The People - United - Will Never Be Defeated: Go Joe Lieberman

Who are “the people”? What do they want? In non-democracies, these are mystic concepts. In the U.S., we need not speculate; we ask. They vote and make choices about products and lifestyles. In the last thirty years, the American people have been increasingly conservative. Many of those who are not Republican are supporters of DLC Democrats. Leftists don’t do well with the people, so why do they still pretend to represent them?

It is not a rhetorical question. I am perplexed. I recall after Ronald Reagan's landslide victory, lefties staged their own "people’s" inauguration. I guess they thought the minority that disliked the Gipper were somehow the true people. I guess the only knew people from Berkeley or Cambridge.

There is a long history of elites claiming to represent the people. Idle rich poets and intellectuals despised the bourgeois lifestyle and sided with the "real people." We have such individuals still today, self proclaimed great souls who claim to know the people. It is inconvenient to live in a time and place where the people can contradict them at the voting booth or in their lifestyles.

Nobody speaks for the people. The closest a politician has come to doing it was Ronald Reagan. I suppose Oprah speaks for a lot of people today. The people in a pluralistic country like ours have a variety of characteristics. But the people of the U.S. - at least most of them - certainly are not liberal.

I am thoroughly enjoying the Democratic dilemma of Joe Lieberman. I hope he wins his party's nomination because he deserves it. But what if he doesn't? What if he chooses to run as an independent? Dems cry that he is going against "the people". What people? He is going against the activists. What do they know? If the people of Connecticut elect him, Joe Lieberman is the choice of the people. It is a tautology, whether he runs as a Dem or an independent.

Dems might try to understand that they are not the people, no matter how loud they can yell or how well they play street theater. The will of the people is decided by the people, not liberal activists. It is democracy.

Go Joe!

Posted by Jack at July 25, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #170683


It is good of you to give so many hits to my blog. Lieberman is interesting because he is creating problems for Dem’s world views.

I think it is interesting that they think if he runs as an independent - and wins - he is somehow going against the will of the people.

Republicans do not currently have such an interesting situation.

When Jim Jeffords became an independent AFTER being elected as a Republican, liberals hailed his integrity. Certainly the same goes for Lieberman. He at least is being up front about it and not claiming to be what he is not.

Posted by: Jack at July 25, 2006 10:50 PM
Comment #170689

“Leftists don’t do well with “the people,” so why do they still pretend to represent them?”

No “pretending” going on at all, the left DOES represent the people currently, because they don’t like what the Republican administration and Congressional majority has given them.

Let’s quickly look at some numbers on the latest polls:
Direction of the country
President Bush and the Bush Administration

These are after all, the very things which Lieberman wishes to support so strongly that he’s decided that being a Democrat no longer matters as much to him.
As you can see, the GOP and Go-Joe. and you, Jack, are pretty well out of step with the sentiments of the people at the moment.

So I say: Knock him dead, Ned!

Posted by: Adrienne at July 25, 2006 11:33 PM
Comment #170692

The far left no more represents the people anymore than the far right does. The Democrats have represented the people for more years then I can remember. And I remember quite a few of them. The problem is the Republicans don’t either.
Both parties have sold out to the special interest groups that contribute to their campaigns.
I hope Joe Lieberman does run as an independent. Neither party deserves to have him.

Posted by: Ron Brown at July 25, 2006 11:48 PM
Comment #170694

Ah well, the “people” wanted Al Gore, but they didn’t get him. You say the people are not liberal, whatever that means, but based on vote totals and polls, you can’t claim they are conservative either. Most would be happy with middle of the road competence, but they are unhappy now. The mandate claimed by the right never existed; these last couple of elections were essentially coin tosses.

If a Democrat wins the next presidential election, can I say the people aren’t conservative?

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #170697


Yes. If a liberal Dem wins the election, you can say that the people are not conservative - until next time at least.

Most Americans are not very interested in politics. They are moderates. They are not conservatives in my sense, but they certainly are not liberal.


Let’s see how Lieberman does in the actual race. He has two shots. If he wins in the Dem primary, he will win in the general election. If he loses in the Dem primary, he probably will also win in the general election.

I judge the will of the people by the choices they make. In the last election “the people” were clearly more Republican than Dem. Maybe this time it will be different, but don’t put too much stock in those polls. Elections are CHOICES between two or more real alternatives. Even people unhappy with the current situation may not want to trade it for the specific alternative on offer.

Remember that a generic Republican could beat Bill Clinton in 1996, but no real ones could and a generic Dem could beat Bush in 2004, but the real candidate could not.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 12:20 AM
Comment #170699

Jack -

I don’t know that people, individually speaking, are more than just interested in what affects their lives. I don’t believe that more than 20% of the population has a position on anything that they can’t touch or feel. Subjects like abortion, gay marriage and entitlements get most people going, but again, their response is very specific to their upbringing, or their individual lifestyle.

I guess I just don’t think that most people are consistent enough to be a true conservative or a true liberal on a broad spectrum of subjects.

Posted by: Bruce Penman at July 26, 2006 12:49 AM
Comment #170700

I have difficulty with describing an individual or population with any easy label. For example, I am “liberal” on social mores (gay marriage, de-criminalization of marijuana) and on health care, “moderate” on foreign policy (force is soemtimes necessary, but I distrust the hegemonic tendencies of the neo-cons), and “conservative” about the Bill of Rights and government expenditures (while I personally may wish to ban handguns, I favor repealing the second amendment rather than interpreting a right away). Given that the Republicans want to control how I live my life, rush to occupy countries on flimsy pretext, claim divine guidance, and circumvent legal protections, I find it difficult to vote for them. So am what am I? I don’t worry much about finding a label.

Give me the McCain of a couple of years ago or a pre-Bush administration Colin Powell, and I might have been able to vote Republican. Bush in 2000 struck me as a lightweight with no clear agenda except cutting taxes and a humble, non-interventionist foreign policy (man, the voters didn’t get what they voted for there, did they?).

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 12:51 AM
Comment #170701

Hillary and Lieberman are objects of the Conservative talking points… not the Liberals or even the Democrats.

It is amusing that you poke fun at the liberals for assuming that they represent “the people” all the while assuming yourself that the conservatives represent “the people”! You poke fun at yourself!

Why are you even concerned who the Democrats present? You support a totally different ideology. Do conservatives focus on Hillary and Lieberman because their own party has so fouled its own nest that it can only hope the other party fouls their nest as badly?

Posted by: LibRick at July 26, 2006 12:52 AM
Comment #170704

LibRick is right, Jack. On these boards you hear all the time about how the Dems/liberals/left are out of touch with “the people,” as if the Republicans have some sort of huge mandate. Given Bush’s unpopularity, Dems/liberals/lefties can claim our CIC is out of touch.

Anyway, going back to your post, when liberal activists refer to “the people,” they are referrring to grassroots organizations rather than top-down organizations. Of course you are right to say to say the will of the people prevails (except in bizarre cases such as in 2000), but in a larger sense, given that money talks so loudly in an age of sound bites and marketing tactics, it is equally valid to say that the leaders at the top of the two big parties have inordinate control over elections. So a people’s cause is one that springs from the ground up. I grant the terminology is unfortunate. You knew what they meant anyway :)

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 1:10 AM
Comment #170706

You know, I can’t let this go. These “elites” you talk about — who are they? How are they different than the Thomas Sowells of the right who treat anyone they disagree with as idiots? How are they different than the Ann Coulters of Rush Limbaugh’s who claim the absolute validity of their “common sense” approach? Jack, I really respect you and your approach to debate, but in this regard I think you are repeating a tired canard.

The right is NO different from the left in this regard.

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 1:29 AM
Comment #170707

I hope Joe gets reelected. He has proven his willingness to cooperate with reps which is something that can be said for lamentably few dems.(Or reps, for that matter.) But neither party can claim to speak for “the people.” The people disagree on things. For now reps can claim they represent more people, since there is (for now) a republican majority and a republican president. 51%, is not a mandate. The Reagan landslide was a mandate.

On the subject of Bushes aproval rating, I can’t say the media helps him. I know, a bunch of people are going to say there is no liberal media. I respectfully beg to differ and excercise my constitutional right to freedom of speech, whatever you guys think of my speech. All that ever comes out of the evening news is how many people died. Not how many schools were built or anything like that. Just a Vietnamesque concern for casualties. (We CREAMED North Vietnam. We never lost a single major battle. Tet, Khe Sahn, etc. were all US victories. If people hadn’t gotten so pissed off we would have kept on creaming them until they gave up, not us.) Thanks alot, Walter Mondale.

Anyway I say both extremes are WAY out of touch. I can’t say I care which one is more out of touch. As far as I can tell the last few elections have been little more than each extreme trying the scare more crap out of more undecided voters than the other can over how bad that other extreme will be if it gets elected. My dream ticket: John McCain/Joe Lieberman. They have both demonstrated an ability to work bipartisanly. Given this will never, ever happen and it would never, ever win, but I can dream, can’t I?

Posted by: Silima at July 26, 2006 1:40 AM
Comment #170708

I too hope Lieberman wins. He at least is sincere in his convictions and hasn’t flip-flopped so much as others. As far as parties go, while neither party represents everybody, I tend to think that if both party planks were laid out side by side, more people would favor the Republicans than the Democrats.

As far as Lieberman running as an independent, let’s compare him to Jeffords. To paraphrase Tom Clancy, about 40% of voters will vote Republican even if Hitler is on the ticket in the same fashion as about 40% of voters would vote Democratic even if Stalin was on the ticket. If Jeffords had any integrity, he would have resigned then ran as an independent. At least Lieberman is being honest enough to give the voters a choice.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 26, 2006 2:05 AM
Comment #170714

Jack wrote:

Nobody speaks for the people. The closest a politician has come to doing it was Ronald Reagan. I suppose Oprah speaks for a lot of people today. The people in a pluralistic country like ours have a variety of characteristics. But the people of the U.S. - at least most of them - certainly are not liberal.

Wake up! Get off the drugs, and get ready for a big surprise!

Posted by: DOC at July 26, 2006 2:55 AM
Comment #170717


Regarding your dream ticket of McCain and Lieberman, I like both of them also, but individually and as a team they are unelectable.

Both are characterized as not trustworthy by their parties. Maybe if they swapped parties, they could get elected.

Posted by: goodkingned at July 26, 2006 3:24 AM
Comment #170721

Jack wrote:

“There is a long history of elites claiming to represent the people. Idle rich poets and intellectuals despised the bourgeois lifestyle and sided with the “real people.” We have such individuals still today, self proclaimed great souls who claim to know the people. It is inconvenient to live in a time and place where the people can contradict them at the voting booth or in their lifestyles.”


George Bush (the father) comes to mind. George Bush (the son) too. Talking in terms of “folks need to…” and “Y’all should…” does not change that imo.

Being “for the people” does not imply running of to war for “our oil” and neglecting domestic non-discretionary spending supposed to benefit “the people”.

Posted by: Josh at July 26, 2006 3:57 AM
Comment #170730


Your logic is astounding—-so astounding that some cannot even perceive its accuracy.

The people vote their preferences in our country. Over the past several elections, the people’s preference has been mostly on the Republican side. This means that Democrats have been losers in the election process. It does not matter that they have been close—-it only matters that they did not win. A football team that ALMOST wins a close game….is still the losing team. A party that ALMOST wins a close election…is still the losing party.

The interesting thing is that many Democrats, especially some in here, use the sour grapes mentality. They say the elections were stolen. They say the people really wanted the Democratic candidate, but voted wrong. They say the people aren’t smart enough to understand the Democrat’s message. They say that Republicans confuse the public to get them to vote Republican.

They have any number of excuses for losing. And even if they are right on some of it—-it just doesn’t matter at all. The fact remains the same: Voters have voted Republicans into office more than Democrats as of late.

This will change, since politics is cyclical. When it does, should Republicans use the sour grapes mentality, or should they recraft their message and their policies? Democrats, or at least the sourgrapes group in here, will claim that the people have finally spoken…they will ignore the clamor from the hilltops that has been the voting public over the past 12 years shouting the Democrats down. They will finally decide that the people have become smart enough, wise enough, discerning enough.

And if Republicans win again, this group will spout that the people simply haven’t become smart enough yet.

How sad. How pitifully sad.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2006 7:29 AM
Comment #170733

A couple things few commentators on this race seem to have noticed:

1) Connecticut is a Blue state. Kerry won there by more than 10%. Yet many people look at the way Democrats in there are acting, and say, in effect, “If you silly liberals don’t stop acting like this, you won’t win any Red States.”

Well hell, this isn’t a Red State! It’s not even a Purple State. According to the polls, there is no way the Republican candidate is going to win. So it is perfectly reasonable to try to get a reliable Democrat.

Let’s suppose the shoe were on the other foot, and we were looking at a Republican in Kansas who was in trouble for not supporting Bush enough. Would Kansas Republicans be crazy for trying to replace him, with the Democrats fielding only weak opposition? Of course not.

You can’t treat a statewide election like a presidential election.

2) There is a parallel situation with Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island being challenged from the in right. Only in that case, there is a good chance the Republicans could actually lose.

I don’t know why I’m bringing this up. Never mind. You guys are right. Liberals are a bunch of crybabies. Republicans are being shrewd and tactical. Nothing to worry about.

Oh, to address your specific point, Jack, it is true that if Lieberman wins as an Independent, it will reflect the will of the people. Who in this case are mostly Democrats…

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 26, 2006 7:54 AM
Comment #170734

By the way, don’t read too much into the scenario of Leiberman being elected as an Independent. He has already promised to caucus with the Democrats (and we all know he is a “man of integrity”).

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 26, 2006 7:59 AM
Comment #170735


Virtually all of the elites of the Democratic Party are supporting Lieberman. I would be surprised if you could find a single “household name” in the party who has endorsed Lamont.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 26, 2006 8:05 AM
Comment #170736


I haven’t seen anyone really make an issue about Lieberman running as an independent, other than Democrats who feel he is abandoning the party, or being some kind of traitor, or disrupting the will of the people.

As Jack pointed out, Lieberman is free to run for whomever he wishes. I’d think that all those who rant on and on about having a viable third party would relish the thought of someone of Lieberman’s status as an independent. Even if its in name only.

I’ve said for a while that a third party won’t be successful unless if forms from the middle—not from the fringes. Lieberman could be a start to that—he certainly has more cachet as it were than Jim Jeffords.

And Lieberman is allowing the people of his state to determine his future. In Jefford’s case, he bait and switched the people, getting elected as one thing and then switching to another.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2006 8:12 AM
Comment #170737

I’m a conservative and a Republican and I like Joe! He seems to be getting bashed for saying that he thinks both parties might some valid ideas…what a concept!

Posted by: Gramps at July 26, 2006 8:14 AM
Comment #170738
In the last thirty years, the American people have been increasingly conservative. Many of those who are not Republican are supporters of DLC Democrats.

In 2004, the DLC endorsed John Kerry in the Democratic Primary. We know how well that worked…

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 26, 2006 8:23 AM
Comment #170740


Actually, three out of the last four presidential elections, the people chose a Democratic president. I’m not saying we should toss out the Electoral College, but let’s not pretend the “will of the people” prevailed in 2000.

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 8:50 AM
Comment #170741

Lieberman just wants to get re-elected, but he’s alienated people with not merely support for the war, but unquestioning support for Bush, whose policies and behavior many see as dangerously irresponsible. It amuses me greatly that this revolte against Lieberman gets painted as some sort of Banana Republic ouster, when the reality is much more prosaic: folks are successfully convincing Connecticut voters that Lieberman no longer respresents them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 26, 2006 8:52 AM
Comment #170745


I’d differ with you on your statement. Under our Constitution, the Electoral College trumps the popular vote, and the people have seen fit to keep the Electoral College. If the people want it changed, the people can make that happen.

You are correct that more people voted for Gore than for Bush, so on the face of things, your statement has some validity. But its kind of like saying that a tennis player who wins more games is the champion. Its not always that way—-it depends on when you win the games (7-6, 7-6, 0-6, 0-6, 7-6).

My point is that if the people want to change the scoring for President, the people can do so. That they haven’t indicates a satisfaction or at least acceptance of the current system.

Lastly, your statement refers only to the last three Presidential elections. Congress has not Electoral College, and more people have voted Republicans into office over the past 12 years. I suppose someone could check out the total of all votes over the past 12 years, and show the number of Dem vs Repub total votes. But that wouldn’t really indicate the score any more than the total number of tennis games in a match.

The true bottom line is that the country is pretty evenly divided when it comes to voting. Neither party can claim a solid mandate over the other party, though they can claim the authority of power given to them by the voters.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2006 9:23 AM
Comment #170750

well Jack, Ronnie Raygun did not speak for me. He was a made for TV president, and a whole lot of spin, and in his final years in office, got to wonder if it was Nancy running things instead of Ronnie.
Now for Joe, not being from Ct, I am not paying to much to the attention he is getting other then, he is standing behind what he says and believes in and for that I can say Good For Him. He has taken the road less travel and bucking his own party. I don’t agree with everything he says but at least he has the ba**s to stand firm, for that reason I hope he wins also.

Posted by: KT at July 26, 2006 9:34 AM
Comment #170751

Joe, I agree with almost everything you said. (I’m disregarding for the moment the strong possibility that if the intent of the people of Florida prevailed, Gore would have won the Electoral College, too.) I’m merely making the admittedly banal point that the will of the people did not prevail in 2000. As far as winning the game goes, Bush did win, of course.

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 9:36 AM
Comment #170754

Yes, who really represents the people’s views…Bush, with his recent 29% approval rating or Lieberman, with whom his own constituents overwhelmingly disagree with his stance on the Iraq War…

It’s obvious the answer is that neither one truly represents the views of the people they were elected to represent.

It’s kind of backwards these days…the elected officials feel they were elected to represent their own views, not those of the people who elected them. Good thing we have elections to disabuse these “representatives” of their mistaken notion(s).

Posted by: Lynne at July 26, 2006 9:45 AM
Comment #170755

I’m willing to bet that “the people” aren’t represented by either party. Both parties are so intent on throwing mud at the other, that they cannot see their own glaring faults… and people viciously villify each side to the point of absurdity.

You are all pretty much sheep. I see everyone repeat the standard talking points they get off their own “news” sources and political pundits. You are spoon fed “facts” from your own party’s rhetoric factory and you go out in the world and argue based off what you think you know.

I’m right of center. My family is a big mix of political ideologies. While I believe the left is wrong on most current issues, I do not think they are evil and I do not participate in such childish and absurd bashing sessions. Unfortunately, the ones in my family that are left-leaning are the the worst offenders in the slander war, and that makes me sad.

You all should wake up if you think either side of the isle is squeaky clean. Neither party is evil… they are a necessary balance. I cannot fathom how you people shout evil and hate from one side and claim the other side is evil and hateful. Take some time and learn what the other side ACTUALLY THINKS, not what rhetoric you get from people like Al Franken or Rush Limbaugh or wherever you get your talking points for the day.

Posted by: Matt at July 26, 2006 9:51 AM
Comment #170757

Actually, Matt, except for the occasional cheap shot to keep things lively, I think the people here are civil and willing to listen. But let me ask you what specific non-sheepish arguments you want to make?

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #170758

Lib Rick

Maybe it is just my perception. I know that my ideas do not represent the people as a whole. I don’t even think there is such a thing as the people in that metaphysical sense people talk about it. I am annoyed by (what I perceive) as the liberal or Dem idea that they speak for the people or the common man. Simple arithmetic tells me that whoever wins a majority speaks for the people for the term of his/her office. There is really not much more to it than that.

Elections are practical processes, not metaphysical events. The people decide who speaks for them, until next time.


Money can be used to communicate, but some things sell easier than others. I read a study a while back showing that most of the rich, self financed candidates lost. It is not the money that wins, but the ability to raise money. The distinction is fine, but very important. If you give money to a candidate, it indicates your commitment. Talk it cheap otherwise.

I used to organize speaking events. I would insist that the co-organizers charge money. We did not need the money or even want it, but when people pay they become more committed to the event and they almost always show up. An RSVP w/o the cash is easily blown off. It does not have to be much money, but it makes it much harder for the person to change his mind.

Re the people - I think I do know what they mean and I think they are wrong. They really think of the people as their constituents. I live in the suburbs, as do most Americans. When activists talk about the people, they rarely mean me. Yet if anyone is the people, it is the suburban family, since they represent both the current and future generations of both genders.

Re right and left

We both have our faults and our myths. Anyone involved in the public debate is probably a member of an elite. Even you and me are not normal. We are opinion leaders. I like people who do something other than opine for a living. My experience with intelligentsia elites is that they do not. Republicans can be as out of touch as Democrats. But Republicans less often talk about the will of the people as separate from their choices. When Bill Clinton won (by pluralities NOT MAJORITIES BTW) you didn’t hear as much crap that he was not a legitimate president for that reason. Republicans had other reasons, of course, but they didn’t go in for the BS about stolen elections.

Re elections - the majority of the American voters have not voted for a Democrat since 1976.


You just did it. Do transfer payments benefit the people? Most of the people are not poor. They are not receiving these payments. It might be a good idea to give money to the poor, but do not equate the poor with the people. The median family income in the U.S. is around 50K a year. Half the people make more.


Yes. For the last thirty years they have be saying the electorate is too dumb or easily tricked to vote Dem. I guess they don’t believe Lincoln’s idea about not being able to fool all the people all the time.


The winner of the election represents the people. THat is why Bush is OUR president. You can claim you don’t like him, but he represents you until 2009.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 10:03 AM
Comment #170760


I can only speak for myself, but no one sends me talking points.

If you are curious, here is where my arguments above came from:

1) I read a lot from the right in places like RealClearPolitics arguing that the Connecticut Democrats were shooting themselves in the foot by rejecting Lieberman. Then I looked at the polls and 2004 election results in CT, and found that this argument was at odds with the facts.

2) I follow all of the close Senate races, and parallel was obvious.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 26, 2006 10:12 AM
Comment #170761


Great comment about having elections. Elections are the way we choose our leaders. We do not use public opinion on each and every issue—we use public opinion, in the form of elections, to choose the candidate who best fits our ideology.

Some people only want public opinion to be used when it meets their needs. For instance, the “people” all over the country have overwhelmingly responded against same sex marriage, yet liberal leaning folks keep pushing for same sex marriage. If we use public opinion, same sex marriage should be banned because the people are overwhelmingly against it.

The fact is that we elect leaders. I was elected to a supervisory board—I am entrusted thereby to make a number of decisions. I am not bound to simply follow the “will of the members”, but rather am bound to make what I think are the best decisions. Many of the decisions that I will eventually make involved issues that do not yet exist, so I was not elected on the basis of my opinions on them. I was elected because people thought I’m the right person, a wise enough person, a decisive enough person etc for the position (this could be a good example of mass delusion, of course).

In Bush’s case, people knew his stance on Iraq at election time. The people voted him in decisively—close election but decisive, unlike in 2000. The job is his to do, and the job is best done by NOT focusing on opinion polls.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #170764

Jack, fair enough — I even agree that speaking of people’s movements etc. is misleading and employs terminology uncomfortably close to Marxist rhetoric in which the “people” are unconscious of their own will and thus someone else has to speak for them.

Specific politics aside, could we further agree that our national elections are conducted in such a way that actual debate of the issues is very difficult? I’m speaking of the power of short television ads, “gotcha” strategies, and televised debates that limit actual back-and-forth between the candidates. On the local level, I think substantive debate is sometimes more possible. At any rate, a system that allows more genuine debate might help prevent the polarization we see so much. I have friends on the left and right and often see both sides dismiss out of hand ideas of the other simply because they come from the “opposition.”

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 10:19 AM
Comment #170769


You are absolutely correct. What happens, even in this forum, is that sometimes a reasonable idea is taken to its furthest extreme and then discussed.

I recently discussed abortion, politics, and health care with a friend who is rather liberal. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not rather liberal. Once we got past the thinking of the other person’s opinion as “talking points”, we were able to discuss the issues rationally. We found that despite our disagreements, we had a lot in common as well. Sometimes we had the same outcome in mind, but a different method of attaining it.

I never saw, for instance, Kerry as a super war hero nor as a conniving Purple Heart cheater. Both are extreme viewpoints of who the man is. Nor do I see Bush as the “messiah” or as either an evil genius or a complete idiot. Again, those are extreme viewpoints.

Thanks for your contributions to WB. Its refreshing to see actual thought. There are a few who actually think, amongst the many who speak. Welcome to the club. :)

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #170770


The “liberal” bias of the media is not apparent in the issue you are discussing. This is a bias toward the sensational issues which affect everyday people, the ones watching the shows and subsequently, their ads. Death tolls are horrific and they sell, so do stories about arson, rape, murder, and anything with flashy explosions. Thats because the news is about entertainment rather than information, despite what the “journalists” on television news like to tell themselves.

As for Vietnam, though we did not lose any battles, and though we did kill many times more Vietnamese than they killed us, we were losing the war because we supported a violent despot who abused his people and starved them. Vietnam was not a war for territory, because we never commited enough troops to hold any substantial portion of the country, it was a war against the ideology of the North Vietnamese, and we lost because they were seen as the underdogs fighting for the everyman, whereas we were the military arm of the oppressive and violent regime in power. We should have seen the struggle in the true colors it was, rather than black (evil communist) and white (not communist). If we truly believe that liberal democracy is the best system, we should not have got behind the repressive feudal status quo.

Posted by: iandanger at July 26, 2006 10:48 AM
Comment #170773


The Vietnam formulation is wrong. The U.S. was not fighting Vietnam. We were fighting the communist rulers of the North. And the south did not fall to an insurgency. It was lost to an invasions that included armor and airpower. An invasion launched, BTW, after peace had been agreed.

You are right that it is not black and white. Neither the North or the South was representative of the people of Vietnam. You may also recall that thirty years after the event, the N. Vietnamese have not held a free election or even a flawed one as they recently had in Egypt.

The U.S. was defeated by a more determined and ruthless enemy. It was not a spontaneous uprising of oppressed people. If that were the case, the North would also be under different management.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 11:00 AM
Comment #170774

The People - United - Are Digging Themselves A Very, Very Deep Hole

Who are The People ?

They are the ones that keep re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians, and then wonder why our pressing problems continue to grow in number and severity. The People see a Television ad, and that’s who they vote for. 90% of all elections are won by the candidate that spends them most money. Corruption in government is increasing.

  • Our government is FOR SALE. 83% of all $2.4 billion in federal campaign donations in 2000 were from a mere 1% of the U.S. population. What does that tell you? How can the remaining 99% of the population compete with that? Too many bought-and-paid-for politicians are controlled by big-money-donors (corporations). Pork-barrel, graft, corporate welfare, and money in politics is rampant. Incumbents (who always outnumber newcomers) refuse many badly-needed, common-sense reforms.
  • Incumbent politicians refuse campaign finance reform, and many common-sense, no-brainer reforms that might reduce their power or the security of their cu$hy, coveted seats of abused power
  • Incumbent politicians are above the law. Our presidents abuse the presidential pardon, which guarantees immunity for crooked politicians, like the 140 felons pardoned by Bill Clinton (many who even pled guilty)
  • Incumbent politicians continuously promise (e.g. “read my lips”) things it can not provide (i.e. prescription drug plan, Medicare and looming shortages in the tens of trillions), and selfish Americans have grown too dependent and lazy, and have developed a considerably disgusting sense of entitlement.
  • Pandering incumbent politicians continually strive to increase dependency on government, and bribing voters with their own money
  • Government continues to grow and grow ever larger to nightmare proporations.
  • Irresponsible incumbent politicians fuel the petty partisan warfare to distract and fool voters; just today I got a letter from Senator Bill Frist telling me to “fight back against the Democrats and elect Republicans or live with the consequences of a Democrat Majority in Congress”. I am so sick and disgusted with incumbent politicians that fuel this type of petty partisan warfare. And, I used to be a Republican.
  • 62% of Americans believe the nation is not moving in the right direction, but those Americans keep re-electing the same incumbent politicians that use and abuse them. Go figure.
  • Our legal system is dysfunctional and corrupt, where some are above the law (like Rep (LA) William J. Jefferson (hiding $90K of bribes in his freezer and has never been charged with any crime!), and the 140 felons pardoned by Clinton, etc., etc., etc.)
  • Gerrymandering; dishonest and perpetual redrawing of district lines to shift votes
  • Election fraud. When this gets too out of control (if it hasn’t already), we will no longer have anything resembling a democracy. With elections as close as they have been (e.g. year 2000), every vote counts. So, why do we let illegal aliens vote in our elecitons?
  • The main parties have created barriers to prevent third party and independent candidates from getting on election ballots, limiting candidates and our voting choices.
  • Median incomes have been falling for 6 consecutive years while corporations have record high profits, while government perpetuates ever-present and destabilizing inflation, a fiscally irresponsible monetary system, printing too much money, and out-of-control government borrowing and spending.

Consider some of the projects tacked on to this emergency bill:

  • $55 million to chronically mismanaged Amtrak for repairs, security, overhaul of the rail fleet, including projects not at all related to the War on Terrorism or homeland security;
  • $16 million for New England fisheries;
  • $10 million for the Agricultural Research Service, including $4.5 million for animal pathogens, $500,000 for plant pathogens, $2 million for research related to spongiform transmissible encephalopathy, including chronic wasting disease, $2.5 million for vaccine trials related to foot and mouth disease, and $500,000 for Newcastle disease;
  • $6.8 million for the Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Center in South Dakota, a mission critical site for the Department of the Interior, but with no national security importance;
  • $5 million to drill five wells in Santa Fe, New Mexico;
  • $4 million for the Columbia Hospital for Women Medical Center in Washington, DC (which closed in early May) to support community outreach programs for women;
  • $2.5 million to conduct coral reef mapping in Hawaii;
  • $2 million for the Smithsonian’s National Worm Collection;
  • $500,000 for the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies in Seattle for a demonstration project to collect and analyze health workforce data;
  • $350,000 for the Clinical Pharmacy Training Program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo;
  • $200,000 for the Luna County, New Mexico and the Columbus Volunteer Fire Departments to provide emergency medical services to immigrants; and
  • $80,000 for the Wausau, Wisconsin Health Foundation for a survey to better understand entry and exit from the health profession.
  • (Washington, D.C.) Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today criticized Senators Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) for reintroducing the Children and Media Research Advancement Act (CAMRA), which will set up a $90 million program to research what countless other studies have already documented the effects of television viewing and other media on children. CAGW named Sen. Lieberman Porker of the Month when he introduced the same legislation in August, 2004.

Therefore, I don’t give a [explicative] what Joe Lieberman does. He is just another FOR-SALE, bought-and-paid-for, irresponsible incumbent obstructionist politician, that votes for pork-barrel, waste, growing government larger, playing politics with bureacracy, increasing costs to taxpayers, etc., etc., etc. (just visit to see all the pork, waste).

Posted by: d.a.n at July 26, 2006 11:01 AM
Comment #170777


Nice way to twist the meaning of my words…we DON’T agree, quite obviously!!

Posted by: Lynne at July 26, 2006 11:06 AM
Comment #170779

Excellent post, d.a.n. Just one comment — some of those pork programs may actually be worthwhile, but given that they get tacked on to appropriation bills without much debate in order to win passage, it’s hard to know.

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 11:10 AM
Comment #170780

Jack wrote: “Leftists don’t do well with the people, so why do they still pretend to represent them?”

Boy, are you in for a surprise. The leftists are going to hit the middle class pocketbook issues, and they are going to do very well with the people. The majority of American people are demonstrating in the polls that they have finally prioritized their issues, and religion and gay marriage, once high on their list, now have dropped way below job security, real wage stagnation, inflation, the national debt and deficits their precious children are going to choke on.

No, lefties are coming back and their core issues haven’t changed, no flip flopping here, they have always been for the wages, job security, and our children’s future security, and the people know that. Now those issues are high on priority lists again, lefties will be coming back in vogue on election days for years to come.

Hopefully they have also learned that a one party government is the worst form of government in America. We will have to wait and see on that one.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 26, 2006 11:12 AM
Comment #170781


We did back the southern government, it was our supplies that they were fighting with, our weapons they were using to oppress their people. Before us, it was the french, who put them in power, and it was a mistake to take over the colonial problem the French created. By viewing the war as north versus south, not a civil war, which is what it was, we sought to maintain the status quo and support a violent dicatorship which was unpopular. The reason we could not beat the Vietnamese militarily was because they had the support of the people of Vietnam, who saw them as a force for change. Now, as we can see in most circumstances, revolution goes way too far, change should be more gradual, but in this case, it was support the revolution or support no change. We beat them over and over and they alway came back because they had the support of the people, something we lacked.

getting involved in the revolutions of others is difficult, fighting the war for them is impossible.

Posted by: iandanger at July 26, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #170784

If we go with the actual constitution, gay marriage should be possible. To wit: regulation of who can marry is typically a state affair, which the government should have no say in. The Defense of Marriage act unconstitutionally overrules the states. If it were not in effect, the full faith and credit clause would require one state to honor a gay marriage as they would any other, like states once honored Nevada Divorce laws. or other state’s marriage laws.

This is why many on the right support an amendment. The alternative is full gay marriage rights, should DOMA ever be struck down, which given it’s nature, it probably will.

The cooperation you would ask would go one way, and one way alone. That’s why they’re increasingly not getting our help.

On the subject of your free speech, my policy is I don’t need to announce that I have free speech, nor assert it in the face of what is merely other people exercising that same right for themselves. People sometimes mistake the pressure of consensus for the smothering censorship that the first amendment combats. There is a liberal media, but it doesn’t dominate the mainstream media. Most liberals are happy to simply get the news without the constant commentary from pundits that FOX news seems insistent on giving us poor old fools.

As for Iraq, let me put it plainly to you: schools do not represent victories. Peace in Iraq would represent victory, the country settled down and the mess our invasion and Bush’s optimistic and ill-prepared strategies cause cleaned up.

People are right to be skeptical when the violence just keeps on coming, and our people are powerless to halt it. It shouldn’t be working like this.

As for Vietnam, we may have won every battle, but that’s useless if your victories don’t move you closer to your goal. If you can’t hold ground, if you can’t get the South Vietnamese to value and hold the ground for themselves, then all your victories just serve to consume your resources and extend the time during which you have to win more of these victories.

We did not match nor could we match their ability to escalate on the ground, and our airpower could not make crippling strikes on the North’s low-tech economy. One person in a strategy meeting joked that bombing North Vietnam to the stone age might be an improvement for them. What they did have was a fertile population, which easily replenished losses in the ground war.

Because they could fight us cheaper than we could fight them, it didn’t matter if we could field better equipment or whatever. They could do what we could not: continue to raise the ante on ground forces. For us, doing so was an expense, and after years of military stalemate, the American public’s consensus turned against the war. It was doing damage to our military readiness elsewhere, it was destroying our forces, and it was acting as a massive drain on our economy, especially since it was funded by off budget deficit spending. Much of the economic troubles of the Seventies is a result of that fiscal irresponsibility.

If defeating enemy forces does not end the battle, does not destroy their army as a whole, then it will be economic exhaustion that dictates who wins, and a foreign power with expensive infrastructural needs will likely fail first.

Most importantly, South Vietnam did not want badly enough to hold off the North. Their armies did not want to stand and fight, their people just wanted the war over, and as a whole they had no faith in their leaders and in their cause to echo that the North had for Ho Chi Minh.

People have to get over the idea that war is strictly about killing the other side. There’s much of that involved, but good military strategy can allow you to destroy forces (in Von Clausewitz’s sense of rendering them unable to fight) without killing so man.

The question in Iraq is why we let things get so badly out of control. That’s why the casualties bear so much importance: thousands of Americans have died since the president said the war was essentially over. What do we have to show for this bloodshed?

With Lieberman, the quesiton is why he does not recognize the unfortunate role politics has played in the president’s premature declarations of victories, and the stubborn instence on his policies, despite their dysfuntional nature. Joe has run afowl of the consensus in the Democratic party constituency that this war needs better management and a change in course. That he’s posed to lose his seat is bad enough. Now he has to add the insult of registering as an independent, a move that could only be done by somebody anticipating a defeat, yet not willing go all out and run as an independent from the get-go.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 26, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #170785

Jack, I think this is the most presumptuous and inaccurate post I have seen from you, except for one point:
“I suppose Oprah speaks for a lot of people today.” So pitiful. Yet so true.

Here’s a free-thinking Leftie’s opinion on Lieberman: The Republicans, who still blindly defend the neocon war criminals, speak in support of Joe. That alone raises red flags.

As I said yesterday, I was raised in CT. While I was there, Lieberman never did anything substantial to help “the people”. Unless, of course, your definition of “the people” is the 1% of Americans who control 99% of the wealth.

Posted by: ChristianLeft at July 26, 2006 11:35 AM
Comment #170787


A question for you: What is Joe Lieberman so worried about?

To hear you tell it, not only does he have plenty money and prominent supporters like Bill and Hillary, he also has the support of “the people”. He can’t possibly lose!

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 26, 2006 11:42 AM
Comment #170788

I am getting so sick and tired of Republican con-men labelling Dems as “elites” like it was a bad thing. These are the people who graduated with Ivy League degrees, ran successful businesses (no Arbusto here), and have actually spent some time studying sociology and government rather than politics and cronyism.

I was watching a 48 Hours show last night, and a juror who found someone guilty of murder said “I couldn’t believe the science, it went against my common sense.” I think that sums up the problem in America today. Idiots who can’t grasp complicated ideas or theories, rather than feel unintelligent, simply throw out the theories. If you can’t explain something so that a high school drop-out can understand it, it must not be a valid point. We have ceased to exist as a society of great thinkers, of people who could change the world, and reverted to the lowest common denominator. This is why more people watch Jerry Springer than Charlie Rose, why Dan Rather is out and Katie Couric is in, and why Republicans draw more than 25% of the vote.

Posted by: David S at July 26, 2006 11:50 AM
Comment #170790

David, I dislike how the term “elite” is used to disparage the left too. I don’t have statistics at hand to back this up, but I’m fairly certain a higher pecentage of Republican kids get an “elite” education than Democratic kids. Somehow espousing conversative principles is not elitist, but espousing liberal ones are. If William Buckley and George Will aren’t elitist, I don’t know how is.

Btw, in sofar as the elite are those how thoughtfully research and formulate their positions, I’m all for elitism.

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #170792

Every modern civil liberty that you have (i.e., womens right to vote, 40 hr work week, maternity leave, etc) you can thank the “liberals”. Sitting there and saying that the republican party is for the people is like telling me the republican party is for smaller spending, ownership society, affordable heathcare….on and on and on…all BS.

Spend spend spend….give it to the oil companies, .27% of the richest get tax cuts, heathcare prices soar and getting your drugs from canada is illegal.

The “people” know what the republican party now stands for. The republican rhetoric is good…but not so good to fool the “people”.

Can’t wait till November!!!

Posted by: (_}_) censor that at July 26, 2006 12:20 PM
Comment #170793
When Bill Clinton won (by pluralities NOT MAJORITIES BTW) you didn’t hear as much crap that he was not a legitimate president for that reason. Republicans had other reasons, of course, but they didn’t go in for the BS about stolen elections.

Re elections - the majority of the American voters have not voted for a Democrat since 1976.


I’m a little confused, maybe you can help me out. I have read these statements several times and cannot figure out how you arrive at this. The only thing I can figure is that it is some kind of double talk. What is the difference between a plurality and a majority? According to Webster’s the definition of plurality is majority.

Your second statement doesn’t make sense either.

Elections since 1976 where a majority of Americans voted for Democrats:


Al Gore = 50,999,897 (266)
GW Bush = 50,456,002 (271)


Bill Clinton = 47,402,357 (379)
Robert J Dole = 39,198,755 (159)


Bill Clinton = 44,909,889 (370)
George H. Bush = 39,104,545 (168)


Jimmy Carter = 40,830,763 (297)
Gerald R. Ford = 39,147,973 (240)

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 26, 2006 12:20 PM
Comment #170795

JayJay, you know the answer, don’t you? A majority is most; a plurarity is the single largest fraction when there is not a majority.

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 12:27 PM
Comment #170799


I understand that, I just don’t see how that proves anything. More people voted for Democrats in the above listed elections, that may not be a majority in the world of politics, but in the real world it is. We are talking about what the people voted for in the real world. Using those political definitions to prove that the American people prefer Republicans is kind of disingenuous.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 26, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #170800

JayJay, ah that makes more sense; I figured after reading your excellent post on the DLC on the Demo/liberal blog that you knew the definitions of those words.

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 12:46 PM
Comment #170803

Republican posters,

Take a look at the little vignette I wrote. It will be easy to see what I am driving at, but please look at it with an open mind and try to give an honest reaction.

Senator Smith, a Republican from Kansas, is known for bucking the party line. He may gone too far when he voted against the Iraq War. Many Kansans, and particularly Kansas Republicans, think the Iraq War is a vital component of the war on terror. They have come to support Steve Jones, a wealthy self-funded candidate who is basing his campaign mostly on Smith’s opposition to the war. Polls show Jones has an excellent chance of winning the primary, so Smith has announced that he will run as an independent if he loses the primary.

So what do you think of Mr. Smith? Man of conviction or potential sore loser? Is it important for Kansas Republicans to support him in order to show they can tolerate diversity?

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 26, 2006 12:51 PM
Comment #170814


I think Jack’s point was simply that Bush 41 and Clinton won the most votes, but not a majority of the overall votes cast. Therefore, we had Presidents who were not favored by the majority of voters. In Clinton’s case, more people voted for a Democrat candidate than for any other candidate, and same for Bush41.


I don’t think I misrepresented your words. I think I just got down to the brass tacks.


I’m in favor of Mr. Smith choosing to run for office under whatever affiliation he chooses. I would NOT be in favor of him running as one thing and then changing after the election, a la Jim Jeffords.

I don’t think the Republican party should support him if they disagree with enough of his positions, or if his stance on even one position is diametrically opposed to the party stance. There are people I choose not to support because of my own reasons….these people have the right to run nonetheless, just without my support.

Kansas voters will seemingly get the best chance of determining Smith’s political future. They will vote on him, and he may or may not win. But it will be based on what people think of him, as opposed to his party affiliation only.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2006 1:29 PM
Comment #170818


I think that has less to do with a historical trend and more to do with the fact that third parties are drawing more votes. It has less to do with whether Americans lean left or right and more to do with the growing strength of third parties.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 26, 2006 1:39 PM
Comment #170820


“lefties are coming back and their core issues haven’t changed, no flip flopping here, they have always been for the wages, job security, and our children’s future security …”

We are all for these things. It is just that governments cannot deliver them. Government can help create the conditions where we the people can do these things for ourselves within constraints of the economic and physical realities.

The difference between free market advocates and lefties is the method they think will accomplish laudable goals. Except for the extremes, both side believe in some private/public mix. Lefties tend to believe government can create good things by fiat or law. Free market people know the situation is more complicated and often a regulation can produce a contrary result to its intent.


They communists did not have the support of the people of Vietnam. In areas they occupied, they maintained control by oppression and terror. They system works to control populations. If they had/have the support of the people, perhaps they might ask them in an election. After all, they have had 30 years to consolidate. Surely in that time the need for emergency powers has lapsed.

I am not one of those who says that we won, but we lost. We lost. We lost to a more ruthless and determined enemy, but don’t mistake that with popularity or justice.


If Lieberman wins, he has the support of the people. There must have been more than 1% of the people who disagreed with your opinion of him.


I don’t care that much about Lieberman per se. I don’t live in CT. It is not my business. What I am interested in is the misuse of the will of the people term. Some Dems say he is going against the will of the people if he runs as an independent. If he loses, they are right. If he wins, they are wrong. The guy who wins represents the will of the people. There is really nothing more to it.


So you are saying that the people are just too dumb to be sovereign. BTW Dan Rather and Katie Couric are both left of the American center. You can decide which is worse. Personally, I have nothing against Dan Rather except he hung around like a fart in an elevator after his time had passed.


I talked about elite up top. When I think of elite, I am not thinking well educated so much as trying to be gatekeepers of knowledge. Naturally, we will look to others for opinions. I know you all listen to and revere my opinions, but I am not an elite in that I have to earn the respect, such as I get it. I don’t depend on my exalted position to pull rank. I have had people try to do that to me, referencing their fancy educations or titles. I usually tell them the joke about titles at GM and make a comment about educated fools.

Education and experience should be evident in people’s comments, actions and opinions. If you have to tell someone you are educated, you ain’t.


What Trent said. I am making a distinction between a majority and a plurality. A majority is 50% plus 1 - most of the people. You can win with a plurality, i.e. you get the most votes. In a three-way race, pluralities are more common, although Reagan managed to win a majority in the three-way race in 1980, nobody won a majority in 1992, 1996 or 2000. In a three-way race, you might win with not much more than a third of the vote. You still win, but it is hard to call it a real mandate. Clinton won in 1992 by getting almost the same percentage of the vote that Carter lost with in 1980.

Whoever wins represents the people. I prefer they win a majority and our system USUALLY produces that, but it is not required. The reason I bring it up (besides being contrary) is that it undermines the idea that there is a great hidden Democratic electorate. The truth is that there are about the same numbers for Dems as Republican, maybe a few more Republicans in recent times. But there currently is no majority party. The Dems no more represent the people than the Republicans.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #170821


I certainly agree with you, to a degree. Ross Perot took votes away from Bush, leading to Clinton winning the election. Had Perot not joined in, its much more likely that Bush would have won.

Same thing happened in 2000 where Nader’s votes took away from Gore and helped Bush 43 win.

I don’t see the trend of third parties garnering more votes though. It seems to be an isolated thing. I’d love a viable third party, but I don’t see one happening, unless it comes out of the middle ground. I guess I could see the Dems breaking apart, with the far left and the centerleft forming distinct parties. It would be less likely for the Republicans to break similarly, in my opinion.

The bottom line is that the guy with the most electoral votes wins. Doesnt matter if he has the most popular votes (Bush 43) or whether he has the majority of votes (Clinton); just that he gets 267 electoral votes.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2006 1:44 PM
Comment #170822

Anytime there is a third party candidate there is less of a chance that a candidate will get a “majority.” I just don’t see the connection between that, and what people actually voted for. Al Gore in 2000 may not have gotten an absolute majority, but a majority of people still voted for him.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 26, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #170827
I prefer they win a majority and our system USUALLY produces that, but it is not required.


In the case of GWB a plurality isn’t even required. That coupled with the fact that the “majority” of American eligible voters don’t vote, makes the whole argument kind of moot.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 26, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #170826
I prefer they win a majority and our system USUALLY produces that, but it is not required.


In the case of GWB a plurality isn’t even required. That coupled with the fact that the “majority” of American eligible voters don’t vote, makes the whole argument kind of moot.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 26, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #170828


What if the people are, to a growing degree, LIBERAL ACTIVISTS?

-San Francisco
-New York city
-New Orleans
-San Antonio
-New Orleans (what’s left of it)
-Minneapolis-St. Paul
-inner Dallas and Houston
-Santa Fe
-WASHINGTON D.C. …for cryin’ out loud!

We are allowing ourselves to be led by a bunch of ignorant red-necks! …from CRAWFORD!
Actually, it’s WORSE…Bush is east coast and priviledged HE WENT TO YALE! …but he affects an attitude of the ignorant fool who barely literate in spoken english and speaks like a red-neck. We have a president, that means he is presidential, who is a red-neck WANNA BE!

Posted by: RGF at July 26, 2006 2:08 PM
Comment #170829

I guess you could say that the only true “majority mandate” is that the majority of American eligable voters, don’t care.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 26, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #170830


That is not true. A majority of the people did not vote for him. I am not simply being pedantic this time. The distinction is important. In Gore’s case, he got very nearly 50%, but others are not that close. Hitler and Allende were elected with around 1/3 of the vote. The smaller the percentage, the less stable or representative is the result.

It is also possible for the majority to be ruled by a minority. Consider the situation where two liberal candidates split the vote, each winning 30% and one conservative wins 40%. Who wins? 60% voted AGAINST the winner and most of these probably would have had a different second place choice.

There are lots of books and articles about how different voting procedures produce very different results.

Elections are a practical process, nothing magical about them. They can produce a practical result. They cannot ensure that each voter’s preference is respected.

Returning to the Gore example, I think it does subtract a little of the potential moral indignation to know that nobody got a majority of the votes and the either result would be rule based, not majority rule.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #170831

“We have ceased to exist as a society of great thinkers, of people who could change the world, and reverted to the lowest common denominator. This is why more people watch Jerry Springer than Charlie Rose, why Dan Rather is out and Katie Couric is in, and why Republicans draw more than 25% of the vote.”

David S,

You could add to that list: why 50% of Americans believe “Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded the country in 2003 — up from 36 percent last year”, and “In addition, 64 percent say Saddam had “strong links” with al Qaeda, up from 62 percent in October 2004.”


Posted by: KansasDem at July 26, 2006 2:16 PM
Comment #170832


If a liberal activists get to represent the majority of voters, they will win. Until then, they don’t. It is that simple. You can list all the cities or towns you want but at the end of the day it all that matters is the numbers.


If people choose not to vote, they agree to whatever they get. That is our system and that of any workable government. I have seen studies that show that non voters tend to have preferences much like voters. They are just lazier, usually less intelligent and more apathetic(so maybe they would be more liberal). I see no reason to take them into consideration if they remove themselves. If they don’t care, why should we.

BTW - you tend to get much higher turnout when things are bad or people are unhappy. High turnout is not always a good sign.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 2:21 PM
Comment #170833

Yes, the American poeple are too dumb to be sovereign. Come up with a catchy enough campiagn slogan, frame the argument so that your talking points become the only solution, paint anyone who disagrees with you as a communist or traitor, and somehow sell it a sbeing all for the families. Any American who has a net worth of less than $5 million and believes the Republican Party has their best interest in mind is a retard. It is the genius of the Republican Party that people belive they have their best interest at heart.

A simple illustration is taxes. Red staters hate the notion that they pay hard earned dollars in taxes to support some Liberal policy in a far-off blue state. This map shows just how backwards that thinking is, with blue states paying more in taxes than they receive in Fed money. Are people even aware of this? Are all these red staters aware that Federal Tax money benefits their state more than the states who want to raise taxes??? I really don’t know how much more of this I can take. Can we blue states secede? Red Sates are just dead weight anyway. Imagine the society we could build…

Posted by: David S at July 26, 2006 2:27 PM
Comment #170840


The Blue/Red thing is a flawed concept. But if you must use it, you need to take it down to the a more detailed level. If a state can succeed from the union, a county can suceed from the state (as W. Virginia counties did in the civil war). A map with a little more detail would be less attractive to you in that case. You would get to keep all the inner cities, while most of the surrounding suburbs and virtually all the exurbs and rural areas would stay. Only in Mass, Vermont, Maine and CT woudl you get to keep much of the state.

You probably should not talk about this too loudly. Lots of people might be happy to get rid of South Central LA if they got to keep Orange County etc.

Re taxes - people pay taxes. States don’t. My guess is that Republicans pay more in taxes than Dems.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #170841


It’s a bit ironic that while you are calling others dumb and say that they are retards, you give the appearance of ignorance or carelessness by not spelling simple words correctly. It gives off the perception of ignorance, whether the perception is true or not.

Just for the record:
Poeple is really people
campiagn is really campaign
belive is really believe

As to your point on taxes, I don’t mind paying taxes for things I don’t use or even for things I don’t agree with. I know that in a large country, we all will have things that we support and things that we don’t support. A few of the things we don’t support we can vehemently be against—-the majority of things will fit more into the “don’t support it, but not a big deal” category.

My belief, however, is that “they can afford it” is not a good reason for implementing a tax on certain members of society. I support a flat tax so that the more you make, the more you pay, but the percentage is the same. Some people support a user tax, like what you have on the Mass Pike or the NYS Thruway. But user fees hit the lower incomes harder, despite it being the most “fair” way of payment, so I don’t support that.

You say that “Red Sates are just dead weight anyway.” That statement says much more about ignorance than spelling ever could. There are many dead weight people in our country; they are certainly not distributed geographically. To suggest that a civil war would be a good thing is an ignorant thought, and the idea that any states could secede without a civil war is the height of ignorance.

It’s most helpful to attempt to understand what others are thinking, rather than just taking the most simplistic version of things and attributing it to others. I hope I’ve helped you see the fuzzy picture you presented a bit more clearly.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #170843


And Lieberman is allowing the people of his state to determine his future. In Jefford’s case, he bait and switched the people, getting elected as one thing and then switching to another.
If Jeffords knew before the election that he was going to switch parties (an assumption), then yes, he is guilty of baiting-and-switching (it may not have been a bait-and-switch on the people, but it was at least on the Republican party).

Now, I’ll grant you that Lieberman is not baiting-and-switching anyone—his motives are quite transparent at this point, as long as you’re even slightly informed. However, suggesting that Lieberman has more integrity than Jeffords because of it is just ridiculous. If Lieberman truly switched parties, and withdrew from the Democratic primary before it was decided, then I would say he has integrity. If Lieberman “stayed the course” and did not hedge his bets by “optioning” a run as an Independent, then I would say he has integrity.

But now, now I think he is just a losing rat that will do anything to keep his job, and I believe many of his long-term supporters are now becoming aware of it. I’ll agree with you on one thing though, if he wins…then the people have spoken.

Posted by: Introspective at July 26, 2006 3:02 PM
Comment #170846

Ack, please let’s not attack each other’s spelling. Most of us know when we’ve made a typo (usually after we’ve posted, sigh). I consider comments informal, and I don’t sweat the details in the same way I do in formal writing. (See how I used a comma to separate the two main clauses in the last sentence?)

I’ve taught English, made my living as a journalist, published professionally, studied literature, write creatively on my own blog, but when I’m writing quickly, I still make silly errors. If I have to proof my posts, then I’ll have to apply different standards, and this’ll seem more like work :)

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #170850

Yes, Jack, the people will do for ourselves by electing Democrats and getting a minimum wage increase which will also uplift wages above the minimum as well in a diminishing fashion the higher the wage scale. They will elect Pay as you Go fiscally more conservative Democrats than Republicans and slow, if not halt the national debt’s climb to unsustainable levels. The people will do for themselves for the nation’s security and future by electing Democrats who will be less prone to wage war for bucks and other nation’s natural resources access.

Core issues, Jack. And Democrats are lined up to represent the people’s priorities on them. Regrettably, Democrats will bring their own set of negatives, but, at this time, it is looking more preferable than leaving the current lot in power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 26, 2006 3:23 PM
Comment #170852


Federalist Papers #50
Government at work then - reads like today.

“…Thirdly. Every page of their proceedings witnesses the effect of all these circumstances on the temper of their deliberations. Throughout the continuance of the council, it was split into two fixed and violent parties. The fact is acknowledged and lamented by themselves. Had this not been the case, the face of their proceedings exhibits a proof equally satisfactory. In all questions, however unimportant in themselves, or unconnected with each other, the same names stand invariably contrasted on the opposite columns. Every unbiased observer may infer, without danger of mistake, and at the same time without meaning to reflect on either party, or any individuals of either party, that, unfortunately, PASSION, not REASON, must have presided over their decisions. When men exercise their reason coolly and freely on a variety of distinct questions, they inevitably fall into different opinions on some of them. When they are governed by a common passion, their opinions, if they are so to be called, will be the same.”

Posted by: JR at July 26, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #170854


I wuznt ataking speling. I simply pointed out the irony of DavidS calling people (or is it poeple) names that could demonstrably be attributed to him, by virtue of his misteaks.

My suggestion for DaveS really is to just not call anyone names. That solves the problem. But he left himself open to irony, and I called him on the irony, not the spelling. The spelling was just the subtext.


Agreed. I wasn’t meaning that Jeffords ran with the intention of pulling a bait and switch. The reality is that he did pull a bait and switch, even if he did not originally intend to do so.

I don’t question Lieberman’s integrity simply because party politics are so convoluted. If he could count on the party to treat him fairly, then I’d agree with you. But as the Dems showed in Ohio with Paul Hackett, the party can kill a candidate’s chance at winning.

Your end statement was the one I totally agree with: The people of Connecticut will have a chance to vote for Joe Lieberman, regardless of his party. And that’s what really counts.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2006 3:31 PM
Comment #170856


I suppose it is like that most of the time.


You portray the Dems as wanted to apply political solutions to economic problems. To the extent voters put trust in this, they will be disappointed. And when were Dems in Congress ever fiscally conservative? Are there any realistic Dem spending cut proposals on the table? Republicans have been behaving poorly by spending too much. Dems will spend even more, but they will tax us into recession if they have their way.

Every time I think about this sort of thing, I think of Camelot. “the law was made a distant mood ago here. July and August cannot be to hot & there’s a legal limit to the snow here, in Camelot … by law the summer lingers till December.” Nice if you can make law about everything. Dems really believe that is possible with economic seasons and forces too.

Liberals, statists, socialists etc have been trying to repeal the law of supply and demand for centuries. Reagan used to use the Roman example of Diocletian. States don’t get to repeal that law, no matter how much they want to.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 3:39 PM
Comment #170859


Just for giggles. Bill Clinton - Arkansas - Rhodes Scholar = Redneck/Intellectual wanna be?

He used his southern accent like a guitar player uses effects pedals, different tone/twang for different audiences. Isn’t that a bit more offensive? Pandering/patronizing the people?

Posted by: JR at July 26, 2006 3:47 PM
Comment #170861

Wow, Jack. Are you so sadly spoon-fed by this media rhetoric.

Elite: Last time we looked at the numbers, Republicans represent the wealthy elite.

Reagan and Oprah speak for the people? For one thing Reagan read a script most his life and was in a fog most of his presidency. I don’t think a life in Hollywood gave him much of a perspective of the common man.

Oprah just reacts to Nielson ratings.

Lieberman is a beginning for the Democrats. Getting rid of the Republicans in Democratic clothing. Finally got done in the South long ago when the segregationist like Helms and others moved over to the Republican party.

Now finally Democratic party can stand for something other than “Republican light”.

Posted by: Acetracy at July 26, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #170865

Joe Lieberman is the equivalent of Zell Miller with a HowdyDoody Face.

Joe Lieberman is a blatant shill for big business. As is DLC.

Joe Lieberman is a D I N O of the worse order.

Suckup. Good riddance.

Posted by: mommadona at July 26, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #170868

Unbeleivable……repugNUTS supporting a Dimocrap. LOL!!!! But then we all know Lyingman is another delusional Zell and ZYOU can have him. Don’t know that even BILL can bail JOE out of the mess he made. Wonder why he would do it in the first place. Joe Lyingman is just another lying repugnut. Thankfully so many in Conn have seen the light.

Posted by: Qat at July 26, 2006 4:15 PM
Comment #170869

We will take all the Zell Millers and Joe Liebermans you want to give us!

Posted by: nikkolai at July 26, 2006 4:16 PM
Comment #170876

Zell Miller - heh, heh. Some of you might find this humorous. All in good fun.

Posted by: Trent at July 26, 2006 4:58 PM
Comment #170878

“Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans.”

Will Rogers

Posted by: JR at July 26, 2006 5:05 PM
Comment #170888

A problem I see here is the idea of representation of the people’s will.

I think we have entered a new era in the ability of a government to discern the will and inform it’s electorate.

I am very unhappy with the lack of honesty and selling out of our democracy, as I suspect many of the readers here are.I have floated this idea before and been shouted down as though it were heresy or mob rule.

Why not limit the ability of senators and representatives as well as presidents to make choices that go against the “will” of the people by creating a more direct democracy using the internet? Frequent polling on serious issues and polling as to whether flag burning is a reasonable issue to be before the legislative body could be accomplished.

There is often talk and has been legistlation (poor legislation in my opinion) limiting the power of “activist” judges. Why not limit the politicised and corporatized Congress? Why is everyone one afraid of the voice of the people?

Mob rule has no order or deliberation to it. I am not proposing that. Strict rules as to how this is implemented could be worked out. The Constitution is not a Holy Document and can be amended. A lot of the foolishness and political gamesmanship could be avoided by taking it straight to the people.

Organized and opposing information could be provided and influence could be clearly and straightforwardly disclosed under strict rules.

We built the information highway, why not use it?

Posted by: gergle at July 26, 2006 5:28 PM
Comment #170895


I don’t think the numbers matter anymore either.
Gore had the numbers in ‘00.
Kerry did too, as it happens, just not in the right places.

I now live in a state that went red by only about 3,000 votes with over 30,000 that were never counted at all. It is a state that typically doesn’t go red.

And then there is this which I have linked to before:

Posted by: RGF at July 26, 2006 5:38 PM
Comment #170906

“The Democrats and the Republicans are equally corrupt where money is concerned. It’s only in the amount where the Republicans excel.”

Will Rogers

Posted by: Cube at July 26, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #170913


The 2000 vote was an anomoly. Nobody got a majority (see plurality) and the election was decided by the electoral college. It was unpleasant, but it was the way it should have gone.

Kerry was nowhere near winning. He lost by three percentage points and Bush had a majority. Your contention, I suppose is correct. If Kerry had managed to win the right combination of states, he still could have won, but that is not much of a point. If you think 2000 was unjust when the candidates were within 1 percentage point and nobody got a majority, how much more unjust would it be for carry to win when he was clearly down by a large number and Bush won a clear majority of the votes?

I can understand the gnashing of teeth re 2000. In 2004 you got no case at all. Bush beat Kerry fair and square and by a bigger margin than any Dem has managed to get since Lyndon Johnson.

You really should get over these conspiracy theories. You know that there is a good chance you will get beaten again this fall. It is a toss up right now, a coin flip. It could go either way. I promise not to claim it is unfair if you win, if you will do the same.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #170918

“Let’s see how Lieberman does in the actual race. He has two shots. If he wins in the Dem primary, he will win in the general election. If he loses in the Dem primary, he probably will also win in the general election.”

So, all the Connecticutters are just chomping at the bit to reward Joementum with big win for supporting all of this administrations enormous policy failures, eh?
All I can say is: Who in the Zell truly wants to vote for a guy who wants both his Democratic cake, and to Independently eat it too?
We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.

“No, lefties are coming back and their core issues haven’t changed, no flip flopping here, they have always been for the wages, job security, and our children’s future security, and the people know that.”

Indeed. And just another reason to get rid of Joe: he voted yes on the bankruptcy bill that the GOP allowed the credit card companies to write.

“Somehow espousing conversative principles is not elitist, but espousing liberal ones are.”

Aren’t we all aware that this usage of “elite” is just a Rovian dirty trick?

“If William Buckley and George Will aren’t elitist, I don’t know how is.”

Seriously. And how about that Coultergeist? Her appearance and the hateful content of her diatribes might be pure trailer-trash, but the delivery of every word from her snarling lips is the wired-jaw epitome of an Uppercrust Muffy.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 26, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #170919

The will of the people is in their votes. Check out the candidates, check your values, vote your mind.

The election of a president is clear. The one with the most electoral college votes is the winner. If you want that to change, get your CONGRESSMAN to do something about changing the constitution, otherwise shut up and live with the results. I can’t believe the number of whiners we have who don’t know HOW A PRESIDENT IS ELECTED.

Posted by: Don at July 26, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #170934

Hey Republicans! Make up your freaking mind already! Does the “popular vote” count or not?!

When Gore won the popular vote in 2000, you guys were talking about how it didn’t mean anything. You guys argued that Bush wasn’t even trying to win the popular vote, so it wasn’t fair to even talk about it. We were treated to all sorts of condescending analogies to explain how only an idiot would worry about the popular vote. (These seem analogies are still used to this day, but only in the context of 2000.)

Then in 2004, Bush won with a slight majority of the popular vote. Suddenly, it was invested with great meaning. The people have spoken. Why wasn’t the popular vote the voice of the people in 2000? Oh, I know, because it didn’t give the answer you wanted.

So please, I implore you, choose an attitude about the popular vote and stick with it. All this flip-flopping is hurting my brain. You can’t say, “The grass is green, so X”, and then turn around and say, “The grass is pink, so Y.” It’s enough to drive someone to drink.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 26, 2006 7:24 PM
Comment #170946


Your assessment is in error.
The presidential candidate with the largest vote in history was Bush in ‘04
You know who had the second largest vote in American history? …KERRY

The race was MORE, not less controversial since a larger number of machines generating untrackable results were used.

The whole election hinged on Ohio and we all had advance notice of this fact based on polls.
Even without regard to what you choose to consider ‘conspiracy,’ we already know that large amounts of voting machines were suddenly transferred on voting day from heavily populated urban precincts in Cinninatti to far less populated precints in suburban areas. The result was that there were lines to vote in heavily democratic precincts that were 8-12 hours long to get to 3-4 machines that were in use there, while there were as many 15 machines available in suburban republican precincts where the lines never got longer than a half a dozen people at the busiest time of day! Even without the very real possibility that the election was hacked, that is voter manipulation in itself, Jack!!!

The People have spoken? Ha! What people? republican people? The people never had a chance!

Posted by: RGF at July 26, 2006 8:14 PM
Comment #170951

Yes, he is doing what he is claiming he is NOT. My daddy called such people “liars”. And Jack is full of shit. He is simply kissing someone’s ass for money or drugs. There is nothing else.

Posted by: Zena V. Princess at July 26, 2006 8:50 PM
Comment #170981


Direct democracy is a bad idea for all but the smallest and most intimate groups. We have thousands of years of history that show that to us, since the time of the Athenians.

I lived in New Hampshire for a year and participated in direct democracy. It is very quaint and nice in a small town where people are close to the problem. Get too many people involved and it stops working.

Beyond that, there is a big problem with extent of commitment and involvement. Remember the difference between being involved and being committed when you have a ham and egg breakfast. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed. His ass is on the table. If you put things to direct democracy, you have a lot of people who want to be involved. But they really have nothing important stake.

Then you have the problem of expertise. How many times have you changed your mind after you learned more about it? My work took me to various countries in the world. I changed my mind about a lot of things. I could not explain this to friends who never left home. It would not be a good idea to ask them their opinions too often. They would not want that either. As long as things are okay and they can complain with impunity, they are content.


Bush won both the popular vote and the electoral vote. He also won a majority, which neither Gore nor Clinton did. The election was not close, except in activists’ minds.


I really am sick of arguing this point. Yes Ohio was important. Yes there were thousands of Democratic lawyers and activists watching the polls. NO. They found nothing actionable. IF Republicans managed to steal the large number of votes they needed, it just shows how much smarter they are. So either they deserve to win because they got the most votes (the real situation) or the deserve to win because they are so much smarter than the Dems who could not see what was going on right in front of them. You can choose which one you want to believe.

We won. Get over it.


You would be wise not to take advice from someone who knows so much about kissing ass for drugs or money. I will be sure to toss him a quarter next time I am near the train station. The old guy won’t even have to kiss any ass.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 10:11 PM
Comment #170990


Yes there were thousands of Democratic lawyers and activists watching the polls. NO. They found nothing actionable.
ONE PERSON. With the wonderful “technology” Diebold has provided us, that’s all it would take to change the Ohio results. ONE PERSON, and they wouldn’t even have to go to the polls to do it. ONE PERSON, who wouldn’t have to know any more about computers then they could be taught in 10 minutes. ONE PERSON, perhaps placed by someone high up in the Ohio government that is ethically challenged…perhaps a convicted criminal. ONE PERSON, who could easily leave no trace behind.
IF Republicans managed to steal the large number of votes they needed, it just shows how much smarter they are.
ONE PERSON, who doesn’t have a clue.

Posted by: One Person at July 26, 2006 10:45 PM
Comment #170995

ONE PERSON, who doesn’t have a clue.

Posted by: One Person at July 26, 2006 10:45 PM

Well, I gotta admit that I agree with that statement. :)

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 26, 2006 11:05 PM
Comment #170996

One Person

Maybe he did it aboard a UFO.

Posted by: Jack at July 26, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #171000


No, the UFOs were still tied up extracting the WMD from Iraq.

Posted by: One Person at July 26, 2006 11:35 PM
Comment #171010


Since you want to bring up Florida, lets recap. Gore conceded, and several newspapers went in and concluded that Bush would have won Florida by a higher margin than the official tally. Furthermore, Florida would’ve been academic had Gore won his home state or Clinton’s. What does it say about someone who wants to be President then can’t win his own home state? Sounds pretty pathetic to me, even Mondale pulled his own home state.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 27, 2006 2:17 AM
Comment #171014
and several newspapers went in and concluded that Bush would have won Florida by a higher margin than the official tally.
And then an even larger consortium of newspapers when in and came back with results that were effectively the opposite of the first consortium. Neither set of results was particularly conclusive.
Posted by: Introspective at July 27, 2006 3:07 AM
Comment #171022

Ah, the dead horse of the Florida election results. Democrats will get whiplash after Bush leaves office from their heads suddenly snapping towards the future, or at least the present.

Posted by: goodkingned at July 27, 2006 4:45 AM
Comment #171030

You can’t blame Democrats if they feel the need to occasionally rest their eyes by looking towards the past…

After all the NeoCons and the Bush administration have caused the present—and the foreseeable future—to look rather grim and harsh. Besides, the Religious Right keeps talking about Armegeddan being right around the corner…so maybe there is no future?

Posted by: Introspective at July 27, 2006 5:40 AM
Comment #171035


Neither set of results was particularly conclusive.

Bush v. Gore was all so long ago that I can hardly remember the particulars, so lets assume that your info is correct and the results were inconclusive both ways.

If that’s the case, how do you feel about those who claim the fix was in? They must be doing so without any measurable level of proof, meaning they must be just suspicious. Doesn’t sound like a solid case to me.

If suspicions start to count as proof, then any close election should get overturned. There was the governorship in Washington, I believe, that went Democratic over a few hundred votes. Must have been fraud—it was close.

The deal is that there has to be proof. That’s how our legal system works. It just the way it is.

And now…..back to 2006.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 27, 2006 7:52 AM
Comment #171036

I am a Republican because I am a conservative.

If the Democrats have a coservative man or woman running for an office and the Reoublicans do not… I will vote for the Democrats.

I also believe that the men and women who are in office… representing the people of the United States… should be men and women of the highest moral caracter… and if that man or woman is a Democrat and not a Republican… then I will vote for the Democrat.

I also believe that the men and women who are in office… representing the people of the United Stated… should truely represent the people of the United States.

I also believe that most of the people of the Unted States suport and hold to the teachings of the Bible, upholding the hight standard of morality as taught in the Bible, and so should the people representing them.


Posted by: ROGER at July 27, 2006 7:54 AM
Comment #171039

Joe, yes, Gore conceded, graciously I thought, and though there are lots of issues with the election (crummy ballots, debatable Supreme Court actions, etc), I agree what’s done is done. The elction was Gore’s to lose, and he found a way. I think he shouldn’t have run from the Clinton record — Clinton’s White House blow jobs ended up having huge consequences. Gore’s years out of office have been good for him, I think — he would run a better campaign now, one he is more comfortable with. I take him at his word that he is no longer interested, though.

Direct democracy — I’m absolutely with Jack on this one. Not only is it impractical for voters to vote on every issue, but also it would increase the arbitrariness of how we conduct our affairs. We elect those we think have the wisdom etc to make good decisions — we can debate whether that is always so, but that’s the idea. Direct democracy did not work very well for the Athenians. Having said that, I’ve always agree with Plato’s assessment that Democracy is not the best way to get things done, but by it’s nature it prevents the worst ways too. (His best form of government is a benevolent monarcy; his worst is a despotic tyranny — different sides of the same coin.) I’m reminded of Churchill’s statement.

The 2004 election — I agree, Bush just won that one. Like many, I closely followed the irregularities and concluded there was more smoke than fire.

We probably should get rid of the Electoral College, and I don’t see that as necessarily a left or right issue — Repubs wouldn’t be happy to win the popular vote but lose anyway, either.

Posted by: Trent at July 27, 2006 8:17 AM
Comment #171040


As your hero Reagan would say, “There you go again.”

We all know that the popular vote doesn’t mean anything. We know this because the Republicans made the argument so persuasively in 2000. To wit: Kerry could have run ads in New York and LA and boosted his vote total. He didn’t though, because he wasn’t trying to keep Bush from winning a majority. So looking at the popular vote is unfair.

That’s what you guys said six years ago anyway, when the tables were turned. See, I’m cursed with this thing called “memory”. Some people don’t have it, and it seems to make them happier people.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 27, 2006 8:22 AM
Comment #171049


Why does it matter? Bush won both the popular and the electoral vote in 2004.

The electoral vote is what counts. That is true. But it is a blow to the system when the candidate who wins a majority of the popular vote also does not win the election. As I recall, the last time that happened was the Tilden/Hayes race and that caused problems for years. Even the more ambiguous Gore/Bush contest created great acrimony, as we all still can feel.

So I can easily believe both things:

1.The electoral vote is what decides the election.
2.It is better if the electoral vote and the popular vote agree.

I would add a third:

3.It is very good if the winning candidate wins a clear MAJORITY of the vote. Elections with pluralities are not as decisive.

In the 2004 election, Bush accomplished all three of these things. Had he only done the first one, he still would have won, but we would be less certain that he was the choice of the voters.


I think the mixed system we have in the U.S. is the best you can do in the practical world. It blends the best of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy and even throws in the element of tradition or faith (in the Supreme Court). I never cared much for Plato. I prefer Aristole’s mixed government formula.

I support keeping the Electoral College. It rarely produces the ambiguous result we saw in 2000. Even in that case, it was better to have it then not. What would have happened w/o the Electoral College? That election was very close. You certainly would have to recount and then the problems of Florida would be nationwide. Beyond that, the Electoral College forces candidates to spread their appeal regionally and contains fraud. For example, we had machines in New York or Chicago that could deliver thousands of bogus votes. In the 1960 election, it probably delivered Illinois to Kennedy. Again, now imagine that nationwide. A few crooks in a couple of big cities could sway the national election.

Posted by: Jack at July 27, 2006 9:42 AM
Comment #171071


Electoral College — yeah, I must admit I’m ambivalent about doing away with it precisely for the reasons you provide. If eliminating it every became a serious possibility, I’d have to think very hard about it.

Plato — it’s often very difficult to know exactly what that old dead Greek guy believed. In the Republic, for instance, you have the interlocutors led by Socrates construct the famous state ruled by philosopher-kings, but then, they also say such a state is impossible on earth and that the purpose in constructing it theoetically is to discuss the human soul writ large. In the Statesman, the ostensible goal is to describe the political man, and here, Plato’s favorite character (Socrates) stands silent while the Eleatic Stranger leads the discussion. In the Laws, the only dialogue where Socrates is wholly absent, the discussion is about good and bad laws — the distinction is important because since an ideal state (in which laws would be necessary) cannot exist, the second-best state is based upon the rule of law. It, unlike many other dialogues, is not a particularly fun read, but I’ve always liked the emphasis on explaining the purpose of each law to the citizens because where there is understanding there is more likely to be compliance.

At any rate, I think Plato is often poorly taught in schools where the focus might be on the Forms or on government and the assumption is that Plato clearly laid out his views. Nothing could be further from the case, in my view — the dialogues are illustrations of the philosophic process, and the philosophic process does not lead to absolutely fixed theory. More than most philosophers, Plato truly needs to be read and not taught or summarized. The experience of reading them critically is to engage in dialogue (dia = through, logos = words, reason, thought) with people of good will — although an assumption of some of the characters is that there is an ideal realm of forms, we can only uncover knowledge by reaching consensus about our assumptions and then developing the consequences of these assumptions. Since each step also involves consensus, the process can be laborous and often we have to throw up our hands and admit we’re befuddled, temporarily at least (aporia). Anyway, in the great battle between the Sophists and Socrates/Plato, I’ve always come down on Socrates’/Plato’s side, since their goal is to discover truth (whether that is possible or not) then to simply convince others of what you want them to believe. Unfortunately, in politics, sophistry is often what we see.

Those who claim Plato is a foundationalist/absolutist seriously misread the guy, imho.

Sorry for the longwinded discussion; those old Greek guys are favorites of mine.

Posted by: Trent at July 27, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #171072

Jack, perhaps you can’t explain it b ecause you don’t have justification. I never said it would be easy. I am not talking about New Hampshire style direct democracy, at all. I’m simply wanting to take away the perogative of elected representatives to abuse the system.

Frankly your response is condescending and elitist, in my opinion. Not that I’m offended. I understand your concerns, I just don’t agree with them. It seems to me the Republicans like Gingrich and Bush say they reflect the “real” Americans, like Nixon spoke of his “Silent Majority”. It’s a subterfuge for plantation politics and elitism, in my opinion. Let’s bring the real Americans into the game and get rid of these elitists.

I trust real America far more than I trust professional politics. Your fears play into the elitists hands. Instead of playing to their monied “constituents” they will have to play to their paying clients…American taxpayers. Give me liberty, give me representative democracy that represents me, not the rarified elites, or give those that block it, death.

Posted by: gergle at July 27, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #171075

Gergle, what you are proposing is very radical, and without more specifics about how you think such a system could work, my presumption is with the existing system, in broad outline at least.

Yet the abuses you complain of are very real. If you would sketch in more detail what you propose, we might have a more in-depth discussion.

Posted by: Trent at July 27, 2006 1:12 PM
Comment #171078

I recall the Dems last candidate, John Kerry, portraying himself as “Of the people”.
Talk about BULLSHIT. You can’t GET anymore “Elite” than that pompous dick head… literally. The Clintons also campaigned as an “Of the people” couple… when in reality, they were the ultimate Yuppies! (They babbled about public schools throughout the campaign, then quietly sent Chelsea to an expensive PRIVATE school as quick as a cat’d lick a dish… At least Republicans don’t pretend to be what they’re not. I’m an independent, but that “Do as I say, not as I do” theme is all too thick amongst “Liberals”…. most of whom today are actual “Leftists”. Truman, JFK, Scoop Jackson were REAL Liberals and “the people” can still smell a Commie, thank you very much. Until the moderates in the DNC can figure out THAT MUCH, they will not win elections…

Posted by: chotty at July 27, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #171087

Chotty, you think the Democrats want to eliminate government? That’s the problem with throwing loaded words such as “communist” around; these words often have more emotive than logical or descriptive force.

Posted by: Trent at July 27, 2006 1:38 PM
Comment #171138


I doubt “real” Americans want a day-to-day say in politics. Most people don’t even vote in off year elections. How would you decide if the vote was valid? You would have activities getting out (as they do in primaries) while most ordinary people would not participate. It would be extremes fighting each other all the time. I suppose you could make a rule that you needed a quorum of 50%, but in that case you would never actually get a vote.

Sorry if it sounded condescending.

There is a real debate about whether or not a politician must follow the will of the people day to day. Edmund Burke famously said that he was the representative, not the agent of the people. The people tend to be conservative (with a small c) and will not try new or risky things. Roosevelt could not have prepared for WWII if he had been open with the people. Gay marriage or liberal abortion rights would not have a chance if put to a open vote.

But I will return to the original point that most people really don’t want to voice an opinion day to day. It is too much work. They are getting what they want. My wife if president of our local HOA. Most people don’t read the news letters or attend any meetings. They just don’t care. As long as things are not too bad, they are content to complain.

Old joke

A kid is born normal in every way. He just does not speak. His parents take him to doctors. Nothing is wrong with his hearing or voice. He just doesn’t speak. Finally when he is about six, his mother give him a bowl of oatmeal and he says. “This oatmeal is cold”. “You can talk! You can talk!” his mother says. “Why didn’t you ever say anything before?”

“Up until now, everything has been okay”, he says.

Politics is like that.

Posted by: Jack at July 27, 2006 3:48 PM
Comment #171185
At least Republicans don’t pretend to be what they’re not.
Wow, a bizarre and disturbing sequence of thoughts raced through my mind when I read this! The first image was of a Yale educated rich kid pretending to be a good ol’ boy in Texas. That was not too disturbing—just amusing. Then the thoughts went on a downward spiral, as a parade of God-fearing, “family-values” preaching Republicans were exposed in all their criminal glory.

I don’t know what to make of these visions, and I’m not going to attempt to interpret their meaning just yet. They seemed profound enough to share, however.

Posted by: Introspective at July 27, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #171214

Ho-Hum. The fact that a bunch of Republicans adore this man is proof enough for me that he is a liar and a ‘dino’. ‘Democrat In Name Only.’ His actions not only prove his claim to the party a lie, but also his religion. If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and smells like a duck, its clear it isn’t a rose.

Posted by: Zena at July 27, 2006 7:44 PM
Comment #171318

Jack and Trent, thanks for the responses.

My main point was that the will of the people is a bit of a phoney political speak that bears very little relevance to what people want.

I totally agree most people would not want to participate. My own sister has zero interest in politics.

This is one of the reasons I don’t think this would be mob rule at all. My main thought is about transparency in the political process. Requiring politicians to explain their positions, present the information in a simple, clear way that would tend to avoid these convoluted special interest complexities intended to hide intent.

Complexity is, in my opinion, is mostly about hiding advantage. Sometimes it may be difficult to simplify complex subjects, but on the whole, I think it would serve America.

Requiring a polling of Americans through a secure internet process, would:

Advance the internet, require better access for all Americans.

Can’t simplify the explanation? Too bad, Next. Try again.

Limit the amount of legislation.

Expose bad legislation to more of America

Expose special interests

I’m not proposing wiping out congress, just requiring more daylight into the building, and setting up some kind of real rather than politically spun feedback system.

The center for Public Integrity website attempts this, but due to the convolutions of congress, is still hard to decipher.

Admittedly, this is not a well formulated idea, just a belief we could do better, if we were interested in better government from our politicians rather than political advantage and power games.

Posted by: gergle at July 28, 2006 6:13 AM
Comment #171319

An interesting tidbit from regarding Joe Lieberman’s campaign.

Posted by: gergle at July 28, 2006 6:18 AM
Comment #171324


For some real fun reading about corruption, I recommend “Pigs at the Trough” by Arianna Huffington. I usually can’t stand her, but this book is awesome in a sickening and depressing sort of way. The level of corruption exposed in this book, which I’m frankly surprised was published, is staggering. It reveals just how our political process has been bought out, and both sides are guilty. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it, just keep a box of tissues handy as you weep for the fall of the republic.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 28, 2006 8:01 AM
Comment #171602

1LT, I haven’t read it, but I am somewhat familiar with her work.

The only thing new in the department of corruption is the extent and dollar value of it brought in by Abramhoff and the Republican machine.

I have never been of the view that America ever was the golden innocent that is taught in public school.(I had some teachers that did stray from that sanitized version occasionally). I became interested in politics before Watergate at the age of 10 or 11. My father and I used to have debates as a form of entertainment and mental excercise. I read many history books that didn’t glaze over the salacious details of the real history of America.

I think American democracy has the potential for greatness. The notion of inalienable rights that Tom Paine (quite an unhappy character) and others infused into American culture has planted a seed that has bore fruit here. We have by no means been a fair, just or righteous society, but we aspire to it. I just am of the belief that the work is not done. We still need to strive for a better democracy, a more fair and open society, and a culture that truly values freedom and justice. I am bothered by those who are content with the status quo and ascribe a greatness to Americans that isn’t, in my opinion, yet deserved.

I know we can use some of the science and invention that America is famous for to better our political system. I believe in the Vox Populi, not that it will always be right, but that it will be more right than wrong. Our founders chose balance of power and deliberation as a means of diffusing the heat of emotion. Those are still good principles, but they have been somewhat distorted by our political party system and the sheer size of our government. It’s time to look at way to balkanize the political parties and put a sunset on the massive self feeding government entities. The pentagon and the military/industrial complex immediately comes to mind. It’s time to question where this entity is driving our policy. There are no anti-military politicians in DC. Why?

Why is there no serious discussion of extracting us from oil dependency and middle east power politics? Wouldn’t this be conservatism?

Posted by: gergle at July 28, 2006 10:28 PM
Comment #238017

Most of the politicians in our country, especiall at the national level are pretty evil. They might not see themselves as such, but when you put corporate interests above people, you are evil. Reagan was a piece of crap. He contributed to mass murder. The crimes which saddam hussein commited against Iran and the Kurds in the north of Iraq, were directly supported by our government. Saddam was evil, the shah was evil, but so are/were the people in charge of our government. They are not conservatives. They are cowards who send the youth of america to destroy other countries and open them up to a world market which the u.s. and its allies can control. Our military is meant for protection, not to create an empire.
The Bush administration should be tried as war criminals and punished accordingly.

Posted by: real person at November 10, 2007 12:47 PM
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