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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Back just in time

Hey all.

Mr. Meowgi
The source of all the trouble.  
So, my cat was kidnapped by these Bulgarians. They wanted 35 pounds of zinc for him. I can't afford copper, let alone zinc, so off to Bulgaria in pursuit it was. Several winding, fruitstand-destroying car chases in comically small European cars later, I'm back home with my cat, some duty-free chocolate and a scorching case of herpes.

Ha ha, just kidding. That duty-free stuff is a ripoff.

Which is to say, sorry about the not blogging thing. And here I come back to find the partisan rhetoric flowing like wine.

Despite some of the language thrown around here from time to time, I am usually not prone to partisan politics. And this blog was certainly never intended to be. Shit, Gordon has voted Libertarian more than once. I don't really agree with Mandasaurous in her disdain for Republicans. Personally, I find that kind of moral superiority hands down the most annoying thing about Democrats and the left. As I said before, I would have no problem voting for the right Republican. And though I can't imagine being friends with anyone who genuinely supports President Bush, in saner times I've known and liked many Republicans.

That said, these times are not sane. Gordon's "why don't both sides knock it off" message implies that both Democrats and Republicans (and both the left and the right) are responsible for the current state of our nation and our political discourse. That is, to put it nicely, fuckin' bullshite.

For the last six years, the Republican Party has dominated U.S. government and American politics in a way rarely seen before. Not only have they controlled all three branches of government (the judicial branch is mostly Republican appointees), they have taken unprecedented steps to secure and retain that control. From passing laws without allowing debate or amendments to guaranteeing elections through gerrymandering to excluding Democrats from legislative conferences between the houses, Republicans have changed the very way the legislative branch operates.

One of the most pernicious changes is the so-called majority-of-the-majority rule: Republican leadership in the House will only allow a vote on bills that have the support of a majority of Republican representatives. This means that if a law can only be passed by collecting some Democratic votes to go with some Republican votes, it will not be brought to the floor. Period. In one fell swoop, Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert cut the Democratic party out of the legislative process.

There's plenty more; John Dean does a good job of detailing many of the institutional changes they've made in Conservatives Without Conscience. And of course that's just Congress. The executive branch is so ridden with unqualified Republican hacks and cronies that it will take years to undo the damage.

To put it another way, Democrats have spent the last six years recoiling from one big, long Republican bitch slap. Even if they want to get in on the fun and piss off some moderates, they've got to pick themselves off the floor first.

I'm hesitant to endorse a party simply because the other guys are even worse. But I'm not sure that's the case here. Tom called the Republicans the evil party and Democrats the stupid party, but it seems to me that Republicans embody both evil and stupidity a lot better than the Democrats these days. The Clinton years now seem like a relative paradise, and while the high-taxing, free-spending, hippy peacenik Democrat Party has been a right-wing boogeyman for years, I have yet to see much of it in practice.

I came of political age during the 90's, and have never been able to understand why the Republican Party has traditionally been the party of libertarians and "leave me alone" conservatives. Perhaps once upon a time Republicans represented those views better, but since I've been watching they've stood for government endorsement of religion, the scaling back of Constitutional rights, laws favorable to business at the expense of consumers, intrusion into citizens' private lives and large budgets supported by borrowing, rather than taxes.

Markos Moulitsas (aka Kos) recently published a piece for libertarian thinktank The Cato Institute making the case for the "libertarian Democrat," and I think it's a good one. Here's an even better one from Sifu Tweety:
If there's been one thing most galling about the Worst President Ever's era, by the way, it's been having to care about the opinions of rank idiots. That somebody jollily febrile enough to rationalize torture — torture! — or question evolution — evolution?! — is actually in a position to influence my own life one way or another is flat fucking offensive to my strong sense of idiot-free self-determination (very libertarian democrat!).
Tom is right — there's been nothing remotely conservative about the Bush administration and this Republican Congress. Or as he put it, "some kind of bastardized corporate-lobbied state giving government support to rapacious, evil men." Sounds about right.

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Even if you don't like the Democrats, it's clear to most people that Republican one-party rule has been an absolute disaster for America. It will take years for the United States to regain the prominence in the world it once had and reverse some of the damage Republican polices have had at home.

In a few years, we can go back to judging candidates individually on the merits. But right now we have to get these crazy assholes out of power before they mess up the country and the world any worse.

You've still got time to help the cause of idiot-free self-determination. Give some money to Democratic candidates, and if you live in the Chicagoland area, consider volunteering for Melissa Bean or Tammy Duckworth, who are both in fairly close House races.

And make sure to vote!! I've got a $40 bet with Gordon that rides on the Democrats retaking both houses. After losing to him the last two elections, I could use the cash.


Anonymous tet said...

Well, the current Zogby poll has an average of 11% lead in the Congressional races in favor of the Democrats with a plus or minus 3% error in likely voters.

It also states that only 56% of people who voted Republican in the '04 election are willing to state that they plan on voting for Republicans in this one.

My guess is that you're going to get your wish.

If you look at my quotes, however, I have never explicitly stated which party I consider evil and which one I consider stupid. I have a tendency to allow my readers to make the identifications in their heads.

Actually, other than political correctness and their love of taxes, the major problem I have with the Democrats at the moment is that they believe that they can reverse 10 to 100 thousand years of evolution in human instinct in a generation with legislation. [Well, that and government approval of abortion and licensing of marriage.]

Ignoring human nature didn't work for the Marxists, won't work for the Democrats.

I desperately want to be a bug on the wall in Karl Rove's office the day after election day. *Anytime* I expect a group of government people to get shafted, my wounded little heart goes, "pitty-pat."


Blogger markg8 said...

I'm a volunteer for Tammy Duckworth Buck so thanks for the plug.

A little update on what we're up against here. The NRCC has unloaded at least $2.2 million on this race, mostly in commercials attacking Duckworth claiming she wants to give away the store to illegals and raise taxes on everybody including the dog to do it. Roskam's commercials with his huge warchest look almost exactly the same. It's virtually the only issue he's run on since Labor Day.

Duckworth spent most of her money thru Sept. 30 fending off these unremitting attack ads and for a couple weeks in early October went dark. Real rough phonebanking 10-07
to 10-20 or so with a lot of hang ups. It really is amazing. People see those commercials twice and ignore them. But if they're on 9 times a night while they're making dinner or doing the crossword puzzle they just absorb it by osmosis or something. They don't know why, don't even remember where they heard it but they "know" in their lizard brains "she's not on our side".

An interesting little dirty trick Repubs are reportedly using here is robocalls that start out "I have some important information for you about Tammy Duckworth". Now most people hate calls, but really hate robocalls. The few that do listen beyond the intro get an earful of Republican BS. But the majority that hang up are redialed, sometimes right away and up to 3 or 4 times a night. They think these are Duckworth campaign calls. By the time we phonebankers get to them we get a 100 decibel scream "quit calling me!" even from our supporters.

All that being said we're starting to kick it into gear now that the DCCC has ponied up and we're back on the air. Great Obama ads debunking the immigration BS and phonebanking today has been a virtual Tammy lovefest. Clean sweep of the 3 major paper endorsements. I don't know what else the campaign is doing other than what I read but whatever it is it's starting to pay off and sure makes my life easier. I might even get some sleep tonight.

Gotta run. Another 100 calls to make tonight.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope only the house will go and if I had the time to look up the specifics of each house race, I could event bet Online for some real money. Dem's will get the house back and for the first time EVER in the history of this country a woman will bang the speakers gavel in January!!!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, Gordon and Buck I'm sorry to tell you that I'm going to have to agree with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts who said that the House will fall and Nancy Pelosi will bang the historic gavel in January. The Senate however will not cave. I would also take a side bet that Harold Ford Jr. (who I met and like VERY much) will lose on November 7th.

Blogger Buck B. said...

I pretty much agree with you — the Dems taking the Senate too is a bit of a stretch. Back at the beginning of the summer, Gordon and I originally bet that the Democrats would retake at least one chamber of Congress. Not content to simply collect my $20, once the House started to look like a lock I renegotiated the bet so that I'd win $40 if they took both and we'd break even if it was a split.

Of course, if the Repubs keep both houses, that mean I'll owe him $40. And that our political system is broken.

Still, you never know. Trying to forecast this crazy-ass election is likely an effort in futility.

I've never mastered the art of emotional hedging like Gordon has. Bush winning AND having to pay that chump $100? Now that sucks.

Blogger Gordon the Gnome said...

"EMOTIONAL HEDGING": The act of betting against the result you hope for, setting yourself up with cash as a consolation prize.

This is my M.O., while Buck tends to double down on his hopes (bets in line with the result he wants), which is doubly horrible when he loses, but someday, somewhere, it'll be doubly good when he finally wins.

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