Thursday Highlights

Good morning.

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  1. The point every liberal misses (iit seems), “Republicans have as much sympathy for people who are sick, poor or troubled as anyone does.

    I don’t think that’s true. I think a lot of Republicans think that the poor are poor largely because of their own actions and decisions and that they therefore don’t deserve sympathy. They also talk about illegal immigrants as if they are awful, despicable people completely unworthy of sympathy. A huge chunk of the base also has ZERO sympathy for gay people.

  2. First Pelosi, now Biden as theological numbskulls.

    It strikes me that the world would be a better place if more religious people were “theological numbskulls” like Biden and Pelosi. Theological correctness is no substitute for compassion and common sense.

  3. For a guy who basically studies racism you’d think he’d know what it is … but apparently not. I’d offer it is racism is group exceptionalism based on uniform gross physiological differences, such as skin color.

    Translated: I don’t study racism, but that’s no reason to listen to the analysis of those who do!

    Are you seriously telling me you don’t think that WND article was racist?

    The most limited definition of racism I can think of has to encompass negative racial stereotyping. “Black so rapper” is racist even under your definition “Obama is Black, Blacks are rappers, hence Obama will act like a (grossly stereotyped) rapper.”

  4. Mark says:

    How many Republicans do you know? Especially if you think that they don’t care or feel on behalf of the poor, the sick and so on.

    The remark on “studies on racism” was in part hinting to your allusion that you were instructed as to what racism is by your comments.

    Obama has used rap/urban language and gestures in his campaign. But, rap itself is not confined to the urban Black community, many rap stars are in fact white and most of the fans are white.

    Let’s see, just a few weeks ago, you mocked “white GOP politicians” who might try to emulate the rap/urban fist touch gesture … I’d offer that your article were just as racist as the WND article, just slanted in a “white man can’t dance/jump” direction. Both in some sense are racist, although perhaps yours was more so in that the rap culture is likely (by numbers) although of Black origins, I’d guess the audience is larger in the white community than the black. So, by mocking rap WND is more mocking Whites than Blacks in some ways. But I’ll grant the intent was not meant kindly toward Mr Obama, after all it was a partisan politcal piece, just as was yours.

    Is it racism when speech (essays) key on features assigned to one community or the other. You suggest it is, and I think you may be correct. But, if you define that as racism, then yes, you and Mr Smith both exhibit the exact same type of racial bigotry, just slanted in opposite directions.

    If however, “group exceptionalism” (from my definition) doesn’t necessarily include the venue of partisan political hatchet-pieces, then neither of you are guilty of racism. Or do you not like my definition of racism because it, in many ways, describes your policy and speech as well?

  5. Mark:

    How many Republicans do you know?

    Hmm, I don’t know, around 20? 30? I’d say they’re evenly divided between fiscal conservatives who are just as compassionate as any liberal and arrogant jerks who hate anybody different than them — Arabs, gays, blacks, etc.

  6. Mark says:

    The reason I asked, is (as you know from long time reading of my blog, for which I thank you) that I moved from a fairly liberal parish to a fairly conservative one about a year and a half ago. I notice no difference in “compassion” or activism on behalf of the poor and so from either community, the one liberal the other mostly conservative.

    I doubt your contention that there is such a divide on the compassion front between the two “camps”.

    To be honest, it might be said that the conservative might be more compassionate having undergone a large undertaking (for a small parish) of hosting homeless in their basement during the winter as part of a PADS program one night per week. Nothing similar was done (that I know of) by the other group at this time.

  7. Mark:

    Part of it is cultural. A lot of the Republicans I know are Israel/neocon hawks. I have no trouble at all believing a congregation of conservative Christians would be very generous and compassionate.

    Still, when I hear the tone used by so many on the right regarding illegal immigration, I do hear a profound lack of compassion. When I see Republicans coming out in droves to defeat gay marriage, I do sense a lack of compassion. (One can be against gay marriage without being uncompassionate, but you don’t Bring Out The Vote with an issue people don’t feel passionate about, and why are people passionate about banning gay marriage?)

  8. Boonton says:

    Republicans tend to believe that government is often part of the problem, and that better remedies are available

    Over the last 8 years which problematic aspects of the gov’t have been eliminated? The myth of the small gov’t republican is getting hard to take. A while ago it was like the old woman who kept nagging everyone about the value of chastity but secretly was carrying on an affair in the dark of night. Now it’s like that old woman has become a professional escort and is advertising it on 40 foot billboards all around town but still nags about chastity.

  9. Mark says:

    I can’t comment on the “droves” who are passionate about gay marriage, except for one (liberal) gentleman who I had several long discussions about it until he offered that he was of the opinion that every argument against gay marriage was bigotry which kind of was a showstopper. The point being, I can’t verify or deny that there is a “lack of compassion” on the right over gay marriage because the fact I don’t see it means I have no basis for making claims.

    Well, if you are for smaller government it seems to me the choice is one party which still has platform and principle tied to smaller government over the other which explicitly favoring the reverse.

  10. Boonton says:

    Ahhhh, I’m not for either smaller or larger gov’t but in a better gov’t. If you’re really for smaller gov’t can you explain what gov’t has gotten smaller in the last 8 years? What gov’t got smaller between 1980 and 1992? We are talking about a span of 20 years there. If you started paying attention at 20 you’d be over middle aged now. At some point reality has to give….at some point you’re going to have to get tired of falling for the smaller gov’t line.

  11. Mark,

    Turn on Michael Savage sometimes. He just drips hatred and disgust for liberals, for gays (“I hope you choke on a sausage and get AIDS and die!”), for illegal immigrants, for Muslims, etc. Then think about why he has a nationally-syndicated radio show and who his fans are. There’s just no equivalent of that on the American left. The closest is hatred for Bush&Cheney personally, but there’s no broad hatred of an entire group of people the way so many on the right hate gays, illegal immigrants, etc.

  12. Mark says:

    I have heard a few minutes of Michael Savage, but quickly hopped channels (as noted, mostly while driving I listen to sports talk to avoid the whole political thing). Anyhow, if you believe hatred is limited to the right and your evidence is Mr Savage, then you are deceiving yourself. Why do you imagine I only have a half dozen or so left leaning blogs on my RSS feed. Because they spew the same hatred that Mr Savage does, just aimed at a different target. The reason there isn’t “left” hate-talk radio is that there isn’t any left leaning talk radio at all.

    And their particular hatred is indeed for a particular group as well, for they (as you) paint the “hate” group represented by Mr Savage and the like with a very broad brush and thereby include (in their hatred) a larger majority which don’t hate at all in that way. Besides Mr Bush and his entire administration is only the current target, before him it was the GOP led Congress before that Reagan/Bush Sr and before that …. (and so it goes).

    I don’t believe you, or think you are mistaken. Was the STASI and the East German regime needing only “better” not “less/more” government. They just had to “do their think” more efficiently?

    I am middle aged, I’m 46. I don’t “fall for” the smaller government line, it’s just as I said, if the option is on party which “says” its for smaller government and isn’t or the other which “says” its for bigger government (and most assuredly is), if I am for smaller (central) government … where do you think that leave me?

  13. Mark says:

    I let the theological point slide. I think if you understood what you said, that is

    It strikes me that the world would be a better place if more religious people were “theological numbskulls” like Biden and Pelosi. Theological correctness is no substitute for compassion and common sense.

    The problem with Ms Pelosi is that she is playing fast and loose with what people say and write. It was a failure of logic (or being technical hermeneutic). There is a point (especially for a legislator). of being able to infer what is meant by the person from the written word.

    Are you saying that what a person means and said is of less import in the face of “compassion and common sense”? Can you distort historical and written record in the cause of compassion?

  14. Again, I agree with you about Pelosi. She’s just wrong about the church. I’m not a fan of those who attempt to make the Torah sound pro-gay, either. Still, I prefer liberal religious people who “reinterpret” (i.e. misinterpret, much of the time) so that their religion aligns with contemporary values rather than those who stick strongly to stone-age or Paulian values. Obviously, I’d prefer everybody be like me, though 🙂 and interpret religion honestly while simultaneously rejecting it.

    Also, don’t fool yourself into thinking conservative religious people don’t do the same sort of “reinterpretation” — it’s just that they have an “official” body do it, rather than individuals. Christianity as completely “reinterpreted” the Torah as the Talmudic rabbis did as Pelosi did the church’s view of abortion. Not to mention Luther.

  15. I don’t think hating political figures is equivalent to hating essentially arbitrary groups of people (gays, immigrants.)

  16. Boonton says:

    I don’t believe you, or think you are mistaken. Was the STASI and the East German regime needing only “better” not “less/more” government. They just had to “do their think” more efficiently?

    They needed clear protection of individual liberty, respect for private property and probably a drastic downsizing of gov’t. Efficiency issues were a distant secondary concern. However I don’t live in 1980’s East Germany but the US of 2008.

    I don’t believe you, or think you are mistaken. Was the STASI and the East German regime needing only “better” not “less/more” government. They just had to “do their think” more efficiently?

    You stated that Republicans believe gov’t is often part of the problem. That’s nice, can you show how a serious effort was made to translate that belief into action in the last 8 years or 20+ for that matter. If you can’t then why exactly should this ‘belief’ be of any concern to anyone?

  17. Mark says:

    When Christianity “re-interpreted” Jewish Tradition, they didn’t pretend it was Jewish tradition (or at the earliest at least admitted that it was a “fulfillment” of that tradition, which at some level indicated change).

    Well, seeing some of the liberal blog/bile over Gov. Palin, I’d differ on “group” vs individual on the “hate” thing.


    They needed clear protection of individual liberty, respect for private property and probably a drastic downsizing of gov’t. Efficiency issues were a distant secondary concern. [emphasis mine]

    My point, too big and too intrusive is a concern. If you think the 2008 US government is not “too big” we differ there, but then … we differ in party too. 😉

    A GOP Congress in Clinton’s term(s) forced a drastic downsizing of welfare … as one example.

  18. Mark says:

    And as I’ve said, I still hold that a party that offers some reference to downsizing vs rabid expansion will ultimately expand the government more slowly. Alas, being part of a government it is unlikely and rare (alas) for it to contract … but less growth is at least something.

    And GW is a poor example, many conservatives beef with him was his tendency to not be, well, conservative enough.

  19. Boonton says:

    Actually downsizing isn’t quite the right word for the welfare reform of the Clinton era. What it did was essentially alter the rules and put in place a system of block grants to the states (with certain rules on how it could be spent). In terms of downsizing the money was probably about the same as it was before. If savings were generated they were generated by economic growth as well as behaviorial change. Yes that was the point of the reform but the downsizing was contigent on that change. I believe the cost would have been the same if the economy didn’t grow and behavior didn’t change.

  20. Mark Olson says:

    Look we can go over this back and forth, but every time a GOP adminstration takes power, the chattering class goes on and on about what cuts to social aid programs and the plight of the poor (and homeless) will be now that all that will be cut off at the knees. There is a reason for that. The GOP (platform) has a number of notions of downsizing entitlements. Even the moderate conservative Bush toyed with SS reform, which would be a “downsizing.”

    It is in the minds of many (if not most) that the defining differences between GOP and Democrat is that the GOP is looking out for business (which mostly wants government “out of the way”) and the Democrat for the “downtrodden”.

    Now it can be argued that those perceptions are fictions and the attitude toward government on the part of both parties are barely distinguishable. I don’t disagree on that main point. I personally would like to see a smaller federal (and state) government … the GOP isn’t great on that issue, but they are better than the claimed aggressive expansion always touted by the Dems.

  21. Boonton says:

    How about crop subsidies? Phase out under Clinton only to be restored under Bush. It’s not that the parties are indistinguishable, it’s that there’s a big difference between who is considered ‘downtrodden’.