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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 02/ 1/2011

The riddle

By Tom Toles

c_02012011.gif

But it's true
Conservatives today have decided that the Constitution is a sacred text. But if you read the history of the ratification process, the people who opposed it are pretty much the same ideological stripe as the Constitution wavers today.

History keeps enshrining liberal victories as having been the wise thing to do. Conservatives don't ever seem to pick up the pattern. --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | February 1, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Foreign Policy, International, Middle East  
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Comments

And if anyone still believes that government, and not corporate power, is running our democracy, then I've got a big bridge in NYC that I'd like to sell you.
Posted by: PrairieDog60

My Reply...
You got that right PrairieDog.
If people were perfect in every way; the right would be right.
Because people are human and subject to fatal errors and malicious behavior the right is wrong.
Power corrupts and vested interests prevail.
People have to be protected from each other is the sad but true.
What is even worse is that assuming that people will do what is in there own best interests is not always true; they do self-defeat and self-destruct.
Without laws and regulations; it would be chaos and then extinction for people kind.
People are not always kind either.
Dave

Posted by: OchamsRazor | February 2, 2011 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Using logic to understand the conservative mind is like using a glock to carve a turkey. Of course they value the constitution as a scripture, just as they were hounded to Canada as tories. Not that our sacred revolution cleansed like France and Russia, that is yet to come. We've not yet experienced our reign of terror, and God willing, when Her Furher is elected chancellor, reichstag burning, Franklin will have been prescient in doubting we could keep this thing working. I hope to be gone before that day, but I expect to see the joyous believers dancing around pyres of books and secular humanists - it will, at least, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and liberal's carbon footprints.

Posted by: bardgeholly | February 1, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day (should be a national holiday) and all we have are usual Morlocks popping up here. Enjoy your sodium contaminated food.

adversus solem ne loquitor

Posted by: unoiamrite | February 1, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Pdog

I have to agree with part of your assesment but you have omitted the role of the Federal Reserve. From Greenspan going forward there has been poor management of the money supply resulting in the market not correcting itself properly. The tech bubble adjustment is the start of the current recession. Putting off needed corrections allows them to snowball. Letting people, corporations, markets take the loss is a natural regulation to risky behavior. TARP funds and zero percent interest just extends the problem.

This manipulation is apolitical, and started with too much faith in Greenspan and continues with Bernanke.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 1, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Yeah just like you lump "Liberal" and "Democrat" together as synonyms, you lump "Conservative" and "Republican" together the same way, no matter what the context. This is simply not the case. It may be true of today, but the Republican party of today is not the same as the Republican party of Lincoln.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr

--------------

Fair enough but a Republican is a Republican in this discussion. Lincoln was a Republican. The GOP owns the history of all Repbublicans, good and immortal like Lincoln.

Secondly, Democrats rarely mention their darker times (yes, you are an exception, jhnnywalker) and certainly, you'll rarely ever see TT mention a bad move on the Dem side.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 1, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

daly...I don't pray and tell. Sorry.

jon...interesting and was checking into it does require some time tho and apparently I need my weaponry on another news site...just got word I am being attacked! LOL!!

dave...you religious fanatic you.
Now..if you will excuse me..I'm going to have a sip of tequila and fight a local battle. Hopefully I will win and see you all in the future...if not...take care..lol

Posted by: bertzel | February 1, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments section here as usual, falls into left and right (which are not always synonymous with Democrat and Republican).

The Right: Businesses and corporatio­ns should be given free reign to participat­e in the free market, creating jobs, increasing profits, running their business as they see fit, with little government interferen­ce. Stock prices will rise, and everyone is free to invest in these companies and increase their own wealth as well. This will benefit the nation with job growth and a prosperous economy, and taxes will remain low.

The Left: Corporatio­ns, when left unfettered by regulation­, pursue greater and greater wealth, and exploit workers, consumers, and the system, in order to maintain growth and keep stock prices up and shareholde­rs happy. This causes boom and bust, as corporatio­ns merge, become huge, increase their political clout thereby making rules that benefit them, and eventually overextend themselves­. When they implode, it is the workers and middle/low income people who suffer most. They must be regulated and kept from getting "too big to fail". Government taxes must be used for these regulations and regulatory enforcement.

Now...look at 1929 and 2008, both years representing the pinnacle of deregulation and the "free market" (even though there is no such thing), and look at the aftermath of these two years. Then, tell me which of these two philosophi­es seems to shake out as the better path...

And if anyone still believes that government, and not corporate power, is running our democracy, then I've got a big bridge in NYC that I'd like to sell you.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | February 1, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Associating Lincoln with today's 'Publicans is disingenuous. Up until the Civil Rights movement, Republicans represented a progressive influence. When Johnson "lost the South" in the wake of that legislation, the parties, in effect, switched polarities, as it were.
Posted by: Capn0ok1

My Comment...
I have been trying to get the Republicans to read Plato's Republic and get back to what Plato wrote.
He proposed public servants be statesman not politicians.
He also proposed that statesman be trained from youth up to know how to govern.
I read some where that Bush Jr. was an alcoholic. That hardly qualifies him to be president. There should be mental evaluations before anyone becomes president. This is particularly true because our president has their finger on the Nuclear Button.
I also encouraged Christians to take an active part in politics in the hope that they would vote for people who had moral principles that were consistent with the teachings of Christ.
Instead; they voted for the Republicans who consistently support poverty for the working people and tax cuts for the wealthy.
Dave



Posted by: OchamsRazor | February 1, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Ranger-

1) Oops. My bad.
2) Lincoln didn't abolish slavery; he only emancipated slaves in states in rebellion against the Union. Still, he didn't exactly represent the monied interests of the country nor the status quo of his day. Lincoln also warned us of the power of corporations "enthroned."
3) Right on. Lincoln the Republican did another extremely Liberal thing in supporting progress by championing a transcontinental railroad that was ultimately paid for with tax dollars.
4) American conservatives opposed the Nazis, too? Hmm... Roosevelt argued for intervention early, but still... Excellent. Another point of agreement.
5) The Interstate Highway System... yes. More government-funded Progress paid for by confiscatory tax rates that were okay at the time because, well, doing things that were good for all of us used to be kinda patriotic. While today, we can't even raise enough tax dollars to repair roads and bridges, Ike pushed an entire interstate system and found a way to pay for it. Quite Liberal of him, actually.

And yes, it is certainly ironic about Lincoln and Eisenhower, both Republicans.

What about Nixon? The Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act and the Equal Rights Amendment. By a Republican. I'll tell you quite honestly that, until the Bush 43 presidency, you could never have told me I'd be looking back at the Nixon years with nostalgia for the "good old days" of decent American conservatism. (Except for the Watergate part.)

So, no, not to be inconsistent, but I don't think it's me being inconsistent or you, but that the political parties in this country have gone through some changes. The Democrats have not always been Liberal, especially Southern Democrats, and the Republicans have not always been far-Right Conservatives.

They don't all fit those molds today, either. Which is a GOOD thing, imo.

Just for fun, when you have a few minutes to burn, dig into why the Southern Baptists broke away from the rest... and tell me about Conservatives and Liberals and Slavery.

Posted by: jonroesler | February 1, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah just like you lump "Liberal" and "Democrat" together as synonyms, you lump "Conservative" and "Republican" together the same way, no matter what the context. This is simply not the case. It may be true of today, but the Republican party of today is not the same as the Republican party of Lincoln.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | February 1, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Associating Lincoln with today's 'Publicans is disingenuous. Up until the Civil Rights movement, Republicans represented a progressive influence. When Johnson "lost the South" in the wake of that legislation, the parties, in effect, switched polarities, as it were.

Posted by: Capn0ok1 | February 1, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the list of Liberal victories. As Tom points out...there is not a single conservative one of any stature.

I've challenged my conservative friends to come up with one piece of legislation that benefited them directly that was conservative sponsored that was not a tax cut. I've never gotten a response.

By the way, the early United States was funded by excise taxes rather than direct taxation. (Much later, one of the reasons for Repeal was the fact that the government lost the revenue from alcohol excise taxes.)

Also, financier Haym Salomon loaned the government money to supplement those excise taxes...which he never got back. Money was paid to regular troops and supplies paid for at authorization of the Congress.

Posted by: BobfromLI | February 1, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

And what, pray tell is your 'weapon of mass destruction' there bert?

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 1, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

~~~bertzel,
I noted the similiarities between the views of OckamsRazor and waketheoblivious in yesterday's cartoon blog.
There are two of them - be afraid - be very afraid.
pararanger22
Posted by: pararanger22 ~~~~

Thanks for the heads-up ranger.
Not to worry tho...I always keep my 'weapon of mass destruction' close at hand : )

Posted by: bertzel | February 1, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Those earliest "tea partiers" refused to tax anyone in order to fund the Revolutionary War. It still amazes me that Washington and many small holders (farmers) persisted for seven years fighting a war without salary — even without boots! Remarkable that we even have a nation, with such cheapskates still among us. (And after the war ended cheapskates refused to pay back salaries to the militia!)
~eric.
Posted by: 2ericc

My Reply...
Fighting for abstract ideals that do nothing for the people that fight for them is a common occurence.
I was a tool a die maker when I joined the army. When I came out of the service, I was given a job as a production worker.
Because I was a graduate of the Henry Ford Trade School I was able to get back into tool an die making but not without a lot of political maneuvering. The plant manager was also a Henry Ford Trade School graduate which was an elite school to prepare students for management positions in the Ford Motor Company. It was also a Special interest project of Henry Fords Wife. She attended my graduation.
The fact of life is that the only way that the lot of the middle class improves is when the economy is stong and there is plenty of work for those who are willing to work.
In a capitalist society; money provides freedom and poverty causes human disasters.
We need to fight for our freedom, for justice and for equity not abstract ideals that have been distorted to the advantage of our oppressors.
Both conservative and liberal have become dirty words that cause social fractures that lead to dysfunctional government.
We need a government that is efficient and meets the needs of the people not the greeds of the malicious manipulators.
Dave


Posted by: OchamsRazor | February 1, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

LBJ was no Liberal, and Byrd evolved... an excellent demonstration of the benefit of education throughout life. Byrd is the man who said, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."

Posted by: jonroesler

--------------------

Jon,

You seem to cut a line between Dems and Libs in your response. I don't disagree with that approach as long as you're consistent...which you are not.

A few corrections:

1 - Your most blatant error: Daniel Patrick Moynihan is the one who stated "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts" - not Byrd.

2 - Abolition of slavery - seems to me Lincoln (Republican) was in charge for that one. Democrats were against it during the previous Buchanan administration. Not sure how you count this as a 'Liberal' victory.

3 - The transcontinental railroad happened during Lincoln's Presidency. Again, he was a Republican so how is this a Liberal victory? July 1, 1862: Congress passes and Lincoln signs the Pacific Railroad Bill. The document endorses Central Pacific efforts to build the California line while simultaneously chartering a Union Pacific Railroad Company to build west from the Missouri River. The bill grants each enterprise 6,400 acres of land and $48,000 in government bonds per mile built. It does not designate a meeting point for the lines.

4 - So...how, again, are the American Revolution and the defeat of the Nazis counted as Liberal victories? Willing to give credit across the aisle here but...

5 - Interstate Highway System is also identified as the the National Defense Highway System. In 1956 President Eisenhower signed legislation establishing the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (about 41,000 miles of roads).

Again, Republican President. Eisenhower saw the merit in the autobahn in Germany/brought the idea home. Not a Liberal victory.

Lot's of fudging in many of your Liberal victories. But I'll give you a few. Don't want you going on a hate-Ranger rant.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 1, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Name one liberal victory?
Posted by: jornolibist
--

What fun!! Noting that the list is "liberal" victories rather than "Democratic" victories (nodding to Ranger, who knows well that Eisenhower would by no stretch of any but the most twisted imaginations be considered "Conservative" by modern standards... read his speeches sometime), how about a few more than one? I realize some who think they are conservatives will want to co-opt a lot of these, but that's okay because it will mean the center hasn't gone totally over the edge and we may actually agree on many things:

The advancement of Science (IN SPITE OF religion)
The whole 18th-century Enlightenment thing
The American Revolution (and every other revolution inspired by it)
The Bill of Rights
Public Schools and Universities
Abolition of Slavery
Our National Parks and Monuments
The first Transcontinental Railroad
Ending Prohibition (and the gang violence, illicit profits and political corruption associated with the illegal alcohol industry)
Women’s suffrage
Glass-Steagall Act (regulating banks and brokerage firms)
Social Security
Voting Rights Act
Civil Rights Act
The minimum wage
Child Labor Act
The 40-hour work week with paid overtime (thanks to Unions, too)
The right to form unions, or not
Tennessee Valley Authority
Rural Electrification
The defeat of Fascism/Nazism in Europe
The Marshall Plan
The G.I. Bill
The Interstate Highway System
Housing loans for Veterans
FHA
SBA
Unemployment insurance
The Clean Air Act
Unleaded gasoline and paint
The Clean Water Act
EPA
The Peace Corps
Ending the (undeclared) Vietnam War
Tobacco warnings
Anti-discrimination legislation
Universal Health Care (in every industrialized country except the U.S.)
Repeal of “Don’t ask; don’t tell”
Genuinely equal rights for women, people of color, GLBTs and atheists (still working on that)

--
Wow is right... you think today's liberals are more or less likely to embrace the arguments made in the Federalist Papers?
Posted by: skinnynomore

Yes, actually.

--
3. LBJ
a - Phony expansion of the Vietnam War
b - From American Thinker writer Ari Kaufmann: "LBJ and the Southern wing of the Democratic Party persisted in supporting anti-black positions.

and

4 - Robert Byrd: Member of the KKK.
Posted by: pararanger22

LBJ was no Liberal, and Byrd evolved... an excellent demonstration of the benefit of education throughout life. Byrd is the man who said, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."

Posted by: jonroesler | February 1, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

pararanger22.... right on, right on!!!
Lib victory moments indeed.... and in the spirit of cooperation and civility, I offer up #6 for your list...

6. The Barack Hussein Obama presidency - aka James Earl Carter - Term #2.

God help us all.!!!

Posted by: Shrimper | February 1, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I disagree, Mr. Toles (for the first time in quite a while), with your Sphinx metaphor: Egypt seems to be quite united in its purpose - whether it matches our intentions or not. I've noticed that democracy is simply a myth in Arab countries: it's autocratic regimes everywhere, with our without our support. We must promote democratic values in Egypt and throughout the region, or this could become another case study in American hatred. Best regards.

Posted by: araque | February 1, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Recent liberal victories include the Cornhusker Kickback to buy Senator Nelson's (D, NE) vote and the Louisiana Repurchase where Senator Landrieu (D, LA) got a $100 mil to throw her vote for the unconstitutional Obamacare law. Good work libs.

Posted by: billybeer6 | February 1, 2011 7:04 AM | Report abuse

History keeps enshrining liberal victories as having been the wise thing to do. Conservatives don't ever seem to pick up the pattern. --Tom Toles

-----------------------

Let's just toss in a few Liberal Victory moments to stir the pot (yeah, I know, I'm taking the bait).

1. James Earl Carter's presidency:
a - 21.5% Misery Index
b - Desert One
c - 18% inflation and 18% interest rates (MAR 80 for those of you who doubt it)
d - Iranian Hostage Crisis
e - Gave up the Panama Canal

2 - James Buchanan (Democrat)
a - The President before Lincoln that assured the continuance of slavery until Lincoln was elected.

3. LBJ
a - Phony expansion of the Vietnam War
b - From American Thinker writer Ari Kaufmann: "LBJ and the Southern wing of the Democratic Party persisted in supporting anti-black positions. Consider, as LBJ's term neared:

- In 1956, Democrats expressed their opposition to the desegregation decision of Brown v. Board of Education in the "Southern Manifesto." One hundred members of Congress, all Democrats, signed the manifesto.

- In 1957, REPUBLICAN President Eisenhower authored a Civil Rights Bill, hoping to repair the damage done to blacks and their civil rights by Democrats for nearly a century. Passage of the bill was blocked by Senate Democrats.

- In 1959, Eisenhower authored a Voting Rights Bill, again, in an effort to undo the disenfranchisement of blacks by Democrats through poll taxes, literacy tests, and threats of violence by the KKK. And once again, passage of the bill is blocked by Senate Democrats."

c "Lyndon Johnson ...refused to support federal anti-lynching legislation, subverted efforts to end Southern senators’ ability to filibuster civil rights bills to death and failed to support a Fair Employment Practices law in 1949, arguing that it would "inflame the passions and prejudices" of white folks." William Chafe - Professor/Duke U.

4 - Robert Byrd: Member of the KKK.

5 - William Clinton: Monica Lewinsky and the blue dress.

History enshrines all the Liberal victories, that's true Tom. The list is so massive and entertaining too.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 1, 2011 6:15 AM | Report abuse

bertzel,

I noted the similiarities between the views of OckamsRazor and waketheoblivious in yesterday's cartoon blog.

There are two of them - be afraid - be very afraid.

pararanger22

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 1, 2011 5:43 AM | Report abuse

Okay Tom, now you're just baiting them. Feeling a little fiesty today?

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | February 1, 2011 1:46 AM | Report abuse

If the roots are sound, and the soil is good, there will be growth in the spring.

Otherwise, no comment.

Posted by: chaunceygardener | February 1, 2011 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Wow is right. Tom, you think today's liberals are more or less likely to embrace the arguments made in the Federalist Papers? Your cartoons make you seem like a buffoon, your rants remove all doubt.

Posted by: skinnynomore | January 31, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow is right. Tom, you think today's liberals are more or less likely to embrace the arguments made in the Federalist Papers? Your cartoons make you seem like a buffoon, your rants remove all doubt.

Posted by: skinnynomore | January 31, 2011 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Name one liberal victory?

Posted by: jornolibist | January 31, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow.

Posted by: bertzel | January 31, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Those earliest "tea partiers" refused to tax anyone in order to fund the Revolutionary War. It still amazes me that Washington and many small holders (farmers) persisted for seven years fighting a war without salary — even without boots! Remarkable that we even have a nation, with such cheapskates still among us. (And after the war ended cheapskates refused to pay back salaries to the militia!)

~eric.

Posted by: 2ericc | January 31, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

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