The gap between Catholic and Protestant thinking

Some thoughts on the gap (largely revealed on this thread) in how Catholics and Protestants think, over at the Guardian blog.

  • Henry94

    As a Catholic who defended the right of the moderator to his decision Mick I think you have missed the real division which is not between Protestant and Catholic but between an intolerant ecumenical movement which tries to obliterate differences and a more profound one which tries to foster mutual respect and clarity.

    The fruits of Tue later can be seen in the US where Evangelical Christians and traditional Catholics work together on issues without trying to undermine each others beliefs.

    Thus the appointment of judges to the Supreme court who are Catholic is welcomed by evangelicals but condemned by secular Catholics like Kennedy and Kerry.

    By seeing the issue in terms of the usual divide you are missing a more interesting bigger picture.

  • Mick Fealty

    Fair point Henry – though judging by that thread and some of the lazier discourse on Slugger, I’d say that remains a noble aspiration for Northern Ireland rather than an emergent reality.

  • PaddyReilly

    [MF in his Guardian Blog quoted Bertrand Russell on the difference between Catholics and Protestants]

    Bertie Russell was unusual in his religious/philosophical background: his parents, who died too young to have much influence on him, seemed to have invented Free Love. He was brought up by his grandmother, a very advanced Whig, who eventually became a Unitarian. She was responsible for the “do not follow a multitude” quotation.

    I think the term “Protestant” covers too broad a spectrum to make any generalisations: Russell does not typify it. Anyway he was a non-conformist among non-conformists: the rest of the Reformed Church and its members meekly acquiesced in the slaughter of 1914-18. Only Russell and the likes of Pádraig Pierce had different ideas.

    Martin Luther, when he nailed his theses, was in fact a Catholic.

    Russell was somewhat pissed off with the Catholic Church because certain of its members deprived him of employment in the US. He had been preaching free love as well. The trouble was, when his wife practised it, he was less than thrilled.

    Lady Russell told a friend of mine (still alive, aged 98) that Bertie must have got his marital habits from his uncle, who was a Mohammedan.

  • willis

    Henry

    What about some examples of this intolerant ecumenical movement?

    If you are equating “secular catholics” with “intolerant ecumenism” then please say so.

    I do agree with you that a common approach to social issues between catholic and protestant conservatives in ths USA is to be applauded, however I see little evidence of it over here, still less shared prayer.
    However if such initiatives exist, a link would be appreciated.

  • J. Walsh

    “[…] a common approach to social issues between catholic and protestant conservatives in ths USA is to be applauded”

    For some of us, specifically atheists and secularists, it’s a nightmare coming true. The worst aspects of Catholicism and Protestantism joining forces to drag us back in time.

    J…

  • Henry94

    willls

    What about some examples of this intolerant ecumenical movement?

    I think the original thread is a fine example.

    I do agree with you that a common approach to social issues between catholic and protestant conservatives in ths USA is to be applauded, however I see little evidence of it over here

    That’s why I choose the US example. We are slow to catch up. That’s why abortion can be presented in the south as a way of reaching out to Unionists!

  • Harry

    I’d say the main reason there’s a gap between catholic and protestant thinking in n. ireland is because unionists are armed to the teeth and have been kicking the crap out of catholics for 4 centuries while suiting themselves politically all the while. They are still suiting themselves politically and their guarantor, the british, are still operating on this island for their own strategic purposes using protestants/unionists as their proxies.

    This more than anything is the reason for the gap between protestant and catholics. Their distance from one another does not derive from doctrinal disagreement issuing into communal conflict; in fact, religion has precious little to do with it in any serious way. The difference in thinking doesn’t even have much to do with maintaining their distance from one another.

    The difference between catholic and protestant, nationalist and unionist is because of british military force majeure.

  • kensei

    “For some of us, specifically atheists and secularists, it’s a nightmare coming true. The worst aspects of Catholicism and Protestantism joining forces to drag us back in time.”

    Add liberal Catholics to the nightmare mix there. The worrying thing about the fundamentalist movement in America of whatever stripe is the way they are beginnig to shut themselves off from the rest of society. For example, removing their children to special schools or teaching from home.

    Give them enough time, and the gap between them and the rest of society will be as big as it is here. I would speculate that a large part of the gap is simply because the two groups don’t mix, and there is limited exchange of ideas. Coalition government during WW2 produced 30 years of consenus, for heaven’s sake.

  • Can’t comment , too spun out, as am half catholic, and half protestant,
    Splits me down the middle 🙂

  • Mick,
    Interview me as as a half-cast, accepted by neither, nor fully rejected, and I’ll tell you a few stories of what it’s like to be piggy-in-da- middle and what can be done!

  • Last one:
    Being 1/2 and 1/2 is like
    being extremely moral
    and at the same time a total delinquent:

    Wake up kids
    We’ve got the dreamers disease
    Age 14 we got you down on your knees
    So polite, you’re busy still saying please
    Fri – enemies, who when you’re down ain’t your friend
    Every night we smash their Mercedes – Benz
    First we run and then we laugh till we cry
    But when the night is falling
    And you cannot find the light
    If you feel your dream is dying
    Hold tight
    You’ve got the music in you
    Don’t let go
    You’ve got the music in you
    One dance left
    This world is gonna pull through
    Don’t give up
    You’ve got a reason to live
    Can’t forget we only get what you give

    Now back to sense and sensiblity

  • willis

    Henry

    With the greatest respect, the original thread currently numbers 330 contributions. If you are saying that anyone who derides conservatives is ecumenical then you may have a point, except that is not what the word means.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensai: “The worrying thing about the fundamentalist movement in America of whatever stripe is the way they are beginnig to shut themselves off from the rest of society. For example, removing their children to special schools or teaching from home. ”

    More accurately, they are being shut off from the rest of society. Liberal secularists have sought to usurp parental perogatives. The conservative and religious simply object to the intrusion. The schools are a primary access point, thus better to cut the state at the source. Besides, given the poor record of achievement in many state schools, they’re worse educationally if they stay in the state school. Morality is something the state is neither empowered nor equipped to teach, Kensai.

    Kensai: “Give them enough time, and the gap between them and the rest of society will be as big as it is here. I would speculate that a large part of the gap is simply because the two groups don’t mix, and there is limited exchange of ideas.”

    Coastal elites vs. “fly over country” The folks on the coasts rarely deign to speak to the “rustics” from the interior… when they do, its usually to tell them how stupid they are and who they should vote for / live their lives. People don’t like to be meddled with, Kensai. And *THAT* is what American “liberals” do best — meddle in other people’s lives, with occasional detours into hypocrisy, such as driving SUV’s whilst telling the “little people” they should conserve gas.

  • kensei

    “More accurately, they are being shut off from the rest of society. Liberal secularists have sought to usurp parental perogatives. The conservative and religious simply object to the intrusion. The schools are a primary access point, thus better to cut the state at the source. Besides, given the poor record of achievement in many state schools, they’re worse educationally if they stay in the state school. Morality is something the state is neither empowered nor equipped to teach, Kensai.

    Coastal elites vs. “fly over country” The folks on the coasts rarely deign to speak to the “rustics” from the interior… when they do, its usually to tell them how stupid they are and who they should vote for / live their lives. People don’t like to be meddled with, Kensai. And *THAT* is what American “liberals” do best—meddle in other people’s lives, with occasional detours into hypocrisy, such as driving SUV’s whilst telling the “little people” they should conserve gas. ”

    First up, if your are going petulantly use my nom-de-plume, please spell it right. kensei, with an e.

    Second to an extent you are right, they are driving away in both directions. The big failure of the Democratic Party is that it has lost it’s connection with the positive aspects of religion, something it’s greatest Presidents always connected to. It’s almost toxic to them now. The question is how much longer can the country stand those types of divisions?

    I have nothing against education with a strong religous element, it should be tempered with meeting and engaging with other people of different views. And home schooling in particular might produce good grades, but I worry about the people it produces. A section of the religious right is beginning to recede into itself, viewing all outsiders and the rest of society as sinful. So they have Christain schools, Christain Universities, Christain Groups, Churches (obviously) but limited contact with opposing views. There was a piece on Newsnight a few months back. It was terrifying. And let’s be clear, a section want a Christain government, to run the country according to “God’s Law”. Certain commentators are already suggesting the current Republican Party is becoming Americas first religious party.

    As for Liberals imposing their views, in American politics they are not the ones rushing around to introduce legislation on everything from evolution to gay marriage to ensure that their view is the law of the land. And they are not the ones currently supporting extending that dominance through ideological wars. Personally, with Liberalism a defeated movement in America and conservatives in complete control, conservatives need to start taking some responsibility.

    But those are whole other debates and I don’t want to be in another 300 page thread. I think we can both agree that whatever the cause, those types of divisions are not a positive thing.

  • willis

    I’m getting a sense that on this thread “liberal” and “ecumenical” are being treated as synonyms.

    This would be a great pity as the debate over the place of individual conscience versus doctrinal purity or indeed versus collective myopia is very important in N.I.

    I don’t really agree with the differences in catholic and protestant ways of thinking proposed by Mick, but it is a worthwhile debating point.

    Both denominations (even that word is loaded) contain a huge variety of different ways of thinking and doing.

    Maybe the formulation

    “Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter” covers the ground better.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei: “The big failure of the Democratic Party is that it has lost it’s connection with the positive aspects of religion, something it’s greatest Presidents always connected to. It’s almost toxic to them now. The question is how much longer can the country stand those types of divisions? ”

    Its managed the last two hundred plus years, with time off for WW II and the immediate aftermath. Read some histories — you think things are toxic in the Senate now? Hell, in centuries past there have been brawls in the Senate — I think there was at least one shooting in the chamber, not counting off-campus duelling. As for the people, the divide is nothing new…

    Kensei: “I have nothing against education with a strong religous element, it should be tempered with meeting and engaging with other people of different views. And home schooling in particular might produce good grades, but I worry about the people it produces.”

    Compared to what, the gang-banger wannabe out of the urban high school? Public education has become the social laboratory with every fad and silly notion that meanders aimlessly down the pike. It has become more about “socialization” and self-esteem than education. Intelligent children and normal students end up “mainstreamed” with the half-a-loaf bus crowd, whilst the more raucous sections of the peanut gallery earnestly strives to prevent anyone from learning anything.

    Kensei: “A section of the religious right is beginning to recede into itself, viewing all outsiders and the rest of society as sinful. So they have Christain schools, Christain Universities, Christain Groups, Churches (obviously) but limited contact with opposing views. ”

    As opposed to “tolerant” liberals, who only tolerate folks who agree with them and don’t tread on their pet causes? The sort of folks who talk a good game about race relations, but freak when little Mitzi brings home a black boyfriend?

    If they need an opposing viewpoint, all the need to do is turn on a television or radio. Its nearly omnipresent.

    Kensei: “It was terrifying. And let’s be clear, a section want a Christain government, to run the country according to “God’s Law”. Certain commentators are already suggesting the current Republican Party is becoming Americas first religious party.”

    Stuff and nonsense. Whoever sold you that one hasn’t a clue about what they’re talking about. If I recall correctly, once upon a time, at least half of the original states had official state religions (the 1st Amendment, in actuality, only binds the FEDERAL government, not the states), while the who concept of “seperation of Church and state” arises out of a pre(?)-civil war legal case revolving around an effort to get state funding for Catholic parochial schools (the “public” schools, however, were supplying a good Protestant education at the time). The “seperation” did not end the religion component in the public schools, just ensured the state wouldn’t have to fund Catholic schools.

    Kensei: “As for Liberals imposing their views, in American politics they are not the ones rushing around to introduce legislation on everything from evolution to gay marriage to ensure that their view is the law of the land”

    No, they used the court system to get things on these topics that they couldn’t get through the legislature, since the majority do not support their causes. Which is more representative, a handful of black-robed jurists or the collective will of the people?

    Kensei: “Personally, with Liberalism a defeated movement in America and conservatives in complete control, conservatives need to start taking some responsibility. ”

    Liberalism defeated? I thought Teddy K was acting weirder than usual. The fact is is that there has been, oh, what, Roosevelt to Johnson, of liberal leadership in the United States. LBJ’s war on poverty has pissed away 5 Trillion or so, with no meaningful result, other than an increase in dependence upon the state. It would take at least as long to wean the masses off their dependence. Its funny — Conservatives are judged on their results and must “take responsibilty,” whilst liberals are judged on their intent and if it goes horribly wrong, its quietly ignored as their “noble efforts” are lauded…

    Likewise, you are falling into the trap of confusing “Conservative” with “Republican.” It doesn’t work that way, leastwise not as well and “Liberal” and “Democrat.” F’r’instance, the bald fellow from Pennsylvania… Ghost? Zombie? No — Spector — that’s it… he may be in the G.O.P., but he’s not conservative. Conservative Democrats came from the South and West and they’re almost non-existant in this day and age.

    Willis: “I’m getting a sense that on this thread “liberal” and “ecumenical” are being treated as synonyms.”

    Not really… a tangent got tossed into the mix.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “[…] a common approach to social issues between catholic and protestant conservatives in ths USA is to be applauded”

    “For some of us, specifically atheists and secularists, it’s a nightmare coming true. The worst aspects of Catholicism and Protestantism joining forces to drag us back in time. ”

    And for others it’s a way for the core values of Christianity to be put back at the forefront of society, and a potential way out of the sectarian trenches in NI.
    Henry 94 has finally come good, and posted an extremely insightful comment. As I frequently say at orange meetings, our biggest enemy is secularism, whewreupon the lads all nod and move on to the price of sandwiches on the Twelfth. Wouldn’t a common statement on -say abortion- from Archbishop Brady and Robert Saulters shake the political and social framework ?

  • elfinto

    Especially for you spirit level:

    His father, he was orange
    And his mother, she was green,
    It was the strangest mix up
    The world has ever seen

  • elfinto, a fine rendition sir, in my case the father’s green and the mother’s orange.
    I call them Trimble and Paisley respectively 😉

  • kensei

    Can’t… resist…

    “Compared to what, the gang-banger wannabe out of the urban high school? Public education has become the social laboratory with every fad and silly notion that meanders aimlessly down the pike. It has become more about “socialization” and self-esteem than education. Intelligent children and normal students end up “mainstreamed” with the half-a-loaf bus crowd, whilst the more raucous sections of the peanut gallery earnestly strives to prevent anyone from learning anything.”

    Aside from fairly sweeping generalisations you have there, state schools are more divise because different groups attend them. Christain schools only have Christains.

    “As opposed to “tolerant” liberals, who only tolerate folks who agree with them and don’t tread on their pet causes? The sort of folks who talk a good game about race relations, but freak when little Mitzi brings home a black boyfriend?”

    The list of things wrong with statement is so big I’m not even going to start.

    “If they need an opposing viewpoint, all the need to do is turn on a television or radio. Its nearly omnipresent.”

    You acn turn on the radio and TV and not be troubled by a single liberal – Fox, Talk Radio, Christian channels.

    “Stuff and nonsense. Whoever sold you that one hasn’t a clue about what they’re talking about.”

    Federal Party. And sold a pup? I ewatched them talk about in seriousness. They have their own University with their aim to produce the next leaders of the country. And what about the group trying to move people to South Carolina to take it over? Doubt it will work, but the attempt is scary enough.

    “If I recall correctly, once upon a time, at least half of the original states had official state religions (the 1st Amendment, in actuality, only binds the FEDERAL government, not the states), while the who concept of “seperation of Church and state” arises out of a pre(?)-civil war legal case revolving around an effort to get state funding for Catholic parochial schools (the “public” schools, however, were supplying a good Protestant education at the time). The “seperation” did not end the religion component in the public schools, just ensured the state wouldn’t have to fund Catholic schools.”

    Oh, I am aware that the reason for separation was anti-Catholic bigotry.

    “No, they used the court system to get things on these topics that they couldn’t get through the legislature, since the majority do not support their causes. Which is more representative, a handful of black-robed jurists or the collective will of the people?”

    Well, in the US Constitution the Supreme Court interprets the law. It is within it’s rights to make those judgements. Unless you don’t like how the country is run, and what to change it……?

    “Liberalism defeated? I thought Teddy K was acting weirder than usual. The fact is is that there has been, oh, what, Roosevelt to Johnson, of liberal leadership in the United States.”

    Dude, it’s 2006. Johnson was 40 years ago. Since then we’ve had increasingly rabid Republicanism, from Nixon to Reagan to Bush II. Holy shit,all those three have something in common. They have all ben caught lying through their teeth! Intergrity! Moral Absolutism! That’s what we vote Republican for!

    “LBJ’s war on poverty has pissed away 5 Trillion or so, with no meaningful result, other than an increase in dependence upon the state.”

    Dependence as a theory is nonsense. Don’t have the figures, not going to argue if the money was wasted, it was 40 years ago anyway. Bush has increased the National debt more than all the other presidents combined. And a Republcan president hasn’t balanced the budget since Nixon, I believe. It may be even further back than that.

    “It would take at least as long to wean the masses off their dependence. Its funny—Conservatives are judged on their results and must “take responsibilty,” whilst liberals are judged on their intent and if it goes horribly wrong, its quietly ignored as their “noble efforts” are lauded…”

    No, I judge liberals on their results. Clinton? Surpluses, stable economy, respected around the world. Bush? Huge deficient, a disatrous war, increased division.

    “Likewise, you are falling into the trap of confusing “Conservative” with “Republican.” It doesn’t work that way, leastwise not as well and “Liberal” and “Democrat.” F’r’instance, the bald fellow from Pennsylvania… Ghost? Zombie? No—Spector—that’s it… he may be in the G.O.P., but he’s not conservative. Conservative Democrats came from the South and West and they’re almost non-existant in this day and age. ”

    There are plenty of conservative democrats. Seriously, it takes a certain type of special to argue that with the current President, a loyal congress and the new appointments to the Supreme Court, the current conservative dominance is not absolute. November may change that, because they have seriously overreached.

  • kensei

    And on the separateness issue:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4925844.stm

    Though there is a good point in there that some closed groups have always been a feature of American Life.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei: “Aside from fairly sweeping generalisations you have there, state schools are more divise because different groups attend them. Christain schools only have Christains. ”

    Diversity for diversity’s sake… talk about your circular arguements.

    Kensei: “Federal Party. And sold a pup? I ewatched them talk about in seriousness. They have their own University with their aim to produce the next leaders of the country. And what about the group trying to move people to South Carolina to take it over? Doubt it will work, but the attempt is scary enough. ”

    What’s the next thing on your “things to fear list?” Garden gnomes. The libertarians are trying to do the same with New Hampshire.

    Kensei: “Well, in the US Constitution the Supreme Court interprets the law. It is within it’s rights to make those judgements. Unless you don’t like how the country is run, and what to change it……? ”

    Last I checked, the United States is supposed to be three co-equal branches of government — please, where is the check and balance on the Supreme Court in your “theory” above. And, actually, you will find that the Supreme Court overflowed its banks a long time ago — as they are defined by the Constitution, they are limited by the Constitution.

    Kensei: “Dude, it’s 2006. Johnson was 40 years ago. Since then we’ve had increasingly rabid Republicanism, from Nixon to Reagan to Bush II.”

    And for how many of those years was there a Republican majority in the legislature? You’re sophistry is amusing. Likewise, there was four years of Carter and eight of Clinton in that peiord of “increasingly rabid Republicanism”. I know neither is really anything to write home about, but they do break the flow and momentum.

    Kensei: “No, I judge liberals on their results. Clinton? Surpluses, stable economy, respected around the world. Bush? Huge deficient, a disatrous war, increased division. ”

    Clinton, Republican legislature that took the phrase “contol of the purse-strings” seriously. Bush, Republican legislature that takes their control over the purse strings was to seriously. Both parties spend like drunken sailors, Kensei… or need I remind youthat for every new dollar of revenue that Reagen brought in with his capital gains tax cut, Tip O’neil and Congress generate a new $1.75 in spending?

    Kensei: “There are plenty of conservative democrats. Seriously, it takes a certain type of special to argue that with the current President, a loyal congress and the new appointments to the Supreme Court, the current conservative dominance is not absolute. November may change that, because they have seriously overreached. ”

    First of all, your thesis is flawed. Take a long, hard look at Congress — they have no loyalty to anything but their individual political futures. The Democrats shift with the wind, voting for the war when they think their political fortunes will benefit, then running from it when it suits their purposes… come to think of it, same with Republicans. The Republicans? Feh — they may have a majority, but they obviously have no idea what to do with it and are not the unified monolith of your fever-dreams, as they are undercut in the Senate by the northeastern liberal Republicans. The Supreme Court is a trifle trickier — for all the blue smake and mirrors that the appointments spew out, no one knows where these fellows will go, once they don the last judicial robe they will ever wear, since its a life-time appointment. Look at the Reagen and Bush I appointees — not what I would call politically reliable.

    Speaking of Supreme Court appointees, ‘splin something to me. A liberal (Clinton) appoints a liberal (Bader-Ginsburg, former “house counsel” to the ACLU) and she passes a consevative house on the merits of her training and talent, with little talk of politics,by something like 96 – 4 vote. When the scenario is reversed, Teddy K and the boys do nothing but complain about their religion and their peceived personal politics… double standard?

  • lib2016

    Just to try and get back on topic (boring I know) it’s surprising that no-one seems to have commented that with peaceful republicanism the current idealogy of most Catholics and with the Catholic Hierarchy held in such low esteem it is becoming clearer every year that Southern Catholics are better Protestants than most Northern Protestants.

  • kensei

    “Diversity for diversity’s sake… talk about your circular arguements.”

    Diversity for diversity’s sake? Yes. It’s a good thing.

    “What’s the next thing on your “things to fear list?” ”

    Conservatives who still believe they are a minority.

    “Last I checked, the United States is supposed to be three co-equal branches of government—please, where is the check and balance on the Supreme Court in your “theory” above. And, actually, you will find that the Supreme Court overflowed its banks a long time ago—as they are defined by the Constitution, they are limited by the Constitution.”

    Uh, The Supreme Court is limited by the other two branches of government?

    “And for how many of those years was there a Republican majority in the legislature? You’re sophistry is amusing. Likewise, there was four years of Carter and eight of Clinton in that peiord of “increasingly rabid Republicanism”.”

    Yeah, and Eisenhower was in during a period of liberal dominance. The prevailing ideology is what matters. Nixon was the tail end of liberalism, but he start the process that leads to where we are now. And Republicanism got increasing rabid during Clinton’s tenure.

    “Clinton, Republican legislature that took the phrase “contol of the purse-strings” seriously. Bush, Republican legislature that takes their control over the purse strings was to seriously.”

    What? That doesn’t make sense. The point is conservatives attack liberals for deficit spending but the record doesn’t pan it out. At all. When they get in government, they spend like mad – just not on bad things, like social welfare or health care, but good things, like bombs and corporate welfare.

    “Both parties spend like drunken sailors, Kensei… or need I remind youthat for every new dollar of revenue that Reagen brought in with his capital gains tax cut, Tip O’neil and Congress generate a new $1.75 in spending?”

    You would, as it is factually untrue. Random link on the topic:

    http://zfacts.com/p/57.html

    “First of all, your thesis is flawed. Take a long, hard look at Congress—they have no loyalty to anything but their individual political futures. The Democrats shift with the wind, voting for the war when they think their political fortunes will benefit, then running from it when it suits their purposes… come to think of it, same with Republicans.”

    Fair enough…..

    “The Republicans? Feh—they may have a majority, but they obviously have no idea what to do with it and are not the unified monolith of your fever-dreams, as they are undercut in the Senate by the northeastern liberal Republicans.”

    ….and then you ruin it. The Republican Party has been a unified and well oiled machine in the past few years. Give them the respect they are due – look at the voting record. They are only being to flake now becuase Bush is so unpopular.

    “Speaking of Supreme Court appointees, ‘splin something to me. A liberal (Clinton) appoints a liberal (Bader-Ginsburg, former “house counsel” to the ACLU) and she passes a consevative house on the merits of her training and talent, with little talk of politics,by something like 96 – 4 vote. When the scenario is reversed, Teddy K and the boys do nothing but complain about their religion and their peceived personal politics… double standard?”

    Some Clinton appointments were stopped before they got the floor, and the Clinton Adminstration didn’t put highly controversal figures before it by placing feelers out. Bush rammed nominies through. The details are in a book I have somewhere. If I can bothered I’ll dig it out.

  • kensei

    In a hopeless attempt to get this back on topic (I’m avoifding DC’s posts from now on)- can the difference between Catholic and Protestant thinking be seen elsewhere, or only here?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei: “Diversity for diversity’s sake? Yes. It’s a good thing. ”

    No, its not… a school is supposed to educate, not indoctrinate. Take a long look at busing — a lot of wealth and time spent that accomplished nothing, save adding another clique in the lunch-room and upset some parents.

    Kensei: “Uh, The Supreme Court is limited by the other two branches of government? ”

    Really? Not two posts ago, you pointed out that the conservatives were making legislation “on everything from evolution to gay marriage to ensure that their view is the law of the land.” Now, isn’t that what liberals did through the courts? Likewise, if the Supreme Court can have the impact of a constitutional amendment — say, Roe v. Wade making legalized abortion “the law of the land” as some activists are want to say, without the poitical will and work that goes into a Constitutional amendment, is that not an eventual recipe for a judicial tyranny? What takes majorities (or is it super-majorities) in both houses of the legislature and popular ratification in 75% of the states performed through a 5-4 vote in the Supreme Court?

    Other than Andy Jackson telling the Supreme Court to go hang, when has the Court been “limited” by either the President or the Congress — nomination and advise and conset are not checks — they’re simply the price of admission.

    Point of fact — Eisenhower was a liberal, warning of the “military-industrial complex,” not a conservative. You try to use “Republican” and “conservative” interchangably and it doesn’t work.

    Kensei: “The point is conservatives attack liberals for deficit spending but the record doesn’t pan it out.”

    Sure it does — you just have to catch the typos and the sarcasm. Liberal president and conservative legislature — surpluses. Clinton, whatever personal flaws he may have had, understood realpolitik better than any President in recent memory. While he promised a balanced budget in an ever changing time-frame, the Conservatives in congress saddled him with one.

    Now, a “Conservative” president and a “conservative” congress… recipe for a return to spending — even without the war — hell, the war is being run as an “off budget / extraordinary item” basis.

    The painful truth is that longevity is the enemy of good government — representation of a district should not been seen as a career.

    Kensei: “The Republican Party has been a unified and well oiled machine in the past few years.”

    Oh, codswallop. Senator Jeffords — what was it the loud fellow on the radio called him — “Jumpin’ Jim Jeffords” — makes him sound like an athelete or obscure British rocker… (“And now, because your demanded it, Jumpin’ Jim Jeffords and Screamin’ Lord Sutch will perform “Hands of the Ripper!!”) Jumped parties over the NE Milk compact — regional price controls for dairy goods. The Senator from Maine, the Senator from Rhode Island, Spectre… I want to say there is another female Senator in New England who usually travels the same paths as Snowe from Maine… that’s four, plus the defector, without much effort. They have a hard core of 40 to 45, depending on whose feelings are hurt or whose pork products got dumped from legislations.

    Oh, and your link is to a partisan site with an axe to grind — not dreadfully persuasive. Its hard to be taken seriously as a resource when the left margin links includes “the truth about NEO-CONS!’ on a lurid red. What’s next — the Daily Kos?

    Kensei: “Some Clinton appointments were stopped before they got the floor, and the Clinton Adminstration didn’t put highly controversal figures before it by placing feelers out. Bush rammed nominies through. The details are in a book I have somewhere. If I can bothered I’ll dig it out. ”

    That first two points are par for the course. Same tactics happened to Reagen and Bush as happened to Clinton. As for my question, you doesn’t answer the question presented — when did the nominee’s personal politics become an issue? BG was house counsel to the ACLU with some writings that are clearly outside the mainstream and invoke her right to not answer with the blessing of Teddy K… The same Teddy K who demanded answers to the same rhetorical questions he blessed BG not answering. Both nominees received the ABA’s gilt-edged approval, Alito had been previously elevated to the Appellate bench by the Senate and Roberts is acknowledged as one of the foremost legal minds of his generation — these were not controversial nominations, not nearly as bitter a pill to swallow as RBG must have been to the conservatives.

  • kensei

    Ok, last one and I’m ignoring the majority of it.

    “The painful truth is that longevity is the enemy of good government—representation of a district should not been seen as a career.”

    There is plenty of experience that longevity can be ok e.g. Sweden. America’s problem is in the amount of money needed to win, gerry mandering and lack of competition.

    “Oh, and your link is to a partisan site with an axe to grind—not dreadfully persuasive”

    It’s irrelevant. The figures are the same on Daily Kos, The US Government website, or the Fox News page.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei: “There is plenty of experience that longevity can be ok e.g. Sweden. America’s problem is in the amount of money needed to win, gerry mandering and lack of competition. ”

    Money — agreed.

    Gerrymandering / Lack of Comeptition — agreed, but probably not for the same rationale. I believe there are, what, 20 – 30 competative races in the US lower house this year… but then, as low as the opinion is on Congress, when asked, most folks favor their own reps… go figure — “Throw the bastards out, re-elect Rep. Bedfellow…”

    As for Sweden, its not the same system as the US, meaning, at best, you’re comparing Macintosh apples to Granny Smiths. Likewise, the Swedish system has its own interesting problems…

    As for your last — links please, if that is truly the case…

    Samuel Clemens put it, there are three classes of lies — lies, damned lies and statistics.