• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Jeb Bush: Reagan And My Father Have No Place In the Modern GOP

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who has been far more vocal over the past week or so than at any time in recent memory, took aim at his fellow Republicans today by comparing them to his father and the party’s most iconic figure:

Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida said his father, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan would find themselves out of step with today’s Republican Party because of its strict adherence to ideology and the intensity of modern partisan warfare.

“Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, similar to my dad, they would have had a hard time if you define the Republican Party — and I don’t — as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement,” Mr. Bush said at question-and-answer session with reporters and editors held Monday morning in Manhattan by Bloomberg View.

“Back to my dad’s time or Ronald Reagan’s time,” he said, “they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support that right now would be difficult to imagine happening.”

Mr. Bush’s comments help solidify his role as the Republican Party’s leading voice of moderation at a time when many in the party — particularly Tea Party adherents — are calling for ever-greater ideological discipline. And he continued a trend this campaign cycle of big-name presidential endorsers going off script from the campaigns they support. Mr. Bush has endorsed Mitt Romney’s candidacy.

(…)

Mr. Bush stood by his assertion that he would accept a hypothetical deal — which all of the major Republican candidates including Mr. Romney rejected when asked about it during a debate on the Fox News Channel last year — that would allow $1 of revenue increases for every $10 in spending cuts. And, when asked to point to a moment of political courage of the sort he said Mr. Obama had not produced, he pointed positively to the budget deal his father struck in 1990, which included tax increases in spite of the elder Bush’s “read my lips, no new taxes” campaign pledge.

The deal angered many Republicans and is viewed as contributing to George Bush’s re-election loss in 1992, but Jeb Bush said “that created the spending restraint of the 1990s; more than anything else that was helpful in creating a climate for sustained economic growth.”

“He didn’t win,” he added, “but at least he did it.”

Mr. Bush said he also hoped his party would improve its performance on immigration.

He said that Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee,  needed a different tone when it came to reaching out to Hispanic voters and should make immigration more of an economic issue than a legal one.

“Don’t just talk about Hispanics and say immediately we must have controlled borders,” Mr. Bush said. “It’s kind of insulting when you think about it. Change the tone would be the first thing. Second, on immigration, I think we need to have a broader approach.”

Mr. Bush added, “I do feel a little out of step with my party on this.”

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Jeb Bush for the past several years. Although he was, while he was Florida Governor, more conservative on some issues (especially fiscal matters) than either his brother or his father, he has also been distancing himself from the current brand of conservatism that seems to be taking hold in the GOP. Immigration is probably the signature issue where Bush differentiates himself, and he has frequently warned his fellow Republicans of the need to moderate at least the tone of their rhetoric on the subject or risk alienating Latino voters for a generation. On fiscal issues, Bush is the most recent prominent Republican to reject the tax orthodoxy of the current Congressional Republicans and the attitude exemplified by activists such as Grover Norquist. It’s also not surprising that he would defend his father’s record, including it’s most controversial (for Republicans) decision.  So, while Jeb Bush is certainly more conservative than his father was, and is as much of a social conservative as his brother was, he likely will get labeled a “moderate” and a “RINO” for these and other recent comments.

What if his central argument, though? The idionea that Ronald Reagan would not be welcome in today’s GOP is not an argument new to Jeb Bush. Indeed, James Joyner,Steven Taylor, and myself have all noted in different contexts over the past year or so, Ronald Reagan would be considered a RINO in today’s GOP, judging solely on his record as President and, before that, Governor of California. Indeed, on the specific issue of taxes and deficit reduction, I made note of the very facts that Jeb Bush pointed out in his remarks:

Ronald Reagan came into the White House with the promise that he would turn the economy around by cutting taxes. By August of his first year he had delivered on that promise,and he did it despite the fact that the House was controlled by the opposition and his own party had a slim three seat majority in the Senate.One year later, though, he signed into law one of the largest tax increases in history, followed in 1986 by a major tax overhaul that, while it lowered rates, ended many popular deductions and increased revenues. He did things like this because he, and fellow Republicans at the time like Howard Baker and Alan Simpson, knew that governing could not be held hostage by ideological purity, and that compromise isn’t a dirty word.

But that isn’t the Ronald Reagan that most conservatives know today. Instead of the reality, or the actual history provided by former advisers like David Stockman and Bruce Bartlett, they are imbued with Rush Limbaugh’s Ronaldus Magnus, a false characterization of a Ronald Reagan who governed as some sort of uber-conservative super being. Anyone who actually lived through the 1980s knows that it isn’t true, but it seems to be the only way that contemporary conservatives can keep Reagan in their pantheon, because if they actually acknowledged his real record they’d be forced to denounce him as a RINO.

This style of governing wasn’t unique to Reagan’s time in the White House. During his eight years as Governor of California, he also dealt with a legislature largely controlled by the opposition party which meant that he frequently had to reach compromises on issues ranging from budgeting to education. When he came to Washington and faced a Congress where the Democratic Speaker of The House Tip O’Neill was pretty much the one man who could decide whether a bill lived or died, Reagan had two options. He could have gone full-bore on the confrontation, or he could work out the deals that needed to be done to run the government and achieve at least some of the goals he had set out to achieve when he ran for President. He chose the second option and, because of that he was able to get his 1981 tax cuts along with other important legislation and then, in 1986, a major overhaul of the tax code itself. Regardless of what happens on the Congressional side of the ballot in November, that is exactly the choice that Mitt Romney will have if he becomes President.

Most of the commentary on Bush’s remarks in the blogosphere are coming from the left side of the spectrum, with very few conservative blogs chiming in, at least according to Memeorandum. This is unfortunate if only because it’s the right that should be taking Bush’s words to heart. Instead, those who are commenting on them at all are, perhaps not surprisingly, soundly rejecting them and Bush himself.

Paul Mirengoff, for example, rejects the very idea that the modern GOP would reject Reagan:

Whatever its source, the notion that Reagan would have difficulty being nominated today is laughable. The Republican party is about to nominate Mitt Romney, whose offenses against conservative orthodoxy outweigh any that Reagan had committed when he won the nomination in 1980, and any that he committed thereafter judged even by today’s standards. Romney’s opponents plausibly called him a Massachusetts moderate. Anyone who called Reagan a California moderate would have been laughed out of the campaign, and not just for a poor sense of alliteration.

Bush says that Reagan’s “record of finding accommodation” and “some degree of common ground” with Democrats would have made his nomination difficult. Presumably, he’s referring to what Reagan did as president, and to the likelihood that, today, he would be renominated.

Tim Stanley agrees:

The theory is hogwash, and here’s why.

1. Reagan was so good at campaigning that he could get elected by anyone at any point in history. Ignore the popular image of a forgetful buffoon; Reagan was brilliant one-on-one, as a public speaker and as a debater. If he had been born in the Soviet Union he probably would have wound up as General Secretary of the Communist Party.

2. If the Republicans are so crazily Rightwing, why did they nominate Mitt Romney? Romney is widely regarded as a flip flopping, pseudo conservative who admitted to voting Democratic in 1992. If conservatives could reconcile themselves to Mittens, they could easily do so for Reagan.

3. Yes, Reagan did raise taxes in California and did compromise on spending as President. But in both cases he was forced to by Democratic legislatures, and he later expressed regret. The old Republican plan was to crash the budget by taking down taxes to a point whereby Democrats would be forced to cut spending. They didn’t, so the Reagan administration was forced to u-turn on taxes. The GOP has learned from that mistake and that’s why they’ve taken such a tough line on the present day Bush tax cuts. Were he running in 2012, there can be no doubt that Reagan would share their stance.

4. Bush’s memory of the 1980 presidential election is off. The Republican field that year was actually quite conservative – enough to give Santorum or Gingrich a run for their money. There was common agreement on the need for a supply side tax cut, reduced spending, letting oil prices rise, action to reduce abortions and opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. The only man who didn’t agree was George HW Bush, although he still won Iowa and a handful of northeastern states.

5. Jeb’s daddy pledged no compromise on taxes. When he ran again in 1988, HW Bush had moved dramatically to the Right andpromised “no new taxes” to finance Democratic spending. It was the applause line that rallied the Republican base and helped win the election. But, he broke that pledge … and here we are today.

To some extent, Mirenghoff and Stanley have a point. Looking at the candidates who have been nominated since Reagan left office (Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, and Romney) one doesn’t exactly see a parade of right wing conservatism. More importantly, though, trying to guess how the Ronald Reagan of 1980 would fare in the Republican Party of 2012 is like asking how Mitt Romney would have fared in the Republican Party of 1980. Different individuals and organizations at different points in time make this the kind of thought experiment that is essentially impossible to answer correctly, because there is no correct answer.

To me, the more important question is how the modern Republican Party would have reacted to Reagan’s tendency to reach out and work with his opponents rather than adopting the take-no-prisoners attitude that has become common in the GOP since at least the 2010 elections. If the behavior of the Tea Party and the House GOP and Senate Freshman is any indication, one gets the impression that the reaction would not have been positive. Reagan worked with, and even socialized with Tip O’Neill on a regular basis. How would modern Republicans react if Mitt Romney started doing that with Harry Reid in the likely event that the Democrats hold on to the Senate (or the even more likely event that there are least more than 40 Senate Democrats in January 2013)? In an era where even John Boehner playing golf with the President last year was criticized by the some on the right, I think it’s fairly obvious what the reaction would be. Indeed, if Romney wins in November he may find that his most contentious fights will be with Republicans on Capitol Hill whose agenda will be far different than his.

When it came to domestic politics at least, Reagan had rivals but he didn’t have enemies. That is the lesson of Ronald Reagan that the GOP has forgotten.

Related Posts:

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. G.A. says:

    Nope, you and pops have no place in todays GOP!!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  2. You cannot be serious GA

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Rob in CT says:

    That’s mighty big of Jeb, being willing to agree to a 10-to-1 cuts-to-taxes deal.

    It looks to me like my fear was well-founded: this is going to be the new “moderate” position for a Republican. See! I’m not like THEM. I’m reasonable. I’ll take a 10-to-1 deal!

    The grand bargain that was under discussion but failed was, IIRC, something like 4-to-1.

    Jeb may, in fact, be a reasonable sort of fellow. Too bad his brother got elected and made such a mess of things, eh? Somehow I think Jeb will manage to make lemonade.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  4. mattb says:

    Beyond not liking the direction of mainstream Republicanism, could it be that Jeb actively looking to 2016, and in some way beginning to develop his own brand as a pragmatist?

    Beyond that, the question about how can you call Republican’s conservative when they ended up nominating Romney is a worthwhile one to think about. To some degree this represents a disconnection between the base on the local level, and the party in aggregate.

    It’s clear that the party in aggregate does trend more towards pragmatic centerists. At the same time, it’s clear that the base has shifted more conservative in recent years. Perhaps the better question, in the long term, is which is the center and which one is the satellite. And chances are we may not know until we get past this years election as its fall out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  5. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    GA is the nutball that proves your concluding statement:

    When it came to domestic politics at least, Reagan had rivals but he didn’t have enemies. That is the lesson of Ronald Reagan that the GOP has forgotten.

    While the GOP used to be home to people who were actually “conservative”, it is now the hiding place for people who simply cannot grasp a world-view that doesn’t paint them as a persecuted, yet superior, minority. That’s why they prefer – seek out, even – enemies. Even to the point of declaring anyone they disagree with on any point whatsoever to be that enemy: witness GA’s own statement. The GOP is now filled with and run by bullies and cowards. It serves no purpose but to make them feel better by providing them with enemies to focus their own self-loathing on in the form of hatred.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  6. G.A. says:

    You cannot be serious GA

    I have been doing some research,oh man, if I would have known then what I now now…
    And if he wants to talk silly about the people that we have in now, that are taking it to what has become of the democrats, he can step off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  7. G.A. says:

    legion, lol.. noob….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  8. Boyd says:

    Along the lines of matt’s response, I don’t think the Republican party is as conservative as it’s painted by the extremes, both left and right. I think the most conservative Republican Presidential nominee during my lifetime was likely Richard Nixon (and he had some decidedly non-conservative facets to him, as well). Certainly, no nominee since then has come close to actually being anything like what Republicans are purported to be these days.

    The extremes always seem to claim that the extremes typify their respective “sides.” They’re always wrong.

    IMHO, of course.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  9. mattb says:

    @G.A.:

    I have been doing some research,oh man, if I would have known then what I now now…

    Ok, so I’m curious, how has your “research” changed your mind G.A.? That’s a serious question…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. Dean Esmay says:

    It’s hard to remember this but George W. Bush was, and still is, a bit more liberal than his brother in a number of areas. Their views on immigration are practically identical, and on others. If anything GW was the more liberal one. 9/11 and the war really changed everything, including perceptions.

    Am I the only one, at all, who remembers how fiercely George W. was criticized for “compassionate conservatism” and for not being anywhere near liberal enough? That Bush came into office wanting work passes for immigrants at the borders, closer relations with Mexico, expanded the children’s health insurance program, increased Federal spending on education with a bipartisan push on “No Child Left Behind” and more?

    Were it not for the War On Terror we’d STILL be talking about Bush as the centrist President who spent most of his time compromising with Dems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  11. G.A. says:

    Ok, so I’m curious, how has your “research” changed your mind G.A.?

    You see I keep learning and I find out how people think and what they are up to and why they are up to it.

    I know, you said serious.What I would tell you has to do with worldviews and religion.So I won’t bore you with what you wont believe or take for anything other then what you usually take it for.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  12. John Cole says:

    Yeah. “Moderate” Jeb Bush. You know, the “moderate” guy who signed the Stand Your Ground Law the millisecond it hit his desk. The “moderate” guy who signed Terri’s Law the millisecond it hit his desk so that he could intervene into someone’s marriage. And then did! The “moderate” guy who wants mandatory prison sentences for drug offenses.

    But then again, this is Mataconis we are talking about- point this out and he’ll just stammer “BUT BUT AL SHARPTON. BOTH SIDES.”

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

  13. @John Cole:

    What’s wrong with protecting people’s right to defend themselves? I happen to support that idea

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  14. al-Ameda says:

    Reagan would be successful in today’s GOP because he was a very talented politician, period. A politician is more than the sum of his or her ideological positions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. paladin says:

    Let’s get real here—the Democrat Party would have no place for Bill Clinton either.

    NAFTA?

    DOMA?

    Welfare reform?

    The era of Big Government is over?

    Balanced budgets?

    Any budgets at all Harry Reid?

    Let’s not ignore how far left Obama has pulled his party.

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

  16. al-Ameda says:

    @paladin: Left?
    No single payer health insurance, war in Afghanistan, actions taken to oust Qaddafi, augmented Patriot Act, deportation of over 400,000 illegals, reduced payroll taxes, and more.

    What Left?

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

  17. Tsar Nicholas says:

    There’s a bit of dissonance between the headline and what Jeb actually said. Jeb said Reagan and Bush 41 would have a hard time being nominated by today’s GOP, not that there’s “no place” for them in the party. Obviously there would be a place for both them in the party. It’s not as if the likes of Romney, Boehner, Daniels, Jindal, Thune, Kyl and McConnell, not even to mention the likes of Collins, Coates, etc., are all fire breathing, bomb throwing ideologues.

    In any event, Jeb as usual is correct. Reagan as far back as 1980 was a moderate on immigation issues and of course Reagan ultimately signed off on Ted Kennedy’s amnesty plan. Were he an active politico today I’d be willing to bet mucho dinero that Reagan would support the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s immigration plan, which includes a form of amnesty and a guest worker program for illegals. Which obviously makes sense on several different levels. It’s beyond doubt, though, along those same lines, that were he an active politico today Reagan would be subjected to the inevitable shrill and ignorant catcalls and hissing from the extreme right wings.

    Lastly, at the risk of beating a dead elephant, it’s important to realize there are major differences between the foaming at the mouth brigades on the Internet and talk radio and the much larger (albeit much quieter) group of conservatives, moderates, right-leaning Independents, Reagan Democrats, libertarians, and party Republicans, who make up the GOP at large. The inmates don’t run the asylum. Dole is Exh. A. Bush 43 is Exh. B. McCain is Exh. C. Romney is Exh. D. Case closed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  18. LightsOut says:

    The obvious problem with using Mitt Romney as an example of the supposed right-wing acceptance moderates is that he’s had to remake himself into a hard-right fire-breather in order to barely secure the nomination from the likes of Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum.

    Could Reagan actually win in this environment without painting Obama as an America-hating radical communist socialist fascist and hanging out with the Don?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  19. paladin says:

    Obviously not “left” enough for you a-A! lol

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  20. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    What’s wrong with protecting people’s right to defend themselves?

    The fact that the SYG laws do nothing to protect that.

    Nice straw man you’ve got there, Doug. Be a shame if something happened to it…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  21. legion,

    Your first sentence is the straw man. Evidence, please.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  22. Boyd says:

    Self-Defense Rule #1 according to legion: run away from the danger as far as you can until you’re cornered and there’s nowhere to turn. Only then should you be able to defend yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

  23. jan says:

    @al-Ameda:

    “No single payer health insurance, war in Afghanistan, actions taken to oust Qaddafi, augmented Patriot Act, deportation of over 400,000 illegals, reduced payroll taxes, and more.”

    There was no significant support in Congress for a single payer. However, if Obama could have, he would have preferred a single payer symstem of health insurance. But, what he did want was the personal legacy of passing some kind of HC policy, hence we have the dud we have.

    Ousting Qaddafi, was an example of ‘leading from behind.’ Many posit Obama’s original dithering on implementing a no fly zone intensified what could have been a relatively quick involvement by the U.S.

    The Patriot Act is a vehicle which strengthens the arm of government in people’s lives, via concerns over terrorism. What is there for a social progressive not to like about the Patriot Act?

    Obama never developed his own immigration policy, even though he promised to do so . So he defaulted to what Bush’s policies were, as he did dealing with many of the war issues.

    A reduction of payroll taxes was a way to demonstrate his empathy for the working class. However, it has created little impetus for improving the economy, and mainly has weakened the SS reserves, increasing the pace of it’s insolvency.

    Ideologically Obama is a leftist. However, once seated as POTUS, he found that turning the country sharply left, was more difficult than he anticipated. His best shot at it was during the first two years, when he had such huge margins in both arms of Congress. The midterms changed those odds, though, and now he is basically battling his own economic record in order to be reelected.

    BTW, I did agree with this comment you made earlier:

    “Reagan would be successful in today’s GOP because he was a very talented politician, period. A politician is more than the sum of his or her ideological positions.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  24. anjin-san says:

    Self-Defense Rule #1 according to legion: run away from the danger as far as you

    I used to study Tai Kwon Do under a master who held sixth degree black belt. He was quite specific that running away from danger was an option that should always be considered. Being able to face danger successfully almost always involves training, which is something most people do not have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  25. bk says:

    Most of the commentary on Bush’s remarks in the blogosphere are coming from the left side of the spectrum, with very few conservative blogs chiming in, at least according to Memeorandum.

    Are you serious? Do you consider Weasel Zippers, PJ Tattler, National Review, Politico, Daily Caller, and most of the other links there to be “the left side of the spectrum”???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis: As a matter of fact, the Wall Street Journal has an article on exactly that. From the article, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Justifiable Homicides since 2005, when FL and 16 other states passed SYG laws. At the same time, the actual murder rates in those states remained basically flat. From the study referenced in the article:

    Results indicate that the prospect of facing additional self-defense does not deter crime. Specifically, we find no evidence of deterrence effects on burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault. Moreover, our estimates are sufficiently precise as to rule out meaningful deterrence effects.

    The clamor and support for SYG laws is the expected result when both the media and politicians make hay out of keeping people scared. Not from any actual benefit to society or improvement in safety.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  27. As far as I’m concerned each one of those justifiable homicides is a crime prevented.

    And since people have an inherent right to defend themselves from attack, I have no objection at all to these laws.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  28. mattb says:

    @Boyd: Self-Defense Rule #1 according to legion: run away from the danger as far as you can until you’re cornered and there’s nowhere to turn.

    Not a particularly bad rule — though sometimes that running is best done after hitting first. I still have yet to hear a compelling reason *why* calling for a duty to retreat, versus standing one’s ground, is such a bad thing. And again, I write this as someone who does teach self defense (and talks regularly with police and other LEO types).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. legion says:

    @Boyd: Funny guy. No, self-defense rule #1 (or at least somewhere very near the beginning) is more along the lines of “Is my life or someone else’s life in actual danger?”

    I find that’s a handy piece of information to have _before_ pulling out a gun and shooting. Your mileage may vary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  30. @bk:

    I chose not to link to the PJ Tatler post because the author didn’t really say anything interesting. The NR post was merely a few sentences and an excerpt of the news report. Politico and Daily Caller are news sites. And I Weasel Zippers was not linked by memorandum when I checked it and considering that his entire commentary consists of the word “RINO,” it wouldn’t have been worth linking to anyway

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  31. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    As far as I’m concerned each one of those justifiable homicides is a crime prevented.

    The key word in that sentence is “crime”. How many crimes warrant the death penalty? How many of those justifiable homicides actually prevented some other innocent person’s death? Again, considering that the murder rates remained flat, the implication is: very few. Yes, there are plenty of crimes beside murder/attempted murder that warrant a lethal response, but explicitly putting it in the hands of untrained civilians absolutely increases the danger to everyone in that society. You’re a lawyer, Doug – you _know_ the concept of the government having a monopoly on violence. you _know_ what happens when you start handing that authority out like candy. _Analyze_ this, don’t just respond instinctively.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. legion,

    I get what you’re saying, which is why I think someone involved in one of these incidents has to be able to establish the reasonableness of their fear for their life in a courtroom.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  33. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I actually agree with you on this Doug – I agree completely. The problem – and my earlier comment – is that SYG laws as written and implemented diminish that requirement to establish reasonableness to the point that DAs don’t even want to ask the question, let alone have someone defend their decision in court.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  34. mattb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    As far as I’m concerned each one of those justifiable homicides is a crime prevented.

    Seriously? Really?!

    I am having a hard time how you can be so progressive on the problems with the death penalty and yet write stuff like that (especially without reviewing the cases being discussed).

    Generally speaking, it’s this type of comment/logic, that makes it so hard to talk about SYG and self defense reforms as adults. One side seems to suggest that the law is typically used to legally kill while the other side imagines that Judges and Juries (not to mention the shooters and stabbers) always are correct in their decisions.

    More broadly, there are a number of cases where people have been cleared on the basis of SYG where the facts don’t back up this sort of assertion. I need to run, but when I get home from my workout, I’ll see about pulling a few of the more dubious cases.

    In the mean time, I’ll leave you with this database that the Tampa Bay Times has put together of past SYG cases:
    http://www.tampabay.com/stand-your-ground-law/data

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. Will says:

    @Doug Mataconis: That’s wonderful that you think that Doug. However, the laws in question create a presumption that the party with the gun in their hand had a reasonable fear for their life. The burden is on the prosecution to overcome that presumption. As is often the case in 2-men-enter-one-man-leaves type situations, there is no other witness or narrative to explain the fresh corpse aside from the shooter’s self-interested, “It was self-defense.”

    As the shooter has no burden and can simply sit back and watch the prosecution sputter, your assumption that each dead body necessarily is evidence of a prevented crime is … shall we say, naive?

    Of course, I could just be cynical. It’s certainly possible that no human being would ever use a gun on another human being without a legitimate and reasonable fear for their life. And they certainly would not lie about the circumstances leading up to the shooting in order to escape responsibility or liability for their actions. I think it’s clear, human nature being what it is, that if a man shoots the only witness, then that man will also tell the truth when the police come to inquire.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  36. mattb says:

    @legion:

    No, self-defense rule #1 (or at least somewhere very near the beginning) is more along the lines of “Is my life or someone else’s life in actual danger?”

    And part of that problem is that people in the moment — especially those without training — can be very bad at objectively judging that issue.

    This weekend I spent a number of hours discussing the topic with a friend and mentor who is an African American, Conservative, Southern Transplant. He’s a self defense instructor, bonded body guard, and currently getting his papers to become a tactical pistol instructor. And he’s an all around great guy.

    As he put it “getting your ass kicked in a fight is not a reason that you can use deadly force.”

    The problem is, if someone’s never been in that situation, it’s easy to mistake one for the other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. anjin-san says:

    I think someone involved in one of these incidents has to be able to establish the reasonableness of their fear for their life in a courtroom.

    And if they can’t do that, the other guy is still dead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  38. mattb says:

    @paladin:

    Let’s not ignore how far left Obama has pulled his party.

    Again, aside for the ACA, I’d like to see real examples of how Obama has pulled his party signifcantly to the left.

    And quite frankly @jan saying that Obama “would have preferred X outcome” isn’t a strong enough argument — especially if you are suggesting, as you have in other places, that we need to evaluate him on his actions.

    We have to deal with what Obama did and did not do. So general call to people making the claim that Obama is the most radical leftist president that the US has seen… back it up with fact please. Or, frankly, STFU because you are not playing by the rules of debate/argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  39. WR says:

    I love this:

    ” Reagan was so good at campaigning that he could get elected by anyone at any point in history.”

    Apparently, that is, at any point in history except 1976.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  40. anjin-san says:

    Being able to face danger successfully almost always involves training, which is something most people do not have.

    I should add that training is no promise of a successful defense of ones self in any given situation. There is always someone more trained, tougher, stronger, meaner, luckier, and so on. And a skilled martial artist can still find himself shot dead.

    Avoiding conflict whenever possible is a good rule of thumb.

    As he put it “getting your ass kicked in a fight is not a reason that you can use deadly force.”

    Bingo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  41. dennis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    . . . which is why I think someone involved in one of these incidents has to be able to establish the reasonableness of their fear for their life in a courtroom.

    Can you then, Doug, do me a favor and reconcile the irrational fear of Black men with your your “establishment clause” conflate the two with SYG and then explain the recent “justifiable” homicides?

    Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  42. al-Ameda says:

    @mattb:

    Again, aside for the ACA, I’d like to see real examples of how Obama has pulled his party signifcantly to the left.

    None will be forthcoming from the Right because, there are no examples – it’s just a convenient talking point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  43. WR says:

    @Boyd: ” think the most conservative Republican Presidential nominee during my lifetime was likely Richard Nixon ”

    Nixon wasn’t really that big a conservative, he was just a criminal. Although I do understand it’s often difficult to tell those two apart.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  44. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “What’s wrong with protecting people’s right to defend themselves? I happen to support that idea ”

    Yes, except the SYG laws protect people’s right to defend their lives with deadly force against threats they perceive even if there is absolutely no basis in reality for that perception — certainly that’s the way it’s been applied in Florida. So if we were both in that lovely state I could shoot you when you came walking down the street simply because I thought you were dangerous.

    Is that what you support?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  45. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “I get what you’re saying, which is why I think someone involved in one of these incidents has to be able to establish the reasonableness of their fear for their life in a courtroom.”

    Which is great in theory — and in practice has proved to be not true, since prosecutors won’t charge in these cases, since they believe they’ll be thrown out.

    Actually, this is a perfect encapsulation of libertarian philosophy – an idea which sounds great in theory is proved to be completely wrong in real life, so the libertarian holds onto the belief and rejects the reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  46. bk says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    the much larger (albeit much quieter) group of conservatives, moderates, right-leaning Independents, Reagan Democrats, libertarians, and party Republicans, who make up the GOP at large

    Name three prominent “moderate” Republican members of Congress. I’ll wait.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  47. superdestroyer says:

    @Boyd:

    Nixon pushed for larger government more regulation, and price controls. These days Nixon would be Democrat because Nixon loved big government, more government, and more power in DC.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  48. anjin-san says:

    the irrational fear of Black men

    A point worth discussing – this fear is baked in to our society. I am a bit skeptical of any white person who tells me they are totally immune.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  49. superdestroyer says:

    I guess when the cheap labor, open border, La Raza Republicans say jump, all that Jeb Bush can say is ” How High!”

    Anyone who thinks that the Bush clan has a future in politics is a fool. They entire clan has been shown to be fools. The faster that the Bush Clan shuts theirs mouths and gets off the public stage the better. The U.S. will soon be a one-party-state because the Bush Clan is incapable of understanding simple arithmetic and totally incapable of thinking about the long term consequences of their decisions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  50. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    As you think about Boyd and his “Self Defense Rule #1,” remember that he’s from Texas, where recently another Boyd-type made this comment praising the current governor:

    “It takes a lot of balls to execute an innocent man.”

    “Nuff said?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  51. Tillman says:

    @jan:

    The Patriot Act is a vehicle which strengthens the arm of government in people’s lives, via concerns over terrorism. What is there for a social progressive not to like about the Patriot Act?

    This might be hard to believe for some, but progressives don’t automatically agree with every expansion of government power. They just don’t take the libertarian line that government is a necessary evil.

    His best shot at it was during the first two years, when he had such huge margins in both arms of Congress.

    Seven months, not two years. Al Franken’s seating as a senator was delayed by Norm Coleman’s campaign in Minnesota about as long as legally possible, and then Ted Kennedy died. By the way, you might notice this wasn’t a very big margin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  52. anjin-san says:

    Let’s not ignore how far left Obama has pulled his party.

    That probably explains why the segment of the Democratic Party Obama is least popular with is the far left.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  53. mattb says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    As you think about Boyd and his “Self Defense Rule #1,” remember that he’s from Texas, where recently another Boyd-type made this comment praising the current governor:

    “It takes a lot of balls to execute an innocent man.”

    Flag on that play.

    There’s a lot of daylight between not seeing a problem with SYG and supporting the execution of an innocent man. So that was a bit of a cheap shot in tarring Boyd with that particular quote.

    Again, I have a problem with SYG (at least as written and interpreted by the courts). But I also know that sometimes hitting first (which can be interpreted as SYG) is very much the right thing to do in order to make it home to your loved ones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  54. MarkedMan says:

    This is an interesting discussion to me (or at least the original one about Reagan, not the rerun about SYG). I’ve always felt that Reagan was where we went off the rails in this country. When the Republican party became the party of not paying their bills. All their talk about reigning in spending has been shown bogus over and over again. But they start wars and don’t pay for them. Cut taxes without cutting spending. Pass un-paid for mandates. Over and over again. The definition of a Republican in my mind is someone who refuses to pay their bills and leaves the mess to someone else, then sits on the sidelines and froths at the mouth. Sure, they SAY other things. They flap their jaws about Mooslims and Gays and nanny-state and so forth, but anyone can say anything. They are only words.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  55. anjin-san says:

    Reagan would be successful in today’s GOP

    If Reagan were around, today’s GOP would not be today’s GOP. He would show the nut jobs, the grifters, and the professional victims the door, and we would have a Republican Party that, while far from perfect, was composed of grownups who could roll up their sleeves and work with Democrats to get the country’s business done.

    The days of Howard Baker and Tip O’Neill sitting down and getting the job done seem like a golden age compared to today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  56. superdestroyer says:

    @anjin-san:

    Reagan would have to think twice about having to work with Democrats. Remember, Bush I made a deal with the Democrats in 1990 and the Democrats used the deal to bash Bush I.

    Any Republicans that makes a deal with a Democrat is a fool. All the Democrats ever propose is to do something that is good for the Democrats now with the promise of doing something good for the Democrats later.

    An advisor who counsels Republicans to make deals with Democrats will have a very short career after the Democrats stab the Republicans in the back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  57. gVOR08 says:

    Will someone point out to me what that Kenyan socialist Obama has done that Richard (we’re all Keynesian now*) Nixon wouldn’t have done in the circumstances? Or for the most part actually did do.

    * Not the real quote, but a fair paraphrase.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  58. @superdestroyer: Wow. You’re astonishingly dumb, aren’t you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  59. Tillman says:

    @superdestroyer:

    All the Democrats ever propose is to do something that is good for the Democrats now with the promise of doing something good for the Democrats later.

    Ah, those diabolical Democrats. Their perfidy knows no end! It’s as if the moment you join the Democratic Party, you immediately become one-quarter serpent.

    That would explain a few things. Snakes are usually cowards and run away from danger.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  60. mattb says:

    Just wanted to note that it’s been more than 24 hours since I challenged Paladin or Jan to back up their “Obama is the most librul president evah” claims… surprisingly… no response.

    You might want to remind Paladin of this the next time he pop up to bitch about how the libruls have taken over OTB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0