No Pleasing The Party Of No

This would be a column if I had time to write one at the moment.  Instead, I’ll remind myself that blogging is a medium that allows for thoughts that are less than fully refined, with topic posts that are intended to begin a conversation rather than be the seminal treatise on a topic.

I’ve almost been amused at the press Senator Johnny Isakson has received over the past couple of days.  Almost. Some on the hard right are going ballistic over the temerity of Isakson to agree to have dinner with 11 of his colleagues from the Senate and the President.  These same folks are people who like to paint President Obama as being aloof and detached.  Yet when the President makes an attempt to actually build those bridges that are needed so that honest and frank discussion on curing the nations’ fiscal problems, too many on the right don’t want the conversation.

We have a Representative government for a reason.  It’s not so that those we elect to represent us will just say no to every vote, every opportunity, every proposal, without discussion.

We work with people from opposite sides to shape legislation not for the sake of compromise, but so that we can explain why our approach is better, and so that we can incorporate our principles, values, and ideals into the legislation that will ultimately pass.

Such is the case with the vote on opening debate on the Democrats’ gun control package in the Senate.  I actually got to hear people on the radio yesterday asking who should primary Isakson because he would dare to allow the debate to begin.

Think about that for a moment.  Some, having learned nothing about our politics that allowed Republicans to be painted as obstructionist over solution oriented, now want to make allowing a debate on a major issue of the day a hill to die on.

Let’s think this through logically in a couple of ways.

Even if this debate moves to cloture for a final vote in the Senate and passes, it’s not going to pass the House.  Period.

So, allowing the debate in the Senate isn’t going to allow the President to take your guns or mine.  It’s not going to allow Nancy Pelosi to register your guns or mine.  All it’s going to do is give the NRA another excuse to send more fundraising appeals and talk radio hosts to foster the anger that has become too associated with a large part of our party that seems to quickly lose sight of the big picture.

And what is that big picture?

It’s a large number of Senate seats currently held by Democrats in Western, Republican leaning states.  The kind of states that Republicans will need if they’re going to pick up control of the Senate in 2014.  The kind of place where Republicans can drive a wedge between Democratic Senators and Democratic leadership.  But you can only do this if you allow a vote.

Instead, we’re hearing the cry of RINO again for those who vote to approve this debate.  Good old RINO’s like Johnny Isakson and Pat Toomey.  Wait?  Pat Toomey?  The guy that was supposed to oust the old RINO Arlen Specter?  The former President of Club For Growth, one of the biggest RINO hunting organizations in the conservasphere?  Yes, that Pat Toomey.

Just as is the case with Marco Rubio helping negotiate immigration reform, any patron saint of the hard right can find themselves in the RINO camp by actually trying to…govern.  As our representative system says they’re supposed to.

We’ve had an immigration problem in this country for far too long.  We have fiscal issues that will bankrupt us all if not solved.  And the issue of gun control needs a public hearing so the public can know who stands behind the second amendment and who wants to erase it.

It’s time for those of us engaged in the political process to get out from behind the soundbites of talk radio, understand the processes going on around us, and be part of the solution.  Continuing to carp from the sidelines will only serve to distance us from those who actually cut a deal on any of the above issues when that time comes.

I don’t want us to be the party of “No”.  I want us to be the party of ideas.  But we won’t be that party unless we position ourselves to sell them to those who don’t currently align with us.  It’s time more of us understood that.


  1. Mrs. Adam Kornstein says:

    Charlie, you appear to be a throw back to a much earlier generation of Republican’s. Statesmen like President Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain before 2004 and others who could see the bigger chess board, not just their immediate next move.

    I grew up in that era of politics, each side had ideas and usually wanted someone to spar/discuss them with.

    Sadly what we have is a “I’ve taken my ball and gone home” attitude. It wears thin when every time people show up to play the ball is is being hugged by one person.

  2. Three Jack says:

    If a group (senate GOPers) cannot even put up a formal fight via debate on the 2nd amendment, then it is certainly time to replace those panty wearing poltroons.

    Good non-column Charlie, you should stop writing more often.

  3. MattMD says:

    If we’re going to elect extremists/reactionaries then I’d just prefer to let the Senate stay in Democratic hands. I don’t think I ever want to see one party in control of two branches of government again. Divided government is good in that it can prevent knee-jerk legislative responses, something I am philosophically against. Yes, Newtown was awful but it doesn’t mean the government should pass gun legislation just to make people feel better.

    The RINO gimmick is obviously there to preempt any debate. It’s bizarre out there now, I have to tell you.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      “Divided government is good in that it can prevent knee-jerk legislative responses, something I am philosophically against.”

      Amen to that, my fellow “obstructionist.”

  4. Harry says:

    The only argument I can see for letting the vote go ahead in the Senate is that it will put them on the record for 2014. We already know the endangered Democrats are seeking shelter.

  5. Scott65 says:

    Hmm…I thought you pretty much nailed it Charlie, but common sense seems to be in short supply. Note on guns. Most responsible gun owners insure their guns…and if so, guess what, they are already registered…duh. Second, we are a sovereign currency nation and as such can not go broke…not possible unless congress makes a law that says we go broke (then its even debatable) which wont happen. We cant go broke as long as our debt is in US dollars (which it is). I’m frankly surprised you’re getting so much push back in the comments…made perfect sense to me about having debate

    • Charlie says:

      At least this time you didn’t drop your “everyone knows from econ 101” bs line.

      But you’re still very, very wrong.

      It’s not about technical bankruptcy; it’s about the country whose economy is currently about a quarter of world GDP printing currency to the point of it being meaningless. And when we reach that point, there won’t be anywhere to pack up and move to as a safe haven, because the rest of the western world’s economic system is rooted in our currency too.

      But that’s above the mastery of your econ 101 lesson you’re still desperate to teach us.

    • MattMD says:

      I disagree about your point regarding insurance and guns. I have in no way registered any gun on my homeowner’s policy. I am covered for a certain amount of loss less the deductible. My insurance company could not share anything with the government even if it wanted to.

    • Noway says:

      I don’t guess it would be a posting unless Scott were not hysterically bleating about us not going broke because we can print our own money. Scott, at least acknowledge that printing the extra money you speak of makes us, as a nation, have to pay increasing amounts each year in the budget, in the form of interest, to service your beloved debt. And is having to do that good or bad?

    • OleDirtyBarrister says:

      We should hold diminution of the Second in abeyance until we can pass some useful legislation to diminish the First. Specifically, we should require licensing and moderating/review of internet comments by people like Scott65. I mean, after all, no right is absolute and we can compromise so that only “responsible” commentators can speak and consume valuable bandwith with their comments.

      Sadly for you, with all the vapid and facile crap that you post here, I don’t think that you would pass moderation even if you could get a license to post on the intermess.

  6. Exhibit #135134 showing that for all the talk of Republicans moderating nationally in order to compete in Presidential elections, the people that put them in power where they do win won’t allow it.

  7. Joseph says:

    I like this “New Charlie”… The way he’s going, he might even start to like me someday! Hah!

    Excellent post.

  8. xdog says:

    Good effort Charlie but you pulled your punch. It’s not so much that the gop is “painted as obstructionist” as that the congressional party is rife with intentional obstructionism. Unfortunately for the voices of reason, some of the biggest footdraggers are stars to a sizeable portion of the gop constituency–Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, those guys. In the battle for who runs the gop, yours is a quality view, but imo you and like-thinkers should be ready to go to the mat with the ideologues or you’ll lose.

    • OleDirtyBarrister says:

      Yeah, if there is anything we need, it’s Republicans pretending to be conservatives that are in a rush to compromise with leftwingers to diminish Second Amendment rights. Just look how “reasonable” the Left is when conservative tries to protect innocent life by restrictions on the constitutional-right-by-judicial-fiat of abortion. Just look at how much “compromise” there is when abortion itself is not being prohibited or restricted, but the right wants to ensure that the money of taxpayers with faith and a conscience don’t want theirs to go to subsidize or pay for abortion.

      The only thing that you and Charlie can agree on is that the left should always win, and if it is the right that is intransigent it is a problem.

      Any conservative with a lick of sense and a knowledge of the gun legislation shenanigans of Dims in 1986 and 1993 should demand that current members of Congress be just as steadfast in their defense of the Second as the Left is in its steadfast defense of their favorite bloody sacred right of abortion. Any that is not is not smart enough to win and is unfit to serve as a Republican in Congress.

      • xdog says:

        “The only thing that you and Charlie can agree on is that the left should always win”

        Charlie can speak for himself but for me, you’re wrong. Also, the opposite of ‘conservative’ is not ‘left-winger’.

  9. Ed says:

    I forget where I first heard this but I’ve long claimed it as my own and your post is further proof that… Democrats have no ability to govern and Republicans no desire. It is truly a wonderful mix.

  10. OleDirtyBarrister says:


    Your analysis is materially flawed. Why don’t you do some research on the voice vote in 1986 (a sham) and the legerdemain in the so-called “assault weapons ban” in the 1993 timeframe.

    The Stupid Party proves why it is aptly named by going down the road playing the game with the Dims. The Dims want the AWB, but they want to include and pass it through amendments and games, not a straight-up process. Chambliss, Isakson, you, and the other Repubs that voted to proceed have failed to learn anything from the past and are NOT smarter than a Dimocrat.

    Finally, voting to proceed subsumes that the federal govt needs to do something and that someone knows what is needed. Further, it reads the Second Amendment out of the equation and minimizes “shall not be infringed.” Gun control, including the AWB, has had no material effect on crime but has hamstrung and diminished the rights of gunowners in the face of a clear, textual provision to the contrary. The proposals for universal background checks add nothing more, but stand to make it difficult to devise and inherit firearms (a form of transfer).

    “We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do it.”

    Let’s put forth a mirror image provision for the left’s favorite bloody sacrament of abortion and require background checks, a registry, a waiting period, insurance, etc., etc. to match what the Left wants to impost on those exercising their Second Amendment rights and see how far it gets with Dims. Everything the left does with respect to guns is based on “someone might die” or “it’s for the children.” But they conveniently ignore that someone dies every time their favorite sacrament is exercised and scream bloody murder any time the people in this country move to protect innocent life from abortion. The difference is that this country exists because individuals owned guns and could fight, and the Founders had the wisdom to protect it in an express textual provision in the BOR. In contrast, the “right” of abortion is a judicial fiat cut from whole cloth under premise of the Ninth Amend. while totally ignoring the Tenth and the clear right that the colonies and state had established in prohibiting and restricting it.

    Any so-called conservative that will not protect a clear, textual right to keep and bear arms with the same fervor that a liberal in Congress will protect the left’s sacred bloody sacrament and made-up constitutional right of abortion is unworthy to serve me in Congress. Chambliss and Isakson are both defeatist surrender monkeys and a pair of Quisling Fudds with no belief in formative, foundational values and Georgia will be better off without them.

    Charlie, your opinion makes it clear that you fail to understand foundational, formative values as well and why the Second is a touchstone of American freedom. You are in a great rush to be “reasonable” and engage in “compromise” with the left, which will only lead to the diminution of rights and growth of big government.

    • TheEiger says:

      Your use of the “Stupid Party” and “Dimocrat” (I hope that’s on purpose and you don’t actually think that’s how Democrat is spelled) takes away from your argument. Please stop. Maybe next time I will read your entire post and not the first two or three sentences.

        • TheEiger says:

          Cool. I, along with many others, with continue to disregard everything you have to say. Proceed sir…

          • OleDirtyBarrister says:

            I’m just certain that everyone’s viewing turns on what you read or do not read. Rolls eyes.

        • Charlie says:

          Actually, you won’t.

          We’ve asked others to maintain civil discourse here, and using pejoratives like “Gubmint” or in your case, “Dimocrat” debase the conversation and are unnecessary.

          You note that you do have a first amendment right, and you are correct that it does entitle you to be an ass.

          That right does not extend into private property rights that require us to allow you to exercise any other rights you may have here.

          Clean it up, or be gone. Your choice.

  11. Dave Bearse says:

    “So, allowing the debate in the Senate isn’t going to allow the President to take your guns or mine.”

    Except that that isn’t even on the table, but I’m sympathatic that confusing the GOP base with facts could burst their bubble. Policy discussions with anyone outside the bubble are such anathema that you’re have to sell the GOP base to engage.

    I’ve been critical here on multiple occasions of “up or down vote” Isakson concerning the holds he’s placed on Georgia judicial appointees. I was going to credit Isakson for reversing himself and taking a principled position, and write him with a few words of encouragement. Alas, good to learn the reversal is only for partisan gain, and save myself the effort.

  12. Dave Bearse says:

    National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden called the Obama budget a “shocking attack on seniors.” Boehner wouldn’t commit to calling on Republicans to not attack Democrats next year for supporting a chained CPI. I guess Rush Limbaugh wasn’t returning phone calls.

    Saying no when Obama says yes for political gain is far more important than any GOP idea. The GOP isn’t just anti-government, it’s anti-governing.

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