Saturday, October 08, 2005

Liberal with a capital L.

Ever since 9/11, some Democrats, especially those who have been afraid of being called 'unAmerican' or what is even worse, 'liberal' since the new era of McCarthyism began mid 1980's, have fallen over themselves to get on board for things they know (or should know) are just plain wrong, like the Patriot Act, the war (especially to keep sending money there since the whole WMD thing has been exposed as a farce) and CAFTA.

Now I don't have a problem with a Democrat who has an honest difference of opinion about something from the rest of the party voting their conscience (like for example, Harry Reid has consistenly been against abortion rights. Like 99% of Democrats, I don't agree with him about that-- see my post The success of liberals in stopping abortion for an analysis of why there are better ways to fight it than to ban it, but I can respect him for it-- and obviously his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, nearly all of whom are pro-choice, respected him enough to make him Majority Leader anyway). I can even respect a consistent hawk like Joe Lieberman because he has been consistently a hawk (would never vote for him though in any kind of a primary).

Clearly, however, that is not the case for most of these decisions on the part of most of the Democrats who voted for them not based on conviction, but based on polls and being gun shy about being targetted by the far right. Maybe they did vote for the war because they believed the faulty and slanted intelligence being shoved at them by the Bush administration. Fine. I believed the administration's assertion that there were probably WMD's back then too, although I thought they should have let Blix find out, and also exhaust all diplomatic options, before rushing to war. But once it became clear that it was a lie, it was time to stand up and call it a lie. I believe that if John Kerry had answered a firm, 'NO' to the question about whether he would have voted for the war resolution knowing what he knew then about the intelligence being false, he would be President today. Instead he answered a very tenuous 'yes,' then had to defend his answer, then changed it about three weeks later, confirming the concerns that people had about his firmness and commitment to take a stand, and is still the junior Senator from Massachusetts.

The heck if they are targetted by the far right! It's time to just stand up and yell that the emperor has no clothes. Everything the man touches turns to garbage (name me ONE policy success, foreign or domestic, that the Bush administration has achieved in five years), so if someone can't find the gumption to stand up and point that out, they shouldn't be nominated to run for a position where part of their duties ARE to speak out. Besides, if the far right can target a guy like Charlie Stenholm by calling him a liberal and win, then it is clear that they will apply that label to any Democrat anywhere, no matter what their voting record. So voting with them won't spare a Democrat. But maybe standing up and wearing the label with pride, will.

And if it doesn't, I was once given a bit of advice when facing a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' sort of choice: You are always better off being damned for what you do. I can further attest to the wisdom of that from personal experience.

That advice works in life as well as it does in politics.

10 comments:

Theresa said...

take a break and laugh a little it's absurd maybe witty too. take a look at my blog.

Mark said...

The Republicans use the term Liberal in the same fashion that the Democrats use the term "Far Right".

One policy success of GWB..
1. Taliban is out of power.
2. Elections held in Afganistan and Iraq
3. Global hunt for al-quaeda with many successes.
4. Tax decreases helped to keep the economy from totally tanking after 9/11.

Sorry, that was four.

Eli Blake said...

Mark:

Sure, and if you want to stand up and use the term, 'far right' with pride, then feel free to do so. Actually, there was one time, even though she is actually too far to the right for me, that I did see the genius in something Hillary did. When she ran for the Senate against Rick Lazio, she ran an ad saying he was a 'conservative,' and was 'too conservative for New York.' The voters agreed with it and she beat him by a big margin. Since then, Republicans in and around New York City have been running away from being called 'conservative,' look at Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaiming his liberalism during the current mayoral campaign. Never thought I'd see that.

Now, granted, that's New York, but it's the first time I ever saw anyone successfully tarred as a 'conservative.'

As for the matter of the Bush successes,

1. Yes, the Taliban are gone. Well, mostly, but we put the conflict in Afghanistan on the back burner before we finished the job, so that it is just a low level war of attrition. We just lost the two hundredth American there this week. Unlike Iraq, I believe it is justified, but we should have made it the top priority until they were all gone and we had Osama and the rest of the senior leadership of al-Qaeda to boot. We have gotten some of them, but they have recruited and promoted as many as we have killed, and as the recent events in London and Bali have showed, we haven't slowed them down very much at all.

2. Elections held. True, and in Afghanistan successfully (I will give you that one). In Iraq, you will undoubtedly see the new constitution pass, because the parts of the country inclined to vote against it were too dangerous to vote in last January, thereby guaranteeing a government dominated by Shiites and Kurds (I blogged on this a couple of months ago) and they are still too dangerous to vote in today. It is hard to see how this will stop the insurgency. And even if it does, then the best outcome we can hope for, given the Islamic fundamentalist nature of the winners in the election and of the constitution, is a postwar Iraq that looks a lot like the prewar Afghanistan-- break out the burqas, and hope that women have the right to finish the eighth grade. Hardly a success it is worth losing 1900 soldiers over.

3. See number 1.

4. In fact, there is evidence that the Bush tax cuts deepened and prolonged the recession instead of ameliorating it. Consider this post from the business forum (hardly a bastion of radical leftists). Speaking of the national debt (and due to the first round of tax cuts, we went from a surplus to a deficit already BEFORE 9/11), we see

Thus, the Federal debt is a heavy drag on the economy, impeding job creation and entrepreneurial expansion as well as consumer spending on goods and services.

You see, Mark, the Republicans are spending money at least as fast as the Democrats ever did (even without throwing Iraq or Katrina into the equation) but the difference is that Democrats believe in paying for what they are spending (hence the need for taxes), while Republicans would rather borrow against tomorrow. And when tomorrow comes, well, I would just point out that the Reagan tax cuts in the 1980's were targetted towards the rich, while the corresponding tax hikes by George H.W. Bush in 1991 and Bill Clinton 1993 that got the budget under control, were done with the mantra 'shared sacrifice,' and were pretty much equal across the board (the net effect, then, a transfer of taxation from the wealthy to the middle class). And while we are at it, those tax hikes and the surpluses they produced certainly did not drag down the economy in the 1990's.

There is another reason why the Bush tax cuts deepened the recession. That is because consevatives are fundamentally right about one thing: businesses with more money invest in their business. The problem was, that orienting the tax cuts to large business, we financed their building factories in Asia and outsourcing millions of jobs. After all, you can hire people in Mumbai with college degrees who speak English and are willing to live in a hut, so why pay Americans union, non-union, standard, living, or even minimum wage?

Give it to a small business, and they won't go to China or India to hire someone, because it wouldn't be cost effective. But the Bush tax cuts were heavily tilted towards big businesses, not small ones, so they don't even apply here.

dorsano said...

Mark,

Do "conservatives" love our country enough to pay taxes?

Is "Regime Change" a foreign policy which unites the world around our strategic goals and makes us safer?

This president has spent more money than any president in history, including LBJ - and he's passed most of that cost on to our children

and to pay for the little that he has, he's shifted the tax burden off of wealth and onto people that work for a living.

The "conservative agenda" has reached it's apex with the sorriest excuse for a president of the United States that we've ever produced - and that's reflected in this president's current approval/disapproval ratings.

The "conservative agenda" is not "conservative", it's not Republican, it's not Christian and it's not American.

It's had it's day in the sun and it's history.

It's a wonderful world, Mark - and God still blesses America.

shrimplate said...

This president has spent more money than any president in history, including LBJ - and he's passed most of that cost on to our children.

This simple statement of fact requires some qualification, because President Bush has actually spent more money than anybody in history, ever.

One could credibly argue that God himself spent less on his Creation, and it paid for itself, too, but the financial records which would demonstrate that were damaged in a bad flood. ;)

Anonymous said...

Eli:
This will be the last post on your blog. You are a good guy and I will probably read in but I will restrain myself from commenting.

Your loyal readers should give some thought to history. After Pearl Harbor we took action. After 9/11 we took action. The reason more money has been spent is because of the circumstances we find ourselves in.

What do you think President Clinton would have had to do if 9/11 had happened on his watch? He would have had to face the same decisions.

Bush may go down in history as a money spender, but I hope instead that he goes down in history for his proactive effort to save American lives by taking the fight those who are looking to kill Americans.

We should all cut Bush some slack. It has been 60 years since WWII that any president has had to face the aspect of real war to defend American soil. It will be interesting to see if when the next Democratic president takes power that the spending you all are complaining about will go down.

Vote Hillary with Harry Reid as VP.


Mark

dorsano said...

When Japan attacked us during WWII, Congress declared war on Japan, not on a country that didn't attack, say like Argentina.

And since they declared war on the right country, they didn't have to mislead Americans into fighting that war.

dorsano said...

I never served our country and I regret that I never did. I do come from a family that has and does serve.

I can't think of anything that ticks me off more than to see us send a soldier off to war while giving him and his family something less than the truth.

This president has damaged the credibility of his office, the credibility and reputation of our country

and by his incompetence and arrogance, he's endangered the lives and the mission of the people he commands.

I do not intend to give this administration any slack - I figure that's part of makes me an American.

Eli Blake said...

dorsano:

There are more ways to serve than just in the military.

After spending four years in high school ROTC, I tried to join the Navy through a naval ROTC program when I went to college, but I failed the physical because I have flat feet (like that would matter in the navy). So, I went on with life and did other things. In fact, looking at some of the experiences I had over the next few years and how they helped define much of my life, from my religion to my family to my political outlook, I am actually pretty thankful that I failed that physical.

However, since that time, I have been active in a number of different capacities in various community activities (not the least of which is being politically active).

dorsano said...

Eli,

I'm too old to consider a career in politics.

We're all dying - we've all been dying since the day that we were born. If you're not living like you're dying, then you're not living.

If by some miracle, I'd find myself in a position to run for public office, I'd run as a Republican.