Why the Republican party is dying

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Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Dr.Mellifluous » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:51 pm

Frank Rich wrote:HERE’S a bottom line to keep you up at night: The economy is falling faster than Washington can get moving. President Obama says his stimulus plan will save or create four million jobs in two years. In the last four months of 2008 alone, employment fell by 1.9 million. Do the math.

The abyss is widening. Of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones industrial index, 22 have announced job cuts since October. Unemployment is up in all 50 states, with layoffs at both high-tech companies (Microsoft) and low (Caterpillar). The December job loss in retailing is the worst since at least 1939. The new-home sales rate has fallen to its all-time low since record-keeping began in 1963.

What are Americans still buying? Big Macs, Campbell’s soup, Hershey’s chocolate and Spam — the four food groups of the apocalypse.

The crisis is at least as grave as the one that confronted us — and, for a time, united us — after 9/11. Which is why the antics among Republicans on Capitol Hill seem so surreal. These are the same politicians who only yesterday smeared the patriotism of any dissenters from Bush’s “war on terror.” Where is their own patriotism now that economic terror is inflicting far more harm on their constituents than Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent W.M.D.?

The House stimulus bill is an inevitably imperfect hodgepodge-in-progress. Obama’s next move, a new plan to prevent the collapse of America’s banks, may prove more problematic still, especially given the subpar record of the new Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, in warding off calamity while at the New York Fed. No one should expect the Republicans to give the new president carte blanche, fall blindly into lock step or be “post-partisan.” (Though that’s exactly what the G.O.P. demanded of Democrats with Bush: You were either with him or with the terrorists.)

But you might think that a loyal opposition would want to pitch in and play a serious role at a time of national peril. Not by singing “Kumbaya” but by collaborating on possible solutions and advancing a policy debate that many Americans’ lives depend on. As Raymond Moley, of F.D.R.’s brain trust, said of the cross-party effort at the harrowing start of that presidency in March 1933, Hoover and Roosevelt acolytes “had forgotten to be Republicans or Democrats” as they urgently tried to rescue their country.

The current G.O.P. acts as if it — and we — have all the time in the world. It kept hoping in vain that the fast-waning Blago sideshow would somehow impale Obama or Rahm Emanuel. It has come perilously close to wishing aloud that a terrorist attack will materialize to discredit Obama’s reversals of Bush policy on torture, military tribunals and Gitmo. The party’s sole consistent ambition is to play petty politics to gum up the works.

If anything, the Republican Congressional leadership seems to be emulating John McCain’s September stunt of “suspending” his campaign to “fix” the Wall Street meltdown. For all his bluster, McCain in the end had no fixes to offer and sat like a pet rock at the White House meeting on the crisis before capitulating to the bailout. His imitators likewise posture in public about their determination to take action, then do nothing while more and more Americans cry for help.

The problem is not that House Republicans gave the stimulus bill zero votes last week. That’s transitory political symbolism, and it had no effect on the outcome. Some of the naysayers will vote for the revised final bill anyway (and claim, Kerry-style, that they were against it before they were for it). The more disturbing problem is that the party has zero leaders and zero ideas. It is as AWOL in this disaster as the Bush administration was during Katrina.

If the country wasn’t suffering, the Republicans’ behavior would be a laugh riot. The House minority leader, John Boehner, from the economic wasteland of Ohio, declared on “Meet the Press” last Sunday that the G.O.P. didn’t want to be “the party of ‘No’ ” but “the party of better ideas, better solutions.” And what are those ideas, exactly? He said he’ll get back to us “over the coming months.”

His deputy, the Virginia congressman Eric Cantor, has followed the same script, claiming that the G.O.P. will not be “the party of ‘No’ ” but will someday offer unspecified “solutions and alternatives.” Not to be left out, the party’s great white hope, Sarah Palin, unveiled a new political action committee last week with a Web site also promising “fresh ideas.” But as the liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga observed, the site invites visitors to make donations and read Palin hagiography while offering no links to any ideas, fresh or otherwise.

For its own contribution to this intellectual void, the Republican National Committee convened last week under a new banner, “Republican for a Reason.” Perhaps that unidentified reason will be determined by a panel of judges on a TV reality show. It had better be brilliant given that only five states (with 20 total electoral votes) now lean red in party affiliation, according to Gallup. At this rate the G.O.P. will be in Alf Landon territory by 2012.

The Republicans do have one idea, of course, but it’s hardly fresh: more and bigger tax cuts, particularly for business and the well-off. That’s the sum of their “alternative” stimulus plan. Obama has tried to accommodate this panacea, perhaps to a fault. Mainstream economists in both parties believe that tax cuts in the stimulus package will deliver far less bang for the buck than, say, infrastructure spending. The tax-cut stimulus embraced a year ago by the G.O.P. induced next-to-no consumer spending as Americans merely banked the savings or paid down debt.

We also now know conclusively that the larger Bush tax cuts, besides running up record deficits and exacerbating income inequality, were also at best a placebo on our road to ruin. In a January survey of economists, including former McCain advisers like Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Mark Zandi, The Washington Post determined that the job growth the Bush administration kept bragging about (“52 straight months!”) was a mirage inflated by the housing bubble. Job growth — about 2 percent — was in fact the most tepid of any eight-year period “since data collection began seven decades ago.” Gross domestic product grew at a slower pace than in any eight years since the Truman administration.

But even if tax cuts alone could jump-start a recovery, they couldn’t do the heavy lifting that Obama has promised and the country desperately needs: a down payment on a new economy to replace our dilapidated 20th-century model and bring back long-term growth. The Republicans don’t acknowledge the need for this transformation, or debate it in good conscience, preferring instead to hyperventilate over the contraceptives in a small family-planning program since removed from the stimulus bill. All it takes is the specter of condoms for the party of Vitter, Foley and Craig to go gaga.

The Republicans’ other preoccupation remains Rush Limbaugh, who is by default becoming their de facto leader. While most Americans are fearing fear itself, G.O.P. politicians are tripping over themselves in morbid terror of Rush.

These pratfalls commenced after Obama casually told some Republican congressmen (correctly) that they won’t “get things done” if they take their orders from Limbaugh. That’s all the stimulus the big man needed to go on a new bender of self-aggrandizement. He boasted that Obama is “more frightened” of him than he is of the Republican leaders in the House or Senate. He said of the new president, “I hope he fails.”

Obama no doubt finds Limbaugh’s grandiosity more amusing than frightening, but G.O.P. politicians are shaking like Jell-O. When asked by Andrea Mitchell of NBC News on Wednesday if he shared Limbaugh’s hope that Obama fails, Eric Cantor spun like a top before running off, as it happened, to appear on Limbaugh’s radio show. Mike Pence of Indiana, No. 3 in the Republican House leadership, similarly squirmed when asked if he agreed with Limbaugh. Though the Republicans’ official, poll-driven line is that they want Obama to succeed, they’d rather abandon that disingenuous nicety than cross Rush.

Most pathetic of all was Phil Gingrey, a right-wing Republican congressman from Georgia, who mildly criticized both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Politico because they “stand back and throw bricks” while lawmakers labor in the trenches. So many called Gingrey’s office to complain that the poor congressman begged Limbaugh to bring him on air to publicly recant on Wednesday. As Gingrey abjectly apologized to talk radio’s commandant for his “stupid comments” and “foot-in-mouth disease,” he sounded like the inmate in a B-prison-movie cowering before the warden after a failed jailbreak.

“It’s up to me to hijack the Obama honeymoon,” Limbaugh soon gloated, “and I’ve done it.” In his dreams. He has hijacked what’s left of the Republican Party; the Obama honeymoon remains intact. The nightmare is that we have so irrelevant, clownish and childish an opposition party at a moment when America is in an all-hands-on-deck emergency that’s as trying as war. To paraphrase a dictum that has been variously attributed to two of our most storied leaders in times of great challenge, Thomas Paine and George Patton, the Republicans should either lead, follow or get out of the grown-ups’ way.


Hilarious, ain't it?
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Myth » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:38 pm

I'm not laughing.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Kaz » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:39 pm

Somewhat relevant: http://www.fuckthesouth.com
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Kaz » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:17 am

You based your entire reply on one throwaway sentence about Florida? Really?
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Zeuter » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:28 am

Pick and pop that cherry!
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Kaz » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:33 am

Holy shit you're unreal
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Half + Seven » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:53 am

I think it was supposed to be funny, not factual. But seriously, the republican party is finally showing the weakness of it's coalitions. That and a lack of viable leadership will keep them down for a while. They need to face the facts and concede some core issues to get back in the game. Abortion and sex education would be a good start.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Gorbadoc » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:04 pm

What we need is a third party whose platform consists of trying to ban abortion.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Myth » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:03 pm

Abortion and gay marriage are two things I support not because I'm a godless heathen but because if we give up those fights, they'll find some new individual rights to take away.

Also I'm pro-abortion, because I think the whole argument against it is so fallacious it's sick. I have an aunt who had to abort a pregnancy because her life was so dangerously compromised by the pregnancy. It broke her heart, but it was the right decision. The Republican argument isn't about pro-life - it's pro "We get to choose who lives and dies. Babies live, mothers die."
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Myth » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:14 pm

I want to see Palin run in 2012, to see all the Republicans who defended her from the vicious, cruel media tear her to shreds. She's an embaressment to the country.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby BYC » Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:01 pm

Myth wrote:I want to see Palin run in 2012, to see all the Republicans who defended her from the vicious, cruel media tear her to shreds. She's an embaressment to the country.


But she's hot.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Myth » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:14 pm

BYC wrote:
Myth wrote:I want to see Palin run in 2012, to see all the Republicans who defended her from the vicious, cruel media tear her to shreds. She's an embaressment to the country.


But she's hot.


Until she opens her mouth.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Kaz » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:58 pm

She looks like Cheney with a wig
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Myth » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:09 am

larlar


Here I was all excited that this thread would turn into something discussion/debate related, but when we all agree, or can be in the same -chapter-, I guess that doesn't happen.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Dr.Mellifluous » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:30 pm

Myth wrote:larlar


Here I was all excited that this thread would turn into something discussion/debate related, but when we all agree, or can be in the same -chapter-, I guess that doesn't happen.


I'm going to be trying to breathe some life back into this forum, cuz the Israel debate, for all that it got a little heated, was a lot of fun, and it spurred me into doing a lot more reading than I would have otherwise. I'm sure we can find some hot-button topics to get things rolling. Or just fun stuff, like cloning extinct Ibix.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Zeuter » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:39 pm

To be fair, I doubt there will be many other controversial topics with such a personal touch where both sides of the argument are represented on this forum.

We tend to be fairly homogeneous, as far as I've seen.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby reddwhite » Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:41 pm

well ima have to say somthing here just to try to balance this out. im not for any party either way, i think both have ideas i would support if we had a decent candidate from time to time. but most of the ideas from both parties are not what i would call american.

imo i say that most of the things both sides stand for most are also the things i think are issues that both sides should stay out of. just 2 examples are abortion and marriage be it gay or the traditional view.

who am i or anyone else in a country founded on the promise to the right to the persute of happiness gonna say. aslong as your happiness falls within my idea of happiness. i myself dont find another man attractive at all but then hell maybe i never met the right one. and maybe some gay men or women just never ran into the right staright man or women. who knows?

imo this is an issue best left to the individual to decide themselves. i really couldnt care who you decide makes you happy. i am just happy that you found the person in the world that gives you that happiness.

now on abortion. my exwife and i both agreed that we thought it was wrong in the values that we shared, but at the same time our values werent the right ones for everyone since everyone has different needs and problems. if you are one of the peeps that get 30 abortions in your life imo you should examine your life and what you are really trying to accomplish, but that doesnt make me right. outright baning it in all but life threating situations doesnt quite sound right either. what if it is my daughter when she is 16 and it will negatively impact her life, or my wife was raped or any number of other situations im sure we could all come up with?

the point being who are any of us to try to tell anyone else that they have to live a certain way because we said it is right or wrong?
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Kaz » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:23 am

Right so I guess you aren't voting republican then
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Dr.Mellifluous » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:14 pm

NY Times wrote:WASHINGTON — Prodded by President Obama’s reaction to yet another dismal economic report on Friday, the Senate resumed its efforts to reach an accord on his economic stimulus plan, with Democrats calling for quick action and Republicans arguing against what they described as wasteful spending.

By mid-day, after the president called further delays “inexcusable,” the tone of the Senate debate was growing decidedly sharper, with no immediate end in sight, although the Democratic majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, remained optimistic about a vote by Friday evening.

President Obama seized on Friday’s economic news — the Labor Department’s report that the unemployment rate shot up in January — to step up the pressure on the lawmakers. “Last month, another 600,000 Americans lost their jobs,” Mr. Obama said. “That is the single worst month of job loss in 35 years. The Department of Labor also adjusted their job loss numbers for 2008 upwards, and now report that we have lost 3.6 million jobs since this recession began.

“I am sure that at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, members of the Senate are reading these same numbers this morning. I hope they share my sense of urgency and draw the same, unmistakable conclusion: The situation could not be more serious. These numbers demand action. It is inexcusable and irresponsible to get bogged down in distraction and delay while millions of Americans are being put out of work. It is time for Congress to act.”

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, said he was worried that the Senate was becoming like a gathering of firefighters arguing about “how to get to the fire while the house keeps burning.”

Mr. Reid said he still thought that between 5 and 7 p.m. Friday, “we’ll have something that we can vote on that would reflect the big picture of what we need to move this to conference.”

“This is a critical day for this new Congress and our country,” Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor. “Faced with this grave and growing economic crisis, Republicans must decide today whether they will join the president and Congressional Democrats on that road to recovery.

“If we succeed, there will be plenty of credit to go around. But if we fail, our entire country will suffer the consequences.”

Still, Mr. Reid’s Republican counterpart, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said his party colleagues would not sign on to “an aimless spending spree that masks as a stimulus.”

And Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said the numbers being talked about show that each of the 3 million to 4 million jobs President Obama has said he wanted to create would cost more than $900,000 each. “The American people are figuring it out,” Mr. McCain said. “This is not a stimulus bill; it is a spending bill.”

President Obama, after signaling for the last several weeks that he wanted to work with Republicans on the bill and accommodate their requests, suggested in sometimes-sharp language on Thursday night that his patience with the other party is wearing thin, and that the Democratic Party’s ideological approach should take precedence.

“Don’t come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis,” Mr. Obama told a gathering of House Democrats in Williamsburg, Va., referring to Republican demands for more tax cuts.

“We are not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin,” Mr. Obama said. “We can’t embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face, that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or falling schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees.”

Stepping up his pressure on both parties on Capitol Hill to act swiftly to finish work on the bill in the next 10 days, the president said that the American people had not voted for “the false theories of the past” when they elected him in November, and that it was time to set aside “phony arguments and petty politics.”

Mr. Obama said the legislation was not perfect, but rejected criticism that it was full of pet projects. Responding to the Republican criticism that it was a big spending bill, the president said: “What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point.”

President Obama has said he hopes to sign the final legislation in the next week to 10 days, a goal Democratic lawmakers have vowed to meet.

Once the Senate votes, Senate and House negotiators must confer to reconcile their separate versions of the legislation. The negotiations could be intense, as some House Democrats have said they are increasingly alarmed by reports of efforts in the Senate to remove programs that they consider essential.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators continued to work furiously in backroom negotiations to cut the cost of the more than $920 billion economic stimulus plan.

Members of the bipartisan group, led by Senators Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said they wanted to trim provisions that would not quickly create jobs or encourage spending by consumers and businesses. They have been scrutinizing the 736-page bill and wrangling over what to cut.

By Thursday evening, aides said the group had drafted a list of nearly $90 billion in cuts, including $40 billion in aid for states, more than $14 billion for various education programs, $4.1 billion to make federal buildings energy efficient and $1.5 billion for broadband Internet service in rural areas. But they remained short of a deal.

“We’re trying to focus it on spending that truly helps stimulate the economy,” Ms. Collins said. “People have different views on whether or not a program meets that test. So we’re continuing to talk. We get close, and then it drops back, and then we get close again.”

President Obama said Thursday that a package of about $800 billion was in the ballpark of what he believed the economy needed.

“The scale and scope of this plan is right,” Mr. Obama said in a speech to House Democrats who were on a retreat in Williamsburg, Va.

“If we do not move swiftly,” the president said, “an economy that is in crisis will be faced with catastrophe.” He added, “Millions more Americans will lose their jobs. Homes will be lost. Families will go without health care. Our crippling dependence on foreign oil will continue. That is the price of inaction.”

The White House announced that Mr. Obama would make a televised speech to the nation about the economy on Monday night.

Mr. Reid said Thursday that he believed that Democrats could muscle the stimulus bill through with at least two Republican votes. But late Thursday he said he would give the bipartisan group until Friday to reach a deal. If no deal is reached, he said he would call for procedural vote on Sunday aimed at moving to final vote.

The efforts of the bipartisan group, which at one point numbered about 20 senators, essentially tied Mr. Reid’s hands, giving him little choice but to allow time for a compromise measure to emerge. The behind-the-scenes brokering on Thursday distracted from the Senate floor where senators at times traded angry barbs through formal debate.

The Democrats will need the support of at least two Republicans and probably more to win passage of the stimulus bill, which for procedural reasons will require 60 votes. The Democrats now hold 58 seats, but only 57 have been voting this week. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts has been absent because of illness.

Ms. Collins is clearly one Republican they are counting on. But on Thursday evening she said she would not vote for the measure in its current form and wanted further changes in spending programs. “My goal is to be able to support a bill,” Ms. Collins said.

The cost of the Senate measure has risen substantially above the $820 billion House-passed bill, first with the addition of a $64 billion provision to spare millions of middle class Americans from paying the alternative minimum tax in 2009, and the more recent inclusion of tax breaks for purchases of homes and cars, totaling $30 billion.

As an amendment to the stimulus bill, the Senate voted on Thursday to limit pay and ban bonuses for the 25 top executives at companies that have received money from the Treasury’s $700 billion bailout program for the financial industry.

The vote came a day after Mr. Obama imposed a $500,000 cap on pay for executives whose companies receive substantial bailout money in the future. The Senate provision could be applied retroactively to companies that already received rescue money.

Comments earlier in the day by Mr. Reid and other members of the Democratic leadership suggested a growing frustration with Republican opposition to the recovery measure and assertions by some in the minority party that Mr. Obama’s aggressive efforts had so far failed to win over a large number of critics.

Republican efforts to drastically alter the package, by eliminating huge blocks of spending in place of expanded tax cuts, continued Thursday morning as Senator McCain proposed yet another substitute bill, including a plan to slash corporate and personal income taxes. Democrats defeated his proposal and others.

“Despite the efforts of the president, Senator Reid and all of us to reach out, we’re getting rebuffed,” Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat, said at a news conference with other leaders. “Has bipartisanship been a failure? Well, so far it’s not working. But it takes two to tango, and the Republicans aren’t dancing.”

Republicans suggested that Democrats were angry because they simply had not been able to generate widespread support for their proposal among lawmakers or the general public.

“The question is not, doing nothing versus doing something,” Senator McConnell of Kentucky said. “The question is the appropriateness of an almost $1 trillion spending bill to address the problem.”


Wow. McCain really takes the cake with that comment. Idiot.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Gorbadoc » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:26 pm

reddwhite wrote:the point being who are any of us to try to tell anyone else that they have to live a certain way because we said it is right or wrong?

Members of the same society.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Kaz » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:34 pm

McCain is toeing the party line like all other republicans. They think that by being more republican, they can fix what they destroyed and become electable again.

The very idea that tax cuts would stimulate the economy is hilarious. What do people do with extra money during during hard uncertain times, spend or save?
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Gorbadoc » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:05 pm

It's also an insult to American industriousness. There are people glad to work for their money, and there are plenty of tasks that need doing.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Dr.Willy » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:41 pm

Kaz wrote:The very idea that tax cuts would stimulate the economy is hilarious. What do people do with extra money during during hard uncertain times, spend or save?

The combination of "hard times" and "extra money" sounds a bit strange to me.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby Half + Seven » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:29 pm

reddwhite wrote: the point being who are any of us to try to tell anyone else that they have to live a certain way because we said it is right or wrong?

That's just silly. We do it all the time. They're called laws.
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Re: Why the Republican party is dying

Postby reddwhite » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:01 pm

i wasnt talking about legal situations like stealing killing raping etc. i was talking about social issues.

morality cant be legislated. since alot of people have alot of differnt ideas about what is and isnt morally right or wrong. ( once again besides legal matters like killing stealing raping etc.) if the intent of the constitution was to legislate morality they would have had a morality defining amendment saying this is moral this isnt.
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