Feb 13, 2022·edited Feb 13, 2022

Florida (as usual) is a textbook case of Banana Republican hypocrisy. Last year Gov. Ron Desantis pushed through anti-riot laws which potentially could be used to stifle legitimate peaceful protests and demonstrations.

Because of some unfortunate temporary traffic blockages during BLM protests the legislature took time to signal its opposition to peaceful protesters disrupting traffic. One provision even gave motorists the "right" to ram protesters with their vehicles if the protesters were blocking traffic and the motorist "felt threatened". They would be immune from civil or criminal prosecution. A sort of vehicular stand your ground law.

Last year Cuban protesters shut down several expressways in solidarity with the protests of Cuban dissidents in Cuba. (I am still wondering how shutting down an expressway in Florida is supposed to win friends and influence people for Cuba but hey, Florida!) Nothing was enforced (because the law was on hold in Federal Court) But DeSantis merely suggested the Cuban protesters "please" not shut down highways--- but otherwise because of Cuban allegiance to the GOP probably would not have been dealt with by law enforcement nor would motorists be permitted to run them down.

Predictably Governor DeSantis issued statements of support for the Canadian Trucker blockade. A blockade that would be illegal in Florida under the very laws he promulgated.

And THAT is the Banana Republican Party in a nutshell. The party of law and order except when it isn't convenient to be so.

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Hi, I am one of the those anti-war protesters! In 2003, I joined an anti-war organization in (gasp) Berkeley, California. I also subscribe to the Intercept, and they are very anti-war still. Unlike the far right, their focus is on warmongering arms dealers and other corporate entities that profit from war whom they believe are chomping at the bit to start a new war. 20 years and a college degree in History later, I see things differently.

I think Russia invading Ukraine would be on the level of WW II inducing aggression, but I really don’t think Russian billionaires want a world war. Rich people want stability, and many, many Russian oligarchs own property here. Weirdly, the thing I hate the most might prevent a world war. Unlike World War II, we are much more financially intertwined. So while I find Russia’s posturing unsettling, Ukraine (unlike Georgia) would trigger responses the Russian kleptocracy would not want. So I hate war, but also understand how capitalism has made us safer because it makes us financially intertwined.

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I have to disagree somewhat with Sam Gerston. While I do agree that the approach of true conservatives forming a new party, that is a longer term solution. I think that the best approach for the immediate is for these people to vote D in the general election. Until the Rs are totally in a minority governing position they will continue down "the road to authoritarianism".

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Thank you for your post, Julia. I, too, am discouraged that we’re seemingly not thinking about the extra vulnerable, and we ALL have friends or family who are for some medical reason. As an example, my Sunday school class, which prides itself on being welcoming, has a high percentage of non-maskers. These are nice people, but their choice makes it too risky for some members to attend. This is just not being our best selves.

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“Hard times create strong men.

Strong men create good times.

Good times create weak men.

And, weak men create hard times.”

A review of the historical record, 1922-2022, will demonstrate exactly how true this is.

As to an actually-conservative third party, I have to say "not now." It's something that definitely needs doing, and for all those who say third parties don't work, remember that the Republicans began from the wreckage of the Whigs and Know-Nothings, with the support of the Abolitionists.

However, right now - as we saw in Florida in 2000 - a vote for a third candidate is not a vote against the candidate one might oppose, but rather a vote that allows the candidate one opposes to potentially win. And with Trump, a "win" would be catastrophic. As both Tom Nichols and Bill Kristol have wisely pointed out, right now a conservative has to vote D from president to dog catcher, to create the wreckage from which a viable party can be created. As to conservatives who can't stand the idea of doing that, I'll refer you to a statement made by Adlai Stevenson during he 1952 campaign, which has only become more true in the 70 years since:

“The strange alchemy of time has somehow converted the Democrats into the truly conservative party of this country — the party dedicated to conserving all that is best, and building solidly and safely on these foundations.”

There's a crucial need for two parties. The law of aerodynamics also works in politics: the eagle can't fly with just one wing, left or right. But right now we have to get back to a situation where we are arguing policy differences, between two groups that accept, love and defend the constitutional democratic republic that allows us to have those arguments without one party risking imprisonment.

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Regardless of how you feel about unions, am I the only one that sees some very dark irony in the fact that the political party that spent a majority of my lifespan destroying unions is now all in on the idea of blue collar labor organizing and coalescing together?

“Let’s do that but not call it a union, because unions are just big, corrupt bureaucracies.” Instead they’ll be absolutely no cohesive messaging, none of the benefits of unionizing and rather than paying dues we’ll send PayPals to Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Instead of the union bosses getting rich it will be Ivy League politicians hustling us out of money we can’t really afford to spare. That sounds way better! Blah blah blah, but socialism…

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. . .Michael Gerson writes in the Wapo, “Support for seditious acts is now a normal and accepted element of Republican identity.”

The animating spirit on the right is identical to that of vandalism. Destruction of the ideals on which this nation was built is the order of the day. And any vision of a new construction that would justify the razing of the Republic is entirely absent. At bottom, I see nothing but a childish tantrum.

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"But one suspects that Hannity et al would have a rather different view of the situation had the bridge been seized by, say, BLM activists."

Nope. Not at all. And it ticks me off reading this hogwash. And I am not a big Hannity fan.

Hannity would have a different view of the situation had the privately-owned cars and trucks on the bridge been destroyed by the "protestors" and the private citizens pulled from them and beaten to death as in what the BLM (Buying Large Mansions) "protestors" had done.

True conservative Republicans support all forms of free speech including peaceful civil disobedience. And they are absolutely supportive of peaceful protest against the abusive and tyrannical policies of government.

The vaccine mandates and the Canadian government actions against those deciding their own individual choice to not allow a novel and poorly tested drug to be injected into their bodies, most for very valid medical reasons like the fact that they already had COVID and have circulating antibodies, are the epitome of tyrannical abuses of power.

Liberal progressives, even those who are but claim to be some form of Republican, are showing their true stripes here. If this was a repeat of Tiennaman Square, they would be rooting for the tank.

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It's odd that Charlie claims to understand what Jim Crow was when he gleefully supported men like Reagan and R. Johnson who claimed it had no lasting impact

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Feb 14, 2022·edited Feb 14, 2022

I read with great joy your top reader email from Steve Gerstman regarding a third party.

I know conventional wisdom says third parties cannot succeed in the USA, but that perspective is based on the way things were, not the way things are.

It's important to understand that a third party is not just a vehicle for organizing candidates and votes. In today's world, party affiliation has become something of a tribal affiliation, laden with connotations and implications far beyond the pure politics.

The binary nature of today's choice in party affiliation leaves those of us who don't simply want to root for a sports team but actually care about policies and the tenets of democracy out in the cold. We are forced make a Hobbesian choice between a feckless broad coalition with a very irritating and unpleasant left wing of activists, and a party that is going so far off the deep end that it is unrecognizable to anybody with clear eyes.

A third party would give us something to rally around. You can call it a tribe if you want. Whatever it is, we need one now.

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Steve Gerstman writes:

Why aren’t conservatives breaking from the currently-dangerous Republican party and starting a new national party for conservatives and moderates who accept the rule of law and care about the future of the Republic?

Steve, will you deny moderate Democrats who are not part of AOC's crowd a place in the new party? I ask, because you make no mention of anyone who is not a disenchanted Republican in your otherwise thoughtful idea. Or are you only seeking to include those former GOPers who believe in conserving what the GOP under Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes propagated?

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