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Thread: The US Presidential Election 2: Revenge of the US Presidential Election

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    Default The US Presidential Election 2: Revenge of the US Presidential Election

    Well, four years ago we had this thread, and it was an 1104 post journey that was at times heated, usually contentious, and occasionally enlightening. Since clearly people have thoughts on this to vent, and in the hope of keeping them from protruding into other, unrelated topics, I think it's time to bring back the thread.

    It's March 2012, and the main difference for those outside looking in is that we do have an incumbent seeking reelection which we didn't in 2008 (Bush having termed out), so one of the key differences people will see is that, with no primary challenge, the President is basically already able to split his duties between governing and campaigning (or campaigning and governing, if you like), while the GOP nomination is still up for grabs.

    The current candidates are

    1. Mitt Romney (former Governor of Massachusetts, former venture capitalist, former Guy In Charge of Olympics -- not sure what he was called). Typically considered the most moderate of the four candidates, notably oversaw implementing a government healthcare system in Massachusetts, but believes that the same effort at a federal level is both ineffective and unconstitutional.

    2. Rick Santorum (former Senator from Pennsylvania, former member of the House), considered the religious conservative in the field, is a devout Catholic.

    3. Newt Gingrich (former Speaker of the House, longtime lobbyist/consultant), whose niche in the race is sort of "populist/idea guy".

    4. Ron Paul (current House member, medical doctor), who is a libertarian with a scrupulous sense of limiting the role of government in every area of individuals' lives.

    They are listed in their current order of likely nomination. Both Romney and Santorum poll close to, sometimes ahead or behind, of the President in a head to head vote. Gingrich is mostly in the race to keep Romney from securing the nomination ahead of the convention. The main intrigue with Paul is whether or not he would run as an indepedent, which would almost certainly secure reelection for the President.

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    Gingrich will take us to the Moon! Vote Gingrich!

    Ok, I'm not serious but...THE FRICKIN MOON! Awesome!

    This is why geeks should never have gotten the vote

    On a serious note, thanks for the overview, v interesting to get a (non official media) perspective from a gentleman of the right. While I usually write off some of those candidates as utter nutjobs, they do all have their supporters, and it never does to dismiss someone out of hand.

    After all, Boris Johnson became Mayor of London - and he'd been nothing but a political punchline for most of living memory til he was elected.


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    If memory serves, Gingrich and the moon base were a speech before the Florida primary, and an example of how he reps out as the populist idea guy in the race. Florida has thrived on the space program, but the US essentially has no space program anymore, since the limited and vastly expensive shuttle program has ended and all we can do is pay the Russians to keep letting us have a spot on the space station, which is now more or less theirs even though we paid for most of it. So want to get some "cheap town pop" in Florida, talk big about a revitalized manned space program.

    Glad you posted, Wolfie. It's not a thread until the Wolf is aboard, frankly.

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    Here in the Netherlands we mostly know Santorum for claiming that we kill our elderly just to save some money. (No but seriously, how is it possible that a candidate for the most important job in the world can get away with such nonsense.)

    From the GOP candidates I like Romney best, he lacks charisma but he looks like a nice guy who knows what he is talking about. (Although he seems a bit disconnected with the middle class.) But I can't say that I prefer one of the GOP candidates over Obama. Not very suprising since our polical spectrum mostly takes place on the left side of Obama/the democrats.

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    Well, the foregone conclusion of the GOP nomination is that Mitt Romney will be the nominee in almost every scenario. A primer on the nominating process -- later in the summer, each party will hold its convention. The point of the convention is for delegates to vote on who the nominee will be. In a contested nomination, like the GOP this year or both in 2008, the point of primaries and caucuses are to select who the delegates will be. If someone wins enough delegates in the primaries, they become the de facto nominee since they have enough votes to win at the convention.

    This year, to win the GOP nomination, one of these men will need 1,144 delegates to have the nomination in hand. Romney right now is just under 500, and Santorum is 200 or so behind him. There are only two possible outcomes at this point for the nomination --

    1) Romney reaches 1,144 before the end of the primaries and caucuses in June
    2) None of them reach 1,144 and we go to the convention for a floor fight, or a "brokered convention". Historically, candidates from brokered conventions (where basically deals have to be made for people to agree on a candidate for the delegates to support) don't win elections.

    Gingrich is basically hoping for a brokered convention, which he myopically (IMO) thinks will yield him the nomination even though he is generally 3rd place in popular support. He is basically running as a spoiler for Romney and for no other purpose.

    Santorum, likewise, won't have the popular support to emerge from a floor fight. And he can only win the nomination outright if he wins something like 70% of all remaining delegates, which he just can't do, probably not even if Gingrich and Paul dropped out.

    So we get to the convention and there are, again, two possibilities. Either Romney is nominated, or a brokered convention leads to a compromise candidate who may not even be in the field right now (i.e. Chris Christie from New Jersey, Mitch Daniels from Indiana, Paul Ryan, who knows).

    The bottom line is that Mitt Romney's nomination is a fait accompli in almost every sense and the only thing a floor fight at the convention can yield is a weaker campaign in the general election. In many ways, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are, right now, the best friends the President has.

    I'll be clear, I would vote for any of these men in the general election without equivocation or pause, because the real issues in this election are the economy, economic philosophy and defense of the free market, defense of individualism and the core Enlightenment values of the founding, and things like abortion and marriage and contraception are sideshows being blown up to distract from those far more fundamental issues that touch on every part of all our lives in this country. I view the 2012 as sort of the anti-statist Alamo (unfortunately), and I've never been head over heals for any of these candidates, but it's what we've got.

    I think Santorum and Gingrich are both pretty much beaten at this point and should withdraw, because the math can't get them there, there is no path to victory (I'm surprised how many outside the US seem to think Santorum is... the frontrunner? The flagbearer for conservatives/libertarians/republicans in this race?).

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    I can't talk for other countries, but our newsstations all report Romney as frontrunner and as the most likely candidate. But there is a lot of attention for Santorum as well, because he still wins in some states and mostly because of his views on things like abortion, euthanasia, anti-conception & gay marriage. It's rather shocking for us how many voters he has despite having such extreme views on these matters... so he gets some attention because of that as well.


    And about your statement; "things like abortion and marriage and contraception are sideshows being blown up to distract". I get that, and I also get that there is rarely a party/candidate who is anyones perfect candidate. But as a woman I'm extremely grossed out (and a bit scared, even if it's not my country) by the idea that a man who wants to take so much freedom away from a woman, gets still so many votes. And you can call it a distraction, but in the end it's something with a major effect for women and other minorities (if the impossible happens and Santorum makes it to the white house). I would never give my vote to somebody who has such views, even when I agree with all the other plans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    I can't talk for other countries, but our newsstations all report Romney as frontrunner and as the most likely candidate. But there is a lot of attention for Santorum as well, because he still wins in some states and mostly because of his views on things like abortion, euthanasia, anti-conception & gay marriage. It's rather shocking for us how many voters he has despite having such extreme views on these matters... so he gets some attention because of that as well.
    Here's the thing about Santorum winning some states, like this past Tuesday. He actually lost ground in the nomination race on Tuesday, because once all the other smaller primaries were reported, Romney had gained 41 delegates and Santorum only 35. As for his views... well, they aren't that extreme in the areas he's winning, and even in the country as a whole in this part of the world. Since he's Catholic and I'm Catholic I probably share a number of his views -- euthanasia for instance, that's a complete non-starter for me. The second public policy allows for the idea the state can even engage the discussion of whether anyone's life is "worth living", some fundamental element of freedom is lost IMO, and you can't get into legal euthanasia without requiring the government to engage in exactly that kind of analysis.

    And about your statement; "things like abortion and marriage and contraception are sideshows being blown up to distract". I get that, and I also get that there is rarely a party/candidate who is anyones perfect candidate. But as a woman I'm extremely grossed out (and a bit scared, even if it's not my country) by the idea that a man who wants to take so much freedom away from a woman, gets still so many votes. And you can call it a distraction, but in the end it's something with a major effect for women and other minorities (if the impossible happens and Santorum makes it to the white house). I would never give my vote to somebody who has such views, even when I agree with all the other plans.
    Even if Santorum were elected with 300 electoral votes, and even if he actually had policy proposals along the lines of banning contraception for instance (and, again, I don't consider asking people to pay for their own a ban in any way shape or form), he could never actually enact them. The only President I can think of in my lifetime who is big on enacting policy by administrative fiat is, well, the current one. Santorum wouldn't be much of a conservative if he had any intention of abusing the power of his office and try to ban things without going through Congress, and stuff like "contraception bans" could never get through Congress, and wouldn't be upheld by the courts even if they did. If he tried those things, he would be exactly the sort of statist that this year's GOP voters are trying to replace. So in every sense, it's just not an issue, because it's not something that could ever happen, not even with him being a devout Catholic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Here's the thing about Santorum winning some states, like this past Tuesday. He actually lost ground in the nomination race on Tuesday, because once all the other smaller primaries were reported, Romney had gained 41 delegates and Santorum only 35. As for his views... well, they aren't that extreme in the areas he's winning, and even in the country as a whole in this part of the world. Since he's Catholic and I'm Catholic I probably share a number of his views -- euthanasia for instance, that's a complete non-starter for me. The second public policy allows for the idea the state can even engage the discussion of whether anyone's life is "worth living", some fundamental element of freedom is lost IMO, and you can't get into legal euthanasia without requiring the government to engage in exactly that kind of analysis.
    I'm aware of all that, just explaining why he gets his share of attention over here. We like being amazed about how other western countries view things completely differently I guess.

    And I don't want to hijack this thread with euthanasia, but I don't see how it is a loss of freedom in any way. Like abortus, it's all about having the choice. More than 80% of the euthanasia cases over here are cancer patients, people who are in the last stages of cancer and want to raise a glass of wine with their loved ones, kiss them goodbye and die before cancer takes away the last bits of dignity left. And if they don't want that, our system takes care of them until the bitter end. Sure other people (doctors, ethicists & lawyers) have to judge if somebody's situation is really that hopeless and painful, because it's not a glorified suicide system... but I don't see why that results in loss of freedom. Having a choice > having no choice in my book. But I suspect that this topic deserves it's own thread.

    Even if Santorum were elected with 300 electoral votes, and even if he actually had policy proposals along the lines of banning contraception for instance (and, again, I don't consider asking people to pay for their own a ban in any way shape or form), he could never actually enact them. The only President I can think of in my lifetime who is big on enacting policy by administrative fiat is, well, the current one. Santorum wouldn't be much of a conservative if he had any intention of abusing the power of his office and try to ban things without going through Congress, and stuff like "contraception bans" could never get through Congress, and wouldn't be upheld by the courts even if they did. If he tried those things, he would be exactly the sort of statist that this year's GOP voters are trying to replace. So in every sense, it's just not an issue, because it's not something that could ever happen, not even with him being a devout Catholic.
    Okay so there is no way his ideas will be executed, that's good to know. Still there is the influence, presidents (or prime-ministers) are often blindly followed by a certain group of people who lack the ability to think for themselves or people who will use the view of powerfull people to justify their own points of view on certain matters. The whole anticonception-discussion and the negative views of a powerful man do lead to shaming of women by their environment or make the shaming worse.

    And it's also a principle, voting for a person who believes that others should have less freedom is a big 'no' in my book. Even if it's just a minor topic, it's a breakpoint to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    And I don't want to hijack this thread with euthanasia, but I don't see how it is a loss of freedom in any way. Like abortus, it's all about having the choice. More than 80% of the euthanasia cases over here are cancer patients, people who are in the last stages of cancer and want to raise a glass of wine with their loved ones, kiss them goodbye and die before cancer takes away the last bits of dignity left. And if they don't want that, our system takes care of them until the bitter end. Sure other people (doctors, ethicists & lawyers) have to judge if somebody's situation is really that hopeless and painful, because it's not a glorified suicide system... but I don't see why that results in loss of freedom. Having a choice > having no choice in my book. But I suspect that this topic deserves it's own thread.
    It's not hijacking as far as I'm concerned; any and all political issues that shape the upcoming election are fair game to me.

    Why I say it's a loss of freedom is that, to have legal euthanasia, it necessarily means the state has to come up with the conditions and rules and details of when it is allowed and when it isn't. That, by definition, means codifying as law which lives are less worth living than other lives. Once you concede as a matter of first principle that the state is allowed to do that, you're in motion down that old slippery slope.

    And then there are general public policy interests -- insurance, for instance. Should life insurance companies have to pay out if someone they insure is put down by their family? For that matter, should beneficiaries of life insurance be allowed to participate in a decision to euthanize when they have an obvious conflict of interest?

    Okay so there is no way his ideas will be executed, that's good to know. Still there is the influence, presidents (or prime-ministers) are often blindly followed by a certain group of people who lack the ability to think for themselves or people who will use the view of powerfull people to justify their own points of view on certain matters. The whole anticonception-discussion and the negative views of a powerful man do lead to shaming of women by their environment or make the shaming worse.
    I'm not familiar with the nouveau term 'anticonception'. The term at face value is actually something I'd associate more with the political left in my country -- what's more 'anticonception' than a prophylactic, after all? Or the pill?

    I still don't concede that the things you call "his ideas" are actually "his ideas"; it is perfectly possible to govern against your own better angels, and that the man thinks contraception has a corrosive influence on the culture needn't inform any actual policy he'd put into place.

    And it's also a principle, voting for a person who believes that others should have less freedom is a big 'no' in my book. Even if it's just a minor topic, it's a breakpoint to me.
    Well, when I'm looking for the person who believes others should have less freedom, I'm always playing "find the statist". Santorum is probably the most statist of the GOP candidates, which why he's probably my second least preferred of them and wasn't in my top 5 of the original field, but he can't come close to the guy who is already doing the job when it comes to seeking supremacy of government in the lives of individuals.

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    It's interesting to see your classifiaction of the candidates King as, as far as I've been led to believe, Romney is the more 'populist' candidate in that he seems to choose his message very much on the situation and audience as seems to be known as a bit of a flip-flopper. This is just from stuff I've read though.

    Gingrich seems to be the idea guy in that he keeps coming up with ideas that sound kind of neat and a bit out there but have little to do with reality and Paul is just Paul. Same old Randian indidualist who would turn the country over to the corporations. Santorum is the really scary guy for me as he seems to want to set up some kind of theocracy and as a secularist I think we need more seperation of state and religion than that. In fact, and again I could be wrong, isn't that a requirement. that no religion is seen to be given preferential treatment?

    because the real issues in this election are the economy
    You should have ended that there. All the idealogical stuff is not really that much of an issue becasue people have it tough and want that to end (besides which not evey one, not even all Amreicans care as much about 'rugged individualism') Defense ofthe free market is a non -issue in particular for me and would be an odd thing to choose to run on after the crash, OWS protests and growth in mistrust over big business.

    Edited to add: One thing that the Repulicans do need to dfo is to sort their house out as quickly as possible . The longer this race goes on for the more dirty linen is being aired in public and the more bruises the eventual winner is going to go into the big fight with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    It's not hijacking as far as I'm concerned; any and all political issues that shape the upcoming election are fair game to me.

    Why I say it's a loss of freedom is that, to have legal euthanasia, it necessarily means the state has to come up with the conditions and rules and details of when it is allowed and when it isn't. That, by definition, means codifying as law which lives are less worth living than other lives. Once you concede as a matter of first principle that the state is allowed to do that, you're in motion down that old slippery slope.
    But it's not loss of freedom since they don't take away anything with this law, they create a new choice for the people. The only person who can make the real decision if their life is worth living are the patients themselves. All the 'goverment' does is looking at the request and trying to see if the situation can be improved (some old people do a request because they feel like their life is completed, there are better ways to help these people.) or if there is suffering, no dignity and hopeless for any sort of recovery. (Like the last stages of cancer.)

    And then there are general public policy interests -- insurance, for instance. Should life insurance companies have to pay out if someone they insure is put down by their family? For that matter, should beneficiaries of life insurance be allowed to participate in a decision to euthanize when they have an obvious conflict of interest?
    Nobody else participates in that decison, the request has to be made by the patient (and only the patient) several times over an amount of time. Their own doctor and an independent doctor are involved and the patient has to defend his choice. It's often not that difficult to notice if somebody is sure or not, in the last case nothing happens of course. It's a very important step in the checklist. The only moments the direct family has a say in the matter is when the patient doesn't wake up anymore after the coma, when the patient is braindead and there is a very strict illegal but tolerated protocol to euthanize a dying and suffering child, in that case the parents are the ones who do the request.

    And there is another reason to legalize euthanasia, it probably happens in every country. Only when it's illegal it happens off the radar, which can't be checked by anyone. By making it legal, you make it visible. So it's easier to control and check upon.

    I'm fully aware of the ethical issues and also in the Benelux (where it's pretty normal by now) there are still debates and critics. And there should be, euthanasia will always be a tricky thing. Especially in cases like Alzheimer, where the request has to be made before the Alzheimer kicks in.

    And it's of course also part of a culture, I suspect that some European countries will follow in the near future (I believe there is a debate in the UK right now because a man with locked-in syndrome wants to die and went to court with his request.) but I think many countries will not. And I understand that and of course respect that. (As long they don't accuse us of genocide on elderly... that's rather insulting.)

    I'm not familiar with the nouveau term 'anticonception'. The term at face value is actually something I'd associate more with the political left in my country -- what's more 'anticonception' than a prophylactic, after all? Or the pill?
    It's the only word we use here (well the Dutch 'anticonceptie') for condoms, the pill etc. And I used it because I've seen it used by Americans as well, so I thought it was the regular term for such things.

    I still don't concede that the things you call "his ideas" are actually "his ideas"; it is perfectly possible to govern against your own better angels, and that the man thinks contraception has a corrosive influence on the culture needn't inform any actual policy he'd put into place.
    So? He still says it, he shares his views with the people who are in awe. My hobby isn't to see what Santorum says every day, but in that little clip I saw because he was mentioning the Netherlands, the crowd was in shock. He came with incredible lies (elderly wear "do not euthanize me" bracelets, elderly don't dare to go to Dutch hospitals because they are afraid they will be 'euthanized' at the place etc.) and his voters believe every word without wondering if it's even possible. Policy is important, but even politicians who aren't elected have a big influence anyway. People trust politicians, follow them and copy their views sometimes. Santorum's views (even if it are no plans for when he is in the white house) do harm women already, and the more power and attention he gets... the more harm it will do.


    Well, when I'm looking for the person who believes others should have less freedom, I'm always playing "find the statist". Santorum is probably the most statist of the GOP candidates, which why he's probably my second least preferred of them and wasn't in my top 5 of the original field, but he can't come close to the guy who is already doing the job when it comes to seeking supremacy of government in the lives of individuals.
    We're just too different in this area, for me freedom is to give everybody the same chances and the same choices despite gender, sexuality, color of the skin, class etc. And the chance for everybody to live a life with a certain amount of quality. And a healthcare system and an education system where everybody gets the same care and the same education is essential for that. Paying more taxes for these systems is not seen as loss of freedom around here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    But it's not loss of freedom since they don't take away anything with this law, they create a new choice for the people.
    Totally agree. I fail to see how it can be MORE of a loss of freedom to create laws that allow euthanasia at least in some cases, in comparison to the way it is right now where nobody is allowed it. I'd take what I can get. People should have a right to choose when and how they end their life and others shouldn’t be able to impose their views onto somebody else. If they disagree with euthanasia? Fine. Don’t ever do it. But don’t try and dictate to somebody else what they can and can’t do with their own life and their own body.

    The system your country has in place seems like a good one.

    So? He still says it, he shares his views with the people who are in awe. My hobby isn't to see what Santorum says every day, but in that little clip I saw because he was mentioning the Netherlands, the crowd was in shock. He came with incredible lies (elderly wear "do not euthanize me" bracelets, elderly don't dare to go to Dutch hospitals because they are afraid they will be 'euthanized' at the place etc.) and his voters believe every word without wondering if it's even possible. Policy is important, but even politicians who don't are elected have a big influence anyway. People trust politicians, follow them and copy their views sometimes. Santorum's views (even if it are no plans for when he is in the white house) do harm women already, and the more power and attention he gets... the more harm it will do.
    Santorum is a total moron. I hadn't heard any of those things but it doesn't surprise me one bit that he would say something so idiotic and deceitful. I had vaguely heard of the guy but it wasn't until yesterday that I read a bunch of statements made by him and saw what a truly vile guy he is. He actually compares homosexuality to such things as bestiality, incest, adultery and paedophilia. He wants to reinstate the disgraceful ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy regarding homosexual men serving in the military. He compares gay marriage to 9/11 and the war on terrorism. He said that Satan is after America because they’re the “only God and decent country.” He said that “radical feminism” is to blame for mothers and father’s leaving their children at day-care so they can go to work. He said that it was “anti-historical” that the Crusades against Islam were an act of aggression from Christendom. He said we were put on this Earth by god to have “domination” over it and to use it “for our benefit, not for the Earth’s benefit” (in regards to environmental issues/climate change). He says he doesn’t believe in global warming etc.

    I could go on. The guys such a moron and is so offensive in so many ways. I agree with you completely how horrifying it is that he puts these kinds of messages out there and that there are actually people who vote for him. It would be an absolute disaster for America’s global reputation if somebody like that ever got into office.

    I found the quote you were talking about, by the way;

    “In the Netherlands people wear a different bracelet if you're elderly and the bracelet is 'do not euthanize me.' Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, but half the people who are euthanized every year, and it's 10 percent of all deaths for the Netherlands, half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don't go to the hospital, they go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, that they will not come out of that hospital if they go in with sickness.”

    I don't know if I should laugh or cry.
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    The guys such a moron and is so offensive in so many ways.
    I'm sorry to say that and I hope I don't insult anyone in this forum, but that guy is not as moron. He's a lunatic. Morons are the ones that believe in him and placed him as a candidate. And since he's a candidate it means that there are many people who believe in a lunatic's words. Honestly sometimes I can't believe what's happening in the USA. Things in Europe are different. Yes there are some voices, but a person like that I don't think that it would ever be possible to make it to the candidates.

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    It's the same here in Australia. Guys like him make all of our politicians look sane in comparison, and that's saying something. Just one of those quotes would probably be enough to put the final nail in a person's political career. I find it astounding he could have ever made it this far spewing the kind of rhetoric that he does.

    I don't really know a lot about the other candidates. I guess I'll have to read up on them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangent View Post
    Gingrich seems to be the idea guy in that he keeps coming up with ideas that sound kind of neat and a bit out there but have little to do with reality and Paul is just Paul. Same old Randian indidualist who would turn the country over to the corporations. Santorum is the really scary guy for me as he seems to want to set up some kind of theocracy and as a secularist I think we need more seperation of state and religion than that. In fact, and again I could be wrong, isn't that a requirement. that no religion is seen to be given preferential treatment?
    Well, the term "separation of church and state" is far too often treated as meaning "the state is atheist", which would actually be an establishment of religion in and of itself. I don't think Santorum is a theocrat. I have yet to meet a Catholic or Christian theocrat in the US, although I'm sure they exist around the world. You've got the real thing in your country, Tangent, like al Masry -- to me the difference between him and a guy like Santorum is night and day even if you don't look at the substance of their beliefs.

    You should have ended that there. All the idealogical stuff is not really that much of an issue becasue people have it tough and want that to end (besides which not evey one, not even all Amreicans care as much about 'rugged individualism') Defense ofthe free market is a non -issue in particular for me and would be an odd thing to choose to run on after the crash, OWS protests and growth in mistrust over big business.
    I think individualism is essential to liberty and I think capitalism is essential to prosperity, and that it turned out the current administration actually thinks of both those -isms as intrinsically bad things. That alone is reason enough to want them gone for me and for many Americans.

    Edited to add: One thing that the Repulicans do need to dfo is to sort their house out as quickly as possible . The longer this race goes on for the more dirty linen is being aired in public and the more bruises the eventual winner is going to go into the big fight with.
    Taking the race to a convention is an extraordinarily bad idea, no matter how weak they perceive the President being. The last primaries are in June, which is when Obama himself secured his nomination. The convention is months later, and only two months before the election. That's a lot of campaign time to lose.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    But it's not loss of freedom since they don't take away anything with this law, they create a new choice for the people. The only person who can make the real decision if their life is worth living are the patients themselves. All the 'goverment' does is looking at the request and trying to see if the situation can be improved (some old people do a request because they feel like their life is completed, there are better ways to help these people.) or if there is suffering, no dignity and hopeless for any sort of recovery. (Like the last stages of cancer.)
    What can I say? If you have an area of law that intrinsically gives state sanction to the idea that one person's life matters less than another's, liberty is necessarily wounded. It doesn't really matter -- the entire issue is unelectable in this country. While it may be a part of European culture, nobody in this country would get elected dogcatcher running on a platform of legalizing Euthanasia. It is what it is.

    We're just too different in this area, for me freedom is to give everybody the same chances and the same choices despite gender, sexuality, color of the skin, class etc. And the chance for everybody to live a life with a certain amount of quality. And a healthcare system and an education system where everybody gets the same care and the same education is essential for that. Paying more taxes for these systems is not seen as loss of freedom around here.
    I'm always wary of policy goals set around equal outcomes -- the only place government is ever going to be able to insure everybody gets the same healthcare or the same education or the same quality of housing or the same income or the same anything else is at the LCD of all. Equality in mediocrity is not a worthy goal to me. I read a brilliant and satirical book last year written by one of my favorites, Mark Steyn, called After America wherein he compares a letter written by Mary Ann Nichols, one of Jack the Ripper's victims, who was born in a slum 25 years before the Education Act in England and had no formal education at all, to writings by a state- and college-education sitting member of the Detroit school board. I'll actually check on reproducing that few paragraphs.

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    What can I say? If you have an area of law that intrinsically gives state sanction to the idea that one person's life matters less than another's, liberty is necessarily wounded.
    IMO thats not what It's about. It's about the state recognizing the right of a person to end their own life at what they deem to be the right moment for them, not making out that one set of people are more entitled to life then another.

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    Dedicated Spike Fan Maggie's Avatar
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    So I guess this is the place to make my plea for religious tolerance.

    When it comes to the 2012 presidential campaign, I am genuinely homeless. On economic matters I would be a moderate Republican if there were still room in our political landscape for that sort of thing. I'm not sure if moderate Republican is even the right word. My mix of economic views is eclectic and not well-represented by the usual categories of thought. Because no party comes close to reflecting my views on these issues, they end up being something of a wash. I'm usually left with voting with the person who seems to be the most thoughtful/pragmatic. Of late the Republicans are anything but, but there used to be a tribe of thoughtful Republicans who came closer to my views than anyone else.

    The other reasons why I would natively consider myself a Republican are because of my fears of the totalitarian impulses of the left on social matters. The Republicans are the home of some less than thoughtful evangelicals. But the Democrats are the home of the less than thoughtful atheists/agnostics/secularists. Because I don't think that evangelical legislative strategies have a prayer (pun!) of being enacted or upheld by the courts, I can overlook their threats to American pluralism. The totalitarian impulses of the left, on the other hand, are making steady progress.

    I voted for Obama despite his pronounced extremism on pro-choice matters (to the point of arguing for and voting for measures that prefer a risk of infanticide to the faintest infringement on the abortion right). I did so because Obama made a few eloquent speeches about the importance of respecting American pluralism. Of the need to really listen to people who differ from you with respect, and to refrain from demonizing that which you don't understand or which differs from you. It's that impulse of respecting pluralism that would keep me from enforcing a thorough ban on abortion -- even though I think the practice is repugnant and corrosive to our culture in many ways. It's the impulse that has me resisting the absolutism that many pro-choicers exhibit.

    Respecting pluralism means understanding that America is made up of people who are sincerely committed to divergent views about ultimate matters. Some are theists. Some are atheists. Some believe that bodies and minds are separable (hello robot plot); some think that human beings are intrinsically embodied. etc. etc. Respecting pluralism means encouraging and respecting our various associations -- because it means understanding that most beliefs are not premised on the idea that it's just the idea you have in your head -- it's about social practice. And so we tolerate the Amish, and allow them to drive their carts and buggies down streets meant for cars. We respect that they have a whole way of life that reflects their religion. We can't make perfect accomodation, of course. I don't think they can drive their buggies on an interstate. But our principle has long been to not run roughshod over their practice if we can help it. Freedom of religious exercise isn't an ironclad principle. But it's something that we need to care about if we are to maintain this country's unprecedented experiment of being a place where people of divergent religions and moral beliefs can live together in relative peace and harmony.

    As of January, I was going to vote for Obama without hesitation. That is now completely changed. One week gave us both the HHS mandate and the assault on the Komen institute. Both incidents revealed the high intolerance of the left for genuine religious/moral diversity. On the HHS mandate, the government first tried to define for Catholics the scope of their religious practice. It's a more protestant view that says that religious belief is only what happens in the church. For Catholics, our faith is what happens in our churches, but also in our schools, in our hospitals, and in our other various ministries to try to give food to the hungry, shelter for the homeless, etc. The HHS would have none of that -- granting an exception to the mandate ONLY for houses of worship, basically denying Catholic self-understanding of the social expressions of our faith. The fact that they were willing to carve out a small zone of exemption means they knew perfectly well that they were imposing on religious belief with this mandate. Now, if there were a good reason to do so, I would suck it up and deal. But there just isn't in this case. Contraception is widely available. It's not that expensive. And most people have access to it through their health care already. If the government deemed that there was still insufficient access, there are plenty of other ways to take care of it. A relatively simple solution would be to say that employers opting on moral grounds to not provide health care packages that include contraception and sterilization and controversial morning after pills that might function like abortifacients, need to provide their employees information on how to get supplemental insurance that does cover those things. If the government wants that to be "free", it could let employees opting for those supplements to write off the expense on their taxes. Any one who was genuinely interested in respecting religious diversity and practice in this country would WANT to find a work around if at all possible. Just like we work around the Amish and their buggies. Or the Quakers and their pacifism.

    The ensuing cultural controversy reminded me how far many Americans are from respecting or caring about religious diversity. They respond to my arguments as though it's an all or nothing proposition... either religious belief is 100% accomodated or its 0% accomodated. But our country has long functioned well on the idea that we want to accomodate as much as we can. We let the Amish drive their buggies, even if we can't let them onto the interstate with those buggies. It's not a 100% accomodation. But there's a will to find accomodation where possible.

    The Komen controversy isn't related to Obama directly, of course. But the zeal with which Planned Parenthood supporters destroyed a charitable institution dedicated to the health care of women on an issue that enjoys 100% support in our pluralistic society because that institution would not continue to support PP, which is far more controversial was really qutie terrifying to me. If concern for women was paramount, it would be obvious that you would want Komen to be the sort of place that all people could financially support. By insisting that Komen be in bed with abortionists, you are saying you'd rather have purity on the abortion issue even though you know that means that people like myself would no longer feel morally able to support Komen. The strength of the backlash on this point shocked me. Komen had to capitulate. And as far as I can tell, the mood on the left is that they still want Komen destroyed because it had the audacity to try to shift their funds towards less controversial agencies in their fight against breast cancer.

    Since then it's just gotten worse and worse. It's plain that there is no respect for religious, philosophical, moral diversity. That's why the culture wars are so bitter. We aren't trying collectively to figure out a set of laws that allow us to move forward as a society while accomodating our diversity as much as possible. Instead, we're all trying to grab the levers of power to impose our views on others. The irony, from my POV, is that the pro-choice crowd ARE the theocrats they fear. They want their views to become law whether or not those laws impose significant burdens on the exercise of freedom of conscience on significant minorities of those population. They give ZERO weight to the moral beliefs of those with whom they disagree. They are the exact mirror of the theocrats they (rightly) condemn. They are as anti-pluralist as any thoroughgoing theocrat.

    I grant you, the American experiment in genuine pluralism is almost certainly doomed to failure. It takes a lot of patience and a high premium on civility and a willingness to live with compromise to make a society out of people who have such different values and beliefs. It's ironic that the biggest threat to diversity comes from the left, which likes to think of itself as the champions of diversity. But history is full of irony like that. We humans are funny creatures. And I don't think it makes them bad people. I think it's just testimony to the fact that states can't really function if there's not a broad base of fundamental agreement on basic principles.

    Back to the election. So what's a girl to do? Maybe I'll post about that later. The Republicans are toxic to me also in many ways. It's quite possible that this year I just won't be able to vote at all, but I'll ramble through the pros and cons of the various candidates in a later post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    I'll be clear, I would vote for any of these men in the general election without equivocation or pause, because the real issues in this election are the economy, economic philosophy and defense of the free market, defense of individualism and the core Enlightenment values of the founding, and things like abortion and marriage and contraception are sideshows being blown up to distract from those far more fundamental issues that touch on every part of all our lives in this country. I view the 2012 as sort of the anti-statist Alamo (unfortunately), and I've never been head over heals for any of these candidates, but it's what we've got.
    King, this is *precisely* the kind of thinking that terrifies me. I would agree that the central issue of this election should be the economy, but the Republican candidates have chosen to make it about social issues. I lost my job at the beginning of this economic meltdown and due to a number of various factors, have been unemployed 3 years now. Clearly, fixing the economy is a high priority for me. However, it is not a higher priority than preserving the individual rights and personal freedoms my foremothers, sisters and I have struggled for decades to receive and preserve. The loss of my individual rights is too high a price to pay for a job. The Republican candidates’ desire to turn the clock back and strip women of their hard won individual freedoms *does* impact every part of all our lives.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    I can't talk for other countries, but our newsstations all report Romney as frontrunner and as the most likely candidate. But there is a lot of attention for Santorum as well, because he still wins in some states and mostly because of his views on things like abortion, euthanasia, anti-conception & gay marriage. It's rather shocking for us how many voters he has despite having such extreme views on these matters... so he gets some attention because of that as well.
    It’s extremely shocking to a lot of us, too, Nina!
    Quote Originally Posted by Nina View Post
    And about your statement; "things like abortion and marriage and contraception are sideshows being blown up to distract". I get that, and I also get that there is rarely a party/candidate who is anyones perfect candidate. But as a woman I'm extremely grossed out (and a bit scared, even if it's not my country) by the idea that a man who wants to take so much freedom away from a woman, gets still so many votes. And you can call it a distraction, but in the end it's something with a major effect for women and other minorities (if the impossible happens and Santorum makes it to the white house). I would never give my vote to somebody who has such views, even when I agree with all the other plans.
    It’s not a distraction for me or the women I know, either. It’s a wall. I can’t vote for a candidate that wants to strip me of my right to choose what is best for me and my family. I would defend to the death the right of the candidates to have their own opinions, no matter how vehemently my own opposition. But I could never elect a President that has a public policy devoted to stripping me of rights and freedoms won by more than 100 years of struggling. Whether or not said policy could be realistically implemented is not the point, the goal of stripping me of my freedom is the point.
    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Here's the thing about Santorum winning some states, like this past Tuesday. He actually lost ground in the nomination race on Tuesday, because once all the other smaller primaries were reported, Romney had gained 41 delegates and Santorum only 35. As for his views... well, they aren't that extreme in the areas he's winning, and even in the country as a whole in this part of the world. Since he's Catholic and I'm Catholic I probably share a number of his views -- euthanasia for instance, that's a complete non-starter for me. The second public policy allows for the idea the state can even engage the discussion of whether anyone's life is "worth living", some fundamental element of freedom is lost IMO, and you can't get into legal euthanasia without requiring the government to engage in exactly that kind of analysis.
    That you have the freedom to agree with Santorum is exactly the point. That you are free to share his religion is the point. I don’t share that faith and do not feel that you, Santorum or anyone else should have the power to dictate how I live *MY* life. Personal freedom is about having the *ability* to choose, not about *which* choice is made. I can agree with your point about the state not having ability to decide whether or not any individual life is “worth living”, but I could also argue that I wouldn’t mind having the choice to end my own suffering at the time and place of my own choosing without fear that my loved ones would be held criminally liable for such an act.
    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Even if Santorum were elected with 300 electoral votes, and even if he actually had policy proposals along the lines of banning contraception for instance (and, again, I don't consider asking people to pay for their own a ban in any way shape or form), he could never actually enact them. The only President I can think of in my lifetime who is big on enacting policy by administrative fiat is, well, the current one. Santorum wouldn't be much of a conservative if he had any intention of abusing the power of his office and try to ban things without going through Congress, and stuff like "contraception bans" could never get through Congress, and wouldn't be upheld by the courts even if they did. If he tried those things, he would be exactly the sort of statist that this year's GOP voters are trying to replace. So in every sense, it's just not an issue, because it's not something that could ever happen, not even with him being a devout Catholic.
    [soapbox warning] Hopping on my soapbox now – you can stop reading if you want! :blahblah:

    This is going to sound gaggingly condescending and patronizing and I really, really don’t mean it to be. We’ve been posting together here for years and I have tremendous respect for you and your posts. But, below is truly the way I and every woman I know feels.

    Naturally, these doesn’t seem like issues to you, because YOUR rights aren’t in jeopardy of being eliminated. This stereotypically male point of view that it’s OK to restrict some female choices and completely eliminate other choices is what could guarantee Obama being re-elected. There are already too many inequities based on gender. Of course you don’t feel that insurance not covering birth control pills is OK – YOU don’t need them. Viagra is covered but birth control pills aren't, even though there are many, many health reasons (besides birth control) that would cause them to be prescribed? In what universe does this make sense? Eliminate Planned Parenthood? Why not, YOU don’t need mammograms and pap tests. Been raped? Suck it up, buttercup and accept the pregnancy *God* has arranged. Ban gay marriage? Sure, because the Catholic Church (or Mormon Church, in Romney’s case) is the definitive authority on morality and should determine how every individual should live.

    The “It’s just not a realistic issue” argument is extremely insulting to women and is the equivalent to patting women on the head while saying “There, there, dear. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about these things, we know what is best for you. We will make all those nasty decisions so you can worry about the really important things. Just slip on these shackles, get in the kitchen and MAKE ME A PIE.”

    Women DO feel attacked by the GOP candidates. These aren’t side issues. They are the issues that could determine the outcome of the election. I have no love for Obama. If there were a reasonable alternative, I wouldn’t vote for him. Unfortunately, the only alternative presented is one that wants to strip me of every freedom that has been gained since women fought for the right to vote. I won’t give my freedom or rights up no matter how much I need a job. Anyone can be *against* anything, you are measured about what you are willing to fight *for*. Women are willing to fight for their rights – the very same rights that men take for granted.

    [/end soapbox rant] :blahblah:

    Yes, I desperately wish there were a sarcasm font.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie View Post
    The Komen controversy isn't related to Obama directly, of course. But the zeal with which Planned Parenthood supporters destroyed a charitable institution dedicated to the health care of women on an issue that enjoys 100% support in our pluralistic society because that institution would not continue to support PP, which is far more controversial was really qutie terrifying to me. If concern for women was paramount, it would be obvious that you would want Komen to be the sort of place that all people could financially support. By insisting that Komen be in bed with abortionists, you are saying you'd rather have purity on the abortion issue even though you know that means that people like myself would no longer feel morally able to support Komen. The strength of the backlash on this point shocked me. Komen had to capitulate.
    Perhaps PP should rename itself. In point of fact, long, long, before anyone ever dreamed of the Komen Foundation, Planned Parenthood was devoted ONLY to the health and welfare of women. They offer many, many services that are completely unrelated to pregnancy and abortion, yet those services seem to be the only ones talked about.
    Last edited by Cinderela; 17-03-12 at 06:09 PM. Reason: delete double post

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    Maggie, I have seen a couple issues much differently and feel I must add an opposing view for others reading the thread. I respect your opinions and have no intention of trying to persuade you to think otherwise.

    Komen is a business. Some of its biggest donors are Catholics. Some parishes wouldn't allow donations because Planned Parenthood sometimes offers abortion services at clinics alongside their healthcare for low income women. As a business, Komen wanted to increase revenue so thought the loophole to exclude Planned Parenthood would allow more Catholics to donate. Instead, many people were disappointed and decided their money should be donated elsewhere. Komen as a business backtracked because it realized it was going to lose money rather than make money. I don't see how this is related to the government. This seems a matter of business and economics.

    As far as contraception being provided for by employee mandated insurance, I have only seen that there are exclusions for religious affiliated employers which includes religious hospitals. I think this makes sense. If the business is clearly stated as religious then it should be allowed exclusion. But otherwise an employer shouldn't have a right to control my personal life simply because we have opposing views. If their views are so important then it should be a stated part of the business so I can determine whether I should work there. And perhaps determine if I as a consumer would shop or otherwise patronage them.

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    I'm just going to get this out to deal with it up front, and further discussion may need to trend into the Abortion thread as it becomes more specific and less about the election, but here -- I am big on women's rights, there is no women's right I want restricted or deprived. I just want all women's rights, just as all "general" rights are, to be subject to the expected heirarchies and balances, to wits -- I believe a woman's right to life supercedes her right to not be pregnant. And I believe that the XX she's carrying has that very right to life. I have no interest in debating the merit of that position, but if you want to "get" guys like Rick Santorum (or more to the point, get women like... his wife, or his female supporters, or the women I went to law school with and made up the vast, vast majority of the Lex Vitae chapter -- like 4 to 1 female to male), that's what you need to understand -- they believe, unflinchingly, that they are champions of a woman's right to live and that if the preservation of that right inconveniences or restricts the freedoms, property, or privacy of another woman, then so be it, say they, he, and even me.

    But, as I've mentioned elsewhere, it's all a bit of a red herring -- because the legality of abortion and the legality of contraception are not at issue in the 2012 election. At all. Anywhere. By and large, the only context in which these issues arise at all is an argument about who bears the responsibility for paying for them. That's what the Sandra Fluke faux-hearing testimony that set off Rush and started this whole recent round going was about -- whether or not she should bear the costs of her own birth control or contraception, or whether someone else should. And, if someone else should, should that burden supercede even their contradictory religious beliefs.

    None of which are about legality at all, but rather about two entirely different arguments -- personal responsibility, and religious free exercise.

    Frankly, those are two losing issues for this President, which is why you hear his campaign and his administration, and the media that covers him, discussing it as though abortion or contraception themselves are in any danger of becoming illegal. On the question of who should pay for it, I'm all the way on the side of the room by Rep. Paul -- it's not your neighbors' or employer's responsibility to provide you completely optional medical services. Or, to go further back, I'd quote James Madison -- "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."

    That's what I fear is the biggest issue in this election, and possibly the last stand -- whether or not we can go forward at all as a country where the individual bears the primary responsibility for their own health, safety, and welfare. Because if the individual does not so bear, than the individual cannot truly be said to be free -- because once you depend on the state to provide these thing, they aren't really yours, they are just allowed to you.

    I genuinely think that we are living in the time that Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about in Democracy in America, when he said "the American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”

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