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Can Someone Without A Filter Be A Viable Presidential Candidate?

Brian Schweitzer

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has a reputation for speaking his mind regardless of the consequences, and that was definitely on full display during a recent interview in which he opined about Eric Cantor’s primary loss, among other issues:

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) doesn’t have much of a filter.

The potential presidential hopeful spoke with National Journal’s Marin Cogan for a wide-ranging profile published Tuesday and offered some pretty off-color opinions about politicians on both sides of the aisle.

When Cogan called him up on the night House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was stunningly defeated in his primary, Schweitzer suggested Cantor set off his “gaydar.”

“Don’t hold this against me, but I’m going to blurt it out. How do I say this … men in the South, they are a little effeminate,” he told Cogan. When asked to clarify, he offered “They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I’m fine with gay people, that’s all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he’s not, I think, so I don’t know.”

Schweitzer also didn’t hold much back when he talked about Dianne Feinstein:

He held nothing back in discussing Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), either. Feinstein recently accused the CIA of spying on congressional staffers who were compiling a report on the agency’s torture program.

“She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees, and now she says, ‘I’m a nun,’ when it comes to this spying!” he told Cogan. “I mean, maybe that’s the wrong metaphor—but she was all in!”

The Fix’s Aaron Blake suggests that these kind of n0-filter comments, which is nothing new for Schwetizer really, along with things such as the fact that the former Montana Governor was a guest at Mitt Romney’s weekend event last week, suggest that Schweitzer wouldn’t be a major player if he ran for President in 2016. Ed Morrissey and Andrew Sullivan, who come from very different parts of the political spectrum, seem to agree with that assessment.

I tend to disagree with the idea that incidents like this are going to prevent Schweitzer from becoming a “dark horse” candidate should he choose to run for President in 2016.

For one thing, if he’s a candidate running to Hillary Clinton’s left in what will likely be a field devoid of any big name Democrats, which seems likely, then he’s going to get a lot of press attention just because of that. The political press loves a story, and a Democratic race that looks like its going to be little more than a Hillary Clinton coronation would be exceedingly boring to the people who cover politics on a regular basis and, quite honestly, to the rest of us. The Republican race will provide plenty of news copy all its own, of course, but there are going to be reporters looking for stories to cover. Whatever you might thing of Schweitzer, he’s going to provide reporters with good stories to cover if he runs for President, this interview is just one indication of that.  Secondly, the very fact that Schweitzer is largely unfiltered like this means that the media is going to love putting cameras on him on a daily basis on the campaign trail. Obviously, if he wants to be a viable candidate he’s going to have to be more than a guy who spouts his mouth of without concern for what he’s saying.  So, if he does run you’re likely to see a more professional Schweitzer than what you’re seeing now. In the end, though, he’s still likely to have the same personality he does now, and that’s exactly what  would make him a media darling. Schweitzer is unlikely to be the kind of candidate who could beat Hillary Clinton, but he strikes me as a guy who would have a hell of a lot of fun trying, and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party would love having a voice getting so much press attention.

I don’t know if Schweitzer will run or not, but I doubt the lack of a filter will be something that restrains him or prevents the media from giving coverage.

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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. michael reynolds says:

    No, is the answer to the question posed in the headline. At least not for Democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  2. and I’m fine with gay people, that’s all right

    Given that you apparently subscribe to the stereotype that homosexual men are necessarily weak and cowardly, and the fact you consider the suggestion someone might be gay to be an insult, no, you are not fine with gay people.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  3. Mikey says:

    I don’t know if Schweitzer will run or not, but I doubt the lack of a filter will be something that restrains him or prevents the media from giving coverage.

    It will restrain or prevent him gaining the nomination, of that I have no doubt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Liberals are not about the Id. Conservatives are all Id. Liberals tend to be super-ego, to put it all in Freudian terms. So raw, emotional, chord-plucking fringe types don’t really resonante with us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  5. KM says:

    “Don’t hold this against me, but I’m going to blurt it out. How do I say this … men in the South, they are a little effeminate,”

    Yeaah…. that’s not gonna come back to bite you in the ass at all. “So question: Gay or Southern?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  6. Tillman says:

    So, this question couldn’t be asked about Joe Biden? Although reading Schweitzer’s comments, Biden does have a filter in comparison.

    Also, regarding Cantor’s voice and the gaydar, Jon Stewart makes fun of Lindsey Graham every time by affecting a faux-Scarlett O’Hara impression. This isn’t precisely offensive, or at least it isn’t to Daily Show viewers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  7. al-Ameda says:

    He definitely appeals to the “I love a candidate who speaks his(her) mind” types.

    There are many – Sarah Palin and Rick Perry come to mind, as do Cain and Bachmann. Just 14 years ago the voters ‘elected’ George W Bush – a guy that many said they could have a beer with. So, yes, Brian Schweitzer could be a viable candidate – more so if he was a Republican, somewhat less so as a Democrat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  8. Mikey says:

    This just in from the WaPo blog “The Fix:”

    The Brian Schweitzer presidential speculation was fun while it lasted

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Gavrilo says:

    If Brian Schweitzer was a Republican, this post would be all about the offensive things he said, not about how he “doesn’t have a filter.” And, the picture at the top would be Jean-Luc Picard with his hand over his face.

    Homophobic and misogynistic comments? Come on.

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

  10. SenyorDave says:

    Sounds like a loudmouth blowhard to me. And while these types get lots of attention in the short run, they don’t end up with the presidential nomination. And I find the remark about Cantor very offensive. I would not vote for him in a primary on the basis of those remarks. Just try substituting black or Jewish and then find some stereotypical trait and most people would find the remark very offensive. I’ve always thought a lot of political correctness is just filtering out some of the nasty shit that people think. I also think a lot of Democrats really don’t want to support someone who trashes Obama when speaking to a Republican group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. Matt Bernius says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Liberals are not about the Id. Conservatives are all Id. Liberals tend to be super-ego, to put it all in Freudian terms. So raw, emotional, chord-plucking fringe types don’t really resonante with us.

    Have to disagree here. I’m pretty sure Freud considered Empathy to be closer to the Id than the Super-Ego (i.e. that it’s a development of raw emotional connection).

    If that’s the case, then Liberals are also Id driven — just a different section of the ID.

    Likewise, there’s without a doubt a Super-Ego component to conservatism (see the hyper-moral aspects).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  12. Matt Bernius says:

    @Gavrilo:

    If Brian Schweitzer was a Republican, this post would be all about the offensive things he said, not about how he “doesn’t have a filter.” And, the picture at the top would be Jean-Luc Picard with his hand over his face.

    Dammit, I have to agree with Gavrilo!

    If this was a republican talking about “gaydar” or making the following comment about a *woman* the ess would hit the fan!

    “She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees, and now she says, ‘I’m a nun,’ when it comes to this spying!”

    Now all that said, I think the following is true as well:

    I tend to disagree with the idea that incidents like this are going to prevent Schweitzer from becoming a “dark horse” candidate should he choose to run for President in 2016.

    He’ll be a (sigh) “dark-horse” candidate in the same way that Herman Cain or Michelle Bachman was a a dark-horse candidate while they lasted. In other words, never a serious contender and someone who will make any moderate Democrat really, really embarrassed every time he opens his mouth.

    He’ll probably get a book deal or an MSNBC talk show out of it. Grifters are not a bug in this system, they are a feature. It’s just each side believes their grifters have *the right* intentions in their hearts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. Rob in CT says:

    He can be a “candidate” who gins up some funding and/or gets invited onto TV talk shows as the “maverick” Democrat.

    Also, too: the offensiveness of what he said shouldn’t be underplayed. He showed his ass, and deserves to have it handed back to him black & blue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    I don’t think conservative moral fixations have much to do with the super-ego. Their morality is punitive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  15. Alex says:

    Can you just imagine a Schweitzer/Christie race? A Schweitzer/Christie debate!?

    Holy crap, the late night comedy shows could just fire all their writers.

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

  16. @Tillman:

    There’s a big distinction between “Lindsey Graham sounds funny” and “Lindsey Graham sounds gay”. Stewart used to make Joe Lieberman sound like Droopy Dog too. That wasn’t seen as a comment on his Jewishness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  17. Matt Bernius says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Their morality is punitive.

    Super ego can be punitive. In fact, it’s almost always punitive in Freud’s model. That’s something most people miss in quick reads. Freud doesn’t for a moment think the super ego is *better* than the ego or the id — just elevated. The pressure from above.

    Freud’s entire concept of neurosis is based on the idea that a punitive, highly regulatory social superstructure (Super Ego) is in such conflict with the individual’s ego (sense of self) and id (sense of raw desire and emotion) that the individual goes crazy.

    And Freud is beginning his research at the *height* of the Victorian Era — possibly the most hung up period in our recent modern, western, history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. Rob in CT says:

    @Alex:

    You are making me ill.

    Man, our choices suck. Hillary, who has serious faults, is the best of the lot. Goddamnit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  19. Rob in CT says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Same idea, posted almost simultaneously. Yup, he could be the Dem Cain/Bachmann/whoever flavor of the month who gets himself exposure & money but not the nomination. Who knows if he even wants it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Alex: Where can I pay to see that? (also, I want it to be a cage match)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. wr says:

    @Gavrilo: “If Brian Schweitzer was a Republican, this post would be all about the offensive things he said, not about how he “doesn’t have a filter.” ”

    Yes… but I don’t think in the way you say. Schweitzer was insulting people who are presumed to be “on his team” — gays and women. He gets a partial pass because he’s presumed to be on their side.

    It’s just like a Republican saying something stupid about “Christians” (quotes because that refers to political Christianity — which is to say, the kind that denies the existence of liberal Christians) or Tea Partiers. There wouldn’t be much of an uproar, although it would probably hurt him within his base.

    Now if — or when! — Schweitzer were to say something negative about “Christians,” you’d see some heads exploding…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    I suspect that your knowledge of Mr. Freud is substantially superior to mine, so I concede the point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. Kylopod says:

    Stewart actually once did a Southern/gay bit (skip to 7:25 to see it):

    http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/e37dgt/thank-you–south-carolina—the-race-to-replace-disgrace

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Todd says:

    This guy was never going to seriously have a chance of being a Presidential nominee anyway … before or after these comments. That being said, I do kind of wish that a viable alternative to Hillary Clinton might emerge before it’s too late. If push comes to shove, I would probably hold my nose and vote for her in 2016, but I just don’t imagine that she’ll be a very good President.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  25. Tillman says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    There’s a big distinction between “Lindsey Graham sounds funny” and “Lindsey Graham sounds gay”.

    He’s not making him sound funny, he’s making him sound feminine. And he’s using a well-known trope of Southern patois to do it with. (See ~1:29, fanning himself, “I have the vapors,” etc.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. Tillman says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Their morality is punitive.

    Can you give an example of a morality that isn’t punitive? I mean, people usually like punishing murderers in some way. Or do you mean overtly punitive?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Todd says:

    @Tillman: So what if John Stewart is doing exactly what you say he is? Isn’t there a big difference between a comedian who makes his living via sometimes borderline “offensive” humor, and a politician who fancies himself a potential Presidential candidate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  28. Tony W says:

    @Todd: Honest question – have you ever voted in a general election for President without holding your nose? I haven’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. Todd says:

    @Tony W: Actually, I’m quite happy with both of my votes for President Obama. My very first time voting, for George H.W. Bush in 1988 is also one I don’t regret. I feel really silly about supporting Ross Perot 4-years later though. The only time in my adult life where I’ve had a truly difficult time deciding who to vote for was in 2000. I think George W. Bush turned out to be an awful President; but I don’t think Al Gore would have been much better. To me, a good President is defined by their temperament more than their ideology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @Tillman:
    Morality applied to oneself is not punitive. Morality applied to others – particularly when it comes with enforcement mechanisms, and when it deprives another of free choices without a compelling need – is punitive. So if you say ‘abortion would be the wrong choice for me’ as many liberals do, that’s a very different thing than demanding that others submit to your preferences and prepare to use coercion.

    A lot of moral questions fall into the ‘necessary’ category. Murder, robbery, rape etc… But beyond this there’s a gray zone where civilization does not require a particular moral position. Taking that gray zone away from the individual is an attack on liberty and is punitive.

    Liberals sometimes stray into this area – Bloomberg’s soda ban for example – but they are generally hooted down by fellow liberals. This contrasts with conservative moral positions on abortion, sex, recreational drug use, religion, where the conservative mind is not content with individuals choosing their own path but attempts to enforce society wide conformity in the absence of a clear societal need.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  31. Tillman says:

    @Todd: A big difference between the people, but next to none between the words and their implications. I’m just saying that Stewart lampooning Graham’s timber of voice as feminine is in the same vein as Schweitzer thinking Cantor’s voice (or all Southern voices) sounds feminine. He associates that with gay people which is a step Stewart doesn’t explicitly take, but the stereotype’s been around for a long time, true or no.

    While the people are vastly different, we’re also comparing a one-off statement versus Stewart’s long-running gag. That clip was from ’13, and I know he used the voice this week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. Todd says:

    @Tillman:

    I’m not saying that Stewart isn’t making exactly the same sort of “gay” inferences with his Graham jokes … just that there are many things a comedian can say/do that a politician can’t. BTW, I personally wouldn’t say that Schweitzer shouldn’t be taken seriously as a Presidential candidate simply because of the content of his remarks; but the fact that he thought he could get away with saying something like that is instructive as to his suitability for the job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. ernieyball says:

    @Tony W:..have you ever voted in a general election for President without holding your nose?

    George McGovern 1972…Eugene McCarthy 1976…John Bayard Anderson 1980…Sonia Johnson 1984…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. @Todd:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I always found Stewart’s impression of Graham was based more on Graham’s overly histrionic phrasing and it’s similarity to Vivian Leigh’s overdramatic dialogue as Scarlett O’Hara (she can’t just eat a potato, no, she has to deliver that whole “As God as my witness….” speech first) then strictly about his accent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  35. ernieyball says:

    I held onto something else the two times I voted for Brother Bill…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. ernieyball says:

    The pencil I was marking my ballot with…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  37. Pinky says:

    In the blow-dried, focus-grouped world of modern campaigning, the better question is whether a candidate without a superhuman filter can get elected. And let’s be honest, it’s hard to see that happening.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. Anonne says:

    I agree it’s more about histrionics than sexuality. The Republicans have been clutching pearls and fainting on the chaise about all kinds of things for a while now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. Kylopod says:

    @Todd:

    To me, a good President is defined by their temperament more than their ideology.

    I’d like to examine this statement a little further. First of all, I’d replace “ideology” with policy. Great presidents like Lincoln and FDR really didn’t have much of an “ideology” to speak of. (In contrast, one of the worst presidents of modern times, W., was also one of the most ideological. Reagan was also ideological, but it was tempered by a pragmatic streak.) But they definitely had policies, and you just can’t separate the importance of their presidencies from those policies. Lincoln didn’t earn his place in the history books for supporting slavery, nor did FDR for prolonging the Depression. (Yes, I’m aware it’s a common claim on the far right that FDR did just that, but it’s certainly not the conventional view among historians.)

    Temperament is important, no doubt (for one thing, it determines how successful a president is at implementing his policies), but it can’t be considered in isolation. In the last half century, I’d say only three presidents were temperamentally unfit for the office–Nixon, Carter, and Bush Jr. Reagan and Clinton had their faults, but they accomplished quite a bit while in office. Evaluating their presidencies properly has a lot to do with whether you consider those good accomplishments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Todd says:

    @Kylopod:

    Modern Presidents have the greatest amount of autonomy in the area of foreign policy, specifically as it applies to their roles as Commander in Chief. Especially since I was directly affected by these decisions for many years, it is by far the most important area on which I base my vote for President. I haven’t agreed with every decision President Obama has made in regards to foreign policy, but I am not privy to all the information he has either. What I do appreciate is his approach to handling International affairs, and especially crisis situations. In many ways, I think he is pretty similar to George H.W. Bush.

    At one point, long ago, I was one of those people who admired John McCain. During the campaign of 2008 his actions made it clear that he was/is temperamentally unsuitable for the Presidency (he would have possibly been worse than Bush 43).

    Hillary Clinton’s approach to foreign policy reminds me more of McCain than of Obama or the first President Bush. Ironically, I would actually be more concerned (than I am now) if it were her who was getting that 3am phone call … basically, I just don’t trust her judgement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. Kylopod says:

    @Todd: I agree with a lot of that, but I have to say Hillary Clinton does not strike me as trigger-happy in the manner of John McCain, and she certainly isn’t impulsive or erratic in the way he revealed himself to be during the 2008 campaign. If anything, I think one of her big weaknesses is a tendency to be overly cautious and conventional–politically speaking. That’s why she supported the Iraq War resolution: most Democrats in the Senate did, and it is simply not her style to go against the grain. In that sense she’s practically the opposite of McCain, and quite different from Bush as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  42. gVOR08 says:

    I see Schweitzer has an apology up on Facebook.

    I recently made a number of stupid and insensitive remarks to a reporter from the National Journal. I am deeply sorry and sincerely apologize for my carelessness and disregard.

    On Lindsey Graham I find the remarks of Jon Stewart and many others including commenters here offensive, prejudiced — and inevitable. “It sounds like steam escaping.” Dom DeLuise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Tillman says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But beyond this there’s a gray zone where civilization does not require a particular moral position. Taking that gray zone away from the individual is an attack on liberty and is punitive.

    Liberals sometimes stray into this area – Bloomberg’s soda ban for example – but they are generally hooted down by fellow liberals. This contrasts with conservative moral positions on abortion, sex, recreational drug use, religion, where the conservative mind is not content with individuals choosing their own path but attempts to enforce society wide conformity in the absence of a clear societal need.

    How does gay marriage fall into this? I’m trying to interpret Brendan Eich’s downfall as somehow not a punitive response from a liberal morality and failing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Pinky says:

    @Kylopod:

    Great presidents like Lincoln and FDR really didn’t have much of an “ideology” to speak of.

    You’re really going to have to define “ideology” carefully for me to accept that statement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Matt Bernius says:

    @Pinky:

    You’re really going to have to define “ideology” carefully for me to accept that statement.

    Seconded.

    All ideology means is a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. It’s possible to be an ideolog and a pragmatist if pragmatism is at the base of an individual’s ideology.

    *Partisan* for example might be a better formulation. Or one needs to parse an individual’s ideology as being more idealistic or more pragmatic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. Pinky says:

    @Matt Bernius: Even that wouldn’t fit Kyle’s usage. He seems to contract ideology and pragmatism, so maybe he means conviction or vision. But how would you say that Lincoln and FDR lacked those?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Todd says:

    Here’s what I meant by the difference between ideology and temperament. Ideology (to me anyway) is your core beliefs, what you would do in a “perfect” world. Temperament is how you go about trying to implement those beliefs in the real world. As as example, President Obama almost surely has a Liberal ideology on most issues. However when it comes to temperament, he’s a (small c) conservative. Jon Huntsman is an example of someone who I would say has a very similar temperament, but almost certainly a more right-wing ideology. On the opposite side of the scale, we can compare someone like say Steve King from Iowa with Alan Grayson from Florida. Completely different ideologies, but very similar in “style”.

    I think we have to be careful about misusing words. For instance I don’t see any way for it to be correct to say that Lincoln or Roosevelt did not have ideology … in fact a better case could be made that they are both examples of Presidents who had very strong core beliefs. In today’s society though, “ideology” has become a bad word; synonymous with dysfunction and gridlock. in reality, gridlock is caused by extremes on the temperament scale more than strong ideology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. gVOR08 says:

    @Pinky: @Matt Bernius: This is really a semantic argument. You know what Kylopod meant, and while you disagree with calling it a lack of ideology, you do seem to agree there’s some validity to the thought. I’m not arguing with you, this is more of an effort to find a way to express something that’s difficult to express clearly.

    Kylopod offers his example. Hoover wanted to do whatever was necessary; consistent with fiscal probity, a solid currency, and no socialism. Roosevelt wanted to do whatever was necessary. Maybe it’s not right to call Roosevelt’s position a lack of ideology, but what do you call it?

    I constantly see conservatives say we must advance a conservative solution to this or that problem. I can’t recall ever hearing a liberal say we must advance a liberal solution, just we must advance a solution.

    Some months ago I saw a conservative brag that conservatives have a canon: Burke, Hayek, etc., even Ayn Rand; but you liberals don’t. Someone sensibly replied that yes, we do have a canon, it’s called Western Literature. There are, of course, various ideologies that fall under a heading of “liberal”, but few modern American liberals pay any attention to them.

    Reading Obama is a fascinating read which concludes Obama is an American Pragmatist. I hadn’t been aware there was such a thing as a capitalized American Pragmatist. Led to some interesting reading, and a belief that small p pragmatist was probably closer to a description of Obama.

    There is a distinction to be made here between ideology and what Roosevelt practiced. If you won’t accept “pragmatism” as the right word to describe this, what does work?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  49. Pinky says:

    @gVOR08: I have no idea what Kyle meant, truthfully. The snotty part of me (and doesn’t the internet need more snottiness?) thinks that Kyle was using the word “ideology” as a throw-away word to mean something that Kyle disagrees with. Otherwise, I’ve got nothing. That’s why I highlighted that statement of his, because I didn’t think it was supportable any way I could understand it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. DrDaveT says:

    @Tillman:

    Can you give an example of a morality that isn’t punitive?

    “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye likewise also unto them.”

    “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    “Anger, drunkenness, obstinacy, bigotry, deception, envy, self-praise, disparaging others, superciliousness and evil intentions constitute uncleanness; not the eating of meat.”

    “He who recognizes the existence of suffering, its cause, its remedy, and its cessation has fathomed the four noble truths.”

    Jesus and Gautama were both long on what’s right, and short on what to do to people who don’t do what’s right.

    I don’t consider punishment of crime to be part of morality. “What is correct behavior” and “what code can we all live by” are distinct questions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0