Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 12, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON TOM DELAY....A few commenters last night wondered if the Tom DeLay quote that I posted was real. After a bit of checking, my guess is that it's not. Rather, it's a paraphrase of a longer and even more addlepated rant. Here it is, straight from the Congressional Record four weeks after the Columbine shootings:

Every once in a while, I read something or hear something that blows away all that smoke that clouds a particular issue. A letter written by a Mr. Addison Dawson to the San Angelo Standard-Times is just such a statement....The following is Mr. Dawson's letter:

For the life of me, I can't understand what could have gone wrong in Littleton, Colorado. If only the parents had kept their children away from the guns, we wouldn't have had such a tragedy. Yeah, it must have been the guns.

....It couldn't have been because we place our children in day care centers where they learn their socialization skills among their peers under the law of the jungle, while employees who have no vested interest in the children look on and make sure that no blood is spilled.

....It couldn't have been because we have sterilized and contracepted our families down to sizes so small that the children we do have are so spoiled with material things that they come to equate the receiving of the material with love.

....It couldn't have been because our school systems teach the children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized out of some primordial soup of mud.

....Nah, it must have been the guns.

Yes indeed, back in the halcyon days of 1999 this was the sort of thing that The Hammer hailed as the kind of piercing social analysis that "blows away all that smoke." There's more along the same lines, but I only included the sections about guns, day care, birth control, and evolution. I left out the parts about broken homes, television, video games, children as pets, pets as children, moral relativism, and Bill Clinton. I also left out Barney Frank's longsuffering reply. Read the whole thing if you dare.

Kevin Drum 11:39 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (99)

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Comments

Let's not forget that DeLay blamed "overcrowding in our schools" as a cause and then argued that "overcrowding" wasn't something federal government could do much, if anything about.

And for the record, what's quoted by Kevin is "a letter written by a Mr. Addison Dawson to the San Angelo Standard-Times" that then was read on air by Paul Harvey. Still DeLay did read it into the Congressional Record, thus giving it his stamp of approval. Barney Frank called him on the evolution bit at the time.

Posted by: idlecrank on June 12, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

The year before the shootings, there was a rape of a cheerleader by their star football player. Well, an accusation of rape.

The girl was offered early graduation in exchange for keeping quiet.

Can't have any scandals that take their star player off the roster and jeopardize the season.

THIS attitude, this culture, of sports being more important than justice, sports being more important than academics, sports being more important than educating our children - this is what caused those boys to want to kill everyone else in that school, and then themselves. When the teachers, and administrative staff side with the football stars, those kids have power to do whatever they want. They can tease, pick fights, bully, destroy property, rape, with impunity. The police won't interfere, the administrators turn a blind eye. The Columbine killers were assaulted on a regular basis by the "jocks" of that school. When they fought back - who do you suppose got disciplined with a suspension? The jocks, or the freaks? They documented it in their journals, and their websites. How do kids seek justice in such an atmosphere? Both of these kids were smart, they could have had bright academic careers in the right environment. When schools can't find money to hire decent teachers, can't afford a computer lab, or good equipment to teach science, or put new books in the library - but can always seem to find a half a million to build a new football stadium, that should give everyone an idea where the priorities are.

No. It wasn't the guns. If you took away the guns, those kids would find some other way of seeking justice. Do you need to be reminded that they also used several pipe bombs, and they also planted a timed bomb build from a propane tank, that luckily failed to go off, or hundreds of others may have died?

Our sick winner-take-all competition culture is what created these killers. The mediocrity of our crony politicians and leaders are afraid of real heroes who may challenge their status quo. So they focus on a fake sandbox of sporting events to nurture artificial heroes.

This nation is in denial, and will fight and die to continue to live in the fantasy world of the football stadium, while we ignore, or supress, our best and brightest, and turn some of them into monsters.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 12, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

These children were the result of too much corporal punishment, and not enough therapy. They should have been put on ritalin and prozac, and maybe sent to some summer camps where they could have some teamwork activities to learn to socialize in groups. It's the conservatives who keep cutting education budgets so that underprivileged kids are ignored by the system, and get messed up. That, and the easy access to guns. Only the military should have guns.

Posted by: Strawman on June 13, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills.

That was the quote you attributed to Delay yesterday. He never actually said that.

But that's okay; in the liberal blogosphere, that's just another day at the office.

Going through just the parts you excerpted:

....It couldn't have been because we place our children in day care centers where they learn their socialization skills among their peers under the law of the jungle, while employees who have no vested interest in the children look on and make sure that no blood is spilled.

If possible, a child should spend the day with one of its parents, not in a day care. Liberals agree with this. Why is it such a stretch to say that being socialized in such a bad environment might lead to bad consequences?

....It couldn't have been because we have sterilized and contracepted our families down to sizes so small that the children we do have are so spoiled with material things that they come to equate the receiving of the material with love.

Children frequently have no brothers or sisters to socialize with, and are spoiled rotten. Part of that is because families are so small.

It couldn't have been because our school systems teach the children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized out of some primordial soup of mud.

Teaching children that they're accidents that came out of the primordial ooze and taking god out of the equation has consequences. I'm sorry if you don't like them, but at least fess up to it.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 13, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Tom DeLay was exactly right.

Not only should these kids have access to guns - had they been given religious training in school, and haircuts, along with gun-safety classes, they never would have gone crazy, because having accepted Jesus into their hearts, they would only have killed outsiders and wierd kids, which would have been a service to the school, to help with the overcrowding.

Posted by: American Fuck on June 13, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

I guess the next Washington sniper or Timothy Mcveigh 'incident' won't be because of the guns, either.

Posted by: floopmeister on June 13, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

Children frequently have no brothers or sisters to socialize with, and are spoiled rotten. Part of that is because families are so small.Posted by: American Hawk on June 13, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Please cite the scientific body of evidence that proves this absurd assertion.

Teaching children that they're accidents that came out of the primordial ooze and taking god out of the equation has consequences.

How could failing to teach kids popular mythology cause them to go on a shooting spree? Also - evolutionary theory doesn't take God out of any equation. It only takes the Bible out. If you're worshipping the Bible, that's a graven image, and idolotry. Pretty much God's most important commandment.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 13, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK


Dear Mr. A. Hawk:
A misquoted, corrupt, ego-driven Texan asshole is still a corrupt, ego-driven Texan asshole no matter what a liberal's day at the office is like. I just feel bad that "minorities" took Delay's chance to enlist in the military. Not to fear though, he's a hero in his own mind. Remember when he said he was the government? Looks like he believed his own PR.

Posted by: horatio on June 13, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Tom Delay.
Our military needs you.
Enlist.
Go to Iraq.
Fight for your ideals.
Show us your courage.

Posted by: koreyel on June 13, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Blowing smoke is right! Apparently by a"away" he means "up everybodies asses".

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on June 13, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

What also kills me is that we've moved from "Tom Delay said this" to "Tom Delay read a letter out loud that said something like this". Apparently, that constitutes 100% endorsement. So, Kevin, if you link to something, you agree with everything it says. Right?

Posted by: American Hawk on June 13, 2006 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Al Gore invented the internet!!

Posted by: mickslam on June 13, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

I'd say this is a pretty strong endorsement:

"Every once in a while, I read something or hear something that blows away all that smoke that clouds a particular issue. A letter written by a Mr. Addison Dawson to the San Angelo Standard-Times is just such a statement....The following is Mr. Dawson's letter:"

When Kevin posts something like this before a link, and he occasionally does, we rightly assume he supports essentially everything in the post.

And you are trying to somehow throw doubt on The Hammers support of this letter - it's telling that you could think that he does anything less than fully support both the sentiment and literal verbiage of the letter with words like the above. There is no wiggle room in his statement.

Distort - Deny

Posted by: mickslam on June 13, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

If Tom Delay was innocent he wouldn't have quit his post. But he did quit. That means he is guilty of crimes against the United States of America.

I hope he goes to jail for those crimes.
He deserves to.


Posted by: American Hawk on June 13, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Is too much to ask to have less addlepated trolls? I almost miss tbrosz.

Posted by: gub on June 13, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Children frequently have no brothers or sisters to socialize with, and are spoiled rotten. Part of that is because families are so small.

Making shit up - it's not just a job, it's an art form!

Teaching children that they're accidents that came out of the primordial ooze and taking god out of the equation has consequences.

Even better! And what, by the way, have been the "consequences" of putting Dog into the equation? Here's one: some crazy people flew airplanes into buildings.

I guess the AH that works the night shift isn't the one that can manage to sound just about human.

Posted by: craigie on June 13, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Tom DeLay very plainly endorsed the whole thing. He clearly believed that it was so trenchant that it made all other debate irrelevant: "In fact, after I make this statement, I do not think anybody else needs to speak. We just need to vote."

Posted by: Kevin Drum on June 13, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

Do you think President Bush will disown Tom Delay if Tom Delay goes to prison?

Remember how President Bush pretended not to know Jack Abramoff?

("Hey buff guy, whatcha benching?" I think President Bush likes toned man-tits. What do you think? Remember he was a Yale cheerleader.)

Remember how President Bush pretended not to know Kenny-boy Lay?

So do you think he will pretend not to know Tom Delay?

Golly. Isn't George Bush a two-faced freak?
And to think I voted for him twice.

For shame.

I think I should say some Hail Mary's.
What do you think?

Posted by: American Hawk on June 13, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

What a bunch of BS...everyone knows Columbine was caused by Marilyn Manson...Marilyn Manson, Marilyn Manson, Marilyn Manson, Marilyn Manson, American Hawk, Marilyn Manson, Marilyn Manson, Marilyn Manson, Marilyn Manson, Marilyn Manson....

Posted by: ecoboz on June 13, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

the problem with columbine is that it is so convenient -- the left and the right see sweeping causes for the violence and using them as evidence to suit their particular world view. football didn't cause columbine, and neither did teaching evolution. delay, however, is a certified loon.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 13, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

"In fact, after I make this statement, I do not think anybody else needs to speak. We just need to vote."

Now there's a man who understands the very heart and soul of democracy.

Posted by: koreyel on June 13, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Teaching evolution to football players, however, is often fatal.

Posted by: craigie on June 13, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

That right. Where is tbrosz? He might have repented some. The evidence of BushCo incompetency is hard to ignore, unless you are paid to ignore it. He could taunt a bunch of bloggers that they dont have a plan to run the country, but we arent paid to do that either.

Posted by: troglodyte on June 13, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

And yes, AmHawk. A few Hail Marys would be nice. The Lord appreciates a contrite spirit. You dont have to do it in public if you prefer. God will know.

He made you from DNA, not mud, BTW.

Posted by: troglodyte on June 13, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if anyone -- and I'm speaking here mostly of Tom DeLay, American Hawk, Paul Harvey, Mr. Addison Dawson, etc. -- actually knows whether the Columbine killers were placed in day care centers as toddlers, or came from small families, or had been taught anything about evolution. Or if they just made that stuff up.

Posted by: Boots Day on June 13, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

Do they need evidence? Have they ever needed it?

Posted by: troglodyte on June 13, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin -- well done in printing the correction.

Regarding the letter DeLay read, AFAIK nobody really knows what caused the Columbine killers to go on their rampage. Yes, guns made it possible, but, if IIRC, they also had a plan to utilize explosives. Even if guns had been unavailable, they might have found some other means of mass murder.

I don't pretend to know what psychological factors affected the killers. By the same token, I wouldn't mock someone's else's guess.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 13, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Teaching evolution to football players, however, is often fatal.

Yeah, but to who?

;)

Posted by: floopmeister on June 13, 2006 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

...to whom. Whoops.

Posted by: floopmeister on June 13, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Of all the myriad fallacies and inanities created by the anti-science movement, by far my favorite is the word "evolutionize". You can't beat that.

Posted by: Viserys on June 13, 2006 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

He made you from DNA, not mud, BTW.

No, it's in the Bible in Genesis, "From dust I made you and to dust you shall return."

Mud is just wet dust.

Posted by: AnotherBruce on June 13, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

Shite Hawk: If possible, a child should spend the day with one of its parents, not in a day care.

Quite so. After all, you never know when someone like Shite Hawk's good buddy Tim McVeigh might decide to blow that day care up.

::

Anyway, I'd like to know where that LTE originated, because it sounds like one of those pieces that gets sent around on email, with different attributions, and either wasn't a LTE in the first place -- but becomes one -- or is heavily embellished. What it proved was that DeLay was another tube in the mighty Wurlitzer, plugged into wingnut talk radio, and from there to the wingnut world.

Posted by: ahem on June 13, 2006 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

I don't pretend to know what psychological factors affected the killers.

From what I've gathered here and there, Harris was the high school Chuckie Manson with Klebold as his dutiful lackey.

I guess the next Washington sniper or Timothy Mcveigh 'incident' won't be because of the guns, either.

Nope, any mass murder is all about the moral decay of modern society.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth Bathory, Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd, Jesse James, etc etc etc...

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on June 13, 2006 at 3:55 AM | PERMALINK

I don't pretend to know what psychological factors affected the killers. By the same token, I wouldn't mock someone's else's guess.

I certainly would, especially if their guess was just blaming the same old conservative bogeymen. Especially the teaching of evolution. I'm a biologist and a longtime atheist and I've never once thought that it's okay to go on a shooting rampage because we're nothing more than descendents of chemical slime, nor have I met anyone else who holds this view. I've certainly heard all sorts of other stupid beliefs justified by reference to evolution, but not mass murder.

In fact, the Golden Rule, "thou shalt not kill," and "violence never solves anything" are ingrained into secular culture and I was bombarded with these messages growing up, at home, in society, and in (public) school. That I did not find any deity or body of religious thought particularly compelling did not prevent me from thinking these were pretty good ideas, and worth applying to my own life.

On the other hand, as many people have already pointed out, the religious find plenty of justification for mass murder in their holy books. Totalitarianism and bloodlust are universal human afflictions independent of philosophical background or spirituality, and they will never be extinguished by enforced religion or atheism.

Posted by: Nat Echols on June 13, 2006 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

i will pass...

Posted by: Ben Merc on June 13, 2006 at 6:08 AM | PERMALINK

Tom DeLay must have suffered permanent brain damage from inhaling the DDT he loved so much when he was an exterminator. The man is clearly dysfunctional.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 13, 2006 at 6:51 AM | PERMALINK

I think it is a stretch too far to blame Columbine on daycare, small family sizes, drugs or anything in general, but I am not sure that you have to be a religious nut not to wonder if our society hasn't been damaged by various social trends that have reduced the importance of the family unit. In addition I am not sure that the central attraction of Christian seeker and fundamentalist movements isn't a similar feeling gnawing at young parents across society.

I don't pretend to know the perfect environment for raising children or even if such a thing is possible, but I do know that historically humans evolved in family units featuring intensive and extensive contact with parents, siblings and grandparents. Both hunter gatherers and traditional farmers follow that model. It seems that during the last centuries, as people have moved off the farm, the traditional model has cracked somewhat. It would be foolish to assume there haven't been consequences.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 13, 2006 at 7:56 AM | PERMALINK

ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING that at 8:30 I cannot find a left leaning blog that has ANYTHING up about the NYT story on Rove...I'm as disappointed as anyone because I think this scum has manipulated the system YET AGAIN...and we can kiss our lovely country GOODBYE! Still, hard to believe that TPM, Eschaton, WM, Daily Kos, Left Coaster, Digby, et al have NOTHING up!

Posted by: Dancer on June 13, 2006 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Is too much to ask to have less addlepated trolls? I almost miss tbrosz.

tbrosz seems to have take his ball and gone home, all right. Even the parodies are all but silent.

I've always said about tbrosz that his shame was that he was capable of debating honestly, but most often chose not to. That it's nigh-impossible to defend the mendacity, incompetence, corruption, and overreach of this Administration by honest means was always tbrosz' problem, not ours.

But our current batch of trolls have yet to show any capacity for honest debate. Parroting GOP talking points is pretty much the diametric opposite.

Posted by: Gregory on June 13, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Dancer, I don't know about the others, but this blog is based on the west coast. It is 5:36 there. I don't think Kevin is even up yet.

Many of us are suffering from scandal fatigue. In any event everybody knows Rove and the rest of the Republicans are scoundrels. What we seem to be doing this summer is developing reasons for regular voters to vote Democratic. The last few weeks have been a series of self examinations.

Gregory, I hope you haven't lumped me in with the trolls.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 13, 2006 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Congrats to Kevin Drum for having the integrity to correct the earlier post.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on June 13, 2006 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Improve the high quality of daycare, such as through better facilities, licensing and professional training of staff and smaller ratios of children to staff members? Reduce the crass materialism of our culture by banning commercial TV for children and promoting diverse extracurricular activities? Impart humanist values to children by better teaching of literature and the arts?

That sounds like a great agenda for healing a sick culture - wonder why Tom deLay did so little to promote him after his initial enthusiasm.

Posted by: BC on June 13, 2006 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Children frequently have no brothers or sisters to socialize with, and are spoiled rotten. Part of that is because families are so small.

Tom Delay has only one child.

It couldn't have been because we have sterilized and contracepted our families down to sizes so small that the children we do have are so spoiled with material things that they come to equate the receiving of the material with love.

Tom's been married for 39 years and has one kid, do you think they use birth control ?

Posted by: Stephen on June 13, 2006 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

to promote "it."

Posted by: BC on June 13, 2006 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

****ROVE CLEARED!***

Poor Kevin will be in a funk for weeks.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on June 13, 2006 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Ok now let me get this straight. We need to get rid of the weapons. Not try to understand why the weapon was used and try to correct that.

So since a lot of people are strangled we need to outlaw hands to prevent it.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on June 13, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

So how come you don't do your checking before you write? The quote looks nothing like the speech and on top of it was a constituent letter.

Kevin - you are a moonbat.

Posted by: McA on June 13, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK


t-p: So since a lot of people are strangled we need to outlaw hands to prevent it.


you mean hands aren't original equipment?

cons....too funny

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 13, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

"So, Kevin, if you link to something, you agree with everything it says. Right?"

When Kevin says something along the lines of "this really nails this issue for me," and then quotes it verbatim inton his blog, I will assume he fully endorses what is being said.

"Tom's been married for 39 years and has one kid, do you think they use birth control ?"

Not in the ususal sense. They are both ugly, and we all now how incredibly unappealing Tom DeLay is personally. I can't imagine how his sow of a wife would fuck a troll like Tom, or vice versa.

Posted by: brewmn on June 13, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Yes or no question:
Did those words come out of Tom DeLay's mouth?

If yes, he said them. He may not have composed them, or been the first to say them, but he said them.

If no, they would not be part of the Congressional Record.

Maybe we have a case of quoting without proper attribution, in that Tom was quoting someone else.

Posted by: kenga on June 13, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

That right. Where is tbrosz? He might have repented some. The evidence of BushCo incompetency is hard to ignore, unless you are paid to ignore it. He could taunt a bunch of bloggers that they dont have a plan to run the country, but we arent paid to do that either.

tbrosz became increasingly snappish, hyperdefensive and desperate the last few months as it became utterly impossible to support the Bush administration from any political viewpoint, much less a "libertarian" one. If I recall correctly, the fake tbroszes were out of control right before he left, providing convenient cover for him to stomp off in a huff.

Since he is fundamentally incapable of even considering that his views might be worthy of review and amendment, much less of "repenting some," I guess we should thank the tbroszes (as annoying as they were) for what turned out to be a contribution to the general welfare. I mean, does anyone really miss tbrosz' crap?

Posted by: shortstop on June 13, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop - does this mean Tbrosz Watch can retire?

Posted by: Tbrosz Watch on June 13, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal Kevin -- well done in printing the correction.

Frequency Kenneth Congrats to Kevin Drum for having the integrity to correct the earlier post.


Why is Kevin being congratulated on printing a correction? Isn't that what normal people do?

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 13, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of 'where is'. Another smart troll (a self-proclaimed troll no less) was conspiracy nut. I know he irked the heck out of some but I kinda liked his sense of humor (and when he dropped out of troll mode, he could be pretty reasonable).

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 13, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

does anyone really miss tbrosz' crap?

Not at all...pointing out tbrosz' serial dishonesty was a major job, as you well know, shortstop.

and when he dropped out of troll mode, he could be pretty reasonable

So could tbrosz, but I see no reason whatsoever to give the serial dishonesty of tbrosz or c.n. a free pass on the grounds they would occasionally make honest arguments. To the contrary -- their serial dishonesty exempted them from all credibility and any claim to be taken seriously when they choose to stop their constant slander.

Ron Byers: Gregory, I hope you haven't lumped me in with the trolls.

I'm tempted to inquire snarkily if you have a guilty conscience, but actually, no, I didn't intend that label for you. :)

Honest debate and disagreement is fine. As shortstop pointed out, though, and our current pack of troll sock puppets prove abundantly, there's precious little grounds to defend the mendacity, incompetence and corruption of the Bush Regime by honest means or from any viewpoint save the Bush Cultist (aka IOKIYAR). I don't know what the Scaife Counter Blogging Project thinks it's getting for its money, but I am extremely comforted by the lameness and delusion of the arguments of rdw, Charlie/Cheney/Chuckles, American Chickenhawk and his sock puppet brigade, et al.

BTW, speaking of derangement, we haven't had Joe Schmoe calling for the nuking of the Middle East in a while, either.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, one and all.

Posted by: Gregory on June 13, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Just a comment on Columbine -- part of the reason those boys felt so persecuted is that unlike most of their peers, they didn't join any of the Mega-churches in the area. And they were always under pressure to "get saved." They didn't conform to the high school social norms -- including being evangelical Christians. And it was those "nice Christians" who were bullying them and making them so miserable.

(but this is still not an excuse to go and kill people...)

Posted by: quietann on June 13, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

"So how come you don't do your checking before you write? The quote looks nothing like the speech and on top of it was a constituent letter."

Agreed. Still, nice correction. Now Kevin just needs to work on not being dismissive of views held by the vast majority Americans. Is the letter that Delay read wrong? Most Americans wouldn't say so, they would agree with each and every point.

And you wonder why liberals always lose elections -- it's this narrow-mindedness and knee-jerk dismissal of religion.

Posted by: Tom on June 13, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

And you wonder why liberals always lose elections

This contention must come as a surprise to the 201 Democrats in the Congress, the 44 Democrats in the Senate, and the 22 current Democratic governors...

Posted by: Gregory on June 13, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure this is all a welcome distraction from having to retract all the assumptions of Karl Rove's guilt that have been posted here.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/06/13/rove.cia/index.html

Posted by: mark safranski on June 13, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

"This contention must come as a surprise to the 201 Democrats in the Congress, the 44 Democrats in the Senate, and the 22 current Democratic governors..."

Obviously the point was that a Democrat candidate cannot win a presidential election. Without Perot, Clinton would have lost as well.

If the Bush administration is as transparently incompetent as people here believe (and it very well might be), why did Kerry lose?

Posted by: Tom on June 13, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Now Kevin just needs to work on not being dismissive of views held by the vast majority Americans. Is the letter that Delay read wrong? Most Americans wouldn't say so, they would agree with each and every point.

Really? Most Americans agree that putting children in daycare is "wrong," and can lead to school shootings? Most Americans agree that using contraception and having small families is a "bad" thing? I'd love to see your evidence for this supposedly widespread belief.

And you wonder why liberals always lose elections -- it's this narrow-mindedness and knee-jerk dismissal of religion.

No, it's because people are stupid. :)

Posted by: Alek Hidell on June 13, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously the point was that a Democrat candidate cannot win a presidential election. Without Perot, Clinton would have lost as well.

That's not necessarily so. Perot voters were obviously dissatisfied with Bush, and may have voted for Clinton if Perot had not been available.

Anyway, you could just as easily say that Gore would have won in 2000 if not for Nader.

And by the way, the adjective is "Democratic," not "Democrat."

If the Bush administration is as transparently incompetent as people here believe (and it very well might be), why did Kerry lose?

Kerry was a poor candidate. Not exactly a big mystery.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on June 13, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Obviously the point was that a Democrat candidate cannot win a presidential election. Without Perot, Clinton would have lost as well."

That explains why Bush has a consistently higher approval rating than Clinton.

Oops.


Posted by: DR on June 13, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously the point was that a Democrat candidate cannot win a presidential election.

Obviously that was your point. Way to move the goalposts, there.

Without Perot, Clinton would have lost as well.

One word (well, number, really), troll: 1996.

Posted by: Gregory on June 13, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

"Most Americans agree that using contraception and having small families is a "bad" thing? I'd love to see your evidence for this supposedly widespread belief."

I'll admit this will be mostly handwaving, but if you add up American Evangelicals and Catholics I believe you get a solid majority of the population (around 61%). Obviously not everryone in those groups will agree small families are bad, just as not everyone outside it will think they are good. But I believe it implies a that a majority of Americans will view contraception as problematic (especially methods that can be construed to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg). Moerover, many people in those groups regard contraception as promoting "promiscuity", hence the supprt for abstinence-only sex education.

If anyone has a link to a good breakdown of American religious affiliation I'd be interested in seeing it. My numbers are from memory, and certainly could be wrong...

Posted by: Tom on June 13, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers: I don't pretend to know the perfect environment for raising children or even if such a thing is possible, but I do know that historically humans evolved in family units featuring intensive and extensive contact with parents, siblings and grandparents. Both hunter gatherers and traditional farmers follow that model.

A good word to describe our social structure is 'atomized.' "Pulverized into tiny pieces." Tribal socieities raised children more or less communally. It was a lot harder to feel alone, out of place or useless in such an environment.

The right quacks about 'family values' but they don't question the 'market values' which directly and negatively impact the family.

Posted by: obscure on June 13, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Tom, your evidence thus far is underwhelming, to say the least.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on June 13, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Anyway, I'd like to know where that LTE originated, because it sounds like one of those pieces that gets sent around on email, with different attributions, and either wasn't a LTE in the first place -- but becomes one -- or is heavily embellished. What it proved was that DeLay was another tube in the mighty Wurlitzer, plugged into wingnut talk radio, and from there to the wingnut world.

Yup. The letter was in the Chicago Trib and several others, all under different names. Paul Harvey appears to have read it without attribution a year or two later, well after DeLay had picked it up. The gun lovers' Wurlitzer spins.

Posted by: David in NY on June 13, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

"Tom, your evidence thus far is underwhelming, to say the least."

Agreed, all I really have are Republican electoral victories and polls showing more Americans being conservative than liberal. But nothing specific to the points you mention.

So, here's your turn to win the argument by citing specific evidence that I'm wrong.

Or we could both admit we don't know.

Posted by: Tom on June 13, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

If "everyone" agrees with the letter DeLay read - then, why are those practices so widespread? You'd think that if "most Americans" thought day care was bad, for example, that day care would be dead, or only holding children of devil-span Democrats?

I lived in Denver at the time of Columbine. I agree, that no one knows the exact mix of personal and social reasons that caused it. I would however, look at the size of the school - over 3000 students - as a factor. Also, there sure seemed to be a heavy dose of 'believing in our own wonderfulness' in regard to the parents, school officials and the like that prevented any honest awareness of groups and factions in the school and the damage they caused.

Further, I think you do have to consider absent parents - they seemed to have absolutely no idea of how those two kids were spending their time or what was going on in their heads.

But - no one can be really confident they know.

Posted by: JohnN on June 13, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK
I'll admit this will be mostly handwaving, but if you add up American Evangelicals and Catholics I believe you get a solid majority of the population (around 61%).

Its a handwaving argument, to be sure. I also think that you are overstating the number of Evangelicals + Catholics.

not everryone in those groups will agree small families are bad, just as not everyone outside it will think they are good. But I believe it implies a that a majority of Americans will view contraception as problematic (especially methods that can be construed to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg). Moerover, many people in those groups regard contraception as promoting "promiscuity", hence the supprt for abstinence-only sex education.

Doesn't imply that at all. While Evangelicals may generally have a more unfavorable view of contraception than others, there is no evidence that I've seen that American Catholics do, despite the position of the heirarchy.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 13, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

"there is no evidence that I've seen that American Catholics do, despite the position of the heirarchy."

It appears you're right:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pill/peopleevents/e_humvit.html

Shocks me, as polls also show American Catholics believe in the infallibility of the Pope.

Anyway, I stand corrected.

Posted by: Tom on June 13, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Good point cmdicely. Don't pay attention to what people say, instead pay attention to what they do.
As I recall when it comes to the use of contraception Catholics and most fundamentalist Christians are little different than their more liberal neighbors. Family size has been drifting downward for generations. My grandparents, devout Catholics, had eight children. My parents, devout Catholics, had four children. My brother and his wife, devout Catholics, had one. None of my other brothers and their wives had more than two children. I don't include them because none of them are devout Catholics. One brother had three, but he had two wives. I don't think my family is alone. I don't think any of my relatives lived celebate married lives.

Despite what preachers might say on Sunday, people living in first world countries use contraception. Family sizes have been shrinking for generations. To claim otherwise is to deny reality. Of course, conservatives are in the business of denying reality.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 13, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed, all I really have are Republican electoral victories and polls showing more Americans being conservative than liberal. But nothing specific to the points you mention.

Nice. You're moving the goalposts - not just down the field, but out of the stadium and across town. That more Americans call themselves "conservative" than "liberal" is irrelevant.

All I have is the fact that many millions of Americans routinely place their children in daycare, and see no ill effects. Up until a couple of years ago I was one of them - and I'll stack my children's behavior, well-being, academic performance, and self-esteem up against anybody's.

I also have the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans to whom the issue applies, routinely use contraception - no matter how "problematic" it may allegedly be for some of them. It plainly isn't much of a problem for them.

So, here's your turn to win the argument by citing specific evidence that I'm wrong.

Nice try. You made the claim, and the burden of proof is on you.


Posted by: Alek Hidell on June 13, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK
Shocks me, as polls also show American Catholics believe in the infallibility of the Pope.

It doesn't shock me, but then, the doctrine of Papal infallibility means a lot less than many non-Catholics think it does; very few teachings embraced by any Pope are unequivocally within its scope.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 13, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Just a comment on Columbine -- part of the reason those boys felt so persecuted is that unlike most of their peers, they didn't join any of the Mega-churches in the area."

Good point. I believe Littleton, CO (where Columbine HS is located) was a typical, upper-middle-class Republican suburb of Denver. So Tom D. was smearing liberals even though it was a community full of "his own" people. Far be it from letting the facts get in the way of a good smear of liberals for a demagogue like DeLay.

BTW, it really does seem like the right-wingers are the ones much more likely to act out their hateful revenge fantasies and kill innocent people in the process, whether it's the kids at Columbine, Timothy McVeigh, or George W. in Iraq.

Do conservatives ever ask themselves why they are so in love with killing innocent people?

Posted by: brewmn on June 13, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

One other thing: let's not concede any assumption that family sizes are declining because Americans used to be opposed to contraception on moral grounds, but no longer are. Family sizes are declining because contraceptive methods have vastly improved over the past half-century or so, and because demographic groups that once had large families - e.g., farmers - are both fewer in number overall and have less need of them due to mechanization.

Let's not think that Americans "used" to see the value in large families, and now no longer do because of some "decline in values." If the Pill had been around a century ago, it would have been widely used.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on June 13, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Nice try. You made the claim, and the burden of proof is on you."

If that's the case then you needn't have cited widespread use of daycare and contraception. But you did, so clearly we are debating the issue. Even if I am unable to prove my point, and I'll admit I can't, that doesn't mean that you are in fact correct and I am wrong.

Your claims (use of daycare and contraception) are more specific than mine, but are still anecdotal.

The question is do Americans believe that daycare and easy-access to contraception have eroded the "moral fiber" of society? Without any specific poll I don't think we can answer this. Even with hard numbers showing that people behave in a way indicating acceptance, it doesn't mean people don't believe these factors don't hurt society. Lots of smokers probably believe (know) smoking hurts them, and do it anyway.

In any case, I am not syaing I think daycare and conraception are bad, but I have an easy believing a majority of Americans think they harm society.

Posted by: Tom on June 13, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK
One other thing: let's not concede any assumption that family sizes are declining because Americans used to be opposed to contraception on moral grounds, but no longer are. Family sizes are declining because contraceptive methods have vastly improved over the past half-century or so, and because demographic groups that once had large families - e.g., farmers - are both fewer in number overall and have less need of them due to mechanization.

Family sizes are declining because the pattern of economic progress and the development of a modern social support network make large families no longer the principal source of personal financial security.

Let's not think that Americans "used" to see the value in large families, and now no longer do because of some "decline in values."

The effect (a decline in the attractiveness of large family) is real, though the cause you correctly reject (a decline in moral values) is not.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 13, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK
Do conservatives ever ask themselves why they are so in love with killing innocent people?

I don't think its so much being in love with killing innocent people as being in love with killing people, with indifference as to innocence.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 13, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

"The effect (a decline in the attractiveness of large family) is real, though the cause you correctly reject (a decline in moral values) is not."

Game, set, and match.

Posted by: brewmn on June 13, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

obscure: The right quacks about 'family values' but they don't question the 'market values' which directly and negatively impact the family.

An excellent point that Dems would do well to keep repeating. The right has the expectation that today's nuclear family will perform like yesterday's extended family despite having neither its human nor economic resources. Failures are attributed to the lack of commitment of the participants rather than to the inherent challenges and imperfections of the model.

Posted by: shortstop on June 13, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Even if I am unable to prove my point, and I'll admit I can't, that doesn't mean that you are in fact correct and I am wrong.

You're right. But in law, the failure of the prosecution to prove its case means an acquittal, whether the defense establishes its client's innocence or not. So, here, daycare and contraception are cleared of the charges against them.

In any case, I am not syaing I think daycare and conraception are bad, but I have an easy believing a majority of Americans think they harm society.

Fine. Then I suggest you encourage your Republican friends to campaign against both of them. Should be a winner - after all, more Americans are conservative than liberal.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on June 13, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

"So, here, daycare and contraception are cleared of the charges against them."

There weren't any charges against them. the question was simply what American's believe.

Anyway, I've conceded that I don't have poll numbers to back up my belief. And it appears you don't either. So I think there's an impasse. And people are probably getting bored. At least we can revel in fact that the discussion was pretty civil .

Does anyone have a good source for demographic data like the percentage of Evangelicals in Anerica?

Posted by: Tom on June 13, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

"in Anerica?" = "in America?"

I need to take remedial typing...

Posted by: Tom on June 13, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Republican is the new Whig. Prove me wrong Tom.

Most Americans care about community.

http://www.princeton.edu/pr/news/00/q2/0503-religion.htm

Posted by: gub on June 13, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

From the above Princeton survey: 62% of evangelical protestants thought of themselves as moderate or liberal in 2000 . . . (and Bush had 20% more approval back then).

In 2004 31% of population considered themselves evangelical. Roman Catholic (24%). White evangelical works out to 23%. Extrapolating to their ideas about day care is pretty ridiculous. Hell, I went to day care at an evangelical lutheran church.

Posted by: gub on June 13, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Republican is the new Whig. Prove me wrong Tom."

From Wikipedia:"he Whigs supported the supremacy of Congress over the Executive Branch and favored a program of modernization and economic development."

Doesn't sound like modern Republicanism to me...

Thanks for the link to Princeton survey.

Posted by: Tom on June 13, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Also from the wikipedia entry on Whigs:

The Whig Party never elected another President. Its leaders quit politics (as Lincoln did temporarily) or changed parties.

Posted by: gub on June 13, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

"The Whig Party never elected another President. Its leaders quit politics (as Lincoln did temporarily) or changed parties."

If Lincoln was a Whig, then there's no way that Whigs should be associated with today's Republicans. Lincoln's beliefs are almost the antithesis of what modern Republicans believe:

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never exist if labor did not exist first. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." -- Lincoln's 1st SOTU

I think Jeff Davis and his philosophical temperment would be a much better match. So maybe we can go with "Republicans, the new Democrats"

Posted by: Tom on June 13, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

From DeLay's farewell address,


"Now, politics demands compromise, Mr. Speaker, and even the most partisan among us have to understand that. But we must never forget that compromise and bipartisanship are means, not ends, and are properly employed only in the service of higher principles.

It is not the principled partisan, however obnoxious he may seem to his opponents, who degrades our public debate, but the preening, self-styled statesman who elevates compromise to a first-principle. For true statesmen, Mr. Speaker, are not defined by what they compromise, but what they don't."

Posted by: cld on June 13, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Viserys,
Of all the myriad fallacies and inanities created by the anti-science movement, by far my favorite is the word "evolutionize". You can't beat that.

That is a good one. The heavy metal band "Lordi's" invention of the word "aRockalypse" which will happen during the upcoming "Rockalution" is also pretty good in a tongue-in-cheek way.

Posted by: Tripp on June 13, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

You know, it just smelled like a incorrect quotation.

I can't tell you how many ridiculous statements could be manufactured if statements by liberals were taken apart and reconstructed by arch conservatives.

As someone who wants to keep the public discourse at a sane level, I have gradually learned to take the supposed quotations of liberals which are pieced together by the likes of Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, etc. as unconfirmed until I read what was exactly said from original sources. Usually it is much more reasonable than the edited version.

Public discussion would be much less stressful if people would stop listening to the "You know what he/she said..." people ( far left and far right ), and looked at what was actually said by the usually rational people.

Kevin, congrats for looking for the actual quote. I know you on the left will still consider it loony, but it is actually a lot less confrontational than the way it was portrayed in your previous post.

Posted by: John Hansen on June 13, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

You know, it just smelled like a incorrect quotation.

I can't tell you how many ridiculous statements could be manufactured if statements by liberals were taken apart and reconstructed by arch conservatives.

As someone who wants to keep the public discourse at a sane level, I have gradually learned to take the supposed quotations of liberals which are pieced together by the likes of Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, etc. as unconfirmed until I read what was exactly said from original sources. Usually it is much more reasonable than the edited version.

Public discussion would be much less stressful if people would stop listening to the "You know what he/she said..." people ( far left and far right ), and looked at what was actually said by the usually rational people.

Kevin, congrats for looking for the actual quote. I know you on the left will still consider it loony, but it is actually a lot less confrontational than the way it was portrayed in your previous post.

Posted by: John Hansen on June 13, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Its possible that Tom Delay read only parts of the letter to the editor, maybe the parts about violent video games or another then-favored explanation for Columbine. But he'd have asked for the entire contents to be put into the congressional record.

Posted by: could be on June 13, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz? Nah, he's just coming down off that six-year stock market high.

Posted by: BongCrosby on June 13, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=608

# Birth control/contraception is supported by 93 percent of all adults, including 90 percent of Catholics and 88 percent of born-again Christians, the "very religious" and Evangelicals.
# Condom use to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases is supported by 92 percent of adults, including 93 percent of Catholics, 82 percent of born-again Christians, 83 percent of the "very religious" and 81 percent of Evangelicals.

Posted by: mcdruid on June 13, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Took about two minutes to find. I'll let Tom find a survey on child care.

Posted by: mcdruid on June 13, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

From this data, I'd say that over a third of kids are in some kind of institution:

http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/child/ppl-177.html

Posted by: mcdruid on June 13, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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