The Virtual Coffeehouse: Political Real Talk
March 28, 2012 2 Comments
Meet Armchair Bureaucrat! Abe and I met in 2007 at college, through a mutual friend, and we quickly became good friends. The foundation of our friendship was one of the old university stereotypes: hours spent at a local coffee shop discussing politics, philosophy, literature, history, and just about everything in between. In the beginning, our only commonality was a love for coffee (for the most part). He was about as conservative as they came, and I, of course, was a liberal feminist.
Unlike other friendships that reached across party lines, we didn’t avoid talking politics. In fact, that was one of our favorite topics–but we always respected one another, and we always listened, really listened, to what the other had to say.
Once we graduated, those discussions ended, and I really missed them. Abe did too. I had a thought–why not publish our discussions for all to see? Abe thought it might be fun to try, so here it is. I had a lot of fun–I hope to do this again.
Brittany-Ann: Thanks for agreeing to chat with me, Abe.
Armchair Bureaucrat: You are welcome, it is my pleasure.
Brittany-Ann: Nervous about your first journey into the blogosphere?
Armchair Bureaucrat: Not really, I am a very outspoken person about many aspects of my life. Being open and honest to the public is not exactly new to me.
Brittany-Ann: Haha, true. I’ve never known you to be shy about expressing your opinion.
Armchair Bureaucrat: The only difference will be my wording, when I talk face-to-face I tend to be more blunt.
Brittany-Ann: Even so, you’ve definitely evolved since our talks at Mugshotz. From what little we have talked about recently, I can tell your views have somewhat changed since then.
Armchair Bureaucrat: I’ve evolved and matured. Age and time do that.
Brittany-Ann: No kidding.
Brittany-Ann: So what do your political views look like now?
Armchair Bureaucrat: I still style myself as a conservative; however, I am no longer the hard-line Party man I used to be. This is especially the case in domestic politics where I have given much ground.
Brittany-Ann: Why’s that?
Armchair Bureaucrat: Well, my domestic policy views were shaped by my own personal experiences. Being raised in a small Kentucky town narrowed my experiences to, mostly, traditional Christian ones. When I moved off to college that was my starting point. Fortunately my father, one of the most conservative men I’ve ever known, always encouraged me to learn the truth for myself so I was more open to change then my peers.
Armchair Bureaucrat: My foreign policy was, on the other hand, based on my long studies of history, economics, social studies, and culture. Since no one has invented a time machine to change history my core views haven’t shifted much, though even in this area I am more willing to compromise.
Brittany-Ann: I can hear it now: liberal indoctrination! lol
Armchair Bureaucrat: Haha, I might have agreed with you when we first met back in ’07. But in reflection I do not think I have ever been 100% in one camp or the other.
Brittany-Ann: It’s kind of funny, if, in our group of friends, we had to guess who would be open to changing our stances, no one would have guessed you.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Again, I matured. Much of that credit actually goes to you and the friends I made through you.
Brittany-Ann: I’m blushing.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Haha, you sarcasm never fails to amuse me, my friend.
Brittany-Ann: I try!
Brittany-Ann: I’m curious though, to know some specifics.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Ask away!
Brittany-Ann: What are a few examples of policy you’ve changed your mind on?
Armchair Bureaucrat: Well one example is my current stance on gay and lesbian rights. While not openly hostile back then, I still supported legislation that attacked some of their basic rights out of ignorance, not intolerance. After I met some active members of the community I learned that my stance had significantly negative impact on their rights and I began to explore other options to protect their rights.
Brittany-Ann: Other options?
Armchair Bureaucrat: Yes, most notably, giving civil unions the exact same legal rights as a marriage.
Armchair Bureaucrat: While I am no longer opposed to gay marriage, I feel that if the couple in question cannot get a religious service to marry them then they should have another option that grants them the same rights as any other citizen.
Brittany-Ann: While there are plenty of churches that are happy to marry gay couples, equality in marriage isn’t about religious marriage, it’s about civil marriage. Like, going to a judge and getting the same certificate that straight couples get.
Armchair Bureaucrat: I’m sorry if I didn’t come out clearly, that is exactly what I meant.
Brittany-Ann: Civil unions aren’t nearly the same as marriage, FYI. Aside from a different name, not nearly as many rights come with civil unions as opposed to marriage.
Armchair Bureaucrat: As I said earlier, I support “giving civil unions the exact same legal rights as a marriage”
Armchair Bureaucrat: Your attention to detail is slipping Beemer!
Brittany-Ann: On the contrary! Words mean things! Marriage is a word that signifies a lifetime commitment, which now, is based out of love. “Civil union” doesn’t have nearly the same connotations.
Armchair Bureaucrat: I know that, that is what I wish to change.
Brittany-Ann: So what’s another example?
Brittany-Ann: Inquiring minds need to know!
Armchair Bureaucrat: Another significant example is my switch from pro-life to pro-choice. Though honestly I cannot point to the cause of my switch… it just kinda happened one day.
Brittany-Ann: I couldn’t say when exactly I switched either. I think it tends to be a gradual thing.
Brittany-Ann: How long ago did you become pro-choice?
Armchair Bureaucrat: I believe I changed around 2009.
Brittany-Ann: Interesting. So a year before the influx of hundreds of anti-choice legislation across the country.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Yes, I had switched before that time.
Brittany-Ann: So what do you think about the Presidential primaries?
Armchair Bureaucrat: I feel like the side I’m on is a disorganized chaotic mess.
Brittany-Ann: The Republican side?
Brittany-Ann: Captain obvious is obvious.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Yes, despite the fact that I am no longer a member of the Republican Party that is the side I generally sympathize with
Armchair Bureaucrat: The Democrats don’t have a strong challenger to oppose President Obama, and the Republicans likely to take the nomination do not have anything new or fresh to offer the people.
Brittany-Ann: Yeah, the incumbent party generally doesn’t run a primary challenger.
Brittany-Ann: Do you agree with general wisdom that Romney is going to win the nomination?
Armchair Bureaucrat: I believe he will, though I personally would like to see it go to someone else. Romney has influence across the broad Republican voter base, so I think he will take it, providing he does not do or say anything that might get him in trouble.
Brittany-Ann: Who would you like to see it go to?
Armchair Bureaucrat: Ron Paul, actually.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Yes, surprised?
Brittany-Ann: A wee bit. I know you were [a Ron Paul guy] back in ’08, but considering your changes in regards to equality and reproductive rights, Paul doesn’t really represent your opinion anymore.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Not-so-much, but I feel the most pressing need is for a balanced budget and government fiscal responsibility. I also don’t feel he would represent a significant threat to equality and reproductive rights.
Brittany-Ann: I disagree–his positions are a big threat to women and the LGBT community.
Brittany-Ann: He can only really call himself a Libertarian for straight men. He’s totally cool with federal government getting all up in my uterus. He did vote for the legislation that banned D&X, you know.
Brittany-Ann: And his Sanctity of Life Act would prevent women from using the judicial system to fight for their reproductive freedom.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Although I do not agree with him on those issues I feel that as president he would not pursue those goals. He would need massive bi-partisan support to overhaul the federal budget, which we would place the most importance on; he wouldn’t have the political capital to spend being tied down in a LGBT and Reproductive Rights battle.
Brittany-Ann: You’re forgetting about Supreme Court nominations, as well as federal court nominations.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Which have to be approved by Congress.
Brittany-Ann: By my count, Ron Paul would have to win 99.9% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination. Considering his run so far, and his runs in the past, I don’t see that happening.
Brittany-Ann: They’re 1099 delegates left, btw.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Neither do I, you asked who I’d like to see take it, not who I thought was going to take it
Brittany-Ann: I did, that.
Brittany-Ann: You called the primary a mess, earlier. I’d say it’s a clusterfuck.
Armchair Bureaucrat: I was censoring myself… I do agree
Brittany-Ann: I’m sure you’ve noticed that profanity is quite prolific on my blog. No need to censor yourself.
Brittany-Ann: Unfortunately, I don’t see anyone dropping out–I think we’re going to see this continuing all the way to the convention.
Armchair Bureaucrat: I agree, a bloody, chaotic mess that will only increase the chances of an incumbent victory
Brittany-Ann: Do you think the party will rally around Romney like they did McCain in 2008?
Armchair Bureaucrat: Yes, the Party Faithful will rally around him. Though he won’t get the middle ground voters, the ones that are between the parties and usually are the determining factor. Unless fear of the economy, or President Obama makes more foreign policy mistakes that make him appear weak or insecure, like the comment made to President Medvedev the other day.
Brittany-Ann: Won’t that take some time, though, especially if this goes all the way to the convention? I mean, most Republicans seemed very “meh” about McCain in 08. They did call him a RINO, but during the general election, McCain’s military service was highlighted a lot–it seemed to help redeem him in the eyes of a lot of conservatives. As for Romney, there’s some “meh” but a whole lot of outright hate and disgust. I’m not seeing anything that might redeem him to conservatives. His only thing is “not Obama.”
Armchair Bureaucrat: The Republican Party almost always rallies around their candidate just before, if not definitely after, the convention. The Dems do too, it’s part of our “Two party” government we have, the mentality is “Damn, if we don’t rally behind ANY one on our side of the fence then we’re gonna lose” so they will pick whoever has the lead at that time.
Brittany-Ann: True enough–plenty of people thought that Hillary supporters wouldn’t support Obama in the general election–though there was a lot of sexism in that narrative.
Armchair Bureaucrat: It’s simply how our system works, I’m a member of a third party but if I want to win, I HAVE to vote for one of the big two. It’s simply how we evolved our politics.
Brittany-Ann: There is something to be said about the narrative of our votes being “meaningless” if we vote third party. However! I have to go to work.
Armchair Bureaucrat: Okay, have fun.
Brittany-Ann: Hahahaha, right. I’ll try. Give Cardinal fans some shit, perhaps?
Brittany-Ann: Talk to you later, Abe!
Armchair Bureaucrat: bye
Postscript: Thanks again to Armchair Bureaucrat for agreeing to allow me to post our discussion! I hope you had as much fun as I did, and I hope we can do this again! I’m sorry to Abe, and to my readers, for the abrupt end, unfortunately we ran out of time!