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Is there any hope for serious public discussion?

LowDown

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Well, I think you have thoroughly misinterpreted my comments. But more important, the kind of nastiness in your posts is a fine example of the problem that concerns me.:peace

Lincoln and Douglas knew each other from way back. They had a lot of respect for each other, and Lincoln in particular was a likable person. The example of the Lincoln-Douglas debates is unique in many ways even in that time because both men knew the other was speaking in good faith. Even so, both men could go for the throat and did. Over all, it was an abiding faith in democracy that was on display. Both men put their arguments out as clearly as they could manage and had faith that the public would favor the best argument.
 

Jack Hays

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Lincoln and Douglas knew each other from way back. They had a lot of respect for each other, and Lincoln in particular was a likable person. The example of the Lincoln-Douglas debates is unique in many ways even in that time because both men knew the other was speaking in good faith. Even so, both men could go for the throat and did. Over all, it was an abiding faith in democracy that was on display. Both men put their arguments out as clearly as they could manage and had faith that the public would favor the best argument.

That faith in the public was probably the key. Modern campaigns seem to have lost that faith.:peace
 

LowDown

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That faith in the public was probably the key. Modern campaigns seem to have lost that faith.:peace

I think that's exactly right. The cynical ways in which they couch their messages these days signals the contempt they have for the electorate.
 

NoC_T

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Well, I think you have thoroughly misinterpreted my comments. But more important, the kind of nastiness in your posts is a fine example of the problem that concerns me.:peace
There's no hostility, Jack. Little sarcasm, maybe. You're too sensitive, dude.

I couldn't misinterpret your posts. There's no ambiguity there.
 

cpwill

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"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. . . . A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details." --George Orwell

Orwell wrote that a long time ago, and things don't seem to have improved in the interim. Yet this is a country that once produced the Lincoln-Douglas debates, to cite only one example. Will we ever again see (or hear) clear, meaningful, thoughtful political discussion and debate by our leaders and candidates?:peace

Sort of. I tend to suspect that our "leaders" are in fact, guided by their subordinates, who do the hard work of researching, thinking, and making decisions on their behalf. Those people are the ones engaging in actual meaningful and thoughtful political discussions. It's simply taking place outside of visibility.
 

Jack Hays

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Sort of. I tend to suspect that our "leaders" are in fact, guided by their subordinates, who do the hard work of researching, thinking, and making decisions on their behalf. Those people are the ones engaging in actual meaningful and thoughtful political discussions. It's simply taking place outside of visibility.

Perhaps you are or were a seasoned staff officer? I take your point, but shouldn't leaders cull the best of their subordinates' work to lead the public discussion?:peace
 

cpwill

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Perhaps you are or were a seasoned staff officer? I take your point, but shouldn't leaders cull the best of their subordinates' work to lead the public discussion?:peace

:lol: no. I am the junior guy who does the power-point-cut-and-paste for the seasoned staff officers; though they've learned to listen to me when I have an idea, and that level of trust is nice.


Leaders should absolutely pull out the best of their staff's product. That's what the staff is for. The Politicians' job is to get reelected. The (policy) staff's job is to try to fix it so that in between elections, the decisions he (or she) makes impacts policy in a productive and positive manner.
 

Boo Radley

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There was never any golden age of candour. By its very nature, political discourse is skewed; its prerogative is contention. Don't fall for misplaced nostalgia.

I'll accept that, but there was a time of better adherence to decorum and rules of conduct. And a time when there was an effort to do most the scuffling behind closed doors. Each has their problems, but today the show is about extremely negative we can paint everyone. And it's nasty, not just run of the mill painting.
 

FederalRepublic

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I think that's exactly right. The cynical ways in which they couch their messages these days signals the contempt they have for the electorate.

This is the one that burns me the most. When Rick Perry blurted out "you don't have a heart" in the primary debates. I had to turn off my TV.
 

NoC_T

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I'll accept that, but there was a time of better adherence to decorum and rules of conduct. And a time when there was an effort to do most the scuffling behind closed doors. Each has their problems, but today the show is about extremely negative we can paint everyone. And it's nasty, not just run of the mill painting.
Most likely the unavoidable consequence of democracy, as it came to bestow enfranchisement upon the masses, as opposed to being the privileged conclaves of a minority. I know of no time or place when political discourse was absent at least some spirited banter. It's always been messy.
 

Boo Radley

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Most likely the unavoidable consequence of democracy, as it came to bestow enfranchisement upon the masses, as opposed to being the privileged conclaves of a minority. I know of no time or place when political discourse was absent at least some spirited banter. It's always been messy.

I'm not sure I'd refer to this as messy. I think it's much worse than that. It almost to the point that rational discourse can't take place at all.
 

AlabamaPaul

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I'm not sure I'd refer to this as messy. I think it's much worse than that. It almost to the point that rational discourse can't take place at all.

IMV, we are reaping the divisiveness sown through several decades of judicial activism's attempts to shape society...
 

Boo Radley

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IMV, we are reaping the divisiveness sown through several decades of judicial activism's attempts to shape society...

Not sure I buy that. The courts are one of the checks and balances. I think the level has been amped by the Eco chamber that is the new media. Controversy sells.
 

AlabamaPaul

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Not sure I buy that. The courts are one of the checks and balances. I think the level has been amped by the Eco chamber that is the new media. Controversy sells.

There is no controversy to sell without what our courts are doing. We're not legislating anymore, it's not needed; we're looking for a court to support our views...
 

Boo Radley

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There is no controversy to sell without what our courts are doing. We're not legislating anymore, it's not needed; we're looking for a court to support our views...

I don't believe that either. I really don't.
 

Boo Radley

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Do you think Congress is legislating?

Well, as they always have, they don't set the world afire. Though the vitriol makes compromise more difficult.

That said, the court still have mostly merely dealt with the law and arguments before them. There will always be a winner and a loser. Losers need to regroup and make better arguments. If losers always say the court is legislating, how can the courts ever function?
 

AlabamaPaul

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Well, as they always have, they don't set the world afire. Though the vitriol makes compromise more difficult.

That said, the court still have mostly merely dealt with the law and arguments before them. There will always be a winner and a loser. Losers need to regroup and make better arguments. If losers always say the court is legislating, how can the courts ever function?

The courts have no business legislating and/or creating rights from the bench. The latest fiasco of upholding the PPACA mandate as a tax is the latest example where SCOTUS ignored everything that was said during the debate on the legislation and ruled that individuals in this country could be forced to purchase a service or face what was described during that debate as a penalty...
 

Boo Radley

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The courts have no business legislating and/or creating rights from the bench. The latest fiasco of upholding the PPACA mandate as a tax is the latest example where SCOTUS ignored everything that was said during the debate on the legislation and ruled that individuals in this country could be forced to purchase a service or face what was described during that debate as a penalty...

I don't believe that's what their doing. Language is not something that is black and white as many people think. So, arguments are presented. The court looks at the law. I warned many that they were likely wrong concerning the mandate. It is also an opinion concerning whether they ignored anything. It's quite likely they heard and considered all of it, but reached a different conclusion.
 

NoC_T

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I'm not sure I'd refer to this as messy. I think it's much worse than that. It almost to the point that rational discourse can't take place at all.
There's no bucking historical inertia. No amount of screaming and shouting will thwart progression. This is one aspect of process that Conservatism fails to address. Which is why it's always stymied by time.

The world turns.
 

notquiteright

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There is no controversy to sell without what our courts are doing. We're not legislating anymore, it's not needed; we're looking for a court to support our views...

Legislators are not doing their collective jobs very well anymore so the courts are being used as both a bulwark against over reach and guide to what will pass muster. From townships requiring landlords to verify their tenants are legal citizens to DOMA highly partisan laws have been struck down. Most reasoned folks are not surprised they were, those lawmakers wasted time and taxpayer money passing them, but instead of admitting that the cry of 'Activist Judges' is raised... :doh

Then again Heller pushed back on firearm restrictions- so it ain't all anti-conservative.

So in an era where extremism of view 'guides' the laws passed it is difficult to blame the courts for doing their job.

Now serious public discussions- I think many who long for the good old days are quite selective of memory.

The first true two party election- in 1796 was a bitter fight between Federalists and Republicans. The election of 1800 was marred by personal attacks on Jefferson due to his religious beliefs, or what the Federalists tried to portray them to be. While politicians of the day didn't 'stump' their surrogates did and those men made public discussion bitter mud slinging partisan fights. The election of 1812 doomed the Federalist Party as they were the anti-war party. 1828 had Jackson painted as the son of a prostitute and mulatto- great serious public discourse. :roll:

So it is difficult to say our early days were civil and of late the dialog has gone sour. :peace
 

Black Dog

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"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. . . . A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details." --George Orwell

Orwell wrote that a long time ago, and things don't seem to have improved in the interim. Yet this is a country that once produced the Lincoln-Douglas debates, to cite only one example. Will we ever again see (or hear) clear, meaningful, thoughtful political discussion and debate by our leaders and candidates?:peace

Excellent post. I don't think it will ever go back to that level until corporate money is taken out, and people treat politics as more than a popularity contest.

That is my simplified opinion.
 
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Jack Hays

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Excellent post. I don't think it will ever go back to that level until corporate the money is taken out, and people treat politics as more than a popularity contest.

That is my simplified opinion.

Fair enough.
 
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