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November 16, 2004

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drm

"It might strike down most campaign-finance reform" Yeah, we saw what a great law that was. Supposed to get all the money out of politics.. WHAT A JOKE. 1. Was there more or less money is this election? 2. Was this money at the political parties where some accountability exists or was the money at unaccountable 527 groups?

GREAT LAW THAT WAS.

"Did you hear anything about privatizing social security during the presidential campaign? " NO, BECAUSE BUSH IS NOT PUSHING TO PRIVATIZE SS.

Bush has spent well over 4 years pushing the idea that younger workers have THE CHOICE to remain in the current SS system or opt to have a portion of their SS directed into their own personal accounts. Anyone who has a 401k understands what Bush is advocating. These personal accounts become owned by the individual, most importantly they can be passed on after the individuals death. This will pass family wealth on to generations, not let the gov't keep all the SS upon a persons death.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of finance knows that small contributions over a person's lifetime of work (40-50 years) results in a nice nest egg. If the worker starts adding to their personal account beginning when they start working the power of compounding and TIME takes over. It really doesn't take much ($15 a week, for 50 years, at 6% interest results in over 1/4 million $'s) to have a decent SS account at retirement. BUSH RAN ON HIS SS PLAN and he is going to pursue it.

Can someone please tell me what is the LEFT's plan to fix SS? Simple question, because Kerry said he would do nothing.

In the end Michael, all you do is speculate on what a Bush admin is going to do. Bush was very clear what his agenda was for the 2nd term, SS reform, Tax reform, tort reform, energy plan, medical savings accounts, tax cuts permanent, continue the fight against terrorism.. NO STEALTH AGENDAS HERE.

here's what's left

d, i shouldn't be surprised that your comment has nothing to do with my post, because i imagine you actually don't have much of a response to it.

let me ask, d, why is it that so many bush supporters don't seem to know basic facts about bush's positions? if you're going to pretend like bush ran on all of these clear ideas, why is it that voters on your side don't seem to know what his positions are? why do they all think Saddam had WMD and was an ally of al-Qaeda? i don't think voters in rural arkansas are sitting around saying "the problem with this country is that we need tort reform."

tort reform? i doubt that most people know that means capping jury awards in damage lawsuits. and kerry/edwards ran on tort reform too. only their plan is sensible. and john edwards did us the favor of actually laying out what the plan was in the 2nd debate. which was reponsible and clear. at least you know where they stand, as someone once said.

tax reform? i think i heard that phrase twice in the whole campaign. what kind of tax reform, by the way? do you even know? what does simplifying the tax code mean? i doubt that most bush supporters know. flat tax? ending corporate loopholes? national sales tax? if bush ran on tax reform, why can't i tell you want he's going to do? more to the point, why can't he tell us? all i've heard is "nothing's off the table." thanks guys. now i can vote responsibly.

and the fight against terrorism... well, that's too easy.

what i heard a lot about in the campaign was how we have to defend the institution of marriage. i also heard that bush is a strong leader and that at least i know where he stands, even though i don't really know where he stands at all. saying he stands for tort reform and tax reform doesn't actually tell me anything.

as for campaign finance laws, i really don't know what your point is. you may think it's a bad law, but courts don't get to decide that. if you think it's unconstitutional and think it should be struck down by the courts, say so.

cheryl

I think I would put it even another way. Some republicans want to repeal the New Deal, and the New Deal concept of the federal government as a helpful/protective force in people's lives -- MediCare, MediCaid, Social Security, Welfare, EPA, etc.

Of course, this kind of agenda is extremely unpopular. It resembles Grover Norquist's "starve the beast" idea, and rests on a fairly radical and outside-the-mainstream vision of what the Constitution means.

More precisely, it is the neoconservatives who want to gut all social services and turn everything over to the so-called 'free' market. They all graduated from Ayn Rand's ultra libertarian home economics class.

The strategy is modelled after Marx's communist party. If you recall, Marx encouraged the poor to rise up, overthrow the rich bourgeoise elites, and institute a Communist dictatorship that would redistribute national resources from each according to his capability and to each according to his need. Once the goods were redistributed, the dictatorship was supposed to magically dissolve, leaving an egalitarian socialist society in its wake - share and share alike!

Only problem is, it did not work that way. First of all, the whole idea of a nation where everyone plays nice and shares freely was an impossible utopian dream, and second, the communist dictatorship was not about to give up power. In fact it wanted to take over the whole goddamned world.

The neocon game plan is exactly this same scenario, with a different ideological 'angle' but the same end.

Once the underclass has revolted against all this government 'redistribution' and 'nannying' that FDR put in place, vacuuming all the capital into the hands of a few very rich people, the corporate aristocracy is supposed to magically create jobs for everyone out of the goodness of their hearts. The resulting economic boom is supposed to make everyone rich.

Oh yes, the underclass is also supposed to relinquish all civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution in service to the Patriot Act and the War on Terror. That way, if anything gets in the way of progress, the wise and benevolent aristocrats can squash it.

Only problem is, once the right has total control, we will see that the promise of a better society was a lie all along, just like with the Communists. Why should anyone in power give up their money and influence in service to people who are considered too dangerous to attend a Bush rally with a slogan on their t-shirts?

The true game plan is that once the US has been converted into a dictatorship (and with the last two presidential elections being stolen, we are most of the way there already), we will become another goose-stepping Nazi camp, parading around the world and stripping the last of the oil reserves out of the Middle Eastern desert.

Without oil, the US military is dead. Of course this will be the absolute first priority, to maintain the military capability. All the wealthy in the US and even around the world are counting on the ability of the US to project power into the world in order to maintain the economic disparity that they are currently enjoying.

The saddest thing of all is that idiots like 'd' are actually HAPPY that the neocons are taking over the government. It makes me want to puke. I have never seen such freaking stupidity in my life.

Bob

Interesting thesis, cheryl. So the Republican neocons are really the inheritors of the international Communist conspiracy, while all the leftover old-guard Communist agitators in the Democratic party (and especially in its auxilary troops like ANSWER and MoveOn) have magically morphed into defenders of freedom, liberty and democracy? (Maybe it was the trauma of the Soviet Union's collapse.)

Sorry cheryl, I'm not that 'freaking stupid'.

cheryl

Funny I don't seem to recall any Democratic candidates suddenly turning up with far more than their share of the vote (based on voting machine type vs exit polls) in precincts they couldn't possibly have won.

Stalin allowed elections. He just never let the opposition win in a fair vote.

Maybe you ARE that freaking stupid.

Bob

"Funny I don't seem to recall any Democratic candidates suddenly turning up with far more than their share of the vote (based on voting machine type vs exit polls) in precincts they couldn't possibly have won"

Guess you're too young to remember the Kennedy vs. Nixon contest of 1960. The details were different (lots of dead people voted) but the results were the same -- Kennedy stole the election (and then he started a war – hmmm…).

History doesn't give much support to your thesis that we are on the verge of a dictatorship -- civil liberties have suffered much worse during many episodes in our past (check out the Palmer raids in the 1920s, or Lincoln's dictatorial actions in the 1860s) and we have not only recovered, but made steady progress in expanding civil rights and liberty in the long term. Hysteria about the Patriot act simply undermines your credibility. (Perhaps you should heed the lesson of Aesop's fable: "The boy who cried wolf".)

I won't argue that I'm not stupid -- after all I've been a loyal Democratic party member (giving money, volunteering on phone banks, participating in caucuses, etc.) for over 35 years while I've watched the party slide inexorably toward self-destruction. There was a moment in the '90s when Clinton seemed like he could turn it around, but the party has learned nothing from him. (I heard Clinton call in to the Al Franken show shortly before the election -- it was like an adult showing up at a kindergarten food fight: "Now kids, this is not the way to behave...") Instead, the Democratic elites, Democrats in general, and "Progressives" in particular seem to have adopted a number of "freaking stupid" behaviors guaranteed to cause continuing electoral losses:

1) Keep telling yourself that you are right; everyone who disagrees with you is "stupid". This is a great way to wrap yourself in a comfortable, fact-proof cocoon: you never have to defend your ideas. This leads to disconnection from reality and paranoia. Imagine a company losing market share whose managers decide that their customers are just too stupid to buy their stuff; or a pilot in a stalled airplane who just keeps pulling back on the yoke, figuring the airplane is too "stupid" to respond to the controls. Neither scenario would turn out pretty, and neither will the Democratic party's future if we persist in this stupidity.

2) This is particularly for the Progressives in the party: Marxist “analysis” about class warfare does not resonate well with the electorate: Most people in America want to get ahead – they don’t define themselves by what they don’t have (e.g., money), but by what they want to achieve. Marxist theory about static classes might tell us something about Karl Marx’s obsessions, but it doesn’t tell us anything useful about our society. A tiny amount of due diligence (on the historical track record of Marxist predictions, for example) would reveal this fact, but Progressives usually are too deep into stupid behavior #1 above to be able to do it. An example of this is “Red state voters are too stupid to vote their economic interests.” Really? If this were true (and people would first have to believe that the Democratic agenda best supports their aspirations, rather than their short-term welfare) then George Soros must be stupid also, for not voting Republican (as well as most blue state voters – after all, they pay more taxes than the voters in red states. Even the Progressives don’t really believe this analysis, that’s why they won’t apply it universally, so how stupid is it that they continue to bleat about it?

But as stupid as I’ve been, supporting a party bent on self-destruction, I’m still not stupid enough to buy into cheryl’s irrational, paranoid “analysis”. If the Democratic party doesn’t soon separate itself from this “Michael Moronic” style of “reasoning”, it will fade into insignificance – perhaps Clinton, Lieberman, and others of their ilk will start a third party and achieve just this. I would join.

Jay Hersh

Ignoring the arguments regarding the hypocrisy of this movement (the ones cited as made by Jeffrey Rosen in the New Republic) there is a counter attack to some of these arguements that uses their own assertions and logic that I think is potentially far more powerful.

"Judge Douglas Ginsburg's evocative phrase 'the Constitution-in-Exile' recalls the New Dealers' battle against the classical liberal Constitution fashioned in the Lochner era. For Ginsburg, the Supreme Court's embrace of the New Deal revolution cast the old Constitution into exile, its memory 'kept alive by a few scholars who labor on in the hope of a restoration, a second coming of the Constitution of liberty.' Until that day, Ginsburg and other restorationist scholars lament, the old Constitution's fundamental commitments -- to limited national government and due regard for states' rights, to economic liberty and the rights of property -- will remain forsaken. Constitutional culture will remain marred by a 'double standard,' vigilance in the name of personal and political liberty forever mocking an indifference to economic liberty."

given the above, the following statement

"For many people, the most pressing issue is the fate of Roe v. Wade and women's right to choose. In 1992, the Rehnquist court cut back on the ruling but preserved its core, by a narrow 5-to-4 vote. New Bush appointments might well lead the court to return the issue to the states. More broadly, a newly constituted court would be unsympathetic to any claim that the Constitution protects sexual and reproductive liberty from state intervention."

can be attacked on conservatives own ground. The reason is simple. Freedom to control ones own body, and its reproductive activities is ultimately an economic liberty. If one can not choose one's own time and circumstances of procreation then one becomes economically enslaved to the act of, and consequences of, one's own sexual nature. Being able to control whether to give birth is therefore ultimately a matter of whether one is to be economically enslaved by one's spouse and/or offspring, and the happenstance of conception, or liberated to choose the most favorable economic circumstances under which to have and rear a child.

Similarly the ability of Congress to regulate campaign finance is also capable of being phrased as an issue of economic liberty. If the marketplace of ideas presented before the electorate is skewed by the undue influence of groups that presently have economic resources this has the effect of hindering political discourse to the disadvantage of groups that currently lack, but are trying to acquire, such resources. To allow one group undue influence on the sphere of politics by failing to ensure fairness in the marketplace of ideas restricts the economic liberty of those without equivalent financial resources to promote their ideas.

Similar arguments can be made regarding clean air and water, and the right to dispose of waste. Allowing one group or groups to destroy a common resource strikes at the economic liberty of other groups that have a legitimate claim to a share of that resource from having the economic liberty to be able to exploit that resource. If some citizens are rendered unable to breathe as a result of the pollution created by others in the air they share, then one group has been given economic advantage at the expense of the economic liberty of another.

Thus it is possible, using the rhetoric of those who have created the Constitution in Exile concept, to show that even if their own arguments about the constitution are valid, their claim of the correct application of Constitutional principles still does not support their goals (eliminating abortion rights, reducing environmental protection, ending campaign finance, etc.) since those goals all have the effect of simply enhancing one group's (usually the currently dominant one) economic liberty, at the expense of another group's economic liberty, rather than increasing economic liberty for all citizens as the Constitution would still require under such an interpretation.

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