Thursday, May 13, 2010

conservative brother diaries 2: rejoinder

I published a diary a couple of days ago in which I posted a letter I had sent to my very, very conservative brother in Florida responding to his generic dig at the recession that "your President" had caused and urging me to "vote conservative" in the midterms.  IYou may read that one in the archives if you'd like.
My brother’s response was minimal and (again) generic:
Unfortunately – you are wrong on just about everything.   But – I have the solace in knowing that the vast majority of Americans finally are starting to get it...  liberalism (progressivism) simply doesn’t work..  as Margaret Thatcher so eloquently stated:  “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money”...   She couldn’t have been more prophetic as every social democracy in Europe is imploding under their own insane “good intentions”...
He closed by citing "the Founders" as his trusted sources and wishing me luck and love.
At first I thought, well, that's that.  But upon further review (as they say in football) I decided to offer another rejoinder.  Before I get to it, please let me respond to a couple of comments from last time that leapt to conclusions about my brother: it would be fallacious to believe that my brother is a stupid man.  Far from it: he is a good, kind, sweet and intelligent man.  He is a college graduate who has built his own successful business from the ground up.  And FWIW, I truly enjoy spending time with him.  He is fun and funny and generous to a fault: when we are together, he is always the one who ends up paying for everything and the man knows how to throw a party.  
Greg's one flaw--and I'll grant that it is a big one--is that, for whatever reason, he has swallowed the Fox News Kool-Aid without a single second thought.  He has become very successful and shared his success, offering partnerships to both my other brother and my father.  But all three are victims of a mindset that galls me.  I don't understand it.  But I think that it is one of our liberal biases that suggests that all such victims must be stupid because they cannot see what we feel ought to be so easy to see.  
There are some beliefs, I think, that are not the result of thought and intellect but of emotion, and even the brightest can fall prey to them.  Blame instead the hypocritical purveyors of the lies that suck these people into that apparently inescapable vortex, and I am with you.  Argue that my brother is a bad man or a stupid man or a moron or a jackass or whatever, and you're going to have to go through me first.  He is a good man who has become blinded to the truth and ended up with very, very bad politics.  And so, unfortunately for us all, are a lot of other people.
Anyway...moving on...
There were many commenters on my initial diary when I posted it elsewhere.  Taking arguments from many of them (and of course extending them, revising them, playing with them, and adding to them), I fashioned the following response and sent it to Greg.  Frankly I do not expect him to acknowledge it, but I do want to share it with all of you.  And thank you to those whose arguments I used.  You know who you are.
Hi again, Greg.  
You say that "we'll continue to look at the world through different eyes."  And so we will.  But I must take exception to your blanket condemnation of "everything" that I wrote.  Specifically what, for instance?  Surely you have seen this chart:
This chart, updated through April, shows the actual job losses/gains in each month since the start of 2008, George Bush's final year in office.  Even a cursory perusal shows that the economy, bleeding jobs badly when Obama came into office, began to stanch the exit flow of jobs after the Stim was passed and, once Obama's first budget actually kicked in--remember, it was Bush's budget we were operating on through October 2009--things picked up quite rapidly.  "Obama's recession"?  The numbers do not in any way verify that.
As to "run(ning) out of other people's money," why do conservatives never seem to count the extravagant buildup of the military-industrial complex, furnished by tax dollars (all of which resulted in new debt to be paid by future generations), as "other people's money"?  (Sorry: I should have said "neocons"--true conservatives have not been in charge of the GOP in at least a quarter of a century, and would never have allowed the outrageous deficit run-ups authorized by Reagan, Bush and Bush, who have been the only Presidents in the last fifty years to leave office with the country owing more than when they came in.)  Why does this phrase only count when it is talking about things like health care and social services?  (And by the way: did Margaret Thatcher get rid of National Healthcare?  Isn't that paid for by "other people's money"?)
And, um, "every social democracy in Europe in imploding"?  Well, let's see: No, they aren't.  Europe, as it turns out, is full of governments that, one way or the other, could be described as social democracies, whether they are "officially" socialist or not, from England to France to  Italy to, yes, Greece.  And Greece and a couple of other countries that were allowed to join the EU without really having enough of a monetary foundation are suffering and threaten to pull down the whole darned apple cart, but if you look purely at the more established economies in these arguably "socialist" countries, then no, they are not "imploding."  
You know who has been?  The USA.  And our implosion occurred, as already noted, under the watch of a neocon government employing the neocon-approved "trickle-down" economic strategy of deregulating everything, letting the market run the show, allowing the rich to grow richer and richer, and waiting for them to seed the growth of the plebes who wait under their tables for crumbs to drop down.  The thing is: they don't drop down.  The rich, as it turns out, like to keep their money.  Go figure!  And the big corporations--wait for it--care more for their bottom lines than for humanitarian causes.  (I know: shocking, right?)  So the "trickle-down" model is a monumental failure (unless you happen to be among the richest couple of percent in the country, in which case it is manna from heaven).  It is worth noting that even Alan Greenspan has acknowledged that the economic policies he espoused for twenty years were, to a great extent, in error.
Oh, and Greece?  It does have a true Socialist government, yes.  That government was elected in October 2009.  The crisis in that country began in November 2009, just weeks later.  Are you really going to argue that a massive economic collapse can be caused in a couple of weeks?  That would be like saying that Herbert Hoover caused the Wall Street collapse of 1929: completely ludicrous.
By the way: let's look at that graph again.  Who exactly is it who has brought us back from the edge of a second Great Depression?  Would that be Wall Street and the greedy corporate corridors of the private sector?  Have they done something to ease America back from economic collapse toward recovery?  Or did they, when they were bailed out by the very people they had systematically screwed over for years, continue to thumb their noses at the poor and middle classes, resisting all efforts to persuade them to renegotiate junk mortgages or inflated credit card debt that they themselves had used to grow bigger and more powerful by foisting on the American public?  When the insurance companies were told that they would face specific regulations, did they, in good faith, begin moving toward fulfilling their obligations under those regulations?  Or did they begin researching every loophole they could find to get around the new rules while, at the same time, using the law's implementation window to jack up rates, rescind more policies, and generally do unto their clients what they would never have anyone do unto themselves?  And who did the neocons put in charge of regulating these entities?  Oh.  Right.  The entities themselves.  Yes, that worked.  The wolf guarding the henhouse: always a good idea.
And let us look at the sainted (and semi-mythical) Founders:
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal,
When the Founders got the chance to run their own economic affairs, they stumbled. Throughout the Revolutionary War Congress lacked the power to tax the states. (It could make requisitions on them for money--i.e., beg. Robert Morris, superintendent of finance, said this was like "preaching to the dead.") Congress turned instead to fiat money and borrowing. American dollars quickly became worthless. In 1780 Congress called them in and printed new ones, worth 40 old ones; the new dollars inflated in turn. Congress got loans from France, America's ally, and from Dutch bankers who were willing to take a flier on the new nation. But once America stopped making interest payments, the loan market dried up. After the war the states, which had run up debts of their own, tried raising money in a variety of ways, from printing state paper money, to levying desperate and crushing taxes (Massachusetts' land tax provoked an armed taxpayer revolt in 1786-87, Shays's Rebellion). By the end of the decade American securities were trading at one-quarter to one-third of their face value on European money markets. The Founders, for all their personal and political daring, were on the way to founding a banana republic, though, if the U.S. had been the first one, the name would be maple republic.
If it had not been for Alexander Hamilton saving their bacon, this entire hallowed experiment in democracy probably would not have lasted thirty years.  So whose views on economics are you espousing here?
I was wrong about a few things, Greg, as I have acknowledged.  I should have been more careful in my phrasing regarding the 1950's tax rates; the way I wrote it originally could be misinterpreted.  Of course I meant that the top marginal rate was 90%.  And no one really paid that much: there were shelters.  But the richest people did pay 40-50% in taxes.  And that is way more than they pay today.  (Again I note: under Obama's first budget, the national average taxpayer is now paying the lowest percentage of total taxes in sixty years.  It blows my mind that, when this is true for 98% of Americans, so many of them simply don't see it, or they are so blinded by the Glenn Becks of the world that they don't know what to make of it.)  I was also wrong about the TARP numbers, which failed to take into consideration that only about 60% of the TARP allocations were actually paid out. The Boehner reference, as it turned out, was simply false.  Mea culpa.  I had seen it in several places without reading the articles, and I had not realized that the articles in question were snark.  But the essence of that one, if not the specifics of it, is true: in both SCOTUS nominations, as in every other nomination Obama has put forth, the GOP has objected without regard to whether they have any real reason to object. One appointment, filibustered for six months, was eventually approved unanimously.  I misspoke a bit about Jimmy Carter too, but you won't argue with me there because my error goes against rather than for him.  :-)  
I'm perfectly happy to acknowledge these errors because I do deal in facts, by which I mean information that can be confirmed independently, by sources either not politically aligned or (in the case of the WSJ article) aligned on the other side.  If I see things only from MSNBC or Daily Beast or Mother Jones or Huffington Post, and I cannot verify them from some independent source, I discount them.  (That is why I'm embarrassed about the Boehner thing: I should have read the articles instead of merely noting the headlines.)  What about you? If Fox or Drudge reports something, do you wait for it to pop up elsewhere before accepting it as fact?  Do you listen to other people's interpretations of the news to see if the slant that Fox is giving it is "fair and balanced"?  Or do you just assume that they are giving you the unfiltered truth?  And what about Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, etc., whom even Fox acknowledges are commentary rather than news?  How do you consume their ideas?  I'm really curious, mostly because I find it hard to believe that you cannot see through a caricature like Glenn Beck, but hey, maybe you do.  Maybe you see him for exactly the (dangerous) loon that he is, and ignore him completely.  (BTW, purely as an aside: are you aware that FOX is partly owned by a Saudi Prince?  No wonder they are so firmly on the side of oil interests!)
Oh, I forgot: you said "I have the solace of knowing that the vast majority of Americans finally are starting to get it...liberalism (progressivism) simply doesn't work."  Really?  Well, according to the latest Research 2000 poll (one of the most accurate polling companies, according to Nate Silver), Obama's approval rating is now at 55%, much lower than in his honeymoon period but 20% better than Bush's at the end of his term.  Ronald Reagan, BTW, in his fifth quarter as President, had a 46% approval rating.  Interestingly, that came at the start of the 82-83 recession; at its deepest trough, his rating declined to 35%.  A concurrent R2000 poll shows that the "Is the country on the right track?" question is still below 50% (42% to be precise) but that too is trending up slightly for the first time since last summer.  And, BTW, that same question elicited a far smaller number when Bush was still in office.  So where is this "vast majority" that "gets it"?  And what do they get?  
I'll tell you what the right wing doesn't get (and it's a basic history lesson): the first midterm election is almost always "buyer's remorse," as the euphoria wears off and the reality that the new guy can't solve all of the problems overnight sets in.  So, yes, the GOP will likely pick up seats.  The party out of power always does.  But in 2012, as the country begins to recognize what the GOP has allowed itself to become, it will look less and less like a viable and reasonable alternative to anything, and Obama's personal approval (that amazingly high 55% despite all the efforts of FOX to paint him as a Nazi socialist antichrist granny-killer) will easily carry him over whichever of the current crop of pretenders the GOP nominates.  This mood is unfortunate for the Democrats, but it is perfectly normal.
My last thought for now is a very simple one:
As much as I profess myself a liberal (and a proud socialist at that), I will in all likelihood be voting for a conservative this fall, if I have to choose along that divide.  Assuming we vote at all, we all will: almost everywhere, liberals are not running any more than honest to God conservatives are.  By any meaningful definition of "right" and "left," the Democratic Party has moved right of center.  The GOP, as I have noted, has gone so far right that they've fallen off an edge somewhere.  The true conservatives in the GOP have to kowtow to the wingnuts, and the moderates have all become Democrats.  So the question in November for most of us, those without the few real liberals left in Congress in their districts, is basically this: How "conservative" should I vote?  Nelson Rockefeller conservative?  That's where the Democratic Party, on the average, is hanging out right about now.  Richard Nixon conservative?  The Dems may well be heading there, especially if Obama continues his flirtation with Bush's imperial Presidency.  Or, of course, the third option: hate-mongering, cryptofascist, tinfoil hat conservative, which is--sadly--the state of the GOP as it bends over backwards to accommodate the lowest common denominator of its constituents.  I reiterate my argument that this path will only lead to its ultimate destruction.  A party that stands for hatred and little more cannot sustain itself.
Returning your best wishes and love,

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"vote conservative"?: a response to a right wing brother

I have a very, very conservative brother. (Actually--full disclosure--I have two. And a father. I don't know what is wrong with the men in my family.) :-) The brother in question owns his own business down in Florida, and my son, in his mid-twenties, has been having difficulties finding a job (like everyone). I had never asked before, but I decided to impose upon my brother to see if he might be able to help, though I doubted if, in today's economy, he would.
In his response (negative, of course), he took the opportunity to make some pretty blunt statements about "the mess that your president has made of the country’s economics." He went on to say,
I only wish that someone in the administration at sometime had enrolled in a college course of Economics 101… Apparently, they all studied “Greek Economics” instead…
He closed by inviting me to "vote conservative please" in the midterms. I do not usually engage any of these men in political discussions because it is usually the verbal equivalent of repeatedly hitting my head into a granite wall, but this time I just couldn't help it. Follow me below the fold to see my response.
Hi, Greg,
I seem to recall that the current economic disaster began and in fact grew to its monstrous size underyour President, whose policies were so short-sighted and reckless that he managed to turn a several billion dollar surplus into a near total economic collapse in eight years. The TARP was his program, a last minute bailout of his buds on the Street who had treated the money entrusted to them by the middle class as their own private casino funds, bet it all again and again in speculative endeavors that even they admit were absurd, and--gee whillikers!--ultimately collapsed under their own artificially propped up weight.
You may certainly disagree with Obama's Keynesian approach to resolving the problem, but if you examine what is happening in the economy today there is little doubt that it is working. Not as quickly as everyone would like it to work, certainly, but then it took a very long time to create this mess, so fixing it in a little more than a year is and always was highly unlikely.
Still, let's see what Obama has presided over thus far, shall we?
When he came in, the stock market was in free fall.
Today, it has completely recovered and is setting records.
When he came in, the American auto business was in danger of becoming extinct.
Today, Detroit may not be thriving, but the Big 3 are alive and well and looking to the future.
When he came in, Bush had allocated $700B in TARP money, more than $400B of which was given to "too big to fail" corporations.
Today, all but $200B or so has been repaid.

When he came in, the nation was bleeding jobs, losing them at a pace that seemed assured to land us in another Great Depression.
Almost immediately, after passing the Recovery Act, the bleeding lessened. Every month of his administration, it has continued to lessen. Then, in December, the economy began producing jobs. Every month since then it has produced more jobs than the month before, with over 200K produced in April alone.
He has managed to accomplish something that Presidents have been trying to do since Teddy Roosevelt: get Congress to adopt a national health care policy that regulates the insurance industry and guarantees coverage without recision. It is not enough, but it is a start.
He has removed the banks as middle men in the student loan industry for the first time since Reagan put them there. Do you know when college education costs started skyrocketing? I'll tell you: the Reagan administration. Hmmm... Again, it's not nearly enough, but it's a step.
Despite being fought tooth and nail by opposition whose only cohesive policy appears to be "say no to everything Obama wants," he seems to be making headway against most of the big issues that faced him when he came into office. If the GOP would stop playing politics and start (oh, I don't know) trying to govern, we could be well on our way not only to recovery but to a truly remarkable time in America. But the GOP would rather foster unrest and encourage anger and hatred and doubt than do anything positive at this point in their existence.
Truly, that's too bad. When I look at the sorry state of the Republican Party right now, I just feel sad. It has been taken over by its worst elements. You ask me to "vote conservative"? I don't think I could if I even wanted to. True conservatives are hard to come by in this charade of "tea party" extremists. When Bob Bennett gets kicked out of the Senate by his constituents in Utah for not being "conservative" enough, the world is out of whack. When Charlie Crist and Arlen Spector can't find a place any longer within the GOP, something is seriously wrong with the party of Lincoln. When John McCain has to stoop to picking Sarah Freaking Palin as a running mate to appease the ultra right wing knuckle-draggers in his own party and then agree to allow her to foment vitriol in rally after rally to the extent that things got so out of control that even he had to step in at one rally and set his voters straight, someone has lost all sense of propriety. When the party becomes the home of bigots and birthers and men who show up to Presidential rallies wearing weapons, sanity has left the building. When the State of Maine, which usually remains somewhat above the lunacy and which has (to its credit) the only two moderate Republicans still allowed to roam free, loses its collective mind and issues a political platform that is so utterly (as one writer put it) "batshit crazy" that at one point it actually demands that the State of Maine officially oppose any attempt to create a one-world government, the whole party has officially come unhinged. Talk about giving in to the conspiracy theorists. Why don't they just mandate tin-foil hats?
The thing is that conservatism, true conservatism, is needed in this country. Just as yin needs yang, as dark needs light, as up needs down, so liberal needs conservative. Everything requires balance. Bush proved that. When the Dems were rolling over and playing dead, acquiescing to everything he asked for in his first term instead of using the fact that his majorities were slim to negotiate better bills, Bush rode roughshod over the Constitution, deceived us into an immoral and very costly war, became the king of the unfunded mandate, and spent years rewarding the richest people in the land and ignoring everyone else so that, just before everything went to hell, the gap between executive and worker pay was by far the largest it had ever been in history. The rich got richer and richer and the middle class and the poor could not make ends meet.
These were his legacies, Greg. His legacies, not Obama's. Because he was a neocon, not a true conservative. I do not agree with conservatism, as you are well aware. But I respect it. It is honorable and sincere and those who believe in its philosophies truly have the best interests of America in mind when they run for offices under conservative banners. But the neocons? Uh uh. History will record--if they have not started us on an irreparable path to our own national destruction--that they were one of the greediest and most self-righteous groups of leaders ever, that their hypocrisy was matched only by their amorality, and that they presided over the systematic and intentional undermining of a system of checks and balances that had been in place since the Great Depression which, once gone, unleashed a torrent of cash into their coffers and aggressively destroyed the economy for everyone else.
Sadly, there would be no place in today's GOP for any GOP President in American history save Bush and (maybe) Reagan. Pappy Bush would never make it. Nixon? He's practically a liberal. Ford? Forget it. Ike? No way in hell. Do you what the taxes were like under Ike? The top tax bracket was 90% of the highest marginal income. 90%. Imagine that! And what did the poorest people pay? Nothing.
Where is the party of these Presidents? Where is the party of William F. Buckley? Where is the party of Russell Kirk? Hell, Barry Goldwater, who was considered so outrageously conservative in 1964 that Lyndon Johnson's voters actually believed the "daisy ad," would be in the Democratic Party today. William Safire defined himself as a "libertarian conservative"; is there even room for that in today's GOP?
This GOP has earned its "Party of No" moniker. When Obama got his first chance at a SCOTUS nominee, the GOP began torching the selection long before they knew who it would be, proclaiming (basically) the downfall of civilization as we know it if this nominee (whoever it happened to be apparently was unimportant) got through. They played pretty much the same game with his second selection, though many of them--to their credit--actually like Elana Kagan. (We'll see if they actually support her. The two don't necessarily equate. They filibustered one of Obama's appointees for six months before finally approving her 98-0.) Despite the fact--the fact--that Obama has, from the outset, reached out to them time after time after time, angering his own constituents in the process by (in the opinion of many on the left) giving away the store before negotiations even start just to show his good faith, the GOP insists on maintaining the lie that he refuses to include them in anything. The health care bill is chock full of Republican ideas, but all you heard from them was "he's shoving it down our throats." The first thing Obama did in the Recovery bill was to agree to tax cuts despite the fact that Keynesian economics tells us that they are utterly counterproductive because it would, he thought, bring the GOP to the table. In the final Stim Bill, there were I think almost $200B in cuts. My taxes were lower this year; were yours? A study just today says that we are being taxed at the lowest rate since Truman. Do you understand that?  We are paying a smaller percentage of overall income in taxes than at any time since 1950 (and a significantly smaller percentage than during the Bush years).   Good Lord! What does anyone have to complain about the job the government is doing with the little we are still giving them?
Don't get me wrong. I don't want to give them more. I can't afford to. But I'll tell you what: unlike the idiots who took the Washington Metro to anti-government rallies to chant against all taxes and government interference in their daily lives ("but keep your hands off our Medicare!") and then bitch about the long waits to get back home on the (government-run) trains, saying that someone should have put more cars on duty for the rallies, I understand what I am paying for. I am paying for the infrastructure of this nation. Much of it is old and crumbling and in desperate need of repair, and, yes, in need of our tax dollars to make those repairs happen. But I wouldn't be driving on interstate highways with excellent police protection to places that won't burn down because fire codes are strictly enforced where I can eat healthy food that I know won't kill me because health codes too are enforced (and I could go on) if it were not for those tax dollars. That's just the truth. And I for one would not wish to do without any of these things. And, seeing the excellent job that the banks and the insurance industries have done of keeping college and health costs down through good old fashioned capitalistic free enterprise, and watching the way Wall Street has consistently screwed the middle class while padding its pockets, even during the current crisis--even while taking taxpayer handouts!--I think I'd rather have the government in charge and take my chances.
(Oh, and before you say "but Medicare is a shambles," just stop. It's not. It's just underfunded. Thank you, Bush tax cuts. There is a reason those tea partiers are holding those "hands off my medicare" signs, and it isn't because they like crappy health care.)
I don't usually bother trying to get you to see "my" side of the political argument, Greg. Frankly, it's not worth it. You are an amazingly smart guy, but you've spent too many hours watching Fox News and believing that you are seeing something that actually is true. Heck, I think Rush Limbaugh has even begun to believe the garbage he spews into the ether, and he was perfectly willing to admit several years ago that he is, first and foremost, an entertainer. (FWIW, I don't think that Ann Coulter believes a word she says. I think she is a huge hypocrite saying whatever she thinks will sell books, and she's found a ready audience on Fox. She's become such a caricature of herself that she simply cannot be taken seriously and, unlike Rush, she never was an entertainer, so there's no excuse.)
But anyway, for whatever reason, I just thought I'd give this a shot, even if it falls on the deaf ears I suspect it will. You think I have swallowed Obama's Kool-Aid and I'm just echoing the party line, but I'm not. It's the Fox News types, the Tea Partiers, who have swallowed the Kool-Aid, and it really is poison. As for me, well, I question Obama all the time. I'm very unhappy with the fact that Guantanamo is still open, for instance. And I am deeply disturbed by the fact that he has not issued an Executive Order--as would be within his authority--halting execution of DADT until Congress can eliminate it. I think that at least one of these SCOTUS nominees should have been a flaming liberal; Bush did not hesitate to appoint ardent conservatives. I also think he appeases the GOP too much, especially when they have shown again and again that they are utterly unwilling to compromise in any way. My feeling is that he should just say "screw it" and use his Democratic majorities to forge powerful left-leaning legislation, just as Bush did on the other side with far smaller majorities (and even with a Senate tie): if the GOP doesn't want a part in things, the heck with them. But he continues to be a statesman despite everything. And you know what? After eight years of having a class clown as President, I sort of like that.
I do hope that you have read this thoughtfully and recognize that I am, though unabashedly liberal, ardently in favor of a strong, thoughtful, rational opposition party. At this moment in time, the GOP is not that party. I fear that it is heading down a road from which it may not be able to recover for a very long time, if ever. When the Democrats were in a similar position--hijacked by their fringes--in the early 70's, they turned inward, re-examined their priorities, and ended up nominating Jimmy Carter. You'll argue that he was a disastrous President. I have two responses: first, it was circumstances, not policy, that caused the problems of the late 70's, and anyone in the White House at that time would have been in the same boat. He was tremendously unlucky and, distrusted by the still very active fringes of the party, received little support in Congress.

(Of course, it can be argued that it was Carter himself, an outsider governor distrusted by the Establishment Democrats, who constituted the "fringe" at the time, and certainly his opposition included many of the major Democratic leaders as well as the outliers.  I would argue, however, that after the debacle of the McGovern candidacy, history had already begun moving the party away from its farthest left wing--unfortunate though that was, since at its heart that left wing was absolutely  correct about almost everything, and McGovern himself, though he never stood a chance at election, would have made a fine President.  The problem is that the party had moved as a whole way too much toward its left wing, and that left wing was too far out of the mainstream to be electable on a national level.  Thus it is reasonable to categorize Carter as more in the center.)
My second argument is simple: because of the above, he lost in 1980, setting in motion both the ensuing twelve years of Republican rule and the rise of the neocons, which ultimately led to Bush and the near-destruction of the American economy. A party hijacked by its fringes fails. Even winning the Presidency in 1976 became a failure for the Democrats because those fringes within their party refused to let Carter govern, aligning themselves again and again with the GOP across the aisle. So the fringes caused what amounted to two decades of disaster for the party.
And I hate to say this, but the Democrats on the fringe, though clearly outside of the realm of political reality, stood for something morally good. They stood for basic human dignity and welfare, for equal rights for everyone, for helping those in need. What does the fringe of the right today stand for? Hatred and distrust. Hatred of Obama, hatred of gays, bigotry, anger, distrust of government, lack of faith in even the evidence right before their eyes that Obama is in fact a US citizen. I am worried that a party that gives in to this kind of fringe will implode, never to return. A new second party will emerge, perhaps the Libertarians, who are in a good position, but it would be a shame.
Abraham Lincoln is often cited as the standard bearer of the GOP. They like Teddy Roosevelt too. And Ike. But these guys would not recognize the party of today. And they sure as heck would not want to be a part of it.
But that's OK: they wouldn't be welcome if they did.
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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and