Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's your Party and you'll cry if you want to

Via The Anchoress, I read Peggy Noonan's column from today's Wall Street Journal. Noonan thinks Bush's State of the Union speech was okay, but mainly a rehash of past positions. If you agree with Bush, you agreed with the speech; if not, you didn't. That's probably about right.

Noonan went on to observe:

It was the first State of the Union Mr. Bush has given in which Congress seemed utterly pre-9/11 in terms of battle lines drawn. Exactly half the chamber repeatedly leapt to its feet to applaud this banality or that. The other half remained resolutely glued to its widely cushioned seats. It seemed a metaphor for the Democratic Party: We don't know where to stand or what to stand for, and in fact we're not good at standing for anything anyway, but at least we know we can't stand Republicans...

The venom is bubbling on websites like Kos, where Tuesday afternoon, after the Alito vote, various leftists wrote in such comments as "F--- our democratic leaders," "Vichy Democrats" and "F--- Mary Landrieu, I hope she drowns." The old union lunch-pail Democrats are dead, the intellects of the Kennedy and Johnson era retired or gone, and this--I hope she drowns--seems, increasingly, to be the authentic voice of the Democratic base.


I, too, have noticed an increase in anger lately on the Democratic/liberal and/or leftist side, at least on the blogs. It includes an influx of commenters here. My once-proud party seems to be sinking ever faster into a sort of quicksand of peevishness and rage, like Rumpelstiltskin stomping himself into the ground.

My perception of so many Democrats in Congress as inane, negative, and immature crystallized when I saw their reaction to Bush's mention of the failure to pass his Social Security proposals: they stood and cheered. Whether or not Bush's call for bipartisan action was sincere, the Democrats certainly made themselves look bad in contrast.

The Anchoress received a letter on the subject from one of her readers who is a teacher:

My kids thought it was hysterical when the Demos stood up and applauded themselves for preventing any change to Social Security. They said they were like Wyle E. Coyote, blowing themselves up. Also, when they chose to sit rather than stand when Bush defended the NSA program by saying we won’t sit around waiting to be hit again. The Demos made a bad impression on kids who will be voting in ‘08 and even, some of them, in ‘06.

Teacher-blogger Betsy Newmark also pointed out that young people in her high school AP class didn't see this as the Democrats' shining hour. She adds:

Many of my students have no intention of voting Republican, but they're not seeing anything from the Democrats to make them enthusiastic. And these are kids who want to vote and are excited about turning old enough to do so. In that, they're probably anomalous among young people today. If there is no longer the hatred of Bush to drive young people to the polls, the Democrats might want to think about creating a positive reason for people to want to vote for them, rather than simply voting against Republicans.

It's not just kids. I, too, would be willing to vote for the right Democratic candidate. But at this point the party itself has reached the lowest and most extreme point that I can remember in my lifetime. The Republicans aren't looking so hot at the moment either (i.e. Abramoff), so this could be the moment for a Democratic renaissance. I wish the Democrats could find their center again (literally), for the sake of the two-party system in which I believe, if for nothing else. But on Tuesday night I saw absolutely no sign of it.

All Democrats who care about their party should please take note: it may feel good to "vent," but it doesn't bode well for the future of the party. The whole world may or may not be watching, but the kids--the future voters--are.

58 Comments:

At 12:05 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

I just can't help it; every time I watch or read the petulance and negativity as a once noble party shreds itself; one persistent image keeps popping into my head.

Remember when the Buddhist monks in Vietnam would walk into an intersection, pour gasoline over themselves and have someone throw a match on them? Self immolation is not a pretty sight. And, so ultimately pointless.

 
At 12:37 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

I don't think the Democrats have reached bottom. When they reach bottom - which still looks a long way off to me - they will be positioned to come back quickly. This is b/c Repubs evince way too much infatuation with holding power, as opposed to achieving substantial goals.

There's no guarantee the Dems will come back at all. Worldwide, many powerful political parties have disappeared completely. But the Dems will be positioned to come back with a vengeance, if they are up to the task.

What's amazing to me is the Dems continual and humongous denial. It seems the easiest thing in the world to see that the Dems' ship is taking on water at an alarming rate - James Carville sees it. Yet the Dems steam steadfastly forward, seemingly oblivious, even as their profile gets lower and lower and lower against the water. A once great party. I barely respect anything the party stands for, yet its tragic, really, that they are so oblivious, and going down so fast.

 
At 12:40 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous M.Vitruvius@gmail.com said...

What's worse is that when I try to point this out to my Democrat friends, they seem to assume that I'm automatically a rightie, baiting or mocking them.

I wish they would understand that I genuinely want a strong, robust Democrat party, even if I agree with them on nothing but defense. I want a strong Democrat party because no single party will govern effectively, indefinitely.

--Marcus Vitruvius

 
At 1:07 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Tom Freeman said...

It is just astonishing to me. I was a Democrat for all of my life until I voted for Bush in 2004 and re-registered as a Republican in 2005. And yet there is not a single Democrat on the national scene that I can imagine voting for today, other than Joe Lieberman (who will never again be on a national ticket) or Zell Miller (who is retired). Their instincts are so out of touch with reality, and reflect such an intense tone-deafness. But they just don't get it.

 
At 1:17 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous scrapiron said...

The children learned a lot by watching the judicial hearings and the SOTU speach. They learned that half of the population has no respect for themselves or anyone else so why should they.
They will also learn in the future that the dim-wits that were cheering the failure to fix the SS system was a show of stupidity. This will become clear when they apply for the benefits they paid into and find there is nothing there. I just hope to be around when the system fails (and it will fail sooner than later) so I can watch the dim-wits lynched by the millions. I may even buy some rope.

 
At 1:39 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son will be voting for the first time this November.

He was deeply affected by Clinton's behavior when he was much younger, it disappointed him greatly that the President that had sent him an award (sorry I can't remember the title of it) for his performance in the 4th grade, went on to degrade himself and the office of the Presidency.

I think I've taught him to vote on the merits of the candidate (I explained why I was voting for my Dem congressman over the Rep challenger because of their positions, even though I prefer the philosophy of the Reps), but I suspect he'll be very hesitant to vote for a Dem for President because of his memory and disappointment in Clinton.

He noted too, recently, that it seems the Dems are very shrill and wondered if they've always been that way? I told him that there is always push and shove between the parties, but no, it wasn't always this way. They, the Dems, cannot count on his vote, they could earn it back, but I don't think they care to.

 
At 1:43 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous notherbob2 said...

Here's Tom Freeman (above) coming in from having voted Democratic all his life and here am I, having voted Republican all of mine. I too would vote for Lieberman, yet neither of us will be offered that chance. Hopefully, we will be offered a McCain? Or, perhaps someone, like a recovered alcohilic, like Hillary, who convinces us that she is born again? One ...crap. What is that word for when one gives up all hope? Dispairs!

 
At 2:37 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

Abramoff may take its toll among Republicans, but I dont know if the Dems will be able to make much headway with this at the rate they're going.

In individual House and Senate races a democrat challenger may pose himself as the more "sane" candidate, ("Vote for me, I take my meds"), especially in light-blue or light red states, but who can they front for the top spot?

Id hate to be a Democrat candidate in '08. Like Hillary, you'd have to have multiple personalities just to cover every possible constituent and almost every possible policy position and hope one group hasnt caught wind of what you've told the other. (tough to do today)

To win a Democrat nomination, you got to strike the right balance between Dean/Lieberman. Then you got to convince fence sitters and disgruntled Republicans you're the "New Democrat".

I dont know if thats possible.

OK guys, who are the Republicans running?

 
At 7:18 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

The fact that Abramoff and his amorality fairly defines the GOP is lost on you folks. You cluck cluck about the sorry Democrats while, let's see, how many Republicans have been indicted, convicted or plead guilty to felonies lately? And this is the tip of the iceberg. Abusing the public trust, buying votes, bribery, jammimg phonelines, keeping votes open on the floor of congress for hours in direct violation of house rules, failure to exert ANY oversight, the blatant refusal to examine any ethical breech seriously, repeated smears, lies and stonewalling. No bid contracts to Halliburton, failure to adequately plan a war, secure the peace or protect our troops. Dismissing critics like Shinseky because they refused to swallow the plot line that too few troops in Iraq was all we needed. And I haven't even mentioned going to war based on the lies of Curveball and Chalabi (you know, the guy who got less than 1% of the vote in Iraq), MIchael Brown at FEMA, historic budget deficits and run-away pork barrell spending, which has reached levels never before seen in this country, all occurring under a "conservative" GOP administration and congress. Yeah guys, the Democrats sure are pathetic...

 
At 8:10 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Neo wrote:
“I, too, have noticed an increase in anger lately on the Democratic/liberal and/or leftist side, at least on the blogs. It includes an influx of commenters here. My once-proud party seems to be sinking ever faster into a sort of quicksand of peevishness and rage, like Rumplestiltskin stomping himself into the ground.”


You don’t have to take my word for it; you can see by the responses to my posts here. The anger is not only on the Democratic/liberal and/or leftist side of the blogisphere.
I visit and post on several conservative blogs daily. I see plenty of vitriol, on all sides.

I’m new to blogging; I’ve only been at it for about three weeks. In that short time I have been attacked personally, called several names, been given several defective labels and engaged in too many feckless debates about my character and personality – this is because I disagree with some, not all, of your positions.
It's rare that I attack anyone’s character without being provoked, I genuinely try to open dialog, have a discussion. Believe me, I’m not foolish enough to think that I can change anyone’s mind herre but it seems that many neocons and ultra conservatives do not want to open dialog about their beliefs. Perhaps this is true of many liberals too, but I haven’t seen this in my life. I happen to work at a institution of higher learning – I find that most people that I speak to about politics are open minded (right or left). Maybe there is an advantage to speaking to another human being in person. You’re less likely to be spiteful when you are mono e mono.

Here is an example of a conservative blogger who doesn’t want opposition. This is an unsolicited email that was sent to my personal inbox. The sender is a fan of this blog.

Sender: Everett Parker everett.parker@gmail.com
“You might want to stop spreading your turdlets at the above blog. You are not going to change any minds and you won't drive any readers off. So, I find it difficult to understand why you even comment. You might want to engage on something other than the levels of polemics, however. I've read your blog and frankly am not impressed by your ability to construct a reasoned argument without logical fallacies. This is a shadow war and not an exercise for the cops, BTW.

If you were in a class that I taught I would suggest some remediation in logic and writing. If you were in a military unit I commanded I would schedule you for counseling in the principles of unit cohesion. You would also get some extra PT and combatives to see if they might be able to instill some pride into you along with military bearing and deportment.

Progressives are way past their sell date and are devolving into the usual fetid, fever swamp. In about five years your little parade will have been swept up and put in land fill.

Don't go away mad. Just go away.”

Park – END---

I am not think skinned, or sensitive or afraid of a fight for that matter. I responded to this moronic dolt in kind.
My point is this - the animosity is not exclusive to one side. It’s a shame really. I thought that we as a people could do better than that.

 
At 8:47 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Nikolaides said...

Aqualung, did you fail to read Neo's post, or just fail to understand it? Your comment is a picture-perfect example of the fatal political error Neo just finished describing. Instead of the comment you posted, you might as well have typed the grade-schoolers' chant, "I know you are, but what am I? I know you are, but what am I?" It would have been just about as effective.

Look, I was a lifelong Democrat myself until just a few years ago. Go ahead and criticize Republicans all you want-- there's plenty to criticize. But don't imagine, the way the Democratic leadership seems to, that criticism alone will bring voters back to the Democratic party. What's needed to do that is some kind of coherent, positive idea for the future -- the kind of idea that somehow, unaccountably, got left out of your comment.

Review your comment, Aqualung, and you'll notice that not one word in it says anything good about Democrats or advances any kind of reasonable alternative to Republican ideas for the future. Now think for a few minutes about just how it might have happened that in recent years your party has hemorrhaged voters while developing a reputation as a bunch of bilious naysayers with no plans or ideas of your own. How could it have happened, I wonder? Hint: this time, it's not the Republicans' fault.

 
At 8:47 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty likely the Libertarian Party will pick up the ball the Democrats dropped and run with it.

Who would ever have imagined the Libertarians being more sensible than the Democrats? I could never have predicted it, even just five years ago.

I'd almost think people like Aqualung and Van were Republican moles, planted in the Democrats to give real Dems like Lieberman a bad name.

 
At 9:11 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger camojack said...

I can visualize aqualung:
"Sitting on a park bench, eyeing little girls with bad intent."
(Well chosen handle, I daresay)

I agree with "Anonymous" of the 8:47 AM posting, regarding the Libertarians...we do need some kind of viable two party system of checks & balances.

 
At 9:16 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous dancing bear said...

aqualung is unwittingly displaying more of the same behavior. Long lists of criticism and sniping, without anything of substance to offer.

The democrats took a turn down this path when they decided that it was easier to argue that their opponents were just "bad people" rather than argue that their ideas were better. And once you take that position, you're forced to oppose everything that "bad people" do, even to the point of opposing reasonable policies.

It has becomne a death spiral. With nothing to say but "they are bad," a party loses the ability to articulate viable alternative positions. And it leads inevitably to an image of churlishness and name calling.

 
At 9:24 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

The Democratic Party needs an injection of fresh, new blood. Kennedy and Kerry have become tiresome. We need an relatively unknown populist to rise the ranks and refocus the debate on issues within America. Can anyone here defend cuts in Medicare, student loans, child support enforcement coupled with continued tax cuts for corporations? During a war? No one is sacrifcing, except the troops and their families, no one is being asked to ration anything, no one is proposing a gasoline tax. So, when it comes down to it what party sees the problems we face internally? I think we know the answer.

 
At 9:44 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democrat Party lost its way back when it used the fabricated cause of abortion as it's primary platform. And, because abortion is basically the only issue the Democratic Party stands for, it is a party of people who support legalized murder, human ownership, ignoring the rights of the defenseless, as well as, relying upon the manipulation of information as a means to maintaining political power.

 
At 9:46 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

1. I don't know what the Democrats stand for, if anything.
2. I do know that the Republican-led Congress is cutting education and health care for those who need it more than most. (All over the papers yesterday.)
3. I can understand supporting Republicans on strong defense, but this latest "sticking it to the poor" is just mean-spirited.
In the SOTU W said: "Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility." How? By brutally slashing Medicaid?

Gore Vidal may have been right: one party, two heads.

 
At 10:15 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Shan said...

At some point, Republicans are going to have to stop worrying about the Democrats. The Republican party is unrecognizable from any of its core ideals anymore: they are for more spending in governement, less privacy (imagine what Safire would say about warrantless NSA spying), they've embraced the religious fundamentalists who Goldwater despised, they are for open borders...

Republicans are nearing a tipping point. When Grover Norquist berates the Party's leadership on the domestic front, and Hitchens sues the government over an aspect of its foreign policy, the Party's lost the plot. What, other than a reliance on nineeleven, do Republicans stand for?

Worrying about the Democrats is fine and well, but the message for Republicans should be "Physician, heal thyself."

 
At 10:20 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Huan said...

The democratic party will split into a far left faction and the more moderate faction. Chances for a viable competing party to oppose the republicans will depends on whether the mod dems can recruit mod reps. sure some say a mod party cannot compete. but the nation is shifting rightward and the center will no longer be between dem and rep but between mod dem+rep vs cons rep.

the dems need regime change.

 
At 10:21 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger chuck said...

1. I don't know what the Democrats stand for, if anything.

I think they stand for the comforting opinion that non-Democrats are

1. dumb,
2. evil,
3. religious fanatics,
4. corporate flunkies.

 
At 10:26 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

Van:
"I’m new to blogging; I’ve only been at it for about three weeks. In that short time I have been attacked personally, called several names, been given several defective labels and engaged in too many feckless debates about my character and personality."

Yes Van, and Im one of them who have.

What set me off particularly, was the fact that you claimed to be in the military and yet, chose to use the depleted Uranium talking point about the Iraq war as a club to bash the Bush administration with. I would have expected that from an Aqualung, not somebody who you would expect knows better especially if they had been in the Army or Marines.

Aqualung, naturally being ignorant of realities chose the other popular Bush bashing talking point club: "Bush failed to protect our troops" (body /vehicle armor), yet the latest in body armor that the troops have now, did not exists in the numbers they do now and armored Hummv's not at all. But as Rumsfeld has said; "You go to war with the Army you have." to this I would add: "Not the Army liberals say you can have."

Which brings me back to Van's regurgitation of the depleted Uranium club and why he would use that. Is Van's objection to its use in all conflicts or just ones he objects to? If the rounds are effective why would he deny their use in any conflict?

Im really interested in this Van, because you not only claim to have been in the military but have claimed to have commanded a unit as well.

 
At 10:27 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Huan said...

@chuck

there is no ideology when you define yourself by what you are not.
as the dems seem to be doing of late.

 
At 10:35 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Lugnut said...

"cutting education" and "sticking it to the poor"

Another whining example that perfectly illustrates neo neo's point.

It has, of course, been shown time and time and time again that increased spending on education does not necessarily produce superior results. Please do two minutes of Googling on the Kansas City public school system for a prime example of this.

Universities would also do well to eliminate any program that has the word "studies" in it, thereby reining in some of the runaway increase in college tuitions of which states pay a huge percentage of.

 
At 10:38 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

Shan,

You hit it right on the head. The current incarnation of the GOP is so far removed from the original roots I don't see why they haven't been completely abandoned. Bush is basically a liberal when it comes to spending (he's spent more than LBJ) and his conversion to neoconservatism makes him the new Scoop Jackson. When given the choice between more corporate welfare or more money for veterans benefits they choose more corporate welfare. They simply believe that business pays to much in the form of taxes. Is this a party who represents you?

 
At 10:40 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

"they've (Republicans), embraced the religious fundamentalists who Goldwater despised..."

Wow! I hadnt realized I had done that Shan! Thanks for pointing that out to me. I better get out there right now and start passing out Bibles.

 
At 10:57 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Nikolaides said...
“Look, I was a lifelong Democrat myself until just a few years ago. Go ahead and criticize Republicans all you want-- there's plenty to criticize. But don't imagine, the way the Democratic leadership seems to, that criticism alone will bring voters back to the Democratic Party. What's needed to do that is some kind of coherent, positive idea for the future -- the kind of idea that somehow, unaccountably, got left out of your comment.

Review your comment, Aqualung, and you'll notice that not one word in it says anything good about Democrats or advances any kind of reasonable alternative to Republican ideas for the future. Now think for a few minutes about just how it might have happened that in recent years your party has hemorrhaged voters while developing a reputation as a bunch of bilious naysayers with no plans or ideas of your own.”

--It is unfortunate, but I couldn’t agree more Nikolaides. I am confounded at how so many in the Midwest will vote against their own economic interests? I often wonder - Where’s the outrage at corporate criminals and whatever happened to Middle-American progressivism?
It is tempting to think that Middle-America has been fooled by pop conservatism – talk shows, best sellers, am radio, etc.
But that’s not the likely culprit for the trend towards the right.

People are smart enough to know that many right wing political pundants are nothing but loud mouth blowhards.


But who is the culprit? Who is to blame for the failing support for the Democratic Party? I blame the Democrats.
Not because they are out of ideas, but because of the recent drift towards the right.
While it is possible that the oldest functioning Democratic Party in the history of the world is out of ideas, it’s not likely.

I place specific blame on the Democratic Leadership Committee (the DLC). The DLC has moved the Dems right of center, too far.
The DLC pushed NAFTA, GATT and laid the ground work for The WTO and CAFTA. These policies have hurt Middle-America by displacing workers and factories, and depressing entire communities.
So, the Democrats have moved too far to the right. This shift begs the question -
“Why vote for those elitist liberals if their policies are so congruent with the Republicans – hyperbole.

So why vote Democrat? Why vote for a party that does not represent your political or social perspective? Why vote for a party that has little difference from the opposition party? The Republicans, at least in name, are Christians.

I’m not suggesting that Middle-America is drunk on tax cuts, or that they would rather work at Wal-Mart as opposed to Honeywell. I’m not suggesting that Americans are stupid - unfortunately many are suggesting this aspersion.
I am suggesting that the populist revolt against a supposedly liberal establishment has been very effective.
I am suggesting that the Democratic Party must get back to its roots as the party which represents the people, and not just corporate interests.
I’m also suggesting that the divvied misapprehension of purpose that currently discredits the Democrats is coming at a high cost to all of us.
A one party system helps no one. I am reminded of the axiom,
“Progress only comes with opposition”

 
At 11:02 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

lugnut

"When it comes to education, everyone is an expert in his own mind."

And "sticking it to the poor" expresses anger. It's not a whine.

Democrats and Republicans? Liberals and conservatives? On K Street, there's not a nickel's worth of difference. If anyone should teach, sorry, "American Studies," the boys and girls on K Street should.

 
At 11:08 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

So, commander Van, any thoughts on my depleted Uranium question?

 
At 11:13 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Harry –

I really appreciate that you are asking me this – thank you.

No, I am not so narrow that I would suggest that DU is only a problem because I disagree with the war. I am suggesting that DU is going to be a nasty side effect of a war that I see an unnecessary.

Although I joined the reserves during the first Gulf War conflict, I did not have the distinction of serving in combat. I joined before the invasion. I was ready to volunteer after my initial trainging, but my training was completed nine months after the conflict ended, and my National Guard unit was not sending any troups to Kuwait at that time. I missed the boat. So naturally I can’t speak about the stress and horror of combat with any authority.

But I can say this, I would hope that our government would never send our soldiers to a conflict, any conflict unless there was a very strong justification for putting our soldiers in harms way.
You and I obviously disagree about the importance of invading Iraq, and using conventional warfare to fight terrorism - at least on the scale that we are using our military. This is likely not going to change any time soon. But our altercations have little to do with how I feel out our troops.
I also hope that our VA administration is going to be funded enough to care for our wounded soldiers. I read a report recently that suggested that nearly 30% of the homeless are former soldiers suffering from PTSD. I find this astonishing and frankly unacceptable. It appears that the VA, currently underfunded and over utilized, cannot adequately support our current vets. I just pray that we can support future vets.

 
At 11:14 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

My wife's a life-long Democrat who likes to poke fun of the fact that I went over to the dark side. Her reaction to the Dem's jeer on Social Security? "Well that's just plain rude!" I've noticed she's not making fun of me quite so much these days. She knows how to count, after all, and all it takes is a glance at both our paychecks and 401k's to see there's a problem that needs fixing, and she seems to respect Bush for bringing up the subject.

 
At 11:17 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Harry -

I don't remember stating that I commanded a unit. I apologize if I've given that impression. It was not my intent.

 
At 11:21 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Anonymous said...
8:47 AM, February 03, 2006

I'd almost think people like Aqualung and Van were Republican moles, planted in the Democrats to give real Dems like Lieberman a bad name.

--Paranoia anyone?

 
At 11:23 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

Thanks for responding Van. I would also hope our guys arent being short changed by the VA. Out of the 100+ soldiers in my Guard unit that recently returned from Iraq, no one yet has expressed any problems in dealig with the VA, however with any large government or civilian organizations problems are inevitable.

Im glad you dont have a problem with our military's use of DU weapons in warfare. Seeing that you dont, I would appreciate it if you didnt then use it as a club when it suits your needs. I myself wouldnt have brought it up in any conflict we were engaged with that I disagreed with, or any other talking point that demeans or demoralizes our troops efforts to raise cheep political points.

Thank you very much.

 
At 11:31 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Harry said:

"Im glad you dont have a problem with our military's use of DU weapons in warfare. Seeing that you dont, I would appreciate it if you didnt then use it as a club when it suits your needs. I myself wouldnt have brought it up in any conflict we were engaged with that I disagreed with, or any other talking point that demeans or demoralizes our troops efforts to raise cheep political points."

--I don't think that it was a cheap political point, or that my statments on DU demeans our troops, especially as I brought it up with the troops safety in mind.
But I will to honor your request and I do appreciate your point of veiw on this.
Thank you for the respectful dialog.

 
At 11:31 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

Van, No problem ;)

 
At 11:57 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger SippicanCottage said...

Hey, LetMeSpellItOutForYou:

c-h-e-e-s-e-a-n-d-o-n-i-o-n-s oh no..

 
At 12:08 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Van, there is a website somewhere that discusses blog and comment etiquette; one point I remember is that going to someone's blog with whom you have a fundamental differnece of perspective and highjacking threads with repetitious comments is uncivil.

That said, you're take on the Democratic party is completely off base (with the exception of the NAFTA observation, which to me was an undeniable mistake); they have not diminished in influence because of a "move to the right." They were at their zenith in 1975, and have steadily declined ever since. During those three decades, they were a willing or unwitting party to a series of unpopular, arrogant social/political "movements" or efforts. At the heart of these movements were the Nietzschean/Foucaultian/Rousseauian concepts of the embeded malignancy of society and the essential goodness of man. It has been the Dems associations with these worldviews that has cost them influence. Someone recently wrote:

"If there’s an argument to be made for liberalism at its deepest and most authentic levels, it is going to have to connect to, and possibly be subsumed within, hybrid compositions of common sense and everyday interpersonal decency in American life."

Western "progressives" have become unaquainted with common sense and decency, to their detriment.

 
At 12:14 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

Van said: A one party system helps no one.

This is the crux of the issue. We can't afford it.

Greg Wirth said: We need an relatively unknown populist to rise (in) the ranks and refocus the debate on issues within America

This can't happen as long as both party's are willing to strangle moderates in their political cribs. I've been watching this happen in my state, dominated by Democrats. Republican moderates with "fresh new approaches" face strawmen opposition early in their careers for no other reason than to prevent them from building party power bases.

Recently our Democratic county central committee, dominated by the kind of liberals excoriated in these comments, faced an insurgent faction trying to move it even further to the left.

The kind of bile, vitriol, anger and angst we read here every day; which makes normally rational people say anything to score a point for their side or find bigger ideological clubs; is poisoning our political system, gridlocking our political process and providing an opportunity for the party with national control to ignore its core values and indulge in the kind of actions that allow an Abramoff to operate.

My friends and I have been working for years, just in our county, to try to moderate our candidates and provide "new, fresh, ideas and candidates" (the quotes indicated irony). It hasn't worked because our internal opposition would rather maintain power and ideological purity than win elections.

Now we're looking for a deus ex machina that is a refreshed Democratic Party to force this change and it just isn't going to happen because on a national leadership level they are bankrupt, out of political capital and willing to print counterfeit notes just to stay in the news cycle.

Many years ago we used to have a state law that was called "cross filing". Candidates were allowed to seek the nomination in other parties' primaries beside their own. This weakened the influence of the parties and was thought to be "a good thing" in the era of political reform until it became "a bad thing" when one party saw an opportunity to dominate the system. But, it moderated our political dialog and it is no coincidence that it when it operated our transportation system and school systems were the envy of the nation, after it was defeated, they and our political process fell apart.

American's want good, honest government. They want government to do its job and stay the hell out of their everyday lives. Most Americans are moderates and not ideologically driven. It seems, lately, that these very values are enough to drive some people mad with ideological rage and many politicans to engage in the kind of red faced, swollen necked, wattle shaking that would have emabarassed people like Adlai Stevenson or Everett Dirksen.

Our politicians resemble nothing other than drunks; driving a car down the road with a bottle of distilled Money and Media clutched between their legs; taking the occasional swig just to keep the buzz on.

 
At 12:28 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger lmg said...

"Many of my students have no intention of voting Republican ..."

Funny how they've made up their minds almost a year before the next election, without knowing either the issues or the candidates. Their indoctrinators are doing a fine job at raising robots, but not the citizens we desperately need.

 
At 12:45 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Motor said?
"American's want good, honest government. They want government to do its job and stay the hell out of their everyday lives. Most Americans are moderates and not ideologically driven. It seems, lately, that these very values are enough to drive some people mad with ideological rage and many politicans to engage in the kind of red faced, swollen necked, wattle shaking that would have emabarassed people like Adlai Stevenson or Everett Dirksen.

Our politicians resemble nothing other than drunks; driving a car down the road with a bottle of distilled Money and Media clutched between their legs; taking the occasional swig just to keep the buzz on"

--An excellent post Motor, an appropriate use of prose.
Please continue to share your ideas and musings.
I was hoping that you could clarify on thing though, you said:
"They want government to do its job and stay the hell out of their everyday lives."
I hear this sentiment often, but I it is noted on many sides of the political spectrum. Which hints to me that the phrase has an esoteric meaning.
What do you mean by that?

 
At 1:06 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Motor 1560

Your image of the DUI politicians is apt,but since they've been raised on and have grown fat on the M + M bottle (money and media, who's gonna wrestle the wheel away from them? M + M are the lifeblood of the system now, and how/who could replace it with the milk of public service?
Not our Left, not our Right, not the sleeping Middle.

 
At 1:21 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Possible Solution:

Clean Elections: Definitions, Locations and Resources



What is Clean Money Campaign Reform? Clean Money Campaign Reform attempts to break the hold of special interests on politics by providing candidates with a set amount of public funds to run for office. Currently fourteen states provide some public subsidies, mostly as partial or matching funds to those running for office who stay below a certain spending cap. Those programs do not prohibit candidates from taking major private sources of funds.

Where is Clean Money Campaign Reform in Practice? The Clean Money system is in force in Arizona, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. While elements of the plan vary according to local circumstances, in general, participating candidates receive Clean Money for the primary and general elections and they qualify by raising a high number of small (e.g., $5) qualifying contributions from voters in their districts or states.

 
At 1:29 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous stan said...

Van said:

--An excellent post Motor, an appropriate use of prose.
Please continue to share your ideas and musings.
I was hoping that you could clarify on thing though, you said:
"They want government to do its job and stay the hell out of their everyday lives."
I hear this sentiment often, but I it is noted on many sides of the political spectrum. Which hints to me that the phrase has an esoteric meaning.
What do you mean by that?

I believe that Motor means something like the following:

If I want to send my children to a private school, rather than the failing public schools, I'd like my tax money back in the form of a voucher that I can spend the way I want.

If I have a health problem, I'd like to have a tax-free spending account, into which I can put the money I choose to set aside for my health-care issues, not something the government THINKS I need.

When I retire, I'd like to be able to save the money I earned in an account that at least earns a little interest, rather than be taxed to support people who paid less into the (failing) system than I did...and I want my children (and other's children) not to be taxed to pay for me. And if I'm too foolish to plan for my own retirement, that's MY (and my family's)problem, not my neighbor's.

When I die, I want my family to receive the full benefit of my estate (which has already been taxed), not be gouged again by the government. I'd like the descendants of owners of small businesses not to have to sell those businesses to pay estate taxes.

I'd like the government to actually operate the way the founding fathers intended...provide for the national defense, print money, and regulate interstate commerce. Read the constitution; that's ALL it authorizes the federal government to do.

If I'm putting words in Motor's mouth, I'm sorry...but I think that's what he/she means.

The problem with "progressives" is that they think individuals are fundamentally flawed, and that governments have the responsibility to "provide" for "the people." forgetting that governments are composed of "the people," and are therefore just as fundamentally flawed. Lord Acton was right: absolute power corrupts absolutely. Give government too much control, and corruption is the inevitable result.

 
At 1:45 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

Van: Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s... for openers.

But, I'm not going to step into the trap. It's not so esoteric. I live where i do and am a product of my culture, kith and kin. I have views on abortion and intoxicants. You live some place else and have your own views.

If Congress made our clothes how would we look? Yeah about like that.

I happen to think that abortion is a demographic problem that actuarial tables will decide. Why put the grain of sand in the oyster of law knowing full well that few of us will like the resulting accretions that constitute the pearl?

For example our national firearms laws rest solely on one case to test the legality of the original National Firearms Act and to decide if it was a legitimate area for federal control. Guess what? Nobody showed for the testing party. The plaintiff and his lawyer were poor and rural and they didn't have the bucks. So a federal law enforcement special interest group shrinking from the repeal of Prohibition saw this as a wonderful opportunity to expand.

The result? A hash of federal and state laws that criminalize fender washers, pieces of wood and rubber bands. I'm not advocating fully automatic, belt fed weapons here; I'm talking about laws that are part of the Lawyers Full Employment Act; and which have ruined innocent lives.

There are those who think that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store and not a federal agency.

You don't like tobacco smoke? Fine. I'll smoke my federally illegal Cuban cigar in my house or outside. You don't like that either? Well, step over my threshold to take it away and I'll drop you like a bad habit. Oh, you say you smelled it out on the street and that gave you the legal right to kick my door in and that's why your associate is going out in a body bag and I'm going to the federal slammer?

Make a rubber stamp out of the above and where it says AT&F substitute DEA or any of the over one hundred federal agencies with fully armed agents. Do EPA reps really need guns to do their jobs?

My neighbors and I tend to think that when something is a real honest to God problem; well that's what we have a city, county and state government for. Our state constitution...??? Yeah, states do have constitutions they pretty much say what our counties and cities and such can do. We'll take care of what we think is important so the feds can concentrate on what they should do. When we have problems or questions relating to the federal government we'll just talk to our congress critter or our senator. What's that??? You bought them last week? Who the hell are you? Oh, the DNC. Shoulda known.

Hopefully, you can see where this is going and if you think it is partisan ranting then you and I have a real problem.

 
At 1:53 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

Stan: You sing the bass part and I'll try to handle the tenor.

Any Mouse @1:21 I've resisted this kind of thing for years but I think its' time is here. Honest to God campaign finance and put the bastards who violate in the can for good stiff jolts of time. You use the rolled newspaper on a dog enough times and he quits crapping on the rug.

 
At 2:20 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Motor:

Thanks for the reply. I see your point and agree with much of it.

I wasn't trying to bait or trap you byw, just curious.

 
At 3:08 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous eddie t said...

One HUGE Democratic party problem that they could easily correct IF they wanted to is: that so many of their vocal members, whether they be on TV, radio, in print, blogging, emailing, or just talking to people.....think of real people in monolithic stereotypes. Many vocal Democrats REALLY, REALLY think that people like me and many others that are moving right are just far, far below them in intelligence and everything else. Insisting that everyone that is not an ultraliberal is a moronic goober is NOT AN EFFECTIVE POLITICAL TACTIC. (as a famous radioman would say, "For those of you in Rio Linda, that means it DOESN'T WORK.")

 
At 3:32 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:54 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

Eddie, condescension is only part of it, and I won't do consecutive translation for Rio Linda, they can go to Sac State and use a dictionary in the library.

Their problem is that they have been whispering in their own left ear for so long that the gibberish is starting to make sense. When that happens you are either insane or a prophet. The tip off here is that prophets don't talk to individuals, they have revealed truth and would prefer to speak to whole peoples.

You can only betray your core constituency so many times. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Keep fooling me and you must be a party leader. In simpler times that kind of strategy meant that your district would vote you a hemp necktie at their earliest opportunity.

Now it simply means that you have to give them no alternative.

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all


You demonize the opposition to such an extent that the voters always choose the one that mother gives them. This BTW is an equal opportunity strategy.

It's going to take an intervention and a long spell in detox. God knows what that's going to look like.

 
At 4:27 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

My once-proud party seems to be sinking ever faster into a sort of quicksand of peevishness and rage, like Rumpelstiltskin stomping himself into the ground.

Unleash a selfish generation of wannabe gangsta rappers, criminals, and thugs and you might find out that you are no longer in control of the mob anymore.

That their fury and hate isn't just going to make them riot and blow up Republicans, but anyone that they can touch, including their so called political masters and sugar daddies.

People who don't get logic takes everything personally. That's their fault, nobody else's. As Neo Neo Con can attest to, anyone that relies on emotions and is challeneged by anything remotely dissenting, resorts to emotional tirades and not logical rejoinders. Because a person emotionally invested in his pet theory cannot differentiate attacks on his person and attacks on his beliefs, which in the end, is all the same to that person. Ad hominem attacks, for those in the know, is only wrong if the "accussation" doesn't prove why the beliefs are wrong. When the "attack" is on the belief and why it is wrong, it cannot be an ad hominem. There's a certain circular logic going on, still, but that's easy to shortcircuit. An ad hominem is only an ad hominem when it uses an attack on a person to say that he is wrong, like saying someone is stupid and therefore he is wrong. If a person just says you're a jerk, even if you are right, that's not an ad hominem if you parse the logic. Just an insult.

Aqualung's going on with his Democrat posting notes again, about Abramoff. You'd think that with the Democratic hardon for Abramoff, they might want to get the ACLU to get some lawsuits going against him, you know.

I like cutting education. It's about time we stopped listening to teacher's unions and started representing children directly, and empowering them with the rights and funds to take care of their own education. Allowing children to be in the power of Liberal Teacher's Unions that do nothing but drain away money for politics, is hurting the children.

Most Democrats don't care engineer the solution, but certainly others do.

 
At 9:11 AM, February 04, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Picture of Hillary

Ain't that scary.

 
At 9:48 AM, February 04, 2006, Blogger JohnnyMac said...

Van, at 11:13 AM Feb. 3, wrote: "I recently read a report that suggested that nearly 30% of the homeless are former soldiers suffering from PSTD." I recommend you read B. G. Burkett's excellent book "Stolen Valor" (1998).
Burkett systematically takes apart the myths about veterans that the media peddle and contrasts them with reality. The idea that most/many veterans are homeless is one he addresses.

 
At 12:20 PM, February 04, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Johhymac -

Thank you for the book tip. I'll try to find a copy and at least read the part that you suggest.

 
At 6:46 AM, February 05, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Shan said "...and Hitchens sues the government over an aspect of its foreign policy, the Party's lost the plot. What, other than a reliance on nineeleven, do Republicans stand for?"
Uh, Hitchens ain't no Republican. He isn't even close to being conservative- he's one of the few on the left that understand the threat posed to liberal ideology by the rise of Islam in the west...

Van, glad to see you have settled down for a nice conversation.

 
At 8:05 AM, February 05, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

I see my comment generated a little name calling and the usual screed against people who refuse to accept (devote themselves to) a party and administration that has nothing but contempt for due process, individual freedom and the constitution. Not one of the subsequent comments address any of the sins I listed about the current ruling party in this country, but rather engage in the usual right-wing non-sense. If any of this was being perpetrated by a democratic president and congress, you people would be screaming impeachment, indictment and bloody murder. The only reason it goes on is that we have one party rule, and the only reason we have that is because of the K Street project, jamming of phone lines, and a Supreme Court so ashamed of it's finding in Bush v Gore that the individual justices refused to personally sign it. Am I sad that the Democratic Party is so impotent in it's pursuit of all of this? Sure I am. But let's face it, with talk radio, FOX (should I say FAUX)) News and the MSM that has coddled and enabled BUsh since day one of his regime, the Democrats yell into a strong, wing-nut wind, in the hopes that anyone addicted to O"Reilly, Hannity and Neo-neocon, are going to listen.

But, how's this for standing FOR something: competence in governing, belief in the constitution, and rejection of bribery and graft. The Democrats, as against the Republican party (the current on at least), should be able to run on that. By the way, be sure to vote for one of the Democratic Iraqi war vets running in a congressional district near you.

 
At 3:18 PM, February 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I'll believe the Democrats stand for the Constitution when they stop trying to erase the 2nd Ammendment.

2nd Ammendment Wisdom

If any of this was being perpetrated by a democratic president and congress, you people would be screaming impeachment, indictment and bloody murder.

Actually, we'd be staging a military coup if we thought a Democratic President was doing the same things the Democrats has said our Republican President is doing.

Democrats can't stage a military coup, cause the military is not on their side. Democrats just don't get it, and they never will, cause they're never going to corrupt our military with their fantasies.

 
At 9:43 AM, February 07, 2006, Blogger Van said...

douglas said...
"Van, glad to see you have settled down for a nice conversation."

--Thanks for noticing. I never meant to be contentious in the first place. I need to be a little more careful about how I respond to objections.

 
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