Life in the Bubble

Don't Congressfolk get out and talk to their constituents sometimes? Ever?
“It was a scary situation,” said Boxer, a Clinton supporter. “It was frightening. I was on the stage. People were six feet away from me. If I didn’t have a lot of security, I don’t know what would have happened.”
How is it that, representing a state as large as yours in a country as diverse as this, you're so unused to being six feet away from people who disagree with you? Why do you feel you need 'a lot of security' to be close to the people you undertake to represent? Could it be that you aren't really representing them?


Cass said...

Screaming, booing speakers off the stage and throwing chairs are all things the average person would tend to find threatening.

They are all well outside the pale of civil behavior (or acceptable behavior in public, for adults at least). Toddlers generally lack the requisite self-control, but we rightly expect more from adults.

How on earth did the bar get set so low that we no longer see this kind of idiocy as deeply dysfunctional and destructive?

Grim said...

Aren't you the one who usually tries to remind me of how violent our politics used to be? Imagine the tigers of Tammany Hall, and the union versus strikebreaker fights of the early 20th century. The stakes are getting similarly high, and frankly if people aren't good and mad they ought to be.

Anyway, Boxer was just facing some booing. The outburst came later, when they decided to gavel down the convention's results on a manifestly false voice vote without a headcount. Under the circumstances, and given the stakes, I think they got off light.

Good to see you, by the way.

Grim said...

As an aside, I'm deeply suspicious of the way that the Clinton faction is playing this. "We need to keep politics polite so that Senator Boxer can feel safe" is code for "You can't complain too loud while we steal the election." Keeping politics polite and civil, should Clinton be elected, is going to mean being nice about her corruption. The media already treads very lightly about it -- once in a long while they'll mention the foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation from nations like Russia or the UAE that, mysteriously, couple with their national industries receiving favorable treatment in uranium mines or weapons sales.

Watching them refuse to count the votes in Nevada, I can't help but be sympathetic to anyone who feels like they need to make some noise. The alternative is that nobody will mention it, and it'll slip into the rear-view mirror as another fait accompli. The only reason we're even aware of what they did is that somebody made some noise.

Cassandra said...

Aren't you the one who usually tries to remind me of how violent our politics used to be?

Well, we also used to allow legal slavery - the fact that political violence occurred in the past has no bearing on whether it's morally right/wrong, socially desirable, or something we should expect and tolerate now.

The general political climate this year has been unusually contentious; marked by all kinds of behavior that's neither acceptable or desirable. Simply asserting that a bad thing "is" (and therefore we should accept it) doesn't recommend itself to me as smart practice.

Unless of course we're going to regress to excusing namecalling, fisticuffs, or booing speakers off the stage every time one person doesn't agree with what someone else is saying - in that case, we'd best be prepared to live in a vastly different world.

Not how I raised my children, not how I was raised (or my parents, or their parents, for that matter). And not something I'm prepared to accept or approve.

Cassandra said...

Politeness is valuable for its own sake, not so others feel "safe" (though that's a very valuable outcome on its own).

I don't want to live in a world where only the violent and aggressive are heard from and everyone is intimidated into silence. Might doesn't make right.

It's nonsense to say that "politeness" means no one can fight corruption. Adults used to be able to make strong and even biting arguments without acting like small children. We need more of that, not more regression to the lowest common denominator.

Cass said...

I'm pretty sure we've been reading different accounts of what happened in Nevada. The ones I've read stress that Sanders' team were trying to get the rules - which had been in force since 2008 and were available to everyone well ahead of time - changed, mid-process.

Sadly, until the rules are changed, they're the rules. I thought this was a pretty good summary:


....there were no last minute rule changes sprung on convention-goers — the rules had been publicly available weeks in advance, largely unchanged for three presidential cycles, and given to both campaigns.

The first major fight happened in the morning, with the convention being gaveled in nearly 40 minutes after the scheduled 9 a.m. start time.

In a voice vote, Lange approved adoption of a preliminary credentials report showing more Clinton than Sanders delegates. Immediate howls of protests from the Sanders contingent emerged, many of whom rushed the dais and started screaming insults and obscenities directly at Lange.

Although several videos from the event appear to have louder "nays" than "yeas," both preliminary and final delegate counts showed that Clinton supporters outnumbered Sanders supporters in the room.

And trying to determine the outcome of a voice vote from a video of around 3,000 delegates is somewhat arbitrary to begin with. The only person with authority to call for a different voting mechanism is the convention chair: Lange.

Regardless, upset Sanders supporters rushed the main stage, hurling obscenities at Lange and other members of the party’s executive board and booing over remarks from California Sen. Barbara Boxer delivered on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

The Sanders campaign later alleged that Lange refused to accept petitions to change the rules, which is inaccurate.

In an interview, Lange said the board received a handful of petitions to change the convention rules but not all of them met the requirement to have signatures by 20 percent of convention goers.

Lange said the proper procedure for an amendment to the rules would have been during a short period for public comment before the temporary rules were adopted as permanent.

None of the three Sanders supporters who spoke, including Nevada superdelegate Erin Bilbray, made any motion to amend the rules during that time, so they were approved as written.

Volunteers circulating the petitions changing the rules abandoned their efforts after the permanent rules were adopted, saying they missed their chance to introduce them.

Either way, any rule change would require a two-thirds majority vote which would be highly unlikely given the Clinton campaign's public opposition to any rules changes.


Grass-rooty attempts to rewrite the rules on the fly notwithstanding, I don't see how a process in which people openly flout the current set of rules and don't follow the process to change the rules (and don't even have the votes to do that!) could possibly be described as "fair".

I've never been a fan of Babs Boxer, but I think she's right on this one: if you don't like the process, change it. Screaming obscenities at various officiants isn't conducive to *persuading* others or building consensus for your position.

We've lost the ability to treat our opponents with anything like respect or reciprocity. That's dangerous and wrongheaded. I can't stand Clinton, but in this case it doesn't appear to me that Sanders, et al, have the right of it. Maybe the rules need to be changed, but intimidation and temper tantrums aren't the way to go about doing that.

Tom said...

Gateway Pundit's final comment: "Democrats didn’t seem to mind when Bernie supporters showed up and caused trouble like this at Trump rallies. They didn’t mind it when Bernie supporters threw punches at Trump supporters. But, now that it’s happened to them, it’s a matter of national security."

I'm not condoning this behavior, but it is hypocritical for them to complain. They have been happy to overlook the violence of the OWS movement, Ferguson rioters, violence directed against Trump supporters, and the shouting-down of conservative speakers on campuses around the nation but claim that NOW we've crossed the line. That's rich.

Eric Blair said...

I think what we have here is a bunch of people realizing that the game is rigged, no matter what the rules were, and frankly, the proper response that is violence, especially to creatures like Boxer, who is part of the problem, and like Grim points out, really doesn't get it.

Grim said...

As you know I am a great believer in courtesy. For years I listed Miss Manners on the sidebar as one of my most admired voices. Courtesy and etiquette are crucial for civilization.

There is, however, a serious free rider problem. A minor example: telemarketer calls that use the norms against interruption or brusqueness to make you listen to a breathless sales pitch. A major example: the Clinton campaign.

Ultimately there can be nothing wrong with hanging up on the telemarketer. If you're trying to hide behind civilized norms to commit fraud touching our governance and liberty, well: maybe you should be made to feel afraid. Maybe that is just.

Eric said...

Despite Cass's protestations to the contrary, might does make right, or at least it gets it done, and it's probably a happy accident when might and the good (as we might philosophically understand that) coincide.

Like Franklin said, "You have a Republic, if you can keep it."

raven said...

"As you know I am a great believer in courtesy. For years I listed Miss Manners on the sidebar as one of my most admired voices. Courtesy and etiquette are crucial for civilization."

Well, yeah, plus a broadsword and axe....

Grim said...

I see you have been paying close attention.

Cass said...

Might determining outcomes, and might being "right" (morally) are two completely different things, Eric.

A minor example: telemarketer calls that use the norms against interruption or brusqueness to make you listen to a breathless sales pitch.

People try to do lots of things, and I would never argue that norms of social behavior that discourage interrupting others are inviolable. Of course you can hang up or walk away - this is not a social relationship, but rather a commercial one.

If you're trying to hide behind civilized norms to commit fraud touching our governance and liberty, well: maybe you should be made to feel afraid. Maybe that is just.

It's not clear to me that's an accurate description of this - it sounds more like post hoc rationalization than anything else. What you're advocating for is that people who feel angry (or haven't bothered to understand the agreed-upon process for some cooperative endeavor, much less the fundamental rules that make civilization possible) are justified in whatever they do.

They are not, for instance, required to actually abide by the rules they claim have been violated (so long as they believe their cause is just - hey, might makes them "right"!). If they don't like the rules, they should be able to change them. An outcome agreed upon by a committee of 5 Clinton and 5 Sanders supporters is simply declared to be "corrupt", and we all know that where there's corruption, a vocal and angry minority are justified in defacing buildings, shouting obscenities, disrupting group meetings.

There's no real process required for them to prove their accusations - they should just be allowed to do whatever they feel like because they claim to have been wronged.

Wow. Just wow. How does any civilization exist under mob rule?

Cass said...

"People I disagree with or accuse of wrongdoing - no need for any of that pesky due process! - deserve to be scared."

What could possibly go wrong with such a formula?

This is the way Occupy and Black Lives Matter and a host of similar movements think. It's what they argue every single time they're called on their thuggish tactics.

It doesn't suddenly become "right" because you sympathize with the actors in this case.

raven said...

It appears to me that "right" and "wrong" are getting displaced by "who's side are you on?" Tribal divisions, in other words.
It does not bode well. And unfortunately, it will not matter whether that attitude is adopted as a offensive or reactive measure, the results will be the same.

Grim said...

Insofar as we don't think we're talking about the same thing, I'm not sure how useful it is to talk about it.

On the other hand, people have to act on what they think is happening in front of their eyes -- not on what you or I think is the right description later.

You're right to draw a distinction between social and commercial interactions. So too is politics different. War is politics by other means, we learn from Clausewitz. Thus, politics is war by other means. The difference in means is significant, for a number of reasons. But the spectrum between war and politics remains. Violence is always more or less present.

My ideal cases, on reflection, entail more violence: the Scottish War of Independence, the American War of Independence, and the rejection of the Yazoo Land Fraud by James Jackson (which required him to fight four duels). Political violence isn't always bad. We may be entering an era in which it is highly desirable, just because the ordinary non-violent politics are corrupt and wicked. If so, we are in a terrible moment -- but one with great potential, if we are brave enough to encounter it with clear principles.

I reject Boxer entirely. If she finds this uncomfortable, she should get out of politics. We would all benefit if she did.

Ymar Sakar said...

Once people begin finding out the things I know about the Left, and not on an intellectual abstract level, being slightly loud at town halls will be a picnic compared to what people will do.

It cannot be contained. Robbespierre didn't do it. The Left doesn't have lawyers better than him, certainly.

Violence is merely a tool. A gun is merely a tool. What matters are the Users and their intent, not the slaves and tools.

Talking was past the time, for me in either 2007 or 2010. All the stuff since then, has meant nothing. Although to other people, it seemed elections and endless debate still meant something, that there was a "hope" of something or other. Some final jail break from the Socratic poison sentence.