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Libertarian; So Full Of Shit

We’re all familiar with the basic ideas behind libertarianism. They really boil down to two words; freedom and responsibility. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? It sounds great, until you grow up and experience life. But I’m not going to take apart the ideology again (see my past posts).

In this post, I’m going to point out how libertarians are massively full of shit, particularly when it comes to the “responsibility” part of their equation. Let me begin with the granddaddy of all libertarians; their messiah, Ron Paul. We’re all familiar with his incredibly racist newsletters (if you’re not, click here). You know, the ones that bore his name, but that he didn’t write and had no idea how they happened, even though they helped raise enough money to get him out of 3/4 of a million dollars worth of debt in the 80s? How a “responsible” person racks up that kind of debt (it would be equivalent to around $2 million today), I don’t know, but I digress. So the newsletters wrote themselves and had the happy side effect of paying Paul’s bills? Really? What happened to taking responsibility? When your name appears on something, isn’t it purely your responsibility? Not when you’re the grand poobah of libertarianism, apparently. I can’t tell you how many times a libertarian has replied to my posts about the newsletters by using the “it wasn’t his fault” defense.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we saw the grand poobah’s miscreant son follow in his father’s footsteps. Rand Paul was caught plagiarising lots of shit. What did Mr Freedom and Responsibility do? Did he take responsibility and apologize profusely? Not even remotely. He blamed the media who exposed him, calling them “hacks and haters”. I couldn’t help but notice that he never called them liars. Even he couldn’t, with a straight face, say they were lying. No, they were hacks and haters for telling the truth. He still hasn’t really taken responsibility for his own actions. Responsibility is the annoying and inconvenient half of the libertarian formula. And how did libertarians react to this information about their demigod? They mostly obfuscated by pointing at someone else, who they claim did something worse. When they addressed what he did, they dismissed it as a “footnoting” problem.

Now we have another asshat libertarian who refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Yesterday on Facebook, I posted a story on Mark Patterson. He’s a state representative in Idaho who was pissed that conceal/ carry application was denied because he failed to disclose a rape conviction that was on his record. It was a conviction because he plead guilty. This guy is a staunch libertarian acolyte of the grand poobah, so you would naturally expect that he would apologize for not disclosing the rape conviction, take responsibility for it, and move on his merry way, right? You won’t be shocked to hear that he didn’t do that. In the (now) libertarian tradition, he didn’t take any responsibility for the fraudulent application, claiming that the Men in Black guys erased his memory, or something. Maddow did a segment on this asshat last night. She turned up another rape trial (no conviction that time) and a whole bunch of other gratuitous lying. In addition to dodging that whole responsibility thing by claiming amnesia, this libertarian acolyte decided to follow the grand poobah and his miscreant son’s path by attacking the sheriff who denied him the permit. He’s rantings include claiming, “[the sheriff] ….a bare-knuckled campaign to intimidate me from serving the people of Idaho.” So the sheriff is trying to intimidate you by denying you a permit that you’re not legally entitled to have because of what you admitted you did? I Googled, and Googled, and Googled, but I never managed to find the part of his statement wherein he took responsibility for what he did.

I’m starting to see an epidemic among libertarians. One in which they cast off the “responsibility” part of libertarianism whenever it becomes inconvenient for them. Now keep in mind that this is a group of people who love to point the finger of hypocrisy at everyone else. Let me be clear, I’m not accusing all libertarians of being full of shit. But I am accusing all libertarians who support the Pauls, and anyone who behaves the way they do of being full of shit. If you support and bolster people who champion libertarianism without taking responsibility for themselves, you’re full of shit.

And you’re seriously undermining your ideology. You are why libertarianism is a joke that I thoroughly enjoy mocking mercilessly.  And you know what? When I point at you and laugh, it’s not my fault. I take no responsibility (you should all appreciate that). It’s your fault for not making an effort to be less full of shit and less laughable. Seriously, you should focus making the case for why your ideology is so brilliant, instead of constantly demonstrating you’re full of shit. Take responsibility for yourself. Hold your leaders responsible for what they’ve done, and show me why you have it right, and I have it wrong. But until you do that; I laugh, oh how I laugh!

 

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Vice President Rand Paul?

No, I’m not crazy.Okay, maybe I’m slightly crazy but let me make my case. I haven’t commented on the republican primaries because I haven’t found them to be all that interesting. Romney is going to be the nominee. Romney was always going to be the nominee. None of the drama that ensues along the way, was every going to be memorable in a long lasting way.

The primaries weren’t interesting to me until now. They got interesting when Newt reverted back to the Newt we all know and loathe. But that alone didn’t do it. The emergence of the old, loathsome Newt combined with an infusion of $5 million dollars (to help him amplify his hatefulness) is what has peaked my interest. Newt is determined to implement a scorched earth campaign on Romney. He’s going to leave Mitt as bloody and bruised as his funds will allow.

Here’s why that’s interesting; republican primaries are not set up as “winner take all” elections. So if a candidate wins the primary in a state with 39% of the vote, they don’t get all of the delegates for that state. They get a percentage of delegates that is roughly proportionate to the percentage they won the state by. If Mitt Romney keeps “winning” each state by getting less than 50% of the votes, he won’t have 51% of the delegates and will not be the nominee. He would have to go to one of the other candidates that have the percentage of delegates that he needs to broker some kind of deal with them, in exchange for giving him their delegates.

We can safely assume that Santorum, Perry, and Huntsman will be out after South Carolina. I have a feeling that Paul is staying in until the end, which makes Gingrich the determining factor in Romney’s fate. If Gingrich can hang in until super Tuesday, he sets up Ron Paul as the “king maker” that Romney will have to deal with to get the delegates he needs to be the nominee. That’s a big “if”. Right now, Gingrich’s campaign is being fueled by one single donor that, thanks to citizen’s united, stuffed his PAC with $5 million dollars. $5 million goes a long way in South Carolina because it’s such a small media market with relatively cheap air time. If he can’t get more money, he won’t make it beyond South Carolina. But if Gingrich makes it to super Tuesday, he will be siphoning those votes away from Romney. If Paul can keep getting 20% – 25%, that puts Romney at less that 50% in a lot of primaries.

Gingrich won’t make it all the way to the end for a couple of reasons. First off, his vitriol and arrogance will most definitely gaffe him out of the race. Secondly, he’s going to need several fairy Godmothers to “PAC” him $500 million dollars. Before citizen’s united, that would have been impossible. As it stands now, he has a small chance. He’s also got the party elders gunning for him, so he won’t be raising any funds through traditional means. Karl Rove seems to be on a war path against Gingrich.

So if all of that happens (I’m not saying it’s likely, but this is fun!), then Ron Paul ends up with the delegates that Romney needs. These deals are obviously usually centered around getting the Vice Presidential slot. I don’t believe that Ron Paul has the slightest interest in being the VP on the ticket. Plus, he’s older than god. I don’t think that reminiscing about his play dates with Jesus are going to play well with voters.

No, he’s going to deal for his miscreant son that no one likes. Hence, my theory that Vice President Rand Paul may be an ugly, ugly reality we may face just as we’re feeling safe that the republican car has passed us by.

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The Demon Earmark

I’m already seeing a lot of coverage around republicans and earmarks, Rand Paul and earmarks, and [insert name here] and earmarks. I’m writing this post to beg of you, please put an end to this inane conversation. Please?

Anybody who is anti-earmark is lacking a fundamental understanding of how our government works. If you know one of those people, please forward this post to them because I’m about to break it all down for everyone.

I don’t know what you think you’re voting for when you elect a congressman or a senator, so I’d like to clear this up. You’re voting for someone who will bring home the federal bacon. Yes people, it is your representative’s job grab as much federal money as they can and deliver it to your state, county, or town. Why is this their job? Because it’s the only way that the money gets dispersed to local municipalities. If your representative didn’t pork up every bill that they could for you, there would never be any federal money going into your district, ever!

Here’s the deal; if we didn’t have the pork system that we have, we would have our house and senate voting on each local spending bill individually. Let’s use the senate as an example. When New York needs money to maintain the public transportation  system, and the senate has to vote on whether those funds will be allocated to New York, we would have a situation where 98 senators who don’t don’t give two shits about New York would most definitely shoot it down. This is true of any project in any state. We would have a situation where only two out of one hundred votes give a shit about the project or need. Nothing would ever get approved for funding. In the house, this would be amplified by four hundred and thirty five. Only one congressman would support any given project, because it’s their project. Four hundred and thirty four other people don’t give a damned about your district or its problems.

I’m guessing that after a few dozen failed attempts at obtaining the votes needed to secure a representative’s requested funds, they would adapt, and the horse trading would begin. Okay New York, I’ll vote to give you public transportation funds if you vote to get my funds to maintain my local parks. See how that works? We’d end up in basically the same place we are now, except with much more complex deals being made to distribute the cash.

And on top of that, Americans would be made aware of every single vote. People in forty-nine and nine tenths of each state would be outraged by the passing of any bill. Why would I, in New York, give a flying fuck about subsidizing a corporation in order to entice them to open up shop in California? And within California, Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, Sacramento, and Oakland would all be outraged if that money went to Santa Barbara. You think you’re pissed off at they system now? Wait till you see what happens when you “clean it up”.

I’m not saying there isn’t a better way than earmarks. I’m saying that this is the only way we have right now to distribute funds for state infrastructure, parks, and transportation projects among others.

So please democrats and left wing press, don’t spend the next two years perpetuating the same childish arguments about excessive pork barrelers. Grow the fuck up and start pointing out that given our current system, a representative that doesn’t pork up a federal bill is committing political malpractice.

And to liberal voters that are pissed off at the jackasses that were elected last week – don’t harp on your friends for voting for Rand Paul, who turned out to be a hypocrite. You should instead point out that of course, Rand Paul was going to be hypocritical. He’s not the asshole. The person that voted for him based on his promise  to shrink government is the asshole for falling for the same, tired unicorn they always vote for.

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Random Election Musings

I (like you) have some thoughts on what happened yesterday and what it means, so I thought I’d share.

First let me start with the two states that I believe made the biggest mistakes yesterday. Florida and Kentucky fucked themselves, but good.

Rand, Rand, Rand. The big question now is, will he stick to his principles? If he does, then both Mitch McConnell and Kentucky are fucked.

Let’s start with Mitch. He’s is going to have some major problems getting Rand on board with some of the republican party policies. It’s going to be fun to watch McConnell walking around with a perpetual migraine for a while! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think for a second that Rand is as principled as his father. It was apparent during the election, that Rand just parrots what he’s heard from his father his entire life. Add to that the fact that he doesn’t appear to be very bright, and you end up with someone that will eventually walk away from their so called principles. We saw him back away from his more insane beliefs during the election. People with strong beliefs don’t do that. If I strongly believe something to be true, then I explain it as long as I have to in order to show everyone that I’m right. I wouldn’t slink away from my principles because they’re costing me votes. Rand will eventually conform, but it will be fun to watch that “breaking in” period.

Kentucky is fucked because that running water they’ve become so accustomed to will stop running if Rand sticks to his guns. You see, for every dollar that Kentuckians pay in federal taxes, they get $1.82 back. Little Randy hates the federal government, and he hates federal taxes. In his little utopia, Kentuckians would stop paying federal taxes and instead, pay a 25% sales tax. Let’s think about this for a moment, shall we? Kentucky is so fucking piss poor, that they need nearly twice as much federal money to operate than they pay. How much money does Rand think poor people spend? Does he think that his constituency can spend enough to generate enough tax dollars to offset what his state gets in federal money? Is he out of his fucking mind? There isn’t even a Ferragamo  or a Chanel store in Kentucky! This is not a population with money to throw around! IDIOT. But on the upside, this is great news for me! I only get seventy-nine cents back for every dollar I pay in federal taxes. If Rand refuses to take the money, I may get my twenty-one cents back. California and Illinois can likewise keep the money they’re sinking into Kentucky. WooHoo!

You’d better start digging wells for water, Kentucky. And start working out, because those buckets full of water are going to be heavy to carry. Especially when you have to carry them through fields and dirt toads.

If you’re lucky Kentucky, you won’t get what you voted for and Rand will completely abandon his dumbass principles and you won’t get what you deserve for being so fucking stupid.

Moving on to Florida. WOW, are you guys stupid! Your Governor elect (Rick Scott) is the all time the biggest practitioner of medicare fraud ever. He has the distinction of heading the company that was successfully prosecuted for perpetrating the biggest medicare fraud in US history. His company plead guilty to fourteen felonies. The fines were 1.7 billion dollars. Since fines (as we learned from the Angelo Mozilo situation) are generally a fraction of what was stolen, I can only imagine that Scott stole the equivalent of Bolivia’s GDP!

And you know what, Floridians? Rick Scott used the money that he stole from you to fund his campaign. He bought you with your own money. Nicely done, idiots. But I’m sure that having Scott run the state that is the biggest consumer of medicare is going to turn out just fine. What could possibly go wrong there?

Let me pause for a moment here to inject some positivity into this post. Here’s a little tidbit for those of you that get queazy hearing (or saying) the words “Speaker Boehner”. There may be a little bit of relief in sight. There are grumblings within the republican party that Boehner won’t be voted into the position of leader. Eric Cantor is likely to lobby for that position. If he does, he has a good shot at getting it. This will ease our pain a little, and free up some cocktailing and spray tanning time for Boehner.

Now back to states that fucked up. I have to give California an honorable mention here. Kudos to them for staving off crazy Carly and mean Meg, but they blew it with prop 19. Legalizing marijuana is the only way to cripple the Mexican drug cartels. They earn 78% of their revenue from marijuana sales. If just California (the world’s eighth largest economy) legalized marijuana, it would be devastating to the cartels. And let me say that if prop 9 had passed, Monsanto (who have been working on genetically modifying pot for decades now) would open up marijuana strip malls all over California over night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way, shape, or form pro-Monsanto. I know that they’re the embodiment of evil. But I have every confidence that Monsanto would succeed in killing the Mexican cartels, where two governments have failed. I hate to say it, but I would be rooting for Monsanto in this fight. Not that they’re not immoral thugs that are killing us, but at least they’re not killing us violently. And through education, we ultimately have the power to take down Monsanto. We are powerless to do anything about the drug cartels.

In the end, I would say that the big winners in this election were Goldman Sachs and the Mexican drug cartels. We, the people were the big losers.

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The Apple Did Not Fall Far From The Tree

I’m referring to Rand Paul. It’s barely been thirty six hours since he won the republican primary for the open senate seat in Kentucky. Since his victory, he’s said some things that make him seem a little bit racist.

Before I can share my opinions on Rand, I must first begin with Ron Paul. I do have to preface all of this by telling you that I do not believe in blaming the son for the sins of the father. I believe that doing so is unfair, and generally unfounded. When I bring up Ron Paul, I do so because I believe that it’s important to understand the ideology under which Rand Paul was raised.

Ron Paul first registered on my radar during the first debate for the republican primary in 2008. It became very clear in the first ten minutes of that debate, that Ron Paul was not your typical republican. He said a lot of things that made sense. I felt as if he was the republican counterpart to Dennis Kucinich in that, he was a conservative truth teller, impervious to party talking points and corporate interests. There were many points in which I vehemently disagreed with Ron Paul, but I definitely felt that he merited a closer look.

So I started to do some research. A few hours into my research, I came across the newsletters that Ron Paul published monthly from 1978 to 1999. I found this article about the newsletters from a January 2008 story in the New Republic. Let me short hand the article for you with some quotes from the newsletters;


“opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions,”

“if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be,”

He claimed that black representative Barbara Jordan is “the archetypical half-educated victimologist” whose “race and sex protect her from criticism.”

“Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist philanderer, Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day”

One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” and “Lazyopolis” were better alternatives.

But don’t worry blacks, you’re not alone in Ron Paul’s world of the unworthy;

In 1990, one newsletter mentioned a reporter from a gay magazine “who certainly had an axe to grind, and that’s not easy with a limp wrist.”

In an item titled, “The Pink House?” the author of a newsletter–again, presumably Paul–complained about President George H.W. Bush’s decision to sign a hate crimes bill and invite “the heads of homosexual lobbying groups to the White House for the ceremony,” adding, “I miss the closet.” “Homosexuals,” it said, “not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”

“Homosexuals, if admitted, should be put in a special category and not allowed in close physical contact with heterosexuals.”

Feeling left out, Jews? Don’t worry;

A 1987 issue of Paul’s Investment Letter called Israel “an aggressive, national socialist state,”

Of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a newsletter said, “Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.”

I could go on and on, but you get the point. Being the skeptic that I am, I had to assume that the reporter on the New Republic story might have had an axe to grind with Ron Paul so I kept looking until I found actual copies of the newsletters. You can look at them here, here, and you can download one here.

I don’t want to keep going on and on about Ron because this post is about Rand, but if you want to know more about how Ron reacted to these revelations, just Google “Ron Paul” + newsletters.

Back to Rand. Here’s an interview that he did with Rachel Maddow last night;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_FDPZJlaOc[/youtube]

And here’s part 2;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS_qya7w0hs[/youtube]

A few things struck me about Rand after having watched this interview.

The first thing is Paul’s cowardice. He lacks the courage of his convictions. If you truly believe something, it’s presumably because you think that your belief is the right thing. If that’s the case, there should be no need to evade directly answering questions about what you believe. The way he evaded answering the question tells me that he KNOWS that his views should be suppressed. If you know that you’re right or righteous, there’s no reason to obfuscate. You should believe that your correctness has the power to persuade others.

The next thing that struck me is his intellectual dishonesty in the gun example he brought up. A gun is something that you CARRY. You have the option of leaving it at home, and doing so won’t prevent you from going to a lunch counter.  You can’t leave your “blackness” home. It’s WHAT you are, not what you do. That equivocation was absurd.

There was also a comment on Wednesday. A reporter asked Rand if he was concerned that holding his victory party at a private country club would “send mixed messages”. Rand responded by saying, ““I think at one time people used to think of golf and golf courses and golf clubs as being exclusive. But I think in recent years now you see a lot of people playing golf. I think Tiger Woods has helped to broaden that in the sense that he’s brought golf to a lot of the cities and to city youth, and so no, I don’t think it’s nearly as exclusive as people once considered it to be.”

I thought that it was a little bit unusual that he interpreted the question to be about race. My interpretation would have been that the question was about populism, since he ran as an allegedly populist tea party candidate. The mixed message lies in having your victory party in a venue that appears to be elitist.

I am not a person that feels comfortable labeling people as racists. I have lived in the most liberal parts of this country so racism is not a natural concept for me to wrap my mind around. So when Rand made the Tiger Woods comment, I didn’t jump to a racist conclusion even though I knew how he was raised. I was not willing to combine a seemingly innocuous comment with the sins of the father to conclude that Rand Paul has racist views. When I look at the Maddow interview and silo it apart from everything else, my inclination is to view his comments as staunchly libertarian rather than inherently bigoted. His platform is after all, one of libertarianism.

But when I put the totality of the information about Rand Paul together, I can’t avoid the conclusion that he is a racist.

Here’s the problem with racism today; it’s subtle because it isn’t tolerated in mainstream society anymore. Overt racism isn’t socially acceptable anymore so racists have to go undercover. They have to be subtle. A great example of this is the birthers. Clinging onto the belief that our black president wasn’t born in America, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, is just a subtle way of saying that he’s not one of us.

I really resisted concluding that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to Rand Paul, but I can’t avoid it any longer.

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As Goes Kentucky, So Goes The Nation?

Hardly.

Primaries are my favorite part of the election cycle. Yes, I’m a dork! And like every other dorky political junkie, I was watching yesterdays primaries closely. Here’s what happened in my estimation; nothing surprising.

I get that cable news has to make it all sound like we saw a stunning upset last night. Boring elections make for lower ratings, and fewer reasons to roll out the pundits. But nothing unpredictable happened yesterday.

Everyone is focused in Pennsylvania for some reason. To me, Pennsylvania was the least remarkable result yesterday. But the focus on Pennsylvania is a means to “scrutinize” the Obama administrations efficacy in getting people elected. Personally, I don’t believe that Specter’s loss last night had very much to do with Obama. I think that Specter’s chances of winning a democratic primary after switching parties was compromised right from the beginning. It just seemed like such a self serving maneuver. He was going to have a hard time overcoming that all along. I phone banked into Philly on behalf of the Sestak campaign. I was surprised at how many people had no idea who Sestak was, even a week before the election. Specter’s loss wasn’t about Obama, and it wasn’t about Sestak. It was about Specter. I believe that he lost because he couldn’t overcome the impression that he’s self serving, and because he fell victim to the anti-incumbent fervor that we’re seeing across the country.

The Mark Critz victory was no more a referendum against republicans than the Specter loss was a referendum against Obama. Mark Critz is the democrat that ran for Jack Murtha’s congressional seat in Pennsylvania. This is a decidedly democratic district that, for some reason, republicans thought they had a chance at grabbing. I have no idea what they were thinking! This is not a district that  republicans would normally dump money into. The fact that they did this time, tells me that they are completely out of touch with what’s going on in the country. Republicans lost a race that they never had a chance of winning. There was no “statement” being made here by the voters in that district.

The Rand Paul victory was the most interesting thing that happened last night, even though it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that was watching the polls. It wasn’t interesting because of the tea party angle (not to me, anyway). It was interesting because Mitch McConnell was the real loser yesterday. When the candidate backed by the leading republican in the senate loses in his own state lost by twenty four points, I’d say that a message was being sent. Mitch McConnell got spanked last night. I don’t know Kentucky politics all that well so I can’t speak to how much of this victory was a tea party thing, versus a “Ron Paul’s son” thing. But I do think that it’s clear that republicans are not happy with the republican party.

I feel like the republican strategy of obstructing and obfuscating is blowing up in their faces. They should have taken the 2006 and 2008 elections to heart and realized that they are a broken party. They should have rehabbed themselves by going back to the basic tenets of conservatism. They should have come up with creative solutions to remedy the enormous problems they created during the Bush years. And most of all, they should have done a mea culpa for having lost their way. They should have been working hard to show the American people that they learned a lesson and were prepared to massively change course. But instead of doing any of that, they chose to pretend that they made no mistakes. They adopted a strategy of waiting for the democrats to suck more than republicans have. They decided to do everything they could to make the democrats look bad, rather than to elevate themselves.

Mitch McConnell was one of the chief architects of this strategy, and I believe that Kentucky sent him a message yesterday. Maybe I’m being a sunny optimist here, but I feel like republicans aren’t happy with their party taking the “we may suck, but they suck more” approach.

I have to admit that I was surprised that Blanche Lincoln didn’t win last night. Not because I like her, I actually think she’s a flaming piece of crap. But she’s a “conservative” piece of crap, who is actually perfectly suited for the political landscape in Arkansas. I thought that she would win the primary, and then lose the general election.

Onto my prediction for November.

I do believe that democrats are going to lose seats. Historically speaking, it’s a foregone conclusion. But I don’t believe that democrats are going to lose control of either the house or the senate. The number of seats lost will ultimately rely on job creation. If Obama can create a million jobs between now and November, I believe that the total loss of seats will be around twenty. I think that if they create NO jobs between now and November, they will lose around thirty seats, which still keeps them in control of the senate and the house.

I just don’t see a huge anti-democrat ground swell out there. Not because democrats have been great on anything, but because republicans haven’t done anything to make themselves more attractive to voters. I anything, they’ve dug their heels into their crappiness. When given the option of choosing between a heaping, stinky pile of turds and a slightly less aromatic and smaller pile of crap, you have to pick the lesser of two evils.

And sucking less is what will keep democrats in power or more accurately, in a majority state of powerlessness.

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