Bush must be winning... the liberals are getting more histrionic by the minute

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I'm waiting for some liberal commentator to call Bush the anti-christ. It seems only a matter of time now. The screeching of the liberal intelligentsia should reach a crescendo by Tuesday. I find it amusing (and a bit sad) to watch how the Left celebrates the common man... until he votes against them. Then the so-called progressives rail against the "stupid" voters possibly electing a "stupid" (read conservative) candidate. Perhaps the most revealing hypocrisy has been the mainstream democrats attacks against Ralph Nader. As if anyone didn't know, the democratic establishment is not about lofty principles, but about political advantage. (Of course, so are the republicans).

Nader's campaign, however, has revealed the lack of a real democratic political philosophy. The republicans, libertarians and greens all have philosophies. The democrats seem just a semi-cohesive group of institutional special interests.

"Earth to Gore: The left is dead as a governing coalition. It lives on in the twitching carcass of its own institutional structures--teachers' unions, feminist activists, gay victimologists, black churches, faculty clubs--but it has no overarching, popular argument to win power. Populism won't work, either, in an era of plenty and promise. What will work is a moderate, ameliorative, me-too liberalism of the Clinton variety." Andrew Sullivan, The New Republic


(An interesting article if you wish to read it.)

The breast-beating from the left suggests a victory on the right... or at least some fear.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), November 02, 2000


In a related story about Sullivan...



Former NEW REPUBLIC editor Andrew Sullivan has been banned from gaynewsmagazine THE ADVOCATE for criticizing its recent interview with Bill Clinton.

In his critique Sullivan writes, among other things, that Chris Bull's interview with the president "reads as if Bull was on his knees, polishing Clinton's shoes with his tongue."

"If anyone needs proof that the gay press is still not ready for prime-time, this interview is Exhibit A. Next time, the ADVOCATE should just get a Democratic Party activist to interview Clinton and be done with it."

Sullivan took special offense to Clinton equating his impeachment experience to the persection of gays.

"Very few gay people liked the forces behind impeachment. I wrote a pretty acidic attack on them on the cover of the NEW YORK TIMES Magazine. But very few of us, except for the Stepford activists at the Human Rights Campaign, thought Clinton was blameless. Gay people don't have to lie, cheat, abuse their power, or perjure themselves to be persecuted. If gay activists had any self-respect, they'd be assailing Clinton for his narcissistic equation of his own self- inflicted troubles with centuries of homosexual persecution. But they don't; and they won't."

Sullivan has responded to his banishment on his website, AndrewSullivan.com:

BANNED FROM THE ADVOCATE: Got an email today from Judy Wieder, editor of The Advocate, who only last week commissioned a piece from me about the future of AIDS therapy. After my comments in this space about Chris Bull's tongue-bath of Bill Clinton's shoes in a recent Advocate interview, she emailed to officially disinvite me. It's a free country, I suppose, and poor Judy, who has worked wonders with the magazine, gets mau-maued by the Stalinists for even asking me to write. But it's a pleasure to have formally confirmed what we all know informally. The gay press in general has about the same openness and diversity of views of Pravda, circa 1974. Cheap pot-shots at anyone outside their leftist ranks are permitted; but serious criticism of an interview that failed to meet even basic standards of objectivity makes me persona non grata. Somehow, I think I'll survive.

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeed@yahoo.com), November 02, 2000.

Another example of Dem panic---the spinning has already begun: A Bush victory will not be because of "issues" but because of Gore's shanky personality and Bush's superior packaging.

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), November 02, 2000.

I watched Ralph Nader on BHardballB with Chris Matthews last night. Does anyone else think that Nader is a modern version of Huey Long?

-- The Engineer (spcengineer@yahoo.com), November 02, 2000.

>> Does anyone else think that Nader is a modern version of Huey Long? <<

It would be hard to think of two more antithetical personalities than Nader and Long.

Long was a hard-drinking, womanizing, charismatic, earthy, witty spellbinder. Nader is an intense, intellectual ascetic and a workaholic who is married his causes the way a nun is married to Christ.

Other than both being "for the little guy" I don't think there is a lot of overlap in their policy ideas either - possibly because the issues of 1930 were so different than the issues of today.

Long was more of an opportunist who knew how to draw votes by appealing to the dreams of the working poor. Long was the kind of a guy who built thousands of miles of shiny new highways because voters could see and feel them as tangible benefits. He spent vast sums to build up LSU so more kids of dirt farmers could go to university. He also was the kind of a politician who gave all the contracts to cronies who were accused of putting too much sand in the cement.

Nader is more of a policy wonk who has real passion for his job. It is the passion that saves him from being a totally alien being to most voters. Ralph cares about what he does. It comes across. IMO, Ralph is more like a Susan B. Anthony or a Clarence Darrow than a Huey Long.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 02, 2000.

Ken, I can vouch for the fact that Gore supporters are going after Nader votes with a jackhammer approach. Not the slightest attempt to woo us. Just an avalanche of threats and guilt-mongering.

The message I get is that Gore demands my vote, but if I were to set on the floor next to him he wouldn't bend an inch my way to pick it up. Instead, he expects me to step right up and drop it in his pocket. Then he'll expect me to thank him and touch the forelock. This is not a winning way with me.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 02, 2000.

Nah, I can't buy the Huey Long comparison. Nader remind me more of the pre-'48 Marx. He strikes me as a social utopian with a serious axe to grind against the capitalists. Like Marx, Nader is a cogent critic of capitalism. They also share the same lack of workable alternative economic system.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), November 02, 2000.

>> Nader is a cogent critic of capitalism. They also share the same lack of workable alternative economic system. <<

Nader's "alternative economic system" is capitalism with government regulation where it is needed and corporate welfare reduced. You speak as if this were some kind of a revolutionary proposal, but capitalism has always been regulated by government.

Nader's critique of capitalism is cogent because capitalism has obvious flaws. To some extent Nader's solutions have flaws, but a different set. All one can do is the best one can to weigh each set of flaws against one another and strike for the best balance one can. That best balance falls far away from the tenets of Social Darwinism.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 02, 2000.

Sorry, Brian, I read the Green Platform (and Nader) as touting democratic socialism with an environmental spin. I agree this is hardly revolutionary. It has been practiced in Europe for years (at least in various forms).

I am the first to agree that capitalism must be regulated. Businessmen (and women) are the worst enemies of a free market, as Adam Smith aptly noted in 1776. This requires government to have some measure of power. The Greens, however, go well beyond the amount of power needed to regulate commerce and protect the environment. In my estimation, the real "Green" goal is to have Government create a social "ecotopia." Hey, Brian, let's take a spin around the Green party platform. Here's some riffs from the "Economic Bill of Rights."

"Universal Social Security: Taxable Basic Income Grants for all, structured into the progressive income tax, that guarantee an adequate income sufficient to maintain a modest standard of living. Start at $500/week ($26,000/year) for a family of four, with $62.50/week ($3,250/year) adjustments for more or fewer household members in 2000 and index to the cost of living.

Jobs for All: A guaranteed right to job. Full employment through community-based public works and community service jobs programs, federally financed and community controlled.

Living Wages: A family-supporting minimum wage. Start at $12.50 per hour in 2000 and index to the cost of living. 30-Hour Work Week: A 6-hour day with no cut in pay for the bottom 80% of the pay scale.

Social Dividends: A "second paycheck" for workers enabling them to receive 40 hours pay for 30 hours work. Paid by the government out of progressive taxes so that social productivity gains are shared equitably.

Universal Health Care: A single-payer National Health Program to provide free medical and dental care for all, with freedom of choice for consumers among both conventional and alternative health care providers, federally financed and controlled by democratically elected local boards.

Free Child Care: Available voluntarily and free for all who need it, modeled after Head Start, federally financed, and community controlled.

Lifelong Public Education: Free, quality public education from pre-school through graduate school at public institutions.

Affordable Housing: Expand rental and home ownership assistance, fair housing enforcement, public housing, and capital grants to non-profit developers of affordable housing until all people can obtain decent housing at no more than 25% of their income. Democratic community control of publicly funded housing programs."

Where's the tofu in every pot? (laughter)

Personally, Brian, I wouldn't want to see this "bill" delivered to my table. This is a grand socialist wish-list, as is the rest of the platform at http://www.greenparty.org/

C'mon, Brian, reparations for African Americans? Maximum income? Cut military spending by 75%? Who wrote this? Antonio Gramsci? The Rev. Al Sharpton? A committee? (laughter)

Getting back to the subject, I think the greens are getting some shabby treatment from the democrats. It reminds me of how the feminists were mostly mute during the Clinton debacle. Had a republican president groped an intern, there would have been a mob of women with pitchforks and torches outside the White House. I think the Nader should have been in the debates. I think he would have scored some populist points and made a positive impression. He also would have had to answer some tough questions about his leftist ideas. By the way, what you call "social Darwinism," I call meritocracy.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), November 02, 2000.


My home server has been down. I go to the desert tomorrow DB.

For those of you who think that GW is not smart enough to be President, see:

The Test


I seldom agree with Alder [Newsweek], but I agree this time. Nader has sold his kingdom for a few magic beans.

Best wishes and see you'all this Sunday,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), November 02, 2000.


First you say that Nader has no workable alternative, then you say his positions are social democracy such as has been around in Europe for a while. Last I looked, Europe has a pretty high standard of living, and in many categories that measure livability, like crime rates, education and longevity, European nations often rank higher than the USA. Since I think that an economy exists to generate a high standard of living, as opposed to simply wealth, what's not working about this alternative?

Also, it would be interesting to tool around in the Libertarian platform in the same way as the Green platform, except you have scrupulously risen aloof from endorsing any of the parties. You merely have leanings, so I can't play the quote the platform game with you.

Ah well. Spilt milk.

The Green Party platform as it stands was, of course, written by a committee. Not only that, but a committee of utopians who have never had to write laws, win elections, or use the political system to deliver government services. It is no wonder it resembles a wishlist, rather than a document full of hard-fought compromises.

I won't make any bones about the fact that the Green Party is not yet ready to govern at any level higher than state rep, and then only if they manage to scare up a pretty good candidate with some real life experience to draw on. This isn't anything new. Either it changes or the Greens stay on the fringe.

Nader, however, does not share all the shortcomings of the platform committee. If you were to listen to his speeches or interviews, he wisely tends to concentrate on a mix of the most pragmatic and attainable goals, like defunding the B2 bomber, together with some further out-of-mainstream issues that nevertheless have a large constituency, such as repeal of Taft-Hartley. He is sixty years old (give or take) and a much wiser head than those who wrote the platform.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 02, 2000.


You have to learn to admit to yourself that the Green party is dead. It won't exist in its present form after this election. It will explode, just like the reform party. I think that you also must admit that the whole process was an ego trip for Nadar. A last gasp. Hope you can pick up the pieces. Some important ideas there.

Have to catch a plane.

Best wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), November 02, 2000.

Surprising Brian, that you don't know Nader is 66. Which raises an interesting question to me. Who are the rising young Green stars? Nader can only run one more time, at most. I'm sure the Greens are not a one person band, but who next?

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), November 02, 2000.

Sorry, Brian, I should have mentioned that European socialism has failed. We can debate the European model and exchange socio-economic data if you wish... but I think there is little doubt that the U.S. the economic engine of the world. Where Europe succeeds is where it learns the lesson of central planning and foster a market economy.

As for the libertarians, I find them as silly as the greens. Mr. & Mrs. America are not quite ready to buy crack cocaine at the local 7- 11. Somewhere between the U Mass at Amherst greens and the Ayn Rand libertarians, there is a reasonable middle ground. I stay aloof from bad ideas... call it a character weakness.

The greens will only succeed to the point they understand most Americans find socialism untenable. They'll need to write a platform that does not look like the Communist Manifesto.

Oh, I think Nader is smart enough to sidestep the radicals, but that is the hitch. It's the true believers that drive third parties. When the leadership tries to go mainstream, you see a reform party debacle. Oh, the libertarians are just as bad. They'd rather quibble over dogma than elect candidates.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), November 02, 2000.

Hey, maybe I will vote Green afterall. Even though I had posted the Green agenda here before I never even considered what it would mean to me. Let's see here....

$500 a week for a family of four, lessened by $62.50 for each family member less than four...that is $250 for me and the Mrs.

Plus they want to guarentee me at least $12.50 per hour, so I me and Mrs D will each work 20 hours a week, I mean really, 20 hours will be more than enough as you will see, that is an additional $250 each, $500 dollars, for a total of $750 per week household income.

PLUS the Greens will give me that "Social Dividend" second paycheck worth 10 hours of work each week for a total of another $125 a week each for me and the Mrs. Now we as a family are up to $1250 per week in income! For working 20 hours a week! I think I am going to work in a book store. Nice and quiet, maybe have a cup of "joe" while I work, screw off here and there and do some reading. Mrs D will want to sell jewelry or clothing, something like that I would think.

And I will have free health care too! WOW! And free day care, which I don't give a hoot about since we don't have kids. And the free education for life, but why bother with that? Why in the hell would I want to get extra education when I can work 20 hours a week in a book store and have me and Mrs D pull down $65,000 a year! YEAH BUDDY! Screw school!

And to think that I almost voted for that rat bastard Harry Browne! He wants me to be responsible for my own well-being! To hell with that shit, go Ralphie! You got my vote!

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeed@yahoo.com), November 02, 2000.


"Nader, however, does not share all the shortcomings of the platform committee."

You are saying he doesn't believe in his own party. Sounds like an opportunist to me. Z may be right. I would say a mess of pottage.

Now Really Confused

-- confused (confused@what.who), November 02, 2000.

Oh yeah, I would want to work two days a week at 10 hours per day. Sort of a reverse osmosis of the work-week, week-end ratio. Then I could garden and boat and drink beer for five frickin days a week and get 65K! Shit yeah!

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeed@yahoo.com), November 02, 2000.


If you look real real close, you'll see that's $65,000 *before* taxes. Sadly, it's only $8000 after taxes. After all, the 80% of the population working 20 hours a week *administering* all these programs must be paid too, and they don't produce anything.

But it sure sounded good for a while there.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), November 02, 2000.

Brian & Ken,

I am aware of the differences in NaderBs and LongBs life styles. You might try and get an article written by Anthony Tobias about what happen to the idea for Bpay at the pumpB car insurance in Calif. CU was for it and still is. The one person who is standing in the way (besides the insurance companies) was Ralph. And the tort lawyers. Nader is also very pro union but he wouldnBt let the people who work for him form one. ThereBs more (or maybe less) there then meets the eye.

-- The Engineer (spcengineer@yahoo.com), November 02, 2000.

ROFLMFAO!!!, Unk,that must mean it's Beer-fifteen!!!


Aside from the drug legalization issue I would very much like to see you "take a spin" around the other aspects of the Libertarian platform that you find silly or sound.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), November 02, 2000.


A guy named Oliver [sp?] held a meeting this week. Free coffee and donuts. Local press reported that 10 people showed up; and two of them didn't have all of their belongings in a shopping cart. Does anyone besides me know who this person is?


-- DB (Debunker@nomore.xxx), November 02, 2000.


I had not heard that story but I believe you are referring to Art Oliver the Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), November 03, 2000.

God Ken are you dumb! Well, need to catch another plane as I jet around the country to places without internet connections. Later.

-- (superduper@jet.setter), November 03, 2000.

It is a gross mischaracterization of the Democratic Party to suggest that either its composition or aims reflect a mere ragbag of disaffected, marginalized interest groups.

The Democratic Party stands for the Enlightenment dream of freedom and dignity for every person, and thinks that it is the rightful duty of a country to assure certain basic decencies for every one of its citizens, no matter how unfortunate, insignificant, or ill-starred oneBs fate. These common goods include freedom from the fear of dying in poverty because, in the midst of fragile old age, one finds oneself suddenly alone, without a friend, a family member, or the financial means to secure a roof over oneBs head. They include freedom from hunger, so no child has to go to bed starving. They include freedom from the devastating illness or injury that can quickly consume all of oneBs hard-earned savings and leave the victim not only dangerously ill, but flat-out broke.

Sensible and humane democratic nations provide basic human services to their citizens. The Democratic Party keeps alive the great tradition of enlightened liberalism in which economic markets work freely and competitively while a network of common supports secure the nationBs social fabric. Most people would rather see their taxes pay for a life secure from untreated disease, financial devastation, or the bitter ignominy of aged poverty than, say, a slew of brand new Stealth bombers. Most would rather have what tiny social support already exists in this nation strengthened, not decimated.

ThatBs what the Democratic Party stands for -- basic health and dignity for every human soul, and the old-fashioned yet eternally enlightened ideal of securing the common good.

-- Celia Thaxter (celiathaxter@yahoo.com), November 03, 2000.


You write better prose than policy. The democrats have perpetuated a permanent underclass and culture of dependence through misguided entitlement programs. The liberal "safety net" has become a hammock for some, a sticky web for others.

Human dignity cannot be given by government like free cheese or food stamps. Nor can it be completely taken by government as poignantly proven by Solzhenitsyn and others. Human dignity is an individual matter and is grounded in integrity and personal responsibility.

Personal responsibility is created when a person faces the consequences of his or her behaviors. If you want to see what happens when the gov't becomes a "sugar daddy" or a "no-fault insurance" program, look at the Native American reservations. Or the inner-city housing projects.

The poor in America are wealthy by third world standards. We did an analysis in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, a few years ago. When you added the financial, medical, housing and other benefits to a welfare mother and her children, the woman needed a full-time job at over $30,000 a year to replace these benefits. Who will pay an unskilled high school dropout with a chronic drug problem $30,000 a year? Oh, did I mention the cable television, VCR, stereo, manicured nails, etc? You see, Thaxter, I have actually worked with welfare recipients... unlike the policy wonks inside the beltway who write idiotic legislation like the "Welfare to Work" program... policy so poorly written that some states simply refused the money.

Perhaps at one time the democrats were the party of the "working man or woman." Not anymore. The democrats are a melange of narrow special interests and advocacy groups. The goal is political power, not progressive public policy. The NAACP is running ads on hate crimes legislation rather than addressing issues of real concern to the African American community. The NEA blocks any attempts at meaningful reform of the public education system. The corrupt big unions expropriate funds from members to pad politcal PACs. The feminists ignored the Clinton scandal. Read Sullivan's full article... he hits the nail on the head.

You write as if the democrats are still the social utopians. Nah, check the Greens.... they actually seem to share your vision. They, too, want to pave the road with good intentions regardless of where it leads.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), November 03, 2000.


That's a wonderful description of what the *Communist* party stands for. Not what they actually DO, to be sure, but what they stand for. And in pure form the Communist ideal attracted a LOT of intellectuals and idealists. They championed the dignity of the common man, opposed the corruption power brings, and had a nominal policy of spreading the wealth so that nobody suffered or starved unnecessarily, and there would be no aloof class of the callous rich. Everyone working for the good of the whole, arm in arm in a great brotherhood where all suck equally from society's tit.

Now, back to the real world, how do we accomplish these goals as nearly as is practicably feasible? The "visible hand" pushing in that direction has been dismally unsuccessful. We don't get equality or sharing, we get oppressive bureaucracy, inflexibility, absurd contrasts between what was intended and what actually happens, mountains of red tape, very inefficient allocation of social resources, the law of unintended consequences, tax exiles, a permanent "welfare class", and so on. Speaking broadly, the Democrats remain "visible hand" proponents, believers that you must *make* it happen, that you can't just *let* it happen.

Speaking just as broadly, the Republicans (NOT the "religious right") believe in the value of the individual AS an individual rather than as a cog in the machinery of the state. They believe the state doesn't owe you a living, it should rather guarantee your *opportunity* to make that living as you see fit. They understand that success and failure are opposite sides of the same coin, and to prevent one is to prevent both. They understand that people would rather have less provided they earned it, than have more if they were given it -- that's dignity in a nutshell.

In general, then, the Democrats' philosopy, which you describe as "people would rather see their taxes pay for a life secure from untreated disease, financial devastation, or the bitter ignominy of aged poverty...", really amounts to "people are stupid and will behave irresponsibly unless we take their money, keep some of it, and spend the rest *forcing* them to do what WE know is best for them." And in general, the Republicans feel that "people would rather see their EFFORTS ACHIEVE a life secure from..." All government needs to do is guarantee the opportunity to make that effort, NOT guarantee the achievement.

In general, society is better off rewarding those who succeed, rather than those who fail. Republicans win elections because enough people understand this, not because too many people are too stupid to agree with your illusions.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), November 03, 2000.

I think that those few people who want to live a collctivist life-style should go off by themselves and do exactly that. What's to stop you? There are communes available (look them up on the Net). Some, like The Farm date back to the 60s. The Amish and Mennonites go back much further.

Where collectivist Utopians go wrong is when they presume to force their idea of morality on an entire nation. This is typically accomplished by a savage revolution and then, within a generation, even the most idealistic revolutionaries become corrupt and entrenched and we're back where we started.

The 20th century gave us various forms of coercive Utopianism on a massive scale. The 20th century also gave us mass-murder on an unprecedented scale.

We mustn't vest absolute power in any individual, ideology or religion.

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), November 03, 2000.

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