracy. If you think this structure is undemocratic - fine, but then you better offer a structure that specifies how you'd like it to be more democratic and get others to agree with the change. Good luck with that.

  • kbolino||

    Well, if you value reflecting the overall popular will more than other concerns, then yes that is what it means.

    You assume without proof that the election that was conducted represents an expression of that popular will despite not being structured to do so. If the electoral process were conducted differently, the outcome would change. You cannot say that a system which is not designed to poll the national polity at large can be shoehorned into that purpose after the fact.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Perhaps it would be different, but we have what we have, and it is from that which proponents of democracy argue, pointing out that under our current structure the loser got more popular votes.

  • robc||

    No, the loser lost his district.

    We aint voting for parties but for individuals, so its stupid to assume that a guy for votes for a D or an R in his district wants that party to win the congress.

  • kbolino||

    under our current structure the loser got more popular votes.

    And the AFC can get more wins and still lose the Super Bowl, so what exactly is your point?

    The system as structured is not meant as a poll of the national polity; you cannot add up a bunch of numbers and magically claim that it becomes one.

  • Libertymike||

    Careful, Zeb does not want any football posts.

  • JWatts||

    Yes, but an enthusiast of democracy would likely point out that they won it even though garnering a few million less votes overall than the Democrats.

    You've heard of the Constitution, right? Or more pointedly, RTFM.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Ah shit, man. That's lame Bo. Up here in Canada know how the left spun when they lost the election to the evil Harper? Two-thirds of Canadians didn't vote for him ergo he must listen to them! In their minds, that's a majority.

    Of course, it exposes them for the lying, misleading, ignorance assholes that they are since that's how our Parliamentary system functions. A Prime Minister gets a majority with 30% of the vote. It's been that way since the founding of the country. All of a sudden, it's a problem!

    But the left is so incredibly shrill and irrational they feel entitled to changing things on a whim without much merit.

    Vacuous and illogical indeed.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    "ignorant" and "majority GOVERNMENT."

  • John||

    f democracy means anything, it means that, if you are outvoted, you accept the results and prepare for the next election.

    Yeah because those House elections are not really Democracy. The only person who has any kind of Democratic legitimacy is dear leader. That is classic Friedman. He takes an assumption which is on its face true (that in order to have a Democracy the losing party has to accept that they lost) and then applies in a completely idiotic way (in this case that that principle means that the entire check and balance system is now moot). It amazes me how people this stupid and mendacious are given such big soap boxes.

  • Tony||

    But did you hear about how the Republicans shut down the US government, embarrassing the country in the eyes of the entire world, because they can't get the votes to repeal a law about healthcare?

  • sarcasmic||

    But did you hear about how the Republicans Democrats shut down the US government, embarrassing the country in the eyes of the entire world, because they can't get the votes to repeal a law about healthcare absolutely refuse to compromise with their political opponents?

    ftfy

  • Lord Humungus||

    ohnoez, not embarrassed in front of the world!

  • RightNut||

    Red, white, and blue underwear was revealed to all.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm not the least bit embarrassed. I mean, really, what's the big deal? Still operational, and our debt problems transcend the budget, which, incidentally, both parties are doing wrong by this CR nonsense.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'd actually be embarrassed if they had said "fuck it, spend whatever the hell you want".

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, that's about it.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Our inability to spend less than we generate in revenue is more of an embarrassment than this.

  • RightNut||

    Or Putin teabagging Obama on Syria.

  • Hugh Akston||

    That was hilarious.

  • Brian||

    I would be embarrassed by our government. If I bought the lie that they actually represent me in any way.

    Sorry, but Joe Biden doesn't speak for me.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, the House has absolute power when it comes to the purse. On purpose:

    The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.

    --The Federalist Papers: No. 58 (Madison)
  • Ken Shultz||

    You're quoting the Federalist Papers to Tony?

    Tony, apparently, couldn't pass a high school civics exam.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, I don't bother engaging the silly. I just wanted to throw that out there for people who don't get that the House can do what the fuck it wants to do with the budget.

    What's funny here is that the president thinks he's got the upper hand. His non-negotiation yesterday shows that, not to mention everything else he's done. But he's totally wrong. If the House is willing to take the political gamble (which I think really isn't that much of a gamble) to see this through, there is nothing the president can do to stop them.

  • Tony||

    See what through to where? Democrats are probably happy letting the shutdown drag on for days as people continue to blame Republicans for it.

    Let me repeat: Most congressional Republicans are terrified at what is going on because they know it is disastrous for their party. Most congressional Republicans are being more critical of their own party than you idiots or this website.

    Furthermore, their erstwhile friends on Wall Street are asking the president to take extraordinary unilateral actions to prevent the tea party from sending the global economy into recession by not raising the debt ceiling.

  • RightNut||

    their erstwhile friends on Wall Street

    Wall Street has been supporting Democrats for at least the last decade. I know that fact is probably uncomfortable for you considering your class warfare view of the world.

  • Brian||

    It's always strange that democrats whine about trickle down economics. Then, the next thing you know, policy must be dictated by Wall Street bankers or we all die.

    Not exactly the spirit of Occupy Wall Street, but OK.

  • Adam330||

    According to the prevailing media narrative, everyone blamed the Rs for the 1995 shutdown too. But then they retained their majority in 1996.

  • tarran||

    Furthermore, their the, Democratic and Republican Parties' establishments' erstwhile friends on Wall Street are asking the president to take extraordinary unilateral actions to prevent the tea party from sending the global economy into recession by not raising the debt ceiling bursting the inflationary Bush-Obama asset bubble before they can come up with a way to socialize the paper losses by passing them on to taxpayers.

    Fixed it for ya Tonykins! ;)

  • Ken Shultz||

    "But he's totally wrong. If the House is willing to take the political gamble (which I think really isn't that much of a gamble) to see this through, there is nothing the president can do to stop them."

    I think the Republicans will cave in the end for strategic reasons. They do have to appeal to swing voters in their districts...

    But you're absolutely right.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm sure they will. But I think they need to do this long enough to remind the Senate and the president just who controls the purse in our system.

  • Tony||

    Doing major harm to the Republican party in order to teach Democrats what they already know? Smart.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Doing major harm assumes facts not in evidence

  • Tony||

    Okay. So it is House Republicans' fault the government is shut down. I'm glad you cleared that up for everyone.

  • DJF||

    And I for one have not noticed any change in my life.

  • Adam330||

    And they have the absolute right to do what they are doing. It's not hostage taking in any sense. Glad you agree.

  • Tony||

    If you're suggesting this is remotely regular order, you're mistaken.

    The hostage has already been shot. Hundreds of thousands of people's paychecks have been taken away. If Democrats were doing this exact same thing this board would look a hell of a lot different, and that is what is upsetting me. You guys are defending tea party Republicans more than their Republican colleagues are. They should know whether this is bad for them, shouldn't they?

  • Adam330||

    So you admit they have the right to do this, but it's still hostage taking because some third parties get hurt (likely only temporarily)? It's wrong to use a pressure tactic in negotiation if an innocent third party will be hurt?

  • Tony||

    Frankly I don't give a damn. The real disaster is the debt ceiling. In a way the shutdown bodes well--Boehner may be going out on a limb on this fight so he can free himself for the debt ceiling fight.

  • Adam330||

    Way to avoid the question. I assume you finally figured out where your logic leads.

  • KDN||

    The hostage has already been shot. Hundreds of thousands of people's paychecks have been taken away. If Democrats were doing this exact same thing this board would look a hell of a lot different, and that is what is upsetting me.

    Wait, this board would be upset if the government were shut down and federal employees weren't being paid for work they weren't doing? Huh? You need to speak to your previous handler and clarify just exactly the types of people that post here.

    It really shouldn't be shocking that we're defending TP Republicans on this even more than standard R's do; on fiscal matters libertarians agree with the Tea Party far more than they agree with the go-along-to-get-along DC establishment. It's not exactly a secret, you blockhead.

  • Hopfiend||

    Frankly it would depend why. I only have loyalty to any party where their interests and mine coincide. In this case, the healthcare law isn't in my interests and I have no desire to see it become the regular order.

  • ||

    You do realize that those paychecks are paid with money the government extracts from you for the privilege of supporting your family right?

  • Brian||

    Hundreds of thousands of people's paychecks have been taken away.

    The only people I feel really sorry for are the people so naive and ignorant that they actually believe that going on the government dole means unassailable security for all future time.

    Only with the government do we pretend as if scarcity doesn't exist, and that future political leaders will consider themselves bound by previous political leaders for all future time.

    It's hypocrisy to put a legislature between yourself and your paycheck, and then whine and complain when the legislature turns it off. If legislating is so wonderful, then learn to love it. Otherwise, you're just being a spoiled brat, right?

  • Brandon||

    Tony is just throwing a fit because he's afraid his welfare check might be delayed.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.

    This quote should be the reply for the GOP when attacked for their current strategy. They have the House, it is the most immediate representatives of the People (being elected every two years), and a majority of Americans see Obamacare as a grievance. They are simply using the most complete and effectual weapon which has been placed in their arsenal for that purpose.

  • Tony||

    A large majority of Americans did not want a government shutdown for the purposes of attempting to get rid of the ACA.

    It's a law. The way you get rid of it is to get the votes to repeal it. Stop justifying this behavior. Nobody else is, not even most congressional Republicans.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    A majority of Americans see Obamacare as a grievance (rightly so in my opinion, but I realize you disagree). The polling you cite merely shows that while they do so they disagree with the House using the most potent weapon available to them to redress that grievance.

  • Tony||

    There are a lot of things Americans dislike a lot more than the ACA. Should this attempt at extraconstitutional legislating be used for every single one of those? Or how about every single priority of the Republican party, while we're at it?

    Do the Federalist Papers justify defaulting on the national debt too?

    You're a smart guy. You are defending Republican behavior more than Congressional Republicans are. Why?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Do the Federalist Papers justify defaulting on the national debt too?"

    I suppose Obama could use his executive powers to prioritize debt payments over, say, Lois Lerner's salary and those subsidized phones I heard advertised on the radio recently.

    I mean, if (as your ilk said during the last crisis) Obama has the power to issue bonds under the 14th Amendment to avoid default, surely he has the lesser power of prioritizing govt spending.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Pelosi said that there's nothing left to cut.

    Everything is first priority.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Pelosi also said we had to pass it to find out what was in it. Now that everyone has a better idea of what's in it, most don't like it.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Tony, the Democrats entertained the idea of using the power of the purse to end the Iraq War back in 2006 or 7. They did this even though Bush defeated Gore in 04. If the Democrats had had the spine to do this would they have been taking the government hostage (or perhaps better said 'the troops hostage)?

  • sarcasmic||

    Tony, the Democrats entertained the idea of using the power of the purse to end the Iraq War back in 2006 or 7. They did this even though Bush defeated Gore in 04. If the Democrats had had the spine to do this would they have been taking the government hostage (or perhaps better said 'the troops hostage)?

    No. It would have been the fault of the Republicans for not accepting what the Democrats want. It's always the Republicans' fault.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    With all due respect, this comes off as whiny victimhood. Oh, when will the mean media stop picking on us Republicans!?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Who wants them to stop picking on Republicans? Not I, certainly. How about we start with them not carrying water for the Democrats, and they can't, just getting rid of any pretense of objectivity?

  • sarcasmic||

    With all due respect, this comes off as whiny victimhood.

    It's whiny victimhood to point out an obvious double standard? Sure. OK. Whatever.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    To constantly harp on it and blame if for one's failures, yes, that is the essence of whiny victimhood.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It isn't whiny victimhood when it's factual.

    Have you told minorities to stop complaining about Stop and Frisk yet?

  • sarcasmic||

    To constantly harp on it and blame if for one's failures

    You make wonderful rebuttals to arguments that nobody is making.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Do the Federalist Papers justify defaulting on the national debt too?

    And this is another demo lie.

    Not raising the debt ceiling does not mean defaulting on the debt. The meme is utter crap - if the only way to continue paying our debts is by borrowing more then we are bankrupt and just refuse to acknowledge it.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    The debt ceiling is also a law.

  • Jordan||

    The way you get rid of it is to get the votes to repeal it.

    Obviously not.

  • Adam330||

    They are quite obviously attempting to get the votes to repeal it. Getting votes often takes applying pressure, and that's what they are doing. You may think it won't work, and maybe it won't, but they are in fact trying to get the votes to repeal it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I thought they were trying to suspend it for a year, not repeal it.

    That's obviously out of bounds, because only Obama gets to delay the effective date of Obamacare, not the legislative bodies which passed the law in the first place.

  • Tony||

    Oh they have the votes in the House--they've successfully voted some 40 times to repeal. What they don't have are votes in the Senate or a president willing to repeal a law with his own name on it.

  • KDN||

    What they don't have are votes in the Senate or a president willing to repeal a law with his own name on it.

    So we're all fucked because Obama's an egomaniac and the Senate is his rubber stamp. plus ça change.

  • Tony||

    None of that should be remotely surprising.

  • RightNut||

    Didn't the Democrats try to end the Iraq war by defunding it? I don't see how this is any different.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's totally different because, uh, OMG Bush lied kids died!!!

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Harry Reid on helping kids with cancer: "Why would we want to do that?"

  • RightNut||

    Harry Reid was for the chilldrenz before he was against them.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Given that the Republicans' overall strategy may be faulty, the way their doing it is almost non-stupid. Disrespecting a CNN reporter for daring to turn Reid's "kids with cancer" talking point back on him - that should be put all over the media, especially media aimed at women (since the reporter was a woman asking a question about sick children).

    Why do Reid and the Dems bite the hand that feeds them? The media are willing to be their lapdogs, but the Dems tap the media, prosecute whistleblowers, and disrespect CNN reporters openly. Are the media such cheap dates? Will they ever get alienated from the Dems, if only for self-interested reasons?

  • RightNut||

    Reid also turned around and questioned the CNN reporters intelligence for daring to ask that question. Reid later blamed the whole debacle on Republicans.

  • Rasilio||

    Hmm, the Republicans want to cut spending*, shutting down the government cuts spending.

    I'm failing to see a downside to this for them.

    * = yes, I know the Republican establishment doesn't really have any interest in cutting spending but the Tea Party wing and the bulk of their base does and right now they are calling the shots

  • Tony||

    Shutting down the government actually costs money, it doesn't save it.

    Appropriations laws are what change spending levels.

  • Hopfiend||

    This is true and for the record I think that the shutdown is horrid politics. It falls into the category of a "don't be right...and dumb" move. The coverage will never be straight and the people who need convincing aren't the people who already agree with you. It is the truly apolitical people who have their opinions shaped by the more attentive (but not necessarily smarter) people they work with, play flag football with, drink with. So yea, this doesn't end well for the R party, which means in this instance it doesn't end well for individual liberty, or fiscal restraint.

    However, that doesn't do anything to alter the real culpability argument. Just means it is actually a bad political play.

  • KDN||

    Shutting down the government actually costs money, it doesn't save it.

    Assuming this is true, that means our government is too incompetent to even shut down properly. And this is the group you and your ilk trust to oversee an ever increasing share of society, the vehicle through which human civilization is supposed to advance.

    Don't you ever think that maybe all the things you want them to do might be a little bit beyond their capabilities?

  • RightNut||

    Shutting down the government actually costs money, it doesn't save it.

    Just further proof that the FedGov is so bloated that even stopping and starting up again requires thousands of man-hours.

  • np||

    Madison got two things wrong though:
    - that it would be used to reduce overgrown branches of government, when in fact, the opposite has occurred
    - that this constraint of the government can come by obtaining a redress of every grievance aka "do something"

  • Ken Shultz||

    Oh, noes! The legislators are fighting over what to fund and what not to fund?

    What do you imagine the job of a legislator to be? Do you think their job is to support whatever the president wants?

    You do, don't you--you sock puppet.

  • Tony||

    The president and Democrats do not want the spending levels in the "clean CR." Even offering to go along with that is a major concession.

    House Republicans are not legislating, they are throwing a tantrum. As many House and Senate Republicans (but not reason magazine!) will tell you.

  • sarcasmic||

    The only tantrum being thrown is by the Democrats who absolutely refuse to compromise because they must have their way their way not fair not fair not fair!

  • Tony||

    You don't know what you're talking about because you don't have the capacity to think beyond the level of slogans.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "You don't know what you're talking about because you don't have the capacity to think beyond the level of slogans."

    Has there ever been better example of projection in the history of Hit & Run?

  • sarcasmic||

    Has there ever been better example of projection in the history of Hit & Run?

    I don't think so.

  • sarcasmic||

    Textbook ad hominem! Keep fellating those fallacies Mister Distinction-Challenged Tony!

  • Numeromancer||

    @sarcasmic: you're standing in the projection of Tony's shadow; that's why it looks like he's talking to you.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    House Republicans are not legislating, they are throwing a tantrum.

    And the Democrats are acting like real adults. Tony, you make me laugh.

  • Almanian!||

    House Republicans The President and the Democrat-dominated Senate are not legislating, they are throwing a tantrum.

    We can do this alllllll day, Choney.

  • Tony||

    You mean you can suck Republican cock all day? Go right ahead. Why the fuck would I mind you constantly proving me right about how Republican you guys actually are?

  • Ken Shultz||

    You're disgusting.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "You're disgusting."

    That was to Tony, by the way.

    Damn threaded comments.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tony is launching the personal attacks quite early. He's lost before he's even out of the gate.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Using this logic one could note that the personal attacks on Tony seemed to come before any by him.

  • Long Range Boredom||

    Homophobic scum.

  • fish||

    ...suck Republican cock all day?

    Keep your closet republican fetish on the down low T h o c k p u p p e t.

  • Adam330||

    The president and Democrats do not want the spending levels in the "clean CR." Even offering to go along with that is a major concession.

    CRs always use the prior years' spending levels. That's the whole point- they are a stopgap until the levels for the next year are agreed on.

  • fish||

    But did you hear about how the Republicans shut down the US government, embarrassing the country in the eyes of the entire world, because they can't get the votes to repeal a law about healthcare?

    I guess you had better start winning house seats then so you never have to feel embarrassed again....I mean other than all that other embarrassing TEAM BLUE nonsense.

  • cavalier973||

    I don't feel embarrassed. What do I care what the world thinks?

    It's like someone who successfully performs open heart surgery being "ridiculed" by people who believe in faith healing. Why should the surgeon even care?

  • Long Range Boredom||

    In the same way that your self-worth should not come from other people, the self-worth of a nation should not come from what is seen as embarrassing. And once again Tony, continue to push that delusional worldview. Somehow I think that if this were a Republican executive refusing to compromise with Democrats standing their ground you'd praise them as 'fighting the injustices of a fascist political system'.

  • Jordan||

    I love the people who talk about "OH NOEZ TEH EMBARRASSMENT!" If you weren't ashamed of the U.S. government starting a long time ago, then you are a moron. Evidently, running roughshod on privacy and murdering people at will all over the globe isn't a big deal.

  • Brian||

    They think a government gets respect when it's really powerful and forcing it's way on everyone.

    So, yes, when the government shuts down, that's bad. When Obama tosses Putin's salad, that's bad. But, when we invade Syria, that's presidential and awesome. When we drone someone, that's efficient. When we raise a debt ceiling, that's responsibility.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Oh fuck, we're not an absolute authoritarian shithole yet. Get on it people, we've got individual rights to trample!

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Huh? The government is shut down?

  • RightNut||

    What you didn't notice the lack of roadz?!

  • Lady Bertrum||

    You keep repeating the part about embarrassing the country in the eyes of the entire world. That comment in itself is cringe-worthy. Because the rest of the world is so impressive? Who are you embarrassed in front of? The Europeans? Really?

    You sound like an insecure teen embarrassed he's not wearing the right sneakers.

    Why should we be embarrassed about engaging in aggressive political competition within the confines of our constitution without shooting or gassing each other?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Why should we be embarrassed about engaging in aggressive political competition within the confines of our constitution without shooting or gassing each other?

    We're not living up to the standards of Tony's political heroes.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Because we don't have teh free healthcare? We are fucking barbarians.

  • Juice||

    It's a silly thing to worry about, especially when you see scenes of parliaments around the world breaking out into fisticuffs.

  • Mainer2||

    Where's Preston Brooks when you need him ?

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    There it is. In front of the entire world. Yes, because the world has something to sneer at. But Armenia thinks and Uganda says and China believes! Bah.

    BUT, Obama's failure with Syria, Benghazi and the IRS has no impact on world opinion.

    I monitor world opinion through the papers. Lemme tell ya Tony, they're talking more about the three issues I mentioned than the shutdown.

  • CatoTheElder||

    If Friedman actually believes that his articles are grounded in reality and reason, he certainly is stupid.

    I am not sure that Friedman is stupid. He certainly does believe that his readers are both historically ignorant and cognitively impaired. Since he does have a fairly large following among NYT Progressives, he is correct.

    Progressives love it when their "intellectuals" pose such novel, sophomoronic (intentionally misspelled) arguments that propose ever more totalitarian government. The Progressive is typically capable of understanding the sophomoronic argument; however, since he is incapable of understanding the devastating counter-argument because of his historical ignorance, lack of intelligence, or prejudice, the Progressive knows that his opponents are either evil or stupid.

    Friedman probably just writes this nonsense to titillate his target audience.

  • ||

    This from the guy that really got me turned on to the idea of free trade and globalization...I even wrote him an email asking why he was shilling for the big O in 2008 after his anti-free trade votes on Colombia. Sad really, how far some of these once great thinkers have stooped to their knees in the face of our Messiah who art in the WH. Krugman even, had been known to make sense, once..

  • Protagoronus||

    That was back when he did research and was expected to support his positions.

  • rts||

    If democracy means anything, it means that, if you are outvoted, you accept the results and prepare for the next election.

    Right. The Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives. Accept the results and prepare for the next election.

    There are a disturbing number of Americans who believe (for the moment, mind you) that the Executive is the be-all and end-all.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Even if you look at just the Senate and accept the results of the most recent elections, the results are that the Republicans have 45 seats in the Senate and get to use those seats as they wish.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Evidently, many Americans would prefer to just elect or re-elect a dictator every few years, and that the role of the House is to rubber-stamp whatever he proposes (that, and fluff like declaring October 3 National Poetry Day and conducting cover-up investigations of government misconduct).

    If that is indeed what Friedman and his ilk want, there is a democratic process for that too: a constitutional convention.

  • sarcasmic||

    Is there any prominent columnist more guilty of living in a bubble than Thomas Friedman?

    Krugnuts?

  • fish||

    Winner!

    Try something challenging next time.

  • cavalier973||

    I would add Sean Hannity, even though I agree with a lot of what Sean purports to believe (limited gov't and such).

  • Jesse Walker||

    Does Hannity have a column? I just think of him as a radio and TV host.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't think he does. And I prefer not to think of him at all.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Indeed, I am fairly confident Sean Hannity cannot write.

  • sarcasmic||

    You're a great American.

  • Spoonman.||

    Hannity's column's editor is his hair. Sometimes it calls up Rick Perry's hair for consultation.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You know, Romney also had a ballyhooed immaculate coif. Perhaps this is a trend among Republicans.

  • cavalier973||

    This doesn't explain Donald Trump, though.

  • sarcasmic||

    Nothing can explain Donald Trump.

  • cavalier973||

    Yeah, you're probably right about that. I was broadening the category in my subconscious from "columnist" to "media personage".

    Stupid subconscious...

  • Almanian!||

    My thoughts as well.

    Paulie - FTW

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I would argue that David Brooks and/or David Frum give Paulie a run for his money (pun intended).

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I would have said Bubble Boy but I don't think he was a columnist. Not that it matters.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "If democracy means anything, it means that, if you are outvoted, you accept the results and prepare for the next election."

    If the Republicans holding the House means anything, it means Democrats were outvoted, and they need to accept the results and prepare for the next election.

    Incidentally, if "having rights" means anything, it means we have them regardless of who won the last popularity contest, too.

  • Tony||

    Actually Republicans were outvoted but because of redistricting retained the majority.

    If there is a national mandate for either party it is with the Democrats. The only election that measures the will of the entire national electorate is the presidential. He won despite the ACA. The proper way of doing this is for Republicans to attempt to win next time to the extent that they get the votes in Congress and a president willing to sign a repeal. Republicans cheating their way to a majority in the House doesn't mean they get whatever they want. If you're confused about this I refer you to 5th grade civics. There are enough votes in both houses to pass a clean CR. The only person who can make that vote happen is John Boehner.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Tony, you can try and devise excuses but the fact is the Republicans hold a majority in the House. They are in charge of the purse strings. Like it or not, what they are doing is exactly what the division of power was devised to accomplish.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Call Obama's bluff I say.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Actually Republicans were outvoted but because of redistricting retained the majority."

    This is so full of stupid, there's no reason to go any further down that path.

    "If there is a national mandate for either party it is with the Democrats."

    This is ObamaCult babble.

    There is no "mandate" beyond the powers given to each branch of government.

    "The only election that measures the will of the entire national electorate is the presidential."

    Actually, about half of the house is up for election every two years.

    "He won despite the ACA."

    At least you admit that ObamaCare was unpopular. Has it sunk it yet that it remained so?

    How can someone have a popular mandate to do something like ObamaCare that remains so unpopular?

    I guess those kinds of rationalizations are unnecessary in TonyWorld.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Tony: ObamaCare may be unpopular, but he has a popular mandate to do it!

    Ken: LOL

  • robc||

    All of the House is up for election every two years?

    That is much more than "about half".

  • Ken Shultz||

    Pardon me.

    Thank you.

  • Tony||

    This is so full of stupid, there's no reason to go any further down that path.

    It's 100% true. House Democrats got over a million more votes than House Republicans. Why don't you invent some novel excuse for why the House isn't meant to be representative of the people?

    Actually, about half of the house is up for election every two years.

    The entire House is up for election every two years, but those are all local elections. Nevertheless the House makes national policy. Right now they are responding to the wishes of something like 20% of the people for one reason only: John Boehner doesn't want to lose his speakership.

    How can someone have a popular mandate to do something like ObamaCare that remains so unpopular?

    Because unlike rightwing morons who have no other ideas, it's not the number one priority of most Americans. They reelected Obama despite an entire campaign run on how his healthcare law is the apocalypse.

    Look if Republicans in Congress can get the votes to repeal the law, they are entitled to do that. But they don't have the votes. They don't have the senate and they don't have the White House. That means they can't repeal the law right now, period. If Democrats were shutting down the government because they couldn't a get gun control law passed, how would you feel about that?

  • John Thacker||

    It's 100% true. House Democrats got over a million more votes than House Republicans.

    That part is true, but that doesn't mean that the Democrats would have had a majority with fairly drawn or compact districts, unless you define "fairly drawn" to mean "achieves proportional representation," which would require some really strange looking districts in some states.

    You especially can't do it if you maintain the Voting Rights Act bias towards majority-minority districts, since those pack Democratic Party voters.

    Under Nate Silver's projections and uniform swing assumptions, Obama would have won the Presidency even if Romney had won the popular vote 51-49%. That doesn't mean that the shapes of US states are "gerrymandered."

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    John, an enthusiast for democracy could well answer that the geography of districts is far less important than that they reflect the popular sentiment of the people overall, so I do not think that rebuts Tony or Friedman's view.

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    under that theory Baylor is the number 1 football team in the nation.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    ?

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    Baylor has outscored their opponents 209-23, the biggest spread in football.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If points scored in a football game were analogous to overall votes garnered in an election you would be on to something, perhaps. For an enthusiast of democracy the entire point of the 'game' should be the popular vote. A better analogy is they would argue that whoever scored the most points at the end of the game should be the winner while the other side argues that whoever won the most quarters should win.

  • robc||

    But is the "game" a season or the individual contests?

    We could take to the NFL playoffs the 12 teams with the largest PF-PA difference.

    It would be "legitimate", but stupid.

    And its apparently how some Quiditch leagues work.

  • JWatts||

    John, an enthusiast for democracy could well answer that the geography of districts is far less important than that they reflect the popular sentiment of the people overall, so I do not think that rebuts Tony or Friedman's view.

    Yes, but we live in a Republic. This specific issue was hashed out over 200 years ago. It's how our system was explicitly designed from the ground up.

  • robc||

    Why dont you just answer for yourself?

    This is why people call you a concern troll.

  • Swiss Servator, Kneel to Zug!||

    "Blue Tulpa" fits better and better every day.

  • John Thacker||

    Kevin Drum in Mother Jones:

    Gerrymandering Not as Big a Deal as You Think

    lays it out. Would you at least read that source, on your side, with an open mind? Or will you ignore the science and facts when they don't agree with your assumptions?

  • Tony||

    I get that. I read that a year ago. That doesn't mean it's not undemocratic when more people vote for one party but the other party gets the majority in the alleged most democratic branch of the federal government.

    I'm for total proportional representation in the house as well as abolishing the senate and the electoral college.

  • John Thacker||

    Which means, if I understand, that you agree that the Republicans had a mandate after 2010, but naturally you weren't going to advise the Democrats to fail to use what power they had.

  • Tony||

    I am not advising Republicans to do anything differently from what they're doing. It's the best possible scenario for my party.

    I'm advising libertarians to stop sucking on Republican penises.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    We aren't a parliamentary system. No one voted for a party.

  • robc||


    We aren't a parliamentary system. No one voted for a party.

    THIS 47-thousand times over.

  • JWatts||

    I'm for total proportional representation in the house as well as abolishing the senate and the electoral college.

    Translation: I'm for completely abolishing the Constitution, because it's getting in the way of Progressive ideology.

  • Tony||

    None of what is happening remotely resembles the constitution's intended procedure.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You're right. We wouldn't have to shutdown the government because it wouldn't be anywhere near this big.

  • JWatts||

    None of what is happening remotely resembles the constitution's intended procedure.

    The intended procedure was for the House to debate and create a budget and send it to the Senate for a Vote and then to the WH for the President's signature.

    If it failed to get a sufficient vote, then the House would need to debate some more and then send a modified budget to the Senate to repeat the process.

    That's exactly what is happening here. You just don't like the results.

  • Tony||

    Actually that's exactly what is not happening here. The senate pushed for a conference back in March. House Republicans have refused since then. Now they won't even bring a CR to the floor that has sufficient votes to pass. The constitution does not have a provision for shutting down the government as a legislative tactic.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Now they won't even bring a CR to the floor that has sufficient votes to pass.

    Another way to phrase this is: The Democrats refuse to vote for any CR the Republicans put up.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I'm for total proportional representation in the house as well as abolishing the senate and the electoral college.

    Then why don't you go ahead and get that done, Sweety?

    I'm sure a Constitutional amendment is totally doable. Good luck with that.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I'm for total proportional representation in the house as well as abolishing the senate and the electoral college.

    Then why don't you go ahead and get that done, Sweety?

    I'm sure a Constitutional amendment is totally doable. Good luck with that.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Every time I use preview, it posts twice. Reason, you suck!

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Every time I use preview, it posts twice. Reason, you suck!

    The skwirrelz remain on duty despite the shutdown.

  • Juice||

    That doesn't mean it's not undemocratic when more people vote for one party but the other party gets the majority in the alleged most democratic branch of the federal government.

    You know what's really undemocratic? The way the election system in this country is controlled from top to bottom by these two parties.

  • RightNut||

    They reelected Obama despite an entire campaign run on how his healthcare law is the apocalypse.

    Not really, the Romney campaign knew drawing attention to Obamacare would immediately draw comparisons to Romneycare, so it wasn't nearly as big a part of the campaign as it should have been.

    In 2010 the Republicans did run against Obamacare, and won big time.

  • Juice||

    Anyone who says Obama vs. Romney was a referendum on Obamacare is lying and/or stupid.

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    If Democrats were shutting down the government because they couldn't a get gun control law passed, how would you feel about that?

    it would feel like VICTORY

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    If Democrats were shutting down the government because they couldn't a get gun control law passed, how would you feel about that?

    WHAT IS GOOD IN LIFE?

  • RightNut||

  • RightNut||

    WTF youtube!

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    So the gun control law doesn't get passed AND the government shuts down? That's a jizz-in-the-pants moment.

  • John Thacker||

    Actually Republicans were outvoted but because of redistricting retained the majority.

    Republicans would have had a majority, albeit a smaller one, under any non geographically strange gerrymander. The Democrats have the problem that their vote is geographically concentrated in urban areas where they regularly receive huge percentages of the votes.

    Unfortunately, the myth that the majority (as opposed to the size of it) is due to control of redistricting doesn't die.

    You would need to shift away from districts to a pure proportional representation system to fix that.

    I know that Sam Wang did a case study where he set an arbitrary managed to ignore states like Maryland (the least compact districts of any state, by deciding that states where one party won a majority of the vote but got way more seats than their percentage would indicate didn't count. But that's silly.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Republicans would have had a majority, albeit a smaller one, under any non geographically strange gerrymander. The Democrats have the problem that their vote is geographically concentrated in urban areas where they regularly receive huge percentages of the votes.

    This may be true, but again it is no answer to someone like Tony or Friedman who is basing their argument on democracy.

  • John Thacker||

    Gerrymandering Not as Big a Deal as You Think, in Mother Jones by Kevin Drum.

    Yes, it's no answer to someone who wants a direct democracy or pure proportional representation.

    But in 2010 (unlike 2012) the Republicans did win an majority of votes for the House. That was the most recent election. The Senate is less representative, and the President had not been recently elected.

    Does that mean that the Democrats were wrong in not allowing Obamacare to be repealed in 2010? It does if Friedman and Tony are consistent.

  • John Thacker||

    Actually, just Friedman. I think that Tony is trying to defend against the mandate issue, but rests his argument on political power.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Does that mean that the Democrats were wrong in not allowing Obamacare to be repealed in 2010?

    Now that is a good point. Or you could point out when Bush was President and the GOP controlled the House and Senate, were the Democrats in the Senate wrong when they used the filibuster (how undemocratic is that!) to block many Bush nominations and initiatives?

  • John Thacker||

    Most people switched sides on those sorts of issues.

    Me, I was saying that the Republican "nuclear option" was a bad idea, since the filibuster on net helps libertarians, even though it also frustrates repeal of programs in some rare cases.

  • Voros McCracken||

    Change the rules, you probably change the vote total results. How? That, I have no idea.

    You may also get a whole lot of credible secession threats to go with it.

  • robc||

    And actual libertarians in congress.

    With proportional representation, you would only need 1/4 of a percent to get a rep.

    LP could easily manage 4-8 reps the first year out, and it would grow from there.

  • robc||

    For one thing, the democratic black caucus would probably be a separate party from the regular democratic party.

  • Spoonman.||

    A lot of the non-compactness noted there seems to be with goofily shaped states, like Maryland, New Hampshire, Idaho, and of course Hawaii. Maryland's least compact district just follows state lines for a large portion.

  • John Thacker||

    Maryland's non-compactness is still the worst when you use metrics that don't count state borders as part of non-compactness.

    The least compact Maryland district is MD-3, not MD-6. MD-3 doesn't follow state lines at all.

  • Spoonman.||

    Oh, the map in the linked article is wrong then. It shows MD-3 as western Maryland, following state lines. Now that I have looked up MD-3 independently, yeah, that's spaghetti with no relationship to state lines.

  • John Thacker||

    I think that map shows both MD-3 and MD-6. MD-6 is gerrymandered in the sense of jumping down to get some MoCo liberals to overwhelm the western MD conservatives and libertarians, but not nearly as bad as MD-3.

    Compactness isn't perfect, though, I'll admit. But you wouldn't have Dems getting 7 of 8 districts (82.5%) on 60% of the votes.

  • robc||

    KY's supremes mandated (1990) that redistricting minimize county splits.

    This actually can force gerrymandering sometimes, but generally leads to fairly compact districts.

    But since Jefferson County is larger than a congressional district, it leads to some gerrymandering arguments over which parts of the county get thrown into a different district.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Kentucky should consider changing their abbreviation from KY.

  • Brett L||

    Sure. I spent several nights with a Geography PhD who had worked on the FL State House redistricting getting a deep course in why the best intended reforms (such as using existing features wherever possible [county-lines, rivers, city limits] or drawing the most compact districts) can be manipulated where you start. He pretty convincingly argued that he could change the number of "safe" districts for either side by simply picking a different starting location and rules for which direction you should proceed from the last border you had to draw. I think FL had something like 200 different contiguous and equipopulous distributions that met the criteria of its gerrymander reform amendments that had been explored.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "If there is a national mandate for either party it is with the Democrats"

    Well now that is affirmative condition claim.

    And based on the unequivocal and absolutely definitive rules regarding burden of proof and evidence, you are required to prove that to be so with exactly the same level of definitiveness that I can prove my car has 4 wheels attached to or the negative prevails by default and you've proven absolutely nothing at all.

    Get to it.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    He could do it by pointing out the fact that the Democratic choice(s) got more votes than the Republican choice(s) for the President, Senate and House, no?

  • John Thacker||

    Only if one concedes that Republicans had a mandate after the 2010 elections, and Democrats were illegitimate to block repeal then.

  • Rasilio||

    NO, that would not be proof of a democratic mandate.

    First off the split in votes to either side is smaller than the margin of error in measuring public sentement that voting provides. Second it completely ignores the impact of single issue voters and those who dislike both candidates and vote for the lesser evil.

    Resalistically to claim a mandate you have to win by AT LEAST 10% points (55-45 or greater) but that would just be a necessary but not sufficient clause to the mandate. Far more important is how closely your policies preferences match the preferences of the public and how popular you remain over time.

    Right now the closest political issue that any politician could claim a mandate on is opposing intervention in Syria. Pretty much every other issue public opinion is far too split to say that there is anything approaching a mandate to take (or refrain from taking) any action whatsoever.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Nope.

    That wouldn't come close to proving it with unequivocal and absolute definitivness.

    Tony would need to get busy finding a massive crew of confirmed telepaths who are capable of instantly reading the minds of every single person on earth who is eligible to vote in U.S. elections and determine which ones (if any) are slavishly willing to go along with anything the Democratic party does no matter what it is.

    He'll then have to compile a massive database of the results including absolutely comprehensive personal indentification data on every single person for verification and proof that the slavish Democrat supporters constitute a majority of that total population.

    Absolutely nothing other than that would constitute proof of his affirmative condtion claim.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The only election that measures the will of the entire national electorate is the presidential.

    The only person who can make that vote happen is John Boehner.

    Jesus you're mendacious and stupid.

  • Tony||

    So how am I wrong?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The only election that measures the will of the entire national electorate is the presidential.

    As if the true will of the people can be represented by two choices.

    The only person who can make that vote happen is John Boehner.

    Reid and Obama are obviously powerless to change their stance at all.

  • Tony||

    The people were presented with two choices. They chose. It's the only election that actually involves the entire national electorate. That's not a controversial claim.

    Reid and Obama actually are powerless to bring a bill to the floor in the House of Representatives. And Harry Reid is powerless to get the senate to go along with repealing or delaying the ACA. The only thing that has the votes to pass both houses is a clean CR. The only person who has the power to put that up to a vote and end the shutdown is John Boehner. He could end the shutdown in 15 minutes all by himself.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    And Harry Reid is powerless to get the senate to go along with repealing or delaying the ACA.

    Even if that is so, he is not powerless to put other options on the table for negotiation. There are certainly sweet enough items to cause a break in the House GOP ranks other than Obamacare.

  • ||

    You seem to be unable to grasp the idea that there are some things that part of the population may be unable to agree to go along with because they are that fundamentally opposed to them.

    No amount of "majority rules" dogma is going to change that. And those people will, whether you like it or not, use whatever power they have to avoid doing what violates their beliefs. End of story.

  • RightNut||

    If you can stomach a full course of Friedman, you can read the rest here.

    Years ago I had the patience for his endlessly incomprehensible metaphors, but no longer.

    If democracy means anything, it means that, if you are outvoted, you accept the results and prepare for the next election. Republicans are refusing to do that. It shows contempt for the democratic process.

    I forgot that the House Of Representatives wasn't voted in, they were all appointed by Reagan.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's nonsense anyway you look at it. First, the bill was forced through a different Congress, not this one. I don't think there's a rational argument to be made at this point that this law has popular support--it clearly and emphatically doesn't.

    Second, the Constitution was intentionally drafted to limit all kinds of power, including and often particularly, the tyranny of the majority.

    Finally, what the House is doing is perfectly legal, contemplated as a legitimate and core function from 1789 to today, so quit your whining.

  • John Thacker||

    It's like saying that Amash, Wyden, etc. are illegitimate for complaining about the PATRIOT Act and the Fisa Amendments Act, especially since the President has made it known that he'd veto any changes that would make PRISM etc. no longer legal as operated.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Congress can, if it has enough votes, change any law at any time, except for those directly flowing from the Constitution. And even that can be amended.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    @ProL

    the Constitution was intentionally drafted to limit all kinds of power

    As someone else once said "gridlock is a feature, not a bug".

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    I forgot that the House Of Representatives wasn't voted in, they were all appointed by Reagan BUSHHHHH.

  • CatoTheElder||

    The American "democracy" voted for divided government: Republican House, Democrat Senate, and Democrat President.

    Confrontations of this sort are typical of divided government.

    This is PRECISELY what the majority of Americans voted for.

  • robc||

    Does Friedman not realize that the GOP won the last election? That is why they have a House majority.

  • Almanian!||

    I blame Bush

  • sarcasmic||

    Yes they won the last election. That's why Friedman moved the goalposts to the presidential election. Game ain't over until the left wins. Then it's completely settled.

  • John||

    And if in 2016, the roles are reversed and the Republicans have the White House but the Dems still have the Senate, Friedman will be explaining how the Republicans just won't accept that they don't control the Senate.

    You are right. It is never over until they get exactly what they want.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Is there any prominent columnist more guilty of living in a bubble than Thomas Friedman?"

    Krugman?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "..a pundit whose head disappeared long ago into a Davos-shaped ass."
    Great line. That is all.

  • John||

    The left really is having a collective temper fit over this. They are so completely without shame or self awareness it never occurs to them that some day when they only control one half of the Congress they will object to things too and these arguments will then be valid against them. It would totally be different when they do it. They have lost the ability to even understand much less function in a multiparty political system.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think we need more showdowns like this, not fewer. The wheels of government should not run smoothly. And if we're in danger of having a budget or fiscal crisis because of this, there's a deeper problem than the issue du jour.

  • John||

    I agree. I really disagree with the Suderman and Goldberg wing of the Washington Right who think this is bad. No, it is healthy and good. It is telling Republican voters in America that their representatives hear them and are willing to stand up for them. And it is telling Democrats and their supporters, they can't just bully their way into always getting what they want. It is a good lesson for both sides and healthy for the country.

  • Pro Libertate||

    A resurgent Congress would be a really good thing about now. We've ceded far too much power to the executive, but the good news is that's just due to congressional neglect. Legally, the power still mostly resides in Congress and can awaken at any time. Until the system completely falls apart, anyway.

  • Tony||

    So representation good, bullying bad.

    But Republicans are going against the will of the people and blowing up regular order to get their way. So you don't seem to be making any sense.

  • John||

    No, they are going against what you and your ilk want. They are doing exactly what their supporters want. The reality is that you and people like you have totally lost touch with reality and have convinced yourselves that you are the only legitimate position in America.

    All this shut down is doing is reminding you that is not the case. And unsurprisingly you are having a complete and total meltdown as a result.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|10.3.13 @ 11:16AM|#
    "But Republicans are going against the will of the people"...

    Lying piece of shit.
    Repubs hold the majority in the house, representing 'the will of the people'.

  • sarcasmic||

    Lying piece of shit.
    Repubs hold the majority in the house, representing 'the will of the people'.

    But, but, but Obama won the presidential election! You're looking at the wrong election! Look at the last one the Democrats won! That is the will of the people! Not the most recent one where the Democrats lost! That one doesn't count!

  • CatoTheElder||

    Tony:

    Do you really think that Ted Cruz is "going against the will" of his constituents in Texas by opposing ObamaCare? Seriously? Is the representative of Michigan's 3rd congressional district really supposed to reject the will of his constituents, and defer to the will of the President?

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    The will of YOUR people.

    What a crock when liberals claim this. They rarely have the voluntary full backing of the people.

    That's why they rely on coercion. Then they call it 'will.'

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -They are so completely without shame or self awareness it never occurs to them that some day when they only control one half of the Congress they will object to things too and these arguments will then be valid against them.

    Indeed. They can even be in a worse position, like they were when the GOP under Bush had all three branches and the Democrats blocked a great deal of things using the filibuster. After the 2006 elections many Democrats toyed with the idea of using the power of the purse to defund the Iraq War. They are forgetting recent history (of course the GOP does the same as during that period they were the ones pointing to mandates and how they won, etc).

  • John||

    For sure. And they could have done that. And Bush basically had to give them everything they wanted on domestic spending to get his war funded. Bush couldn't just tell them to fuck off we are at war. He had to agree to things he didn't like to get what he felt was important. That is called politics.

  • Brett L||

    You might recall that Social Security reform got crushed in the sausage grinder of this progress.

  • Brett L||

    John, you hit the nail on the head last week when you pointed out that the Democrats had put the big-government Republicans in a fight-or-lose proposition. I detest the Boehner-McConnell wing of the party, but they didn't get where they are by being ignorant of their base. And their options were really to either fight this to the bitter end or be primaried and even if they won, very likely lose their leadership spots in the next Congress. Because the Paul-Cruz-Amash style pol is clearly ascendant in the Republican party.

    Go-along-to-get-along is officially dead until the Dems make significant concessions to the Republicans. Small government types are the clear winners, even though we will probably get a few bones from this particular fight and not much meat.

  • John||

    It goes back to Obama and the Democrats being completely unable to understand their opposition and really having the goal of destroying them rather than getting something done. If Reid and Obama understand that they have put the Republicans in a position that capitulating means their political end, they view that as a great thing. We will just for them to vote our way and destroy them. You can't be President and be that way. You can but it is going to result in a God awful mess.

  • Brett L||

    Well, you can. There's a great scene in a Neal Stephenson book where the leaders of the two parties in the House of Lords are sitting at a table, knowing that all of their manuevering and scheming of a lifetime are hinging on the outcome of a single night. One says something about "having cut firewood for a lifetime, and now we shall see which fire will be hotter". That's where Reid and Obama are. And that's where they put Boehner and McConnell.

    I honestly don't know who will win, but my feeling is that the Democrats lose everyday the government is shutdown and the exchanges don't work.

    Also, I think you'll see a big swing towards Cruz-Paul-Amash type politicians. They are the guys getting written about, and there are a slew of up-and-coming politicians who will shape their politics on them. This may or may not be a good thing.

  • John||

    It will be a good thing if it forces the Dems to come around and start acting like sane adults again. It won't be a good thing if it just causes us to have two sides that are totally incapable of compromise.

  • Brett L||

    I'm more worried about people who have adopted the ideology not bothering to understand and accept the underlying principals, leading to all sorts of stupid, thuggish, and abusive compromises inserted into well meaning laws. For example, making simple possession of marijuana illegal, but possession of a firearm and marijuana being a felony. Because the people are tired of putting dope smokers in jail, but drug dealers are still icky.

  • CatoTheElder||

    It goes back to Obama being a Saul Alinsky style community organizer.

    The Alynsky approach can be successful when one want to coerce small concessions from local elites to achieve minor, localized privileges for non-elites. It is an utterly inappropriate management style for accomplishing fundamental transformations in the world's largest economy.

  • ||

    The problem with the left is that they are so convinced they they are on the right side of history that they find it incomprehensible that their opponents don't just cave in and go along with what they want. They find it impossible to believe that some people would continue to insist that health care isn't a right and continue to refuse to go along with what they consider obviously correct.
    And as a result they are incapable of coming to a valid consensus on a social contract that encompasses opposing beliefs. To them, the social contract is what THEY think it should be, not what actually achieves mutual consent among all parties.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Why would they question themselves?

    All their friends, most major media sources, international organizations, the "cool" people in the entertainment industry, and many more are constantly telling them how great they're doing and how evil the opposition is for ever daring to try to accomplish goals at odds with the current administration's wishes.

  • SugarFree||

    And now that the thread is derailed, the troll can get paid. Because he's essential.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Ah, see, I thought they were all furloughed.

    Just thinking this through, it's possible that I could be upset if the Democrats were in control of the House and did something like this, but I wouldn't object to their right to do it.

  • Tony||

    Nobody is claiming the Republicans are doing something illegal.

    If I'm upset it's not because of the shutdown. I'm cynically partisan enough to realize it's good for my team and bad for the enemy.

    I'm upset because a bunch of independent-minded nonpartisan libertarian freethinkers are bending over backward to defend these Republican actions far more than most Republicans are.

    I come here to talk to libertarians.

  • John||

    No Tony, you are upset that you can't get your way. That is all you are upset about. The rest is just rationalizing.

  • Tony||

    I will get my way (if my way is a clean CR). It's just a matter of time. In the meantime I am perfectly happy watching the GOP destroy itself.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    So given your delusional idea that the shutdown hurts the country, you are willing to hurt the country just to (you think) hurt your political opponents?

    And you maintain that it's your opponents who are holding the country hostage?

  • Tony||

    I'd much prefer we had two sane, moderate parties acting like adults and enacting the will of the people who elected them in accordance with the constitution. Since we can't have that I'll take the GOP eating itself alive.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    So... yes, using your own definitions, you are holding the country hostage to go after your political opponents.

    Also, I only know of one party currently refusing to compromise, like an adult would, and refusing to get rid of an unpopular law. And that's not the Republicans.

  • Tony||

    From John Boehner's mouth to your fingers.

    Pure spin and everybody knows it. Like literally everybody but you.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    So what you really want is ONE party divided in name only.

    You do realize that's impossible right given humans don't, you know, agree on things. It would be retarded for me and you to share a party and pretend to be moderates.

    My values and take on life is not like yours. Hence, we have to sell our ideas to the public in DIFFERENT parties. Nowhere is it written in the entire Western political catalog we must be moderate.

    That shit only comes out when liberals are losing and demand the other side plays ball with them.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Notice this:

    I'm upset because a bunch of independent-minded nonpartisan libertarian freethinkers are bending over backward to defend these Republican actions far more than most Republicans are.

    We are supposed to object to actions based solely on the fact that Republicans are the ones doing it. He's so partisan, he's mad that libertarians are liking an action because of what it does instead of just for partisan reasons.

  • Tony||

    But it doesn't do anything. They aren't going to win. That's why most congressional Republicans are against this.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Why should I give a shit if they win? That doesn't affect whether it's right or not.

  • Tony||

    I fail to see what principle is being upheld by tea party Republicans playing cynical political games with people's paychecks and government services. This has nothing to do with any policy, you do get that? It's about a few congresspeople looking not to be primaried and it's about John Boehner wanting to hold onto his speakership. What is "right" about any of that?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The government isn't spending quite so much right now. That's a great thing.

  • Tony||

    That's not true. No appropriations levels have changed. The shutdown is actually costing more than not having a shutdown.

    So now that you're aware of that I expect you to start bitching about Republicans wasting money on political grandstanding. Any moment now.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The Republicans aren't the ones spending money to close make a big stink about being shut down. That's petty employees who should be fired.

    If the spending hasn't changed, what happened to all those paychecks? Or do you mean that in the end it won't save money? Because giving backpay isn't what they are doing right now.

  • Rasilio||

    Tony, nobody here except for John and 1 or 2 others actually likes the Republican party.

    The problem is nearly all of us **HATE** the Democratic party with every fiber of our beings and you don't come in here to bash Republicans, you actively promote Democrats and then try to turn our pointing out just how bad they are as our "defending republicans"

  • Tony||

    All I'm asking for here is a little clear-eyed objectivity. What Republicans are doing is bad for the country, bad for Republicans, and thus bad for any cause of liberty you might associate with them.

    We'll leave your bizarre favoritism for the party of torture, higher deficits, and wars based on lies just because they give lip service to taking away healthcare from the poor, old, and disabled for another day.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    What Republicans are doing is bad for the country

    No, it's good for the country. That's why we support it.

    bad for Republicans

    It's probably good for them, assuming that the average person is less of an idiot than you are, but even if it is bad for them that doesn't matter.

  • Tony||

    What is good for the country?

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Having a spending level that remotely resembles the revenue level?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Illustrating to the public that maybe a many folks employed by the FEDs are non-essential?

    Showing how we can survive quite well even when the federal government is shutdown?

    Showing how mendacious some government agencies and managers are when they unnecessarily shut down stuff to be pricks?

    Letting the media expose itself as presstitutes for the governing class?

  • Beautiful Bean Footage||

    Well, that's just cause the rich refuse to pay their fair share...

    /derptard

  • Rasilio||

    "party of torture" - Bradley Manning, Guantanamo still open, Secret CIA prisons in Lybia and Somalia
    " higher deficits" - 4 years of trillion dollar deficits
    "wars based on lies" - Lybia, almost (and still possibly) Syria

    Yeah not really seeing any difference

    Furthermore defunding or repealing Obamacare does nothing whatsoever to take health care away from ANYONE, most certainly not the poor or disabled all of whom were already covered under Medicare. It will have the result of making Health Insurance (not care, insurance) cheaper for a small cohort of self insured people with chronic illnesses while making it vastly more expensive for everyone else and requiring people who don't really need insurance and truly can't afford it to purchase it anyway all while steadily driving up costs and reducing actual access to health care services

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Tony, they hate liberals/progressives and Democrats/NDP/Liberal/Labour parties (on the Anglo political spectrum) more but that doesn't give you the right to claim this is proof of defending Republicans. I think they've made themselves clear on that front. Sheesh, I'm Canadian and figured that much out.

    I for one can't digest progressives. They are neither rational or objective. It's hilarious you demand that from others given the hyper shrill that comes out of their ranks.

  • ||

    What Republicans are doing is bad for the country, bad for Republicans, and thus bad for any cause of liberty you might associate with them.

    Concern troll is concerned.

  • Loki||

    you actively promote Democrats and then try to turn our pointing out just how bad they are as our "defending republicans"

    "If you're not with us the Democrats, you're against us the Democrats." - Tony "TEAM BLUE BOOOOSH"

  • CatoTheElder||

    More like, "If you're against the Democrats, you're a Republican."

  • radar||

    Yep. I don't like the GOP, but I fucking despise the Democrats.

  • Loki||

    I come here to talk to libertarians.

    No you don't, you come spew a bunch of progressive bullshit and then get all butthurt and fling your shit when no one agrees with you.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Actually Republicans were outvoted but because of redistricting retained the majority.

    Nice.

    Straight from the "If ___, then ____" table.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Friedman obviously believes the President is (or should be) an elected dictator, with absolute power.

    Christie apparently believes this, as well.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You're totally distorting what Friedman is saying. He only thinks leftwing presidents should be dictators.

  • John||

    But Friedman is more than just a hack. He more than any other two bit pundit seems to have been seduced by power. He absolutely loves control and power. And he is terrified of uncontrolled change.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I love what he said about China's government being run by "enlightened" people. It's a very oppressive society, even with their limited economic liberalization.

  • John||

    It is run by gangsters who steal billions, enforce a criminal law so brutal that is makes the worst of the US drug war seem tame comparison and acts without any regard to the interests of the average person. And sadly, Friedman I think knows that and still considers it to be enlightened because what do little people matter when compared to top men and their big plans.

  • Killazontherun||

    When you read From Beirut to Jerusalem, it's pretty clear Freidman has a hard on big time for Assad's father for his despotism and crushing of opposition. Any Arab moderate is treated like a clueless hippie in his narrative storm.

  • Loki||

    He only thinks leftwing presidents should be dictators.

    Hence his openly pining for a one party state.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    How long do we have to wait for "One, man, one vote, one time"?

    I seriously am beginning to think it's coming.

  • GILMORE||

    This is basically the complaint that people in the middle east have about "democracy" = too often it is "autocracy by ballot" where the minority which loses is subject to complete dominance by the victor. according to Friedman = Rightfully So!... where he got the idea that rule by Election leads to Total Power, i am unaware. Checks, Balances? Obsticles!!... because whatever the Dems come up with? Perfection, duh!

  • Adam330||

    "If democracy means anything, it means that, if you are outvoted, you accept the results and prepare for the next election."

    Where was this idea a couple years ago when Wisconsin democrats were fleeing the state to stop the Republican majority from having a quorum? Or when Wendy Davis was preventing the Texas legislature from voting on a bill she did't like? Oh right, people like Tom Friedman and the rest of the left were cheering them on....

  • John||

    +100 And I also wasn't hearing a lot of that after the 2004 elections.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What I heard was Dan Rather interview an "expert" who said Bush needed to compromise with the Democrats.

    Of course, Dan Rather also says it's pedantic and evil to insist on proving a chain of custody for disputed documents.

  • Sevo||

    ..."people like Tom Friedman and the rest of the left were cheering them on...."

    And our resident hypocrite.

  • Killazontherun||

    Power is their only principle. What you have here is a pr campaign to spin their lust for it in to the word 'democracy', purely as it suits their purposes, certainly not as a consistent political philosophy.

  • JD the elder||

    +1. I didn't see a whole lot of "accepting the results" among lefties the last time the Republicans won the presidency; "Not my president" and all that.

  • ||

    Good point. Maybe the Republicans should just leave town so that the House doesn't have a quorum.

    Do House rules allow that?

  • ||

    Good point. Maybe the Republicans should just leave town so that the House doesn't have a quorum.

    Do House rules allow that?

  • Snark Plissken||

    Thomas Friedman's Devolving Relationship With Reality.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    But Republicans are going against the will of the people and blowing up regular order to get their way. So you don't seem to be making any sense.

    More talking points.

    The great thing about being a libertarian me is I don't have bother pretending "everybody" agrees with me. A majority of Democrats and Republicans believe it's right to lock people in cages for smoking dope.

    I don't fucking care. It's wrong. It's evil. And if that same bipartisan consensus wants to borrow infinite sums of money in perpetuity in order to fund government giveaway programs, FUCK THEM. It's wrong, and it's evil.

  • Loki||

    If democracy means anything, it means that, if you are outvoted, you accept the results and prepare for the next election. Republicans are refusing to do that. It shows contempt for the democratic process.

    They lost the presidential election, but they won many others. Specifically, a majority of House elections as well as state level elections. Obama was elected president, not God-King, no matter how mush this stupid fascist asshole may fantisize otherwise.

    If you can stomach a full course of Friedman, you can read the rest here.

    No thanks, I'll keep that in reserve though if I ever get desperate enough to lose weight that I want to try bulimia and need something to induce vomiting.

  • ||

    Ah, now I know where the current talking points on Facebook are coming from. I was confuzzled for a bit this morning.

  • Robert||

    I thought democracy meant that if you win, you get to abolish elections.

  • ||

    "This time is different."

    Usually with Friedman I don’t start rolling my eyes until the second paragraph. This time he gets me with the first sentence.

    This time it really, really, really, really, really matters!

  • SIV||

    Isn't it Thursday?

  • Restoras||

    Indeed it is, but apparently it is also Stroke Tony's Boner Day.

  • ||

    You know, I often find Bo Cara pretty annoying, but I don't get why he's receiving so much flack. He just pointed out a counter-argument a "true believer" in democracy would plausibly make.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Probably because he does it in a contrarian and opaque fashion.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Probably because he does it in a contrarian and opaque fashion.

    This.

    Bo frequently has good points, but he attempts to make them in such a round-about and pedantic manner it's maddening.

    Just say what you mean, Bo. In as straight-forward manner as possible. They like that in law school.

  • ||

    I guess I can take "opaque". I grasped it pretty easily, but I can see how some people could be tripped up.

    Otherwise, most of the criticism didn't seem to be of his delivery.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It is indirectly a problem with delivery because Bo argues the opposite position but you can tell he doesn't really believe in it. What's the point of that?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It is indirectly a problem with delivery because Bo argues the opposite position but you can tell he doesn't really believe in it. What's the point of that?

  • ||

    Are you asking what the point of being a devil's advocate is?

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    The U.S. isn't and has never been a "true democracy". And so the politicians may choose to block funding, and if their districts keep voting them in, that is what will happen.

  • ||

    But that's the point. If you're arguing with a democracy fetishist and point out how our system works, he'll just retort that the Dems would be in charge if our "democracy" was how it should be.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    And I would point out that our system exists in its intended fashion to limit the power of the majority over the minority or the individual. To attempt to undermine that system of checks is (I'm looking for the correct words here without sounding hysterical) a violation of what the Founders intended and puts us on the path to a truly illegitimate government.

  • ||

    Correct.

  • sarcasmic||

    Path? We're already there. Been there for most of a century.

  • Killazontherun||

    Those votes he is totaling occurred under the rules of this system, in the system where winner takes all in a national plebiscite the vote totals would not be the same as those here because the parties would have maneuvered with entirely different strategies allocating their resources to meet that reality to assure their political survival. It's absolutely meaningless to use those numbers the way he did above. It fails Heisenberg 101.

  • Brett L||

    Does Friedman (or Bo) want every voter in the US to vote on the budget? Do they want the budget to fail if they can't get 50%+1 of eligible voter support? No. Because they don't really believe in democracy.

  • ||

    When did Bo claim that he was advocating something? I gave up after a while, but I don't recall him doing so.

    And we all know Friedman is a hack. That's beside the point.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Bo was arguing Friedman's position. His own position was less clear. He argues in a faux-socratic style.

  • ||

    Fair enough.

    To be more specific, I'm talking about this:

    -the Rs won the House, right? Oh yes, that's right, they did.

    Yes, but an enthusiast of democracy would likely point out that they won it even though garnering a few million less votes overall than the Democrats.

    Many people responded along the lines of "that's not how the system works" (which is correct). But unless he changed tack after I got sick of it and tuned out, Bo never made a claim to the contrary about the actual workings of the system.

  • Brett L||

    I guess. If you're asking why Friedman is wrong, though, the whole point is that you can't say the system works like A but if it worked like B, you'd get a different result. Assuming that votes would be the same in a different system is flawed. Saying, "yeah but why" when people point out the above is going to be taken as mendacious.

  • Brett L||

    I'm just saying that if you're arguing for democracy, not some form of representative allocation, then you need 50%+1 of eligible voters, as abstains count against the motion. As best I can tell both were arguing that we should explicitly ignore the Constitution and have mob rule because doing otherwise is a violation of democracy. They are arguing for tyranny by participating voters without acknowledging that such a system might well have a different voter participation profile.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Most people who advocate unrestricted majoritarian rule don't mean it. Not even a little bit. What they really want is unlimited power for an elite that will either manipulate the majority, side step the majority, or ignore the majority altogether while pretending it isn't.

  • Brett L||

    Sure. Power for the us when we're right, power for me when you're wrong.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Look at most revolutions. They're in the name of hoi polloi, but they almost always get co-opted by a new elite class that does not include hoi polloi. The French Revolution. The Russian. It's a list dominated by those who manipulate the masses to accept a new form of tyranny.

  • ||

    All those criticisms are true.

    As best I can tell both were arguing that we should explicitly ignore the Constitution and have mob rule because doing otherwise is a violation of democracy

    Bo Cara was pointing out that Tony/Friedman types would respond as such. Then people attacked him, saying "that's not how the system works", which was never in dispute. He replied saying "that's not how the system works" is not an argument against what he postulated Tony/Friedman (or "democracy enthusiast) types would argue.

  • prolefeed||

    What Bo was arguing for was "whichever party wins the most votes nationwide gets unchecked power until the next election".

    Except:

    He picked a convenient point to argue for that process. Doubt he'd be advocating for that a few years back when the Republicans won more votes nationwide.

    AND

    This is really arguing for holding one election, then having the winners rig the rules so there are no further elections, until the inevitable civil war breaks out.

  • ||

    Yes, he was arguing that point, as a devil's advocate.

    Let's say he wasn't being a devil's advocate and actually believes in what he argued. It's certainly possible that he actually believes it and presents himself as a devil's advocate to avoid criticism.

    Even in that case, he was still correct that a descriptive statement of how the system is does not constitute an adequate response to a prescriptive argument of how the system should be.

  • ||

    Most people who advocate unrestricted majoritarian rule do so when their side is in the majority.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Bo presents his arguments fairly. Credit where it's due.

  • Enough About Palin||

    Thursday is an anniversary no one will celebrate: The 100th year of the federal income tax.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/news-to-m.....ome-taxes/

  • prolefeed||

    If democracy means anything, it means that, if you are outvoted, you accept the results and prepare for the next election. Republicans are refusing to do that. It shows contempt for the democratic process.

    The Republicans who refuse to bend over and take it WON their elections. What Friedman is saying is that these irascible folks are showing contempt for the Democratic (big D) process.

    Which they should, because they WON.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Frankly, if the GOP were worth a shit, they'd do this for more than just Obamacare. Hold up the government until spending is reined in, taxes simplified, and government limited. It's one way to force those issues.

  • ||

    I wish there weren't so many comments because everyone will now ignore what I'm about to say.

    Any sort of social contract must be based on mutual consent. It is not morally just for the majority to impose it's will on a minority faction even if it represents a small fraction of the population. Some sort of consensus has to be achieve that everyone is willing to consent to. If consensus cannot be achieved at a national level, those things should be left to local governments or organizations that can achieve consensus within their membership.

    The fact is that the belief that health care is a right is NOT SOMETHING THAT SOCIETY HAS A CONSENSUS ON. There are substantial fractions of society who do not accept that belief and will not accept that belief. Forcing it into the social contract at a national level and imposing it on significant fractions of society unwillingly VIOLATES THE SOCIAL CONTRACT.

    You can't just sit there and complain there there are people who just won't "go along" with the rest of society when they are doing so because they have a fundamental ideological disagreement with the philosophical direction that the rest of society is taking. It is you JOB to devise a social contract that everyone can consent to. Not to force unwilling members to "go along" with a social contract they reject.

  • ||

    I read it Hazel.

    Well said!

  • ||

    How about this, Tony?

    I do not consent.
    I don't care if you're in the majority. I do not consent. I don't consent to what you want to force me to do. I do not consent to be a part of the system you want to force me to live under. I do not consent to be a party to a system in which citizens are made subjects at the command of the government. I do not consent to purchase mandates. I do not consent to being compelled to pay extra for health insurance in order to subsidize other people's treatment.

    I don't give a flying fuck about elections. I refuse to join your social contract.
    End of fucking story.

  • Mainer2||

    Devil's advocates are boring.
    That is all.

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