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American Politics Is More Polarized Than Ever

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A new Pew Research Poll confirms something that, in reality, we’ve all known to be the case for quite some time now, that political polarization has become worse today than it has been in the past, and that this is having a negative impact on our politics:

It is common for Americans to lament the polarization and dysfunction of Washington, but Congress might be doing a better job of representing the public than voters care to admit.

According to a new study from Pew Research, Republicans and Democrats in Congress aren’t the only partisans who deeply distrust people from the other side of the aisle. Liberals and conservatives prefer to associate with and live near their fellow partisans. They would be unhappy if their children married someone with a different political viewpoint. The result isn’t just polarized politics, but a divided society where liberals and conservatives increasingly keep apart.

Although the ideological difference between primary and general election voters in each party is modest, the Pew study found that the most ideological voters were the most energized and the likeliest to participate in primaries, a tendency on display in the defeat of Eric Cantor in the Virginia Republican primary on Tuesday.

The study is not the first to suggest that American politics are sorting along ideological lines. But it is based on a survey of 10,000 Americans, roughly 10 times the size of the average political poll. Respondents were asked novel questions about lifestyle, not just policy preferences.

Partisanship and ideology didn’t neatly line up for much of the 20th century, but the voters of both parties have now become more ideologically homogeneous than ever before. Among politically engaged voters (those who almost always vote), the sorting of liberals and conservatives into the two parties is complete: 99 percent of politically engaged Republicans are more conservative than the median Democrat, while 98 percent of engaged Democrats are more liberal than the median Republican. That’s up from 88 and 84 percent, respectively, in 2004.

Because the two parties have now relitigated the same cultural and economic issues for several elections in a row, voters have learned what each party stands for and have found their way into the appropriate camps, thus ending the political upheaval that followed the collapse of the post-Civil War party system, when Republicans lost their hold on the North and then Democrats lost their grip on the South.

The result is an electorate that’s more likely to demand ideologically consistent candidates — like the Virginia voters who threw out Mr. Cantor — and partisans who are less likely to support the other party in national elections. It makes it harder to forge bipartisan legislation that commands the broad support necessary to overcome a filibuster or pass both halves of Congress. If the Democrats have an advantage in national elections, it will be harder for the G.O.P. to change its policies, and there might be fewer voters open to persuasion.

As I said, none of this is really all that surprising. The rise of political polarization has been readily apparent for decades now, and it has become even more extreme within the last several years thanks in no small part to the rise of the Tea Party on the right. What seems to be different now, though, is the extent to which it has become such an entrenched part of American political culture that the two sides are seemingly incapable of viewing the other in anything approaching a charitable manner and have no desire to associate with people who happen to disagree with them politically:

Twenty-seven percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans see the other party as a threat to the nation’s well-being. Consistent liberals and consistent conservatives, those who hold nearly uniform liberal or conservative beliefs, are even more alarmed: 50 percent of consistent liberals and 66 percent of consistent conservatives see the other party as a threat to the nation.

The animosity is so deep that many would be unhappy if a close relative married someone of a different political persuasion: 23 percent of consistent liberals would be unhappy if an immediate family member married a conservative, and 30 percent of consistent conservatives would be unhappy if a close relative married a Democrat.

Other marital preferences indirectly uphold the partisan divide. Twenty-seven percent of consistent liberals would be unhappy if an immediate family member married a born-again Christian. Conversely, 23 percent of conservatives would be unhappy if a close relative married someone of a different race, compared to 1 percent of consistent liberals.

The survey shows that liberals and conservatives have self-segregating preferences, with many explicitly preferring to live around people with similar political views, and others expressing preferences that indirectly lead them toward communities dominated by their fellow partisans.

Twenty-eight percent of Americans say it’s important to live in a place where most people share their political views, including 50 percent of voters with consistently conservative beliefs and 35 percent of consistent liberals.

We see evidence of this type of behavior in other places, such as the news sources that people on opposing sides of the political divide choose to rely upon. On the right, people rely on Fox News, talk radio, and conservative blogs. On the left, you find that the main sources of news tend to be MSNBC and liberal blogs. In both cases, the preference is for sources of information that reinforce pre-existing political points of view, while dismissing people who rely on other news sources, or point out the biases in the ideological news sources, as stupid, or worse. Obviously, when you tend to socialize principally only with people who agree with you, and get your information primarily from sources that reinforce your ideological and partisan biases, you are going to end up living inside of a bubble without even being aware that you’re there.

The headline grabbing finding from the Pew poll, however, is going to be the fact that Republicans and Democrats find themselves more politically divided now than at any time in the past twenty years. Digging deeper into the poll, for example, Pew asked about ten different policy issues and found that Americans are more polarized now than they were twenty years ago in all ten of them, that the gap between the parties is twice as large now as it has been in 20 years in the majority of those areas, and that Americans are more polarized on the majority of these issues than they have been at any point since the early days of the Clinton Administration. More broadly, as this chart shows, the gap between the “generic Republican” and the “generic Democrat” has widened significantly over the past two decades, with both parties moving closer to their respective bases and away from the center:

Pew Chart

Given the fact that the “middle” of American politics is becoming an increasingly large gap between left and right, it isn’t surprising that we are in the situation we are in today. There is hardly a major political issue today where reasonable debate between the two parties seems to be at all possible. Abortion reached that territory a long time ago, of course, and marriage equality isn’t far behind, but we’ve seen it spread to other policy areas as well.  Immigration debates often end up turning into an argument where one side accuses the other of either being racist for opposing immigration reform or wanting to destroy American for supporting the idea that people who have lived in this country legally ought to be allowed to come out of the shadows. Debates about economic policy seem to inevitably devolve into shouts of “socialism” on one side and accusations that anyone who opposes a government program is being duped by “the rich” on the other. Even foreign policy, an area that used to be at least somewhat immune from the partisan vitriol that has always been a part of domestic policy, has become an area where disagreements on whether or not some proposed policy is appropriate are treated as evidence of treason and skepticism over the wisdom of intervention in other nations is dismissed with the ad hominem attack of “isolationism.”  Quite obviously, this is not the kind of political rhetoric that leads to the possibility of compromise on contentious issues. Instead, it simply serves to reinforce pre-existing beliefs while demonizing the opposition, which unsurprisingly is the same thing that the partisan media sources that the left and the right gravitate toward do as a matter of course.

Having stated all of this, I’m not at all clear about what can be done about it. We no longer live in a world where everyone gets their information from basically the same sources, and there are many good reasons why we don’t want to return to that world. Additionally, a glance at the ratings for the cable “news” networks demonstrates quite clearly that the partisan take on the news that Fox and MSNBC specialize in attracts many more viewers than the more sober and straightforward look at the news that you can get from other sources, if you look for them. Partisan web sites tend to get higher traffic as well. As long as that’s the case then it seems obvious that Americans are going to become more and more polarized as time goes on. What that means for the future of our politics is unclear, but I doubt that it’s going to be good.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. I predict an unbelivable amount of irony in the following comment thread.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 1

  2. Modulo Myself says:

    I don’t think conservatives are a threat to the nation, but there is a constant stream of incredibly dysfunctional thoughts conservatives have about black people, gays and women. For example, I don’t know if all conservatives hate black people, but they have no problem cheering on a moron who thinks Jim Crow was great. Do conservatives hate autonomous women and consent? I have no idea. But George Will seems to have no problem with talking down rape.

    So that’s black people plus women. By my math, that’s more than fifty percent of this country who are being given the impression by conservatives that their basic human rights are up for negotiation. Is this impression the correct one? I don’t know. Nobody does. But I didn’t pull out of nowhere–it came because I am dumb enough to follow American politics. So bemoaning polarization is total crap. People might be polarized because they are correctly aghast at how crazed half of the country sounds.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 9

  3. Moosebreath says:

    The Ezra Klein-less Wonkblog has some interesting analysis of the poll.

    Excerpt: “This may be the most telling chart in the Pew report. You’d expect partisans on either end of the ideological spectrum to be less fond of compromise than those in the middle. But as it turns out, compromise is basically a liberal value – 82 percent of consistent liberals prefer politicians who make compromises. Less than a third of consistent conservatives say the same.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 2

  4. Just Me says:

    And it only took until post 2 for somebody to call conservatives racist woman haters.

    And this is the problem-progressives spend way too much time labeling conservatives.

    Politics has become adversarial where one side has to win at all costs and labels the other side some sort of evil to justify why they won’t compromise.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 39

  5. stonetools says:

    Also should be mentioned is the Great Sort-the shuffling of Southern conservatives into the Republican Party thanks to the “Southern strategy” pursued since the 1960s. That to me is the single biggest reason for the polarization.
    Essentially, Obama was wrong. There really is a blue America and a red America, and the Democrats represent the blue America and the Republicans the red America. To a large extent, the polarization of the media is a market response to the political polarization.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 3

  6. al-Ameda says:

    Obviously, when you tend to socialize principally only with people who agree with you, and get your information primarily from sources that reinforce your ideological and partisan biases, you are going to end up living inside of a bubble without even being aware that you’re there.

    I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area and my “politics” world has two components:
    (1) The personal – friends and associates. Most of whom are white collar and liberal – definitely so on social issues, and moderately conservative on economic issues. About a 1/3rd of them have had Silicon Valley based careers.

    (2) My family – father, 8 brothers and sisters, and friends of family. My brothers and sisters can be characterized as Catholic working class conservatives, and only 2 of us are not conservative. My father and most family friends were in law enforcement and fire fighting, and are very conservative on social and economic issues.

    Unlike most of my friends I am regularly around people who have a political worldview that is normally 180 degrees different from mine, and that’s fine, I’m accustomed to it. Occasionally we have agreement on specific items, such as foreign policy situations (say, Syria or Iran) while we disagree on the overall approach. The same is true with economics (I favor reduced regulation e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, as do they) while we disagree on larger issues of taxation. The cultural issues are all over the place – many do not care at all about prayer in school or gay marriage, so we agree, but … abortion is another matter, we do not agree. Same with the Death Penalty, no agreement.

    I’m not sure when the gap will be closed, but is will probably be over a long period as some of these issues resolve, and recede into the mists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  7. stonetools says:

    @Just Me:

    And it only took until post 2 for somebody to call conservatives racist woman haters

    Well , by your fruits shall ye know them.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 8

  8. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: Exactly. It is by our own fruits that we often assess others.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 16

  9. David M says:

    @Just Me:

    And this is the problem-progressives spend way too much time labeling conservatives.

    Politics has become adversarial where one side has to win at all costs and labels the other side some sort of evil to justify why they won’t compromise.

    Someone didn’t read the article.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  10. Barry says:

    I predict that people will list the issues (wherever facts can be ascertained), note that the media Democratic position is far closer, and Doug will ignore it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  11. Modulo Myself says:

    @Just Me:

    And it only took until post 2 for somebody to call conservatives racist woman haters.

    And this is the problem-progressives spend way too much time labeling conservatives.

    Politics has become adversarial where one side has to win at all costs and labels the other side some sort of evil to justify why they won’t compromise.

    So when conservatives write and speak it’s just random gibberish that liberals should ignore, per conservative instruction?

    I actually don’t think conservatives as a whole hate blacks or women. I do think that they are completely devoted to privilege of telling people what the rules are for listening to them. It’s really what brings the non-crazies and the crazies together–the unadulterated right for conservatives to run their mouths and say whatever they want.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5

  12. Pinky says:

    @David M: Asking people if they prefer candidates who compromise is a far different thing from being willing to compromise.

    Edited – Ack, I worded that poorly. Let’s try again: People saying that they’d prefer candidates who compromise is something very different from people actually being willing to compromise. I still don’t like the phrasing, but you get the idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  13. Tyrell says:

    Whatever happened to mutual respect of differing views? Whatever happened to gentlemanly politics ? Now adays, if you disagree with someone you get called a racist, bigot, hatemonger, etc. I am against shouting and namecalling. Two people can have differing views and enter into a civil, even nice discussion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @Barry: Sorry, median?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. Pinky says:

    @Tyrell:

    Two people can have differing views and enter into a civil, even nice discussion.

    Hi! Welcome to Outside the Beltway! Since this is your first visit, have a look around at the many features of the site. We have timely articles on a wide variety of subjects, and lively discussions on our comment threads. We hope you enjoy it here!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  16. CSK says:

    Agreeing to disagree used to be seen as one of the benchmarks of civilized behavior. Now it’s seen as a sign of weakness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  17. Andre Kenji says:

    The problem is not polarization, it´s the nationalization of ALL elections due to outside money. The American political system was not created to be a nationalized election system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  18. Ben says:

    I am a liberal, and I interact with a lot of conservatives every single day, including most of my family, a few of my friends and a good portion of my facebook feed. But it’s hard to have a serious conversation with someone who uses the word “liberal” like it’s some sort of slur. When simply describing someone or something as liberal is meant to be an argument against it, how can you possibly reason with that? That is my biggest problem with attempting to have a reasoned argument with conservatives. They consider a liberal person or idea to be a negative, in and of itself. So attempting to describe the merits of a liberal position on an issue is utterly futile.

    Now, I’m sure you could make the argument that some liberals do the same thing with the word “conservative”, and perhaps that is true to some extent. I can only speak for myself. Describing an idea as conservative doesn’t automatically make it wrong in my mind.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 1

  19. Modulo Myself says:

    @CSK:

    There’s a lot of people who were the victims of ‘civilized behavior’ who would disagree about the decency of the halcyon past.

    Honestly, one of the reasons that the past in America has such a golden glow is that the people were not so alienated from reality. They could not afford to be. But in our America, a huge chunk of Americans still wants to believe in the social hierarchies of 1950 and the economic dreams of 1980. I don’t think Americans want to go back to the past. I just think that they magically want solutions that does not entail listening deeply and with respect to those who were screwed by society of 1950 and by the economics of 1980. Hence, St. Jesus McReagan riding the Climate Sceptic Dinosaur telling poor people they just need to work harder.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  20. grumpy realist says:

    Why in the world should I even think of trying to have a reasonable discussion with someone who charges out of the gate with insults? People like Rush Limbaugh call me a “femi-nazi.” How decent is that?

    If you want other people to treat you with respect, you have to treat them with respect yourself. Unfortunately, most of the Republican Right seems to have disappeared down the rabbit hole of the conservo-entertainment complex, where the major measure seems to be how much you can ginger up the rubes to listen to YOUR radio station and YOUR TV show.

    So when I hear Republicans whining about “not getting treated with respect”, I say: shut up your own crazies first and stop them from making 85% of the noise out there.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 4

  21. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    You see, demonizing other people is bad, except when they’re actually demons. Let’s look at the example of gay marriage. You’re not allowed to oppose it, you’re not allowed to even disagree with it — if you aren’t sufficiently extreme in your support, simply being defeated on the issue isn’t enough. You must be destroyed.

    Donate money to oppose gay marriage? You’re putting your job, your career, your business at risk. Even to say “I disagree, but I’ll abide by the decision of the voters/courts” isn’t sufficient.

    And now it’s expanding beyond that. George Will dared to point out that the “epidemic” of campus sexual assaults is being exaggerated by colleges deciding to use their own standards of justice instead of those of the courts, going in presuming that the accused is guilty, and often punishing not only when there is a lack of evidence, but actual proof of innocence. Remember the Duke Lacrosse team incident? A significant percentage of the faculty signed a petition demanding that the entire team be punished over a gang rape that never even happened.

    The standard colleges are now enforcing is that accusation equals guilt. And proving innocence is not sufficient.

    There simply is no “agreeing to disagree” any more, nor is there “disagreeing without being disagreeable.”

    And yeah, I’m not bothering to bring up examples from the right. I know that they will be brought up without me, and if I did so, it might deprive some around here of their chance to contribute. For example, if anyone wants to bring up the long-irrelevant Pat Buchanan, I won’t defend the jackhole. Nor do I feel moved to stand up for Ron Paul and his army of nuts.

    But when political disagreements cross over into efforts to destroy lives, to punish people for disagreeing and expressing that disagreement in perfectly legal fashion, I draw the line.

    If for no other reason than simple pragmatism. If someone wants to oppose gay marriage, let them give money to campaigns against its legalizing. I’d rather they write a check than go out and start beating up people for being gay.

    Oh, and in the category of “things that the gay marriage advocates said would never happen but do” category, Denmark has ordered all Lutheran churches to perform gay marriages if asked.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 29

  22. gVOR08 says:

    You people will be throwing stones at each other all afternoon saying well yeah, but your side is worse. It’s pointless. Let’s talk about Doug.

    Actually, let’s talk about both sides do it. Doug and commenters have blamed this on balkanized media, the southern strategy, and the nationalization of elections. All true, I think. But I’ll suggest another cause, one that provides an umbrella for the others – movement conservatism.

    In the fifties and sixties wealthy conservatives set out to create a conservative institutional infrastructure: AEI, Cato, Heritage, American Spectator, and much more. See Wiki. They set out to move the country right, and we can now see the success of their efforts. This polarization is one of the fruits of their labors.

    Is there anything comparable on the left? Any planned, well funded effort to move the party to the left? I’m open to suggestions. What comes to my mind is the DLC, but they moved Dems to the right.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  23. Pinky says:

    If we genuinely want to move past this, it begins with patrolling our own. I can’t emphasize that enough. For some reason, it’s considered wrong to say that “both sides do it”, whatever “it” we’re talking about, but unnecessary polarization is something that both sides do. The real first thing we need to do is to patrol ourselves, before we look at others on our own side. I know I waste too much time on this site getting angry at other people’s anger. What does that accomplish? Take it down a notch, Pinky, then take your own side down a notch, and hope that other people are doing the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  24. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “They’d now decided — mutually, she thought — just to be friends. When he ended up falling asleep on her bed, she changed into pajamas and climbed in next to him. Soon, he was putting his arm around her and taking off her clothes. ‘I basically said, “No, I don’t want to have sex with you.” And then he said, “OK, that’s fine” and stopped. . . . And then he started again a few minutes later, taking off my panties, taking off his boxers. I just kind of laid there and didn’t do anything — I had already said no. I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. I let him finish. I pulled my panties back on and went to sleep.’”

    Six weeks later, the woman reported that she had been raped. Now the Obama administration is riding to the rescue of “sexual assault” victims. It vows to excavate equities from the ambiguities of the hookup culture, this cocktail of hormones, alcohol and the faux sophistication of today’s prolonged adolescence of especially privileged young adults.

    Either you think that women are allowed to chose who they have sex with, or you think that they are not. It’s pretty simple. If you think consent ambiguous, say it, but have the courage to not be upset when other people find this reprehensible.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  25. Pinky says:

    @Pinky: And another thing, “Pinky”, that’s not your real name. Internet anonymity and the whole message-board format allow for bullying to go unchecked. Yesterday I was speculating on what would happen if any of us acted like this in real life. We all know that if we acted like blowhards to someone’s face, we’d be mortified by it and/or we’d get a well-deserved beating. The problem seems to be that we’re adapting our internet attitudes into the real world, rather than bringing our real-world attitudes onto the net.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  26. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    You see, demonizing other people is bad, except when they’re actually demons.

    I didn’t get get past this in your tl;dr. This is where the breakdown happens and projections start. This kind of hyperbole shuts out the people you are trying to talk to because their brain goes, “Wait, what?! Halt! They can’t hear your point because what you actually said.

    We are not just a polarized nation but a reflexively defensive one. Your point was supposed to be disagreement =/= Bond villain dialogue (I think). Except you started out with an attack so immediately the convo isn’t about your point anymore. May I ask why you went with that as your opening sentence?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  27. socraticsilence says:

    @Just Me: Wait when one side actively cheers the overturn of landmark Civil Rights Legislation, pushes for restrictions on franchise in order to combat a virtually nonexistent problem, and has pushed a strategy of creeping restrictions on the bodily autonomy of more than 50% of the populace, we shouldn’t call it what it is because its not civil?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  28. JWH says:

    Does the survey include raw numbers of Democrats vs. Republicans in this country? By my own observation, the national Democratic Party seems to act like a centrist party these days, while the Republican Party seems to act like a far-right party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

  29. JohnMcC says:

    @Andre Kenji: By golly, now THAT is an insightful comment! Thank you, good sir.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. stonetools says:

    @gVOR08:

    In the fifties and sixties wealthy conservatives set out to create a conservative institutional infrastructure: AEI, Cato, Heritage, American Spectator, and much more. See Wiki. They set out to move the country right, and we can now see the success of their efforts. This polarization is one of the fruits of their labors.

    Can’t upvote this enough. The plain fact is that the polarization is a result of a deliberate effort by the right wing to move the country to the right. The legal part of this was the Federalist Society, who promoted the theory that starting in the 1930s liberal jurists had undermined society by transforming the interpretation of the Constiution, and we need to change back society by resurrecting an earlier interpretion of the Constitution. The theory is called the “Constioution in exile”. The Fedralist Society has not only promoted this idea, they have riddled the federal courts with judges who believe this theory, and decide cases based on this. Above all, they have put devotees of this idea on the Supreme Court.
    Bottom line is that there is a right wing machine pulling the country to the right. That is a major contributor to polarization. They have also deliberately created a media network for the propogation of right wing views (I call it the Right Wing Bullsh@t Machine) that further ratcheted up the polarization. That includes Fox News, PJ Media, etc.
    We can even point to beginning of the creation of right wing media: the founding of the National Review by Willam F. Buckley.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  31. KM says:

    The problem I have with the “both sides do it” argument is that is assumes that there is a balance and hierarchy to offenses, a karmic calculation who’s equation you can invoke to save or cover your own ass. Much like the small child who whines “But Moooommm, Billy did X!”, the invoker tries to point out a fault in another to lessen or justify their own. It is not an acknowledgement of human fault and frailty. It is not a concession that life is not fair and everyone effs up sometimes. It is not the mature philosophical statement of reality that it pretends it is because it is never brought up by the winners, only the losers. Fault is astronomically unequal in real life, never 50-50 down the line. Jerk A’s sins don’t excuse Jerk B’s. “Both sides do it” has become a way to shirk responsibility – the anti “The buck stops here.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  32. PJ says:

    @Moosebreath:

    The Ezra Klein-less Wonkblog has some interesting analysis of the poll.

    Ezra Klein is a well know LIEberal liar, because both sides do it ™.

    Also, SHUT UP, that’s why!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  33. dennis says:

    @Just Me:

    And it took only four posts for Stormy’s prediction to come to pass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  34. Pinky says:

    @KM: I don’t know how to reply to that, because I clearly said that both sides do it and the buck stops here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  35. Tillman says:

    Go look at the interactive graph they’ve got, click to “Politically Active,” and go from 2004 to 2011. ’94 to ’04 seems a general leftward shift (the distance between Median Democrat and Republican doesn’t vary, but both shift leftward), but ’04 to ’11 is just a giant push back right for the Median Republican. ’11 to ’14 is when the Median Democrat moves leftward again, probably as a reaction more than anything.

    The shift isn’t as pronounced on the “General Population” graph but it’s still there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. Tillman says:

    @Andre Kenji: Unfortunately, we can’t restrict campaign/political spending of any kind due to its status as speech.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  37. dennis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Amendment 14 – Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868.

    1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    There. That should answer that little diatribe of yours.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  38. gVOR08 says:

    @Tillman: @stonetools: Or at least that’s what our conservative Supreme Court Justices, products of The Federalist Society, tell us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  39. Just Me says:

    So it lessens polarization to just dismiss any and all conservative ideas because every conservative except maybe a few are racists?

    One of the frustrating things about the comments section here is that it always devolves into generalizing the conservatives.

    The racist accusation has especially gotten tiring and progressives act as if there isn’t a single racist democrat out there.

    There are progressives who have said conservative women should be raped.
    Democrats have told minority republicans to “go back where they came from.” But crickets among the progressive voices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

  40. David M says:

    @Just Me:

    Both sides have their fair share of people who do or say things that are dumb, offensive, moronic, etc… Only one side puts those people in charge or cares what they think. The debt ceiling is a good example of the problem.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  41. @dennis:

    And it took only four posts for Stormy’s prediction to come to pass.

    Shows what you know! Stormy’s post was itself unbelievably ironic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  42. Tillman says:

    @Just Me:

    So it lessens polarization to just dismiss any and all conservative ideas because every conservative except maybe a few are racists?

    One of the frustrating things about the comments section here is that it always devolves into generalizing the conservatives.

    Well, generalizations are not a liberal specialty, and generalization is a fairly basic goal of human reasoning. You’re not going to get away from it.

    There are progressives who have said conservative women should be raped.
    Democrats have told minority republicans to “go back where they came from.” But crickets among the progressive voices.

    The standard responses here are that a) you need to link these things, and b) quite likely the racist/sexist prog in question doesn’t have the reach or prestige of the average racist/sexist con. I don’t doubt the racist/sexist prog exists, but I doubt he has a high media share.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  43. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: There is an honest “both sides do it” argument that is cogent. There are honest cases of it.

    However, I think KM is decrying the instances when political equivalency is cited where it doesn’t apply. Those are far more numerous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  44. Just Me says:

    DavidM are you seriously saying democrats who say offensive things don’t get elected to office?
    Seriously?

    And frankly here the racism accusations aren’t towards people who are elected to office or even people who say racist things . They are generalized to me. If called on it you often get the “well I didn’t mean all republicans/conservatives” as if that makes the generalization okay.

    It really doesn’t open up the channels of compromise much when the “you’re just a racist” charge is the first thing said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  45. stonetools says:

    Here is a summary of the very first calls to action by the conservative movement that started in the 1960s:

    Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine is a 1961 LP featuring Ronald Reagan. In this more than ten-minute recording, Reagan “criticized Social Security for supplanting private savings and warned that subsidized medicine would curtail Americans’ freedom” and that “pretty soon your son won’t decide when he’s in school, where he will go or what he will do for a living. He will wait for the government to tell him.”[1] Roger Lowenstein called the LP part of a “stealth program” conducted by the American Medical Association .
    Reagan opens by saying that in 1927 socialist Norman Thomas said that the American people would never vote for socialism, but “under the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.” Snopes.com calls this attribution probably false, arguing that “no one has ever been able to turn up a source”.[2]
    Reagan says that “Government has invaded the free precincts of private citizens,” stating that the U.S. government owns “1/5 of the total industrial capacity of the United States.” Reagan says “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project, most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.” Reagan cites the failure of president Harry Truman’s national health insurance proposal as evidence of the American people’s rejection of socialized medicine.

    Reagan describes Representative Aime Forand as having introduced a bill which would institute “compulsory health insurance” for all people of social security age. Forand is quoted as having said, “If we can only break through and get our foot inside the door, then we can extend the program after that.” Forand is likened to labor union leader Walter Reuther, who is quoted as having said, “It’s no secret that the United Automobile Workers is officially on record of backing a program of national health insurance.” The Forand bill is described as being praised by socialists: “They say once the Forand bill is passed this nation will be provided with a mechanism for socialized medicine capable of indefinite expansion in every direction until it includes the entire population. Now we can’t say we haven’t been warned.”

    Reagan describes Representative Cecil R. King of California as the successor to Congressman Forand in his support for a bill that would provide senior citizens with medical care. (The 1962 King-Anderson bill is often described as a precursor to the Social Security Act of 1965, which established Medicare.) Reagan cites the expansion of private health insurance and the passage of the 1960 Kerr-Mills Act, which provided federal funds to states to cover the “medically needy,” as evidence that King’s legislation is unnecessary. Reagan concludes that the new bill is “simply an excuse to bring about what they wanted all the time: socialized medicine.” Reagan warns against the danger of encroaching on the relationship between patients and doctors, and of an attack on doctors’ freedoms.

    Reagan encourages his listeners to join a letter-writing campaign to Congress with the message, “We do not want socialized medicine.” Reagan quotes Representative Charles A. Halleck of Indiana as having said, “When the American people wants something from Congress, regardless of its political complexion, if they make their wants known, Congress does what the people want.” Reagan warns that if his listeners do not stop the proposed medical program, “behind it will come other government programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country until one day as Norman Thomas said we will wake to find that we have socialism.” Under this scenario, Reagan says, “We are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.”

    See where polarization started? These arguments, btw, were almost word for word repeated by conservatives in the ACA debate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  46. dennis says:

    @Just Me:

    Listen, I understand your frustration, and you have fair and valid points. Not all conservatives are racists. And you are correct; there are racist Democrats.

    I’ll admit to probably being a bit more acutely tuned to hearing/observing racism. That’s just a nice way of saying I can be hypersensitive to the matter. You have to recognize, Just Me, that, just as you disagree with the extrapolation of racism on ALL conservatives, you have to equally agree that you cannot extrapolate YOUR non-racism to the collective of conservatives. And when you observe the collective of TODAY’s conservatism, you can only conclude that, generally, it is racist, homophobic, misogynist, and woefully uninformed about sex.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 4

  47. dennis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Maybe so; but it sure was prescient!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  48. Tillman says:

    @gVOR08: Oh, I don’t agree with them at all, the idea is ludicrous. But I’m not a judge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. Pinky says:

    @Just Me: That a tough question. I mean, I make fun of the discourse on this site all the time, but to borrow a line from a movie I didn’t like, what if this is as good as it gets? What if, as this survey indicates, people are giving up aiming higher than the average OTB thread conversation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  50. C. Clavin says:

    zzzzzzzzzz….more BOTH SIDES nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  51. David M says:

    @Just Me:

    OK, what’s your individual position on voter id laws?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  52. Just Me says:

    Her the Democratic Party leader in South Carolina says Haley should go back where she came from: http://www.inquisitr.com/648502/gov-nikki-haley-told-to-go-back-where-she-came-from-video/

    Here a democratic candidate for governor says the Hispanic republican candidate should go back where she came from (yes he then said Texas but no progressive would have given the GOP white candidate the same pass): http://downtrend.com/robertgehl/dem-new-mexico-candidate-says-hispanic-governor-should-go-back-to-where-she-really-came-from/

    What I love is the irony that the party who claims to advocate for minorities and women really just mean so long as they aren’t republican minorities and women.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  53. Just Me says:

    And no I didn’t look for progressive approved sites. I just typed it in google and too the first link.

    I find it also interesting that progressives are unaware of these incidents. Our media at work schilling for the democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  54. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: Are you asserting that the left didn’t organize in the 1960′s?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  55. Grewgills says:

    @Just Me:
    I call out “my own” for being too quick to label opposition racism, but I see the scale of the problem as rather lopsided. Very prominent Republicans liken homosexuality to a disease (Rick Perry most recently) and less prominent Republicans condone the death penalty for it (OK dist 91) and don’t get called out for it by their party. If a Democrat as prominent as Rick Perry said that say evangelical Christianity was a disease akin to alcoholism he/she would be pilloried from coast to coast and no prominent Dem would come to their defense. One side is policing itself better at the top than the other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  56. Just Me says:

    My personal opinion on voter ID laws would be the type styled along the lines of NH (one of the laws the justice department didn’t object to).

    I don’t think voter ID equals racism and given that the justice department is cool with the NH one it’s going to be hard to make that argument unless Holder is also a racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  57. Modulo Myself says:

    @Just Me:

    Look, as a white person, it’s no longer an excuse to be afraid of being called a racist. I’ll be quick: you probably are. I grew up in an all-white place, filled with thousands of white people who would swear tearfully up and down that they were not racist. And yet, when you pull way the sentimental attachment to an image of equality, there’s an entire history of white supremacy beneath. I was that person once and probably still am. So what? Deal with it, try not to hate the people who don’t have the courage, who can’t deal with it, get away from segregated places, north and south, read a lot, listen to other people you were never supposed to listen to, and realize that you’re a child when it comes to understanding others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  58. stonetools says:

    @Just Me:

    I’m sorry, there’s just a difference between Democrats occassionally saying racist things and the Republican Party adopting a program aimed deliberately at denying minorities the right to vote. One is an individual making a racist statement: the other is a poltical party collectively taking racist action. Big difference.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  59. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    I think the assertion is the left didn’t form well funded organizations that were both built to last and built to push the country in their desired political direction. They organized protests but other than the civil rights movement it was all pretty fragmentary and not built to last. None of it, not even civil rights, was particularly well funded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  60. Pinky says:

    @Modulo Myself: This is maybe the worst kind of argument ever. You can accuse someone of being a racist, fully aware of how offensive that accusation is, and when you’re questioned on it, you say that we all are a bit racist. Is that fair? Would you from now on begin every comment with the line “I’m a racist and…”? Of course not, because you know that it’s a horrible label and your opinion would be disregarded. I imagine that you don’t think you’re as racist as those you’ve accused of racism on this thread, do you? You clearly believe that you can keep the majority of your racism in check, at least sufficiently to recognize it in others, and you don’t believe that others can do the same. Admit it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  61. Just Me says:

    Module Mike-that is the dumbest thing ever argued online.

    So I will just go back and say this is really what the problem is. Prefers wives determined to label every republican a racist.

    Don’t support a progressive policy? Racism!

    Then it turns into everyone is a racist but you are worse than I am because I said so even though I don’t base it in any evidence other than my super super racial tuning bar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  62. stonetools says:

    @Grewgills:

    Very prominent Republicans liken homosexuality to a disease (Rick Perry most recently) and less prominent Republicans condone the death penalty for it (OK dist 91) and don’t get called out for it by their party.

    Indeed, let’s be honest. The Republican Party isn’t trying to police anti-gay statements: the Republican Party organizes itself politically to be anti-gay. Opposition to gay marriage is part of the Republican Party’s political platform. So there can be no pretense that the Republican Party isn’t anti-gay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  63. Just Me says:

    So Stonetools when two democrats involved in politics (one a state party leader and the other a candidate) your response is that they really didn’t mean and should get a pass because the GOP may have candidates who are worse?

    Glad to know the party of tolerance, women, and minorities only means it when a republican says it.

    And this is why the comments here gets frustrating. It’s all just words-progressives say they would care but they don’t mean it.

    The real aspect of the both sides do it is really that both sides excuse it because they don’t want to admit there are racists in both parties.

    The most racist man I have ever known was an uncle who is a yellow dog democrat and union man. He’s never run for office but he’s didn’t even vote for Reagan either time and he out racists any republican I have ever met.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  64. Modulo Myself says:

    @Pinky: @Just Me:

    Understood what I wrote is not controversial. It’s not a fantastic interpretation of events. This is what Malcolm X wrote about, this is what Martin Luther King talks about. This is basically what Ta-Nahesi Coates writes concerning reparations; and as he admits, he’s building on lots and lots of scholarship on race in America. White supremacy is real and pervasive, and it has nothing to do with quaint little conceptions of the universe.

    That you both find it so shocking and dumb and terrible points to how isolated your ideas are regarding race.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  65. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Moosebreath: Let’s face it: Politics properly done (how we govern ourselves) is boring. It’s much more fun to play the politics of polarization.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  66. Lyle says:

    It’s real simple. Plebeians Versus Patricians.

    Left: – Wall Street Whores
    Right: Wall Street Whores
    Lobbying – Legalized Corruption
    Public – SHEEP

    MEDIA – Distract Public

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  67. beth says:

    @Just Me:

    The real aspect of the both sides do it is really that both sides excuse it because they don’t want to admit there are racists in both parties.

    Of course there are racists and homophobes and mysoginists in both parties – no one is arguing that. We could go tit for tat with quotes from both sides. What we’re arguing is that there’s only one party where the racism, homophobia and mysogny are baked into the official party platform. I’ve got lots of Democratic friends who still don’t think gays should be married or are uneasy about abortion being legal but they don’t force their views on others and don’t expect the people they elect to do it either.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  68. stonetools says:

    @Just Me:

    So Stonetools when two democrats involved in politics (one a state party leader and the other a candidate) your response is that they really didn’t mean and should get a pass because the GOP may have candidates who are worse?

    Please re-read what I wrote. I’m saying there a difference between a party organized to take racist actions about a party that has racist individuals as members, but isn’t organized to take racist action. Let me give you a historical example. I’m reading “Devil in the Grove” about a famous civil rights case from Florida in 1950. There is no doubt then the Florida state government (which was all Democrat) was racist and white supremacist, through and through. Yet there were individual Florida Democrats that were non-racist.
    At the same time the Republican Party wasn’t white supremacist as a matter of policy at the national level, although there were individual Republicans ( Willam F. Buckley) that were white supremacist.
    Currently, things have changed and the Republican Party promotes racist, white supremacist policies (the “Southern Strategy”). That’s still consistient with Republican and conservative individuals being non-racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  69. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: @Just Me: We don’t have a word for “not really racist, but benefited from a half-century or more of racist institutions giving his ancestors an advantage explicitly denied to minorities, and doesn’t think anything should change.” We use “racist” as shorthand because people advocating the status quo, instead of policies to address minority issues, are usually doing so in ignorance of history.

    On top of those people, you have actual racists. You can see how the shorthand gets more usage.

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  70. anjin-san says:

    Can’t imagine why anyone thinks conservatives are bigots:

    Wisconsin AG Warns Clerks Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses Could Be Prosecuted

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/wisconsin-ag-clerks-issuing-gay-marriage-licenses-face-prosecution

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  71. gVOR08 says:

    @Just Me: You’re making what I call “the Chappaquiddick defense”. Ted Kennedy once did something very bad, therefore whatever bad thing a Republican did doesn’t matter. (This was a seventies thing.) @stonetools: is arguing that there is a clear pattern of behavior by many Republicans, and in fact explicit policy statements and actions. You’re arguing that two Dems said something just as bad, so it’s all equal. This is nutpicking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  72. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: The largest left-wing organizational movement of the 1960′s was in academics. The teach-ins and campus protests eventually gave way to an institutionalization of left-wing professors and programs. I think that everyone on any side of the aisle would recognize that. Other areas included law, feminism, environmentalism, anti-nuclear activism, and alternative journalism. The Democratic Convention of 1968 saw a leftward, anti-war shift in the party. All of these things involved large efforts. (How well-funded were they? Compared to National Review, probably very well funded.) They were long-term organizational efforts to change the national conversation, and they succeeded. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have, but I am recognizing that the 1960′s were a period of groundbreaking organizational efforts on the part of what’s commonly called the New Left.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  73. stonetools says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    Yeah, but how we govern ourselves is based on ideas, and ideas are polarizing. For example if your idea of gays is that gay marriage cannot be a thing, then what laws we pass and how we tax Ms. Windsor is going to be a matter for debate and conflict.
    For example in 2004, I think Obama really did believe that the differences between Americans was really a matter of process. I think Obama believed that the Republicans wanted to pass universal health insurance, and thought that it just a matter of which universal health insurance scheme. I think he was genuinely flabbergasted to find out the Republicans opposed the very idea of universal health insurance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  74. Tillman says:

    I remember back when I thought a blacks-only scholarship was racist, and my upper middle class white ass felt discriminated against. Oh, sophomore-in-high-school Tillman, you were such an idiot. “Where’s the white-only scholarship?” I thought, proud of my ability to discern inequality wherever it reared its head.

    The problem is most people don’t go beyond that sort of thinking. They see superficial discrimination like that and think it’s what all the hub-bub’s about, and they dismiss it as unreasonable and wacky. “Oh they just want handouts!” That is the standard they use as they continue ignorantly into adulthood, where those opinions artherosclerotically harden due to seniority into concepts they use to view the world.

    Education helps, but as my example shows, most people aren’t that educated about race by high school (and I went to a really good high school), and going to college can only help insofar as you take the courses that will expose you. Not everyone does, so you get perfectly intelligent people clueless on a basic social problem that’s been around for a long time.

    And this is just race. Imagine everything else that’s a political hot-button issue (which is pretty much everything else).

    tl;dr most people don’t realize that the sins of the father are passed to the son

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  75. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: I’ve found that people on the left don’t like to be called socialists. It’s a shorthand for people who support an increased role for the government. It’s also an unfair smear. Some on the right would say that the word is accurate, and in some cases it is, but it’s unconstructive. If we’re talking about a genuine effort to depolarize things, I’d say that we could start by dropping the words “socialist” and “racist” to refer to people who aren’t actual socialists or racists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  76. Another Mike says:

    @grumpy realist: Has Rush Limbaugh ever called you a “fem-Nazi”? Have you ever heard Limbaugh call anyone a “Fem-Nazi”? I have heard liberals call Rush Limbaugh. He treats them respectfully. He usually interrupts a rant and says something like, hold on a minute, hold on a minute, I am just trying to follow your reasoning. Would you agree that blah, blah, blah? So, would you agree that blah, blah, blah? So, why won’t you agree that blah, blah, and blah? Usually the caller cannot defend his own reasoning. The conversation is very respectful.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 20

  77. stonetools says:

    @Pinky: 7

    I’m not saying they shouldn’t have, but I am recognizing that the 1960′s were a period of groundbreaking organizational efforts on the part of what’s commonly called the New Left.

    And how many of those New Left organizations are around today, in any but vestigal form? Thanks for helping to make my argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  78. Moosebreath says:

    @gVOR08:

    “Ted Kennedy once did something very bad, therefore whatever bad thing a Republican did doesn’t matter. (This was a seventies thing.)”

    I heard that one through the early 90′s.

    It’s been replaced by the Robert Byrd defense, especially on racial issues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  79. grumpy realist says:

    @Tillman: I think “clueless about their privilege” pretty well sums it up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  80. stonetools says:

    @Pinky:

    I’ve found that people on the left don’t like to be called socialists. It’s a shorthand for people who support an increased role for the government.

    Er no. Words mean something. Webster defines socialism as:

    a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies

    Defining liberals as socialists is simply wrong. That’s why its an unfair smear.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  81. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    @stonetools: beat me to it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  82. grumpy realist says:

    @Another Mike: Yes, I HAVE heard Rush Limbaugh call someone a “femi-nazi.”

    It’s not a very nice word to use. It’s a term of abuse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  83. stonetools says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Don’t bring up the “P” word. Now you are really waving the red flag.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  84. David M says:

    @Just Me:

    My personal opinion on voter ID laws would be the type styled along the lines of NH (one of the laws the justice department didn’t object to).

    The Justice Dept may weigh in on whether something is blatantly unconstitutional / illegal, but that doesn’t really matter. Based on all the evidence, the push for voter id laws is best described as solving a problem that doesn’t exist by passing laws that disproportionally disenfranchise minorities. I’m sure there’s a convoluted explanation about how it’s not really racist, but I don’t think it would be very convincing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  85. Just Me says:

    And I have no issues with a scholarship for African Americans. I do think there should be more scholarships made available to poor whites and that diversity isn’t just something that comes with race.

    Our family isn’t wealthy. We live in a very poor city and poor school district (our school has exactly two AP classes available).

    My daughter received a scholarship to a highly selective school in Boston.
    Her experiences going to school with wealthy kids has been interesting. There are the kids who think spending $5 on something is no big deal (for her it is and she can’t spend it and they don’t understand why). There are also some who are very resentful of her scholarship-they will rant about how they don’t think X really deserves it etc. these rants make her very uncomfortable because without that scholarship she wouldn’t be attending that school (she isn’t foolish enough to go 100 to 200k in debt for this school). Most of her friends are also very liberal but are resentful that people got a scholarship that they didn’t. They have no understanding of what it means to have to control your finances and realize that even if you really want something you can’t always have it.

    One thing my kids have learned is the value of things-because just wanting something doesn’t meN you get it-that’s something a lot of wealthy, liberal elites don’t understand. It’s probably why they think gas prices going up isn’t really a big deal because they can afford the gas even if it is more expensive. It’s why they don’t think electic bills going up is a big deal because they don’t have to worry about paying the bill or choosing between groceries or heat.

    Liberal elites generally sit in their ivory towers with no clue what it is like for those who live paycheck to paycheck.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  86. Grewgills says:

    Both parties have racists, sexists, xenophobes, and homophobes. I don’t think any serious person is arguing that is not true. What is being pointed out is that if you are a racist, sexist, xenophobe, and/or homophobe that wants to preserve white, male, Christian privilege and wants to enshrine that into policy then there is a party where your policy preferences are much more closely matched by the party platform. All of us on both sides of the aisle know which party that is.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  87. stonetools says:

    @Just Me:

    Liberal elites generally sit in their ivory towers with no clue what it is like for those who live paycheck to paycheck

    I want you to know that this is not generalizing and polarizing at all. Not….at… all.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  88. David M says:

    @Just Me:

    Liberal elites generally sit in their ivory towers with no clue what it is like for those who live paycheck to paycheck.

    Odd that you would use “Liberal elites”, when it common sense means that applies to elites in general, and those elites are more likely to be Republican.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  89. al-Ameda says:

    @Just Me:

    Liberal elites generally sit in their ivory towers with no clue what it is like for those who live paycheck to paycheck.

    Let me help out here:
    Conservative Liberal elites generally sit in their ivory towers car elevators with no clue what it is like for those who live paycheck to paycheck.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  90. Grewgills says:

    @Just Me:

    Liberal elites generally sit in their ivory towers with no clue what it is like for those who live paycheck to paycheck.

    Remove liberal and ivory towers from that statement and it is accurate, with those terms it is simply a slur against academia rather than a recognition that elites of all stripes don’t generally recognize their privilege.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  91. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    “Socialist”, as it is employed by modern conservatives, is a dog whistle for communist. I’ve found, at least on OTB, that very few commenters from the right seem to have a clue as to what socialism actually is.

    How could I think such a thing??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  92. anjin-san says:

    because just wanting something doesn’t meN you get it-that’s something a lot of wealthy, liberal elites don’t understand.

    True that. Conservative plutocrats all send their kids off to work at McDonalds for minimum wage so that they will learn the value of work.

    I mean, Ivanka Trump made her own place in the world, on talent and hard work alone. Right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  93. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, and in the category of “things that the gay marriage advocates said would never happen but do” category, Denmark has ordered all Lutheran churches to perform gay marriages if asked.

    I wonder if (like their American counterparts) conservative Danes will refer to those Lutheran Church officials who perform gay marriage services as LINOs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  94. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: I’m not sure you’d call the National Organization for Women or the Southern Poverty Law Center new-left, but they grew out of the liberal movements of the time and are still going strong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  95. Tillman says:

    @grumpy realist: Dude, I have the best story about this. I was listening to some right wing talk radio on XM a week ago (because some days I don’t feel like music) where the host was dissecting audio from an elementary school classroom where the teacher was talking about privilege. And he was completely misunderstanding the concept, accusing the teacher of diminishing the initiative of those little kids and so on. So “privilege” is already a loaded term in some corners of the right, but it get’s better.

    Later in the same program, one of his callers mentioned how a remedy for this kind of stuff would be to have whites-only organizations. And the talk radio host, clearly understanding what he was dealing with, tried to move the conversation away from reviving the KKK but that caller was just not having it. I believe he mentioned Stormfront by name too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  96. Tillman says:

    @Grewgills: And it’s not as if white, male Christians don’t get representation in the Democrats (I mean, I am three for three here). It’s just that on average, your white male Christian doesn’t bother to look into the scholarship beyond what’s forced on him in his high school education. I have friends I’ve had…intriguing debates with over this stuff. The “postracial” attitude is widespread.

    I’m sure that extends out beyond whites and males and Christians, but man, it’s not a majority.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  97. Pinky says:

    I never thought of “privilege” as a loaded word. I’ve seen it treated that way a lot only in the last few weeks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  98. grumpy realist says:

    @Just Me: Like that idiotic U. of C. Professor who thought that $400K a year meant he was a poor middle-class fellow and could whine about Obama’s increasing taxes? That guy?

    (He was beaten like a red-headed step-child in the verbal flayings he got from his wife, a host of commentators, and anyone who actually is middle class.

    He’s a self-identified libertarian, by the way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  99. Tillman says:

    @Pinky:

    If we’re talking about a genuine effort to depolarize things, I’d say that we could start by dropping the words “socialist” and “racist” to refer to people who aren’t actual socialists or racists.

    This is all grand, but you’re not going to get past labeling. Like generalizations, it’s going to happen regardless of our better angels. It’s a key feature of how we deal with complex issues.

    Further, dropping the words even in circumstances they aren’t warranted will lead to this effect where the words accrue an illicit connotation. “Torture” still hasn’t been used predominantly in the media to refer to the Bush-era CIA’s interrogation techniques, but anyone exposed to them firsthand would not describe them otherwise.

    I agree completely we should “police our own sides” when it comes to inaccurate labeling, but if the standard we judge by is how well we police each other on politically-incorrect speech, I don’t think the Republicans have a salutary record.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  100. Scott says:

    @al-Ameda: Also the Church of Denmark is a state church and supported by the state. As is the case in much of Europe. So church and state are intertwined totally unlike the US.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  101. grumpy realist says:

    @Tillman: Hee!

    John Scalzi has a really good essay comparing race and sex to the default triggers set in a video game. People who are male, white, heterosexual, and upper-middle class have the switches set on “easiest.” Everyone plays the game, but for anyone else, the default switches make it harder….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  102. stonetools says:

    Discussion so far.
    Doug: polarization is ruining political discourse.
    Conservative: You know what’s REALLY polarizing? Liberals calling conservatives racist or antigay. NOT ALL CONSERVATIVES ARE RACIST OR ANTI-GAY!
    Liberal: Well we are not saying all conservatives are racist or anti-gay-only that conservatism as a movement is racist or antigay.
    Conservative: There you go again.NOT ALL CONSERVATIVES ARE RACIST OR ANTIGAY!
    Liberal: So what’s your view on (specific racist or antigay policy).
    Conservative: (Word salad). And besides that, liberals are the real racists.

    All this has been sadly predictable. If we discuss privilege, we will hear : “I rose from humble beginnings. No one handed me anything! I never benefited from privilege, etc.” And so it goes…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  103. Another Mike says:

    @grumpy realist: Do you remember who he called a “Femi-Nazi”?

    A person can be a feminist. A feminist is a woman who does not believe in PIV sex and considers it rape, i.e., a feminist is always a lesbian. Not many Nazis around these days. There are people who share certain characteristics with Nazis. So, I suppose in some cases it is fitting to refer to someone as a “Femi-Nazi” and mean the term ass an objective description of the person. With a name it is usually easy to uncover an extensive internet history to make a case that the term is apt.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 18

  104. Modulo Myself says:

    @stonetools:

    I liked how Pinky admits that calling people a ‘socialist’ is just a smear. And then he, for all conservatives, offers a bargain. “We stop using this particular smear, if you do what we tell you. See–we both win for the sake of civility!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  105. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: Stone – Is that really what you got from this thread? I just ran through it up to your last comment and got 19 attacks on conservatives to 12 attacks on liberals, and you can guess how strict I was if I only totaled 31 partisan attacks on this thread total. Is 3:2 not strongly enough in your favor?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  106. An Interested Party says:

    Liberal elites generally sit in their ivory towers with no clue what it is like for those who live paycheck to paycheck.

    Hmm…using a generalization like that, we could say that conservative elites generally sit in their expensive towers and don’t care what it is like for those who live paycheck to paycheck…

    A feminist is a woman who does not believe in PIV sex and considers it rape, i.e., a feminist is always a lesbian.

    Say what????? Perhaps a conservative could explain how this comment is not offensive…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  107. Matt Bernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    A feminist is a woman who does not believe in PIV sex and considers it rape, i.e., a feminist is always a lesbian.

    You realize that this says far more about your personal ignorance (or your inability to tell a joke) that it does about feminism.

    And people wonder why liberals get the idea conservatives have problems with their outreach to women.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  108. gVOR08 says:

    @Pinky:

    I’m not sure you’d call the National Organization for Women or the Southern Poverty Law Center new-left, but they grew out of the liberal movements of the time and are still going strong.

    But they exist to advocate for specific policies. They are not part of a concerted plan to move the Democratic Party to the left. No one said there aren’t advocacy groups and policy shops on the left. My challenge was to identify something equivalent to the conglomerate of organizations like Heritage and AEI. @stonetools: added the Federalist Society.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  109. george says:

    Liberals and conservatives prefer to associate with and live near their fellow partisans. They would be unhappy if their children married someone with a different political viewpoint.

    That is incredibly sad if true. I work and socialize in circles with a lot of conservatives, liberals and moderates, and I’ve never seen any sign of any such feelings. In fact, in my experience its quite common for conservatives and liberals to be close friends. Do many people really take politics so seriously that they let it get in the way of friendship, let alone family relationships?

    I’ve seen more frequent heated debate over sports than over politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  110. al-Ameda says:

    @Another Mike:

    A feminist is a woman who does not believe in PIV sex and considers it rape, i.e., a feminist is always a lesbian.

    Just begs the question: what “War on Women”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  111. Grewgills says:

    @Another Mike:

    A person can be a feminist. A feminist is a woman who does not believe in PIV sex and considers it rape, i.e., a feminist is always a lesbian.

    That is the most idiotic thing I have read all day. On the bright side, I’ve just learned that I’m a lesbian.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  112. Matt Bernius says:

    @Scott:

    Also the Church of Denmark is a state church and supported by the state. As is the case in much of Europe. So church and state are intertwined totally unlike the US.

    I am SHOCKED. SHOCKED! to see that Jenos didn’t care enough to understand why he posted a really *really* bad analogy. It’s like he might not actual care about the actual facts.

    Beyond that, this alone should be a terrific reminder as to why the separation of Church and State is — in fact — a good thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  113. Pinky says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    …calling people a ‘socialist’ is just a smear…

    Not what I said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  114. dennis says:

    @Another Mike:

    Rush Limbaugh:

    “So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/03/02/has_rush_limbaugh_finally_gone_too_far_in_slut_shaming_sandra_fluke_.html

    Then, there’s this:
    http://mediamatters.org/video/2012/06/13/limbaugh-accuses-group-of-us-catholic-nuns-of-h/186840

    LIMBAUGH: So, to Eleanor Squeal [sic] and the pro-choice crowd, the feminazis who marched in such rage and anger on Sunday, we’re so sorry. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/29/04, via Media Matters]

    “The feminazis [are] not happy with me, by the way, over that ‘synchronizing menstrual cycles.’ ” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/10/11, via Media Matters, 11/11/11, via RushLimbaugh.com]

    I could do this all day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  115. grumpy realist says:

    @Another Mike: Boy, are YOU out of the loop!

    I don’t give a rat’s ass about what cobbled-up “definition” of feminism your MRA buddies unloaded into your brain. Ask any feminist, and the answer is:

    Feminists are those who think women are real people. People deserving of equal dignity, rights under the law, and respect by the rest of society. That’s it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  116. dennis says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Holy s***! I’m a feminist!!! LOL

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  117. beth says:

    @Another Mike: Wow. That may be the worst response I’ve read here on OTB. Just clueless and plain old sad.(FYI If a woman won’t date you it doesn’t mean shes a lesbian. Maybe you’re just a sexist pig.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  118. superdestroyer says:

    It is hard to argue to politics is polarized when one of the two major political parties is not only irrelevant to policy or governance to the U.S. but that it acts as nothing more than a speed bump for the Democratic Party.

    The real issue in American politics is what do the Democrats really want to do on policy and governance versus those policies that they are willing to accept responsibility. As every demographic trend in the U.S. makes the Democratic Party stronger and the Repubilcans even less relevant, the real policy question is how big will the government grown, how high will taxes go, how much tax evasion will occur, and whether the federal government will really try to enforce all of the regulation that will be passed in the future.

    Discussing partisanship at a time when even demographic trend shows that partisanship is ending truly demonstrates the failure of the pundit class.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  119. Tillman says:

    Getting that whole “pissing into an ocean of piss” feeling again.

    Since bill thought I was hijacking the thread with that seemingly-random observation, here’s Urban Dictionary to the rescue. We are talking past each other too often lately.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  120. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: Shorter SuperD: “Stop talking about what interests you! Talk about what interests meeeeee!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  121. Pinky says:

    @dennis: I think Mike’s point was that Limbaugh treats individual callers respectfully, and wouldn’t call them feminazis. Not the greatest point, but he’s probably right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  122. Just Me says:

    David M et al.

    You’re right that neither conservatives or liberals have a monopoly on elite thinking. But I was speaking more to the specifics of my daughter’s experience.

    My daughter’s classmates are overwhelmingly liberal (she and one of her friends are the only conservative kids she has met or hangs out with). The kids complaining about being owed something or who think spending $5 on a coffee is no big deal are the liberal kids. These kids often say things or make generalizations that make her uncomfortable.

    We’ve discussed the differences in income because she doesn’t have much excess spending money. She works over the summer in construction (painting and general laborer) but that income goes to pay for the things school related that aren’t covered by her scholarship or grants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  123. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    But what is the point of discussing polarization when it will have zero impact on policy or governance in the future? What is the point of putting up a graph that makes it look like the U.S. is split evenly between liberals and conservatives when, in reality, the U.S. is much more liberal than conservative. What is the point of even writing one word about conservatives, what they believe, or how they act when the current demographic trends in the U.S. are going to make conservatives irrelevant?

    What will end polarization is when the demographics of the U.S. changes that either a person is a status quo progressives or a person stays out of politics completely. What is amazing is that people talk like their are people really discussing policy or governance when in reality, the breadth of ideas in the U.S. is so limited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  124. dennis says:

    @Pinky:

    Okay, Pinky, giving him and you the benefit of the doubt, I reread AM’s statement:

    Do you remember who he called a “Femi-Nazi”?

    There isn’t a bit of nuance there; that’s a direct question. Now, that you nuanced the rest of that claptrap he spewed to arrive at your above conclusion proves you’re not thinking very clearly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  125. dennis says:

    @Just Me:

    But that is ANY privileged kid, regardless of political/ideological leaning, and regardless of color or ethnic background. When parents have the means to provide their children with everything they need, those children are, to lesser and greater extents, privileged, spoiled brats.

    I grew up with not too much, but my daughter has everything she needs, and an abundance of what she wants. She is spoiled and privileged, and I am constantly putting her in check for it. It has nothing to do with politics or ideology.

    Nice try, though.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  126. DrDaveT says:

    @Just Me:

    The racist accusation has especially gotten tiring and progressives act as if there isn’t a single racist democrat out there.

    Of course there are racist Democrats. The big difference — the one that matters — is that there are very few Democrats actively promoting racist political action.

    I know a lot of really fine, upstanding, moral, courageous, intelligent, admirable Republicans. Which makes me really boggle when they vote for people who are promoting vile, cowardly, immoral, stupid, contemptible legislation. The cognitive dissonance is overwhelming.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  127. beth says:

    @Just Me: My daughter just graduated from a conservative Christian school. She was the only kid not to get a new car on her 16th birthday and the only one to have a job during high school. She was roundly mocked by the rich conservative kids for both of those things. She was also the only openly liberal kid in her class. For Senior Week they pick themes for every day to dress up in i.e. pajama day, favorite sports team day. One of the days they chose which my kid refused to participate in was “dress in clothes from Goodwill day”. There was a tremendous lack of empathy among those kids who were given everything they ever wanted. It had nothing at all to do with whether they were liberal or conservative.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  128. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    But when political disagreements cross over into efforts to destroy lives, to punish people for disagreeing and expressing that disagreement in perfectly legal fashion, I draw the line.

    Says the man who labeled Bowe Bergdahl a deserter, even though you admit that it is unproven.

    Pathetic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  129. anjin-san says:

    @Just Me

    Teenagers are, by nature, rather self-absorbed, selfish, cliquish, and often cruel. It has zero to do with anyones political affiliation. Put the victim fiddle down and try to find something constructive to do with your time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  130. anjin-san says:

    If the Republicans in the room are upset with charges of systemic bigotry being leveled against them, just point us to the groundswell of demands from the right for tossing Scott Esk out of the GOP. I will stand by.

    Tea Party Republican OK With Stoning The Gays: ‘We Would Totally Be In The Right’

    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/tea-party-republican-ok-with-stoning-the-gays-we-would-totally-be-in-the-right/politics/2014/06/11/89012

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  131. The other jack says:

    Liberals like the word compromise more because to them compromise means getting 99 % their way. It just like how they defined bi partisan. If Dems pass a bill that the only time they got a Rep vote was 2 to get out of committee, it was bi partisan. While a house bill passed with about a third of the Dems support is a partisan bill.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

  132. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @stonetools: I’d argue that it’s our (collective) intellectual laziness that makes these ideas polarizing. I can remember going through a number of management training courses decades ago in which participants had to reconcile diametrically opposed ideas in order to reach a solution. Solutions nowadays seem to be worth less than making rhetorical points.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  133. Ken says:

    @Moosebreath: Wonkblog has some interesting analysis of the poll.

    A remarkably interesting and informative article, thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  134. Blue Galangal says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-just-say-it-the-republicans-are-the-problem/2012/04/27/gIQAxCVUlT_story.html

    “We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

    The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  135. Rob in CT says:

    @The other jack:

    I understand this is what Conservatives believe, but it isn’t remotely true.

    This is pretty simple, really:

    Conservatives, by and large, don’t want the government to do much. They’d like it to do less, and failing that they’d prefer no change.

    Liberals, by and large, want the government to do things. Failing that, they’d like to keep it running.

    Therefore, liberals have strong incentives to accept compromise legislation, whether it’s to get something new they want or just to keep the lights on. It’s not that we prefer compromised legislation to “pure” legislation. Surely not. Who does? Nobody, that’s who. But because we want to accomplish things via government, most of us (4-to-1 margin) will suck it up and swallow bitter pills in exchange for things we want. We’ll bitch and moan plenty, but in the end we’ll accept.

    Conservative preferences run directly counter, so you get the 2-to-1 anti-compromise poll result.

    Dem and Rep elected officials respond to these incentives. On the Dem side, you have constituents who want: a) to accomplish specific things; and b) prefer to compromise to get half a loaf to holding out for a purity pony by a 4-to-1 margin. Also: Dem voters are generally less engaged/reliable.

    On the Rep side you have constituents who are anti-compromise (believing, as you do, that compromise means giving Dems everything they want in exchange for nothing) and who reliably vote. Also, there is a strong track record of punishing wobbly RINO types in primaries.

    So what we get is repeated Democratic attempts to reach compromises on a host of issues, and repeated failure. They only ended up passing the ACA as a partisan bill because after months of chasing after GOP votes, they recognized reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  136. Ken says:

    Whi@Just Me: So Stonetools when two democrats involved in politics (one a state party leader and the other a candidate) your response is that they really didn’t mean and should get a pass because the GOP may have candidates who are worse?

    Two points: 1) You holding up a handful of Democrats saying racist things is almost a textbook example of Group Attribution Error ; and B) The fact that you think his response is the equivalent of “we should give them a pass” is some of the most muddled thinking I’ve seen in a while

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  137. DrDaveT says:

    @The other jack:

    Liberals like the word compromise more because to them compromise means getting 99 % their way.

    Sorry, not even close. To a Liberal, ‘compromise’ means “nobody got what they wanted, but everyone ended up better off”. Liberals value compromise because they value making everyone better off.

    To a certain variety of Conservative, ‘compromise’ means “giving yet more ground in the fight to reverse social and political trends”. These conservatives condemn compromise because they care more about reversing trends than they care about making people better off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  138. Ken says:

    @Tillman: We don’t have a word for “not really racist, but benefited from a half-century or more of racist institutions giving his ancestors an advantage explicitly denied to minorities, and doesn’t think anything should change.”

    Actually, we do: “privilege”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  139. Matt Bernius says:

    @Pinky:

    I think Mike’s point was that Limbaugh treats individual callers respectfully, and wouldn’t call them feminazis. Not the greatest point, but he’s probably right.

    While I don’t listen to Rush much any more, I think your point is true. Unlike Levin, Savage and others, Rush typically doesn’t aggressively attack liberal callers with the same labels he uses during monologues.

    And reflecting on that now, I actual think that makes me like him even less. Say what you will about Levin and Savage, but they are willing to keep their schitch up when they’re actually talking to an individual. Rush will demonize anyone when they’re not there to have a conversation. But for some reason he doesn’t have the willingness to say any of that stuff to most callers. Of course, if it’s a right wing caller he’ll agree that X is a “feminazi” or a “socialist.”

    Sorta the worst type of “mean girls” behavior. Being courteous to their face and then slipping the knife in when there is no threat to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  140. Rob in CT says:

    @Rob in CT:

    It would surpise me a bit if liberal tolerance for compromise hasn’t been trending down, though. My desire for compromise was really high in 2009. The past 5 years have served to reduce it considerably. I’ll still accept it if it’s the only way to get something terribly important, but I’ve raised my personal bar. The tactics of the GOP and the success of those tactics have altered my personal preferences.

    Re: Rush, that’s just him being a better showman than Levin, Savage, etc. Though my memories of Rush are from the 1990s, I recall that he’d let a liberal caller through, interrupt them halfway through (not polite at all, btw) and talk over them, and then hang up. That he avoided personal insults while doing that is a pretty small point in his favor, but as you can see, it works to convince Rush listeners that he’s such a fair and nice guy. Which is the point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  141. Ken says:

    @Pinky: I never thought of “privilege” as a loaded word. I’ve seen it treated that way a lot only in the last few weeks.

    It’s always been a loaded word among certain vocal opponents, especially far right wingnuts, racists of all political persuasions, and white folks who are most dismayed to see that they can no longer do and say whatever the hell they want without repercussion.

    Unfortunately, it’s becoming a red flag to more and more people of less and less extreme persuasion, in my opinion because it is overused in setting where it isn’t appropriate or isn’t helpful, and it is increasingly being used to mean “shut up and sit down” or “you have nothing to add to this discussion because you are white/male/straight/whatever”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  142. Matt Bernius says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Rush, that’s just him being a better showman than Levin, Savage, etc. Though my memories of Rush are from the 1990s, I recall that he’d let a liberal caller through, interrupt them halfway through (not polite at all, btw) and talk over them, and then hang up. That he avoided personal insults while doing that is a pretty small point in his favor, but as you can see, it works to convince Rush listeners that he’s such a fair and nice guy. Which is the point.

    That’s pretty much my memory as well.

    Also, given the degree of call screening, his team (like most of the big talker) have always been pretty good at ensuring that the liberals that make it to the air are the most looney, incoherent, and/or easily flustered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  143. Janis Gore says:

    @beth: It’s a shame she didn’t go to Goodwill and put together a knockout ensemble. It can be done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  144. Tillman says:

    @Ken: That word is already seeing misuse. Racism has had time to melt into the zeitgeist’s lexicon: privilege is still working out kinks.

    @Ken: Or what you said here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  145. stonetools says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    I’d argue that it’s our (collective) intellectual laziness that makes these ideas polarizing

    If you are looking for an intellectually hard working electorate, you’re in the wrong universe:-).
    Serously though the parties really do represent two conflicting views of America, so there is going to be a lot of polarization. Eventually, the public will adopt one vision or the other, and then polarization will recede.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  146. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: Why do you think the public will collectively move together in a single direction? There can be shifting in positions over time, but I’m not sure why you’d suggest that one vision is going to win overall. By the end of a second term it seems like we’ve had the one party in power forever, but really the presidency has been ping-ponging the whole postwar era. The House has been nearly 50/50 for twenty years, and the Senate and governorships haven’t strayed too far from even. And look at the vice-presidency: in recent years it’s changed parties as often as the presidency, maybe more often (I should look that up). Parties aren’t the same as ideologies, but I really don’t see trends suggesting a widespread unity approaching.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  147. Rick DeMent says:

    True story, I actually got though to Rush and made it on his show. I told the call screener (I think the name Rush was using for him was Bo Snirdley) that I was president of my local chapter of Commie Libs for Rush and I wanted to comment on his remarks about Mitch Snyder. In those days Rush loves to point out that Mitch overstated the problem of homelessness with the numbers he would throw around.

    I made the point that all activists do pretty much the same thing and quoted some remarks that Bob Bennett had made about the crack cocaine “epidemic” where he said that tens of thousands of people die every year from cocaine overdoses. I pointed out that that number overstated cocaine ODs by a magnitude of 5 to 10 times. My question to him was that since Bennett was clearly lying about the number of cocaine overdoses does that mean we shouldn’t do something about the problem of cocaine. I was pleasant, matter of fact, and was able to deftly counter some of his feeble attempts at rebuttal. At this point he realizes that I’m not stupid and not very entertaining as a foil for his usual brand of garbage and he cut the audio to my call and then changed the subject, went to commercial and the phone was disconnected.

    So Limbaugh does hang up on people he just tries to make is seem like he doesn’t. And no talk show host is interested in anything like a substantive debate, that’s not what talk shows are about. They are about making the host look smart, and frankly to do that Rush requires an army of dumb people.

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  148. al-Ameda says:

    @The other jack:

    Liberals like the word compromise more because to them compromise means getting 99 % their way.

    You’re right - Democrats refused to compromise when Republicans tried to leverage their demands that ACA be rescinded or repealed, or they (Republicans) were going to not only shut down government, but force a possible default on federal securities.

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  149. george says:

    @stonetools:

    Serously though the parties really do represent two conflicting views of America, so there is going to be a lot of polarization. Eventually, the public will adopt one vision or the other, and then polarization will recede.

    Not so sure one will be adopted over the other; sometimes its more a case of both sides learning to get along after years of futile conflict (see Protestants/Catholics).

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  150. Grewgills says:

    @stonetools:
    Like it has with abortion?

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  151. Ken says:

    @Tillman: @Ken: That word is already seeing misuse. Racism has had time to melt into the zeitgeist’s lexicon: privilege is still working out kinks.

    Yeah, that was an interesting discussion. As for working out kinks, I hope it happens sooner than later, but I fear not. The more that various Social Justice terms get misused as bludgeons or snarky putdowns to shut people up, the less seriously they’ll get taken in the mainstream. Unfortunately, even suggesting something like this in many SJ forums will get you a vicious slapdown for “tone policing”. It’s like a built in negative feedback mechanism that doesn;t bode well for the dissemination of ideas

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