Governor Perry’s Constituents Not Interested in Executions of Innocent People

Gov-Perry.jpgTwo weeks ago we ran the story on Texas Governor Rick Perry’s cover up, that he may have executed an innocent man when he refused even to grant a stay of execution for Cameron Todd Willingham.

Our chief concern was not just that he may have executed an innocent person, but that for political purposes he may have tampered with the membership of the Texas Forensic Science Commission to avoid scrutiny and a judgment.

At issue with the execution was the fact that Mr. Willingham’s conviction was based on forensic techniques, determining that the fire was arson-related, that are now considered scientifically invalid and inconsistent with current accepted scientific standards of the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).

Without arson, there was no murder in his case, and thus the possibility is raised that an innocent man was convicted and executed.

In the time since that story, several other stories have come out on Governor Perry’s large number of executions, a number of which have been questionable.

One group that does not care about the prospect that Governor Perry may have executed innocent individuals would be the primary audience in the Republican Party, where Governor Perry has emerged as the frontrunner.

NBC’s Anchor Brian Williams asked Mr. Perry the question about the death penalty and pointed to the 234 executions, the most executions by any governor in the history of this nation.

Before he could even answer the question, the Republican audience erupted in applause at the very idea that he had executed so many.  The Governor, for his part, suggested that the audience response was an indication that the vast majority of Americans support capital punishment.

Certainly even a casual observer would raise their eyebrows at the notion that a partisan group of people, comprised of the most conservative segment of the more conservative portion of the nation, would be reflective of anything.

Polling, indeed, suggests strong support for capital punishment until the idea of life without parole is posed to respondents of polls, at which point pluralities, if not small majorities, switch to supporting the alternative to capital punishment.

The Governor himself was apparently not ashamed of his record here.

“I’ve never struggled with that at all.  The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place,” Perry said.  “When someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States if that’s required.”

Governor Perry said he supports the decision of Texas to uphold the death penalty, calling it the “ultimate justice,” but felt overall the issue should be left to the states rather than the federal government.

“In the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you’re involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is you will be executed.”

The question that many raise is whether people in Texas do get fair hearings, and whether the state has executed innocent people, such as possibly Cameron Todd Willingham.

Brandi Grissom, in “Scrutinizing Perry’s Extensive Execution Record,” appearing in the New York Times, argues that Mr. Willingham’s execution is far from the only controversial one during the governor’s nearly 11 years in office.

Ms. Grissom cites spokesperson Lucy Nashed, who “said the governor could grant clemency only when the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles – whose members Mr. Perry appoints – recommended that action. He has disagreed with the board only three times when it recommended clemency in death penalty cases, she said.”

“The governor takes his clemency authority very seriously and considers the total facts of every case before making a decision,” she said. Independent of the board, the governor may grant a one-time 30-day reprieve delaying an execution; Mr. Perry has issued one such reprieve.

Writes Ms. Grissom, “To his critics, his parsimonious use of clemency is notable because of continuing concerns about the ability of prisoners facing capital charges in Texas to retain quality legal representation, the execution of those who were minors when they committed their crimes, the ability of some prisoners to understand their punishment intellectually and the international ramifications of executing foreign nationals.”

Jordan Smith, a columnist for the Austin Chronicle, appeared in the liberal Nation magazine.  In an article entitled, “Is Rick Perry Ready to Execute an Innocent Man?” they chronicled the case of Larry Swearingen.

Writes Mr. Smith, “Indeed, if Swearingen is executed on Perry’s watch, there’s no reason to think it would even hurt him politically. Most people who believe the state has already executed an innocent person still support the death penalty. Perry can say he trusts the prosecutor and jury to get it right, and especially in the GOP primary that’s enough to give him a free pass.”

Politico reported that “Multiple former [Kay Bailey] Hutchison advisers recalled asking a focus group about the charge that Perry may have presided over the execution of an innocent man – Cameron Todd Willingham – and got this response from a primary voter: ‘It takes balls to execute an innocent man.’ “

On September 2, The New Republic in an article entitled, “Don’t Blame Perry for Texas’s Execution Addiction. He Doesn’t Have Much to Do With It,” wrote, “The sheer number of executions in Texas over the past decade reveals little about Perry the Governor, because the governor plays only a limited role in the state’s death penalty machinery. That said, Perry has injected himself into the issue of capital punishment in Texas on a number of key occasions – with regard to the appropriateness of capital punishment for offenders with mental retardation, as well as the procedures for investigating a possible wrongful conviction and execution – interventions that cast doubt on the transparency and judiciousness of his political leadership.”

“So what do Perry’s death penalty positions mean?” they ask rhetorically.

They respond to their own question, “His veto of a ban on executing the mentally retarded has had little effect, given the Supreme Court’s conclusion that ‘evolving standards of decency’ require such a ban as a matter of constitutional law. But it does show Perry’s willingness to take an extreme position – and his unwillingness or inability to offer a thoughtful defense of that position.”

They add, “In addition, Perry’s abdication of executive review of executions in the nation’s death penalty epicenter is regrettable and frightening, given the very real possibility of the wrongful execution of the innocent. Cameron Todd Willingham’s case is emblematic of that possibility – and here, Perry’s lack of transparency, coupled with his willingness to use his political muscle to deep-six a reasonable investigation, speak the most loudly about what his death penalty politics say about his political leadership.”

As before, this remains our biggest concern, as a stay of execution in itself is a judgment call.  Whether we can fault Governor Perry is probably more a matter of subjective opinion.  However, the crime is never what gets people in politics, it is the cover-up, and that is where we should be more concerned.

Given the public’s apparent acceptance of executions of mentally challenged people, as well as potentially innocent people, one has to wonder why Governor Perry apparently went to so much effort to prevent the findings of the Texas Forensic Science Commission to come forward and announce for sure that an innocent man had been executed.

Two days before the Texas Forensic Science Commission was scheduled to meet to discuss the report, in October 2009, the Governor replaced the chair and two other members of the commission.

The meeting was canceled and accusations flew that Governor Perry was attempting to interfere with the investigation and use it for his own political advantage.

Governor Perry, in a report from CNN, denied these allegations, telling reporters in Austin, “I think people are making a lot of this issue.”

He said the replacement of commission Chairman Sam Bassett and commissioners Alan Levy and Aliece Watts, whose terms had expired, was “pretty normal protocol.”

“If you’ve got a whole new investigation going forward, it makes a lot more sense to put the new people in now and let them start the full process, rather than bring people in there for a short period of time and then replace them,” he said. “I think it makes a whole lot more sense to make a change now than to make a change later.”

Now, nearly two years later, the issue continues.

The State’s Attorney General has stepped in to limit the power of the commission to investigate evidence in cases prior to September 2005, in specific cases. The commission had wanted to review the fire marshal’s office to see if there were other people who may have been wrongly convicted, based on the now-discredited arson science.

“This is yet another stunning example of politics preventing the commission from carrying out the responsibilities that led the Legislature to create the commission in the first place,” Barry Scheck, the co-founder of the Innocence Project said in a Houston Chronicle op-ed two weeks ago.

He said that his goal, and the goal of the Texas commission, is to make sure that the forensic science used in court rooms is based on actual science.

Mr. Scheck called for an investigation of Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado’s actions during the investigation.

“On at least two instances over the past year – once through a letter submitted to the commission and again through the testimony of his attorney – Maldonado has defended the original investigation of the Willingham case, claiming that the investigation was based on sound science even though this has been disputed by many of the nation’s most respected arson scientists and is in clear violation of accepted standards of the NFPA, the nation’s foremost authority on fire investigation science,” Mr. Scheck said.

Mr. Scheck sees this as political, and is not surprised.

“The attorney general and Maldonado are protecting themselves and shielding Gov. Rick Perry from potential criticism and political backlash stemming from the fact that a man was allowed to be executed even though his conviction was based on flawed and outdated science and that this fact had been explained to them at the time by one of the nation’s leading experts in fire science,” he said.

Two weeks ago we argued that this was more about the issue of the death penalty than Mr. Perry’s aspirations for President.  Nevertheless, there are clear areas for concern about the judgment of a man who could become the Republican nominee for president on an important and emerging issue.

On the other hand, the reaction by the Republican partisans on Wednesday night lead us to question whether this issue will matter.

As Politico argued a few days ago, “In a measure of how much the electorate’s passions have shifted, Perry’s death penalty record isn’t looking like it will have much of an effect on his White House ambitions – as a positive or a negative.”

That marks a change from 1998, they argue, when “Bernard Shaw pressed Michael Dukakis at a 1988 debate about whether he’d still oppose the death penalty for someone who’d raped and murdered his wife, or when Bill Clinton took time off the trail in 1992 to attend the execution of a brain-damaged cop killer.”

“The public is a lot more ambivalent than they had been, say 15 years ago,” said Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment. “They see it as a grayer issue now.”

“The death penalty is not, at least so far, a public policy issue that people are animated about in terms of this election cycle,” said Cully Stimson, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

Politico argues that this issue will not play a significant role during the primary campaign, and the response from the partisan crowd watching the Republican debates tells us exactly why that is the case.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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84 Comments

  1. rusty49

    David, it’s good to see you attacking Perry. It just shows how afraid you and your liberal buddies are of his political skills and the good possibility that he will be your next president.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    Actually your post shows how little you actually know and understand me. I care about the issue of Capital Punishment and I care that Mr. Perry has been egregious on that issue, I think his attempt to cover up the Texas Forensic Commission’s finding is appalling. I don’t really care that much who is the next president.

  3. rusty49

    “I don’t really care that much who is the next president.”

    Ahem, right David, we believe you. And of all the cases out there you just happen to choose to concentrate on this one.

  4. David M. Greenwald

    I don’t really care if you believe me. How many articles have I had on the presidential election in the past six months? Not many. How many on capital punishment? Maybe 20 – at least!

    Why do I focus on this one? Governor Perry has executed more than any other governor in history, he’s high profile, and he has executed a person where there is pretty strong evidence of innocence. I can’t find another example this glaring.

  5. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Our chief concern was not just that he may have executed an innocent person, but that for political purposes he may have tampered with the membership of the Texas Forensic Science Commission to avoid scrutiny and a judgment.[/quote]

    “May” is the operative word here. We don’t know how much other evidence there was to link the defendant to this crime…

    [quote]As before, this remains our biggest concern, as a stay of execution in itself is a judgment call. Whether we can fault Governor Perry is probably more a matter of subjective opinion. [/quote]

    Exactly – VERY SUBJECTIVE opinion.

    [quote]Mr. Scheck sees this as political, and is not surprised.[/quote]

    Neither am I surprised that this entire issue has very much become a political football. Seems to me the same scenario played out in Obama’s state of Illinois not so long ago.

    [quote]Two weeks ago we argued that this was more about the issue of the death penalty than Mr. Perry’s aspirations for President. Nevertheless, there are clear areas for concern about the judgment of a man who could become the Republican nominee for president on an important and emerging issue.[/quote]

    [quote] I don’t really care that much who is the next president. [/quote]

    You can’t have it both ways…

  6. Frankly

    David: The absurdity of the title of this post is off the charts.

    I know the left template is that those conservatives cling to their guns and religion, but to insinuate that Texans might welcome the execution of innocent people is tactless and rude. I get blasted by Don and wdf1 for using the term “looter” and “moocher”, but then I am supposed to accept this backhanded way of saying that Perry and Texans like to kill innocent people.

    Perry is not going to be affected by this issue politically. I understand your interest, but if you really want to see improvements that reduce the chance of innocent executions, you should focus on advocating for increasing the strength of defense in these cases.

    I also think you should get introspective about the situation. Politics enflamed by unprincipled ideologues and the crappy media makes politicians risk-averse. Bush took profound political risks to do what he thought was the right thing, and look what lefties and the left media did with it. They did the same over the prescription drug benefit and Bush’s stand on immigration even though Bush’s policies on these things were way left of center. What would the left and left media be doing to Perry if he stayed the execution, and it ended up another Willie Horton issue? For example, what if Willingham went on to kill a prison guard? You know perfectly well that the left does not stand on principle when there is political gain to be made. So, if you really want to see improvements that help prevent the execution of innocent prisoners, I would expect some discussion on these things. Otherwise it looks like you are just writing political hit pieces. In this case an irrelevant political hit piece because Perry is not going to be harmed by his tough on crime record.

  7. medwoman

    Regardless of whether or not David is making a partisan attack on Perry, there are some serious considerations about Governor Perry’s views on the role of the executive and the role of government in general.

    1) He seems deeply conflicted about the role of state and federal government. I have a lot of difficulty believing in his interest in the overall wellbeing of the United States when he previously spoke, apparently seriously about the possibility of secession for Texas.
    2) I have a great deal of concern about a chief executive who is essentially willing to abdicate a major function of his position, the serious review of death penalty cases, with the statement that ” he trusts the prosecutor and jury to have gotten it right”. I find this particularly appalling in view of the number of cases in which scientific evidence has subsequently demonstrated that the prosecutor and jury did not “get it right” in death penalty cases..
    3) Which brings me to an even greater concern that I have about Gov. Perry. His seeming preference for his interpretation of his religious convictions over objective evidence. Why would one need to consider any other opinion, or even the facts, if you truly believed that your own opinion was informed by God. And let’s suppose for the moment that he doesn’t really believe this and is just using it as a means to consolidate his religious base, almost as bad for scoring near the top of the hypocrisy scale. Either way, not good in my book.

  8. Frankly

    [i]1) He seems deeply conflicted about the role of state and federal government.[/i] = Obama

    [i]2) I have a great deal of concern about a chief executive who is essentially willing to abdicate a major function of his position[/i] = Obama

    [i]His seeming preference for his interpretation of his religious convictions over objective evidence.[/i] = Obama

  9. Don Shor

    “Constituents Not Interested in Executions of Innocent People”
    That’s a rather inflammatory headline. I would guess they don’t believe the accusations, probably because they think they are partisan. It is possible that some of his constituents can rationalize the execution of a criminal who might have been innocent of the particular crime. But I seriously doubt that the majority of Texans, who have elected and re-elected Gov. Perry, are as blasé about this as you think. Politics in Texas is a contact sport. The governor’s supporters very likely believe the accusations are politically motivated.
    I have lots of reasons I would never support Gov. Perry for president. But every major national political figure supports the death penalty. That is just not going to be an issue with any traction.

  10. medwoman

    JB

    Your post is far below your usual. Even if you truly believe that all of things are true of Obama ( I notice you site no examples), it is a meaningless post since it adds nothing to the discussion of either the death penalty, or the feasibility of Gov. Perry as a candidate for president which are the topics of this thread.

  11. medwoman

    Don Shor

    I agree with both you and JB that this issue is not likely to have any traction nationally. And, I believe that is a very sad commentary on the priorities of our society.

    Whether you are an adamant opponent of the death penalty on moral grounds as I am, or whether you are an ardent supporter because you believe that this represents a form of justice, I think we can all agree that it is undesirable to execute the innocent.

    The problem I see, is that for many, the issue of execution of the innocent is less important than the issue of who gets to hold power. And, I do not believe that either the right or the left deviate from this misplaced priority. I believe that this is what got us many of the injustices which have accompanied the whole “tough on crime” race. To say nothing of the financial costs incurred by our “lock them up and throw away the key” mentality which both ends of the political spectrum have at times embraced in order to win elections.

    For JB I will include an example of what happens when an individual on the left holds to their principles.
    Remember Rose Bird ? There are people all along the political spectrum who will do what they believe is right regardless of the risk to their own careers. Although I know you disagree, I do not believe that “moral right” is owned by any particular faith or political philosophy.

  12. Frankly

    medwoman:

    1) He seems deeply conflicted about the role of state and federal government. = Obama

    Obama consistently oversteps his power (e.g., Obamacare, Judicial/ATF raid on Gibson Guitars), or understeps his responsibility (protecting the borders) as it related to states rights.

    2) I have a great deal of concern about a chief executive who is essentially willing to abdicate a major function of his position = Obama

    Obamacare was one of many examples were Obama just left it to Congress to come up with the “solution”. He is a populist president with a track record of playing the middle on most critical decisions.

    3) His seeming preference for his interpretation of his religious convictions over objective evidence. = Obama

    Like most liberals, Obama is connected with his ideological worldview as a substitute for his religious convictions. A good example is his administrations idea to reduce or eliminate Federal income tax deductions for charitable giving… even given the impact to charities… many of them run by churches. Another bill, H.R. 1681,cosponsors by the core members of the congressional liberal brass: former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA), former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman (D–CA), and former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank (D–MA)… would cause all Catholic adoption serves in the nation to close shop. Obama has indicated that he would sign the bill.

  13. Alphonso

    I have been wathing the debate and many of the interviews. Perry comes across as a very shallow person – in line with his seeming lack of interest is really focusing on the merits of this execution. Too much interest is looking good and speaking well rather than really getting into the details. The more thoughtful GOP candidates appear to be Romney and Hunstman.

    I wish this execution would have come up during the last debate.

  14. David M. Greenwald

    Don: There was actually supposed to be a question mark at the end of the headline, somehow it disappeared by the time I hit publish this morning. I think you can make the case that a lot of his constituents in Texas are willing to risk the execution of an innocent person in the name of expediency. Certainly the quote from the focus group is the fringe element even in Texas.

  15. David M. Greenwald

    ‘”May” is the operative word here. We don’t know how much other evidence there was to link the defendant to this crime… “

    Elaine, your comment makes no sense. The question is whether a crime actually occurred. Five forensic experts on fire say it was electrical not intentionally set. If there is no arson, there is no crime, and therefore it is irrelevant what other evidence there is because there is no predicate crime.

  16. medwoman

    JB

    I appreciate your posting the reasons that you think the points I made about Gov. Perry apply to Pres. Obama. Predictably enough, I disagree with all of them, but again, do not feel that this thread is the appropriate place for a full discussion. I have great faith that David will at some point provide us with reason to pursue these points.

  17. medwoman

    JB

    Also I would be interested in your thoughts with regard to feelings about political expediency as it applies to others in politics than those you choose to define as liberals, and your thoughts about liberals who hold to their convictions despite political risk. Rose Bird was one example. Nancy Pelosi another. Barabara Boxer, another. Jimmy Carter another. All have faced career challenges without backing down from their liberal beliefs. Whether you agree with those beliefs or not is not the point. They clearly did.

    The relevancy to this thread would be based on your disclaimer that you did not know if Gov. Perry had political expediency as a motive for his actions, while you claim to know the reasons for liberal political actions. It seems a little surprising to me that you are privy to the innermost motivations of liberals, but not of Gov. Perry.

  18. Frankly

    Rose Bird = Not a politician. As an activist judge who admitted and defended it, I give her credit for being honest about her convictions. However, judges that use the bench for promoting their views are a big danger to our democratic process.

    Nanci Pelosi and Barbara Boxer = Dyed in the wool liberals with a solid track record of liberal decisions and actions. I give them credit for their consistency. However, both of them have also put on the principle hypocrit hat over policy issues that they should have supported or not supported but did the oposite for political reasons. The strength of the Democrats these last three election cycles had to do with them all performing like party sheep.

    Jimmy Carter = I can’t remember enough specifics about Carter. He was/is an odd duck. I would give him higher marks that Obama for sticking to his lefty guns.

    Obama is in a class all by itself as a top politician lacking demonstratable convictions in his rhetoric… however, he is clearly following the policy path of a liberal when he does make decisions. That is his trick and my reason for seeing him as a weak leader.

  19. Don Shor

    Carter was not considered liberal at the time. He was, in fact, challenged for renomination from the left by Edward Kennedy.
    I don’t believe Gov. Perry is being expedient in his approach to the death penalty. I believe he strongly believes in it.

  20. medwoman

    JB

    Good distinction about Rose Bird being a judge, not a politician. And I also agree with you that judges who use the bench to promote their personal views are a big danger. I am sure that I see this from the left just as strongly as you do from the right. I see tremendous danger in the decisions of Justices Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, and Alito. I am sorry, but regardless of what Romney and these gentlemen contend, corporations are not persons in any but the most tortured use of these words.

    As for Obama, I would agree with you that he has been a weaker leader than I wanted. But as for your point about him following a liberal policy path, I could not disagree more. Had he truly been following a liberal path he would have led the drive for single party payer,
    ended the Iraq war as soon as was safe for the personnel involved, pushed for passage of the Dream Act, immediately ended Don’t Ask, Don’t
    Tell, come out forcefully in favor of same sex marriage…….now those are liberal positions…. and the change that I was hoping for. I am an
    Ideologic liberal ( or liberal by principle, if you prefer) Obama has proven that he is not.

    Don Shor

    Good point about Carter and the relativism of that term “liberal”. I should have either not included him, or stressed that he was there onlyas an example of an individual of integrity.
    As for Governor Perry, I agree with you that he strongly believes in it. So much so, that he allows himself to be blinded to evidence that might argue against it’s implementation. His blindness in his belief that his position is correct, regardless of any evidence to the contrary frightens me far more than does “weakness” on the part of Obama.

  21. Frankly

    Liberals: the intellectuals, the activists, the influencers… what drives them is egalitarianism. Something in them sees great travesty in human situational difference. It does not matter if 90% of the poor in the US have a standard of living in the top 10% of the world, the fact that someone else has a lot more drives liberals nuts. Something in their wiring and/or background makes them recoil at thought of competition for economic prosperity and social influence… other than competition for intellectual superiority and political power that they must wield to implement their dreams of equal outcomes for all. An aversion to competition combined with tendency to see human existence as being class-stratified are such strong emotives in a liberal mind, it causes them to ignore and/or be in denial of the truth about human systems and behavior. It is this ignorance and/or denial that make them dangerous if left alone to pursue their dreams unchecked.

    Carter displayed and displays all those liberal tendencies toward egalitarianism and then some. He cements his historical marker as a strong liberal by embracing Castro and Chavez: two leaders demonstrating the dangerous next steps from liberal ideology… those more extreme forms of collectivism that more profoundly destroy human freedoms.

    Obama, however, speaks with forked-tongue. His rhetoric sways back and forth between a moderate and someone who holds the egalitarian viewpoint. Clinton did this too. Both seek to convince you that they “feel your pain” regardless if you are a business owner or a food stamp recipient. Both men, I think, are expert and gifted rhetorical orators… they attract the larger center of voters by conveying a larger agenda and sense of support. Obama’s actions combined with sound bits of his speeches are where you start to see his real ideological color shining through. He is ALL liberal and maybe more of a socialist. It makes sense given his background… his mother, his father and his mentors. Obama is dangerous because his worldview directs him to “change” and “transform” the country into something he better supports. However, that design has been proven not to work unless your goal is to make more people equally as miserable.

    We have tried “liberal” for six years now. The evidence of massive fail are clearly visible. At this point any of the GOP candidates would be much better than Obama. I would even welcome back liberal Carter at this point.

  22. Alphonso

    JB and Rusty49

    Exactly why do you dislike Obama so much? –

    Of course Fox News has been slamming Obama from before the time he took office, but from your personal perspective what annoys you? I would like to read specifics.

    This is what I see-

    We have the same tax cuts Bush put in place, although payroll taxes are lower under Obama

    We have fought in two wars under both Bush and Obama. We “won” a pointless war in Iraq and we are still exchanging fire in Afganistan. Obama killed Bin Laden which was the real purpose of starting both of those wars

    We are in a housing depression – stated under Bush and it is still going under Obama.

    Almost went into a depression under Bush and we may go into a recession under Obama the way things are going.

    We have a huge deficit under Obama but it would have been just as high if McCain had been elected – wars, tax breaks, stimulus plans, medicare drug plans and lousy economy. Most of the prolonged deficit programs started under Bush.

    High gas prices – actually they were higher during part of the Bush years and the price overall has averaged about the same under both administrations.

    Bush reacted poorly to Katrina and the Tsunami and I guess Obama might have done more when the BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf.

    Of course Obama drove through the new healthcare reforms which is unique to him – is that why you dislike him?

    We were promised more jobs by both Presidents and that has not happned – both used fiscal policy (tax cuts and more spending) to encourage the economy. Nothing has really worked because housing prices keep falling and new jobs are going to Asia.

    We were safe under Bush after 9/11 and we have been safe under Obama.

  23. Frankly

    [i]Why do I hate Obama so much?[/i]

    First, let’s get this straight. I don’t “hate” Obama. I just think he has been a terrible President for this country at this time.

    This is what I see-

    [i]We have the same tax cuts Bush put in place, although payroll taxes are lower under Obama[/i]

    Regulatory costs – a form of business tax – has exploded under Obama. The threat of tax increase – including Obamacare – looms large and causes businesses to forego expansion plans in the US.

    [i]We have fought in two wars under both Bush and Obama. We “won” a pointless war in Iraq and we are still exchanging fire in Afganistan. Obama killed Bin Laden which was the real purpose of starting both of those wars[/i]

    Bush won the war in Iraq – his war as libs have made sure we all understand. However, the UN-sanctioned war… Obama’s war, is still a question mark and it is likely that we will pull out before achieving anything close to stability.

    [i]We are in a housing depression – stated under Bush and it is still going under Obama. [/i]

    It started under Carter with CRA and crashed in Bush’s last year. Three years later under Obama and nothing has been fixed.

    [i]Almost went into a depression under Bush and we may go into a recession under Obama the way things are going. [/i]

    Went into a recession the last year of Bush, and Obama’s policy failures are taking us back only three years later.

    [i]We have a huge deficit under Obama but it would have been just as high if McCain had been elected – wars, tax breaks, stimulus plans, Medicare drug plans and lousy economy. Most of the prolonged deficit programs started under Bush. [/i]

    Conservative would have demanded a GOP president cut the spending without tax increases. It is unlikely that a McCain would have spent as much as Obama… especially the first two years when the Obama, Reid, Pelosi spending trio were performing.

    [i]High gas prices – actually they were higher during part of the Bush years and the price overall has averaged about the same under both administrations. [/i]

    Gas prices have stayed in the $3-$4 dollar range throughout Obama’s presidency. We all know he likes it there since it helps promote his liberal dreams of alternative energy development… something decades away so it just hammers American business and consumers having to continue to pay the “new normal” gas prices under Obama.

  24. Frankly

    [i]Bush reacted poorly to Katrina and the Tsunami and I guess Obama might have done more when the BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf. [/i]

    Agree. Government is not a loving organization and most public agencies are barely able to function in a normal practiced process… throw in a never-been-experienced natural disaster and it will be a disaster no matter who is President. I assume Obama would have had the same result with Katrina… just nobody saying he “hated black people”.

    [i]Of course Obama drove through the new healthcare reforms which is unique to him – is that why you dislike him?

    We were promised more jobs by both Presidents and that has not happned – both used fiscal policy (tax cuts and more spending) to encourage the economy. Nothing has really worked because housing prices keep falling and new jobs are going to Asia. [/i]

    Obama railroaded Obamacare down the throats of the GOP and an American public still opposed to it. The reason that Obama policies are failing to produce jobs is that he blew his wad on Obamacare and stimulus. His cabinet of Ivy-leaguers lacked enough business sense to understand that root of the problem and their plans came up short. My belief is that Obama and Dems were not worried about the economy because they knew they could blame it on Bush and they benefitted from more moochers being created from the lack of private job opportunities. Obama’s approval rating should be in the 2’s, but it is on the 40s… so he may have been accurate about this.

    [i]We were safe under Bush after 9/11 and we have been safe under Obama.[/i]

    There have been more near-misses under Obama, but to his credit he has largely followed the policies put in place by the Bush administration… much to his lib constituents’ dismay.

  25. Alphonso

    JB

    Of course I disagree with the intensity of most of your responses, but there is one that interests me because you might be right. You said –

    “Regulatory costs – a form of business tax – has exploded under Obama. The threat of tax increase – including Obamacare – looms large and causes businesses to forego expansion plans in the US. “

    I can not think of any significant regulatory costs impacting my industry – semi-conductor quipment. What do you see as an explosion of regulatory costs? I am not arguing the point, I would just like to hear your viewpoint.

  26. Don Shor

    Regulation of my industry has not changed at all.
    The problem I have with Perry’s response on the death penalty is that it was totally without nuance.
    “I’ve never struggled with that at all.”
    That is a problem for me. You should struggle with the death penalty, just as you should struggle with sending American troops to war. Certitude on matters of life and death doesn’t seem to me to be a virtue.

  27. Frankly

    Don… Sorry, I can be a creature of habit.

    In this context, I could have wrote:

    “more entitlements-consumers being created.” That would cover my point. How’s that?

  28. medwoman

    JB

    Another seeming inconsistency in your remarks regarding Obama. You have stated that he forced Obama care down our throats and you also stated earlier today that he sat back did nothing and let Congress take the lead. I am not at all clear how he could have done these things at the same time with regard to the same issue. Please clarify.

  29. Frankly

    Obama failed to lead on health care reform. He kept out of making any specific policy recommendation (may have been because the Clintons’ failure with Hillarycare). He let the libs in control of Congress in closed-door sessions to create a piece of Ted Kennedy memorial legislation… and then he signed it. Prior to this he had campaigned on government transparency and openness and reaching across the isle.

    He signed what was a partisan and unpopular bill. Polling showed that the vast majority of Americans did not like it. Some didn’t like it because it was not single payer, but the most didn’t like it because it would reduce choice and blow the doors off the already rocketing deficit. The tricks used to get the CBO to calculate some tax savings were known to be tricks and most expect the costs to be unsustainable. Obama shoved this bad legislation down our throats.

  30. Frankly

    Alphonso,

    I work in the lending industry. Banks… especially small community and regional banks have been hammered. The big banks have armies of staff to fight with the regulators. These regulators were unleashed at the very same time we needed to get capital out to businesses… especially small businesses. Small businesses have been failing all around us and are continuing to. It is real bad… worse than the Obama-friendly media is talking about right now.

    You can also look at the Obama moratorium on drilling in the gulf. What has that done to gas prices? How has high gas prices hurt business… especially small business running on razor thin margins already?

    Cap and trade was not passed thankfully because the Senate had more sense. But Obama wanted to sign it. The fear of this passing in some form caused businesses to hold expansion investments. It still is. What if Obama wins and Dems take control of Congress again? What business wants to invest is a plan that pencils out now, but not after cap-n-tax is passed?

    New mileage and emissions regulations on autos.

    Now what about Obamacare… that great piece of legislation that won’t really kick in until 2014 to keep Dems safe in office? How about that impact on business investment decisions?

    The EPA has grown out of control since Obama took control. Only recently has Obama put a muzzle on that agency over real fear he might not get reelected because of the zero growth of jobs.

    Look out for the Frank Dodd bill. If that monster is passed, we will need a forklift to move around the federal register.

    Now to be fair, regulations shot up during the Bush admin. Some of these were bank regulators, but they didn’t really get rolling until 2009. Much of the Bush increase was Homeland Security. Obama has accelerated the number of regulations, but more importantly, the rigor by which his administration attempts to enforce the most inane of regulations.

    Have you read about the Justice/ATF armed raids on Gibson Guitars? Do you think that would have happened under Bush’s watch?

  31. Alphonso

    “The big banks have armies of staff to fight with the regulators. These regulators were unleashed at the very same time we needed to get capital out to businesses… especially small businesses.”

    JB

    Don’t you think the big banks brought on much of that regulation themselves, just like BP has added many new regulations to drilling in the Gulf. As I see it greedy bankers (not everyone is greedy) and greedy saving and loan people have failed us not once but twice. Sure you can argue that politicians enticed some bankers to go too far, but industries that take the economy off of cliffs need regulation. The same sort of BS happened with energy companies like Enron. I wish our government would apply jail time to the folks playing games with our economy.

    I agree regulations should make sense and we are way over regulated in general, but many people are pissed at the reckless nature of some bankers -it is hard to feel sorry for them even though I own a few thousand shares of bank stocks (lousy investments).

  32. J.R.

    ” many people are pissed at the reckless nature of some bankers -it is hard to feel sorry for them”

    You’re missing the point. It’s not the bankers that suffer. It’s the new businesses that don’t get created and the people that don’t get hired and the other people who don’t benefit from the money they would spend and the taxes they would pay.

  33. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I am sorry, but regardless of what Romney and these gentlemen contend, corporations are not persons in any but the most tortured use of these words. [/quote]

    Neither are unions…

  34. E Roberts Musser

    To dmg: In response to your argument there was no other evidence for arson, you are wrong. See following website:

    [quote]http://corsicanadailysun.com/thewillinghamfiles/x46870673/-09-06-09-No-doubts[/quote]

  35. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Elaine, your comment makes no sense. The question is whether a crime actually occurred. Five forensic experts on fire say it was electrical not intentionally set. If there is no arson, there is no crime, and therefore it is irrelevant what other evidence there is because there is no predicate crime.[/quote]

    My comments make perfect sense if one is not hopelessly baised and doesn’t do their homework. See the link above…

    This is the sort of thing that often comes when old cases are “retried” in the press for political reasons. And it hurts the cause of doing away with the death penalty; setting the innocent free. I very much doubt this guy was innocent…

  36. Frankly

    Alphonso, J.R. is correct. The added regulatory pressure came at the wrong time. It is the classic government over steer… the President waits until the crisis is over to come in guns blazing to show voters how he has it under control. If Obama and his merry band of job thieves knew enough about small business capital access requirements, they would have lowered regulatory pressure and taxation on these smaller banks for doing commercial lending. Instead, all of it got caught up in the sub-prime residential lending mess.

    Think about it… you are a small business employing 15 people and the economy tanks. You were making just a small profit before. You lay off 8 people and try to survive on a skeleton crew. You can’t make your mortgage and payroll and property taxes without an operating line of credit. But when you go to your local bank, they say no… they are doing more rigorous capital management because of regulatory pressure and because the same thing happened to the bigger banks that used to buy loan assets on the secondary market… but have stopped.

    Then you start using your credit cards. Soon those are tapped. There is no equity in your business property or on your home real estate. You keep paying your workers because you think the economy will improve. But it doesn’t because Obama and the Dems are working on Obamacare and bailing out Wall Street and the big union car companies. The bank does offer you a 6-month, then a 12-month and then an 18-month payment deferment, but still the economy does not improve and it is not enough. The regulators tell the bank they cannot give additional deferments. The bank forecloses on your business and your home. You lay off all your employees and then talk to a bankruptcy attorney.

    This is playing out in hundreds of thousands of small businesses around the country. Many that managed to hang on for the last 36 months are in the worst shape because they sold everything they owned to stay in business and keep some employees working.

    The real aggravating thing about this is that capital exists… but it is not moving. It is trapped in regulatory garbage and business investment uncertainty. If you are a bank and you have capital, what do you do with it? Where is your investment safe? The Obama administration has massively failed in bringing a sense of trust and optimism back into the economy. Sure it is not his fault that it failed… it is his fault that he did not get the sense of urgency to focus on getting help to Main Street. In this, they have destroyed the lives of so many small businesses and the people they employed. But, the good news for Democrats is that many more Americans are going to need social services now. In Rand-speak we have taken millions of producers and made them all dependent moochers to ensure liberal Democrats have a perpetual reason to loot the shrinking pool of remaining producers (sorry Don).

  37. Don Shor

    “Obamacare” is causing small business bankruptcy? I see ideology is truly trumping macro-economic analysis. By the way, a very large percentage of personal bankruptcies are caused by health care bills.

    I am always curious about the “regulatory garbage” cited here. What is the government requiring that is onerous? I am not conversant with this field. Isn’t it reasonable to regulate loans more strictly if bad loans were at the root of our economic collapse in 2008?

    When you say “getting help to Main Street,” what exactly do you think the government should have done in 2008 (Bush) and 2009 (Obama) to help Main Street that they didn’t do? What fiscal policies are being advocated by Gov. Perry, Rep. Bachmann, or Gov. Romney that would be better?

    Also, getting back to Gov. Perry, how does it help the long-term economic “certainty” to have a leading Republican candidate decide to take on Social Security in terms that are grossly inaccurate and inflammatory?

    Finally, doesn’t Gov. Perry’s unwavering certitude about his ultimate executive job — deciding life and death — give you pause? Do you think that his absolute confidence is an admirable trait?

  38. rusty49

    “more moochers being created”

    “What will it take to get you to stop using this term?”

    Jeff, moochers are what they are. I like to say you’re either a “maker” or a “taker”.

  39. Alphonso

    b]”The Obama administration has massively failed in bringing a sense of trust and optimism back into the economy. Sure it is not his fault that it failed… “[/b]

    Take out the word massively and I agree with that comment. Actually, the combination of tax breaks, stimulus and monetary policy has driven the economy ahead despite the continuing housing downward spiral, but not fast enough. Clearly, the real problem recently has been the political disruption in Washington – we need our leaders to compromise and take action quickly and decisively – both the President and Congress have that responsibility. Just act like they are interested in the economy and that will restore some trust and optimism.

    I still disagree with you on bank regulation – the banks caused most of the 2008 problems and many had to be bailed out. Of course they need to be regulated because they failed to regulate themselves. That regulation may slow things down a bit but they need to look in a mirror to see who is at fault. If you want to understand more about the Banking problems (banker corruption and cozy relationships between Congress and Bankers) read some to the things Bill Black (ex neighbor) has written.

    I have to go to Reno to watch balloons rise in the east – so got to go.

  40. medwoman

    rusty49

    And it is that black and white view of the world that many of we ” elitist liberals ” take exception to.
    An example from my own story. After the untimely death of my father when I was nine, we lived off that “Ponzi scheme” called social security,
    and possibly other forms of the social safety net ( classic moocher or taker !) until my mom ( who hadn’t graduated from high school since playing by the rules she learned growing up, that her husband would support her) found a menial job which allowed us to live week to week.
    My first job was a summer government run youth program for disadvantaged teens. ( More mooching or taking!)
    That job could now be cited as experience and I was on my way to putting myself through college.
    I still might not have made it if I had not had the opportunity to have some of my medical school bills paid for by the Public Health Service which paid for two years of my education in exchange for two years of my service as a general medical officer. ( So two years of my education was subsidized by the taxpayers, (what a moocher !)
    I have been a doctor now for 28 years. I suspect that both you JB might classify that as a “maker”. So which am I in your absolutist scheme of things? Maker, taker, hybrid, chameleon ?
    I prefer not to classify and am eternally grateful to our system which at the time had enough compassion and wisdom to help those in need to allow me to have the resources I needed to work and study my way out of poverty. For those of you who disdain liberals, at least some of us earned our liberal principles honestly and have never used them to exploit anyone else. I wonder how many children and youth in my situation
    we will be hindering if we eviscerate the safety nets as some are now advocating.

  41. medwoman

    ERM

    “and neither are unions”

    True, but the Supreme Court hasn’t weighed in on that.
    This is precisely why I would favor publicly supported elections with no private funding. I can hear the howls coming from all sides.

  42. rusty49

    Medwoman, I don’t think conservatives are against handouts to people who truly need a helping hand. There are “takers” who truly need it, but too many “takers” are just gaming the system. The problem is this administration is purposely putting more people on the Gov’t dole as they know it leads to more Democrat votes. Unemployment benefits now go on for 2 years and the huge increase in food stamp usage to where 1 in 6 Americans are now on the program which has risen 50% under Obama are just a couple of examples where this Administration is buying votes.

  43. Superfluous Man

    medwoman to JB,

    “while you claim to know the reasons for liberal political actions. It seems a little surprising to me that you are privy to the innermost motivations of liberals, but not of Gov. Perry.”

    Funny, I too found that perplexing.

  44. Superfluous Man

    JB,

    “I give them (Liberals) credit for their consistency. However, both of them have also put on the principle hypocrit hat over policy issues that they should have supported or not supported but did the oposite for political reasons.”

    I am shocked that you have uncovered this unspoken truth. Politicians supporting/not supporting this or that…for political purposes? This of course, I’m sure you’d admit, is not something only the “liberals” are guilty of…just more so than their counterparts, right?

    Maybe you should focus as critical of an eye on the other party, it would likely make your posts more enjoyable rather than read as they do now: regurgitating rhetoric from whatever talking heads you’ve been absorbing your information from.

  45. Superfluous Man

    Rusty,

    “There are “takers” who truly need it, but too many “takers” are just gaming the system.”

    What percent of all people using these various assistance programs are breaking the law?

    “The problem is this administration is purposely putting more people on the Gov’t dole as they know it leads to more Democrat votes.”

    How many more votes will increasing the number of people on assistance program get Obama? Do you have the data?

    “Unemployment benefits now go on for 2 years and the huge increase in food stamp usage to where 1 in 6 Americans are now on the program which has risen 50% under Obama are just a couple of examples where this Administration is buying votes.”

    An increase due to Obama’s attempt to get more votes or a reflection of hard times and/or the adjustments govt has made to accommodate the dire situation many Americans are in?

  46. rusty49

    “Maybe you should focus as critical of an eye on the other party, it would likely make your posts more enjoyable rather than read as they do now: regurgitating rhetoric from whatever talking heads you’ve been absorbing your information from.”

    LOL, and liberals that post here are so fair minded and don’t absorb their info from talking heads. Why do you think this whole Perry thing is coming up now, it’s being regurgitated from the talking heads.

  47. Superfluous Man

    JB,

    “It does not matter if 90% of the poor in the US have a standard of living in the top 10% of the world, the fact that someone else has a lot more drives liberals nuts.”

    Yes, that is what drives those who’ve worked tirelessly toward ending poverty in this nation and globally. It’s anger resulting from: someone else has a lot.

    “Something in their wiring and/or background makes them recoil at thought of competition for economic prosperity and social influence…”

    Of course, “liberals” loathe prosperity and social influence.

    “Bush won the war in Iraq – his war as libs have made sure we all understand.”

    At which point did you declare victory, when the “Mission Accomplished” banner was hung or sometime thereafter?

    “However, the UN-sanctioned war… Obama’s war, is still a question mark and it is likely that we will pull out before achieving anything close to stability.”

    And what did you remark, when Pres. Bush was president, when those “liberals” questioned the outcome of the Iraq war? I believe you criticized liberals in a post not too long ago for questioning/not supporting a wartime president or something to that effect, didn’t you?

    “It started under Carter with CRA and crashed in Bush’s last year. Three years later under Obama and nothing has been fixed.”

    So Carter go the ball rolling? Okay, so in the 30 or so years that followed, of which 20 our nation was led by a republican president, you remark that three years after this 30+ year disaster in the works finally occurred, Obama has done nothing. I see.

  48. Superfluous Man

    Rusty,

    “LOL, and liberals that post here are so fair minded and don’t absorb their info from talking heads. Why do you think this whole Perry thing is coming up now, it’s being regurgitated from the talking heads.”

    It’s the extreme overgeneralization and black/white nature used, in addition to the trite one-liners of the various Fox News hosts that I get tired of from certain posters.

    Are you asking me why I think a presidential candidate is being scrutinized publicly? This issues is always relevant-condemning people/state executions/innocence of the condemned and executed-in Texas and under this Gov. in particular.

  49. rusty49

    “It’s the extreme overgeneralization and black/white nature used, in addition to the trite one-liners of the various Fox News hosts that I get tired of from certain posters.”

    Superfluousman, don’t you think we conservatives also get tired of the trite one-liners of the Maddows, Schults and Odonnell’s from MSNBC that we see from certain posters here? It works both ways.

  50. David M. Greenwald

    Back to the death penalty issue, as I was attempting to nap yesterday I encountered the NBC/ Dateline coverage of Larry Swearingen, whose execution has been twice postponed. The defense, a new attorney reviewed the evidence and discovered physical evidence that the body of the murder victim could not have been dumped when the prosecution/ police claimed. That is critical because the actual time of death puts the victim alive at a time when the defendant was in custody.

    The evidence was insect development and also decay of the woman’s organs which were said to be normal weight when they should have been gone if the prosecution’s timeline were correct.

    And yet to date the courts have said that is not enough evidence for a new trial. The prosecution claims it doesn’t gibe with other evidence, but this is another case where if the physical evidence suggests he can’t have done it, the other evidence should not matter.

  51. Don Shor

    So Rick Perry’s fiscal policy (Wikipedia: “Perry opposed creating a Texas state income tax and increasing sales tax rates, choosing instead to [b]increase user fees and debt[/b], adding $2 billion for [b]road bonds[/b], [b]borrowing from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund[/b], and [b]adding surcharges[/b] to various traffic offenses…”
    He had been very critical of the Fed chairman, specifically arguing against any easing of monetary policy (it would be “almost treasonous” were his exact words). How would that approach translate at the federal level? He has no economic advisers, he has no jobs plan, and he doesn’t appear to be able to answer questions in any depth.
    His views on the death penalty are among many issues that should give Republican voters pause.

  52. medwoman

    rusty49

    “I don’t think conservatives are against handouts to people who truly need a helping hand.”
    There are two points that I think strongly argue against this assertion.

    The first is your very choice of the emotionally laden word “handout” instead of a more neutral term such as “assistance”. It is very hard to conceive that you do not have a pejorative view of the recipient of a “handout”

    The second however, is much more important. I believe that most conservatives are aware that whether or not they “are not against handouts to people who truly need…..”, that lack of provision for these people who are in true need, including children, will be the inevitable outcome of cutbacks in social safety net spending. Once you are aware of the negative impact, and still promote it, saying that you do not oppose helping the truly needy becomes nothing but window dressing for your willingness to deprive them.

    And yes, David, I will loop this back to the death penalty which I realize is the topic of the thread.
    I believe that a fundamental difference between conservatives and liberals is one of world view.
    It would appear to me that conservatives would rather that some people, including children, go hungry and without medical care as is the case today, than to have even one person scam the system. I cannot help but note that no statistics were put forth to substantiate the claim that many people cheat. I also believe that many conservatives would rather see an occasional execution of an innocent person, than allowing a truly guilty individual spend his life in prison without parole. I do not see this as an inflammatory comment on my part given Gov. Perry’s assertion that he has “never struggled with that at all” and one of his supporters comments that ” it takes balls to execute an innocent man”.

  53. AdRemmer

    Alphonso, to many (using Greewald’s loose definition of “Many”) Obama comes across as a very shallow person – in line with his seeming lack of interest in _____________ (fill in the blank).

  54. AdRemmer

    [quote]At which point did you declare victory, when the “Mission Accomplished” banner was hung or sometime thereafter? [/quote]

    Ah, nothing like “Shovel-ready” jobs or “Summer of Recovery” or a promise for less than 8% unemployment by 12-31-10; if porkulous passed, huh?

  55. AdRemmer

    [quote]Superfluousman, don’t you think we conservatives also get tired of the trite one-liners of the Maddows, Schults and Odonnell’s from MSNBC that we see from certain posters here? It works both ways. [/quote]

    Hear, hear..

  56. memary10

    If people are too blind to realize that Perry is a right wing bloodthirsty thug in an expensive suit, we are all in deep trouble. His own book and his record as governor of Texas speaks for itself. He is all hat and no cattle as a political leader. That anyone would even consider supporting such a bad character for the office of president appalls and disgusts me.

  57. wdf1

    medwoman: “It would appear to me that conservatives would rather that some people, including children, go hungry and without medical care as is the case today, than to have even one person scam the system.”

    To build on medwoman’s point, should we say, “God bless Kyle Willis for not being a moocher or a ‘taker’?” He was a single, unemployed father and had no health insurance, so recently let his tooth infection spread to the point where he died. Maybe his 6-year old daughter will grow up one day and say, “My dad never took a handout from anyone.”

    [url]http://abcnews.go.com/Health/insurance-24-year-dies-toothache/story?id=14438171[/url]

    Quite frankly, I find more instances of people not having the guts to ask for help event once rather than doing so pathologically. Just anecdotal observation on my part, but it makes me wonder of some of the conservative commenters, here, under what conditions would you ask for help?

    And under what conditions would you make yourself available to help others? Would you dare to be one of those “thousand points of light” that one good Republican president once described?

    It’s possible that you may have missed Mr. Willis’ story if you only follow Fox News.

    Or how about, “thank God Deamonte Driver’s family didn’t mooch too much”. A 12-year old kid died in 2007 after Medicaid benefits ran out and he couldn’t get dental care for a similar situation.

    [url]http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Dental/story?id=2925584&page=1[/url]

    Charles Dickens would have no trouble finding material in the U.S. for new novels if he were still alive.

    My issue with conservative criticism of welfare programs is that there is no viable alternative vision that is described. Just let the market do its thing and let me get back to watching football TV.

    There is a question in the Bible that is relevant here, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

  58. Don Shor

    So let’s compare and contrast.
    [url]http://2012.republican-candidates.org/[/url]

    “• While Governor in Massachusetts Romney filed a bill to reinstate the death penalty for deadly acts of terrorism, killing sprees and murders involving torture and the killings of law enforcement personnel.

    • The bill called for substantial scientific evidence such as DNA verification to sentence someone to death.

    • The bill also called for a proper representation for the indigent from a certified pool of lawyers. It also allowed jurors who were not supporters of the death penalty to partake in the guilt phase of the trial.

    • He described the bill as a gold standard or model for the nation in case of capital punishment and said it would give the state a foolproof death penalty.

    • Mitt Romney favors the death penalty in cases of heinous crimes such as first degree homicides.

    • Romney said that the ultimate penalty should be available in Massachusetts for criminals who commit the most egregious murders.

    • He supports judges who are tough on crime and advocated tough sentencing for violent offenders and also is for the ‘three strikes’ policy.

    • Romney did say that the provisions in his bill could not always rule out wrongful convictions.

    • Romney’s capital punishment bill turned out to be a political disaster later on. The bill was widely opposed and defeated and Mitt Romney was accused of working towards it to further his 2008 presidential ambitions.”

  59. Don Shor

    Meanwhile, President Obama, from a 2007 Washington Post article cited here:
    [url]http://deathpenaltyusa.blogspot.com/2007/02/barack-obama-and-death-penalty.html[/url]

    “Five years later, Obama waded into a complex capital-punishment debate after a number of exonerations persuaded then-Gov. George Ryan (R) to empty death row.

    Obama wrote in his recent memoir that he thinks the death penalty “does little to deter crime.” But he supports capital punishment in cases “so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment.”

    In proposing changes, Obama met repeatedly with officials and advocates on all sides. He nudged and cajoled colleagues fearful of being branded soft on crime, as well as death-penalty opponents worried that any reform would weaken efforts to abolish capital punishment.

    Obama’s signature effort was a push for mandatory taping of interrogations and confessions. It was opposed by prosecutors, police organizations and Ryan’s successor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, who said it would impede investigators.

    Working under the belief that no innocent defendant should end up on death row an no guilty one should go free, Obama helped get the bill approved by the Senate on a 58 to 0 vote. When Blagojevich reversed his position and signed it, Illinois became the first state to require taping by statute.

    “Obviously, we didn’t agree all the time, but he would always take suggestions when they were logical, and he was willing to listen to our point of view. And he offered his opinions in a lawyerly way,” said Carl Hawkinson, the retired Republican chairman o the Judiciary Committee. “When he spoke on the floor of the Senate, he spoke out of conviction. You knew that, whether you agreed with him or disagreed with him.””

  60. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I still disagree with you on bank regulation – the banks caused most of the 2008 problems and many had to be bailed out. Of course they need to be regulated because they failed to regulate themselves. That regulation may slow things down a bit but they need to look in a mirror to see who is at fault. If you want to understand more about the Banking problems (banker corruption and cozy relationships between Congress and Bankers) read some to the things Bill Black (ex neighbor) has written. [/quote]

    I heartily concur.

    To medwoman, thanks for sharing. I too have had to use the safety net due to unforeseen circumstances in my life. As the saying goes, “There but for the grace of God go I”.

    However, I think there is too much stereotyping of what a liberal/conservative is. What we are missing is moderates from either side of the aisle, which is where most of the country is in terms of political persuasion IMHO.

  61. medwoman

    ERM

    Agreed. I think if we were to focus on the relative merits of ideas, instead of immediately labeling them, we would go along way towards arriving at innovative and mutually agreeable solutions to our problems.

  62. Don Shor

    I think you can find commonalities between the death penalty positions of Obama and Romney. They have considered the extremes and the possible cases of injustice. I can’t imagine cheering at a death penalty; nor can I imagine protesting one. Both of them have moderate positions on the subject. I don’t think the same can be said of Perry.

  63. Frankly

    First… to Don… if Obama had ever really had a job as governor, and he had stayed any execution and/or released any prisoner that went on to kill someone… Obama would not be president today. It might be easier for a politician that has hasn’t had that responsibility before to be critical of others having the responsibility.

    [i]”I prefer not to classify and am eternally grateful to our system which at the time had enough compassion and wisdom to help those in need to allow me to have the resources I needed to work and study my way out of poverty.”[/i]

    Medwoman: You took a hand-up, not a handout. If you were still stuck in poverty requiring government assistance, I would certainly have an issue.

    I, like most conservative, do not have any problem with helping people get back on their feet when tragedy strikes. I do prefer that more help comes from private charities though. Government is much less efficient at providing help to the end user. The government union jobs created becomes corrupt political capital… and that then becomes a conflict of interest as these public-sector care providers need victims to save to maintain their job security.

  64. Frankly

    [i]” My issue with conservative criticism of welfare programs is that there is no viable alternative vision that is described. Just let the market do its thing and let me get back to watching football TV.
    There is a question in the Bible that is relevant here, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”[/i]

    Wdf1: I think you are stuck and unable to see the bigger picture. You simply cannot save everyone from themselves. You understand the 90/10 rule that the last 10% of the problems cost 90%. Liberals seem to constantly reset the bar defining travesty and indignation. However, objectivity requires some basis. So, what is your basis?

    Welfare, food stamps and other entitlements are provided to three groups of people:
    1)The permanently needy: those that have birth defects, injury, chronic illness and other special needs that prevent them from earning a decent enough living required to support themselves. Elderly people can fit this category too.
    2)The temporarily needy: those that experience some type of family, health or financial tragedy and need help for a while and then a hand up.
    3)The un-needy: those that have no business using public assistance but for their own laziness and/or lack of motivation or self-determination to get off their ass and start working.

    Conservatives like me have no problem with #1 and #2. My company has given away $4.5 million over the last decade to private charities in categories #1 and #2. I completely support our mission doing this.

    My problem is with category #3, and the propensity of liberals to push more people in category #2 to category #3.

    I see life as being represented as a ladder that we all have to climb toward happiness and prosperity. Some people are lucky to start life on higher rungs. I want as many as possible climbing and I want government to focus on helping people to climb, but requiring all but the completely incapable to climb. Government today is paying more and more people to just hang out on their lower rungs. Liberals make excuses for people having a hard time climbing and it destroys their resolve to even try.

    If you believe in evolution then you should note that the human animal had to be built for struggle. Humans, like other animals, are also resilient and malleable… we constantly reset our expectations to what the new normal is. Liberals, leading with their bleeding heart and not their head, keep lowering the bar for what constitutes tragic circumstances. It is never enough… it will never be enough. It is as if ya’ll need a sad movie to constantly play… to energize your resolve to go save someone. We simply cannot afford to allow the liberal mindset and worldview to rule us. It will kill as all as too many get comfortable hanging on the lower rungs waiting for someone to serve them and save them.

    I am all for a hand up. Other than defense and infrastructure, it is the only thing I support government doing. But I want the most efficient and effective service to provide the hand-up, and so will support the private sector doing the job in some cases. Education is a hand-up. Economic development programs are a hand-up. Farm subsidies are not a hand-up, they are a handout. Bank bailouts and automaker bailouts were intended as a hand-up but they were poorly executed so they ended up being a handout. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan are a hand-up helping to build democratic nations that can be the seeds of peace in an otherwise perpetually war-torn area of the globe.

    Unlike the standard left-accusation of conservatives being cold hearted, mean spirited and selfish… I think most conservatives see liberals have having good and noble intentions. However, conservatives see the broader landscape of the human system and, I think, better understand fundamental human behavior. We know humans are infinitely corruptible and understand the danger for setting a lower expectation of required struggle. Instead we need to teach more people how to cope, how to compete, how to survive… and more importantly, how to grow their own happiness and prosperity.

  65. rusty49

    Jeff, I had to laugh today. There was this poster here who accused conservatives of using talking points then claimed they get them from Fox. Talk about using a talking point. The pot calling the kettle black?

  66. Don Shor

    [i]First… to Don… if Obama had ever really had a job as governor, and he had stayed any execution and/or released any prisoner that went on to kill someone… Obama would not be president today. It might be easier for a politician that has hasn’t had that responsibility before to be critical of others having the responsibility. [/i]
    Wow, you really can’t give him credit for anything at all, can you? I am not aware of Obama being critical of others on the subject of the death penalty. What he did, though, was to forge a compromise position, reaching across the aisle and taking into consideration the views and political issues of death penalty proponents and opponents, and ultimately helped get legislation passed by a unanimous vote. That is what a good legislator does, and it is where his ‘community organizer’ background serves him well.

  67. Superfluous Man

    Rusty,

    “Jeff, I had to laugh today. There was this poster here who accused conservatives of using talking points then claimed they get them from Fox. Talk about using a talking point. The pot calling the kettle black?”

    In what way, exactly? An observation that some of these one-liners used some posters by sound very similar to what I hear on Fox News…makes me what, now? You kinda jumbled what I wrote, changed some words, etc, but I suppose that’s understandable.

    Saying things like: “liberals” or whatever…“recoil at thought of competition for economic prosperity;” “Obama shoved X down OUR throats;” “Democrats don’t value the perspective that the US is the most powerful nation on the planet;” “My problem is the Democrat leadership and their anti-American actions;” “Obama has lied more than Bush ever did;” “this administration is purposely putting more people on the Gov’t dole;”…and so on reminds me of what I hear on those shows, Fox News and elsewhere. They are one-liners used by some posters that are often oversimplified and not at all conducive to any constructive dialog on the issues, which you seem to favor on occasion as well.

    I just don’t see a point in stuff like that anymore. People of all beliefs do this and fortunately most on here don’t, but it seems like there are some here who are more inclined than others to put this type of nonsense out there. I think it’s easier to think that way, though (liberals are blah, blah…conservatives are blah, blah,…X group of people are just moochers, etc., etc., etc.).

  68. Frankly

    Don: I think Obama is a terrific guy… someone I could probably hang with and play basketball and a round of golf with. We are about the same age and I’m sure we have generational things in common. However, I think Obama has been the worst president since Carter (and Nixon for different reasons). Obama’s record of reaching across the aisle is abysmal. In fact this is one of many campaign promises he made and never delivered on. There is a long list of these things. Most Presidents would be toast at this point… seeing their approval ratings in the single-digits given the economy. Yet you and others keep supporting the guy… keep defending him. The loyalty to this captain would be admirable if the ship he was sinking only carried those that support him.

    Tough on crime still resonates politically. It wasn’t that long ago where crime rates were the media sensation and the main social problem we were all wringing our hands about. Remember all the lefties screaming about all the murder in inner cities… black leaders saying that white were letting it happen so we could exterminate more black men? Well we slowed it down with tough on crime. Nobody is complaining about that stuff now. Now those same people are complaining that too many are imprisoned. Like I wrote… for the left, it will never be enough… there will always be someone they need to save.

    I appreciate and support the interest and advocacy for improved judicial processes that lead to fewer mistakes that could result in the punishment of innocent, but you are parroting a non-issue because the liberal media took this up as they look for anything they can find to make negative news about GOP candidates. The people that dislike Perry’s position on crime and punishment are the people that dislike him because he is a white conservative Texan. They would dislike a white conservative Texan if he looked and acted like Mother Teresa.

  69. Frankly

    Rusty, Yeah… you know when you have them on the ropes when they use the “Fox News talking points” argument.

    They don’t see their ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, CNN, MSNBC and Huffington Post talking points the same way.

    Frankly it is a silly argument anyway. Talking points are relevant if they are factual. A trick of the left is to try and discredit the messenger if they start feeling like they cannot defeat the factual message.

    I sure hope we defeat Obama and get a true business-savvy, experienced chief executive. The love fest for him is astounding. Real unemployment is Great Depression era levels. He has three years and we are heading back again to another recession… yet they still love him… keep making excuses for him.

    This is a modern difference with left and right politics. Righties will throw their guy under the bus if he does not perform. Democrats seem to have endless love. I am thinking that Obama could murder their families and they would give him a pass.

  70. Don Shor

    [i]Obama’s record of reaching across the aisle is abysmal. [/i]
    Just curious: which pieces of legislation do you feel he didn’t make substantial efforts to compromise on?

    [i]Remember all the lefties screaming about…[/i]
    You know that most of the time when you say this, and you do it very often, my answer would be ‘no, I don’t remember that’? I think you have a strange perception of what “lefties” do, and I’m no longer even sure what you mean by the term ‘lefties’.

    [i]The people that dislike Perry’s position on crime and punishment are the people that dislike him because he is a white conservative Texan.[/i]
    Wow, a reverse-accusation of racism! Just curious, do you remember recently discussing how you disliked it when that was done to you?

    [i]Righties will throw their guy under the bus if he does not perform.[/i]
    Um….oh, never mind.

  71. medwoman

    JB

    1) Could you be specific about what “lefties were screaming”?
    2) “We slowed it down with tough on crime” Interesting how crime rates dropped as much if not more in
    venues that did not adopt a “tough on crime” stance.
    3) I am proof that there are at least some who dislike Gov. Perry’s stance on the death penalty simply because we disagree with the death penalty on principle ( despite your frequent claim that liberals to not do anything on principle). I abhor the death penalty regardless of the skin color or address of the proponent.
    Example? Justice Thomas, whose views on the death penalty I feel are just as odious as those of Gov. Perry, and he is neither white, nor residing in Texas.
    4) “Righties will throw their guy under the bus if he does not perform” It would seem to me that Bush caused the deaths of many American service personnel and even greater numbers of Iraqi civilians by involving us in a completely needless war pursued for what turned out to be nonexistent threats to the US and despite this needless bloodshed and expenditure ( of both money, respect and political capital) was not”thrown under the bus” by his supporters.

  72. Frankly

    Medwoman: Without getting into a debate about you and other rewriting history about the motives of Bush taking us to war in Iraq… Bush left office with an approval rating of 22% when the unemployment rate was 7.5%. Conservatives had grown unhappy with Bush on the deficit and on immigration. Conservative talk radio was particularly unhappy about both and started hammering him and GOP congressional reps. However, it was the state of the economy that caused many to jump ship from being Bush supporters and from the GOP party. Note that about 60% of Americans claim they are “conservative” and about 21% say they are “liberal”. With a 22% approval rating it is clear that many conservatives turned on Bush based on his performance.

    Obama’s approval ratings is still hovering in the mid 40s… even as he is presiding over the worst economy since the Great Depression, and he has sent the deficit into the stratosphere, and we are the brink of a second recession, and he hasn’t pulled out and we Afghanistan is a mess.

    [i]”Could you be specific about what “lefties were screaming”?[/i]

    [url]http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,964010,00.html[/url]

    The big left complaint during the explosion of ghetto crime in the 1980s was that we needed more cops policing these streets. Sharpton and Farrakhan were saying that whites allowed black on black crime as form of genocide. Sharpton and Jackson wanted more police in the ghettos. The left got their way and with Clinton as we increased the number of police and strengthened crime laws. Now the crime rates are down, but the left pendulum is swinging the other way saying we are too tough on criminals.

  73. wdf1

    JB: Two things:

    1) You are obsessed with hammering away with a certain criticism and terminology. Up until recently, you have used “moochers” without adequately specifying what you mean. It doesn’t help when you throw in assertions (in comments elsewhere) that 50% of Americans don’t pay income tax as a suggestion that we have become a nation of moochers. By that implication, 50% is a broad swath to include as moochers. My examples of Kyle Willis and Deamonte Driver were of two people, very likely in that 50% (and one a child). Now that you’ve clarified better, what you probably mean by “moochers” are a group who are pathologically asking for material assistance. If that’s the case, then how should we know or identify these people? Can we tell by how they look? Where they live? How they behave?

    [i] You simply cannot save everyone from themselves.[/i]
    2) I realize that I can’t save the world. But I can do something about what’s in front of me. If we are to be an exceptional society, as you particularly advocate, then it requires more of us to accept a personal obligation to act for a better society. Not just sit at the computer and pontificate about what’s wrong with the status quo. You can act by volunteering. Volunteering doesn’t just help the community, it brings you into contact with parts of the community that you might rarely see.

    Rather than just making contributions to worthy organizations, I prefer to see those organizations involve members of the community. I like to get involved with such organizations so I can see how it works and I can be confident in the work that’s going on.

    Both President Bush and President Obama in their times have called for 9/11 to be an occasion for community service. I think volunteerism was a main idea, there. Given how much time you put into making comments, here, I think you have time to volunteer.

    An interesting article on volunteerism:
    [url]http://www.northjersey.com/news/business/128997113_Surge_in_volunteerism_has_not_lasted.html[/url]

    There is an economy of social capital that is very much out there but isn’t readily accounted for in monetary models. Volunteering is one way to bring yourself more solidly in contact with that economy of social capital.

  74. Frankly

    [i]”Wow, a reverse-accusation of racism! Just curious, do you remember recently discussing how you disliked it when that was done to you?”[/i]

    I knew that comment would raise a hackle or two. I hate all racism… including reverse racism. However, what I hate more is the media racism template… the one that will not go away because certain activist journalists have made it their identity… because I think it perpetuates racism. And of course it has been asked how the black community would respond to Obama losing to another Texan white guy… just after they got over their fear of him being shot by an angry white guy. Apparently there are quite a few people worried about the impact of an Obama loss on the black community and it has strengthened their resolve to get out the vote for him. Let’s put that in reverse and say that there are people worried about the impact on the white community if a black President is elected and so it strengthened their resolve to vote for a white candidate to prevent it. Now, doesn’t that sound like racism to you?

    What do you think about Herman Cain?

  75. Frankly

    wdf1:

    [i]”How do you identify a moocher?”[/i]

    Don’t make this too personal and too complicated. The concept is really simple. It is more a reflection of a mindset of expectation that your government or another entity provides for you instead of the mindset that you provide for yourself. There are people I would classify as moochers that work, but who file dubios disability claims or even use a lot of sick leave (assuming no chronic health problems).

    [i]”You can act by volunteering”[/i]

    There are many ways people can contribute to society. Volunteering is one way.

    Interesting factoid on Steve Jobs. He does not give anything to charity.

    However, I agree with you that volunteering can be admirable. One of my young employees donates her time to the courts to work with children of domestic abuse situations. I have a matching program where I provide paid time off to match what employees spend of their own PTO… up to a limit. We are looking at a company event next year to help with a Habitat for Humanity build.

    I take many of my principles of life from my experience leading employees and project teams. Early in my career, and then later with my kids, I noted the different response from when I was asked for help and I provided the help (handout)… compared to when asked for help and I helped the asker provide their own help (hand-up). I noticed a decline in motivation and self-confidence when I did the thing, and the opostite when I gave them enough information to go figure out the solution themself. It is a nuanced, but profound, difference.

    I think it was you that wrote you think asking for help is brave. I didn’t respond because I think it is more complex than that. People that ask for help often do not even know what real help they need. Like the guy on the street asking you for $5 for food when you know he is going to use it to buy crack or booze.

    I have offered people to do some work for me, but almost 100% of the time they decline… in many cases angry that I would offer that instead of just giving them the money. What if I take the guy that asked for $5 to lunch and then an AA meeting? That would better help him. Similarly, what if everyone said: “If you want $5, go do something to earn it.” Again, this is probably a more helpful message for him to hear than just giving him $5. Volunteering can allow more intement connections with people to provide more lasting help. However, I worry though because some volunteers create unhealthy dependencies.

    Both of my sons at an early age rejected our help and said “I can do it myself”… even before they really could. People and wired to be self-sufficient, but then can lose that wiring at some point. Once they lose it, it is very difficult to impossible to get it back.

  76. medwoman

    JB

    So having read the article you referenced, I am more perplexed about your position. First, it would seem that this was a neighborhood driven initiative for self taxation to solve a local problem. I fail to see how it had anything to do with depending on “hand outs” or big government to solve local problems as you claim liberals do. Now maybe these people who wanted to increase the local taxes to increase local safety weren’t all liberals. Maybe they were simply people who were fed up with the local rate of crime and were taking it head on. Or maybe they were predominantly liberal in which case I would question who is the “we” in your previous statement implying that we took care of the crime problem by being “tough on crime”. Could it be that you feel that the government did the right thing and with the community came together to promote the well being of the community? So, unless you perceive ghetto crime as a good thing, then the left having “gotten their way” should be seen as a good thing since it resulted in a decrease in crime. So why is it that you were making it sound like a negative by characterizing it as “screaming”?

    I think a fundamental difference in our position on sharing can be seen in your belief that you have a deeper understanding of the hearts and minds of others than I claim to have.. You for instance believe that you know what an individual willl spend your money on and so hesitate to give.
    I don’t pretend to know what is in their future. But I do see the situation as quite simple. If they are hungry, buy them lunch, no strings attached. If you make it on contingency, all you have done is bribed them into doing the activity that you see as best for them, thus substituting
    your judgement for theirs.

    “People are wired to be self sufficient”. Agreed, but that is only half the picture. People are also wired to be interdependent. We are a social, not a lone animal. A while back, you had urged me to see the movie “Buck” as an example of the independence of the individual. I did see and deeply appreciated the movie. Predictably enough, the message I took from it was different from the one you drew. I saw this man’s story as not only the triumph of the individual over adverse circumstances, but also as the triumph of “the village” in taking care of a community member in need. It took the coach who saw his scars to identify and act on the problem. It took the sheriff to stand up and say “not on my watch”. It took the family who was willing to take him in as a foster child. And although this was not made explicit in the movie, since Buck was only one of 20 some boys they took in, I suspect that they had some help in terms of government funding ( read taxes) to support all of those boys. If any of those people had turned away saying “It’s not my business” or “this is a family matter” or “we can’t afford it”, this strory might have had a very different ending. I do not believe that I have the wisdom or the prescience to know in advance who will be the “Buck” or who will parlay a summer works job in to a doctorate, nor can I distinguish prospectively a “handout” from a “hand up”. What I do believe is that both aspects of human nature, the individual and the social, coexist, and that to pretend that one is more important than the other shortchanges both the individual and the society.

  77. Frankly

    Medwoman: Good stuff. You make some good points. I don’t disagree; I think it is just that we differ in degrees.

    [i]nor can I distinguish prospectively a “handout” from a “hand up”. [/i]

    I admit that this can be difficult. Tough love is also difficult. Telling someone what they need instead of what they want is difficult. Making people work for their shelter or food is difficult. But these are the right things to do.

    The recent riots in Great Britain are an example of the problem that results with too much giving without strings. There is a generation of young people without motivation, without a sense of duty or work ethic. Albert Camus could not have scripted that display of apathy any more poignantly.

    The military is excellent at this tough love practice. It demands the best performance from each individual, and you are correct in identifying the community aspect. I agree with you on this need. However, what I am complaining about it is the general approach of a part of our community that wants to take from the producers and use it to make life easier for far too many people. Note that young people are attracted to the military even though it means they work harder than they even have for little pay. Humans crave work and accomplishment and growth even as they are frightened of failure. Entitlements tend to corrupt the belief in people that they will fail without a constant stream of this type of help. The handouts become their new normal. Much of the poor need boot camp, not food stamps.

    The part of the movie Buck that you might not have connected with was his interaction with the woman that owned all the stallions including the one that had to be put down. That was tough love on display. I’m guessing you considered his approach a bit mean.

  78. medwoman

    JB

    I actually did connect with that particular part of the movie and do not think his approach was interntionally “mean”.
    It was blunt and straightforward and would not have been my approach. I think his approach was colored more than he might like to admit or even recognize by his early interactions with his father. I think it is possible to convey truth without brutality. I wonder what that woman chose when she went home. True, she was tearful and said he was telling the truth at the time. I wonder if she took it to heart and made changes, or if the accusatory nature of his statements triggered her defense mechanisms causing her to withdraw into her previous patterns.

    I would also like to address your previous likening of society to a ladder that individuals climb to achieve success and happiness. I find some truth in your description, but also feels that it leaves out an important component that we see all too often in our society. That is that instead of the people higher up the ladder reaching down to provide a “hand up” to others, they all to frequently step on those below in order to boost themselves further up.

  79. Frankly

    [i]”That is that instead of the people higher up the ladder reaching down to provide a “hand up” to others, they all to frequently step on those below in order to boost themselves further up.”[/i]

    Medwoma, there is some of that, but frankly there is much more of that on the bottom rungs. That is a result of insecurity and envy… holding back others to make oneself feel better by comparison. The ladder is somewhat pyramid-shaped and the base is growing as we import big numbers of poor people lacking education and job skills and our education system adds more to their ranks and our manufacturing base has gone away preventing other paths to climb.

    For most professions, competition on the higher rungs is respectful… with competitors seeking to beat and then embrace each other. Watch professional athletes… even cage fighters… emulate how this is done. This is the American way… why we are exceptional. We value and promote fair competition. We expect everyone to compete. We honor those that win, we honor those that try and keep coming back to fight again. We do not honor losers that give up.

    Liberals tend to value a competition approach in higher learning, but for some reason recoil at the concept in life outside an academic form of meritocracy. They don’t like it when people who compete and win get an A+ in prosperity, while others get an F… even when it is clear that the ability to prosper in this country is much more free and clear than is the business of higher learning. Note that Steve Jobs did not go to college.

    Like I have said, I am all for a hand-up to help people climb. Helping people climb is our obligation as fellow humans. I am not for artificially advancing people to higher rungs like we have done with affirmative action. I am absolutely not for handouts that cause people to stop climbing. Both are destructive to the human spirit and experience. I really, really dislike self-made and system-made victims.

  80. medwoman

    JB

    There are other ways of artificially limiting access to the rungs of the ladder. And I disagree that most of it happens on the lower rungs. For example, it has only been within the past 25- 30 years that women have had full access to becoming doctors. Why? Not because we were not as capable academically, but rather because the admissions committees were composed almost exclusively of white males. I was even told by a couple of counselors that as a woman, I probably would not get accepted.
    I had the good fortune of applying at a time when women were starting to be accepted. At the time of my acceptance in 1979, Davis had the highest percentage of women accepted. We represented 50 % of our entering class. Most were far behind this.
    Same with the military where women where excluded from combat even though that is where most of the promotions occurred. So please, do not pretend that you are unaware that people at high rungs of the ladder do not prefer to help people that they consider their peers or equals, while discouraging, or stomping down on those doing their best to climb.

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