Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 1, 2008

GETTING STINGY WITH DEBATE INVITATIONS....After having watched every major debate for both parties' presidential candidates, I can certainly understand the temptation on the part of organizers to limit participants. The more candidates on the stage, the greater the need for shorter answers and fewer questions.

Having said that, this just isn't kosher.

Republican Rep. Ron Paul and his supporters are targeting the Fox News network today after an Internet discussion spread during the weekend that the cable network wasn't giving the Texas lawmaker a seat at the table for a New Hampshire forum scheduled two days before the state's Jan. 8 primary. [...]

This morning, Washington Wire received a mass email from an independent Paul supporter calling on his considerable online organization to write to Fox employees and protest the decision. The email listed the addresses of about 60 Fox employees, from press contacts to hosts Bill O'Reilly, Shepard Smith, Neil Cavuto and Brit Hume.

"Has Fox News Excluded Ron Paul From the Pre NH Primary Forum?" the email said, "Fox News cannot just stifle public opinion. debate and impact a primary election by excluding Ron Paul just because they don't like his message of freedom and liberty," the email said (typos included).

Fox News and the New Hampshire Republican Party will host a forum at St. Anselm College, featuring Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson. Given that Paul has about twice as much support in New Hampshire as Thompson, he's likely to finish ahead of Giuliani in Iowa, and he's raised more money in the fourth quarter than any of them, it's hard to understand how the Republican network can justify excluding Paul. (Fox News has not announced its criteria for participation.)

What's more, the state GOP has said it wants Paul on the stage, meaning that it's Fox News specifically that's decided to exclude the Texas Republican from the event.

Josh Marshall added, "Paul's out because he's not a Fox News Bush-clone. Say whatever you want about the guy, Fox News shouldn't be able to silence him because they don't like his views."

I'm not even close to a Ron Paul fan, but I'm certainly willing to concede that Fox News shouldn't stack the deck like this.

Steve Benen 11:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (75)

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Comments

Ron Paul is the representative of the Republican wing of the Republican Party. It's a shame, since the party is now the Repukeliscum Party. If you are not a Christian nazi, there is no room for you in the Repukeliscum Party.

Posted by: POed Lib on January 1, 2008 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

In the mayoral debates in Los Angeles, the local tv station excluded the one semi-legitimate Republican. The excuse had something to do with whether or not he had raised enough money to be eligible for matching funds.

Posted by: Bob G on January 1, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not even close to a Ron Paul fan, but I'm certainly willing to concede that Fox News shouldn't stack the deck like this.

As opposed to their usual deck stacking?

Posted by: Martin on January 1, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

I loves me some Ron Paul.

I wouldn't vote for his crazy ass, but he shines a 1000w floodlight on the hypocrisy of the nazi...er I mean Republican party.

"He actually means all that crazy ass shit we always say? Why the nerve!"

Posted by: SnarkyShark on January 1, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Fair and Balanced!

Posted by: bigTom on January 1, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

That is quite brazen for them to show favoritism towards Thompson especially since the guy claims that he isn't even fucking interested in running for President. Many of Paul's ideas are a bit nutty IMO, but he's correct about the Iraq war, and that's why Fox is excluding him.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 1, 2008 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

This is quite in character for FauxNews. Remember when the Foley scandal broke, they always displayed a D under his name. They deliberately try to manipulate the countries politics. That a sizable, but important group of mostly conservative libertarians will be forced to figure this out is a good thing.

Posted by: bigTom on January 1, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

This is incredibly brazen deck stacking, even for Fox. Ron Paul is a nut, in my opinion, but not more so than any of the other R candidates. Just a different kind of nut, and one that Fox clearly believes is potentially dangerously attractive to its viewers. It's possible that they will back down, but I'm guessing they won't, and I doubt the FCC or anyone else will hold them accountable.

Posted by: Jeff S. on January 1, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

I recall when Democrats refuted FOX debates and we heard stuff like this from the GOPers;
"More cowardice from the cut and run party. Now, the Dems are afraid of a news channel that is known for fair reporting..."


Hypocrisy is thy name.

Posted by: Xisithrus on January 1, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

At least they are now honest about their dishonesty.

Posted by: craigie on January 1, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's a bit desperate of them, what? They don't usually like to show their hand to that degree. Not that they're ever remotely subtle, but this is just embarrassing.

Posted by: shortstop on January 1, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

The criteria are perfectly reaonable. Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson are all serious candidates for President or VP. Ron Paul isn't.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 1, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Heh. I have been having this same hissy-fit for two solid days now.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 1, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Umm, Ex-Liberal, it was Fred Thompson that said.“...that Fox News is biased against his campaign, charging that the network highlights commentators who have been critical of his run for the presidency.”

Posted by: Xisithrus on January 1, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

The criteria are perfectly reaonable. Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson are all serious candidates for President or VP. Ron Paul isn't.

How are you defining "serious"? It's Thompson who just said he doesn't really want to be President.

Posted by: craigie on January 1, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Fox nbetwork is a joke..they are part of Bush's war on America.

Posted by: alle on January 1, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal - He has raised more money in the last quarter than Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson. He has more support in Iowa than Rudy Giuliani or Fred Thompson. Here in Texas he ran for years as an L and lost badly. Then he switched to R and has won handily ever since.

If money or support determines who is a viable candidate, he has several who are included in the debated beaten. Now if 5 people at FAUX News get to decide who you have as your candidate then you are correct. And that is fitting for a party of Fascists.

Posted by: dorothy on January 1, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Fox represents the K-street plotocracy/kleptocracy, wall-street/Bush/neocon power structure and has no intention of allowing populist/libertarian types to get any traction. Once Paul decried "corporatism" on the Timmy show it was over for him with the establishment, and only his serried ranks can help him now.

Posted by: Neil B. on January 1, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Who is parodying ex-liberal at 1:16, and don't you realize teh crazy is coals to Newcastle?

Happy new year to all. Instead of telling myself for the 1,000th time that next year I want to spend New Year's in a sundress, I'm trying to pretend all the damn snow is representing infinite possibility on the pure blank slate of the new calendar or some shit like that.

Actually, it does look pretty, and we have good books, nice things to eat and lots of moooovies. If only the dog could walk herself.

Posted by: shortstop on January 1, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Actually they're doing Paul a service. Now he gets to be a martyr to the mainstream media.

Mrs. T, who's more leftish than I am when she pays attention, sees only the TV ads (Our local media carry ads for the NH market) and wonders why I don't like Paul better.

Happy New Year.

Posted by: thersites on January 1, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I, for one, refuse to give a rat's ass about FOX News and the Republicans debate.

Today is New Year's Day 2008, and in this, the University of Hawaii's centennial year, I'm here at the Sugar Bowl with approximately 20,000 UH fans to witness the most significant athletic event in school history.

Perhaps afterward, we'll join our friendly counterparts from the University of Georgia, and think about politics tomorrow, at Tara.

But until then -- Let's go, Warriors!

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, reporting live at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 1, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Ron Paul is a serious Republican candidate for president. In spite of his treatment by the media, he has had the courage and determination to continue his campaign because of the sincere and devoted followers who want his message of freedom and liberty to be heard. He is the only candidate who has serious, well-thought-out answers to the problems facing our great country. We will not allow the media to choose who is the best candidate.

Posted by: Sharon on January 1, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, perhaps you should get a cat instead . . .

I am still jealous of Don in Hawaii.

Posted by: Mazurka on January 1, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

It always makes me laugh when people supporting physicians as candidates insist on calling them "Dr. So and So" in that awed tone.

Birthin' babies is a wonderful thing, but it doesn't add anything to anyone's presidential qualifications. Indeed, the OB/GYN tag simply serves to remind us that Paul opposes meaningful health care reform and is virulently anti-choice. Y'all might want to downplay that Dr. Magnificent thing.

Posted by: shortstop on January 1, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Paul opposes meaningful health care reform and is virulently anti-choice

You speak as if that was a bad thing.

Posted by: thersites on January 1, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

the sincere and devoted followers

Those the ones who peppered this site a few weeks ago with messages promising vengeance when their man came to power? I was kinda hoping they were insincere.

OT: I can't believe FoxFire's spell checker doesn't barf on "kinda."

Posted by: thersites on January 1, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

You speak as if that was a bad thing.

It is for me. Since a majority of voters share my view on these two issues, and quite a few people call them dealbreakers, it's also something the Paulfans might want to deemphasize if they want to get their boy elected.

But I don't think they care much about that, despite all the "He will be the next prez!" nonsense.

Posted by: shortstop on January 1, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop -- I share your view, too. I thought the sarcasm was self-evident. Sorry.

Posted by: thersites on January 1, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

If Paul has to drop out after a couple of primaries then all his supporters should show their displeasure with the Republican bosses and switch to voting for the Dem candidate of their choice.

Sometimes a show of protest is needed to get their attention.

Posted by: MarkH on January 1, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, thersites--I usually catch that sort of thing, but I missed it this time.

Posted by: shortstop on January 1, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Any Republicans still wondering why the blogosphere would not let the Democrats attend a Faux News debate?

The objective for Faux here is not simply to exclude anti-war voices, its about trying to make sure Paul does not push Rudy into fifth place in New Hampshire.

Giuliani has already written off both Iowa and New Hampshire. Paul might well do better in Iowa than his poll numbers suggest. A cacus is a favrable environment for any candidate with either superb organization (expect Hil to clean up) or Leninist levels of commitment from supporters.

Thompson on the other hand might well finish above Rudy but be forced to fold his tent. In that case comming fifth in NH after a sixth place finish in Iowa might well force Rudy out as well.

Posted by: PHB on January 1, 2008 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, the criteria is "serious candidate for president." For the Republicans this year, that would be an empty stage. I like it!

Posted by: Mark on January 1, 2008 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

thersites on January 1, 2008 at 2:33 PM:

You speak as if that was a bad thing.

Yes, those are bad things...I'm still waiting for a good explanation of how Paul reconciles his principles of hyper-limited government, 'true' freedom, and personal responsibility against his stance on abortion...And no, his 'privacy is not a right explicitly stated in the Constitution' argument doesn't cut it, as well as his 'States Rights' argument.

Don't get me started on the 'free markets' bullshit, either. Too many people long on selective application of principle and short on memory or knowledge of history...

Posted by: grape_crush on January 1, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

grape_crush: at the risk of sounding repetitious, I was being facetious. Of course it's a bad thing.

But to speak to the inconsistency of Paul's anti-choice position: I've known any number of faux-libertarians who want the gov't out of their business -- guns, their right to cut down every fucking tree on earth and use every pesticide known to mankind -- but don't mind the gov't stopping other people from doing what they, personally, disapprove of. Paul and some of his supporters seem to belong to this category.

Posted by: thersites on January 1, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

..at the risk of sounding repetitious

It seemed out-of-character, but these are strange days indeedy..

Posted by: grape_crush on January 1, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

when I want to be taken seriously, I use my "egbert" persona ;)

Posted by: thersites on January 1, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Remember ten years ago, when most of our dickhead corporatists joined up with the holy rollers and started referring to themselves as "Republicans"? Well, now those "Republicans" are calling themselves "Libertarians", with the capital "L". "Libertarian" is a great nom de guerre, because they might confuse people as to their true party identity (there's some third party with the same name), and there's an English word "libertarian" that means something totally different.

This is Liberty for a few guys to own every media outlet having significant public exposure- as in, "we have Fox, and you have CNN". That's what they think the First Amendment is- not something to protect "traitorous" Dixie Chicks and bridge clubs, but for the owners of the self-described "liberal media". Freedom of ownership of the press. Maybe they thought they might own it someday.

They ruined their former brand name- it's "dying at the box office", now that the nation's decay under Republican rule is too obvious for its average citizen to ignore. The party is shriveling back to its flaccid base of well-funded Jesus-freaks. Some of the rest have flooded back to the opposition party, but a cadre of "Libertarians" remains adrift, looking for a home. They know they're not pussies, so they won't cast emasculating votes for Democrats, but they have no idea whose lever they'll end up yanking in the privacy of that booth.

You turn on the TV these days to watch these debates and you're faced with a wall of babbling Bush clones trying to out-fascisize each other. We're not enough of a police state. We need to enshrine the glory of Jesus with the power and force of law. We need to double Guantanamo. We can't forget that They Want To Kill Us. Etc. (The holy rollers are digging it- after all, they think our problems boil down to not enough Jesus and too many atheists, wetbacks, Muslims, and secularists. Ruinous economic policies aren't Biblically forbidden as long as the moneychangers physically stand outside.)

And you go on the message boards and these Republicans-I mean "Libertarians"- the smartest ones, who have figured out the Internet, even if they forget to capitalize their "L" sometimes- are everywhere, crying, "Whaaaa, what about Ron Paul!"

This "Ron Paul" they speak of was a guy who used to appear there, the only person making coherent statements at all. He made them very rarely, but he was still heard making them, and as a result he will never rise above single digits in that party and won't appear on TV ever again. Maybe his creationism helped him briefly but it's clearly not enough.

I see graffiti on signs here and there that says

GOOGLE RON PAUL

and I always write underneath

THE LAST REFUGE OF SCOUNDRELS

because that's basically what he is. Someone for a desperate Republican to hang his hat on. The free marketeers are realizing just how profoundly they've been had. They really aren't going to rule the world with their puny stock portfolios and 401k accounts after all. The "Death Tax" they hate so much was never about them at all, not like the AMT they're about to get socked with. The "Invisible Hand" punishes those who make bad decisions, and now it's punishing them, and they're realizing they don't like it one bit.

So suck on it, Republitarians, Liberpublicans, whatever you are. You can cry and Google for Ron Paul all you want but you can't have him. You helped make this mess; now lie in it. Fox will let you choose between Rudy, Mitt, McCain, Hucakbee, and Thompson. And when the general election comes, you're all going to cast your vote for one of those forgettable characters, because that's what the Fox will tell you to do, unless you display some "personal responsibility" and stay home. God willing.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on January 1, 2008 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

The enumeration by ex-liberal of the supposed serious candidates proves that he became an ex-liberal by having his brain removed.

Posted by: Jim Bowie Knife on January 1, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Hello, Faux nonews is evil And may I ask WHO? Is not a member of CFR??? And the Truth DR.Paul will win!!! Thanks Peace Out

Posted by: butch on January 1, 2008 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

i agree, paul's a nut, but he is pulling numbers at levels commiserate w/the top tier guys. he should be allowed on stage.

Posted by: skippy on January 1, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

i agree, paul's a nut, but he is pulling numbers at levels commiserate w/the top tier guys. he should be allowed on stage.

He is. And he does deserve respect when you stand him next to that pack of clowns. The establishment press won't allow it- clearly he's seen as a threat.

There's no denying, however, that he draws his support from diehard tribalist Republicans who are hanging onto that party by their claws. Anyone who hasn't run screaming from it at this point is either a nutcase or just a proud asshole. The nutcases like what they see on Fox, and the proud assholes are screaming for Ron Paul. They're so desperate for a sane person in their party to vote for that they are willing to overlook Paul's nuttiness. Even ten years ago, he would have been recognized for the extremist he is. But he has a scattershot of reasonable positions that the others completely lack. It's not really his fault that his fans are his fans because they identify with assholes. Pride goeth before the fall.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on January 1, 2008 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Not giving Paul a place on the stage is lame. I would have thought Republicans would be savvy enough to try and look more "big tent" than the Democrats, who didn't let Kucinich (the closest thing we have to a Ron Paul counterpart) in at the last debate.

But unlike the Dems with Kucinich, I think the Republican establishment is really scared of Paul. The mainstream GOP or Fox News (I can't tell the tail from the dog anymore there) are almost certainly worried about him doing embarassingly well. I know a lot of the people who support paul are a little nutty (I used to live in his district) but they are probably right about this.

Wow, Huckabee and Paul, the Scylla and Charybdis of the Republican Party. Monsters of their own creation.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 1, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Well, looks like a million monkeys have been typing furiously for awhile now to generate some of these posts. On abortion, the question (for those who think about issues instead of reflexively knee-jerking in the direction of someone else's groin) is the status of the fetus/unborn child. Note that the different sides don't even use the same terminology. So suppose you have consensual, insufficiently safe sex and get pregnant, and say 8 months later you decide, come to think of it, maybe now isn't a convenient time for having a kid. Can you treat a viable baby like a tumor just because it hasn't cleared the birth canal? Or does it have some rights as a human? And if so, where exactly do you draw the line, timewise? And is this properly a federal issue? People on both sides pretend the answer is obvious and dismiss those who disagree with them as evil or stupid. Paul thinks, as a legal matter, that the issue belongs in the states. His personal opposition to abortion is not in conflict with his libertarianism because libertarians all believe individual human beings have rights, but they differ about whether a fertilized egg or a week-old or month-old or 8-month old fetus counts as a full fledged human being with the rights thereof.

On other issues, suffice to say that there's nothing "extremist" about demanding that the federal government stay within (get back within) its Constitutional bounds.

Posted by: Doc W on January 1, 2008 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Disclaimer: I do not want Ron Paul to be president; I agree that many of his views are nutty. And it's going to be years before I can vote for anyone with an (R) next to his/her name without feeling nauseous. However, I'm surprised at the animosity most liberals hold towards him, since he holds many opinions that liberals should support 100% (but rarely do in practice - not the Democratic politicians, at least).

At the risk of sounding like a Ron-bot, since there seems to be a lot of misrepresentation of Paul's actual views, here is the complete list - verbatim - of bullet points from his campaign web page, i.e. the positions that Paul's campaign thought were most important:

-He has never voted to raise taxes.
-He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
-He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
-He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
-He has never taken a government-paid junket.
-He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
-He voted against the Patriot Act.
-He voted against regulating the Internet.
-He voted against the Iraq war.
-He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
-He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

I don't agree with all of this - hell, I don't even mind taxes - and although I'm pretty clueless about monetary policy, the gold standard stuff sounds more than a little surreal. I would suspect, however, that a majority of progressives would agree with the majority of those stances, most of which are not incompatible with progressive social programs. He's also against the War on Drugs, which is probably the single most racist "institution" remaining, and said that "A decent society never accepts or justifies torture." So ask yourself, WHY THE HELL WON'T THE DEMOCRATS SHOW ANY BACKBONE? Paul may be a nut on some things, but at least he's out there getting some attention (to the dismay of Fox News and most of the GOP) and reminding people that "freedom" is not a dirty word.

Meanwhile, the Democrats steadfastly refuse to hold the vicious lunatics running this country accountable for their lawless and immoral abuses of power, and my local senator, Diane Feinstein, cruises to re-election each year despite her general lack of principles as demonstrated by voting for the flag-burning amendment and confirming Mukasey. But hey, she's pro-choice, and that appears to be all that matters to progressives. I think Paul is wrong on abortion (his position, by the way, is mostly based on his experience as an ob-gyn rather than his religion - not that anyone here cares), but I'm not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

F*** it. This site is a daily reminder of why I had to stop calling myself "liberal", because it obviously doesn't mean what it used to.

Posted by: Nat on January 1, 2008 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Like this is different for Fox?

Posted by: Ken Wheeler on January 1, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

So suppose you have consensual, insufficiently safe sex and get pregnant, and say 8 months later you decide, come to think of it, maybe now isn't a convenient time for having a kid.

Ah, there she is -- the straw-woman who walks around pregnant for eight months, and then goes to a doctor and says "I changed my mind, I don't want it anymore. Get rid of it."

Do you really think anyone actually does that?

Posted by: Thlayli on January 1, 2008 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

And it's going to be years before I can vote for anyone with an (R) next to his/her name without feeling nauseous.

LOL. But certainly not years before you'll do it, huh?

I think you might want to take a look at Paul's record of procedural votes, Nat...you know, the ones that allowed the Republicans to do many of the things Paul piously claims he's always voted against, and which most Paul supporters haven't a clue he helped make possible. He was counting on no one paying attention to procedural votes, and to a large extent, he was right.

By the way, how many Nats do we have posting here now? I'm getting the old former liberal/now Log Cabin Republican Nat mixed up with the new libertarianish/never liberal/kick the cheating girlfriend to the curb Nat who posted here the other day. And maybe this one's yet another Nat; I can't say.

Posted by: shortstop on January 1, 2008 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

but I'm not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Nat,

The pique with which you vent at "the liberals" suggests to me that you haven't lived up to the sentiment you expressed above.

Posted by: mattski on January 1, 2008 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

mattski, yes. One might also add that, as much as most of us here (frequently and loudly) agree with the sentiment that the perfect is the enemy of the good, we also recognize that issues suddenly take on "enemy" status when they're not of particular interest to the speaker. What's a dealbreaker to one voter is another voter's foolish detail. As an amusing example, Nat himself/herself refers to what s/he sees as Paul's "nutty views" but dismisses what other people find thoroughly unacceptable in Paul's platform.

I'm the one who brought up Paul's anti-choice stance (and why Nat thinks Paul attributing it to having been an OB/GYN would be more palatable to liberals than a religious position is beyond me--talk about knee-jerking), but I also brought up what's a far broader and, to me, much more important issue: Paul's fundamental opposition to significant health care reform. I don't know whether Nat is in agreement with Paul on this one or whether Nat knows better than to suggest that the health care issue should be of trivial significance to voters, but the absence of this issue in Nat's post does serve to illustrate the absurdity of telling other voters to get over issues of great importance to them.

You could hardly have picked a worse example than Dianne Feinstein (who faces reelection every six years, not annually) to show what progressives will put up with, Nat; she's repeatedly and roundly criticized here for the actions you mention and many more. A number of fed-up Californians have indicated their support for a decent primary challenge. If that should come to be, that candidate would be a more party-line Democrat than Feinstein is, and so I don't really see how you're going to be able to vote for him or her. Do you?

Posted by: shortstop on January 1, 2008 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think what you're seeing with the Paul and Huckabee campaigns is a little unraveling of the Republican coalition. Each campaign is pulling at the strings of the two key ideological factions of the Republicans, while the Republican bigwigs themselves don't actually care that much about ideology -- they just want to win. Many Republicans have been, for years, little more than anti-Democrats, but the Huckabee/Paul supporters represent the actual positivist Republicans, the ones who want to get things done besides torturing and bombing them brown skinned people and making fun of liberals. My guess is a defeat in '08 will make these people fall back in line, but wounds like these have a way of turning into festering sores.

The image of the invincible, principled, unified Republicans, so beloved by the media for the past 15 years, shouldn't, by rights, survive this election. But given the way the media have conducted themselves, we'll just have to see.

Posted by: Martin Gale on January 1, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares. Nobody but wingnuts watch FoxNews anyway and the wingnuts could care less for Paul. It's a free market and the market has voted Paul out. Loonie Libertarians should get their own network.

Posted by: bakho on January 1, 2008 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, how many Nats do we have posting here now? I'm getting the old former liberal/now Log Cabin Republican Nat mixed up with the new libertarianish/never liberal/kick the cheating girlfriend to the curb Nat who posted here the other day. And maybe this one's yet another Nat; I can't say.

As far as I know there's only one of me, but since you're obviously very confused about what I actually believe, here's a quick cheat sheet:

- I was registered as a Democrat until 2003, when I moved to CA.
- I have never been registered Republican and never will be, unless - God forbid - I need to do so temporarily to keep Giuliani from winning the CA primary.
- I did, however, frequently vote for Republican candidates in local races because I lived in blue states I don't like permanent incumbents. None of them had any chance of winning, so I didn't feel bad about it since the party hadn't gone quite as batshit crazy as it is now, and I was young and naive. I vote for Libertarians or Greens now for the same reason.
- I voted for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004.
- I donated $150 to Kerry. Oops. Wouldn't have done that if I realized he'd have $15 mil left after the election.
- I will probably donate to whomever the Democrats nominate, even if it's Hillary.
- I support impeaching Bush and Cheney, but I'd settle for seeing them, David Addington, John Yoo, and Alberto Gonzales waterboarded in public. (Seriously. I'd pay for tickets.)
- I dislike the label "pro-choice", but my view on abortion is more or less "safe, legal, and rare."
- Not that it should matter here, but I also support gay marriage, unemployment insurance, environmental regulations, public education, and universal health insurance, and oppose corporate welfare, "faith-based" initiatives, and militaristic foreign policy, etc.
- I hesitate to call myself a liberal, at least not on this site, because I don't think calling names or shouting down everyone who disagrees with me counts as "liberal", and I don't think I should have to agree 100% with every other "liberal" to use that label.
- I'm generally uncomfortable using a simple label as a shorthand for describing *anyone's* beliefs, and I don't think there is a monolithic block of people collectively called "liberals" (I apologize if I wasn't clear about that), but if this is too difficult for you, I suppose Markos Moulitsas's description of "libertarian Democrats" could apply to me. (Aside from the fact that I'm not actually a Democrat.)

I'm genuinely curious where you got the idea that I'm a "Log Cabin Republican", but maybe there really is another Nat. Or is this your way of shouting "FAG!" while maintaining a veneer of civility, the way Republicans use the phrase "San Francisco liberal"?

Posted by: Nat on January 1, 2008 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

I am shocked, shocked, that Fox News is a biased propoganda arm of the Republican Party.

Who knew???

Posted by: justmy2 on January 1, 2008 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

But certainly not years before you'll do it [vote Republican], huh?

Um, no. What did I say that made you think otherwise?

As an amusing example, Nat himself/herself refers to what s/he sees as Paul's "nutty views" but dismisses what other people find thoroughly unacceptable in Paul's platform.

"Himself", last I checked. I'm not dismissing what other people find nutty, especially since I mostly agree; I'm just saying that it's counterproductive to stop listening to anyone who doesn't agree with you on everything. I'm not telling anyone to vote for Paul, and I repeat: I will not vote for him. I do think we (meaning the country as a whole) would benefit from listening to some of what he has to say, same as we'd benefit from listening to Kucinich, whom I also think is a little nutty, but is often the only person worth listening to.

I don't know whether Nat is in agreement with Paul on this one or whether Nat knows better than to suggest that the health care issue should be of trivial significance to voters, but the absence of this issue in Nat's post does serve to illustrate the absurdity of telling other voters to get over issues of great importance to them.

I disagree with Paul on health care; I don't have any major objections to the plans of the top Democratic candidates, as long as they're careful not to let it turn into a bureaucratic clusterfuck that we'll be bitching about in 70 years. I wasn't asking anyone to pay attention to whatever Paul is saying about health care, or the gold standard, or closed borders.

If that should come to be, that candidate would be a more party-line Democrat than Feinstein is, and so I don't really see how you're going to be able to vote for him or her. Do you?

Right now, "party-line Democrat" appears to mean "sits on ass and does nothing while a Republican administration keeps on shitting on the Constitution and pursuing a disastrous foreign policy"; Waxman and Kucinich are anomalies. But if the Democrats were a serious opposition party that actually cared about civil liberties and restricting executive power, then sure, I'd vote for a party-line Democrat. Did you miss what I said about "letting the perfect be the enemy of the good?"

I've settled for Democrats because I prefer regular incompetence to evil incompetence, but the entire party needs a sledgehammer to the head, and I'm peeved that people like Amanda Marcotte fly into hysterics over Paul's anti-abortion views while giving support to a candidate who opposes gay marriage and voted for the Iraq War authorization because Bob Shrum told him to. And it's appalling that Paul is denounced as a "nut" while most of the Congressional Democrats voted Pelosi and Reid into power and are equally culpable for the dismal failure of the opposition party.

Posted by: Nat on January 1, 2008 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Or is this your way of shouting "FAG!" while maintaining a veneer of civility, the way Republicans use the phrase "San Francisco liberal"?

You're really barking up the wrong tree there, Nat, and piling up the evidence that if you actually read these threads regularly, you aren't absorbing very much. Why in the world do you believe one's sexual preference is worthy of insult?

Now, if you suspect I look down on gay Republicans for being Republicans, you'd be right.

Perhaps I was thinking of another night, another Nat...or a Nat of a different mood.

Posted by: shortstop on January 1, 2008 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

I do think we (meaning the country as a whole) would benefit from listening to some of what he has to say, same as we'd benefit from listening to Kucinich, whom I also think is a little nutty, but is often the only person worth listening to.

Hey, I'm sorry you didn't choose to put it that way the first time. It would have been a much more effective and credible statement than the petulant rant you offered in its place.

Posted by: shortstop on January 1, 2008 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

-He has never voted to raise taxes.
-He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.

IOW: "If I am elected, everybody gets a million dollars." Frankly we need to let the Bush tax cuts expire on the people who fill our heads with this crap. We can't keep voting for people based on their mathematics-defying superpowers. I mean, denying evolution is one thing, but denying simple arithmetic is worse. (And no, you won't balance the budget by "eliminating waste". We spend much more on deficit interest payments than we do on discretionary income. So you can delete that post right now.)

-He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.

[Hollow ring] Don't have a gun, sorry.

-He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
-He has never taken a government-paid junket.

Because lobbyist-paid junkets are so much better? According to a 1997 CATO article:

Congressional candidates spent approximately $740 million dollars during the last congressional race. This is only slightly higher than the approximately $720 million spent in the 1994 congressional race. $700 million is a lot of money --- but not when compared to what we spend as a society in other areas. These congressional totals average less than $4 per eligible voter. If you look at every race in the country, from dogcatcher to president, the amount spent is less than $10 per eligible voter. As a society, we spend more on potato chips, Barbie dolls, yogurt and a host of other commodities than we do on politics.
The public could be bribing its politicians for what amounts to potato-chip money- a few days of Iraq expenses. Instead we allow corporate control of politics by leaving political bribery to private entities. Why are we so averse to doing it ourselves? It's penny-wise and pound-foolish.

-He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
-He voted against the Patriot Act.
-He voted against regulating the Internet.
-He voted against the Iraq war.

Ron scores points that Hillary for example does not. I would vote for Ron Paul over Hillary. What a tragedy that I will never be able to prove it, eh?

-He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
-He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

Oh, he was doing so well! Again, you are making me suspect that Ron Paul is for sale.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on January 1, 2008 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

First off, I'd like to say I agree with basically everything shortstop said above. Nat, you're in no place to criticize others just because they place certain issues at different levels of importance than you do. If someone things health care is the most most important, Paul would be just about their last choice. Same with people who value environmental issues. His stance on the environment is basically to let the free market and lawsuits somehow sort things out, which is ridiculous.

And as for Feinstein, that is much less of an example of "what progressives will put up with" and more an example of how ridiculously safe incumbents are in congress.

His point about "being against the regulation of the internet" is a pretty positive way of saying you're against net neutrality. I have the same problems with his vote on that issue as I do with his opinion on the Civil Rights Act. Obviously those two issues aren't even in the same ballpark in terms of importance, but I see them both as examples of Paul deciding to uphold strict libertarian ideals about property rights at the cost of providing actual, practical freedom and liberty to a great number of people.

Posted by: bwaage on January 1, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

You're really barking up the wrong tree there, Nat, and piling up the evidence that if you actually read these threads regularly, you aren't absorbing very much. Why in the world do you believe one's sexual preference is worthy of insult?

I don't, but I've been on the receiving end of similar but more explicit attacks by self-proclaimed "liberals" or "progressives" who clearly weren't interested in having anything resembling a serious discussion and thought that calling someone a self-hating queer automatically wins an argument. I'm not going to say anything more on this, except that my sexual preferences, whatever they are, are not something I talk about in public, anonymously or otherwise, and I resent having them introduced here. (Again.)

Perhaps I was thinking of another night, another Nat...or a Nat of a different mood.

I'm pretty consistently in a terrible mood by the time I post something here. When I read a conservative blog or magazine (I can already smell the feces that are going to be flung at me for typing that), at least I don't give a shit because I already know I won't agree with anyone there and probably never will. It pains me to see people I'd actually like to agree with isolating themselves in a members-only left-wing echo chamber where you insult everyone you disagree with, because you're never going to accomplish any kind of meaningful reforms that we both want if you're going out of your way to alienate potential allies and further reinforce right-wing stereotypes.

I obviously don't have the ideological conformity required to sit at the cool kids' table. Does anyone who wasn't trying to shout me down know of a site where people actually like to have an honest, open debate instead of congratulating themselves for what they think are witty insults and clever variations on "Republican"? (Blue Girl? Anyone?) People like cmdicely seems to have been driven away. I'm amazed at how someone as reasonable-sounding as Kevin manages to attract such a sanctimonious, patronizing, and hysterical crowd.

Posted by: Nat on January 1, 2008 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Well Nat, I'm sorry you and my friend shortstop got off on the wrong foot.

But since you asked, and you seem to sincerely want to know about other sites that will serve your need for discourse, I do have a couple of suggestions. The blog I linked way upthread doesn't have nearly the activity in comments that Kevin has here, but there is usually intelligent, well-thought out content, with a comment or two.

If you are interested in local and state issues, you might check out LeftyBlogs and click on your state to get a listing of the blogs in the network that address the issues near and dear to your heart.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 1, 2008 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

I don't, but I've been on the receiving end of similar but more explicit attacks by self-proclaimed "liberals" or "progressives" who clearly weren't interested in having anything resembling a serious discussion and thought that calling someone a self-hating queer automatically wins an argument.

Have you? And what has that to do with this conversation? You might try arguing with the progressive in front of you instead of with the voices in your imagination.

Look, you read the phrase "Log Cabin Republican" and immediately jumped over the "Republican" to take umbrage at the "gay" part. That's pretty telling...about you and your attitudes, friend.

I'm not going to say anything more on this, except that my sexual preferences, whatever they are, are not something I talk about in public, anonymously or otherwise, and I resent having them introduced here. (Again.)

Then I suggest you stop fucking introducing them yourself. (Again.)

When I read a conservative blog or magazine (I can already smell the feces that are going to be flung at me for typing that),

What was that about sanctimonious, patronizing and hysterical?

Right, none of us has ever read a conservative blog or magazine. Nat, if you were only half the brave iconoclast you love to picture yourself as...why, there might be the beginning of a reason for all that anger of yours.

because you're never going to accomplish any kind of meaningful reforms that we both want if you're going out of your way to alienate potential allies

Given that your every comment comes bursting onto the thread in a blaze of shrieking fury, it's hard to tell who's looking to alienate whom. It seems that almost nothing said here fails to inspire a big old snit on your part, but if you think the problem's with us, I encourage you to pursue the belief that you can get along better with another crowd--right, left, conservative, progressive, mixed or otherwise.

Posted by: shortstop on January 1, 2008 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

The blog I linked way upthread doesn't have nearly the activity in comments that Kevin has here, but there is usually intelligent, well-thought out content, with a comment or two.

Thanks, I've come across it before but never stopped very long for a closer look - I thought your post about Paul was pretty much right on target. (Speaking of which, I love the quote about boxes on your blog.) To some extent, the small number of comments is an improvement, if only because Godwin's Law is less likely to be fulfilled. (I don't think I've ever seen it take just one comment until now.)

Based on my past experiences, Balloon Juice is usually worthwhile and has some diversity of opinion (united by common disgust at the state of government). I haven't ever looked at Glenn Greenwald's comments board, but his posts are usually excellent (albeit single-issue) and non-partisan in a good way - he was practically shouting himself hoarse a month or two ago trying to make the same points I was arguing here, with about as much luck.

I may just be wasting my time trying to find this type of discussion online - the people I enjoyed arguing with in college and grad school probably don't sit in front of computers most of the day. Unfortunately all I can find where I am now is College Republicans or College Democrats, all of them useless hacks.

Posted by: Nat on January 2, 2008 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

"I may just be wasting my time trying to find this type of discussion online"

When your first post on a thread contains the following:

F*** it. This site is a daily reminder of why I had to stop calling myself "liberal", because it obviously doesn't mean what it used to.

You have no right to complain about the quality of the discourse. You posted flamebait; you got flamed. Why are you pretending to be surprised and/or disappointed? That's just pathetic.

Posted by: PaulB on January 2, 2008 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Nat, in response to your first question, "However, I'm surprised at the animosity most liberals hold towards him, since he holds many opinions that liberals should support 100%;" I could write up a similar list for e.g., Romney, Giuliani, and Huckabee. I could even find a few points of commonality with George W. Bush. Why am I supposed to support them for those few points of commonality and ignore the lunacy of the points where we disagree?

Posted by: PaulB on January 2, 2008 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

I want to offer Nat a conciliatory word but it's going to have to come in the context of a criticism.

Nat, you're obviously very angry. It shows. And it has a profound effect on the way people respond to you. You make a statement like:

I've settled for Democrats because I prefer regular incompetence to evil incompetence, but the entire party needs a sledgehammer to the head

A sledgehammer to the head? This is a constructive voice? You're irritated by the way people express themselves here, but you seemingly can't understand how your comments could be perceived as irritating?

You heap scorn on the Democrats for not more fiercely opposing Bush. Well, it frustrates me too. But just because the Democrats have congressional majorities that doesn't necessarily mean they have power. Their majorities simply aren't large enough.

I'm pretty consistently in a terrible mood by the time I post something here.

As I said, it shows. You will grow as a person when you begin to take responsibility for your moods.


Posted by: mattski on January 2, 2008 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

Paul belongs in the Republican debates just like Mike Gravel belongs in the Democratic debates. Each is a fringe candidate polling extremely low, but provides great soundbites for the other side.

Posted by: DBL on January 2, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Doctors, heal thyselves, mattski, shortstop, and PaulB. You all are just as guilty of vitriolic diatribes and throwing out flame bait, as Nat.

There are a lot of people PaulB, like Nat and myself, that read this blog regularly but rarely post unless we're angry about a comment or the topic that Kevin or the guest writer writes on.

Why don't you stop being so thin skinned and let others vent their honest opinions in a manner that reflects the passion they feel about an issue instead of playing blog cop?

If that bothers you your equally as free to stop reading the comments here and going somewhere else. As is everyone else whose response to Nat's posts was "why don't you go somewhere else if you feel that way". The street runs both ways and nobody here has any more of a right to tell others to take a hike than anyone else save Kevin Drum and his employers.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 2, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus, the angry-puss, who's too busy being angry to actually pay attention to what people write.

Posted by: mattski on January 2, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

You don't seem to get it, Dr. Morpheus.

You all are just as guilty of vitriolic diatribes and throwing out flame bait, as Nat.

Sure, I have been. (I suppose PaulB has been, too; I haven't been reading mattski long enough to know.) But while you can easily find cases of my being the first to flame, this patently isn't one of them. We didn't come in here, pick a fight and then start crying about how everyone's trying to "alienate" us. Our observations about Nat's poor behavior were made in response to the claim of victimhood he foolishly made on the heels of his latest temper tantrum.

Why don't you stop being so thin skinned and let others vent their honest opinions in a manner that reflects the passion they feel about an issue instead of playing blog cop?

There isn't any "let" about it; we're all grownups here, and people can say anything they wish within the moderators' limits. You can't, however, expect to say anything you wish in a comment thread and not be subject to other people's feedback. If you're looking for a place to express your "passion" without the possibility of someone disagreeing with you in the same place, try starting a blog with no comment threads.

If that bothers you your equally as free to stop reading the comments here and going somewhere else. As is everyone else whose response to Nat's posts was "why don't you go somewhere else if you feel that way". The street runs both ways and nobody here has any more of a right to tell others to take a hike than anyone else save Kevin Drum and his employers.

It doesn't bother me; why in the world should it? Again, those suggestions that Nat might feel more comfortable elsewhere (actually, I suggested that he probably won't) were made in direct response to Nat's melodramatic threat to flounce out of here in search of nobler souls. No one told him to take a hike, but when he said he was going to, we wished him well.

Posted by: shortstop on January 2, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Doctors, heal thyselves, mattski, shortstop, and PaulB. You all are just as guilty of vitriolic diatribes and throwing out flame bait, as Nat."

There's a key difference, Doc. I don't whine about it or pretend that I'm doing otherwise. When I troll or flame, I freely own up to it and I'm fine with getting as good as I give.

"Why don't you stop being so thin skinned and let others vent their honest opinions in a manner that reflects the passion they feel about an issue instead of playing blog cop?"

I, for one, am not playing "blog cop." I could care less whether anyone posts or what they post. But if someone is going to start whining and sniffling about how much they're being picked on, all the while engaging in the very tactics they accuse others of, I'm going to call them on the hypocrisy.

"If that bothers you your equally as free to stop reading the comments here and going somewhere else."

Since that is precisely what many here have told Nat, I'm not sure what point you think you're making.

Posted by: PaulB on January 2, 2008 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

"I suppose PaulB has been"

Not quite. What I'm guilty of is equally egregious, though, and that is (intentionally) annoying condescension and trolling, both of which I freely confess to. I only engage in such behavior with the most hopeless of trolls, though (rdw, egbert, dear old Chuckles, faux-liberal, and their ilk), and to the best of my knowledge have never done this with anyone worth taking seriously.

Posted by: PaulB on January 2, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

I think you're splitting hairs a bit, Paul. The point I was making is pretty much identical to yours: yeah, we mouth off, speak harshly and provoke people (generally, but not always, trolls), but you will never catch us following that up with tears and recriminations about how others are being mean to us in response.

It's one of the first lessons most of us learned on the playground: don't dish it out if you can't take it. And it never ceases to amaze me how so many of the toobs' worst flamethrowers, provocateurs and bullies (I don't include Nat in the bully category, BTW) are the biggest crybabies when someone pushes back.

Posted by: shortstop on January 2, 2008 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't been reading mattski long enough to know

To clarify: I formerly used the handle 'obscure' and decided to change it since it could at times be confusing as a proper name.

And for my money, shortstop, you're still sharp as a tack.

Posted by: mattski on January 2, 2008 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, obscure, my fellow Yankee disliker! Good to see you, and right back atcha with the generous compliment. Email me one day and we shall compare baseball notes.

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