Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blog Fight!!!!!

My friend Brian, at "Musings of a (Fairly) Young Contrarian" seems to be angry about one of my posts. See, Brian doesn't like Democrats. For that matter he doesn't like Republicans either. Brian belongs to the Green Party, so he is in the enviable position of being able to criticize everyone. Brian doesn't like the Democratic party because it isn't enough like the Republican party. The Republicans have insured that no one but the looniest of the right-wing is welcome to join the party. The last national election resulted in the defeat of the last centrist Republicans.

Democrats regained control of both houses of Congress in the last national election. One reason this happened is because conservative Democrats are still welcome in the Democratic Party. I don't care for these "blue dogs", but I'd rather have them voting most of the time with Democrats than with Republicans.

Brian wants liberals to hold other Democrats to the same standard that we hold Republicans. I think we will. The only effective way that can be done is during elections. For example, there is a Democrat running against Arlen Specter in PA. Howard Dean has said there will be primaries for democrats that vote against a public option. Unfortunately, elections involve the casting of votes by American citizens, something called democracy. These citizens vote for whom they think best represents them.

I've asked Brian to give me the secret plans of how the Green Party is going to gain control of our government (and believe it would be great if they did). But, here is one bit of advice. The Green Party will never be in power in the USA for one important reason. There are Green Parties in Canada, Belgium, Germany and other countries around the world. This smacks of the great "new world order" conspiracy. They just have to change the name of the party. Personally, I'm betting that the Illuminati are behind the Green Party and I've always wanted to get "in" with the Illuminati.


Brian said...

I'd like you to give me the secret plan about how the Democrats are going to shed their corporate owners and go back to being the party of ordinary people.

"Brian wants liberals to hold other Democrats to the same standard that we hold Republicans. I think we will."

There's nothing in recent experience to suggest that this will happen. Since Bill Clinton, Democrats have drifted to the right to the extent that they are now virtually indistinguishable from Republicans on economic issues and are mostly too afraid to take progressive positions on social issues.

This is why conservatives win. They expect their people to enact their agenda. Progressives bitch and moan when their people don't enact their agenda but never do anything about it. And further, they mock those who DO try to do something about it.

Was it a Republican Congress that got us into NAFTA? Was it a Republican president that got us into the WTO? Signed the Defense of Marriage [sic] Act? The Telecommunications Act of 1996? Was it a Republican Senate that passed the Patriot Act and started the war against civil liberties? Was it a Republican Senate that authorized us to conquer Iraq? Was it a Republican president and Congress who refused to even consider Medicare for All? Was it a Republican president and Congress who capitulated even on the much more modest 'public option'?

So enlighten me: when is this much-touted "holding of accountability" to occur and what form will it take?

As for the when, I'm guessing sometime between when Iraqis "stand up, allowing us to stand down" and when the "terrorist threat" is officially over, possibly when televised soccer becomes the most popular sport on TV.

Brian said...

Incidentally, the natural inclination of most politicians is the path of least resistance, to do as little as possible, to offend as little as possible. The only way anything gets done is for self-righteous pains in the a** to speak up and annoy everyone. It takes an irritant grain of sand to create a pearl. History has shown that no other way works. Democratic leaders were very annoyed at people Martin Luther King Jr and Hubert Humpherey for pushing civil rights so hard and alienating the southern wing of their party. Southern racists left the party forever. I still think we're a better country for it. You're now part of the Illuminati. What do you think?

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Incidentally, I'm not overly enamored with the Green Party due primarily to focus (and lack thereof). But it's the only real progressive party that I can register in.

"There are Green Parties in Canada, Belgium, Germany and other countries around the world"

Universal health care, a real social safety net, an actual concept of the public good... almost sounds like the values identified in your JFK quote.

Gee I'd hate to live in those countries with their "unpragmatic" Greens and progressive parties screwing things up.

PCS said...

Brian, I think I made it clear in my post when there will be an opportunity for accountability. What method would you use?

Maybe you could be kind enough to give this administration at least two years to see what they can accomplish rather than 9 months.

And geez, you even criticize the Green Party. I'm sure you and I would both be happier living in Norway. I'm just too old to move.

BTW, sorry I hit a nerve on pragmatism and soccer.

Brian said...

(Neither comment bothered me)

My philosophy may seem overly analytical but it's actually pragmatic. As a soccer coach, I tell my kids, "Don't worry about blaming yourself or others. The important thing is that if there's a problem, fix it." This is how I view politics.

I do not enjoy having my candidates lose all the time. I wish this country were more like New Zealand where progressive ideas were considered normal, not fringe. But I don't see any value in belonging to a party that wins a lot but does nothing positive when it gains power. It might be make me feel better to be associated with the winners more often but that's not why I care about politics.

I don't discount the power of gut feelings but I try to look at empirical evidence and use critical thinking. I don't subscribe to the love it or leave it philosophy, whether it's my nation or my party.

My opinion of the accountability question is not based on 9 months of this particular administration. It's based on 17 years as a registered voter and about 25 as a politicophile... most of which have had the Democrats controlling at least one of the executive and two legislative chambers on the federal level and all of which have had them controlling at least one at the state level. I was a Democrat for my first six or seven years as a registered voter. I became disillusioned with them long before this administration... but during the previous Democratic administration.

I know you think my point of view is related to me being young and naive. I don't think I'm the latter and I know I'm not the former anymore. My point of view is based on my experiences.

Having lived in third world countries and following developing world issues closely, I concluded quite clearly that threat of punishment at the ballot box is an essential part of good governance. Of course in such countries, sometimes punishment is delivered outside electoral and legal means but I think we'd all like to avoid that here.

I also saw that countries with more responsive, less corporate owned governments than our own all had one thing in common: real, effective multipartyism. If British Labour gets too far to the right, some abandon them for the Lib Dems. If the German Social Democrats get too far to the right, some abandon them for the Greens. There is no accountability without choice.

I think this is important because we want to keep extremes in the confines of the democratic political system. The vitriol shown by the teabaggers and at some of these town hall meetings shows the danger of them not having a political outlet representing them and keeping them within the democratic system.

Take a look at Albany, a place most would agree operates like one of those banana republics. Most New Yorkers are disgusted with the state legislature in general and particularly with the senate shenanigans of earlier this year. I've read numerous articles about how New Yorkers are going to remember that disgust at the next election

But how?

Most New Yorkers with an ounce of intellectual integrity blame both Democrats and Republicans more or less equally for the corruption in general and the senate fiasco in particular. But since most refuse to even consider third or fourth options, how do they punish one culprit/party without rewarding the other?

One party will win the senate in 2010 and view it as a vindication of their tactics. And this is because voters will refuse to consider all the choices thus rendering their rage impotent. Again, complaining without trying to do anything about it isn't pragmatism. It's defeatism, apathy or whatever you want to call it.

Brian said...

With the greatest respect, most of your blog entries criticize things too.

PCS said...

Let's have a moment of honesty. Do you really believe that a majority of people in the USA will support the platform of the Green Party. It is never going to happen unless some disease that specifically infects conservatives evolves. I'm becoming convinced that maybe our country may be center-right. Either that or we are a country made up of easily fooled, easily scared, not very intelligent people. If that is the case, no political party will ever solve our problems.

Brian said...

Let's take an honest look at our history. A party or movement does not need a majority to influence the direction of policy. The Progressive Party in the early part of the century never elected a majority in any chamber anywhere (as far as I know) but they had a huge influence on the direction of policy in many states and the country at large.

Ultimately, it's blindingly obvious to me that the Democrats will never re-become the moderately progressive party they used to be without external pressure to counterbalance the influence of corporate money. I've NEVER heard any other realistic option proposed, the "Cross your fingers and hope, year after year after decade" argument not being realistic in my eyes. I would love for Democrats to re-become a moderately (or even very) progressive party. But it's not going to just magically happen by wishing to the tooth fairy.

You're a doctor, correct? If you try a treatment and it doesn't work time and time and time again, don't you try something else?

Frankly, I don't care what party you, me or any elected official belongs to. I care what they do and how they vote. I don't think Blue Dogs should be expelled from the party or horsewhipped or anything else. But at the end of the day, I'd much rather have the deciding vote a key issue cast by, say, Republican Susan Collins than by Democrat Max Baucus.

Brian said...

I'm not a Green because I'm masochistic or someone who wallows in being an outsider. I want things to get done. So I challenge you this. If "third parties" are not the solution to reinvigorating* the progressive movement, then I invite share with me your pragmatic solution. What is your "secret plan" for moving forward? You're now an Illuminati, so enlighten me.

(*-by reinvigorating, I don't mean making louder. I mean making more effective at getting the progressive agenda implemented.)

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