The Importance of being Earnest

You have to make real world choices and alternatives come in packages that contain some things you like and others you don’t. You have to take the sweet with the bitter if you want to be effective. That is why we are members of parties and that is why political parties persist even though so many people seem to be disgusted with them all the time.

It is always more satisfying to be the one asking the questions. A fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer. It makes you feel morally superior to find fault and to point up mistakes others have made. Anyone can postulate an ideal that is better than any thing in the real world. But those who feel they are too good to soil their hands by doing real work and making real choices are cowards. Waiting for the perfect choice leaves you with no choices. Of course, like college freshmen or genteel old ladies, you can claim you have the moral high ground for never have made a wrong move. Of course, you are wrong.

As a Republican, I feel free to criticize my party and to try to make it better. But when the chips are down, I stand with my party because I think that imperfect package is what is best of America. (I expect Dems will do the same.) If my party stops being the best alternative, I will change parties and join another REAL party. But I won't debauch myself by simply complaining and implying I could do better. If I can do better, I should do better. And if I am NOT already doing what I should I am not better.

Posted by Jack at January 26, 2006 10:23 PM
Comments
Comment #117303

I used to be Republican.
That, unfortunately made me part of the problem.
No more of that.
And, I’m not looking for another party to take its place.

It’s time everyone took off their partisan blinders, and see that bought-and-paid-for incumbents in both parties are very irresponsible and both parties are takin’ turns gettin’ theirs, and refuse to make any badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms.

How can anyone defend that ?

That’s the last straw for me.

Hopefully, other voters will catch on too.

But, just for grins, try this one simple thing.
Give Congress a test.
Ask government to simply pass one of the following:
(a) ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL
(b) CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
(c) ELECTION REFORM
(d) TAX REFORM
(e) STOP PLUNDERING Social Security
(f) STOP the pork-barrel
(g) BALANCED BUDGET amemdment

If incumbents refuse to pass one thing selected from the list, then what can you conclude ?

Exactly. That’s why it’s high time for voters to take a close look at what is going on, and simply do the one simple, common-sense, non-partisan, no-brainer, ethical, peaceful, and responsible thing they should have been doing all along: vote out irresponsible incumbents, repeatedly, until government is responsible and accountable too.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 26, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #117308

d.a.n.

Seems to me they’ve already dealt with some of these issues. McCain-Feingold was supposed to fix the problem of too much money in politics, but only seemed to make the problem worse.

Bush is changing the taxation issue, although some don’t like how he is doing it. I suppose whatever happens to taxation, someone won’t like what happens.

I don’t see Social Security being plundered. I saw a proposal to privatize a small part of Social Security, though it didn’t address directly the cost of doing this, nor did it address the eventual shortfall that is predicted. But I haven’t seen it plundered.

For the past 5 years, they’ve talked about election reform. Hillary Clinton spoke about it constantly during 2000, but it seemed to get forgotten.

I’d like to see them end the earmarks, which would be a start to decreasing the pure pork barrel items. The problem as I see it is that spending is out of whack.

Douglas Holz-Eakin said today on NPR that the govt takes in historically about 18 cents on the dollar in taxes, and spends 20 cents on the dollar. But recently the former has stayed constant while the latter has increased. That seems to be where the problem is.

I guess some of the issues have been talked about, and some have had solutions attempted. But I’d agree that they all still remain problematic issues that need to be correctly solved.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at January 26, 2006 11:42 PM
Comment #117315

I don’t believe in a “my party, right or wrong” approach, because 1) I end up accepting things I disagree with, and 2) they’ll end up alienating enough voters that they can’t win.

I personally believe that the Republican party is drifting away from its roots not because the opposition is forcing them away, but because the faithful are allowing it. And just as I expect and demand more of my own kids than I do of my neighbors’, I’ll expect and demand more of my party.

Posted by: Paul Szydlowski at January 27, 2006 12:02 AM
Comment #117321

d.a.n.,

If you ever form a political party, sign me up. How about the Danocrats.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 27, 2006 12:06 AM
Comment #117324

I don’t really have any strict party loyalty. I just find that I agree with Democrats about a lot of things.

If you’re a hardcore Republican than I can understand it being hard, watching Bush’s anti-Midas touch turn everything that was once gold to crap, and then on top of it having to pretend like you like it.

Posted by: Max at January 27, 2006 12:12 AM
Comment #117325

This is the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans are defined by a narrow set of guidelines and tend to follow the party line. Democrats are anyone who isn’t a Republican and therefore we are not limited to following a ridiculous set of beliefs.

Democrats always walk as individuals.

Posted by: Aldous at January 27, 2006 12:13 AM
Comment #117329
I don’t believe in a “my party, right or wrong” approach

Paul,

I agree with you. I think only the most partisan among us support our respective parties, right or wrong. I am a Democrat simply because they represent me much more closely on issues that are important to me than other parties do. That does not mean that I support every position that the Democrats take. In fact I have serious problems with a lot of Democrat positions, they just aren’t high enough on my list of concerns to cause me to change to another party, yet. I actually like a lot of the positions the Libertarian party takes, but feel that they are just too extreme on some issues. Out of the mainline parties, I think the Republican Party is probably the furthest from my beliefs, especially, in it’s current incarnation.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 27, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #117397

Aldous:

Correction: Democrats are automatically required to oppose whatever Republicans propose. It is something like the Lilliputians and the Blefuscuans on the matter of which end of the egg to break. We’ll oppose whatever you propose even if you are right.

Posted by: rkumra at January 27, 2006 3:10 AM
Comment #117404

Aldous:

Democrats may walk as individuals, but they do love a parade.

Posted by: goodking ned at January 27, 2006 3:54 AM
Comment #117432


The importance of being earnest? I find it hard to believe that the GOP in Virginia can keep a straight face when introducing legislature that requires a used car dealer to allow a car to be inspected before a customer buys it. Are they for real? The catch is: The subject proposed legislature provides once the customer is informed of their ‘rights’ to have a car inspected at their cost, of course, the dealer cannot be held responsible for any future problems with the vehicle.
Who wouldn’t expect to have a used car inspected by an independent mechanic before purchase particularly if your paying thousands of dollars for a used car.

Posted by: John at January 27, 2006 5:31 AM
Comment #117433

Aldous

Democrats are….well that’s the point…they don’t know what they are.

Oh yes…the party of Al Gore and John Kerry.

No,that’s wrong.

The party of Whoopi Goldberg,Micheal Moore and Howard Dean.

No,that’s wrong too.

Here it is:The party of Joe Lierberman.

No,that can’t be it…he’s a clost republician,isn’t he?

Ted Kennedy?

No.

Hillary?

God no.

Yes,they do walk as individuals,with flip-flops,in 10,000 directions,depending on the time of day.

Ya,that’s it.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 27, 2006 5:34 AM
Comment #117445
Yes,they do walk as individuals,with flip-flops,in 10,000 directions,depending on the time of day.

All too true, and yet it’s better than goose-stepping.

And just as I expect and demand more of my own kids than I do of my neighbors’, I’ll expect and demand more of my party.

Very well said.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at January 27, 2006 6:35 AM
Comment #117487
d.a.n., If you ever form a political party, sign me up. How about the Danocrats.

: )

JayJay Snowman,
I am an active member of an organization whose goal is extremely simple and just. It is simply to help the education of voters, has no candidates for elected offices, is completely non-partisan, and discourages the seduction of voters by bought-and-paid-for-incumbents and their complicit parties into the ancient, clever, petty, partisan warfare and circular, Hegelian, frenzied pattern of thought and behavior that distracts the voters from the real problems threatening the future and security of the nation.

JayJay Snowman,
Stop by, and leave a few comments. It’s a breath of fresh air, because we all reject the partisan warfare, and realize that both voters and government are culpable.

However, government won’t reform itself, and it has some slight advantages.

Thus, it is now solely upto the voters to learn to do the one simple, ethical, logical, peaceful, non-partisan, and responsible thing they were supposed to be doing all along: simply vote out irresponsible incumbents, who keep newcomers from making reforms, block access to ballots and debates by third parties, ignore our pressing problems. Simply vote responsibly to vote out the incumbents, repeatedly, until government is responsible and accountable too. That’s all. No grand theories. No fancy schemes. No intricate strategies. Just the simple, just, fair, peaceful, and ethical thing to do. Nothing more.

I don’t know if the voters will ever figure it out in my lifetime, but I believe they will someday. Government requires transparency to provide visibility, to provide cognizance, concern, and interest, to provide accountability and law enforcement, to yield responsibility.

Many have given up. 78 million of 200 eligible voters don’t vote. But, resigning to despair, apathy, or futility will only guarantee our demise. Doing nothing won’t accomplish anything. So, the only logical thing to do is hope and strive that voters will, someday, understand their simple duty and how to wisely, peacefully, responsibly force government to be responsible too.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 9:35 AM
Comment #117506
Democrats may walk as individuals, but they do love a parade.

I like parades. Why don’t you like parades, ned? Is it because they usually involve military marching bands? Republicans are constantly sliming our combat veterans like John McCain, Max Cleland, John Kerry, and now John Murtha. And now you guys don’t even like parades and military marching bands. What’s next? Hating Mom… Oh, wait. You guys shredded poor Cindy Sheehan. I guess all that’s left for you guys to hate is apple pie? Why do you Republicans hate America so much?

JayJay, I loved your last post. Well said.

Jack, I’m not quite sure where you’re going with your post. Are you switching parties? That’s a little extreme. Why don’t you just hook up with Christie Todd Whitman’s PAC, kick out the wackos, and start electing good old fashioned Republicans again.

Whatever happened to GOP fiscal hawks and conservative foreign policy?

Posted by: American Pundit at January 27, 2006 10:05 AM
Comment #117517

Joe makes a good point about change. If we want change that makes things better (not all change is for the better) we have to go after the structures. Earmarks are probably the single biggest incentive to corruption. They sometimes do good things, but on balance they are so bad that we should get rid of them.

The other structural problem is just the reach of government. It should be possible in a free country to ignore the government most of the time. But you can’t. Government rules reach into every aspect of your life and if you run a business, own land, or invest in any way, the government is interfering with the management of your assets, determining who you can employ and telling you where. Much of the lobbying is simple self-defense. Some NGO thinks of a smart way to regulate your property without paying for it. You can’t just sit on the sidelines.

Let me give an example. In my state there was an idea to require landowners to leave a fifty-yard “beauty zone” along a road when they wanted to cut trees. Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it. You can have the beauty you want at the cost of someone else. Of course, if you have ten acres with 100 yards of road frontage, you could be losing more than 10% of your property and you still have to pay taxes and take care of what you own. If someone dumps garbage on it, it is your problem and if these trees get rotten and fall down or cause damage, it is the fault of the landowner who left them standing.

So one way to cut corruption is to get the government out of our business to the greatest extent possible. Next time you have a problem, say “I am going to do something about that” NOT “I am going to demand something be done.”

If you ask government to do too much, you are asking for corruption.

Posted by: Jack at January 27, 2006 10:18 AM
Comment #117540

Max,
“I don’t really have any strict party loyalty. I just find that I agree with Democrats about a lot of things.”


What “things” do you agree with the democrats about? Because, they haven’t come up with a plan, idea or solution in years.


Aldous,
“This is the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans are defined by a narrow set of guidelines and tend to follow the party line. Democrats are anyone who isn’t a Republican and therefore we are not limited to following a ridiculous set of beliefs. Democrats always walk as individuals.”


Do they know where they are walking, or does moveon.org tell them where to walk? Funny how you never harp on the democrats; you just try and take shots at the repubs. I’ve seen plenty of right-wingers on this blog be critical (at times) with their party, yet I have yet to see you critical of the democratic party.


Posted by: rahdigly at January 27, 2006 11:30 AM
Comment #117550
If you ask government to do too much, you are asking for corruption.

Very true !

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 11:44 AM
Comment #117552

Aldous
The difference between Republicans and Democrats is the name. Other than that there aint a dimes diffenence.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 27, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #117558
rahdigly wrote: I’ve seen plenty of right-wingers on this blog be critical (at times) with their party, yet I have yet to see you critical of the democratic party.

I can do that for both sides. : )

I don’t hate America.
It’s one of the best nations on the planet.
But we can and need to start doing much better.
We may not be able to weather another decade of irresponsible incumbents threatening the future and security of the nation.

We have many, serious, pressing problems that need attention now, but are continuously ignored by bought-and-paid-for incumbents, that tempt, pressure, and threaten new Congress persons to succumb to the status quo.

The newcomers to Congress need the voters help now, to oust the bought-and-paid-for incumbents, so that some badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms can eventually be passed (before it is too late).

That is why I support, contribute, and participate in organizations that strive for more transparent, accountable, and responsible government. Currently, that does not include my former Republican party or the Democratic party. To me, the incumbents of those two parties are at the root of the problem. They perpetuate the status quo, and hinder the newcomers that want reform. The incumbents, regardless of party, won’t allow any of the badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms, because it would increase transparency, and reduce their ability to abuse the system for self gain.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 12:02 PM
Comment #117564

What Jack is touting in this article is mediocrity tolerance in government. He is making the case that we the people must accept all that is bad within political parties and politicians in order to derive any benefit from democracy.

Pure HOGWASH! Vote out incumbents for a few election cycles and I guarantee the motivation by remaining incumbents and freshman politicians will vastly improve their representation of the people’s interests and agenda will be astounding. Where the people’s interests are opposed to the lobbyists or wealthy donor special interests, again and again we see the special interests win. Vote out incumbents for a few election cycles and that will change, dramatically. Nothing so motivates a politician as the prospect of losing their next election.

But, with our current 94% incumbency rate regardless of whether the incumbent is even alive, let alone representing the people, politicians have little to fear from voters. And that is why voters and our nation’s future keeps losing to the demands of special interests and wealthy donors.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 27, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #117573
What Jack is touting in this article is mediocrity tolerance in government. He is making the case that we the people must accept all that is bad within political parties and politicians in order to derive any benefit from democracy.

Yes he is. I used to be the same way (brainwashed), so I must try to be understanding.

Jack is a smart guy. So are many others here. I’m not stupid. All of that just goes to show you how powerful and effective the clever, partisan-fueled, circular, Hegelian, frenzied pattern of thought and behavior is that seduces and distracts the voters from the real, pressing problems and irresponsible behavior of incumbents that is threatening the future and security of the nation.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #117575
What Jack is touting in this article is mediocrity tolerance in government. He is making the case that we the people must accept all that is bad within political parties and politicians in order to derive any benefit from democracy.

Yes he is. I used to be the same way (brainwashed), so I must try to be understanding.

Jack is a smart guy. So are many others here. I’m not stupid. All of that just goes to show you how powerful and effective the clever, partisan-fueled, circular, Hegelian, frenzied pattern of thought and behavior is that seduces and distracts the voters from the real, pressing problems and the irresponsible behavior of incumbents that is threatening the future and security of the nation.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #117577

OK. Maybe I am stupid. Sorry. I don’t understand why these double posts are occuring. I was in I.E. and it said try again in a few minutes. So I did. Now there are two posts (not identital either).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #117594

Why does everyone think Ross Perot is an idiot? Your answer ‘because he is’ is a perception you have because of the effectiveness of the Republican Party machine.

If you compared his background with Bush’s without knowing either one and were then told which one was successfully elected president of the U.S.; you would swear you were in the Twilight Zone.

Posted by: Schwamp at January 27, 2006 2:15 PM
Comment #117618

David and Dan

I am not advocating mediocrity in government, but I do believe that government tends toward mediocrity and is very much limited in the tasks it can accomplish. If we ask it to do too much, it falls down on the job and if (as George Will wrote) “People serious about reducing the role of money in politics should be serious about reducing the role of politics in distributing money”. I can’t think of any examples of efficient governments that were not either small or limiting of the freedom of their citizens. Usually you can also add in a homogeneous population.

A big and efficient government is not possible in the American context because of our large and diverse country and our dislike of limitations on our personal freedom. But this is not the subject of this post.

Re party, I lived in a place with lots of political parties. There was even a “beer drinkers’” party. Everyone stood up for his own principles and nothing could be done. When I advocate sticking with parties, I am not saying, my party right or wrong. Rather the idea that we can just throw the rascals out is not effective. We threw the rascals out in 1994 and as I recall the Democrats threw the rascals out in 1986 and 1976. They keep on returning to the original forms. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss and we get fooled again and again.

So I think there must be something wrong with the system that manages to corrupt ostensibly good people so rapidly. One thing is there is too much money flowing around. Government has overstepped its bounds. This article has six other proposals that may help.

What annoys me is the idea floating around that somehow if we just got the right people everything would work just fine. This is just not been our experience. If the system isn’t working, perhaps it is not DESPITE our best efforts, but BECAUSE of them. You can change the personnel forever, but if the system doesn’t work neither will they.

Posted by: Jack at January 27, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #117641
Jack wrote: What annoys me is the idea floating around that somehow if we just got the right people everything would work just fine.

Me too. That’s not the truth at all.
Because, it does not matter much who the newcomers are to Congress, because they will quickly be tempted, pressured, and threatened if they don’t succumb to the status quo imposed by the incumbents.

The problem is the bought-and-paid-for incumbents. Incumbents will do anything to hold on to their cu$hy, coveted seats of power. Their arrogance is obvious.

The newcomers to Congress very badly need help from the voters now. Voting out the irresponsible incumbents is the real solution.
That’s what voting is supposed to be all about. Voters should simply do what they were supposed to be doing all along. That’s all. No big schemes. No vast stratagies. Nothing fancy. Voters just need to do what they’re supposed to do. Nothing more.

Jack wrote: Rather the idea that we can just throw the rascals out is not effective. We threw the rascals out in 1994 and as I recall the Democrats threw the rascals out in 1986 and 1976. They keep on returning to the original forms.

True, in the past, during other anti-incumbent voting periods, the voters made the mistake of only doing it once, and then thinking their job was done. That is not enough. Voters must also have an agenda, such as the reforms that the Heritage Foundation listed on the link you provided. But the Heritage Foundation, and other watchdog organizations must learn that no reforms will be possible until voters first get the attention of the newcomers and incumbents, and then the voters must follow through, and keep up the pressure.

Government won’t reform itself.

It is now solely up to the voters to do the one simple, logical, common-sense, non-partisan, inexpensive, responsible thing they were always supposed to do: vote out irresponsible incumbents, repeatedly, always, until the incumbents provide sufficient transparency (e.g. ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL, CAMPAIGN-FINANCE-REFORM, BUDGET REFORM, TAX REFORM, etc.) so that the voters will know exactly who to hold accountable. Otherwise, voters should keep voting out incumbents until they agree to pass some of these badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms.

It is simply the right thing to do.

How can anyone argue with that.

We can spend forever on the details of countless reforms and never get anywhere if we do not first get the attention of newcomers and incumbents, and peacefully force them to pass common-sense reforms now.

The solution is actually very simple.

But biggest difficulty is undoing the brainwashing, getting people to take off their partisan blinders, and rejecting the incumbents that will not allow newcomers to pass reforms.

Thus, education for the voters is the solution. We don’t need parties with their own candidate(s), and more empty promises to make reforms finally happen.

But, how do you get people to listen?
What ever the approach, it will be more likely to succeed, have the best offense, and the best defense, if it is based on the simple truth of what the problem is, and how to solve it.

That is what will eventually resonate with the people. They will eventually catch on to the circular, distracting, petty, partisan warfare.

I think that someday, the voters will figure it out. Maybe not soon. Maybe not in my lifetime. But, the sooner the better, because the incumbents are running this country into the ground.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #117644

Jack, you are confusing musical chairs with anti-incumbency. Changing parties as majority has not resulted in any threat to incumbents who support and maintain the corruption in government and compromising the goals of the American people. Look at those elections in which parties changed majority status and you will still see extremely high incumbency rates.

The problem is that the people have voted for a change in party dominance. What Dan and I propose is actually quite different. We advocate voting against incumbents regardless of party, as inducement to politicians to insure the people’s business comes first, then the lobbyists, then the party’s business, and finally the business of the wealthy donors provided no lower rung priority subverts the will of the higher rung priority.

Stated in another way, in the past, voters voted for another party to fix things, which did not address the real problem. Voting Out Incumbents DOES address the root problem, incumbents committment to an upside down priority system, campaign donors first, party second, lobbyists third, and the people’s agenda of peace, prosperity, and security last.

In the last few years we have seen wages fail to keep pace with inflation, our prospects for a peaceful future dashed for decades to come, and our future prosperity sold to the highest bidders with resultant massive national debt, now on track according to the CBO to reach 11 trillion by the time Bush leaves office. Double what it was when he came into office.

And it is not all Bush’s fault, though he has yet to look for his veto pen, it is incumbents fault. Let me paint a very clear example. Incumbents buy reelection from their constituents with earmarks and pork barrel spending. But, what they don’t tell their constituents is the price tag for a 1 million dollar pork project in their state actually costs closer to $50 million as 49 other states take advantage of the incumbent’s system to get their 1 million dollar projects as well. In the end, the politicians win, and the taxpayers all across this nation lose.

This what I refer to when I say incumbents have fine tuned the system for personal advantage, the people be damned. No amount of changing parties is going to address this issue. But, voter’s assault at the polls upon incumbents regardless of party, will. Their replacements will learn the lesson of their predecessors and turn the priority system right side up again.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 27, 2006 5:39 PM
Comment #117650

Jack,

Here’s what I think (and let me be the first to say it), Cindy Sheehan needs to get her ass another party, going to Venezuela as a guest of Hugo Chavez—BYE CINDY!!!!

I mean I have sympathy for what she’s lost, but this is completely both pro-marxist and near treasonously un-American (and I do not throw those terms, “treasonous” and “un-American” around lightly—I keep them a select rarity). She does not represent the American left nor does she represent the mainstream Democrats by any stretch. This move by her gives all of us a bad name the same way Michael Moore’s shenanigans do.

If I didn’t know better I’d have to say they (michael & Cindy) were republican plants (they’re not) just as I’d quite reallistically have to say they are atleast semi-communistic much much moreso than the majority of democrats.

I remeber when Michael Moore in 92 on his TV show went to the Bosnian Embassy and tried to get the representatives to sing the song from Barney and split up a pizza with him. We need to jettison his a** and we assume he’s a Democrat he is not he’s a damn joker and that’s all there is to it.

Bye Cindy (find a new political affiliation)

Posted by: Sanford at January 27, 2006 6:00 PM
Comment #117655

Correction: the Michael Moore Show (TV Nation I think it was) was 1993-94 and the segment was amidst the genocides in Bosnia.

Posted by: Sanford at January 27, 2006 6:25 PM
Comment #117661

I’ve read a lot of Jacks articles.
He seems like a good person.
I believe he will seriously consider it.
He might take off the partisan blinders.
I know how difficult it is. Really.
Democrats and Republicans alike.

How about this ?

Everyone at watchblog unite to demand responsible government.

Put aside the circular, partisan warfare.

If everyone (and there are a lot of very intelligent people that visit this blog of countless blogs) joins to peacefully ask government to pass some no-brainer, common-sense, responsible reforms, maybe they will listen ? How can they not listen?

It is that simple. No grand schemes. No intricate strategies. Nothing more.

Just do the right thing. That is all.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 27, 2006 7:10 PM
Comment #117667

Sanford,

“I mean I have sympathy for what she’s lost, but this is completely both pro-marxist and near treasonously un-American (and I do not throw those terms, “treasonous” and “un-American” around lightly—I keep them a select rarity).”

I don’t mean to burst your bubble (though you’re certainly entitled to your opinion).
Cindy Sheehan visiting Venezuela, although ill advised, is neither un-American nor treasonous. She is entitled to visit any country that hasn’t been designated an outright enemy, and I am sure she had to apply for a visa to go there.

As of the moment I don’t remember the US declaring war on Hugo Chavez.

DAN,

I am not supposed to spread this around, but Jack and I had lunch together recently.
I found him to be a personable, well informed, intellegent man and while we disagreed on a few things, we saw eye to eye on many others, and I didn’t find him particularly partisan.

Look, we all belive what we belive and it should take a very good argument to divert us from our personally held views.
That said, the truth is usually hard to deny.

Posted by: Rocky at January 27, 2006 7:38 PM
Comment #117679
Democrats are….well that’s the point…they don’t know what they are. Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 27, 2006 05:34 AM
That’s your version of ~ Thus,I refuse to show face to the enemy..refuse to show a crack in unity so to speak,and skewer those who do…pretty well I am told. Posted by sicilianeagle at January 26, 2006 09:12 PM??? My offer still stands eagle, or should I assign you to the poultry category? Posted by: Dave at January 27, 2006 8:47 PM
Comment #117680
Democrats are….well that’s the point…they don’t know what they are. Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 27, 2006 05:34 AM
That’s your version of ~ Thus,I refuse to show face to the enemy..refuse to show a crack in unity so to speak,and skewer those who do…pretty well I am told. Posted by sicilianeagle at January 26, 2006 09:12 PM??? My offer still stands eagle, or should I assign you to the poultry category? Posted by: Dave at January 27, 2006 8:48 PM
Comment #117681

I think I figured out where the double posts come from. If you hit “post” then get a server error then hit retry - allow to resend data; then you get double posts.

Posted by: Dave at January 27, 2006 8:50 PM
Comment #117691

If you get the server error don’t retry, within a few minutes the post will appear.

I have had the same experience.

Posted by: Rocky at January 27, 2006 9:17 PM
Comment #117710

I consider myself fairly conservative; however, I have voted for canidates in 4 different parties. In the middle 1980’s I started to register with a political party. When I got the card to sign, it said on the back that I was pledging to support all canidates for that party. I couldnt sign that pledge. I find it difficult to believe that about 80% of registered voters have.

My experience in life has taught me that regardless of what the purpose of any organization is at some point it becomes a big buisness, no longer worried about its stated purpose but worried about money and power. I have seen this in political parties, large religious groups, unions and civic groups.

I do not think it to be a coincidence that there is more common ground found in these posts than any other thread that I have read. I think that we all see the problems, but what of the solutions? Several have been presented here and the vast majority would work.

I love my country, and though I think the political system is flawed fundamentally, THERE IS NONE BETTER ON THIS PLANET(IMHO). 94% incumbancy reelection rate should suprise no one. The incumbants make election/finance laws. My pipe dream is that everyone would quit contributing to parties and just walk into the voting booth educated and ask themselves,” Are my reps representing me to the party and to the country or are the representing the party to me?” Vote accordingly.

Posted by: submariner at January 27, 2006 10:30 PM
Comment #117724

“That is why we are members of parties and that is why political parties persist even though so many people seem to be disgusted with them all the time.”

Perhaps you are members of political parties because you feel powerless to do anything without them. These political parties persist because they have power, and no one else seems to be able to find the strength to stop them. People are disgusted with them all the time because they squander and abuse this power.

“A fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer.”

Some might counter that there is, in fact, no question a fool can ask that a truly wise man can’t answer… even if sometimes that answer is ‘i don’t know’ - more importantly, only a true fool would ever stop asking questions. But… what do you think?

“That said, the truth is usually hard to deny.”

one would think that to be the case, but alas, no. it seems that in reality, the truth is easy to deny… and nearly impossible for some to accept.

Posted by: Diogenes at January 27, 2006 11:24 PM
Comment #117737

I was a Democrat and so was my Father,but neither of us are now.We did not change,the Dems did.My Father is a Registered Repub,but I am not.However I supported the Repubs because they are closest to my beliefs.I grew up with a mistrust of Repubs and learned I could not trust the Dems,so I am looking at both sides now.I like the Dems even less,now,and like the Repubs even more.Depending on what path they take in the future I may change who I back,but,my beliefs will be my reason.

Posted by: RDAVIDC at January 27, 2006 11:53 PM
Comment #117740

RDAVIDC,

i hear you… at least concerning the democrats. they have changed. unfortunately, the republicans are worse (at least policy wise). don’t get me wrong, i strongly discourage anyone from voting for democrats - i equally, or perhaps even more urgently, stress that you should not vote for the republicans - again, they are far worse in their current policies.

both parties have great ideals - if you consider what either party is *supposed* to stand for, it would seem impossible to go wrong whichever you side with. in reality, however, neither of these parties holds to their respective ideologies.

you could attempt to find a party which represents your specific beliefs (and actually supports policies which back up their big talk), but most of these parties are insignificant, unfortunately.

instead, i would ask you to consider voting for *candidates*, not parties. by this, i mean that you should do some investigation into the particular candidate’s background and beliefs, and *entirely* disregard their party label. this will at least yield better results.

if you want to take a more proactive stance - check out the VOID movement… or consider actually giving your support to a 3rd party. they (the dem’s and rep’s) call it a wasted vote in order to secure their death grip on our government.

finally, if you don’t have time to invest in checking out each candidate and their ideology, i *strongly* suggest you consider *not voting*. It is a *right*, after all, not a privilege or duty as many would have you believe. if there is no one worth voting for, don’t waste your time. refraining from voting is a form of voting. in essence, it’s voting for ‘none of the above’.

whatever you do, consider it carefully - and don’t buy the hype.

Posted by: Diogenes at January 28, 2006 12:11 AM
Comment #117777

D.a.n
Again and again I read your posts and find more information that I am grateful to have. I tend to click on your links as soon as I see them which does make me have to go back and start all over again. At least you present sources…

I have already posted on the Blue thread “Hurray For Democracy!” what I believe is the only way our government can be saved. EDUCATION. If so desired one may find it and read it.

The question I keep running into is how do we get people to care and thus VOTE?

Jack,

If you ask government to do too much, you are asking for corruption.

Praise Be!I agree with you!!

rahdigly you wrote to Aldous:

…Funny how you never harp on the democrats; you just try and take shots at the repubs. I’ve seen plenty of right-wingers on this blog be critical (at times) with their party, yet I have yet to see you critical of the democratic party.

As for criticizing the Democrats, that is not the point at this stage of the game, since as long as the Republican’s are “in control” they are the ones we are generally concerned about. They don’t seem to be doing a great job right now. They seem to be following a rather strange agenda even for Republicans. Big Business and maintaining fiscal responsibilty regarding foreign affairs used to be the rule for many years. They have changed,as well as Democrats (remember the good “Ole Southern Bible Belt”. Of course Republicans have always been known as Hawks, so that might be comforting to some…

Diogenes

I always vote for the candidate - as I would suspect most of you try to do…at least I hope so. It can be difficult sometimes to find what the individual candidate actually believes or will actually do.
However it is also difficult to vote if one is not
registered. Somewhere…


Posted by: Linda H. at January 28, 2006 2:08 AM
Comment #117780

Diogenes:

Ohmygod. That means I have to read. And think. And read some more. But I like to get my information in 10 second sound-bytes from TV. Or from uninformed office pundits. And fellow bidnessmen. And by voting straight party, I can get in and out of a booth in under 17 seconds (personal record).

Honestly, what did you think of Kinky Friedman’s turn on 60-Minutes? He’s running as an independent in Texas. Just like Ventura. Even hired Ventura’s manager. I kind of think Ventura’s turn in Minnesota didn’t work because he really was an “outsider” (and he was a wrestling goof). It’s a shame. I like Kinky. I like his humor. I like what he’s said so far in his campaign. I just don’t think he has a chance against the e-freaking-normous war chest that Guv Perry has ready to go. Perry’s already running TV adds and his biggest opponent just went “independent” ‘cause she knew she would get clobbered in the primary. Perry really doesn’t have a worthy opponent in the primary at this point, but he’s spending it like a federal candidate.

I vote for Repubs, Dems, and Libertarians early and often. If they jibe with my positions and don’t drool or pick their noses on camera, I’m good with them. I’m gonna do some work for Kinky and see if he can get on the ballot.

I just can’t vote straight ticket in good conscience.

Posted by: JW at January 28, 2006 2:20 AM
Comment #117792

linda,

it is essential to register to vote, even if you are not planning to vote for any of the candidates; this is what underscores the statement, “i am voting for none of the above”.

…and if you can’t decipher what it is that a candidate believes (or what they will do if elected), why in God’s name would you vote for them?

Posted by: Diogenes at January 28, 2006 3:00 AM
Comment #117855

JW,

Why do you care if they pick their nose? I don’t care if they shave (face or legs) or shower, just so long as their positions come in closer to “best for all of us” then “will they get me re-elected”

Posted by: Dave at January 28, 2006 9:45 AM
Comment #117932

Diogenes,
That was my point. I have never missed an opportunity to vote in the almost 40 years that I have been legal. I truly believe that even if I make a bad decision, I at least know I made an honest effort. I have never, voted a straight ticket and most likely never will.

I have however changed my party affiliation so many times (moving) that I have no real idea with which party I am currently registered. I tend to register according to which party is in control locally.

I try to do as much research as possible about all the candidates, local as well as state and federal. All sides.

It can however be hard to actually find decent information regarding where a candidate stands on all the issues I am concerned about.

I do not like Fox, CNN or CBS news (they are all very slanted, in my humble opinion (or their publications)) so I tend use the internet, books, serveral newspapers,(except the Washingting Post and NY Times) and magazines to help make my decision.


Posted by: Linda H. at January 28, 2006 3:34 PM
Comment #118017

Jack…what are you talking about, thanks for wasting my life with almost two paragraphs of mindless drivel, the whole point of your little bleeting was at the end, so cut the crap, dont write if you cant write.

thankyou and good night

Posted by: lucas adams at January 28, 2006 9:27 PM
Comment #118028

Linda H.

I wish I could be more compelling.

All I can offer is what I think is the truth.

Many don’t see it the same way.

But, I am confident that some day we will figure it out. Maybe not in my lifetime. But some day.

There’s no complex plan or scheme.
There’s no grand plan.
There’s no tricks.

We, the voters just need to do what we are supposed to do.

Education is the key.

That is my goal.

No one knows if it can succeed or not.

Therefore, there is no reason to resign to failure.

There is the possibility of success.

Doing nothing won’t help anyone.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 28, 2006 10:00 PM
Comment #118030

Lucas

Don’t read if you don’t like it. Not everybody likes what I do and I expect some people find it downright offensive. Maybe that is what you found out. You didn’t waste your time. You just learned you don’t like the way I write or what I write about. And I am sure you got the amount of value you paid for.

Posted by: Jack at January 28, 2006 10:06 PM
Comment #118043

linda,

that, i think, is all anyone could ask of any citizen. if only more of the citizenry were as responsible and patriotic…

Posted by: Diogenes at January 28, 2006 11:05 PM
Comment #118141
I do not like Fox, CNN or CBS news (they are all very slanted, in my humble opinion (or their publications)) so I tend use the internet, books, serveral newspapers,(except the Washingting Post and NY Times) and magazines to help make my decision.

Linda, the Washington Post and NYT are about as objective as it gets. I don’t know what else you could possibly read on a daily basis that would keep you better informed.

And stay away from the internet if you’re looking for anything but editorial. ;)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 29, 2006 9:26 AM
Comment #118183

AP

“The Economist” is a better source if you only get to read one thing and WSJ is better than the “Post” for news.

Posted by: Jack at January 29, 2006 12:05 PM
Comment #118263

But, AP, the internet is where I get my WaPo, NYT, in addition to BBC, Arabic News, and a host of other sources I could not afford on papyrus. Without the internet, I would be extremely uninformed, left to TV for soundbites with little to no background.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2006 4:08 PM
Comment #118463

Haha! Good point, David. I was thinking of the blogs and sites like the Drudge Report.

Jack, as long as you stay away from the WSJ editorial page, you’re in good shape. Unless you’re actually looking for editorial instead of facts. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 30, 2006 9:44 AM
Comment #118511

Propaganda and out-right lies are everywhere.
It takes time to get to the facts (if at all).

When I used to be a Republican, I thought FOX News was great.

The folly of that is now obvious.

Jack, AP,
You two are both obviously intelligent people.
Do you think your party affiliation shapes your behavior?

People join parties because they think the party fights for them, and there is power in numbers.

But, if the party does not really stand for you, there is really no power in numbers; only a bigger problem.

I’m not saying parties are bad.
But, based on what incumbents do (not what they say), are they really that different ?

For the most part, if you look how they vote, they aren’t that different.

I’m not making fun or trying to be overly critical, since I used to be a rabid Republican and thought Democrats were the main problem.

But, do you think it is possible that incumbents of both parties:

  • are simply too irresponsible, are preventing newcomers from passing badly-needed, common-sense ?
  • are preventing responsible reforms by tempting, pressuring, and threatening newcomers with loss of party support if newcomers don’t accept the status quo ?
  • have an unfair advantage (e.g. perks of office, visibility and access to the media, pre-existing campaign organizations ?
  • have pre-existing big-money-donors ?
  • use on-the-job time to campaign and troll for money ?
  • outnumber the newcomers, destroying any hope for badly-needed, common-sense reforms ?
  • fuel the petty, partisan warfare to distract the voters ?
  • refuse to pass any reforms that may possibly reduce their power or opportunities for self-gain ?
  • are unable to sufficiently police their own ranks ?
  • deserve the very cu$hy retirement plan they voted themselves, that is not part of the same Social Security and Medicare system the rest of us are relegated to ?
  • are not really that different ?

Jack, AP, do you feel you are better off with a party, than no party ?

Do you ever think you might be a member of the wrong party ?

Do you think we should continue to vote for incumbents ?

If I continue to vote for irresponsible incumbents, doesn’t that make me part of the problem ?

Based on the 2004 election, it is interesting that of the 200 million eligible voters, the two main parties (59 million Democrats and 62 million Republicans) are only a few percent different in size, and the larger group (78 million) don’t feel compelled to vote (for various reasons). But Democrats and Republicans are really only about 30% each of all eligible voters.

Still, I do find it very interesting to see the comments above about Democrats are this, Republicans are that, and realize I used to be that way too.

So, I can’t help but wonder if we all might be better off if we realized that incumbents in both parties, instigate and fuel this partisan warfare, prevent outnumbered newcomers from passing badly-needed, common-sense reforms, and generally are pulling the wool over our eyes ?

I mean, don’t you ever wonder how incumbents can vote themselves a raise in a heart-beat, but can’t eliminate the marraige penalty tax ?. And how do you explain all of the extremely irresponsible pork-barrel, and continual plundering of Social Security surpluses ? Even if I were a former Democrat, how could anyone rationalize any of what incumbents in either party does ?

At any rate, what would your recommendation to voters be ? Honestly ? Follow your conscience ? Vote Republican, because they will serve you better ? Vote Democratic, because they all walk as individuals ? Or, simply vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents ?

No you say ?
What about the good politicians ?
Wgood politicians ?
OK, there may be a few (maybe).
Who are they ? But, with such a dysfunctional system and a severe lack of transparency, who can really know ? Have they done anything to distinguish themselves from the typical bought-and-paid for incumbents ? Can you list 10, 20, 50, or 100 incumbents (much less half of the 535 in Congress) that:

  • do not vote irresponsibly for pork-barrel (while our troops risk life and limb, go without body armor, armor for vehicles, and adequate medical and health care) ?
  • do not vote themselves cu$hy perks and raises (e.g. such as the extravagant retirement plans, funded by tax-payers, that are not part of the same mismanaged Social Security and Medicare systems that tax-payers are relegated to) ?
  • do not ignore problems for fear of risking re-election or defying their big-money-donors ?
  • do not prevent newcomers from passing badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms ?
  • do not tempt, pressure, and threaten newcomers with the loss of party support if the newcomers don’t accept the status quo ?
  • do not pander ?
  • do not peddle influence and accept money from big-money-donors ?
  • do not fuel the petty partisan warfare that distracts the nation from our many pressing problems ?
  • do not spend a great deal of time and tax-payers’ money (via allowances) trolling for money for their campaign war-chests ?
  • do not abuse their allowances (provided by tax-payers) to retain their cu$hy, coveted seats of power ?
  • do not look the other way ?
  • genuinely embrace campaign finance reform, election reform, tax reform, or any reform that will create more transparent, accountable, and responsible government, even if it diminishes their opportunities for personal gain ?
  • are fiscally responsible ?
  • deserve to retain their cu$hy, coveted, and prized seats of power ?

Unfortunately, the system has become so perverted and dysfunctional, it corrupts almost all within it.

Study their voting records to see the pork-barrel they voted for while our troops risk life and limb.
Study the things they do and say.
Study their attendance records. Study their travel habits and expenses paid for by the tax-payers.
Study the use of their time, and how much of it is spent raising big-money for their campaign war-chests.
Study the way they vote themselves raises, special perk$, and cu$hy retirement plans that are not part of the same mismanaged Social Security and Medicare Systems that the rest of us are relegated to (which has been and is still being plundered).
Study all those things, and you will probably be surprised at what you find.

If an incumbent really is responsible, then they deserve to stay. However, there are very few (if any). Therefore, few (if any) of the incumbents deserve to stay in their cu$hy, coveted seats of power, and perhaps that is the price that the incumbents should pay for looking the other way?

Posted by: d.a.n at January 30, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #118621
Jack, AP, You two are both obviously intelligent people. Do you think your party affiliation shapes your behavior?

No, it’s the other way around. The Democratic Party more closely matches my world view.

I like some traditional Republican ideals, like smaller government and fiscal responsibility, but today’s Republican Party is more about social fundamentalism which offends my libertarian streak.

That’s why I liked Clinton so much. He took the best of both parties and combined fiscal (and foreign policy) conservativism with liberal social programs.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 31, 2006 10:14 AM
Comment #118735

Fair enough.
It’s certainly everyone’s right to do as they please.
I thought Republicans used to stand for smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and lower taxes. But, that’s really a huge joke now. Loyalty is good, but not when one has to sacrifice too much of what they believe in. As far as I can tell, incumbents in both parties are just trying to find and create opportunities for self-gain. Incumbents in both parties have both grown much too irresponsible. I can’t see supporting either party until one of them genuinely embraces fiscal responsibility, campaign finance reform, one-purpose-per-bill, election reform, and stop ignoring our pressing problems.

I used to be Republican, but I personally can no longer blindly follow support them.
They are absolutely not even remotely fiscally responsible.
And, I don’t like, what in my opinion, is using religion to get votes.

But, all the other stuff, including fiscal irresponsibility, is the fault of incumbents in both parties, and the executive branch.

Interest rates just went up again.
The national debt is now $8.2 trillion.
It would now take 139 years to pay it off if we stopped borrowing $1 billion per day, and also started paying back $1 billion per day. Right now, the debt is growing by $1 billion per day in interest, and an additional $1 billion per day that is borrowed. That’s $2 billion per day !

I didn’t care for Clinton at all, and I don’t care for Bush either (I never cared for him much before, but I really don’t now, even though, I unfortunately voted for Bush once…if only the Democrats could have nominated practically anyone else but Kerry).

But the real problem is not the president. That’s only a portion of the problem. The incumbents in congress are the biggest part of the problem, and that includes incumbents from both parties.

AP, Jack,
I’ve asked Craig Holmes about the growig debt, government, and problems facing the nation.

Where do you think this is going?
What do you think is the likelihood that the massive $8.2 trillion National Debt, $32 trillion personal debt nation-wide, irresponsible congress, pensions $1.6 trillion in the hold, troubled Social Security, and looming shortfalls in Medicare will lead to a significant economic meltdown within the next few years ?

Posted by: d.a.n at January 31, 2006 5:37 PM
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