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Thursday, November 4, 2004

Advice for my party

Now that it's lost the White House (again), Congress (again), and most of the population across the country, why won't the Democratic Party (of which I am a member) come to the middle?

For the second straight election, the strategy was, "Stick to the party line. Just get the faithful to the polls. If we get the turnout, we'll win." And again, it obviously didn't work. Even with a record turnout this time. "The cell phone crowd and the college kids will pull it out for us." Didn't happen. Too many young Republicans.

Why do the Democrats nominate a guy like John Kerry, the ultimate Wooden Massachusetts Liberal? Next time, will it be Hillary Clinton, who will scare even some of this year's blue states into red?

The party needs to come to the middle. Now. Geographically as well as ideologically. It may lose some of the Naderites and Greens, but if it picked up a few states in the Midwest and Southwest, it would be well worth the disruption. And on the national level, how much worse can things get for the Democrats than where we are right now?

Get Teddy Kennedy into a retirement community. Banish Al Sharpton. Send Kucinich on an all-expenses-paid around-the-world goodwill tour. One that lasts indefinitely.

Howard Dean as party chair? Give me a break! At least let's have somebody like Gephardt or Edwards, who stands a chance of bringing back some of the middle-class working people. Let's face it, the swing voters don't like gays, foreigners, abortions, taxes, or lawyers, and they love their guns. Start talking to them, or keep losing.

I'm tired of losing. It's the responsibility of the party to nominate candidates and espouse views that are going to win the crucial elections.

Yes, it's being the lesser of two evils, and just evil enough to prevail.

Why can't the Democratic Party figure that out any more?

Move the party headquarters to Kansas City. Immediately. I'm serious.

Comments (40)

that, my friend, is why i could not vote for him. But don't worry, i didn't vote for Bush, either. Nor did i write in Alice Cooper. I had to express my disdain at the choices by voting on one of the other parties. I'm pretty disgusted with the Democratic party right now. I changed my party affiliation over it.

It seems the second attempt at Coasting on Clinton was a failure. I hope they don't try it again.

Marching Hillary out there in 2008 will be another big mistake, but I'm afraid it will probably happen. In that case, I'll be going over to the red side. Both parties need to move toward the middle, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

I almost always agree with you, but not this time.

What am I supposed to tell my gay friends who are literally weeping over being declared less than human in eleven states? That they are too much political baggage for me, and can therefore go to hell? That it would be nice if I could continue to loudly proclaim their entitlement to civil rights, but it's interfering with the electability of my party's candidate, so . . . too bad, so sad, you'll have to continue being unable to visit your dying partner in the hospital?

What are women who fear for their bodily integrity supposed to do? Shut up, agree to illegal-except-rape-and-incest, and hope that we can at least get somebody who won't hurt the economy?

I'm not sure I entirely understand what you're advocating, but I don't think walking away from the ideals that 55 million people still believe in and voted for is the answer. The Democratic Party already IS in the middle. The Democratic Party doesn't even advocate gay marriage; all it does is advocate civil unions. It doesn't even advocate increases in money to help poor people. It can barely be bothered to put up a fight against the terrifying Department of Justice. If it goes any farther to the right, it will be capitulating completely.

I live in Minnesota. We turned out in huge numbers and voted for Kerry, and gave a thrashing to a Republican state legislative majority. Rumors of the death of the American progressive are greatly exaggerated. As much as I'd like it if the rest of the country had done the same, I would shop for a new party if the Democrats were to tell my uncle's partner -- who nursed him through pancreatic cancer until the day he died -- that they, too, would relegate him and his humanity and his relationship to second-class status. Or if they were to tell me to be quiet about choice because it hurts us with Ohio's fundamentalist Christians.

I think it's the opposite. I think the Democrats need to stop being such pasty, compromising, bland high-road-takers and start calling out some of this civil-rights-destroying, fiscally irresponsible, globally dangerous crap out for what it is. Enough.

Your criticism of your party is a mirror image of my criticism of mine, particularly the Oregon branch. You need a right turn, we need a left turn. Why does the GOP fail to capture any state offices? Why do democrats continue to hold all the city and county offices (even though the races are "non partisan")? Simple. Only a moderate Republican can win state-wide, but we can't get one through the primary process because of the power of the far right. So, on a state level, we can say to the GOP "moderate or continue to lose". Ironic, isn't it?

Jack, usually I like your political comments, but not this one.
If the way for my party to win is to pander to all the idiots who think discrimination is alright, abortions are a mortal sin, taxes are wrong (even though clearly needed), and guns are for kids I'D RATHER LOSE.
Lyndon Johnson was prescient when he said giving Civil Rights to blacks would turn the South from the Democrats. Given that's the case, do you REALLY want those voters?

"Let's face it, the swing voters don't like gays, foreigners, abortions, taxes, or lawyers, and they love their guns. Start talking to them, or keep losing"

Ooookay. And this would be the lesser of two evils by being one step behind the Evil Party as the run to the bottom? _We've already god the lesser of two evils_: The USA is disappearing people, but that's okay because we just torture them, we don't throw them out of airplanes! The USA is torturing people, but that's okay because we don't feed them through wood chippers!

And, politically, it doesn't really work. The Democratic Party has been heading for the center since Reagan won, and it doesn't seem to have made much difference. The center keeps moving right, you see, and today's center will be painted as creeping socialism by the Evil Party tomorrow.

Kansas City? Too lefty. Shreveport, perhaps.

Amen, Linda.
The Dems are already in the middle, leaning right. I already feel a little sell-out-ish voting for Kerry after he rejected gay marriage, promised huge increases in military spending, and avoided serious discussion of civil rights abuses and poverty during his campaign.

If you can't tell the candidates apart and the candidates are both spewing bigoted hawkish rhetoric, there's no lesser of two evils, there's just evil. There's no progress, only hollow "victories."

Shifting a "liberal" candidate's platform to the right is easy but wrong. Working at the local and grassroots level for larger social and cultural progress and educating right-leaning folks is harder, but it will eventually (I hope/I believe) bring people to the left and it will put a truly progressive Dem (or a Green, someday) in the White House.

Gay people have not been declared "less than human" in 11 states. I'm all for giving people civil unions which give them the rights of married couples, but most Americans believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. Gay people want me to call them "normal", but my religious beliefs tell me otherwise. The left wing wants to shove tv images of men tongue kissing other men after a "wedding" down my throat, and it turns most of America off. Their desire for me to acknowledge them as normal is a lost cause, and middle America feels the same way.

I don't care what Rosie O'Donnell thinks, and neither do those in the red states. I don't think the Ashcrofts are out to get you, and I don't particularly care what the Frenchies think. I have never offered my opinion on French or England's elections,and I don't particularly care to hear them comment on ours. If you don't like those running the Department of Justice, there's always another election in 4 years and two months.

I'm sure Hillary, Rosie, Sharon Stone, Al Franken,NOW, and that great intellectual Sean Penn will have won over Middle America by then.
Cause I think Bob Dylan voted Republican.The times they are a changing...

I want to clarify that I'm not against "lesser of two evils" voting when it comes to that. You won't see me lodging protest votes on the theory that Kerry's "no better" than Bush -- hell, Kerry would have been ACRES better than Bush. That's why I voted for him. The idea that there's no difference between the candidates is just silly. What I'm saying is that in terms of long-term direction of the party, I don't think blowing off civil rights issues and so forth is the answer.

And Gary, obviously, you and I disagree. I believe that your brand of hateful bigotry is destined for the scrap heap, and will one day rightly be viewed with the same national embarrassment with which we now view Jim Crow and the treatment of women as property. You believe that brand of hateful bigotry can, for the first time in the history of the United States, successfully oppress a category of human beings who have already made substantial inroads toward legal equality. This country has never started down the road to full legal rights for anyone and then stopped midstream; it won't now, either. The entire reason why there is suddenly a surge toward anti-gay-marriage amendments is that the freaky, gay-hating wing of the Republican party knows that the center isn't holding, and is well aware that in a generation, the idea that a man kissing a man is something that offends God will be viewed as quaint, much like the view that God wants you to own slaves is today. They are trying to institutionalize the one thing they still think they have, which is that you are correct to say that the majority is not yet in favor of gay marriage, and they hope that by clinging to that, they can end the civil rights movement for gays and lesbians.

That will not happen. I am right, you are wrong, and time will prove it. This battle is already lost with Americans under about 30 -- they grew up with "Will and Grace" and Pedro Zamora and the Indigo Girls already being part of the cultural landscape, and they know better than to give a rip who you sleep with. There are plenty of young fiscal conservatives and plenty of young military hawks, but the young homophobic demographic is teeny, and in twenty years, this ain't going to be an issue. All I'm trying to do is keep my gay and lesbian friends from suffering in the meantime.


I concur with everything you've already said so well. Personally, I don't care about finding common ground with people who can be motivated to vote on the basis of anti-gay messages that Rove & Co. put forth. The Republican party is not entirely composed of socially conservative whack-jobs, so there's still hope that we can move this country forward without sacrificing the inclusiveness that our party is all about.

Losing an election 51-49 is hardly a call that the Democratic Party needs to move more to the right. I don't think John Kerry lost because of his policies, I think he lost because of salesmanship. Democrats need to improve the way they talk to the American people. They don't need to adopt policies that are more centrist, they just need to learn how to sell their policies better.

Republicans convinced social conservatives that the left was trying to threaten their values by allowing gay marriage. Nobody was trying to pass a pro-gay marriage statute. Both John Kerry and George Bush support civil unions. The only difference in their positions was that Bush supported a federal gay marriage amendment that had no chance of passing.

I'm all for giving people civil unions which give them the rights of married couples, but most Americans believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. Gay people want me to call them "normal", but my religious beliefs tell me otherwise.

So why should the government adopt your religious beliefs and shun others'? When the government issues a marriage license to a heterosexual couple, it's not a seal of approval that the union is approved by God. It's simply a legal designation that carries with it a set of rights, privileges, and obligations. It seems that the only beef with gay marriage is the use of the word "marriage." Let's just call them all civil unions, because that's what they are. Let the churches use their own definitions of marriage. Why should the government adopt one particular moral definition?

Thank you so much, Linda. To suffer the hatred of the right wing day in and day out is hard enough, but what really hurts is to be shot from behind by a member of my own team.

In his latest Salon article, Sidney Blumenthal calls this type of sniping the Democrats' "ritual circular firing squad of recriminations." What could be even more empowering to Republicans than to watch us disintegrate into a mob of infighting hypocrites? What, now that the voting is over, we take off our pandering-hats and blame the people whose votes we courted?

I would like to remind Jack that it was not gays who initiated those ballot measures. When the few local governments around the nation decided to offer their citizens a breath of oxygen, a bittersweet taste of equality, is he suggesting that gay people should have stayed home and kept their mouths shut?

Either Democrats believe in equality, or they don't. At least with the Republicans, I know where I stand. Get rid of the Kennedys and the Kucinichs and the Deans and the Sharptons, and you have finally lost the last shred of soul the party has left. You might win an election, but how would you sleep at night?

Well, now, wait. I wouldn't go as far as that. I understand what Jack's saying, and I don't think it's at all intended to hang the same-sex couples out to dry. I just think that would be the effect. It's a horrible dilemma; a lot of Democrats feel the same way right now, that it's Move Right Or Die, and . . . maybe that's true. But I think it's too early to conclude that the country is irretrievably lost unless you give up on gay rights and abortion rights and such.

I think (and I apologize if it's presumptuous) that Jack's views on it are clearly nuanced, as you can see if you read this entry adn then the one just below it.

How is that someone who believes in the Christian teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman "hateful"? Is the Pope hateful? Are the Christian missionaries hateful? Are Christian volunteers in AIDS wards of hospitals hateful?

Why do liberals always feel free to characterize dissenting opinions in terms of evil and hate. I don't hate gay people, nor do I live in evil ways.We disagree, but I would not come to the conclusion that your views are the result of an evil heart. You actually sound like Louis Farakan denouncing groups of people as being "wicked" when you call people "hateful bigots".

Children call each other names when they don't get there way. Kerry lost and democracy will give you another chance in four years and two months.

i actually agree a little with Jack. The dems need a spankin in the upper echelons. kerry was put in the position by mccauliffe and friends. now, mind you, i think dean would have been pummeled. and i think hilary will be pummeled. the only ones who watned dean and hilary are the internet pundits and we saw how far they got last primary season. dean didn't win anything.

the dems do need to regroup - if that means modifying the agend that hasn't been re-evaulated for 21st century culture, then let's do it. further, we really need to start talking to the south and find a leader who can work with the south - edwards? maybe. he just needs to grow up a little more and get some age wrinkles.

let's not get nasty on the Gay marraige issue. welcome to america where our leadership states at debates that he listens to god for his decisions. what do you expect from the populous. it's only 1 defeat - yes it sucks and i hate it - but there is another election in a year...


Bush did not win this election by running to the middle. He started running hard right in November 2000 and basically never stopped.

The Republicans have a few significant advantages. They have more money, but perhaps more important, they are quite homogenous. They are also more disciplined, and tend to avoid cannibalism, but this may be in large part due to their homogeneity.

War. Taxes. Marriage.

It's a simple message, and it's backed up by fervor, not conciliatory, mealy-mouthed rhetoric. Their base gets out because they believe.

At the end of the day--and this is what is decisive for me on the question we're discussing here--politics should be about policy, not about winning. Winning satisfies a few selfish emotions and helps to repair any gaps in self-esteem, but the point of our civic life ought to be our work, not our status.

I have an unshakeable belief that everyone in the world deserves equal respect before the law. I also believe firmly that the vast majority of people will see and act on the good in others, if given half a chance.

I cannot bow down, out of fear of losing, and accept a strategy that implicitly accepts the notion that one person's life means less than another.

It makes my blood boil to even contemplate acquiescing to a coalition of interests that tolerates and occasionally promotes the idea that war between certain civilizations is inevitable and even desirable. National security may be the veneer of this administration's preemption policies, but there is a dark and mutant heart of prejudice beating within--there can be no doubt that a part of Bush's base is fueled by a hatred and fear of Muslims. Our popular discourse often assumes that we know what Muslims want, and how they think, which is prima facie evidence that we don't understand.

And my head and my heart ache when I think about the extent to which we are cashing out the Treasury right now, satisfying our short term impulses, with no regard (or perhaps even understanding) of the situation we leave to the next generations.

These ideas of ours--that everyone is equal under the law, that people have the capacity for good, and that we owe it to future generations to leave the world a better place than we found it--have a pretty proud history. We may lose elections by sticking to our principles, but by sticking to our principles we'll be able to live with ourselves.

Brother Gary--I'm just curious. How do you feel about heteros who remarry after divorce? Do you think that they should only be entitled to "civil unions," too? Because the Bible condemns remarriage in broader and more frequent terms than it does same sex relationships, yet most evangelicals I know (including my MIL, who is working on marriage number FOUR right now, yet who still feels free to judge those in same sex relationships) aren't presuming to judge those who remarry the way they do those who are in same sex relationships. What can drive this disconnect except for prejudice against gays? And what is selective subscription to some biblical precepts except bias, which must be driven by a feeling that being gay is "icky," while being remarried is something that a hetero (and, according to a recent study, more evangelical Christian heteros than non-evangelical heteros) has a reasonably good chance of doing? And what underlies that feeling of "ick" except hate, to a greater or lesser degree?

Linda, I apologize if I misunderstood your position. I read your comments as a voice of empathy for a group of people who are feeling maligned from every side these days. I just cannot express the depth of pain it causes me to read here (and elsewhere) commentary from Democrats suggesting gays cost the election.

And Brother Gary, you're right. Words like 'hatred' and 'bigotry' are shrill and only cloud the discussion. I should have used more thoughtful prose, and in the future, I will. In my defense, I used the word 'hate' because I truly do feel hated, but framing my response in emotional, reactionary language does nothing to further your understanding.

Debbie, you didn't misread me as empathetic -- I am. And gays did not cost the Democrats the election. There is a possibility that creaky old prejudices were inflamed in a way that was ultimately effective in getting votes, but that doesn't mean that gays cost anybody anything, any more than women cost the Democrats elections where abortion is an issue, or African-Americans cost the Democrats the south after the Civil Rights Act. Gay people don't owe anybody any explanations, and I totally regret it if you're putting up with that anywhere. That's not how I read Jack, for what it's worth.

brother gary,
They are hateful Christians because they are injecting their religious beliefs deeply into the operation of our country. I'm happy to be a Christian, but I am also wise enough to remember the great words that ours is a nation of Laws. When Christians start legislating their religion in a manner that discriminates against the rights of others to peaceably assemble (and what is a more-peaceable assembly than a marriage between two loving people?), then they are being blatantly hateful and need to be called on it.

At the end of the day--and this is what is decisive for me on the question we're discussing here--politics should be about policy, not about winning.

This is the real problem I have with the party. "We're right about everything, and we'd rather be out of power than compromise any of our principles."

Well, wait 'til you see the Supreme Court in four years. You may have some second thoughts about that.

If it's not a crime to think at that point.

Thanks, Linda. And yes, I agree. Jack's comments seem to be about reframing the debate, about changing the way those red states view our issues. That would be one thing. But I do believe that moving this party any further right would cede already hard-won ground. If the Dems are willing to do that for votes, maybe they should just go ahead and do it. Trouble is, would the votes they gain make up for the increasingly alienated votes on the left that they would lose?

I think it's true that the Dems would benefit from moving toward the center on some issues (so would the Republicans).

It's a double-edged sword, politically. Once parties move towards eachother, they lose their identity and become increasingly susceptible to the allegation that they are merely different versions of the same thing. If all a person has to choose from is Coke and Pepsi, 7-Up starts looking pretty good, and the bigs have to be concerned (admittedly not too concerned) about lending legitimacy to the Greens, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, etc. that it doesn't matter which big party candidate you vote for because they'll do the same thing. Unfortunately, you will always see the big parties polarizing our nation on cultural/economical/moral/philosophical/international issues through the elections, and every four years our country will turn again into a pair of mobs saying mean things about eachother as opposed to really debating the issues. That appears to be what the parties rely on.

I agree, also, with Jack's assertion that the Dems need to front a non-New England candidate in the next election. I don't see a red state voting for a blue candidate unless (like Clinton) that candidate is one of their's. How much better would the Dem's have done if Edwards had run?

And do you think that he'll be a viable candidate next time, now that he's going to be out of office for awhile?

I think what some people fail to realize is the winning is about policy. Here, President Bush's policies won out over the policies of John Kerry. There are various policies that come under the respective candidates but the collection of policies for Bush matched the voting calculus of more people in this election.

We have to understand that people have different formulas for making decisions with certain issues having more weight than others and in an election the candidate is trying to find out which combination of policies will result in election. Yes, candidates will try and manipulate the weights people give various policies but in the end it is the voters' decision. By failing to understand this--and I think many people on this blog fail to understand this--what results is this attitude of right and wrong, good and bad, and what it should be is that "I disagree with these policies, but I respect that you have a differing political opinion." This is tolerance. We cannot force people to accept and agree with our opinions. Otherwise, division will still occur with the vitriol that it has this election cycle.

Edwards would have been good this time. I think he's got the "loser" stamp on him now, though. He's done. A book tour, then I don't know what. He doesn't need a real job.

No, The New York Times managed to get a small photo of Hillary onto the cover this morning. That's who it's likely going to be in '08.

You won't be staying up late to see the results in that election. Jeb or Giuliani will kick her a*s halfway to Afghanistan.

I wouldn't vote for her, so the Mrs. and I would cancel each other out.

For what it's worth, I don't agree with the "it's about policy, not winning." Jack, you're 100 percent right that if you don't win, you're just talking to each other.

My point is only that there are certain things that I think are worth continuing to support, both because they are, to me, fundamentally moral issues as opposed to just policy choices, and because I don't think it's necessary to abandon them yet. Even Gary, for crying out loud, doesn't have a problem with civil unions, and Gary thinks boys kissing boys is extremely gross. I don't think the Democrats need to stop supporting civil unions -- which is all, after all, Kerry did -- in order to be competitive.

I wouldn't have told the Democrats to abandon civil rights in the 1960s because it was going to lose them the south; I don't think we'd be a better country if they had. I believe that Kerry's position WAS the majority position on both abortion and gay rights, and I don't think it's necessary to change the party's position on those issues.

I do think it's important for Democrats to stop being embarrassed to admit that indeed there ARE moral issues, and there is right and wrong, and to stop sounding like they're squeamish about people voting based on their "values," because I vote based on my values, too. Everybody does. The Democrats have allowed the word "values" to be hijacked by people who use it to mean "evangelical Christianity," and they need to sack up and make people step off.

What the democratic party needs to do to get back in the race isn't to become more evangelical, anti-abortion, seal the borders, hate the gays, repeal civil rights, and love Lars Larsen. But it does need to become more accepting and tolerant of the private sector which generates all the resources for everything society provides.

It's no accident that the red states increased their votes in the electoral college from 271 to 278, while the blue states declined from 267 to 260. People have been voting with their feet to states with greater economic opportunity and lower taxes and fewer regulations. That's one of the reasons why Florida went from barely red in 2000 to bright red this year (and 2 more electoral votes), and why Ohio almost switched from red to blue.

Agree w/ Jyah13. Unfortunately, the same candidate can have some policies you strongly agree with, some you strongly don't. A policy debate is, therefore, pie in the sky, because it's gonna end up always coming to the parties speaking to idealogies and vagueries and down-playing specifics.

Besides, with the average attention span, would the majority of Americans have the patience to sit through a long discussion of specific and dry policy discussion, as opposed to the usual bomb-throwing?

So, since Edwards is washed-up (though I'm sure he'll give it a go) and Hillary doesn't pass the bojack smell-test, who'd be a good Dem candidate? And if it was Hillary vs. random republican, would you still not vote for her Jack?

That is, agree with Jyah philosophically...

Why GWB won:

1. Almost everybody hates the stuffy image of Massholes;

2. Almost everybody distrusts lawyers;

3. Almost everybody distrusts long-term politicians;

4. Almost everybody distrusts people who sound smart; and

5. Almost nobody keeps track of what's happening outside thier own lives.

Therefore, the recipe for democratic success is catastrophically simple: tall, dark, handsome, straight, 50-something, one-woman man, farmer or rancher, no lawyers on the ticket, former military, no government experience or 1-term or less senator or governor, from a red state in the middle, independent, openly Christian, doesn’t sound smart or rich, can spin a good yarn to take people’s minds off their problems.

I would argue that Johnson's fear of the political consequences of looking weak in Vietnam caused him much bigger problems than the civil rights legislation. Nixon's silent majority was probably reacting against the chaos fueled by the Vietnam War protests more than MLK.

You can certainly argue that Clinton was strategic in backing welfare reform and NAFTA, and strategy is essential--everything in moderation--but a gifted candidate speaking from her or his heart has the best chance of connecting with voters on an emotional level. I do think that people make informed decisions, but for the most part I think it's their gut and their heart doing the informing, not their brains.

And don't think that I'm suggesting that we forget about the vital center--not at all. I'm suggesting the best way to hold the center is to speak from our hearts, based upon our strong beliefs, in clear ways that will resonate with people.

To paraphrase Arthur Schlesinger, the fight is for democracy, and the center is where people are stronger than isms, parties, and corporate entities. Our values supporting freedom are stronger than theirs, and this is our real base.

There is no balance between liberal and conservative, right or left. There is no line. No seesaw. It's a fabrication, and trying to put yourself in the middle of that road just leaves you run over.

We should vote for what we want truly want our society to be, from our deepest feelings and hopes. The alternative is to give into doubt and fear, which is certainly a possible outcome--I think it just happened--but it's not how I want to live.

Jack, if it's winning you want, that's easy: vote GOP. I mean, that's a whole lot less trouble than, you know, trying to reform the Dems and all that.

Democrats lose because they are constantly telling the 77% of Americans that are Christians that they are bigots for their morality, and that they are stupid for believing a fictional man in the sky. You are intentionally alienating a large portion of the electorate. And then you wonder why you aren’t winning.

I remember in Law School a female classmate asking “[Evil Dave] are you a Republican?” Everyone at the table laughed. My response was, “I am a heterosexual white male. The Democrats have made it very clear to me they don’t want me.”

As an aside, I really want an explanation of how Jack is both Catholic and Democrat. The values of each club seem mutually exclusive.

When I, or someone else, tells you that you have a problem, as Jack said, the response is "We're right about everything” and you are a racist, evil, bigot who is too stupid to agree with us.

Now I admit, in much the same way some Democrats refuse to give up the Vietnam War, I refuse to give up the 80s PC movement. I refuse to vote Democrat because they alienated me. So, that colors my analysis. But to win an election you have to get people to like you. Constantly blaming your loss on “ignorant, red-necks in the South and Mid-West” is not the way to get people in the Mid-West and South to like you or vote for you.

I don’t think you have to abandon your moral position and adopt the Right’s position in order to get elected. But, you might want to think about treating the opposition with respect and understanding, as opposed to name calling, discrimination, and stereotyping. Above all, abandon the hysterics.

Now for a slight topic change:

You claim that the Church wants to shove their morality down your throat, and then shove your morality down theirs. When you shove gay rights down people’s throats via the court, people react.

You are right, Democrats are highly likely to win the gay marriage issue via the legislatures in 30-40 years. If it occurs via the legislatures people will have had a chance to debate and get their opinions heard, win or lose. If you do it via judicial fiat, people will feel angry that they had no say in the process, and we’ll have the same culture war over the next 50 years we are currently having over abortion. Fortunately, the abortion culture war is winding down. I see no need to start a new one.

There is also the idea of calling anyone a hateful bigot if they don’t believe that the acme of morality is for their son to grow up gay, and their daughter to grow up lesbian. Once again, alienating the majority of the country is not going to get you elected. Changing an idea that has been relatively constant in humanity for 6,000 years is not a trivial thing. You might get further if you treat the people who you are asking to change with respectful disagreement, as opposed to unmitigated hatred.



And for the record, I am an atheist, pro-abortion, and am apathetic concerning gay marriage, but I have a huge problem with the Separation of Powers issues of abortion and gay marriage coming about via the courts. (Of course, I hold with the Contract Theory of Constitutional interpretation. So…)

I am tired of hearing people gay-bash and then say that "I'm not a bigot, I just don't want some judge telling me gay marriage is okay. It's about separation of powers." Blah, blah, blah. That's what judges do. They protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. That IS the separation of powers. When you take civil rights from citizens, judges step in. Or you can go ahead and change the constitution. That doesn't make it any less bigoted. So to the extent that you feel hurt and angry that you are called a bigot, as long as you are intolerant of those that differ and refuse to give them equal rights, you are a bigot. If the shoe fits ...

Actually, I'm thinking of switching to Republican and trying to work from within to change that party. On the national level, it would be easier and more effective.

>>> Actually, I'm thinking of switching to Republican and trying to work from within to change that party. On the national level, it would be easier and more effective.

Noooooooooo!!! We've just taken control. Don't ruin our party, too.

Hilary, maybe she'll solve your problem. Or Edwards. Just look at that hair. Who could vote against him? Or Bill Richardson . . . that's the ticket. And don't forget Harry Reid, he'll be a great Senate Minority Leader.

Please, don't abandon your party. Remember the Red Sox!

Would it be wrong for me to call out racism as hateful bigotry? Swastikas? Is that hateful bigotry? Because people have justified those positions with religious fervor just as genuine as that driving the deeply disturbing war on gay and lesbian people that went on on Tuesday.

I feel exactly the same way about people who think gay people are "abnormal" that I do about people who think black people are "abnormal." Exactly the same way. You tell me only white people are normal, that's bigotry. You tell me only straight people are normal, that's bigotry.

Of course you don't have to agree, but I don't have to pretend I believe that's anything but what it is, which is irrational prejudice against people who are different from you. I don't hate you. I shake my head at you and look forward to the day your attitude will be relegated to the scrap heap of history, but I don't hate you.

There's treating people with respect, and then there's allowing deeply offensive things to go unchallenged. I'm not doing the second one anymore.

Telling democrats they should move toward the right is like saying, let's all go hang off the cliff because republicans jumped off it - shows we're thinking alike.

Wrong is wrong. We need to call the religious right out and do whatever it takes to correct the wrong - and the religious right are wrong!


I would like to post this as one voice from the non-Judeo-Christian-Muslim part of the USA and the world. :-) Let me state that I am a born again and again AND AGAIN Budhist. I am a native Texan and was born into a Southern Baptist
tradition (my mother's church). Over the 20 first years of my life I read and studied and meditated and ultimately "converted" to Budhism in university. I won't go into the particulars of why I believe and think as I do (part of it may be due to being a theoretical physicist???), but I am concerned about government not being kept seperate from ANY religion, MINE INCLUDED. Maybe that's a critical difference between Eastern and Western Religions/Theologies/Philosophies? But it would never occur to me to wish to impose my beliefs on others. I don't need to convince others of the validity of the philosophy I have chosen in order to deal with my own inevitable doubts. Maybe that's what makes "true believers" so angry:
they need to blungeon others into confirming their believes? I don't know, honestly. Anyway, I turned MY back on the so-called Western religions BECAUSE of the division, the hatred, and the superstitious dogma. Look at history. As a Buddhist I believe I AM what I do and think and feel. There is no "get out of your responsibility free" card. If one hates, one dwells in darkness. Looking at the things that can really be ascribed to Josuah bar Joseph, his teachings were much like those of Budha. The hatred comes from somewhere else. I'm fairly sure this will fall on deaf ears, but one never knows. :-)


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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
MarchigĂĽe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
GascĂłn, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
MarchigĂĽe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria DermoČ—t - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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