Tag Archives: liberals

Conservatives are winning the labeling war

Let’s give a sort of shout-out to the conservative media and the politicians they are backing.

Those on the right wing of the spectrum are winning the war of epithets, labeling and name-calling. They have turned the term “liberal” into a four-letter word.

I see it daily as I watch the political debate swirl and churn across the land. To be called a “liberal” in Texas — which is run by Republicans at every level of government — is to be called the son of Satan himself. A candidate for the Texas Senate who is running against state Sen. Kel Seliger, an Amarillo Republican, has called him “liberal” and “corrupt” — in that order. Do you get it? The implication is that to be liberal is to be corrupt. By the way, Seliger is campaigning for re-election as a dedicated conservative, which he is.

It’s gotten so bad among liberals that they no longer are even identifying themselves with that epithet. Oh, no. The operative word now among those on the left is “progressive.”

Admission time: As one who tilts to the left, I find myself using the this new P-word when describing myself. Have I gotten, um, self-conscious about what liberalism? Oh … maybe.

Liberals, er, progressives, haven’t yet been able to turn the right wing’s labeling against them. I suppose they could shorten the word “conservative” to, oh, “con,” which of course brings up another connotation altogether. I mean, liberals are called “libs” on occasion. But I digress.

The political debate often becomes a contest of sorts. One side seeks to demonize the other with words that sound a bit jarring. Republicans back in the early to mid-1990s began using the term “Democrat” as an adjective, referring to “Democrat politicians,” which doesn’t sound quite the same as “Democratic politicians.” That word usage was part of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s strategy to label “Democrats as the enemy of normal Americans.”

If I were wearing a cap at this moment, I would tip it toward Republicans, conservatives and those in the right-wing media for the success they have enjoyed in this rhetorical battle with those on the other side.

However, as a dedicated political liberal, I offer my salute as a form of damning them with faint praise.

Tilting left, most of the time


Readers of this blog, specifically those with a conservative political outlook, have at times accused me of being a flamer, a lefty progressive.

One reader keeps referring to “liberal logic” when trying to counter whatever argument I seek to make.

It’s time, therefore, to set the record straight on a few issues.

On abortion, I believe in a woman’s right to control her own body. Do I condone abortion? No. Neither do I believe government should set laws that criminalize someone from making an intensely personal and heart-wrenching decision. I could not counsel any woman to terminate a pregnancy, but I will never condemn her for making that decision.

Wealth redistribution runs counter to my capitalist instincts. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, makes no bone about it. He’s a socialist and he’s damn proud of it. Good for him. He wants to share the wealth. I don’t have much wealth, but my wife and I do have a nest egg that’s building and we intend to keep our hands on it.

War or diplomacy? I’ll take diplomacy every time whenever possible. I am weary of Republican critics of Barack Obama who contend he is too timid about the use of force against our adversaries/enemies. I have had a tiny exposure to war — back in the late 1960s. Some of you might remember that time. What angers me more than anything in this regard is hearing the get-tough talk from chicken hawks in Congress who fought like hell during the old days to avoid going to war while many of the rest of us were answering the call to duty.

I struggle with the term “gay marriage.” I happen to be a traditionalist on this matter. But I do know what the U.S. Constitution says about “equal protection.” It guarantees that anyone is entitled to marry whomever they wish, without regard to their sexuality. If that’s what the Constitution states — and if the Supreme Court affirms it, which it has done — then I accept the document’s intent.

I am not a partisan Democrat. Texas voting law gives people the opportunity to choose which primary in which they can cast votes. In the two-plus decades I’ve lived in the heavily Republican Texas Panhandle, I’ve cast many votes in the Republican primary. Why? Because here, the Republican primary is where the action is. Democrats often don’t field candidates for local offices. I want my voice heard on races involving county government and the Legislature. I’ll acknowledge here, as I’ve done before, that I haven’t yet voted for a Republican for president since I cast my first vote in 1972. I do, though, split my ticket liberally.

Rich people should pay more in taxes than middle-income folks. I have no difficulty insisting that wealthy Americans should pay more per capita than those of us who haven’t acquired as much wealth. I don’t want them to pay all of their wealth, just enough to help fund government. Hey, they can still be rich!

Finally, I believe in good government. I don’t believe necessarily in big government. I believe government can be a force to help people. I don’t believe, as Ronald Reagan said upon taking the presidential oath in 1981, that government “is the problem.” I want our elected leaders in Congress to stop using their anger at certain agencies to threaten to shut down the entire government. That is demagoguery at — or near — its worst.

There could be more examples. I’m sure some of you will challenge these few items. I just felt the need to lay it out there.

Do I lean left? Sure. There you have it.

Court switches roles and angers everyone

Think about this for a moment.

Before this past week, political liberals across the United States were angry with the Supreme Court, calling it a body comprising conservative “judicial activists.”

They cite the Citizens United ruling of 2010 in which the court ruled that unlimited amount of money can pour into political campaigns, thus giving the very rich an even more powerful voice in electing public officials.

We’ve witnessed a 180-degree turn.

Conservatives now are chastising the “liberal” court — even though its ideological balance is the same as it was in the Citizens United ruling. Conservatives say the court is “too activist” because it upheld the Affordable Care Act and then ruled that the Constitution guarantees gay people the right to marry.

Liberals dislike the high court. So do conservatives.

Journalists are fond of saying that if “Both sides are mad, then I must doing something right.”

Does the same truism apply to judges?


House GOP 'survey' loaded with baloney

Nice try, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner.

You sought to ask me my views on how you and National Republican Congressional Committee are seeking to save the country from those reckless and feckless liberals in the White House. I ain’t taking the bait, Mr. Speaker.

You’ll get your State of the Nation Survey back in the mail. I even signed my name to it to validate its findings.

You see, sir, I don’t share your view that President Obama has wrecked the country. Almost every question you pose in your survey presumes that you and your party are right and the president and his party are wrong … across the board.

To be fair, I do agree with a few of the questions you pose. I believe, as you do, that the feds should work “closely with state and local officials to stop border violence and enforce federal immigration laws.” I also believe in the Second Amendment’s guarantee that we have a right “to keep and bear arms.” I agree with you that our legal system should “better protect victims and consumers while also giving manufacturers and small businesses confidence to keep jobs in America.” I even believe in “Republicans’ landmark ban on all earmarks” attached to federal legislation.

So, Mr. Speaker, your survey isn’t a total loser with me.

However, I do not subscribe to your notion that liberal/progressive policies are inherently bad for the country. I happen to be a good-government liberal who thinks the Obama administration has done well to revive the economy and keep us safe from terrorists. I also believe, contrary to your view, that our standing in the world hasn’t been diminished. Furthermore, I believe that the Affordable Care Act, which likely needs more fine-tuning, should remain on the books, as it is providing millions of Americans with health insurance they didn’t have before it was enacted.

Those are my views, Mr. Speaker, and I’m sticking with them.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent.

God bless the United States of America.


That's the liberal caucus we have known

Well now. It appears that Democratic liberals in Congress are rising up to give their leaders as much grief as the tea party Republicans are set to do to their leaders.

Excellent! That’s the Democratic Party with which I came of age back in the 1960s.


The defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline in the Senate seems to have juiced up the lefty caucus on Capitol Hill. They’re set to do battle with the more, um, “establishment” members of the Democratic minority in both congressional houses.

It’s looking like we might have two intraparty squabbles erupting in Congress when the next body convenes in January.

The president is stuck having to deal now with two warring factions within each party. He’s bound to anger the extremists on the left, too.

As Politico reported:

“I will use whatever tools I have as a senator to protect the environment,” said Sen. (Jeff) Merkley, a liberal from Oregon. Asked if he could ever envision himself performing a Rand Paul-style talking filibuster in the Republican Senate, (Sheldon)

Whitehouse of Rhode Island replied: “Oh, of course. We will have more tools in the minority than we had in the majority.”

The liberals don’t like President Obama any more than the conservatives do, or so one might be led to think.

Which begs the question: If Obama is ticking off conservatives so much, how is it he can do the same thing to liberals?

A truism in journalism is that if you’re angering both sides of an argument, then you’re doing a good job.

Not so in politics.