A Different Angle

October 19th, 2010

I have to ask myself: If the Senate race in my state were between an extremist, nutball Democrat and a dislikable Republican, who would I vote for?

It’s a tough question that really needs a concrete example before deciding–one tends to vote along party lines, figuring on policy or party strength. But my current attempt to understand what’s happening in Nevada, where the people there seem poised to vote in a truly bizarre and reprehensible person–adds a significant twist to the equation.

For me, the issue demands that I find an example of a Democratic politician who is as crazy, extreme, and just plain weird as Sharron Angle. And honestly, I am coming up blank.

Unable to find someone as extreme on the left, let’s imagine one, taking a look at her positions and going just as far in the other direction.

Imagine a Democratic candidate who believes that we should strive toward a world government run by the United Nations. That abortion should be allowed at any stage of pregnancy without any restriction. That global warming is true to the extent that the scenario from The Day After Tomorrow will happen in the very near future. That we should double spending on entitlement programs. That atheism–not just separation of church and state–should be pushed as a social standard. That all oil drilling should be banned. Guns should be banned as well. And that not only marijuana, but all drugs should be legalized.

Going down this list makes me appreciate how non-radical Democrats are in relation to Republicans. We just don’t have the same extremes, frankly, no matter what the conservatives claim. When I wrote the list above, I was simply going through Angle’s positions and reversing them–but on review, they do read like a list of what many wingnuts claim liberals are secretly all about, what we privately wish for.

For me, however, it makes an extremely unappealing candidate. While some of the positions sound nice in theory, I do not accept them as viable proposals. Things like world government, or true (not what has ever been practiced in reality) socialism are nice ideals but unworkable in the real world as it exists, and attempts to enact them would be disastrous. I don’t agree with unrestricted abortion; I think we have a good compromise right now. I accept climate change theories, but don’t see them as being nearly as near-future disastrous as that movie portrayed, and a person who feared that might act irrationally. I think that reform of entitlement programs would be in order, but see it as preferable to keep them closer to what they are now, not striking them or bloating them. I believe in freedom of religion, not the advocacy of one belief by the state. I favor a transition to clean energy, not an unthinking, jarring shock before we’re ready. I’d love a world without guns, but that’s not where we live. The drug policy is the only one I’d actually approve of–I think legalization and emphasis on treatment would be far better than what we have today.

However, overall, that list of positions is not only far more extreme than I am, but the denial of reality such positions would represent, and the lack of trust I would have in such an extremist would make me highly uncomfortable. I would at the very least be highly unmotivated to vote for such a person, even if to keep a similarly extreme Republican out of the race.

But what if it was between that Democrat and a Republican who was the analogue of Harry Reid–ineffectual, bumbling, unlikable, but politically relatively tame. Reid, for example, is not pro-choice, and at least tepidly supports the “Defense of Marriage” position. Turn that around and have a Republican who is pro-choice and supports gay marriage (though falls short of committing to it). That kind of moderate posturing, even if just for show, would mitigate a lot of the discomfort about the candidate. And if he’s an unlikable, ineffectual Republican, that’s actually a plus–it might help the Democrats politically, whereas a crazy extremist Democrat would probably have the opposite effect and could even disrupt the party’s workings.

Given the whole scenario: I would vote for the Republican. Honestly. And I am pretty liberal.

Which makes the prospect of Nevadans voting for Angle a mystery to me. I mean, in the scenario above, I would be calling liberals voting for the Democrat unreasonable and unthinking. So what are Nevadans thinking?

  1. Troy
    October 19th, 2010 at 15:12 | #1

    Angle is in the mainstream of the radical right, and the radical right is ~40% of the electorate now (more in rural states).

    The Democrat’s only bastion in NV is the LV area, but that is just getting slaughtered economically.


    Obama may have taken Nevada in 2008 but McCain only got 13% support in the primary. Romney won with 51%, Paultards were 14%, Huckabee got 8%, so did Thompson, making the far-right conservative bloc ~75% of the Republican electorate.

    Angle’s far-right positions make her more compatible to the Mormons in NV than Reid, who as Dem leader in the Senate has had to push through stuff Mormons don’t like.

    This nation is simply nuts, and fundamentalist religion plays the dominant role here. Be glad you’re doubly-insulated with a PR for Japan and a EU citizen option.

    Only 1 out of 5 people in this country can find their ass with a map.

  2. Troy
    October 19th, 2010 at 15:14 | #2
  3. Geoff K
    October 19th, 2010 at 15:59 | #3

    If nearly half the country supports something, than it isn’t a “Radical” view, it’s a mainstream view. The people trying to force their minority choices on the rest of us are the “Radicals”. And the Left is very fond of redefining “mainstream” to be “whatever liberal opinion would like it to be”. Any Republican that sells out (e.g. McCain, Olympia Snowe) is hailed as “a Maverick” who has “Abandoned Radical Party orthodoxy and moved to the mainstream”. Of course, when a Democrat votes conservative, then he/she is “embracing dangerous misconceptions” and “abandoning his core constituency”.

    Nothing Reid has done in Congress has helped Nevada in the least. He’s putting them all in the poorhouse, faster than any Casino in Vegas could. They may like Angle or dislike her, but she’s bound to be an improvement on Reid. Because a wax dummy that just did nothing and didn’t actively hurt them would be an improvement on Reid.

  4. Troy
    October 19th, 2010 at 16:32 | #4

    Geoff, radical wrt world politics, or the status quo of the 1950-1980 era.

    Nixon is to the left of Obama now. Since the takeover of the Republicans by the religious right, a very virulent strain of Goldwaterism is running the Republican party. This is even worse for us since it has taken on the Religious Right’s policy preferences that Goldwater himself was actively opposed to.

    Bush Sr ran against your voodoo economics in 1980. He had to trim his sails to keep the conservatives in his coalition, but failed to so in 1992, when the antecendant to some of the current conservative movement (the Perot vote) appeared.

  5. Troy
    October 19th, 2010 at 16:37 | #5

    ^ America has been living in a bubble for a very long time now. Reagan tripled the national debt, GWB took the 56% debt-to-GDP and ran it up to 83%.

    This is very akin to the public’s stupidity WRT evolution. ~50% of Americans believe God poofed people onto the earth as it says in the Bible. This may be mainstream but it is mainstream stupidity. This is closely cross-correlated to weekly church attendance and being a Republican.

    When you can count on 35% of the country that has intellectually disarmed themselves, you’ve got one helluva political force. We saw this in 2000 and 2004, to our country’s great damage.

  6. Tim Kane
    October 21st, 2010 at 02:08 | #6

    Last I checked, Geof was for a health care system that allowed 41,000 Americans to die, needlessly, each and every year.

    His opinions, then, are off the chart radical to the point of being nonsensical to me.

    I just can’t get past that.

    There is no emergency? No crisis? Okay, you don’t like the democratic liberal plans for dealing with this, where is your plan for dealing with this crisis? Oh, there is none? Just whose side are you on? I have to ask because you are all for letting 41,000 (thats 410,000 a decade) die year in and year out. Your not on the side of Americans.

    The fact that those statistics can exist and there be no sense of crisis in our political system, is a damnation (pun intended).

    I can’t listen to Republicans/conservatives like Geof. He supports the slaughter of 41,000 Americans a year, because it protects a most diabolical healthcare insurance oligarchy’s profits.

    41,000 die, and there is no emergency in there politics. Everything is fine.

    I can’t get past that. With a rational system, we could save these lives, and save money… but it would be at the expense of the private health insurance oligarchy’s super-monopoly profits.

    Why are we chasing down Al Quaida 10 years hence at a cost of trillions of dollars? They only killed 3,000 in a publicity stunt. It wasn’t systematic, year in year out killing.

    If it’s okay for 41,000 Americans to die year in and year out, why bother with Al Qaida. And if Al Qaida is really the enemy, isn’t the health insurance oligarchy really a bigger enemy?

    We’ve all heard the “first they came for the jew’s, then the liberal’s, then the….” thing. Well in our current system, first they came for the 41,000 who didn’t have access to health care.

    So, if you start from a position that 41,000 Americans dying, needlessly every year, is okay then the stuff coming out of the right wingnuts mouth is hardly radical… its just more stuff pushed down the same tragectory.

    Hey Geof: its mid October, and your policitcs has already killed over 35,000 Americans. Congratulations. Heck of a job there Geoffy.

  7. Geoff K
    October 21st, 2010 at 14:13 | #7

    “Republicans kill 41,000 babies per year: News at 11”. Talk about silly nonsense. Where to start?

    – Who are these 41,000? Why did they die? Did they have insurance? Would Obamacare really have helped them? Even *if* it would (not proven), is it necessary to completely restructure the entire health care system of millions of people in order to fix their problem?

    – The Republicans have offered written alternatives to Obamacare, most of which would be far superior–less expensive and more effective. These include fewer restrictions on what plans insurers can offer, more freedom by individuals to buy their own plans and free interstate competition between insurers. Notice that all of these ideas leverage freedom and the free market, unlike the Soviet Obamacare “central-planning” model. Obama asked for the Republican’s input–then rejected all of it when the actual bills got written.

    Obama lied. “Nobody will have to change their doctor or health plan” Maybe, unless the increased costs of Obamacare lead your employer to drop everyone’s coverage. Or unless your insurer can no longer offer the plan you’re covered by. Or unless the costs of new mandated coverage make your plan too expensive for you to keep. All of these things are already happening (and happened when an Obamacare-like plan was started in Massachusetts).

    Obamacare was opposed by most Americans when passed. It’s gotten even less popular now and most Americans support repealing it altogether. Which the new President that we elect in 2012 will certainly do.

    But actually, I’m glad that Obamacare passed in a way. It’s helping to elect a lot of new Republicans this year (and to retire all the clowns that voted for it).

  8. Troy
    October 22nd, 2010 at 03:28 | #8

    “The poll found that about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system, regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral. On the other side, about one in five say they oppose the law because they think the federal government should not be involved in health care at all.”


    I wish I lived in Geoff’s alternate reality bubble. Everything so simple.

    Or unless the costs of new mandated coverage make your plan too expensive for you to keep.

    yes, this is pooled insurance. Putting people who need coverage into the pool will in fact raise rates. For you to think this is a bad thing exposes the moral wasteland of your position.

    Step 2 is controlling service provider profits and reducing inefficiencies and premium skim via single payer. This was a bridge too far last year but

  9. Troy
    October 22nd, 2010 at 03:29 | #9

    ^ further reforms will come eventually.

  10. Tim Kane
    October 22nd, 2010 at 12:05 | #10

    Who are these 41,000?

    Answer: Americans.

    The report came out months ago. It was done by Harvard. It stated that 41,000 Americans die each year preventable deaths if they had health insurance.

    I understand that. I have a red complexion. 10 years ago a doctor found basil cell pre-cancer. A simple procedure in his office removed the pre-cancer cells. But had I not had insurance, I would not have seen him on a regular check. Interestingly, he told me that my red complexion is a partial carcinogen, meaning I will have the problem the rest of my life. If I don’t have insurance, I don’t see the dermatologist. If I don’t see the dermatologist, the basil cells become cancer cells, and eventually melanoma and a horrible, painful, cancer-eating-brain painful death. Then I become one of the 41,000. By the way, as I write this, I currently don’t have any insurance.

    The problem with Republicans/Conservatives is they don’t care. They don’t see 41,000 Americans as a crisis – they have to ask, well – just who were these people. That means they don’t care about ordinary Americans.

    Republicans have “authored” health care alternatives? Well, maybe. But they weren’t serious about solving the problem or SOMETHING would have happened. They author plans and then don’t act upon them.

    I don’t like the health reform plan that came out, it would be cheaper and better to adopt Japan’s or France’s or medicare-for-all systems, wholesale. But a second class something is better than a first class nothing… and that’s precisely what the Republican’s offer, a first class nothing (* well, first class in their own mind, anyway).

    (The system they defend, is one where the health care insurance companies get super monopoly profits by only ensuring healthy young, reletively wealthy people and forcing the government to ensure the expensive old people, forcing the rest to buy from an oligopoly that restricts new entrants and forces everyone to buy from a group of providers who have special protection from anti-trust laws. Yeah, that’s pro-free market. The price of those supermonopoly profits is the 41,000 that die for it.)

    I can’t get past that apathy. It’s seems pathological, it’s diabolical, it’s down right evil. It puts a lie to the idea that the republicans care about ordinary Americans or anyone or anything but the rich and the powerful.

    The new system is hardly great. But it is improvement over what we had. At least Obama signed the legislation that improves health care.

  11. Troy
    October 22nd, 2010 at 15:36 | #11

    Republicans have “authored” health care alternatives? Well, maybe.

    The ones they’ve authored in the past are very similar to what Obama got passed through the Senate roadblocks. The Republican alternative to HillaryCare. The Heritage Foundation position paper. RomneyCare.

    Mandate + No rescission.

    There’s nothing to really criticize about this bill other than the 1099 add-on for businesses (which sucks but if you want anything close to pay-go you’ve got to add revenue raisers somehow).

    You’ll note that Geoff just sputters about the usual freedom vs. soviet communism bullshit/lies above. ObamaCare is very market-compatible, since it had to get through Senators bought and paid for by the industry.

    The main stickler is the new requirement that 80% of premiums go to care, the horrible “loss of freedom” that Geoff wails about above. That’s actually a good start. Should be 100%, or as close to it as we can get it.

    I can’t get past that apathy.

    The conservative ideology is simply, “Got mine, fuck you”. Once you understand that much becomes clearer.

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