November 19, 2012

“The GOP and Social Issues: Sophomoric Arguments at the Wall Street Journal”

Not only that, but I bet there’s a whole host of GOP consultants and bloggers whose ears are burning, too!

John Londregan, professor of politics and international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University:

A common trope in social policy debates is to claim that the public’s changing opinion on the policy at stake, rather than the policy’s moral or substantive justifications, merits changing the platform of one’s preferred political party. This notion seems recently to have taken root on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal [...]

The shorthand we use here for such a posture is “pragmatism.” Usually intoned ironically. As a rationale for persistently flowing left while telling yourself you’re merely a realist hoping to win elections.

But I digress.

In a November 13 op-ed [which I also commented on here - JG] Bret Stephens wraps the inevitability argument in the flag, arguing that we ought to institute gay “marriage” because “channeling passions that cannot be repressed toward socially productive ends is the genius of the American way.” He then slides into ad hominem argument and innuendo, contending that the Republican Party should abandon its principles on abortion because they are “uncouth, politically counterproductive and, too often, unwittingly revealing.”

In the pages of November 12’s issue, Sarah Westwood, a freshman at George Washington University, makes the inevitability argument with brutal clarity. She bemoans the Republican Party’s concession to the left of the “moral high ground” on abortion. Westwood hardly grounds her complaint, besides claiming that “as a member of this all-important demographic, I know that neither I nor (almost) anybody else coming of age today supports the Republican social agenda. That’s the way the country is moving—so just deal with it. Modernize and prioritize.”

Does this remind you of the song “Tomorrow belongs to me” in the movie Cabaret? It should. It’s the same argument.

Suppose we turn to the moral question at stake that Westwood ignores: Is abortion the destruction of innocent human life?

Yes, we can argue about the costs of an unintended pregnancy. We can perhaps even compare the prospective achievements of people born into economically difficult circumstances, like those that awaited aborted children had they been allowed to live, with the circumstances encountered by children born into affluent two-parent households. But the fact remains: abortion stops a beating (human) heart. It takes a life.

Consider, for example, the case of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was raised by a single mother in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Moynihan taught on the faculty of Harvard University and served for decades in the US Senate; he also wrote cogently and with prescience about the social costs of the breakup of the nuclear family.

Let’s contrast his experience with that of Paris Hilton, a “wanted child” raised under privileged circumstances. Hilton has higher name recognition than Moynihan, but the contrast between their achievements reminds us that regardless of the circumstances of one’s birth, being human means having a destiny of one’s own. That destiny cannot be realized if one is killed. And so, for those who would count the costs of allowing the unborn to live, consider this question: Do you support the murder of newborn infants if their care would pose a hardship for their parents?

[...]

Then there is the issue of gay “marriage.” An impressive array of major religions rejects gay “marriage,” and for many of the faithful these arguments rest on divine authority. But for them and for the rest of us, there are also both moral and practical considerations, some of them highlighted in Jeffrey Lord’s recent response to Westwood in the American Spectator, and some of them made by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and my colleague Robby George in their new book, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.

Apart from these legitimate, well-principled objections to abortion and gay “marriage,” what about the practical politics of objecting? Is Westwood right that there are no voters willing to support us in defense of helpless human life? Have the youth all joined in a rousing chorus of “Tomorrow belongs to me”?

Public opinion data tell a different story. Policy preferences have not one but two dimensions—an economic axis that runs from left (with high taxes and lots of redistribution) to right (where taxes are low and government largess meager), and a social axis that runs from left (with support for gay marriage, abortion, and coming soon to an operating theater near you, euthanasia), to right (with respect for life, and support for traditional marriage, and religious liberty). The two main parties find their core supporters on the same side of both axes, and for each group the struggle is to build a majority by recruiting from voters with intermediate positions.

Before Ronald Reagan, the parties differed from each other on economic policy preferences, but were internally divided on social issues. Edward Kennedy and Jesse Jackson were once pro-life, while there were Rockefeller Republicans who favored abortion. Reagan changed this, moving the Republican Party to a pro-life position on abortion and to the right on other social issues as well.

Recent research by Stefan Krasa and Mattias Polborn shows that Reagan’s efforts ceded some Rockefeller Republicans to the Democrats, but gained the “Reagan Democrats” who leaned to the right socially, but somewhat to the left economically. The latter group of voters was much more numerous than the former, and the Republican Party gained considerable electoral heft as a result.

To the extent then that the Republican Party appears to abandon its rightward stance on social issues; to the extent that Republicans are afraid to defend their views on the value of life, on religious freedom, and on marriage, they cede back the Reagan Democrats and their children to the Democrats, and they doom themselves to minority status.

These practical realities have not been lost on conservatives, and several important commentators have sounded the alarm. At First Things Matthew Franck cogently compares the Wall Street Journal’s urgings that we abandon our social principles to the cynical political maneuvering of Stephen Douglas on the slavery issue a century and a half ago. Franck notes that had Abraham Lincoln succumbed to the apparent expediency of falling into line with Douglas’s arguments, slavery likely would have persisted.

Also on the cyber-pages of First Things Joseph Knippenberg observes that as a purely practical matter it would be bad politics for Republicans to alienate socially conservative Evangelicals and churchgoers, who are more numerous and who vote more consistently than do younger voters.

Writing in The Foundry, Ryan Anderson and Andrew Walker show that far from detracting from Romney’s popularity, the vote for traditional marriage polled ahead of the Republican presidential nominee in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, and it did so by an average of more than six percentage points.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, policy has worked, does work, and will work best when it is founded on moral and practical arguments. The Republican Party’s defense of freedom and dignity is based on both.

Oops. Had me there until the end, professor.  Because I don’t believe the GOP’s defense of freedom and dignity is an actual defense of freedom and dignity at all, but rather a sop to the social conservatives they know they need to win, but whose positions they desperately wish to abandon.  Which is why I wrote my advice to social conservatives:  you are always going to be made the scapegoat by the current expedience-minded pragmatists in the GOP, so either agree to shut up and abandon your principles so that the GOP can ostensibly, through their platform, claim to govern under those principles (without ever really doing so, because as we know, they actually believe that pushing social issues is dangerous and will alienate moderates and independents, who evidently are very keen to be done with such old-fashioned blue-nosery from moral scolds, albeit not those who preach at from the altar of environmentalism or population control); or else leave the GOP, who only represents your views inasmuch as they can use them to draw a distinction that will gain them a desired number of votes.

But other than that, the argument seems spot on:  it’s easy enough to dismiss the policy positions of social cons as generally unpopular.  But that doesn’t mean those positions are wrong.  If by winning elections you still lose your principles, then why not just lose on your principles confidently stated and logically and rigorously defended?

Pragmatists have turned the GOP into the party of peer pressure positioning.  Classical liberals / legal conservatives / libertarians — these are the people who once they band together will not only reassert American principles, but will either take over or ultimately kill the GOP as it currently exists.

 

 

Posted by Jeff G. @ 1:25pm
168 comments | Trackback

Comments (168)

  1. Don’t forget: They’re the people who think my generation has a f****** point. Look, you guys may have “read” books, and “learned” logic, but we proudly listen to comedians insert cum jokes into the nightly news *(PARDON the PUN!)* while playing WOW for 13 hours straight. Why shouldn’t you give us pampered princes and princesses all the condoms your 15 hour work day can provide? Furthermore, why isn’t their more free porn? You act like there’s a war going on!

    Eh, sorry. Rough day on my end.

  2. That Jeffrey Lord article is excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  3. - The eternal battle between what people want versus what they actually need,

    – But in a different article from that same WSJ we get something that’s been successfully burried by the entire Left establishment. Something that rides herd over everythiung else, but won’t be talked about in view of all the important social justice matters that must be addressed.

    – If we just tax the rich, all will be fine.

  4. http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/333628/west-fights-amid-vote-recount-mayhem-john-fund#

    The Alan West Florida recount drama continuizes itself y’all. Even if he loses the recount it sounds like someone should go to jail or at least suffer a serious investigation.

  5. The Republican party used to worry me, but I’m just so incredibly pleased to see social conservatives, with no where else to go, willing to burn the party down for the sake legislating their morality.

    You’re going to win a minority number of states and electors by a higher and higher majority in those bat-shit crazy places. Good plan. I’ve never been more optimistic.

  6. willing to burn the party down for the sake legislating their morality.

    what are the socons proposing?

  7. they can keep their principles the shutting up part is really the key thing

  8. slipperyslope, problem with your analysis is that without the virtuous element so-called So cons bring to the GOP, it becomes just a lighter shade of Democrat.

  9. the shutting up part is really the key thing

    kind of proggtard no?

  10. ‘feets, there’s more to life than gay marriage. Protecting all these moral principles, including our Constitution, is a package deal; you can’t expect us to just shut up on an issue we deem important just to make pseudo-Republicans happy.

  11. Well said.

    Slippery,

    My name is Roddy Boyd. Google me. I’m a reporter who stood up for you the other day in that Hostess/Twinkies bankruptcy thread. I read their financials going back many years and, whatever the merits of Twinkies, it has been a dying company for a long time because no one wants as much of what they peddle as they used to.

    I am often at odds with people around here, and not infrequently, I am reminded of how wrong I am. It happens and I walk back whatever declarative I made, and apologize if needs be. Keeps me real.

    Re your comment: You will walk that back, eventually. The GOP got whupped, and properly so. No ambiguity. But they are trying to reorganize and taking a good hard look at where they are and how they got here. They’ll do it.

    I am 44. I recall the Dems doing this after the elections in ’84, ’88 and ’92 and also in 2000 and 2004. You should too.

    For the record, I am on the Libertarian side of this PW divide and away from financial regulation–particularly of banks and brokerages–I’m not a fan of the US government, if only because it does so little well.

  12. From where I sit, it looks to me like slipperyslope and his ilk are the ones legislating morality.

  13. The GOP got whupped

    that narrative is false

  14. the gay marriage candidate kicked the prissy religious guy’s fucking teeth out

  15. you know who’s an uber prissy religious guy?

    Marco Rubio

    He better enjoy his teefs the next four years or so

  16. Feets,

    Go suck slipperyslopes dick.

  17. I’m just saying

  18. Not so much, ‘feets. Gay marriage advanced in just two always-blue states. Thankfully there are still lucid states that have constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage. Luckily you can vote with your feets, and find one easily enough.

  19. the gay marriagings thing is done and done Mr serr8d

    it’s a thing

  20. “slipperyslope says November 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm
    The Republican party used to worry me, but I’m just so incredibly pleased to see social conservatives, with no where else to go, willing to burn the party down for the sake legislating their morality.
    You’re going to win a minority number of states and electors by a higher and higher majority in those bat-shit crazy places. Good plan. I’ve never been more optimistic.”

    Don’t throw in that there briar patch brer fox! I couldn’t bear it if you threw men there with all those thorn and tangles! (Also Obama lost 7 million votes from last time. Trend is down. )

  21. there’s more to life than gay marriage. Protecting all these moral principles, including our Constitution, is a package deal; you can’t expect us to just shut up on an issue we deem important just to make pseudo-Republicans happy.

    There’s more to life than banning gay marriage. Protecting all these moral principles, including our Constitution, is a package deal; you can’t expect us to just shut up on an issue we deem important just to make pseudo-libertarian/classic liberals happy.

    We can keep doing this, or we can try to prioritize and compromise like real grown ups used to.

  22. gay marriage

    is gay

  23. Heh. A ‘thing’ that’s slouching towards Gommorah. )

  24. You know what else is done and done?

    The free market.

    Because it’s not just a thing, it’s a package deal.

  25. There’s more to life than banning gay marriage

    how can you ban something that definitionally doesn’t exist

  26. is there gay suicide?

  27. is there gay farming?

  28. It’s more protecting traditional marriage than banning gay marriage, beemoe. Sorta like protecting that hoary old document that defines this Republic; how much of that would you give away?

  29. Happy, give it a rest please. Or switch it up and tell us again what a whore Sarah Palin is.

  30. who gave the gays the right to modify marriage? the proggtard media?

  31. like walker in wisc. i want to take things away from the proggs not give ‘em more.

  32. I wish nishi would come back and ‘splain to ‘feets evolutionary theory; that because gays cannot naturally participate in human genome continuation, they are superflous to our various tribes. Looking back at our lives from an evolutionary timeline, it’s as if gays never even existed.

  33. It’s more protecting traditional marriage than banning gay marriage, beemoe.

    So how come I have never seen a post on here criticizing easy, no fault divorce?

    If traditional marriage is all about the kids, how come we aren’t advocating making it tougher for dad to bail and trying to keep marraiges together?

    For the kids.

  34. If they are demonstrating against gay marriage in France (!), I’d say that should be a clue bat, right there.

  35. BMoe, I have seen that argument on here before.

    No fault divorce laws were a bad bad idea.

  36. They muzzies also agree with you, leigh.

  37. Personally I tend to use France as a counter indicator.

  38. That’s not what I meant and you know it.

  39. I’ve said in the past that a married couple with kids should remain together at least until the kids reach legal age. Divorce is far too easy to get; that’s because marriage itself is weakened to near meaninglessness. Might as well let gays marry and join the circus, I suppose.

  40. I would happily take away all the benefits of marriage if it meant protecting my Church from lawsuits. Don’t really think the Sacrament should be cheapened with insurance and paperwork shortcuts anyway.

    Of course, there’s also the fact that destroying marriage by making it a fun party eventually deteriorates a society, but whateves. Marriage has been decaying as an institution for longer than the Stonewall riots.

  41. Marriage isn’t primarily about raising families any more. It just isn’t, the horse is out of the barn and long gone. It is a legal contract, mainly for health purposes, inheritance, joint property ownership, that kind of shit.

    It just doesn’t make sense to destroy our fucking country worrying about something this archaic. If you think it is that important then the problem is with you.

  42. I don’t think that arguing that marriage has become mostly a feasting ground for lawyers, so we should cede even more ground so that they’re open for more needless lawsuits quite makes the case you’re trying to make.

  43. It is a legal contract, mainly for health purposes, inheritance, joint property ownership, that kind of shit.

    You don’t need to be married to have any of that stuff. Maybe health insurance if one of you doesn’t work, but not for the rest.

  44. You could just as easily substitute ‘our Constitution’ for ‘marriage’ in your comment, beemoe, and garner the identical reaction from me.

    I’d demonstrate, but this tiny Droid keypad doesn’t help me fix that for you.

  45. leigh I am in Gatlinburg I have my finger on the pulse of America and I am telling you that the consensus here in America is that people what use their god-given energies to wage a futile battle against gay marriagings need to let their hair down hair down and get them some of this laid on back

    also there is fudge

  46. It just doesn’t make sense to destroy our fucking country worrying about something this archaic.

    i know the constitution is over 100 years old

  47. So what is important enough to destroy the country over? Why not just roll over and let the Democrats have their way with us? Particularly since they’ll get their way in the end anyways. They always do.

  48. I am telling you that the consensus

    the global warming clowns like the “consensus” too

  49. Heh. Look up some of the Parton clan whilst in town, ‘feets. They’re everywhere!

  50. Oh, and be sure to check out that upside-down house in PF on the way out tomorrow. But stay out of the little shops; those touristy traps will sell you cheap trinkets for Manhattan-sized costs.

  51. Tennessee must have changed a might since I was last there, happy. Of course, I was all about Graceland and Nashville when I was there and wasn’t quizzing anyone about marriage, gay or otherwise.

  52. Gatlinburg gets a lot of non-locals who bring in their strange baggage, Leigh. The county is solid Red on any political map you check.

  53. Upside down house is going on must do list!

  54. Clearly the country (hell, the whole western hemisphere) is devolving into the land of the Amazon, in the classical mythology sense.

    We should probably just all hug, and live as each of us was married to each other.

    For the children.

  55. Sounds like Norman, OK home of OU, serr8d.

  56. Upside down house is going on must do list!

    how’s about graceland

  57. I think the plan is for us to live as if we’re married to the State.

    Which….

  58. a futile battle against gay marriagings

    to a hollyweirdo

  59. yes the gay peeps need the state to bless them and their holey matramoany

  60. How is that, Ernst? You guys in Minnesota have a head start.

  61. I got my no fault divorce from Minnesota in 1994 leigh.

  62. Very good, Ernst.

  63. No Graceland next few days are very very vague

  64. But I end up in Shenandoah national park I think

  65. Jeff writes a post about Londregan’s piece demonstrating the idiocy of the Stephens approach to social issues – and beemoe can’t wait to demonstrate he can be just as stupid.

    One of the best things about leaving the Republican party is not having to associate with the like sof Stephens, beemoe, and precious little freshgirls.

  66. No Graceland next few days are very very vague

    but graceland is very very kitsch

  67. So how come I have never seen a post on here criticizing easy, no fault divorce?

    I wouldn’t be averse to that. I just haven’t seen any articles on a movement to push back no fault divorce.

    I actually do believe people who commit shouldn’t treat marriage as a “finding myself” proposition in the first place.

  68. BMoe’s likeable enough,

    he said slyly.

  69. Listen to the fairies.

  70. Graceland is fabulously tacky. It’s like a regular Southern mansion house on the outside, but inside? Egads! Jungle theme bedroom, anyone?

    Elvis’ plane, the Lisa Maria, is in a separate building with one of his Cadillacs. His mom and dad and dead baby twin brother are buried on the grounds as is he. They all have colossal fab marble headstones right in the middle of a bed of rose bushes.

  71. willing to burn the party down for the sake legislating their morality.

    Remind me again who it is fighting in courts for a redefinition of marriage so that it’s recognized by law? Who fights in court to make a wedding photographer shoot their wedding as if their wedding is a civil rights issue?

    That’s legislating morality. As is every move to try to bracket religion from the public sphere. Secularism as a preferred liberal morality, always and ubiquitously pushed in the courts by people who turn around and pretend they’re against “legislating morality.”

    As for the rest, keep laughing, slipperyslope. If you are, it probably means you’re either already well taken care of or else you have a government or public sector union job and no kids. Either way, you’re a deluded, selfish prick whose opinion carries no weight around here, save with Roddy, who will eventually know better.

  72. I think no fault divorce should only be allowed under certain conditions, like the couple has been married less than five years and no children are involved.

    But I’ve been extremely fortunate, as far as my experience of divorce goes. I only have one friend/relation who’s been through a divorce. The worst mistake he ever made was corrected for him by the worst mistake his now ex ever made.

  73. I wouldn’t be averse to that. I just haven’t seen any articles on a movement to push back no fault divorce.

    Exactly. Republicans want to save traditional marriage, but we don’t have to get all crazy about it, I mean.

    There are battles that need to be fought, and points that need to be conceded, in any partnership. Even in a marriage, ironically enough. I just think this is one of those points that aren’t worth the blood being shed over it.

  74. There are only two places worth visiting in Tennessee.

    One is Tullahoma.

    And the other one isn’t.

  75. And I do agree that churches need to be protected from harassment. As I have stated before there should be seperate legal and religious proceedings.

  76. There are battles that need to be fought, and points that need to be conceded, in any partnership. Even in a marriage, ironically enough. I just think this is one of those points that aren’t worth the blood being shed over it.

    Then stop.

  77. I beg your pardon, I never promised you a Rose Garden

  78. They got dope shiffin’ dogs at Dollywood…

    my vacation plans are ruined!

    -Deacon Lunchbox

  79. I did Ernst. I voted Libertarian.

    And I will continue to do so until the Republicans convince me they are serious.

  80. Exactly. Republicans want to save traditional marriage, but we don’t have to get all crazy about it, I mean.

    Well, I’m no longer a Republican, so I guess I get as batshit crazy as I please. Especially now that I know how much it heartens slipperyslope. Who is gleeful that the country is almost assuredly to implode, if only because it means evil Republicans will have lost and he has won!

    Nose, face, spite. Some assembly required.

    Interestingly, bmoe, the bloodletting is a tactic used by the left because they control both the media narrative and the popular culture narrative. But the truth is, in most places same sex marriage still polls poorly (and is an issue of legislating morality being advanced by the left that has little to do with same sex marriage and everything to do with wedges into areas of law that they can then exploit, as Jeffrey Lord points out in his piece, and as many radical but honest gay issues activists have admitted), and abortion on demand is not particularly popular.

    Just because the public is ignorant and doesn’t know what would happen to abortion if Roe was overturned doesn’t mean we have to cater to their ignorance. Instead, I’d like to see the issue argued not just on moral grounds but on legal and Constitutional grounds so that it can’t be merely written off as the hobbyhorse of religious zealots. That’s a caricature, but it’s one that’s been successfully pushed.

  81. Well, as long as you’re not voting Libertarian because the Republicans aren’t serious about gay marriage.

  82. There are only two places worth visiting in Tennessee.

    One is Tullahoma.

    And the other one isn’t.

    Tullahoma? Seriously? That’s about the most Gawdawful place I must visit much too often! Although there is one very nice rare book store on the main drag. And just south, Arnold AFB where they have nice wind tunnels testing the latest and greatest jet engines.

    Lynchburg is just miles from there. Perhaps you were thinking Jack Daniels ?

  83. All the time I’ve lived here, I’ve not visited Graceland. Because, Memphis. Nothing good happens in Memphis.

  84. To amplify what Jeff said, blood is going to be shed over gay marriage. The only questions are who’s doing the shedding and who’s doing the letting, and on which side you’re going to choose to be.

  85. Oh, ‘feets, that establishment that’s all upside down in Pigeon Forge is WonderWorks, an ‘amusement park for the mind’. They even have their own Twitterer and Facebook.

  86. To amplify what Jeff said, blood is going to be shed over gay marriage.

    Try not to get any on you. That virus they carry isn’t curable.

  87. I was thinking George Dickel Original Tennesse finest quality sippin’ whisky, Cascade Hollow, Tullahoma TN.

    According to the label on my Superior No. 12 brand.

    But yes, Lynchburg isn’t Tullahoma.

  88. As I have stated before there should be seperate legal and religious proceedings.

    The Clash – Rock The Casbah (Studio Version)

  89. Oh. I’ll check it out and see if it’s doable… It may be more touristy than americana.

  90. You are never truly free until you can withstand the mockery of your peers.

  91. That’s why I’m mainly opposed on legal grounds. I believe in, oh, I don’t know, free markets. Let insurance companies that can make a profit helping rich gay married couples laugh at my Catholic ass as I go door to door trying to sell fish on Fridays and not having sex with your sweetie on Saturday. I’m down with that.

    But because it only takes one gay couple to sue a Christian flower shop which is trying to exercise their rights to peacefully disagree and refuse service, you’re forcing secular culture. Zero star Yelp reviews yes, believing in homogenous culture, no.

  92. Everything in that area is touristy, ‘feets. If you want ‘culture’, go to Oak Ridge and tour the American Museum of Science & Energy. You’ll be very close to ORNL, but not too close.

  93. gay peeps should go to graceland to see gay kitsch like gay marriage

  94. We shall go on to the end, we shall mock them fight in France, we shall mock them fight on the seas and oceans, we shall mock them fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall mock them fight on the beaches, we shall mock them fight on the landing grounds, we shall mock them fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall mock them fight in the hills; we shall never surrender

  95. Oh, but check out Cade’s Cove, just to the west of you; that’ll give you an backroads escape to Knoxville. You’ll avoid the main road leading to I-40. Which is likely very trafficky, even this late in the season.

  96. But because it only takes one gay couple to sue a Christian flower shop which is trying to exercise their rights to peacefully disagree and refuse service, you’re forcing secular culture.

    Turn that around: What about a florist shop owned by a gay couple who refuses to decorate churches that don’t sanction same-sex marriage? Would you be in favor of them keeping that policy? I know I would.

    This is America: They get to do that.

    But the statist fanatics would never permit a Christian that same privilege. Effing tyrants anyway.

  97. Happy, go to Hurricane Mills if you can. It’s were Loretta Lynn’s home is and a bunch of civil war battlegrounds and cemetaries. She has a really nice gift shop that isn’t very expensive and there used to be a restaurant, too.

    I haven’t been there in 20 years and she’s a lot older now, so maybe those places on her property aren’t open. She has a website under her name dot com that should have information.

  98. Exactly, Di. They get to refuse service to churches too. Let straight people pick their own damn flowers. Fair is fair, and we let society decides what it wants to be without expensive legal fees dragging it one way or the other.

  99. This, the entirety of Chapter 22 of “The Life of Pi” (timely enough!)…

    I can well imagine an atheist’s last words: “White, white! L-L-Love! My God!” – and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, “Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain,” and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story.

    Can’t wait to check out the movie.

  100. Hating on Christians is the new black.

    Or maybe we’re the new Jew. I’m not sure.

  101. nah it be hating some whitey(west civ)

  102. Well then. I’m about as white as one can get without being an albino. So check.

    Also Classical Liberal and a Catholic.

    I’ll probably get sent off to a reeducation camp.

  103. hurricane mills is far… i need to pull out my atlas and do a markup cause this i getting tricky just using my phone

  104. *is* getting tricky i mean

  105. anderson cooper needs a new toy or at least a new playset for his dead palestinian playthings

  106. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, but so is a lot of Tennessee. It’s well-marked and easy to get to.

    It’s probably off season now, though.

  107. gatlinburg is busier than you’d expect, but cherokee nc was pretty dead

    but that cause it’s nasty

  108. Hurricane Mills is rednecky and far off the well-traveled roads. No one ever talks about visiting there anymore. And there’s no pretty mountains, and the trees are now leafless, and hunters roam the woods with guns. Don’t get out of your car without an orange cap on and at least 500 sq in of bright visible orange vestings, at least not there… )

    Oh, you missed the hanging of Dooley in Knoxville a couple days ago. Tennessee coaches should never lose to Vanderbilt.

  109. we need dead baby jihadi jokes!!9/11!!

  110. Hearing of Vanderbilt hf, have ya been by the Biltmore Estate up in Asheville? Fancy digs and gardens.

  111. i tried to go to asheville but took a wrong turn… i can try again maybe… they’re getting the biltmore gussied up for christmas… that would be neat

  112. Whoa!

    JG,

    SlipperySlope made a valid point a few days ago. I thought that he might be a loyal opposition type, the kind that occasionally has darkened the doors here–actually engage in good faith arguments, like Jill, the Non-Mandy one from Feministing or whatever the hell it was.

    I guess he just rips one and runs, 7th grade style.

    I too have left the GOP and de-camped to the Libertarians. On issues of life and death, like abortion and death penalty–I’m opposed sharply to both–and the definition of marital union, which I grudgingly support a traditional view of, the state’s should have the right to set their own interpretations.

    FWIW, I can imagine the Feds in 10 years having to overturn States capital sentencing privilidges because of the sustained and massive amounts of acquittals from DNA, prosecutorial misconduct and utterly inadequate defense representation.

  113. One more thing…if you do come through Nashville, be sure to eat at the Gold Rush, where there are magnificent bean rolls. Not far from Vandy, there will be students there, and all along Elliston Place. Best advice I’ve given you all night.

  114. dead baby jokes are crude and vile mr newrouter

  115. the rule on this trip is to not go anywhere i can fly to, so nashville has to wait

  116. Here’s some Armenian folk musics.

  117. Erm…bad bean linky.

  118. i would love to try the rolls though… i did get to a lambert’s in alabama

    beautiful people and wonderful foozles

  119. WTF? I take a self imposed hiatus from the nets after the election and come back to find out HF is in Gatlinburg? Gotta hear the details on how this came about…

  120. it’s just for tonight then i have to go in a srot of north easerly direction, catching some west virginia and maybe asheville on way to the southern terminus of skyline drive, which will tke me north into parts unknown

  121. sorry not very good at typing on tablet yet

  122. Skyline is some beautiful road, best done in daylight, though early morning fog is kinda nice too.

  123. Lovely part of the country. How on earth did you end up there? Vacation? Business trip? Wrong turn? Skyline is gorgeous…

    HF… Biltmore is worth a stop, however Asheville is the Berkley of the East and full of smug.

  124. i just needed to go see america is all… i may move to america someday still

  125. dead baby jokes are crude and vile mr newrouter
    ax baracky he do them

  126. This is my favorite PW thread. Ever.

  127. Definitely go to Cades Cove. The I-40 to I-77 route to WVA is pretty, too. If you make it into WVA, The Greenbrier is a must see, but you’ll have to go all the way to I-64 and head east. The fascade is like the White House’s but it will set you back about $400 a night to stay there. Awesome high tea at 4:00 in the lobby, though. That is where they had the hidden bomb shelter for congress back before it became public knowledge. You can tour it now.

  128. This is my favorite PW thread. Ever.

    It’s a well known fact that the simple minded are easily amused.

  129. Biltmore is worth a stop, however Asheville is the Berkley of the East and full of smug.

    What is it with expensive college towns anyway? Half the students aren’t even from the state and they act like they have squatters rights. The neighborhood around Pitt, which isn’t a particularly pricey school but is right on museum row in Pittsburgh is full of vegan cafes, cinema d’arts theatres and hipper than thou bars.

    The students all dress like homeless people but most are Trustafarians or regular riff-raff trying to pass. The only honest ones are the foreign students. No smug on them, except the Japanese. But they hate everyone who isn’t Japanese so they’re equal opportunity that way.

  130. Leigh, Asheville doesn’t even have a decent college, just several thousand hippies/progressives from Atlanta, Raleigh and surrounds. It really is a smug place, though. Artsy overpriced shops and restaurants, lots of sustainability BS and ecopoopers with their organic buy local crap.

  131. Sounds like a place to drive on by, Stephanie. Unless they have a decent golf course, of course.

    My girlfriend’s daddy lives in Pinehurst and it doesn’t get much better than that.

  132. The native Swannanoan Sammy Stewart is still locked up in Asheville somewhere or other. Only guy I’ve ever seen ready and willing to pitch with both arms.

  133. Pinehurst.. drool. It’s only about $650 to play #2 (with a caddie- mandatory). We looked into it, but for the cost of a package including #2 and one other course for three of us for two nights, it was cheaper to go to Disney for a week and play the Magnolia and Palm courses and tix to the parks. I think we are gonna do a Robert Trent Jones tour in the spring and wind up in Biloxi for a few days at the end – a friend does a tournament there every spring lots of booze and partying. Still cheaper, even if I end up losing loads at the craps table.

    I’d embarrass myself playing Pinehurst at the moment. I’ve only been playing about once every two weeks this fall with all the wedding shit going on. Thank goodness that is over.

  134. Other than the fact that I can drive the hell out of a ball, my game stinks. Other players would point and laugh.

    I better stay in the clubhouse.

  135. Where did Sonny settle down? Close enough for you to be a nuisance when the grandyoung’uns arrive? (Just kidding.)

    My boy left and took a job in Pennsylvania. 900 miles away, the booger. Thank goodness I still have my youngest at home even if it is only for two more years until he goes off to college.

  136. They are about 14 miles away. They got married last Saturday. She graduated last summer and has a ‘real’ job – in her field. He is still 3 semesters away from his ‘credentials’ and is working full time at Microcenter AND going to school full time. Special Ed degree so he can coach baseball. Better not be any rugrats til he’s done with school and secure in a ‘real’ job. Most of my family still lives within an hour or so. My youngest is still at home. She didn’t go back to WVA even with her near full ride golf scholarship. Couldn’t stand the liberals up there – not kidding. She’s doing community college and then who knows. At least it’s cheap – for now. Her CC has a transfer program to most colleges in GA and several others around the US. She changes her mind about every three weeks on what she wants to do… graphic arts, no chemistry, no engineering, no communications… eek.

  137. That’s normal for her to keep changing her mind about a major. Tell her to knock out all her cores, work a shitty job in retail (Communications majors everywhere!) and then pick a school within rescuing distance if she has a bad boyfriend experience or a catty roommate. She can make a good living in chemistry. If she likes research, I’d encourage that for sure.

    That’s great that the rest of your family is close by. Mine are all in Texas and California. Hubs are in New York and Alaska. I agree about no curtain climbers for a while, much as we love ‘em.

  138. Already did the bad boyfriend experience and catty sorority thing in WVA. Friggin sorority was a bunch of 400 lb ers with drug problems (meth..seriously) and she might weigh 95 lbs soaking wet… and when she quit it and reported the harassment, it got so uncomfortable on campus that she had to have security escorts. Threats, harassment, followed her off campus – they even tried to get one of the trainers to taint a sample on a drug test for the NCAA. Pulled her out early last spring and got a no clawback re the scholarship for all the shit she got put through. Got her eligibility restored, too – if she ever decides to avail herself of a scholarship again – doubtful. The sorority no longer exists, BTW. Death penalty. Don’t go crossing a momma bear… progs really are the stoopit, though. I got screen caps of the shit on FB and corroboration in writing from witnesses on the other stuff.

  139. She really likes STEM, but the professors are a PITA… mostly middle eastern and don’t speaka the English very well.

  140. Stephanie,

    Might be up your way (Atlanta) in two weeks for a soccer tournament. Wanna do some counter-revolution planning (drinking) with Donald and BMoe (or is it beemoe these days?). I’ve also been told the right recipe can lure out the elusive McGehee.

  141. I’m game… Donald and McGehee are on the south side and Bmoe and I are on the northeast side. Email me at Stephaniegaatl@yahoo when you know more. Hopefully, I can schedule work around it. Where’s the tournament? Cobb? Gwinnett?

  142. “slipperyslope says November 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    This is my favorite PW thread. Ever.”

    9 million fewer votes, AND the huge ass bills for a lot of the goodies he handed out will start coming due REAL SOON now. Raising taxes sounds awesome but when revenues don’t rise anywhere near enough? Tick Tock.

  143. “Nothing good happens in Memphis.”

    Blues Music ?

  144. Stephanie
    I believe the tournament is in Norcross.
    Had to bust out the Google map to locate it on your side of Hotlanta.

  145. “9 million fewer votes:

    Paleo,

    Is that the current count or a projection? Somewhere I read that Romney’s vote count is at or projected to equal McCain’s.

  146. Ok,

    Three Dangers in a row is my signal.
    Light’s out for me.

    But for the rest of you…

    KEEP FIRING!!!

  147. ” Is that the current count or a projection? Somewhere I read that Romney’s vote count is at or projected to equal McCain’s.”

    I’m not talking about Romney’s vote. I’m talking about OMABA’S shrinking vote. >:) KOS is currently trying to moon his total up to 64.5 by figuring 1.5 million more votes out there, 66% of which he gives to OBama just because, and if you stipulate THAT as reality then it is STILL pretty big step down from 69.5 million of 2008.

    KOS extrapolates his probable eventual 64.5 number from from 63.7 million which he gets from http://uselectionatlas.org/

  148. http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/11/california-home-of-the-destitute.php

    A foretaste of our national future in case Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois, didn’t clue you in on how this works.

  149. So here’s the thing.

    If civil marriage is primarily a legal contract concerning joint control of property, powers of attorney, insurance benefits, taxation, death benefits & inheritance, and all those other things that come with it, the logical next step that’s fair to everyone is strip the name marriage off it and remove the restrictions.

    Now everyone’s free to make a union with whoever or whatever or however many people they want in order to parcel out power of attorney, hospital visiting rights, legal say on the disposition of their property, and so on. They don’t need to be of compatible sexes. They don’t need to be unrelated. They don’t (Caligula cheered) need to all be human, provided the law agrees they’re cognizant enough to enter into a formal contract with another person (or persons) that binds their legal fate with that person’s (or persons’).

    Insurance providers asked to insure “marriages” of 3+ people might be permitted to say “every person after the first and any underage dependents accrues an extra surcharge for our services”. So also other laws might need to be adjusted to take into account the sudden plurality of ways people could choose to contract together. And nothing legally would say that this is a “marriage,” because that word will be taken off the books and handed to churches, who will be free to sanctify whatsoever unions they desire however they desire. (The Eastern Orthodox church might get around to issuing certificates for sworn brothers and sisters!) The faithful would then of course need to take an extra step when declaring themselves in a legally binding partnership (or perhaps churches will just continue to register themselves legally so they can issue whatever forms, certificates, or whatever are required to acknowledge such a partnership at the time of its formation).

    And what about THE CHILDRENS? Let’s say the current tax deduction for dependents only kicks in if you 1) declare your intent to add kids to your family some (x) amount of time beforehand, and 2) … I dunno. There’s a lot of possible “2s”, some of which appeal to my desire to micromanage the family unit but are probably not productive in the long run. Declaring your intent to add kids to the family beforehand in order to claim tax deductions may also be tyrannical in the long run. Make up your own criteria here, with an eye toward providing a small additional benefit to child-rearing that offsets the reduction in committed hours a child-rearing group would have over the same number of childless adults.

    i am probably thinking about this too hard but there’s my best attempt at satisfying almost everyone, provided the proponents of “gay marriage” are in fact being truthful in the vitriolic propaganda about how they’re being deprived of rights by the kyrio-matrimonial industrial complex

    which, i know most of them aren’t, it just looks a lot prettier to have lesbians weeping over their dead partners whom they could not visit in the hospital than to outright say “yeah we want to normalize a statistically non-normal behavior so we feel better about ourselves”.

  150. Pellegri, the rump rangers have been offered exactly that deal. They won’t take it. It isn’t about legal rights or protections; it damn sure isn’t about love. It’s about endorsement, it’s about revenge on all those unhip Xtianists, and it’s about telling other people what to do with their lives.

    What’s truly amazing to me is the number of “libertarians” like ‘feets, beemoe and Bill Quick who are more than happy to encourage them, make excuses for them, and help them continue their war on Constitutional liberties despite ample evidence that they are propping up the most anti-liberty elements of society.

    And in this case the tiger won’t eat them last, it will eat them FIRST, because if us icky Xtianists actually were the American Taliban there’s enough of us to actually fight a meaningful war (and cull out a good portion of the homosexual population in the process). Libertarians’re small enough that they won’t even raise a burp as they’re swallowed.

  151. HF,

    I’m about six hours down 40 once you cross the NC line in Wilmington. It’s nicer here in the spring though.

  152. Wilmington I will keep an eye out if I drift near there… I still need to chart a course

  153. Speaking of traveling, Jeff, I’ll be passing through your fine aeropuerto in a couple of hours. What direction do I face to wave at you?

  154. Norcross, excellent. That is about 10 miles south of me. Let me know more at my email addy and we can arrange to meet. Keep me posted.

  155. i am probably thinking about this too hard but there’s my best attempt at satisfying almost everyone

    This is one of those times where compromise means cutting the baby in half, not everyone getting half a loaf.

    Those who advocate “getting the state out of marriage altogether” are trying to work a compromise that will shut the activists up already. Nobody wants to be seen as a retrograde, bigoted holdout, and the pot-and-pan banging at all hours of the day and night is beyond tiresome.

    But this is how we got here, folks. If you oppose gubmint handouts, you’re a greedy, heartless racist. If you oppose a single point of the envirowackos’ agenda, you want the earth to die in a haze of poison. If you stand up for Israel, well…

  156. I’m a bit northwest, RI Red!

  157. I’ve also been told the right recipe can lure out the elusive McGehee.

    I must demur once again — there is no recipe that will draw me into the gravity well of Atlanta during Christmas shopping season. Hell, there are parts of the little podunk county seat I live near where I prefer not to go during this time of year.

  158. …however if you guys decide to stage it here, I might show up.

  159. (In fairness, I’ve met with only three online acquaintances so far; one of those meetings took place right here in town, another in a nearby town at a restaurant my wife and I frequented in those days. The third did involve a long drive, but it was away from Atlanta. So. FYI.)

  160. Sarah Westwood:“as a member of this all-important demographic, I know that neither I nor (almost) anybody else coming of age today supports the Republican social agenda.

    Well shit does that mean her generation values vacuuming a uterus and buggery above liberty? We are lost. Why isn’t the burden on her and her ilk to figure out what the priority should be in electing a candidate? Loss of liberty or munching carpet. Seems like a no brainer.

  161. This is one of those times where compromise means cutting the baby in half, not everyone getting half a loaf.

    Sadly, yes.

    But it does seem to me intuitively that cleaning up contract law would be a net benefit for everyone. Leave marriage out of it except for heterosexual couples; just make it so it’s easier for anyone, for any reason, to make contracts like that with other people.

  162. McGehee says November 20, 2012 at 10:06 am
    …however if you guys decide to stage it here, I might show up.

    Dude!

    Donald and I went there after a tournament in May. We tried to get BMoe but he was playing with race cars or something) and I sent notices to you and Stephanie as well (Check you mail once in a while Mr.;) but you guys were AWOL.

  163. What weekend are we talking about, Danger? 12/8 I am going to be playing with race cars again. I might be able to make it any other, that is kind of a haul for me. You can’t get there from here, lol.

  164. Well shit does that mean her generation values vacuuming a uterus and buggery above liberty?

    Those are the only “rights” that really seem to matter anymore.

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