Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 14, 2008
POLITICS: The Kiddie Porn Party?

Honestly, I read things like this post at Ace, and it makes me wonder how Republicans ever manage to win elections. Ace notes two stories about aides to Democratic Senators getting arrested for possession of child porn. My reaction to reading the story about the aide to Barbara Boxer this morning was to think that this was something we Republicans could run with. But really, I couldn't get my head around making this a partisan issue with a straight face. And Ace, who is certainly not above bare-knuckles partisanship, can't really either:

Personally I don't think it's a trend, or indicative of Democratic sexual habits, either. Some people are wired wrong, and it really doesn't matter what philosophy such people embrace -- if they get off on child porn, they're going to get off on child porn.

But I do happen to know for a fact that had these been Republicans, the media would be greatly interested in the "trend."

And therein lies our problem. Most of your major conservative bloggers and pundits are going to point to this sort of thing as a media bias story rather than going for the jugular by accusing the Democrats of all being a bunch of perverts. Because that's exactly how the Left side of the blogosphere plays this sort of game - think of the Mark Foley or Ted Haggard stories in 2006, in Haggard's case a guy most conservative bloggers had to go Google because we'd never heard of him. All you heard was how these particular screwups were emblematic of something larger. People lingered over this stuff, writing about the stories again and again and again. Foley got replaced in Congress with Tim Mahoney, who turned out to have a horribly messy sex scandal of his own involving payoffs to his mistress. We didn't get 24/7 media saturation with Mahoney the way we did with Foley, not even the media looking into what the Democratic House leadership knew and when they knew it. Partly that's because the national media doesn't want to go there, but maybe, in some sense, because our hearts weren't really in making it so. And until that changes, we're still going to have a serious online activism deficit on the Right.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:09 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (53) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Exactly right. But I think you need to examine why "our hearts weren't really in making it so." To my mind, the right is just not nearly as *angry* as the left. The motivation of anger drove the right from 9/11 through the beginning of the Iraq war, but since about 2004, the left has been much more angry.

To me, anger is very underrated as a motivating force.

Posted by: A.S. at November 14, 2008 6:01 PM

I don't think you can overlook the fact that Republicans are generally viewed as more hypocritical when sex scandals occur, since they are generally quicker to trumpet themselves as the party of traditional values and morality. Democrats who do that tend to fall hard as well, (Spitzer, Edwards), while those that don't, like Barney Frank, tend not to have things stick to them.

Regarding A.S.'s point, during the Clinton years the Republicans were the angry ones, so I suspect that is cyclical, and about to change.

Posted by: Jerry at November 14, 2008 6:37 PM

Jerry, exactly. Whichever party is currently not in power tends to be "angry".

Posted by: Ted at November 14, 2008 7:40 PM

Although the attraction of politics for narcissists and con artists of all stripes tends to obscure the contrast, none-the-less there are differences between the parties, as any astute and candid observer should be willing to acknowledge.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at November 14, 2008 7:51 PM

I must say that I'm enjoying the right's new memes in this post-election period. McCain was too "moderate" to win, nevermind the fact that Obama would have scalded "true conservatives" like Fred Thompson by 10 points or more. Republicans dont need to move to the center and attract nontraditional groups, they just need to move further rightward. Obama did nothing to win, it was all the Bush backlash. And oh yeah the media was even worse than normal. Loser's laments all of them, and the seeds of further electoral disasters. And even the McCarthyite operation leper is exposed for what it is, as Erik is forced to apologize to Schmidt at Redstate for his premature evacuation.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at November 14, 2008 8:20 PM

Fred would have lost because Fred lacked the energy needed for a campaign. Fred could roll out and be awesome for like 15 minutes a week, but he just didn't have the fire.

Anyway, 2008 was a rough year. A Fred-like candidate could definitely win, but he'd need to be younger and more energetic.

Posted by: The Crank at November 14, 2008 8:36 PM

No Crank. It was the "almost" middle of the roadness that got McCain as far as he got. Anyone more right wing, and they would have been fried. Because the link with Bush that was your third rail this year (you know, the sitting disaster president) would have been complete. From religion to all the support given him over the years. Commercials would have been cheap, just rerun the quotes.

I agree that Democrats for years lived in fairy land. Now it's your turn to not understand that your basic philosophy was what brought you failure.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at November 14, 2008 11:48 PM

Daryl McCain got as far as he did because of Sarah Palin. I can't count the people I know, including myself, that were going to sit this one out untiul Palin was selected for VP. She represented hope and direction for the party...and still does.

Posted by: maddirishman at November 15, 2008 12:12 AM

You think the fact that Republicans have presumed to lecture the rest of America on moral issues for the past 30 odd years has anything to do with the media attention their frequent transgressions receive and our suspicions that the whole party is closeted?
I too am hoping Palin provides the "hope and direction for the party" and will be contributing the max should she run for national office in the future.

Posted by: rs at November 15, 2008 8:30 AM

rs - So in your view, it's not hypocritical for Democrats to get involved in child porn?

Telling.

Posted by: The Crank at November 15, 2008 9:50 AM

GOP and conservative turnout was down significantly esp. in battleground states. Had a true conservative run, it would have been a different race and Obama would not have "fried" that person. McCain's "centerness" was counter-producitve because independents saw little difference between Obama and McCain and went with the popular pick. I know first-hand at least 10 independents who truly didn't see much of a difference between the two and voted for Obama because of other obvious factors.

Democrats are fooling themselves if they think there was a realignment in philosophy this year. There was a realignment in voting but not in philosophy. And Democrats will realize that very quickly if they push too hard to the left.

Posted by: per14 at November 15, 2008 10:00 AM

Irish, what Palin did was get the vote out for people who wouldn't in a million years vote for either Obama or ay other Democrat (no, it's not a race issue, it's more of a religious right/philosophy one). Palin would not and could not, in this environment, have gotten the swing votes in Ohio and Pennsylvania, much less the ones in Virginia and Florida. She isn't a swing candidate. She represents to the right what Dukakis andKerry did on the left. Be so one sided, she would never get a consensus.

As a Democrat, I would be happy if she became a candidate, but as an American, I would always prefer two strong candidates. I always felt that, in this last election, we would come out better no matter who won. Until Palin became McCain's choice. I understand you disagree with me, but it's also clear that a large majority (and this was the biggest win since Bush 41 bear Dukakis (as I said, a left wing Palin) agreed with me.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at November 15, 2008 10:19 AM

do all you folks really believe ob won because of anything other than color? He offers nothing no experience,disgusting friends,lowlife preacher,no worldly experience,nothing but a new black face ,the blacks voted maybe 95% for him ,add to that the liberal side,add to that the really young new voters and ob will win every time ,unless the other side gets out and votes at least 90%,vote its your right!!!

Posted by: jimboplyr625 at November 15, 2008 10:20 AM

do all you folks really believe ob won because of anything other than color? He offers nothing no experience,disgusting friends,lowlife preacher,no worldly experience,nothing but a new black face ,the blacks voted maybe 95% for him ,add to that the liberal side,add to that the really young new voters and ob will win every time ,unless the other side gets out and votes at least 90%,vote its your right!!!

Posted by: jimboplyr625 at November 15, 2008 10:20 AM

do all you folks really believe ob won because of anything other than color? He offers nothing no experience,disgusting friends,lowlife preacher,no worldly experience,nothing but a new black face ,the blacks voted maybe 95% for him ,add to that the liberal side,add to that the really young new voters and ob will win every time ,unless the other side gets out and votes at least 90%,vote its your right!!!

Posted by: jimboplyr625 at November 15, 2008 10:21 AM

do all you folks really believe ob won because of anything other than color? He offers nothing no experience,disgusting friends,lowlife preacher,no worldly experience,nothing but a new black face ,the blacks voted maybe 95% for him ,add to that the liberal side,add to that the really young new voters and ob will win every time ,unless the other side gets out and votes at least 90%,vote its your right!!!

Posted by: jimboplyr625 at November 15, 2008 10:22 AM

Hey Jimbo, we get your point.

There is a bit of a delay in postings here. Just hit post once.


Crank - you are trying to have it both ways. Getting Boxer's name out there with the charge of child pornography while stating conservatives in general and you in particular are above such things. If you were above it, why mention it at all.


This is not a case of hypocrisy. It's a case of criminality. This bastard should get strung up (if guilty). Case closed. The Ted Haggard piece was more of an amusement for my side ( well, me) than anything else. Same case with the others, although to a lesser degree (less amusing, you know, not as funny).

Sex scandals, as long as its a consenting adult kinda thing, just don't have the same traction they used to. Blame Clinton. He sapped our capacity for outrage on this sort of thing.

Posted by: Zufall at November 15, 2008 11:22 AM

"Telling." How sinisterly cryptic.
To the best of my knowledge, it's illegal for anyone to be involved in child pornography- I trust the authorities will deal with it appropriately. However, it doesn't change the fact that "man bites dog" is news. When you want to be the party that dictates the sexual behaviour of consenting adults, your own 'shortcomings' become fodder for public entertainment.

Posted by: rs at November 15, 2008 11:59 AM

Crank, your ability to take a single data point, the arrest of Boxer's aide, who she fired immediately by the way, as a sign not only of some inherent moral crack in the Democratic Party, but also of the toal moral bankruptcy of the party, those who support it and the media is breathe-taking.

So, when you are practicing law, and you find a single word in a statute that supports you, you proclaim that you have won? I have some friends who are partners ar your firm; I hope they have sufficient malpractice insurance.

Posted by: Magrooder at November 15, 2008 1:46 PM

Magrooder - First of all, you didn't read the post; it's two data points. And my point was precisely that that's what your side does, and my side doesn't do with the same zeal.

rs - "you want to be the party that dictates the sexual behaviour of consenting adults" - strawman alert! Republicans aren't trying to do that. Yes, many Republicans believe that there are such things as morals, which your side persistently argues don't exist. But people are free to do what they want and take the consequences. A lot of us thought the Supreme Court was just making stuff up without constitutional basis in Lawrence v Texas, but there's vanishingly little support for actually enforcing sodomy laws, and even less for making, say, adultery illegal. Republicans aren't markedly more anti-prostitution than Democrats. The same-sex marriage issue is all about liberals wanting the law to get involved in homosexual relationships. Most conservatives are fine with don't-ask-don't-tell, which basically says that what stays private is not a problem. Abortion isn't fundamentally about sex at all, it's about the life and death of a child.

Posted by: The Crank at November 15, 2008 2:46 PM

Jim,
You missed this site during the election. Americans just overwhelmingly voted for a Marxist and Socialist who wants to rob from the rich and give it to the poor (the exact opposite of conservativism).
You live in "center-left" country. Get used to it, or realize you just "hate America".
BTW, Palin summed-up the GOP nicely during her run. What Ayers said and did 40 years ago was important to the election, but examining what Bush and Cheney have done the past 8 years is "looking backwards".
I stand in (shock and) awe of the jenius that is Sarah Palin.

Posted by: Berto at November 15, 2008 3:02 PM

Crank, if your side doesn't do it with the same zeal, you have some quick footsteps to make on Clinton's impeachment. And it was about sex, illicit, wrong and certainly stupid sex, but you can claim perjury all you want, you know better. The Democrats (or my "side") as you defined it, at least had the decency to go after Nixon when the entire country knew he engaged in wholesale acts of corruption and obstruction. Your "side" got Clinton over a lawsuit on an affair. Right. Not the same zeal. Got it.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at November 15, 2008 5:47 PM

Abortion isn't fundamentally about sex at all

Correct. It's about a woman -- a human being, based on my definition -- getting to choose what to do with the blob of cells growing in her uterus.

it's about the life and death of a child.

No. There is no CHILD involved in this question. The blob of cells is not a child, not a human being, not a person.

The woman with that blob of cells in her uterus? A person. She has rights.

Posted by: Mike at November 15, 2008 7:35 PM

You took the long route to agreeing with my original premise that the collection of hypocrites and closet-cases otherwise known as the Republican Party "have presumed to lecture the rest of America on moral issues", which, according to you (as well as the snake-handlers comprising the so-called base of your party), a lying mass-murderer like George Bush exemplifies while a couple of gay guys seeking the same rights and benefits the rest of us enjoy with our wives or husbands, don't.

Posted by: rs at November 15, 2008 9:18 PM

Mike,
It most certainly is a human being. It possesses every characteristic that human being has...at that stage of its development.

Posted by: bruce at November 16, 2008 12:17 AM

Mike, just because a bridge is under construction does not change the fact that it will be a bridge.

Posted by: maddirishman at November 16, 2008 9:02 AM

Mike, just don't try to drive across the river because someone drew a blueprint.

Posted by: rs at November 16, 2008 9:08 AM

Mike, how many uteri do you suppose bruce or maddirishman have between the two of them?

Posted by: rs at November 16, 2008 9:15 AM

Mike, why is it so hard for you to grasp the fact that the superstitions- I mean, religious beliefs- of concerned citizens like bruce and madirishman, as well as the power of state, are supposed to trump the individual liberties of women with clumps of cells in their uteri?

Posted by: rs at November 16, 2008 9:21 AM

What's amazing is the anti-science, anti-logic bent of people who take Mike's line of reasoning. Whose "blob of cells" are they? Not the mother's. This is basic biology - the unborn child has his or her own unique DNA.

It's assuming rather than addressing the exact same question Dred Scott assumed rather than address - how do you define who is and isn't a human being? If you assume a person is property, they can be disposed of like any other property. The law can't be agnostic about who is and isn't a human being, since the ability to identify human personhood is the foundational assumption of all of our laws.

The most logical way to approach the question is through science: once you have the unique genetic code of a separate and distinct human being, you have a separate and distinct human being. And that changes everything.

Posted by: The Crank at November 16, 2008 9:45 AM

What I find most interesting about the abortion debate is the complete BS on the "anti" side. I can't speak for every person, but all anti-choicers, and be honest here, at least, in your own mind:

1. Have any of you decided to adopt instead of having "your own?" Or how many are against gay marriage, or figure it should be illegal for a gay couple to adopt? As in taking a large group of able people off the adoption market.

2. How many of you also campaign against sex education and the free disemination (pun intended) of condoms?

3. How many of you were outraged over Jocelyn Elders saying that teens should masturbate instead of having sex with each other?

4. God forbid, how many of you would tell your wives to have an abortion if they conceived from a rape.

5. Worse, if it was your daughter?

6. Even worse, if either of them conceived from a close blood relative?

7. The classic, if carrying the baby could cause severe harm or death to the mother.

If you say you are still against them having an abortion, congratulations, I hereby elevate you to sainthood. But don't gloat. Saints are supposed to be humble. Also dead I think. But if you really still honest after the above, you've already performed the requisite miracle. However, if you were strictly honest with yourself and had at least one qualifier, then congratulations, you are really a pro choicer, it just depends on at what point.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at November 16, 2008 10:10 AM

rs can infer my religious - or political - beliefs from a single entry that makes a completely non-religious and non-political point? I'm in awe.

Posted by: bruce at November 16, 2008 10:36 AM

Mike, what's amazing is the desire to extend civil liberties to parasitic clusters of cells using the smokescreen of Dred Scott, a decision, incidentally, that many of more authoritarian minded commenters here who frequently find themselves in agreement with the host on subjects such as torture and the deprivation of habeus corpus would no doubt have been cheerleading at the time. Even more amazing is that those making the argument can do so with a straight face while at the same time arguing against the individual liberties of the breath-drawing women who play host to those parasitic clusters of cells. And more amazing still is the citation of genetic science by someone who allies themself politically with proponents of the widely respected scientific discipline of intelligent design, not to mention the 6000 year old Earth bunch, and yet is obviously counting on the more rigorous thinking skills of his opponents.

Posted by: rs at November 16, 2008 10:37 AM

I was in awe, until rs started referring to my previous state of being as a "parasitic cluster of cells". Now not so much.

Posted by: bruce at November 16, 2008 10:43 AM

Daryl - Answers to #1-3 don't make anybody more or less "pro-choice." Those are questions about how to avoid pregnancies and how to deal with the children who arise from them. You could substitute infanticide for abortion and make the same arguments, i.e., that it's hypocrtical to oppose strangling an infant and yet not adopt the infant. It's a logical fallacy.

#4-6, well, those are indeed the hard cases. I know how I'd answer them, but as you note it's always easier to answer them in the abstract. Most legal and moral rules present hard cases. We still have rules. (Of course, one reason pro-choicers flipped out so badly at Sarah Palin is that she's someone who has faced those hard cases).

As to #7, the vast majority of pro-lifers recognize a life-of-the-mother exception. You can recognize that exception as the classic dilemma where you have to choose between the lives of two human beings.

Posted by: The Crank at November 16, 2008 10:45 AM

rs, go read up on substantive due process and which side is using it today.

Posted by: The Crank at November 16, 2008 10:48 AM

sorry bruce, I didn't know you were so ashamed of your humble beginnings.

Posted by: rs at November 16, 2008 10:56 AM

Oh, and Daryl, one more question on #2 on your list: why do you want the government doing those things, instead of keeping them private? Why should kids have the government telling them what to do?

Posted by: The Crank at November 16, 2008 12:02 PM

Education and availability (in other words, options) are hardly a command to act. However, that might be a question someone from the moral police stays away from. Why should women, gay couples, marijuana smokers or anyone else on your list of reprobates have the government telling them what to do?
How about a compromise? Your side doesn't force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, and ours doesn't force a woman to have an unwanted abortion.

Posted by: rs at November 16, 2008 12:50 PM

So this has turned into an abortion debate. This gives me a chance to clearly understand the abortion rights side of things. The following is a re-statement of the position of abortion rights people as I have heard them. It is not a judgment, just a statement.

Once a “thing” or “bundle of cells” has been conceived (or occurs), up until a specific time/event, the mother has the right to terminate/remove it just like a wart. No reasons or cause is required to be shown for this removal, only that the mother wants to do this. The father has no say in this either.

Once the child is “born”, then the mother’s right to terminate the child is taken away. The special case for this is “partial birth abortion”. In this case, the child can be terminated even after birth.

The rationale for the above is that since it is the mother’s body and up until the point the child is born the child is not a person, then the mother has the right to terminate the baby because it is not a person as yet and has no rights.

Did I state the above correctly?

Posted by: Lee at November 16, 2008 12:59 PM

Crank, sorry, TWO data points. That changes everything.

Your inability for self-critical analysis is stunning (my main point). You think the right lacks zeal? Really? It brings to mind the Tina Fey as Palin/Amy Poehler as Hillary sketch in which "Palin" tells "Hillary" that she didn't want to be President enough. You think the right lacks zeal because you believe even the craziest notion to be self-evident.

I don't think either the right or the left lacks zeal.

Posted by: Magrooder at November 16, 2008 1:47 PM

rs, what does the child get in that "compromise"?

To pick an example from your list of strawmen, I don't think the government should be telling gays what to do. It's when they come asking for governmental benefits and approvals that the issue arises.

Posted by: The Crank at November 16, 2008 2:12 PM

Do you know what a strawman is? Or hyperbole?
You don't want the government telling gays what to do- you just don't want the government telling them they're allowed to the same benefits and approvals as heterosexuals. That would be, what, approximately 4/5 citizenry?
By "child", I believe you're referring to the fetus that a woman sustains in her uterus, right? As tempting as some of you anti-liberty people make it to legalize abortion retroactively to about 65 years, you caught me in a mood for compromise today. Say, maybe, into the second trimester, up to the point where a FETUS is incapable of surviving outside of the uterus in even the most sophisticated NICU.

Posted by: rs at November 16, 2008 4:38 PM

Crank, it's a fair point about no. 2. Because it gets back to who winds up supporting those unwanted kids. Yes, in a theoretical sense I too would rather we keep out of it. You have the kid, you support them. But it's never in society's best interest to just let a baby dangle. So I would rather teach the kids to NOT have them in the first place. Because in too many cases, parents don't.

And just why is it that the mother's life is more important than the baby's? So yup, you are pro-choice. You just want the choice to be limited to your own standards. Don't we all.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at November 16, 2008 6:16 PM

Daryl, the homicide laws - and pretty much every reputable ethical system known to man - treat the taking of a human life differently when the interest being protected is the loss of a human life. Are you arguing with those extraordinarily well-settled precepts of law, ethics and morality?

Yes, every form of law requires that lines be drawn somewhere. Pro-lifers argue that the lines be drawn at the loss of human life. Pro-choicers pretend they are not drawing lines at all, so as to avoid justifying the lines they do draw.

Posted by: The Crank at November 16, 2008 8:06 PM

You seem to be underplaying- in fact ignoring altogether- the important role that sex education and condom distribution play in the crucial PUBLIC HEALTH issue of preventing or limiting the spread of potentially fatal infectious disease. I fail to see the advantage we realize in keeping "out of it", from either a pregnancy prevention or an STD prevention standpoint- other than, of course, placating the moral puritans on the right who would prefer to impose their values on the public at large. Just as no one forces anyone to have an abortion, the "ignorance is bliss" crowd are offered the opportunity (at least in my school district, and most others as I understand it) to remove their children from sex education classes. However, it's not enough for their own kids to grow up as ignorant as them- they want everyone elses kids to as well. Of course, we need not look any farther than the Palin household to see the effectiveness of "abstinence only" when pitted against the unremitting force of normal teenage hormones.

Posted by: rs at November 16, 2008 8:08 PM

Actually, the mislabeled pro-life movement is in fact a continuum of values and "lines", inasmuch as it includes proponents of capital punishment, aggressive war, and political assassination, as well as some of them embracing the somewhat utilitarian philosophy of signing off on abortion in instances of rape and/or incest. Not to mention turning a deliberate blind eye to in vitro clinics and the inevitable destruction of "humans" that occurs as a byproduct of making babies.

Posted by: rs at November 16, 2008 8:24 PM

rs - So I'll mark you down for a "yes, the government belongs in the bedroom."

Check.

Posted by: The Crank at November 16, 2008 8:50 PM

Well, my own earliest experiences were in cars, sleeping bags, and on couches, and as far as I know (I haven't had need for one lately) most condoms are not colored red, white, AND blue, so please, explain to me how classroom sex education puts a G-Man in your bedroom (and how do you know Mrs. Crank wouldn't share Mrs. McCain's fascination with those Secret Service guys, anyway?). And is it more or less an intrusion than the illegal surveillance on the phone that sits on your nightstand?

Posted by: rs at November 16, 2008 9:19 PM

why are you all debating rs? That's as productive a use of time as learning to speak klingon.

Posted by: bruce at November 16, 2008 9:44 PM

A StarTrekkie. Gee, that's surprising.
As it turns out, bruce is in fact the"virtual" bruce I've directed my comments to.

Posted by: rs at November 17, 2008 8:40 AM

Well Crank, since we disagree, I can only say:

Hab SoSlI' Quch!

Which translates as, "You mother has a smooth forehead!" in Konos (the true Klingon mother tongue)

There, I got even.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at November 17, 2008 8:45 AM

"The rationale for the above is that since it is the mother’s body and up until the point the child is born the child is not a person, then the mother has the right to terminate the baby because it is not a person as yet and has no rights.

Did I state the above correctly?"

Lee -
That's pretty close - except it doesn't explain Roe v. Wade. To accomodate that decision, you would need to add that the baby acquires characteristics of "personhood" during the course of the pregnancy, and at a certain point in the second trimester (or third, the details escape me), the child does in fact become a "legal person," at which time, abortion becomes illegal absent extenuating circumstances - the mother's life in danger, etc.

Posted by: MVH at November 17, 2008 10:21 AM
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