Oct 12, 2022·edited Oct 12, 2022

“Equality of opportunity is a fundamental American principle; equality of outcome is not.”

Only we don't have "equality of opportunity" in America, we have a class system and a faux-meritocracy that only affords opportunity to people who come from wealthy enough parents to buy their kid's way through the gatekeepers of the faux-meritocracy (university admissions offices and the private prep schools before them).

It's like making a statement that isn't real in fact and yet 2/3rds or more of respondents still treat it as such. Might as well say that "equality under the rule of law is a fundamental principle." Yes, it sounds nice and all in principle, but in practice it never holds up. As usual, this country (and Wisconsinites among them) ignores the problems it is pretending don't exist, when in fact, they do. No wonder these problems never get fixed when we like to pretend they don't exist.

Expand full comment

Except you guys keep forgetting that one of the two political parties has gone bat shit crazy and has taken 44% of the American population with it. Sure it is great that a large number of Republicans and Democrats can agree on boilerplate ideals that do not mean anything in the real world. You act as if this were 1978 and we were talking reasonable people running on both sides of the aisle. We aren't and spouting this nonsense doesn't do anything to help fix the problems we have.

I have always agreed with you that Democrats are lousy at laying out what they really believe, and they cede that realm to the Republicans. The Democrats have been staying very close to center left for the last two years, but they seem to get no credit at all for NOT bending to the radical side of their party.

The Republicans on the other hand, have gone all in on supporting the radical side of their party. The saddest thing of all, is that center Democrats are willing to speak out against things that do not make sense, but there are maybe three Republicans willing to speak out against the election lies, and none are willing to speak out against the BS policies that other Republicans put on the table.

Expand full comment

Boy, I do not like that poll. What a bunch of disingenuous statements that each could be taken 6 or 7 different ways. And what's with the exclamation points? Charlie, how can you possibly be surprised that 74% of Democrats want a secure border? I feel like that exclamation point is due to an overdose of Republican propaganda.

Anyway, now you know what we've been trying to tell you. Yes, we want a secure, modern border. A wall is a huge waste of money, but hiring judges, modernizing the judicial process for asylum seekers, and using new technology to make the transport of goods over the border cheaper and more efficient are all better ideas that are frankly overdue. Just because liberals don't chant BUILD THE WALL doesn't mean that we're the people Trump says we are.

Expand full comment

“But if it’s just common sense,” he asked, “why do so many Democrats have trouble saying these things?”

Do they have trouble saying those things? Or does the media spend all their time treating Twitter personalities like they're thought leaders of the party while ignoring elected officials?

Expand full comment

Here's a better question: why are we assuming that the democrats have moved too far left, and not the GOP moving too far right? Let's take one of the questions as an example.

“Language policing has gone too far. By and large, people should be able to express their views without fear of sanction by employer, school, institution or government. Good faith should be assumed, not bad faith.”

It's wild that you would chastise democrats for being too politically correct, in a week where monday saw a dozen GOP judges say they'd no longer consider any applicant who went to Yale, because apparently Yale is too liberal and just going there shows a deficit of character. Their words, not mine. This is also the world where Florida passed it's don't say gay law, and Texas deputized people to seek out trans people as deviants. Oh, and there's the law in Idaho that now banned administrators from even talking about abortion.

Can you name a single liberal law that does anything similar to this? We have a difference in scale. On one side, you have a cultural change in what is acceptable to express in public. On the other side, you have people who believe the power of the state should be used to punish people for wrongthink, and are actually doing it.

Or, let's look at this question: “Police misconduct and brutality against people of any race is wrong, and we need to reform police conduct and recruitment. More and better policing is needed for public safety, and that cannot be provided by ‘defunding the police.’”

Biden literally ran on funding the police. His VP is a former prosecutor. Meanwhile, the GOP regularly undermines law enforcement and champions rebellion and armed violence against the state. So again I ask, why is it that Democrats need to 'move towards the center' when the GOP is currently openly courting insurrectionists and most of them act like January 6th was no big deal? Again, this is a party who openly courts its 'second amendment people.'

It's unclear why this is treated as 'democrats need to be more centrist' and not 'republicans need to be more centrist.' Because despite the fact that democrats are running the most centrist candidates in my lifetime, and JOE BIDEN is president, apparently anyone left of Jeb! Bush is too liberal for centrists now.

I hate to say it, Charlie, but if your instincts were correct you wouldn't be sitting on the outside of your party. You're where you are because the GOP got far more extreme while democrats haven't.

Expand full comment

Charlie, one factor I think you're missing here as a lifelong conservative, is that progressive positions generally start out as fringe positions. And like baby turtles crawling for the sea, a lot of them get eaten. But a few make it.

Gay marriage was a laughable idea thirty years ago. Eighteen years ago it was utilized as a method of drumming up more votes in key states for a presidential election.

Today? Law of the land and broadly accepted.

I get the realpolitik and the need to get through the next few elections and etc. But regardless of the Democrats being functionally a center-left party by American standards (and at best center right by the standards of most other representative democracies) the proggy wing is there and they're going to proggy. And there are plenty of things to proggy about.

And frankly it gets old as hell that one party has a solid "We want to literally kill people on the other team" constituency and gets a pass while the Dems get beaten up for having a "We want a better society" wing.

And the reason for that has everything to do with the fact that in general the elite can insulate themselves in large measure from proles killing each other, while the "We want a better society" movement generally involves a direct threat to the power and prestige of the established oligarchy.

Expand full comment

The only comment I would make on the Wisconsin poll questions is that saying 'all white people are racists' is not the same thing as saying 'all white people benefit from white privilege.' The poll question conflates them.

Expand full comment
Oct 12, 2022·edited Oct 12, 2022

Whoever created the poll is a jerk and whoever gives it any credence (Mr. Sykes?) is an idiot. Each poll “statement” is actually two opposing statements. I cant agree with part of it and dispute the rest. That’s not an option. I can just ignore the part I disagree with and say yes. Or I can ignore the part I agree with and say no. The best course when called or approached by this trickster/pollster? Tell them to go piss up a rope.

Expand full comment

That friggin poll is beyond useless. The statement have multiple ill-defined concepts and 'agreement' tells you nothing about what the respondents are "agreeing" to.

“There are basically two genders"

Okay there's one concept but is this biological sex or societal constructs?

"but people who want to live as a gender different from their biological sex should have that right and not be discriminated against."

In housing? Employment? In services? In bathrooms? In having their preferred pronouns? Too vast and too vague to know what is really being asked here.

"However, there are issues around child consent to transitioning"

Is the issue that the parents are consenting too much or is the issue that the state should stay out of it? Whose consent?

"and participation in women’s sports that are complicated and not settled.”

Does that mean we can settle it by banning trans participation or allowing it?

If you think agreement with there whole convoluted statement means anything about 'common sense' it is because you think everyone else it evaluating and interpreting the statement the exact same way you are and no one is.

Expand full comment

What they have in common…ok, to be elected governor of a blue state when you are a Republican requires:

Respect: most Republicans do not respect anyone who isn’t already in their Republican tribe.

Social intelligence: the ability to express their politics without being rude or calling people who disagree names

Belief in equality: I don’t know if anyone else here has noticed but Republicans tend to bully women and minorities. They don’t like it. To be successful these Republicans have had to express and behave as if all citizens of their state deserve equality and are assumed to have it.

Practicality: when hurricanes or other natural disasters strike Republicans like Desantis find they are able to be near a Democratic president without behaving like a frustrated, angry toddler. They make nice to get help for their state. (How they divvy up the spoils is something we should watch carefully. After Katrina black residents of New Orleans got shafted.) A good Republican governor, one capable of gaining the votes of democrats, doesn’t need a natural disaster to be civil.

I’m out of time or I could probably continue to add to that list indefinitely.

Have a great day, everyone! Oh, I’m a fairly liberal Democrat who has never lacked common sense. Mona Charen and her moralizing columns in the AJC used to make my skin crawl. She did not believe I was equal to men when I was growing up. Glad she’s come to see some daylight there…I don’t believe that most people are irredeemable which is why I subscribe here.

I think most Republicans can come to realize where their demonization of their more liberal peers went off the rails. I know very few “liberals” who are as unreasonable as the description given them by conservatives.

One more thing: we need to stop obsessing about gender. That goes for both sides of the aisle. If we focused less on gender women could begin to fully engage in and contribute to our society. We could stop fretting over lgbtq rights if we stopped this crazy gender obsession. It only matters in sport and a gynecologist’s office. Or at least that’s how it should be.

Y’all do your thing and I’ll do mine. To me that is what liberalism is about. It should be compatible with the “rugged individualism” I’m always hearing about from conservatives. See? We are more alike than is commonly thought. Often we state the same thing in different language and then pretend to be offended by one another.

Expand full comment

Thanks for posting the results of Ruy's poll.

Now show us all the democrats that are running messages counter to those statements.

I'll save you some time . . . there aren't any.

Expand full comment

Here's what struck me today. "He's going to be potentially the one of most powerful men in Washington — and potentially thus one of the most powerful men in the world. And he's cringing and sniffling." Undeniably true. Yet to the GOP faithful, he's a manly man of tough manly action. I wish I knew how to fix this.

Expand full comment

Oh how I wish Cori Bush had made "REFORM THE POLICE!" the rallying cry instead of "DEFUND THE POLICE!"

Expand full comment
Oct 12, 2022·edited Oct 12, 2022

Charlie, is it your impression that Mandela Barnes is making commercials saying unpopular things? Cuz my impression is it's the $30 million in attack ads from Mitch McConnell saying those things.

I agree with you on all of the "messaging," but you're used to the Conservatism Inc world that has an entire media ecosystem committed to saying these things on behalf of GOP candidates all day every day.

Mandela Barnes could shout all these things from the rooftop, but that doesn't mean Rachel Maddow or Don Lemon will do nightly segments about them. And Fox News certainly won't either.

BTW Bill Clinton's "Sister Souljah moment" was *before* Fox News even existed, let alone Matt Drudge. He could do the exact same thing today and it would not move the needle at all.

Expand full comment

I hope Adam Kinzinger will show a little love to northern NY and Matt Castelli who’s running against Trump Apprentice Elise Stefanik.

Expand full comment

Many of these statements are "double-barreled," ie, they blend two separate statements into one. The respondent can't disagree with one and not the other. For example, “No one is completely without bias but calling all white people racists who benefit from white privilege and American society a white supremacist society is not right or fair.” I would agree that calling someone racist for benefiting from white privilege is wrong, but American society is in fact still white supremacist. I would have to disagree with the statement as a whole because I disagree with the second half. Or agree because I think that calling people racists for being white is more wrong than the degree to which America's remaining white supremacy still exists. Or something.

Expand full comment