The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 19, 2014: The Myth of the Never-Changing Parties

Recently I got into a Twitter argument with a Conservative who actually called the observation that the Republicans have not always been Conservative and the Democrats have not always been Liberal a “bullshit liberal lie.” Then he called the Democrats “the party of the KKK.” Then he said I was the one who was historically ignorant. Okay, so he’s hurling around “KKK” like it’s an epithet (which it is), but apparently he doesn’t know that neo-confederates in the South consider Nathan Bedford Forrest a hero and the work of the Ku Klux Klan to be “social justice.” (Not everyone agrees. I side with the SPLC on this one.) So is being a member and early leader of the KKK a bad thing to Conservatives or not? If the KKK was a good thing, then why throw out the connection between Democrats and the Klan as a bad thing? If you’re proud of the work of the Klan, then you should be proud of Democrats, not contemptuous of everything any Democrat has ever done. Cognitive dissonance has never been seen as a bad thing by Conservatives. They don’t know the meaning of the word “hypocrisy.” (Seriously, they can’t possibly know given how steeped in hypocrisy they are.)

How do you debate political issues with someone who is obviously so historically ignorant about Politics in America? How do you discuss where America ought to go as a nation with people who think that because they were Republicans, that Lincoln (used Big Government to put down a rebellion) and Eisenhower (used Big Government to build the Interstate Highway System) were staunch Conservatives, or that Nixon (started the Environmental Protection Agency) or Reagan (raised taxes seven times; granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants) could ever get the Republican nomination today? To today’s Republican party, the word “Liberal” is the worst thing you cold call someone. Yet accuse a Republican from today of being against every social advancement and you hear them defend their party by pointing out all the things Liberal Republicans did for the country, back in the time when Liberals were welcome in the Republican Party.

Marsh Blackburn is one of the latest examples. From the article:

As we mentioned above, she wants to be clear that the GOP has led the charge for women’s equality. Let’s hear the whole quote:

“I find this war on women rhetoric almost silly,” Blackburn said Sunday, when asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” if Republicans were against equal pay for women. “It is Republicans that have led the fight for women’s equality. Go back through history — and look at who was the first woman to vote, to get elected to office, to go to Congress, four out of five governors.”

Okay, let’s do that. because when you’re trying to make a point, one would think (if one did think) that facts would matter. And remember, she’s touting the achievements of Republicans in the past as evidence that Republicans of today are not waging a war on women.

Go back through history — and look at who was the first woman to vote,
Woman were allowed to vote in some parts of this country long before the 19th Amendment was ratified. Women in New Jersey had the right to vote from 1776-1807. But while they did record that women voted, they never recorded the time of day each person voted, so it is impossible to know with what political party the first woman to vote was registered. But since the Republican Party was founded in 1854, it wasn’t them. The first woman to vote under the 19th Amendment was from a family of Democrats.

to get elected to office,
The first woman elected to any political office in the United States was Susanna M. Salter. She was elected Mayor of Argonia, Kansas, from 1887-1888, and she was a member of the Prohibition Party. And while the remnants of today’s Prohibition Party are very conservative, back in Salter’s time it was more progressive. (Prohibition was a movement by progressives. Ironically, if it weren’t for Conservatives, I could probably get by without needing a drink.) So, again, not a Republican.

to go to Congress,
Yes on this one. Jeannette Rankin was, indeed, the first woman elected to Congress and a Republican. Her first term was in 1917, before passage of the 19th Amendment. And regardless of her political views then, when she was re-elected to Congress in 1940, she was more liberal in her views, and very pacifist. She voted against US entry into both World Wars. So Blackburn is 1 out of 3 so far on Republicanism, but not as good on Conservatism.

four out of five governors.
Okay, this one is hilariously wrong. The first Republican woman elected Governor of a US State was Kay Orr, who served from 1987-1991. She was also the ninth woman to serve as governor. And she was a Conservative, which is not surprising considering the year. (Specifically, that it was after passage of the Civil Rights Act, a significant point in the ideological history of the Republican Party.)

So to prove the point that Republicans are not waging a war on women, Rep Blackburn cites a list of non-related non-facts. Which is what Republicans do when you try to point out how Republicans of Today are out of touch with Americans of Today. You get to hear all about how Republicans passed the 13th Amendment ending Slavery, without hearing how opposition to it came from Conservatives. And that’s what really matters – Ideology, not party affiliation. The Republican achievements of which today’s Republicans are most proud, are the achievements of Republicans who would not be welcome in today’s Republican Party. Lincoln was not a Conservative, and the Democrats who fought against him at that time were not Liberals.

When the Democratic Party was founded, it “favored republicanism, a weak federal government, states’ rights, agrarian interests (especially Southern planters) and strict adherence to the Constitution; it opposed a national bank, close ties to Great Britain, and business and banking interests.” Sounds more like today’s Republican Party than it does today’s Democratic Party. And when LBJ got the Civil Rights Act passed, he knew that Conservative Democrats would leave the party and join the Republicans, and many of them did. The Democratic Party became more Liberal (how could it not when the Conservatives were jumping ship?) and the Republican Party be came less Liberal (on account of all those ship-jumping Conservatives) until, eventually, there were no more Liberals in the Republican Party. When Republicans proudly boast about their party’s achievements on social issues, they almost ALWAYS point to the things Liberal Republicans of the past did, not Conservative Republicans of today. In fact, the only Conservative Republican achievement of which I ever hear them brag is the Hyde Amendment, named after Mr. Edward Hyde Sen. Henry Hyde, which banned federal spending for abortion. Ironically, the same person I mentioned in the beginning of this, who thought the idea that the two major political parties had switched ideologies over time was bullshit, also refused to believe the Hyde Amendment existed, or understand what it did. And that’s who we’re dealing with. People who refuse to debate the issues based on actual verifiable facts, which proved that things did or did not happen.

In Classical Logic, a false premise can imply anything because a statement of the form If p, then q is False only when p is True and q is False. Otherwise it is True. Today is Saturday, so the statement “If today is Thursday, then I am the King of Norway” is True because it is false that it is Thursday. So it doesn’t matter what the rest says. Until Thursday rolls around and I am revealed not to be the duly recognized King of Norway, it is a True statement. So when Conservatives trot out their False premises for their “logic,” they’re often, technically, making True statements. And you can’t prove they’re making False statements until the premises upon which their arguments are made are True, and the conclusions they drew were False. Yet even when they’re proved quite wrong, it doesn’t seem to stop them from making the same claims. For example, Conservatives like to claim that tax cuts for the rich stimulate the economy and create jobs. And this was their justification for cutting taxes in the first few years of the Bush Administration, despite the fact that we had just gone to war before the second round of cuts. No country in the History of Civilization had ever cut taxes in a time of war, until the United States did in 2003. And despite all the money the folks at the top were keeping for themselves, they didn’t use it to create jobs, and the unemployment rate was on its way up by the time they left office. Doesn’t stop them from arguing that tax cuts for the rich create jobs. Sadly, people like the Conservative I debated on the Twitter believe them.

This is our daily open thread. Have fun with it.


38 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 19, 2014: The Myth of the Never-Changing Parties

  1. Excellent post, Wayne. 🙂

    I’m glad you’re still fighting the good fight on the Twitters. Your patience and logic are more useful than my “Fuck you, you fucking fuck!”

    I just can’t even try to reason with these people anymore. It just ties me up in knots and raises my blood pressure, and, frankly, I can’t spend anymore time trying to have a reasonable conversation with people who have stopped learning, and view those who disagree with them as sub-human.

    • Thanks, Zooey.

      I do it because I want to understand the thought process (if any) they go through to reach their conclusions. I’m pretty sure that George Lakoff had it right when he said that while both liberals and conservatives agree the world is a dangerous place, conservatives believe it always will be, while liberals believe it could be made better. He also summarized Liberal philosophy as like a nurturing mother, versus the strict father model of Conservative philosophy.

      We have a fundamental difference of opinion on the role of govt in our society, and I want to find someone with whom I could discuss that. I want to get one to admit the hypocrisy of arguing with someone over the internet that the govt hasn’t done any good for the country.

    • I fear I’ve become the same way Zooey. I used to be able to converse with those with opposing views without uttering the words “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard!”.

      • We’re a scary lot, aren’t we?


        A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit, claiming the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission rejected her application for a license plate proclaiming she’s an atheist.

    • Well shoot, don’t click that, I thought it would skip the ad if I linked straight to the picture.

      • (which one was it, OIMF?)

        The 14th picture of the selfies, through time, – quite hilarious, especially the ‘xerox selfie’! Oh and the Vincent van Peep selfie!

          • Very clever! All of the ‘peep-o-ramas’ had great thought, whimsy, humor and artistry!
            I never knew peeps had any more use than squishing them into shapes…

  2. Day one of our Washington DC holiday. For eating, everyone must go to The Founding Farmers restaurant. OIMF would really love it!

    Day two of our holiday. Feet, feet, feet, feet don’t fail me now!

    (If you can’t view these photos and the story, let me know.)

    • You’ve been very busy! Reads as if you’re having a wonderful time.
      Thanks for sharing/taking us along on holiday!

    • I’ve never been there, but hear Founding Farmers is great. I still haven’t see the MLK monument, as you’ve noticed you have to be able to walk a lot to see DC, but it looks really impressive. I’m glad you’re enjoying DC. If you had a car I’d tell you to come see the Virginia countryside.

      • That would be nice OIMF but renting a car and driving is not something we want to tackle 🙂 Really enjoying ourselves.

  3. Woo-hoo! I won’t apologize for the length of this post. I won’t I won’t, I won’t!

    I picked up a new, more powerful and expensive, battery for my model airplanes a couple months ago and then the weather turned nasty and I didn’t get a chance to really test it. I was just about to start my formal tests last week when I stuck my finger into a whirling propeller, with a different battery, and that put a considerable crimp in my flying though It’s healing nicely. Well? I finally got to test it and I didn’t realize just how much difference the batteries make.

    The new battery gave a RPM boost of about 12% with the same motor and prop. 12% is a substantial change in the performance of anything but it’s especially significant for propeller speed even if one isn’t talking about it’s ability to cut deeply. Imagine using a new fuel in your car that gives you 12% better acceleration AND 12% better mileage. I was a little bit surprised it was so much

    The funny part is that I had been told by knowledgeable sources that all the Chinese batteries come out of the same 3 factories so I should just buy from whoever has the best price. That’s not entirely true. I seem to have found a place that accurately labels their 60 amp batteries, as 60 amp batteries, and charges what they are really worth instead of labeling their 40 amp batteries as 60 amp batteries and sells them at the price “the other guy” sells a 50 amp battery.

    The old batteries worked great with my 30 amp motors but my 60 amp motor only drew 30 amps too. With the new battery it finally draws 60 amps.

    Well. The big white glider I got last year had rather poor climb performance and the motor didn’t really deliver what I thought it should even with my best battery. On my first launch with the new battery I got as high in 10 seconds as I used to do in 30. It will, in fact, accelerate in a vertical climb as high as I can see it and it has a 102inch wingspan and my eyes are still pretty good. Starting from a glide and in level flight it accelerates so fast that the wings flutter after more than a few seconds at full throttle! Basically; it’s not safe to even use full throttle unless the nose is pointed up by at least 45 degrees!! It is now, thanks to a new battery that cost $2.39 more than the old one, the fastest RC plane of any kind that I have ever flown in more the 45 years of flying RC planes!!!

    • That’s cool, Pete. Congratulations on making something you’ve always enjoyed doing even more enjoyable. Now you can try things you never had the power to try before. Good luck, and have lots of fun. 🙂

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