Thursday, July 21, 2005

It's (Still) the Economy, Stupid

Here's a very interesting post from Ruy Teixeira on Democrats and the economy, with data from two new polls. In it, he highlights opportunities and challenges for the Democrats on the economy; it's definitely worth reading.

Teixeira also makes reference to Matt Bai's piece on framing in Sunday's New York Times Magazine and argues that framing is not the answer. Couldn't agree more. It's just amazing that Lakoff's political analysis continues to influence so many otherwise sophisticated political thinkers.


At 8:06 AM, Anonymous ReaganRepublican said...

Analyze and "frame" it anyway you want. It will make little difference on election night.

The far left remains firmly in control of the DNC. Mainstream "fly-over country" working Americans will constantly be reminded that the DNC is widely comprised of anti-American / Christian culture "victim" and "special interest groups". These groups will obviously be granted more free air time than they deserve throughout the campaign, reinforcing the Republican message.

Democrat activist individuals and groups such as Michael Moore, the ACLU, Jesse Jackson, NOW, Al Franken, etc., are all loved by the media ... and the RNC. The upcoming fight over Supreme Court nominee Roberts will further promote the Democrats' anti-Christian platform.

As long as Republicans are the pro-American culture party, the Democrats will continue to lose their power base. Regardless of any lame attempts to "frame" a disingenuous marketing solution.

You can't put a band-aid on a severed artery and expect the patient to live.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Dale said...

Don't get too cocky about election night. :) Much will depend on what is going on in Iraq. Frankly, much will also depend on whether we start having London-style attacks here too. I hope that we don't; I don't want the Denmmocrats to succeed because of violence against Americans. And the truth is that London-style attacks are nearly impossible to defend against. If they do happen here, it might not be entirely fair to call them Bush's fault. BUT they will be happening on his watch, and a lot of Americans probably will hold him accountable. Plus, all reports suggest that we have done a woefully poor job of protecting ourselves against much more serious attacks on places like chemical plants, and you can hold Bush accountable for those lapses.

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous DEM said...

The anti-Christian meme is entirely bogus, by the way. The vast majority of Democrats are Christians. The question is whether we want Christianity to be de facto the official religion of this country, so that any non-Christians get the nmessage loud and clear that they are second-class citizens. I say no.

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous reaganrepublican said...

Dem said; "The vast majority of Democrats are Christians."

Tell that to Howard Dean, how did he put it, something like "Republicans are the party of angry white Christian men"?

Non-Christians only feel like second-class citizens when they are rebuffed and frustrated by their inability to change the original intent of the Constitution via an activist judiciary. That is their problem, not the Christians.

At 3:44 PM, Anonymous DEM said...

The original intent of a document written by a group of non-Christian deists? :)

At 4:41 PM, Anonymous reaganrepublican said...

dem said; " The original intent of a document written by a group of non-Christian deists?"

Revisionist propaganda! You should request a tuition refund, with interest.

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous DEM said...

From Jefferson:
"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter" (Works, Vol. iv, p. 365).

"It is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist" (Works, Vol. iv., p. 326).

At 7:39 PM, Anonymous reaganrepublican said...

There are many who would seek to discredit the religious disposition of the Founding Fathers, but the evidence contradicts them. Does historical evidence support your quotations, especially that Jefferson was not a religious man at all? A cursury review of the Founding Fathers, their public lives, declarations, proclamations, etc, says just the opposite.

"Had the people, during the revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that revolution would have been strangled in its cradle. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect [denomination]. Any attempt to level and discard all religion would have been viewed with universal indignation...It [religion] must be considered as the foundation on which the whole structure rests...In this age there can be no substitute for Christianity; that, in its general principles, is the great conservative element on which we must rely for purity and permanence of free institutions. That was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendents."
The quote is from a Report by The House Judiciary Committee, Thirty-third Congress, 1854; Made during the First Session, Washington, DC. The Report later was given to the House.

At 8:16 PM, Anonymous DEM said...

I'm questioning how many of the Founders were really Christians. It has always been true that people in public life in this country have had to claim to be Christian, or maybe Judeo-Christian at best, in public. So public statements like that don't mean anything---especially one made long after the Founding. Since my quotations were from private letters written by Jefferson, they are the best kind of historical evidence.

At 8:42 PM, Anonymous reaganrepublican said...

A private letter is the "best kind" of historical evidence? Please, spare me the logic.

A private letter is but a snapshot in time. Thank goodness my Mother trashed letters I sent home from college. The fact is many people of strong faith struggle with their relationship with God at various times throughout their lives. Thomas Jefferson, of strong faith, was no different.

What the founders did as husbands, fathers, members of the community, military officers, and as public servants is all revelant to their faith, and much has been written. Their lives, when viewed in their entirety, paints a much different view then the message you have described quoted in a couple of private letters.

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson, while President, authorized the expenditure of Federal funds to support Christian Missionaries working with the Kaskaskia Indians in the mid-west? Certainly not the actions of a Deist.

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous DEM said...

That is an interesting theory about Jefferson, and I'd be willing to take a look at any biography you can recommend that substantiates it.

At 10:11 PM, Anonymous reaganrepublican said...

At 7:18 AM, Anonymous DEM said...

Not the part about the Indians... that is another "public act," and so not a good indicator of Jefferson's private thoughts and feelings. I meant a biography that addressed those, and provided evidence for your claim that he genuinely was a Christian and the he only sounded like a Deist in a momentary crisis of faith. THAT would be interesting to learn.

I don't doubt, by the way, that someone like a Jefferson might have expect some salutary effects from the diffusion of Christianity. The religion's morality isn't perfect, but it is an improvement on the moralities that most people actually hold (including most people who call themselves Christians, but then ignore the parts of it they don't like). So I am very ready to believe that Jefferson and men like him saw Christianity as a good thing for the masses. I just suspect (with excellent evidence, in TJ's case) that privately they had gotten past it and didn't consider it fit for "elites."

At 8:35 AM, Anonymous reaganrepublican said...

You are correct. Jefferson's support of public money to be spent on building a church and hiring a Priest does not prove his faith. What it shows is his tolerance towards a co-mingling of Church and State. Today, politicians would never consider such an action, and the ACLU would never allow it to happen. Times have changed.

You believe that the elites moved past it, yet felt Christianity was still useful for the masses? There was anti-religious sentiment among some of the Founding Fathers. Paine, Ethan Allen, Charles Lee, and Henry Dearborn were documented dissenters. However, no one has been more maligned by revisionists than the "Father" of our nation, George Washington.

"To say that he [George Washington] was not a Christian would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty. Of all men in the world, Washington was certainly the last whom any one would charge with dissimulation or indirectness [hypocrisies and evasiveness]; and if he was so scrupulous in avoiding even a shadow of these faults in every known act of his life, [regardless of] however unimportant, is it likely, is it credible, that in a matter of the highest and most serious importance [his religious faith, that] he should practice through a long series of years a deliberate deception upon his friends and the public? It is neither credible nor possible." --Volume XII, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, Washington Biographer.

GW's adopted daughter, Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, wrote a lenghty and detailed letter to a Mr. Sparks on 26 FEB 1833 detailing actions of GW's faith. In the interest of brevity, I will provide just snips proving he genuinely WAS a Christian;

(snip)"He was very instrumental in establishing Pohick Church, and I believe subscribed [supported and contributed to] largely. His pew was near the pulpit. I have a perfect recollection of being there, before his election to the presidency, with him and my grandmother..."

(snip)"He attended the church at Alexandria when the weather and roads permitted a ride of ten miles [a one-way journey of 2-3 hours by horse or carriage]. In New York and Philadelphia he never omitted attendance at church in the morning, unless detained by indisposition [sickness]".

(snip)"My mother [Eleanor Calvert-Lewis] resided two years at Mount Vernon after her marriage [in 1774] with John Parke Custis, the only son of Mrs. Washington. I have heard her say that General Washington always received the sacrament with my grandmother before the revolution. When my aunt, Miss Custis [Martha's daughter] died suddenly at Mount Vernon, before they could realize the event [before they understood she was dead], he [General Washington] knelt by her and prayed most fervently, most affectingly, for her recovery. Of this I was assured by Judge [Bushrod] Washington's mother and other witnesses".

(snip)"Is it necessary that any one should certify, "General Washington avowed himself to me a believer in Christianity?" As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his country. His mottos were, "Deeds, not Words"; and, "For God and my Country." "

Deeds, not Words. The Judeo-Christian ethos is under attack in our schools, and centers of higher education. The Founders were a large and diverse group of brilliant individuals. To broadly claim that the entire group were not faithful Christians is wrong, and revisionist.

At 9:26 AM, Anonymous DEM said...

The evidence in Washington's case is conflicting; for some that speaks in the opposite direction see this page:

I certainly wouldn't say that no one who signed the Declaration was a Deist though. It is enough that some of the most prominent ones were; that established that it was hardly their intention or desire that the United States should be a "Christian Nation." They were a diverse group. We're an even more diverse country now. Yet we are all Americans, whatever our faith or whether we have any faith at all. (W. actually said something very commendable recently to the effect that a non-believer could still be an excellent patriot; it seemed to be an unscripted and sincere remark and it was a noble thing for him to do.) So why do we need to include Christian references in public ceremonies, when this only makes non-Christians feel like this really isn't their country? Some Christians expect their religion to be treated like the de facto official religion of the country, and they perceive every effort to treat it on equal terms with other religions as an attack. Is it an attack on Christianity to say that government events should not start with a Christian prayer? Well, we don't start them with a Bhuddist pryaer either; Bhuddism is under attack! What about having everyone in Congress face Mecca at the start of the next new session, and starting with a Muslim prayer? No? Then Islam is under attack!

Does anyone stop Christians from going to a (tax-exempt) Church on Sunday and worshipping with their fellow Christians? Does anyone stop them from putting up Christian web sites or airing Christian broadcasts? No, they get to do these things just like other religions do. And Christianity isn't under attack.

At 9:39 AM, Anonymous reaganrepublican said...

Efforts to minimize or deny the fact that early America was predominatly a Christian nation (and the religion of many of the Founders) has created an agenda driven environment condusive to historical revision. And this is wrong, no matter which side is attempting to re-write history (Christians or non-Christians).

I can understand, and appreciate that the "feelings" of non-Christians are ruffled during public prayer. But that is an entirely different issue, and has little relevance to the lives, beliefs and actions of the Founders.

At 12:15 AM, Anonymous Nate said...

What I want to know is why anyone has a fixation on "original intent" or anything of the sort? Deciding whether the Federal or State Governments should endorse a specific religion based on the personal beliefs of a handful of men nearly 250 years ago is completely ridiculous. You’re practically deifying the Framers by doing this… WHO CARES if they were Christian or not? Who cares if the vast majority of colonials or revolutionaries were Christian? We are dealing in a time where we must equally protect, under the law, all Americans – that was the only original intent of the constitution, and it was re-asserted in the 14th amendment. This fixation on speculating on what a bunch of 300 year-old men would think is pointless – it leads to senseless bickering. We must debate issues with facts pertinent to today. Government endorsing religious supremacy is flat-out wrong and immoral. It is, in my opinion, anti-Christian and it is certainly anti-American. That is if you define America as the land of equality, freedom and opportunity.

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous reaganrepublican said...

Who said anything about endorsing any religion? We're refering to recent court decisions which seek to remove all mention of ANY religion from the public arena.

And it is the belief of many Americans (particularily Christians) that banning public religious displays and prayer was NEVER within the original intent of the Constitution. Only to the modern day revisionists who wish it so.

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