Thursday, November 4, 2010

State Republican Party the Day After

Over at The Boston Globe we have this article, "The only salve:  Wins at bottom of GOP ticket", by reporter Stephanie Ebbert.  This paragraph captures the situation very well.
For Republicans, the disappointing results reaffirmed their assumptions rather than their dreams:  The GOP needs to rebuild from the ground up.
Isn't that the truth.

Regards  —  Cliff


Jack Mitchell said...

The trick, from where I sit, is for the MAGOP to stay true to MA. Trying to be a Kentucky Republican, in MA, is the wrong way to go, imo.

The hardest challenge will be pulling back the reins of the MAGOP electeds in higher office. They are the ones dazzled by the glaring lights of D.C. Any Republican with a view that extends past Boston will be deleterious to your party.

Your power is fiscal responsibility. Stay out of peoples bedrooms. Stay out of peoples choices.

Do this: Promise to make government work better; leaner, more efficient. Bring corporate doctrine to public management. Crush cronyism and patronage. Reform the dole, and you will win.

kad barma said...

I find the "one party state" comments to be the most curious. Massachusetts voter registration is predominently unenrolled. Why is it that nobody seems to get this?

To echo Jack's recommendations, staying out of people's private personal business is a time-honored New England tradition, and one best respected. I see great "market" for fiscal responsibility right now, and having Charlie "Big Dig" Baker at the top of your ticket is a predictable recipe for election disaster.

Fiscal responsibility is anathema to party politics, since party politics feeds itself on pork and patronage. Somehow someone has to figure this out, and you know it's not going to be a Democrat. I'm personally hopeful it might be an independent candidate, but I'd settle for a "R" if it got me what i want. (Bill Weld, anyone?)

Renee said...

I guess I'm being shown the door.

Renee said...

Last month I wrote about 'Moderate Republicans'

"Being a moderate Republican a/k/a fiscal conservative/social liberal can’t work, despite what people would like to identify with the label. If you want limited government, you need ways to properly promote personal responsibility to take on the social obligations to society. That means people, not the government need to accept the care and well being of those who are dependent voluntarily, which are the unborn, children, elderly, and the disabled.

When we accept what is defined as a moderate Republican's platform, we're essentially stating we don’t care about the decision that procures an abortion, we don’t care that both biological parents act as one kinship unit in the best interests their children, or that we don’t care what happens to the disabled or the elderly. It sends the message that being a moderate Republican is ‘I got mine, screw you, fend for yourself’.

Anyways I think Jack and Kad are right though, because I do get the feel most people who are angry with government, hold to the platform they described.

kad barma said...

Renee, you may misunderstand social moderation/liberalism in this context. At the risk of losing your open mind on this, take your strong objection to abortion: A "limited government" stance is already well supported by Roe v. Wade, in that it shouldn't be the government's business to know the status of anyone's womb. I know you object to this because there's the potential for the status of someones entire being being in that womb too, (not everyone is pregnant at every moment, which is why I use the word "potential" here), but one needs to ask how the government can possibly learn this status without first offending the rights of the womb's owner? (It simply can't--you'd say the intrusion is justified, but, like justifiable homicide, there's still an unfortunate circumstance either way).

You would prefer further government involvement in order to outlaw abortions. Your opposites would prefer further government involvement to ensure the availability of abortion. A "limited government" proponent like me would prefer that the government keeps its nose out of it.

This is NOT the same as saying "I got mine". It's being very careful to only choose the important areas for the government to intervene. (Unemployment benefits may be one such area, as would be reasonable and fair access to healthcare, though we need not argue the proper way to deliver this here). I believe strongly that good solutions are available that do not require a bloated welfare state, if we continue to prioritize the well being of individuals ahead of the well being of corporations. (I object vehemently to the SCOTUS' latest interpretation of the Bill of Rights). Things like Title IX put the clear responsibility on the governed to behave fairly, and do not require government hand-outs to work. Conservatives have to get used to supporting these socially liberal ideals and insisting that they be achieved in a financially responsible manner, just as surely as Liberals have to get used to pursuing sound fiscal policies in order to work towards their social ideals.

Renee said...


I sympathize with your view, but for instance moderate Republicak, Rudy Giuliani, who was in town last week for Golnik. Not only does he take the pro-choice position, but also believes in publicly funded abortions for poor women.

While on the other hand, many of my family members are 'personally pro-life, publicly pro-choice' but hate the idea of tax dollars paying for abortion. If you want help poor women get an abortion, then raise private funds in their opinion. That's not the government job, even though the lean to universal coverage of health care.

While I wish women (and men) not to see children as burdens despite a social obligation to them, it's just something creepy when a politician will support publicly funded abortion, but not for social services to actually help mother (and father) and child. That's not how you 'help' the poor.

C R Krieger said...

I liked what Jack Mitchell said here:
Do this:  Promise to make government work better; leaner, more efficient.  Bring corporate doctrine to public management.  Crush cronyism and patronage.  Reform the dole, and you will win.

Kad has a good point about the huge number of unenrolled voters in this Commonwealth.  They are the biggest party, but they are even more poorly organized than the Republicans.  Give us a platform.

I agree with the fact that we should not interfere in the bedroom.  I frankly don't care.  But there are a lot of folks who do, and a lot of them are Democrats.  Look at how we feel about polygamy.  It is anathema.  Just check out the Goodrich decision by Chief Justice Maggie Marshall.

Frankly, I don't think abortion is a bedroom issue.  It is a decision about life and death.  There may be, in the minds of many, sound reasons for choosing death.  Going on a Carrib Cruise is not one of them.  (That was from an article in The Wash Post about 20 years ago.)  What we see is, in many case, just plain self-serving selfishness.  In other cases we are dealing with social (cultural) disfunctionality.

But, back to the bedroom issues.  My concern is that these things come and go.  Fifty years from now what is acceptable today may not be acceptable.  On the other hand, I likely won't be around at that point.

Where Renee has a point and where my libertarianism clashes with my reformist leanings is that a certain part of reforming the dole and getting our society back up and running has to do with cultural issue.  The fact is that those awful "middle class" values are the engine that has driven our progress.  It isn't so much about going to church or about not having sex before marriage, but it is about having a vision for a better future and accepting responsibility for one's actions.  Part of what separates Paris Hilton from some young Black woman in the ghetto is the money.  And, part of it is that Paris Hilton, by hanging around her folks and her folks friends, has picked up some habits of middle class people that might well stand her in good stead ten or twenty years from now.  How do we fix that?

So, to end my comment, I agree that the Republican Party in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts needs to be about jobs and better governance.  I also believe that it needs to not be going overboard on social issues.  (And, the real social (read cultural) issues (more later) are being ignored by both parties, sadly.  They are in the too hard locker.) That said, candidates should be waffling.  Those who don't believe in late term abortions need to be honest when asked, but need to articulate a common sense answer to the question.  As Republicans we should not be applying litmus tests to candidates.  We don't want a repeat of the Bob Casey incident from 1992.  That should have been an embarrassment to us as a nation.

For us, for today, as Corporal Cueball famously said, "It's the economy, stupid."

Regards  —  Cliff

C R Krieger said...

WARNING, WORD CONFUSION HERE:  I will not be using the word liberal in its classic sense, but in its modern American usage.

There is the view out there that Republicans can't "out liberal" the Democrats and that is what they were trying to do in this last election.  The candidates for state-wide office and for the Congressional seats, in this view, were wishy-washy on social issues and their fiscal conservatism was not sufficiently strong to pierce the liberal bias of the voters.  And, fiscal conservatism means going against unions and what is more sacred to liberals that unions?

This view is presented here.  It will be interesting to see who the new Republican are who got voted into the State House.  On what platform did they win?  The wins compared to the number running was not impressive, but if we analyze the Republican winners and losers by their platforms it might be tell a different story.  Work for another day.  (And, part of that analysis will need to be about party organization and support.)

Regards  —  Cliff

kad barma said...

Hence my continued "unenrolled" status. If the choice is between a "true" liberal (one who would bankrupt the state entitling its constituents regardless of morality?) and a "watered-down" one (who would also bankrupt the state, only this time while saving its constituents from their baser selves) then I'm going to "opt out" and remain disaffected by both.

The issue on the table is the pending bankruptcy of the Federal Government, and its trickle-down impact to bankrupt the states, and, via them, the municipalities in which we live as well. We're arguing religious social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage while our Rome burns.

The government needs to get out of our bedrooms. Period.

The government needs to spend that energy getting itself also out of debt.

It's simple.

Renee said...

Great Link Cliff... One of the major concerns I went blank on the ballor.

I know early on the local pro-life groups, supported Cahill. Even though he really wasn't running on being pro-life, or consistent pro-life since he was OK w/ Death Penalty. Cahill though did support Laura's Law. Which provides information about the development of her unborn child/fetus to the woman obtain an abortion.

I would like to see more legislation to ensure abortions are not coerced in any manner though. There is domestic abuse screening at pregnant woman at a prenatal visit, I get asked over and over again if 'I'm safe'.

From stories I read from post-abortive women it seems 'her support' was there to ensure that indeed the abortion occurs. The #1 killer of pregnant women, is homicide, don't comply and violence escalates.

Here is a cite from here in Massachusetts.

A former abortion clinic security guard testified before the Massachusetts Legislature that women were routinely threatened and abused by the boyfriends or husbands who brought them to the clinic. -Brian McQuarrie, “Guard, clinic at odds at abortion hearing,” Boston Globe, April 16, 1999.

Renee said...

But Kad, Cliff and I would argue Rome burned, because they ignored social issues like marriage/abortion.

Renee said...

To back up my statement...

"By the time of Caesar Augustus, birthrates among Roman nobles had fallen so low that the Emperor felt compelled to enact steep “bachelor taxes” and otherwise punish those who remained unwed and childless. Here’s an example of how he felt about the matter.

“We liberate slaves chiefly for the purpose of making out of them as many citizens as possible; we give our allies a share in the government that our numbers may increase: yet you, Romans of the original stock…are eager that your families and names at once shall perish with you.”

Needless to say, such exhortations didn’t work. Divorce became rampant in Roman society; childlessness increasingly common. When cultural and economic conditions discourage parenthood, not even a dictator—any many have tried—can force people to go forth and multiply. Eventually, the sterile, secular noble families of Imperial Rome died off, and with them, their ancestors’ idea of Rome.

But what was once the Roman Empire remained populated. Only the composition of the population changed. Nearly by default, it became comprised of new, highly patriarchal family units, hostile to the secular world and enjoined by faith either to go forth and multiply or join a monastery. Sociologist Rodney Stark has shown that nearly all the spread of Christianity in late antiquity was the result of higher birthrates, and lower death rates, enjoyed by Christians. "

kad barma said...

Renee, so your solution is to legislate morality? How did that work for Augustus?

I would point out to you and your fellow sanction-happy-sanctimonious that even a portion of the energy expended in persecuting people for their life choices would provide many times more positive benefit if it were spent supporting them before those dire choices needed to be made. (Which is to say, I see very few abortion clinic protesters volunteering in local High Schools to work with the same teenagers that might accidentally procreate, and that, to me, is not only ironic but morally criminal--though I do not advocate government-sanctioned punishments even so).

I am desperately grateful yet again, reading what you have written, that we have a Bill of Rights to protect me and my family from your wish to prescribe behavior, and I will once again take the opportunity to remind my daughter that her life's choices and opportunities hang by a precious thread against such things.

kad barma said...

Oh, and I might also mention that my "liberal-raised" daughter has had considerably fewer out-of-wedlock pregnancies than one particularly high-profile morality-focused and "abstinence-raised" teenager currently dancing with the stars... (Though I suppose you might then be inclined to blame her for the consequently slower spread of Christianity...)

C R Krieger said...

OK, so I have been at work and not really doing blog stuff.  At LockMart, if you bring up this blog in the browser it has a big warning "Social Media".  I feel like I have sinned.

At any rate, to recap my view on this.  First, like a number of people, I am very concerned about the economy and the vision of Weimar Germany is in the front of my mind.  A place where the prices changed between when you went in the store and when you came out.  The Federal Reserve makes me nervous with their attempts to reflate the economy.  It will probably all work out swell, but if it doesn't it will be like the scientists at the Large Hadron Collider being wrong about "strange" quarks.

But, going to the "bedroom" I would again suggest that not everything everyone wishes to put into the bedroom belongs there.  As I noted before, I don't care what is going on in your bedroom, but on the other hand, I am not going to guarantee that 50 years from now your countrymen are going to be so indifferent.  Further, I feel comfortable asserting that there are a lot of liberals and/or Democrats who are very concerned about your bedroom.  In their eyes it is OK to be in bed with two women, as long as one is not married to both of them at the same time.  And, I cite Goodrich as an example.  Ridiculous.

But, some things we then to think of as inside the bedroom are not.  Abortion is one of them.  I am probably pretty close to the US consensus.  85% of the People think abortion should be legal and 85% of the People think it is wrong.  I think that trying to mess with the legal right to an abortion in the first two trimesters is going nowhere.  On the other hand, I have no objection to restrictions on late term abortions that do not involve the health of the mother.  That is the health of the mother, not the happiness or convenience of the mother.  I would think that most women would know they were pregnant by the third trimester and should have made all the key decisions before that point.  Time for some responsibility toward what is life.  And, I am firmly against the views of people like Princeton Professor Peter Singer.

But, and here is the real problem and one I am reading up on but am behind in that reading.  Middle Class families tend to do well in our society.  They do better in school and they pick up all those little habits that help them in this society.  The learn about balancing a checkbook and brushing their teeth and they have books and magazines around the house.  Reading is normal for them.

To cartoon it, since Judge W Arthur Garrity ordered desegregation in Boston Public Schools in 1975 a young girl has entered and gone through school and graduated (1986), got married and had a daughter (1987), who entered Boston Public Schools (1992) and went through and graduated (2004), got married and had a daughter (2005), who entered Boston Public Schools this year (2010). What if the little girl got pregnant as 15, and her daughter at 15?  The current little girl, if she follows suit, is preggers.

Not every girl and not just minority girls, but enough to be creating a problem for this nation.  We are in trouble.

This is not the way to rebuild this nation.  There are those who would argue we need more public programs to fix this and those who would like to see an emphasis on helping create responsibility.  The first is too expensive and the second is too intrusive.  Welcome to Renee's vision of Ancient Rome.

We have the problem identified.  At least I think we do.  The question is, what is the solution?

Regards  —  Cliff

kad barma said...

We confuse symptons (e.g. unwed motherhood) and causes (declining middle class "values", though I would say "circumstances") and we pay far too little attention to things like the burgeoning income gap and the decidedly UN-level economic playing field that starts the whole thing rolling in the wrong direction in the first place.

If fully HALF our nation cannot afford to pay income tax, the problem is not excusing the other half in the name of "fairness" and "stimulus". We have fundamental issues in education, none of which are aided by "faith-based" curriculum. All of this is made worse by our insolvent and debt-crushed Federal government which responds to an overburdened nation by piling on the double-whammy of higher taxes AND increased regulation. (And the triple whammy is that much of the regulation, as benefits Monsanto, Wall Street and other economic scourges as duly purchased by their campaign contributions, is that it further warps things unfairly to the citizenry).

We have to view our values as a product of our national well-being, not the cause of it. People who raise children in safe neighborhoods with good schools raise good kids. (Believing otherwise is class-bigoted). We have to accept the 85/85 observation about things like abortion, and stop trying to moralize via government. (It doesn't work). In short, we need to fix our national economy, so that the people can go back to bettering themselves as they have always done in our history.

kad barma said...

Here's Malcolm Gladwell on the truth that the America to which we are exhorted to return taxed upper-income tax brackets at 91%.

Cindy said...

Well the votes have been cast and a change, a significant change has occurred in the minds of most of the American people. Wasn't that what President Barak Obama promised. However, you might argue that it was not what he intended...I would have to disagree.

What is a young, bright, articulate President to do when after arriving in Washington sees the corruption and the political machinery in place that is robbing the country? He is only one man, and a black man to boot.

So taking the lead of the Clinton Health care reform so highly prized by the American's, he passes it. Then when General Motors needs a handout, he follows the lead of former presidents who gave Chrystler its bailout in 1978. At the time it was supported as a sound move.

And what about the Federal Savings and Loan bailout also given by a white but earlier president than himself. And remember the Truth in Lending Act, well the banks are furious with President Barak Obama because of the little observed change to your credit card statement that shows you how much you lose by paying them the minimum payment with no future purchases and more it shows how $50 more than the minimum payment amount will get you out of debt in 3 years again assuming no more future payments.

As to all the foreign aid that you complain is going out the country to the third world nations, the United States has been sending financial aid to country's for decades despite the numerously increasing poor among its minority residents.

As to the off US shore non-drilling, he's following the will of earlier congresses who instituted the clean air and water bills and other environmentally friendly initiatives. The fact that BP was losing money must have been good for the other gasoline firms whose base is here in the United States. The oil on the beech? Was it handled much better than the Exxon-Valdez debacle so many years ago which ruined probably permanently some of the most pristine landscape still available in the United States?

No, in all these instances the big black man in office has just been following the lead of his earlier white predecessors. Yes, it is true that it seems a BIT much to put all this in one four year term but I laud the ingenuity of the man in office for making it happen.

I truly believe that 20 years from now our President Barak Obama will be lauded as the Dark Hero. The one who loved this country so much he was willing to fall on the sword of his own reputation to cause the needed changes to come into place.

It may be true when you throw paint that the black color is all colors combined while the white color is color's absence....but in the light spectrum, black is the absence of color, and white light is all color.

The change in America has happened. I want to be the first to laud President Barak Obama for a war well won, the American people have awakened from their apathetic political slumber to realize there were monkeys in the congress.

It is a slur upon our equal opportunity perspective that they malign the only man of courage, the first African American President who had the balls to get the message out to American even if it meant being the antagonist of the people. He has ever been FOR his people, these United States of America. He's correct, there was a miscommunication error. The average American citizen is too glued to what the media, in all its objective forms, to have an independent thought in his head. Turn off the TV and radio America and go read a history book!

The change that has taken place in America is that the people now realize they must take an active part in learning about what is going on in Washington.

C R Krieger said...

I think Mr Malcolm Gladwell has just had a run of bad luck.  I remember that the tax rate was very steep before President Kennedy started it on down.  On the other hand, even back then there were enough tax accountants and lawyers that most of the rich were not paying 91%.

But, someone has to pay down the massive federal debt or we have to have a really roaring economy to make it dwindle into nothingness.

Fareed Zakaria had (along with Paul Krguman) Professor Raghuram Rajan on his show this weekend.  Professor Rajan made the point that (1) "Too many people are long term unemployable." and (2) "The fundamentals are not that good. Too many people don’t have the skills they need to compete in the world economy."

Raising taxes and raising them at the proper time is only part of the puzzle.  There are a lot of people without applicable job skills.  Worse, I am not sure we know what those job skills should be.  Even worse than that, I am not sure we even know if those people are properly distributed across the fruited plain.

We need folks to start talking to us with a modicum of intelligence, but I don't see that happening in the near future.

I would like to be on record as saying I don't think it is all a Government conspiracy, or even a conspiracy on the part of one or another of the big parties.  It is just a problem that is very difficult.

Regards  —  Cliff

C R Krieger said...


I don't know where Renee's comment "I guess I am being show the door" came from.

From my perspective, the door is always open and you are free to walk in and say what you want.

I had one commenter make some comments that someone took offense to and he then left of his own accord.  I would like to see him back.  Alas, he seems to have moved on.  I will poke him one of these days when we have lunch with a couple of our other friends.

Regards  —  Cliff