Second “Great” Debate: The Grand Planner vs. The Grand Nonquestioner and a Political Rant to Boot!
Oct. 15th, 2004 @ 05:43 pm
I listened, again didn’t watch, the second debate between the “President” and Kerry. Kerry won this one in my mind, by a bit. This is a better forum for Bush. He is more personal than Kerry. Bush is a better speaker to people. He is cute with his abhorrent grammar skills, funny Texas accent, and big old head. He is so precious, it makes you want to give him a hug no matter what he is saying. It is like when a little puppy walks right up to you and bites your hand. Sure you KNOW it hurts, but that little growl, the funny big head, and the overall cute mannerisms make you forget that currently there are razor sharp teeth tearing their way throw your flesh. Bush is like that little puppy, only he has launched two wars. But Bush didn’t do so hot in this debate either. The woman that asked him what mistakes he made was really good. He avoided it but eventually got around to saying he had appointed some people in the wrong position. Later that night he said that the Generals told him they were going into Iraq with a good plan. Bush refuses to take the blame, for anything. This debate proves he refuses to admit error and that will hurt him.
Then there is Kerry. I am so sick of Kerry’s “I have a plan, but I am not going to talk about it here.” Could there be a more unsatisfying response. The shocking thing is people on the left are eating it up. I think this is partly because they are desperate to say they support Kerry and not just hate Bush. Kerry comes off as lacking vision by just saying he has a plan and then pointing you to a website. This is the problem when you are aiming for the middle class middle ideology crowd. Kerry is so afraid he may say something that alienates someone that he doesn’t say it, he just repeats over and over “I have a plan… I have a plan… I have a plan… Go on the internet and look at my plan… Because I have a plan…” When you forget that not everyone has easy access to the internet, people of lower income, and that a good base of the democratic party are people of lower income, suddenly “go on the net and look at my plan, because I have a plan…” doesn’t seem like such a brilliant strategy. But if you are aiming for the white male middle class masses saying ad nausea “Go on the internet, I have a plan…” seems like a valid option, except for one little problem, the white male middle class masses are NEVER going to vote en mass for the democrats. Most of the white middle class men have fallen for the big lie. They think that one day they will become one of the elite. They think that there is no glass ceiling, they think they will one day be rich, that the boss will invite them to the table. So they want no limits on the wealthy because their ascension is “just around the corner.” This is the lie they have been fed, and the lie they believe with all their hearts. To them, voting democrat is admitting that they will never be uber-wealthy. They will never marry a super-model. They will never have a house in the Florida Keys. They will never have more cars than they can drive. Voting liberal is admitting that walls need to broken down and glass ceilings destroyed if more people are to become wealthy. In essence voting liberal means the average white middle class man is admitting he never had a chance and people of different sexes, religions, sexual orientations, economic status, and race REALLY didn’t have a chance. I say liberal because the Democratic Party is far from liberal these days. They are liberal in rhetoric, about the time they realize their base is about to collapse, but in policy they are conservatives. In this way they make their corporate handlers happy but throw a bone to the base when they are about to be smart and vote Green. This is the great lie that the rabid Democrats have been fed and the one they believe with all their hearts. The average Democrat believes he or she has a party of justice, a party of liberalism, free from corporate ambition and social stratification. To vote Green means to admit that the party they once loved is dead. To vote Green is to admit that the Democratic Party has turned its back on them. To vote Green is to admit that even within their own party they toil under a glass ceiling. The average Democrat is simply afraid to look up. Because in the great hall of the Democratic Party if a member chose to look up, they would see the glass ceiling, the barrier they cannot cross. And if they looked through the ceiling, they would see walking above them all are the CEOs that control the party. And those CEOs are not women, those CEOs are not people of color, those CEOs are not liberal, those CEOs are not in their social economic class, and, worst of all, those CEOs are the same one’s driving Republican Party. The Democratic Party is gone, if you really watched these debates you understand that. Kerry is the new Democrat, Kerry and Bush are of the same party, the Rebulicrat Revolution abounds. If you are a “Democrat” you either refuse to look up and see the truth, or realize it is true and aim to fight against it. Even now, good men and women fight in vane to save the Democratic Party, they are fighting for at least two political parties. I think the Democratic Party cannot be saved. There are those that see the men and women trying to save the Democratic Party as crusaders trying to save a sinking ship, but I just see this as sad. It is always tragic to see people desperately bailing water over the side of already sunken ship.
I have to say I disagree with you on the second half of your rant. Liberal and conservative have always been relative terms, so you, being a green, will always see democrats and republicans as more conservative than you. Consequently, you will likely see whatever differences that may exist between them to be more subtle than they actually are. Also, what we know as liberal now (well, at least for me) wasn't even on the liberal/conservative map a couple years ago. Furthermore, I'm not sure that all
those who identify as democrats believe what you say they believe -- I think their party affiliations may have no more to do with the parties than how the candidates stand on tax reform.
The party positions seem to have converged, in my opinion, because it is the most prudent strategy to win an election. I feel I should point out the economic model of two competing hot dog vendors on a boardwalk: The best place for either of them to be (the place where they will get the most business) is at the center of the boardwalk, because that way neither of them has an advantage over the other -- in other words, no candidate is very far from any other on critical issues, most notably the war in Iraq and the war on Terror, because they want to accrue the largest number of votes. Differences in the candidates' positions on economic, environmental, and (benign) foreign policy are like offering Coke vs. Pepsi as a beverage choice. While I admire those taking a clear stance and making a political statement, it's just not the most effective way to get elected in this electoral system.
|Date:||October 15th, 2004 07:22 am (UTC)|| |
I have to say I think I agree with the second half of Laurence's response. In my mind the ideal in an election is for the public to see candidates and what they believe (and what they will do if elected), and the majority of voters will then choose the candidate who best represents them. Instead, candidates say as little about anything distinctive that they believe (and here I think I'm agreeing with Andrew) in order to get the most votes to get elected for their own sake, rather than being honest and forthcoming and letting the voters actually choose something (which would be the ideal interest of a candidate, to serve the democracy rather than manipulate it). Or so my rant would go.
But really that just leads me to the conclusion that whatever the hell our election system had going for it, it seems to be undermined by the hot dog stand result in major-party candidates (combined with the seeming inevitability that no other party is likely to ever gain a significant majority vote unless they self-defeatingly join the Democrat/Republican behavior). So I say in all its futility, Yay Plato!
And I leave this link, to an NPR interview with a cognitive scientist who has a pretty useful metaphor about families to explain the fundamental differences between conservative and liberal moral beliefs:
I think liberalism can very easily, and historically, be defined as being on the vanguard of social and economic equality and reform particularly involving the central government. So you are true in saying that something like gender equality, would not have been a liberal issue 40 years ago, but racial equality was. I feel that defining liberalism as “striving for social equality through central governmental actions and reforms” in this way offers a good first order approximation of what liberalism has, at least within a decent span of time, been and what it is today.
I also agree that not all political party members are members because of ideological purposes. There certainly are people that are Republicans because they are "tough on crime." But I do feel that if you asked a Democrat who was a Democrat for ideological reasons, why they were of that party, a very popular answer would be because it is the "liberal" party, and thus the party of inclusion and social responsibility. I feel this simply isn't the case. The Democrats no longer ride the wave of equality for all and social responsibility, and I feel too many ideological democrats simply refuse to admit this. The Kyoto Protocol is a prime example. The ideological democrat was calling for Bush's head when he "pulled us out" of the Protocol, yet under Clinton we never really where in it. Clinton would only consider it when the U.S. had our sinks (forests, etc) subtracted from our sources (actual emissions) it scuttled the whole document! No one else got this deal but the U.S. The ideological democrat refuses to admit that Bush didn't pull us out, because Clinton never really put us in. That to me is a blind refusal to look up and see what the party is doing. I know not every Democrat supports the Kyoto Protocol, but I offer this only as one example. Every tenant of the party can be chipped away in this fashion. So I am left wondering, is a Democrat simply someone that isn't a Republican? That seems much more unsatisfying to me than locating people on the conservative to liberal spectrum.
I do not necessarily agree with your hot dog analogy. I think the system is more complicated than that. Both the democrats and the republicans have traditional bases of support. If a hot dog stand is known for making the best hot dogs, is it wise to stop selling hot dogs and start selling burgers of the same quality as its competition? Or should it stick with what has brought it to the game to begin with? It may be more prudent to change, but I don’t think this is the case in the US. I think the Republicans stick more to their base and that is why I see them doing so well. The Democrats are trying to court a group that just will not accept them, and in the process are forgetting their base. No, they have outright abandoned their base. Minorities feel left out by the Kerry campaign, and why shouldn't they? I haven't heard him mention them yet, but I am sure that is all in "his plan..." The base is not energized which drives the Democratics deeper into the center, instead of what it should be doing which is pulling them back out towards liberalism. I understand that an election is a game to be won or lost, that the actual governing of the nation has taken a back seat to the election, but the system is broken. We don't have two hot dog venders; we have two venders selling more or less the exact same thing. Instead of specializing and making really yummy hot dogs they are making “just okay” everything. We need a system where specialty venders are allowed in. No one wants a system where we have two fast food places that more or less sell the same stuff, if this was the case we would not have any store that wasn’t a McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s. Can a more specialized restaurant (third party) compete with a McDonald’s, not right now. McDonald’s has too strong a hold, just like our two main stream political parties currently hold a duopoly and they know it. So under our current system playing to the middle MAY BE the only way to go, though I don’t think this should be done at the price of the “base.” Certainly the Democrats think this is the way to go, but this is part of the sickness, not the solution. It is time to let people like Cobb, Badnarik, and Nader into the debates. It is time to actually have campaign finance reform, it is time to fix things. I don’t think it is logical to assume going centralist works, I know it turns off a lot of voters. I know a lot of people look across the boardwalk and realize they have to walk an awfully long way to get to a hot dog stand, so they just turn around and walk away. I think we need more stands out there, if for no other reason than the grand experiment.