Over time, I’ve noticed that liberals have four common tactics they use again and again and again. I’ve labeled these tactics as Demonstrate, Legislate, Adjudicate, and Steamroll. They don’t have to be tried in any particular order, but they do seem to pop up regularly. So let’s look at each one.

Demonstrate. This is the liberal cry of “I (don’t) want” as expressed by the masses of sign-holders or Occupy Wall Street squatters. In the first case, the union didn’t want non-union workers at the port, and in the second case the Occupy crowd wanted other people’s money. The tactic is pretty simple: browbeat verbally (or physically beat) your opposition into doing whatever you want.

Legislate. Liberals love democracy — as long as the vote goes their way. When the vote doesn’t go their way, they will bring the issue up again and again, but once it passes, however narrowly, the liberals will declare that the people have spoken and there should never be another vote on the matter ever again. To be fair, conservatives will bring an issue up for a vote multiple times, too. But conservatives usually understand that an issue voted on and passed one year can be voted on and repealed another. Once passed, laws are not set in stone for conservatives the way they are for liberals. Well, assuming that the liberal was pushing for the law in the first place.

Adjudicate. A common next step for liberals, after failing to get an issue passed by the people or representatives, is to go to the courts and force it through there. Since proponents of gay marriage were having problems getting the majority of voters to agree with them, their alternative tactic was to make it legal through judicial fiat. That’s how it worked in California, Connecticut, and Iowa. So if you can’t get 50% + 1 vote from the people or the legislature to pass what you want, then there’s always the option of having someone in black robes do the heavy lifting for you.

Steamroll. If all else fails, Liberals simply try doing what they want anyway, ignoring both votes and courts to proceed in their desired direction. Recently, Pres. Obama appointed three members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), doing so by exercising his ability to appoint people to positions that require Senate ratification when the Senate isn’t in session. But the Senate considered itself to still be meeting in “pro forma” meetings. Senator Harry Reid started the process in 2007 of holding “pro forma” sessions to prevent then-President Bush from making these recess appointments. In January 2012, Pres. Obama used the “steamroll” tactic to recess-appoint four nominees, as the New York Times put it, “effectively calling the pro forma Senate session illegitimate.” A year later, the D.C. court of appeals ruled that Pres. Obama was wrong to do so. In response to this ruling, the NLRB chairman, Mark Pearce said that the NLRB “respectfully disagrees with today’s decision and believes that the president’s position in the matter will ultimately be upheld.” That’s a classic “steamroll” response. “Courts? Pfft. I’m gonna roll on. After all, who’s gonna stop me?”

Liberals seem to believe they should use any tactic necessary to get what they want. As Nancy Pelosi put it, “We’ll go through the gate. If the gate is closed, we’ll go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in, but we’re going to get health care reform passed for the American people.” And if they can’t get it to work with Demonstrate, Legislate, Adjudicate, and Steamroll, liberals will just pick one of the four tactics and try again.

Cross-posted at Rotten Chestnuts.

The Democrats are getting their collective panties in a bunch now that the Health Care Reform Act has passed.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is warning that some of his Democratic colleagues are being threatened with violence when they go back to their districts — and he wants Republicans to stand up and condemn the threats.

The Maryland Democrat said more than 10 House Democrats have reported incidents of threats or other forms of harassment about their support of the highly divisive health insurance overhaul vote. Hoyer emphasized that he didn’t have a specific number of threats and that was just an estimate.

Just an estimate, huh? Sounds like a guess to me, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Hoyer is just making things up. The news article continues with Hoyer getting on the moral hobby horse and riding it for all it’s worth: “Hoyer hinted that Republicans should do more to condemn these threats of violence.” There are three problem with Hoyer admonishing the Republicans to speak out against violence:

First, after 9-11 and other terrorist attacks, the left told America that we need to reach out to the terrorists and understand why they resorted to violence. Apparently that only applies if the violence comes from terrorists and not conservatives.

Second, conservatives aren’t the violent thugs the left would have you believe. Quick, name for me a riot by conservatives. . . . Yeah, I couldn’t think of one, either. But the left is easy to stir up in anger. Just witness the left as it shut down Ann Coulter’s speech at the University of Ottawa. Can you name any time when conservatives shouted down or prevented a liberal from speaking? Again, you won’t be able to cite an incident. Besides, Republican Representative Eric Cantor’s campaign office was shot at and has received threatening emails, so anger is not just conservatives against liberals, as Hoyer would have you believe.

And third, the Republican minority leader has already spoken out about violence, and it’s in the same article at the Politico.com I quoted before:

But Minority Leader John Boehner already has condemned threats of violence — and sought to explain why people are so angry.

“I know many Americans are angry over this health care bill, and that Washington Democrats just aren’t listening,” Boehner said. “But, as I’ve said, violence and threats are unacceptable. That’s not the American way. We need to take that anger and channel it into positive change. Call your congressman, go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign, make your voice heard — but let’s do it the right way.”

Don’t get sucked into the idea that violence is only on the right. History shows us that most violence comes from the left.

We went to the local farmer’s market on Saturday, and bought some yummy cherries at $3.33 a pound. That’s a steal for Rainier cherries–yum! While we were there we noticed an older gentleman with a satchel over his shoulder. A placard attached to the satchel read: “PENTAGON IS EVIL.” My wife said, in a voice deliberately loud enough to be heard, “Jeez, some people don’t have anything better to do.” I was more discreet as I whispered to my wife, “He doesn’t like five-sided shapes!” I don’t think he would have gotten it if I had stood there with placards reading “SQUARE IS GOOD” or “TRIANGLE IS AMBIVALENT.”

I find it strange to use the locale of a farmer’s market to peddle one’s political point. Perhaps he was prepared to pass out pamphlets pulled from his pouch. OK, enough alliteration, but why would someone think that a public gathering like a market is the proper venue to vent one’s spleen on divisive issues? I love a good debate; however, people who stand around with large placards are not generally willing to discuss the issue in a rational manner. Their vehicle of expression is usually to shout, rant and automatically disagree with anything that is said. And as Monty Python pointed out:

Argument Clinic

M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
A: It can be.
M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
A: No it isn’t.
M: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction.
A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
M: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
A: Yes it is!
M: No it isn’t!

Unfortunately, the level of political debate these days is too often more along the lines of simple contradiction, veering dangerously close to getting-hit-on-the-head lessons. Did that man at the market really want a serious discussion of the issue? Is there anything I could have explained or pointed out that would have changed his mind about the Pentagon being evil? I don’t think so. I suspect he had already made up his mind and nothing could shift him. Now I don’t have trouble with people who have a firm conviction of their beliefs, but I do have trouble with people who, once they’ve made up their minds on a political subject, refuse to acknowledge any evidence that they could be wrong.

Incidentally, whenever there is a public gathering, why is it that the most common placards and opinions to be seen express leftist sentiment? Other than people at ball games with “Go Team” and “John 3:16″ quotes, when you see people holding up signs or plastering bumper stickers to their cars, they’re almost always leftist slogans. Maybe it’s just that I live in a very blue state, but I don’t think so. Back when I lived in a very red state, the right-wing political bumper stickers I saw were almost always limited to two per car: one for a specific political candidate, one for a pro-life sentiment. And they were discreet. Even in this red state, when I came across a car sporting leftist political bumper stickers, they were usually in-your-face and all-over-the-place–cars held together with multiple slogans like “Somewhere in Texas there’s a village missing an idiot,” “Where are the WMDs?”, “Frodo has failed! Bush has the ring!”, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. In any case, what I sense from the plethora of bumper stickers is not a willingness for rational debate, but a shouting match. You don’t get rational thought or reasoned argument from a bumper sticker; it’s the printed equivalent of a shouted slogan. I don’t see there being much opportunity for discussion; all you get is the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

I find very little debate on issues and ideas coming from the American left. If you watch the talking-head shows on TV where there are two pundits discussing a liberal vs. conservative theme, notice how often the liberal interrupts, talks over or shouts down the conservative whenever he or she is speaking. It’s an easy tactic to deny one’s opponent the ability to express a thought by shouting that person down. I’ve suggested elsewhere that the political left doesn’t really believe in freedom of speech for everyone. Based on their actions, I believe that they want freedom of speech for themselves and the force of law to shut up everyone else who takes a contrary position. How much longer will it be before leftist “discourse” becomes outright getting-hit-on-the-head lessons for conservatives?

Argument Clinic

The other day my niece asked me if I were planning on voting for Sen. Obama for President. I answered that I would not. She asked me why I didn’t plan on voting for Obama, so I explained that I couldn’t vote for him for two reasons. First, he doesn’t have the experience as an executive that I believe is necessary for a President. I told her that I wouldn’t choose someone to lead a large company who had no experience leading other companies first. Likewise, I couldn’t support Obama for President when he has no executive experience and when he has yet to serve out his first term as a Senator. The position of President is too important to experiment on people whom we can only hope have the skills and temperament necessary to handle the job. Then I explained that Obama’s political philosophy is the second reason why I couldn’t vote for him.

Which brought me to the question I was faced with — how to explain the difference between liberal and conservative political philosophies in a way that would make sense to an 11-year-old?

I explained to her that the two political philosophies differ fundamentally in how they view people. To liberals, Americans are children who need to be taken care of by the government; to conservatives, Americans are adults who are able to take care of themselves. And I prefer to be treated as an adult.

A day later a caller asked Glenn Beck what it means to be a conservative. Here was his response:

To be a conservative is, in my definition, is somebody that believes in the power of the individual, somebody that believes, please let me make my decisions, that I have a right to succeed and not be penalized for it. I have a right to fail and have no one run to me if I don’t want them to run to me. A conservative believes I have a right to manage my family, I have a right to discipline my family in the way I see fit, as long as it is not criminal. A conservative believes I have the right to worship God, I have a right to worship the God of my understanding, and I do not have the right to jam my version of God down anybody else’s throat or my version of no God down anybody’s throat. A conservative believes live and let live. That’s what a conservative believes. A conservative believes in the smallest amount of government, the smallest government you can get without anarchy. That’s what a conservative believes.

While I agree with that, I think it gets a little wordy. I prefer the way Jim Quinn, another talk show host, defines liberals and conservatives:

For a conservative, freedom is the solution to the human condition, and government’s job is to ensure the people’s liberty. And every new life is a potential source of creativity and wealth. For a liberal, government is the solution of the human condition, and government should force everyone to behave as it sees fit. And every new life is a potential problem and burden to be taken care of.

And that’s simple enough for an 11-year-old to understand.

The book of Judges in the Bible has an interesting story of how the Gileadites were able to discern their friends from their enemies. The Gileadites asked anyone who denied being an Ephraimite to pronounce the word Shibboleth. The people of Gilead could pronounce the “sh” sound, but the people of Ephraim couldn’t; they could only pronounce the “s” sound. When they replied Sibboleth, the Gileadites recognized their enemies and killed them. Since then, a shibboleth is a word or phrase used to single out a person or group from the others around them.

It occurred to me, as I drove home today, that we use shibboleths in our everyday lives and we might not even notice it. I decided to make a quick list of words or phrases that can indicate the political leanings of the speakers. In each case, it is assumed that these words or phrases are said in earnest.

Liberal – military-industrial complex
– Bush lied, people died
– pro-choice
– “Bushies”
– wingnut
– neo-cons
– Arab insurgents
Conservative – pro-life
– moonbat
– Arab terrorists
Communist – “people’s republic”
– Arab freedom fighters

Since I am a conservative, I have a harder time recognizing my own accepted shibboleths, and it’s much easier to spot liberal ones. So I’m asking that you email me any conservative or other shibboleths you can spot, and the category you think they fall into.

In my last comment, I wrote about diversity and how the liberal Left views diversity as a worthy goal. The Left has a very monolithic view of race that is outright racist: people are lumped into a group and are expected to behave as part of that group. How narrow-minded! You are not an individual in their view; you are nothing more than a tag: Black, Conservative, Latino, Gay, Southern, Woman, Man.

This is why Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown are so vilified by the Democrat senators. Here are two people who ought to be marching lock-step to the liberal view of what a Latino and a Black should be. How dare they have independent thoughts! Let’s look a little closer at these two nominees put forward by Pres. Bush and blocked by the liberal Democrat senators.

Justice Miguel Estrada spent over two years before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In fact, it took over 16 months before Estrada was granted his first hearing before the committee after his nomination. This is a prime example of the Democrat foot-dragging President Bush has endured during his time in office — something that the liberal Democrats refuse to acknowledge even today. Estrada had the gold seal of approval from the American Bar Association with their “well-qualified” rating. But this was not sufficient for the Democrats on the committee. Why are the liberals so afraid of letting Estrada’s nomination be voted on by the whole body of the Senate? It is simple — he would get the 51 votes needed to be confirmed a member of the D.C. Court of Appeals, and this would put him on the short list for a Supreme Court position when one comes open. Had he been approved, Estrada might have been the first Hispanic judge to sit on the nation’s highest court, but the liberals, ever-faithful champions of the minorities, have blocked his nomination. You see, he isn’t “Latino” enough for them. He does not fit their narrow-minded vision of what a Hispanic person should be, and so they refused to even give him the decency of a full Senate vote. In September, tired of the 28 months of partisan wranglings of the sanctimonious liberal Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Estrada withdrew his name from consideration for this judgeship.

Pete Martinez summed up the liberal Democrats’ position in his post to HispanicVista.com: “We have found nothing negative in Mr. Estrada’s past. He is by all accounts a brilliant attorney. Was a brilliant student, has led an exemplary life and is a bona fide role model not only to Latinos, but indeed to all Americans — but he refuses to answer our questions on how he would decide cases that may come before the court — he refuses to tell us that he would decide as we the Democrats believe he should decide, so it can only mean he would use either his independent thinking or follow the philosophy of the Republican party — so we cannot allow him to be confirmed.”

Justice Janice Rogers Brown is another well-qualified nominee for a high court position. But she is also being blocked by the liberal Democrats sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee. They view her as being far out of the mainstream, so she should not sit on the D.C. Court of Appeals. It is interesting to note that she was reelected to her California judgeship with 76% of the vote. How can she be so far out of the mainstream when a pretty liberal state like California is so firmly behind her? The answer is simple: she is not out of the mainstream, but she is too conservative for the far-left liberal Democrats in the committee. She isn’t acting Black enough in their viewpoint to be a good judge. Sen. Kennedy called Brown and the other nominees “Neanderthals,” but this racist comment barely made a ripple in the news. But the message is clear: if you are a minority, you had better conform to the Democrat concept of how you should behave. If you dare to think or act differently than the way liberals think you should, then you are somehow not Latino or Black enough. If you are Black, you must be the liberal stereotype of Black. If you are Hispanic, you must be the liberal stereotype of Hispanic. If you are female, you must be the liberal stereotype of female. What a bunch of pig-headed, racist nonsense!

The problem with this static liberal view of race is that race in America is far from static. People have called Tiger Woods, the championship winning golfer, Black or African-American. But they do so by ignoring the rest of his heritage. Newsweek, in December 1996, reported that “Tiger is one-eighth Native American, one-eighth African-American, one-quarter white, one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai.” Tiger himself explained in a press release, “On my father’s side, I am African-American. On my mother’s side, I am Thai. Truthfully, I feel very fortunate, and EQUALLY PROUD, to be both African-American and Asian!” We can see that regardless of percentages, Tiger identifies himself the way he wishes. He sees himself as both Black and Thai while these identities are 12.5% and 25% of his makeup, respectively. He could just as validly claim to be Native American and White, also 12.5% and 25%. Does his race matter? Only to people who like to pigeonhole other people.

At what point do we tell someone that he or she cannot be called Black/White/Purple/whatever because he or she is less than 25%/10%/5% of that race? Years ago, this was a major issue for society. The following breakdown of races comes from a 1884 book with a truly long name: The People’s Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge, with numerous appendixes invaluable for reference in all departments of industrial life. The whole brought down to the year 1884 with the Pronunciation and Orthography Conformed to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. Illustrated with More than Five Thousand Engravings, and Fifty-two Handsomely Colored Double-Page Maps., by W.H. De Puy, A.M., D.D.

Father Mother Half-Caste
White Negro Mulatto
White Indian Mestizo
Indian Negro Chino
White Mulatta Cuarteron
White Mestiza Creole, only distinguished from the white by a pale brown complexion.
White Chinese Chino-blanco
White Cuarterona Quintero
White Quintera White
Negro N.A. Indian Zambo or Cariboco
Negro S.A. Indian Mameluco
Negro Mulatta Zambo-negro or Cubra
Negro Mestiza Mulatto-oscuro
Negro Chinese Zambo-chino
Negro Zamba Zambo-negro (perfectly black.)
Negro Cuarterona Mulatto (rather dark.)
Negro Quinterona Pardoc
Indian Mulatta Chino-oscuro
Indian Mestiza Mestizo-claro (frequently very beautiful.)
Indian China Chino-cholo
Indian Zamba Zambo-claro
Indian China-cholo Indian (with short frizzy hair.)
Indian Cuarterona Mestizo (rather brown.)
Indian Quintera Mestizo
Mulatto Zamba Zambo
Mulatto Mestiza Chino (of rather clear complexion.)
Mulatto China Chino (rather dark.)

According to the definition of the late 19th Century, someone who is only 6.25% Black is considered White. Judging from his Black heritage, Tiger Woods would be classified a Quintero (12.5% Black) had he lived in the 1880s. But all this hyper-sensitivity over race misses the whole point now that we live in the 21st Century. Regardless of the race of the mother and father, the resulting child is an American.

Isn’t that much simpler?