Pharyngula

That’s easy to say in San Francisco

Mark Morford has an exceptionally optimistic — dare I say, “triumphal” — article on the collapse of the religious right today. People are reacting (in the right way, so far) to the tremendous damage the Bush presidency has done to our prestige, our security, our economy, our rights, and the legacy we’ll leave to our children, and every reasonable person that Morford knows is reveling in the growing political morbidity of the Republican party. And it was all so inevitable.

But when you come right down to it, the Great Truism has been validated once again: Righteous fundamentalism, be it Christian, Islamic, or otherwise, has the seeds of its own destruction built right into its very framework, a priori and de facto and by default. Powered by the deeply joyless engines of fear and shame, it can never quench its own impotent desires.

He also points out that the response of the Right to their impending irrelevance is an escalation — they are demanding more adherence to their puritanical and repressive dogmas, widening the disconnect between liberal ideals and conservative shackles.

We’re waiting for a lot of chickens to hatch, though. I’m a little worried.

I’m not seeing a lot of movement away from the failed policies of the neo-cons out here in the most emphatically non-San-Francisan midwest. George W. Bush is being regarded as a personal failure, and people are looking for a new neo-conservative savior — they aren’t changing their minds, they’re busy shifting blame. Look at the Republican presidential field, and what you see is the dark eye of mindless chaos looking back at you…and people will vote for one of those chthonic goblins in the next election.

Look at the Democrats. Oh, god, don’t bother — it’s like staring into a vat of jellyfish. If the Religious Right is scuttling back into the darkness in defeat as Morford says, why aren’t some opportunistic Democrats leaping up to harry them off? Is it because they’re all incredibly stupid? Because they’re cowed? Or is it because the system has been crippled to the point where it doesn’t work anymore, when even faced with a power vacuum the ‘opposition’ is tied in place by money and corruption?

Let’s not fool ourselves. Righteous fundamentalism also has its own strengths: simplistic answers, deep if misplaced convictions, and the willingness to act ruthlessly. It also has the great power to turn shame into anger, and right now they’re in embarrassing defeat. One terrorist attack, one economic disaster, and they’re back — armed and willing to do murder for the cause of their immortal soul.

Comments

  1. #1 Kurt
    September 21, 2007

    Is the US and Canadian dollar trading on parity also considered a sign of this right wing apocalypse?

  2. #2 Allen
    September 21, 2007

    it’s like staring into a vat of jellyfish.

    I don’t get it. There’s nothing better than looking into a vat full of jellyfish. ‘course it’s my job. . .

  3. #3 SeanH
    September 21, 2007

    I think you hit it on the head with “tied in place by money and corruption”, PZ. I think you’re being a bit unfair to jellyfish though. A jellyfish is at least interesting.

  4. #4 Caledonian
    September 21, 2007

    Or is it because the system has been crippled to the point where it doesn’t work anymore, when even faced with a power vacuum the ‘opposition’ is tied in place by money and corruption?

    Careful, PZ. You’re starting to sound like me.

  5. #5 bearguin
    September 21, 2007

    To comment #1, Maybe.

    But it is a sure sign that there is something wrong with your country.

    Might be the billions being flushed down the toilet on that war thing you’ve got going but I still think the US economy is in bad shape for a few reasons, not the least of which is the current admin.

    Won’t last, I know, but means I can get stuff for my boat cheaper for a while.

  6. #6 PZ Myers
    September 21, 2007

    I like jellyfish, too. No one would consider them forthright advocates for political principle, though.

  7. #7 Bruce Anderson
    September 21, 2007

    Any terrorist attack on America will be undoubtedly be the fault of us atheists (and homoseculars and commies). God uses these incidents to show that we’re wrong and to bring us back into the fold. Simple answers are the easiest way for them to maintain their tenuous grasp on reality.

  8. #8 Richard
    September 21, 2007

    Mark Morford is a terrific writer, but as you say, he may be a little too optimistic here. If I remember correctly, Bush got 12% of the vote in the great city of San Francisco — I’m sure things look just a little different in the midwest and south.

  9. #9 Ric
    September 21, 2007

    Again, you’ve waxed exceptionally eloquent. Nice essay, PZ.

  10. #10 Caledonian
    September 21, 2007

    I suspect part of the problem here is that for a long time, the Democratic party hasn’t actually had any positions of its own to attract voters – instead, it merely presents itself as the only viable alternative to the Republicans, which its voting bloc views as even worse.

    Put in a situation where they have the opportunity to enforce their positions instead of merely opposing the Republicans, the Democrats have no positions to enforce.

  11. #11 Ray S
    September 21, 2007

    I’m reminded of the ‘debate’ staged by Saturday Night Live during the 1988 election. Dana Carvey did his impression of Bush the elder speaking in nothing but vapid soundbites. Jon Lovitz, as Michael Dukakis, quips ‘ I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy!’ American presidential politics has long been a question of who to vote against, rather than who to vote for, with the voters acting mostly, if not completely, out of emotion or possibly greed.

    There is of course one thing the two parties are completely united on; the prevention of a viable third party.

  12. #12 Nan
    September 21, 2007

    PZ, the Dems aren’t analogous to a vat of jellyfish. They’re more like a group of 3-year-olds that have been fed too much sugar and missed naptime. Bill Clinton had the answer on the Daily Show last night. The Democrats aren’t spineless; they’re sleep-deprived. Ditto the Republicans. They’re not evil, they just need naps. Everyone in Congress is so wrapped up in endless fund-raising and travel for fund-raising they no longer have time to sleep, which in turn means they’ve lost any ability to think rationally.

    Unfortunately, that theory does nothing to explain the severe disconnect with reality evidenced by the current occupant of the White House.

  13. #13 CalGeorge
    September 21, 2007

    On a recent flight, I sat behind someone who had given her life to Jesus – and would not stop talking about it.

    Then, on a bus ride, two well-dressed men in silver suits with “Jesus Saves” plastered on the front (on their way to some kind of convention) were so damned nice and friendly to their fellow passengers that I practically converted right then and there.

    This was all in California.

    They aren’t going away.

  14. #14 MAJeff
    September 21, 2007

    I’m reminded of the ‘debate’ staged by Saturday Night Live during the 1988 election. Dana Carvey did his impression of Bush the elder speaking in nothing but vapid soundbites Jon Lovitz, as Michael Dukakis, quips ‘ I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy!’

    I loved the mock Bush campaign commercial: “Vote for Bush. He’s whiter!” Still the basis for a lot of Republican poliics.

  15. #15 Kelley
    September 21, 2007

    I have to agree that the article was a bit optimistic, as much as I love Mark Morford. He did have some very valid points though, especially about extreme religion being it’s own downfall. The Daily Kos article he linked to, The Evangelical outcasts (Sept 18), was more balanced on the issue and is worth the read too.

  16. #16 llewelly
    September 21, 2007

    Nan:

    They’re not evil, they just need naps.

    Unfortunately, that theory does nothing to explain the severe disconnect with reality evidenced by the current occupant of the White House.

    After about 3 or 4 days without sleeping, a person will begin to hallucinate. Paranoia or other craziness often follows.

  17. #17 alan
    September 21, 2007

    #13
    CalGeorge: I think this is where we need to step up and come “out of the closet”. I used to just nod nicely and let my eyes glaze over as I was confronted by the jesus freaks, but due to people like PZ, RD, and CH–I now speak up. I’m friendly, and try to be non-confrontational, but I let them know my beliefs and I don’t hesitate to show an interest while asking some difficult questions. Questions that I hope will give them pause for thought and keep them thinking. If we can get them thinking instead of just believing, we may stand a chance.
    Alan

  18. #18 Zeno
    September 21, 2007

    Mark Morford is being deliberately provocative when he lays it on so thick. The San Francisco Chronicle has received letters and e-mail (some published in the paper or on its website) demanding that Morford no longer be published. He knows how to poke a sore spot, and he pokes it hard. Here are two reactions that appear on the Chronicle website:

    “[A] misguided, lost and carnal individual… filled with vexation and ignorance of God [who will] gladly cheer the anti-christ.”
    – Christian Resource Network

    “I’m sure you know that you are going straight to Hell. You should be ashamed of youself, publishing your filth. I serve a merciful God. I only hope you seek forgiveness for the lies you spread. I pray for you and all the poor people you speak to in your publication. I hope that they have the intelligence to know that you are full of bologna.”
    – Michelle C

    It looks like they can’t handle the truth.

  19. #19 Dan S.
    September 21, 2007

    A vat of jellyfish? I wish! At least they have nematocysts. Democrats, where is thy sting?!

  20. #20 dorid
    September 21, 2007

    It’s all very well and good for those thinkers and rationalists to point out that the evangelicals are getting more and more nutty with their demands on the political system here… but to the nuts they’re just getting better and better.

    We’re not out of the woods by a longshot.

  21. #21 CaucasianJesus
    September 21, 2007

    Until the religious right realizes that 6+ years of absolute control has resulted in absolutely zero abortions stopped, they will continue to blindly follow the Republicans.

  22. #22 writerdd
    September 21, 2007

    I’m not seeing a lot of movement away from the failed policies of the neo-cons out here in the most emphatically non-San-Francisan midwest. George W. Bush is being regarded as a personal failure, and people are looking for a new neo-conservative savior — they aren’t changing their minds, they’re busy shifting blame.

    Very close to the reason that Chrstians never leave their religion behind even after they find out about closeted gay homophobe pastors, priests raping children, and so forth. They never see that it’s a conceptual problem. They say that we can’t judge God by the failures of mere humans.

  23. #23 David Marjanovi?
    September 21, 2007

    Is the US and Canadian dollar trading on parity also considered a sign of this right wing apocalypse?

    Of course. But at the same time, it’s a sign that said apocalypse will not be financeable.

    The Chinese have something against apocalypses (unless one of their own dynastic cycles is over), and the Japanese…

  24. #24 David Marjanovi?
    September 21, 2007

    Is the US and Canadian dollar trading on parity also considered a sign of this right wing apocalypse?

    Of course. But at the same time, it’s a sign that said apocalypse will not be financeable.

    The Chinese have something against apocalypses (unless one of their own dynastic cycles is over), and the Japanese…

  25. #25 Hank Fox
    September 21, 2007

    Morford nails it on fear being the driving force of the right wing evangelical movement. Something I figured out not long back, and that continues to scare me, is “Human beings under the lash of strong emotion become less intelligent.”

    Fear-driven as they are, though, they’re not about to change tactics or learn new ways of looking at the world. Of course they expect more radical and restrictive anti-freedom positions from their candidates — the fact that they’re failing makes them more afraid, and inspires them to more frantic demands for action.

    Are they dead, politically? MY fear is that they’re not. There really is still a chance we might have another Republican president. Seems to me it would signal the real end of any America I ever knew, but I don’t kid myself that it couldn’t happen.

    I continue to believe this White House, these Republicans, this nexus of combined power (in which I include not just the evangelicals but most of the current Democrats in office, and a consciously-complicit corporate news media), is capable of literally anything. In the shadow of this President, this Congress, I haven’t heard a single dark scenario — including paranoid conspiracy theories such as the suspension of the 2008 elections — that hasn’t seemed at least a teeny bit plausible.

    As to the Democrats, I wish …

    Well, I wish there was a Democratic Ron Paul.

    And in a way, I can’t figure out why one hasn’t appeared. There’s tremendous desire for one, I think. I see a huge landslide of support, a massive outpouring of unstoppable approval, just waiting for the guy.

    It would require a lot of blunt and lively talk about the disaster that Bush and the evangelicals have been for America, and he (or she) would have to overcome some initial outrage from the winger talking heads. But this is actually an asset, publicity-wise, seems to me.

    So where’s the fanfare of trumpets, and the Man on the White Horse? Is EVERY Democrat really so uncaring, so unaware, so frozen into the political ice that this guy just doesn’t exist? And can’t exist?

  26. #26 K
    September 21, 2007

    Hey, surprise! More blah, blah, blah. How about someone who REALLY wants to see a change run for office? I’m sure all the talkers would vote for him, right? Or would they just see it as one more thing to complain about? Let’s see some action instead of constant complaints. Complaining in a blog is the same as apathy and that’s exactly where the government wants us. Yup, flap yer lips all you want as long as you don’t actually DO something, that way the next clown they choose for us falls into office. Think about it. Better yet, DO something about it.

  27. #27 Jason Failes
    September 21, 2007

    To put it in an appropriately apocalyptic tone:

    This is the ultimate battle between fantasy and reality.

    As George W. has learned, no matter how loud you shout, or how widely you bomb, reality, eventually wins.

  28. #28 Bob L
    September 21, 2007

    Well they say the trend starts in California and spreads to the rest of the country. The California GOP has been a joke the last ten years thanks to their wingnuttery. Arnold is the only California Republican elected to state office in that time and all his fellow Republicans do is sneer at him as a RINO. Will this be the future of the GOP at the national level? We shall see.

  29. #29 raven
    September 21, 2007

    Re the Theocratic party candidates. Don’t knock Bush too hard. It can always get worse! We saw that in Iraq for those with short memories. Saddam H. was a murderous thug no doubt. But is Iraq better off since his removal? Are the “leaders” in Iraq any better? He at least kept a lid on a situation once considered potentially explosive. It has now exploded. Some say that Saddam didn’t create modern Iraq, Iraq created him. Only a murderous thug could have survived to govern.

    The cthonic troglodytes of the theocrats are basic Bush clones. Bush had a few redeeming qualities. He was a pea brained moron with all the charisma of a jellyfish slime mold. Imagine a Bush clone with some intelligence and a normal personality. A lot more dangerous IMO.

    My take. The theocrats have no brains and no soul. The Dems have no brains and no leadership. 2008 is theirs to lose. They might well lose it.

  30. #30 MAJeff
    September 21, 2007

    Well they say the trend starts in California and spreads to the rest of the country. The California GOP has been a joke the last ten years thanks to their wingnuttery. Arnold is the only California Republican elected to state office in that time and all his fellow Republicans do is sneer at him as a RINO. Will this be the future of the GOP at the national level? We shall se

    You think the CA Repubs are weak? Here in MA last year, the Greens ran more candidates for statewide office than the Republicans.

  31. #31 Greta Christina
    September 21, 2007

    That’s Morford for you. His writing veers back and forth between giddy intemperate optimism and bleak intemperate pessimism. It gets a little tiresome, actually.

    But then, I haven’t been a fan for a while. Not since he started honking on about how pathetic it is when people can’t relate to the mystical divine energy of inanimate objects, and how laughably blind science is when it investigates consciousness and spiritual experiences and “the hot cosmic goo of the mystical” (i.e., religious experiences on drugs). I’m over it.

  32. #32 raven
    September 21, 2007

    Re: The collapse of the religous right. A bit of a misleading name. The neocons are really just Old Fascists. This is pure fascism in a new plastic bag.

    I’ve been saying for a while that there is a backlash against the fundie death cultists. With toads like these, one has to steer between wishful thinking and excessive pessimism. But:

    1. They did lose the congress in 2006.

    2. People are sick of their human child sacrifice rituals. They would like their kids alive and breathing, not buried in some cemetary in a flag draped coffin.

    3. A recent poll from Newsweek? showed that 49% of the US population was tired of Xian death cultists trying to impose their views on the rest of us.

    Too early to say whether this trend will last or reverse. Simply not enough data.

    But as Goldwater once said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Believe it, the death cults will just crawl back under their rocks. For a while. They have no where else to go and will always be there in the dark. Waiting.

  33. #33 tomh
    September 21, 2007

    Caledonian wrote:
    Put in a situation where they have the opportunity to enforce their positions instead of merely opposing the Republicans, the Democrats have no positions to enforce.

    A typical empty generalization by a know-nothing. On health care, the environment, the military and just about every other issue the Democrats have markedly different positions than the Republicans. Unfortunately, they don’t have the opportunity to enforce these positions.

  34. #34 G. Shelley
    September 21, 2007

    I don’t think the Dems are spineless republican light types. Just the ones who have any chance of being president.

  35. #35 sailor
    September 21, 2007

    “They’re not evil, they just need naps.”
    Maybe if he had had a nap Craig would not have had that nervous foot-tap?

  36. #36 mena
    September 21, 2007

    I kind of agree that the Democratic party is kind of like spineless critters, not necessarily jellyfish, because of the lack of sting as mentioned above. Sponges perhaps? If we are going for a comparison to sea life, can the GOP be considered to be urochordates? They are definitely covered in slime and do tend to get quite sessile (complacent) after a while.
    What I’m annoyed with today is that Senate resolution which whines about moveon.org. The Republicans (plus Leiberman of course) didn’t want to make the in-county time equal to the home time and pass a resolution to bring them home but the troops had to be protected from evil people who make childish alterations to people’s names. Oh, the horror! This little gem passed 72-25, my guess is that half of the democrats didn’t want to deal attack ads in the next election. I’m not a fan of moveon.org because I don’t like extremists of any stripe but please. Jeff Sessions and John Cornyn gave the same speech, listing Gen. Petreus’ degrees, etc. Cornyn even went on about liberal activists. He surely must miss the 109th Congress.
    It is just as true today as it was in Mark Twain’s time: “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

  37. #37 MAJeff
    September 21, 2007

    It is just as true today as it was in Mark Twain’s time: “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

    I’ve always liked something Molly Ivins said (she may have been quoting someone, and I’m paraphrasing it): “If you took all the crooks and fools out of the legislature it wouldn’t be a representative body anymore.”

  38. #38 bybelknap, FCD
    September 21, 2007

    moveon.org “extremeist?” are you shittin me? Therein lies the trouble. They aren’t “extreme” enough. In order to fight these shitbag faith-heads we need to nail them sumbitches up to crosses – line I-95 with the faithful. First door on the left, one cross each. NAIL EM UP!!!

    There, that’s extremist.

    Saying that calling Gen Patreus “Betray-us” is extreme is like saying Italian long hot peppers are extremely hot. Habaneros are extremely hot. Calling for armed insurrection is extreme. Calling for violence is extreme. Calling someone a shill and a liar – especially when it’s the truth – is necessary, not extreme.

    And Caledonian, why don’t you plug your arse and stop spewing the lie that Dems lack their own ideas. I know, if you repeat it loudly enough it becomes true for some people, but those of us that know better are pretty sick of hearing it. So come up with a new line of bullshit, huh? That one is as old and dry as a pop-corned fart.

  39. #39 Andrew
    September 21, 2007

    Yeah… I’ll believe it when I see it.
    I learned to never count Conservatives out in ’04.

  40. #40 NonyNony
    September 21, 2007

    Put in a situation where they have the opportunity to enforce their positions instead of merely opposing the Republicans, the Democrats have no positions to enforce.

    This is unfair and untrue – the Democrats’ problem has always been that they have TOO MANY positions. The Democratic coalition has always, always, always been a fractious lot who are only willing to work together grudgingly. Unlike the Republicans, who are perfectly content to stake out a position on an issue and have the entire coalition drive full force behind that issue. There are plenty of ideas there, but the Dems aren’t united behind them. (This is why Clinton was actually happy that the Republicans took over Congress in 1994 – he knew he’d only have to fight against one position opposing his instead of dozens that he had to fight against when his own party held the Congress).

    The Dems’ major problem is that there’s no one to ENFORCE anything. The current Dem leadership is weak, weak, weak, which is not how you get things done with a fractious lot that could easily be their OWN opposition party if the Republicans didn’t exist. Reid and Pelosi have actually done a decent job of keeping their coalition together (good gods, better than any leadership I can think of in my lifetime – I think you have to go back to when LBJ was in Congress to find tighter leadership over the chaotic grouping of interests known as the Democratic Party), but they keep making the mistake of thinking that the Republicans are “colleagues” that need to be dealt with rationally instead of an opposition party that needs to be humiliated politically in public when they do stupid things. That’s the Dems’ real problem right now – not a lack of ideas.

  41. #41 Kausik Datta
    September 21, 2007

    Nan said:

    Unfortunately, that theory does nothing to explain the severe disconnect with reality evidenced by the current occupant of the White House.

    Too much nap, may be? delusions of grandeur in dreams? absolute monarchy in la-la-land?

  42. #42 Rob Jase
    September 21, 2007

    As long as the theocratic nutcases have the financial backing of corporate America they’ll continue to have power. If they all went green, became anti-war and opposed big money their political power would vanish.

    As to what invertebrate the GOP most resembles may I suggest priapulids?

  43. #43 K. Signal Eingang
    September 21, 2007

    #24:

    Well, I wish there was a Democratic Ron Paul.

    There’s plenty of ‘em, assuming you just mean a populist maverick with a well-articulated agenda not necessarily 100% inside party lines. Dennis Kucinich leaps to mind, as does (the late lamented) Paul Wellstone.

    The thing that baffles me is how consistently these voices are marginalized. I’m not surprised the party elite considers these guys undesirable, but I am absolutely flabbergasted that damned near everybody consistently falls for it. Glenn Greenwald over at Salon has practically made a running joke out of asking the question – what exactly have people like Kucinich or Mike Gravel said that is crazier than, say, publicly threatening to nuke Iran, or openly supporting fundamentalist Christian organizations dedicated to supporting Israel as a means of hastening the apocalypse?

    One of his better articles on the subject is at
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/07/26/lieberman_hagee/

  44. #44 Caledonian
    September 21, 2007

    This is unfair and untrue – the Democrats’ problem has always been that they have TOO MANY positions. The Democratic coalition has always, always, always been a fractious lot who are only willing to work together grudgingly.

    Individual Democrats have ideas. The party as a whole? Nope.

  45. #45 Fernando Magyar
    September 21, 2007

    So you guys are saying that the higher than normal incidence of moon jellyfish out on my local reef really isn’t a political convention? Shucks, I was all ready to support some Aurelia Aurita for political office. They’re pretty, pink and hardly sting at all. That has to be better than what we have now.

  46. #46 Flex
    September 21, 2007

    Hank Fox #24 wrote, “Morford nails it on fear being the driving force of the right wing evangelical movement.”

    I think Frank Herbert said it a little better, “Fear is the mind-killer.”

    I didn’t know what he meant until about six years ago.

  47. #47 yanub
    September 21, 2007

    Look at the Democrats. Oh, god, don’t bother — it’s like staring into a vat of jellyfish. If the Religious Right is scuttling back into the darkness in defeat as Morford says, why aren’t some opportunistic Democrats leaping up to harry them off? Is it because they’re all incredibly stupid? Because they’re cowed? Or is it because the system has been crippled to the point where it doesn’t work anymore, when even faced with a power vacuum the ‘opposition’ is tied in place by money and corruption?

    Well, there is Dennis Kucinich, who really has called the Bush Administration on every one of its misdeeds, who endorses the impeachment of both Cheney and Bush, and who is Officially Irrelevant. The rest of the Democratic field doesn’t want to suffer the fate of being labelled Officially Irrelevant, so they posture as “serious.” With “serious” meaning that they completely buy into the current ideology, but they promise to manage it more effectively. (Hank Fox, there’s your Democratic Ron Paul–and he doesn’t even come with racist baggage.) So, given that political cowardice is so highly valued, PZ, I’ll go with choice C, “the system has been crippled…by money and corruption.”

    I’d best stop. I find myself on the verge of an extended tirade about the death of good citizenship. So I’ll summarize by saying that we have largely ceased being citizens and have acquiesced into being mere subjects.

  48. #48 Caledonian
    September 21, 2007

    When politics and religion travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. The movement becomes headlong — faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thought of obstacles and forget that a precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.

    — Frank Herbert, Dune

    Nothing can stop religious faith combined with political ideology.

    “It’s impressive what ‘nothing’ can do to a man.”

    — ‘Jayne Cobb’, Joss Whedon, Firefly

  49. #49 CHANGCHO
    September 21, 2007

    Re. #44: “So I’ll summarize by saying that we have largely ceased being citizens and have acquiesced into being mere subjects.”

    Unfortunately, he current trend is away from citizenship and towards “consumers”, not mere “subjects”. We are increasingly expected to not voice our opinions but just consume, and shut up.

  50. #50 Sike
    September 21, 2007

    I suspect part of the problem here is that for a long time, the Democratic party hasn’t actually had any positions of its own to attract voters – instead, it merely presents itself as the only viable alternative to the Republicans, which its voting bloc views as even worse.

    Put in a situation where they have the opportunity to enforce their positions instead of merely opposing the Republicans, the Democrats have no positions to enforce.

    This echos my reaction to the pharse “liberal ideals” tossed in to the OP.

    On health care, the environment, the military and just about every other issue the Democrats have markedly different positions than the Republicans. Unfortunately, they don’t have the opportunity to enforce these positions.

    Wow! Now that’s a typical whine! “Oh, even when wer’e in the majority we can’t get nothin’ done against the evil right-wing cabal.”

    It’s no the Democrat’s postions that the peopel voted for in ’06, it was the people’s postions and the Democrats were supposed to enact them in the government. But all they can do is wail about how much trouble it we be for the country if they actually did what the people asked them to.

    This is why the ’06 Democrats are going to hand the Presidency to the Republicans … again.

  51. #51 Bill Dauphin
    September 21, 2007

    Raven:

    Imagine a Bush clone with some intelligence and a normal personality. A lot more dangerous IMO.

    I’ve been thinking this for a while. Republicans are in the trouble they’re in at the moment because they’ve very stupidly overplayed their hand. If they’d been just a tiny bit less stupid, and had acted with just a tiny bit more subtlety, especially in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we’d still be listening to Tom DeLay talk about permanent Republican majorities.

    Take the Iraq war: As stupid, unnecessary, and immoral as it clearly was to invade Iraq, Americans didn’t start to turn against the war in large numbers until it started to go badly. A handful of better tactical decisions at key moments (e.g., if Bremer had not summarily disbanded the Iraqi army), and we’d still be seeing 60%+ approval for the war… even though it would be no less reprehensible, from a fundamental moral POV, than it is.

    Similarly, if this administration had been just a little cleverer and less obvious about bowing to the agenda of the religious right, we wouldn’t be seeing any significant backlash at all. Thank the nonexistent God for their hamfistedness!

    I think PZ had it right in another thread when he said that the most apparently inoffensive religion is the most dangerous one. The stupid loudmouthed jerks motivated by dangerous ideas are bad enough, but the smooth, friendly, smart people who push those same ideas are much worse.

  52. #52 scottb
    September 21, 2007

    “One terrorist attack, one economic disaster, and they’re back — armed and willing to do murder for the cause of their immortal soul.”

    PZ, they’re not doing murder for the cause of *their* immortal soul. They’ve no doubt those are entirely safe. It’s *your* immortal soul they’re saving. Don’t you get it? They’re doing you a favor by murdering you!

  53. #53 G
    September 21, 2007

    I always thought that the most telling passage of Dune is the quote from Kynes’s dad.

    “No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero.”

    That’s the meaning of the entire series, summed up in fifteen or so words.

  54. #54 Tim B.
    September 21, 2007

    “chthonic goblins” — my new favorite label for right-wingers.

  55. #55 tomh
    September 21, 2007

    Sike wrote:
    It’s no the Democrat’s postions that the peopel voted for in ’06, it was the people’s postions and the Democrats were supposed to enact them in the government.

    So you think a bare majority in Congress and a Republican president translates into the Democrats enacting whatever legislation they want. What fantasy land do you live in?

  56. #56 Caledonian
    September 21, 2007

    “No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero.”

    That’s the meaning of the entire series, summed up in fifteen or so words.

    There are really three series: Dune, the next three books, and the additional ones Herbert added on when he needed even more money.

    Dune was the most subtle, complex, and nuanced of all of the books. The next three were Herbert’s repudiation of the consequences of his writing Dune (and his need for more money) and the last were purely out of monetary need.

  57. #57 MAJeff
    September 21, 2007

    tomh,

    Yes the Democrats have a bare majority (in the Senate particularly). And yes there’s a Republican President. However, they’ve still caved on far too much shit they didn’t need to: FISA, warrantless wiretapping, today’s bullshit resolution against Move-On. The leadership was incompetent as an opposition party, and refuses to be as ruthless as they need to be in opposition to the President. They are still operating as though Republicans like Dave Durenberger (one of our old Minnesota moderates), Jim Jeffords, or Lincoln Chaffee actually had clout or mattered. They refuse to play hard ball.

    yeah, there are structural difficulties. But they cave far too often and too easily…often in the name of a comity that their counterparts on the other side of the aisle have never been willing to reciprocate. They need to smash the R’s in Congress over the head.

  58. #58 G
    September 21, 2007

    Caledonian,

    Man you really can’t just be appreciative, can you? Granted I wouldn’t call Chapterhouse and Heretics great works of Science Fiction in themselves, but they definitely play a part in the greater whole of the Dune saga themselves. Especially when you think about how Chapterhouse still has references to the effect Muad-Dib had on the universe.

  59. #59 thwaite
    September 21, 2007

    Well they say the trend starts in California and spreads to the rest of the country.

    Well, then here’s a discouraging data point (which I emailed to Morford since it’s in San Jose, thus of local interest):

    Los Gatos, San Jose evangelical churches become one
    LOS GATOS, SOUTH VALLEY ARE ‘BLENDING CULTURES’
    By Kim Vo
    Mercury News
    Article Launched: 09/17/2007 01:35:21 AM PDT

    The tree-studded church grounds in Los Gatos welcomed a series of unfamiliar sights Sunday: bands on the lawn, a jammed parking lot and thousands of people, including children wielding tufts of blue cotton candy.

    The approximately 2,000 people were celebrating the merger of two influential South Bay religious institutions: Los Gatos Christian and South Valley Christian in San Jose. After months of discussion, the conservative evangelical churches – led by politically and socially active pastors – decided to blend their facilities and membership to create Venture Christian Church.

    Venture Christian, which held its first services in the re-named Los Gatos church Sunday, creates a new mega-church in the valley that some members predict will become an even more powerful player in the area’s religious life.

    “It’s going to be huge. Growth adds on growth,” said Bill Brereton, 66, who had been a member of South Valley Christian. “I don’t see any reason it can’t be one of the strong, leading churches in the valley.”

    That would be a return to history for Los Gatos Christian, which once attracted 6,500 people before the term “mega-church” was part of the national vocabulary. Situated on 28 green acres, it had schools and a broadcast ministry, and it seeded new churches, including South Valley Christian.

    But scandal befell the Los Gatos church when the Rev. Marvin Rickard admitted in 1988 that he previously had an adulterous affair with a church member. Members left, and the hemorrhaging continued throughout his successor’s tense tenure and a defamation suit filed after church leaders urged the congregation to reject a fellow church member they deemed a “fractious man.”
    Los Gatos Christian’s membership had dwindled to about 700, many of them seniors with grown children.

  60. #60 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    today’s bullshit resolution against Move-On

    …which should be seen as a GOOD thing, as far as Move-on is concerned.

    people are listening enough to what they have to say that congress feels motivated to feaux moral outrage.

    I’d chalk that up in the “win” column for Move-on, and another win for the general influence the blogging community is having on public discourse in general.

    …another loss for congress, though.

  61. #61 MAJeff
    September 21, 2007

    people are listening enough to what they have to say that congress feels motivated to feaux moral outrage.

    Of course it’s faux moral outrage, because the Republicans who drafted it have a faux morality (along with most of the Democrats who voted for it, says this MA registered Democrat).

    Immoral moralistic posers.

  62. #62 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    The California GOP has been a joke the last ten years thanks to their wingnuttery.

    it’s more complicated than that.

    for 30 years, the neocons have been taking over the republican party in CA (and of course, do a great job in the larger GOP as well).

    also known as “Orange County Republicans”, because by and large the vast majority of the money comes from Orange County republicans, who also tend to influence the direction the neocons in the party go.

    Howard Ahmanson, for example, was a key player in both the neocon takeover of the CA republican party, and the CA xian reconstructionist movement.

    Arnold, after seeing the proposals the neocons convinced him were so grand go down in flames (did i say flames? I mean, incineration, annhilation, er, is there a stronger word?), has finally gone back to his more “old style” republican platform; the kind of cooperative work he used to talk about before the neocons funded his back-door entry in to the governorship.

    It could all be an act, but I do hope this is the sign that the idiotic neocons are finally being seen for the worthless morons they really are, and their platforms and ideology will be left completely in the dust in the next few years.

  63. #63 MAJeff
    September 21, 2007

    Ichthyich,

    Don’t forget Pete Wilson and the alienation of Latino voters in the 1990s. That obviously didn’t help the fortunes of the Republican Party in CA.

  64. #64 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    That obviously didn’t help the fortunes of the Republican Party in CA.

    yeah, i don’t think they foresaw how much that particular incident would backfire on them.

    especially given the poll data regarding illegal immigration at the time, which, strangely enough, doesn’t seem to have changed all that much in the intervening years.

    ah, the dangers of relying on poll data…

    OTOH, the Orange County Neocons funded and were directly involved in the successful recall effort of former gov. Davis, that allowed them to woo Arnold as a back-door replacement.

    they still have a lot of power (money). and they can still control a lot of the media exposure in CA.

    I just hope Arnold abandoning them isn’t just a bluff. so far, based on the gnashing of teeth from the neocons, I don’t think so, and that puts a smile on my face.

  65. #65 MAJeff
    September 21, 2007

    yeah, i don’t think they foresaw how much that particular incident would backfire on them.

    I keep forgetting, what was that prop #? (169 and 184 keep popping in my head but those also don’t seem right.)

    I remember attending the NGLTF’s Creating Change conference in Dallas shortly after passage. Queers of color and liberals have always been more prominent in NGLTF than in HRC (even if much less so than is necessary to create a real broad-based justice movement), so on the first night of the conference there were a lot of people in a state of shock. What did we do to buck up spirits? We sang civil rights songs. There’s nothing quite like being in a group of justice activists singing “Ain’t Gonna Let Injustice Turn Me ‘Round” (which is also used in the opening of the “Eyes on the Prize” series). It’s a powerful experience.

    The only other time I can say singing civil rights songs had a more profound effect on me, indeed had me crying, was on the steps of the Minnesota Capitol the night Paul Wellstone died. Still one of the worst days of my life.

  66. #66 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    yeah, I think i abandoned politics and people in politics getting me depressed long ago (about the time I stopped working for the larger NGOs).

    now i just get angry.
    ;)

    must be why I’m a fan of Lewis Black.

  67. #67 MAJeff
    September 21, 2007

    yeah, I think i abandoned politics and people in politics getting me depressed long ago (about the time I stopped working for the larger NGOs).
    now i just get angry. ;)

    how can one not be angry?

    However, there’s a Cornell West line that I can never get out of my head, that haunts me:
    I remain a prisoner of hope.

  68. #68 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    I remain a prisoner of hope.

    meh.

    you’ll get over it.

    :p

    er, but then I’m moving to New Zealand, so I think that says volumes about my actual levels of hope for the political/sociological situation improving round these parts.

    I don’t envy prisoners of hope, but I do wish them luck and success, and a winning superlotto ticket.

  69. #69 MAJeff
    September 21, 2007

    er, but then I’m moving to New Zealand

    Holland for me, so to me you’re actually moving to Nieuw Zeeland.

  70. #70 cureholder
    September 21, 2007

    Not only will people VOTE for one of those Republican candidates, but if the Democrats are stupid enough to nominate Hillary Clinton, that Republican candidate will be the next President of the United States.

  71. #71 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    actually, I think for the first time, the republican field is so weak and disagreeable that there might actually BE a chance for our first woman pres.

    here’s hoping the neocons put even MORE money behind the campaign of Fred Thompson.

    if that happens, and Hillary DOES end up being the nomination, I really think the rethuglican vote will be so split that Hillary will win practically by default.

  72. #72 cureholder
    September 21, 2007

    re: Comment #11

    It may well be that the two major political parties are dedicated to preventing the rise of a viable third party. However, it’s not because of those parties that we have a two-party system. That outcome is built structurally into our system. Even if the Democrats and Republicans WANTED a viable third party, it would be impossible.

    Any system with single-member representative districts and winer-take-all elections will have only two political parties. This proposition is considered the only real “law” in political science, and it makes sense when you consider that, when only one candidate can win in any district (“single-member districts”), and that everyone but the winner goes home with nothing (“winner-take-all” elections), only two parties can exist with any real shot at winning an election (each appealing to slightly more or less than one-half of the electorate).

    In a proportional representation system, parties that do not “win” any given election still get SOME seats in the legislature. Thus, multiple parties can be viable and can form coalitions to wield power. However, in a non-PR system, only two parties can be viable at one time. If a third party arises and becomes viable, by definition at least one of the current two parties would have to fade to irrelevance.

  73. #73 cureholder
    September 21, 2007

    Hillary Clinton will not win by default no matter whom the Republicans nominate. If the Republicans nominated Ron Paul and the Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul would win no matter how much the Republicans were divided over him. The simple reason: The religious right HATES Hillary Clinton. It’s not that they think she is simply BAD, they believe she is truly EVIL. Literally, they believe she is Satan incarnate or Satan’s agent on earth. I wish I were exaggerating, but I am not. I spent the first 25 years of my life among these people, including the time when Clinton rose to power. The religious right literally believes that Hillary Clinton is the antichrist. Thus, millions of religious Republicans will turn out in droves to vote AGAINST her, no matter WHO is on the other side of the ticket.

    Karl Rove touched on this in one of his first post-WH interviews. He pointed out that at this point in the election cycle, the winning candidate usually has positives in the mid-40s to low 50s, and negatives in the 20s or low 30s. Hillary Clinton has positives in the mid-40s and negatives in the high 40s to low 50s. That is, HALF the electorate has an actively negative opinion of her (as opposed to a positive opinion of someone else), and included in that number are 25 million people who believe it is their religious duty to show up at the polls and vote against her.

    Hillary Clinton cannot win. If the Democrats nominate her, the next President will be a Republican, no matter whom the Republicans nominate.

  74. #74 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    Ron Paul would win no matter how much the Republicans were divided over him.

    complete nonsense.

    I’ll wager a case of scotch on that one.

  75. #75 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    Karl Rove touched on this in one of his first post-WH interviews.

    LOL.

    and if you believe everything Karl Rove tells you, I gotta bridge to sell you.

  76. #76 MAJeff
    September 21, 2007

    The simple reason: The religious right HATES Hillary Clinton.

    They feel that way about every Democrat and liberal in the country. There is not a single person we could nominate they would not hate.

    And honestly, who gives a fuck who the theocrats love or hate. If Dobson, Robertson, Schlafley, Bauer, et. al. don’t hate our nominee, we’ve made a mistake.

  77. #77 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    5 million people who believe it is their religious duty to show up at the polls and vote against her.

    by the way, I don’t seem to recall a “negative vote” box on the last ballot I filled out.

    you can only vote FOR someone.

    ergo, your logic is flawed, if as I say, the republican vote will be heavily split between the moderates and the extremeists, and the more press and money Thompson gets, the more votes he will attract away from whatever reasonable candidate the majority of the rep party was favoring previously.

    then the reps can blame thomspon for losing, rather like the dems blamed independent candidates previously.

    I’m gonna laugh hard when Hillary gets elected pres.

    hell, I’m already laughing that she is the front runner (and thats OVERALL, btw, not just within the dems):

    National Poll: Clinton 36% Obama 25%

    National Poll: Giuliani 24% Thompson 24%

    from:

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/

  78. #78 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    btw, if you are thinking that after the nominations, all the rethuglicans will pull together in shared hatred of the opposing candidate…

    I personally can’t recall that actually happening in my lifetime (somewhere between 40 and 60 years :) )

    it’s why Clinton (Mr.) got elected in the first place, when the reps had a tremendous amount of division within their party of a similar level (actually a little less) than now.

    no, what will happen is whoever gets the nomination on the republican side, the other side, disgusted, will not even bother to vote in the final election.

    now THAT’S american democracy in action.

  79. #79 Ichthyic
    September 21, 2007

    the other side,

    just to clarify, by that I mean the other side of the republican division between the moderates and the extremeists (read theocrats controlled by neocons).

    if guiliani gets nominated, all the theocrats will stay home and pout, if thompson gets nominated, all the moderates will stay home and pout.

  80. #80 cureholder
    September 22, 2007

    It’s kind of rare to write something on Pharyngula that so many people respond to without actually reading or comprehending. Yes, the religious right hates all liberals. But that’s not the same as how they feel towards Hillary Clinton in particular.

    I guess it’s just hard for rational people to understand the idea that millions and millions of people believe that a particular person is an agent of supernatural evil. It’s not that they DISAGREE with her policies—most of them have no idea what her policies are. They believe she has SATAN dwelling in her and advising her.

    Not one person I ever met during the early 1990s when the Clintons came to national prominence (who were ALL religious righties, because of the world I lived in then) ever said they thought BILL Clinton was evil. They all disliked him, disagreed with his policies, thought he was a womanizing liar. But many of them did not vote in the elections in 1992 and 1996 because they didn’t like either candidate.

    That will NOT happen with Hillary. These people literally believe they have a duty from God (and thus will be judged by god and possibly sent to hell for failing) to show up and vote against Hillary Clinton. She is a candidate unlike any other that I have ever seen in this regard. There is an irrational hated of her and a belief in her personal evilness that will drive voters to the polls to vote against her no matter who is on the other side. And yes, you can vote AGAINST a person, just by voting for the opponent, thus canceling out a vote for the candidate you dislike.

    As for betting a case of scotch, I don’t like scotch. But I would bet you $10,000 on my proposition without a second’s hesitation. Unfortunately, we probably cannot talk the Republicans into nominating Ron Paul so our bet could go forward.

    And I didn’t say I believed this because Karl Rove said it. i have been telling people this for YEARS now, back when people first started talking about Hillary running for the Senate and mentioning that she might run for President down the road. I mentioned Karl Rove not because he has insight on the subject, but because he was pointing out a real-world polling measurement of what I am describing–namely, Hillary’s impossibly high negatives.

    MY logic is flawed? How about yours, which takes principles applicable only during the primaries and applies them to the general election. Yes, the Republicans will be split about whom to nominate, but they WILL nominate someone, and
    all the people I am talking about will show up and vote for that person, because their only alternative are (1) vote for Hillary Clinton (unthinkable) and (2) not vote, which they would view as a sin because it’s their duty to vote against the antichrist.

    I know this seems ridiculous. It IS ridiculous. But since when has the stupidity of their actions ever kept the hard-core religious from doing just what their delusion drives them to do?

    I will not be laughing when Hillary is elected—none of us will be, because it isn’t going to happen. But the Democrats can make sure they at least have a fighting chance by nominating someone else.

  81. #81 Kelly
    September 22, 2007

    “the Religious Rat is scuttling back into the darkness”

    Fixed.

  82. #82 MAJeff
    September 22, 2007

    cureholder,

    I’m quite familiar with the Right’s obsession with Satan incarnate. I’m a gay man, therefore that’s exactly what they think of me. I’ve been a target of theirs far longer than Hillary has, indeed they rejoiced at the death of people like me.

    I repeat, if they don’t hate our nominee, we haven’t done our job. I refuse to make my choices based on what their worthless beliefs dictate. (and I’m not even a Hillary supporter)

  83. #83 MAJeff
    September 22, 2007

    I mentioned Karl Rove not because he has insight on the subject, but because he was pointing out a real-world polling measurement of what I am describing–namely, Hillary’s impossibly high negatives.

    Kind of like he had THE numbers prior to 2006, showing a Republican gain in Congress?

  84. #84 Ichthyic
    September 22, 2007

    I guess it’s just hard for rational people to understand the idea that millions and millions of people believe that a particular person is an agent of supernatural evil.

    not hard to understand. hard to believe, based on the data.

    uh, you DID actually look at the latest poll data I posted, right?

    look, I don’t know where you call home, but seriously, the “hillary hate” is mostly overblown by media pundits on Fox News.

    it’s what they fucking WANT you to believe. they WANT you to think hillary is unelectable.

    duh.

  85. #85 Ichthyic
    September 22, 2007

    And I didn’t say I believed this because Karl Rove said it.

    but you were perfectly willing to use him as an authority on the subject…

    somehow, I think you are watching too much cable news. just a hunch.

    like i said, I’ll wager a case of scotch that if Ron Paul and Hillary clinton somehow became the two nominees, hillary would win.

    in fact, I’ll wager a case of scotch that if Thompson and hillary are the nominees, hillary will win.

    tossup if giuliani and hillary are the nominees, so no bet there (though I know new york won’t vote for guiliani – they know him too well already).

    can’t make any predictions as to what would happen if Obama becomes the nominee for the dems; he’s very unpredictable as to who will end up gravitating towards him.

  86. #86 Ichthyic
    September 22, 2007

    all the people I am talking about will show up and vote for that person, because their only alternative are (1) vote for Hillary Clinton (unthinkable) and (2) not vote, which they would view as a sin because it’s their duty to vote against the antichrist.

    you vastly overestimate the size of the voting block you have thusly defined, and how motivated they really are, based on past election turnout data I can recall looking at.

    even I don’t think there are THAT many fubar individuals in this country, and I’m the one who’s decided to get the fuck outta here.

  87. #87 Ichthyic
    September 22, 2007

    It IS ridiculous.

    that part of your argument, I agree with entirely.
    :)

  88. #88 Ichthyic
    September 22, 2007

    Kind of like he had THE numbers prior to 2006, showing a Republican gain in Congress?

    I would have given my right nut to be in the oval office, watching those election returns that night.

  89. #89 Caledonian
    September 22, 2007

    Kind of like he had THE numbers prior to 2006, showing a Republican gain in Congress?

    I would have given my right nut to be in the oval office, watching those election returns that night.

    And look what a difference electing a Democrat-controlled Congress made. Boy, Bush is sure sweating it now!

  90. #90 Ichthyic
    September 22, 2007

    And look what a difference electing a Democrat-controlled Congress made. Boy, Bush is sure sweating it now!

    that hardly relates to what would have been my enjoyment at seeing the faces of Bushco that night, and don’t try to tell me they weren’t *shocked and awed*, because you could STILL see it on their faces the next day, and in their bumbling apologetic speeches the rest of that week.

    seriously, even Rove couldn’t have predicted how spineless the dems had actually become, and remained to this point.

    how much spine CAN one lose before being de-classified as a vertebrate? Is there a quantitative way of measuring it?

    do recall, again, that I’m the one bailing to NZ.

  91. #91 John Snow
    September 22, 2007

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  92. #92 Steve Sturgill
    September 22, 2007

    > Or is it because the system has been crippled to
    > the point where it doesn’t work anymore, when even
    > faced with a power vacuum the ‘opposition’ is tied
    > in place by money and corruption?

    Sounds like some of what Unity08 is saying. Why not support them?

  93. #93 cureholder
    September 22, 2007

    The belief that Hillary Clinton is satan incarnate is not a “media creation” where I grew up (in Indianapolis) among the right-wing fundies. My own mother (a prototypical right-wing fundie, as people here know) states it as a matter of fact, just as she states as fact that the 2004 tsunami was a punishment from god against pagan nations. Yes, these people really exist and there are many million of them.

    My mother, for example, has not voted in a presidential election since 1984, because she supported neither candidate, including the Republican. However, she has said for years (with the overwhelming support and agreement of people of her ilk) that if Hillary were ever nominated, she would show up to vote against her, because it’s what god has “called” her and “real” christians to do. It’s scary, but believe me, these people are out there and there are more than enough of them to swing an election.

    The comment from MAJeff points out exactly why people can’t buy into what I am saying. No, MAJeff, the religious fundamentalists don’t believe you are satan incarnate. They believe that you are a sinner, that you “choose” to be gay, that you are hell-bound, etc., but they don’t believe that you are literally the angel of darkness cloaked in human flesh. That’s hyperbole with regard to you.

    Their beliefs regarding Hillary, however, are LITERAL. They BELIEVE LITERALLY that an angel created by god rebelled, got cast out of heaven, has entered into an eternal battle against god, and has LITERALLY taken on human form as Hillary Clinton.

    As for the polling data you posted, Ichthyic, the very link you provided labels it as Likely Democratic Primary Voters on one side and Likely Republican Primary Voters on the other. Not very illuminating as to what will happen when a Democrat is pitted against a Republican.

    And in the same polling data is the fact that 44% of ALL likely voters (regardless of party) are committed to voting AGAINST Hillary Clinton no matter who is on the other side. That is by far the highest absolute opposition number of any candidate from either party, and that number will only go higher as the campaign gets underway. Also, it doesn’t include people like my mother, who would not label herself a likely voter, because she will vote only if Hillary is nominated, and then will vote, along with several million of her closest friends, against Hillary. Yes, the polling data support what I am saying.

    I didn’t intend to quote Karl Rove as an authority, just as a source of the polling numbers. Looking back now, I see how I worded it badly such that it looked like I was using Rove as support, but what I really was looking at was the numbers. They would be the same if they came from James Carville.

    And I haven’t owned a television since 1994, so I don’t think I am watching too much cable news. I am watching none, in fact.

    That said, I’ll take your bet. I’d prefer a straight $10,000 cash wager, but how about this: a 750ml bottle of Johnny Walker Blue for me against an equivalent gift of scotch for you (i.e., about $200USD), The bet applies only if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. If Hillary Clinton is nominated and wins the general election, you win the bet. If she is nominated and loses the general election I win the bet. (The final election outcome includes all recounts, Supreme Court decisions, etc.)

  94. #94 MAJeff
    September 22, 2007

    cureholder,

    while the fundie bigots may consider Hillary Satan incarnate, you also forget that there are large swaths of the population who admire her tremendously. The religious whackjobs are not America.

  95. #95 Ichthyic
    September 22, 2007

    My own mother (a prototypical right-wing fundie, as people here know) states it as a matter of fact,

    ever consider you have a unique bias?

    here are the facts to consider:

    currently hillary is polling at 36%.

    12 points higher than her rivals, both dem and rep.

    all the “hate vote” is distributed evenly amongst ALL the current candidates, and averages around 12 percent (bizarrely consistent, considering, but that’s what it is, nonetheless).

    thems the facts.

    don’t project the ideology of local group onto the country as a whole…

    I come from the most populous state in the country, and hillary hate is pretty non-existent around these parts, even in the conservative southern areas. Only the extreme neocons hate hillary, and their vested interests are so obvious that everybody just ignores them when they start to rant.

    And in the same polling data is the fact that 44% of ALL likely voters (regardless of party) are committed to voting AGAINST Hillary Clinton no matter who is on the other side. That is by far the highest absolute opposition number of any candidate from either party

    yes, let’s take a look at that polling data, shall we?

    did you even bother to look at the same kind of data for the other candidates?

    no?

    go back to the rasmussen site, and look at the numbers for the rest of the candidates.

    you will see the SAME NUMBERS for the rest of them as well, which, as I said, amount to about 12% more people for each saying they would vote against than for (except Romney, who for some reason is about 17%).

    where is the hillary hate that is distinct in these number from everybody disliking ALL of the candidates?

    nowhere.

    again, here’s the summary of the poll data, straight from rasmussen’s site:

    A look at the favorable and unfavorable ratings for leading Presidential contenders provides a good look at a polarized electorate. The top three candidates in each party (as measured by the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll, all have favorable ratings between 45% and 53%. They all have unfavorable ratings between 40% and 48%. Each has bounced around a bit from week to week but the overall trend towards evenly divided opinions is clear.

    you can find the specific numbers for each candidate yourself to verify that their summarization is indeed accurate.

    I can’t figure out exactly why you are so hung up on this, and why you decided to misrepresent what the numbers actually show.

    something tells me you are just pissed off that your own parents have such an irrational viewpoint on things, and believe me, I sympathize (my pop voted for Bushco TWICE).

    other than that, I rather think you need to move the fuck out of Indiana if you haven’t already done so.

  96. #96 Ichthyic
    September 22, 2007

    btw:

    750ml bottle of Johnny Walker Blue for me against an equivalent gift of scotch for you (i.e., about $200USD)

    you did not stipulate that you care about who runs against her in the final election though, while I did (see, i tend to think it actually DOES depend on who runs in a positive sense).

    read my previous restrictions, and if you agree, then…

    done.

  97. #97 Ichthyic
    September 22, 2007

    ah, also, here is the specific data on each candidate, from:

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/for_or_against_presidential_candidates

    Survey of 800 Likely Voters
    August 7-11, 2007

    Candidate

    Def. FOR

    Def. AGAINST

    Net

    Clinton

    32%

    44%

    -12

    Giuliani

    25%

    37%

    -12

    Thompson

    23%

    35%

    -12

    Obama

    23%

    37%

    -14

    McCain

    18%

    33%

    -15

    Edwards

    22%

    39%

    -17

    Romney

    16%

    40%

    -24

    heh, I was underestimating Romney, who sits at 24%!

    so by the ACTUAL data, the conclusion you SHOULD be making is that if Romney ran as the republican contender, people would make it a point to “vote against”. There is no differnce between Hillary, giulliani, and thompson, for example.

    but again, you still seem to forget there isn’t a “negative vote” box on the ballot.

    in america, typically people just don’t vote if their candidate didn’t make it past the primary.

    hence the horrendous voter turnouts.

  98. #98 cureholder
    September 22, 2007

    —–currently hillary is polling at 36%.
    12 points higher than her rivals, both dem and rep.—–

    Yes, among DEMOCRATS. Completely irrelevant, except as an indication of who the nominee will be.

    —-all the “hate vote” is distributed evenly amongst ALL the current candidates, and averages around 12 percent (bizarrely consistent, considering, but that’s what it is, nonetheless). thems the facts.—–

    Except, you know, they’re NOT (as you helpfully demonstrated by posting the actual numbers above). I am amused that you think that 44% and 40% (the next highest number for ANY candidate of either party) are “the same number.” Four percent is HUGE, especially this early (because people who are definitely against a candidate at this point in the cycle will not change their minds about that candidate, and this poll is among likely voters, so they will show up and act out that decision).

    In addition, once you throw out the not-viable candidates (the ones who cannot get the nomination, Edwards on the D side, Romney on the R side), the gap becomes even bigger–Hillary at 44% and the three top Republicans at 33-37%.

    And yes, I looked at the data for ALL the candidates, which is why I said Hillary has by far the highest number: 19% higher than the next highest one among viable candidates! It’s not a bias on my part–I have had enough statistics and polling education (thanks to my “wasted” grad school years) to understand what the numbers are and what they mean.

    And the “net” of “definitely for” and “definitely against” is worse than meaningless. The point is, Hillary has 44% of the entire electorate already permanently convinced they will vote against her. And that’s before they even begin to learn about her policies, which may have the effect of alienating those who are undecided or even think they are for her now, but will not bring any of that 44% to her side.

    And yes, people who don’t like the candidates generally don’t show up to vote, but the people who hate Hillary Clinton WILL SHOW UP AND VOTE—they are “on a mission from god.” That is my whole point. She is not like any other candidate because of the conviction of the fundies that she is not a person, but an incarnation of evil whom god expects them to vote against no matter what. And as for my “parents,” yes, they are my prototype (actually just my dad) but I went to public schools and was widely involved in the community, and virtually ALL of those people fit this category. Yes, it was one community, but there’s no real reason to think there are not large pockets of these people everywhere that christian fundamentalism is common.

    Also, betting on election results may be a violation of federal law, so I would like to point out that Ichthyic and I are TOTALLY JOKING about actually placing a bet.

    Too bad, though, I like Johnny Walker Blue.

    Obviously, no one here is convinced, but I’ll be around in November 2008 to say “I told you so.” (I even have a stipulation in my will that my brother will do it on my behalf in case I die between now and then.)

    Unless the Democrats get smart and nominate someone else, someone who can actually win.

  99. #99 Ichthyic
    September 22, 2007

    I am amused that you think that 44% and 40% (the next highest number for ANY candidate of either party) are “the same number.”

    ok, now you’re just being an idiot.

    why do you think they focused on the NET value?

    NEXT

  100. #100 cureholder
    September 22, 2007

    ——why do you think they focused on the NET value?——

    I don’t know why they focused on the “net value,” given that it is a completely meaningless statistic.

    And how am I being an idiot observing that 44% of the electorate being against you is not the same as 37% of the electorate being against you? I think, in fact, that’s why we have elections. If it doesn’t matter how many are for you and against you, elections don’t make much sense.

  101. #101 Ex-drone
    September 22, 2007

    cureholder writes:

    These people literally believe they have a duty from God (and thus will be judged by god and possibly sent to hell for failing) to show up and vote against Hillary Clinton.

    You know, for an omnipotent being, the christian sky fairy seems to need a lot of help all the time. Maybe the fundies should spend their time looking for a better god instead of a better candidate. I hear that Zeus is between jobs at the moment.

  102. #102 Ichthyic
    September 23, 2007

    I don’t know why they focused on the “net value,” given that it is a completely meaningless statistic.

    *sigh*

    just quite while you’re behind, would ya?

    I’ve given you numerous outs.

    take em and stop already.

    it’s pointless to continue this discussion with you; you simply refuse to actually look at what the poll data is actually saying.

  103. #103 lovable liberal
    September 23, 2007

    The problem for Hillary is not her lead among Democrats. It’s the negative image of her among all voters, which verges on 50%. Hard to win an election if you start out there.

    Granted, it’s not impossible. Nixon had high negatives in 1968 (though I don’t have a number). Of course, like Bill Clinton in 1992, he had a third-party candidate splitting the vote. Hillary is more likely to be a victim of a third-party candidate than a beneficiary.

    The problem for voters who want change is twofold: Which candidate(s) would make a change? Which candidate(s) can get elected?

    To me, Hillary looks like a loser on both counts. She’s too strongly tied, and by all appearances willingly, to the foolish unilateral centrism of Beltway Democrats and their useless consultants and corporate hangers-on. She’d keep Social Security more or less intact and appoint more Stephen Breyers, which would be a marginal improvement, but she wouldn’t do anything to close this Second Gilded Age. I suspect she would also decide to leave a garrison in Iraq of, say, 80,000 troops, giving the neocons exactly what they wanted from the beginning. Splitting the difference is the right move if you believe in triangulation as a principle of governing, as I think Hillary does, based on her performance in the Senate.

    In any case, the challenge for Hillary, if she is the nominee, is to push her existing negatives down, which is always difficult. On the other hand, Obama and Edwards need only keep their negatives from rising too much, which should leave them more money to expose the Republican nominee’s eager Bushism. (Against that, Hillary has more of that corporate money; maybe she can afford to do both.)

    The most important question about Hillary’s negatives is: How much comes from the left? I suspect not much; if a pollster called me, I’d grit my teeth and go positive because I know how these polls get used. And it’s true I’ll support Hillary if she’s the nominee.

    Granted that much of Hillary’s large negative image comes from the right. That’s not going to change, and I’m not worried about it. Even if a few of them think she’s a nice person or they sympathize with her over her marriage, they aren’t going to vote for her. But there’s just too much venom left over from the negatives among independents, persuadables, and the vapid idiots who only pay superficial attention and vote based on taking seriously their own uninformed whims.

    Hillary’s too centrist, but I’m not even flirting with the Greens. Why not? I want change immediately, and I think it’s possible, despite the Congressional Democrats’ utter failure this year to do much of anything against the Bushists’ fascist dreams.

    The Greens are willing to wait for structural political change, a promise that seems timely to them only because they’re already economically comfortable. For them, half a loaf is not better than none.

    So, Edwards or Obama?

  104. #104 cureholder
    September 23, 2007

    ——–*sigh*

    just quite while you’re behind, would ya?

    ———–

    . . . says the one whose last 3 posts have been personal attacks with no substance, and who is pushing a meaningless statistic without being able to explain any significance it has.

    If I get behind, I’ll consider quitting.

    Unfortunately for the Democrats, Hillary won’t.

  105. #105 cureholder
    September 23, 2007

    Come on, Ichthyic, tell “loveable liberal” how it doesn’t matter that Hillary’s negatives are so high because her positives are also high, rendering her oh-so-meaningful “net” statistic on par with that of the other candidates!

    Oh, wait, you mean that in a two-party race, if your negatives encompass half the electorate, it doesn’t matter how high your positives are?

    Hmmmm . . . sounds like what I have been saying the past four days. Imagine that.

    Yeah, definitely quitting while I’m “behind.”