Pew tries to figure out what we really think. Good for Pew.

Pew Research Center keeps trying to figure out what Americans really think. I’m aware of three different sets of political “typologies” the organization has created in recent years. I appreciate that, although personally I kind of liked the first one. Maybe it’s just that I preferred where the country was politically at that time. Of course, I prefer where the country was at almost any time in our history to the place where we are now.

Anyway, I want to thank Bryan for trying to keep the blog going while I’ve been dealing with a lot of difficult things, particularly the loss of my father. And I want to thank him particularly for this post, because I had not been aware that Pew was at it again.

Bryan’s post was headlined, “Neither of the Two Political Parties Suit You? Here’s Why.” The simple answer I would normally give a question like that is, “No, they don’t, and here’s why: Because I think.” But that’s because, as you know, the two parties have been making me cranky for a long time.

Pew, as always, takes a more thoughtful and patient approach than my gut response.

To help you get engaged with the topic, take the test. See where Pew puts you.

As I said, while Pew may have gone through this process many times, I’m only aware of three times. The first was in 2014, and it tagged me as being in what it called the “Faith and Family Left.” I made a joke about how apparently Pew thought I was a black preacher or something, but I really mostly felt comfortable in that category, which Pew described this way:

The Faith and Family Left combine strong support for activist government with conservative attitudes on many social issues. They are very racially diverse – this is the only typology group that is “majority-minority.” The Faith and Family Left generally favor increased government aid for the poor even if it adds to the deficit and believe that government should do more to solve national problems. Most oppose same-sex marriage and legalizing marijuana and most say religion and family are at the center of their lives.

And yeah, while I suspect no political group in the history of the world is with me on every issue, I was mostly comfortable with that one. I think it described why I felt such kinship with the black Democrats of South Carolina who came out to save the country on Feb. 29, 2020, by launching Joe Biden toward the nomination. The Identity Politics people would look at me and disagree, but as far as I’m concerned, those are my people. They stood up and went for the right man, not giving a damn about the trendy considerations roiling the Democratic Party in other parts of the country. And the rest of the country, thank God, got the message and got on board.

There are a lot of forces tearing our country apart and directly menacing our republic right now. One of them is what I’ve come to think of as the “ones and zeroes” problem. This was actually a serious problem 20 years ago, but it is far, far worse now than it was even then. I mean the increasingly blind members of the two tribes, and particularly the utter insanity that has gripped the Republican Party, followed by the failure of the opposition to coalesce consistently behind the one rational alternative, which Joe Biden represents. (If Democrats could shed the woke crowd and the Bernie Bros and demonstrate that the approach Joe embraces and personifies was the path it embraces without hesitation, I believe Trumpism would melt away as the vast center got behind the rational alternative. But we’re just not that kind of country right now, are we? More’s the pity. At least the Dems did the right thing long enough to get Joe elected.)

Then, in 2017 — when the nation had gone stark, raving mad, and more than ever needed a non-binary way of thinking about politics — Pew tried creating a new system, and utterly failed. It was awful, worse than useless. It put me in a bin full of obnoxious strangers, the “New Era Enterprisers.” The description it provided of that group made it sound like I was Martin Shkreli  or something — you know, the Pharma Bro.

I’d never seen Pew get anything as wrong as that before. But hey, it was 2017 — every thinking person in the country (and much of the world) was traumatized, when it came to politics.

Things are still awful, but they’ve settled down a bit.

And now Pew has a new model, the one to which Bryan called attention.

This one I like, although I’m not sure whether I like it as much as my “Faith and Family” designation. I liked that group. Still, this one has much to recommend it. It’s called “Establishment Liberals.” I like “establishment,” because as a communitarian and a traditionalist, I cherish the institutions that hold our civilization together — and were doing a great job of it until these last few years. But, I must confess, I don’t like it quite as well as “Faith and Family.”

As for the rest, well, I never was comfortable with “Left.” That sounded like they were making me out to be some sort of Bolshie, and I’m anything but. Not my sort at all. I much prefer “liberal,” but that’s because I use the word as a political scientist would, not the way it is so popularly used among the general population today — as a cussword among the GOP base, and as a badge of honor among the folks who see themselves as the sworn enemies of any “conservative.”

I wish Pew would steer clear of both those words — liberal and conservative — because of the way they’ve been corrupted by the in or out, good or bad, “my team or the enemy” crowd, which sees everything in tribal absolutes.

They’re both fine words, or were, originally. I can embrace both and apply them to myself, depending on the issue and the context. “Liberal” meaning generous, open, fair-minded, tolerant, and “conservative” meaning traditional, respecting core institutions and established ways. They’ve both fine things.

So I embrace the new label in that sense — the sense that Bret Stephens is using it when he laments the ways that both ends of the current political spectrum are eroding, even trashing, the liberalism that has made it possible for our country to live up to its finest aspirations. Stephens defines it this way:

By “liberal,” I don’t mean big-state welfarism. I mean the tenets and spirit of liberal democracy. Respect for the outcome of elections, the rule of law, freedom of speech, and the principle (in courts of law and public opinion alike) of innocent until proven guilty. Respect for the free market, bracketed by sensible regulation and cushioned by social support. Deference to personal autonomy but skepticism of identity politics. A commitment to equality of opportunity, not “equity” in outcomes. A well-grounded faith in the benefits of immigration, free trade, new technology, new ideas, experiments in living. Fidelity to the ideals and shared interests of the free world in the face of dictators and demagogues.

All of this used to be the more-or-less common ground of American politics, inhabited by Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes as much as by Barack Obama and the two Clintons. The debates that used to divide the parties — the proper scope of government, the mechanics of trade — amounted to parochial quarrels within a shared liberal faith. That faith steadied America in the face of domestic and global challenges from the far right and far left alike….

So yeah, I embrace liberalism in that academic sense, a sense that respects the meanings of words. I always have.

So “Establishment Liberals” sounds pretty good. Kind of like “Conservative Liberals,” in a way. It sort of cocks a snook at the people using words to try to tear us apart. I like that.

But so far I’ve dealt only with the name. Let’s look deeper. Pew provides a lengthy description, but let me just quote some of the bits I like best:

… Establishment Liberals are some of the strongest supporters of the current president … of any political typology group.

…Establishment Liberals are the typology group most likely to see value in political compromise and tend to be more inclined toward more measured approaches to societal change than their Progressive Left counterparts. Like other Democratic-oriented groups, most Establishment Liberals (73%) say a lot more needs to be done to ensure racial equality. Yet they are the only Democratic-aligned group in which a majority of those who say a lot more needs to be done also say this can be achieved by working within the current system….

Establishment Liberals stand out for their current satisfaction with the direction of the country and optimism about the future. Roughly half (51%) say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country today, compared with 36% of Democratic Mainstays and even smaller shares in other typology groups….

An overwhelming majority of Establishment Liberals approve of Joe Biden’s job performance as president as of mid-September, including six-in-ten who strongly approve….

You see where I’m going with this: Joe’s our boy. Always has been, is now, and probably always will be (because, thank God, I don’t see him changing at this point).

Some of the rest, like the fact that folks in my group are strongly Democratic, doesn’t work for me. For instance, Pew says “On a ‘feeling thermometer’ ranging from 0 to 100, where 100 represents the warmest, most positive feelings, Establishment Liberals give Democrats an average rating of 77.”

Not me. I gave the party a score of 30. Of course, I gave the GOP a zero, so I guess by comparison a 30 is kinda “pro-Democratic,” at this moment. Whatever.

The point is (yep, I’ve again taken 1,500 words to get to the point) that it’s great that Pew keeps trying to find ways of explaining the way people really think about politics in this country. They need to keep doing this, and the rest of us need to join in. Because too many — far, far, too many — of us have been buying into the stupid, insulting idea that there are only two ways to think (using the word “think” extremely loosely), and you’ve got to choose one and hate the other. Up or down. Left or right. On or off. Black or white.

This sickness, this “ones and zeroes” thing, is destroying us. It’s tearing us apart. It’s destroying any chance we have of living together peacefully, with all our differences, and continuing to build a civilization that cultivates and embraces real, thinking human beings.

And Pew’s helping us see that, however imperfect its changing models may be. Bottom line: Good for Pew for trying.


55 thoughts on “Pew tries to figure out what we really think. Good for Pew.

  1. Barry

    I will give it a try.

    I don’t fit into any category though.

    On on unrelated note. I recently had my 1st colonoscopy.

    Did you know, thanks to ObamaCare- that a colonoscopy is fully covered by insurance? That’s a terrific benefit and a real valuable benefit.

    That sort of benefit has moved me in the Pew Poll toward liberals.

    1. Robert Keith Amundson

      Some may be able to use Cologuard. Less invasive; many insurance companies are now paying for the test (you have to make a “shitment”).

      1. Barry

        That’s true and a good point. I’d say to ask your doctor about it if the doc mentions a colonoscopy. If the Cologuard works for the doc, that would be worth a try.

        I suspect in the future you’ll see more tests like this instead of the invasive procedure.

        But I’ll say, even as “crappy” as the prep was, the procedure itself is nothing to be worried about. I’ve had dental cleanings that were more painful.

    2. Doug Ross

      Imagine thinking that a medical procedure is “covered by insurance” as if it is free. Have insurance costs become “affordable” since Obamacare was implemented. Mine have gone up either through increased premiums, higher deductibles, or higher co-pays every year — and always at a rate higher than inflation.

      1. Doug Ross

        From before the election:

        “Joe Biden will give you the choice to purchase a public health insurance option like Medicare. As in Medicare, the Biden public option will reduce costs for patients by negotiating lower prices from hospitals and other health care providers. It also will better coordinate among all of a patient’s doctors to improve the efficacy and quality of their care, and cover primary care without any co-payments. And it will bring relief to small businesses struggling to afford coverage for their employees.”

        Where is that public option, Joe? Like pretty much everything else he promised, he has failed to act on any of them. Oh,. sure, partisan Democrats will blame those nasty Republicans and a couple rogue Democrats… but Joe was the guy who was going to unite everybody. That’s what he claimed his greatest skill was.. he was going to reach across the aisle and get things done.

        HA HA HA… Democrats were just as duped as Republicans were with Trump. Every single time. Buy into the hype and lies and then don’t ever hold the politician responsible. Now we’ve got a zombie for a President and we’ll just stagger along with him until the next election.

        NPR polling released today suggests most Americans agree with me:

        “The president’s approval rating was just 42% in this survey, tied with a late November poll for the lowest Marist had found since Biden took office. What’s more, the intensity of disapproval is high — 38% said they strongly disapprove of Biden. That’s close to the territory former President Donald Trump resided in during his term.”

        He’s a seat filler who was elected as a inner circle party selection, not a leader.

        1. Barry

          The public option doesn’t have support from enough Democrats. Of course no Republican would ever in a million years even think of supporting it under any circumstances- and have said so.

          With COVID, and infrastructure taking up so much time, there is no reason to waste time trying to force something that folks like Joe Manchin has signaled he won’t support.

          Some senators have switched their focus to working on Medicare expansion but again, that’s also real reach with only 50 Democrats.

          It’s like the Republican and Trump repeated promise to get rid of the ACA right at the start of Trump’s term.

          That went down in a flaming failure. No leadership from Conservatives and Trump- obviously.

          Heck, we are still waiting on that replacement plan for the ACA from Republicans. Maybe this is the week they finally roll it out.

          1. Doug Ross

            Yeah, so Democrats and Republicans are both guilty of doing the same thing:
            over promising to their braindead partisan base and underdelivering but blaming someone else for their inability to get anything done.

            It continues to amaze me that grown adults think that when a politician says “I will do X, Y, and Z” that they a) believe them and b) don’t care when they don’t do it. P.T. Barnum was right.

            1. Barry

              I care that Biden didn’t do it. But I understand why he didn’t and realize that he could spend every minute of every day talking about it and rolling it out and it wouldn’t go anywhere.

              So I think the adult thing to do in such a case is move on from it if I’m Biden and for folks like me, it’s perfectly fine to move on from it.

              Only someone intent on self immolation would want someone they support to spend their time on something that they could not accomplish under any circumstance.

        1. Doug Ross

          What exactly is the “benefit”? You could always get a colonoscopy… its just built into the premiums now. Some who doesn’t need a colonoscopy (like those under 40) are paying for your procedure via increased premiums. There’s nothing groundbreaking about that.

          1. William T Bloom

            Wow. Just wow. Doug you miss the point on this massively. It’s not about the cost it’s about the social benefit. Colonoscopies reduce deaths from colon cancer. The ACA increases the number of colonoscopies and thus reduces terrible illness. The public benefits in many ways as a result. This is sooooooooo obvious. Yet you launch into this ridiculous nonsense about young people helping pay. This is a good thing. Period.

            To your bigger point I’m disappointed that Biden hasn’t done more to enhance the ACA with a public option or better Medicare for all. But the votes just aren’t there.

            1. Doug Ross

              Do you have days to support how many more people have had colonoscopies now that insurance rates have been increased to pay for them? Please don’t offer anecdotes about someone who had one. What was the increased cost compared to the number of lives saved?

              1. Barry

                An incremental reduction in expected out-of-pocket expenses for colonoscopies resulting from the implementation of section 4104 of the ACA led to significant increases in screening rates among men, predominantly among those who were socioeconomically disadvantaged. These findings suggest that it may have been premature for previous studies to conclude that policy makers should explore avenues other than cost reduction to improve colonoscopy rates, and that actions taken to further reduce costs may yield additional improvement in screening rates. However, the policy did not appear to change screening behavior among women. Several studies now indicate that women do not respond to changes in the out-of-pocket expense for colorectal cancer screening in the same way that men do. 14,15,17,48 Thus, it may be appropriate to investigate other avenues for promoting screening among women.”

                Mary K. Hamman (mhamman@
       is an assistant
                professor of economics at the
                University of Wisconsin–La

                Kandice A. Kapinos is an
                economist at the RAND
                Corporation in Arlington,

            2. Barry


              My doctor told me before my procedure that he had been doing a lot more colonoscopies in the last several years. He attributed it to some of the campaigns you see on tv and in advertising by a few groups like the American Cancer Society and the fact that the ACA now covers them in full, which has made a big difference.

              He was saying that covering the procedure is much cheaper in the long run from a public health standpoint and for the insurance companies/state aid programs, etc.

              Since I scheduled and had mine, I’ve heard of 2 folks I know that also have their own scheduled.

    3. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’m glad to see that Barry has joined the Pew typology we call, “People Who Have Had Colonoscopies.”

      It’s a very prestigious group that never has to say, “All you kids, get offa my lawn!,” because there are no kids in the group.

      It’s gotten so large, though, that they should probably split it into two. They could do that with a question that asks, “When the doctor starts your colonoscopy and invites you to watch what the probe is seeing on the monitor, do you say:”

      “No way! Are you nuts? Just wake me when it’s over…”


      “All right! Can’t wait! Got any popcorn?”


  2. Robert Keith Amundson

    I stopped at the first question. Yes/No answers on surveys are generally poor design.

  3. Barry

    “Pew says “On a ‘feeling thermometer’ ranging from 0 to 100, where 100 represents the warmest, most positive feelings, Establishment Liberals give Democrats an average rating of 77.””

    A 1 question survey would have worked a bit- and this one is a good one.

    I rated Democrats a 60 and Republicans a 30. I thought I was too high on Republicans as soon as I selected it. Although not a choice, I would have put Democrats at a 54 and Republicans a 19 after thinking about my original answer.

    1. bud

      Barry, why so high for the Republicans? You have the Dems about right. I gave them a 70 on the survey but that may be a bit high. Upon reflection I’d knock it down to 60. But a 30 for the GOP? Perhaps a 20 during the Bush Sr years but today the Republican Party has no redeeming qualities at all.

  4. Mark Stewart

    Another Establishment Liberal here. It’s funny because in Massachusetts I was called a Republican and in SC people seem to think of me as a progressive liberal. I believe in the Constitution, and believe it applies evenly and broadly. That’s not a common view with our toxic politics defining choice as a zero sum game.

    America, and the South in particular, has yet to come to terms with racism and white privilege. It’s moved from the social to the political sphere and that is not a step forward.

    1. Doug Ross

      There has never been a day in American history better than today to be a person of color in the United States. We’ve more than come to terms with historical racism. We’re now at the point where some people use perceived racism as an excuse. Look no further than the Jussie Smollett case.. he was the darling of the liberal woke world (including our current Vice President) until, ooops, turns out Jussie was a complete phony. The amount of outrage he generated has not been matched by any repentance by those who blew a sham into a national issue.

      1. Doug Ross

        Smollett was convicted today of 5 felonies. I hope Kamala Harris apologizes for her role in stoking the phony flames of racism.

          1. Doug Ross

            I didn’t say racism doesn’t exist. I was talking about phony attempts to make it appear worse than it is. Politicians and online trolls looking to incite dumb people are guilty of that.

            But in absolute terms, the occurrence of actual racist activity is lower now than at any point in the country’s history. Our country is more diverse at every level. The opportunities for and successes of people of color are better than ever. I see it in my own mostly black neighborhood — an upper middle class development of 100+ homes – where somehow we all appear to be able to live peacefully and cordially toward each other. That didn’t exist in SC 30 years ago when I moved here.

      2. Mark Stewart

        “We’ve more than come to terms with historical racism.”

        I shouldn’t need to explain to you all the ways this statement is untethered from all reality. Take it as fact that it is.

        1. Barry

          Dec 9, 20201

          Georgia Republicans purge Black Democrats from county election boards

          GRIFFIN, Georgia, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Protesters filled the meeting room of the Spalding County Board of Elections in October, upset that the board had disallowed early voting on Sundays for the Nov. 2 municipal election. A year ago, Sunday voting had been instrumental in boosting turnout of Black voters.

          But this was an entirely different five-member board than had overseen the last election. The Democratic majority of three Black women was gone. So was the Black elections supervisor.

          Now a faction of three white Republicans controlled the board – thanks to a bill passed by the Republican-led Georgia legislature earlier this year. The Spalding board’s new chairman has endorsed former president Donald Trump’s false stolen-election claims on social media.

          The panel in Spalding, a rural patch south of Atlanta, is one of six county boards that Republicans have quietly reorganized

          more at

        2. Doug Ross

          The arbiter of all things related to racial harmony has spoken. No dissent allowed.

          Sorry, Mark. Please peddle your white guilt elsewhere.

  5. bud

    I came out with my own categories a while back. Wish I had saved them. I’ll take another crack at i

    Trumpers (30%) These folks only care about their Messiah, Donald Trump. He can say one thing in a speech then contradict it in the same speech.

    Old school Right (10%) This group loves Trumps policies about the wall, healthcare and tax cuts but really doesn’t care for Trump the man. They will vote for him but would prefer to bring Reagan back from the grave.

    Plutocrats (5%) – They care about enriching the rich. They pa lip service to social issues like gay marriage in order to secure votes. But really they are driven by money and push for trickle down policies above all else.

    Neocons (5%) – Like the Plutocrats they only care about one issue – military power. If they had their way we’d still be in Vietnam. No amount of military spending or overseas involvement is ever enough. This group is indifferent to money matters, healthcare, education or social issues. As long as we build more bombs they are happy. To them Israel is the 51st state.

    Libertarians (5%) – A cynical bunch who thrive on non stop bitterness. They claim to believe in personal freedom until they don’t.

    Old School Democrats (35%) Probably the largest group but also the least powerful. They talk a good game but get bogged down in endlessly to trying to get along.

    Pragmatists (10%) This is the group that gets it. They understand the risks of devoting too many resources to the military. They also see the insanity of ridiculous levels of income inequality. To them healthcare, shelter and nutrition should be rights to all Americans. Climate change and overpopulation are real, and growing threats. Social justice is crucial to achieving the American dream.

    1. Doug Ross

      Isn’t it amazing that whichever group someone self-selects is the one with all the right answers? Your pragmatist is really just a pacifist socialist. Their only “pragmatic” solutions involve higher taxes on successful people and more inefficient government programs that are staffed with bureaucrats and do-nothings.

      Libertarians are the true pragmatists… and there isn’t a failed government program that had anything to do with the libertarian philosophy. The government we have is the bastard child of Democrats and Republicans.

  6. Doug Ross

    I’m Ambivalent Right but there were a number of questions that were slanted too much that would guarantee an outcome.

    The ambivalent part is correct in that I don’t think it really matters which political group is in power. They both are terrible. I just go about my daily business and don’t try to impose my beliefs on others.

    1. Mark Stewart

      Rich stuff, Doug. You rant about stuff you don’t even believe. I find it odd the way you chose to wallow in dispair and impotence.

      How about be an agent for positive change?

      1. Doug Ross

        Because very few people want the changes I know would work. Privatized social security, drastic reduction in military spending, balanced budget amendment, term limits, flat tax, eliminating the department of education, cutting all government funding for arts… you know, things that are logical. Give me just one of those…

        I have no idea what you are talking about ranting about things I don’t believe. Give me one example.

          1. Bart


            I have met Doug and personally, he is one of the most positive individuals I have encountered on a personal level. Outgoing, friendly, positive, and committed. He is also one who is engaged in the local civic activities and supports several causes he won’t boast about. I can say from my perspective that there are many others on this blog who are swimming in a pool of despair, disappointment, and a pious attitude toward anyone who is in opposition to their point of view.

            Doug is outright in what he believes which is refreshing. He doesn’t cloak his opinions and beliefs in a word salad that in the end is usually pointless.

            Maybe you should make the offer to sit down with Doug and have a one-on-one conversation. You might find him to be enlightening and gregarious, not a “Debbie Downer”.

            Based on the history of comments from various individuals posting on this blog, I trust Doug’s ethics more than a few I could mention but won’t. Present company, Brad, and Bryan excluded.

            1. Doug Ross

              Thanks, Bart.

              It’s funny.. just this evening I exchanged emails with a local high school teacher about delivering an after school class to students to teach them analytics and machine learning in the new year. My goal is to get 10 students certified in a software application that should guarantee them an internship next summer. That’s my idea of providing hope.

        1. Doug Ross

          Still waiting on Mark to provide an example of me ranting about stuff I don’t believe in. Just one example, Mark. Shouldn’t be difficult since you are so sure if it.

          1. Mark Stewart

            You continue to offer the false equivalency that Trump is just like other politicians and the current GOP is just a typical political party.

            I believe you know he is a toxic menace to our Republic. And yet you normalize this as just politics. You don’t have to like or even have anything good to say about Biden to understand that there is no equivalence.

            So there you go. Bart mentioned ethical positioning. I don’t see any in your online fatalism. And do wonder why it is so different from your real world experiences. Is this just your place to be outrageous and whiny?

            1. Barry

              The reporting has been clear on Trump. Anyone suggesting that it’s not a big deal, or this was just another episode is lying to themselves.

              It would not be as big a deal if the Republican party, as currently construed, wasn’t sold out to cult worship of Donald Trump. If this was just a normal party that deferred to the leader of the party on most matters, this would be a non issue. But this is not a normal situation.

              I mean we just had the ex President in Florida and Texas this past weekend and people paying hundreds of dollars to listen to him tell Bill Oreilly how the election was stolen from him and how much he liked Putin, Xi, and Kim Jong-Un. Yes, really.

              So let’s lay it out:

              As it relates to the Eastman memo, Trump pressured VP Pence to throw unilaterally throw out electoral votes.

              From Costa and Woodward’s book and subsequent reporting

              Trump was already in Florida for the holidays and was gearing up for his big New Years Eve party. Apparently, this party is a big deal in Trump world and Trump hosts the part and almost never misses it.

              Steve Bannon and a few others reach out to Trump saying they think there is a way he can stay President and they are hatching a plan. Trump, surprises many of his own close friends and advisors by leaving Florida and flying back to Washington DC and misses his his own party in Florida.

              (Exactly the extend of what Trump was told and what the plan involved is not known at this time. That’s why Steve Bannon testimony and some other testimony from folks like acting AG Clark is wanted. If the plan was to help promote the insurrection, well, that will be a bigger problem for Trump and friends).

              Eastman (The far right legal advisor and university professor drafts his memo in late December 2020 that creates a game-plan for Trump to stay in office. (Eastman is a speaker at the Jan 6th rally and consistently urges Pence and others to do anything they can to keep Trump in office).

              Trump’s white house team gives Eastman’s memo to Senator Mike Lee (and others) on January 2, 2021. (Lee reportedly tells a number of folks that this effort is crazy and is doomed to fail and he won’t go along with it- but Lee refuses to say that publicly).

              By January 3rd, Pence meets with the Senate Parliamentarian and it’s clear he’s not going along with what Trump wants him to do.

              (At some point, Pence also contacts Dan Quale who tells him in a short conversation that he can’t do any of this stuff Trump wants him to do).

              On January 4th, Pence is in Georgia for a rally, but once he flies back, Trump calls him to the Oval office. He tells Trump and Eastman that he’s sought guidance from people he trusts and they have told him he can’t do what Eastman and Trump want him to do – throw out electoral votes that aren’t for Trump.

              Eastman and Trump continue to apply pressure to Pence and his legal aides anyway.

              Lindsey Graham was at the White House on January 4th and the memo supporting Trump was given to him.

              Mark Meadows is also working with Trump this entire time and Meadows meets with Graham and Giuliani on how to push Trump’s bogus claims on January 4th.

              Also on January 4th, the PowerPoint on how to keep Trump in office was presented to a number of REpublican senators and House members. The PowerPoint was in the possession of Mark Meadows. The PowerPoint echoed Eastman’s legal memo. (Eastman has went from saying there was no such memo, to saying it was just a legal theory he created to get feedback, to now we know he presented it to Trump and it was circulated to GOP House and Senate members and the PowerPoint Meadows was showing was created from the memo).

              On January 5th, Rudy G and Steve Bannon, Eastman and others set up at The Willard hotel next to the White House. On this day, Trump meets with Pence alone and ramps up the pressure on him.

              Don’t forget the legal memo Jenna Ellis, an inexperience legal advisor to Trump, also generated. (Jenna created a memo and sent it to Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow for review. The memo floated the idea that the Electoral Count Act was unconstitutional and Pence could ignore any suggestions that said his role was ceremonial. It argued that Pence could disrupt Congress’ certification of the election. It also argued Pence could refuse to open envelopes from states that he personally thought might be fraudulent. (For his part, Jay Sekulow who had sort of got tired of Trump by this point disagreed with these ludicrous legal memos and told everyone Pence couldn’t do any of these sort of things). But Trump wasn’t even listening to Sekulow anymore.

              But as Robert Costa reports- by January 5th in the Oval Office, Trump doesn’t care about legal memos anymore.

              and the conversation , as reported on January 5th between Trump and Pence is:

              “If these people say you had the power, wouldn’t you want to?” – Trump

              “I wouldn’t want any one person to have that authority,” Pence responds.

              “But wouldn’t it almost be cool to have that power?” Trump asks

              “No,” Pence stated.

              Now, an interesting question was posed on the Smerconish radio show this morning by a guest.

              What if the folks that were trying to break into offices, like the lady that was shot and killed by a police offer inside the building, had been able to get to a sitting member of Congress or the Vice President. They were pretty close to doing that.

              Would they have tried to hurt them? Would they have restrained them? We know some of the folks there had plastic handcuffs with them. We know some where shouting they wanted to hang the VP. We know some had tools with them that would have allowed them to seriously hurt someone or break into locked offices.

              Thankfully, we don’t have an answer to that question because the small number of folks that seemed intent on chasing down legislators were prevented from doing so.

              But what if it happens again.

              What if another President spends all his/her time lying about the election being stolen and promotes so much anger with their own base that some small group out there risks much more?

              1. Doug Ross

                See, Barry, you’re a part of the problem. The plastic handcuffs you reference were left on a table by the Capitol police. The gallows that liberal idiots talk about was a prop that wasn’t even 6 feet high, didn’t have a trapdoor, and had a “noose” that was wrapped around a soda can.

                Facts matter. You’re brainwashed.

                1. Barry

                  I know you want to whitewash things and change the subject. However, it’s not necessary to make up stuff in your response- especially things I never said. That’s not helpful.

                  Calling me an “idiot” also isn’t helpful. It’s sort of funny, but unhelpful.

                  Facts do matter. Here are some for you…….

                  I’m not sure what the cuffs being left on a table by police has to do with what I wrote above when I asked the question that was discussed on the Sirius radio show this morning: I wrote above,..

                  “Would they try to restrain them (elected officials)?”

                  Eric Munchel, who picked up the plastic cuffs, is seen on video saying “I need these”

                  From the court documents:

                  “At one point, Munchel spots plastic handcuffs on a table inside a hallway in the Capitol,” lawyers wrote in the memo. “Munchel exclaims, ‘Zipties. I need to get me some of them [expletive],’ and grabs several white plastic handcuffs

                  But then we have another person with them…

                  FORT WORTH, Texas — A retired Air Force officer who was part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week carried plastic zip-tie handcuffs because he intended “to take hostages,” a prosecutor said in a Texas court on Thursday.

                  Brock claimed to pick up the handcuffs off the floor and wanted to give them to a police officer. But video shows he had plenty of opportunity to drop the cuffs or hand them to officers and chose not to do so.

                  “He meant to take hostages. He meant to kidnap, restrain, perhaps try, perhaps execute members of the U.S. government,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer said of retired Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr.

                  Brock was captured on video and his ex-wife turned him in to the FBI.

                  Of course, you don’t actually need cuffs to restrain someone either. You could use a variety of things. That didn’t happen. But I never said it did. I repeated the question from the radio show- the scenario- what would have happened if just 1 had succeeded.

                  Now to the gallows and noose you referenced in your post:

                  I didn’t say anything about a noose or gallows. You did. I didn’t. So I am not sure why you responded so angrily to something I never posted about.

                  I said “We know some were shouting they wanted to hang the VP.”

                  Well, we know that because it’s on audio and video.

                  So above, I simply posed the question that was posed on the Sirius radio show – “What would have happened had just one of them been able to restrain, injure, or worse” an elected representative?”


                  Video and audio –


                  Of additional interest was Jon Karl’s interview with Trump where he asked him about it.

                  When Karl asks about the “Hang Mike Pence” chants specifically, Trump defended the rioters — and once again repeated his false claims about voting in the 2020 election.

                  “Well, the people were very angry,” Trump says in the audio excerpt

            2. Doug Ross

              Wrong. I believe everything I wrote. Trump isn’t close to as bad as those who spent 4 years obsessed with him think. The country survived Trump just fine despite the attempts of the liberal media to inflame people. I need look no further than the current attempts to try and make January 6b into something more than it was – a small group of lunatics who delayed a vote for couple hours.

              If you think Trump told people to drink bleach, you’ve been duped. If you think we were on the brink of revolution on January 6, you’re a fool.

              1. Barry

                nah, you are just wrong.

                I think we all understand you have a soft spot for Trump. You aren’t the only one. Lots of folks love the guys that want to stay in power no matter what and are willing to do almost anything to do it.

              2. Barry

                “I need look no further than the current attempts to try and make January 6b into something more than it was – a small group of lunatics who delayed a vote for couple hours.”

                For someone who swears he doesn’t watch Fox News or listen to right wing radio, I will give you much credit. You have their talking points down word for word.

                A real Christmas miracle….

              3. Mark Stewart

                Actually, Doug, anyone who does not believe January 6th was an attempted coup fervently desired by Trump is a fool.

                It happened because normal Republicans just stood by while the fringe was unleashed. It is a lesson in civic engagement and responsibility that we would all – as Americans – do well to heed for ever more.

  7. Brad Warthen Post author

    Bob Amundson complained above about the binary questions.

    Well, I agree. The questions make me very uncomfortable, because at first glance it seems almost like Pew is doing what the “ones and zeroes” people do: Trying to force us into one or the other absolutist camp. But they’re not doing that. I think they just want you the answer that is LESS objectionable to you than the other, and that provides gradations of viewpoint when you do it across a number of areas.

    But that doesn’t keep the questions from making me uncomfortable. On this quiz, I particularly disliked this question:

    I mean, come on.

    The first option is innocent enough on its face, but easily leads to a kind of mindless secularism, even hostility to religion. How often do we see self-described “liberals” get huffy when someone mentions God in public? Too often. We need to stick to the Constitution, which guarantees the free exercise of religion, and bans the official establishment of any one sect over others. It doesn’t ban us from talking in the public sphere about issues that religion also concerns itself with. If there were such a “wall,” as secularists would have it, we couldn’t enact laws against murder or robbery or perjury, because religions also ban such things. And we can’t go “imposing our religious beliefs on others,” can we?

    But of course, the second option is worse. Again, not on its face: As I say above, there’s nothing wrong with laws supporting values that this or that religion also promotes. I haven’t done a study of it, but I can tell anecdotally that quite a few laws do that. The problem is that it is far, far too easy for that answer to be interpreted as supporting ONE religion’s values and beliefs, and that takes us in the direction of — even if doesn’t quite get there in terms of the state collecting tithes — establishment of a religion.

    Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Interestingly, that made him more of a First Amendment guy than almost anyone in that day, because Caesar didn’t didn’t reciprocate, holding religious authority as well as secular.

    There is nothing wrong with a private citizen praying for guidance before voting, or an elected representative doing so before engaging in debate on the floor. They should do such things. If they’re not acting in accord with their deepest principles (and religion is where we explore those principles most profoundly) then they are empty, shallow vessels, of no use to God or man. Oh, and atheists should do the same — reflecting on their most strongly held discernments as they act as citizens. People should dig deep when making important political decisions. Too few do.

    But we shouldn’t confuse Caesar and God. So I chose the first answer as the lesser of two weevils, even though it made me uncomfortable, as a Faith and Family type, based on experience with the way many interpret that idea…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      So consequently, I fear Pew thinks I’m a bit more conventionally “liberal” than I am, in the way that term is commonly misused. It says member of “my” group are the ones “Holding liberal positions on nearly all issues.”

      This is one thing that makes me miss the “Faith and Family Left” label. It acknowledged something that we too seldom see acknowledged, but which accurately describes liberals such as those in SC who put Biden on track to victory in 2020: people who vote Democratic (when there is a suitable Democrat on the ballot), but who hold strongly traditional religious values, and are happy to embrace a candidate who dutifully and sincerely goes to Mass every Sunday (if only some of our bishops showed as much respect for such considerations — or maybe they do, since they ended up backing down recently).

      Oh, and if you don’t think a lot of liberal secularists get uncomfortable around, and even push away, liberals who talk about their faith, that may be because you didn’t field the complaints from people who didn’t like it when Warren Bolton mentioned God in his columns at The State. Warren wrote honestly from the perspective of what he is — a committed Christian and ordained minister. Some “liberals” seemed to think he should keep such things concealed, as though they were dirty secrets.

      And this does harm — tremendous harm. For instance, it allows an amoral sleazebag like Donald Trump to con people who at least think they are Christians into voting for him. They see folks on the left trying to keep religion in a closet, while Trump calls out the bully boys to sweep peaceful protesters aside so he can pose for pictures waving a Bible in front of a church. And yeah, millions and millions of voters fall for that stuff. Liberals shouldn’t give the Trumps of the world an opening like that…

    2. bud

      The first option is innocent enough on its face, but easily leads to a kind of mindless secularism, even hostility to religion.
      Come on Brad, that’s ridiculous. The hostility in this country is aimed at secularism, not religion. To think that at one time it was acceptable to have teacher led prayer in school and religious displays on state property. And don’t even get me started on the damn blue laws. This was the easiest question in the survey. Religion has absolutely no business in public policy. In God we Trust should not be on our money. There should be no prayers to open a session of congress.

  8. John

    Free colonoscopy? Have them find a single polyp on that free one then see how “free” that second one is. Nope, insurance won’t/didn’t cover mine. $3k.

    1. Barry

      Screening colonoscopies are covered thanks to the ACA (Obamacare)

      Diagnostic colonoscopies would be subject to your typical health insurance coverage plan, etc.. 80/20, 90/10, etc. plus copays and deductibles.

      But that’s typical.

      If your health plan provides for a routine checkup each year – that is you don’t owe the typical copay, etc.. – if they find something in that screening and you need further treatment or screenings, that work would also not be covered without copays. Your usual deductibles and copays would apply there too.

      The great thing about the screening colonoscopies being covered is that it’s such an important test, many people (especially men) look for any excuse not to have it done, and now the cost of one isn’t a valid excuse.

      Since this was my 1st one, I have learned that a lot of people still don’t know they are covered.

      1. Doug Ross

        “False positives and false negatives do occur. In a clinical study, 13% of patients without colorectal cancer or advanced adenomas received a positive result (false positive) and 8% of patients with cancer received a negative result (false negative).”

        The cost of false positives and false negatives can be very expensive. 1/5 doesn’t seem so great.

        1. Doug Ross

          Average rate of polyp detection in colonoscopies is 25%. Average rate of a polyp becoming cancerous is between 5-10%. So between 1.25 and 2.5% of people who have colonoscopies are actually at risk. And then those that do have colon cancer, if it is localized and not metastatic, survival rate is 91%. today and with advancements in medicine, those odds get better every day.

          1. Barry

            My doctor’s ADR score is 51, much higher than average.

            The sad part is people skip the screening when its such curable cancer when caught early.

            My coworker’s dad passed away from colon cancer. So he gets screened a bit more frequently.

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