People Disagree

Great Krugman column:

[C]ommentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it. [. . .] But that was then. Today’s G.O.P. sees much of what the modern federal government does as illegitimate; today’s Democratic Party does not. When people talk about partisan differences, they often seem to be implying that these differences are petty, matters that could be resolved with a bit of good will. But what we’re talking about here is a fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government.

Politics and democracy is the vehicle for a society to decide on the policies that will be employed. Essential to that process is debating these differences. Does it matter that people be "civil" when debating these differences? Not to me, but I am not opposed to it. But it is important to understand that no matter how nice folks are to each other in the political arena, the important thing is to understand what people are advocating for in terms of policy.

Speaking for me only

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    A little truth would be nice (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by kdm251 on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 08:13:45 AM EST
    When I think civility, I think about a time when both sides argued about actual facts, you know before death panels and other made up crap, mostly if not completely propagated by the right.  

    That's really the whole point, I think (none / 0) (#38)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:16:31 PM EST
    BTD says totally rightly, "But it is important to understand that no matter how nice folks are to each other in the political arena, the important thing is to understand what people are advocating for in terms of policy."

    What "incivility" often does is either obscure or distract from, or often both, the actual substance of the disagreement.  Incivility pretty much by definition means either grossly distorting your opponent's position or throwing ad hominems at him/her for holding it.


    Unfortunately, this debate over (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kenosharick on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 08:32:38 AM EST
    civility has degenerated into "the left has used this tragedy to demonize the right."  That seems to be the dominant "meme" throughout the so-called mainstream media. This morning the uber-creepy brent bozell was on C-Span talking unchallenged about how the left has called for killing conservitives for years, something the right would "never do."

    I agree with him (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by andgarden on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 08:53:22 AM EST
    on the civility point and on the disagreement point, but I think he misses something: dismantling the welfare state (at least as it currently exists) is a minority position. The Republicans have to rely on "keep your government hands off my Medicare," because people like Medicare.

    Just because people like ... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:09:31 AM EST
    SS and medicare doesn't mean that there isn't a significant attempt on the right to dismantle these things.

    It means it's hard.  But that's why they use any technique to fight for it.


    It would be nice (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:21:47 AM EST
    if only the Republicans were intent on dismantling SS and Medicare. Currently, there is a bipartisan effort to accomplish this task with leadership in both parties and the media dedicated to this effort.

    Yes, Blue--an interesting NYT op-ed (none / 0) (#28)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 10:49:09 AM EST
    (side-by-side to the Krugman article) by Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor at National Review.  Mr. Ponnuru advises his Republican colleagues to stay away from Medicare and Social Security for, at least the next years, until a new president is elected. His warning recalls the defeats of Reagan in trying to cut social security, the fizzling of Gingrich's revolution when Clinton fought him on Medicare cuts, and the end of George W. Bush's political momentum when he tried to "reform" social security.  Republican efforts, he counsels,  should be directed at Medicaid because it is more politically vulnerable than Medicare or Social Security because everyone gets benefits.

    However, if President Obama delivers a "good faith"proposal for social security in his upcoming State of the Union, then by all means Republicans should jump on it and offer a serious counterproposal and negotiate. So hold back, unless there is a good chance of getting Obama's signature on the "reform".  My bet is on a nice proffer in the State of the Union and even nicer negotiations with Republicans.


    My bet is that Obama's (none / 0) (#42)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:38:09 PM EST
    proffer in the State of the Union and even nicer negotiations with Republicans will exceed their wildest dreams and our worse nightmares.

    Obama has an agenda and when it comes to SS, Medicare, other domestic safety net programs and public education, it is the same agenda as Wall St. and the Republicans.


    Yes, it is hard to cut Social Security (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:40:21 PM EST
    and Medicare.  On social security they keep getting the rug pulled out from them with those pesky Social Security Trust Fund Reports.  Even the Catfood Commission had to acknowledge that social security did not contribute to the deficit and that the "savings" from their reforms would stay with the program.

    Moreover, their recommendation that a key remedy for the "pressing" problem is to raise the eligibility age to 68 in 40 years (around 2050) and to 69 in 65 years (2075) seems to undermine the urgency of it all.  As for Medicare, a good whack has been given to it by the expectation of "savings" that will be enough to finance almost half of the health care act.

    Now, the best technique is the simplest: we need the money to pay interest to the Chinese on the loan to fund the tax cuts, including those for the richest of rich Americans.  Oh, and continue with misinformation and fear.


    They tried to bring in Smedley Butler (none / 0) (#16)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:33:22 AM EST
    because USMC Generals were known for their civility and comportment.

    Supposed to be a reply to #11. (none / 0) (#18)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:34:48 AM EST
    I agree, and I also think (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by dk on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:22:14 AM EST
    the distinction is less Republican v. Democrat as it is elite/leadership v. general public.  I mean, the actual legislation coming out of the last session of congress (not the rhetoric) shows that the Democratic leadership is fine with dismantling the welfare state (see health insurance bailout, wall street bailout, sham of financial regulatory reform, entrenching the Bush tax cuts, etc.).  

    That's not to say that there still aren't players in the Democratic party who want to maintain and expand the welfare state, but they don't control the party at this point.


    I think your point must be the focus (none / 0) (#23)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 10:10:03 AM EST
    when discussing any existing safety net programs if they are to be maintained. Current Democratic leadership is not going to save these programs because they are aligned with the Republicans to dismantle them. Different rhetoric - same objectives.

    Yep. The Repubs gave up a long time ago (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Buckeye on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:50:22 AM EST
    running against FDR (who they really want to run against) because it was a big loser for them.  But remember, they have not really embraced SS and medicare.  Thas is the heart of the "starve the beast" Norquist strategy...screaming about excessive spending while convincing Americans they should be able to keep what they earn finding any excuse to bring down taxes.  They hope that once America is at the brink of bankruptcy with Americans believing the problem is spending and not that we are not paying enough in taxes, they will eventually cry Uncle and start agreeing to SS and Medicare cuts.

    I sort of think that the civility (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 08:57:38 AM EST
    debate misses the point.  A point we keep missing in the face of many crises that we face as a nation.  The bottom line is that enlightenment does not come at the business end of a weapon.  You can't go to a place like Iraq, shoot the place up, get the people's fingers purple and expect those steps alone to create a flourishing democracy.  You can't go to Afghanistan and change thousands of years of traditional tribal politics by invading and engaging in war.  Our country can't change one direction or the other if all we are doing is shooting each other up.  It isn't like the Civil War changed people's minds at the time - it took decades for that division to heal - and in some ways it never did.  But there was plenty of death and destruction in that conflict - enough to prove that death and destruction doesn't resolve conflicts of ideas.

    Aside from all the basic reasons most people look poorly upon recent events, I reject rhetorical and literal gunplay because it simply does not work.  If anything it only serves to make people more rigid in their positions.

    In any case, I think that civility is a sideshow.  I don't care if someone is angry or passionate in their views.  I do care if they depart the arena of intellectual debate and instead attempt to pick a physical fight.

    I think digby's anecdote (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by lilburro on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:02:46 AM EST
    made a point similar to yours:

    I was at the drug store earlier today and a couple of guys were in there with guns strapped to their legs. They were speaking very loudly (and calmly, I must say) about their politics and the view that it was unfair to blame the Arizona shooting on gun owners. That's fine. They have right to say what they want. And I guess they have a right to wear guns to buy aspirin. But let's just say the combination pretty much ensures that nobody's going to disagree with them. For some reason that doesn't strike me as particularly heroic.

    And I wish people had made their apparent love for the ways of Deadwood clearer earlier, I would've liked another season or two of that show.


    Well, she's right that they won't (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:33:44 AM EST
    disagree with them when face to face with them armed - most won't anyway - but they didn't change her mind and wouldn't even if they drew their guns on her.  And if they did draw their weapons, she'd probably become even more ideological - and if they hurt her or someone she loves - then she'd be really angry, but she wouldn't likely change her mind about anything she believes in.

    In any case, people like Sarah Palin aren't trying to change our minds.  They are trying to inspire their "army" - trying to keep them interested and their passions inflamed.  Her video the other day was a message directed specifically at her troops - not a message to the nation as a whole.

    Most public personalities are afraid to address the real issue here - and it is not really about civility - it is much more about bullying and declarations of war against "The Government".  The anti-government types have nothing to lose.  Because they are all about total destruction, there are few places we can come to "agreement" unless we accept their view that total eradication of the government is an acceptable course.  These people have always existed in our society, but I am not sure that they've ever been quite this politically powerful - even the Confederates saw the value in creating their own government when they separated from the Union...


    I hate (none / 0) (#40)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:24:34 PM EST
    false equivalences, but we on the left do, as the righties point out, have a rather nasty habit of yelling "racism" or "hater" at the drop of a hat, and that's also a form of bullying.  Sometimes those terms are richly deserved, no question, but an awful lot of the time it's just a discussion ender.

    But it is not even that (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by me only on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 03:45:05 PM EST
    it is:

    "you hate the poor."

    "but what about the children."

    "Catfood Commission"


    Especially the last one.


    I would have said something. (none / 0) (#15)
    by observed on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:28:02 AM EST
    Maybe "thank god people carrying guns in public places have the right to express stupid opinions in loud voices"

    Digby's drugstore (none / 0) (#39)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:21:52 PM EST
    Man, she sees some weird people at check-out lines.  Remember the time she got into a dust-up with the cashier and two other customers about whether or not Social Security benefits could be inherited?

    Looking historically, there has not been (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:01:07 AM EST
    a history of civility, either between the Democrats and Republicans, the Democrats and the Whigs, even the Federalists and the Anti-federalists.

    The propaganda now are just get to us faster than the propaganda of the past.

    What worries me is that the level of discourse has declined to "Nyah, Nyah."

    Think about Virginia's John Randolph, on the House floor, describing Henry Clay:
    So brilliant, yet so corrupt, which, like a rotten mackerel by moonlight, shines and stinks."

    We're missing poetry and getting momma-bear references.

    Has the media ever been so concerned (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by observed on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:09:55 AM EST
    with "civility" in the past?
    I think the difference today is quite simple, which is that the corporate owners of the media drive the message in any way possible.
    Stressing "civility" over substance is a rather subtle way to be pro-Republican, IMO.

    What I mean is that just like the (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by observed on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:11:16 AM EST
    party guest who is rudest is most likely to complain about other people's rudeness, the uncivil Republicans are much more likely to make noise about Democrats' "incivility" than the other way around.

    It's been brought many times ... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:14:41 AM EST
    before.  Probably most recently in '92 connected with Buchanan and his followers.  And in the sixties the Left got accused of lacking civility.  And in the thirties.  And so on.

    It's been a running thread in American political discourse.


    Interesting. I only know it from the last (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by observed on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:21:49 AM EST
    few decades. I guess that Businessmen's Plot against FDR was planned very civilly.

    Of course (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:40:25 AM EST
    this is all true and it's why Obama's bipartisan strategy has been such a disaster for the country as well as the party.

    I simply don't understand why Obama and his minions don't realize how the GOP operates. Are they in such a bubble? Does Obama truly believe he is unique and has a special ability to work with the GOP? I do believe that Obama has surrounded himself with sycophants who are certainly no help to him but in the end he's the one who picked them.

    The answer could be as simple (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:46:59 AM EST
    as Obama and the Republicans both have the same objectives. All the rest is just kabuki.

    I don't think that he is (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 10:04:42 AM EST
    anti-government to the extent that they are at this time in history, though.  I also don't think that he is smart enough to understand that their objective in destroying Social Security and Medicare, in particular, is to make government so irrelevant to the people that support for "shutting the government down" will grow.  Social Security and Medicare are two very big impediments to that view taking a strong hold.  That's the lesson that Gingrich learned when he shut government down the last time.  He didn't learn that people need the programs - he just learned that they liked them and that their reliance on and fondness for those programs would be an obstacle to executing the radical grand plan of "drowning the federal government in a bathtub."  I don't think that Obama or many of the Democrats in leadership positions really understand what the plan is.  I also don't believe that Obama understands the value of FDR and Great Society programs.  A lot of people under 50 don't because most of us don't really remember what it was like before we had a social safety net in this country.

    Obama campaigned on SS (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 10:18:23 AM EST
    being in crisis and that he planned to put the program on the table.

    Whether or not he is quite as anti government as the Republicans will be pretty irrelevant if he is successful in dismantling SS and Medicare.  The severe negative effects on the poor, the old and the disabled will be the same.

    IMO he agreed to pursue this track in exchange for seed money, and Wall St. support in the primaries and the general election.


    Well, I would argue that (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 10:51:48 AM EST
    the negative effects of losing those two programs and the others that would subsequently fall by the wayside on all of us would be much more widespread and significant than people like Obama could possibly imagine.

    Obama will be a multi millionaire (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 11:18:38 AM EST
    Won't effect him or his family at all. Obama is more than capable of rationalizing that the widespread negative effects were the result of people not taking responsibility for their lives.

    I get the sense that you think (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 11:23:26 AM EST
    that I am cutting him a break or something.  Just to clarify, I am not.  I think it is a real problem that he doesn't have the imagination to see how much of an effect these moves he is planning will have on this country.

    He and his family will be fine.  His legacy, on the other hand, probably won't be.


    Yep. Its like BTD has posted about, there is a (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Buckeye on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 10:22:18 AM EST
    blind spot within the Democratic party in understanding the link between tax policy and the social safety net.

    What? (none / 0) (#35)
    by waldenpond on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 11:28:34 AM EST
    My reflex automatically includes elected officials and party operatives as the Dem party and excludes voters.  From this perspective, that is naive.  You can't expand your tent to include all comers and then act surprised when the members hold opposing views.  The Dem party has moved to the center right legislatively and the attitude that 'they just don't understand what they do' is infantilizing at best and providing dishonest cover at worst.

    It is no longer D v R.  It is liberal versus conservative (politically and media) and the D party has been infested and the liberal view is nearly non-existent.


    I would respectfully suggest (5.00 / 0) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:29:02 PM EST
    that accusing Obama of wanting to "dismantle" Social Security is entirely uncivil and makes it impossible to have a substantive discussion because it's such a grotesque exaggeration.

    Agitprop is not substantive argument.


    I stated accurately that the (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:42:49 PM EST
    Republican Party wants to dismantle Social Security.

    What I said about Obama is that I do not think he has a grasp on the full value of the social safety net and that he will as a result not hold a strong line against the GOP as they try to move the ball towards their goal posts.  There are too many indications that he is not entirely convinced of the importance of keeping those programs robust to ignore at this point.    Putting Alan Simpson on his deficit committee should have been a red flag for anyone that the federal insurance programs as we know them now are at risk under this Administration.  Sorry to offend you, but I think that the situation is pretty clear at this point.  Larry Summers and Tim Geithner would like nothing better than to be the guys who got the Social Security Trust Fund into the hands of Wall Street.  They would be heroes amongst their peers.


    You didn't, but MO Blue (none / 0) (#52)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 12:46:00 AM EST
    did.  That's the comment I intended to reply to.  My apologies.  I did not mean to accuse you of saying something you didn't say.

    I think this, however, "Larry Summers and Tim Geithner would like nothing better than to be the guys who got the Social Security Trust Fund into the hands of Wall Street" is false, and probably provably false, but I don't have the time to track down the details.

    So you're essentially doing the same thing MOBlue is, running on a narrative you've invented in your own head, rather than anything related to the facts that are in evidence.

    That's well within my definition of "uncivil" and more importantly, totally unhelpful.

    It's not a totally unreasonable concern, but it's certainly not a given, and to state it as fact is simply unfair and in exactly the same class as right-wing GOP rhetoric. "Obama wants a government takeover of private industry."

    You're engaged in mind-reading here without any evidence other than the fact that both men deal or have dealt extensively with Wall Street-- which anybody in their position would have to do.

    Just in case anybody might be confused, Geithner has never worked on Wall Street, and Summers only did so fairly briefly.


    The fact that you choose to ignore (none / 0) (#53)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 11:15:43 AM EST
    the actions of Obama and the Democratic Party that indicate that SS and Medicare is on the table and actions that cut benefits and severely weaken the programs have received the blessing of party leadership does not make your opinion indisputable fact. Fact: Obama campaigned on putting SS on the table. Fact: Obama chose to establish the Cat Food Commission by presidential order after it failed to receive cloture in the Senate. Fact: Many of the members that Obama chose for the commission are on record as strongly as dedicated to the dismantling of SS and Medicare. Fact: Even though SS does not contribute to the deficit, Obama's committee recommended cuts to SS benefits and raising the retirement age. Fact: Durbin, a senior member of Democratic leadership, is on record as saying he would vote for recommendations that include cuts to SS.

    Mind reading? (none / 0) (#54)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 09:15:09 AM EST
    No.  Summers was behing the repeal of Glass Steagall which was a huge giveaway to Wall Street.  Summers and Geithner both have been on record protecting the financial institutions from any moral hazards by continuing to shovel Treasury dollars into their pockets in order to cover their failures.  The next great conquest for Wall Street is the Social Security fund.  Privatizing that fund is the Holy Grail for Wall Street.  It may not have occurred to you, but it certainly has occurred to them that if that money was being managed not by the government, but by them, they would make fortunes.  Don't come crying to me when Obama and his Administration start talking about how dismantling government run Social Security will be a "job creator" - because that's coming and likely soon.

    Yes, and I will say it again they have the same (none / 0) (#31)
    by mogal on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 11:13:55 AM EST
    big (corporations)backers.

    Same backers! (none / 0) (#32)
    by mogal on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 11:15:23 AM EST
    Okay, so people disagree. Now what? (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 10:55:58 AM EST
    I can agree to disagree with someone else's views on social spending or abortion or whatever, but I expect the Democrats in Washington and in the White House to do more than politely and calmly discuss the finer points.  I would like to say that I expect them to take the action required to make policy and legislation based on what they believe - except I keep remembering that, at the moment, there seem to be quite a few (so-called) Democrats - including the one who currently occupies the White House - who have drunk the Norquistian Kool-Aid, and are hell-bent to fix things that aren't broken and pretend the government's budget has to be operated like yours and mine so they can slash away at whatever is left of the social safety net.

    So, maybe I do want them to just keep agreeing to disagree if that means that there will be a delay in ushering in The Age of Austerity.

    At this stage, I think there is less disagreement that the rhetoric makes it appear there is, because even though many of their Democratic colleagues are actually saying "Off-White" to the GOP's "White," the GOP is still hearing "Black," and responding accordingly.

    And, let's remember that, after all the shouting and impassioned declarations that there is no way Dems will countenance the unconscionable, draconian, inhumane, irresponsible, repressive, regressive, corporate-friendly, lobbyist-written, anti-democratic, insult-to-intelligence proposals made by Republicans, they do, after bravely extracting some generally meaningless "concession" which they proclaim proves their willingness to "fight" for the American people.

    Things get more bizarre by the day.

    Acceptance (none / 0) (#37)
    by waldenpond on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 11:45:47 AM EST
    Ha.... sounds like the stages of grief.  I have accepted that conservative delusion is in control right now.  Heck, everyone quoting the poll 'majority don't blame rhetoric for shooting' ignore in the same poll that 71% support defaulting on US debt.  I am at the point where I feel we just have to ride out the great stupid in this country.  In fact, with the push to have more private/charter elementary schools and private scam colleges, it can get even more skewed.

    I was reading some on collapsing societies.  I need to read more.  I find it interesting to watch what is happening to the US.


    I would assign our pols (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Towanda on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 11:41:30 AM EST
    required viewing of/listening to BBC broadcasts of Parliamentary proceedings.  Our pols need to learn the lovely snark of British pols.  "Ahem, my esteemed colleague from Warthole-on-Blivenshire has provided us with a brilliant, I say brilliant example, your lordships and ladies, of exactly why we need -- nay, indeed, are required by the lessons of the past as well as the lesson before us in this august assemblage -- to reject this proposal that only would further reduce the literacy of our populace, including our public servants such as he, blah blah blah."  

    So much better than "you're stupid, you lie, etc."

    Agreed (none / 0) (#46)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 02:02:52 PM EST
    I love listening to their debates, even when I haven't got a clue what they're talking about.

    I think it ends up being ... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 08:14:01 AM EST
    a circular argument.  Political debate will be what the people debating decide it is.  You can't enforce civility across the whole of society.

    I personally like a more civil debate.  One of the reasons I like moderated places like TL.  But that's just personal taste.  It seems a lot of people want something less constrained, and they have that option.

    America has a history of rough and tumble political discourse.  And that's worked fairly well so far.

    It's all about control (none / 0) (#26)
    by Saul on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 10:32:08 AM EST
    these days.  Today once one side loses either one, two or all of the three branches of government the only goal for the next two or four years is to win it back at all cost no matter who gets hurt or what is not done.  Eye on the prize is everything especially the White House.  Was it Lombardi that said
    "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

    What the people want or that the representative or senators was sent DC to represents the majority of his or hers constituency seems to be totally lost.

    More time is spent by representative and senators in getting reelected and raising money for reelection  while in office than doing the job they were sent to do by their constituency.

    A representative or senator will pay more attention to a special interest group, or lobbyist's interest than those of his own constituency. If 100 members of a representative or senators constituency  descends on DC seeking an audience with his or her representative or senator vs a lobbyist asking for the same audience like General Dynamics with tons of cash in their pocket, the representative or senator in most cases will give General Dynamics the audience before he gives it to the 100 members.  

    We argue more these days on the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of Congress.In this high tech age of instant communication do we really need Congress anymore?  I know, I know nothing will change but I can dream.

    Are you that clueless that you can't see (none / 0) (#27)
    by vicndabx on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 10:33:36 AM EST
    what a dumb idea that is?!?!

    Anectdotally, this is the vibe I've most often seen with pundits and politicians on the left.  It is also the vibe I think many on the opposite pick up - hence the "elitist" jab usually associated w/us.

    I agree people disagree, but first we have to respect one another - regardless of how far apart we may be w/our perspectives.  You can't talk about

    a fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government

    if the other side you wish to engage is offended by the other 80% your communication that is either non-verbal or has nothing to do w/the point you are trying to make.

    Better to walk away saying we agree to disagree, and let's continue to have our debate in the public sphere.  We're ahead in that regard anyway.  In spite of what Paul says in his column, the ideas offered up by Republicans are not new, the tactics are.

    Krugman and BTD missing the forest (none / 0) (#45)
    by pluege2 on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:49:21 PM EST
    republicans have no problem whatsoever with enormous gimungous government and are a terrific promoter of it. They prove that over and over, year after year. But they've successfully pulled the wool over even the sharpest analysts: right, left, or in the middle. In virtually everyone's mind, no one counts the military as part of the government. Here is an $800 billion PER YEAR wholly tax payer funded monstrosity, that is what 3,4,5 ... times more spending then the rest of the entire world combined!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Name one other thing that the US spends more than the rest of the world on, let alone multiples of that: not retirement, not healthcare,, not government employment, nothing. Among the rich nations of the world the US is one of the stingiest when if comes to government spending EXCEPT for military spending.

    It is US military spending that breaks the budget year after year after year, and its the republicans that instituted the game of chicken in which the military budget not can only go up, but actually MUST go up every year even in the worst of economic times.

    Not to disagree but add to (none / 0) (#47)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 02:08:39 PM EST
    the point...homeland security?  Drug wars?  Prisons?  Border protection?  

    Bob Somerby disagrees with Krugman (none / 0) (#48)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 02:09:39 PM EST