Barack Obama is Not a Liberal and Sarah Palin is Not a Conservative

mendacityScott Horton interviews Roger D. Hodge regarding his book The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism for Harper’s:

1. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs recently derided liberal critics of the Obama Administration as the “professional left.” Was he talking about you? What do you make of this line of attack?

I’m not sure Gibbs has a coherent idea of what he means by the “left,” but if opposition to permanent war, extrajudicial assassination of American citizens, boundless state secrecy, and unlimited corporate bailouts constitutes “leftism,” then so be it. True to their Clintonian principles, President Obama and his advisors have spurned the Democratic Party’s liberal base and have sought to govern by appropriating the policies of the Republican right. Just as Bill Clinton enacted NAFTA and destroyed welfare, Barack Obama has pushed through a health-care program that was inspired by the Heritage Foundation and largely written by the insurance lobby—and he shows every sign of being willing to vandalize Social Security in the name of deficit reduction even though the program has nothing to do with the federal budget deficit. Obama has embraced the Bushite war on terror and has refused to roll back the unconstitutional executive usurpations that so outraged his supporters. And yet Democrats expect liberals to toe the line and shut the hell up lest the Republicans take advantage of their dissent. In fact, for the most part, the “professional left” of policy intellectuals, public interest advocates, and opinion journalists have done just that.

What’s fascinating about the Democrats is how consistently they have squandered enormous political advantages. The party’s leaders have apparently internalized Republican propaganda to the point that they feel they do not deserve to rule; consequently, when Democrats come to power, they always negotiate with themselves prior to meeting their opponents, make the tough-minded decision to betray their most loyal supporters, and profess shock and anger when the GOP—which never makes the mistake of publicly spurning its base—refuses to accept the purported bipartisan compromise. What results, of course, is that the Democratic Party, over and over again, enacts some version of the Republican agenda.

David Horowitz wrote about “Obama Derangement Syndrome” for Salon back in 2009:

Conservatives, please. Let’s not duplicate the manias of the left as we figure out how to deal with Mr. Obama. He is not exactly the antichrist, although a disturbing number of people on the right are convinced he is.I have recently received commentaries that claim that “Obama’s speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history” and “never has a politician in this land had such a quasi-religious impact on so many people” and “Obama is a narcissist,” which leads the author to then compare Obama to David Koresh, Charles Manson, Stalin and Saddam Hussein. Excuse me while I blow my nose.

This fellow has failed to notice that all politicians are narcissists – and that a recent American president was a world-class exponent of the imperial me. So what? Political egos are one of the reasons the Founders put checks and balances on executive power. As for serial lying, is there a politician that cannot be accused of that? And once, the same recent president set a pretty high bar in this category, and we survived it. As for Obama’s speeches, they are hardly in the Huey Long, Louis Farrakhan, Fidel Castro vein. They are in fact eloquently and cleverly centrist and sober.

Centrist and sober from David Horowitz’s point of view, that is.   Back to Harper’s, where Horton asks Hodge about Palin and Gingrich:

5. One of the key dilemmas in American politics today, you write, is the disappearance of conservatives and the emergence in their place of “pseudo-cons.” What is it about Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich that can’t be squared with the traditional definition of conservative?

Alas, jingoistic demagogues like Palin and Gingrich are nothing new in American politics. What’s interesting is the obsessive insistence of such right-wing agitators that they are conservatives when, in fact, almost nothing about them is conservative in any traditional sense. They are extremists who display no sense of affection for the past; no humility or skepticism about their revolutionary proposals; no sign of the compromising and practical spirit that is so characteristic of classical conservatives; no awareness that capitalism itself is the most powerful force for change in the history of humanity. By today’s incoherent standards, even Edmund Burke himself would be derided as a bleeding heart, welfare-state socialist. As political writers as disparate as Theodore Adorno and Richard Hofstadter have observed, the funny thing about pseudo-conservatives is that they champion the very forces that are destroying what remains of traditional American ways of life. What’s ironic, given their rhetoric, is that pseudo-cons like Gingrich and Palin have no use for core American values such as the rule of law, freedom of religion and association, or for the idea that the Constitution follows the flag. They champion torture, extrajudicial assassination, unconstrained domestic surveillance, and a thoroughly monarchistic vision of the presidency; they happily encourage wars of aggression, demand that native-born children be stripped of their citizenship, demonize a religious minority, and then have the audacity to accuse their opponents of being anti-American.

The Republican Party’s opposition to the Obama Administration has nothing really to do with conservatism or liberalism. The Republicans simply wish to seize power again, and they will apparently say anything toward that end. Obama’s political incompetence has given his partisan opponents the opportunity to motivate a large number of relatively ill-informed voters with outlandish and incoherent claims about his purported socialism when he is in fact the best friend Wall Street could hope for. Public opinion is largely an artifact of political struggle, and the most successful politicians are those who are able to define the terms of debate; astonishingly, Obama’s Democrats have proved themselves to be the weaker party even as they controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency. The absence of authentic conservatives in our politics serves to ensure that our national debates are largely carried out in the realm of fiction; pseudo-conservatives take on pseudo-liberals in symbolic battle over cultural ephemera when what is really at stake is which of the two corrupt parties will win the privilege of representing the interests of the superrich.

Horowitz again, in an earlier piece on “Obama Derangement Syndrome” at National Review Online, from 2008:

What difference does it make to the future of this country whether Obama was born on U.S. soil? Advocates of this destructive campaign will argue that the constitutional principle regarding the qualifications for president trumps all others. But how viable will our Constitution be if five Supreme Court justices should decide to void 64 million ballots?

Conservatives are supposed to respect the organic nature of human societies. Ours has been riven by profound disagreements that have been deepening over many years. We are divided not only about political facts and social values, but also about what the Constitution itself means. The crusaders on this issue choose to ignore these problems and are proposing to deny the will of 64 million voters by appealing to five Supreme Court Justices (since no one is delusional enough to think that the four liberal justices are going to take the presidency away from Obama). What kind of conservatism is this?

It is not conservatism; it is sore loserism and quite radical in its intent. Respect for election results is one of the most durable bulwarks of our unity as a nation. Conservatives need to accept the fact that we lost the election, and get over it; and get on with the important business of reviving our country’s economy and defending its citizens, and — by the way — its Constitution.

So is our choice in November between plutocracy and plutarchy?

Read more of Horton’s Six Questions for Roger D. Hodge here.

Read more of Horowitz’s Obama Derangement Syndrome here.

Read more of Horowitz’s Get over your Obama Derangement Syndrome here.

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  • 5by5

    “Barack Obama is Not a Liberal and Sarah Palin is Not a Conservative”

    True on both counts.

    I’m a Liberal and Obama is no Liberal, and Palin would have annoyed the crap out of a real Conservative like Ike, Goldwater, or Bill Buckley.

  • Anonymous

    “Barack Obama is Not a Liberal and Sarah Palin is Not a Conservative”

    True on both counts.

    I’m a Liberal and Obama is no Liberal, and Palin would have annoyed the crap out of a real Conservative like Ike, Goldwater, or Bill Buckley.

  • pjbrown

    Writer is a true master of the obvious.

  • pjbrown

    Writer is a true master of the obvious.

  • Laws456

    Good post. But I think if you’ve really been paying attention to what’s going on since Obama became President you would already know this to be true. It doesn’t really matter anymore, society at large is not going to rally against the machine at least not in my lifetime. We’ve witnessed every branch of govt make some really fucked up decisions over the last 10 years, and they haven’t even tried to hide their actions. There’s no going back, get use to it…

    • Ironaddict06

      Yea, I agree there is no going back. Even though majority of voting Americans don’t want Obamacare, it’s here to stay. The Federal govt has shown that voters really have no power in the courts. Example: In california majority of voters voted no for gay marriage, but Federal judge say yes. The big picture is beyond gay marriage.

      • Laws456

        We agree on some but disagree on others. Obamacare is an old Republican plan from the 90’s…I believe we should have health care similar to that of Canada, France, England, etc, yes, a socialist plan. lol. But I think it makes more sense. You don’t have to do away w/the private companies, but if that’s what people wish to pay for, then I think they should have that opportunity, but obviously the govt doesn’t want us to have that opportunity. They’d prefer to mandate us to buy insurance from the very same companies whose practices and policies are fubar.

        I’m not gay, don’t have any gay relatives and don’t associate with gays too often, but I have no problem with them. I didn’t always think like this but I have a hard time believing that most gay people CHOOSE to be that way. Some people aren’t gay, they’re confused. lol. But if you were going to be born today and you had your choice of what to be, the two things you’d eliminate off top are black and gay. That’s real talk. I think I understand what you mean when you say the big picture is beyond gay marriage but I have to side with them. It’s discrimination by not allowing them to do so, if they want to be miserable like most other married couples, let them do so. lol.

      • Hadrian999

        letting the majority vote on the rights of a minority seems like justice to you?

  • Anonymous

    Good post. But I think if you’ve really been paying attention to what’s going on since Obama became President you would already know this to be true. It doesn’t really matter anymore, society at large is not going to rally against the machine at least not in my lifetime. We’ve witnessed every branch of govt make some really fucked up decisions over the last 10 years, and they haven’t even tried to hide their actions. There’s no going back, get use to it…

  • Ironaddict06

    Yea, I agree there is no going back. Even though majority of voting Americans don’t want Obamacare, it’s here to stay. The Federal govt has shown that voters really have no power in the courts. Example: In california majority of voters voted no for gay marriage, but Federal judge say yes. The big picture is beyond gay marriage.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Amen. Here’s a book I can read without vague guilt for touching partisan material. Conservatism in any realistic intellectual sense died with dawn of the Reagan Revolution which replaced it with todays retarded douchebaggery. Liberalism also faded decades ago…into a hollow fiction of what it was intended to be and pursue…now its just lip service to the ideals while business as usual rolls on.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Amen. Here’s a book I can read without vague guilt for touching partisan material. Conservatism in any realistic intellectual sense died with dawn of the Reagan Revolution which replaced it with todays retarded douchebaggery. Liberalism also faded decades ago…into a hollow fiction of what it was intended to be and pursue…now its just lip service to the ideals while business as usual rolls on.

  • Anonymous

    We agree on some but disagree on others. Obamacare is an old Republican plan from the 90’s…I believe we should have health care similar to that of Canada, France, England, etc, yes, a socialist plan. lol. But I think it makes more sense. You don’t have to do away w/the private companies, but if that’s what people wish to pay for, then I think they should have that opportunity, but obviously the govt doesn’t want us to have that opportunity. They’d prefer to mandate us to buy insurance from the very same companies whose practices and policies are fubar.

    I’m not gay, don’t have any gay relatives and don’t associate with gays too often, but I have no problem with them. I didn’t always think like this but I have a hard time believing that most gay people CHOOSE to be that way. Some people aren’t gay, they’re confused. lol. But if you were going to be born today and you had your choice of what to be, the two things you’d eliminate off top are black and gay. That’s real talk. I think I understand what you mean when you say the big picture is beyond gay marriage but I have to side with them. It’s discrimination by not allowing them to do so, if they want to be miserable like most other married couples, let them do so. lol.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Sorry, but I’m sick to my fucking stomache of hearing about how ‘both sides are full of shit’.

    I wanna hear solutions, not endless recitations of excuses for not doing anything yourself. Jesus, that’s worse than the lameass Boomer bullshit.

    • Andrew

      So those who are opposed to torture, permanent war, extrajudicial assassinations, boundless state secrecy, and unlimited corporate bailouts should just shut up about them and focus on other things they can do for themselves? Sounds like a Republican attitude to me, and one more example of “both sides” being full of it.

      What do you suggest they do for themselves? Vote only for candidates of a party that supports what they oppose?

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Sorry, Andrew. But the fact that Jesus Christ isn’t on the ballot isn’t an excuse not to vote.

        You should think back, long and hard on American history. It took us over 80 years from the Treaty of Paris to the abolition of slavery. Ten years from that point to get the vote for African Americans. Fifty years from that point until women could vote. And it took almost another 20 years after that to enact the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act to eliminate on a nation-wide scale the most abusive manipulation of child labor by the industrialists.

        So progress takes time. And votes. I seriously doubt that you mean to hold up Somalia’s unstable continuous internecine warfare as the template for moral or social progress. There is no such thing as ‘unliteral justice’. True justice is a long hard slog towards comprimise on behalf of higher ideas.

        I can’t cut anyone any slack for not voting. As incomplete as the pullout from Iraq, the Health Care Reform Act and financial reform measures have been, they’re at least a step in the right direction.

        So what’re you gonna do? Vote Democrat knowing that it’s gonna take long time and a lotta commitment to move the ball forward? Or stay at home and hand the show over to the Right Wing so that they can repeal the Thirteenth Amendment? Praying for Santa Claus to come and make everything right by his magical powers just isn’t an option.

        • Hadrian999

          that might work if you still believe that the parties aren’t a pr stunt at this stage.
          as long as the illusion that votes matter in determining the actions of the federal government no real change is possible.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Please read my response earlier in this thread. It is a serious challenge to the notion that both parties are ‘just exactly like one another’.

          • Hadrian999

            they may not be exactly alike bet they are working for the same people and it isn’t us

        • Andrew

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

          The two party system is not the only alternative to internecine warfare.

          Also, there are more than two parties to vote for.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Okay, then pitch some solutions! If you’d read my comment, you should have noticed the following:

            1. Absolute proof that the Democrats are NOT ‘just exactly like the Republican’ts
            2. The main point of my original comment is that we need solutions.

            So throw some out. I’m sick of doing all the heavy lifting around here. Put some practical electoral solutions out there instead of just complaining.

          • Hadrian999

            there are no electoral solutions as long as you need to be in someone’s pocket to afford to run
            and get on the debates, the system as it is now is a safety valve that lets people think they actually have a say. democrat or republican we have seen a constant assault on the middle class, shift to a permanent war
            state and the creations of an almost feudal society with lords and serfs.the only answer i see is getting the citizens to realize that they are now being treated like subjects not the masters of the federal government.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Hadrian, please do not take this the wrong way, because I respect you. But let’s REALLY look at this thing.

            One simple example. Health Care Reform. Left wingers bitch and moan that it doesn’t do this, that and the other that needs doing. Which is true. Obama never said this thing was a magic bullet, going to cure all problems in one blow. But two undeniable facts:

            1. It no longer allows them to deny people policies based based on ‘pre-existing conditions’

            2. It stopped bullshit discretionary policy ‘recissions’ by insurance corps, so that they can no longer deny coverage after accepting your premiums for years

            So while I would agree that much more needs to be done–specifically universal coverage–I’m not about to throw cancer patients out onto the street because this law doesn’t meet my standards of perfection ideological purity.

            And if you still think that the Dems pulled their punches to curry favour with Big Insurance, think again.

            http://www.disinfo.com/2010/10/the-secret-sponsors-corporate-disinfo-campaign-on-healthcare-reform/

            And as if you needed more evidence of the fact that the Dems are NOT in the pocket of big insurance:

            http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=172205

            Not only does Obama clearly come out in favour of universal coverage, but pay a little attention to that Karen Kerrigan woman. It’s well worth the effort.

            That Harpy Kerrigan comes on like she’s some great expert in entrepreneurialism, speaking out about the negative market consequences of the act. But is she what she really appears to be? Not by half!

            1. Go to her online CV.

            http://www.sbecouncil.org/about/display.cfm?ID=1609

            You’ll see a conspicuous absence of actual business experience, but a profound wealth of BUSH ADMINISTRATION APPOINTMENTS.

            2. Do a little research into the activities of the group she represents, the “Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council”. I recommend starting with you getting a Guidestar account.

            http://www2.guidestar.org/

            They’re free, and they allow you access to a wealth of information about ‘nonprofit’ organizations. Look for the form 990-N–that’s an annual informational return required by the IRS for all tax-exempt organizations. Not only does it provide information about fund raising activities and how those funds are used, but it also requires registration of the organization’s officers. Notice anything untoward?

            Yep. Board members of the SBE include Richard Rahn and Grover Norquist.

            Richard Rahn, pal of Ronald Reagan, writer for the neo-con Washington Times owned by the crackpot Rev. Moon, and former board member of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority–a body whose name has become synonymous with international shell games and tax avoidance scams.

            Grover Norquist, buddy of Dubya. Need I say more than quote his favourite mantra? “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

            In light of all that, can you really and truly still believe that they’re ‘just exactly the same’?

          • Hadrian999

            they aren’t totally the same but their differences will never really touch the real power structures.
            sure the insurance reform helped people who already have insurance but did nothing for the people who really need it. i’m more troubled by the perpetual war system we are adopting, the surveillance state mentality and government not even bothering to hide their policy of assassinating citizens without a trial.
            next to that insurance reform is as much window dressing as the abortion farce and the and the ongoing gun control circle jerk, issues that change nothing but allow politicians to pretend to serve the public while lining their and their master’s pockets.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Well help make them more different then!

            Clearly Health Care Reform, though incomplete, is NOT just window dressing. Why would the corps be spending billions in disinformation campaigns to repeal it if it were? ‘Come on!

            The examples I put forth earlier regarding emancipation, the Fourteen Amendment, womens’ sufferage and child labor laws are proof that REAL CHANGE CAN HAPPEN.

            If you want to see universal coverage, give the Dems a large enough majority where they have no excuse to deny it.

            Change never just happens all on its own, like magic. Seize the opportunities in front of you–larger ones will come in the future. You can’t just stubbornly demand instant gratification like some bloated Boomer.

            Frankly, Right Wing disinfo agents love nothing more than when Left voters stay at home–gives them an electoral edge, and allows them to stop progress altogether. The Right Wing’s most effective weapon are lazy Left Wingers.

          • Hadrian999

            they don’t need to deliver and they won’t all they need to do is keep playing a game and taking the corporate pay offs, until we make them deliver it’s all a big joke and i don’t see a way that will happen without a massive non electoral show of force, which will never happen cause hell, people might miss American idol if they do anything.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            LOL. Agree about the American Idol bit.

            But you’re wanting to cut to the chase and avoid the hard bits. Which may be a natural consequence of frustration, but clearly it can not work. Has never worked.

            1. Can you name a single instance of social revolution that hasn’t resulted in gorey violence and reactionary counter revolution?

            2. Can you name a single instance where failure to support even the most moderate progressive agendas has resulted in victory for a more radically progressive agenda?

            But I do agree that the answer isn’t narrowly electoral. If you’d glanced at what I wrote here, I think you’d agree that I always said the true solution was a multi-parter.

            http://www.disinfo.com/2010/10/obamas-burden/

            The myth that there is some miraculous single-part solution is a byproduct of the corporatization of American culture; one-stop shopping, one-size fits all, etc., etc.

            Voting is a first, insufficient, but neccessary step to making progress. Other things that you can do:
            1. Organize with others to spread respect for shared, non-sectarian institutions NOT controlled by corps
            2. Articulate a debate that is strategically idealistic, tactically practical and appeals to society’s shared values
            3. Respect and research the precedent of history as a guide for progress
            4. Meet with others to float practical policy suggestions: Actually articulate for-real solutions. Get other people thinking about how to improve them / dissemenate them

            I’m on board here for anyone who wants to get together to put their shoulders to the wheel and get this bitch back on track.

          • Hadrian999

            we disagree on weather or not the electoral process has been totally corrupted

          • Liam_McGonagle

            I’m not sure that the electoral process is any more corrupt than it was at the culmination of the 87 years it took to pass the Fourteenth Amendment, the 137 years it took to pass womens sufferage, the 155 years it took to pass the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. Do you have a specific part of the process–the specifically electoral process, not media relations, public education, etc.,–that is uniquely broken now?

            Mitigating against the ‘utter brokeness’ of the electoral system, I’d say, is the fact that this country can fairly elect an African American to the highest office in the land, despite hundreds of years of virulent racism and some not-insignificant remaining dregs thereof. And the fact that some incrementally progressive, even if not ‘magic-bullet complete’ legislation like the Health Care Reform bill and financial services reform get passed. Clearly there is something good about a system that can move the ball forward.

            What is unique about our times is the extent to which the unaccountable corporate sphere has arisen as an alternate power base in society, to usurp powers of government and even religion. People are so split off from one another in their gated communities or ghettos, by boutique cable ‘news’ outlets and perversely hierarchical corporate reporting structures that many of them have lost touch with reality.

            Hence the Tea Bagger movement, which seems to believe that the answer to corporate tyranny is to destroy the last possible bastion of opposition–our shared institution of government. That’s like trying to win a battle by throwing down your weapon and shouting “Over here! I’m unarmed! Come ‘n git me!”

          • Hadrian999

            when you are 4th and 30 getting a yard isn’t something to celebrate

            I’m not trying to attack you but you still believe you can win by coloring inside the lines, I don’t.
            now we have 2 parties that differ from each other on big ticket pointless issues that they choose to never resolve even when they have the seats to brute force legislation. we have the supreme court ratifying the ability of corporate interests to secretly purchase legislators and we have the consolidated ownership of every major media outlet into the hands of a few and a 2 party system than can prevent any other party from having a real voice. we have mr. anti war obama taking patriot act style powers further not restricting them. I don’t see any ball going forward all I see cosmetic changes of the guard to placate the citizenry, i really hope u are right but the things I’ve seen I can’t count on it

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Well, I don’t believe this is the type of issue where one can simply “agree to disagree”–the stakes are just too high.

            But I esteem your good will enough to allow you to continue to try to convince me, and hopefully you will allow me the opportunity to do likewise. Though maybe not on this thread–it’s gotten a bit too long already.

            Before we discuss the substantive issues again, though, I’d hope that we could get some groundwork agreement. I propose:

            1. There has never in the history of Earth been any 100% morally pure individual or institution

            2. There is, however, a clear historical trajectory towards peace, respect for human rights and those policies that advance those agenda are superior to those that defeat it

            3. Progress requires advancement of those agendae both in broad-based, non-institutional cultural context AND mundane institutions like electoral politics

            4. Any efforts to advance an agenda that ignore or attempt to bypass shared institutions like government are doomed to failure because they fail to respect the irreducable fact that society is a COLLECTIVE endeavour.

            Corollaries to this where I think you and I may still differ (though frankly I still don’t see why):

            1. Foreign policy can never be drastically changed until we have settled domestic policy

            2. The Democrats represent progress, as unsatisfyingly slow as it may seem at times, toward building powerful shared institutions as a counterweight against unaccountable corporate tyrannies

            3. The real enemy, per se, is not the Republican’t Party or the Tea Baggers, but the Corporate Elite who benefit from a lack of rival institutional power. They will be quite happy to see all left leaning individuals stay home on November 2nd.

            4. Surveillance powers, as excessive as they are, are a response to a for-real terror threat, even if it’s not as great as Dick Cheney wants us to believe it is. And they currently are not a serious, measurable bar to success of the electoral process on other issues.

            5. I don’t think Health Care and Financial Reform are pointless. I think it’s important to the overall culture of respect for human rights / dignity that Big Insurance not be allowed to piss on ‘pre-existing conditions’ and that some incremental efforts need to be made to stem the tide of bullshit derivatives and poisoning of the middle class that democracy depends upon.

          • Andrew

            As Obama has expanded the powers of the presidency and national security state beyond Bush’s expansions, I’d argue that regarding the rule of law some Democrats are not exactly like the Republicans, but even worse. (Which is not, of course, to say that no Republicans are worse than any Democrats–many clearly are.) And I’d argue that the rule of law (over both corporations and government) is the slavery and suffrage level issue of our day.

            I suggest voting only for candidates that are opposed to torture, extrajudicial assassinations, and boundless state secrecy, even if that candidate is an independent or member of a third party. If a Democrat or Republican have a record for opposing those things, it’s probably safe to vote for them. Electoral progress will take time too.

            Of course, I’d also like to see some war tax resistance, general strikes, and civil disobedience.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Right. What I thought. No solutions. Just an endless bellyaching that there isn’t a perfect Santy Clause. Instead of the willingness to work for real, incremental change.

            Welcome, Andrew to the year 2000.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoiler_effect#Bush.2C_Gore.2C_and_Nader

            Welcome to the Tea Party, ’cause a vote for nobody is a vote for Sarah.

          • Andrew

            I repeat, since you obviously forgot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

          • Liam_McGonagle

            No offense, but I didn’t forget. I guess I just didn’t think you were being serious. That link discusses a general logical abstraction. And none of the other points you mentioned has ever scored one single instance of historical success. So, honestly, I’d put the odds of success for the non-too-specifically articulated programme of yours at . . . well, in my opinion, less than negligible chance of success. Pret damn near zero.

            Unless you can elaborate with healthy doses of precedent, maybe we’re just better off calling it a day.

          • Andrew

            Martin Luther King (not registered with either party, and critical of both when they deserved it) and Gandhi scored major historical successes.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            So Martin Luther King’s acheivements were single handed and we have no need for the Civil Rights Act of 1964? We wafted to where we are now in spite of not because of Howard Smith’s (D-Viginia) sponsorship of the bill?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_rights_act_of_1964

            So Gandhi’s leadership of the Indian National Congress Party was totally irrelevant and unnecessary? Independence materialised like Dr. Who’s TARDIS on an unsuspecting British Empire without any electoral movement at all?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_National_Congress#The_pre-independence_era

            I think a wee bit more study of history may be required before you jump to the magic bullet theory of progressive change.

          • Andrew

            I didn’t suggest they did anything single handedly, nor have I suggested we try to do anything single handedly. But neither movement created change by voting straight party tickets. And nothing I’ve posted here suggests people not vote. I did appreciate your attempt to be respectful and logical two hours ago, but now you’ve made more straw men by mischaracterizing my comments. Please stop doing so, and from making false dilemmas and ad hominem attacks, or I’ll have to assume you’re deliberately attempting to fear monger and shame people into voting for politicians who support extrajudicial assassinations, rendition to countries who torture, denial of habeas corpus, etc. I had respect for you as a Disinfo commenter who usually had something good to say, but I’m losing it quickly.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            It’s okay to agree with people, awright? I don’t see how my attempt to reach substantive agreement with you can reasonably be interpreted as a sign of hostility. Hostility is a stubborn refusal to accept facts and respond accordingly–that’s the Tea Bagger way.

            Some people may not be comfortable with the facts, but let’s not kid ourselves. It’s clear that unless someone votes Democrat in November that

            1. They’re not supporting the only party that’s made any incremental progress at all (i.e., pull out from Iraq, financial regulatory reform, health care reform)

            2. They’re undermining the last shared institution that can serve as a counterbalanace to unaccountable corporate tyrannies (i.e., government)

            The fact that, as you say, there is a lot of progress to be made has nowhere been contradicted by me. Nowhere.

            But the notion that the strategic path to acheiving that progress is just as clear–electoral and Democratic (with a capital ‘D’). We have to be clear-headed, practical, patient and strategic about this.

            Nowhere did I ever say that civil rights and anti-war policies are unimportant. It’s just that, as our discussions should have made clear, they are systemically dependent upon electoral and cultural progress. Pretending otherwise is just to shoot ourselves in the foot.

            So if you really want to move the ball forward, the next steps seem painfully obvious:

            1. Vote Democrat in November. To do otherwise is to surrender to reactionaries.

            2. Get involved in the popular movements which eventually come to influence progressive policies:
            a. Improve the quality of debate, rhetoric–no false equivalancies like Hodge’s which are in fact a Tea
            Bagger’s wet dream
            b. Gather with others in the real, off-line world to share your understanding and respect for shared
            values (like peace, privacy, civil rights) and shared institutions like popularly elected government in
            preference to unaccountable corporate tyrannies
            c. Start/join a group to research, formulate and popularize your own policy priorities–like reduction in
            government surveillance powers, foreign military adventures, etc., etc.

            Anything less is just hot air.

            P.S. Can you please point out a specific instance of ‘straw man’ argument or ‘ad hominem’ against you? I think it’s one thing to dismiss an argument as plainly insufficient (i.e., the posting of a link to a wikipedia article discussing an abstract concept where a specific, concrete programme had been requested) and quite another to make low-blow personal arguments. Really.

          • Andrew

            Straw men:
            “But the fact that Jesus Christ isn’t on the ballot isn’t an excuse not to vote.”
            “Praying for Santa Claus to come and make everything right by his magical powers just isn’t an option.”
            “Right. What I thought. No solutions. Just an endless bellyaching that there isn’t a perfect Santy Clause.”
            “Independence materialised like Dr. Who’s TARDIS on an unsuspecting British Empire without any electoral movement at all?”
            “the magic bullet theory of progressive change.”

            Ad hominem:
            “Welcome, Andrew to the year 2000.”
            “Welcome to the Tea Party,”

            False dilemmas/excluded middles:
            “Vote Democrat knowing that it’s gonna take long time and a lotta commitment to move the ball forward? Or stay at home and hand the show over to the Right Wing so that they can repeal the Thirteenth Amendment?”
            “Right. What I thought. No solutions.”
            “’cause a vote for nobody is a vote for Sarah.”

            I don’t believe you’re trying to reach a substantive agreement with me. I believe you’re trying to bully me into either agreeing with you 100% or shutting up. If I’m wrong I’m wrong, but I can’t see it. I suspect this won’t satisfy you, but there is at least one Democrat I do intend to vote for in Nov. and no Republicans, but I’m not going to vote for Democrats who support the tyrannical governmental policies I’ve mentioned. I’m not willing to compromise on those issues. If you won’t agree to disagree about that, feel free to write me off as a useful idiot or a Tea Bagger’s wet dream. You have the last word.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            I’m sorry.

            I don’t want to make too much any past disagreements. I honestly don’t perceive any of them as dishonest strawmen arguments or ad hominem attacts. Just colourful language to spark a direct response. I’m not gonna spend any time defending them because on reflection I think they will speak for themselves and I suspect that my further explanation would just piss you off.

            Look I used insistent, colourful language because the issue is serious, and given the current institutional imbalance between corporate and governmental spheres it’s pretty clear that it’s in Big Money’s interest for the Left to be lacklustre and uninvolved electorally. Their two favourite tools to advance that are: 1.)Glamourizing the Tea Party and 2.) Falsely painting Obama as the Antichrist.

            But I offended you personally and I’m sorry. It’s just my nature to push the envelope in use of colourful language. I’d like you to believe that I have never had any ill will towards you and I hope you can accept my apology.

    • HijackTheTeaParty

      Hah, good luck with that!! Nobody has a solution. Here’s my attempt at one though for you: Investigate every government orginazation/NGO/corporation/bank/etc, and just hang every questionable person! Then we can start from scratch! hah. And just so you do know Liam, both sides ARE the same. They disagree on a few issues that don’t affect anything big deal. They are both funded by filthy money and even filthier people. Both parties are corrupted from the inside. Thats a fact. So yeah… Unless people realize this simple fact and go after the people BEHIND the talking heads, there will be no future. None worth living in anyways. What is your solution?

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Read above, Einstein. If they’re so much the same, if Health Care Reform was an Xmas present to Big Insurance, then why are they pulling out the long knives to get even that weak and partial step forward repealed?

        Because they’re NOT the same, Einstein.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Sorry, but I’m sick to my fucking stomache of hearing about how ‘both sides are full of shit’.

    I wanna hear solutions, not endless recitations of excuses for not doing anything yourself. Jesus, that’s worse than the lameass Boomer bullshit.

  • Hadrian999

    letting the majority vote on the rights of a minority seems like justice to you?

  • Andrew

    So those who are opposed to torture, permanent war, extrajudicial assassinations, boundless state secrecy, and unlimited corporate bailouts should just shut up about them and focus on other things they can do for themselves? Sounds like a Republican attitude to me, and one more example of “both sides” being full of it.

    What do you suggest they do for themselves? Vote only for candidates of a party that supports what they oppose?

  • HijackTheTeaParty

    Hah, good luck with that!! Nobody has a solution. Here’s my attempt at one though for you: Investigate every government orginazation/NGO/corporation/bank/etc, and just hang every questionable person! Then we can start from scratch! hah. And just so you do know Liam, both sides ARE the same. They disagree on a few issues that don’t affect anything big deal. They are both funded by filthy money and even filthier people. Both parties are corrupted from the inside. Thats a fact. So yeah… Unless people realize this simple fact and go after the people BEHIND the talking heads, there will be no future. None worth living in anyways. What is your solution?

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Sorry, Andrew. But the fact that Jesus Christ isn’t on the ballot isn’t an excuse not to vote.

    You should think back, long and hard on American history. It took us over 80 years from the Treaty of Paris to the abolition of slavery. Ten years from that point to get the vote for African Americans. Fifty years from that point until women could vote. And it took almost another 20 years after that to enact the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act to eliminate on a nation-wide scale the most abusive manipulation of child labor by the industrialists.

    So progress takes time. And votes. I seriously doubt that you mean to hold up Somalia’s unstable continuous internecine warfare as the template for moral or social progress. There is no such thing as ‘unliteral justice’. True justice is a long hard slog towards comprimise on behalf of higher ideas.

    I can’t cut anyone any slack for not voting. As incomplete as the pullout from Iraq, the Health Care Reform Act and financial reform measures have been, they’re at least a step in the right direction.

    So what’re you gonna do? Vote Democrat knowing that it’s gonna take long time and a lotta commitment to move the ball forward? Or stay at home and hand the show over to the Right Wing so that they can repeal the Thirteenth Amendment? Praying for Santa Claus to come and make everything right by his magical powers just isn’t an option.

  • Hadrian999

    that might work if you still believe that the parties aren’t a pr stunt at this stage.
    as long as the illusion that votes matter in determining the actions of the federal government no real change is possible.

  • Andrew

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

    The two party system is not the only alternative to internecine warfare.

    Also, there are more than two parties to vote for.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Okay, then pitch some solutions! If you’d read my comment, you should have noticed the following:

    1. Absolute proof that the Democrats are NOT ‘just exactly like the Republican’ts
    2. The main point of my original comment is that we need solutions.

    So throw some out. I’m sick of doing all the heavy lifting around here. Put some practical electoral solutions out there instead of just complaining.

  • Hadrian999

    there are no electoral solutions as long as you need to be in someone’s pocket to afford to run
    and get on the debates, the system as it is now is a safety valve that lets people think they actually have a say. democrat or republican we have seen a constant assault on the middle class, shift to a permanent war
    state and the creations of an almost feudal society with lords and serfs.the only answer i see is getting the citizens to realize that they are now being treated like subjects not the masters of the federal government.

  • Andrew

    As Obama has expanded the powers of the presidency and national security state beyond Bush’s expansions, I’d argue that regarding the rule of law some Democrats are not exactly like the Republicans, but even worse. (Which is not, of course, to say that no Republicans are worse than any Democrats–many clearly are.) And I’d argue that the rule of law (over both corporations and government) is the slavery and suffrage level issue of our day.

    I suggest voting only for candidates that are opposed to torture, extrajudicial assassinations, and boundless state secrecy, even if that candidate is an independent or member of a third party. If a Democrat or Republican have a record for opposing those things, it’s probably safe to vote for them. Electoral progress will take time too.

    Of course, I’d also like to see some war tax resistance, general strikes, and civil disobedience.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Hadrian, please do not take this the wrong way, because I respect you. But let’s REALLY look at this thing.

    One simple example. Health Care Reform. Left wingers bitch and moan that it doesn’t do this, that and the other that needs doing. Which is true. Obama never said this thing was a magic bullet, going to cure all problems in one blow. But two undeniable facts:

    1. It no longer allows them to deny people policies based based on ‘pre-existing conditions’

    2. It stopped bullshit discretionary policy ‘recissions’ by insurance corps, so that they can no longer deny coverage after accepting your premiums for years

    So while I would agree that much more needs to be done–specifically universal coverage–I’m not about to throw cancer patients out onto the street because this law doesn’t meet my standards of perfection ideological purity.

    And if you still think that the Dems pulled their punches to curry favour with Big Insurance, think again.

    http://disinfo.com/2010/10/the-secret-sponsors-corporate-disinfo-campaign-on-healthcare-reform/

    And as if you needed more evidence of the fact that the Dems are NOT in the pocket of big insurance:

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=172205

    Not only does Obama clearly come out in favour of universal coverage, but pay a little attention to that Karen Kerrigan woman. It’s well worth the effort.

    That Harpy Kerrigan comes on like she’s some great expert in entrepreneurialism, speaking out about the negative market consequences of the act. But is she what she really appears to be? Not by half!

    1. Go to her online CV.

    http://www.sbecouncil.org/about/display.cfm?ID=1609

    You’ll see a conspicuous absence of actual business experience, but a profound wealth of BUSH ADMINISTRATION APPOINTMENTS.

    2. Do a little research into the activities of the group she represents, the “Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council”. I recommend starting with you getting a Guidestar account.

    http://www2.guidestar.org/

    They’re free, and they allow you access to a wealth of information about ‘nonprofit’ organizations. Look for the form 990-N–that’s an annual informational return required by the IRS for all tax-exempt organizations. Not only does it provide information about fund raising activities and how those funds are used, but it also requires registration of the organization’s officers. Notice anything untoward?

    Yep. Board members of the SBE include Richard Rahn and Grover Norquist.

    Richard Rahn, pal of Ronald Reagan, writer for the neo-con Washington Times owned by the crackpot Rev. Moon, and former board member of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority–a body whose name has become synonymous with international shell games and tax avoidance scams.

    Grover Norquist, buddy of Dubya. Need I say more than quote his favourite mantra? “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

    In light of all that, can you really and truly still believe that they’re ‘just exactly the same’?

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Please read my response earlier in this thread. It is a serious challenge to the notion that both parties are ‘just exactly like one another’.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Right. What I thought. No solutions. Just an endless bellyaching that there isn’t a perfect Santy Clause. Instead of the willingness to work for real, incremental change.

    Welcome, Andrew to the year 2000.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoiler_effect#Bush.2C_Gore.2C_and_Nader

    Welcome to the Tea Party, ’cause a vote for nobody is a vote for Sarah.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Read above, Einstein. If they’re so much the same, if Health Care Reform was an Xmas present to Big Insurance, then why are they pulling out the long knives to get even that weak and partial step forward repealed?

    Because they’re NOT the same, Einstein.

  • Hadrian999

    they aren’t totally the same but their differences will never really touch the real power structures.
    sure the insurance reform helped people who already have insurance but did nothing for the people who really need it. i’m more troubled by the perpetual war system we are adopting, the surveillance state mentality and government not even bothering to hide their policy of assassinating citizens without a trial.
    next to that insurance reform is as much window dressing as the abortion farce and the and the ongoing gun control circle jerk, issues that change nothing but allow politicians to pretend to serve the public while lining their and their master’s pockets.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Well help make them more different then!

    Clearly Health Care Reform, though incomplete, is NOT just window dressing. Why would the corps be spending billions in disinformation campaigns to repeal it if it were? ‘Come on!

    The examples I put forth earlier regarding emancipation, the Fourteen Amendment, womens’ sufferage and child labor laws are proof that REAL CHANGE CAN HAPPEN.

    If you want to see universal coverage, give the Dems a large enough majority where they have no excuse to deny it.

    Change never just happens all on its own, like magic. Seize the opportunities in front of you–larger ones will come in the future. You can’t just stubbornly demand instant gratification like some bloated Boomer.

    Frankly, Right Wing disinfo agents love nothing more than when Left voters stay at home–gives them an electoral edge, and allows them to stop progress altogether. The Right Wing’s most effective weapon are lazy Left Wingers.

  • Hadrian999

    they don’t need to deliver and they won’t all they need to do is keep playing a game and taking the corporate pay offs, until we make them deliver it’s all a big joke and i don’t see a way that will happen without a massive non electoral show of force, which will never happen cause hell, people might miss American idol if they do anything.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    LOL. Agree about the American Idol bit.

    But you’re wanting to cut to the chase and avoid the hard bits. Which may be a natural consequence of frustration, but clearly it can not work. Has never worked.

    1. Can you name a single instance of social revolution that hasn’t resulted in gorey violence and reactionary counter revolution?

    2. Can you name a single instance where failure to support even the most moderate progressive agendas has resulted in victory for a more radically progressive agenda?

    But I do agree that the answer isn’t narrowly electoral. If you’d glanced at what I wrote here, I think you’d agree that I always said the true solution was a multi-parter.

    http://disinfo.com/2010/10/obamas-burden/

    The myth that there is some miraculous single-part solution is a byproduct of the corporatization of American culture; one-stop shopping, one-size fits all, etc., etc.

    Voting is a first, insufficient, but neccessary step to making progress. Other things that you can do:
    1. Organize with others to spread respect for shared, non-sectarian institutions NOT controlled by corps
    2. Articulate a debate that is strategically idealistic, tactically practical and appeals to society’s shared values
    3. Respect and research the precedent of history as a guide for progress
    4. Meet with others to float practical policy suggestions: Actually articulate for-real solutions. Get other people thinking about how to improve them / dissemenate them

    I’m on board here for anyone who wants to get together to put their shoulders to the wheel and get this bitch back on track.

  • Hadrian999

    we disagree on weather or not the electoral process has been totally corrupted

  • Andrew

    I repeat, since you obviously forgot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

  • Liam_McGonagle

    No offense, but I didn’t forget. I guess I just didn’t think you were being serious. That link discusses a general logical abstraction. And none of the other points you mentioned has ever scored one single instance of historical success. So, honestly, I’d put the odds of success for the non-too-specifically articulated programme of yours at . . . well, in my opinion, less than negligible chance of success. Pret damn near zero.

    Unless you can elaborate with healthy doses of precedent, maybe we’re just better off calling it a day.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    I’m not sure that the electoral process is any more corrupt than it was at the culmination of the 87 years it took to pass the Fourteenth Amendment, the 137 years it took to pass womens sufferage, the 155 years it took to pass the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. Do you have a specific part of the process–the specifically electoral process, not media relations, public education, etc.,–that is uniquely broken now?

    Mitigating against the ‘utter brokeness’ of the electoral system, I’d say, is the fact that this country can fairly elect an African American to the highest office in the land, despite hundreds of years of virulent racism and some not-insignificant remaining dregs thereof. And the fact that some incrementally progressive, even if not ‘magic-bullet complete’ legislation like the Health Care Reform bill and financial services reform get passed. Clearly there is something good about a system that can move the ball forward.

    What is unique about our times is the extent to which the unaccountable corporate sphere has arisen as an alternate power base in society, to usurp powers of government and even religion. People are so split off from one another in their gated communities or ghettos, by boutique cable ‘news’ outlets and perversely hierarchical corporate reporting structures that many of them have lost touch with reality.

    Hence the Tea Bagger movement, which seems to believe that the answer to corporate tyranny is to destroy the last possible bastion of opposition–our shared institution of government. That’s like trying to win a battle by throwing down your weapon and shouting “Over here! I’m unarmed! Come ‘n git me!”

  • Andrew

    Martin Luther King (not registered with either party, and critical of both when they deserved it) and Gandhi scored major historical successes.

  • Anonymous

    So Martin Luther King’s acheivements were single handed and we have no need for the Civil Rights Act of 1964? We wafted to where we are now in spite of not because of Howard Smith’s (D-Viginia) sponsorship of the bill?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_rights_act_of_1964

    So Gandhi’s leadership of the Indian National Congress Party was totally irrelevant and unnecessary? Independence materialised like Dr. Who’s TARDIS on an unsuspecting British Empire without any electoral movement at all?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_National_Congress#The_pre-independence_era

    I think a wee bit more study of history may be required before you jump to the magic bullet theory of progressive change.

  • Andrew

    I didn’t suggest they did anything single handedly, nor have I suggested we try to do anything single handedly. But neither movement created change by voting straight party tickets. And nothing I’ve posted here suggests people not vote. I did appreciate your attempt to be respectful and logical two hours ago, but now you’ve made more straw men by mischaracterizing my comments. Please stop doing so, and from making false dilemmas and ad hominem attacks, or I’ll have to assume you’re deliberately attempting to fear monger and shame people into voting for politicians who support extrajudicial assassinations, rendition to countries who torture, denial of habeas corpus, etc. I had respect for you as a Disinfo commenter who usually had something good to say, but I’m losing it quickly.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    It’s okay to agree with people, awright? I don’t see how my attempt to reach substantive agreement with you can reasonably be interpreted as a sign of hostility. Hostility is a stubborn refusal to accept facts and respond accordingly–that’s the Tea Bagger way.

    Some people may not be comfortable with the facts, but let’s not kid ourselves. It’s clear that unless someone votes Democrat in November that

    1. They’re not supporting the only party that’s made any incremental progress at all (i.e., pull out from Iraq, financial regulatory reform, health care reform)

    2. They’re undermining the last shared institution that can serve as a counterbalanace to unaccountable corporate tyrannies (i.e., government)

    The fact that, as you say, there is a lot of progress to be made has nowhere been contradicted by me. Nowhere.

    But the notion that the strategic path to acheiving that progress is just as clear–electoral and Democratic (with a capital ‘D’). We have to be clear-headed, practical, patient and strategic about this.

    Nowhere did I ever say that civil rights and anti-war policies are unimportant. It’s just that, as our discussions should have made clear, they are systemically dependent upon electoral and cultural progress. Pretending otherwise is just to shoot ourselves in the foot.

    So if you really want to move the ball forward, the next steps seem painfully obvious:

    1. Vote Democrat in November. To do otherwise is to surrender to reactionaries.

    2. Get involved in the popular movements which eventually come to influence progressive policies:
    a. Improve the quality of debate, rhetoric–no false equivalancies like Hodge’s which are in fact a Tea
    Bagger’s wet dream
    b. Gather with others in the real, off-line world to share your understanding and respect for shared
    values (like peace, privacy, civil rights) and shared institutions like popularly elected government in
    preference to unaccountable corporate tyrannies
    c. Start/join a group to research, formulate and popularize your own policy priorities–like reduction in
    government surveillance powers, foreign military adventures, etc., etc.

    Anything less is just hot air.

    P.S. Can you please point out a specific instance of ‘straw man’ argument or ‘ad hominem’ against you? I think it’s one thing to dismiss an argument as plainly insufficient (i.e., the posting of a link to a wikipedia article discussing an abstract concept where a specific, concrete programme had been requested) and quite another to make low-blow personal arguments. Really.

  • Hadrian999

    when you are 4th and 30 getting a yard isn’t something to celebrate

    I’m not trying to attack you but you still believe you can win by coloring inside the lines, I don’t.
    now we have 2 parties that differ from each other on big ticket pointless issues that they choose to never resolve even when they have the seats to brute force legislation. we have the supreme court ratifying the ability of corporate interests to secretly purchase legislators and we have the consolidated ownership of every major media outlet into the hands of a few and a 2 party system than can prevent any other party from having a real voice. we have mr. anti war obama taking patriot act style powers further not restricting them. I don’t see any ball going forward all I see cosmetic changes of the guard to placate the citizenry, i really hope u are right but the things I’ve seen I can’t count on it

  • Hadrian999

    they may not be exactly alike bet they are working for the same people and it isn’t us

  • Anonymous

    Well, I don’t believe this is the type of issue where one can simply “agree to disagree”–the stakes are just too high.

    But I esteem your good will enough to allow you to continue to try to convince me, and hopefully you will allow me the opportunity to do likewise. Though maybe not on this thread–it’s gotten a bit too long already.

    Before we discuss the substantive issues again, though, I’d hope that we could get some groundwork agreement. I propose:

    1. There has never in the history of Earth been any 100% morally pure individual or institution

    2. There is, however, a clear historical trajectory towards peace, respect for human rights and those policies that advance those agenda are superior to those that defeat it

    3. Progress requires advancement of those agendae both in broad-based, non-institutional cultural context AND mundane institutions like electoral politics

    4. Any efforts to advance an agenda that ignore or attempt to bypass shared institutions like government are doomed to failure because they fail to respect the irreducable fact that society is a COLLECTIVE endeavour.

    Corollaries to this where I think you and I may still differ (though frankly I still don’t see why):

    1. Foreign policy can never be drastically changed until we have settled domestic policy

    2. The Democrats represent progress, as unsatisfyingly slow as it may seem at times, toward building powerful shared institutions as a counterweight against unaccountable corporate tyrannies

    3. The real enemy, per se, is not the Republican’t Party or the Tea Baggers, but the Corporate Elite who benefit from a lack of rival institutional power. They will be quite happy to see all left leaning individuals stay home on November 2nd.

    4. Surveillance powers, as excessive as they are, are a response to a for-real terror threat, even if it’s not as great as Dick Cheney wants us to believe it is. And they currently are not a serious, measurable bar to success of the electoral process on other issues.

    5. I don’t think Health Care and Financial Reform are pointless. I think it’s important to the overall culture of respect for human rights / dignity that Big Insurance not be allowed to piss on ‘pre-existing conditions’ and that some incremental efforts need to be made to stem the tide of bullshit derivatives and poisoning of the middle class that democracy depends upon.

  • Andrew

    Straw men:
    “But the fact that Jesus Christ isn’t on the ballot isn’t an excuse not to vote.”
    “Praying for Santa Claus to come and make everything right by his magical powers just isn’t an option.”
    “Right. What I thought. No solutions. Just an endless bellyaching that there isn’t a perfect Santy Clause.”
    “Independence materialised like Dr. Who’s TARDIS on an unsuspecting British Empire without any electoral movement at all?”
    “the magic bullet theory of progressive change.”

    Ad hominem:
    “Welcome, Andrew to the year 2000.”
    “Welcome to the Tea Party,”

    False dilemmas/excluded middles:
    “Vote Democrat knowing that it’s gonna take long time and a lotta commitment to move the ball forward? Or stay at home and hand the show over to the Right Wing so that they can repeal the Thirteenth Amendment?”
    “Right. What I thought. No solutions.”
    “’cause a vote for nobody is a vote for Sarah.”

    I don’t believe you’re trying to reach a substantive agreement with me. I believe you’re trying to bully me into either agreeing with you 100% or shutting up. If I’m wrong I’m wrong, but I can’t see it. I suspect this won’t satisfy you, but there is at least one Democrat I do intend to vote for in Nov. and no Republicans, but I’m not going to vote for Democrats who support the tyrannical governmental policies I’ve mentioned. I’m not willing to compromise on those issues. If you won’t agree to disagree about that, feel free to write me off as a useful idiot or a Tea Bagger’s wet dream. You have the last word.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    I’m sorry.

    I don’t want to make too much any past disagreements. I honestly don’t perceive any of them as dishonest strawmen arguments or ad hominem attacts. Just colourful language to spark a direct response. I’m not gonna spend any time defending them because on reflection I think they will speak for themselves and I suspect that my further explanation would just piss you off.

    Look I used insistent, colourful language because the issue is serious, and given the current institutional imbalance between corporate and governmental spheres it’s pretty clear that it’s in Big Money’s interest for the Left to be lacklustre and uninvolved electorally. Their two favourite tools to advance that are: 1.)Glamourizing the Tea Party and 2.) Falsely painting Obama as the Antichrist.

    But I offended you personally and I’m sorry. It’s just my nature to push the envelope in use of colourful language. I’d like you to believe that I have never had any ill will towards you and I hope you can accept my apology.

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