Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. What Is a ‘Smart Republican?’

 

Last night my wife and I were at a dinner party for a friend’s birthday. We got on to the topic of what everybody was watching on the telly, which is to say, what we were streaming on our various devices because nobody likes to sit through commercials and everyone likes to binge watch.

The guests were all from a small liberal arts (and I do mean liberal) college from Maryland called Goucher, just west of Baltimore. This group have a bit of the ol’ Leftist moral superiority about them in that they went to college, do not go to church, and go out of their way to overcorrect their accents when they talk — it’s quite comical to hear, actually.

One of the shows brought up was “The Newsroom,” the HBO original that features Jeff Daniels as an old-school news anchor who is also a Republican, but is utterly fed up with the face of the Party being Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann types. I was told that I might actually “love this show” to which I politely stated that “I had heard it was good” in the hopes of moving along. But they persisted, all knowing that I am a Republican — well, a Conservative who votes for Republicans who are not wimps. So they began to explain to me what it was about.

My retort was that it was a show that was full of excrement which raised the gaggle’s hackles. I explained that their assumptions about who is the face of the Republican Party is just wrong and the writers of the show do not have a clue what they are talking about because they do not know people like me so they have to caricature us.

This brought about the quip, “but Robert, you are a smart Republican; surely you don’t identify with the Tea Party?” Leading another to claim, “right, the Tea Party is the Taliban wing of the Republican Party.” This is where I sternly asked if they could name for me any Tea Party member who wants to throw acid in the face of women who want to go to school. Of course they could not, but there was the attempt to say that many of them wanted to. Again that was met with the claim that what the speaker was saying was more reminiscent of what comes out of the other orifice.

So what does it mean to be a “smart Republican?” Does this mean that we actually have no principles and just smile politely when we hear the absolute crudest of people in society besmirch the country and those who make the country work? Does it mean that we trash fellow Republicans in front of Leftists, which I do, but in a manner in which they too trash them? For those who are quick to bestow upon one the title “smart Republican,” can they actually point to a “smart Republican” in elected office so that we might have an idea of what type a Republican is “smart?”

I tried to make the point last night that one cannot take the word of those who know nothing about the people they denigrate when it comes to explaining who it is they denigrate. The writers for “The Newsroom” have no more knowledge of what it is to be a Conservative as I do for what it means to be a Martian, so how on earth would they know who is and who is not the face of the Republican Party?

I made the point that if I were to claim that Cynthia McKinney, the former Georgia Democrat House member who in 2002 on the floor of the House accused the Bush administration of knowing that 9/11 was going to happen, was the face of the Democrat Party, it would not be a fair claim. I would be taking the most extreme example and saying that was the mainstream. Their attempts to make Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin the face of the Republican Party is also off-base because neither one hold any sway with the Party leadership and not much sway with the Party voting base.

It’s rare that I actually confront the sheer idiocy that can come from our friends on the Left. Usually I just smile politely and ignore it and wait for the next topic of conversation to come up that is actually more entertaining and jovial. For some reason I did not pull back on this one. Perhaps it’s because the message to “The Newsroom” is that folks like me, who simply want the country to be as free for our children as it was for us, are the real threats to the country. Or that being compared to a rabid bunch of Satan worshipers like the Taliban simply because we want a limited government that doesn’t sanction the wanton murder of children in the womb of their mothers proves that there can never be any compromise with such people and therefore they must be defeated. One thing is certain: I don’t know exactly how the Left defines “smart Republican” but if it means sitting back and allowing those types of accusations to fly without defending myself then it seems more stupid to me.

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  1. ctlaw Coolidge

    Robert McReynolds: The group are all from a small liberal arts (and I do mean liberal) college from Maryland called Goucher.

    Jonah Goldberg is an alum.

    • #1
    • December 28, 2014, at 6:04 AM PST
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  2. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds

    ctlaw:

    Robert McReynolds: The group are all from a small liberal arts (and I do mean liberal) college from Maryland called Goucher.

    Jonah Goldberg is an alum.

    Then he could attest to how wacked out the place is, I’m sure.

    • #2
    • December 28, 2014, at 6:05 AM PST
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  3. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’ve never seen The Newsroom but from what I’ve read, the main character sounds like Colin Powell. Someone who for some mysterious reason refers to himself as a Republican but does nothing but trash the party, and seemingly never has a critical word to say about any other party.

    • #3
    • December 28, 2014, at 6:34 AM PST
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  4. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The problem we are experiencing is that the Left and the Right use different dictionaries. Words simply do not mean the same thing to the two groups. So, to a conservative, a “smart” Republican would essentially be one who believes in limited government and increased personal freedom.

    To a Liberal, a “smart” Republican is a Democrat.

    • #4
    • December 28, 2014, at 6:39 AM PST
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  5. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    btw – Robert – How did you ever get invited to such a party? Are you this group’s token conservative? Generally, Leftists cannot tolerate anyone who does not think like they do. They are the Borg.

    • #5
    • December 28, 2014, at 6:41 AM PST
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  6. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Songwriter:They are the Borg.

    Liking this twice.

    • #6
    • December 28, 2014, at 6:57 AM PST
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  7. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    You’re a better man than I am – I would have stormed out leaving a long stream of obscenities in my wake.

    • #7
    • December 28, 2014, at 7:09 AM PST
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  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I hope one or two of them is still thinking about what you said. I hate to be drawn into debates like that and walk away with the impression that no one has learned a thing.

    Even so, it’s worth standing up to lies just so they do not become easy. Force them to face the contradiction between your type (as they see it) and your person.

    If we care about people, then we care that they know reality. Avoiding conflict is more comfortable for everyone, but “it has to hurt if it’s to heal.”

    • #8
    • December 28, 2014, at 7:11 AM PST
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  9. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    What is a ‘Smart Republican’?

    There is no such thing. You are an idiot whose presence will be tolerated, as opposed to the rest of the idiots.

    • #9
    • December 28, 2014, at 7:16 AM PST
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  10. jetstream Inactive

    Songwriter:The problem we are experiencing is that the Left and the Right use different dictionaries. Words simply do not mean the same thing to the two groups. So, to a conservative, a “smart” Republican would essentially be one who believes in limited government and increased personal freedom.

    To a Liberal, a “smart” Republican is a Democrat.

    A strategic practice of the Left is to redefine words to fit their twisted logic. Karl Marx redefined “freedom” to mean living under the dictatorship of the proletariat. So, if you weren’t enjoying life in the dictatorship of workers paradise, you were oppressed not free .. QED

    • #10
    • December 28, 2014, at 7:20 AM PST
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  11. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    What is a “Smart Republican”? I think David Brooks is the only one left. (Otherwise, how could he be in the NYT?) Fortunately, once a Republican dies, he or she becomes much smarter. Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley were idiots alive, but now they are brilliant compared to any living Republican.

    • #11
    • December 28, 2014, at 7:54 AM PST
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  12. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds

    To answer the question I was invited because I am married to their college mate. These were all my wife’s college friends. Like I said, usually the topic of politics is avoided. I am not interested in wasting my time trying to explain my political stances to people who don’t want to hear it let alone discuss it rationally or intelligently.

    As an aside, the other part of the table at a different point in the evening were discussing tax brakes and what state offered the best tax policy. Mind you these people vote Democrat. One lives in New York state, the other participants were from Delaware (my in-laws), and the other group were in Maryland and every damned one of them would rather slit their wrists than vote for a Republican. I leaned over to my wife and whispered in her ear that I find it beyond humorous to listen to a bunch of Obama supporting Leftists discuss which state has a lower tax rate. These people literally see no connection between what they were discussing and how they vote.

    • #12
    • December 28, 2014, at 8:03 AM PST
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  13. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive

    Robert McReynolds: These people literally see no connection between what they were discussing and how they vote.

    To me, this is the fundamental problem. To large swaths of the electorate, predominately but not exclusively on the left, voting is a purely philosophical exercise, reflecting a highly abstract set of (the “right”) principles, completely divorced from any consequences in the real world. The bitterest irony I’ve experienced in my adult life has been leftists claiming to be “the reality-based community” when all of their political thinking is strictly first-order when it’s not merely fanciful. The most evangelical Christian has nothing on their faith-based politics.

    • #13
    • December 28, 2014, at 8:13 AM PST
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  14. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive

    Oh, and I get down on my knees every night and pray to God Almighty that the left keeps believing Sarah Palin is the stupid face of the Republican Party.

    • #14
    • December 28, 2014, at 8:41 AM PST
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  15. MarciN Member

    Politics is made possible by hyperbole. And both Democrats and Republicans use it to their advantage.

    There are some Democrats I have admired because they have stepped out of their party for a moment or two to say something intelligent. Joe Lieberman comes to mind. Neither he nor I believe in censorship, but he and I both also know that the media world in which our children live and function is a “cesspool.” Bill Clinton is a reprobate extraordinaire, but at one point when he was president, on his own initiative, he convened a conference on Ritalin and kids. President Obama’s speech honoring President George H. W. Bush when Obama awarded Bush the Medal of Honor brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, President Obama.

    I think most Democrats that I know can sort this stuff out intelligently, and Sharpton does not represent their beliefs.

    That said, Republicans have a major problem vis-a-vis the media, which continues to stereotype them offensively and ridiculously as cold-hearted, right-wing Nazis. I refer to the Nazis specifically because I am always surprised and shocked that the Nazi party has been and is still considered “right wing.” That is a tall bar for Republicans to get over, and I believe that association is intentional by the Democratic Party. That association is basically a subversion tactic, and a successful one, I might add.

    I’ve thought about this for years and years now–how do Republicans become a party that Democrats aren’t afraid to be associated with? Their leadership and their media mouthpieces play this fear, and until Republicans address it, we’ll continue to be tuned out by voters who simply don’t want to be associated with us.

    I am more aware than most people of the stereotyping issue because I’m in publishing, and for the last thirty years, we have embraced–heck, we invented them–the PC language ethics. Publishers are not stupid–they do not wish to offend segments of their markets. That is the money behind the use of “he or she” instead of the old “he” standing for all of humanity. So when I see editorial decisions to allow stereotyping of conservatives and Republicans, I know they are allowing this stereotyping language on purpose. It is not an oversight.

    The language programming to cast Republicans negatively has been very successful. Over time, little by little, it has seeped into the people’s consciousness, and they accept the stereotypes as the truth–“it must be true; I’ve read it a hundred times.”

    There is hope, however. The New York Times and Boston Globe are hurting. I guess they misread the size of the markets they were offending consistently. And here we have Ricochet. :)

    Prejudice always works this way. We have not gotten rid of prejudice; we have merely changed the targets over time. Prejudice against conservatives and Republicans works exactly the same as sexism and racism. Same formulas.

    The reason you react emotionally in these social situations is because you are being attacked personally. And how can you defend yourself against being a black, a woman, or a Republican? It’s not your imagination. It is personal. It is not a discussion of ideas. These are personal attacks. Your reaction is the same as mine in such situations. I’m just dumbfounded and upset and angry. To Democrats, “Republican” is what we are, not what we believe.

    • #15
    • December 28, 2014, at 8:57 AM PST
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  16. MarciN Member

    As a postscript to my long comment above, if there’s one thing we should have learned from the gay activists, it is how to change this social dynamic.

    • #16
    • December 28, 2014, at 9:15 AM PST
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  17. The Lopez Thatcher

    MarciN:

    The language programming to cast Republicans negatively has been very successful. Over time, little by little, it has seeped into the people’s consciousness, and they accept the stereotypes as the truth–”it must be true; I’ve read it a hundred times.”

    I can attest to that. I once had to insinuate myself into a conversation that included the quote “Do you think the Republicans really oppose Obama just because he’s black?”

    I’ve also had a debate with with a friend about whether or not speech codes were a good thing. He actually believes they are “freeing”.

    You can’t have a debate unless you have proper rules and, at least, similar dictionaries. Being steeped in leftist doctrine where I live has greatly helped me see when it’s possible to have a discussion and when to just stand there and eat your pie in silence.

    I think a smart Republican is one that they’ve stopped inviting to parties because he makes everybody else look like bloody fools when the political arguments begin.

    • #17
    • December 28, 2014, at 10:39 AM PST
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  18. Rightfromthestart Coolidge

    Excellent post, but what the gay activists had going for them was the entire entertainment / media complex tailwind which continues to portray anything less than full throated …ahem. ..endorsement as hatred. Apathy , just not caring either way is unacceptable.

    The Bush/Rove fetal crouch policy has resulted in generations of people who have only heard negatives about Republicans.

    • #18
    • December 28, 2014, at 11:03 AM PST
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  19. MarciN Member

    I was thinking just now as I was straightening out the house after our Christmas celebration that perhaps the only way to combat this is to confront it head on, recognizing it for what it is: irrational hatred of all conservatives and Republicans.

    So in some discussions with friends and family where that seems to be problem, we cut the conversation off and say, simply, “You have a deep irrational hatred of all Republicans and conservatives. You and I cannot therefore discuss ideas.”

    That’s how society fought racism, homophobia, and sexism. Because the person to whom this is said automatically thinks, “I don’t hate all Republicans,” even if the person doesn’t say that out loud. The person who doesn’t want to be a racist, sexist, or homophobe won’t want to be a Republican and conservative hater either.

    Over time, we will grow a group of people to whom it will feel wrong to hate all Republicans and conservatives.

    • #19
    • December 28, 2014, at 11:58 AM PST
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  20. Trinity Waters Inactive

    You took the correct tack: ask them to support bromides like Taliban Wing Tea Partiers classifications. You’ll never convert even one of these people by sharing facts. Only uncovering their unexamined biases works. A goofy software engineer taught me this twenty years ago.

    • #20
    • December 28, 2014, at 12:25 PM PST
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  21. ctlaw Coolidge

    Tom Riehl:You took the correct tack: ask them to support bromides like Taliban Wing Tea Partiers classifications. You’ll never convert even one of these people by sharing facts. Only uncovering their unexamined biases works. A goofy software engineer taught me this twenty years ago.

    At some point, you have to decide that you’ll never convert even one of these people period. And I do not use “period” in the Obama “I’m lying” sense.

    At that point, your goal should be to prevent them from converting others. This involves exposing those biases and going full Alinsky on them. You have to get ad hominem and point out that these are evil and/or insane people (if not explicitly, put forth so much evidence that the listener is left with no other possible conclusion).

    • #21
    • December 28, 2014, at 1:10 PM PST
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  22. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Left scapegoats and demonizes. That’s almost the entirety of their arsenal, as their ideas are so completely and utterly unworkable.

    I infiltrated, erm, joined a social justice class at my parish during the Lent after the first April 15 Tea Party rally in Colorado Springs, which I had attended. The organization offering the class is associated with Jim Wallis and all kinds of wacky ideas about what constitutes “social justice.” They played a video which made use of a Bushism to discredit Republicans and conservatives. Go figure.

    I wrote a lengthy response to the class and copied it at my own expense for each attendee. At the wrap-up meeting, they asked for suggestions for actions to take as a result of the class. I suggested they attend a Tea Party rally. They looked at me as if I’d grown a second head.

    But, if they truly believed what they claim about wanting justice and redemption for all, they have an obligation to attend those Taliban Tea Parties and speak the “truth” of the (social justice) Gospel. That they find the prospect unthinkable speaks volumes.

    • #22
    • December 28, 2014, at 1:22 PM PST
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  23. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds

    MarciN:That said, Republicans have a major problem vis-a-vis the media, which continues to stereotype them offensively and ridiculously as cold-hearted, right-wing Nazis. I refer to the Nazis specifically because I am always surprised and shocked that the Nazi party has been and is still considered “right wing.” That is a tall bar for Republicans to get over, and I believe that association is intentional by the Democratic Party. That association is basically a subversion tactic, and a successful one, I might add.

    I’ve thought about this for years and years now–how do Republicans become a party that Democrats aren’t afraid to be associated with? Their leadership and their media mouthpieces play this fear, and until Republicans address it, we’ll continue to be tuned out by voters who simply don’t want to be associated with us.

    This is something that I just cannot stress enough. It is not on us to change how they think of us because the only way to accomplish that is to become Bolsheviks like them. This is why the National GOP is in such trouble with folks like me: they think it is they who have to change to be accepted by the Democrats. In truth they need to do what I did on a national level and challenge these people at every moment. No one else was going to pull the BS card on the equating of the Tea Party to the Taliban but me at that table. And no one else is going to refute the stupidity of the Democrat claims of the GOP conducting a “war on women” except the GOP. If the Democrats are afraid of or embarrassed to be associated with us then it is THEY who can leave the country or change how they view the world. We are the ones who are right, and by that I mean correct in our ideal for organizing a civilized society.

    • #23
    • December 28, 2014, at 3:10 PM PST
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  24. Profile Photo Member

    I watched the Newsroom partly because of the intrigue involved with a Republican main character. The opening scene, with Will at the college seminar, quickly dashed my hopes. In less than four minutes, he manages to disparage religion, strong national defense, partisanship, and Yosemite National Park. He also implies that the War on Poverty was a noble and effective endeavor, American exceptionalism is a deluded idea, and that government spurs all important societal advancement.

    Three videos on YouTube that I found of the video collectively have upwards of 2 million views. Millions more have watched the show. That’s several million people who think that a “smart Republican” is a RINO in the truest sense of the term.

    The Newsroom’s Will McAvoy pines for an earlier time when Republicans were reasonable, which disappeared after the rise of the American Taliban–ahem, I mean Tea Party. It seems as though the era Will longs for is 1928.

    • #24
    • December 28, 2014, at 3:11 PM PST
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  25. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Robert McReynolds: This brought about the quip, “but Robert, you are a smart Republican; surely you don’t identify with the Tea Party?” Leading another to claim, “right, the Tea Party is the Taliban wing of the Republican Party.”

    Just throwing out this possibility…

    What would happen if you put them on the hypocritical defensive and replied along the lines of, “I am very, very offended by that. And by your prejudice toward a group of people whose views you may or may not agree with. That’s a lot of hate there.”

    • #25
    • December 28, 2014, at 4:50 PM PST
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  26. ctlaw Coolidge

    Don Tillman: Just throwing out this possibility… What would happen if you put them on the hypocritical defensive and replied along the lines of, “I am very, very offended by that. And by your prejudice toward a group of people whose views you may or may not agree with. That’s a lot of hate there.”

    You really should add: “Have you sought professional help for that?”

    • #26
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:01 PM PST
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  27. AIG Inactive
    AIG

    Songwriter: So, to a conservative, a “smart” Republican would essentially be one who believes in limited government and increased personal freedom. To a Liberal, a “smart” Republican is a Democrat.

    Well here’s where one problem arises, neither of these describe a rather large group of “true conservative” darlings of the “true conservative” movement.

    So whether we like it or not, it’s a very fair question to ask whether “our” association with people like Sarah Palin or Rick Santorum is something constructive, or not? Regardless if we see it from the POV of “conservatives” or “moderates” etc.

    These people don’t fit our…own…definition of a “smart Republican”. Why are we offended then, that they are viewed so negatively by others?

    As for the topic at hand, I think the original post could have ended at “a group of graduates from a small liberal arts college”, and we could have figured out the rest of the story ourselves. What more needs to be said?

    • #27
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:32 PM PST
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  28. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds

    AIG:

    Songwriter: So, to a conservative, a “smart” Republican would essentially be one who believes in limited government and increased personal freedom. To a Liberal, a “smart” Republican is a Democrat.

    Well here’s where one problem arises, neither of these describe a rather large group of “true conservative” darlings of the “true conservative” movement.

    So whether we like it or not, it’s a very fair question to ask whether “our” association with people like Sarah Palin or Rick Santorum is something constructive, or not? Regardless if we see it from the POV of “conservatives” or “moderates” etc.

    These people don’t fit our…own…definition of a “smart Republican”. Why are we offended then, that they are viewed so negatively by others?

    As for the topic at hand, I think the original post could have ended at “a group of graduates from a small liberal arts college”, and we could have figured out the rest of the story ourselves. What more needs to be said?

    I disagree completely. What about Santorum is dumb? What major policy or ideal of his is completely stupid? Ditto Sarah Palin? I get the impression that you are allowing THEM to define who is and who is not smart for you as opposed to you coming to these conclusions on your own, unless you are one of the “smart Republicans” who are really not Conservative at all and merely want to get along to go along. Let me put to you this way: I will take Sarah Palin over Nancy Pelosi every day of the week and three times on Sunday.

    • #28
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:37 PM PST
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  29. MarciN Member

    Robert McReynolds: We are the ones who are right, and by that I mean correct in our ideal for organizing a civilized society.

    But the weapons of war in a democracy are arguments. We have to convince the other side to see things our way. That is not going to happen unless we have credibility in their eyes. We may be right, but unless we get 51 percent of the voters to listen to us and then to agree with us, we’ll lose every time. Prejudice against us as Republicans is preventing us from being heard.

    • #29
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:42 PM PST
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  30. Al Sparks Thatcher

    MarciN:As a postscript to my long comment above, if there’s one thing we should have learned from the gay activists, it is how to change this social dynamic.

    For me, the first step is to get the support of the liberal media. The second is to get the support of liberal Hollywood. The third is to get the support of liberal federal judges.

    Enlighten us. What did YOU learn?

    • #30
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:59 PM PST
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