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California 2nd Amend. Political Discussion & Activism Discuss gun rights activism and 2A related political topics here. All advice given is NOT legal counsel.

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  #1  
Old 10-05-2009, 5:16 PM
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Default "Guns are the new Abortion"

Interesting editorial on FoxNews from Curt Levey (who I met at GRPC) on the effect that the gun rights community is and will be having on the Judicial nomination process:

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/...-new-abortion/
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Guns Are the New Abortion

With an estimated 90 million firearms owners in America and a huge margin of popular support for a right to keep and bear arms, the gun rights community is a potent political force. But until recently, it had little reason to care about judges. That's all changed with the arrival of a new Supreme Court justice and the Obama administration.

As a new Supreme Court term opens today, one issue on the Court’s docket stands out, not only for its legal significance, but also for the role it will play in future High Court confirmation fights. The issue is gun rights, and in several ways, it’s the new abortion.

Last week, in a case out of Chicago, the Justices agreed to decide whether the Second Amendment gives Americans a constitutional right to keep and bear arms that is enforceable against state and local gun laws. Coming on the heels of the High Court’s landmark gun rights decision last year, and at a time when the retirement of two Supreme Court Justices appears imminent, the Chicago case reminds gun owners that their battlefield has shifted to the courts and hastens the profound change in the politics of judicial confirmations that began this summer.

Spurred on by the courts’ new role in gun rights and by Sonia Sotomayor’s narrow view of the Second Amendment, gun owners – from the grassroots to the National Rifle Association – jumped into a Supreme Court confirmation contest for the first time in history this summer. With an estimated 90 million firearms owners in America and a huge margin of popular support for a right to keep and bear arms, the gun rights community is a potent political force. But until recently, it had little reason to care about judges. Its battles took place almost entirely in the legislative arena, where it built a long record of success.

Then came District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision recognizing the Second Amendment as an individual right. By empowering Americans to protect that right in court, the Justices transferred the theater of war from legislatures to the judiciary.
However, Heller left two huge questions unaddressed – the all-important standard for evaluating the constitutionality of gun regulations, and the Second Amendment’s application to state and local laws. Moreover, the Supreme Court’s 5-4 split means that if President Obama replaces one of the five center-right Justices, Heller itself could be gutted or even overturned.

As with other ideologically charged issues in the hands of the courts, the future of gun rights depends as much on the composition of the federal bench as on the strength of the legal arguments. That’s why I and others predicted that gun owners – their fate tied to the selection of judges in the wake of Heller – would emerge as a potent part of the coalition advocating against liberal judicial activism and for judges who strictly interpret the Constitution.

Those predictions seemed prescient when President Obama chose a Supreme Court nominee with – in the words of former NRA president Sandy Froman – “an extreme anti-gun philosophy” and record. Word about her record spread quickly among gun owners, generating calls to senators and leading gun rights groups. Despite some initial hesitation about jumping into the unchartered waters of judicial nominations, the groups listened to their members and began to speak out against Sotomayor’s confirmation.

Some criticize the NRA for joining the bandwagon late, but it deserves much of the credit for making gun rights the most prominent issue in the final month of the confirmation fight. Nearly every senator criticized, defended, or tried to counterbalance Sotomayor’s Second Amendment record in explaining their vote on confirmation.

The last time a controversial Democratic Supreme Court nominee came before the Senate, only 3 Republicans voted against Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The conventional wisdom was that Republicans might be able to muster 20 votes against Sotomayor. But in the end, 31 of 40 Republican senators voted nay, and the Second Amendment issue explains much of the increase over history and expectations. Similarly, predictions that several of the four GOP senators in the heavily Hispanic states of Texas and Arizona would vote for the first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee fell flat, largely because those states also have large gun-owning populations.

Across the aisle, Democratic senators from gun-heavy red and purple states waited until almost the last minute to announce their support for Sotomayor. Several of them would likely have voted nay had the NRA gotten involved earlier or “worked” the vote, or had the Democratic leadership failed to squeeze the vote in before those senators went home to gun country for August recess. In any case, if Sotomayor votes against gun rights while on the Supreme Court, the red and purple state Democrats who supported her will likely pay a price at the polls.

The political dynamics of nominating and confirming judges has been forever altered. Abortion rears its head in virtually every Supreme Court or hotly contested lower court confirmation contest. Gun rights will now do the same, especially as the explosion of Second Amendment litigation guarantees that more and more judicial nominees will have relevant rulings, briefs, articles, and speeches to scrutinize and debate.

Abortion opponents have been the most influential part of the coalition opposing liberal judges and judicial activism. But the new, gun-owning gorilla in the room matches the pro-life movement in numbers and surpasses it in ability to influence moderate Republican and Democratic senators. And there’s no comparable countervailing force on the other side.

This summer, the Second Amendment community got its feet wet. Next time around, gun owners – from the NRA down to the grassroots – will be more focused on the importance of judicial nominations, more educated about the politics of the confirmation process, more sophisticated about influencing the outcome, quicker to the draw, and more aggressive. Even red and purple state Democratic senators will have to seriously consider voting against judicial nominees who appear less than sympathetic to the Second Amendment. And, should Heller or a victory in the Chicago case be imperiled by the retirement of one of the five center-right Justices, all bets are off.

In the end, the payoff for gun rights advocates may be found as much in the selection of judges as in the confirmation process. By all reports, the White House was unpleasantly surprised by how big an issue Sotomayor’s Second Amendment record turned out to be. Expect Obama and his Democratic successors to borrow a page from Republican presidents, who have shied away from nominating outspoken opponents of abortion for the past two decades.

In the war for the soul of the judiciary, the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor will be narrowly viewed as a setback for conservatives. But viewed with an eye on future battles and interest group dynamics, her confirmation contest was an important turning point. It’s like 1917, when the teetering Allies gained a powerful new partner in the Great War. In time, it made all the difference in the world.

Curt Levey is Executive Director of the Committee For Justice, which promotes constitutionalist judicial nominees and the rule of law.
-Gene
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Old 10-05-2009, 5:24 PM
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"Several of them would likely have voted nay had the NRA gotten involved earlier..."

THAT would have signaled NRA/gunowner power....

.
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  #3  
Old 10-05-2009, 5:27 PM
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This summer, the Second Amendment community got its feet wet. Next time around, gun owners – from the NRA down to the grassroots – will be more focused on the importance of judicial nominations, more educated about the politics of the confirmation process, more sophisticated about influencing the outcome, quicker to the draw, and more aggressive.
One can dream.

I'd be ecstatic for firearms to become a "third rail" at all levels of political discourse in this country. Touch the third rail, you die politically.
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Old 10-05-2009, 6:16 PM
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I was seriously wondering about this issue earlier today.

What the heck happens if we lose one of the 5? It's doubtful that we'll lose one before incorporation, but what about after?
Do the 5 know what's going on, and will they try to postpone retirement as long as possible in order to prevent the current administration from rebalancing the court?
Will Obama and the Senate suffer politically if the balance is upset? Would this political backlash be enough to get another pro-gun judge nominated by an Obama replacement in 2012?
Will Obama, in fear of backlash, not nominate an anti-gun replacement for one of the 5?

I know we can't know the answers to these question yet, but they scare me.
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Old 10-05-2009, 7:50 PM
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Obama is going to follow the radical left to the end.
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  #6  
Old 10-05-2009, 8:30 PM
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One can dream.

I'd be ecstatic for firearms to become a "third rail" at all levels of political discourse in this country. Touch the third rail, you die politically.
And for it to oust our real enemies, not just low level first termers who simply wander astray on accident. Take down Schumer, for one. Block every anti gun judge the jerk in the White House attempts to put forth. Kick out a bad ATF head. Give us some REAL heads on a pole.
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Old 10-05-2009, 8:43 PM
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Quote:
I was seriously wondering about this issue earlier today.

What the heck happens if we lose one of the 5? It's doubtful that we'll lose one before incorporation, but what about after?
It would be highly unfortunate. We will most likely end up with with some variation of Kelo case. If you are not familiar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London

Basically right to keep and bear arms will NEVER be questioned again ( as right to private property), however regulation of that right that may be deemed constitutional may be extreme. ( like taking one property and giving it to other private party in order to raise tax revenue ).
Think about it - if it is constitutional for government to confiscate property to raise tax receipts, why similar concept can't be applied to gun registration/ownership/magazine limits?

So you will be able to owe pretty much ANY gun, as long as you keep it unloaded and locked all the time. Or something similar.....

I know that bunch of very capable and very smart law professionals on this board disagree with me on this. And I fully respect knowledge they posses and I don't. However, this has NOTHING to do with what CONSTITUTION or SCOTUS precedence says. What they refuse to recognize is that judges in this country no longer interpret law. They make it. For SCOTUS it has long become purely political game. Heller after all was 5-4? So four judges choose to ignore "shall not be infringed". Given a chance they WILL find the way to go around the Heller.


Quote:
Do the 5 know what's going on, and will they try to postpone retirement as long as possible in order to prevent the current administration from rebalancing the court?
yes - they do it all the time. Unless one of them dies they will stay on court until R will be in the office.

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Will Obama and the Senate suffer politically if the balance is upset? Would this political backlash be enough to get another pro-gun judge nominated by an Obama replacement in 2012?
no. Obama may not nominate openly anti-gun judge.... but he will NEVER nominate openly pro-gun judge either.


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Will Obama, in fear of backlash, not nominate an anti-gun replacement for one of the 5?
no

Quote:
I know we can't know the answers to these question yet, but they scare me.
Sure we do know the answer. And it is:
Guns matter...... they just don't matter all THAT much. People care about jobs, not guns. There are probably close to ten million gun owners in CA, by far largest block. We also have one of the most severe anti-gun laws.

One can hope that gun owners will start voting as a block, but it is unlikely to happen.
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Old 10-05-2009, 9:04 PM
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^ Which for all those reasons I have long said that we need to work towards the ideological and political extinction of the other side, not to just play ping pong with it. Gene and company are working it on the judicial side with the end game in mind, to close the door and weld it shut, but it needs to be done in the other sectors of influence, like education, social structures, the legislative field, and so on.
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In Pennsylvania Your permit to carry concealed is called a License to carry fire arms. Other states call it a CCW. In New Jersey it's called a crime.
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Old 10-05-2009, 9:37 PM
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Originally Posted by HondaMasterTech View Post
I wonder if when young people imagine the Republican party they get pictures of dusty old farts that aren't fun.
At this point, non-religious people imagine the Republican party and get pictures of a Pentocostal revival or getting beaten up by a stack of Bibles.

The new Republican party isn't old, it's fundamentalist Christians. And that's a problem for the non-religious. As a non-religious Republican, this means a daily identity crisis. According to most of those on this board, I'm a RINO.
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Old 10-05-2009, 9:48 PM
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At this point, non-religious people imagine the Republican party and get pictures of a Pentocostal revival or getting beaten up by a stack of Bibles.

The new Republican party isn't old, it's fundamentalist Christians. And that's a problem for the non-religious. As a non-religious Republican, this means a daily identity crisis. According to most of those on this board, I'm a RINO.
+1

I think that's why you're seeing a surge in independents, libertarians, and right-leaning dems. The Republican party has (unfortunately IMO) branded itself as the theocratic party.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:04 PM
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I wonder if when young people imagine the Republican party they get pictures of dusty old farts that aren't fun. Then, for some reason, think that Democrats are opposite? Think this is by any means true? And, have any bearing on how people vote? Since, obviously, many people aren't voting because a particular politican seems to have a good grip on reality.
More or less. In Ca, Republicans are viewed by young non-Republicans, as, essentially, people who hate young people and everything they are.

In all seriousness, Republicans are viewed as the "No" party:
Quote:
No abortions,
No birth control,
No sex for young people (that's only for married congressmen in bathrooms or hotels)
No drugs,
No shirt, no shoes no service,
No help for people who need it, (welfare, unemployment, etc)
No young people allowed out at night,
No loud cars or stereos
etc.

Allright, so they're ok with guns, but only crazy people actually have guns.
And they do seem to want prayer forced on everybody in school.
Emotionally, young people think of Republicans in the same light that they view power-tripping cops; arrogant, overbearing know-it-alls who want to tell us all how to live.

And then go look at the TV and tell me that's not true.

If the Ca Republicans could lose the religious dogma, they would have a chance to pick up an awful lot of fiscal conservative, social liberal types who want nothing to do with the bible-thumpers.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by rabagley View Post
At this point, non-religious people imagine the Republican party and get pictures of a Pentocostal revival or getting beaten up by a stack of Bibles.

The new Republican party isn't old, it's fundamentalist Christians. And that's a problem for the non-religious. As a non-religious Republican, this means a daily identity crisis. According to most of those on this board, I'm a RINO.
I feel ya, bro... Hard-right small-L libertarian atheist American nationalist.

Old-school conservative - a la Barry Goldwater
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:06 PM
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I feel ya, bro... Hard-right small-L libertarian atheist American nationalist.

Old-school conservative - a la Barry Goldwater
Nice picture of Barry.



All this mostly goes to show that none of you actually knows what the grass-roots religious conservative voters are. My parents, who fit that description more than most, are still proud of campaigning for Barry Goldwater. I'm proud of that too, though it took some DIY deprogramming after university to understand what a great man Goldwater was (as I had a Goldwater scholarship I heard enough passing comments to know how hated he was by "all the smart people"--that's sort of like Jew-baiting in front of a Jew, though they didn't know it). That was the only campaign I am aware of them ever working for. Apparently, that was the one they believed in enough to be foot-soldiers.

But, being religious conservatives, that's impossible. Apparently. According to all of you.

I never, ever question my commitment to gun rights when I have to deal with anti-gunners. Often, it's motivating. I only question it when gunnies start trotting out the same smears and stereotypes about people who they know nothing about. (That isn't aimed at Bill, just the thread in general.) The problem comes out when we have threads like the one where the pagans (that's an affectionate term in this context) moaned about how the religious voters don't believe in the 2A, and seemingly could NOT process the fact that everyone who posted who actually attends a conservative church said their church was somewhere between neutral and positive on self-defense and the 2A. I suppose that, in addition to being treated as though they have something to do with the TV Heretics, they must also be treated as though they have something in common with the National Council of Socialists Churches.

I don't normally say much it, because it doesn't do much useful as far as advancing the cause that brings us here. But sometimes I get annoyed.

In the mean time, you can thank all those people you dislike for saving your Second Amendment rights for you long enough for us to see Heller. Without them, and without procedural issues like geographic districting and the Great Compromise that gives the small states in the bible belt and the West equal representation in the Senate, we would be discussing our fight to keep our single-shot hunting rifles and double shotguns.

We have not won until we have saved the great cities, but we'd never have the chance without having been able to retreat to small-town America when the hour was darkest. It's always worked for the Russians, and an analogous strategy worked for us. (I am glad we're past our Stalingrad, at least.)

The importance, or perhaps simply the tragedy, of this thread is that there are only two long-term political outcomes for the US. Either the social conservatives and libertarians manage to make common cause for the considerable common ground they have on Limited, Government, Constitutionality, and the citizen's liberty to live independently of his government, or the Socialist Juggernaut will win.

The necessity of getting those two groups to cooperate when they have no interest in even knowing whether they're blaming the right group for the right thing is one reason I'm a perennial pessimist.

7x57
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I know every chance I get I'm going to accuse 7x57 of being a shill for LCAV. Because I can.

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Old 10-05-2009, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 7x57 View Post
All this mostly goes to show that none of you actually knows what the grass-roots religious conservative voters are. My parents, who fit that description more than most, are still proud of campaigning for Barry Goldwater. I'm proud of that too, though it took some DIY deprogramming after university to understand what a great man Goldwater was.

I never, ever question my commitment to gun rights when I have to deal with anti-gunners. Often, it's motivating. I only question it when gunnies start trotting out the same smears and stereotypes about people who they know nothing about. (That isn't aimed at Bill, just the thread in general.) I just don't normally say it, because it doesn't do much useful as far as advancing the cause that brings us here.
Your points 7x57 are well taken - for the past, and in fact for much of certain regions of America.

But that was then and there and this is here & now: with the decline in relgion as time moves on that weighting will change, and as I've often said, the *CA* Republican party has alienated a huge portion of CA population that it'll never get back unless it changes in certain ways. (And I'm with you - that doesn't mean going to "tax & spend RINO mode".) The dominance of a small segment in party mgmt. has relegated it to near-unelectable status in CA. My neighbors might well want to vote for a fiscal conservative, but when he has the baggage of Creationism in schools, and "anti-choice" status around his neck, it's no wonder they flee to the other side. [Note that I did not say I was pro or anti- choice - I just said it was a 100% losing issue in CA that the CA Rs need to run away from to have a hope of getting more than 1/3 leg. seats and any significant state office.]
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:48 PM
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I remember watching a biography on Barry Goldwater. They talked about when he started pissing off the religious right in his later years because of his stance on homosexuality and his hatred of Jerry Falwell. There was a movement in the Arizona Republican Party to have Barry Goldwater's name taken of the Arizona Republican Party headquarters (the building is named after him). When asked about it, Goldwater replied something like "If the Republican party keeps going the way it is, I'll go down there myself and take the my name off of the building!"
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:06 AM
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But that was then and there and this is here & now: with the decline in relgion as time moves on
That's mostly a demographic fiction. Go read Rodney Stark's The Churching of America if you want to know how imaginary the picture of a grand secularization trend has been. It may be true in specific regions, but at least as a picture of the whole country it contradicts the data. You're believing a fantasy history invented by people like Lyman Beecher. The historians of religion were employed at places like Harvard, Cambridge...the seminaries of the "respectable churches." They wrote what they wrote at least partly because they were determined to write the authentic churches of the people (which means Methodist and Baptist derived churches) out of the history books because they weren't respectable enough.

The thumbnail version is that the "decline of religion" was an unexamined axiom of the non-religious historians and a euphemism for the decline of "our kind of church" by the historians of the seminaries.

What does happen is that the conservative churches are the ones that grow. I'm not sure that there is a single significant counterexample. That has important demographic consequences.

The one of relevance to this thread is that they'll be around indefinitely, and tend to vote for gun rights and fiscal conservatism. Note I said "tend to"; part of the problem is that the loss of genuine citizenship education (why would any government teach citizens to stand in judgement over it? why would anyone ever have imagined that one would?) means they're fuzzy on key concepts. (On the other hand, they are far ahead of the rest of you on taking control of their children's education, which in the long run is tremendously useful on issues that have nothing to do with religion.)

But they're fertile ground, if not driven away. There's the take-home message. They're not going to stop voting for the Rights of the Unborn. But we'd like them to vote for other things with similar fervor.

How fertile? Well, I had someone come and ask me about this ammo shortage thing he'd heard about, and why it was so important to people. He was quite interested in my attempt at a rushed sketch, and was interested in hearing the longer version.

Oddly enough, that happened in church. A rather multi-racial Southern California church. A (gasp) pentecostal church.

It's hard, but I do my best to try to convince you guys (and by "you guys" I mostly mean you over there who think I must have been in a snake-handling church or something--you know who you are) that this is not particularly unusual, and that I can sell Constitutionalism more successfully to conservative Christians than to any other group. (Where else can I get away with explicit metaphysical arguments about the citizen's obligation to uphold the government?)

Calguns is probably an isolated enough forum not to be a big problem, but as a more general point I'd sort of appreciate it if you atheist Constitutionalists would not make it harder to be out selling Constitutionalism to people who actually vote. Which kind of bible-thumper (whoever they are) do you prefer? The one who understands the Constitution and the Federal system and believes it's his religious duty to uphold it (that's an easy extension, thanks to St. Paul), or the one who sees the government through the lens of what he learned in public school?

Quote:
(And I'm with you - that doesn't mean going to "tax & spend RINO mode".)
Much of the dispirited Republican mood in 2008 seemed to be rooted in people who watched a succession of Republican presidents grow government and whose alternative choice to the statism of the Academy was a candidate who everyone believed was himself a RINO (and confirmed that belief right before the election by coming out of the gate with tires smoking in favor of the bailout). It's hard to get them out for a cause they believe in when they have good reason to think their own party has been betraying their votes for decades. (Sometimes I make Republicans uncomfortable by pointing out that even Reagan didn't exactly slash spending. The significance of our man Barry is precisely that he seems to have been the last major-party candidate who truly believed in small government as a matter of both Constitution and of policy.)

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[Note that I did not say I was pro or anti- choice - I just said it was a 100% losing issue in CA
Two points on that. The first is that those of you who feel that way don't seem to turn out to man phones, pound pavement, and seal envelopes. Secular Libertarians, it seems, are great talkers, but vanish when the ground game gets going (I phrase it offensively so maybe someone will decide to change that). You can't run a campaign without a ground game. My guess is that it's very difficult to run the campaign you desire without being able to self-finance at a level that allows you to pay for stuff to happen that is often done by volunteers in other campaigns.

The Second is that the Prop 8 vote illustrates that the situation is more complex than that. Many traditionally Democratic constituencies are socially conservative--they simply don't generally vote that way. That's a bit of a ticking time-bomb that may or may not someday go off. Perhaps it is beyond the CA Republicans to actually exploit, but that's a matter of organizational incompetence.

In the mean time, I continue to not actually write my monograph on the theology of self-defense and Constitutional government. Maybe because deep down I don't expect it to gain an audience?

7x57
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Old 10-06-2009, 7:45 AM
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Your points 7x57 are well taken - for the past, and in fact for much of certain regions of America.

But that was then and there and this is here & now: with the decline in relgion as time moves on that weighting will change, and as I've often said, the *CA* Republican party has alienated a huge portion of CA population that it'll never get back unless it changes in certain ways. (And I'm with you - that doesn't mean going to "tax & spend RINO mode".) The dominance of a small segment in party mgmt. has relegated it to near-unelectable status in CA. My neighbors might well want to vote for a fiscal conservative, but when he has the baggage of Creationism in schools, and "anti-choice" status around his neck, it's no wonder they flee to the other side. [Note that I did not say I was pro or anti- choice - I just said it was a 100% losing issue in CA that the CA Rs need to run away from to have a hope of getting more than 1/3 leg. seats and any significant state office.]
This thread hasn't started as discussion about religion. If it will turn into one it should be moved.... Generally I am trying to avoid commenting on religious topics - but this was too good to pass up.
with the decline in relgion as time moves
What are talking about, Bill? Religion is on great rebound all over the World, to think that rebound will not touch America is strange - after all we are not above the rest of the Word when it comes to general trends.
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Old 10-06-2009, 8:19 AM
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[QUOTE=510dat]Emotionally, young people think of Republicans in the same light that they view power-tripping cops; arrogant, overbearing know-it-alls who want to tell us all how to live.[/QUOTE]

Sounds like a fair number of lefties to me: Feinstein, Schumer, Pelosi, Soros, Huffington, editorial staff on LA Times, NY Times etc. etc. and even our current president.
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Old 10-06-2009, 8:36 AM
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That's mostly a demographic fiction. Go read Rodney Stark's The Churching of America if you want to know how imaginary the picture of a grand secularization trend has been. It may be true in specific regions, but at least as a picture of the whole country it contradicts the data.
7x57
Regardless, it is clear that in the here and now, California Republicans are all-but unelectable, and the reason why is their insistence on clinging to religious principles above all other issues.

In the SF Bay Area, Republicans seemed to have learned to down-play religious issues, but then they turn around and go straight for Tax & Spend gun-hating Democrat-lite status.

In other words, the Republican party in this state is incompetent, which is why we have the nut jobs running Sacramento that we do. After all, what reason do California Democrats have to reform themselves and better represent the people when Republicans have become so weak and ineffectual that the Democrats can literally do whatever they feel like doing and still win re-election?

The Republican party isn't even an opposition party in this state. It's a nothing party.

California is a one-party state.

The one thing we have going for us is that the Democrats keep sending people to office who are incompetent when it comes to writing gun laws. Otherwise, this place would be unlivable.
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Old 10-06-2009, 8:42 AM
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If not for the so-called religious right, the Republican Party might already be dead. The dogmatic power of religion is all that pushes many younger and less-affluent voters into the Republican camp.

Fundamentally, the Republican Party suffers from a marketing problem. It has a few good ideas, but it has done a terrible job of selling them to the American people in recent decades. Instead, it has worked most fervently on sweetheart deals for monopolists and on theocratic social controls—political capital that could have been spent on reducing government and implementing market-based reforms.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has been winning converts through the seductive message that those greedy rich people can be taxed to provide everyone else with an array of attractive benefits—free of charge, of course.
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Old 10-06-2009, 9:03 AM
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This thread hasn't started as discussion about religion. If it will turn into one it should be moved....
If it became focused on religion in general, OK. But how it touches politics, and specifically gun politics, seems fair game to me. Bill's argument, in fact, was that it is very important (in a negative way) for CA gun politics, seeing as how that always touches on party politics. That seems to me to be fair, *especially since the original post created an analogy with abortion right in the subject line.*

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What are talking about, Bill? Religion is on great rebound all over the World, to think that rebound will not touch America is strange - after all we are not above the rest of the Word when it comes to general trends.
The actual situation is in many ways causally and temporally the reverse of what you say. As far as Christianity goes (obviously this will not apply to phenomena in the Islamic world) the movement you speak of nearly amounts to the export and globalization of something that was already endemic to America. If you're a secularist you may think of it as religious Kudzu.

I can only reference Rodney Stark's research once again for the situation in America--particularly for the measurable fact that "religiosity," if you will, has been uniformly increasing for more or less the entire history of the country. Yeah, your history teacher lied. As for the global situation, in the ninteenth century, the church, particularly the American church, rediscovered the Great Commission (for those following along without a glossary, that means they re-discovered that evangelism and missions were in fact the primary mission of the church, not static maintenance of culture), and by the twentieth had learned to do it right (for example, had learned to separate God from cultural cues--what I call the "putting pants on the natives" problem). For various reasons this was really only possible for the American church (for one thing, the vigorous American churches are positively anti-hierarchy, which means they not only could turn their new churches over to the local people but had an ideological preference for doing so).

To attempt to not stray further than how this touches gun politics, the point I tried to make earlier is fairly simple: you can't wait out the "bible-thumpers" (you see I'm trying to work with the wacky local lingo for the sake of the secularists ), because they're not going away. You also can't win alone--an awful lot of secular Libertarians seem to have precisely the political sophistication of GoA, which means you lose. Purity kills, as the history of gun rights demonstrates.

So the question is simple: do you want to win? If so, you're going to have to be able to make common cause on specific issues with people you disagree with. The largest group that seems to have a built-in receptivity to issues of Constitutionality, small government, and so on happen to be those hated bible-thumpers. Likely a secularist won't see that because they'll trip over the wrong buttons--but then, Christian missionaries learned long ago to start by learning the language and culture, and Libertarian missionaries should (but probably won't) learn the same lesson.

But *I* can make a decent go of selling those ideas. (The reason is simple--those ideas were invented by people who, if not any kind of orthodox Christian themselves, had the background and the language. The ideas were *designed* to fit into the worldview and mental categories of a protestant Christian. Knowing that, I can use the native categories and speak to the worldview.) The more interesting question is why should I bother, if the secularists are sufficiently hostile that they'll undo that work.

Which one do you like more: your guns and gun rights (and related issues of liberty and Constitution), or taking potshots at the bible-thumpers? My argument is that they work against each other, and you have to choose which you care more about (or you choose without knowing it, likely to your detriment).

The broader issue here is that the secularists have a certain self-imposed blindness caused by essentially wishing away the religious history of the West and of America. Part of that blindness seems to be that they come across as the most boorish sort of "ugly American" when talking to people they should be allies with. In Gene's words, they are tone-deaf.

I can't fix that, and sometimes I get too exasperated to want to try.

7x57
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Old 10-06-2009, 9:22 AM
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The "bible thumpers" can't seem to get a handle on the idea of separation of church and state.

It wasn't designed to keep "those other religions" out, it was designed to keep them all out.
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Old 10-06-2009, 9:46 AM
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The largest group that seems to have a built-in receptivity to issues of Constitutionality, small government, and so on happen to be those hated bible-thumpers. Likely a secularist won't see that because they'll trip over the wrong buttons
From my perspective, the issue is that as someone strongly in favor of a return to Constitutional boundaries, small government, and fiscal restraint among many other conservative notions, whenever it comes up that I'm not a believer in any religion, I'm told that my kind aren't welcome in the Republican party. That I'm some sort of RINO.

My analysis is that the religious right walked away from the coalition that the Republican party built in 1994 because they believed they were strong enough to go it alone and that they shouldn't compromise their core values to make nice with the riff-raff. They'd rather have 30 "real Republicans" than 60 of something else, despite the fact that "something else" could win elections and make policy.

I don't refuse to play nice with the religious. The religious were the ones who made their own exclusive club and said I couldn't be in it. I'll wait until the Republicans want to win again and open the doors to libertarians like myself.

In the meantime, those western conservatives are the Dem Blue Dogs and are still on our side on 2A issues, are still on our side on states rights issues, are still on our side on a lot of the issues that matter to me. And those western conservatives are going to continue to be Dems until the Republican party decides it is not a theocratic party but a conservative party.
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Old 10-06-2009, 9:48 AM
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[D]o you want to win? If so, you’re going to have to be able to make common cause on specific issues with people you disagree with.
This bears repeating, though it is usually a challenge that I level at “conservative” gun owners. I think 7x57 is sending it in the opposite direction this time.
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:00 AM
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Regardless, it is clear that in the here and now, California Republicans are all-but unelectable, and the reason why is their insistence on clinging to religious principles above all other issues.
Let me translate that so the absurdity is explicit rather than implicit: "if the Republican party duplicated the position of the Democratic party on a key issue that motivates the people who actually do the hard, unglamorous work, but my orbital mind-control lasers forced the same people to vote for my candidate and keep working for a cause they would not believe in, the Republican party would be more electable."

Of course, that's true--slave labor is good as a huge pile of money. It might even be enough to win. But you don't have that slave labor. Your argument contains an implicit "all other things being equal" assumption. All other things are *not* equal. The people you want to sit at the back of the party bus will leave, and you don't have replacements lined up.

Reality sucks, doesn't it?

So: in the real world, how are you going to elect pro-abortion Republicans (I assume you mean small-government, fiscally conservative ones--otherwise, why even bother) without the slave labor? The policy shift you suggest would lose those people, but would not actually bring anyone else in to replace them--once again, I say that the secular Libertarians appear to be do-nothings. If they turned out like social conservatives, and therefore could act as replacements for those you lost because of abortion, your strategy might be viable. But the few who do apparently only turn out for, say, Ron Paul. They won't turn out for a less ideologically pure, fiscally conservative, pro-abortion candidate in sufficient numbers to matter.

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In the SF Bay Area, Republicans seemed to have learned to down-play religious issues, but then they turn around and go straight for Tax & Spend gun-hating Democrat-lite status.
But I suspect you fail to understand why. Without understanding Bay Area politics, I have a guess. Take away the social conservatives, and you have taken away enough small-government voters that there is no longer a real constituency. The secular Libertarians in the Bay Area are, apparently, too few on the ground and too politically inactive to matter.

Once again: do you want to win, or do you want to cling to your ideological purity? If you want to win, you're going to have to get comfortable with working with social conservatives just as they're going to have to get comfortable with you. Or, you can find practical ways to replace them. But if you can't do either, politics will continue to chug along as though you do not exist. Politically speaking, you don't.

This is all precisely the same problem as dealing with the all-or-nothing ideological purity issues within gun rights. People would rather be pure than be effective.

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In other words, the Republican party in this state is incompetent,
This much is certain no matter how you interpret the voting and volunteering patterns. Some particularly clear evidence of this is that apparently the party elite told Larry Elder they wouldn't support him if he ran. (Apparently, they thirsted after Carly's money, and then she later turned around and told them she would not self-finance. Helped out a lot, didn't it? Morons.)

They didn't want a black conservative to run? Words fail me. I don't know if he's electable--but who cares? If he runs, he's in the public eye. I don't even know a great deal about his specific positions--but again, who cares? It undermines the Received world view of the left, and that's what's important. It is disruptive to the enemy. As long as he isn't a flat-earther, a Holocaust Denier, or something that far out, he's useful in the larger picture.

What game are they playing? Not politics, apparently.

It also undermines the terminal death-spiral of dependants voting for more dependency, but I'm only talking about politics here and not the tragic human cost of the left's social engineering schemes.

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which is why we have the nut jobs running Sacramento that we do. After all, what reason do California Democrats have to reform themselves and better represent the people when Republicans have become so weak and ineffectual that the Democrats can literally do whatever they feel like doing and still win re-election?
That's not the fundamental reason. The fundamental reason seems to me to be gerrymandering and similar effects that disenfranchise voters in favor of party apparatchiks. What you're talking about is more of an effect. You want the Republican party to be more centrist in a particular sense. Gerrymandering disenfranchises the centrists and places the parties solely in the hands of two groups: the ideologues and the apparatchiks. The specific way that plays out will involve specific issues in specific times and places--abortion, say. But that is the symptom. The disease is parties that are unaccountable in the general election, the only one that has actual Constitutional status. If parties are only accountable in the primaries, they are accountable to no one.

Once again, I assert that social conservatives and secular libertarians may hang together or hang separately, but have no third option. Now is the very best time to do that, politically--the election of Obama creates the best opportunity in at least a generation.

I'm betting on wasting the opportunity and hanging separately, frankly. But then I always did have a low and cynical view of human nature.

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The one thing we have going for us is that the Democrats keep sending people to office who are incompetent when it comes to writing gun laws. Otherwise, this place would be unlivable.
Indeed. Chicago and New York would never give us loopholes through which to drive OLLs and the like. It is fortunate that we appear position to win in the courts in the near term, because in the long term we can't count on incompetence forever. Sacramento spews legislation in full-auto mode, and sooner or later even "pray and spray" lawmaking will get us.

Unless we take their stupid toys away before they hurt someone.

7x57
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:24 AM
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So: in the real world, how are you going to elect pro-abortion Republicans (I assume you mean small-government, fiscally conservative ones--otherwise, why even bother) without the slave labor? The policy shift you suggest would lose those people, but would not actually bring anyone else in to replace them--once again, I say that the secular Libertarians appear to be do-nothings. If they turned out like social conservatives, and therefore could act as replacements for those you lost because of abortion, your strategy might be viable. But the few who do apparently only turn out for, say, Ron Paul. They won't turn out for a less ideologically pure, fiscally conservative, pro-abortion candidate in sufficient numbers to matter.
And therefore, the Republican party should/must remain the theocratic party.

One other point. I believe life begins at conception. That the 14-week old fetus in my wife's belly is a person. And yet, you think I'm "pro-abortion" because I believe in small Constitutionally bounded government and I do not think it's government's place to impose my definition of when life begins on everyone. I am not pro-abortion. I am for reducing the number of abortions as low as possible. But I am not for banning abortion and people who are for banning abortion will not get my vote.

Fix that error in your thinking and we'll be on the road to winning elections based on common interests.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:31 AM
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Its clear from posts here that bashing religious people who are not in the closet, is more important to many gunowners than gun rights.

So be it.
.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:35 AM
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The actual situation is in many ways causally and temporally the reverse of what you say.
Really? I can think of at fifty million ( or so ) new Christians appearing in the last 20 years or so.....
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:41 AM
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Its clear from posts here that bashing religious people who are not in the closet, is more important to many gunowners than gun rights.

So be it.
.
I didn't get from the posts but then I'm a pro-choice gay marriage supporter who gets called a RINO because I don't fit in the small tent social conservative box that many wish the party to be.

We need to continue working together on the vast majority of issues as many of us share core beliefs outside of abortion/gay marriage. I want a big tent majority that wins.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:47 AM
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I didn't get from the posts but then I'm a pro-choice gay marriage supporter who gets called a RINO because I don't fit in the small tent social conservative box that many wish the party to be.
Are the Dems homogenous? Hardly - they have as much or more distance between their leftist side and their Blue Dog side, than do the Republicans.

Its seems that many erstwhile republicans, however, leave the party because they can't stand diversity of opinion within the party. How ironic.

So how do the Dems hold together their fractured group, while Republicans may not do as well on that subject??
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:49 AM
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Its clear from posts here that bashing religious people who are not in the closet, is more important to many gunowners than gun rights.
Actually it's the reverse, Guy.

In CA - not necessarily nationally - I have to disagree with 7x57 and say that the R's stance actively hurts gunrights because the R's are just unelectable in general in CA. With control of both leg houses hovering around 2/3s, it's safe to say that CA R marketing sucks.

Even if I and other gunnies hold ours noses and vote for a religionist (because I always vote guns first), the dozen guys down the street - who are fairly conservative, educated suburban homeowners, and who want low taxes and min gov't but doesn't want religion in schools and who listen to their wives on 'choice' - certainly won't. These folks might well also have an LGBT family member or coworker they aren't horrified about, and are thus inflamed by support for Prop 8 - and they wonder why money is wasted on attacking people's personal lives instead of fixing something that needs to be fixed.

And THESE are the folks' votes are why the Republicans can't win in CA until party focus - and changes - and the past reputation of that focus changes.

So my friend 7x57 praises the various religious types that go out and do grunt ground work for the CA Rs - not realizing that that work is often at the primary level, and that these people are reprehensible to enough folks in populous areas that these choices become Big Losers.

Religion-driven poltics & thought are dying in California. Sure you can find that in the Central Valley but there's not enough population swing there to compesnate for alienated metro suburbs.

The end result is that the religious-touting segment of the CA Republian party in essence works against gunrights, low taxes and min. gov't because they keep putting generally unelectable people in the political stream, and the 'escape valve' allows occasional RINOs like Schwarzenneger and antigunners like Whitman, Poizner and Campbell to emerge.

I always remind folks that we can win on the gun issue as it's only a 6th to 9th level of concern in CA polity. "Choice" is always #1 - #3 on the list, however. A CA candidate of any party waving a dozen ARs and a bag of dead babies is far more easily elected than a Dan Lungren antigun+anti-choice type.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:50 AM
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We need to continue working together on the vast majority of issues as many of us share core beliefs outside of abortion/gay marriage. I want a big tent majority that wins.
I do too. Tell the goons in Orange County to bring back Barry Goldwater.
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:10 PM
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Guys. The solution is to neuter the government. The government has way too much power.

If they don't have the money and power they won't be able to spend any money or power trying to pry into our bedrooms or wallets.
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:13 PM
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Even if I and other gunnies hold ours noses and vote for a religionist (because I always vote guns first), the dozen guys down the street - who are fairly conservative, educated suburban homeowners, and who want low taxes and min gov't but doesn't want religion in schools and who listen to their wives on 'choice' - certainly won't. These folks might well also have an LGBT family member or coworker they aren't horrified about, and are thus inflamed by support for Prop 8 - and they wonder why money is wasted on attacking people's personal lives instead of fixing something that needs to be fixed.

And THESE are the folks' votes are why the Republicans can't win in CA until party focus - and changes - and the past reputation of that focus changes.
Bill, remind me to buy you the beverage of your choice when next we meet. This is exactly what I was trying to say, but couldn't seem to stop stumbling over my own keyboard this morning.
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Old 10-06-2009, 2:05 PM
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berto berto is offline
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Originally Posted by GuyW View Post
Are the Dems homogenous? Hardly - they have as much or more distance between their leftist side and their Blue Dog side, than do the Republicans.

Its seems that many erstwhile republicans, however, leave the party because they can't stand diversity of opinion within the party. How ironic.

So how do the Dems hold together their fractured group, while Republicans may not do as well on that subject??
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Do they leave because they can't stand the diversity of opinion or do they leave because they no longer feel welcome?

Being called a RINO gets tiring especially when many doing the name calling are the same who threaten to leave the party if opposition to abortion ceases to be the core issue in the republican agenda.

The two factions (let's say two for the sake of simplicity) agree on a vast majority of issues. One faction wishes the other to pipe down on a few issues but the other faction wants to fight a loud and contentious battle inside and outside the party on those few issues.

Bringing this discussion back to guns, the dems have found a way for pro-2A candidates to exist and win in local and state elections. The national stage is trickier but they obviously make it work. It's because guns aren't issue #1 for most folks.

The reps haven't really made that leap as far as abortion goes in this state. Part of the reason is the grass roots feet on the ground support given by social conservatives. The support is vital but making abortion issue #1 prevents a broader coalition from forming and keeps candidates who could win a general election from getting out of the primary. I know quite a few should be republican women who will not vote for an anti-abortion candidate. They vote abortion like I vote guns and taxes.
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Old 10-06-2009, 3:45 PM
Canute Canute is offline
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I wonder if when young people imagine the Republican party they get pictures of dusty old farts that aren't fun. Then, for some reason, think that Democrats are opposite? Think this is by any means true? And, have any bearing on how people vote?
One difference is that the social conservative are, for the youth, on the wrong side of a lot of social issues, practically by definition. Homosexuality, for example, is absolutely taboo for many in the pre-60s generations. Many who grew up in the post-60s era couldn't care less. Result: when the social conservatives start shouting out against gay marriage the younger voters run away.
Our culture changed to be more accepting of things that used to be taboo. My mixed marriage probably raises a lot fewer eyebrows than it would have a generation ago, certainly less than it would have in the '50s.
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Old 10-06-2009, 4:08 PM
bulgron bulgron is offline
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Being called a RINO gets tiring
The RINO moniker is the #1 reason why I'm not a member of the Republican party. Can't call me a RINO if I'm not a Republican!

The Republican party's lack of focus on gun rights (especially in this state), plus the way it badly misbehaved fiscally when it had power, is the reason why I won't give the Republican party money. (I might give individual candidates money, but that's on a case-by-case basis.)
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Old 10-06-2009, 4:23 PM
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yellowfin yellowfin is offline
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I won't give any politician money because it's not on a results = reward basis. I don't gamble and it seems too much like gambling to me- I don't give out money on the basis of what someone might do and before the fact. I would, however, donate money to political efforts on a bounty basis: knock Feinslime out of her seat and then I'll gladly give whoever does it what money I would otherwise cough up for campaigns- but not one penny until and unless.
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Old 10-06-2009, 4:25 PM
dantodd dantodd is offline
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I won't give any politician money because it's not on a results = reward basis. I don't gamble and it seems too much like gambling to me-
If it seems like gambling it's only because you aren't giving enough. If you give enough you can be pretty confident they will vote the way the dead presidents tell them to.
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Old 10-06-2009, 4:37 PM
5hundo 5hundo is offline
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The RINO moniker is the #1 reason why I'm not a member of the Republican party. Can't call me a RINO if I'm not a Republican!

The Republican party's lack of focus on gun rights (especially in this state), plus the way it badly misbehaved fiscally when it had power, is the reason why I won't give the Republican party money. (I might give individual candidates money, but that's on a case-by-case basis.)
I'm not a Republican because of their stance on Stem-cell research, Abortion or the Iraq War (however, I do support Afghanistan)...

Conversely, I'm not a Democrat because of their stance on Gun Control and higher taxes...

Libertarian, baby!!! It's the only way to go... (see my sig block )
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