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Enraged Slith

Anyone care to explain the basic Republican philosophy? (USA)

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Obama just extended the Bush-era tax cuts, and I really don't know what to think. Republicans have always impressed me as a bunch of crooks, but I desperately want to believe that this is just because most of their mouthpieces are a bunch of propaganda-spewing hatemongers.

 

I'll concede that I don't know nearly enough about politics or the economy to make a fair assessment, so if anyone has a good idea about what the basic Republican philosophy is and how it's supposed to work, I'd be happy to hear it. How is cutting taxes supposed to salvage the economy and help the average working man?

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The less money you earn, the more of your money you spend. This is both necessary, as a higher percentage of your wages go to necessities, and psychological. The rich tend to have savings; the poor tend to have spendings. Lower taxes for the poor tend to get more currency circulating, let the poor buy more things, stimulate business, and generally give the economy a boost. Tax cuts for the wealthy do so much less, as much more of the money ends up in banks, in investments, or in other places that don't have the same immediate impact.

 

The real problem here isn't that raising taxes would help the economy; it really wouldn't. The disagreement is over whether America's immense deficits can afford the extra $800 billion or so that extending the tax cuts for the wealthy costs. (All the cuts will cost about $3.1 trillion over the next decade). Money needs to come from somewhere, and the Democrats see the extremely wealthy as a reasonable source of funding.

 

—Alorael, who would like to not see this disintegrate into political flames. Be polite and try to be reasonably accepting of opinions.

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I am of the opinion that I could always learn more about the taxation that is in place in my country.

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I don't know about the USA politics, what I do know is that the basic historical difference between a republic government and a democratic government is the right of citizenship. In a democracy the right of citizenship comes from owning land (e.g. every qualified free male Athenian citizen), and in a republic the right of citizenship is a birth-right and eventually also became achievable by military service. (all this I gathered from playing civ ;))

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Originally Posted By: Until Morale Improves
The real problem here isn't that raising taxes would help the economy; it really wouldn't. The disagreement is over whether America's immense deficits can afford the extra $800 billion or so that extending the tax cuts for the wealthy costs. (All the cuts will cost about $3.1 trillion over the next decade). Money needs to come from somewhere, and the Democrats see the extremely wealthy as a reasonable source of funding.


Extending on this, at least from what I understand, is the only problem with getting Congress to implement higher taxes on the rich is that some Congressmen are rich and would be affected by that, and the rich have more money for lobbyists to convince the Congressmen to keep taxes on the rich lower.

Oh, and the general Republican philosophy is:
1. Lower taxes and keep the government out of the economy
2. Socially conservative

These are the most basic ideas, from which most actions and policies are based. Not being a Republican I can't explain it further, or how it is supposed to work.

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The names of the two major American political parties no longer have much to do with their platforms. They're just labels.

 

My own rather casual guess is that the United States of American is starting to have serious problems, because it's still running Democracy 1.0, and an OS from the 18th century is really showing its age by now. The American constitution is just outdated, but it'll be really hard to upgrade it.

 

In particular I suspect the country desperately needs ruthless campaign finance reform, with some frankly tyrannical rules to limit the extent to which people are allowed to spend their own money to advocate their own opinions in public. But the principles of individual liberty on which the country is founded are set firmly against any such tyranny. Unfortunately, this particular identification of liberty versus tyranny is one of the outdated relics of the 18th century. Decades of democratic experience around the world have since shown that campaign finance limits do not lead directly to Gulags, and are actually more of an aid to liberty than an inhibition.

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Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
The names of the two major American political parties no longer have much to do with their platforms. They're just labels.

My own rather casual guess is that the United States of American is starting to have serious problems, because it's still running Democracy 1.0, and an OS from the 18th century is really showing its age by now. The American constitution is just outdated, but it'll be really hard to upgrade it.

In particular I suspect the country desperately needs ruthless campaign finance reform, with some frankly tyrannical rules to limit the extent to which people are allowed to spend their own money to advocate their own opinions in public. But the principles of individual liberty on which the country is founded are set firmly against any such tyranny. Unfortunately, this particular identification of liberty versus tyranny is one of the outdated relics of the 18th century. Decades of democratic experience around the world have since shown that campaign finance limits do not lead directly to Gulags, and are actually more of an aid to liberty than an inhibition.


I agree, unfortunately we've recently taken a step backwards. With the Supreme Court ruling that corporations are "people", effectively allowing them to spend money on campaign adds, there will be ever so much more bull crap polluting our air during elections.

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The limits to campaign funding has just meant that both parties are pushing independently rich candidates that can run on their own personal funds and can therefore ignore limits. It started with Ross Perot founding and funding his own political party and now means ex corporate CEOs and Goldman Sachs partners are running for office.

 

Republicans are pushing for lower taxes and smaller government because it's popular with the voters. However, David Stockman, president Reagan's budget advisor, calculated that the Republican plan can produce no more than $50 billion in reduced government spending and needs to increase taxes to reduce the deficit.

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Originally Posted By: Enraged Slith
Republicans have always impressed me as a bunch of crooks, but I desperately want to believe that this is just because most of their mouthpieces are a bunch of propaganda-spewing hatemongers.

The same could be said of Democrats, or better yet politicians in general.

Originally Posted By: Alorael
Tax cuts for the wealthy do so much less, as much more of the money ends up in banks, in investments, or in other places that don't have the same immediate impact.

Yeah, in banks, which hire people to be tellers, security guards, etc., investments, like businesses that hire employees or the development of new technology, or other places, like charities! Rich people do so little with their money tongue .

Okay, all snark aside, I am a conservative Republican and as such would like to see everyone's taxes cut, not just the rich. An increase in income spurs demand, and where there is a demand, supply is sure to follow. The supply side is where you see jobs made. As for the deficit, I think it's high time to throw out some government programs.

Republicans, as a mostly conservative party, want there to be a smaller government in general. We don't want the government to tell us what to do with our money, our lives, our businesses, or even our garbage. It's all about keeping personal liberties.

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Originally Posted By: B.J.Earles
Republicans, as a mostly conservative party, want there to be a smaller government in general. We don't want the government to tell us what to do with our money, our lives, our businesses, or even our garbage. It's all about keeping personal liberties.

Unless you are homosexual, foreigner, environmentalist, or other group that doesn't fit in with the Republicans. smile

Face it the Republicans got voted out a few years ago because they were wastefully spending money even worse than the Democrats. The bridge to nowhere just got more air time because it was harder to defend. Government debt has increased more under Republicans because they increased spending while cutting taxes. It took Democrat Clinton to produce a surplus budget to rein in the debt.

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I love Republicans.

 

There are at least two issues here, and I think the one that people are most concerned about isn't the idea that sensitive information could get leaked. The internet is obviously the culprit in this crisis, and its tubes should be plugged up and regulated to prevent any further terrorism.

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Republicans and Democrats are not terribly different from each other in the long run. They both voted for measures such as the Patriot Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, and many other anti-liberty bills. They both create big government, they're both prohibitionist, they both seem to have favored our foreign wars, and they have both voted for corporate welfare. Republicans were opposed to the health care bill, but their version was not terribly different. There are only a handful of major issues in which their views are noticeably different, such as immigration policy and Don't Ask Don't Tell. Most of the opposition in Congress seems to originate from partisan bickering, not from a big difference in political ideology.

 

Clinton got lucky with the .com boom that created a lot of extra tax revenue.

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It's true that the Republicans have been a lot more exclusionist towards disadvantaged groups in the last few decades. But that's just all political maneuvering; the Republicans engineered a bizarre alliance in the 90's between economic conservatives and religious fundamentalists. Even into the early 90's, Democratic support for gay rights was lukewarm at best, and more frequently they opposed them. Attitudes have shifted as the country's demographics have shifted, and both parties have repositioned themselves to take advantage of this -- most recently visible in the last 2 years, as mainstream Republicans have rather dramatically distanced themselves from anti-gay rhetoric.

 

In reality, the party platforms are flexible; they bend with the times, shifting inch by inch to grab the biggest market share of the electorate. In 2008 the "Party of Lincoln" ran ads shamelessly using a candidate's ethnicity to imply a connection to terrorism; the Democrats have done equally shameful things that would make Thomas Jefferson roll in his grave.

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Excalibur is absolutely right, by the way. Presidential policy obviously has some impact on the economy, but it's a very tiny impact compared with all the other factors involved. Presidential election chances are at the mercy of the economy, they don't control it, despite all the rhetoric that surrounds "trickle-down economics" and "Bush-era tax cuts" and "bail-out packages."

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Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
The names of the two major American political parties no longer have much to do with their platforms. They're just labels.
As I've said before in other threads: Democrat, Republican; po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

Quote:
My own rather casual guess is that the United States of American is starting to have serious problems, because it's still running Democracy 1.0, and an OS from the 18th century is really showing its age by now. The American constitution is just outdated, but it'll be really hard to upgrade it.
Actually, we're on version 2.0; version 1.0 was the largely-forgotten Articles of Confederation.

Our current constitution allows for amending it, and it has been amended several times. Except for political bickering, there's no reason the necessary changes could be done to the current constitution without doing a complete overhaul.

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Originally Posted By: RCCCL

I agree, unfortunately we've recently taken a step backwards. With the Supreme Court ruling that corporations are "people", effectively allowing them to spend money on campaign adds, there will be ever so much more bull crap polluting our air during elections.


All corporate personhood means is that a corporation is considered a legal entity capable of forming contracts. Corporate personhood is actually a very good thing if you want any kind of corporate accountability, since if it didn't exist you couldn't sue a corporation if it caused you harm; you'd have to find the individual person within a corporation who was responsible for an action that harmed you, and sue them, and if they had no money you'd be out of luck. The problem isn't corporate personhood; the problem is an absurdly overbroad definition of "speech".

Originally Posted By: The Mystic
Our current constitution allows for amending it, and it has been amended several times. Except for political bickering, there's no reason the necessary changes could be done to the current constitution without doing a complete overhaul.


except for political bickering you wouldn't be in this mess dude

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Originally Posted By: The Mystic

Our current constitution allows for amending it, and it has been amended several times. Except for political bickering, there's no reason the necessary changes could be done to the current constitution without doing a complete overhaul.


You guys couldn't even ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, though. That's like not being able to revise the part of your constitution that denies gravity.

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The problem is that corporations really obviously aren't people. It's very useful to give them some of the rights and responsibilities of people, but it doesn't make sense to give them all the rights and responsibilities. Where to draw the line? That's where politics come in.

 

Republican rhetoric is about small government, reduced spending, lower taxes, and recently about limiting gay rights and keeping illegal aliens out. In practice, Republicans have been good at reducing taxes but very bad at reducing spending.

 

Democratic rhetoric tends to be about increased spending for improved programs, more rights (but they're tepid about gay rights themselves), and regulation (of the market, of the environment, of government...). In practice, they've done well at increasing spending, and while nobody likes to raise taxes, they've had a reasonable track record of not lowering them.

 

Nobody likes paying more, but nobody wants to get rid of the really big programs: social security, medicare/medicaid, and defense spending. They're all popular, and they're also all really, really expensive. Making the government smaller per se doesn't necessarily save money, and most of the savings in getting rid of people or programs amount to chump change. If those programs don't shrink, taxes must go up.

 

—Alorael, who is not an economist. Nevertheless, the economists' consensus seems to be that supply-side economics don't work. There's also now the strongly supported notion that people spending more on products boost the economy more than investment. Why? Ask an actual economist.

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I think the single biggest problem with American politics is the fact that in order for a small focus group to get its voice heard, it needs to essentially allow itself to be absorbed by a party in order to gain widespread support, and the "all or nothing" mentality of politics means that you wind up with the crazy ridiculous party makeups that should honestly be spending more time fighting amongst themselves than the other guys. Two example off the top of my head:

 

1. The Democratic party manages to contain the animal-rights group, which also includes, interestingly enough, various anti-science fringes (no animal testing, for example). However, the Democratic party is also by far the bigger supporter of science, so you wind up with a party that half-hates science and half loves it.

 

2. The Republican party somehow manages to include both libertarians and crazy theocratic authoritarians pushing for strict biblical law. Again, why are these two groups not at each others throats? I just don't get it.

 

And, of course, this poses large problems for people like me, who hold certain conservative views (I like aggressive foreign policies and am somewhat socially conservative), I'm also a big fan of lots of liberal views (i.e. almost all of the Democratic economic policy, despite the fact that I would personally benefit from Republican fiscal policy :p). Do I vote Democrat and betray my opinions on foreign policy? Or vote Republican and, IMO, contribute to the destruction of the economy? And if I pick any third party, then they simply won't get elected, and I'll feel like I wasted my vote. Of course, this being America, any attempt to fragment one party into subgroups would simply result in the other becoming the de facto ruler of the country for years, and if they both split, all it would do is vastly magnify the current level of political bickering and division.

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The gov't screws you over. Don't bother trying to change it unless you are made of money because it won't work.

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Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
You guys couldn't even ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, though. That's like not being able to revise the part of your constitution that denies gravity.


Because when I think of stable, tolerant, and egalitarian regimes, I think of Europe. Let's break this down by major powers (Warning, extreme sarcasm ahead!):

Click to reveal.. (ENGLAND)
Nothing says "equal rights" like oppressing a billion people for a hundred years in India, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East! Bonus points for still giving a non elected monarch legislative power in the Commonwealth, too- that's wonderfully democratic!


Click to reveal.. (FRANCE)
Hoo boy. By my count, since the US ratified one Constitution, France has had eleven different governments (Kingdom, First Republic, First Empire, Restoration, Second Republic, Second Empire, Third Republic, Free France, Vichy France, Fourth Republic, Fifth Republic, off the top of my head.) And even in the modern day (past 2000!), they have racial riots and are currently trying their hardest to suppress Islamic culture and immigration for ex-colonies.


Click to reveal.. (GERMANY)
Really? I would think this would be obvious. Um, well, see, there was this one democracy, and then there was this one dude who got elected to the vice-chancellorship, and then there was this fire, and then he appointed himself dictator, and, ummm... you know how it ends.
Click to reveal..
It starts with the symbolic representation of a irrational number very close to 2.717 and ends with "-thnic cleansing"


Click to reveal.. (RUSSIA)
Mmm, Russia. The Motherland that we couldn't wait to get away from. Let's see, start with hundreds of years of total autocracy + religious pogroms against various non-Orthodox groups (Muslims, Jews), and then follow that up with the deadliest regime in human history, and now you've got a President Prime Minister self-appointed Dictator who murders journalists, authorizes killings on US soil, cracks down on free speech, and brutally suppresses any criticism of his policies or regime. Ah, the long Russian tradition of democracy!


Now, maybe I'm being a little bit harsh here. So lest I be accused of bias or of spouting of a Sean Hannityesque "Best, freest, most greatest God's county" rant, here's what I can think of for the US:

  • Institutionalized the trade of human beings for two hundred years, lagged behind Europe in abolishing it by a few decades
  • Suspended habius corpus for about a year and arrested dissenters without charge a century and a half ago.
  • Sanctioned essentially a war of extermination against an indigenous population, resulting in ~800,000 casualties. Debatable level of premeditation.
  • Bout of isolationism and anti-Immigrant sentiment, ie banning of Chinese immigration for 61 years
  • Nasty habit of supporting right-wing dictators during the Cold War (and even a few now. Hi Karzai!)
  • Suppression of rights of ethnic minorities for about a century after Reconstruction. Largely remedied, though economic factors still hamper full integration (why is nobody doing anything about this?)
  • Several (albeit very few and often small) examples of discrimination continue today, ex. gays and Muslims and Latin Americans, though nowhere near as large or as organized as it historically was.


For every example on this list, Europe did something worse by an order of magnitude or two, so I think that it's just about "case closed" on the opinion that America is somehow way, way out of line and hypocritical compared to other countries, indeed, despite its (many, and sometimes grave) faults, our record on civil liberties and rights still remains head and shoulders above any comparable nation.

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1. to be fair to france the vichy government wasn't really democratically french, and the napolion empires are also debatable.

 

2. you can't only compare european countries even if it is "the cradle of democracy", you need to account for other big countries which deem themselves democratic these days, such as canada, india, australia etc...

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
I think the single biggest problem with American politics is the fact that in order for a small focus group to get its voice heard, it needs to essentially allow itself to be absorbed by a party in order to gain widespread support, and the "all or nothing" mentality of politics means that you wind up with the crazy ridiculous party makeups that should honestly be spending more time fighting amongst themselves than the other guys.

If there's one single part of the constitution that should be changed, it's the electoral college. In my opinion, that's why the U.S., for most of its history, has only had two major parties. A candidate must receive a majority of the electoral votes to be elected president, so it's pretty difficult for anyone to win if there are five or six good contenders.

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Originally Posted By: Excalibur
If there's one single part of the constitution that should be changed, it's the electoral college. In my opinion, that's why the U.S., for most of its history, has only had two major parties. A candidate must receive a majority of the electoral votes to be elected president, so it's pretty difficult for anyone to win if there are five or six good contenders.


Nah, if there's no majority you just have to trust the Constitution and entrust the democratic process to the House of Representatives and hope that they make an informed and bipartisan decision based on the viability of the candidates and the necessary course for America instead of voting along party lin- ahahahaha I almost typed that with a straight face.

I agree, although I think that should be number two priority, behind very short term limits (2 tops) for everybody except SCOTUS judges.

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Originally Posted By: Excalibur
If there's one single part of the constitution that should be changed, it's the electoral college. In my opinion, that's why the U.S., for most of its history, has only had two major parties. A candidate must receive a majority of the electoral votes to be elected president, so it's pretty difficult for anyone to win if there are five or six good contenders.


Well honestly I think having two parties is a pretty big advantage. It really prevents situations like Mexico, where there are twenty-some political parties and a president can be elected with 30% or less of the vote, because the rest of the vote is spread between 19 other parties.

I am for the removal of the electoral college if that means that the vote of the public actually means something, as in situations such as Bush vs. Gore when Gore won the popular vote but Bush won the electoral vote, Gore would get the office.

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Originally Posted By: The Ratt
... It really prevents situations like Mexico, where there are twenty-some political parties and a president can be elected with 30% or less of the vote, because the rest of the vote is spread between 19 other parties ...
Oh, of course. The people of Mexico must not be very happy with their president, if he can't be elected with thirty percent of the vote. People from the States must be much happier with their system, because their presidents are always elected with over fifty percent of the vote, and fifty is bigger than thirty.

Americans are almost twice as happy with their political leaders as Mexicans are!

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There are disadvantages to both systems. In a multi-party system things are more likely to become thinly spread and weak, while in a two-party system things are more likely to become polarized in an ugly way. Multi-party systems almost inevitably lead to coalition-forming on some level, but as Dantius and I both mentioned, that happens in the U.S. too -- it's just less transparent here.

 

"The shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable." William Golding

 

One thing I am curious about: in the U.S., political power inevitably follows the course of a pendulum, though an invisible hand (ha, ha) can sometimes alter its speed. Does the same thing happen in multi-party democracies as in Europe or India?

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Originally Posted By: Enraged Slith
Obama just extended the Bush-era tax cuts, and I really don't know what to think.


It was a move of political necessity. Obama and the Senate Democrats are trying to get the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia to pass, preferably in the lame duck session. However, Republican Senator Kyl was leading a coalition to block passage of the treaty unless the tax cuts were extended. Since sixty-seven votes are needed to pass the treaty, Democrats cannot use simple majority. Thus, it was decided that this compromise bill could be allowed in favor of getting the treaty passed.

Except it's unlikely that they'll get the treaty passed in the lame duck session, anyway, due to time constraints.

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Originally Posted By: Goldenking
Originally Posted By: Enraged Slith
Obama just extended the Bush-era tax cuts, and I really don't know what to think.


It was a move of political necessity. Obama and the Senate Democrats are trying to get the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia to pass, preferably in the lame duck session. However, Republican Senator Kyl was leading a coalition to block passage of the treaty unless the tax cuts were extended. Since sixty-seven votes are needed to pass the treaty, Democrats cannot use simple majority. Thus, it was decided that this compromise bill could be allowed in favor of getting the treaty passed.

Except it's unlikely that they'll get the treaty passed in the lame duck session, anyway, due to time constraints.


I argue the necessity, Obama has made many concessions to try and get the cooperation of the republicans, only to have minimal, if any, success. Especially now, after the elections, you have idiots like Beoner talking about putting all of the republican effort towards making sure Obama doesn't get reelected, yeah that'll put our country in a great position in a couple of years, Obama isn't reelected, meanwhile, the rest of the country has gone to [censored] because our goverment has failed to be "For the People", wait nvm, this is happening anyway.

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Originally Posted By: RCCCL
I argue the necessity, Obama has made many concessions to try and get the cooperation of the republicans, only to have minimal, if any, success. Especially now, after the elections, you have idiots like Beoner talking about putting all of the republican effort towards making sure Obama doesn't get reelected, yeah that'll put our country in a great position in a couple of years, Obama isn't reelected, meanwhile, the rest of the country has gone to [censored] because our goverment has failed to be "For the People", wait nvm, this is happening anyway.


I completely agree with you about the effectiveness of the concession. Republicans are in a position where they can be completely partisan and win in the next election, while Democrats have to reach across the aisle to get anything done, which is important for reelection. Concessions are the only way things can happen, but they have to be big concessions if the Republicans are actually going to support anything, especially in large enough number to pass START.

Hopefully they just realize how good of an idea START is and pass it now that they've got their tax cuts extended. Such are the dilemmas of realpolitik.

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Originally Posted By: B.J.Earles

We don't want the government to tell us what to do with our money, our lives, our businesses, or even our garbage. It's all about keeping personal liberties.


They certainly could have fooled me with that one. I'm absolutely behind most Republican fiscal policy, but I just can't get behind the hypocrisy they spin on personal freedom. They certainly vote anti-personal freedom. I don't want the government telling me what I can or can't do, can or can't think. Thus there's nary a Republican I can vote for in modern times...

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
I agree, although I think that should be number two priority, behind very short term limits (2 tops) for everybody except SCOTUS judges.

Gross. Short terms lead to perpetual campaigning, fundraising, etc. Swing elections can happen every couple of years, which leads to short-term planning dominating vastly over long-term planning and a continual sense of having to fight just to stay in office.

Term limits are even worse. It takes a few years to know what you're doing in any job, including being an elected representative. Term limits mean that as soon as politicians get good at what they're doing, they're gone. Term limits do not, as far as I can tell, serve any rational purpose. (Unless you think that long-term participation in politics inevitably corrupts a person, which I think is excessively cynical.)

Originally Posted By: The Ratt
Well honestly I think having two parties is a pretty big advantage. It really prevents situations like Mexico, where there are twenty-some political parties and a president can be elected with 30% or less of the vote, because the rest of the vote is spread between 19 other parties.

To be fair, Mexico has three real parties, and even that is a fairly recent thing. PRI held the presidency from the end of the 1920's until 2000, and PAN has held it since. PRI, PAN, and PRD have the state governments, and as far as I know, they pretty much always have. There are coalitions with minor parties, and being a minor party in Mexico doesn't doom you to utter irrelevance in the way that it often does in the U.S., but there are still three dominant parties (and one was uber-dominant until very recently).

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Being partisan is the ticket to the Republicans losing the next election -- perhaps not badly, but definitely losing it.

 

Where do you expect the country to be in a few years? The economy?

 

Voters right now are frustrated that improvement has been so minimal, but outside of the hardcore right wing it isn't personal, because Obama is really too boring to hate.

 

The economy isn't going to be any better in 2012. And guess who is going to get blamed for that by Independents, if the Republicans they voted in to change things instead spend their time just obstructing Obama (who was _also_ voted in by Independents)?

 

"Party of No" only works when you're in the minority. If that's still the Republican platform, Obama should be thrilled.

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Dinti's avatar is actually Max Facepuncher.

 

The president catches flak for what the opposition does, majority or not. Economy, too.

 

What's really baffling is how the Democrats failed to accomplish very much with majorities. With a House minority can they accomplish less? Or can they turn around and threaten to filibuster (without doing so) right back?

 

—Alorael, who thinks the biggest problem is that government now works by making government not work. That is not a good long-term arrangement.

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Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
Voters right now are frustrated that improvement has been so minimal, but outside of the hardcore right wing it isn't personal, because Obama is really too boring to hate.


unfortunately the hardcore right wing now constitutes a huge chunk of the US population, and they're disproportionately likely to vote

seriously, 40% of voters still doubt whether Obama is a US citizen

you're also underestimating the number of people who actively prefer an ineffectual government, because they've been convinced that letting it collapse under its own weight is in their best interests

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trollilith:

 

Originally Posted By: Lilith
Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
Voters right now are frustrated that improvement has been so minimal, but outside of the hardcore right wing it isn't personal, because Obama is really too boring to hate.

 

unfortunately the hardcore right wing now constitutes a huge chunk of the US population, and they're disproportionately likely to vote

 

seriously, 40% of voters still doubt whether Obama is a US citizen

The poll that produced that number was flawed, not representative, and has been debunked. The hardcore right wing, meaning people who will rarely if ever vote for a non-Republican, is a decent chunk of the population, but there is a similarly sized chunk on the left, too. I'd love to see the data that says they are more likely to vote than hardcore leftists, if it exists, which it doesn't.

 

Anyway, yes, there are lots of people who watch Palin and Beck and will never touch Obama, and lots of people who will vote kneejerk democratic too. What's different compared with recent U.S. history is that a large chunk of the electorate identifies as independent.

 

but it's always like that to a certain degree here. that's the result of a two-party system: everyone drifts to the imagined center and fights over the swing voters. it's the exact same reason why people put new gas stations adjacent to competing ones, and not further away.

 

Quote:
you're also underestimating the number of people who actively prefer an ineffectual government, because they've been convinced that letting it collapse under its own weight is in their best interests

you're not a u.s. citizen, you don't count

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Originally Posted By: Enraged Slith


I love Republicans.

There are at least two issues here, and I think the one that people are most concerned about isn't the idea that sensitive information could get leaked. The internet is obviously the culprit in this crisis, and its tubes should be plugged up and regulated to prevent any further terrorism.
To be fair, the Democrats aren't being all that kind to Wikileaks either.

I don't really know how to feel about the whole issue. The comments that are sampled in ES's linked video are simply terrifying. There's the whole aspect of targeting Wikileaks (which is really a media outlet, and not a wiki at all) instead of the informants themselves. I'm not saying that whistle-blowers should always be prosecuted, but I think they sometimes should be if they put lives at risk.

That's the thing though; military officials say that no lives were put at risk by the leaked Afgan documents. No big surprise here, not the first time different facets of the government have disagreed.

On the other hand, I can't really agree with some of Wikileaks tactics. Information is being doled bit by bit at a time to increase publicity, instead of releasing it as soon as it's screened. I guess you want to stay in the public's eye, but this is kinda turning into a media circus instead of simply being informative.

Then there's the stuff being leaked that Wikileaks should be holding back. Stuff like Clinton having UN officials spied upon -- that's big stuff that should be made known. But Eikenberry's criticisms of Karzai don't really belong on the site. The comments don't indicate a scandal of any sort; it's merely one person's opinions. There is no way the diplomatic process can be improved by leaking such information. I want Wikileaks to be "So-and-so is taking bribes and X is covering up Y", not "Obama thinks Biden has bad breath".

Originally Posted By: Slartucker
One thing I am curious about: in the U.S., political power inevitably follows the course of a pendulum, though an invisible hand (ha, ha) can sometimes alter its speed. Does the same thing happen in multi-party democracies as in Europe or India?
What do you mean by a pendulum? You have the populace swinging from supporting one group to another over time, but just like two-party systems that can be due to any number of things. Maybe the country is entering/exiting a recession and fiscal priority have changed. Maybe the incumbent coalition is found guilty of corruption and the public shifts to the parties that are for 'openness'. Maybe a popular leader is retiring, and no one from that party can fill the gap. Usually it's a combination of the above and more.

(I could speak specifically about Canada, but it doesn't really fit under two-party or multi-party. It's more like a several-party party system. Minority governments do happen, but stuff like coalition governments are shrouded with fear, uncertainty, and doubt
)

Originally Posted By: Slartucker
Hey Dintiradan -- is that Mike Jones? And either way, why is your avatar helmetless?
Originally Posted By: Alorael
Dinti's avatar is actually Max Facepuncher.
Yep. The avatar is taken from his Twitter background. Who's Mike Jones?

I'm going though a "Cartoonists who draw characters with funny facial expressions" theme with my avatars right now. Previously it was Minmax from Goblins and Renaldo from Sam and Fuzzy. I'm hoping to do Hark! A Vagrant! next, but can't decide on which character to use. My favourite ones don't seem to work as a self-contained, square avatar.

And to answer your second question, I haven't done the 'Evil Overlord' thing for quite some time now. Just got tired of being gimmicky (besides, my quote-a-post gimmick was never limited to the Evil Overlord List). I hammed it up for the DikiScripts, but after those stopped, so did I.

(Or I discovered the virtue of subtlety. Take your pick.)

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Originally Posted By: Dantius

[A bunch of history that ends in about 1950.]


I'm talking about the present. The fact that American political apologists pretty much have to stop history two generations ago is my whole point. The United States of America has done tremendous things in its time, but the glory has departed. It can come back, but that will need change, and change will be hard.

About N-party systems: the difference is real, I think, but somewhat less than it seems. In multi-party systems, coalitions often function much as parties. In two-party systems, parties often function as coalitions of diverse wings.

What I don't see is how having two dominant parties stifles new ideas. True, if you have a policy that neither party supports, you have no chance to get it enacted. But that's democracy: your great wisdom does not make you king. If you have a policy that the majority of the population does not support, then it doesn't get enacted. And if you can't persuade a majority of half the people to support your idea, and thus get your policy into one party's platform, how can you hope to persuade a majority of all the people?

Probably there are subtle ways in which a two-party system might effectively suppress the level of attention an idea received, in comparison to its level of popular support. But there are all kinds of subtle problems with all forms of representative democracy — fundamental logical problems, like the Discursive Dilemma, not issues of corruption or stupidity.

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Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES

The poll that produced that number was flawed, not representative, and has been debunked. The hardcore right wing, meaning people who will rarely if ever vote for a non-Republican, is a decent chunk of the population, but there is a similarly sized chunk on the left, too. I'd love to see the data that says they are more likely to vote than hardcore leftists, if it exists, which it doesn't.


i'd frankly be surprised if whatever "hardcore left" remains in the US even bothers to vote any more

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SoT: I think the real difference is more in the realm of game theory, since politics is more about maneuvering your ideas to win the game and not directly about having the best ideas. Suppose I have two actions available, one will earn me 4 points and one will take 5 points away from a single opponent. If I'm playing a 5-player game, I will usually want to use the point-earning action, unless it is at the end of the game and I know it is down to me and 1 or 2 others. But in a 2-player game, there is no reason to ever use the point-earning action -- the point-removing action is just better.

 

Similarly, in a 2-player game, both players can put a ridiculous amount of resources into fighting over one little thing, i.e., a focused arms race. In a 5-player game doing that probably means that you'll be spread thin somewhere else, and one of the other players will be able to take advantage of that.

 

Trollilith: "Hardcore left" may not be the right term for what I was describing; as with what I said about Republicans, I was talking about the people who seldom to never vote for someone who's not a Democrat. There are a lot of those people.

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Originally Posted By: Invisibility Improves Everything
What's really baffling is how the Democrats failed to accomplish very much with majorities.

What I find confusing is that people say this all the time. Health care reform, which was attempted for decades but never successfully passed? Financial regulations that will prevent at least the same catastrophe happening again (if not a different one)? A stimulus that probably prevented another Great Depression? Getting some people out of Guantanamo and into the U.S. court system, fairly tried, and locked away for a long time? The list goes on and on. You can fault Obama on message and image, but not on legislation or policy. The man's accomplished a LOT.

Admittedly, it was not as much as people hoped, but the Republicans were fighting tooth and nail at every possible juncture to hold up literally everything; DADT and some other stuff got lost in the crossfire. I'd love for the entire platform to have gotten through, but just to have gotten a sizable percentage of it through is an accomplishment. Look at the legislative record of previous administrations and compare. The last time a Democrat pushed through landmark stuff like this was the 1960's.

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Originally Posted By: Slartucker
SoT: I think the real difference is more in the realm of game theory, since politics is more about maneuvering your ideas to win the game and not directly about having the best ideas. Suppose I have two actions available, one will earn me 4 points and one will take 5 points away from a single opponent. If I'm playing a 5-player game, I will usually want to use the point-earning action, unless it is at the end of the game and I know it is down to me and 1 or 2 others. But in a 2-player game, there is no reason to ever use the point-earning action -- the point-removing action is just better.
<pedant>You're assuming that all two-player games are zero-sum, which is not true (game theorists wish every two-player game was zero-sum).</pedant>

I get what you're saying -- an election that only has two parties is zero-sum. But Student of Trinity was talking about ideas percolating through a party's platform, which is not zero-sum. Likewise, two parties passing laws in a legislature isn't zero sum either.



(Guess who has a game theory assignment due at five, and isn't done yet!)

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
except for political bickering you wouldn't be in this mess dude
True, but keep in mind that you could apply this piece I quoted to just about any governing body in the world.
Originally Posted By: Dantius
Because when I think of stable, tolerant, and egalitarian regimes, I think of Europe. Let's break this down by major powers (Warning, extreme sarcasm ahead!):
I approve the sarcasm, even what was said about my own country. Now, if I may be so bold, here's my own small piece of sarcasm that I'd like to add to the mix:
Click to reveal..
[rhetorical question]If Europe is such a utopia, why has its political map been redrawn so many times over the past century? Or, for that matter, over the past millennium?[/rhetorical question]

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Originally Posted By: Kelandon

Admittedly, it was not as much as people hoped, but the Republicans were fighting tooth and nail at every possible juncture to hold up literally everything; DADT and some other stuff got lost in the crossfire. I'd love for the entire platform to have gotten through, but just to have gotten a sizable percentage of it through is an accomplishment. Look at the legislative record of previous administrations and compare. The last time a Democrat pushed through landmark stuff like this was the 1960's.


You make it sound like the Republicans didn't even read what was trying to get passed.

I miss the good old days where, at the beginning of america, where congressmen, even if they were affiliated with a party, voted for whatever they thought was best. Too bad now if someone tries that they lose the support of their party and a majority of their funding.

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Originally Posted By: The Ratt
I miss the good old days where, at the beginning of america, where congressmen, even if they were affiliated with a party, voted for whatever they thought was best. Too bad now if someone tries that they lose the support of their party and a majority of their funding.


That never ever happened. We've had political infighting ever since the moment Washington left office. If anything, things were worse back then- would you image what would happen today if Joe Biden straight up murdered G.W. Bush? At least we've gotten past murder nowadays...

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. . . I liked the murder. One of the few consistently interesting parts about old politics.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
If anything, things were worse back then- would you image what would happen today if Joe Biden straight up murdered G.W. Bush? At least we've gotten past murder nowadays...


Don't be ridiculous. I'm pretty sure that Bush would kill Biden if it came down to a duel.

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