Patterico's Pontifications

9/16/2010

The Cost of Losing Enough Elections: The Death of Our Constitution

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:57 pm



How far are we willing to take the “principles over election results” argument? For some, this far:

Here’s my most candid admission: I don’t care if Constitutionalists / classical liberals / fiscal conservatives lose the next 10 elections — provided they stick to their principles. The media and the reality on the ground can only fool the electorate for so long — and a break in the action where conservatives are out of power takes away the left’s ability to lay blame at the feet of the right for every ill it creates and perpetuates.

The next 10 elections? Why not the next 20? Or 30? Or 100?

I’m all for sticking to principles. But my governing principles are rooted in the Constitution. Which is interpreted by a Supreme Court. Whose nominees are chosen by the President.

When we lose elections, the Constitution gets rewritten.

So let’s play out this scenario of losing the next ten elections. We would lose:

2010 — Congressional election lost to Democrats
2012 — Presidential election. 4 more years of Obama!
2014 — Congressional election lost to Democrats
2016 — Obama replaced by a Democrat
2018 — Congressional election lost to Democrats
2020 — Obama’s Democrat replacement re-elected
2022 — Congressional election lost to Democrats
2024 — Yet another Democrat elected president
2026 — Congressional election lost to Democrats
2028 — Democrat re-elected president

That Democrat would be in office until at least 2032 — 22 years from now.

Chief Justice Roberts would be 77. Justice Alito would be 81. Justice Thomas would be 84. Justices Scalia and Kennedy would be 96 — or, more likely, dead or retired. Justice Stevens lasted until he was almost 90. That was unusual.

Realistically, the best possible scenario is that conservatives would be outnumbered, 6-3. And we would not get the majority back for decades. We’d all be dead before we saw conservatives in the majority again.

And — just as the current conservative majority is bound by Roe v. Wade and a host of Warren court precedents — the precedents set by the early 21st Century Court would last for generations.

This matters. Think about the cases that we have barely pulled off 5-4. Preserving the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. Banning partial-birth abortion. Allowing corporations to engage in political speech through donations. The list goes on and on.

What good is the Second Amendment, for example, if the Supreme Court is going to write it out of the Constititution?

We can’t afford to lose a generation’s worth of presidential elections, just for the satisfaction of saying we never voted for candidates who didn’t share our principles to the nth degree.

If we take that view, we’ll lose our Constitution, forever. We’re close enough to losing it as it is.

192 Responses to “The Cost of Losing Enough Elections: The Death of Our Constitution”

  1. Its called hyperbole, moron.

    dummy (20adfe)

  2. Actually, Patterico, there are lots of conservatives who feel that way. They don’t care if everything falls apart, so long as Purity is Maintained.

    I only hope that the Left feels as strongly at how their POTUS and Congress have sold them out.

    Then if both sides sit it out….

    But it’s unlikely.

    You put it best: if you sit out elections, you don’t get to complain.

    Eric Blair (58b0cf)

  3. You strike me as a drive-by commenter, so this question I probably wasted on you, but anyway:

    Do you agree with the quoted statement, assuming for the sake of argument that it is not hyperbole?

    Patterico (b677cb)

  4. Good post and spot on. The problem with some of the louder “I’m a true conservative and you are a dirty RINO….” types is that they have no appreciation for strategy.
    The so called RINOs are not the ones really doing the name calling. But oh they get hammered if they dare question a candidate deemed conservative by the chosen.

    VOR2 (6da380)

  5. It is not a choice between winning elections and reasserting the Constitution. It is between reasserting the Constitution and Civil War. Without a Constitution, there is no election, there is no power, there is no authority. Eventually, that leaning tower topples.

    TL Davis (61176d)

  6. What folks forget is that political parties are in teh business of getting candidates elected to office so as to control the policymaking process. Failure to accomplish that is failure as a political party. Any political party that is more concerned with being Ivory Soap pure ideologically is doomed to irrelevance and failure as it becomes the home of only true believers and a laughingstock among the rest of the body politic.

    Do I like much of what the Tea Party stands for? Yeah, I do — but I’m also willing to settle for getting just 70-80% of that if the alternative is getting 5% because we insist on only those candidates who are 95-100% with that agenda.

    Rhymes With Right (c30205)

  7. TL Davis,

    Indeed. The question is, how to reassert the Constitution.

    The method chosen by some could lead to its destruction.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  8. No, I don’t agree. I would be much m/ore willing to vote for a RINO presidential candidate than for a Senate or House seat.

    dummy (20adfe)

  9. Some of the worst supreme court justices were appointed by squishy conservatives.. GHWB comes to mind.
    If I remember right, one of Reagan’s went sorta broken arrow.

    Maybe instead of the number 10, JG should have just said “ass load” in order to put a point of emphasis on it…

    To me, Mike Castle looked like Arlen Specter… a guy who’d vote for Fidel Castro for Supreme Court if offered..
    Giving Castle the middle finger tells everyone else who wants to keep or win a seat to stand for something

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  10. dummy,

    Do you think that anyone might agree with the quoted statement as phrased, assuming it’s not hyperbole?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  11. And let me just ask:

    Is there anyone here who agrees with the quoted statement as phrased, assuming it’s not hyperbole?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  12. SteveG:

    Reagan appointed Kennedy and O’Connor. Ford appointed Stevens. GHWB appointed Souter. GWB tried to appoint Miers, but an outcry from many (including yours truly) stopped it.

    But where are you going with your statement? We’re talking principles here. If you had to lose 10 elections to demonstrate fealty to principles — defined as voting only for people who share your views on most major issues, as opposed to people who you think would win and support you on fewer issues — would you do it?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  13. I’m reading slow but if you mean the quote that begins “Here’s my most candid ..”
    then no, I don’t agree with the statement.

    VOR2 (6da380)

  14. Patterico, reasserting the Constitution is a delicate business, I grant you. The very first steps have been taken, that’s all. We need electoral success as well as principle. Now is a very critical time, otherwise, why all the ruckus? Why fight if there is not something at stake. It is important to be assertive, but learn to listen as well. So far the GOP is not listening, or pretending to listen only.

    TL Davis (61176d)

  15. This is silly. It assumes Democrat victories till 2028. We know this is not going to happen…so whats the point?

    Michael (7a3b95)

  16. Long before we hit 10 elections, we would have reached the time when the blood of patriots was required to water the tree of liberty. So the question as raised is a non-possibility.

    But if you asked me, would I care if the conservatives lost every election until that happens by standing on principle, would I care? It would be better than the alternative, because every election that would have been “won” by not standing on principle is only going to move us closer to that day. Wins by actual conservatives move us away, the “wins” you’re describing do not.

    But the secondary point of the quote, which you seem to be completely ignoring, is that it wouldn’t get to that bad because the electorate, seeing what Democrats really stand for, won’t let it, and will vote for the conservatives.

    Skip (9b88fa)

  17. TL:

    You ain’t gonna find me defending the GOP here.

    Hey, when you say: “We need electoral success as well as principle” — then I consider us to be in agreement on the principles.

    We can disagree about how to apply them in specific elections. For example, O’Donnell may sweep to victory. I will have to eat crow if that happens — and man, will that be tasty, sweet crow to eat.

    All I’m looking for is some acknowledgement that electoral victories matter on some level. Even if the theory is to sacrifice one race to send a message, the message is intended to get us real candidates that we can VOTE FOR and get to WIN who will ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING we want them to. Right?

    It’s not just some intellectual masturbatory exercise in purity.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  18. This is silly. It assumes Democrat victories till 2028. We know this is not going to happen…so whats the point?

    We’re discussing how far to take the principle of voting only for pure candidates.

    A blog post was written that made a concrete suggestion on that point. I did not take it as hyperbole, and chose to disagree, and explain why.

    That’s the point.

    Call it hyperbole on my part, if you prefer.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  19. Patty, I understand your concerns, but we need a reality check here. Everyone falls into the trap of thinking the electoral mood at any given point in time is permanent. People are fired up right now thanks to Obama’s power grab, but 2012 and beyond will sway with time. Remember in 1994 when we thought Conservatism had won for good, or in 2008 when we thought there was no hope? Sure you do.

    Jim Rose (7e48e1)

  20. Long before we hit 10 elections, we would have reached the time when the blood of patriots was required to water the tree of liberty.

    Can you spell that one out for me?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  21. No

    I don’t agree with the statement as framed.

    10X would be 40 years.

    But would I sacrifice Arlen Specter clone Castle in order to put the fear of God into conservatives
    (including Blue Dogs)?
    You betcha.

    To me, losing Castle (who’d be indistinguishable from Specter anyway) is no big deal compared to the chance at resetting the national narrative a couple notches back to the right.

    I think Iowahawk nailed it over at his site

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  22. I don’t get what is the matter with purity, as in this specific case, purity refers to candidates that uphold the Constitution, individual liberty, and national defense. Are those unelectable characteristics?

    JD (8ded14)

  23. 10X would be 40 years.

    Perhaps. Or maybe 20, as suggested in my post.

    To me, losing Castle (who’d be indistinguishable from Specter anyway) is no big deal compared to the chance at resetting the national narrative a couple notches back to the right.

    That’s a totally defensible argument.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  24. By the way, I think Levin owes apologies all around.

    This is not about purity and I reject that framework.

    The framework isn’t some chastity pledge, it is about less government, less spending, less nanny state… maybe that means not electing some people so the rest get the message that the voters are serious

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  25. I don’t get what is the matter with purity, as in this specific case, purity refers to candidates that uphold the Constitution, individual liberty, and national defense. Are those unelectable characteristics?

    That’s not necessarily the question.

    You could have a candidate who displays those characteristics but is unelectable for some other reason. When you place that candidate against another candidate that will uphold those ideals most of the time, but not as much as the unelectable candidate, “sticking to your principles” for some means going with the unelectable candidate.

    Now, the hypothetical I just described may not fit the Delaware reality. But that’s a different debate. This is intended to be a debate on principles — and how much it is worth to “stick with them” if sticking with them is defined as always voting for the candidate who pursues the above ideals.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  26. The point that you are missing, the one the purists -Goldstein in particular- have been making for some time, is that we lose those elections either way. Electing squishes gives us Souter. Electing Democrats gives us Sotomayor. So where is the benefit to conservatives for holding our noses as we pull the lever.

    The argument Goldstein is making is that the left loves to tout bipartisanship when parading around the latest atrocity of a bill, be it amnesty, cap ‘n trade, or TARP. They get to screw things up and still put the blame on the other team. “Oh, the TARP stabilized a few large companies but inflicted long-lasting damage in the stability of the market? Well, a republican voted for it too, so the blame lies with everyone.”

    If it takes a good hard fall to finally delegitimize Roosevelt and Keynes, and to expose the Gramscian damage the left has been inflicting for decades, then that’s what it takes. A nightmare tends to linger in the mind longer than a daydream, just as the constitution could never have come to be without the lingering presence of Cromwell’s ghost.

    Hadlowe (d00a1f)

  27. ______________________________________________

    Think about the cases that we have barely pulled off 5-4.

    I recall the ruling that just barely went against the guy who sued the Boy Scouts of America for not allowing homosexuals to be troop leaders. BTW, the guy apparently was overt about and “proud” of his sexuality.

    Nitwit leftist jurists apparently believe that if it’s good enough for the Catholic church, it’s good enough for the Boy Scouts of America.

    Mark (3e3a7c)

  28. Forever is a long time.

    I have a jaundiced view of our governmental system. Two strong vocal minorities, a few weak unheard minorities, a comfortable and indifferent majority.

    I don’t have a clue on how to change it.

    nk (db4a41)

  29. Patterico:
    As to #17, I agree, but the objection so far has been what good does it do to win elections if the principles are left in the back room with the coats?
    The Tea Party spawned out of the goo left over from GOP circle-jerks about winning elections. The elections need to point back toward Constitutionally limited government. Especially at this point the Constitution appears to begin and end with the Commerce Clause.

    TL Davis (61176d)

  30. We only have two viable political parties in this country, and one of them is way preferable to the other one.

    Better Nixon than McGovern, I say.

    Better Bush than Gore.

    Better McCain than Obama.

    Etc., etc., etc.

    Dave Surls (654c08)

  31. The point that you are missing, the one the purists -Goldstein in particular- have been making for some time, is that we lose those elections either way. Electing squishes gives us Souter.

    Perfect example to make my point.

    Under this logic, GHWB was a “squish” so why vote for him? Stay home or vote for Perot, to make your point clear: NO SQUISHES!

    Now, let’s see the results you get from that.

    GHWB, the squish, gave us Souter AND THOMAS. The best Justice on the Court, in my opinion.

    And it is your claim that GHWB’s opponent in 1988, Michael Dukakis, would have given us two Justices indistinguishable from Souter and Thomas? I know you will not say that this is your claim.

    No Thomas, no Heller. Replace one conservative with one liberal and the Second Amendment is dead.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  32. OUTLAW!

    daleyrocks (940075)

  33. What constitution? It’s been a plaything for as long as I’ve been alive, probably a lot longer.

    If you’re talking seriously about “preserving (I would argue ‘restoring’ is more accurate) the constitution,” then strictly speaking a deeper game is what oughta be on the table.

    But a mere bucket brigade to keep the existing boat from sinking (which is what I’d say is really under discussion here) is not without its nobility. I just don’t think it has long-term viability.

    Perhaps the tea party quarters should begin a very serious-minded, non-hysterical, intellectually well-founded call for a constitutional convention regarding a number of vital topics. Now, right away, before the nation is overwhelmed by an immigrant population with no deep institutional memory of traditional American political thought, and rather little loyalty — peoples who have come here merely to grow phat on our real estate and at our expense.

    Forget about “purity” in a political party. Purity in itself tends to be bad for human beings, as it leads to bizarre contradictions, fallacies and calamities. Clarity, not purity, of discourse is Step One. Without clarity of discourse, we drift into nonsense, it’s human nature.

    “You’re on Earth, there’s no cure for that!”
    — Samuel Beckett

    d. in c. (a30317)

  34. It still comes down to discipline in the Republican Conference in the Senate. Specter, Graham, Collins, Snowe, and now Hatch and Lugar are as squishy as any GOP president was with his nominations.

    I would not choose to go down in flames in order to maintain a purity. I would, as is happening now, hope like hell that through our challenges from the right, the squishy fools I named would stiffen, and that the leadership would actually lead.

    Ed from SFV (44a863)

  35. I don’t mind seeing Delaware make a point. It’s not like Castle was a shoe-in.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  36. … but I’d sure hate to see 5-10 red states follow suit.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  37. Perhaps the tea party quarters should begin a very serious-minded, non-hysterical, intellectually well-founded call for a constitutional convention regarding a number of vital topics.

    I love you, man — you’re a great commenter — but I think that’s a TERRIBLE idea.

    We’d likely lose way more than we’d gain.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  38. The problem with some of the louder “I’m a true conservative and you are a dirty RINO….” types is that they have no appreciation for strategy. Comment by VOR2 — 9/16/2010 @ 7:08 pm

    Ideology by itself is worthless if it’s not paired with a sense of the best tactics — or, as you say, strategy — possible. So if rightwingers (of which I am one) end up pushing things even further left, purposefully or inadvertently — and do it with far too much of a knowing nod and wink — then they’re the ultimate fools.

    Also, ideology that’s disconnected from the reality of human nature is worthless too. For instance, the following quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin indicates that even a long time ago — way before America had become as sloppily liberal as it is today — there was a sense on his part that leftism will corrupt people and a society:

    When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.

    Mark (3e3a7c)

  39. DRJ:

    I hear you — but the point made by the primary may not be the point made by the election.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  40. Does anyone want to take on the issues posed in the post without relating it to Delaware?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  41. A constitutional convention would be the end of this great experiment.

    JD (8ded14)

  42. Trying to look at it outside the prism of Delaware would be incredibly difficult, no?

    JD (8ded14)

  43. Reading here and elsewhere and listening the last couple of days to others, I’ve come to the conclusion that we must vote more “conservatively” when faced with the two choices, even if it means we could lose in the general election. I’ll paraphrase Rush when he says that a Castle being a RINO and giving the Republicans the 51st vote in the Senate is not any better than having only 47 or 48 votes in the Senate, because in the end those types will “compromise” and we’ll get McCain-Feingold, Cap-and-Trade, and some form of Obamacare from the compromises, and we’re not any better off.

    Now, yes, that means the possibility that Patterico’s senario “could” happen (although probably not, because of what is happening now, where the Democratics have pushed so hard the middle of the roads are pushing back) but I think we have to try to win the arguments just as much as win the elections, and we can’t do that with compromises that give us variations of those really bad laws/policies that we have now.

    So, yes, Delaware was necessary, even if we don’t get to 51, because with Snowe, Dukakis, et al, we still have to fight the fake conservatives to get things done right….we’re better off now trying to win the debates while the voters are in flux than in trying to win the war on the first battle, and not win the peace….

    reff (176333)

  44. Anyone who thinks that elections doesn’t matter so long as your principles are pure should sod off and join the Libertarians or Constitution Party and fight the good fight over where the adults don’t have to listen.

    Kevin (298030)

  45. Trying to look at it outside the prism of Delaware would be incredibly difficult, no?

    I don’t know. I’m citing a hypothetical situation raised by another blogger and asking how people feel about the principles. And mostly people are saying, “well, here’s what I think about Castle” without at all addressing the points I’m making in the post. It may be inevitable. But I’m just making an effort to refocus people on the arguments in the post.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  46. As for losing the Constitution….there is always a fear that we’ll keep getting the idiots that see penumbras all over the Constitution’s words, but, even then, sometimes things work their way through. Didn’t we just get a “win” on some portions of McCain-Feingold? Didn’t we finally get something on gun-control laws? Even if it was only 5-4, sometimes even the liberal dork Kennedy gets it right….

    At the same time, when it gets worse, the states fight the battles (several state laws now opposing Kelo) and the public will eventually begin to fight back harder (TEA Party?)….

    No, P, the Constitution will withstand the onslaught….and those of us at levels like this one will be fighting the rear-guard action to win the peace….

    reff (176333)

  47. Something they never get is the effect it has on all the judicial appointments made-for life-in the lower courts.

    It takes decades to reverse that.

    madawaskan (565543)

  48. It be nice to do direct elections like they do in Louisiana might take the extremists right out of it from both sides all at the same time.

    Of course I really haven’t researched that hypothesis-I’m a blog commenter!

    madawaskan (565543)

  49. Team R should work on having better candidates in primaries to choose from. That may solve some of these issues.

    JD (8ded14)

  50. Madawaskan…actually the Louisiana system creates situations where the extremists are all that is left…

    Example: Edwin Edwards and David Duke…the Crook vs. the Klansman….

    And, we end up with Joseph Cao and William Jefferson….the Vietnamese pretend-Republican who voted first for Obama care before he was against it, and the frozen money king…..

    Cao wins in a majority black gerrymanded district, and even though he counts Obama as a friend, doesn’t get an endorsement, which goes instead to a black Democratic, Cedric Richmond, a career black politician….

    reff (176333)

  51. I think this is the problem, people wonder why is it important to elect someone with an (R) if you expect them to vote with the D’s anyway on some of the biggest issues? People don’t like what the govt. is doing, they are told they get a chance to elect who they want and that they will deserve who they get, and they end up with choices that don’t look much better than what they already have.

    Now, part of the response to that is that it does make a difference if the R gives you 51 (committee chairs) even if he/she votes with all the D’s anyway. But that’s asking for a lot of astrological alignment to make it worth voting for somebody you don’t like.

    I think people are just tired of voting for someone they can’t trust to do tomorrow what they promised yesterday. There is the suspicion that it is all a front and a game for many officials, and actually doing things because of principle died a number of decades ago without it being announced. That is what a good part of the Tea Party is about. Unfortunately, charlatans come in many forms and can take advantage of such a movement.

    My ideal candidate has learned to own up to uncomfortable facts honestly and still carry the day because their good clearly outweighs the bad. Somebody who is “not an ideologue” but who is principled and can articulate and defend them. Someone who you might not agree with all of the time, but you can trust them to mean what they say and say what they mean. I’d rather have a Guiliani who says, “Personally I’m pro-choice, but that is a position I will not promote as President, and my SCOTUS nominations will not be dependent on pro or con Roe v. Wade, etc., but on those who respect the authority of the constitution and their job in applying the law, than someone who gives pro-life statements but is inconsistent when you look at what they’ve actually done on human dignity issues.

    As a DA, would you always “settle” for a plea bargain agreement rather than go to trial if you are concerned you might not win the case? Or are there times when you would see it as an injustice to let someone get a light sentence rather than attempt to convict on a more appropriate charge?

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  52. JD, the problem there is that the Republican committees that are supposed to “pick” candidates often just go with the status quo, as in Delaware, or NY-23, instead of listening to their constituents, the voters who exist in the minority in their districts/states. Michael Steele is not any help, either, since all he does is spend donation money while sticking his foot in his mouth….

    reff (176333)

  53. In the past and even now I’ve voted for what I thought would be the most electable conservative. Unfortunately, my voting pattern has brought me disappointments like Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California. Squishy valued senators brought us the gang of 14 which may have lost us more conservative judges.

    I’m not sure how a real conservative would do in liberal states. Bruce Herschensohn a good conservative did will against Barbara Boxer in 1992 until Bob Mulholland resorted to dirty tricks and Bruce lost the Christian vote at the last minute. Then he only lost the election by five points.

    I don’t want to have a squishy candidate, but if I have to, I will hold my nose and vote for them, just like I did for McCain. If I have to I rather have a squishy representative than a far left liberal, but only if I have to. My first choice is for a candidate with clarity.

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  54. As Adams said, our government is inadequate for any but a virtuous people. We have virtues, and we have virtuous persons, but as a whole it is questionable if we are a virtuous people, or have the adequate intellect to make the right decisions if we were.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  55. My ideal candidate has learned to own up to uncomfortable facts honestly …

    Then O’Donnell ain’t your ideal candidate, by a long shot.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  56. Steve”Gee, 10 x 2 = 20? really?” wrote:
    The framework isn’t some chastity pledge, it is about less government, less spending, less nanny state… maybe that means not electing some people so the rest get the message that the voters are serious

    — And Patterico’s point is that not electing “some people” sends a message to the left-side-of-the-aisle folks that end up winning to carry on with the expansion of the nanny state!

    Icy Texan (f486e9)

  57. As a DA, would you always “settle” for a plea bargain agreement rather than go to trial if you are concerned you might not win the case? Or are there times when you would see it as an injustice to let someone get a light sentence rather than attempt to convict on a more appropriate charge?

    It’s a case by case analysis, to be sure. But then, I ain’t the one pushing absolutes.

    Let’s say I have 10 cases where the defendant is guilty but I am likely to lose on a technicality.

    Would you have me lose 10 cases in a row on principle when I could have settled many of them and gotten some punishment for guilty people.

    THAT would be the “principles over results, every time!” approach. In the real world, it is a bad approach.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  58. And Patterico’s point is that not electing “some people” sends a message to the left-side-of-the-aisle folks that end up winning to carry on with the expansion of the nanny state!

    That’s part of my point. The other part has to do with the composition of the Supreme Court, and how that affects the meaning of the Constitution as implemented in real life.

    But go easy on SteveG. He was interpreting “election” as “presidential election.” I got it. And his point was completely valid.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  59. Yes, Icy…and electing others gets us another message….

    Like Snowe, Dukakis, Specter, Hagel, McCain…..

    How is McCain being reelected better than having Hayworth in his stead?

    As for chairmanships, could it be that the RNC is only interested in the power they bring, and not actually leading the country? That may be the reasoning for exactly why we are where we are today, because the Republicans 2000-2006 didn’t lead, they followed….

    reff (176333)

  60. No, O’Donnell wasn’t my ideal candidate by any means- like JD I wish the Repubs would listen to their constituents when picking candidate for the primary- what a concept.

    No, I wouldn’t have you lose 10 cases in a row “on principle”, and no, I wouldn’t always vote “on principle” in spite of the more conservative candidate always losing. The issue often seems to be that one person’s threshold for saying, “Enough already!!” is different than another’s, but it then gets converted into an absolutism that doesn’t make sense.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  61. “Would you have me lose 10 cases in a row on principle when I could have settled many of them and gotten some punishment for guilty people.”

    You would be a candy-assed RINO squish if you settled. Purity of principles demands you go to trial! Heh!

    daleyrocks (940075)

  62. I wish I could send a message that gets people in line without losing a battle or two…. better to send a message early than late or not at all
    Getting outside Delaware, (which is why I brought in the “Blue Dogs”)
    that is it… no more Arlen Specter’s.
    Run someone better than John McCain. Everything in between is negotiable

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  63. Like Snowe, Dukakis, Specter, Hagel, McCain

    Freudian slips are always interesting, especially when you do it twice (comment 43 as well)

    kishnevi (ce4e0f)

  64. My my. Time for a cleansing breath and a short nap in a dark, quiet room. The primary is over. You are allowing yourself to be sidetracked by stuff that is now moot. I just know you don’t throw a tantrum when you are in court, so don’t do it now.

    Repeat after me:

    1. It is NOT important that my candidate lost; it is NOT important that Levin called me names (besides he’s being an ass in this case); and it is NOT important that my feelings have been hurt.

    2. What is of paramount importance is taking control of as much of the federal government as possible, as soon as possible.

    3. I swear not to do anything from now until early November that might conceivably cause us to fall short of the aforementioned goal.

    4. And I promise never to forget that I am not a teenager and never to forget that not one single person in the entire frickin’ world cares anywhere near as much about my feelings, thoughts and desires as I do.

    You’ve held your breath and turned blue, but the world moved on. You need to, too.

    Stu (168bf5)

  65. Lets just look at the last cycle shall we, Begich, elected due to a fraudulent conviction later reversed, Franken, a clearly stolen election, thanks to Guthrie and ACORN. The whole Larry Craig embroglio to which there was less than meets the eye. Burris, who was somewhat tarnished by his connection to the fellow who selected him. Specter ‘one of those indespensable moderates, we were assured Castle was going to be. With the possible exception of Craig, there was a deliberate attempt to game the system,

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  66. Hopefully my #60 covers the 4 yr and 2 yr cycles without offending anyones math skills

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  67. Thank you kishnevi, for correcting me….I don’t know why other than to put the onus on my own ass for pulling that name out there….I don’t know why I put Dukakis when I meant Susan Collins…

    As for the other four….hope they make my point….

    And, you can include Jeffords, Grassley…

    I’m sure there are more…..

    reff (176333)

  68. “What is of paramount importance is taking control of as much of the federal government as possible, as soon as possible.”

    Stu – Great reminder for Team R.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  69. Stu,

    My feelings aren’t hurt about anything. I didn’t care much about Castle, whom I despise. I am only amused by Levin’s self-immolation. I know it’s a lot of fun to tell people to grow up, because it gives you a chance to play the grown-up — and I can tell you’re really enjoying the role, so I hate to disappoint you — but I am just a blogger having a discussion. You don’t want to take part? Don’t.

    By the way, I will happily refuse this advice:

    I swear not to do anything from now until early November that might conceivably cause us to fall short of the aforementioned goal.

    Like Rove said about his job as an analyst, I call them as I see them. I am quite sure that my speaking my mind about Christine O’Donnell is not going to be the reason she loses. And anyway, speaking my mind is what I do.

    As I told someone earlier: if bloggers who speak their mind aren’t your cup of tea, this may not be the blog for you.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  70. There is a genuine issue raised by the post that I would rather see people discuss rather than, say, engaging in condescending bullshit like Stu.

    No takers?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  71. I thought for sure there were enough people who were of the “principles over results, every time!” mode of thinking that we could debate the issue.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  72. How is McCain being reelected better than having Hayworth in his stead?
    Comment by reff — 9/16/2010 @ 9:15 pm

    — Because Hayworth, the infommercial to scam government money hucskter, would get very little if anything accomplished as a Senator. As I said in a recent thread, as a politician he made a good local tv sportscaster. A tough stand on illegal immigration is all the guy has going for him.

    Icy Texan (f486e9)

  73. reff-

    I was thinking more about the statewide offices-Senate , governor.

    I can see where in smaller house races-it would perhaps look differently.

    The smaller the state, the smaller the turnout particularly in closed primaries the greater effect an extreme faction can have.

    I’ve got these weird notion that any political group dominated by actual church going Protestants is going to end up fractionalized.

    Just look at the word-Protestant.

    If you drive those country back roads down South you’ll see they have ten churches in a town of 500 like:

    The First Methodist.

    The Really Good Original Methodist, and

    The United Methodists who can’t take those icky First Methodists

    You get the point.

    A lot of people confuse politics w/ religion…

    madawaskan (565543)

  74. *this* weird notion.

    madawaskan (565543)

  75. I was trying to be gentle with SteveG. I just have this thing about picking nits is all.

    And to SteveG I say that winning battles sends a far more effective message than losing them.

    Icy Texan (f486e9)

  76. Icy, that may be true, but, with McCain, we get RINO-lite….which can be better than a conservative….

    Or can it???

    Of course it isn’t….yet, we don’t know what we’ll get with McCain either, which makes us worse off, becazuse he’s supposed to be a conservative…

    Mad…

    Edwards/Duke was a Governor’s race…

    reff (176333)

  77. Well, I have been reading this blog for years, so I suspect it is one of the blogs for me. I suppose it would have helped had I written before at least a few of the many times I enjoyed your insights, opinions, etc. For example, no one flames the LAT like you do; and having lived in LA for 20 years you can appreciate how much I enjoy anyone with your gift of ridicule and cold disdain when you take that rag apart for its routinely ignorant, sloppy, incompetent and biased reporting.

    Puerile stuff like, “if bloggers who speak their mind aren’t your cup of tea…” is beneath a man of your intellect and maturity. If bloggers who speak their mind at least as candidly as you do were a problem for me I wouldn’t have read Ace of Spades, Michelle Malkin, Powerline, Five Feet of Fury and other bloggers all these years. Hell, even the gals who blog about makeup are no doubt speaking their minds.

    The mere fact that I read you regularly along with the aforementioned is, I hope, sufficient evidence of my regard for your abilities and your body of work. If I didn’t hold you in high regard your refusal to cool down on this topic wouldn’t have meant a hill of beans to me.

    Please take my comments as a little constructive criticism from an admirer and an old, world-wise (and weary) man who has been around the block a few more times than you.

    Stu (168bf5)

  78. madawaskan – I grew up in a town that had a 1st Baptist, 2nd Baptist, 3rd Baptist, 4th Baptist, Northside Baptist, Southside Baptist, etc … It is no exaggreation that we have 11 Baptist churches in a town of 18,000.

    JD (8ded14)

  79. Icy Texan:

    That was the point I made, perhaps too subtly, to DRJ.

    What message will be sent if O’Donnell loses?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  80. One wonders about which part of Stu’s criticism is supposed to be constructive.

    Icy Texan (f486e9)

  81. Stu,

    Fair enough. I will not treat you as the troll that your initial comment suggested to me you were. I still gotta say, you really seemed to be (and still do, a little) reveling the idea of lecturing me as you would a child. Which is not necessary, because the immense hurt you like to think I’m feeling, I’m not.

    I’m having an intellectual discussion. I’m not really talking about Delaware here, and I have repeatedly asked people NOT to act as though this is just a post about Delaware. I ask you to take me at my word, and stop pointlessly insinuating that this post is purely me obsessing about Delaware.

    My suggestion that you might be put off by my speaking my mind is not something I just made up off the top of my head. It was responsive to this comment:

    I swear not to do anything from now until early November that might conceivably cause us to fall short of the aforementioned goal.

    If I have something I believe, and I think saying it “might conceivably cause us to fall short of the aforementioned goal” — I’m going to say it anyway. Because I’m not a cheerleader. That’s not what I do here. There are plenty of people who fit the cheerleader role and if that’s what you’re looking for, go elsewhere. Since it does not appear that you want to do that (and I’m glad you don’t), that means you’re going to have to put up with my saying things that might be considered “unhelpful.”

    Now, about my post?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  82. P, the message is that the voters of Delaware don’t want conservative Senators. They didn’t have one before that. So, nothing will change. They would not be satisfied with the government if Castle were re-elected to a Republican majority UNLESS he brought home the bacon while still voting RINO. Now, if he voted RINO and helped the Democratic MINORITY get it’s way, the result would be disasterous to Republicans, who put him in office.

    So, if O’Donnell loses, Republicans have lost nothing. They can continue to fight to block Democratic policies without having to explain why they have to “compromise” their principles.

    With Castle, they have to compromise with both Castle, the RINO, and with Democratics.

    That’s a lose-lose….

    reff (176333)

  83. The problem is more broadly O’Sullivan’s Law, any organization that isn’t implicitly conservative will become liberal, because of media, academic, other influences, that is a generational project, now spitting back the left’s memes does nothing to solve that problem. You will find she is nowhere
    as one dimensional as you think she is;

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/42315_Page2.html

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  84. Patterico: What message will be sent if O’Donnell loses?

    — Depends, at least in part, on the level of support she receives from the party. Running in a pretty solidly blue state, she is going to need all the support she can get just to be competitive. If she gets that support, and makes a good showing, then the message is “keep on doing; work on changing hearts and minds.”

    If she loses in a landslide after being abandoned by the party, then the message is “you should have gone with the squishy RINO”.

    If she loses in a landslide despite having strong party support, then the message is “liberalism is like a fungus; once it takes hold it’s hard to remove.” How many DECADES did Massachusetts go without a Republican senator?

    Icy Texan (f486e9)

  85. This is not 2006 or 2008, even 2002, which was a good year generally for the GOP, this seems more like ’94, in either century, so work from there

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  86. “A constitutional convention would be the end of this great experiment.”

    Nah, we should sit down and have one every generation or so. Then maybe we could resolve constitutional absurdities like this…

    “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…”

    “TAMPA – A Spring Hill man who threatened U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite during the health care debate will spend more than two years in federal prison…”

    http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/sep/16/161553/spring-hill-man-gets-prison-for-threatening-congre/news-breaking/

    The Constitution is a total joke.

    Dave Surls (dde017)

  87. Icy, that is assuming the only issue in Delaware politics is liberalism vs conservatism, rather than things like competence and character.

    If O’Donnell can make it to within a few points of winning in Delaware, it sends a message that the democrats need to seriously readjust their policies in order to keep these areas of the country, which are essential to their power. It has implications for the left that are more severe than the implications for the right, IMO.

    If O’Donnell can make it close, that means a Joe Miller or a Chris Christie would have won.

    As far as whether she’s abandoned by the party… part of her duty as a candidate is to rally support. She’s raised a million or so. She has absolutely no excuse as far as support goes, IMO, and the cold hard fact is that there are 8 other Senate seats that are closer in the polls where candidates need resources.

    This blame game of support has been exacerbated by some mistakes from ‘the establishment’. You’re probably right that it’s going to be part of the ‘message’, but I don’t think it should be. She has the resources she needs to make her case in such a tiny state, thanks mainly to Republican donors.

    I think one potential message of her losing will be that there was a price to being unable to tolerate an egregious RINO in a blue state. I think that leads to the real message that this kind of action, taken by Palin and Rush, should be deliberate and occasional. We have to retain the Scott Brown wing, without permitting the Lindsey Graham wing.

    Whatever amount of RINO hunting tempered with realism leads to that result would work for me.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  88. Dave Surls,

    1. There is no Constitutional right to threaten people.

    2. It was a real threat: “Eric Lawrence Pidrman, 66, claims he was in an alcoholic blackout when he telephoned Brown-Waite’s office about 6:30 a.m. on March 25 and left a message saying he had 27 people who would make sure she ‘doesn’t live to see her next term.'”

    3. U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite is a Republican. Pidrman was apparently motivated by MSNBC to threaten a righty:

    “I’m terribly sorry that it ever happened,” Pidrman said this morning before he was sentenced. At the time of the morning he made the call, he said, “I very often watch the recycled news shows on MSNBC.”

    When agents questioned Pidrman in April, he said he was upset about threats reportedly made against Democrats during the health care debate. He said he probably thought, “Let me scare one of those righties.”

    4. There’s a good post here about how MSNBC drove some guy to do violence against Republicans.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  89. You don’t see the hard-liberal Democrats ginning up attacks on the Blue Dogs… In fact the Democrats are pretty good at finding DINOs to run in consevative-minded areas. Control of those seats gives them a majority. A majority is control of committees, which is a huge procedural advantage, which more than compensates for the individual votes where the “DINO” breaks ranks.

    That’s why the RNC has been trying to tie Blue Dog Representatives to Pelosi – they made her Speaker.

    The above isn’t a complete picture. Sometimes there is an actual legislative victory for a Republican-Blue Dog coalition; the SEIU challenged Blanche Lincoln in the Arkansas Democrat primary.

    But it is basically true, and it is why having a centrist Republican like Castle, who may vote wrong about half the time, but is a vote to control the Senate organization, is much better than having a liberal Democrat who always votes wrong on issues and votes for Democrat control of the chamber.

    Rich Rostrom (f7aeae)

  90. “There’s a good post here about how MSNBC drove some guy to do violence against Republicans.”

    Patterico – I’m sure Dave Neiwert is right on top of that one.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  91. “1. There is no Constitutional right to threaten people.”

    Yes, Pat, I’m well aware of that.

    What there is is a complete, absolute and total prohibition against the United States Congress passing laws that abridge the freedom of speech…which Congress ignores whenever it feels the urge.

    And, that’s a problem.

    And, we need to have constitutional conventions from time to time to resolve problems like that.

    Dave Surls (dde017)

  92. 87. Icy, that is assuming the only issue in Delaware politics is liberalism vs conservatism, rather than things like competence and character.

    — Dustin, in response I give you 36 YEARS of Senator Joe Biden.

    ’nuff said?

    Icy Texan (f486e9)

  93. Patterico – Ignoring Stu’s other presumptuous and condescending BS, I thought his #2 above, “What is of paramount importance is taking control of as much of the federal government as possible, as soon as possible” showed his essential disagreement with the quote you highlighted in your post. At least that’s the way I’m interpreting it.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  94. ’nuff said?

    Comment by Icy Texan

    ummm, yeah. Good point, actually.

    And, we need to have constitutional conventions from time to time to resolve problems like that.

    Comment by Dave Surls —

    I prefer constitutional amendments. Our civil rights would be in tremendous peril at the hands of our ‘best and brightest’ legal minds today. Let’s make adjustments with a scalpel, slowly.

    Do you want an absolute freedom of speech? I want an absolute protection on political speech and association, very strong freedom of speech of any kind, and for threatening to kill people to be against the law. One way to do that is how we did…

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  95. You don’t see the hard-liberal Democrats ginning up attacks on the Blue Dogs…

    -Rich

    Rachel Maddow gins up attack on Blue Dog

    Not that Rich doesn’t have a good point that the democrats have built their majorities by allowing impurities. To some extent, failure to do so on Obamacare has caused a lot of Obamacare voting ‘blue dogs’ to be screwed for 2010.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  96. Um: Rachel Maddow attacking a Blue Dog

    It happens quite a lot. MSNBC is so crazy.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  97. Sheesh, you need to work a bit on taking compliments.

    As for your post, I think you are absolutely correct about the PW comments. This type of cut off my nose to spite my face reaction is foolish and destructive and would leave the country exposed to great harm and mischief. It is infantile and stupid. But then again, there’s a reason I don’t read his blog. Thanks for reminding me.

    But, it is a bit of a strawman, since I don’t believe PW’s views in this instance have much of a following, and few votes. A majority of Americans have been paying a lot more attention than usual in the last year or so, and they are pissed. They are not going to let a few purists stop them from throwing the bums (in this cycle Democrats) out.

    The more important issue isn’t about those relative few who would rather lose elections and damn the consequences rather than compromise an iota.

    Tea Partiers are not Republicans first or even second. They are to be sure made up of a lot of conservative Republicans and more than a few Reagan Democrats, and they are united in their desire for in greater or lesser degree a significantly smaller, less intrusive government; and they believe passionately in general in the clear bias the Constitution as written has in favor of individual liberty and want to see it restored and thereafter preserved.

    They feel with no small justification that Republicans of the Delay, Gingrich, Lott and Bush ilk are not to be trusted to protect them from an encroaching and voracious government. Right or wrong, Castle, Murakowski and other more conventional Republicans are not going to be acceptable to them, because they don’t trust them. And given those many Republicans who ran as fiscal conservatives and governed as porkers, the Tea Partiers are not going to trust in anyone with a “wet” track record (e.g., voting for cap and trade, stimulus, etc.).

    By and large the Tea Party’s influence has been a very positive one on the Republican Party. It is the Republicans who stand to gain immeasurably in this election, but to do so they will have to make concessions to the Tea Party folks in a skillful, positive manner and accept that the fates of the Castles and Murakowskis are a price that must be paid for sustained, long term success. The very kind of success that will prevent your doomsday scenario and with some good fortune shrink Leviathan and discredit those we can expect to always be in favor of larger government and disdainful of personal responsibility. And, for this to work, the Tea Partiers have to accept the quid pro quo, as they clearly did in Massachusetts last year, that Scott Browns are going to be far more helpful in the larger struggle than any Democrat from that state. (It begs the question on some like Olympia Snowe, but even there, I suspect that the Tea Party’s success to date, particularly with a Mike Castle, has not gone unnoticed by her and will cause her to be a little less likely to support big government legislation and regulation. She is after all a pol first and foremost to whom reelection trumps all other concerns.)

    And, I think we just need to work hard to elect those that have been chosen based upon who they stand with and not expend any more energy on refighting old battles. That ain’t cheerleading as I understand it. I don’t propose mindless, unthinking support for everyone with an R after his or her name.

    Rather, our energies ought to be focused on the enemies of the Constitution and individual liberty. And Reagan’s 11th Commandment needs to apply not just to Republicans but all others who don’t like the path our country has been headed down for all too long.

    Stu (168bf5)

  98. Okay, first off, I read that quote in much the same way as I read Pilgrim’s Progress. With that in mind, I believe the question itself is based on a false premise. BUT, if all the Republicans give me is a candidate with a 100 percent NARAL rating for 10 consecutive election cycles, you can bet your last dollar that I will either vote 3rd party or abstain from voting on that line. If you throw away your principles for a short-term gain, you’ve sold your birthright for a mess of pottage. Or, if you so easily give up your principles, they’re not principles but wishes.

    Now, with throwing away Murkowski, Specter, Crist, Castle, etc, the Republican party has already won. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and a Caucus with a slim majority is held hostage by its squish. With the removal of RINOs and DIABLOs, the party itself becomes more conservative and will draw more conservative candidates. It’s not static but rather dynamic.

    Now to the rough stuff: I’m a flame-throwing attack dog who may have gotten unhinged once or twice. And even I considered portions of this article and subsequent defenses of it as flame-throwing attack dog who had gotten unhinged (such as the defensive aggression against Stu). It sounded rather demandingly squish.

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

  99. “Do you want an absolute freedom of speech?”

    No, I want our statutes to be in accord with the supreme Law of the Land, which isn’t the case at this time.

    The supreme Law is a joke, because the government refuses to follow it…and sooner or later people are going to figure that out…and then there will be nothing but contempt for the law and the government that’s supposed to enforce it.

    Dave Surls (dde017)

  100. So you’re saying you think the Constitution should be more accurate. What appears to be an absolute prohibition should actually reflect the truth.

    I’ve thought about this too, occasionally. A lot of aspects of the Constitution are written poorly, IMO, and this has caused interpreters to have too much power.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  101. The idea that a Senator Castle would be no different than a Senator Coons is frankly just nuts. Castle was a moderate, only 56% lifetime ACU, but he voted for party organization and with the leadership on the votes they deemed key. Coons would vote for Democratic leadership and against us 95% of the time. Organization is important in the Senate because of the power of the Majority Leader to schedule all votes and the Committee Chairmen to control their committees. A Kagan or Sotomayor type to replace the next vacancy would sail through a Senate controlled by Reid and Judiciary Chairman Leahy; in one run by McConnell and Chairman Sessions they would die in committee.

    Adjoran (ec6a4b)

  102. As to the purists’ new “100% with us or you are the enemy” policy, even Stalin was smart enough to get a firm grip on power before he commenced his purges.

    Adjoran (ec6a4b)

  103. And even I considered portions of this article and subsequent defenses of it as flame-throwing attack dog who had gotten unhinged (such as the defensive aggression against Stu). It sounded rather demandingly squish.

    Yuh-huh. I think you need a tougher class of blogger. One not AFRAID to call people jackasses for getting the facts right.

    I hear Dan Riehl’s looking for readers.

    Patterico (59603a)

  104. Well, I agree with Barry Goldwater that “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”extremism is not the same as absolutism.

    You know what you call a species (even a political one) that becomes inflexible?

    “Extinct”.

    Pandas, wonderfully cute as they are, are working hard on that despite human efforts to the contrary.

    And if they die off, it won’t be mankind’s fault, it’ll be the fault of the Panda.

    Ditto for these idiots who won’t accept ANY candidate unless they’re total conservatives.

    If you’re going to do anything, what you need to do is work on replacing the GOP apparatchiks who select and fund the wrong candidates in the first place.

    IgotBupkis (9eeb86)

  105. Lithmas test politics is basicly the question. Works in a perfect world, doubtful. In the real world it works more like the following:

    If you believe you deserve a $25 an hour job, do you turn down all job offers below that on principle? Is $24 close enough, or do you have your principles? If they’re threating to repo your car, foreclose on your house, do you still stand on your principles and hold out for the $25?

    When they throw you out of your house, take your car, your wife leaves you (they may not be a bad thing) and you’re living in a cardboard box under a freeway overpass you’ll still have your principles. When your standing in line at the soup kitchen, you can always tell the guy next to you how you still have your principles.

    We are currently stuck in a two party system, and sometimes the choice is between two evils. Or you can be stuck in this little judicial hellhole in SW Illinois I live in and the choice is between the guy with the (D) behind his name, and no one else.

    One should try and pick their battles, and sometimes battle is forced upon you. Either way, the point is to WIN.

    Gerald A (49354f)

  106. What folks forget is that political parties are in teh business of getting candidates elected to office so as to control the policymaking process. Failure to accomplish that is failure as a political party. Any political party that is more concerned with being Ivory Soap pure ideologically is doomed to irrelevance and failure…

    In many cases I would say you’re right. With Castle as Ann remarked, “Why is a 70 year old seeking his first Senate seat”. Yes I understand he’s been in congress a long time but he’s 70. Time to go because he’s been in DC quite a long time.

    Secondly, he’s voted with Dems on some very damaging issues…. think Snow, Specter (who it appears wasn’t quite pure enough for the Dems this time around), etc.

    There wasn’t much in his record that indicated he was a less government, less spending type of Republican. I’m not much for purity test but this is one area Republicans should stand for.

    Look at his immediate behavior after the primary. ‘I’m not supporting her’. Says a lot about his lack of character. He doesn’t have to support her and neither does Rove, but if she doesn’t win in Nov, it’s as much on whiners in public giving the Democrats ammunition, as it is her failings.

    Yes she may have some questions to answer and yes she may not win in Nov and but given the points above, why are we questioning the voters choice of someone different. The contest for the primary is over. Time to get behind the candidate.

    sookie (60809e)

  107. “BTW, the guy apparently was overt about and “proud” of his sexuality”

    Oh noes!

    imdw (043f60)

  108. We’re close enough to losing it as it is

    Look at today’s Federal Government. Then look at the Constitution.

    We’ve already lost it. The current fight is to get some of it back.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  109. Biden was a twice plagiarist, revealed in his first presidential campaign, he was wrong in practically
    every issue over the last 36 years. from the Alaskan pipeline to the Surge, and breaking up
    Iraq, can you imagine what the Iraqis think of him.
    As Matthewa?? has pointed out, the attitude is much more revolutionary, than the Dems want ot acknowledge

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  110. Pat, I’m sure you’ve seen Charles Krauthammer’s latest WaPo column today. It has this line in it:

    “Bill Buckley — no Mike Castle he — had a rule: Support the most conservative candidate who is electable. A timeless rule of sober politics, and particularly timely now.”

    There’s a fatal flaw in this rule: It never addresses the need to develop and nurture TALENT to carry on the ideas and policies. From what we saw, there apparently wasn’t any thought on the part of the Delaware GOP to develop talent that could run successfully for office. Thus a situation develops where the party rides the Mike Castle horse until it dies, and gets itself into a pickle when a Christine O’Donnell is in no mood to “step aside,” and ends up administering a political beheading.

    Pat, sometimes we use “principles” as a proxy for trying to point out problems with ways of doing business.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  111. Some people want to “win”. Some people want key (i.e. small government) policies advocated, defended, and passed.

    Merely “winning” is not enough.

    Reframing the headline: The Death of the Consititution occurs if we keep electing those who would ignore it.

    It is not specifically about “purity”, it is about electing those who forcefully advocate our goals, or, failing that, forcing elections on those who do not, for the purpose of highlighting the danger to politicians who do not advocate.

    If we follow the elect an R strategy without regard to idealogical intent and firmness of advocacy, we end up with neither: a majority of Rs or our policies advocated; simply because we have no identifiable choice before the electorate that when chosen, makes a difference.

    In this year, when the policy choices are so starkly visible, to even the non political junky, why would you not put up those who make the choices as clear as can be? Why would you not put up those who make the choice not only clear, but if after perhaps hard fought campaigns, might actually make a difference in the direction we are advocating? If you believe that our policy choices are important, and would make a positive difference, why would you risk so stark an election and then not put in place the policies so as to lose the next election because we did not make a difference?

    In what coming year will the choices be as clear as this one? Are the economic choices visible this year going to be even more stark two, four years from now? God, I hope not.

    John Lynch (7fb472)

  112. Well, first, I am not sure if you feel a little besieged or something. I hope not. Obviously you are right on the most important issues, as in cutting the debt, killing the terrorists. So don’t take this comment as calling your thesis junk or calling you a traitor. And as for Levin, he has harmed his own reputation in my eyes, not yours.

    But I have some misgivings. I will say frankly I am not sure how I feel myself, but let me lay out some of my thoughts.

    Obviously Patterico those who thought that it would be better to let the democrats take over than vote for McCain have been given an object lesson in how it really matters whether there is a D or an R in the oval office in the last two years. It was REALLY hard for me to vote for McCain, because of McCain-Feingold, but I knew Obama would be worse—although I admit to being surprised at how much worse Obama has been. I thought Obama would stink, but I am really stunned at how bad he stinks.

    But here is my big problem with your thesis, and I hope you see this as the constructive criticism it is. Its not like the current court is preserving the constitution. Its more like destroying it more slowly than it would with 9 Kagans on it. I mean its like all those politicians saying, “we have to reduce the deficit.” Well, the deficit is the rate of increase of our debt. Obviously reducing the rate of increase of our debt is good but what we actually need to do is reduce the debt itself.

    I mean let’s face it, this is Justice Kennedy’s constitution. I tapped out a much deeper analysis of Kennedy at my own site but the short version of my opinions is he is not a constitutionalist. No constitutionalist could have ruled as he did—especially with the flaky language he used—in Lawrence v. Texas. And Kennedy v. Louisiana, where they declared that the constitution prohibited executions for child rapists, was laughable on its face. Our founding fathers hung people for horse theft and wouldn’t have batted an eye at killing a child rapist. Yes, he did the right thing on gun rights, and eventually did the right thing in Citizen’s United (remember, previously McCain-Feingold had been upheld). But I firmly believe he did the right thing not because the constitution demanded but because he happened to agree with the policy, or in the case of gun rights, he was concerned about harming the reputation of the court with a contrary ruling.

    Now in a strict utilitarian sense Kennedy is better than a Kagan. But the difficulty is that BOTH Kagan and Kennedy will shred the constitution, but one will be considerably slower in it than the other. Its like Kennedy is using a typical office shredder and kagan is warming up an industrial wood chipper. And it gets frustrating because you think, “why the hell can’t we just get someone who will actually and honestly try to rule based on what the constitution says?”

    And in a sense I feel the same way about the government as a whole. Just take the debt/deficit, which I mentioned a minute ago. I have zero confidence that voting for the republicans will actually reduce the debt, not even if the tea partiers mainly win. The best I can hope for is someone who will reduce the deficit—that is reduce the rate of increase of our debt. I mean if that is all you care about, you have no one to vote for who will actually, you know, balance our budget, stop sending us deeper into debt, etc.

    And just keeping it on that one issue you start to think, “maybe the real problem is us. We are willing to accept and vote for people who won’t actually solve the problem.”

    And then I remember some of the lessons I know from history. It is often said that the middle rules in American politics. But I know from history that this is not always the case. there was a time period when the most radical republicans ruled the land on almost every major issue and really revolutionized our system. I am referring to the period known as
    Reconstruction.

    Let me give you an example of how this worked. Take the issue of the black vote in D.C. When that issue came up during reconstruction there were three factions. Democrats who were opposed. Moderate republicans who were opposed. And radical republicans who were in favor. You would think in that situation that the radical republicans didn’t have a chance.

    And you would be wrong.

    The radical republicans correctly perceived that to the moderate republicans, party unity trumped any specific issues. So the radicals went up to the Democrats and said, more or less, “how would you like to sponsor a bill eliminating racial discrimination in the vote in D.C.?” And despite their racism, the Democrats said, “sure.” Why? Because the Democrats calculated that this might drive a wedge between the radical republicans and the moderates. So then the radical egalitarian republicans and the unreconstructed racist democrats worked together to bring it to a vote and the moderate republicans, who didn’t actually want this to happen at all, decided they would rather not hand the democrats a victory and voted for equal enfranchisement in D.C.

    And this happened over and over again in that era. Most of the great advances in equality of opportunity in that era can be traced to those kinds of tactics.

    What it illustrates is that the real rulers are those who are willing to reach across the aisle. In most cases that is the moderates but in that case, it was the radicals, and a democratic party that thought by acquiescing they were giving the republicans plenty of rope to hang themselves with. Could that ever be replicated? Hard to say. But it certainly refutes the idea that the moderates automatically rule.

    I mean all this was triggered by Castle. There has been a lot of hyperbole about his positions, but he did oppose the surge and he supported cap and trade, and was wishy washy on repealing obamacare. At the very least he didn’t seem interested in fighting it. And if obamacare is not defeated, that will destroy our constitution, as Sebelius’ recent thuggery demonstrates.

    I mean O’Donnell is a deeply flawed candidate. You and rove are right. But I don’t think her problems are insurmountable. I mean the left is attacking her for advocating against masturbation. I have yet to find any reasonable explanation for why I should even care about that. And that is the best they have? That is the ugliest dirt? Then I start to feel a lot better about her.

    And if Castle was for cap and trade and was not committed to taking down obamacare, yeah, I really, really have to question the value of voting for him at all.

    Like I said, I voted for mccain. I get why its important to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. but its hard for me to accept the idea that I am saving the constitution, or in the case of the debt/deficit that I am saving us from insolvency. It feels like all I can do is reduce the rate of disintegration. Which beats the alternative, but still tastes like a turd sandwich.

    And notice, I am not even talking about ideological purity. I am talking about actually balancing the budget for once in my lifetime. I am talking about not abridging freedom of speech. I am talking about not letting government take over health care. You can be pretty liberal on a lot of other things and STILL agree with me on those two things. Indeed, Patterico, I think that describes our politics exactly. You appear to be more liberal than me on several subjects, but we agree on those things.

    So like I said, I am not even sure what I feel about it. I think all around anyone being a d-ck toward you needs to cut it out. These are not simple issues, and we need to discuss them honestly and openly and with understanding.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  113. “he was wrong in practically
    every issue over the last 36 years. f”

    He helped to stop Bork. For that I give him wide latitude.

    imdw (8a8ced)

  114. I am curious as to how many sockpuppets you used, imdw.

    JD (08bae5)

  115. It’s interesting to see people are giving various rationales whereby it was still worth it to nominate O’Donnell even if she loses. Yet leading up to the primary the argument was that she’s going to win if she’s nominated. When/if she loses the argument will presumably be that it was Rove’s fault or something.

    Something tells me we will go through this whole thing every time we get a pure conservative running against a popular RINO in a deep red state. Think of some of the Twilight Zone episodes…

    Gerald A (2b94cf)

  116. I assume you meant a deep blue state. I would prefer not to run RINOs in deep red states. Speaking of which, when is Hatch up for reelection?

    Hadlowe (590387)

  117. 115.It’s interesting to see people are giving various rationales whereby it was still worth it to nominate O’Donnell even if she loses. Yet leading up to the primary the argument was that she’s going to win if she’s nominated. When/if she loses the argument will presumably be that it was Rove’s fault or something.

    Something tells me we will go through this whole thing every time we get a pure conservative running against a popular RINO in a deep red state. Think of some of the Twilight Zone episodes…

    Comment by Gerald A — 9/17/2010 @ 6:48 am

    It’s even more interesting to see the complete idiots who will give up the ghost ~46 days before an election. These folks just want the ataus quo, and sit back in their porch swings or rocking chairs and bitch, bitch about how the country is not like it was when they were growing up. When the actual fact is that they didn’t ever grow up.

    You are a parqadigm case of who this country has become. Moron.

    xsssx (dc2516)

  118. And — just as the current conservative majority is bound by Roe v. Wade and a host of Warren court precedents — the precedents set by the early 21st Century Court would last for generations.

    Why can’t Warren Court era precedents be overturned?

    I understand that lower courts are bound by precedent, but the Supreme Court explained it has the prerogative to overturn its own precedents in De Quijas v. Shearson and State Oil Co. v. Khan.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  119. But, but, stare decisis is … sacred.
    Which is why we still observe Dred Scott, and Seperate but Equal.

    AD-RtR/OS! (cd552c)

  120. But, but, stare decisis is … sacred.
    Which is why we still observe Dred Scott, and Seperate but Equal.

    We still observe Dred Scott to the degree it interprets provisions of the Constitution that existed in 1857. Some of those provisions had been superseded by amendment. Thus, while no provision in the Constitution circa 1857 guaranteed citizenship to black people, later provisions did.

    And Plessy v. Ferguson was never explicitly overturned. The Supreme Court ducked the issue by claiming that separate schools were not by nature equal.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  121. Hadlowe,

    I think we lost a comment of yours that I had intended to respond to. But my response, essentially, was: you moved the goalposts.

    Your original comment was: “Electing squishes gives us Souter. Electing Democrats gives us Sotomayor. So where is the benefit to conservatives for holding our noses as we pull the lever.”

    Your comment was made in the context of defending a post that said it is better to lose 10 elections straight than vote for someone who does not uphold your principles. In that context, I interpreted your statement that “electing squishes gives us Souter” meant that a) you considered GHWB a squish; b) you would therefore defend a refusal to vote for him as a good idea; and c) you didn’t see how that would harm anything because GHWB=Souter and Obama=Sotomayor. Same difference.

    So I responded that GHWB=Souter + Thomas and Dukakis (the person you would get if you stood on principle and refused to elect the “squish” GHWB) would have given you two liberals. Ergo, all those 5-4 cases we won would be 5-4 cases we lost.

    You responded, as I recall, by implying that I considered GHWB’s 50% success rate acceptable. In addition to moving the goalposts: what arrant nonsense. I didn’t consider GWB’s 50% success rate acceptable, which is why I fought Harriet Miers tooth and nail (and we got a 100% success rate then, didn’t we?). What I am saying is that 50% is better than 0%.

    You also argued that, in the context of Delaware, this was really an argument about primaries. I don’t know how many times I have to ask people to ignore Delaware before they listen to me, but I am not talking about Delaware. I was discussing the hypothetical quoted in the post. It is again moving goalposts to posit that we could easily elect a Kemp and Kemp would give us 100% good Justices. I would always choose 100% good Justices — but that is not the argument quoted in the post, which you defended and which I disagree with.

    THAT argument is an argument about tough choices. Do you ALWAYS vote your conscience even if it means losing elections — or do you get “pragm[vowel deleted]tic” and sometimes accept half a loaf? If your decision in 1988 was to vote GHWB or stay home, and you stayed home, and GHWB lost as a result, we would have lost Thomas. That is my point. This “principles over results, every time!” mentality leads to really, really bad results that can destroy our Constitution.

    That is my argument. I’d love to get a non-goalpost-moving response.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  122. Yes it was overturned by Brown, unfortunately that was nearly 70 years of American apartheid that was in the way. Plessy is worse that Dred Scott, because the experience of the civil war, should have informed the justices that there really is nothing ‘separate and equal’

    AW makes a good point, that out most inveterate troll ratifies. it was Kennedy and Biden, with some assist from Leahy that kept Bork off the Court, which set the template for Kennedy’s confirmation, Biden and Obama, would follow on and pass judgement on men, much better than them, precisely because they were qualified, they secured a cipher like Souter, but struck outagainst Thomas, Roberts and Scalia, And they selected the likes of Kagan and Sotomayor, two greater mediocrities can’t be found. Needless to say, Castle is exactly the kind that would have been a rubber stamp

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  123. Pat,

    I agree, the only way to win this argument IS to move the goal posts, deny the facts, and assert that Republicans like McCain are so terrible that they’d rather see a democrat who is 100% sure to put in a parchment ripping ideologue rather that having to put up with a phrase like compassionate conservative

    ITs funny that some yell at McCain for not going long with Bush yet didint like Bush either

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  124. I need to switch back to Boylan Root Beer. This A&W crap has screwed my brain up to the point where I think EPWJ and I are in perfect agreement.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  125. We should nominate more Dede Scozzafava’s, great rock ribbed conservatives.

    JD (8ded14)

  126. I was against Scozzafava.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  127. That’s known as ‘category error’ Dustin, you don’t want to go there. McCain and Graham, as part of the gang of 14, prevented more resolute nominees to arise, the reason why Miers came to light

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  128. I wouldn’t have gone balls-out against Kagan and Sotomayor, as a Senator. Kagan especially is more moderate than the person she replaced, and you could end up with worse if you defeated her. Sotomayor may have likewise a silver lining or two on criminal matters. Bottom line is, you elect a damn Democrat and this is who you get as a nominee. The real fight comes with the presidential election — or when they nominate someone who will swing the balance of the Court.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  129. I was not suggesting that you did support Scozzafava, Patterico.

    JD (8ded14)

  130. That’s a solid point, ian.

    Ever more solid because Mccain and Graham are far from the quality of man you would expect to represent states like Arizona and South Carolina.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  131. Pat,

    Would you have voted for her if she was the deciding vote against Pelosi’s healthcare?

    Hoffman – I see lost again in NY-23

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  132. DeeDee I’m talking about..

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  133. I personally like setting up an argument by starting at the parameters and then working in.

    I don’t know if the comment was literally meant or hyperbole to express emotion. but if it was meant literally, I don’t know how to respond. I don’t know what it means for a candidate to be a pure true conservative candidate, or what constitutes “pure enough”. By whose criteria? I also don’t have a good track record in predicting the future.

    Perhaps not directly to the issue as posed, but close enough that I’ll offer the following:
    – What really fuels the Tea Party is the sense that no one cares what the voters think. The memorable town-hall meeting Specter had is case in point. Specter wanted to tell the people what they should think of Obamacare. The people wanted Specter to listen to what they actually did think about ObamaCare. The people had had enough and were not going to let Specter get away with it. It had been so long since Specter had actually listened to flesh and blood the concept was beyond him.

    In fact, he was so out of touch that even the Dems didn’t want him.

    For many, it seems that the party elite are just like those in DC, happy to tell the people what they should think and do. To them, elections are not about choosing who the people want, it is about getting the people to back who they want.

    By doing that we get a Specter. In the 2004 election Toomey ran against Specter in the primary. It was close in spite of Specter getting the support of Bush and Santorum. What did the Repubs of Pa get? Eventually a Democratic senator. Now, I don’t know if Specter’s time as a Republican from 2004 until he defected directly was a positive influence or not. Did his presence make the deciding quota for leadership in the Senate? Did his activity in Committees and in legislation benefit the country by promoting conservative principles? If he made a significant positive contribution I would be happy to hear it, but I doubt it. He will be best known for “picken’ a fine time to leave us”.

    That is what some of us are tired of, being told who we are supposed to support instead of the party listening to us, and when we “do as we’re told” to stick with the electable person, we end up getting stabbed in the back anyway.

    There are no perfect candidates, there is no sense holding out for a perfect candidate. But please don’t try to push us to see how “unperfect” you can get and still have us follow.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  134. JD

    I am still curious about one thing – did you cast a vote for the candidate that had a chance to beat Obama?

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  135. EPWJ – She would have supported it, since she is a leftist, therefore your little construct is laughable, even moreso in light of the fact that she supported the Dem. And, she would have never been the last vote against Pelosi.

    JD (8ded14)

  136. If you are curious about something, ask me. Quit being a douchebag.

    JD (8ded14)

  137. This A&W crap …
    Comment by Dustin

    The only way to drink A+W is to go to a stand and get it fresh, buy it by the gallon and take it home, just finish it within 12 hours.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  138. “There are no perfect candidates, there is no sense holding out for a perfect candidate. But please don’t try to push us to see how “unperfect” you can get and still have us follow.”

    MD in Philly – That sounds suspiciously like some form of pragmatism to me.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  139. Before I ever heard the name O’Donnell, which I saw for the first time on this blog (Patterico introduced us to her) the republican establishment wouldn’t risk predicting a takeover of the House of Representatives.
    And nobody was talking about taking back the Senate.

    Now after she won * people are acting like the Senate was a mortal lock.

    Wrong. The Senate is still out of reach for purposes like repealing Obama Care – even if O’Donnell wins.

    The good of dumping one of the few remaining cap and trade Republicans before he was instantly installed in the Senate, far out-weighs any hypothetical risks to the constitution 20 years from now.

    papertiger (b1bea6)

  140. And if you loved Castle, don’t worry.
    After he switches parties, you’ll get a chance to vote for him again.

    papertiger (b1bea6)

  141. this site is working great.

    No way I would have back to back posts yesterday.

    papertiger (b1bea6)

  142. JD

    Please point out where DeeDee – before the Palin and hordes stepped in – said she was voting for the healthcare bill

    Also its a simple question did you vote for the person who could have beaten Obama in the election?

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  143. Were you not paying attention in the hearings, she sees no area where the government can’t interferevia the commerce clause, she is clearly hostile tothe military, has given a fair amount of consideration of shariah financing, it’s really hard to imagine a worst candidate, although I am sure they can come up with one

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  144. Also its a simple question did you vote for the person who could have beaten Obama in the election?

    Comment by EPWJ

    Come on, man. Let’s not go back there. We don’t have to prove anything to eachother of this nature, not only because this isn’t polite, but because it’s totally irrelevant. JD’s arguments have the same weight if he’s Chairman Mao or Ronald Reagan.

    The good of dumping one […] far out-weighs any hypothetical risks

    -papertiger

    Let’s keep that in mind. RINO hunt too many moderates from blue states and you wind up totally screwed. Frankly, Castle wasn’t the worst one. That’s part of what’s disturbing a lot of the centrist squishes. If you RINO hunt every republican to the left of Castle, we are entirely screwed. In fact, the Tea Party Express supported 2 candidates who are more liberal than Castle, for this specific reason.

    We need to pick our RINO scaring campaigns carefully.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  145. Dustin – I ate lunch at an old-fashioned soda fountain today, and they made root beer from scratch basically, the original way.

    EPWJ – The Republicans did not run anyone that could beat Obama, nor did the Dems.

    Why would it matter when she supported a leftist agenda, EPWJ? Nevermind, you are a nozzle, and are just about to prove it once again.

    JD (8ded14)

  146. You’re speaking of Ayotte and Fiorina, vs Angle, Paul and Miller

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  147. JD

    In other words what?

    You voted for Obama? Who did you vote for?

    You realize that not voting for McCain was a VOTE FOR OBama right?

    The only way to rationalize aiding and abetting a known socialist into office is to build strawman after strawman argument correct?

    Also, sure this isnt an exact construct but it shows that DeeDee was not for Pelosi’s bill

    http://www.myabc50.com/news/local/story/Scozzafava-Hoffman-blast-health-care-reform-bill/aEiQY9HT7Em2FfQFci5IWg.cspx

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  148. Would you have voted for her if she was the deciding vote against Pelosi’s healthcare?

    First I would have to be convinced she would vote against ObamaCare.

    Which means she would have to say she would.

    Did she ever say that? Not that I recall.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  149. DeeDee was not for Pelosi’s bill

    Well, at one point she appeared to be for the Republicans winning that race, too. Until she flip floped and endorsed her own opponent in the worst betrayal in recent memory. She makes Lisa Murkowski look like a team player.

    Anyway, I think pointing to something she said is a poor argument for how she would be in the future, due to the fact that she was so egregious in her flip flop.

    Note that she endorsed a person who voted for Obamacare (was a deciding vote!). You say not voting for Mccain is enough to support Obama, but endorsing an Obamacare voting congressman, against all sane interests, isn’t Obamacare support?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  150. EPWJ – I voted for McCain, while puking. Now quit being a douchenozzle. And it is abject BS to claim that not voting for McCain is a vote for Obama. Not voting is not voting. Unless you are a Team R cheerleader and assume that we owe our vote to a craptacular candidate.

    Patterico – There is nothing in her voting past, nor her conduct in the election to suggest she would have not supported it. The only time I recall her casually opposing it was in the midst of the outcry against a Dem running in the R primary.

    JD (8ded14)

  151. Here we have an instance of EPWJ going way out on a limb and aggressively supporting an actual leftist, yet it routinely accuses others of same. Odd.

    JD (8ded14)

  152. Yes she did – many times

    Also, its the point that the leadership of the Republican Party in congress would have also been there as well

    Owens 100% chance he was voting for it – with DeeDee less than 50% chance

    good or bad DeeDee had a mixed record

    mostly conservative, sometimes flamingly liberal but not often

    http://themoderatevoice.com/50319/dede-scozzafava-the-real-record/

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  153. JD

    My apologies – I must have misread that you denied voting for McCain and voted for someone else

    Yes McCain dissapointed

    If Gas wasnt 4 to 5 dollar a gallon at the time, Obama wouldnt be in there

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  154. Owens 100% chance he was voting for it – with DeeDee less than 50% chance

    With Hoffman 0% chance.

    And Dede endorsed one of these people, the one you say had 100% chance, when this was by far the most pressing issue in Congressional politics.

    In effect, we don’t have to ask if she would vote for it. She actually did vote for it via her endorsement.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  155. papertiger – Did Castle’s vote on Cap and Trade matter in the House or was it a throwaway to please his constituents? I would need to see his votes on matters where his vote was crucial to the party to be convinced he could not be relied upon. Most votes over the past several years with the majorities the Dems have had don’t cut it for me. He can pander to his constituents without hurting the party. I would much rather have a Tea Party candidate in there, but saying he voted for this or that when his vote did not matter is too simplistic an analysis for me.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  156. JD

    I would like furthe examples of leftists I have supported, aggressively

    I’m the only EricPWJohnson on the internet – take your time –

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  157. Dustin,

    At the end of the national spotlight of lies and mistruths – sure ANYONE even PHIL Graham would have flipped the rhectorical bird

    But to put to rest the meme that Hoffman was electable – I need to confirm it but he outspent his opponent handily and handily lost the same nomination that DeeDee received

    just last week

    Fact: DeeDee blasted the Pelosi bill – wanted privatization and tort reform, was in a commanding lead

    Before people who didnt live in the district decided to interfere

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  158. MD in Philly – That sounds suspiciously like some form of pragmatism to me.
    Comment by daleyrocks

    I can’t see your face of hear the tone of your voice to be certain of your gist, so I’ll just say this- I’m inclined to “stick to principle” by disposition, for good or ill, but doctors also know that you don’t have unlimited time to act, and to “do nothing” does result in consequences.

    (Shhh! Besides, be very quiet now, I sadly admit to having been part of those who allowed Bill Clinton into office, for which I have repented.)

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  159. You did not misread, EPWJ. You were making it up. themoderatevoice, are you serious? Why not link thinkregress? mediamatterz?

    Your continued support of Scozzafava is all the evidence needed.

    JD (8ded14)

  160. Think about it Hoffman had cash, the years spotlight, name recognition on a national level and lost to a unfunded nobody

    electable?

    THis is priceless

    Hoffman’s campaign is convinced that the publicity from the 2009 special election has given their candidate the support he needs to win the nomination this time around. “Doug is a brand up there. I know that may sound a little bit trite, but the special election got him so much press, so much publicity, everybody knows who he is,” said Rob Ryan, a communications advisor to Doug Hoffman.

    Ryan points to an internal poll that had Hoffman up by over thirty points in July as evidence of his candidate’s frontrunner status.

    Doheny’s campaign team suggests that the summer months have allowed them to become competitive. “Matt is working harder – he’s got the depth of knowledge on local issues and international issues… Mr. Hoffman feels entitled to the nomination,” said Alison Powers, a spokesperson for Doheny.

    “That is so ridiculous. That is why they call this the silly season,” said Hoffman’s aide in response to the charge. “Doug Hoffman understands that he has to work hard for this election. That’s why he’s been travelling all over the district and meeting all sorts of people.”

    So the only way Hoffman the true conservative is going to win is o atract liberals and moderates – just like DeeDee

    Allow me a slight smile….slight

    http://www.frumforum.com/gop-infighting-could-hand-ny-23-to-dems-again

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  161. We did choose our Rino carefully. Out of the nine representatives who crossed over to vote for Cap and Trade – two of them were promoted to run for the Senate. The one in Illinois promised a no vote on C&T if elected. Castle made no such promise.
    And due to his long record of voting in the best interest of DuPont rather then Delaware, and seeing as DuPont stands to gain a financial windfall from the passage of C&T – no matter how many millions of people are screwed by it, we have every reason to believe that Castle would have voted for C&T.
    And he woould have been seated for the lame duck session.

    Right after he lost instead of calling O’Donnell as is traditional, he went into consultation with Obama.

    I call that good shooting by the tea party.

    papertiger (b1bea6)

  162. But to put to rest the meme that Hoffman was electable

    Seriously?

    A) please don’t misrepresent my claims. I didn’t make an opinion on Owens’s electability and haven’t given that issue thought in recent memory.

    B) no one cares that he lost this time because it was a more legitimate primary process. That was the point all along, for me.

    C) it only took me two sips of A&W to ascertain that you are mistaken on Hoffman’s absolute unelectability.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  163. JD

    This is a site critical of DeeDee for being too conservative

    THats pretty telling – remember it was a race between her and Owens until the out of towners came a calling

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  164. I call that good shooting by the tea party.

    Comment by papertiger

    The more I think about it, the more I agree. If you just take out the most extreme RINO, it actually doesn’t have the kind of effect this has had. In particular, replacing Castle with someone with problems such as [UNITY FILTER ACTIVATED] and [UNITY FILTER ACTIVATED], shows an even stronger ‘RINOS SUCK’ message.

    No snark at all, here. I think you’re right.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  165. in 163, I meant Hoffman, not Owen’s electability.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  166. Dustin

    What strawman? keep sipping – switch to diet

    Electability means usually winning elections

    Hoffman 0 – 2

    thats ZERO

    or sometimes known as SQUAT or NADA

    Twice now he’s lost

    Three if you count the votes of th Precinct chairs of NY-23

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  167. Yeah I know you meant Hoffman :)

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  168. Hoffman also squandered his massive warchest and by July was down cash

    Lost to a newcomer

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  169. Electability means usually winning elections

    Hoffman 0 – 2

    That’s disingenuious. I proved my point. Hoffman was ahead in the polls, and was arguably going to win. You say it’s an incorrect meme that he’s electable at all, despite the facts.

    I notice you have also said Mccain would have won the 2008 election, but for gasoline prices. You obviously understand the argument I am making because you made it 5 minutes ago.

    Scozzafava spoiled the election, and you already understand this. She took an electable conservative who would have very possibly stopped Obamacare, and chose someone you claim was 100% certain to vote for it. And he did a few days later.

    I rest my case.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  170. When you see the big picture of a battle, what some people call a “loss” is actually strategic.
    I don’t like losing the Senate seat Castle would likely have won, but in my view it’d have been a Pyrrhic victory: “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.”

    The GOP winning the Presidential election might well have been worse than losing it…
    The party establishment had no one ready to run… it was John’s turn… we should have voted him out in the primary and lost with dignity
    In my view, John McCain’s picks for Supreme Court would have reached across the aisle and been squandered. At least Obama was honest and gave conservatives the middle finger… “I won”

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  171. You know who also lost NY23?

    scozzafava. By your very exact argument, she was

    ” ZERO

    or sometimes known as SQUAT or NADA” electable.

    Proof, to use your logic, that Scozzafava and Hoffman were equally electable. Of course, your logic is ad hoc and so you will reject it now.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  172. I give. It is a human output dispenser, immune to cognitive dissonance.

    JD (8ded14)

  173. I heard Ken Blackwell on the Dennis Miller show this AM say something brilliant like (bad paraphrase coming downrange)

    People who earn money are not entitled to it, but people who want money are..

    what that has to do with ODonnell?

    never said it did

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  174. JD

    Really, I’m curious where I have “Aggressively” supported a “known” leftist?

    Dustin,

    Oh and Hoffman may run on another ticket again – what are the odds he will win?

    DeeDee was 3 – 0 in the district

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  175. Hmmm namecalling vs facts – interesting topic of late

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  176. You’re right. Hoffman has proven to be a douchebag.

    It’s not relevant to the argument you made, which I unmade for you.

    Hoffman is not going to receive any support this round because the real problem people like me had with NY 23 hasn’t happened this time. The voters were not denied a reasonable process by the GOP. The nominee Doheny (could be spelling wrong) is reasonable.

    Bashing Hoffman is something I am perfectly happy to see. You’ll have a hard time finding someone to stick up for him this round. But he was electable in 2009, as I demonstrated with… ya know, data, instead of your contradictory argument (that Scozzafava, who didn’t win the election, was more electable than Hoffman, because he didn’t win either despite doing better than she did).

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  177. Well, I’m betting there will be a skit on SNL about masterbation. But since O’Donnell’s also a pretty woman with long dark hair, a beautiful smile and glasses (like Palin) are they going to be able to easily cast the two roles so the audience will know the difference?

    elissa (210290)

  178. I spelled Doheny correctly.

    Looks like Hoffman really wasn’t worthy of the support he received in 2009, but he was obviously the best guy running in 2009 and would have run but for the stunning spoiled grapes decision of the Republican candidate to endorse the Democrat candidate. Almost all of Scozzafava’s supporters, certainly her prominent endorsers, agree that she did not speak for them in doing so.

    But Hoffman reminds me of a few other Tea Party types and Palin endorsements who have gone the Lisa Murkowski way. I know Instapundit and a few others keep saying that it’s just the Establishment types who are picking up their ball and going home, but I think that’s confirmation bias. All politicians have tremendous suckage potential.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  179. Comment by Michael Ejercito — 9/17/2010 @ 6:07 pm

    ME, I realize that sarcasm is difficult to read on the internet, but how tone deaf are you?
    Or, is it the fact that you’re a lawyer, and that everything has to be explained, except why your client didn’t do it?

    AD-RtR/OS! (cd552c)

  180. Crist, Specter, on one hand, Tancredo on the other, there are some like DEal who won, but is broke and likely to be indicted, Labrador in Idaho, who sabotaged WArd, and now is down against Minnock, Politicians as a general rule don’t like to give up power, that in part, is why they ‘will invariably dissapoint’

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  181. Electing squishes gives us Souter.

    That does not accurately portray what happened. Souter was expected to be conservative. He was selected largely based on the fact that he did not have much of a “paper trail” on a number of issues, particularly abortion. They needed to select someone like that because the Democrats were in the majority in the Senate. If you think someone who was more of a sure thing conservative justice would have been confirmed you’re smoking something. Yes Thomas got confirmed but that was due largely to his “high tech lynching” statement which swung some southern Dems over to him. It was one of the few times in history where the race issue worked to the advantage of conservatives.

    Gerald A (2b94cf)

  182. Politicians as a general rule don’t like to give up power

    Will anyone take Lisa Murkowski to the woodshed over this write-in BS?
    This is not the way to get an appointment in a future GOP administration (well, at least one not run by The Sarahcuda).

    AD-RtR/OS! (cd552c)

  183. Comment by xsssx — 9/17/2010 @ 4:55 pm

    I just point out how the argument for O’Donnell seems to be morphing from she’s going to win to it’s worth it to purge the RINO’s even if we lose. So you go off the deep end.

    Gerald A (2b94cf)

  184. “I can’t see your face of hear the tone of your voice to be certain of your gist”

    MD – There was no gist intended, merely an observation that you are reserving enough flexibility for yourself to accommodate differing circumstances. I’m not always faced with a choice of candidates I want and often view my vote as a vote against the worse candidates. Because I’m not faced with an ideal choice does not mean I’m prepared to sit out a senate election and hand over a seat for six years to someone I know there is a good chance will do more harm than a less bad choice. That’s rank stupidity in my mind.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  185. “I’m betting there will be a skit on SNL about masterbation. But since O’Donnell’s also a pretty woman with long dark hair, a beautiful smile and glasses (like Palin) are they going to be able to easily cast the two roles”

    Hopefully there’s some velvet and leather involved too.. and the librarian glasses.
    But other than that I am just appalled…

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  186. Dustin,

    My point was that JD brings up DeeDee as somekind of fault with my total philosophy and in retrospect I think we all can agree at least in Part that

    DeeDee was more conservative than Owens

    DeeDee also never lost a race in that district

    Ownes was a reliable Pelosi vote

    EPWJ (17f94c)

  187. EPWJ, I don’t want to go into this, but I think your argument supports Hoffman if you apply it evenly. You don’t, I guess. we don’t have to predict electability in the congressional election based on your proxy. You say 3-0, but that’s disingenuous. Mccain won many more election than Obama, pre 2008, and yet we don’t rely on that when asking which of them was going to win the 2008 election. Hoffman beat Scozz in the particular election we are talking about. She did spoil the election by helping the guy in 2nd overcome the guy in first, which is the only reason you can say Hoffman lost.

    It’s amusing, then, that you then proceed to an argument on reliability. The most unreliable candidate was the one who endorsed the other party in this very election, fully aware that she was ensuring Obamacare’s passage. I think it’s safe to say it’s 100% certain Scozzafava would have voted for Obamacare, since she did so much to ensure its passage.

    but it turns out Hoffman sucks too, and I don’t really want to go into this one. We want primaries that permit conservative candidates. And we got what we wanted.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  188. Hadlowe,

    I think we lost a comment of yours that I had intended to respond to.

    Yeah. I posted the comment and refreshed to see the site moving post at the top of the page, and then my comment wafted away into the ether. From what I remember, it was brilliant, though. Almost poetic.

    Your original comment was: “Electing squishes gives us Souter. Electing Democrats gives us Sotomayor. So where is the benefit to conservatives for holding our noses as we pull the lever.”

    Your comment was made in the context of defending a post that said it is better to lose 10 elections straight than vote for someone who does not uphold your principles. In that context, I interpreted your statement that “electing squishes gives us Souter” meant that a) you considered GHWB a squish; b) you would therefore defend a refusal to vote for him as a good idea; and c) you didn’t see how that would harm anything because GHWB=Souter and Obama=Sotomayor. Same difference.

    A few problems here. 1) I was attempting to articulate Goldstein’s argument, not my own. I tend to fall into the “O’Donnell was overreach” camp, but am now trying to make lemonade out of the situation. Not that there was any indication of that in my comment. I add it here as clarification.

    As a general matter, I think you give Goldstein short shrift and tend to take very uncharitable readings of his writing because of your history with him. That alienates alot of folks like me who like both of your sites. I try to push back a little bit to give breathing space to an opposing view, even though I don’t agree with Goldstein on everything.

    Moving on.

    Your point b) strikes me as an unwarranted assumption. Pointing out that Souter and Sotomayor are cut of the same ideological cloth is not the same thing as saying that we should refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils in a general election. In my ether-wafting response, I acknowledged that Thomas was a great jurist (as a serendipitous aside, I got to meet him for the first time today, yay me) but then posited that wouldn’t it have been nice to have two actual conservatives nominated instead of just the one. Say an Easterbrook and Thomas. Hello Commerce Clause jurisprudence.

    (A follow-up comment that similarly vanished pointed out that Souter was an unknown before he was nominated. Yeah, I hadn’t really considered that point when I used Souter as an example the first time. I’ll chalk Souter up to incompetence and the post-Bork nomination process rather than squishiness then.)

    So I responded that GHWB=Souter + Thomas and Dukakis (the person you would get if you stood on principle and refused to elect the “squish” GHWB) would have given you two liberals. Ergo, all those 5-4 cases we won would be 5-4 cases we lost.

    See above. I don’t think the protest vote logic automatically follows from saying that RINOs actually can and do damage conservative causes by giving rhetorical cover to progressives.

    You responded, as I recall, by implying that I considered GHWB’s 50% success rate acceptable. In addition to moving the goalposts: what arrant nonsense. I didn’t consider GWB’s 50% success rate acceptable, which is why I fought Harriet Miers tooth and nail (and we got a 100% success rate then, didn’t we?). What I am saying is that 50% is better than 0%.

    Allright, so half a loaf is better than no loaf. To which I say that Castle, the meta-context of this entire conversation, was not necessarily half a loaf. There was a good chance that he was half a loaf, but that’s not the same thing. I would have leaned toward Castle instead of taking a long shot on O’Donnell just to get a shot at retaking the senate and getting some subpoena powers. (There’s stuff in the justice department that really needs to come to light.) It’s still an awfully close call there.

    With a strong enough RINO coalition, we start seeing Lindsey Graham chairing stuff we really don’t want reach across the aisle guys chairing. Castle strengthens the RINO coalition, maybe enough that we get senate majority leader John McCain. /shudder. Maybe not, but it’s a risk that bears considering when weighing the options.

    You also argued that, in the context of Delaware, this was really an argument about primaries. I don’t know how many times I have to ask people to ignore Delaware before they listen to me, but I am not talking about Delaware.

    Except in the part where you quoted Goldstein talking about Delaware, and the part where the whole intraparty warfare was ignited by the flashpoint in Delaware. You know, the meta-conversation informing this whole thing. The current context is the Delaware primary. Saying that it is not doesn’t make it less true.

    I was discussing the hypothetical quoted in the post.

    A hypothetical rooted in the Delaware primaries, I might add. Goldstein’s post was originally made as a comment on his site in this thread which is built on the Delaware primaries conflict and some of the surrounding commentary.

    It is again moving goalposts to posit that we could easily elect a Kemp and Kemp would give us 100% good Justices. I would always choose 100% good Justices — but that is not the argument quoted in the post, which you defended and which I disagree with.

    I didn’t move the goalposts by positing an easy election for Kemp. I offered up a hypothetical president Kemp since he ran in the republican primary in ’88. I sort of leapfrogged the whole election thing, so that wasn’t really an argument so much as wishcasting. As for his appointment of justices, Kemp may well have appointed Souter as well after the Bork fiasco, so yeah, the hypothetical was weak on a few levels, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. (Insert wry emoticon here).

    THAT argument is an argument about tough choices. Do you ALWAYS vote your conscience even if it means losing elections — or do you get “pragm[vowel deleted]tic” and sometimes accept half a loaf?

    But ALWAYS sticking to principles isn’t Goldstein’s argument either. There are two limitations built into Goldstein’s argument, one literal, and one more esoteric. The explicit limitation is that 10 lost elections would be enough to make even Goldstein cry uncle.

    The implicit limitation is harder to reach unless you read him regularly. Goldstein’s bailiwick is the nature of language and the privileging of interpretation and meaning. One of his constant harrangues is built around the idea that the left is playing a game with language where they get to make all the rules, and you cannot possibly win unless they consider you an ally, which is only losing more slowly.

    As such, it is a fool’s errand to bargain with them because there is no guarantee that they will fulfill their bargain. If they tire of the bargain, they reinterpret the language to allow themselves out of it. This makes the eagerness to compromise in the name of legislative collegiality and bipartisanship especially foolish.

    That said, if leftists had to play by the same rules as conservatives, in other words, they grew a sense of honor by some miracle, compromise could be reached because the terms would be fixed and they would be held accountable on those terms. In such a case, I think even Goldstein would admit that a squish would be acceptable because 1) we would know what he was going in, and 2) even if he looks to compromise too early, he would at least be getting something in return that we could collect on later.

    If your decision in 1988 was to vote GHWB or stay home, and you stayed home, and GHWB lost as a result, we would have lost Thomas. That is my point. This “principles over results, every time!” mentality leads to really, really bad results that can destroy our Constitution.

    Again, I don’t disagree. I’m no deontologist. I voted for McCain, and I’m glad I did. I’m only sorry that I had to vote for McCain and not for someone who could actually find a conservative principle with two hands and a flashlight.

    Hadlowe (d00a1f)

  189. P.S. Sorry for the wall of text.

    Hadlowe (d00a1f)

  190. P.S. Sorry for the wall of text.

    Comment by Hadlowe

    You both are talking past eachother, but it’s because you agree on the part that wouldn’t be talking past eachother, and I thought you presented yourself well.

    These notion of a one way slow is one of the most frustrating aspects of our nation’s problems and trying to fix it, but working a way out (realistically) is over my head. I enjoyed the comment.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  191. I’m sorry, I meant: This notion of a one way slope (towards progressivism) […]

    I keep making strange typos like that.

    Dustin (b54cdc)


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