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April 21, 2008


Barney Frank

Yeah, I guess she could use Adams and Jefferson as an example.
Or maybe she could have used Hamilton and Burr instead?
There's nothing new under the sun.


each side did seem to question the morality of the other

A large factor is that post modern relativism has rendered the idea of common ground for discorse about as scarce as unobtainium.


It began when the classically trained teachers I had in the 1960s retired. They learned Latin by translating Seneca and Cicero. Being exposed to grammar, logic, and rhetoric, they learned to think.

The next generation of students simply completed courses and graduated. These are the teachers of today. They teach specialties well, because that is all they know. When you are in a fog, you cannot be expected to teach your way out of it, much less pass clarity on to students. And the cycle repeats itself, until someone shows the emperor is wearing no clothes. No one in a dark age thinks it is dark.

Danube of Thought

In the political sphere, I continue to think of the Bork hearings as a significant turning point for the worse.


"In the political sphere, I continue to think of the Bork hearings as a significant turning point for the worse"

Amen to that Danube of Thought. I'll never get over the Bork hearings--in fact those hearings reaffirmed my belief in conservatism and how nasty liberals were/are.

I remember clearly my seventh grade history teacher going on about how Eisenhower started cutting government spending. But in light of his growing up under FDR and Truman, a case could be made for the teacher believing that Eisenhower was a tightwad--so to speak.


I have two problems with the term "closed minded liberals."
1. It's a double negative.
2. It's the same thing as a standard liberal.


Perhaps if we went back to only elites voting, we would go back to elite intellectuals ruling.


I would love to have intellectually honest opponents to debate. Unfortunately, American "liberalism" is fundamentally dishonest. It has to be. When a "Democratic" party finds out that the only way it can advance its agenda is by the fundamentally anti-democratic method of having unelected "judges" legislate from the bench, and its leaders decide that getting their way is more important than honoring their claimed principles, there is no way its adherents can remain honest about what they're doing, or why they're doing it.

Once we got a "Living Constitution", we received the death knell to honest debate between the parties.

Whatever you may think about abortion, there's no way any honest individual can claim that the US Constitution actually grants / acknowledges a right to control our own bodies (if we have the right to control our own bodies, how can States try to prevent us from killing ourselves, or punish people who try and fail? How can the FDA tell us what we can and can't put in our bodies? How can prostitution be outlawed?), let alone honestly claim that the Constitution defines what it means to be alive and human, or grants the Supreme Court (and only the Supreme Court) the power to decide who and what is human and alive.

Then there are the mental gymnastics required to believe that the Constitution creates a right to abortion that no State or City can contravene, but that the Second Amendment does not block States or Cities from banning private firearm ownership.

I could go on, but what's the point? To be a Democrat intellectual, or, more fundamentally, to be an intellectual of the American Left, is to be a fundamentally dishonest individual. And fundamentally dishonest individuals are not worth listening to, or talking to, because you can never actually believe anything they say. You cannot believe the "facts" they claim (see, for example, the various fights where dishonest left-wing Wikipedia "editors" insist in keeping false information there), they acknowledge no bounds of logic (see guns v. abortion). There is left, therefore, no possible benefit from attempting to engage them in rational discourse.

So why bother?

JM Hanes

""You and I ought not to die, before we have explained ourselves to each other," Adams wrote Jefferson in 1815.

LOL! Tell it to Adams and Jefferson, indeed. If we're entertaining Jacoby's example, what actually leaps off the page is that Adams was like, 80, when he finally felt the need to dialogue with Jefferson. What we're looking at here is the dumbing down of history.

I, personally, credit C-Span for the current state of affairs! Serious political debate was replaced by posing for the camera and the safety of talking points. When being caught off message is a cardinal political sin (see: Four More Years), the logic of blaming the folks who are listening for the resulting polarization escapes me.


I'll put this here so Rick can see it (via Jake Tapper)
Obma's current ad:

Obama himself then says, "We are one people. All of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes. All of us defending the United States of America."
JM Hanes

I'd also argue that dumbness has actually been upwardly mobile over the last couple of decades.


I, personally, credit C-Span for the current state of affairs!

Ha! (Although I blame CNN)
You are right, the moment an important public-interest issue becomes public is the precise moment the discussion of it becomes less honest.


I see in MAYBEE's post that BO is now pandering for votes.
I am Republican, moderate conservative in my outlook. I would invite debate with Dems, but they can't seem to get past Bush hatered, or "Swift Boating" and other such things. To debate takes both sides. Adams and Jefferson LISTENED to each other. I would listen but dislike all the yelling I hear.

Rick Ballard


That's an interesting ad. I can't seem to recall any previous Presidential candidate whose patriotism was so questionable that they felt the need to make such a declaration.

I wonder if he cleared the ad with Bill Ayers and Andy Stern?

Barney Frank

I can't seem to recall any previous Presidential candidate whose patriotism was so questionable that they felt the need to make such a declaration.

I see a ride in an M1 in BO's future.

Rick Ballard

Looks like BHO has done MovedOn beyond debate (h/t Dan Collins at PW)

Anybody remember the Charles Atlas ads on the back of comic books? The 98 pound weakling getting sand kicked in his face? That's ole BHO, folks. We don't have to worry about him answering any 3AM phone calls 'cause the Secret Service wouldn't be able to drag him out from under the bed.

What a punk.


I went over to Obama's website to look for the ad MayBee mentioned. The front page cycles through a few different headlines, including one that reads "Obama will beat McCain." When it comes up, we see this:

Obama Stronger Against McCain

"In the past two weeks, seven different organizations have polled the races and on average Obama beats McCain by 3.2% while Clinton loses to the Arizona senator by 2%. Not a single [poll] has Clinton doing as well as Obama."

The New Republic Feb 9, 2008

If you click on that, it takes you not to the New Republic article, but to this campaign blog post dated Feb 19th, 2008. Despite the date on the post, it features a screen shot of the Real Clear Politics general election national head-to-head poll average from Feb. 20-Mar. 2.

The link to RCP at the bottom of the post is still there and if you follow it you will find that Obama still does better against McCain than Clinton in the RCP average. Either Obama supporters can be counted on to follow links or the campaign Apostles are doing a woeful job of keeping them up to date.

To quote the mighty Danube, "As Bill and Bernadette would say, you don't need a Weatherman." Or, had former Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus ever run for office, "Every day and in every way I'm polling better and better."


A commenter called them on it two weeks ago:

By Kathy from Louisiana Apr 7th 2008 at 9:50 pm EDT The information offered on this thread is terribly dated. I hate to see the campaign showcasing old info on the front page of the website.

Whose talking points shall have no end.


Greg, I tend to think that unless the Constitution explicitly forbids something, it is permitted. For the objections you imagine are definitive: they can't, it can't, it can't. From 'let alone' onward, I agree with you though.

Getting back to the LAT, why should we get politeness tips from a slave-owning pedophile?


You can see the ad to which MayBee directed our attention here. The bit that Tapper highlighted looks to be from his 2004 Dem conventions speech (Go Platitudes!). Thanks, MayBee.


All of us defending the United States of America."

Somehow,I don't think he means defend like I mean defend. I've got a feeling he wants to defend it from mean old conservatives and I want to defend it from Jihadi's and illegal immigrants, and do gooder environmentalist lib's.

M. Simon


As an engineer I'd love to get my hands on a lot of unobtainium. It would solve so many problems.


Bork? We are lucky we didn't get him. He believes that the IXth Amdmt is an ink blot. In other words the Constitution is a grant of rights not a limitation on government. How European of him.

Talk about legislating from the bench.

M. Simon

Bork was no conservative.

How he got so many conservative mesmerized is beyond me. Maybe he has been giving Obama lessons.

M. Simon

Elliott | April 21, 2008 at 08:57 PM,

Note the missing flag pin?

We all pledge to the same flag is his theme.

Uh. Oh.



JM Hanes,

Excellent point about the Adams/Jefferson dialog being a flawed example. The 2 former bosom friends had developed such fundamental disagreements that they had not corresponded with one another for over a decade, and it was only due to the magnificent work of a mutual Revolutionary friend, Dr Benjamin Rush, that they finally got back in touch with each other for the correspondence which extended for the last 12 years of their lives. And the interesting fact of that correspondence, is that though the letters between the 2 are wonderful and invaluable for posterity, as Jefferson, Adams and Rush all knew they would be, the biggest divisive issue between the 2, Slavery, was completely off the table as a point of discussion. So my advice to Ms Jacoby is to pick another example of opposing individuals letting it all hang out there in fruitful dialog.


Simon--To be fair, Obama does say "allegiance to the stars and stripes." To earn my right wing noise and attack machinating, vastly conspiring freak show keep: "Just words."

Like Pofarmer, I don't quite understand what he means by saying everyone is defending the US. Isn't one of the standard talking points from the left (or Matthew Dowd anyway) that the Bush administration has failed to demand adequate sacrifice from all and has consequently been unable to marshall our energies toward a common national purpose?

Maybe Obama is America's court appointed counsel, who knows his client is guilty as sin but will win on a technicality. Okay, he'll be happy with court ordered rehabilitation and 8 years of probation.



I believe that everything not forbidden to the states by the Constitution is permitted.

When it comes to the Federal Government, if it's not explicitly permitted, it's forbidden.

That's what "enumerated powers" means.

M.Simon: The 9th is an inkblot. It was put in there to say "hey, just because we didn't mention it here, doesn't mean it's not important."

Which is entirely different from saying "any time 5 members of the Supreme Court want to rewrite the Constitution, and throw out laws that they personally don't like, they can do so by referring to this Amendment." Which is, essentially, what those who claim to "believe" in the 9th Amendment seem to end up saying that it means.

Enumerated powers a Federalism. They're great ideas. Which, I guess, is why "liberals" hate them so much.

M. Simon


Any law that interferes with unenumerated rights is just as unconstitutional as those that interfere with enumerated rights.

If there was on scholar on the Supreme Court who gets it I would say it was Thomas. I'm so glad we got him instead of Bork.

M. Simon

Speaking of Dr. Benjamin Rush and the Constitution:

"Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize an undercover dictatorship. To restrict the art of healing to one class of men, and deny equal privilege to others, will be to constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic, and have no place in a Republic. The Constitution of this Republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom." abridged quote --Benjamin Rush, M.D., a signer of the Declaration of Independence



What, exactly are the unenumerated rights that are protected by the Constitution? Who decides what they are, and on what "basis" the government can override them? When did the American people decide on all this?

And what about the actually enumerated rights? Where do you stand on the DC gun ban?

Is the right to be safe in your home one of those unenumerated rights? If so, does that mean that State laws requiring you to retreat from a home invader are a violation of your rights?

Is the right to own and use your private property as you wish one of those unenumerated rights? If so, do rent control and anti-housing-discrimination laws (that force you to give (the use of) your property for less than you wish, or to those who you do not wish) violate that right?

How about the right to have your vote matter? Is that one of our rights? And, if so, how is it that that right never seems to win when it comes up against the whim of a left-wing "judge"?

I could go on, but I think this is a good start. In short, what is the difference between these magical "unenumerated rights" and the wish list of dishonest left-wingers?

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