Christine O’Donnell wins the Delaware primary, signals end of mankind

My plan was to write something about unhinged teabagger Christine O’Donnell’s big win in Delaware last night, and I’d started working on it, but then I happened across this great summary at Think Progress, and thought that I’d just steal it and save myself the trouble.

In the final round of primaries last night, the Tea Party movement enjoyed stunning wins over the GOP establishment in contests for House and Senate seats from Delaware, the governor’s mansion in New York, and possibly a Senate seat from New Hampshire, capping off a tumultuous summer of intra-party clashes. Ultra-conservative insurgent Christine O’Donnell won a surprise victory in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware, defeating Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), a well-respected moderate with the firm backing of the Republican establishment. Yesterday’s primaries were the latest battles in the year-long GOP civil war, but it was also perhaps the most heated, with both sides taking nasty swings at each other. Most observers agree that O’Donnell has no chance of beating Democratic nominee Chris Coons in November, so for Republicans, an O’Donnell win means failing to gain a Senate seat, and thus likely losing any chance of taking control of the upper house. O’Donnell was not seen as viable in the primary until the last weeks of the campaign, and so the GOP establishment — along with some more mainstream Tea Party groups wary of O’Donnell’s delusions — lined up squarely behind Castle, who had served nearly 20 years in the House and two terms as governor. However, after polling showed O’Donnell posed a real threat to Castle, the state GOP opened fire on her with everything they could muster, questioning her competence, honesty, and even sanity. For their part, O’Donnell supporters used the attacks to bolster her anti-establishment credibility, and fired back with their own ugly attacks on Castle’s sexuality and masculinity, while some even physically threatened the head of the Delaware Republican Party.

RAGE FROM THE MACHINE: The Delaware GOP — which refused to list O’Donnell on their website of candidates — pulled no punches, calling O’Donnell “reckless,” “hypocritical,” and “dishonest.” State GOP Chairman Tom Ross blasted O’Donnell as a “troubled perennial candidate” who is “not electable in Delaware or anywhere else for that matter,” even for the position of “dog catcher.” He also accused her campaign of running on “half-truths and outright lies.” Later, Ross implied O’Donnell was “delusional,” and on Monday, Ross called her “kooky,” and said most voters are “laughing” about her candidacy. That’s a “good thing,” Ross added. The state party even recorded a “robocall” with O’Donnell’s disillusioned former campaign manager accusing the candidate of “living on campaign donations — using them for rent and personal expenses, while leaving her workers unpaid and piling up thousands in debt.” National Republicans have been equally skeptical of O’Donnell, though perhaps more discrete. Republican officials in Washington “have said privately they intend to write off the seat if O’Donnell is victorious against Castle,” and not waste any money or resources there for the general election. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the man tasked with electing Republicans to the Senate, told CNN before the election that O’Donnell’s electability was a “serious issue,” and that he wasn’t sure if he would support her if she won. Meanwhile, establishment conservative pundits also generally sided with the GOP, with the Washington Examiner’s Mark Hemingway writing, “William F. Buckley, the godfather of the modern conservative movement…would not vote for Christine O’Donnell.” The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes both came out against O’Donnell, with Kristol dismissing her as “no Sarah Palin.” Former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove — who generally provides sunny electoral outlooks for Republicans — told Fox News host Sean Hannity last night after the winner was called, “This is not a race we’re going to be able to win” in November. Even FreedomWorks, the mega Tea Party organizer run by former House Speaker Dick Armey, refused to back O’Donnell. Ironically, O’Donnell condemned “Republican cannibalism” this morning on Good Morning America, saying she doesn’t need the GOP establishment to win in November.

CIVIL WAR: The intra-party battle over O’Donnell reflects a much larger civil war within the conservative movement about the future of the Republican party. The GOP establishment had tried to fend of Senate Tea Party challenges from Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Mike Lee in Utah, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Ken Buck in Colorado, Joe Miller in Alaska, and Marco Rubio in Florida, among others. While RNC Chairman Michael Steele earlier this year promised that the “Republican Party will not to meddle in local races — especially GOP primaries featuring candidates backed by Tea Party activists,” political action committees controlled by current GOP members of Congress had spent at least $2,162,790 through June on establishment-picked candidates in primaries against Tea Party candidates. For its part, the group Tea Party Express spent $300,000 in support of O’Donnell, reflecting an explosive proliferation of outside conservative groups that have spent huge sums of money backing Tea Party candidates across the country. Meanwhile, The Progress Report identified 17 GOP primary contests that pitted establishment and Tea Party candidates in which the losing candidate has refused to endorse the winner. Indeed, Castle said he would not endorse O’Donnell and showed a “lack of traditional campaign courtesy by choosing not to congratulate O’Donnell by name” during his concession speech last night, prompting at least one pundit to speculate that Castle may chose to back Democrat Coons over the GOP nominee. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who lost her primary after Tea Party Express came in and spent heavily against her, called Castle to warn him to “be careful” about the group, because they are “certainly not above misrepresentation.” Last night, she had even harsher words, calling the Tea Party Express “an outside extremist group” that “hijacked” the Alaska GOP. On the other hand, Castle seemed more in awe of the group’s prowess, telling the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, “The Tea Party Express, which claims it’s not a political party, is in reality a pretty good political operation. This is a more sophisticated political operation than they’ve been given credit for.”

Not everyone in the Republican party has turned their back on O’Donnell. Sarah Palin endorsed her, and, from what I understand, Michele Bachman called her this morning to congratulate her on the win. And, of course, she had the financial backing of the men behind the Tea Party Express, and I think that’s the big story here. They essentially bought the election, spending over $300,000 in support of O’Donnell, and helped spread her anti-establishment message… Oh, and the establishment that was so dead set against her, is coming around. Word is that the National Republican Senatorial Committee just sent $42,000, with the promise of more.

Bill Clinton, speaking at a fundraiser last night, commented on O’Donnell’s win, saying the following:

…Clinton lamented that “a distinguished former governor of Delaware was beaten tonight by the so-called tea party candidate” because enough primary voters had accepted a “new narrative” promoted by the extreme right. “They’re saying that Barack Obama represents the spearhead of this vast socialist conspiracy to have government swallow up the fabric of American life and he’s going to crush our individualism, and our freedom, and the vitality of small busines … They tell us that they they represent America the way it used to be, self-reliant, virtuous individuals and small businesses. And the truth is, what they want to do is dismantle government so corporations, big corporations will control our destiny.”

I don’t quote Clinton as a practice, but I think he’s exactly right when he says that the Tea Party is a corporate front looking to deregulate America.

As for O’Donnell, she’s apparently been in the public eye for a quite while, having unsuccessfully run against Joe Biden in his last bid for Senate, and, before that, having served as President of a Christian group called Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT). It was in that role that she first came to the attention of the nation, for her impassioned condemnation of masturbation. But that’s just the start. She’s also against the teaching of evolution, stem cell research and any number of other things undertaken by the sane. Oh, and she lies – most notably about her success at the polls against Biden. She’s also claimed for years to have been a college graduate, when, in fact, she just graduated a week ago. And then there’s the fact that she defaulted on a mortgage and owes $11,744 in back taxes. She apparently lives in a house now, which is paid for by campaign contributions. This is something which is typically a big no-no, but she says it’s necessary for her safety.

In addition to being attractive, in a Sarah Palin kind of way, O’Donnell is also a fountain of knowledge. Check out this video.

Hopefully they’re right and she’ll be crushed in the general election. Regardless, though, I think it’s clear that we’re entering dangerous waters. I’d like to be happy that her win in Delaware means a likely Democratic victory come November, and one less seat that the Republicans will pick up, but I can’t manage it. The fact that the Tea Party has grown too powerful for the Republicans to control concerns me. The fact that these people don’t think that Bush was conservative enough concerns me. The fact that they’re bankrolled in large part by wealthy industrialists concerns me. We may win this battle in Delaware, but I don’t like the thought of what might be ahead. I believe the Republicans have created a monster that they can’t control, and I believe that it’s going to do significant damage to the nation.

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  1. Posted September 15, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Did you see the article I linked to on FB? They are calling on Dan Savage to call a Masturbate to O’Connell day (with a suitable male person being substituted for us girls)

    PS: Note the one guy’s last name is Hitchcock. That made me giggle.

  2. Knox
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Damn, I wish I’d read your comment five minutes ago, Patti. I’m afraid I already celebrated the holiday.

  3. Peter Larson
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, this is the future of American politics. This is what Americans want.

  4. Edward
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Rush and others are PISSED at Rove for saying that O’Donnell is unelectable.

    Add Rush Limbaugh to the list of prominent conservatives tearing into Karl Rove’s hide today. As Rove continued his tour slamming freshly minted Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell over the considerable number of skeletons in her closet, Rush was almost literally beside himself with frustration at the idea that anyone — much less The Architect — would dare violate the 11th Commandment so brazenly.

    O’Donnell’s nomination has created deep divisions between the Republican Party and right-wing activists. Last night, Rove bashed O’Donnell — and her chances of being elected — and insisted that she’s said a lot of “nutty things.” He was attacked by some right-wingers for those comments. O’Donnell whacked him back in a televised interview this morning. And then Rove responded to O’Donnell and his right-wing critics, daring them to ‘prove me wrong’. Then Palin slammed Rove. Now it’s Limbaugh’s turn.

    “If 51 seats was really the objective — if getting the majority is really that important, then let’s go balls to the wall for Christine O’Donnell!” Limbaugh screamed on his radio show today after playing a clip of Rove’s already infamous anti-O’Donnell interview on Hannity last night.

  5. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Serves you right for being dicks.

  6. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I think ol’ Rush is afraid of losing listeners, and he knows which way the wind is blowing.

  7. Alice
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Who exactly are these dicks to whom you refer?

  8. Meta
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    The far right message boards are all over it, declaring that they’ve taken over the Republican party from the RINOs (Republican In Name Only).

  9. Jules
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Can I do it without the so-called suitable male substitution, Patti? I think O’Connell is kinda hot.

  10. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Alice, that was in response to Peter’s comment, before Edward’s showed up, but it also applies to Karl Rove.

  11. rose
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I’m happy about Delaware likely going to the Dems. Bring on more unethical, embezzling, self starved(or not) nut cases…I say go for it..The Republicans are imploding…and that’s what you get when you use people.
    People are just unhappy, and looking around to see who else is out there. Trying to elect people who would deregulate big business is big business’ business, if you will.
    Electing her would likely lead to her getting in enormous trouble for herself. She doesn’t seem to good ethics or self discipline.

  12. Tommy
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Tea Partiers don’t like establishment Republicans, Progressives don’t like establishment Democrats. Kind of wish we had a system that could elect a number parties instead of two, where coalitions had to be built. Campaign finance reform – real reform – would be one step to help this.

    Oh – as far as the Limbaugh ‘going balls to the wall’ comment – the only place Rush’s balls have been lately are in some Dominican boys ass.

    He does know how to maintain listeners, however!

  13. Sy
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ve got a huge problem. I haven’t been able to stop ejaculating since I fist saw here photograph. And that was like six hours ago. I’m completely spent. I’m just a withered husk of my former self. In another hour I’ll likely be dead.

  14. Robert
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    The Bush Administration wasn’t conservative. They were purely mercenary.

  15. Oliva
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I keep wondering about all the four-year-olds and thereabouts who’ve been committing sins unwittingly.
    Once upon a time my friend’s young son was lying in bed rubbing himself and said, “Mom, this feels REALLY good.”
    She saw what he was doing and said, “Honey, that’s something you should only do in private.”
    “Okay, Mom,” he said. Then he said, “Mom–”
    “What, honey?”
    “I think I’m gonna do this a lot!”

    (P.S. Thanks TeacherPatti, for moral support way back when and more recently. Thanks Robert, for clarifying on our behalf the other day.)

  16. TeacherPatti
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I should mention that a few years ago, I had a student who celebrated that holiday several times in my class! Who knew he was so ahead of his time….?

    (Oliva, my pleasure :))

  17. Fred
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    “It feels good when I rub my boehner.”

  18. Kim
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    If you think it’s crazy now, wait for the presidential primaries. The tea party is moving everyone so far to the right that Palin and Gingrich will be fighting it out to see who can be the most extreme. I’m envisioning her in a Nazi uniform, and him suffocating the babies of the poor.

  19. Christine O’Donnell
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Sy just gave me a great idea for a fundraiser. Oh, damn, I forgot. I gave all that up when I turned over a new leaf in college.

  20. R27
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    That video is downright chilling. I thought the people of Delaware were better than that.

  21. Meta
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Rove, like many in the Republican establishment, is recanting. He now likes O’Donnell.

    ROVE SEES THE ERROR OF HIS WAYS…. On Tuesday night, Karl Rove appeared on Fox News and said what he believed about Delaware’s U.S. Senate race. In light of Christine O’Donnell’s primary win, Rove called some of the nominee’s remarks “nutty” and said “this is not a race we’re going to be able to win.” (In Fox News context, “we” means “Republicans.”)

    He went on to describe the extremist candidate in less-than-flattering terms: “It does conservatives little good to support candidates who, at the end of the day, while they may be conservative in their public statements, do not evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for.”

    Right-wing personalities — Palin, Limbaugh, Malkin, Erickson, Pat Buchanan — were deeply unhappy with Rove’s criticism of a Republican. Would he apologize?

    Well, not explicitly, but this morning’s walk-back on Fox News was rather humiliating. Shortly after explaining that it’s not his job “to be a cheerleader for every Republican,” Rove quickly reversed course.

    “Look, I endorsed [O’Donnell] the other night…. I was one of the first to do it,” Rove argued.

    Remind us, Karl, did the endorsement come before or after you questioned her “rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character”?

    Rove went on to insist this morning that he personally intervened to help O’Donnell’s campaign, not only with an endorsement, but with financial support from the party.

    The Fox News screen only showed Rove from the chest up, but if the camera panned down, we might have seen his tail between his legs.

    I suppose this should serve as a reminder to Republicans everywhere — no matter how powerful you are, there’s an unshakable expectation that GOP voices will support GOP candidates, without exception, and without regard for merit or national interest.

  22. Peter Larson
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    If liberals would just shut up, then people like this wouldn’t get voted in. Basically, in BA’s world everything that idiot right wing Americans do is because of liberals and not because they are just idiot right wingers.

  23. Kevin Stevens
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    O’Donnell apparently energized the base. She took in $1 million yesterday alone.

    I can’t imagine that we’d lose this one, but what if we did? What if these Palin clones begin getting into office?

  24. Oliva
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    My sister was at a Taco Bell in Delaware a few years ago and overheard two young people (whom she felt were on their first or second date–just had that feeling by the way they were acting) talking excitedly about the 2008 election. Clinton was still in the race, as was Biden, and one of the two on this supposed date, the young man, was just sure it was going to be Clinton-Biden for the Dems, sure they’d win too. He said, “Then, instead of saying ‘Dela-where?’ people will say, ‘Dela-ware!‘”

    I’ve wondered over the months if they were happy about Obama-Biden and do hope they’re still Dem voters and have retained their enthusiasm (and how did the dating go?!). I’m sorry for them that they had to get their emphatic “Dela-ware!” by way of O’D.

  25. dragon
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    You can take my musket when you pry it from my warm sensuous hands.

  26. Peter Larson
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I say, as an experiment, let’s just let people like Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Michelle Bachmann, and Rand Paul have the US. Perhaps it’s not fair to lump those four together, but I think it’s pretty obvious what I intend. Just let them have at it for a few years.

    I’d really like to see how it turns out.

  27. Andy C
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Obviously we didn’t sink low enough during the Bush years.

  28. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    …and in Peter’s world, thinking that everyone who’s not like you is an idiot, and disrespecting the average American voter’s deeply held views, has no electoral consequences.

  29. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    If you were smart, you would give lip service to the average American voter’s deeply held views, then disregard them when in office, like the neocons do.

  30. Posted September 16, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I know Pete and it’s not that he thinks that everyone not like him is an idiot. Much like me, though, he thinks that everyone who is an idiot is an idiot. And, I don’t care how closely held the views of average Americans are – if they’re stupid, they should be pointed out as such. This idea that you’ve got that all ideas have equal merit is part of the problem, BA. Some ideas deserve to be laughed at and ridiculed, like those of Rand Paul, who would allow businesses to stop serving black customers.

  31. Posted September 16, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    And will someone please tell me when to start masturbating?

  32. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Well, an increasing number of Americans disagree with you, and are more motivated to oppose you than ever by your calling them idiots, so I guess you’re screwed.

  33. Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” – Isaac Asimov

  34. EOS
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    This is the future of American politics. This is what Americans want. This is the rational clear thinking that will restore our nation to its former greatness. So you all might as well stay home masturbating.

  35. Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Rational clear thinking, is it?

    Check out this quote from O’Donnell:

    They are — they are doing that here in the United States. American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains

  36. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m not really concerned if a lunatic ever realizes he’s crazy, just so long as he’s not running the asylum. Enjoy being screwed.

  37. EOS
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    It’s a simplified explanation of current transgenic research, and yes, not technically accurate, but pertinent to the discussion where you took this quote out of context. The genes for human neurons are cloned into mouse embryonic stem cells and when the mice mature they have functioning human neurons in their brains.

  38. Peter Larson
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    “…and in Peter’s world, thinking that everyone who’s not like you is an idiot,”

    That would be you, BA, not me.

    I just think that idiots are idiots. There are certainly working and non-working Americans who have rational views, some I may not agree with. Unfortunately, politicians who reflect reasonable views don’t get press and aren’t going to do very well in the coming elections. It’s unclear to me what someone like Christine O’Donnell or Rand Paul will do for anyone besides tell children to stop masturbating. And before you blow your nut, I am well aware there are plenty of idiots on the left.

  39. Peter Larson
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    “This is the rational clear thinking that will restore our nation to its former greatness.”

    I guess I fail to see how someone who owes $12,000 in back taxes, can’t pay a tuition bill for 20 years, uses campaign funds to pay her rent and starts useless and time-wasteful committees instructing people on private sexual behaviors will restore the nation to it’s supposed former greatness, whatever that is (My guess is that you’ve never been out of Washtenaw County, let alone outside of the US).

    I don’t really see how someone like this could even remotely be considered responsible enough to serve in a public capacity but I guess this is what rightists want. I say, let’s give it to them and see what happens.

    Maybe you can help me out here. Enlighten me.

  40. Edward
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    If I’m understanding BA correctly, the problem isn’t that Newt, Bachman, Palin, Limbaugh, Beck and company have insane ideas. The problem is that we don’t pat them on the back and thank them for their contributions. If we did that, according to BA, they’d go away. Do I have that pretty much right? But, being liberal elitists, we point out that burning Kurans and stoning people to death for masturbating is bad, and we hurt their feelings, and that’s how WE create the problem. How could we have been so blind?

    By the same logic, I suppose we should have cheered with the World Trade Center was attacked.

  41. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Something tells me those issues wouldn’t be much of an obstacle to her being a viable Democrat candidate, plank-eye.

    All I care about Republican candidates is whether or not they’ll reliably stick to the Constitution or not — I’m not voting for messiah, I’ve already got one. I’m not voting for church elder, either. I’m voting for someone who will stick to the rules and keep the Federal government in its little box where it belongs. She can believe that Cthulhu sunk the Titanic for all I care, as long as she sticks to the Constitution.

    Now, if she doesn’t walk the walk, and votes for things not authorized by the Constitution, then we have a problem.

    But that brings me back to the issue at hand — people didn’t vote for her because of her stance on mutant human mouse brains, or because they thought she’d make masturbation a flogging offense, they voted for her because they want the Government to be smaller, and to get back to the bounds of the Constitution.

    THAT’S where you’re screwed. The American people do NOT want big government anymore, and they’d rather elect a nutty person to shrink it than a “sane” person to grow it.

    Although I think your definition of “sanity” is whether they agree with you politically or not, Mr. OCD.

  42. Billy LaLonde
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I guess my problem is that I wouldn’t vote for an idiot, because I wouldn’t trust their interpretation of the Constitution. I mean, come on…masturbation?…really? What is this, the 1800’s? Also…when you spout off about something, in a public forum, without having the basic knowledge of the subject…such as the mousebrains fiasco…well that makes you an idiot. Trust me, it takes one to know one. And if Mr. Larson is correct on the back taxes thing…Well, I think that should disqualify anyone right there. If you can’t bother to pay your taxes, then you are cheating your fellow citizens out of the fair share of your responsibilty to this society. Everyone pays taxes, rich or poor. I’ve had to pay a tax bill to the government a few times…I didn’t like it…but I paid it. She should be ashamed to run for office, and manage our tax dollars, when she can’t even contribute her own.
    The word you are looking for is PATRIOT, but this woman is cleary an IDIOT.

  43. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

  44. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Billy, want me to make a list of Democrats who didn’t pay some taxes?

  45. dragon
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Yeah BA, republicans want “Government to be smaller, and to get back to the bounds of the Constitution. ” LOL
    Of course you can’t give any proof that republicans govern like that but spouting off simple jingoistic bullshit is part and parcel of “limited government” that starts wars, builds fences, spies on its citizens, shuts down abortion providers, rewrites textbooks, and interferes with end-of-life care. Limited government that believes in private property rights unless that private property includes a mosque., right?
    Maybe you couldn’t hang on tight enough during your little turnip truck ride, but some of us could.

  46. Peter Larson
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure what plank-eye means, but I hope you’re not trying to imply that I would ever give idiot Democrats a free pass because they are Democrats or leftists.

    Think, Ralph Nader? It made me puke that people wanted to vote for that clown. As a cultural critic, he may be interesting, but he would have made a terrible politician.

    I would say that you are very wrong. While there are a number of people, like yourself, who wish to support candidates which take your own narrow (and negative) interpretation of the Constitution, you are forgetting the multitudes of people who will certainly vote for a moron like O’Donnell specifically because of her inability to interpret science, her ill-informed stance on issues such as abortion and her inability, like Palin, to string a coherent sentence together. In short, they will vote for her, because she’s like them.

    There are many informed and educated voters, but there are a great many that have never read the Constitution and are mostly unaware of what’s in it. I assume you’ve read it at one time or another.

  47. Peter Larson
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Oh here, you might want to read about American’s incredible understanding of the Constitution:

  48. Bob
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    What in gods name has Ralph Nader ever done to be labeled a clown? Seriously, what a dumb thing to say. We could use a whole lot more people with the integrity of Nader in this country.

  49. Peter Larson
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I think she’s actually vying to get a seat on the Supreme Court:

    “When I go to Washington, D.C., the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it’s constitutional,” she said.

    “when I go to Washington D.C., it will be the Constitution on which I base all of my decisions, not my personal beliefs.”

    What a fucking idiot. Like the Bible, a document like the Constitution is up to interpretation and debate despite some who may claim it is an easy to read, explicit work. Of course she will insert her personal beliefs into decisions of legislation, that’s what interpretation is. What, does she think that just anybody can serve on the Court? I doubt that she’s ever taken the time to actually read the document.

    I’m sure this reads great to some moron who never got past high school civics, but practically it’s brainless. Seriously, BA, you aren’t a moron, this is the type of politician you want? You are fine to have rightist views, and certainly there are many reasonable and constructive arguments to be made by the right, but seriously, this is what you guys are after?

  50. Peter Larson
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Bob, how about Nader’s impeachment bid in 2008! I hated Bush, too, but starting an impeachment case at the END of his term as President would have been a disaster and a waste of government and taxpayer resources. It may have made for great political theater, but would have been pointless and doesn’t even begin to recognize Nader’s accountability in giving Bush the Presidency on a platter in 2000.

    Let’s not even talk of bozos who voted for him.

    Sure, it’s up for debate as to his role in letting Bush win (was it Nader? The Supreme Court? Republican sabotage or did people in Florida just like Bush better?) but I fault him for his brainless presence in a close election at all. It’s my opinion that he is in part responsible for the Bush years.

    As a cultural figure and critic, he is great, but he should have stayed out of politics.

  51. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I think a lot is being lost to misinterpretation and putting words in my mouth. So let me boil my position down for you to save everybody some time:

    There is an increase in small government sentiment in this country among the average voters, and there is nothing you can do about it, ha ha ha.

  52. Peter Larson
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I think you just ran away from the argument to go and get around to reading the Constitution.

    What the fuck is “small government”? It’s a nice catch phrase that no one seems to be able to define, kind of like defining the optimal distance of a mosque from the former site of the World Trade Center.

  53. dragon
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    It’s really very simple: if reality agrees with you, point it out. If reality trends away from you, spin. If reality is directly opposite to you, flat out deny reality and assert that your position is reality.

  54. ypsijav
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I think that small government is a great idea. Let’s start with eliminating the purchase of weapons that will never be used, shut down the worldwide economic colonialism, close down the war machine, decriminalize and stop the war on drugs, stop giving these idiots taxpayer money to run their hateful anti-critical-thinking campaigns. At that point, I’d be open to whatever government shrinking ideas these constitutionalists are proposing.

    It’s fascinating how the literal interpretation school carries directly between Biblical and Constitutional fanaticism as though these things have concrete absolute meanings that over-ride human standards of decency and independent thought. This one issue is at the heart of Islamic and Christian fundamentalism, Supreme Court incompetence and the failure of the American education system.

    Nader didn’t give the 2000 election to Bush. The governor of Florida pushed it through for his bro. I voted for Nader (though MI was locked for Gore anyway). Gore should have been a good president, but he should have run on his values and some sort of plan instead of picking Lieberman and making himself as boring as possible.

  55. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I don’t have time to answer all your questions, I keep having to run into the kitchen to make sure my tea-kettle isn’t boiling over, what with all the spitting and sputtering going on.

  56. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    …might I add, I love how much you guys and Karl Rove have in common!

  57. Robert
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Mark, the masturbation begins…


    It seems pretty clear that we’re all getting dumber. I think the culture we’ve created is making us all increasingly crazy. Everyone sees each other’s craziness, but can’t see their own. We will eventually reach a point where things are simply unmanageable. It is not likely that anyone will see the big picture then. I’m expecting everyone will just be looking for scapegoats. As long as there are hot women in the mix, I am going to try to take solace in that. That’s why this O’Donnell thing is a mixed blessing in my mind.

    I’ll bet her sanity took a dramatic downturn once she stopped masturbating. Are there no decent dudes out there anymore who know how to bring peace to the feminine soul? What happened to all the great lovers? All my female friends are telling me what complete pricks you are being. You fucking misogynist freaks go kill yourselves. You real men get to woyk!

  58. Meta
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    From Eugene Robinson in today’s Washington Post:

    …….While Republican pooh-bahs in Washington and Wilmington argue over whether to pour any real money into the race — or just give it up as lost — O’Donnell will be showered with campaign cash from Tea Party groups and supporters across the country. If Democrats mount an energetic campaign, and generate some enthusiasm among the party faithful, they can beat her. If they don’t, she might prevail.

    The same is true in other contests that the Democrats ought to be able to win. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in trouble with his constituents in Nevada, got lucky when the Republicans nominated Sharron Angle — a Tea Partyer — to run against him. He quickly vaulted ahead in the polls as Angle’s extreme positions became known and her bizarre remarks were disseminated. But the most recent polls show her numbers climbing back up, and Reid is in the fight of his life.

    When Tea Party support swept Rand Paul to the Republican nomination for Senate in Kentucky, Democrats thought they might even be able to steal a GOP seat. Now, though, it looks as if Paul is likely to win. Similarly, in Alaska, Tea Party favorite Joe Miller is the front-runner — unless the GOP senator he ousted in the primary, Lisa Murkowski, decides to run in the general election as a write-in.

    Tuesday was the best day Democrats have had in a long time — but only in relative terms. Republicans invited the Tea Party into the GOP tent and now have to worry about being devoured. But at least the party is full of passion, energy and resolve — which can’t be said of the Democrats, at least not with a straight face.

    If the Democrats can’t generate some real enthusiasm among the base, and fast, the word “unelectable” may cease to have meaning. Counting on the Republicans to self-immolate may be the Democrats’ hope, but it’s not a plan.

  59. Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I find it funny that those people who seem so eager to have “smaller government” seem to also want to increase spending on “defense.”

  60. Oliva
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Sullivan again, if I may:

    Reagan . . . .never forced the real cuts in spending that should have accompanied tax cuts and forced Americans to choose between the visions of left and right. Bush II was even more irresponsible, simply borrowing to bribe voters and pay for wars, while slashing taxes. A Palin-Beck party? God help us. Or maybe they might bring this phony long argument to a conclusion.

  61. James Madison
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    There are such simple minded ideas being floated about the constitution and those of us who wrote it in 1787. First, let me assure you that our main purpose in writing it was to create a STRONGER government than existed in the new nation under the Articles of Confederation; we particularly wanted a government that would be have the power to curb rebellions that threatened property, like that of Mr Shayes in Mass., and we also wanted the new federal government to have fiscal domination over the states. And of course, we wanted a republican form of government, but we argued much among ourselves as to what that meant; and Interest did shape our positions.

    Nobody at the Convention favored unlimited powers for any government – that’s what checks and balances was all about.

  62. Stretch Armstrong
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Do we start masturbating on statues and busts of James Madison now or after the election?
    I am confused.

  63. Bob
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Peter, the argument that Nader cost Gore the election is tired and lame. I don’t hear anyone who still believes it… aside from you obviously. The supreme court installed Bush, against the will of the country and contrary to the “states rights” Republicans are always moaning about. Again, I don’t hear anyone credible who frames what happened in any other way. As for calling everyone who voted for Nader a bozo? Jesus, how do you respond to such a dumb statement? The guy is brilliant and was a legitimate candidate who ran a pretty successful campaign. He came very close to breaking the Republicrat hold on our government with a legitimate platform of ideas. It’s bad enough that he was marginalized and maligned by the media and the Democrats. I refuse to believe that anyone who voted for his ideas, for his honesty, is a bozo. I reject your notion that calling for impeachment of the Bushies would have ever been a waste of the taxpayers money. Millions of people would have supported it then and would support Obama’s administration now if they pursued it. I kept rereading your posts and I am at a loss to understand where you are coming from on any of this. You seem confused.

  64. Mark H.
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Say what you might about Ralph Nader’s presidential campaigns, this much is clear, but too seldom noted: his crusades for consumer rights, safer cars, safer products of all types, have saved the lives of countless Americans. He was demonized for that kind of advocacy in the 60s and 70s, and even spied upon by some big companies, who felt (rightly!) that he was a leader of a movement that could potentially change the nature of American capitalism. Some of these consumer rights struggles were won, others lost, and many still on-going, but one clear result of the “Naderite” reforms is this: It helped make American products safer and more reliable, and thus helped make American industry more viable. Designing safety in from the start was once deemed radical and dangerous; now it’s seen as common sense good business practice. He believes in using government for the good of the people….he’s a lawyer who takes the preamble to the Const. seriously, “We the people in order to form a more perfect Union.” Nader, like the Framers of that constitution 223 years ago, believes that government should have all the powers necessary to perform its vital function of benefiting the people. In a democracy, there is no means other than government by which the people can decide and act together. Too bad too few Americans understand this now.

  65. kjc
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Bob, I agree with you (and Mark H.) about Nader.

    James Madison, nice upset at Virginia Tech last week.

  66. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Brackinald Achery: “All I care about Republican candidates is whether or not they’ll reliably stick to the Constitution or not . . .”

    Let’s be clear here: you want somebody who will stick to your interpretation of the Constitution.

  67. Edward
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Bill Maher is going through the archives and sharing clips of O’Donnell, who was a regular guest on Politically Incorrect. Check out this quote.

    O’DONNELL: I dabbled into witchcraft — I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. … I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do. […]

    One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic alter, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that. … We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic alter.

    You couldn’t make this shit up in a million years.

  68. Peter Larson
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Bob and Mark H. are correct, Nader is certainly an important firgure both as a cultural critic and consumer advocate. I do not deny this at all and admit that calling him a clown was a bit extreme. I blame cyberspace.

    However, I do believe that the left is in extreme denial as to their role in putting Bush in the White House in 2000 and 2004. Sure, it can be shown that Nader’s presence on the ballot in Florida may not have been the nail in the coffin of American politics, but it’s my opinion that it didn’t help. Yes, it was the Supreme Court that handed Bush the front door keys to the White House in the end, but there was a lot that led up to it, not the least of which was Nader. My point is: It didn’t help and Nader should have seen it coming.

    I was involved (as a band) in a Nader benefit in Providence, RI in 2000 and can say that his supporters there were absolute clowns who had no inkling of the importance of the 2000 election and it’s potential impact on the US and the world (as we have since seen). Since that group is all I have to go on, that’s my impression of Nader supporters. Sorry.

    While Nader himself may not be to blame, his supporters and the left should certainly share in it. That and with Kerry’s miserable 2004 campaign, you have to ask, what the hell are these people thinking? The left too often denies it’s role in exacerbating the stupidity on the right, as BA rightly points out.

  69. Bob
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    First of all, you called Nader himself a clown. Campaign events are circuses in general. They will be full of clowns, regardless of the quality of the candidate in question. Gore and Kerry were both corporate lapdogs and career politicians. They ran lousy, out-of-touch campaigns and displayed little backbone when faced with the Rove hate machine. They also both happen to be fairly unlikeable personalities with elitist tendencies and a general inability to connect with the average American. Gore in particular was too stupid to embrace an outgoing president who, despite being impeached and deeply flawed, was still incredibly popular and could have cakewalked Al jr. in to the White House had he been given the chance. Having said all of that, it’s worth pointing out that Gore FUCKING WON! This is not a muddy point of debate in the year 2010. Ralph Naders negligible two percent didn’t lose Gore the election that we now know he won. If the murkier mess of voting machine compromises in Ohio ever gets sorted out, we may well confirm that Kerry also beat Bush. Again, Nader and the so-called clowns who voted for him didn’t cost the Dems the presidency.
    It’s hardly an original thought but I’m so sick of having to vote for the lesser of two evils. I would vote for Nader again, or Howard Dean, or anyone else I felt was a legitimate anti-corporate candidate. The madness has got to stop. We need to blow up the campaign finance system and the two party lock on our government. I don’t see a great deal of difference between Bush or Clinton or W. or sadly, even Obama.

  70. Peter Larson
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    I called Nader a clown. He’s not a clown. I admitted as much.

    Kerry and Gore both ran shitty campaigns supported by a fractured and spineless Democratic party. Democrats are to blame.

    So what, Gore won. We know that. If Nader hadn’t been there, he might have won with even more votes. Would it have been enough to change the outcome? Possibly.

    We have a third party now. The Tea Party. It’s going to rule the world. I can’t wait. I figure I’m 41, I only have about 10 more years on this earth, anyway.

    You see, there isn’t just one villian here.

  71. Jim Schortz
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    What about the Satanic Demon Hell Dogs and Murderous Thug Serial Killer Zombie Wolfsbane party?
    That makes four parties in American politics. It’s getting interesting.
    But wait, I thought Democrats were happy that O’Donnel won the primary because she would be an easy target. What I hear from Democrats sounds a lot more like fear.

  72. Peter Larson
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Wow, Gingerich is a bigot. I’m having flashback ot the 90’s. The worst part, is that people will vote for him:

  73. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Fear that masturbation will be made illegal?

  74. kjc
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    There is one villain here—it’s our fucked up system.

    Bob, I’ll buy you a beer.

  75. Oliva
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I’m with Peter re. Nader. I remember some infuriating conversations back when with Nader supporters (and do sympathize with what they were hoping for, with their basic respect for the man’s good work as a consumer protection advocate–but his unwillingness to acknowledge differences among people on the woman-man, black-white fronts was always troubling). The one thing they’d acknowledge was at risk, seeing as “there’s no difference between Bush and Gore,” aye yi yi, was Supreme Court appointments, and they could brush that concern away. Turned out to be nothing to brush away and only one morsel of the horrendous turn the country took under Bush-Cheney. But I also acknowledge that things weren’t as clear then as they are in retrospect and that idealism has a place–maybe just not in general elections in the U.S.A. when just about everything is at stake (at least in states that are up for grabs, as Michigan wasn’t).

  76. Kim
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    She’s a WITCH!

  77. Mark H.
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Nader’s race may have cost Gore the electoral votes of Florida, and probably did cost him (if I recall correctly) New Mexico; but Gore ran such a terrible campaign there are a lot of things that equally explain why Gore lost. He had no backbone, no will to fight, and he got clobbered by a very smart, dishonest campaign! Gore didn’t even win his home state. So to put all the blame on Ralph Nader for Gore losing that election is lopsided. Let’s give Ralph credit: he ran a campaign that stated plainly what he believed in and what his priorities were. Gore did nothing of the sort, and so he was easily gored by Karl Rove. Democrats, in my view, only deserve to win when they run campaigns that are actually designed to reach the most likely of Democratic voters and the most persuadable of “swing” voters. No other modern general election presidential campaign was as inept as Gore’s. I think he’s a smart man, but it was a foolishly stupid campaign, and he had numerous advantages going into the fall campaign that he unilaterally gave up.

    Those two right-wingers that Bush put on the Supreme Court? Not Nader’s fault. Gore’s political choices in 2000 allowed Bush to put them there.

  78. Robert
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I want to hear Clementine’s analysis of the 2000 election, and what went wrong, and who’s at fault.

  79. Peter Larson
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    “There’s no difference between Bush and Gore”: that was pretty much the mantra with the Rhode Island Nader supporters. That’s where I was like “You guys are total clowns.”

  80. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    The thinking was that voting for Nader would send a message to the Democratic Party to stop being centrist, corporate-sell-out bastards. I don’t think the message was received. If that message had been received, then we might be in better shape right now.

    How would things have gone differently if Gore had won in 2000? No war in Iraq? Or just not the unilateral initiative (I know, coalition . . .)? Would Gore and his posse have prevented our economic meltdown?

  81. Jim Schortz
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    “idealism has a place–maybe just not in general elections in the U.S.A.”
    Spoken like a true politician. Sigh.

    Is there one single person left on earth or even in outer space whom the Democrats have not blamed for Gore’s loss except Al Gore? When will Democrats understand?

  82. Jim Schortz
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Had a friend in the Marines who was on Air Force II or whatever while Gore was Vice. He said Gore would always salute them and say to his son, “You see, Junior, what will happen if you don’t straighten out your life? You will end up like these losers.”

  83. Robert
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Jim Schortz, either you are, and/or your Marine friend is, a fucking liar.

    You both will fit right in with us here at Mark’s blog. Make sure you reserve a couple seats on the bus to DC for the Colbert/Stewart rally on the 30th.

  84. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Dirtgrain, the Constitution is a legal document, written in English. Legal phrases that were more in common use in the late 1700’s than they are now can be looked up in Blackstone or other contemporary sources to find their exact meaning. It’s up for interpretation like a speed limit is up for interpretation.

  85. Edward
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    So, when the founding fathers said you had a right to bear arms, they meant muskets, not Uzis, right, BA?

  86. Peter Larson
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. Granted, it’s only 9 o’clock.

  87. Peter Larson
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    BA’s comment, not Edwards.

  88. Peter Larson
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

    I don’t know, I find this to be pretty vague. Jefferson didn’t seem to think that cutting a 1 inch hole into the noses of polygamists was cruel nor unusual.

  89. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    You want to get back to me after you’ve done some research and cross-referencing to figure out the original legal meaning, or shall I do it for you?

  90. Peter Larson
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I don’t know, man, it’s pretty vague, which is fine. A stop sign means that a car must stop, that’s not vague at all and easy for the courts. “Cruel and unusual punishment” and “excessive fines” imply some vague and unquantifiable standard.

    This is fine, I’m sure that the writers of the Consitution wanted to create a flexible document. If it were so easy, as you say, we wouldn’t need the Supreme Court.

    It’s pretty damn vague, dude.

    Go ahead, though, I ‘d like to see what you come up with.

  91. Edward
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    How about responding to me, BA?

  92. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Peter Larson has a challenging point that I look forward to dissecting, Edward, whereas your point is retarded, and I’ve already done it to death.

  93. Edward
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I don’t see how my point is retarded. You were making the case that the Constitution does not require interpretation. You said that it could be easily deciphered by anyone with an understanding of the nation at the time in which it was written. I merely pointed out that, when the Constitution was written, and when right to bear arms was guaranteed, assault weapons and armor-piercing bullets did not exist. As I know you love guns, I thought that it might be an example that you could wrap your brain around. Instead, though, you chose to disregard the question, which leads me to believe that you have no response.

  94. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ve done it to death. Feel free to stay retarded.

  95. Alice
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve not heard your explanation as to how the founding fathers envisioned anti-aircraft armaments and the like, Mr Achery. If you could link to where you’ve explained it before, I’d appreciate it.

    While you’re at it, I’d also be curious to know what you think of Judge Scalia’s quote today about the constitution not preventing gender discrimination. Is that his interpretation, or is that one of the things that the constitution is absolutely clear on in your opinion?

    You can read his comment here.

  96. Robert
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    As I know from experience, BA refuses to take the witness stand. He doesn’t respond well to cross examination. He hates our legal system.

  97. SE Cross
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Come on, BA. I have faith in you. Explain to them how it’s not necessary for the supreme court to interpret the constitution because our founding fathers knew about nuclear weapons and the internet when they wrote it.

  98. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    I understand that you are trying to make your own retardedness equal my being wrong, but I’m afraid it doesn’t quite work that way. No, my wrong-headed detractors — your retardedness belongs to you alone.

    Understanding the 8th Amendment. (This is coming in installments. Here’s the first one)

    One mistake many of you are making is confusing interpretation with application. You can quite easily find out, or interpret, what the Framers intended. What you are suggesting is that because applying different parts of the Constitution to modern advances (in technology, for example) can be contentious, therefore the meaning of different parts of the Constitution is open to interpretation. That doesn’t actually follow. It is a legal document, and one can research contemporary sources and historical legal precedent to understand exactly how to interpret what each part of the law means.

    Contentiousness does not necessarily mean that something is open to interpretation in-and-of itself, either. If I were to contend that the sky is purple, that wouldn’t make the color of the sky open to interpretation — it would just make me wrong.

    Back to the Constitution.

    Imagine each little clause and amendment in the Constitution is like a little speed limit sign. The entire meaning behind “Speed Limit 70” is not actually contained in the sign. It is shorthand that we all mostly understand because, as contemporaries who are affected by that law directly in our day-to-day lives, we are pretty familiar with the law. Even so, however, many of us don’t know all the finer details of the law, such as where the speed limit starts and ends, technically. If a future civilization discovered just the sign without being familiar with the law that the sign sums up, they would not know exactly what “Speed Limit 70” means. Was it for cars, or baseballs? Did it apply to police cars and ambulances, or just civilians? Did it only apply to within 20 feet of either side of the sign, and then you could go as fast as you want? “Clearly, ‘Speed Limit 70’ is open for interpretation,” they might say. We all know, however, that that is not true. It has a definite meaning, and to find it, they’d have to research our contemporary laws.

    Likewise, each part of the Constitution is a law that had a specific meaning to those familiar with the law when it was written. We can go back and study existing Anglo-American law that it was based on, and understand (or interpret) its meaning. We can see from Peter Larson’s example that “cruel and unusual” in the 8th Amendment might not have meant what we today assume it meant. If Jefferson thought that nostril cutting was neither cruel nor unusual punishment for polygamists, then what are we to think? That Jefferson was totally full of shit? That “cruel and unusual punishments” meant absolutely nothing to the framers, and that they just put it in there for shits and giggles? OR, perhaps we need to rethink our modern understanding of the late 1700’s legal terminology, “cruel and unusual punishments,” in light of jurisprudence and history. To the law and the testimony (as they say)!

    Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of Understanding the 8th Amendment, entitled “why it’s not a sin to flog the Bishop, so long as he deserves it.”

  99. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Here’s your homework assignment so everyone can be up to speed for installment II:

  100. EOS
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    The 2nd amendment gives individual citizens the right to bear arms. There is no limitation on size or number or firepower. They didn’t specify that individuals were limited to muskets while invading armies might use cannons. Our founding fathers did not have to envision all types of future weaponry to include them. Since they had just overthrown the existing government using an assortment of privately owned weapons, they recognized the need for future citizens to defend their freedoms by having the means necessary to oppose government should it become oppressive and tyrannical again. If you doubt me, read the Declaration of Independence for yourselves.

    The Constitution is a document that describes in detail how the people ultimately control this government. It lists limitations placed on the government – more at the Federal level than at the State. It doesn’t describe a mammoth bureaucracy that continually grows to encompass an empire that dictates all aspects of its citizens lives. It doesn’t describe a Federal System that takes large sums of its citizen’s earnings to pay for an endless variety of expensive programs, all of which are never able to solve the problems for which they were designed, but to which we give more and more funds each year.

    The Constitution today is often referred to as a “Living Document”. And many falsely believe that it can be reinterpreted to suit the needs of the moment or the political whim of any individual judge. But it is correctly interpreted when care is taken to discern its original intent. It can be changed by amendments when necessary and agreed upon by the majority. It is the duty of the citizens to hold their government accountable and the ballot box is a quick and sufficient means to do so.

    “Government is best which governs least”

  101. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    More background homework:

    English Bill of Rights (for dummies. Wikipedia entry)

    Whoever the hell Titus Oates is (also for dummies)

  102. kjc
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    EOS and BA both realize of course that they have staked out particular positions in regard to the constitution with which many others disagree. It isn’t about “false beliefs” on the one hand and the truth on the other. This whole business of “correct interpretation” is funny to me.

  103. Robert
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Your Honors, I call EOS to the stand.

  104. Peter Larson
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Now we have determined that the Constitution protects the ownership of a personal nuclear arsenal.

    I don’t know, BA, a speed limit is pretty specific. Vehicles on the road are not to travel at a speed greater than the posted limit. Baseballs wouldn’t count since the signs are for drivers of vehicles.

    “Excessive fines” and “Cruel and Unusual Punishment” are guidelines for the courts and are only specific in that they instructs courts to treat citizens fairly. How this is interpreted, is entirely up to the court, specifically, the Supreme Court. “Excessive fines” and “cruel and unusual punishment” are both assessed relative to the morals and standards of the time as we have seen. It’s likely intentionally vague.

    You have both proven yourselves to be experts (I am not) on the Constitution but you sure have to write a lot to make a point about such a document that you both maintain is entirely black and white.

  105. Robert
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    These wusses would crumble on the stand. There is a reason they conceal their identities. They can’t answer simple questions put to them. People like that always lurk in obscurity. It’s what they’ve learned to do from experience. It’s the only way they can avoid being exposed as full of crap and contradiction. Any time they’ve ventured out into the light of day with their idiotic ideas, somebody with some sense batters them with logic. From those experiences they learn only to hide. From their cave, or radio studio, or anonymous internet persona they can then continue to broadcast their stupid ideas and not be subject to cross examination or any other type of genuine challenge.

  106. EOS
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:38 am | Permalink


    It is interesting to note that there are rarely any arguments of substance to dispute the facts I put out there. Name calling and ridicule don’t win in the debate of ideas. Do we even know that Robert is your real name?

  107. Robert
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    If you weren’t in such a daze EOS, you’d know my name is Robert Rowe and that I have identified myself many times on this blog.

    I’m not trying to debate you, in case you can’t tell, EOS. I am simply making fun of you and pointing out the obvious regarding you. I see I hit some buttons. I’ll be more impressed with BA’s attempt to redirect and save face, I am certain.

  108. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Redirect what, fucktard? I’m answering the original fucking question and keeping from getting sidetracked with a bunch of deliberately diversionary 2nd amendment shit. Fuck you and your fat mom, Robert.

  109. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I’m finding some really interesting stuff out researching this 8th amendment thing. Man, have we been mistaught! Once Mark moderates my homework assignments above into showing up, you kids can follow along.

  110. Robert
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Sorry, EOS. Your response was actually considerably more intelligent. My expectations of BA were obviously way too high.

    My mom eats like a bird by the way. She’s going to outlive me.

  111. Robert
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    BA and EOS have Limbaugh Syndrome. They kid themselves that they are lecturing us from their cave. Meanwhile they couldn’t debate themselves out of a paper bag in the real world.

  112. Robert
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    It’s clear Peter Larson has had you two dopes on the ropes from go.

  113. Ted
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I’m confused. Is BA agreeing that we have the right to arm ourselves with nuclear warheads?

  114. Kim
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Bill O’Reilly had the best quote of the day on the Delaware race: “I’d rather have the witch than the Marxist.”

  115. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Ah, my mistake about your fat mom, then, Robert.

    Part II: Why it’s not a sin to flog the Bishop, so long as he deserves it.

    As you’re all no doubt familiar from your homework assignments, once upon a time there was a man named Titus Oates. To sum up, Titus Oates was a total dick, and a liar. He falsely accused a bunch of Catholics of trying to assassinate King Charles II, leading to 15 innocent men being executed. Oates was eventually found guilty of perjury. For perjury, he was defrocked, sentenced to life in prison, and to annual pillory. He was also flogged repeatedly.

    Well, people had a problem with his sentence. Did they have a problem with life in prison? No. Did they have a problem with pillory? No. Did they have a problem with flogging? No. All those things were acceptable punishments in and of themselves, as you can all read in the link I posted above leading to Blackstone’s commentaries. Flogging was not considered cruel, nor unusual.

    What they had a problem with was that all these things put together was not the usual punishment for perjury. It was an excessive punishment for the crime he was actually convicted of, even though his perjury led to the deaths of 15 innocent people. To safeguard against this sort of excessive punishment that went beyond those normally proscribed for the crime, a “cruel and unusual punishments” prohibition was included in the English Bill of Rights.

    The English Bill of Rights, as you all now know from your homework assignments, heavily influenced our founding fathers in their crafting of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. Many States, previous to the adoption of the Bill of Rights, adopted a prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments in their State Constitutions. “Cruel and unusual punishments” did not include hanging, nose-cutting, flogging, death, or imprisonment, as you can see from Thomas Jefferson’s Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments, which Peter alluded to previously.

    So what did “cruel and unusual punishments” mean to the founders? Well, the title of Jefferson’s bill, combined with Blackstones commentaries, combined with the case of Titus Oates leading to the English Bill of Rights, illuminates the meaning pretty clearly. Crimes and punishments were to be proportioned. There was to be a usual punishment/fine proscribed to the crime. Discretion to exceed those fines, or go beyond the usual punishment, was forbidden to the Federal Government by the 8th Amendment, as it had been to most State governments and also by the English Bill of Rights. Otherwise, judges had discretion to throw perjurers in prison for life, and to be annually pilloried.

    If a Bishop practiced witchcraft, for instance, it would neither be cruel nor unusual for him to be sentenced to 15 lashes. More would have been cruel and unusual. Execution would have been cruel and unusual. But 15 lashes was okay:

    All attempts to delude the people, or to abuse their understanding by exercise of the pretended arts of witchcraft, conjuration, inchantment, or sorcery or by pretended prophecies, shall be punished by ducking and whipping at the discretion of a jury, not exceeding 15. stripes.

    Pardon and Privilege of clergy shall henceforth be abolished, that none may be induced to injure through hope of impunity.

    So O’Donnel does not have Constitutional authority to outlaw flogging the Bishop.

    Stay tuned for part III: “Snail bail.”

  116. kjc
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Thanks for reminding of all the critics of Blackstone’s commentaries, incuding Jefferson himself. You’d almost think there’s something to interpret…

  117. Elton Fishbottom
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Am I missing something, or did BA, while arguing that our constitution requires no interpretation, just go back to an earlier interpretation of British law? I’m finding this quite funny. Anyone who studies law, knows that it evolves over time as new circumstances arise and new precedents are set. Arguing that the constitution is some monolithic thing that requires no interpretation and no context is something that, I thought, no adult would undertake. Then again, we do have people here in the U.S. who feel that dinosaurs were ridden by cavemen a couple of thousand years ago. I can’t wait to hear how Brackinald thinks the constitution deals with human-animal hybridization and the growing of clones to harvest organs from.

  118. Peter Larson
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Remember, there are people in the United States who believe that all law should be thrown out in favor of the Ten Commandments in addition to people who believe that people rode dinosaurs.

  119. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    This is what I’m saying: “Dirtgrain, the Constitution is a legal document, written in English. Legal phrases that were more in common use in the late 1700’s than they are now can be looked up in Blackstone or other contemporary sources to find their exact meaning. It’s up for interpretation like a speed limit is up for interpretation.”

    Everything I’ve written has supported that statement, and nothing has contradicted it, except in your own minds because you are crazy. The word “chicharrones” has an interpretation, that we can freaking look up, just like the legal phrases in the Constitution. To interpret “chicharrones” as “footballs” does not make “chicharrones” up for interpretation in the sense that it is a vague, living, breathing word that can mean whatever we want it to mean. It has a meaning, look it up. Each part of the highest law of the land, including the 8th Amendment, has a concrete legal meaning. Look it up. I did.

    If a working class schlub like myself can find the original meaning of the 8th Amendment in a couple hours of online searching, and you can’t, then you so-called intellectuals might want to reconsider who you call idiots.

  120. kjc
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Originalism itself is a theory of interpretation. To note it as such does not make one crazy (or retarded).

  121. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Well here’s how to “interpret” what “Speed Limit 70” means.

    It’s up for interpretation like the Constitution is up for interpretation, just like I said. Look up the laws that the phrases sum up, just like a speed limit sign sums up a shit load of specific laws, and you have your “interpretation.” Just like I said.

  122. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Hallucinating is one way of interpreting what color the clear sky is on a normal day. But if any of those interpretations is not “blue,” then, yes, it is retarded or crazy. The sky is blue, and law has specific meanings as written. Contending those things is not valid. It doesn’t make them open to multiple interpretations, it just makes you wrong.

  123. Peter Larson
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I never called you an idiot.

  124. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Well, I looked back at previous comments you’d made, and, recognizing that they are living, breathing comments, interpreted your words as vague, and meaning that you called me an idiot. You originalists need to keep up with the times.

  125. kjc
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    “Hallucinating is one way of interpreting what color the clear sky is on a normal day. But if any of those interpretations is not “blue,” then, yes, it is retarded or crazy. The sky is blue, and law has specific meanings as written. Contending those things is not valid. It doesn’t make them open to multiple interpretations, it just makes you wrong.”

    Actually this is just a false analogy.

    But if someone says there is no need for interpretation of words, what are you gonna do. I myself think that’s nuts. It certainly means dialogue is pointless.

  126. Peter Larson
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I meant in this thread. I’ve called you an idiot before, though.

  127. Kimbo
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s much easier to see the world in terms of black and white, and good and evil. The real world, however, isn’t so clear. And adults generally realize this. Or at lest they did. Now, though, there’s this huge group of people who don’t seem capable of dealing with complex thought. They like dumb-ass swaggering leaders who tell them that God loves them, and that their enemies are “evil.”

  128. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    But if someone says there is no need for interpretation of words, what are you gonna do.

    Who said that? I’m saying there’s a very specific meaning of the words and phrases, and you can freaking find it by looking it up. Just like there’s a color of the sky, and you can find it by looking up. It’s an apt analogy regarding accepting objective reality based on discoverable facts, and how contending with objective reality based on discoverable facts does not affect reality or the facts, it just makes the contender wrong.

    Dialogue is indeed pointless with people who can not accept that there is an objective reality based on facts, and I for one am not one of those people. I, again, am the only one in this discussion who has bothered to research and present historical facts in defense of his point. Everyone else is just blowing smoke, or fighting strawmen in their heads, as usual.

    So, again: you can find the one correct legal interpretation of the highest law of the land by doing pretty easy research. After you find that one correct legal interpretation, then you have to figure out how to APPLY the law faithfully to modern situations/technologies, in keeping with that one correct legal meaning.

  129. kjc
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe in an “objective reality” based on “facts”, no. The holes in your argument go unaddressed. Hell, even Scalia agrees there’s another side. For all your aspersions, your problem isn’t really that everyone’s dumb. It’s that they’re not dumb enough to accept your half-cocked authority.

  130. Andy C
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Get a room people.

    I like that Bill Maher has footage of her talking about her days when she was running with the devil.

  131. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe in an “objective reality” based on “facts”, no.

    Thank you, that is all I need to know. That would explain the rest of your paragraph.

  132. Mark H.
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    The constitution was written in 1787 at a convention called to merely amend a prior document; they interpreted their charge as to require them to disregard their duty and to stage a legal revolution. So much for the framers having devout reference for original intent: They began their great work by disobeying their clear lawful mandate from the states, and instead of revising the Articles of Confederation, tossed it out and wrote The constitution.

    Of the 55 men who were delegates to the Const. Convention, only (if I recall correctly, but the number is close if maybe not precise), just 39 agreed with it enough to sign it. And less than 25 of the delegates had a substantive influence on the actual debate at the Con Con and in the writing of the constitution. And, even among those fewer than 25 men who really had a hand in writing the document, they hardly agreed on all points, and differed sharply on many complex issues.

    The above paragraph contains historical facts. From these facts, good students of history (as opposed to lazy polemicists who toss out foul insults instead of reasoned arguments) naturally ask probing questions: What was the original intent of the framers of the constitution? How can we judge that when they disagreed with themselves? And which framers are we talking about — the 55, the 39, or the 25 or just some of the 25 that agreed on a given issue on a given day? Or were members of state ratifying conventions also, somehow, “framers” whose original intent was to be counted? Whose original intent matters, or is controlling? Were framers who formed a compromise, willingly, to evade certain decisions, possessed of a power to bind the country for all times to evade a certain issue?

    The Federalist Papers, often cited as guides to the const., were written as defenses of it; and those essays are manifestly acts of interpretation and persuasion. Saying that is not attacking those writings, merely stating facts.

    James Madison strongly believed that militias must necessarily be under proper state control, and he, like all the men at the Convention, was appalled by the use of armed force against state authority in western Mass., opposed any right to bear arms being included in the constitution….and then, in 1791, he wrote what became the 2nd Amendment, with the aim of ….. what? Well, historians may discuss such matters, but really there’s no need to ask that question, as the annonymous bloggers BA and EOS have revealed the Truth here. The 2nd Amdendment protects everyone’s right to bear muskets and antiaircraft weapons: That was the original intent of Madison, somehow.

    Historical knowledge is irrelevant to their variety of interpretation, which claims to be above interpretation. (But I do respect EOS for his more civil discourse, contrasting with the name calling BA.)

    Justice Scalia, with whom I once had the pleasure of trying to debate these things while he pointed his finger at me and yelled loud enough to draw a crowd, would argue that questions about “which framers’ original intent” — Scalia would say these questions are all irrelevant: For in his mind, the original intent of the framers is….whatever Scalia happens to favor. Perhaps BA and Scalia have a lot in common: loud argumentation, dogmatic, and totally dismissive of the merely human tasks of interpretation. Yet judges from ancient times to the present found interpretation of the law to be tough and demanding, complex work.

    To compare the contitution to a stop sign! What a useless analogy. Useless aside from the laugh value of such rhetoric.

    The scary things is that BA and EOS, their type of thinking, is acceptable public discourse. George W. said he wanted justices who’d apply, not interpret, the law, and we got appointees whose revolutionary interpretation of settled law comes close to undoing the last century of legal history.

    May God bring back to the United States of America – or, if not the Lord, then common sense and reason – the humane, logical values of a giant like Oliver Wendell Philips, Jr. A great jurist, and a true Republican.

    If the law, and the supreme law as well, require no interpretation, then we need no judges, no juries, no advocates at trial, no judicial system at all: might as well just have the police faithfully execute the laws as they happen to see fit, and have the executive branch of government carry out the will of the most powerful citizens, at once and without question.

    No 18th century American patriot, no matter their political differences among themselves, would argue the foolishness that some spout on this blog, and others spout from their perches in the courts of the land. It was understood in the age of the Revolution that justice is always about balancing opposing claims of different people, and that such balancing requires, even demands, interpretation.

    Only fools, opportunists, or the ignorant, can seriously argue otherwise. Ignore that trio of pontificators, unless you find them amusing or seriously fear they threaten democracy.

  133. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Hahaha, old Original Sources Higbee strikes again! Remember that time when I wupped you over the head with the South Carolina Declaration of the Causes of Secession? That was hilarious. Or the time I produced a bunch of original sources bolstering my take on the 2nd Amendment, and you couldn’t produce a single one that supported your view? Too bad has-been Lefty windbaggery can’t compete with original sources, now or ever. Hahahaha!

    I wonder who was that person that tried to get me with the proposed 11th Amendment about corporations, and it turned out it was just Thom Harttman bullshit. Hasn’t showed his face around here in a while. Also hilarious!

    We should sum up our arguments on this site like this: I produce original sources that back my claims, you make shit up. Save everybody a lot of time.

  134. EOS
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    It boils down to philosophical differences in the two major factions of our political system today. I, and many others, believe in absolute truth. I think 2 plus 2 is 4 and those who say otherwise are not just of a differing opinion, but are wrong. While our perspectives may differ, we are still observing the same phenomena or objective reality. Many in our society today think that the truth is whatever the majority says it is.

    The legal principal that guides the judiciary is “Ius dicere non dare” which roughly translates into interpret the law, don’t make new law. Judges are to interpret the words on the paper. If in the process of interpretation we allow judges to fabricate vast amounts of new rules in previously uncharted areas of the law, then we are circumventing the constitution. If there are no laws to govern a situation, judges should defer to the legislative branch. Once the laws are written and passed, then the judiciary can rightly interpret their application within the constraints of the written law.

    For the past 50 years or more, we have allowed judges to stray far beyond their constitutional powers. No one has been willing to step forward and correct the situation. In our system of checks and balances, Congress should recall Judges who overstep, and/or pass laws to address novel issues for which there is no precedent. If Congress fails to act in this manner, the voters can change the officeholders. Most of us have lived our entire lives observing a government which operates outside the legal statutes of the Constitution. It’s not difficult to see where you might get the impression that the law is whatever any individual judge says it is. But the current practices are not in accord with the original design of our constitutional republic nor are they optimal for its citizens.

  135. Yrehca Dlanikcarb
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    From James Iredell, Marcus, Answers to Mr. Mason’s Objections to the New Constitution:

    “The expressions “unusual and severe” or “cruel and unusual” surely would have been too vague to have been of any consequence, since they admit of no clear and precise signification.”

    Also, from the House of Reps debates on the 8th Amendment:

    “Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, objected to the words “nor cruel and unusual punishments;” the import of them being too indefinite.

    Mr. Livermore.–The clause seems to express a great deal of humanity, on which account I have no objection to it; but as it seems to have no meaning in it, I do not think it necessary. What is meant by the terms excessive bail? Who are to be the judges? What is understood by excessive fines? It lies with the court to determine. “

    The idea that the founders had a clear legal understanding of the meaning of the 8th Amendment is disproven quite nicely by these two original sources. Peter Larson, flawless victory.

  136. Yrehca Dlanikcarb
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    It should also be noted that Smith was a lawyer, and Livermore was a justice. So they knew what they were talking about.

  137. Yrehca Dlanikcarb
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    …and James Iredell was one of the original justices of the Supreme Court.

  138. Peter Larson
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    That’s exactly the thing about a document like the Constitution, not everyone agreed as to what should be in it, nor as to how the text should be written. This is not to say that the Constitution is meaningless, but it is to say that the meanings and intent (of who?) is incredibly vague and up to debate. Thus, we have the multi-member Supreme Court, Presidential appointees who represent various views on the Constitution and who reflect the philosophy of the administration who appointed them.

    BA would like to produce a single magic Rosetta stone-like document which serves to translate the meaning and intent of the contents of the Constitution, and in some cases this may exist. In general, given the level of argument during it’s creation, aftermath and through multiple SCOTUS decisions, that magic document may not only be elusive, it may not even exist.

    Clearly, as Yhreca points out, there were individuals who shared my view that the Eighth Amendment is incredibly vague and application difficult. I find it ironic that BA and EOS, who often take positions of dissent, often assuming that the dissent implies a superior view, would unquestioningly tow the line of some educated 18th century aristocrats. Does questioning break down when the participants have fluffy white hair and are dead?

  139. Robert
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Just about anybody can broadcast a stream of rhetoric which is seemingly solid and consistent on it’s surface. At their best, that is all BA and EOS have ever done here. However, it is the ability to hold up under questioning which suggests one’s position is strong.

    BA and EOS’s unwillingness to answer perfectly reasonable questions put to them is the fall-back position of individuals who have already, in their anonymity, retreated from real world debate. This is why I consider it folly to engage them in any serious manner on many issues.

    It takes a patience, dedication, and a willingness to see it all of wasted, which I simply refuse to invest. So I am impressed with the eloquent and direct comments here from Mark H and some others. It is especially impressive considering what they must all know about the history of these sorts of conversations on this blog.

  140. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Well, I appreciate that someone around here knows how to use original sources, instead of just making shit up. Here’s my counter-argument to that:

    Three guys who were pro-administration and/or against a Bill of rights being included (and therefore may have had ulterior motives) argued that the 8th Amendment was too vague, so it shouldn’t be included. Clearly, a majority of their contemporaries thought their arguments were eminently ignorable — because they ignored them and put it in there anyway. The majority knew what it meant. They knew it would safeguard their rights just as it had in the English Bill of Rights. The States that had a provision against cruel and unusual punishments (even their own States!) knew what it meant. So, if their own contemporaries didn’t take their arguments seriously enough to even make any counter arguments, but instead just dismissed them off-hand and voted against them, I fail to see why I should take them seriously. Nobody else did.

    From your own second source: The question was put on the clause, and it was agreed to by a considerable majority.

    They lost.

  141. kjc
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    “I don’t believe in an “objective reality” based on “facts”, no.

    Thank you, that is all I need to know. That would explain the rest of your paragraph.”

    You’re welcome. I found it equally enlightening when you claimed this belief. But I do understand that in order to simplify things to this degree, you must ignore the entire history of philosophy. I guess those guys were just retards.

  142. Peter Larson
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    BA, is the majority always correct? You should be very well aware that a majority vote does not imply absolute correctness, nor absolute agreement.

    I guess you’ve never been married.

  143. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    No, Peter, the majority is not always correct — case in point: this blog.

    However, I think it is ludicrous to pit three guys with an agenda against the inclusion of the Bill of Rights, whose arguments were apparently thought so paper-thin that they didn’t deserve a rebuttle before being roundly ignored by their peers in Congress, against the vast majority of the 2nd Congress, all the States that had already adopted measures against cruel and unusual punishments, Blackstone, and the asserted rights of Englishmen codified into the English Bill of Rights. That’s a pretty weighty majority opposition.

    It should also be noted that one of the dissenters (Livermore, I think), in his statement (sourced above) was hesitant only because he wanted to make sure it would still be okay to hang, whip, and cut people’s ears off. Just an interesting aside as to his stated reason for dissenting.

  144. Peter Larson
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Well, that’s my point, isolating the “true meaning” of any part of the Constitution is difficult, relative to who was involved and what level of agreement existed and to the whims of the investigator. In this case, teh investigator is yourself, who seem to be of the opinion that the majority is, in fact, correct when discussing Constitutional matters (assuming the I am reading you correctly).

    Interpreting a document as old, and at that time untested, as the Constitution is just not as easy as you initially presented and entirely up to speculation and argument. Is there anything wrong with this? No.

  145. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I’d say the majority who passed the damn thing probably knew what they intended, and that it was exactly what that phrase was intended to mean all the other times it was passed in legislatures in England and the States up till then. It’s pretty cut and dry. Those three guys were just obfuscating about it being to vague (like you are doing). The majority of those who voted for the amendment knew what it meant, and ignored them because they knew how important the safeguard was.

  146. Peter Larson
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Not obfuscating at all. I very much agree that the eighth amendment is important and it’s wording is vague enough to be applied responsibly in any context, in any time period. My feeling is that the vagueness of important portions of the Constitution are, in fact, it’s strengths.

  147. River Rat
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Did BA ever get back to us on whether the Constitution allows us to own our own nuclear weapons? I want to start enriching uranium, but I’m waiting for him to give the the go-ahead.

  148. Robert
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    River Rat, BA has refused to take the stand. He’s above the law.

  149. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Peter, we have some common ground, then. Here’s the statement I was arguing against initially: Let’s be clear here: you want somebody who will stick to your interpretation of the Constitution.

    I am saying there is only one valid interpretation of law. There are many different and changing applications of the law, but only one actual legal meaning that is valid.

    I’m getting to part 3 & etc., but what I’m going to be getting at is that there is one specific intended meaning to the 8th amendment, and that it was a clear principle to be applied to changing circumstances, so that it would be applicable even today. Otherwise they’d have to list every possible crime and means of punishment that would ever be devised by man. But the principles that would be applied have one interpretation which was clearly understood at the time of its adoption, which is what I’ve been getting at, and which I am getting to.

    Like I said earlier, a lot of people were confusing “interpretation” with “application,” and making it out like I was saying that Constitutional laws have one clear application to every different modern circumstance. I tried to make it clear that that’s not what I was saying, but people like to put words in my mouth and argue against those, because they can’t argue with what I am actually saying… because they suck at arguing, I guess.

    To sum up: Constitutional law contains well-defined legal principles that are still applicable today. You can find out what those legal principles meant to those who put them in there and voted for them by doing a little research. It is the highest law of the land, and if we want to change it, we can amend it, but we can’t ignore it. Pretending that there is more than one valid interpretation (as opposed to application) of those laws is obfuscation, with the purpose of skirting those laws.

  150. Robert
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Looks like the Democrats are going to lose at least six US Senate seats, and maybe as many as nine. The diffenece will depend on how things develop in Nevada, Illinois and Washington.

  151. River Rat
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I’m still waiting for BA to answer my question as to whether the constitution gives me the right to own nuclear weapons.

  152. Robert
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Your Honors, I call Brackinald B. S. Achery to the stand.

  153. Robert
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Your Honors, it appears Mr. Achery has fled the courtroom, as he has always done in the past when called to the stand.

  154. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Fine, big baby.

    No, the Federal government does not have “regulate what weaponry people can own” as one of their enumerated powers, but once nukes were invented, they could have added that power as an amendment, or the states could have outlawed nukes and/or rocket launchers all they wanted (see 10th Amendment). Private citizens and private merchant vessels owned their own cannons at the time the Constitution was adopted, so private ownership of military ordnance was not illegal at the time.

    I have to pull myself away from the blog every so often to pee in jars and whatnot.

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