Tag Archives: Republican

Evidence that Liberals and Conservatives Can Have Civilized Conversations on Climate Change

This past summer, I talked about a segment on a cable news show in the US called, “All In With Chris Hayes.” I first started watching Chris Hayes when he started his weekly weekend show, “Up With Chris Hayes,” (that has since been renamed for the new host, Up With Steve Kornacki). I really liked his show because he often had guests on the show who were of differing ideologies. For some cable news networks, that’s big, but what was even bigger was that the people that were on the show — rarely — would scream at each other to make a point. That’s not to say the arguments never got heated — sometimes, they did — but there was still an element of civilized conversation. It’s what I imagine good political discourse should look like.

When Chris’s show moved to primetime, he tried to bring some of those same elements. There was a graphic a while back (this is the closest I could find) that showed Chris Hayes’ weekend show (or was it Melissa Harris-Perry’s? I don’t quite remember) was — by far — the most welcoming show for non-white male guests. Meaning, proportionally, the show had far more women and non-white people on the show than any of the other shows on cable news.

Anyway, back to the segment from this summer.

In the segment, Chris Hayes had on Tim Carney — a noted conservative. They were talking about what was a bit of a hot button issue at the time, but the two of them were able to actually participate in a civil discussion. No one tried to yell over the other and as a viewer, I left the segment feeling more informed about the issue from both perspectives.

A couple of days ago, Chris had Tim on the show again — this time to talk about climate change. When Chris first introduced the segment, I wondered if the discussion might descend into a yelling match, but I was pleased to find that wasn’t the case. In fact, someone of a liberal ideology (Chris Hayes) and someone of a conservative ideology (Tim Carney) were actually able to have a civil discussion about climate change. It was kind of amazing to see. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a cable news segment where that’s happened on the matter of climate change.

The end of the segment was my favourite part:

If we get to the point, Tim, if we get to the point where James Inhofe goes to the floor and says, ‘you know what the world is warming and carbon emissions are contributing to that warming, but the liberals are wrong with their solution’ and [Matt] Drudge goes on the front page of Drudge [Report] and says the world is warming, but the liberals are wrong about their solution,’ … nothing would make me happier.

In case you’re not very familiar with the climate change “debate,” there’s a sect who purport that climate change isn’t real. Usually, the ideology of people who makeup these kinds of groups are conservative, (but that doesn’t mean they speak for all conservatives or that they’re the only ones). As a result, this tends to make conservative politicians — as a way to cater to these voters — espouse the same kinds of opinions (Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma being one of them).

That’s why Chris is saying that nothing would make him happier than to see noted conservative outlets (the Drudge Report) submit that climate change is real, but that the liberals are wrong about how to fix it. As far as I can tell, this is what many liberals have been wishing would be the case for some time. That is, ‘it’s okay if you don’t think we have the right solution, but can we at least agree that this thing is real and we have to do something about it?’

More Civilized Conversations, Less Screaming Over Each Other

A few days ago, I happened to catch a segment from All In With Chris Hayes. He had on one of the people I follow on Twitter, Tim Carney. Part of the reason that this is noteworthy is because Carney is of a different ideological perspective from Hayes. Carney writes for the Washington Examiner, which, in 2008, supported McCain for President and in 2012, supported Mitt Romney. And Chris Hayes, a host on MSNBC, probably voted for Obama in the last two elections.

Anyhow, the segment comes after Hayes previews the show and introduces the topic: the ‘missing white voter.’ This particular usage of the phrase comes from a series of articles (I’m not the only one who likes to write series!) in Real Clear Politics by Sean Trende where he makes the argument that Republicans needn’t get onboard with immigration reform in order to win future elections — they just need to appeal to those white voters who didn’t vote in the last election.

After the introduction from Hayes, Carney begins making his points. One of things I thought was worth noting was how Carney talked about Rubio. From what I’ve seen/read, many conservatives think that Rubio will have a good shot at being elected President in 2016. So, when Carney seemed to make points against Rubio, I was a bit surprised. On the whole, I really enjoyed the brief back-and-forth between Hayes and Carney — they’re both smart commentators. Most importantly though, I liked that it didn’t appear that the two of them were getting caught up in the ideological talking points. It seemed like they were really talking about the substance of what Hayes introduced in the segment. I wish that cable news was more like that segment and less like a game of one-upmanship to see who can scream the loudest to convince the viewers that, ‘they must be right because they were more angry.’

Note: If the interview (or this discussion) intrigued you, I highly recommend checking out the article from Tom Edsall on the New York Times’ Opinionator. He has a really good summary of the idea that Republicans should just focus on white voters.

House Republicans are Trying to Change Their Homework… After It Should Have Already Been Handed In

While not a perfect metaphor, I can’t help but think of due dates and assignments as the fiscal cliff drama continues to unfold today. The latest has it that the House Republicans are not happy with the deal that the Senate passed earlier this morning and that they want to make amendments. Under normal circumstances, this is perfectly normal. The two chambers often make amendments to the bills the other has passed and then approve/disapprove, accordingly.

However, this time, it feels more like House Republicans have waited until the extreme last minute to complete their assignment… but now aren’t happy with the way that it looks. Everyone has known that the sequester has been in place for over a year (!) back when there was an agreement on the debt ceiling fight. There’s been plenty of time to craft a bill that everyone can agree to and avoid this New Year‘s Day farce. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happened.

In the last few days, the Speaker of the House said — essentially — that it was up to the Senate to pass a bill, so that the House could then vote on said bill. So, that’s exactly what the Senate did last night (or earlier this morning, depending on how you refer to the hours after midnight). As an aside, a huge thank you to all the Senate staffers who had to work through New Year’s eve. I can’t imagine that it was what they thought they’d be doing to ring in 2013. The Senate passed the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support — 89 (out of 100) Senators voted for it.

So, now it’s up to the House to bring the bill to the floor and have a majority of it members vote to pass the bill. Unfortunately, the House Republicans want to amend the bill. They don’t like what’s in it. They don’t think it should pass as is. As I said earlier, under normal circumstances, this would be perfectly normal. However, the circumstances aren’t normal. The “due date” for this “assignment” was last night at midnight (and they didn’t hand it in on time). There’s a “hand it in late deadline” of Thursday and it looks like, if things continue the way they are continuing, that they’re going to blow right through that deadline, too. I certainly hope not.

When you’ve waited ’til the last minute to complete an assignment, you only have a certain number of hours to work with to get it done (I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of working on an assignment the night before [or the morning of] it’s due). It might not be your best work, but depending on the policies in the syllabus, you don’t necessarily have the option of delaying and handing it in well after the deadline. This is what’s happening today in Congress. The House needs to bring the bill to the floor  and pass it — posthaste.

Democrats Get More Votes Than Republicans — Still Lose The House of Representatives

I’ve written about politics a great deal in the last couple of weeks. Part of that is because it’s one of my interests (and one of the categories that I write for) and part of that is because the US just had a presidential election. I do have some other posts in the coming days that won’t be about politics, but this will be another one about it.

In the US, every two years, Congress is up for an election. That is, all the seats in the House of Representatives are up for election every 2 years. The Republicans had a majority in the House going into the election and were expected to keep that majority (they did). Though, something intriguing did happen during the election — there were more total votes cast for Democratic Representatives than there were for Republican Representatives. According to ThinkProgress:

Although a small number of ballots remain to be counted, as of this writing, votes for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives outweigh votes for Republican candidates. Based on ThinkProgress’ review of all ballots counted so far, 53,952,240 votes were cast for a Democratic candidate for the House and only 53,402,643 were cast for a Republican — meaning that Democratic votes exceed Republican votes by more than half a million.

For those people who follow American politics, it’s quite understandable as to why this happened. Every 10 years, there’s a Census in the US and as a result, an update on the population of the states. By extension, those states are then responsible for redrawing the districts [areas of representation]. Since the 2010 election was one where there was a great deal of Republicans swept into office, it made it easier for them to redraw the districts in a way that made it easier for members of their party to keep their seats. This is known as gerrymandering and it’s not unique to the Republicans. had the Democrats won, they most certainly would have done the same thing.

Lost in this discussion is the apparent “will of the people.” I realize that taking a straight popular vote can silence minorities (and was one of the primary reasons for the Electoral College), but it does seem a bit strange that there will probably be 1 million to 2 million more votes cast for Democratic Representatives than Republican Representatives and yet, the Republicans will maintain a 35- to 45-seat advantage.

Redistricting (called redistribution outside of the US) isn’t a problem that Americans have to deal with — it happens in other countries, too.