Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Good Thoughts From Rob

Fellow sub-blogger Rob offers some useful thoughts on how the Democrats can possibly regain their status as one of the two major political parties in the American political landscape. It's fairly long, but worth the read if you, like me, think the country is better off with two (or more) functioning political parties. (Living here in Idaho has taught me that having only one party isn't necessarily the best idea.) Some excerpts from Rob's post:

"...right or wrong people don't see Democrats as a really good alternative. Being a "big tent" party also makes us look like we have no platform. Not a bad thing, being so wide open, but it gives the appearance of lacking focus.
"That and the GOP anti-liberal attack machine that has equated Democrats with liberals, liberals with being un-American and un-Patriotic, and the entire left with being anti-values and anti-Christian. Among other things.
"Now I don't see any "liberal" or Democrat or political lefty as "un-American". We may all have different views, but find me a liberal who seriously says "down with America" and I'll genuinely be surprised. Much of the criticism of Bush/U.S. policy is made out to be anti-American, but criticisim and critical analysis is a much needed commidity in this day and age. I'd ask conservatives to stop demonizing that which they don't agree with. Not that we on the left don't do it from time to time, but no one's perfect and demonizing that which we don't agree with it something we should try to avoid, too..."

Rob goes on to offer six specific suggestions, which all look fairly valid. Some, like "don't be reactive, be pro-active" (go ahead and introduce legislation to enact you policies even if you know they won't pass, to hopefully start a debate), are excellent. I remember hearing Senator Kerry last year talking about his planned "Military Bill of Rights" (it's gone from his web site, but here's the Google cached version). I thought it sounded pretty good, but wondered why, if he thought it was so important, he hadn't bothered to introduce the bill in his previous 19 years as Senator. Voters could see that maybe he was only talking about it as a ploy to get elected.

Regarding his call for Republicans to stop calling "liberals" unpatriotic, I have a problem with that whole meme. Whenever a Democrat is questioned on his stands on national security, liberals will scream, quite shrilly, that people are "questioning their patriotism". Interestingly, it's hard to find any actual quotes where mainstream Republicans actually say words to the effect of "he's not patriotic"; in fact, it mostly seems to be Democrats who "question people's patriotism". (More quotes here; I didn't bother to look up source references for all of them, but they sound reasonable.)

(Although Rob doesn't bring it up, I also have a big problem with people saying that you're "stifling their dissent" and "violating their First Amemdment rights" if you point out that they're idiots for engaging in certain political speech. Those who point out problems with political speech are themselves engaging in protected political speech -- the First Amendment keeps government from restricting speech, not citizens who "stifle" speech by pointing out that it's stupid.)

As far as his contention that there aren't political lefties who are "anti-American", I'll agree that there aren't many who will admit that they are -- it's just a coincidence that essentially every position they take is in favor of our international rivals.

Anyway, Rob has some good points, and I hope the left side of the blogosphere takes notice... but they won't. Democrats today are in such a state of utter collapse and confusion that it'll take getting their butts kicked in several more national elections before they realize they can't continue to nominate people like Gore and Kerry if they hope to make an impact. If the only thing holding the party together is hatred of a lame duck President, they'll remain in serious trouble.

7 Comments:

Blogger Chap said...

I'll leave this as a placeholder until I can get to a computer.

I think it's pretty worthwhile to have electoral competition (living in Hawaii showed me that); some other folks have had similar thoughts, notably Peter Beinart of The New Republic and his article on national security studies and the Democratic party.

9/13/2005 11:16 AM

 
Blogger Brainy435 said...

I just left a long comment at Robs site. I don't think there are people who are actually Anti-American, but they put such stock in their personal goals that they say or do things that ARE anti-American to advance those goals; whether deliberately or not is up for debate.

9/13/2005 1:18 PM

 
Blogger Rob said...

Thanks for the post, Joel...I don't have time right now for a good followup, but let's just say I'd rather disagree with you than agree with many of my fellow "lefties" :)

More to come later, but I have a car I have to move and a kid to pick up at school...

9/13/2005 8:27 PM

 
Blogger Rob said...

Joel, when I wrote the part on conservatives and un-patriotic assertations, I'll admit I didn't go quote hunting, but Karl Rove's comments a few months back spring to mind. No, he didn't say "liberals are unpatriotic" in exact words, but if you read his comments he sure made strong reference to that view. Coulter and Limbaugh bang that sort of thing out a lot, too. Granted, they aren't elected officials, but they set a tone for the right quite often. Mainstream Republicans...OK, you probably have me there, if you don't consider Coulter/Limbaugh (and some of the others I've listened to on the conservative talk radio here...Medved, Hewitt, et. al.) "mainstream". And I do listen to conservative radio from time to time...doing home improvement stuff and all...as it's good to see how the other side thinks and how they see us. Sometimes, with some commentators, I see a lot of hate coming our way. Malkin is another. (I'll admit I'm guilty of my fair share of conservative bashing, but I'm hardly a major voice for the left :)

As to the First Amendment...I completely agree. I try very hard to stifle my initial "you are violating my free speech" cry when it's a group other than government. The First Amendment (and it's history of court precedent) is pretty specific, and doesn't cover private entities. Someone may have a valid labor practices complaint, but not a First Amendment one :)

I don't know that taking positions that mirror our rivals is necessarily "anti-American"...though Sperber's position was pretty near it :) Actually, that one was out of the box by a mile...free speech is often a wonderful thing, but sometimes the crap rises to the surface before the gold. You got me on that one...that was pretty anti-American. I'd hazard to say most on the left would even reject that line of ill-logic.

Pardon me if I'm optimistic about the left and the Democrats. I hope they take some change to heart. Right now it may work to our favor to have Bush quacking as loud as a lame duck has ever quacked, but we can't simply be the "anti-Bush" and expect to win...you're right on the money with that. And while opinions and polls show Bush (and to some extent the GOP) down, what really caught my eye was that while he's at an all time low, he'd still beat Kerry. Tells me the Democrats haven't come up as a viable alternative, even when the status quo is unacceptable to most Americans. If we couldn't beat Bush in an election right now, man...we've blown it as bad as we say he has.

Thanks for the insightful post. I may not comment much, but believe me I get better perspective from you than many of my fellow lefty liberals. I can say I've even been getting frustrated lately at the incessant cries of just how bad BushCo is, with little in the way of proposed alternative. I'm on a personal mission to move to more "solution vice problem" posting myself...squeaky wheels get greased, but when they keep squeaking people just get pissed at 'em :)

9/13/2005 11:59 PM

 
Anonymous barkowsky@netzero.net said...

At this moment, I am in Pat Buchanas camp and agree with most of what he says in his latest book "Where the right went wrong"
Having said that, there is no way I would ever stand with the left.
We appear to have short memories.
Remember the Cold war? The entire platform of Liberals back then was to negotiate our surrender to the Soviet Union! Marxist takeovers of Viet Nam, Nicaragua, and almost El Salvador were considered good news by liberals. Thier current policies are right in line with Marxist doctrine. Had Clinton, Gore, or Kerry been President on 9-11, I would have refused to answer my recall to acvtive duty. If I were standing face to face with Bin Laden himself and a President Clinton, Gore or Kerry ordered me to shoot him,I would throw down my weapon and say "With what? the gun you don't believe in?"

9/14/2005 7:04 AM

 
Blogger Vigilis said...

As an independent, I am dismayed that real, grassroots issues have little to do with party politics as debated or legislated in Washington.

Voters rarely get candidates of their liking. What does it say about party identity (check your own state) when senior politicians sensing the winds of change, switch party allegiance?

I agree with those favoring distinct parties, not career politicians. Finally, I became convinced that when good, fresh candidates get to DC they are intentionally threatened and cowered by the legal establishment's foothold in every seat of power. The newcomer's choice is to play the game or face defeat in the next election. This bullying only breeds and tolerates corruption. In effect, we have two, middling parties actually controlled by members of one profession.

The obvious answer, term limits, has never worked. I encourage you, therefore, to consider your choices carefully before electing or returning lawyers to office.
Though some may truly deserve your votes, their profession is hugely over-represented. At 6% of America's employed, they are 53% of the Senate, 34% of the House, 100% of the Judiciary amd often head of the Executive branch. Why?

9/15/2005 1:40 AM

 
Blogger Rob said...

Term limits...one of the ideas Gingrich's "Contract With America" put forth that I agreed with. I'd support it now, too, if it was proposed again.

I agree, too many lawyers...

9/15/2005 11:41 PM

 

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