Democrats In Disarray

THEY HAD TO WORK AT MAKING THINGS THIS BAD

Posted: July 31, 2011 at 5:35 a.m.

What a disaster Democratic efforts to gerrymander Arkansas congressional districts quickly turned out to be.

This story is only available from our archives.

Opinion, Pages 14 on 07/31/2011

The editor makes several points in this article that are very debatable.

While it may be true that Rep. Ross was a "Blue Dog" Democrat, and while it is certainly true that the Blue Dogs were reviled by the party's leaders, there is little evidence to suggest that they were an effective bulwark. Particularly in the Senate, they could usually be counted on to vote with the more extreme left wing of the party. The Speaker and House leadership would tolerate some level of dissent as long as enough of them went along to move the agenda along.

The second point is the oft-stated but completely incorrect view that the government was one-party GOP from 2001 through 2006. In 2001-2002, the Senate was a 50-50 split until one Senator tipped the balance to the Democrats. In none of those years was the GOP majority enough to avert a filibuster, which the Dems employed...in more ways than one...liberally. The only time that there was effective one-party rule was 2009-2010, and one only needs to have been awake during that time to understand how harmful that has been to our country, in spite of what a few of our colleagues may regurgitate from George Soros.

Posted by: IrishMensa

July 31, 2011 at 11:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

The editor also attempts to explain the opposition to the current president by dealing out the ol' race card. While it is a fact that the current president is black and it is a fact that there is opposition to his policies, attempting to pass off as fact that opposition to him is due to his race defies logic. Sorry, sir, 2+2 does not equal 22, which your statement is telling us.

If it is, then the same logic can be used to state as fact that there is opposition to the Republicans because of Eric Cantor's religion, or Michelle Bachman's gender. It is an equally illogical conclusion, but one that uses the exact same thought patterns that the editor (and supporters of this president) utilitize in making that claim. It does not bolster his arguments in the rest of the column.

Posted by: IrishMensa

July 31, 2011 at 11:49 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "We now know Ross and his 'Blue Dogs' were the last bulwark against mindless partisanship that works to the election advantage of hard-core GOP candidates."
You mean a bulwark against mindless partisanship can work to the advantage of the other party's mindless partisanship?

IrishMensa (with my apologies to the high IQ society)--

RE obstructionism
See the chart cited below. And here's a quotation :“The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail… and so far it's working for us.” (Trent Lott, 18 April 2007) http://mediamatters.org/research/2007... Although he mentions Tom Daschle and Harry Reid as also being obstructionist, Lott applied the term, and appears to be pleased with the idea of obstruction. As the chart referenced below amply shows, while Democrats might have used the threat of filibuster liberally, Republicans have been even more liberal in its use.

RE "The only time that there was effective one-party rule was 2009-2010, and one only needs to have been awake during that time to understand how harmful that has been to our country, in spite of what a few of our colleagues may regurgitate from George Soros."
This article contains a chart including the 111th Congress you claim was a case of effective one-party rule: http://tinyurl.com/43z7lzu
If you're going to complain about the filibuster, at least have the honesty to acknowledge that the people who used it more did the greater harm to our country.

I have devoted a lot more time than you have to reading and contributing to these threads, and I can assure you that nobody here has used George Soros as a source for material, although conservatives do mention him occasionally-- more frequently than liberals do. And there's no need to refer to Soros-- there are plenty of facts at hand that are more directly cited.

Posted by: AlphaCat

July 31, 2011 at 4:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

IM (wmatthIQs)--

Speaking of "regurgitation", when you reeled off that pap about the living conditions of the poor ("Third, the standard of living among those classified as "poor" is much higher than the columnist suggests. If I remember correctly, the average individual classified as poor have television sets, microwave ovens, cars, cell phones, computers, etc. The average "poor" lives in a larger living space than the average European of any class. While there are pockets of deprivation among the poor, the standard of living of those considered poor would be the envy of those who lived at least twenty years ago.") in the thread on Dr. Hobson's column, was the source you failed to cite the original biased "backgrounder" from the Heritage organization http://www.heritage.org/research/repo... or was it the even more biased "report" on it from Faux News http://tinyurl.com/4yue73u ? It looks to me like you were regurgitating because you hit the high points so well, and like you were trying to hide the fact by failing to cite a source.

If you like, we can go into the fallacies of that Heritage Foundation "backgrounder" sometime.

Posted by: AlphaCat

July 31, 2011 at 6:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

AC, with apologies to the SPCA.

Unlike you appear to be from your posts, I was actually awake over the past three decades and do not need snippets of quotes or spoon-fed sources to make my claims. I actually paid attention to what was going on over the past few years and know that your claims of which party was doing the obstructing are completely without merit.

I also worked for a living over the past three decades and do not choose to spend all of my time on the web (even if I had the time to do so) in order to figure out what I am supposed to say or how I am supposed to think. I realize that you are not used to responding to people who are capable and willing to think independently, and I'm sorry that you seem incapable of dealing with it. You are entitled to your own opinion, but (in the words of Winston Churchill, if I remember correctly) you are not entitled to your own facts. Period.

Posted by: IrishMensa

July 31, 2011 at 11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

IM (wmatthIQs)--

RE "I actually paid attention to what was going on over the past few years and know that your claims of which party was doing the obstructing are completely without merit."
The chart I referred to is compiled with information provided by the Secretary of the Senate. If, as you claim, the filibuster is obstructionist when the Democrats use it, then it also is obstruction when the Republicans use it. The Republicans use it more than the Democrats.

RE "I also worked for a living over the past three decades and do not choose to spend all of my time on the web (even if I had the time to do so) in order to figure out what I am supposed to say or how I am supposed to think."
That's a shame, because the ignorance you have shown in your few precious appearances here have made your posts a complete waste of your time. Perhaps you should have spent less time working and more time learning how to learn. You certainly need to find some kind of source for accurate information, and the Internet is a great one. You really should rethink this position.

RE "I realize that you are not used to responding to people who are capable and willing to think independently, and I'm sorry that you seem incapable of dealing with it."
Independent thinking and coming up with opinions based on bad (or no) information are two entirely different things. Aristotle, a great independent and original thinker, believed that the universe is geocentric. Your tone suggests that you are unable to deal with scrutiny of your posts.

RE "You are entitled to your own opinion, but (in the words of Winston Churchill, if I remember correctly) you are not entitled to your own facts."
I don't present "my own" facts-- I present facts that are available to everybody. If you can come up with facts-- your own, or anybody else's-- to rebut facts I have presented, then by all means do so.

RE "Period."
Oh, please-- I hope not.

Posted by: AlphaCat

July 31, 2011 at 11:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

That's a good catch Alpha. And when "Irish" was pinching this unsourced bit about microwaves and TV's, he distorted it considerably. Or perhaps some other rightwing source was doing the exaggerating for him. This canard is a favorite, I've seen it for years. This Heritage material says:

“The poorest Americans today live a better life than all but the richest persons a hundred years ago.”

Except for the sloppy equivocation between "better life" and "rich," there is some truth to this regarding wealth. We are far more wealthy than a *century* ago.

But "Irish's" claim absurdly knocks about 80 years off of that with his variation:

"...the standard of living of those considered poor would be the envy of those who lived at least twenty years ago."

Which of course is ridiculous. This argument from "the poor have TV's and microwaves now" is so ludicrous I didn't bother to kick it, but let's give it a poke now.

I remember when my dad bought our first microwave, I think it was 1977 (early adopter). As I remember it was an astonishing $800. When we adjust for inflation:

http://www.dollartimes.com/calculator...

we find that he paid about $3,012 in today's dollars. So we can see how this trick works. It plays on the fact that a microwave used to be a rather pricey appliance. Not anymore. I see a nice one on Amazon for $55. So we see this product has dropped in price, in this rough comparison, by 54x. Quite a difference. The poor haven't been raised up, the shiny electronic toys we like, have come down.

Owning a microwave is no longer in anyway associated with wealth or doing well, but rather just a really cheap way to heat food. Same with TV's, etc.,.

I notice that Irish's response to you was zero substance, 100% insult. That's unfortunate. Maybe he can raise his game up a bit.

D.
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Oh, and that wasn't Churchill:

"We are each entitled to our own opinion, but no one is entitled to his own facts." --Patrick Moynihan

A classic and certainly a good one for Mr. Irish to remember!

Posted by: fayfreethinker

August 1, 2011 at 10:36 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Here are a few other flaws in the Heritage Foundation study:

Using the term "amenity" to refer to the consumer items considered shows an immediate bias. "Amenity" is sales hype.

The study refers to some necessities as "amenities". Refrigerators, stove/ovens and microwaves are necessities if you eat at home, as one would expect the poor to do. In most areas, health codes require that these "amenities" be present. In much of the country, air conditioning is a necessity. Separate freezer? Shouldn't the poor save money by buying in bulk or preserving stuff from a garden?

Owning and having available aren't the same thing. The study doesn't ask whether the poor occupant actually USES the air conditioner. Nor do the bar graphs differentiate between central and window AC. Ceiling fans might be an amenity, but they make it possible to spend less on air conditioning and heating.

The study doesn't differentiate between new and used or old "amenities". It is possible to get a refrigerator or other appliance for less than $100. (My first washing machine cost me $25, and paid for itself in 50 loads-- not counting the convenience. Of course, that was 1981 dollars.)

The study doesn't account for the fact that most poor people rent their homes and have no control over what "amenities" come with them. Air conditioning, washer and dryer, kitchen appliances, ceiling fans-- all are typical rental furnishings. The rent might include cable/satellite. The poor are caught up in the same housing market that everybody else is, and the market has standards.

The study has to resort to a comparison to European homes to "prove" that the American poor have large homes. Of course, it doesn't go into the size of American homes now considered to be middle- and upper-class. Most of our outmoded (known in the market as "functionally obsolete"-- too small, too few bathrooms, can't be brought up to date) housing stock is occupied by poor people. As a result of centuries of relatively crowded conditions, reuse of small centuries-old buildings, and repeated subdivisions of larger old buildings, urban Europeans are accustomed to living in smaller spaces (and old European farm houses aren't very big, either). Americans, living in a country rich in land and resources, have lived in larger and larger homes as materials and technology have accommodated the trend. (Some American cities have real estate values that cause living spaces to resemble the European model.)

The study doesn't indicate which "amenities" might actually be parts of other "amenities". For example, the first or second DVD player might be in the computer; the second TV might be a computer monitor.

Posted by: AlphaCat

August 1, 2011 at 10:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

.

>>The Democrats missed a chance to do themselves any good, many a pundit has said.
That’s a shallow look<<
Doug Thompson.
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What a shallow person you are Doug.
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There were caveats that had to be satisfied with any redistricting proposal. The main one deals with having approximately an equal population in redistricting scheme. Somehow that rule escaped you when you drew your erroneous conclusion.
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The two Demos on the state Reapportionment Board had to include some of the faster growing areas with areas that are losing population or stagnant.
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So, give the two Demos credit for injecting some fairness into the redistricting process. Your Republican leanings need not come out every time you post something. Well, given your employer's background, maybe it does.
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Posted by: cdawg

August 1, 2011 at 1:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )