Compassion homework

Obama schools the House Republican Conference.

Your problem, Grasshopper, is that you do not love your enemies. Until you can truly feel their pain, your enmity and your contempt for them will continue to eat away at your spirit.

Even a Republican Congressman is, deep down, a fellow suffering human being. You need to learn to feel sorry for him.

This exercise should help. If you have even a gill of the milk of human kindness left in you, watching the entire House Republican Conference get taken to school by a guy they’ve convinced themselves is just an empty suit with a TelePrompter should make you feel sorry for them. “Plenty of Republicans asked good and probing questions,” reports Marc Ambinder, “but Mike Pence, among others, found their arguments simply demolished by the president.”

Here’s the transcript. And here’s an excerpt from early on:

If you’re calling for just across-the-board tax cuts, and then on the other hand saying that we’re somehow going to balance our budget, I’m going to want to take a look at your math and see how that works.

And here’s another:

If you say, “We can offer coverage for all Americans, and it won’t cost a penny,” that’s just not true. You can’t structure a bill where suddenly 30 million people have coverage, and it costs nothing.

You’re laughing, Grasshopper? That isn’t very compassionate of you. Maybe House Republicans are a bridge too far; let’s start with venomous insects invertebrates first.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

27 thoughts on “Compassion homework”

  1. This was so sweet I watched it more than once.

    Not so sure where we are going with it … it will hardly attract bipartisan support to Obama from the GOP. Olympia Snowe basically got whet she said she wanted, & still did not budge. All those GOP representatives and senators are even more scared of Fox News and Rush Lumbaugh than Democrats are. They are not going to disappoint the real leaders of the party.

    Is there some grand strategy Obama is running we are not aware of? Doubtful, I fear. We seem to be in for a prolonged period of uncertainty ..

  2. Did you see Obama use his telepromter for a class of 5th graders the other day? Can we say "are you smarter than a 5th grader"? If that's smart then who wants it? At least we can thank liberals for pointing out that he's cleaned up his negro dialect. I love that Obama has been in office for a full year and hasn't delivered on any of his major campaign promises that seem to matter to liberals.

  3. *Sigh*.

    Scorpions are arachnids, NOT INSECTS!!!!111!!

    You do get partial credit for labelling the beast (correctly) as "venomous" rather than (as so many do, incorrectly) "poisonous".

  4. Bux, OTOH, does not seem quite clever enough top be an arachind. I'm thinking maybe Trichoplax?

    (Seriously, is that somebody spoofing Bux? The real Bux is a dullish troll, it's true, but the above reads like a ham-handed attempt attempt to exaggerate the stupidity of his usual comments. Could the RBC be getting its own "Gary Ruppert"?)

  5. ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, Mrs Tilton. Do you have anything substantive to add? I thought this was a site that mostly drew academics. Is this what our modern day academics have to offer…group-think, "attaboys" and pats on the back, ad hominem attacks, and discussions over the differences between arachnids and insects. As Homer Simpson would say, BOOOOORING!

  6. Ooops! I actually didn't know that scorpions were arachnids; should have counted the legs.

    As for Bux, I suspect that he's actually a sock puppet of Louis Farrakhan, making fun of white dialect.

  7. Which of the Aeosp fables had the Scorpion carried across the river by the Frog?

    Scorpion promises not to sting,

    Stings halfway across the river,

    Frog asks as they both are drowning,

    "Why did you sting me, for surely we will both die now?"

    Scorpion, "You should never have trusted me, it's my nature to sting."

  8. Ah yes, Louis Farrakhan…isn't that one of Obama's old Chicago buddies. Did you hear the joke that starts out "Obama, Farrakhan, and Rev. Wright were playing cards one day…"

  9. All true, Mark, but he needs to make those same points over and over again to the broad public, and so do the rest of the Dems.

    Just repeat what he said about the health plan, and taxes, until everyone gets it. And explain how you need mandates and subsidies if you're going to guarantee coverage.

    Obama did great here, but hee and the rest of the party are letting themselves be shouted down by morons.

  10. What Bernerd said- Remember, the Repubs DO NOT care about rationality, they only care about power. And when hysteria brings them power, they are perfectly happy to be hysterical.

  11. Obama did great here, but hee and the rest of the party are letting themselves be shouted down by morons.

    Yes.

    It is not hard at all to beat this tactic. Why isn't anyone standing up to this low-wattage crowd? This failing to stand up to mouth-breathers, this failing to hit back is the hardest of all to take. Grrrr.

  12. Oh, but isn't ignorance bliss?

    Ignorance of self that is. I've often wondered how Republicans could manage to endure what must be an intolerable level of cognitive dissonance on an almost perpetual basis. But then, that is assuming they see the incoherence of their ideas the way that I do. It is a basic human need to find symmetry between reality and one's perception of it. When the two contradict, one must change. And within a cultural framework that is so opposed to expansion and critique of traditional perception, the easier course must be to deny reality.

    And thus Obama's performance, stunningly contrary to the Republican narrative of Obama as naif, would only cause agony in one accustomed to allowing reality to trump perception. Instead, I imagine what mostly occurred to these inveterate reality-benders – best in class – was a sort of mass dopamine-in, an order of neural gymnastics seldom performed by so many at one time in one room.

    I imagine a few of them reached a nirvana of delusion and climaxed where they sat.

  13. "morons", "hysterical", "low-wattage crowd", ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, blah blah blah…I love how this is called rational. Logic 101. Look into it. This is not rationality. This is angry, bitter rantings. I love to observe the power of self-deception of the human mind that convinces itself that it is being rational and superior.

  14. Hey Eli- There's a good example. I've been quite stunned by the reactions of desenters on various sites. There is a complete reversal of what seems obvious to most commenters. Are these folks "trolls" trying to pee in the punch bowl or do they really see Obama telling gross lies, as seems to be the most common meme?

    I'm still waiting for someone to numerate and deliniate these "lies" Obama told from the podium. I would have thought the members of the audiance would have had ample opportunity and motivation plus be well schooled enough on the subjects to point out such lies at the meeting. But then of course they and their families would have been packed off to some black site goulague for unspeakable torture and reeducation so I guess they would be discrete.

    So Bux. Please enlighten us. We just gotta know. Give us the hard edged facts. Or is it all just, as you say ad hominem? Don't worry you won't be sent to the black hole.

  15. The most screwed up part was when Republicans cheered when Obama implied he and Bob Dole of all people were Communists:

    "The component parts of this thing are pretty similar to what Howard Baker, Bob Dole, and Tom Daschle proposed at the beginning of this debate last year.

    Now, you may not agree with Bob Dole and Howard Baker, and, certainly you don't agree with Tom Daschle on much, but that's not a radical bunch. But if you were to listen to the debate and, frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot. No, I mean, that's how you guys — (applause) — that's how you guys presented it."

    That's former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole they're calling a Communist.

    And I think the best way to look at this is how Republicans have responded to this:

    "But the session has been most compelling — the most transparency and openness we’ve seen since the start of his term.

    Good on the House Republicans for throwing the doors open.

    And, yes, I’m going to compliment the president: Good on him for taking part." – Michelle Malkin
    http://michellemalkin.com/2010/01/29/transparency

  16. Well Fred, I never said Obama told "gross lies" so I'm not quite sure where that paranoia came from. I think that overall he has in fact been quite forthright and honest about his radical socialist agenda, straight from the Saul Alinsky playbook. He is clear in his embrace of Keynesian economic policy. No, what is indeed scary is his brutal honesty in his agenda. His agenda is what scares me, not any supposed lies that he has told.

    That said, maybe I know where this "liar liar pants on fire" paranoia is coming from. This was the tactic taken by liberals (and still mindlessly repeated by liberals) to attack Bush. So Fred, give me the hard edged facts. What did Bush lie about?

  17. Well, if I wanted to craft an appeal to conservatives, *I* certainly wouldn't liken myself to Bob Dole, a man notorious among conservatives for his betrayals. Talk about tone deaf…

  18. YOu are so blinded by hatred that you make a plainly false claim. I know you find them loathsome and despicable, but at least get your facts straight.

    Scorpions are *not* venemous insects, they are crustaceans.

  19. Robert, Mrs. Tilton already pointed out that scorpions are in fact arachnids. Crustaceans, like insects, have six legs rather than eight.

  20. Crustaceans have a varying count of legs, Mark. One of our favorite crustaceans, the crab, is a decapod (10 legs.)

    Just be safe and call anything with a hard exoskeleton, segmented body, and jointed legs an 'arthropod'.

    That includes spiders, scorpions, crabs, centipedes, insects, ticks, pillbugs, and scorpions (as well as many others.)

  21. Hi Bux- I'm glad you agree the President is being honest. Sorry if I misunderstood the focus of your rage. My reference to posters who claim Obama was telling outrageous lies at the Republican caucus meeting was just from other sites as I stated. Those posters didn't dance around the subject but said it outright. Their take on this subject doesn't make me paranoic just puzzled.

    As to W, the man certainly never lied about his intentions of getting America involved in war for domestic political leverage. Nor did he ever try to hide his disdain for Americans not part of his base, "the haves and the havemores" and his intentions of chisling more from the fingers of anyone without a trust fund to enrich that base. Aside from that, let's not devolve this board into that tangled mess. I think the record is pretty clear.

  22. "So Fred, give me the hard edged facts. What did Bush lie about?"

    The White House received reports on the abuses at Abu Ghraib in January. They didn't respond until March when the media got wind of it. Donald Rumsfeld's excuse is that his aides never told him about it.

    Bush promised the Iraq war would cost $50-60 billion and called reports that it would cost as much as $100 billion ridiculous. It's now over a trillion.

    Then there were the WMDs

    Finally, read Scott McClellan.

  23. David C:

    Alleged lie # 1 is not a lie at all. Maybe a delayed response but not a lie. What did Bush lie about concerning Abu Ghraib?

    Alleged lie # 2 is no lie either. Maybe a broken promise but not a lie. I'm beginning to wonder if you know the definition of a lie.

    Alleged lie # 3…what about WMDs?? Where was the lie? Where's the proof of intentional deceipt? The best you can do is attribute an unprovable motive.

    And Scott McClellan…come on. Speaking of motive, you have to at least ask yourself what his motive was. A book deal?? The attention he could never get in the administration??

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