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August 17, 2007 10:13 PM UTC

Bob Schaffer in the News

  • by: Colorado Pols

After a couple of bad weeks in the major Colorado dailies for GOP Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, we’re pleased to report that he’s responded to the growing image problem he faces with a solid fluff piece in the Longmont Daily Times-Call. (drums)

Speaking to the more than 70 people attending the Boulder County Republican Party’s annual summer picnic, Schaffer charged that Democrats’ congressional track record has included “efforts toward higher taxes,” “efforts to erode American industry and commerce,” “deliberate efforts to surrender in Iraq,” and a “strategy of weakness.”

Schaffer, a former 4th District congressman from Fort Collins, neither named nor specifically attacked his Democratic rival in Colorado’s 2008 U.S. Senate contest, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Mark Udall of Eldorado Springs.

Instead, Schaffer attacked Democrats in general and congressional Democratic leaders in particular, arguing that Coloradans do not want continued control by what he called “the party of weakness, defeat, despair and hopelessness.”

Schaffer also admonished his fellow Republicans, though, that in preparing for next year’s election battles, the GOP has to return to such root themes as “lower taxes, more personal freedom, more prosperity.”

Meanwhile, the Colorado U.S. Senate post that’s up for election next year is “the No. 1 priority seat for the Republicans in the country,” Schaffer said.

“This is a race we can win,” he assured the GOP picnickers gathered at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.

Where he’s right is how the seat is the #1 Senate race in the country. Where he may be wrong, as nervous moderate Republicans continue to whisper once Schaffer leaves the stage, is the “this is a race we (meaning he) can win” part.

The convergence of a “too-extreme” perception of Schaffer with a successful portrayal of his public service record as corrupt or mercenary could be his undoing. We continue to see an opportunity for a moderate Republican to upend this race.


72 thoughts on “Bob Schaffer in the News

  1. This is 2007, not 1997.

    Rove is gone.

    The American voter is increasingly catching on to you guys.  Your “lower taxes” philosophy has bankrupted our infrastructure and put more people into poverty.

    No sense in me going on, your blinders are set to maximum opacity.

    1. who are apparently fine with spending anything, trillions on the War in Iraq talking about when they say they are for small government and lower taxes? 

      They want even less up-keep, safety and regulation of our mines, ports, infrastructure, security, air travel, imported products?  They want to let  uninsured children die in our streets?  They want decent education only for the top 2%?  They want it to be an exciting gamble every time we cross a bridge, go to work, eat something, brush our teeth, hand our kids a toy, get on a plane? 

      Do they all imagine themselves to be in the tiny minority that benefits from the Bush tax cuts or do they just have wishful thinking fantasies about winning the lottery and getting rich enough to benefit?  Do they not understand that most of us are never going to be in the top 2% because that’s what makes it the top 2%?  While we deteriorate into a banana Republic with a tiny wealth and power elite, are they gambling they’ll be on the right side of that equation?  Not a very god gamble. 

    2.   If the Republicans thought that ’06, including Iraq, Katrina and Rita, gas prices, Duke Cunningham, Tom Delay and Mark Foley, etc. was a difficult year in which to run, ’08 is shaping up to make ’06 look like a day at the beach.

      1. Foggedscorn: “nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!”

        Parsing: “Your ‘lower taxes’ philosophy has bankrupted our infrastructure and put more people into poverty.”

        I’m sorry, but how do you misapply my quote regarding the quality of discourse to Parsing’s clear, analytical statement above?

        1. So, let me understand, changing my name from Foghorn to “Foggedscorn” furthers your argument how?

          “I’m sorry, but how do you misapply my quote regarding the quality of discourse to Parsing’s clear, analytical statement above?”

          Let me explain.  By insinuating that Bob Schaffer has blinders on “set to maximum opacity” does not further his argument.  You may consider that clear and analytical, but I do not. 

    3. America is being bankrupted, but not by lowering taxes. It is because of lowering of taxes, combined with an increase in spending, as well as outright waste and theft.

      I wish that federal Dems would have the balls to speak of a tax increase  combined with spending cuts. In my mind, it could by a partial rollback in the tax cuts (one on oil companies comes to mind), coupled with an time graduated increase in fuel costs (natural gas, gasoline, deasel ). Oh well, lets see what happens in the next group of dems. The presidency is theirs to lose.

      As to putting more ppl in poverty, how does lowering taxes put more ppl in poverty? I think that you are making a corilation that does not exists.

      1. …used to pay about 35% of the federal income taxes during the Golden Years of the middle class. Now it’s down to about 7%. 

        If we taxed them as they used to be, we would have no budget crises.  Hell, what are they going to do, move to China?  They are already there.

        California had a tax, can’t recall the proper name.  In essence, let’s say you are the Cherry Automobile Company of the People’s Republic of China. You have offices and warehouses in, oh, Long Beach, CA.  The CAC would pay a tax on the GROSS income of world wide operations. 

        I had a great job that was lost due to this tax. Yet, I still think it is one of the only ways to keep corporations on the tax system short of a tariff.  If we had a national one, it would correct a lot of the problems of off shoring. 

        Lessee, Mr. Nike Corp, you sold how many shoes?  In the whole world? 

      2. After what befell the federal Dems in 1994 after they last raised taxes (i.e., the 12 years wandering in the political desert on Capitol Hill), I don’t fault them for being a little shy when it comes to tax increase (or as Ronald Reagan used to call them when he upped them, “revenue enhancers”).

        1. Americans KNOW that our deficit is killing us. If dems would push this AND say that we need to increase revenue while cutting spending, then most will agree to this. They will agree to that, because that is how the majority of Americans react to running deficits themselves. It is one of the reasons why I like Carter and Poppa Bush. They both did what the country needed. Voters punished them, but their choices helped America (well, Carters work was usurped by reagan and Poppa’s work was wiped out by his son)

          Ah, yes, reagan the master liar. Have to say that I knew that he was bad news for America (just like W.), but I did admire his ability to BS America. It is the difference between W. and reagan. W. is following the same leadership, choices, and is a true reaganite in every sense of the word. He just does not have the ability to bs to lie convincingly.

  2. Remember how all the Repubs here kept harping on how BS might be very conservative but he was an honest stand-up guy.

    Selling his vote on the BoE – and for almost nothing, that kills that whole integrity plank.

        1. You break my heart every time you sing that “I am Right, hear me roar” refrain! Come join me in a few verses of “Clowns to the Left of me, Jokers to the Right, Here I am, Stuck in the Middle with you!” We all know that’s where you really belong….

            1. defend good ideas regardless of what ideology claims them, and combat only intransigence and ignorance independent of its provenance.

              Despite the fact that I claim to be on the left, or a “Democrat,’ because, on balance, the irrational (and often cruel) religious fundamentalism on the right, along with the exaggerated commitment to economic individualism (which requires a relative indifference to a large swathe of human suffering), appears to me to be contrary to the basic goals of refining our insitutions in order to improve and extend human well-being, there are actually many ideas claimed by the Right (and reviled by the Left) which I consider to better serve those basic goals, and many ideas claimed by the Left (and reviled by the Right) which I consider to run counter to those basic goals.

              The reason why I am more often irked by partisan sniping from the Right than from the Left is that, it appears to me, much of the sniping from the Right is based on neither a commitment to reason nor a commitment to compassion, but rather a commitment to ideological articles of Faith, and a commitment to the Means often divorced from a constant and careful focus on the Ends. I am not saying that this is always the case: It is certainly possible to argue for “less government” (but not “no government”) based both on reason and compassion (though I think it is often an erroneously applied argument, and more often a “coldly” applied one -that is, one that focuses on the benefits to those who are faring relatively well, and is blithely unconcerned about those who are not). But “Faith-based initiatives” are, almost by definition, not “Reason-based initiatives” (yes, Faith and Reason are in fact polar opposites: One depends on all suspension of scepticism, while the other depends on the vigilant application of scepticism), and while they often pose (even to those who advocate them) as compassion-based, I submit that the tyrranical inclination of advocates of theocracy is false compassion, just as the “compassion” involved in converting heathens by force was false compassion (the major exception to the mutual excusivity of Faith and Reason is when, by reasoned analysis, one advocates the role of Faith in the resolution of certain social problems).

              Traditional partisan sniping from the Left is often short on Reason, but almost always long on compassion. It certainly irks me when liberals are not aware enough of the complex systems within which we must operate, and that the obvious solutions to social problems are not always the effective solutions. But at least the Goal is their focus: Once that is accomplished, the means are easier to amend (as in the case of the Clinton administration, which employed fiscal conservativism in the service of social progressivism). The very popularity by the Right of the epiteth “Bleeding-Heart Liberals” almost makes my case for me: It admonishes liberals for an excess of compassion! To me, neither compassion nor reason can ever be excessive.

              In the current context, we have an administration that has, by most analyses (even by rational conservative analysts like George Will and David Brooks), completely f***** up, pursuing a militarily aggressive foreign policy (even advocating pre-emptive strikes, which certainly violate the spirit, if not the letter, of international law, and which we would villify any other country for engaging in), a morally and constitutionally suspect set of domestic and international policies (e.g., literally kidnapping foreign citizens from their homes on the basis of scant evidence -and thus often erroneously- and holding them captive and subjecting them to torture-lite in the name of our own domestic security! Can you imagine the outcry if foreign agents in the United States abducted and “tortured” innocent Americans in the name of their own domestic security??!!), along the gross fiscal irresponsibility of cutting taxes while ballooning spending. To me, defending this administration, or sniping at those who snipe at this administraton, is a sign of some political-cultural disease in America, which makes a mockery of our stated values, and defends our recent disgraceful behavior in the international community. And I would defend that position on the basis of Reason and Compassion alone, without having to rely on any knee-jerk ideological allegiances.

              In other words, we have drifted, as a nation, into territory of which we should be ashamed, and for which we owe the world our contrition. As such, it is not the time to sound like a reasonable moderate by defending or being ambivalent about where our current administration has taken us, but rather the time to come back from the brink of becoming global tyrants.

              My second thought after 9/11, after a surge of compassion for those who suffered, was an intense fear that it would drive us, as a nation, to become more belligerent internationally, and less committed to civil rights domestically. It could have been worse, but we most certainly did not pass the test. Fear, uncertainty, insecurity, often form the soil within which the basest and most repugnant of human qualities flourish, and we did not have the strength and courage to make ourselves exceptions to that rule.

              That’s why, in the present context, I am, for the time being, a staunch partisan. I don’t like where we have gone. And, yes, I am ashamed to be an American in an America that can kidnap and mistreat innocent people, that can lead to the death and suffering of tens or hundreds of thousands through acts of international aggression, and that can have so many of its citizens blithely defend and support these acts.

              1. Empiricism trumps ideology.

                These days, it is the Radical Right that hews to Ideology above all.  They are more concerned with the means than the end, which I think in many cases they dont’t even know what it is.  Not that Libs aren’t immune to this, but I think Libs typically define the goal (i.e., a healthy population) and then debate and figure out how to get there.

                Using health care as an example, the far right is more concerned with structure than results.  Despite the fact that national health care has existed for almost 70 years, AFAIK, and is ued in three dozen mostly advanced nations, and that no nation has selected or gone back to “the American model,” would indicate that a)generally, people like their systems, and b) we have the advantage of picking and choosing the details of one for ourselves.

                Empirical observations, then “ideology.” 

                IF, and it’s a big if, one believes that the population of our culture – it’s really not just a nation – when the bulk of the benefits of the various systems mostly accrue to most of the people, we get a strong middle class.

                After a century of the rise and fall of several forms of capitalism, socialism, and Communism, the empirical results are in: a well regulated capitalism brings the most economic benefits to more of the people faster than other systems. 

                There’s a good op ed piece by that wonderful Boulder County cynic, Paul Danish in today’s Snooze.  He points out how the anti-nuclear “Green” movement in the 1970’s killed nuclear power in this country.  In the meantime those French that the righties love to hate have a fraction of the carbon footprint of what we have here.  (And the world’s best health care delivery system, overall.  Not the cheapest, but the best.  Like Medicare, there are private insurance plans to supplement the national plan.) Lefties can also get too wrapped up in ideology at the expense of the goal.  (Granted, “no one” was onto global warming back then.)

                Could be a long topic, but I’ll stop here.

                1. Almost, but not exactly. I’m not a strict empricist: I believe that logical (or mathematical) analyses that are carefully constructed but that travel pretty far from their empirical base can lead to wonderful and useful discoveries (in fact, modern theoretical physics is increasingly led by mathematical models, which are only later verified by empirical discoveries of the predicted phenomena). That’s why I use the phrase “reason and evidence” rather than just the word “evidence.” But the general idea is the same.

                  As for the rest of your post: I agree completely.

                    1. it can equally be said that empiricism is the feedback mechanism of rationality, since all observations require cognitive structures within which to be interpreted. Otherwise, we would just experience an undifferentiated and uninterpretable mess of sensory in-puts, not distinct and identifiable observations. Also, even if one argues the primacy of observation over contemplation, there is a conventional distinction between “empiricism” and what can be called “theoreticism,” which involves the degree to which one thethers oneself to the empirical base of their musings. For instance, there is a debate in physics today between empiricists and theoreticians over the validity of string theory, since few if any of the actual entities predicted by string theory have been discovered (or can be discovered with current technologies). Yet, the mathematics of string theory so elegantly resolves so many perplexing problems in physics (such as reconciling quantum theory with general relativity) that there are many phycisists who are utterly convinced of its validity. I side with the theoreticians, in that I maintain that very sound logic (or mathemtics), carefully constructed, can take one far from their empirical base, and still yield highly accurate and useful results. Most of the great names in 20th century physics with which we are familiar (Einstein, Planck, Heisenberg, etc.) became famous through their mathematical models, not their empirical discoveries.

                      So, while you are *arguably* literally correct (empiricism is more basic than theoreticism, since a fairly straightforward case can be made that all theoretical models must be ultimately based on observations, no matter how remote, while it is a more abstract argument to say that all observations must be based on theoretical models, or cognitive constructs), conventional usage is a bit different, and I chose to distinguish my approach from what is conventionally known as “empiricism.”

              2. although admittedly much more effective than the “you bad, we good” arguments I usually read in here.

                If the Radical Religious Right made up the entire party I’d register as a Libertarian.  Granted, they have gained control of the process by participating from the caucus level up in greater numbers than the rest of us, but my hope is that this is driving Moderates R’s to get more involved.  I doubt Giuliani would remain at the top of the polls if the entire Party was made up of Radical R’s.

                I understand any person’s objection to war and aggression, but I didn’t see the outcry and shame when Clinton instigated military action in Iraq, Kosovo, or Somalia.  A little consistency would lend more credibility to the anti-aggression arguments.  If Clinton had removed Saddam from power he would no doubt be heralded as the hero who took down a ruthless dictator. 

                This leads to my objection to modern politics in general.  We spend too much time demonizing each other and not enough time debating issues.  The level of discourse looks more like 5th graders calling each other “stupid” and “ugly” on the playground.  I’d like to hear more analysis about what each candidate wants to accomplish in office in concrete terms rather than the constant drip drip drip of “gotcha” politics, innuendo, and character assassination that seems to be the norm these days.

                Finally, I think you can maintain a compassionate level of government and still support fiscal responsibility and efficiency. 

                I appreciate your point of view and your arguments in favor of your partisan stance. 

                1. …I think that’s what Clinton and Gore did so well.  Reform welfare, reduce the size of the bureacracy, increase taxes a smidge on the wealthy, pay down the debt.  Our economy boomed.  Does anyone remember the big problem of unemployment being too low?  What a wonderful problem to have!

                  Other ponderings:

                  I don’t think Clinton’s use of Tomahawk missiles comes anywhere close to the disaster that is the Iraq war. And we lost no soldiers in the other places that you mention, vs. almost 4,000 and counting. And didn’t sell our financial souls to China.

                  I don’t think that America has ever had any Golden Age of Discourse.  All you have to do is look at old political cartoons (developed post-Civil War.) The rich hated FDR with a passion that left them sputtering.  I do agree that we tend to be more polar, but the hatred for “the other” has always been there. 

                    1. On the other hand, there is NAFTA and the Communications Act of 1996.  Total sellouts to the corporations. 

                      I DO see both the good and the bad of BC’s administration.

                    2. The details of NAFTA aside, you already know that I disagree with you both on immigration and globalization (flip sides of the same issue). I believe that increased global wealth, and increased global distributive justice, are both facilitated by more liberal immigration policies and by continuing globalization. The “distributive justice” you are fighting for by opposing these trends is the local distributive battle between the already relatively wealthy factions of American capital and American labor, while as a result the second and third world poor suffer for it, and there is less total wealth in the world to be divided.

                      I feel its incumbant on me, when you write that NAFTA was a total sell-out to the corporations, to point out that reasonable people might disagree with the general assumptions embedded in that statement (I haven’t analyzed NAFTA itself enough to draw any conclusions about that specific treaty).

                    3. ….I won’t make a lengthy response.  Quickly, though:

                      1.  It is not our “job” to make everyone in the world better off. We just can’t do it.  You could take the entire wealth of the US and divvy it up amongst 6+ billion people and it wouldn’t buy them a stick of gum.  Dragging Americans down economically is not justice.

                      2.  NAFTA is one of the economic “push” forces behind the illegal immigration into this country from Mexico.  NAFTA has wiped out the small corn farmer in Mexico, just for starters.

                    4. indulges in the central liberal zero-sum fallacy: It is not an issue of dividing up a fixed pie, but rather refining institutions which increase BOTH efficiency (the size of the pie) AND distributive justice. The notion that there isn’t enough to go around, so let’s protect our slice, can be applied at any level, and can as easily and justly be used by capital interests to defend anti-labor policies. You draw the line at too convenient a place: Where YOUR interests begin and end.

                2. (which is what I consider to be compassion in government) and fiscal responsibility can and should be combined. In fact, we already have a name for that: The Clinton Administration. And I agree that political discourse should be more issue based, and less rancorous. But I think your comparison of the invasion of Iraq with the military actions in The Balkans, for instance, is completely erroneous:

                  1) The invasion of Iraq was a pre-emptive strike based on cherry-picked and ultimately false intelligence, and sold on the basis of our national-security. Military intervention in the Balkans was based on undisputed and indisputable facts about an ongoing genocide, and sold as a humanitarian and geopolitical-stability mission.

                  2) The invasion of Iraq was done unilaterally, against the expressed will of the international community, without UN involvement, and against the sage advice of Bush’s militarily experienced Secretary of State. Military intervention in the Balkans was done with the approval and involvement of the international community, in conjunction with the UN, and impeccably executed.

                  3) The invasion of Iraq helped to destroy America’s standing in the world by sanctioning the use of torture-lite, and creating a context within which well-publicized inhumanities and murders of Iraqi civilians by American soldiers occured, and were likely to occur. The military intervention in The Balkans was a triumph for American humanitarianism, raised our reputation in the world, and was unaccompanied by any high-profile military abuses.

                  4) The invasion of Iraq has been a dismal failure, creating more instability in the world at the expense of American AND Iraqi lives (as well as the lives of some soldiers from Great Britain and other participating countries), and enormous quanities of American treasure. The military intervention in The Balkans was a spectacular success, creating relative peace in the region, and costing America neither large numbers of casualties nor large amounts of money.

                  The distinction I make between these two military actions is not the RESULT of my partisanship, but rather one of the CAUSES of my partisanship.

                3. The fact is that Religious Fundamentalists have successfully coopted the Republican Party. This was done intentionally, through Christian Fundamentalist organizations, and is, for the time being, a fait accompli. The success of “socially progressive” Republican candidates right now is the result of a temporary compromise: The Republican Party is in a strategic meltdown, the 2008 election appears as though it will be a Democratic sweep, and as a result even Christian Fundamentalists are trying to secure what they see as the lesser of two evils. They have not, however, relinquished their hold on the party. Once this crisis passes (if not before), they will reassert their agenda with the same vigor and effectiveness that they have employed up until now.

                  Therefore, any supporter of the Republican Party, whether it is their desire or intention to do so or not, is in fact supporting the Christian Fundamentalist movement in American politics. I’ve made this point before on this blog: A German in the 1930s, who chose to support the Nazi party because they liked the party’s platform on improving governmental efficiency, but lamented the party’s viciousness toward Jews, would have been partially responsible for the Holocaust, because the bargain they chose to make was to accept the bad with the good, and, in this case, the bad was simply unacceptable. By the same logic, anyone who believes that the role Christian Fundamentalism is playing in American politics today is unacceptable, simply should not support the Republican Party, even if they like every other plank in the party’s platform. Unacceptable means that you must not accept it. To do otherwise, is to contribute to it.

                  1. The religious fundamentalist are in control of the Republican Party.  And as much as I lament that fact, they did it fair and square by working-up from the grassroots.  However, I simply don’t believe what they believe and therefore can no longer support the party.  Candidates like Bob Schaffer are straining to remake their image but that is all it is image and in his case a false one.  His statements over the past twenty years when he entered the state senate and later the U.S. House of Representatives clearly establishes he is one of the religious fundamentalists attempting to impose theology on the American people.  I have quoted him before on this blog but I will do so one more time.  On his campaign website in 2000, on the page entitled “Where We Stand,” the last time he ran for the U.S. House he said:  “Republicans defend religious freedom.  Democrats incinerate religious zealots and their children.”  That kind of statement is not just wrong, its just plain nuts.  I’m not going to help put someone in the United States Senate who thinks like that.

                    Dick Wadhams is doing everything he can to recruit more moderate candidates (e.g. Arapahoe County Commissioner for HD 38 next year instead of Dr. Dunn again),but he is walking on a tight rope over an abyss.  Since the religious fundamentalists control the Republican Party, in the end they will, as they do every two years, insist that each candidate pass their litmus test based on “God, guns, gays and abortion.”  If a primary candidate deviates one iota from the pre-determined fundamentalist position, that candidate probably won’t even make it out of the caucuses let alone the convention.  Once the religious right figures out what Dick Wadhams is doing, they will mobilize against him and the candidates he is promoting.

                    There has been at least one post in this thread which holds out the hope that moderate Republicans will mobilize and retake the Party organization.  At the moment, that is very unlikely since they don’t possess an organization to do it. 

                    Frankly, its time for moderate Republicans like myself to support the Democratic Party.  At the moment, the Democrats support our existing public institutions (a conservative way of looking at the world) while allowing for reforms while the Republicans are bent on the radical position of destroying many of our institutions, like public schools.  Blaming the teachers union for everything isn’t reform.

                    More importantly, the Democrats actually trust the public and individual citizens while the Republican Party supports every initiative that would take authority away from our elected officials (e.g. TABOR).  TABOR is the greatest example in Colorado of the right wing’s distrust of elected officials and by extension the citizens of Colorado.  In the past, to a degree, the religious right has succeeded in convincing the public that our elected officials are somehow apart from us as citizens and that government is diconnected from individual citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth.  We elect these officials and if we don’t like what they do in office we can elect someone else at the next election for a particular office.  By mistruating the average citizen and removing authority from the people we elect to govern the state and the nation, the Republican Party has made the citizens less responsible for their future since we can’t elect people who have authority to govern.  The Democrats know that the only way to have a responsible electorate and citizenry is to insure that individual citizens have the responsibility and, in turn, those they elect the autority to govern.  At bottom, this is one of the great divides in American politics at the moment.  The Right-Wing Republicans don’t believe citizens can be trusted that responsibility and that politics is an exercise in hamstringing, not only the government, but our citizenry as well.  The Democrats have faith in us and we should in them.


                    1. While not having the degree of extremism in our party, there certainly is a renewed appreciation for the classic Republicanism.  The two parties used to be the loyal opposition and try to find common grounds on many issues. The Republican “take no prisoners” philosophy has destroyed our national agenda.

                      I recall a Johnson administration member telling about Johnson meeting with Everett Dirksen (I think.) They discussed, with great humor, what each wanted and could deliver. Total respect for the office and abilities of one another.

                      Politics at its best, if that isn’t an oxymoron.

            2. hang in there. We need more thoughtfulness and rationality, less intransigence.

              Congrats on prompting some record length responses. That means  you need to read them you know.

                1. 1) What faction in America has most in common, ideologically, with Islamic terrorists?

                  a) Liberal Democrats.
                  b) Fiscal Conservatives.
                  c) Anarchists.
                  d) Socialists.
                  e) Christian Fundamentalists.

                  Now, if you get the right answer, you can go out and play. Otherwise, you have to write “Fascism bad, tolerance good” 1000 times on the black board!

                  1. including from our colonial times until at least late in the 19th century, political discourse involved patient audiences with adequate attention spans listening to well-developed arguments that sometimes took hours of oratory, or many-paged pamphlets, to present. I think that my posts (both as Ockham’s Razor and as Yevrahnevets) have had reasonably high “signal-to-noise ratios,” that is, that they have not been long in words but short on substance, but rather long in words and dense with meaning -messages that could not be clearly and completely conveyed with vastly fewer words. To me, this measure (one having to do with length and efficient use of words) of the value of a piece of writing or oratory is not its brevity, but rather its parsimony.

                    If you can’t say what you have to say in a sound-bite, that does not mean that it’s not worth saying.

                    1. In all of my writing I have always endeavored to use as few words as possible. Both in respect of other’s time and because a well worded sentence is remembered while a 4 hour monologue is not.

                      see: Lincoln’s Gettysburg address (269 words)

                    2. was a wonderful composition. But so was the “Principia” by Newton, “War and Peace” by Tolstoy, and, more generally, many of the books I’ve read, the 1000-pagers being no less in contention than the 100-pagers (in fact, more often than not, I prefer a well-written 1000 page book to a well-written 100 page book, just because, when dealing with either subtle topics of complex plots, both of which appeal to me, 100 pages is rarely sufficient).

                      If quality is to be measured by sparcity of words, then silence is perfection, and no idea or story should ever be communicated.

                      Obviously, there are more variables in play than simply how few words are used. That’s why I referred to parsimony, which is the efficient use of words, no matter how long or short the work.

                      If indeed “in all of (your) writing (you) have always endeavored to use as few words as possible,” then you have failed misserably in a remarkably simple task, because it requires no effort to use no words at all, and yet here we are engaged in a discourse of some sort. If implicit in that boast was the qualifier “…while expressing the point that I set out to express,” then you are really saying the same thing I am (that is, that you strive for parsimony), but somehow constrained by the arbitrary assumption that nothing worth saying, or no story worth telling, requires more than a few words. By naming one excellent short work you prove only that not all things worth saying require many words. By naming other great works of greater length, I prove that not all things worth saying can be said in only a few words.

                      It’s a no-brainer.

                  2.   I, too, probably would agree with most of what Okhram’s Razor has to say, but I simply do not have the time or energy to read it all.  (“Yev” had the same problem.) 
                      Do these guys simply enjoy hearing themselves talk?  Is it absolutely essential to use five words when one or two might be adequate.
                      If anyone gets around to condensing each of Okh’s dissertations into a 25 words or less synopsis, put them in a diary and I’ll read.

                    1. the assumption that by using five words instead of one or two, five were used when one or two would have sufficed, is arbitrary. Sometimes one or two DOESN’T suffice (see above reply to David). If it takes ten words to say something, then ten it is. If it takes 100, or 1000, or 10,000, or 1,000,000,000, than that’s what it takes. Each can choose what to read and what not to read, but if your cut off is “less than five words,” your continuing education will suffer mightily.

                    2. I agree with a lot of what you say and I find what you post to be reasoned so I don’t want to be negative toward you. But I do think many times 2 paragraphs do a better job of getting a point across than 5 paragraphs.

                      And it’s more likely to be read.

                    3. And we can also explore the logical foundations of our respective opinions.

                      The fact that two paragraphs can often do a better job of getting a point across than can five does not mean that two paragraphs can always do a better job of getting a point across than can five. It depends very sensitively on the type of point being gotten across. Many extremely interesting points can’t be gotten across without some development of the components of a larger or subtler idea. Those are the kinds of points which interest me most.

                      Beautifully expressed short works, such as The Gettysburg Address, are works with great rhetorical or artistic qualities, that are poignant and can move an audience. They are not works which peel away the layers of a complex reality to lay its underlying dynamics bare. Those latter types of works require a larger number of words (or mathematical symbols). If this were not the case, we could just go ahead and burn all books other than “Bartlett’s Book of Quotes.”

                      As for likelihood to be read: I read books that are hundreds of pages long (and wrote one), and magazine and newspaper articles that are several pages or paragraphs long (and have written many), and densely written academic articles that are sometimes dozens of pages long. I do that because I am not interested in just batting words back and forth, but rather in gaining a deep and subtle understanding into the nature of the world in which I live, and in helping others to do so as well.

                      The assumption in your statement about what is likely to be read assumes several things: 1) That my first priority is that as many people as possible read what I write, rather than that I write something that I consider most worth reading; 2) That no written work that is not legitimated by some established institutional authority (e.g., a publisher) can possibly be of a quality or value on par with the published books and articles that satisfy the demand of intellectually curious people; and 3) That your belief that “it has to be short to be worth reading” is widely enough held on this blog that it would be an exercise in pure vanity to violate that norm (The positive reaction of numerous bloggers to my posts, especially as “yevrahnevets,” suggests otherwise).

                      You can prefer short posts all you want, and can choose which posts to read and not to read on the basis of your preference. I have no issue with that. But when you try to make claims about the objective truth of the relative merits of longer and shorter posts, claims which are clearly ludicrous in the larger context of all published and unpublished writings, I’m free to point that out. That’s what being free to disagree means.

      1. They have so very many radio shows of his to pull quotes from. And on those shows he went for the most provocative thing to say so they will really hurt him.

        I dislike this part of how politics works – those willing to be open to new ideas and to discuss different approaches get screwed in a campaign. Happened to Howard Dean.

        In the case of Caplis I don’t feel as bad because talk radio goes for the most outrageous statement just to get ratings rather than having a reasoned discourse. But still, the approach cheapens the political discussion.

        Anyways, I think Caplis would be a disaster for the Repubs. The candidate I think would be competitive is Owens.

        But the real problem is that any Repub is going to have a very very hard time winning in ’08. And if the Dems keep doing such a good job governing, an even harder time in ’10 (sorry Dick).

        BS is as good a sacrificial lamb as any candidate so they should just stick with him.

        1. …would be a great choice for the R’s.  His alleged family issues wouldn’t really matter a whole lot, and his support od C & D would pull a few indies his way. 

          The Owens years as governor were, all in all, rather neutral.  Did some bad shit, did some good.  He would be a good R candidate.

          As a liberal Dem, I would really rather see BS run so that we can mop the floor with his career.

          I say the smart bets are on Owens for senator and Romney for prez.  But it will be BS and Guilliani and Pure Ideology will suffer defeat once again. Jeez, as a good wop you would think I would know how to spell his name. How’d I do?

        2. …..because of his support for “C” and “D” while still paying homage at the altar in the Church of TABOR.  Although I think Owens is much graceful in his flip flopping than the clutzy Bob Beauprez.
            In addition, Owens has that “other problem,” too!

          1. BO could get more indies and middle of the roaders than BS.  And the radicals that like BS aren’t going to vote for Udall, so they will hold their nose and go BO (pun intended.)

        1. talk about this on his radio show? I can’t listen to talk radio (like fingernails on a chalkboard to my sensitive ears) but Mr. ModerateGal has mentioned that Caplis says he’ll run for U.S. Senate if BS doesn’t.

  3. That’s an enormous nod to the right from an avowed environmentalist and certainly bucks the Sierra Club party line.  Where’s a similar nod from Shaffer to the left?

        1. I have not hunted since I was 17 (flushed a rabbit and my twin was blasting a shotgun in my direction; more so after I was EMT in 1980, and had to help pick up a hunter outside of Ft. Collins who had lost his head; literally. Texans). But the truth is that we have removed ALL of the major top predictors of elk. As such, we now have overgrazing and CWD (and possible brucilosics and other diseases which impact ranching) as a major issue. If wolves were in the area, they would be taking down all the elk with it. Of course, we do not know what would happen to wolves, but with lifespans of less than 10 years, it should not make an impact.

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