Democrats & Liberals Archives

Congratulations to the People of Egypt

I was just a kid when the Berlin Wall fell, when the people of Eastern Europe themselves overthrew their Soviet Bloc masters, sometimes peacefully sometimes not so much. I was not much older when the attempted coup in Russia fizzled out, and finally spelled the end of the Soviet Regime. Now, Hosni Mubarak, leader of Egypt for 30 years, has stepped down in the face of massive public opposition, and the transition is notable for it’s lack of violence.

Some have criticized the Administration for keeping a hands-off approach, but I think such paternalism would have backfired. Egypt had to chose its own destiny, or at least not feel our hands pushing This had to be a gift that Egyptians gave to themselves, or they would value it less for the fact that it wasn't their efforts that freed them..

When our framers came together to create the government that leads the country today, what they had at stake was a wilderness nation that they themselves had forged out of the Revolutionary War. They had a stake in what they were doing as they made their compromises and settled their disagreements. Rather than have the consitution be holy writ bestowed from above, or the imposition of another nation's requirements for us as their new client state, our constitution was a compact between free and willing people to share power, limit its excesses, but at the same time give the country the government it needed to function.

Here's hoping that the Egyptian people will move towards something like that themselves.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 11, 2011 2:59 PM
Comments
Comment #318475

Stephen, I’m waiting to see how this plays out. I’m glad the people of Egypt got what they wanted, but I’m going to give it some time to see how the country progresses before I make any comments to wheather this is a good thing or bad thing.

Posted by: KAP at February 11, 2011 4:21 PM
Comment #318477

Whatever their emergence be, they, as a country full of diversity, will be by their own means and at their direction. They will have achieved it and will live with it, through success and failure until it’s shaped by their determination. Perhaps we will be an example that helps to guide them.
I think that President Obama exercised wise constraint in staying back and allowing that to happen, yet firmly offering support and encouragement.
Today was a good day !!

Posted by: jane doe at February 11, 2011 4:26 PM
Comment #318485

Imagine the Egypt Citizens winning by using the Weapons of Peace, but still I see Glen Beck cry and warn others to worry about the Global Generational Winds of Change blowing. Ever wonder what his point of view in the 60’s and 70’s looked like? Some people will alway remain a throwback to the 20th Century.

Posted by: Henry Scklatman at February 11, 2011 5:23 PM
Comment #318486

At this point about all the United States can do is to accept the fall of the Mubarak government and hope that the military leaders, many of whom received extensive training by our military, will act responsibly for the good of Egypt and her people.

I believe it is in the best interests of Egypt that the military leaders do not act too hastily in arranging for new elections to form a new civilian government. Time is needed for the various groups to coalesce around candidates and to formulate their political goals.

To demonstrate for freedom is one thing, to define exactly what that freedom should entail is quite another and a substantially more difficult task.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 5:32 PM
Comment #318498

The return of the Freedom Agenda.

Back when Bush and Condi Rice were talking it up, we heard from the liberal realists. But better late than never. Welcome back to the side of freedom.

Read what Condi Rice said in Egypt in 2005. http://www.arabist.net/blog/2005/6/20/condoleezza-rices-remarks-from-her-cairo-speech-at-auc.html

Remember the reaction?

Here is another good article re - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/10/AR2011021007115.html.

Of course the “revolution” is the first step. I still remember the euphoria in Iran … before the evil regime took over and nobody smiled again. Of course before that, we had the Bolsheviks stealing the revolution. They hung on for generations.

Lets hope Egypt doesn’t repeat those terrible examples and let’s hope Syria and Iran are next.

Posted by: C&J at February 11, 2011 7:14 PM
Comment #318503

C&J the link to the Condi Rice speech is much appreciated. What she said would have been just as appropriate yesterday as it was in 2005. And, she had the courage and foresight to say it on Egyptian soil, not from our distant shores.

Your link to the Washington Post article doesn’t work.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 7:42 PM
Comment #318504

Royal

Here is the link again - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/10/AR2011021005339.html?nav=hcmoduletmv

Stephen was just a kid in 1989, but I recall it well. I also recall the years before, when liberals called me stupid for believing that communism could fall and downright evil for supporting someone like Reagan who said it would go into the dustbin of history. Within a couple of years, they had all convinced themselves that they always knew it would fall.

The same will happen with this. They hated Bush’s freedom agenda and made fun of him for it. Now they knew it all along.

I do worry, of course, the bad guys will seize these revolutions. It was trickier in 1989 than we recall today and the Arab world has less history of freedom. But I remember talking to people in 1988-9 who insisted the Poland had no democratic roots and that communism was not a bad system for them.

Posted by: C&J at February 11, 2011 7:55 PM
Comment #318505

Thanks for correcting the link. Great article. Charles Krauthammer is one of my favorite political commentators.

How often liberals forget the genesis of change while quickly climbing on board after the fact.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 8:07 PM
Comment #318507

Royal

This one caught us all by surprise.

In times of discontinuous change, the expertise of the experts ceases to be useful, since it is based on the events of the past. I know it is kind of a convoluted sentence, but it is true.

I think we need to have some confidence in the will of people all over the world to be free and not make exception or be too “tolerant” of oppressive cultural arrangements.

I don’t know if a Ronald Reagan type could have inspired the Iranians during their time of promise a year and a half ago. I do know that nobody tried to play that role and the fight for freedom there fizzled. I think it is too bad that we are quick to recognize a tyrant generally when he is not our enemy. Iran is a more oppressive place than Egypt. So is Syria, Libya and Algeria. Let’s hope the winds of freedom blow a little harder in those places too.

Posted by: C&J at February 11, 2011 8:26 PM
Comment #318511

“How often liberals forget the genesis of change while quickly climbing on board after the fact.”

Royal Flush,

Just a few days ago, in multiple posts, you were critical of the US for not supporting Mubarek. Talk about climbing on board after the fact.

Let me also correct another of your comments “she had the courage and foresight to say it on Egyptian soil, not from our distant shores.” Obama made a similar speech in Cairo in 2009. Neither was effective in getting the Mubarek regime to pursue true political reform.

The truth of the matter is that conservatives are split on promotion of democracy in the Middle East. Some continue to adhere to the Bush Doctrine. Others say it was naive to begin with and failed with the democratic election of Hamas and was abandoned by Bush. Where do you stand?

Posted by: Rich at February 11, 2011 9:21 PM
Comment #318516

KAP-
I think having the choice, having the say is a good thing in and of itself. But of course, if you’re saying we should look at how this plays out, of course.

Royal Flush-
The military has been a major factor in this transition. The question is, how much room they will allow for change. That I’m skeptical about.

As for Climbing on board after the fact? Bull. Democrats were engaged for both the Iranian kefluffle, and this. Contrary to what Krauthammer says, we have no interest in retrograde ultraconservatives taking over. You ever seriously read what Democrats and Liberals have to say about the burqas and everything?

C&J-
I remember many movies predicting the fall of Communism, or at least the end of the Cold War. At the very least, people thought a thaw and a peaceful conclusion was possible.

The computers in old science fiction movies are all mainframes. Why? Because that’s what people knew. People simply created their predictions from variations of what already existed, rather than from whole cloth. You ought to read David Brin’s Earth. He anticipated a lot of the way the Web would go back in 1991.

As for Bush’s freedom agenda, or whatever you call it?

I think Obama’s taking the better approach, which is actually the approach he took with Iran: Let the people decide. In Iran, it’s not going so well now, but the Mullahs in that government may have just dammed up a whole bunch of resentment that’s going to burst free at some point.

But either way, it’s the people who decide and know they’re deciding. The less of our influence that’s visible, the better. It must seem to these people to be their will at work.

Or put in movie terms, if we plant the idea, it must be an inception.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 11, 2011 9:47 PM
Comment #318518

Rich

Read Obama’s Cairo speech. Imagine it is not Obama talking but George Bush. Are you impressed?

Stephen

I was there and active in those days. None of the experts thought it would happen like that and I personally took a lot of heat for following the Reagan line that communism was headed for the dustbin of history.

There was recently a documentary on about the Reagan times. It showed all the peace demonstrations claiming that Reagan would bring war with his ideas. I was in Vienna on November 9, 1989, attending a seminar with experts. I asked if they didn’t think that E. Germany was on the ropes. The experts explained to me, like I was a dumb kid, that E Germany was fundamentally stable and the conservative idea that it would collapse was plain silly.

Re Obama’s approach - You equate the government of Iran with the people of Iran. You say “let the people decide”. Indeed, it would be nice if they could. Like the communist countries then, Iran is not a legitimate government. We have to accept the power, but we don’t have to accept the idea.

I think we are both on the side of freedom. But we have to make the distinctions. The people of Iran, China, Syria, Cuba and lots of other places are not those governments. When we talk about “insulting” the Iranians, we are making a shorthand equivalency that is not justified.

We easily recognize that Murbarak is not Egypt. I don’t really get why we cannot seem to see it as clearly in the case of Iran, Syria, Cuba etc. When one of those dictators tells us that we have insulted his country, we tend to believe him. Why?

BTW - you know that I am not a Harry Reid fan, but I did like it when he called the leader of China by the correct name - i.e. dictator. Way to go, Harry.

Posted by: C&J at February 11, 2011 10:15 PM
Comment #318534

C&J,
Harry Reid may have the opinion the Leader of China is a Dictator; however, his corret Titles are http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hu_Jintao Knowing your history is important. For can I call the present Speaker of the House a “Cry Baby?”

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 11, 2011 11:39 PM
Comment #318537

Isn’t China trying to block all that is going on in Egypt right now?
The internet age is here…people will figure out how to get their freedom message out no matter where they are.
Am I nuts or did Obama want a KILL SWITCH for the internet right here in the USA???
The ‘left’ wanted to kill the Patriot Act while Bush was in office but now they are ok with it??
The Tea Party is a bunch of crazy people but the same kind of people in Egypt (or anywhere else) are freedom lovers?
Until ALL of us realize that freedom & liberty are the goals…not big government & a dependent society…

I do not know how the far left OR far right in THIS country can preach to anyone about FREEDOM… our politics in the US is no better than what is going on in Egypt right now.
BOTH sides are trying to tell the majority what to do and how to live their lives…makes good news…keeps the pundits in a job…woo F-ing hoo …what does it do for the MAJORITY of us??

I can agree…firing up the base…getting out the vote…using the internet to do it…IS NOT the best way to run a country!

Posted by: Dawn at February 12, 2011 12:13 AM
Comment #318541

Dawn,
Why some might want you to believe President Obama has an Internet Kill Switch I found this http://www.cio.com.au/article/375474/internet_kill_switch_isn_t/ which tells a different story. And why I have no doubt that an American President could ask for the Internet to be shut sown across America. Understanding a little bit about how impossible that could be and under what conditions Hackers would allow it to happen. It would be easier just to ask Americans to stop using the internet.

Besides, what was done in Egypt this past few weeks has already been done here in America 40 years ago under much worse conditions and harsher actions by our government. However, I could see where the Democrats and republicans could be scared. For imagine if Americans started to protest that they no loner wanted to work for Corporations. What would the Parents Do?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 12, 2011 12:46 AM
Comment #318542

Am I nuts or did Obama want a KILL SWITCH for the internet right here in the USA???
Yes..Yes you are.

Posted by: Jeff at February 12, 2011 12:53 AM
Comment #318543

Exactly Stephen.

Posted by: KAP at February 12, 2011 12:58 AM
Comment #318549

No…I’m not Jeff.

Have any of you been inside a factory in the US in the past 30 yrs? I have. SPOTLESS!
Do any of you know that unions are primarily fighting for the ‘individual’ and not for the ‘team’.
What are we taught when we are young? There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’.
Unions make it so each person has a specific job. No team play. When the person with a ‘specific’ job is off that day…nothing can be accomplished OR the white collar boss has to fill that job/task.
I have family members & friends in the auto industry.
Same problem in the government!
I have family members & friends in the teaching profession.
Their biggest gripe? The teacher behind them(grade wise) is not preparing the children to move up to their grade…they have to teach kids what they should already know.
Why would ANY teacher support such a system?? It is insane to think a good teacher would want a bad teacher to have tenure…especially if they were about to have those kids in their class!
Ok…let’s fight…left or right.

Posted by: Dawn at February 12, 2011 1:55 AM
Comment #318552

Dawn,
Why not Left or Right we never said the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s wre the smartest generation ever to walk the earth even though many of them want to believe they are. Nevertheless, you make some good points, but I do need to ask you if you know why the last 40 plus years was designed that way?

Because why Specializing has gave us great advancements it has also created major gaps in Government and Society. However, I think the biggest gap that it has created is the inability for people today to use Common Knowledge and Common Sense to understand and fix things. And IMHO that is a crime although I can’t get no one to listen to me.

For a factory or office should be clean, yet so many people look down at the folks who provide such services.

Many Unions forget to teach their members that why Management is in charge of the day to day operations it is Labor who makes the profit for the owner and stockholders as well as the salaries of management. Since without a good product nobody can make a profit. Nevertheless, in the 70’s it was decided to drop quality for quanity.

Yes, specialization (I think that is a word) has hurt everybody and made it much easier to pass the problems forward onto others in almost every profession to include health and medicine. But given the Nature of the Beast how do we correct that which we have broken?

I could say simply reverse that which has been done over the last 40 years; however, I would be wrong. No, the answer is held by Our Children as they are given the inspiration to inspire a Better World for themselve and future generations. Ny question to you and others over the age of 30 is “Are you willing to set aside your Fears of the Unknown and allow the Youth of Today the same Civil and Constitutional Right we enjoyed in showing Our Parents we could build a Better World in the 1970’s? When everyone wish the world had a coke so they could sing in prefect harmony.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 12, 2011 2:56 AM
Comment #318559

Dawn states:

Unions make it so each person has a specific job. No team play. When the person with a ‘specific’ job is off that day…nothing can be accomplished OR the white collar boss has to fill that job/task.

Really?? So as a teacher, when my child is sick, I may have to call in and not go to work that day. They usually close the entire school until I come back.

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2011 11:29 AM
Comment #318560

Henry

Yes, I am sure you would object if we didn’t call him Chancellor Hitler or General Secretary Stalin. Of course, you must have shown due respect to President Mubarak.

In the protocol sense you are right. Stick to that story if you want. But I expect you will live up to it when referring to all politicians. And no more saying “Faux News”, if you want to be a stickler for such things.

Dawn

You are right. The Chinese leaders don’t like freedom. It threatens them. On the Chinese internet, they have blocked searches containing references to Egypt.

Of course, as Henry says, we should be sure not to call them what they really are.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2011 12:18 PM
Comment #318561

I really do not understand what conservatives are so upset about lately. Many complain that are country is going downhill and that we are doomed as a nation. Please do not despair. Your ideas have really come to fruition in the past 20 years and we are exactly in the place we need to be if we are going to obtain a perfect conservative vision for our country.

You believe in free markets. Check. Regulations have diminished significantly, especially in the past 15 years. Just look at the banking industry. Wow, that turned out really well. In the past, people would try to go in for loans that they could not afford, and guess what? They were actually denied. What a stupid concept to have tough regulations to keep an eye on banks. We should never question their motivations. I mean they need to make a profit too.

Companies are now sending many jobs overseas. Well, what do you expect in a free market when someone in another country will do an equivalent job for a few dollars a day? So please give yourself a pat on the back. That international friend of yours that answers your tech question and makes sure you have enough cushion in your shoe when going for a jog thanks you immensely.

Unions have also been significantly diminished in the last 25 years. Way to go on that one. People should never complain, ever, if their employer asks them to come to work on a day off, even if they have a sick child. Or if their employer decides to give bonuses to themselves while keeping the average workers wage at a low level. For Gods Sake they deserve to make 500 times what the average employee makes. Unions-What a bunch of whiners!

Many Americans are now invested in the stock market and have had their pensions converted to 401Ks. Awesome! No more of that crazy security.

Most of the wealth is now concentrated in the hands of the top 1% and it is becoming more and more difficult to stay in the middle class. Well, that’s what happens in a more ownership society. Those other 99% are a bunch of losers anyway.

Now, all that needs to be done is to get rid of health care reform, put an end to all unions, and make sure not one American ever receives a pension.

You guys are coming closer and closer to achieving a conservative utopia. Crack out the champagne and celebrate! You’ve earned it!

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2011 12:21 PM
Comment #318565

Rich wrote; “Just a few days ago, in multiple posts, you were critical of the US for not supporting Mubarek. Talk about climbing on board after the fact.”

I believe I wrote that our SecState and those in similar positions in other free nations should meet in Cairo for a public display of concern about the desires of the Egyptian people. In my opinion this would have perhaps had a calming effect upon the demonstrators and defused a situation that appeared, at that time, to be bordering on armed conflict which could have inflamed and engulfed the entire Middle East.

I also believe that our constitution is not a suicide pact. Where our vital national security interests are concerned we should act to protect them. There was, and still remains, great risks to us and other nations in the events unfolding in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The promotion of freedom and democracy around the world is a noble and justifiable effort by us and other free nations. And, it requires great skill to know when, where, and how to act. While we may not always get it right, we must never stop trying.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 12, 2011 2:54 PM
Comment #318566

Rich reminded me of Obama’s speech in Cairo on June 4, 2009 and equated it to that of the one given by Condi Rice in Cairo in 2005. C&J have linked the Rice speech and below is the link to the Obama speech.

I find a huge difference between the two speeches. Rice called for specific actions to be taken in Egypt for a more democratic government. Obama speaks in generalities for world peace. Please read the two speeches and see if you find the differences that I did. Of course, one must take into account that Rice was speaking as Secretary of State while Obama was speaking as President.

I am not so much being critical of Obama, while believing he could have done more than speak in generalities, as I am offering praise for Rice for her boldness and outline of steps to be taken in Egypt.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/us/politics/04obama.text.html?pagewanted=8&adxnnlx=1297540877-XgJq2BBtOhcDJq/O18L37g

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 12, 2011 3:26 PM
Comment #318568

Well said, Jack. I’m not going to let Jack’s observations go by without notice! He’s right. Just where does this conservative agenda expect our country to end up? We are on our way. Get ready middle class. You voted for it… you’re gonna get it!

Rick

Jack’s post: Read it AGAIN. He’s spot on:

I really do not understand what conservatives are so upset about lately. Many complain that are country is going downhill and that we are doomed as a nation. Please do not despair. Your ideas have really come to fruition in the past 20 years and we are exactly in the place we need to be if we are going to obtain a perfect conservative vision for our country.

You believe in free markets. Check. Regulations have diminished significantly, especially in the past 15 years. Just look at the banking industry. Wow, that turned out really well. In the past, people would try to go in for loans that they could not afford, and guess what? They were actually denied. What a stupid concept to have tough regulations to keep an eye on banks. We should never question their motivations. I mean they need to make a profit too.

Companies are now sending many jobs overseas. Well, what do you expect in a free market when someone in another country will do an equivalent job for a few dollars a day? So please give yourself a pat on the back. That international friend of yours that answers your tech question and makes sure you have enough cushion in your shoe when going for a jog thanks you immensely.

Unions have also been significantly diminished in the last 25 years. Way to go on that one. People should never complain, ever, if their employer asks them to come to work on a day off, even if they have a sick child. Or if their employer decides to give bonuses to themselves while keeping the average workers wage at a low level. For Gods Sake they deserve to make 500 times what the average employee makes. Unions-What a bunch of whiners!

Many Americans are now invested in the stock market and have had their pensions converted to 401Ks. Awesome! No more of that crazy security.

Most of the wealth is now concentrated in the hands of the top 1% and it is becoming more and more difficult to stay in the middle class. Well, that’s what happens in a more ownership society. Those other 99% are a bunch of losers anyway.

Now, all that needs to be done is to get rid of health care reform, put an end to all unions, and make sure not one American ever receives a pension.

You guys are coming closer and closer to achieving a conservative utopia. Crack out the champagne and celebrate! You’ve earned it!

Posted by: LibRick at February 12, 2011 4:33 PM
Comment #318569

Jack

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

I think the country is again going in the right direction, although not quick enough.

I was a little uneasy when the liberal end of the Democratic party took power in in Congress 2006 and took the presidency in 2008.

But the American people have resisted the lurch to the left. President Obama has been forced toward the center. Whether he believes it or not, he is now doing and saying more of the right things. We will come out of this mess.

Re Utopia - no real conservative believes in utopias of any kind. We understand that there is no finish line. We cannot create perfection on earth. One challenge will replace another. This is life.

The American conservative goal is a process where individuals are free to make choices. Each individual decides which little “utopia” he/she wants to create. When we put them all together, we don’t get perfection, but we get the best possible.

We conservatives just believe that people themselves might make better choices about their lives than can government bureaucrats. We understand that government has a legitimate role and we do our duties to it. That is why conservatives tend to outnumber liberals in the armed forces. We take seriously our obligations in other areas also, which is why conservatives give more on average to charity than do liberals.

So if we did believe in utopias, a conservative ideal would be the place where individuals take responsibility for themselves and for society and where government creates the conditions for prosperity and happiness, but does not manage the process.

Re Egypt - If you watch Fox News, you see that conservative analysts are delighted that liberals have come back to the freedom agenda.

It looked bad a few years ago, with what seemed like a liberal Juggernaut, but we are happier now. After all, the future belongs to the free. The future belongs to us.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2011 4:53 PM
Comment #318570

C&J

Freedom is a favorite word of the conservatives. Tell us where the freedom is for the disenfranchised? As the poor get poorer and the direction of the government is to reduce support… as the middle class shrinks and the government shifts more and more of the tax burden upon them… as the wealthy become the super wealthy… the freedom issues become clear. The wealthy are free to invest where and how they choose. The poor and middle class are free to take lower and lower paying jobs…or not. The wealthy are free to vote themselves huge bonuses and reduce government environmental restrictions, union work restrictions, and finance and banking restrictions. The poor are free to find an education the best way they can as freedom allows universities and schools of higher learning set market price tuitions. Meanwhile citizens are bought and sold by ‘Citizens United’ groups who have the freedom to dominate political discussion via media blitzes which support business/conglomerate/monopolistic entities who are free to write the rules the rest of the populace is free to live by.. or not.

Be careful of the use of the conservative ideas of ‘freedom’. Think about your positions and extrapolate them to their logical ends. Something like Egypt could be in our future if we are not careful. Freedom is tied to economics whether you believe it or not. Jack was right. The country has moved toward more conservative rule in the last 14 years or so. We are headed where the conservatives are aiming.

Posted by: LibRick at February 12, 2011 5:26 PM
Comment #318571

C&J,
A Man once said “Love your Enemy” and why I personally don’t believe that meamt give them hugs and kisses. I do believe the best way to disarm the person is respect their name and title. For exampple; If I say Royal Flush than the person who posts here knows that I am respecting him even though I may strongly disagree with his position. However, if I was to call him Royal F.U. than not only will we hear him strongly object, but also all of his supports and even dome of his opponents coming to his aid.

For why I realize name calling is used by Children in order to turn others against some one. As Adults and espexially those who are suppose to be Statespersons IMHO it is totally unacceptable.

Note to Royal Flush: I could not help myself for the name is just to easy for the picken. LOL

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 12, 2011 5:36 PM
Comment #318573

Rich

Freedom is freedom. That is why we like the word. I always thought most Americans liked it.

I have been poor and not poor. When I was poor, freedom was even sweeter, since I had fewer other things.

We can talk about a just distribution. There is ample room for debate about how much is too much and how much is enough. About freedom, there is no such ambiguity. Those who trade freedom for equality usually end up with neither.

Henry

Very nice of you. In the case of Royal, you are justified. Politeness is a golden key that opens many doors. But don’t let yourself be misled by dictators and bad guys. You can be polite, but you have to recognize the world for what it is.

Do you believe that freedom and democracy are better than dictatorship and oppression? I think you do. Would you classify places like China, Cuba or Iran as free places? Would you want to move there?

In this post, we are celebrating the victory of the Egyptian people over a … what? He called himself a president. Is he the same as our president?

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2011 6:09 PM
Comment #318574

Rich

BTW - if you check into Egypt, you will learn that one of the biggest problems was lack of a free economy. The government regulated much more strongly than we do. In fact, the government actually employed nearly half the population. Sounds more like a liberal thing, doesn’t it?

We also have a paralell of the people standing up to the government. We called that the tea party.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2011 6:12 PM
Comment #318575

C&J, you state:
a conservative ideal would be the place where individuals take responsibility for themselves and for society and where government creates the conditions for prosperity and happiness, but does not manage the process.

The ideal that people take care of themselves is of course shared by liberals as well. Liberals do not believe that people should be given everything. If, as you state, that conservatives are happy with the government creating conditions for prosperity than I guess I’m a conservative. I didn’t know that conservatives supported things such as quotas, and were a big backer of unions so that these individuals of which you speak could at least be given a level playing field to start with on their way to prosperity.

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2011 6:15 PM
Comment #318576

C&J you also state:

I have been poor and not poor. When I was poor, freedom was even sweeter, since I had fewer other things.

I do not want to get personal, but this is one of the most bizarre things I have ever read. So all of these things that you can now afford are a burden and you have given up some of your freedom to obtain them? Are you really saying that you feel sorry for yourself now that you have more money and more things? Are you saying that a poor person appreciates freedom more because they may not have as many possessions? I’m sorry, but worrying whether or not you will sleep inside a shelter and not knowing where your next meal may come from is not my idea of freedom. If you love freedom so much, and believe that the idea of freedom is sweeter for poor people, then go back to being poor.

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2011 6:36 PM
Comment #318577

Jack writes; “The ideal that people take care of themselves is of course shared by liberals as well. Liberals do not believe that people should be given everything. If, as you state, that conservatives are happy with the government creating conditions for prosperity than I guess I’m a conservative. I didn’t know that conservatives supported things such as quotas…”

Hmmm, how does one make the leap from people taking care of themselves and government setting quotas? I guess I should ask what exactly Jack means by quotas before going further.

A common definition of “quota” is, An allotment or limited amount.

Perhaps Jack is talking about an allotment or limited amount of happiness, freedom, speech or liberty. I find it difficult to understand a government quota for prosperity.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 12, 2011 6:37 PM
Comment #318578

Lastly, C&J you state that: Those who trade freedom for equality usually end up with neither.

You are making a false argument here. In your opinion then, the civil rights movement and giving women the right to vote ended with both sides ending up without freedom or equality. Did some people lose freedoms in the exchange? Of course. White land owning men gave up the freedom of discriminating against women/minorities and had to allow them to vote. In the civil rights movement, white people also had to give up their freedom of sitting at the front of buses and had to give up the freedom of sitting at a diner without any black people sitting next to them.

To say that both sides ended with neither freedom or equality is ridiculous. The idea that people who “trade” freedom for equality usually end up with neither is simply false.

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2011 7:11 PM
Comment #318579

Liberals love the idea of freedom. But one man’s freedom to own/control 100% of the resources severely limits the freedom of another man’s use of said resources. There will be balance in the system. History has shown us that. Unfortunately that balance is usually accomplished by wild swings from left to right often accompanied by violence.

It would be well if man used his ‘freedom’ to regulate his desire and greed to consume more than he needs. We don’t often see that in practice. America has an unparalleled history of coming closest to this good regulation. We want neither the blind central authority of the past communist governments, nor do we want the unregulated ‘freedom’ of the Industrial Age of Dicken’s times. Conservatives fear we have been heading to the former. Liberals fear we are plunging headlong into the latter. Freedom is what you make of it. It should be a shared freedom or it will be an unsustainable freedom.

Posted by: LibRick at February 12, 2011 7:13 PM
Comment #318580

Hi Royal,

I am not speaking of a quota “for” prosperity. But if some employers refuse to hire certain types of people, are they not infringing on that individuals ability to be prosperous? I guess one could argue that the person could look for a job elsewhere, but there are some pretty large American companies in which minorities have a much more difficult time getting their foot in the door. Look at the NFL. After much pressure teams now have to at least interview a minority candidate. Lo and behold the Pittsburgh Steelers have a Superbowl winning minority coach. Years ago this would never have happened because he would never have even gotten the opportunity to be interviewed.

Therefore, if conservatives truly believe, as C&J stated, that the government should be in the business of creating conditions for prosperity than doesn’t it follow that conservatives would then support quotas and make sure all people at least get a fair shake? Isn’t that part of creating the “conditions” for prosperity to take place?

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2011 7:28 PM
Comment #318581

Jack

Of course I don’t support quotas. I have no trouble with unions, as long as they are voluntary.

I am not sure what the “level playing field” means. I was brought up poor and had some advantages over some of my friends who were born into much wealthier families. My society provided me with plenty of opportunity, although it was not equal to everybody else. In some ways it was better and in some ways worse. But I had the freedom to improve myself according to what I thought appropriate.

I generally like being not poor better. I am sorry if I did not make it clear. Freedom was a bigger part of what I “owned” back then and so RELATIVELY more important. I had the freedom not to stay poor and I chose to do the things that made that possible.

Beyond that, because I have developed useful skills and some means, I can be a better citizen and better perform my responsibilities. That is what good people do, IMO. You may not agree and that is the beauty of freedom. We don’t have to agree. The government doesn’t need to force us to get along, beyond respecting the common rule of law.

Librick

Our system included lots of self-correcting mechanisms. The free market is constantly redistributing wealth and opportunities. The freedom allows us to make choices.

I agree that we should avoid the twin evils of communism and complete lack of regulations. Exactly where we draw the line is the dispute. In general, we should give freedom the benefit of the doubt over regulation.



Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2011 7:34 PM
Comment #318585

C&J wrote: I agree that we should avoid the twin evils of communism and complete lack of regulations. Exactly where we draw the line is the dispute. In general, we should give freedom the benefit of the doubt over regulation.

Ok, I hear you, but I bet that you don’t feel that way about many things. How about the freedom to take and sell drugs for recreational use. (mind you, I’m not necessarily in favor of much of this). How about the freedom for a woman to rent her body out? How about the freedom to drive a vehicle without insurance or a license? How about the freedom to burn trash on your own property, or store junk cars on your property, or let your lawn become overgrown with weeds, trash, etc.

You see, I think you probably have many thoughts on where you want others’ freedoms curbed. You are right, it is all about where we draw the line. Just like you probably don’t want your neighbor to keep junk cars and tires and old beer cans on his lawn, I don’t want poor people in my community. I’m probably more fiscally conservative than you think regarding this. I do think that ‘giving’ people essentials to live is not necessarily in their best interest. But I do think that limiting how much of the available resources can be held and consumed by the very wealthy is probably in order.

BTW, I’m not too far removed from what most Americans would consider very wealthy… just so you know that I’m not taking these positions for personal financial gain or in bitterness of doing without or envy.

Posted by: LibRick at February 12, 2011 8:25 PM
Comment #318586

Jack writes; “Therefore, if conservatives truly believe, as C&J stated, that the government should be in the business of creating conditions for prosperity than doesn’t it follow that conservatives would then support quotas and make sure all people at least get a fair shake? Isn’t that part of creating the “conditions” for prosperity to take place.”

Jack, I don’t think government setting quotas for who gets hired is necessary. We do have laws on the books regarding discrimination in employment. Let’s enforce the law.

Quota’s don’t really result in a “fair shake”. In fact, in my opinion they result in the opposite, an unfair shake. If there are jobs available should they not go to the best qualified person, regardless of age, sex or race? To do otherwise would, in fact, be discrimination. I frequently read of lawsuits brought against employers for discrimination and the penalty, if found guilty, is severe.

For most Americans our ability to work and earn is our primary resource and we trade that resource for wages. If I bring more and better personal resources to the job than others should I not expect to get the job? If government has leveled the playing field so that none are subject to any discrimination beyond the resources one brings to the employer why would quotas be necessary.

As long as government attempts to, and succeeds in, ensuring “equal opportunity” I believe it has done enough. It is up to the individual to compete for the jobs without government showing any kind of favoritism.

I believe some government jobs (such as the US Postal Service) used to, and perhaps still do, award points to applicants civil service scores for having served in our armed forces. I have no objection to this as it doesn’t establish a “quota” but rather, it is a reward for having served in the military.

When I applied for Social Security I was awarded an extra amount based upon the length of my military service. The reasoning behind this “award”, as explained to me by the SS administration, was to compensate me for the lower wages, and thus lower payroll taxes, that I experienced as a service member. There was no quota involved and no discrimination. All who served and who apply for social security are eligible.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 12, 2011 8:26 PM
Comment #318588

librick

We should legalize drugs, tax them, regulate them and stigmatize them, something like the use of cigarettes.

IMO - we should never regulate status, only behavior. For example, I will not stigmatize the person who drinks alcohol. But I do stigmatize the guy who acts like a boozer and I want to jail the one who drives like one.

A woman of legal age should be able to rent out her body. Of course, you and I might want to stigmatize that behavior.

Driving w/o a license should remain illegal, since roads are a commonly used public good. Society has a right to regulate them, of course based only on behavior of the people involved.

You should be able to burn trash on your property, with the caveat that you cannot interfere with the legitimate property rights of others or their ability to enjoy their own property.

I would not have a problem with storing old cars on your private property. Of course, your neighbors have a right to give you a hard time. And local firms should have the right not to service your property if you create a hazard. I believe in social pressure, not the coercive force of the state.

You should be able to let your lawn grow as much as you want, absent your agreement to some sort of community association. You also may have some responsibility to your neighbors, i.e. if you have noxious weeds going to seed.

Re poor people in my neighborhood - I would go with behavior again. I have no objection to poor, rich or anybody else. I would stigmatize behavior.

We have fallen into a kind of hole. We refuse to “judge” others or stigmatize behaviors. On the other hand, some people keep on calling for laws and regulations. We should get back into the business of judging and go lighter on the regulations and coercion.

I personally don’t like the behavior of some of the “wealthy”. IMO, some of the wealthy act a lot like some of the poor - i.e. irresponsibility. I am not sure what the government can do about it, since I fear that bureaucratic decision making might not improve the situation.

re your personal wealth - I don’t think many people make political decision based on personal financial considerations. That is what frustrates leftists, who keep on trying to explain to ordinary people in places like Kansas that they are voting against their economic self interest when they vote conservative. I assume that most people vote according to their values, unless I hear otherwise.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2011 8:50 PM
Comment #318590

C&J,
Harry Reid and others may have grown up learning China was ran by a Dictator; however, today in modern China we have American Business setting up shop in the country. So unless the Conservatives are willing to admit American businesses are oppressive than we should respect the President of the Peoples Republic of China even if we don’t agree with the countrys’ policies.

For Dictators and Bad Guys the words “Kill them with Kindness” has a nice ring. For why you can complain about what they do, stepping into the backroom and telling them what life can be like if they don;t want to play by the rules is very fun IMHO. Because like Bullies, most of them don’t like it when they find out they come out on the losing end.

No, I expect children to call each other names; however, Adults need to put the toys of childhood away and begin acting their age. For why I am forced to respect and even forgive Ignorance as a Gentleman, no were is it written that I have to put up with arrogance and stupidity from those who should know better.

BTW; If Conservatives are so much for Individual Responsibility than why do they seem to always oppose Individual Rights like abortion? Is it a case of “Do what I say and not as I do.”

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 12, 2011 8:55 PM
Comment #318593

Henry

Businesses work where they can. Their activities generally mitigate the oppressiveness of the regime by creating more choices.

China is a better place than it was, but it still does not respect human rights and there has never been a free election in China. You can call it what you want. Make up a new word if you like. It remains oppressive.

RE the “kill them with kindness” maybe you will extend that to people you disagree with in the U.S. That means you will have to show the proper respect to Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh etc. Or does this magnanimity apply only to foreign despots who may have actually done some damage?

If you follow your advice, you really cannot criticize anybody. You are a lot like my late mother in law, who used to say “if you cannot say something nice, you should not say anything at all.” That is very nice, indeed. But if you follow your advice, you probably should stop writing into a place where there is contention.

re abortion - Like most Americans, I think abortion should be legal, but with significant restrictions and discouraged. The problem with abortion is that two people are involved. But, of course, you cannot criticize my opinion on this or anything else, since you have decided to respect everything anybody says.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2011 9:07 PM
Comment #318596

C&J-
I can understand if many people were skeptical about the fall of the Eastern European Soviet Governments. Really, though, I think it was the collapse, as opposed to the fade or the burn out that shocked most people.

The Issue for the GOP, and the Tea Party especially is that they’re having to make up the far left they’re fighting against. They were at once too successful, and not successful enough.

I mean, why call Democrats Socialists? Simple: the GOP’s policies managed to almost destroy capitalism itself. They let the cheaters and the liars set up the structure of the markets. So long as somebody has the means to conceal information, they can avoid the immediate backlash of the market long enough to entrench their businesses against those forces.

The GOP almost destroyed Capitalism, by letting the system go out of control.

So, Liberals have to be socialists, because socialists want to completely destroy capitalism. That’s the only way conservatives nowadays can make themselves look better by comparison as they preach the same, tired, discredited free-market line.

What people are reacting against is fear of the unknown. The GOP’s free market libertarianism, thought badly wrong, is still familiar.

People want new policies, and they’ll be reminded of that with every new debacle that comes off the old ones.

All the Republican do at this point is to revive all the old scares and flood people with panic so they don’t get the opportunity to logically work out that the policies at your hands are the same ones that got us into such a miserable state in this country.

The Tea Partiers and the Republicans rely on their adversarial politics to keep relevant. They’re more interested in Government shutdowns, which are flamboyant, but last time ended up ill-fated for the Republicans, than they are interested in actual, good policy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 12, 2011 9:47 PM
Comment #318597

C&J,
With China you missed my point. For why I can tell Harry Reid and others that they should keep up with the times. At no point have I degraded them.

Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh etc to include you are entitled to your opinions; however, I can point out that when you say such things as “Smaller Government” that you are Ignorant. For what if I was to say Congress should have only one staff member, certainly your argument of “Smaller Government” couldn’t suggest they have anymore for that would mean you believe in Big Government.

Same way with abortion, for if I was to say every male should have their reproductive system clamped shut so women wouldn’t have to worry about the problem than were are the Pro-Life Supporters?

Even American Businesses in China have problems because it is easier to go along with the Status Quo than stand up for what is Right Regardless. In fact, google had that problem just a few years ago.

Like I said “Killing them with Kindness” does not mean I have to agree, but it does allow me the Freedom as a Gentleman to tell others what they don’t want to hear without telling that their all Plum Crazy! Sort of like putting them in the position so that the next words out of their mouth will allow them to show others how arrogant and stupid they are instead of me having to prove it.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 12, 2011 10:03 PM
Comment #318598

Stephen

I remember this very well. I was in grad school in the 1980s. The academic elite basically thought that communism would last forever. They actually got angry when someone would say it was obsolete and a person bringing it up could be accused of “thinking like Reagan”, which was considered a put down.

Re Republicans - unfortunately Republicans grew government too. The change is as much aimed at them as at Democrats. Both parties have grown government. We hope that both parties have seen the error. Republicans have jumped on it first. If Democrats start talking more about cutting government, I will be happy to welcome them back. I have always said that Clinton did a decent job and when he said the era of big government was over, I applauded.

Re being relevant - I think it is the liberals who have to worry about that. The intellectual & emotional energy has moved toward the middle right. The liberals have purged their moderates. Bill Clinton’s DLC has gone out of business.

Re the tea party - I have some sympathy for the tea party, but it is not generally my kind of place. It is a little too populist & too emotional, which is not my taste. What I thank the tea party for is that they stopped the liberal trend, which looked like it was going to run over the U.S.

Re adversarial politics - the left does it too. During the 2006-2008 elections, there was a lot more attack by the left. The problem now for the left is that they have been in charge. It is usual that the ones out of power can more easily attack these in power. The other problem for the left is that in 2008 they won most of the arguments; now they lose most of them.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2011 10:08 PM
Comment #318599

C&J,

Are you really saying that you don’t know what a more level playing field is?

Let me give you an example: A MAJOR U.S company’s CEO likes to play golf, drink and have poker parties at a country club with other executives. When speaking the CEO often refers to African Americans using a derogatory term and the other executives laugh either because they agree or are afraid to stand up to the boss. Either way this creates an unwritten agreement that African Americans may work for this company at lower levels, but most, if not all, will not be allowed to advance to executive positions. If this example seems specific it should be because it actually happened, and I was there to witness it. With that being said, I would have a better chance advancing in this company simply because I’m white. Therein lies the level playing field. It clearly is not level as I would be able to make advances in this company even if another person worked harder than me and had better ideas.

Now I’m not saying that the playing field will be perfectly level because it never can be. But can’t conservatives just admit that it is not level and that most wealthy people got to where they are because they had huge advantages from the get go. Again there willi always be a few that will rse up from the lower and middle classes to strike it rich, but overall this is very rare. We of course hear of this stories more often on TV simply because they are a rare occurrence.

Is it that many conservatives are afraid to admit to these advantages because in some weird way they believe that it would diminish their own accomplishments?

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2011 10:20 PM
Comment #318600

Henry

So when someone thinks China is a dictatorship, you would call them misinformed?

Why do you have trouble calling a foreign despot a dictator while you have not trouble attacking your fellow Americans? In your opinion, are Americans less worthy of respect? Do you believe that truth is important?

And, of course, you have given up the right to criticize any business in China, since you have given up the possibility to criticize China. So why even bring it up?

Remember what Oscar Wilde said about being a gentleman? He said that a gentleman is someone who never insults anybody…unintentionally.

IMO - you have painted yourself into a corner by defending an initial statement that you didn’t think through. The best advice when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2011 10:25 PM
Comment #318602

Jack

I know what a MORE level playing field might look like, but I don’t know - and neither do you - what a truly fair one would look like.

We all have advantages and disadvantages. Some people are more intelligent. Is it fair that one person can understand so much more than others and use that to get ahead?

Your example of CEO and racist comments shows that you don’t know many CEOs. You are confusing the things you saw on 1970s TV with modern reality. Of course, if you really saw it and did not take the opportunity to criticize it, maybe you are part of the problem.

Since you have such great opportunities just for being white, I have to ask how well you have done at this company? If you have not achieved top management status, why not?

Most CEOs seem to come from middle class backgrounds. Merit is still a big deal.

There is a problem for the poor in that many have a poor attitude. My own father exhibited this. When I wanted to go for a hard to get job, he told me that “only rich kids can get those jobs.” He believed it. If I had believed it, it would have become true. We should not give people those kinds of excuses. It is the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Life is not fair. Ironically, making it more fair has made it more rigid. As we effectively created opportunity, people have sorted into groups. In the old days, the smart poor kid might not have been able to go to college. Now he does and stops being poor. He takes his good habits and intelligence along. He marries another college educated woman. Compared with others, there kids not only have more money, but to the extent that children resemble their parents, they also have better habits and intelligence.

In fact, the more you limit the effects of other factors, the more you depend on genetic intelligence and talent. Is that the kind of brave new world you really want?

Posted by: C&J at February 12, 2011 10:42 PM
Comment #318604

C&J,
Why I may respect the Office of the President of the People Republic of China I may gisagree strongly with the position of the person seating in that seat; however, to call him a dictator does not only show how misinformed I am, but does nothing to forward the debate on the issue. For why I might disagree with the way another Nation runs their business, knowing the can stay to ______ out of Mine limits our conversation.

As far as learning how to “Kill someone with Kindness” a Man once said “Love thy Enemy” so I feel good to kep such company. For why I don’t have to call Rush and Company “Stupid Self-Centered Trolls who wouldn’t know the Truth if it walked up and took their head off” just to tell them I disagree.

However, you do make a good point for engaging them in a genetic intelligent conversation does put them at an extreme disadvantage considering most of the positions they have taken. For how does one prove something that does not exist in the Real World?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 12, 2011 11:28 PM
Comment #318606

Is it that many conservatives are afraid to admit to these advantages because in some weird way they believe that it would diminish their own accomplishments?

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2011 10:20 PM

That’s a good question Jack. I had wonderful advantages first as a child of loving and caring parents who taught me their values of loving God and others, taught me good work habits, taught me the value of a good education, taught me how to overcome adversity, and much more by their example. Many children are not born into such families and that is sad and it does diminish us all as a nation.

Because of the values I learned as a child I started working at a very early age which reinforced my self worth and began to teach me self-reliance. Many children do not have such an opportunity today.

Because of the values I learned as a child, and the grace of God, I worked hard in school and had the brain power to achieve good grades through the development of good study habits. Many children do not have such an opportunity.

Because of the values I learned as a child I loved my country and served her in the military when she called me. As a result of that service I was able, through the GI Bill, to complete my higher education. Many children and young adults do not have such an opportunity.

In my work life I got many “lucky breaks”. I was lucky that my employer noticed that I worked more hours than required to get the job done. I was lucky that I always tried to do more than was necessary. I was lucky that I had a good education and was offered promotions because I had knowledge, skill, and a good work ethic.

And, now that I am nearing full retirement I am still lucky because I have saved some money rather than spend it during all those working years and have a comfortable retirement.

I freely admit to all these many advantages.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 11:53 AM
Comment #318613

C&J-
Let me start by conceding some points:

1) Yes, there were probably many liberal professors who were wrong about the Soviet Empire’s collapse.

2) Yes, liberals can get caught up in adversarial politics, too.

3) The DLC has gone out of business, and the blue dogs have gotten pretty irrelevant.

4) Yes, the Republicans did grow government.

But let me turn some things around.

Republicans were wrong about the dynamics of Egypt, as so many liberal professors you new were wrong about Eastern Europe. Probably for the same reason. They didn’t want to acknowledge a certain class of people being right.

If you base your politics on simple opposition to things, you end up running around in circles trying to keep yourself consistent to that, and you end up failing to be consistent in other things. And that, I think, wears down on the sanity and the strength of a political movement.

The Republicans can sure list what they’re against, that they’re fighting. But can they talk in terms of a demonstrable sustainable approach to government anymore? A lot of it seems to be simply demonizing taxation and spending, but still doing a lot of spending anyways, in order to avoid political purgatory.

The Prescription Drug Benefit is a perfect example. There is is no way it had to be as expensive as the Republicans made it. They explicitly banned the government from using its bargaining power to reduce costs for beneficiaries and taxpayers alike. They structured other systems they made so that government cost more.

When you care about government doing something, you can figure out how to get the most bang for your buck. But if you’re resigned to government being wasteful, or worse, not wanting people to see government in any kind of a positive light, well then, what’s the point of reducing waste? For a person who hates government, who despise government for its intrusion, reducing waste, corruption or all those other things is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Republicans have built their modern politics around existential despair about the function and quality of Government. Why improve government, why redeem it? You don’t groom the beast you’re trying to starve small enough to drown in a bathtub.

Liberals, ironically enough, can be better at cutting costs, because they don’t build their theories on what they don’t want to do, they build their theories on what they want to be able to do. They have a purpose when it comes to government, so they can seek out efficiences towards fulfilling that purpose.

The problem is not that Bush grew the government. It’s that he threw revenues and spending way out of whack, and didn’t bother to compensate. That’s what creates the deficit. Doesn’t matter whether you gather too little in taxes, or spend too much. If revenues minus spending is a negative number, it’s a deficit.

Fulfilling a purpose is more important than fighting for a purpose. You can fight to reduce the deficit, or you can arrange the policies in a fashion that actual fulfills that goal. You can cut spending in a bad economy, but if the economy’s not going to be able to backfill that reduction in economic input by the government, the cuts will undercut the economy, which undercuts revenues. Austerity works out of surplus better than poverty. If you can’t eat and pay your debts at the same time, which do you think gets taken care of first?

It’s Republicans who act like this is all an academic competition, where the ideas can be forced on their peers without acknowledgment of the real world import of those ideas. The intellectual bankruptcy of the Right is truly a crisis for this country. It needs more than an intellectually stimulated left, and a Right intent on stamping out its competing ideas.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2011 2:16 PM
Comment #318615

Mr. Daugherty writes; “Austerity works out of surplus better than poverty.”

That’s a catchy phrase. How about…Poverty caused austerity is not necessary when surpluses are not squandered.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 2:38 PM
Comment #318618


C&J, others were there in 89 as well and they can call out your political propaganda for what it is, B.S.

Quite a number of people predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, even Trotsky. Others included Zbigniew Brzezinski and Ronald Reagan.

Our policy towards the Soviet Union and communism was one of containment, keep it from spreading and kill it dead.

The collapse of capitalism has been predicted as well.

Stephen, I think Obama wanted to give an impression of a hands off approach and I am pretty sure that there was a lot going on behind the scene.

Of course no one can predict the outcome, especially when religion is involved and the military is a player in the economics of the country.

Posted by: jlw at February 13, 2011 3:26 PM
Comment #318620

Stephen

I think that almost everybody was surprised about Egypt. But conservatives can point to the “freedom agenda” that liberals ridiculed and President Obama quietly abandoned until the recent surprises in Egypt.

Conservatives have welcomed the events in Egypt with considerable glee. If you watch Fox or read the stuff the conservative think tanks put out, you see that this is something our side loves, i.e. freedom.

I know liberals are also happy about the events. I told you guys back a couple of years when you were preaching “realism” that someday you would regret it. We should not underestimate the power of freedom.

The prescription drug benefit actually is cheaper than anticipated. It was, BTW, an example of bipartisan cooperation. I remember Teddy Kennedy bragging about it.

Re Bush growing the government - that was indeed the problem. If government had grown only in line with population, we would have enjoyed a surplus in 2006, when we had record revenues.

Both sides have to come up with new adaptions. There are no truly new ideas. IMO, we should give precedence to freedom and trust the people to make decisions for themselves whenever possible.

Posted by: C&J at February 13, 2011 3:33 PM
Comment #318621

jlw

Trotsky - He was good at killing people, but not very good at much else. When was it that Stalin’s henchman stuck that ice pick in his brain? And how long after did the Soviet Union fall. Usually a prediction has some kind of expiration date. I can predict with 100% certainty that it will rain. Don’t you think it might be nice to know when?

re Brzezinski - he was a good guy. Polish. That gives him a special point of view. He did indeed predict the imminent fall of the Soviet Union … in 1988. And most of the liberal academics told him he was crazy and accused him of going over to the Reagan side, which they didn’t consider a compliment.

It wasn’t only liberals. Many people had become comfortable with the Soviet empire. They thought that containment could go on forever, or at least for a long time. Reagan was one of the few who wanted to change the grotesque balance of terror and thought that it could be done.

Posted by: C&J at February 13, 2011 3:51 PM
Comment #318643

Royal Flush-
Not so catchy, I don’t think. How about “Waste not, want not?”

The GOP had the opportunity to plan ahead, to create policy in ways that were consistent with solid economic policy, where the numbers worked out. The GOP had the chance to set a policy where anything that might create a deficit was offset. They did not. They had the chance to save taxpayer money in so many ways.

The goal of the Republicans was to curry favor with voters, not act with either ideological consistency, or more importantly, practical consistency in determining the economics of the plans.

And now, they’re making the same mistake, only now in reverse. Having been too generous when we could have either born the taxes or afforded to do without, now they want to be stingy when the generosity of the government would go a long way towards mitigating both the financial and fiscal problems of the country.

C&J-
If by freedom agenda you mean the vague wish for Democracies to spring up, then you don’t exactly get credit for that.

Quit trying to take credit for Obama’s philosophy. His approach eschews the heavy-handed, paranoia driven way of dealing with change in the world that the Republicans seem to have adopted. He took his approach cautiously, allowing the people in Egypt the room to breath on their own revolution, rather than moving to co-opt it or re-impose an unpopular leader on them.

Obama’s foreign policy, his freedom agenda, so to speak, has been less heavy-handed, more effective. Rather than interfere with the fight the protestors had with Mubarak, he worked on the back channels to make sure that the military would not throw in its support to Mubarak.

Iran is another example, in particular its nuclear ambitions. The Administration managed to use Iran’s intransigence in the elections and their brutal crackdown against the Mullahs, has managed to get additional sanctions in place, and has also run a campaign of sabotage on the nuclear project, setting it back pretty far.

Obama, as Teddy Roosevelt might say, speaks softly and carries a big stick. He doesn’t telegraph his moves.

As far as people believing the Soviets would last forever? No, practically every movie I saw when I was a kid that dealt with the Soviets looked to the gradual decline of communism. It’s its sudden collapse that was news to people, and that was mostly because reliable information about their economies and their systems were so scarce. The Iron Curtain deliberately projected strength and monolithic structure, and deliberately hid any weaknesses that would belie that.

But interestingly enough, for a few years after the end of the Cold War, you had those movies that would imagine the threat being reborn somehow, an approach that became so common that the Simpsons parodied it by having missiles come out from under benign parade floats to indicate that the Soviets were back again.

Even Tom Clancy had to pull something similar for Red Storm Rising, his non-Ryanverse novel about WWIII. In that book, as I recall, a radical leader basically blows up the politburo in order to take over. This was necessary because by the time he wrote that novel, I believe his third, the Moderate Gorbachev was in power.

Point is, change requires a rewriting of stories that are dependent on how things used to be. Containment had been a reality for most people’s entire lives, up to the point where the wall fell, and the Coup in Moscow failed.

America’s status as an unquestioned superpower, as a nation in continual economic growth has been an ongoing story for many as well, no doubt. But like that other story, things have changed. That doesn’t mean things can’t get better. But it does mean that we have to adapt, even when events are not as we predicted.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2011 7:17 PM
Comment #318645

Stephen

Obama’s “philosophy in the Middle East was to recognize the status quo and not do much of anything except apologize.

I don’t think that the freedom agenda can claim credit for the events in Egypt and I certainly don’t think the Obama policies did it. The people of Egypt did it. The reason I bring up the freedom agenda is that you seem to have been under the impression that conservatives were against it. In fact, it is liberals who rejected the idea much more regularly.

The U.S. contribution, BTW, has been in our relationship with the Egyptian military. They have behaved in a more civilized manner than is common in the region and may guide Egypt toward freedom, something they have never achieved in the long history of the Nile Valley.

Re Iran - that revolution last year worked our very well, didn’t it.

Wasn’t it you who thought that Bush was going to invade Iran. Watchblog was full of that. Liberals had some kind of misguided notion that Bush planned to invade the place. They argued with themselves.

You might want to reread this from 2007 - http://www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/004783.html

This is the last paragraph, speaking about Bush - Anyway, the worst thing we could do is to invade Iran. I doubt there is any serious possibility of that. The second worst thing is to rattle our saber too loudly. The third worst thing is to be too soft and accommodating. Balance is what we need. Let’s not fool ourselves. Iran is still an oppressive place and its government is a leading supporter of terrorism, but it really does not have a long term future, especially if the price of oil comes down significantly. The Iranian people have been through a lot. The oppression of the Ayatollahs is almost at an end, however. They may yet slip quietly into that good night like the communists in E. Europe. We helped grease the skids for the communists with firm policies and active engagement. BOTH were needed. We should maybe try the same with the Ayatollahs and give the people of Iran a chance.

Re the Soviet Union - did you read “Red Storm Rising”? Sure the Soviet Empire fell … AFTER WWIII.

You cannot only get on the movies. There were lots of movies predicting the fall of the U.S. too. And even more predicting nuclear war. Remember all those peaceniks, supported by Moscow, BTW. They called for a nuclear freeze. 2 million marched in NYC. How dumb were they?

Posted by: C&J at February 13, 2011 7:52 PM
Comment #318664

C&J-
We didn’t reject democratization. We rejected the heavy-handed attempt to force it. But we also rejected the heavy-handed attempts to smother it, as well.

And really, you might not be paying attention to enough of the Republican Pundits if you think they were all on board. Beck was on board something, but I think he was on the Crazy train to the palace of the caliphate.

As far as Iran goes? Iran is going to be difficult because unlike in Egypt, we don’t have as many cultivated friends. The people we cultivated as friends ended up on the losing of the revolution. Iran went, I think, the best it could have, given the circumstances.

As for invading Iran? I remember there being a whole lot of noise about plans. Given the Bush Administration’s rather belligerent rhetoric, the howling about the IEDs getting shipped in from there to Iraq, etc… Well, you have to be remembering things from a certain perspective to have forgotten how many Republicans were waving the bloody shirt on that one.

Yes, I did read Red Storm Rising. In fact, I’ve read everything that he wrote himself up to The Bear and the Dragon. Rainbow Six actually put the brakes on that, because he practically recycled the plot from the last one, and he tacked on these environmental zealots that spoke like stereotypes from a bad story off of Free Republic. I don’t mind if an author’s point of view comes across in a work. I mind when Jack Ryan starts discussing Mao’s sex life like some right-wing talk show host.

I also hate it when liberal writers make all the soldiers burnt-out haunted figures, or immoral bloodthirsty killers.

I think getting things dramatically correct in a work outranks getting things ideologically correct. The politics, I would say, is easier to sell with a character who doesn’t seem unreasonable to folks outside your political inner circle.

I mentioned movies, in part, to simply relate what people imagined. I mean, John Milius imagined WWIII in Red Dawn, which is now a cult classic. The Dead Zone, both novel and the movie, dealt with the Hero being faced with an American politician whose hidden insanity would lead him to push the button if he became President. Dreamscape dealt with a President who was haunted by nightmares of WWIII, and is targeted by his hawkish military adviser for an unusual method of assassination. 2001 and 2010 imagined heightening tensions in the cold war decades beyond the Soviet Union’s actually expiration date.

Nuclear war and nuclear tension were part of what people knew in that time. People had different responses. That nuclear freeze? Well, some people supported it out of Marxist Sympathies, but I think others looked at the horror that nuclear weapons were capable of inflicting, and didn’t see much of a point in that.

You can read what you want into their actions, call them dumb or compromised, but people had their own reasons for their own beliefs

For my part, I was glad in those days that my President was helping to reduce the stockpiles, reduce the tensions. The Russians remained good cannon fodder in the movies for the remainder of my childhood, but the withdrawal of that threat over time was not unpleasing. That, to me, was a good foreign policy, one that made me less anxious about the state of the world.

Bush’s foreign policy went in the exact opposite direction. Obama’s, I feel, takes it back in a more reassuring direction. Obama’s hand is firm, but it is not heavy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2011 2:18 PM
Comment #318667

C&J write; “I don’t think that the freedom agenda can claim credit for the events in Egypt and I certainly don’t think the Obama policies did it. The people of Egypt did it.”

I don’t think the “freedom agenda”, Obama, or the people of Egypt can take credit for the recent event in Egypt.

What happened was not a revolution. The demonstrators never brought down Mubarak, let alone the regime. What happened was a military coup that used the cover of protests to force Mubarak out of office in order to preserve the regime. When it became clear Feb. 10 that Mubarak would not voluntarily step down, the military staged what amounted to a coup to force his resignation. Once he was forced out of office, the military took over the existing regime by creating a military council and taking control of critical ministries. The regime was always centered on the military. What happened on Feb. 11 was that the military took direct control.

The demonstrators never called for the downfall of the regime. They demanded that Mubarak step aside. This was the same demand that was being made by many if not most officers in the military months before the crowds gathered in the streets. The military did not like the spectacle of the crowds, which is not the way the military likes to handle political matters. At the same time, paradoxically, the military welcomed the demonstrations, since they created a crisis that put the question of Mubarak’s future on the table. They gave the military an opportunity to save the regime and preserve its own interests

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20110213-egypt-distance-between-enthusiasm-and-reality?utm_source=GWeekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=110214&utm_content=readmore&elq=c5b7b074a8a94361beed183a76e2dc63

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 14, 2011 4:10 PM
Comment #318668

Some insight to Egypt needs to be done to understand what is happening.

“A lot of people in America are elated by the sight of mobs gathering in the streets of Egypt. They view it as an oppressed people longing for liberty. They rejoice at the prospect of a dictator being dumped in favor of democracy. That is because a lot of people who are forever quoting Santayana’s quip, ‘Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it,’ have apparently remembered precious little themselves. It would seem that the extent of their historical knowledge begins and ends with the final score of the recent Super Bowl. The thing to keep in mind is that Cairo and Alexandria are not to be confused with Concord and Lexington, and nobody in the streets lobbing rocks and burning bottles is named Washington, Adams, Madison or Jefferson. Then there are those simpletons whose eyes begin to twinkle at the mere mention of the word ‘revolution.’ But comparing most revolutions to our own is sheer insanity. The French Revolution led to Robespierre and the Reign of Terror. The Russian Revolution led to Stalin and the gulags. China’s Revolution brought us Mao and the slaughter of millions, Cuba’s Revolution brought us Castro and the Iranian Revolution brought forth the Ayatollah Khomeini. … Those good-hearted chumps who insist that democracy is the end-all and be-all are sadly misguided. Hitler won a popular election, as did Hamas in Gaza, as did Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, in America. Just because folks are allowed to vote is no guarantee that they can always be trusted to do the right thing.” —columnist Burt Prelutsky

Posted by: tom humes at February 14, 2011 4:35 PM
Comment #318669

SD

I will bet that one year from this month you will not be able to repeat what you have written about Egypt. You are going to find a totally different situation to focus on. And then find a different scapegoat.

Posted by: tom humes at February 14, 2011 4:39 PM
Comment #318677

tom humes-
Tell me: on what grounds do you think this is going to get out of control here?

I mean, unless I have your source wrong, he’s saying:

A) a lot of people powered revolutions went wrong.

B) Egypt is a people powered revolution.

C) Therefore, Egypt’s going to end up the same way.

Yes, folks can be suckered into doing the wrong thing. But that hasn’t happened yet, and while it’s something to be cautious about, it’s not something to be afraid of yet.

And really, what is the takeaway from that supposed to be? It just seems like folks like you are borrowing trouble, and reinforcing a paternalistic view of other countries that sets us to do precisely what backfired on our nation so many times in the last century: rest our foreign policy in a country on a strong man who the people hate.

I’d say, lets be cautious and observant, not jump to conclusions out of a distrust of change in the world we didn’t ask to take place.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2011 6:47 PM
Comment #318679

tom humes-
Well, a year ago, we were arguing about the healthcare reform proposals that were about to be ratified, and I was in favor of passing them. Two years before then, I was favoring the passage of the Stimulus bill.

I was in favor of the Iranian people overturning the Mullahs, but thought that actively intervening would be poison to our allies in the country.

Before the economic crash, I was worried about getting the record deficits down, I was in favor of letting all the tax cuts lapse, and perhaps raising rates additionally as the market could bear it to close up the gap. After the crash, my concern has been that the market cannot yet bear up under the required austerity, and so stimulating the markets back to full strength was a higher priority.

I’ve always been consistent on Green energy, and why we should avail ourselves of it sooner rather than later. I consider the science on Global Climate Change fundamentally persuasive as to public policy, and desire my government to act accordingly in what I see as the best interest of the public, and of our economy.

That’s just a start. What inconsistency is it that you see that should justify such a cynical comment?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2011 6:54 PM
Comment #318681

Stephen

I don’t think we can pretend that movies like Red Dawn predicted the future. It is sort of like saying the Twilight Zone predicted the future.

Re Iran - the administration constantly downplayed the idea that there would be an Iran invasion. I told you that hundreds of times and each time various people told me why it was about to happen. Who was wrong? We have a final answer on this question. There is no gray area.

The same goes for those pinheads who said that Bush would somehow steal the election. That made no sense at all, yet many on Watchblog “couldn’t rule it out”. We now know that they were pinheads too. No gray area on this either.

What continues to annoy me about the fall of communism is that back then it was the same thing. Liberals were saying that Reagan would bring nuclear war and that the communism was a legitimate and ultimately popular ideology. He didn’t and it wasn’t. No gray area. So if liberals want to claim that they also understood the weakness of the Soviet Union, they have to admit that the peaceniks were nuts and all those who attacked Reagan, at least in this one area, were stupid. Those that are willing to do this can claim they also understood events. If not, they didn’t. We have a bottom line on this. No gray area remains.

Posted by: C&J at February 14, 2011 8:50 PM
Comment #318682

SD
You are out of sync with what was said. All I am saying is that in a year you probably will look at the Egypt situation differently, because things are not as you are trying to say they are.

I probably read different sources than you do. I read a whole lot on the left and hardly any on the right. The horses mouth is still a good source.

Posted by: tom humes at February 14, 2011 9:10 PM
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