May 10, 2007
Giuliani Fading?

Eric Devericks's cartoon today in the Seattle Times speaks to just part of the troubles facing Rudy Giuliani as of late.

One component of those struggles has certainly been Giuliani's fumbling on abortion. Pro-choice Republicans are not automatically dead in the water running for national office (if anyone can do it, it would be Rudy), but this summary highlights Giuliani's specific troubles on the issue:

If you knew someone who ...

... Supported taxpayer funding of abortion

... Said the Republican Party should "get beyond issues like (abortion)".

... Gave money to Planned Parenthood

... And spoke at a NARAL "Champions of Choice" Lunch

You wouldn't say he was Pro-Choice.

... You'd say he was an Abortion Rights Advocate.

It comes down to a level of insincerity that simply won't work on the primary campaign trail. A wise, political veteran once told me Republicans have to state their position on this issue, whatever it may be, early and clearly. Rudy's complete lack of clarity might be more of a problem at this point than his actual position.

More troubling perhaps is Giuliani's total inability to speak convincingly on an issue he and his campaign knew from the beginning posed potential challenges. It's displays a lack of competence, decisiveness, and planning which are the antithesis of Giuliani's overall appeal (at least in theory). It also speaks poorly of the potential ability of the candidate and his campaign organization to handle a grueling general election campaign that is likely to begin at some point next February.

Now comes news his campaign may start downplaying efforts in the early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. John Podhoretz says a focus on the defacto national primary on February 5th is a workable strategy to win the nomination. Jonah Goldberg disagrees. Analyst Chuck Todd really disagrees, saying Iowa and New Hampshire are likely to have an even bigger impact than in the past given the compact nature of this primary season after Iowa gets the ball rolling.

Not only is Giuliani's campaign reeling, it's now dancing with the devil of a very risky electoral strategy. When I said I support Mitt Romney (which I'm still enthusiastic about), I said Giuliani was my 2nd choice. That's fading awfully fast. He still has time to correct course, but an absolute trainwreck this early in the cycle is an ominous sign.


Posted by Eric Earling at May 10, 2007 08:23 PM | Email This
Giuliani is undefeatable.

Therefore, Hillary supporters have to disparagement and so dissent.

Posted by: John Bailo on May 10, 2007 08:46 PM
2. John, look up "non sequitur" in the dictionary.

Then come back and try again.

Posted by: sro on May 10, 2007 08:57 PM
3. In the grand order of things, why weren't Hillary and Rosie aborted?

Posted by: Walters on May 10, 2007 09:27 PM
4. Gay boy Rudy should stay in New York so he doesn't have to leave his friends' behind.

Finally America has figured out that a Transexual isn't a Volkswagen part.

Posted by: Independent Voter on May 10, 2007 09:29 PM
5. Eric, your link to the Des Moines newspaper hit the nail on the head, not only for this Presidential election cycle but also for Washington State politics for a long time. Rudy is correct, if we want to run candidates out there who toe the conservative line we won't win this time.

His only problem right now is with the 10-15% of the voters on the far right who care more about upholding their ideology than winning the election. He will have trouble in Caucuses during the primary, however, there is no one close to beain able to beat him in any significant primary, yet.

For someone who supports slick Mitt, you are quick to throw out the 'insincere' word... confusing a man's conviction and unwilliness to change that conviction even if it means costing him the election with insincerity - strange indeed. What is insincere would be changing one's positions on big issues in order to win elections, like a Republican trying to win in a liberal state or liberal city by moving to the left, then moving to the right at a convenient time to gain promotion - that is insincere.

Posted by: Doug on May 10, 2007 09:32 PM
6. Doug -

Insincere was Rich Lowry's word, as the link with the variant of that indicated. Perhaps I should have put it in quotes. Lowry lays out a pretty compelling case that it is the disparity and confusion in his position in recent weeks, rather than the position itself, which is causing him the most grief. Like Mitt's conversion to pro-life or not, he's been consistent about it on the Presidential campaign trail.

As I indicated above, it's not necessarily the position itself that's the biggest problem, it's the total inability to deal with it clearly. If Rudy could do that lots of people would have much less of a problem with it. Instead he's stumbling all over the place, including his exceptionally odd position that abortions for poor women should be paid for with taxpayers money because it is a Constitutional right - as if we pay for poor people to own guns just because it is a right. Besides, I'm somewhere between him and Romney on the issue of abortion anyway. It's not a top tier issue for me (though it is of more import to many primary voters). I just expect a candidate to be coherent about their position.

Posted by: Eric Earling on May 10, 2007 09:44 PM
7. Want to see Hillary as the next president Eric?

Keep it up!

It's what I think of your frickin politics!

I'd rather see Atilla the Hun posting here.

Posted by: GS on May 10, 2007 09:51 PM
8. Yeah. If Rudy, Mitt, John, and Fred would just tell us they're pro-abortion-choice, we could move on to "more important" issues like taxes.

Posted by: Michelle on May 10, 2007 10:05 PM
9. I have a great idea Michelle. Let's cut taxes on the top 1% even more, and let our children and grandchildren pay for it along with all that interest. We already did it 5 times, what is one more right?

Tell a Republicon you will cut their taxes, and they will support you no matter how many crimes you commit, lies you tell, or worse.... They are so easily fooled. Play to their greed, and their fear, and you get their vote every time. Piece of cake. Look at Reichert. What a joke.

Sorry Michelle. America is waking up, and the stench of the "borrow and spend like drunken sailors" Republicon Party is just about to be washed away for a generation or two. Some people are even starting to ask where all those missing billions went?

Now that we have millions of people keeping the Democrats honest, better days for America may finally be in sight.

Posted by: Facts on May 10, 2007 10:37 PM
10. Let's see Romney has flip flopped on abortion, twice, what's to say he won't do so again first time that he find it politically expedient? Don't see how either side of the issue could trust him.
As a pro-life person I have a lot more respect for Guiliani than Romney.

And of course the very fact that someone as far to the left as Eric would support him makes has to make one wonder about Romney, no doubt you are convinced that when the time comes Romney is a lot more squishy on important issues than he would have us believe,

Posted by: Mark on May 10, 2007 10:49 PM
11. I like Giuliani. And he's certainly free to have any viewpoint on an issue. But you can't claim to hate abortion in one breath while giving $$$ to an abortuary in the next. Doesn't add up.

Facts, sorry you missed it but the treasury is having record tax receipts. And that's WITH tax cuts (thank goodness!). The problem is SPENDING, not revenue. Clearly.

Posted by: Michele on May 10, 2007 10:51 PM
12. ...and Facts, did you ever tell us what kind of business you claimed to own? Still waiting.

Posted by: Michele on May 10, 2007 10:53 PM
13. Actually we would call him an abortion enthusiast, but pro-abortion for short works just as well.
That list of no-nos you have for Guilianni is very similar to a list that could be drawn up for several Washington state republicans.

Posted by: Mary E on May 10, 2007 10:57 PM
14. FWIW (probably not a lot), I agree with Eric @ 6 where he sez:

''.... it's not necessarily the position itself that's the biggest problem, it's the total inability to deal with it clearly. If Rudy could do that lots of people would have much less of a problem with it. Instead he's stumbling all over the place, ....''

A net gain by being on both sides of this issue or (as Eric noted) at best being incoherent ain't gonna fly. . . . Same on ''gun control''; where I don't see that ''we need it in NYC but it's not necessary (or AS necessary) in rural America'' as being logically consistent.

Whatever the sum total of the reasons, note that the latest Real Clear Politics poll average for the (R) New Hampshire primary has:
McCain 1st @ 26.3 %
Romney 2nd @ 24.5 %
Giuliani 3rd @ 22.0 %

Posted by: Methow Ken on May 10, 2007 11:22 PM
15. Hey, lack-o-facts weighed in. Tell us, factless in Seattle, how is it that more money by the truckload is going into Wash. DC with all those fat cats not paying their "fair share"?

Posted by: PC on May 10, 2007 11:25 PM
16. Folks who have commented are wrong on both counts.

There's not nearly as much of a huge problem with Giuliani's abortion position as a few writers want us to believe. The mainstream press leads public opinion in the direction it wants all the time. The constant anti-war drumbeat is a Left Leaning media strategy because they know it works.

And folks are wrong to question Giuliani on his clear understanding of the electorate overall. He is absolutely right that by focusing on abortion, conservatives will not be able to win. And it's not the issue of abortion that really is the problem. It's the fact that the left is adept at focusing on nothing, and on using every issue as simply a contrarian wedge to discredit conservatives.

The fact is that conservativism is a wide ranging political philosophy. Much wider than the narrow plantation style thinking of the left. One can be conservative on any number of issues, and fall under the conservative tent, because it is the ONLY alternative to the hedonistic, immoral, socialist, cultural Marxism and out-of-control train that is the Left.

If conservatives of any stripe rat-hole on their own pet issues, then the left wins. It's like Al Qaeda. They don't have to defeat the entire American military, all they have to do is make us disbelieve in ourselves. And that's what the Democrats know is the path to their success against conservatives.

So go ahead, make a big fuss about abortion. Delude yourself into thinking that conservatives can only have one sharia like (and very leftist in the unquestionable sense) set of dogmatic beliefs. Or believe in the drumbeat that wants you to cast your vote early. Either way, you end up hurting any conservative issue that you actually belive in, because it emboldens the opposition.

And, for the record, I'm not particularly a Giuliani fan. I'm simply a fan of putting anyone in office but one of today's extremist Democrats.

There are many sensible and important battles to be had on all issues on the right, but we should have those battles, after the left is defeated. Because we know that the left won't have a rational debate on domestic security, or the 2nd amendment, or on abortion, or on Social Security, or mass transit, or global warming, or anything else.

When the Left gets power, the groupthink takes over, and freedom and responsbile, limited government goes out the window.

Posted by: Jeff B. on May 10, 2007 11:25 PM
17. The real elephant in the room question for a casual observer would be, "Why did Rudi try to placate the Pro-Life movement?"
"Doug" at (5), above, [He's not really Doug, I am] states what seems to be conventional wisdom for many here at Sound Politics. It is a fantasy that the Republican Left repeats so often it seems like they think they can make it true by repeating it: that we must move left on abortion to win. Yet there is absolutely no evidence for this. It is a creation of wishful thinking by the FreeSex/Death wing of the Party. Dino was Pro-Life and won. McGavick was richer, more experienced, more talented, better connected, both nationwide and in the Washington GOP Establishment, pro-abortion choice and lost. [Are we going to recover from the "McGavick years?"]
Moreover, since Abortion was forced upon the nation by Judicial Criminals in 1973, NO PRO-ABORTION CHOICE REPUBLICAN HAS EVER BEEN ELECTED PRESIDENT And the demographics are getting worse for GOP social liberals, not better.
So the question "Why did Rudi equivocate?" has a clear answer. The brains at the national level figured this out a long time ago. You can't win the Presidency from the Republican side without the social Conservatives. Both Bushes, neither a conservative, figured it out and won. Every serious candidate understands it: McCain calls himself (falsely) a member of the "pro-Life Community" Romney had his convenient and unbelievable "epiphany" (even McGavick tried to fool us) and Rudi did his best to "hate" abortion. When will the rest of the "selfishness-is-good-I-just-care about-my-money" wing of the Party finally wake up and get it? You need us.
Unity doesn't mean everybody but you has to shut up about their issue. It means we get serious about everybody's issue.

Posted by: Doug Parris on May 10, 2007 11:48 PM
18. Lest I be misunderstood, let me add that I also fully agree with Jeff B. @ 16, where he said:

''I'm simply a fan of putting anyone in office but one of today's extremist Democrats''

I would happily vote for any of the (R)s who were in the first debate, over ANY of the plausible (D) contenders; NO contest..... and (of course): For Fred or Newt too.

Posted by: Methow Ken on May 11, 2007 12:05 AM
19. And the demographics are only going to get worse because his position on abortion is EXACTLY the problem. Enthusiastic support for the dismembering of children in the womb is not what I would call a great position.
That the one legitimate role of the government - protecting the innocent -- would be called a "sharia like dogmatic belief" (!!!)is emotional hysteria.

Posted by: Mary E on May 11, 2007 12:34 AM
20. Mary E,

You misunderstand. I'm against abortion. But there's a difference between being anti-abortion, and the political reality of Roe v. Wade. At least for now, that genie is not going back in to the bottle, so why allow it to be self-defeating wedge?

There has been a lot said about conservatives losing because they were not conservative enough. And there has been a lot said about the country shifting to the left. The truth lies somewhere in between. Which means that every political stance carries the possibility of alienating a key demographic.

Democrats lie through their teeth. They talk a great game on compassion and anything else where words are a substitute for a real stance. And they know that their base, which is made up of victim constituentcies, is onboard, as long as they get their little slice.

The point is that conservatives are a much wider group as a whole. There are definitely some social moderates out there, who are fed up with runaway government and count themselves as conservatives. And if the issue is not abortion, it might be gay marriage or any other conservative issue, that is thought to be the province of only the true conservative.

As Doug indicates, the trouble is that all that really does in create disunity. And that's all that is needed for the Left to win.

My point on the dogmatic beliefs is that I see conservatives as being far more tolerant than the dogma that I see on the left every day. And that's why I don't think abortion is the place to stake an all-or-nothing stand.

And in the end, that's based on sound reasoning. Because one thing is for sure if you are anti-abortion. You are not going to like what a Democrat in power does to make abortion even more prevalent.

Posted by: Jeff B. on May 11, 2007 01:06 AM
21. PC, it is hard to say what anyone's "fair share" is. What I do know is that the taxes on money made off of money (capitol gains) has been cut in half, along with rates to the top 1%, and corporations too. The people that make their money doing nothing pay less, and the people that work 2 jobs get to make it up.

Did you know the fortune 500 gets more money from handouts (subsidies) than they pay in taxes? The rest of us, lower, and middle class get to pay more at every level to make up for the difference. Fees, licenses, tuition, and so on.

Our tax system is set up so someone with means can compound their wealth with greater ease, but if you start from scratch you have to pay every step of the way. Someone making minimum wage pays 6.2% of their wages to Social Security, and someone making 10 million a year pays practically nothing.

I have a great idea. Tax wealth not work. Everyone one America pays the same rate, but it is based on what they own, and not their labor.

Sounds fair to me.....

Back to the subject. Julleonni has more skeletons in his closet than you could imagine. They will be coming out one a week until he is eliminated. This is the sad fact of presidential politics. Besides, half the people that blindly vote for Republicons only vote for one issue, abortion. If you don't think women should be forced to carry every child to term, at the point of a gun, even the child of a rapist, you will not get the vote of the Talibgangelicals. The world is only 6,000 years old Taliganbelical freaks is half the GOP's GOTV machine. Without them, Rockin' Rudi is toast.

Embrace coathangers.....

Posted by: Facts on May 11, 2007 05:47 AM
22. Facts:

What a great handle for someone who doesnt know a fact when it is right in front of you.

Gee, taxing wealth, not work, sure turned out great for Russia from 1917 to 1989. Oh, let me count the ways: world's worst environmental messes, rampant alcoholism, declining life expectancy, shrinking population thru inadequate replacement birth rates, uncontrolled organized crime, economic stagnation is a charitable description, on and on......

Oh, did you notice the fact that the US Treasury is breaking records collecting taxes the past few weeks as a result of the Bush tax cuts?

If you liberals had any brains whatsoever, you would be demanding more tax cuts in order to grow the Govt. But you have no brains.......

These tiresome factless brainless liberals like Facts are like the fuzy little animals in the movie Gremlins, cute and amusing, but ultimately utterly dangerous.

Go grab another bong hit, pal, and leave real life to the adults.

Posted by: Hank on May 11, 2007 06:24 AM
23. "...someone as far to the left as Eric..."

Thanks for the laugh to start my day, Mark.

But since you mentioned it, Romney was always personally pro-life, but functionally pro-choice in public policy. He discovered he was wrong, converted (I thought that's what fervent pro-lifers wanted?), and took the step of publicly announcing it to his liberal Massachusetts constituency as Governor in an op-ed. Moreover, he actually governed in that state in a way social conservatives would seemingly appreciate, as this profile in the National Review discusses:

a good case can be made that Romney has fought harder for social conservatives than any other governor in America, and it is difficult to imagine his doing so in a more daunting political environment. "On marriage and cloning, he has provided aggressive leadership as a positive, pro-family governor," says Kris Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute. "On a scale of one to ten, I'd rank him an eight, and I'm a tough grader."

If he didn't back down from those issues in Boston, it doesn't stand to reason he'd back down from them in Washington, DC.

Posted by: Eric Earling on May 11, 2007 07:06 AM
24. I agree that Giuliani has fumbled his abortion position. I understand he is going to come out with a clear policy statement that shows his support for the pro-choice position. The main thing I see is he wants judges who interpret rather than make the law. However, in his fumbling, he has stated that judges could be of two minds vis a vis roe v. wade. One side is that it was a bad decision and the other, that it has been in effect for so long that a judge could say precedent has been set. That would be Giuliani's out to appoint pro-death judges.

Also, now that Giuliani has fumbled, notice that the media is now after Romney- 60 minutes, for one. So, let's see how he stands up to the intense media onslaught.

Question: when will the media start hammering clinton and obama?

Last thing: Romney is not "slick" like in willie. Let's not confuse the two. Romney is polished, has good bearing, dresses good, speaks good. The "Slicker" got his name from his slick and slimy dealings as governor of Arkansas. See the difference? I sure hope so.

From the first time I heard Slick Willie in relation to clinton, I knew I would never vote for him.

Romney is no slick willie.

Posted by: swatter on May 11, 2007 07:16 AM
25. Facts,

I would like to compliment you on most of your message in #22. This has been the first message in a long time that you spoke coherently about a topic and without resorting to baseless attacks and vitriolic hyperbole. Of course you had to go and ruin it in the last paragraph.

Is it at all possible for you to actually DISCUSS a topic by dealing ONLY with the facts and try and back up your position with data? I really prefer debating topics and not trading insults and invectives. Can you do that, or is it impossible for the left to actually use accurate data and facts to defend their positions?

As for you SSI argument, you fail to understand that SSI is NOT an income tax. It is only nominally based on income. Yes the tax is capped after a certain amount, but so are the benefits. The person making $10 million gets much less benefits per dollar contributed than a person making minimum wage. When you focus ONLY on the tax, and not on the benefits, it shows me you either do not understand how SSI works or you do and purposely distort the data to advance your social agenda of wealth transfer.

As for your cap gains argument, the wealthy, even the cap gains wealthy pay more in INCOME TAX than the poor do, since nearly 50% of the tax filers in this country have a net zero income tax liability. If you try and include SSI, you are muddying the waters again since income tax cuts or increases by the Feds have no connection with SSI taxes. So, you cannot argue income tax while bemoaning the SSI tax in the same breath. They are two different issues and need to be addressed separately. But again, if your agenda is to force wealth transfer, then your argument makes sense.

Finally, Hank addressed your "taxing wealth" argument somewhat, but what I see is that it can have serious consequences as far as I can see. I see that it could destroy businesses that might not generate income but have high assets, it could also destroy retired couples and their nest egg they are trying to live on since their assets are what they have and their income small.

Yes, it is a shame that there are a small number of people who find a way to get fabulously rich, but that does not prevent others from finding ways to gain wealth. I am not jealous of someone else's luck and/or hard work, though I do wish I got in on some of their action, but if I focus on the disparity, I will live a miserable life. I started out life as a poor immigrant's son, but I have done well for myself. My position in life is moderate by US standards by fabulously wealthy by world standards. I know people with less than I who are happy and content, and people with more than I who are miserable. Equality in wealth is not the answer to happiness, and thus I reject the wealth and income disparity issue as a cause for social ills.

To give you credit, we do need tax policies that do not favor the already rich and powerful, but there is a difference between tax incentive that generates wealth and tax breaks that simply let the greedy be more greedy. It is possible such taxes that favor hedge fund moguls (like John Edwards) are probably not the best kind and might need to be restructured, but not all cap gains taxes are good, and some incentive in that area could benefit the economy as a whole, so I do not reject them wholesale.

I am hopeful for an actual debate. What do you say?

Posted by: eyago on May 11, 2007 07:35 AM
26. Facts,

please go to the IRS website and look at the actual facts about who's paying taxes and how much. You might be surprised to learn that the talking points that you spout are just that - talk.

Posted by: dan on May 11, 2007 08:06 AM
27. I have never thought Giuliani had the remotest chance of winning the nomination, because of his views on abortion and guns.

Nothing has happened to change my mind.

I think he has been running all along for VP, whether he realizes it or not.

Mitt Romney, whom I've voted for in MA, is my second choice for President.

Posted by: pudge on May 11, 2007 08:22 AM
28. The greatest asset of the Republican Party is its perceived frugality with the people's money. It is this that draws the middle to Republican candidates in elections.

What cost the congress in the 2006 was a combination of the loss of the people's faith in the party's dedication to frugality and frustration with how the administration was handling its peacekeeping role in Iraq.

Assuming the adminstration can get a handle on Iraq, the party can win in 2008 if it remembers why the middle votes for Republicans.

I doubt that Romney will bring the faithful out to vote. He just doesn't have the kind of hold on conservatives that would draw them out to vote. I also don't think centerists will be drawn by his message or charisma.

Guiliani certainly has charisma, but can he bring both the right and the center out to vote in enough numbers to win? Time will tell.

Is he fading? As I see it, at this point the only serious contender is Fred Thompson. Romney is too much a creation of the image consultants and McCain is too old, too tired, and too abrasive.

That kind of leaves Guiliani as the man - unless Thompson enters the race. So far Fred talks a good talk, but I don't really know much more about him.

Posted by: deadwood on May 11, 2007 08:24 AM
29. Dennis Prager just hit a major BINGO on this.

The media is trying to find anything they can to alienate the Republican base from Guiliani. Why? Because they truly fear that Guiliani can defeat Hillary or Obama.

Don't fall for it.

Posted by: ferrous on May 11, 2007 09:43 AM
30. Republicans aren't nominating some guy to be the big cheese at a party - we're nominating someone who will lead the USA (and the entire free world). There's NOTHING wrong with being critical of every nominee. Better to bring any flaws out in the open now, rather than be surprised during the primaries or even before the elections.

I don't understand the reluctance to admit our "guys" have flaws. We need to examine them & see if they're something we can work with, or if they're something that completely block our support.

Rudy isn't my first choice on some conservative issues - but he would be (IMHO) a dandy leader. If nothing else, he'd have the courage to push back Our Friends the Saudis.

Posted by: steve miller on May 11, 2007 10:06 AM
31. Facts, type of business owned by you? Or have you been caught making it up? Inquiring minds want to know. A simple "I don't really have a business after all" or "It's ___type of business will do." Why are you avoiding a simple question?

Posted by: Michele on May 11, 2007 11:13 AM
32. ferrous: what I want fall for is your implication that only Giuliani can win, and that even if that were the case, that I would want my party to be led by him.

I like Rudy. I will not support him for the nomination, because I will not support someone who does not have a broad belief in personal liberty.

Posted by: pudge on May 11, 2007 11:36 AM
33. Mitt Romney is not minimally qualified to be the Republican nominee for President.
Those who defend him say, "Well, look, here are his positions..." Earling among them. But being conservative on issues is more than filling out the right check-box on the candidate questionnaire, even if you can be eloquent on any subject (like silver-spoon Romney and Rhodes-scholar Clinton). The reason people like Eric accept such shallow measures of a candidate's real position is that they are just as shallow themselves (on political issues). The only reason pragmatists take positions in the first place is because they think of it like drawing a poker hand - they want a winning one. And winning, after all, to them, is more important than being "right." They attack anyone who points out that they are not trustworthy as "demanding ideological purity," but they are perfectly willing to discard any of the cards and draw another one if it benefits the career path.

There is nothing more clear about Mitt Romney that that. Here's the proof:

LINK: Who is this man, really?

Posted by: Doug Parris on May 11, 2007 12:09 PM
34. Doug Parris: I read the first line of your post, and I read no further. That's a remarkably stupid thing to say.

Posted by: pudge on May 11, 2007 02:00 PM
35. pudge,

You should really be more open minded. The truth sometimes hurts.

Posted by: Michelle on May 11, 2007 03:04 PM
36. Wow, just look at all the infighting on this board. If anything we can see the GOP is setting itself up for failure in 2008. I for one welcome our new Clinton overlord.

She's going to win unless you guys can act together as a party and stop betting on Thompson to be the second coming of Ronald Reagan.

Go Ron Paul. =)

Posted by: Cato on May 11, 2007 03:11 PM
37. Cato (how is it that you come by that handle, btw?),

This is all very healthy for the GOP. We do better when there's a contest for the nomination. Now go and kiss up to Mrs. Clinton and we'll see you in the general.

Posted by: Michelle on May 11, 2007 03:17 PM
38. Hi Michelle: how are you?

I am not the one who isn't open-minded. I am the one who actually knows quite a bit about Mitt Romney, and I am the one who knows he clearly has significant qualifications to be President.

It's one thing to say you don't think he would be a good President, or that you don't think he is principled enough to lead the GOP. We can have honest disagreements about such things, and I don't mind people saying them. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course. But to say he is not "minimally qualified" to be President is pure rubbish. He is at least as qualified as every President we've had since Ford, except for Bush '41.

I don't mind a contest. What I do mind is vicious and defamatory attacks against Republican candidates by people who purport to be Republicans.

I am far closer to you and Doug ideologically than I am to Mitt. But that doesn't mean I'll let nonsensical statements about him slip by unremarked.

Posted by: pudge on May 11, 2007 03:51 PM
39. Michelle, one more thing: what is your opinion on what Doug Roulstone said at the SnoCo convention last month, about not tearing down Republican candidates?

Posted by: pudge on May 11, 2007 03:58 PM
40. Hi Pudge,

I'm fine. Thank you for asking.

Some people base qualifications for president, not on what other government or executive offices they've held, or what boxes they check on positions, or how they deal with issues as cards in a poker deck, but on how conservative they are (read: how committed they are to the Constitution and American principles and their ability to hold fast to these principles despite pressure to do the opposite).

On Doug Roulstone and his statement at the convention: I like Roulstone. But I do have disagreements with him. This is one of them. I knew he didn't mean physically "tear down Republicans" but was remarking on exactly what you just said is OK:

It's one thing to say you don't think he would be a good President, or that you don't think he is principled enough to lead the GOP. We can have honest disagreements about such things, and I don't mind people saying them.

Posted by: Michelle on May 11, 2007 05:01 PM
41. Well, pudge has dealt with the one issue I thought worthy of addressing from Doug's missive, though I continue to be amused by his earnest belief that he has a better (and different!) understanding of my own mind than I do.

To clarify matters given your comments, Doug, could you tell those still reading who you're supporting for President and why that person is well-qualified to be Chief Executive?


Posted by: Eric Earling on May 11, 2007 05:50 PM
42. Michelle: I disagree with your interpretation of what Roulstone said. Regardless, my point is simply that Doug Parris was being mean-spirited and unfair, and I think that does not help the GOP in any way, no matter who gets the nomination. I think it serves one purpose, and one purpose only: to separate us. It certainly doesn't help conservatives get elected. It doesn't make Tancredo more likely to win the nomination.

I get it, you and Doug are unhappy with the top candidates. So am I. I think Thompson could be a good addition to the field, you apparently don't. But all this can be expressed just fine without resorting to ad hominem smears. We are not Democrats.

I like all the candidates, everyone from Paul and Tancredo to Giuliani and McCain. And everyone in between: Brownback, Huckabee, Gilmore, and so on. They are all fine men and good Republicans. I agree with McCain and Romney maybe 80 percent of the time, Tancredo and Paul maybe 90 percent of the time, Giuliani maybe 70. I think I'd agree with Thompson even more than 90 percent of the time (I know I agreed with him most of the time in all of the speeches I've seen him give since he took office in the 90s). But I like all the candidates, and see no reason to be vicious toward any of them.

Yes, I know, politics ain't softball. But I am not crying in my milk here. I just see that around the corner, we are facing annihilation as a party if we don't stand together. The funniest/saddest part about this is that Doug Parris tries to link himself to Reagan, and yet Reagan was the most vociferous advocate of not tearing down fellow Republicans. I find it entirely incongruous that his organization would take Reagan's name and then engage in tactics that Reagan deplored.

I dunno. Maybe it's because I am surrounded by far-left liberals most of every day at work, so I appreciate that there's something to be said for unity even in our differences. They are gaining ground, and we can work together as conservatives and Republicans, or we can all fall. That doesn't mean we compromise our own views. It means we stand up for our views, but we don't slam our fellow Republicans who disagree.

If the GOP went the way Doug Parris wants it to, we will never win another election. Majorities are formed with big tents, not little ones. Again, I agree with him on the actual issues. And I believe very strongly in those issues. And I know that the only chance I have of implementing my views is to win elections. And to win elections, we need unity.

Of course, being nice is not all that's needed for unity. I presume you believe, as I do, that to win, we need to return to our conservative Republican principles that many of our elected officials have abandoned. But even if we do that, if we slash and burn everyone else in the process, we will not have a party left that is capable of winning.

I am going to back, in the nomination process, the person I feel best carries the conservative banner: right to life, individual property rights, Constitutional government, education choice, and so on. But at the end of the day I will quite happily support whoever the GOP chooses as its candidate.

Posted by: pudge on May 11, 2007 06:58 PM
43. I disagree with your interpretation of what Roulstone said.

How did you interpret it? I thought we interpreted it in the same way, which would rule out Doug Parris's comments. Which is why I disagreed, and you agreed. We have a different interpretation of what Parris said, I think, not Roulstone.

I get it, you and Doug are unhappy with the top candidates. So am I. I think Thompson could be a good addition to the field, you apparently don't. But all this can be expressed just fine without resorting to ad hominem smears.

What was the ad hominen attack on Thompson? Did I give one? Doug Parris, at this point is open to Fred Thompson, from what I understand.

Posted by: Michelle on May 11, 2007 07:55 PM
44. What was the ad hominen attack on Thompson? Did I give one?

No no, I was criticizing what Doug said. I see the juxtaposition of those two sentences was confusing; what I was pointing out is that Doug was making ad hominem attacks (on both Romney and Eric), and I perceived you as defending those attacks as legitimate. I don't think they are.

Posted by: pudge on May 11, 2007 08:02 PM
45. New York can only be won by one of the current Republican Candidates. Rudy is the top choice.

Rudy vs Clinton, there is no other choice.

Posted by: GS on May 11, 2007 11:46 PM
46. On the "Minimum Qualification" to be the Republican Nominee for President:

First "Pudge" says (in 34) that he didn't actually read any more of my post than the first few words, and then he accuses me of stupidity.
I think Pudge has demonstrated an emotional attachment to his former Governor, a personal empathy with Mitt that made the severe accusation in my first sentence so painful that he recoiled, in agony. And despite his strong desire to attempt to avenge his comrade of the "insult" by refuting me, he simply struck back blindly... with an ad hominem attack.

Ad hominem: Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason. (American Heritage).
I did not attack Romney with name calling nor any appeal to prejudice. I said he was unqualified. That is not name calling; it is a specific accusation and I backed it up with extensive facts and reasoning that Pudge, not only failed to dispute rationally, but refused to even read. Pudge's approach to me, by contrast, was to call me vicious, defamatory, stupid and nonsensical without so much as a single factual allegation to hang any of it on.

He also misquoted me. I did not say Mitt Romney was unqualified to be President. A statement that broad would imply that he had an inadequacy of administrative competency or knowledge of the mechanisms of US Government or the kinds of associations with qualified potential appointees that are necessary for a person to simply operate the bureaucratic machinery. I said he was unqualified to be the Republican Nominee for President, which is a much higher calling.

Many men have had the kind of administrative/government qualifications to simply warm the seat in the Oval Office, among them, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt and, of course, albeit without the specific knowledge of the U.S. system, we could add Mao Tse-Tung, Daniel Ortega, Fidel Castro, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin, all of them highly qualified in the first sense, that is, administrative ability and strong leadership qualities. Simply winning the office requires that. But all of those men were also unqualified to be the Republican Nominee for President, much more unqualified even than Mitt, some of them.

The purpose of the Republican Party is to make conservative principles public policy. Within the context of conservatism there is a broad range of character, vitality, and creative spirituality, but to be minimally qualified to be the Republican Nominee a man must actually be a conservative. And he must be reliably so. Mitt Romney, as we have demonstrated, extensively, on, has only lately, as his Presidential ambitions have emerged, become a nominal conservative. It would be quite the same if Al Gore, frustrated at his lack of traction, were to suddenly spout conservative rhetoric, claim to have changed his mind on several key issues, file for office as a Republican (but keep the global environmentalist baggage) and ask for our support.

We cannot make a man new to the movement its leader, even if he has, in fact changed. In Mitt's case, two facts are controlling:

1. There is no way to tell if Romney's Philosophical Reversal (P.R.) is permanent. How could the liberals who voted for him to be liberal in Massachusetts predict he would turn conservative in 2007? How could we then trust him not to do the same thing to us?
2. Just like my hypothetical Al Gore defection, above, Romney has brought radical left wing baggage with him. He wants to give us GOVERNMENT IMPOSED UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. This alone, by itself, disqualifies him.

Romney's Fascist Health Care Proposal

20-Question Mitt Romney multiple-choice exam

Michael Medved's Riches Of Embarrassment

Posted by: Doug Parris on May 12, 2007 01:22 AM
47. First "Pudge" says (in 34) that he didn't actually read any more of my post than the first few words, and then he accuses me of stupidity.

Yep. Shall I do it again? You said something that is, to me, self-evidently false. Shrug.

I think Pudge has demonstrated an emotional attachment to his former Governor, a personal empathy with Mitt that made the severe accusation in my first sentence so painful that he recoiled, in agony.

Wow, I am shocked, that you would think something that is obviously incorrect.

Oh wait, no, I am not.

Wha I have is an emotional attachment to fair representation of all candidates, on all sides. During the 2004 campaign, I defended Kerry from the false charges that he opposed troop funding, for example. I hate Kerry. But I love truth.

And despite his strong desire to attempt to avenge his comrade of the "insult" by refuting me, he simply struck back blindly... with an ad hominem attack.

No, I did not. Please look up "ad hominem." An ad hominem is an attack of the man used as an argument. My attack of your statement as stupid was not directed at the man, but the statement of the man, and it was not intended as an argument.

I did not say Mitt Romney was unqualified to be President.

Yes, in fact, you did. The only qualifications to be the GOP nominee are the exact same qualifications to be the actual President. Perhaps you meant "unfit" rather than "unqualified" to be the nominee. Don't blame me that you used the wrong word.

He wants to give us GOVERNMENT IMPOSED UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. This alone, by itself, disqualifies him.

Shrug. Tancredo wants to waste my money on a Mexican wall that has no chance of being effective. Ron Paul wants to ignore the real threats to our liberty posed by dangerous regimes. Everyone's got issues.

My only point is that you should stick to the issues. You think that disqualifies him? Fine, I don't care. But your rhetoric is lame. You are being lame. You are apparently incapable of recognizing that rational people can disagree, and so they incur your self-righteous wrath.

You come off as no better than Janeane Garofalo. Last night I saw her on The Henry Rollins Show and she proceeded to claim that literally half the country was stupid just because they disagree with her. Ad hominem + question-begging = self-righteous closed-mindedness.

I agree with the overwhelming majority of your views. But I really despise your divisive, nasty, rhetoric that literally serves no good purpose, and is prone to causing significant harm by driving Republicans away. Well, maybe it serves some personal psychological purpose for you, but I won't deign to psychoanalyze you, as you are prone to do to others.

Eh. I am probably wasting my breath anyway.

Posted by: pudge on May 12, 2007 07:22 AM
48. This quote from Doug is really a lot of fun:

"He wants to give us GOVERNMENT IMPOSED UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. This alone, by itself, disqualifies him."

It is an odd, little world where a plan crafted hand-in-hand with the Heritage Foundation is deemed both "fascist" and part of some "radical left wing baggage."

Using Doug's logic, such statements alone should disqualify him from commenting on Romney, and perhaps a lot of other topics.

Posted by: Eric Earling on May 12, 2007 10:13 AM
49. If we didn't have political parties Rudy Giuliani would represent about 80 percent of Americans.

Posted by: John Bailo on May 12, 2007 10:40 AM
50. Eric, Pudge,
Words mean things.
And they don't necessarily indicate the feelings you get when you hear them. That's you, not the words.
When I disproved your use of the term "ad hominem," Pudge, I included, verbatim, the definition from the American Heritage Dictionary and noted it so. Nevertheless, as if you hadn't seen it you intone, "Please look up 'ad hominem.'"

Can you read?

Or just emote?

Other terms that seem to be a challenge to you guys:
"Unqualified" means fails to meet a qualification. I explained, explicitly, what I meant by that and the basic minimum qualification that Romney obviously fails to meet: That a Republican actually has to believe in Republican principles, not fake them. This is common sense any honest person can understand. Pudge responds that there are no specific qualifications to be a Republican nominee for President at all! One is not, apparently, required to even be a Republican. It is a claim that the Republican Left labors every day to make a reality: that the Republican Party means nothing, stands for nothing and has no standards that don't equally apply to Democrats.


The terms "fascism," "government-imposed," and "left-wing" all have denotative meanings. I used the terms properly and, particularly in the case of the term "fascist" was very careful to note and explain that meaning for the philosophically and politically challenged, because in the mind of the ignorant "fascist," which is, in fact, a specific political architecture, simply means "jack-booted Nazi," and is only an emotionally-charged pejorative. I did it to help them think rationally. But some refuse help.
Romney's health care plan is, in fact and literally, a fascist plan. It is precisely what Mussolini would have done when he got around to solving health care and it is a form of government opression. It is not as far left as a Marxist plan, but still.
Eric finds no necessity to deal with my argument at all and chooses, rather, to denigrate my "odd little world" (an ad hominem attack) and suggest (utterly without attempting reason or logic) that the involvement of the Heritage Foundation exempts any scheme from scrutiny.
Once again, absurd and obviously so.
My charges against Romney are harsh. One could attempt to disprove them. Neither Eric or Pudge does that, but, instead attack me personally. That is the essence of "ad hominem." Eric's charges against me are obviously just smears. He does this when he is cornered and losing.

Posted by: Doug Parris on May 12, 2007 11:46 AM
51. Bailo (at 49): "...Rudy Giuliani would represent about 80 percent of Americans."

Link: Giuliani's America

Posted by: Doug Parris on May 12, 2007 11:58 AM
52. Doug, funny, you're the one merely emoting here, and modifying definitions to suit your own purposes. Like that nonsensical article on your site that, quite falsely, calls an immigration bill "treasonous." And calling Romney "unqualified."

Yes, "unqualified" means "fails to meet a qualification." However, the only qualification to be the GOP nominee is to be legally eligible. You are making things up that are not calling them qualifications, and pretending they are.

One is not, apparently, required to even be a Republican.

That's fact, of course. I am surprised you didn't know that. Sometimes parties nominate candidates from other parties. The GOP is perfectly free to do that, though it is, of course, unlikely that they would.

It is a claim that the Republican Left labors every day to make a reality: that the Republican Party means nothing, stands for nothing and has no standards that don't equally apply to Democrats.

I never said or implied anything of the sort, of course. I was simply addressing your false claim that Romney is unqualified.

And it is absurd that you, of all people, whine about personal attacks.

Shrug. I am not going to waste any more of my time arguing with you. When you make unreasonable claims, I will simply point out the lack of reason and move on.

Posted by: pudge on May 12, 2007 01:42 PM
53. pudge says about Doug:

"And it is absurd that you, of all people, whine about personal attacks."

Exactly. People don't like taking part in an argument where one side is prone to a total lack of civility and dignity in discourse.

Doug presumes he's winning the argument when people don't give him point-by-point rebuttals. In reality, those people simply choose not to take part in an argument where there is no respect for the fact reasonable people can disagree about issues in politics.

Doug also presumes because of this he has those with who he disagrees "cornered and losing." No, they just realize they have better things to do than argue with someone who chooses to conduct themselves in such a manner.

Posted by: Eric Earling on May 12, 2007 02:33 PM
54. Pudge says: "the only qualification to be the GOP nominee is to be legally eligible." Gosh, Pudge, now I see why you were so upset when I said the #8 RINO in the country (as ranked by Human Events) was "not qualified" to be the standard bearer for the GOP. To be legally eligible for the Presidency, a candidate must only be a natural-born citizen, must have lived in the United States for a minimum of 14 years and must be at least 35 years old. Most voters meet those qualifications. You must have thought I was claiming Romney was either a foreign resident, not natural-born or less than 35 years of age. Certainly stupid claims, I grant you.

When you said of Romney; "He is at least as qualified as every President we've had since Ford, except for Bush '41," you must have only meant that all those candidates were natural born, had lived in the country for more than 14 years and were over 35. You'll forgive me, though... I'm just a little lost on the superior qualifications of "Bush 41." Were you saying he was "more native born" or "a greater number of years older than 35" or had been living in the country longer?

I'm sure you'll be pleased with the outcome of the 2008 elections! The only potential Presidential candidate that doesn't meet your qualifications would be Arnold Schwarzenegger. By the way, you will easily be able to vote your preferences by throwing a dart at the election pamphlet.

Your accusations about my "civility" are, as usual, general and scurrilous. You are, in every respect, what you say I am. You use this perennial attack on me, personally, as an alternative to discourse when you have no logical arguments.

But there is a fundamental, underlying difference between us that you approach when you say that I don't believe "reasonable people can disagree about issues in politics." On its face, this is mere sophistry. There is nothing I've ever said that could be reasonably interpreted as denying that obvious fact. The sliver of reality on which your accusation turns, indeed depends for its effect, is that you and I frequently have irreconcilable disagreements which you do not wish defend on principle. You wish I would quit demanding justification, pressing my point, pointing out your errors and just "agree to disagree." Yours is the politics of smiley photographs and comforting platitudes. You are an epistemological relativist and your politics demonstrate it. You live in a warm and fuzzy world without absolutes, but attempting to build a career in the Party that is dominated by Judeo-Christian thinking and that makes you uncomfortable. Anyone who actually believes in objective morality seems "judgmental," or "self-righteous" to you and your feelings are probably sincere. When I point out that your positions are unreasonable you take it as a personal attack because in your world "there are no 'right and wrong' answers." But proving your positions unreasonable is not a personal attack and your claims to the contrary are false accusations of me.

Your slur that I am "prone to a total lack of civility and dignity in discourse" represents your own lack of civility and dignity in discourse.

Posted by: Doug Parris on May 12, 2007 10:57 PM
55. Doug Parris: you do realize that using the word "RINO" of someone who votes more than 80 percent conservative makes you look like a total nutjob, right?

Just checking.

Posted by: pudge on May 12, 2007 11:32 PM
56. Pudge, I did not call Romney a "RINO," I quoted the reknowned national conservative news magazine, Human Events.
Perhaps you are unfamiliar with it. It was founded in 1944, includes regular columnists Robert Novak and Ann Coulter and has been claimed, even by liberal journalists, to have been Ronald Reagan's favorite periodical.

But now that this great conservative institution has run afoul (on a moderately-sized, Seattle-based blog) of of an internet commenter with the elegant handle, "Pudge" I'm sure their staff feels like "total nutjobs."

But why should they? This "Pudge" fellow's criticism was based on his notion that the target of their appelation, Mitt Romney, "votes more than 80 percent conservative." Is that possible? What exactly IS the voting record of Mr. Romney?

As anyone knowledgeable about Romney can tell you, although he has been an executive and CEO, and on the boards of several corporations and the 2002 Winter Olympics, his entire experience in government was as the Governor of Massachusetts for a single term from 2002 to (Jan.) 2007. He has never been on any legislative body. He has never cast a single vote on a public policy issue.

So where is this "80% conservative voting record" for which Human Events is supposed to feel like "total nutjobs?"
Clearly it is in the imagination of the one they call "Pudge."

Posted by: Doug Parris on May 13, 2007 03:16 AM
57. Nonsense. You absolutely endorsed the nutjob notion that he is a RINO. Which only shows you to be a nutjob.

Posted by: pudge on May 13, 2007 07:27 AM
58. Where's the "80%," Pudge?

If you've read my extensive, supportive material, you know exactly what I think of him:
1. "God may know what Mitt Romney is, but you and I don't and I suspect Mitt doesn't either. It's not possible."

2. In his single term as Governor of Massachussets:
a. He put forward a Government-imposed universal health care plan that is fascist in design and which he intends to impose on all America,

b. He took a position on almost every major issue that he now (or even back then) directly contradicted for political advantage and...

c. Based on his performance as Governor, he was voted the #8 RINO by one of the most respected conservative publications in America.

Does his "RINO" label for his performance in office match his current rhetoric? NO.
Is there anything in his record that would lead a rational person to think we can trust his current rhetoric? NO.

And by the way, where is the "80%?"

Posted by: Doug Parris on May 13, 2007 11:13 AM
59. Do you think your continuing insistence on using the term RINO makes you look better, or worse?

In fact, I know a lot about Mitt Romney. I knew a lot about Mitt Romney probably before you ever heard of him. Much of your analysis is obviously wrong, but I am not even going to bother telling you which parts. Pearls before swine, and all. I am not here to engage you on the issues, I am simply here to call you on your inappropriate, unreasonable, divisive, anti-Reaganesque rhetoric.

Posted by: pudge on May 13, 2007 11:24 AM
60. pudge,

Hey, I appreciate you sticking up for me on the other thread. That was class.

Now, let me see if I have this straight on the rules for Doug to have a debate with you. Debate is good, right? And certainly, having clarity on some significant issues is good too.

1) None dare say "not minimally qualified"
2) None dare call a "comprehensive immigration reform" plan that involves absolving the penalty of the law for illegal migrants and their employers who hire them illegally "amnesty", because afterall, we will make them pay back taxes and certainly "None dare call it treason" when the senate sells our sovereignty for some cheap labor for Republican senators to satisfy their big-business friends and for Democrats senators to gain more future votes. And if you have a website where you publish such material, you are guilty even if you didn't write it yourself.
3) None dare use the term RINO (Republican In Name Only) even if the term is being quoted from a popular conservative magazine.

Anything else, pudge?

Posted by: Michelle on May 13, 2007 03:43 PM
61. I don't want a debate with Doug. Yes, debate is good, but I don't like what he apparently thinks of as debate, which is to set up an inflammatory characterization of someone or something he doesn't like -- often stretching words to mean what they don't -- and then cherry-pick evidence to back it up.

"Qualifications" means something. I won't dwell on that one further.

"Treason" means something, and indeed, it is defined in the Constitution, and there's no sense in which it could possibly apply to this bill, no matter how bad it is.

"Amnesty" means something, and if someone is penalized, it is not amnesty, by definition. It's what the word means.

"Republican" means something, too. I can only think of one well-known elected Republican of whom it can almost be said that he is one in name only, and that's Lincoln Chaffee. The rest, it simply doesn't apply. Especially since, if you think about it, Romney is a lot closer to the broad history of Republicanism in the U.S. than today's conservatives. From Teddy Roosevelt through Ford, Republicans were a lot more like Romney than Reagan. If Romney is a RINO, then so are T.R., Coolidge, Hoover, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford. (Maybe not Harding and Taft.) Romney is probably more conservative than most of them (though such comparisons through eras is, of course, difficult).

I think defining those men as RINOs strains credulity. And frankly, the same label can be applied to Bush, for the same reasons, too. But I think it is inflammatory and subuseful. Why not state where we have disagreements with the various candidates, and let that speak for itself?

If Doug wants to discuss whether Romney is the right person to get the GOP nomination, that's fine. I'll do that. It would be pretty boring, probably, since I would likely be in nearly full agreement with him.

But I am not going to debate him regarding his various character assassination attempts. I'll just point out that I think he is way overboard, and leave it at that.

I'll let you know tomorrow about Tuesday. Feeling pretty crummy though (which may explain some of my antagonism this weekend :-), so unless I am all better tomorrow, it's going to be no, unfortunately. I was really looking forward to it. But I'll try to let you know for sure.

Posted by: pudge on May 13, 2007 05:28 PM
62. "Character assasination" is when you make an insupportable and hate-filled attack on someone like calling them "nutjob" because something they said contradicts your imaginary world. Your imaginary world is the one where Mitt Romney has a voting record.

Amnesty for a Criminal act is when someone who is known to be in violation of the law is knowingly absolved from a criminal conviction. CIRA was amnesty, pure, simple and massive. Anyone who can read simple English is capable of understanding that. Suppose I steal your car and hide it in my garage. But because I have friends in Congress I get them to pass a bill that lets me avoid any conviction for the theft by paying a $100 fine (not to you, but to the U.S. Government). On top of that I get to keep the car I stole. Is that Amnesty? Not according to you. No wonder you don't want to debate.

I have never in my life engaged in character assasination. You, sir, are a liar.

Posted by: Doug Parris on May 13, 2007 08:16 PM
63. Doug Parris:

Yawn. I'll let everyone else judge your own words for themselves. *shrug*

As to the amnesty, um, you do realize that, in fact, there is no supportable evidence of criminal wrongdoing for the overwhelming majority of illegal aliens, right? There is no possibility of criminal conviction because we have no evidence of a crime.

It's not a crime to be in the country illegally, it is a crime to ENTER the country illegally. If you come here legally and stay here, that is not a criminal offense. It's a civil offense. It's only a crime if they cross the border illegally, and millions cross legally, and for most of the rest there's no proof of such a crime.

Your claim that it is amnesty to absolve someone from a criminal conviction despite no evidence they committed a crime in the first place is irrational on its face.

But even if it were criminal to be in this country illegally (as the House bill tried to do), you'd still be wrong. Amnesty is to remove all legal reference to the offense, so it is as though it never happened. These people, under the popular proposals, would be marked as having been in the country illegally, and it would in various ways affect their immigration process, including a fine. It therefore is not, using English, properly called "amnesty." You're simply wrong here.

You appear to be substituting the sense of "pardon" for "amnesty." They are not the same thing. You could perhaps call it a pardon, you could perhaps even say it is unjust. You could certainly make the case that it is unwise policy. You will not possibly succeed in convincing people who understand what amnesty is, that it is amnesty.

Posted by: pudge on May 14, 2007 06:34 AM
64. Oh, one more word about amnesty, that should help people remember what it means, and why it does not apply here.

"Amnesty" comes from the Greek "amnestia," which means "oblivion" and has also come to our language as "amnesia." This can help you remember the sense of the word that it is a full "forgetting" of the crime. If you are still held accountable for it in any way, it is by definition not amnesty.

This came up in 1976, you may recall; Jimmy Carter said he would not (and indeed, he did not) grant amnesty to draft dodgers. Instead, he merely pardoned them. So they would receive no penalty, but it remained a fact of law that they had committed the offense. Some people incorrectly call Carter's pardon "amnesty," of course, but Carter was careful to use the correct word.

Read Carter's EO itself. Note that it makes no reference to forgetting the crime, removing it from the records, but only in ceasing prosecution.

Not that I like referencing one of our worst Presidents to make my case ... but the point is that the legal distinction is pretty clear.

Posted by: pudge on May 14, 2007 07:43 AM
65. According to Webster:
amnesty: the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals

I don't think Doug is confusing "pardon" with "amnesty". He has the proper definition.

Posted by: Michelle on May 14, 2007 11:25 AM
66. "Pudge" says, "...there is no supportable evidence of criminal wrongdoing for the overwhelming majority of illegal aliens, right?"

This statement is laughably self-contradictory. If they have broken no law they are not illegal aliens. They are illegal aliens because all of them have broken the law and not just one, but several laws.

Contrary to your claims both illegal entry and overstaying one's (originally) legal status are violations of law. But all of those who take jobs while here illegally violate other laws. If they are employed by companies who use legal hiring mechanisms, the illegal alien gets hired by submitting to the employer numerous fraudulent forged documents. If, instead, they accept "under the table" cash payments for work, both the employer and the criminal alien are guilty of a crime for each particular instance of tax evasion whether on the State or Federal level. The longer an illegal lives here the more crimes he has committed. But CIRA also enables welfare leeches, who do not come to work, but to live off the labor of others, and have "anchor babies." They are bankrupting hospitals. Your comment about the house bill is just erroneous. All violations of law are crimes, not just felonies.

One can assert that there is a lack of evidence to convict a particular person of a particular crime, but that is irrelevant to the definition of what the crime is. Innocent persons do not need Congressional acts like CIRA absolving them of their illegal activity.

The so-called "penalties" in CIRA, that you claim immunizes it from being called "amnesty", are outweighed by the benefits. The tax advantages are better than citizens get.
And even if they were not, it would still be an amnesty.

A "pardon" is forgiving someone for a crime for which they have been convicted or have admitted. Jimmy Carter's "pardon" of draft dodgers as well as Gerald Ford's "pardon" of Richard Nixon were, in fact, both amnesties (and completely improper) because they preceded any determination or confession of guilt and precluded convictions. They made the law of none effect. You have it backwards. Jimmy Carter had authority to grant pardons, but not to define words. His statements on the subject were lies. The statements by the Bush administration, John McCain and their allies that CIRA is "not amnesty" are, equally lies. Perhaps you believed them. If you are willing to admit you are wrong, I will pardon you, but if I were to fail to point out that you are carrying water for lying propaganda it would be an amnesty.

The Reagan administration made what they later recognized as a mistake and granted illegal alien amnesty, based largely on identical reasoning we are now seeing repeated. But they were honest enough to call it what it was: AMNESTY. Those results would also be repeated with predictable and disastrous results.

The fact that CIRA prevents the prosecution of criminals from past crimes, prior to an indictment, prior to a trial and prior to a conviction, makes it, unquestionably an AMNESTY. But only to honest people who can understand English. Your definition of "Amnesty" is one you wrote yourself with the informal aid of Bush and Carter administration propagandists. You will find no support in a dictionary.

By the way, all this separates you, on this issue, from the conservative movement. It makes you more of a "Carter/Ford" left-leaning moderate.

You must repent and be pardoned.

Posted by: Doug Parris on May 14, 2007 11:56 AM
67. Doug Parris: "Pudge" says, "...there is no supportable evidence of criminal wrongdoing for the overwhelming majority of illegal aliens, right?"

This statement is laughably self-contradictory. If they have broken no law they are not illegal aliens.

Heh. You are laughing at something as self-contradictory that is, in fact, not self-contradictory.

"Illegal" does not imply "criminal." I never said they did not break the law. Please take the time to read my post again. I said that they did not -- by virtue of being here illegally -- commit any crime.

There are different categories of offense under the law. There are criminal offenses, which break down into felonies and misdemeanors. Then there are civil offenses, which include infractions and, as in this case, some immigration violations. Being here illegally is a civil offense, not a criminal one.

Yes, it is violating the law, and you can be deported for it, but it is not a crime, and cannot be criminally prosecuted.

They are illegal aliens because all of them have broken the law and not just one, but several laws.

That's false. Many of them clearly have not broken more than one law. You are quite right to point out that many of them have broken other laws since coming here, such as tax evasion and forgery etc., but not all of them have. All illegal aliens have broken at least one law -- which is not a criminal offense -- but many have broken only one. Many others have broken other laws.

I am not going to argue with you over the meaning of amnesty. I will just state my case a little bit further, and you can take it or leave it.

First, you and Michelle both appeal to dictionaries, she specifically to Webster's. Standard dictionaries are notoriously poor sources for legal definitions. I wouldn't even bother to look up what a standard dictionary has to say about it, because I fail to see how it could help or hurt my case. What Webster's has to say is irrelevant.

That said, law dictionaries are usually pretty good. Here's Buvier's Law Dictionary, 1856, which succinctly restates the definition you claim I made up, 120-ish years before I was born: AMNESTY , government. An act of oblivion of past offences, granted by the government to those who have been guilty of any neglect or crime, usually upon condition that they return to their duty within a certain period.

The key word there is "oblivion," which you may recall is the meaning of the Greek root amnestia, and it means completely forgetting the offense, to act like it never existed.

Black's says, the act of a sovereign power officially forgiving certain classes of persons who are subject to trial but have not been convicted.

If there were actual forgiveness, there would be no penalties. And there are. So it's not.

Whether you think that the penalties for illegal aliens are "outweighed by the benefits" has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not it is amnesty. If there are penalties, it is not amnesty.

By the way, all this separates you, on this issue, from the conservative movement.

Because I hold to a certain meaning of the word "amnesty," I am not (on this issue) conservative? It implies I am a pedant, but if pedants are not conservative, then George Will and William F. Buckley are not conservative either.

Do you really think your assessment actually makes any sense?

Shouldn't people be judged as conservative or liberal based on their views of actual issues, not what definitions of legal terms they use?

Perhaps you think I am in favor of CIRA, or what you refer to as "amnesty." But I never stated or implied anything of the sort. I only said you're using the wrong word.

Posted by: pudge on May 14, 2007 01:53 PM
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