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Republicrats: differences - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Dec. 7th, 2003

06:06 pm - Republicrats: differences

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Another repost from the notesfiles. Someone asked about our personal summaries of the differences between the republicans and democrats and which democrat we supported for President, if any.

Republicans: benefit rich people and fool the people in the red (rural) precincts that they also benefit them. Constantly trying to redefine the precincts so that more of them are dominated by red people. Give a lot of lipservice (and actual policy changes) to conservative religious fundamentalists. Give a lot of lipservice (and no policy changes) to the "small government" folks (libertarians). Take what they want from other countries by direct use of force. Doll out money to corporations and rich people in the form of tax breaks and non-compete contracts outsources government programs. They like guns, hate abortion, and suck up to retired people. They want to put more people in jail. On average they range from right to center but most of them are slightly to the right of center-right.

Democrats: benefit rich people and fool the people in the blue (urban) precincts that they also benefit them. Constantly trying to redefine the precincts so that more of them are dominated by blue people. Give a lot of lipservice (and actual policy changes) to classic moderate liberal social causes (things having to do with rights). Give a lot of lipservice (and no policy changes) to the "progressive" folks (greens). Take what they want from other countries by trade manipulation, and diplomatic chicanery, occasionally backed by forceful military saber rattling and demonstrations of might. Doll out money to corporations and rich people in the form of trade deals and targetted tax loopholes and "win-win" "public-private" partnerships. They don't like guns, support the right to abortion, and suck up to retired people. They want to put more people in jail. On average they range from left to center-right but most of them are slightly to the left of center-right.

I support Dennis Kucinich because he doesn't stand for any of that bullshit. He's an honest man in an evil game. That the most radically progressive representative in the house comes from Midwest, heartland, Cleveland says something about the kind of trust that he can engender in people. Urban midwesterners might be very liberal but they don't put up with that namby-pamby hippie crap. He makes hard choices. He has vision. Every time I learn something new about him I like him more and more.

Comments:

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From:hope_persists
Date:December 7th, 2003 04:18 pm (UTC)
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I LOVE Kucinich. I wish he actually had a chance :-/
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From:folkyboy
Date:December 8th, 2003 12:26 pm (UTC)
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oh me too! totally
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From:bdar
Date:December 7th, 2003 04:23 pm (UTC)
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I'm going to try and phrase this without sounding combative, because I certainly respect your right to vote for Kucinich.

But the honest man can never win the evil game. He can't even get a seat at the table. The best he can do is go down with integrity. Which is fine for him, I suppose, because who wouldn't want to at least have their integrity when they get stomped...but it sucks for the rest of us, who would rather have a progressive candidate win, so they can be in a position to foment positive change.

Put another way: you can complain all you want that the rules of Monopoly are rigged and unfair to the players who don't roll high, and you can therefore refuse to roll the dice entirely out of protest, but at the end of the game--seven or eight hours later--the winner is the guy who went around the board, picked up the Chance cards when he landed on the spaces, mortgaged Marvin Gardens and traded two railroads for Boardwalk.

The game must be played. I'm sorry.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 7th, 2003 04:58 pm (UTC)
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Consider yourself lucky that I'm even participating in the Democratic primary. Dean doesn't impress me. I'm very glad he impresses the rest of you all, he's running a good campaign.

Kucinich is the only guy who has the stance I agree with on the issues that I care most about. I can't not vote for him. If he loses the primary, I will vote Green in the general...because I'm a Green. Kucinich is the kind of guy that could bring this completely disenchanted former Democrat back to the party. Dean is not. I voted for Clinton twice. That's about all the triangulation that I could stomach. The Democratic party lost me 8 years ago. If I didn't vote for Gore, I'm not going to vote for Dean.

I do wish him the best of luck.

I do play the game. I play the game in a lot of ways. I write my congress people. I involve myself in campaigns for good democrats at the local level and campaigns for Greens when no good democrats are available. I go to city council meetings. I go to protests. I am involved on a local, regional, national, and international level in the media reform and independent media movements. I am involved on the state level in the campaign for instant run off voting and proportional representation.

I'm interested in changing the course of this beast over the next few decades so that it is more responsive to citizens and less responsive to corporations and the wealthy. I am all about citizen empowerment.

I do not believe that voting for moderate Democrats furthers my goal. I do believe that even if Kucinich loses, if he gets a sizable proportion of the vote it'll send a strong message to whatever moderate does win that the progressive voting bloc is strong and important. If whatever moderate wins the primary take some strong progressive stances and it seems real I might reconsider my Green vote. The Kucinich campaign, like the Nader campaign before it, is about building a network for long term progressive change. Change comes from more than votes, it comes from a movement.

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From:boannan
Date:December 7th, 2003 07:01 pm (UTC)
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I kind of can't believe I'm posting this, since I am really not super-interested in talking about the beaten-to-death Nader issue, but I need a study break, so here ya go!

I'm confused by the statement, "The Kucinich campaign, like the Nader campaign before it, is about building a network for long term progressive change. Change comes from more than votes, it comes from a movement." The point at which I left the Nader campaign behind was the point at which Nader supporters refused to consider coordinating a nationwide strategy to accomplish two things: 1) getting Gore elected and 2) getting Nader 5% of the vote so that the Green Party would be eligible for federal matching funds.

To me, that strategy embodied part of the necessary process for building "a network for long-term progressive change." It was a tactical move that would have kept Bush out of office and helped develop the Green Party's infrastructure. I was told by Green after Green that the game couldn't be played that way, that I had to vote my conscience, not my fears.

I understand that from a Green perspective Gore = Bush (or at least Gore was not qualitatively better than Bush), but I couldn't understand why the efforts weren't concentrated on that 5% number rather than having Nader win (which was pretty much a pipe dream).

On a funner note, I have a good shot at being able to take both Legislation and Local Government Law next year, so I can improve my own knowledge about the rules of the game and how to play it! :)
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From:mr_ducktape
Date:December 7th, 2003 09:35 pm (UTC)
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I'm far FAR less informed about such things than Zach ... but for many reasons I also voted for Nader, and one of the main reasons WAS to hopefully get that 5%. Him winning office wasn't even a possibility; I knew that and I would think every other person who voted Green knew that as well.
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From:xymboulos
Date:December 7th, 2003 09:46 pm (UTC)
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Out of curiosity, can I ask Nader supporters whether their support was based primarily on agreement with the Green party, belief in Nader's ability as president, or both equally?
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 7th, 2003 10:00 pm (UTC)

Both equally.

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I believe Nader would be a fantastic President. His track record of creating effective public policy is amazing. (He was responsible for or involved in the National Highway Safety Act, the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, the creation of the EPA, the Endangered Species Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the creation fo OSHA, the list goes on and on. He's formed dozens of extremely effective public interest non-profit organizations that have a great track record of making public policy change.

I believe strongly that the grassroots in this nation are completely doomed without a strong progressive third party. I am strongly committed to helping build that party. The Nader campaign led to the creation of thousands of new Green Party locals, many of which have run and won campaigns for local offices and continue to build their membership. The Green party is in fact stronger now than it was before Nader ran. A political party runs candidates to win. If we weren't running candidates to win, we'd just be another PAC with no hope of becoming a third party.
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From:bdar
Date:December 7th, 2003 09:55 pm (UTC)
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I would have to agree with this. I had intended to vote for Nader in 2000 (although some sort of mixup ended up with me not getting a registration card, hence I was unable to vote) in part because Illinois was a state where it would have been safe, in part because I do like the fundamental ideology of the Green Party, and in part because I agree that a challenging third party is just what this country needs (and after all, the Republicans were just a noisy bunch of rabble-rousers who weren't Democrats or Whigs up until Lincoln got elected).

Other naivete--I believed the country wasn't stupid enough to elect Bush. (And, to be fair, we weren't.)

What destroyed my empathy for Nader was his shortsighted crowing over the results of the election, especially as time went on. Because he still seems to believe that Bush=Gore, and I'm sorry, it's false. The decisions of this White House are a nightmare of executive power abuse and you can't ever convince me that Gore would have taken a monthlong vacation and ignored Gary Hart's antiterror commission in the weeks before 9/11. You can't convince me that Gore would have invaded Iraq on phony evidence and the promise of oil. You can't convince me that Gore would have been worse for the environment than Bush.

Although I like Dean, I can concede there are things about him I find less than agreeable. However, the corner that progressives are backed into requires a lightning rod for the anti-Bush sentiment and the general sense that this nation has gone off the rails. We're in a fight where we cannot, at this moment, pitch idealism. We were already in that fight in 2000, but I and several other Democrats who jumped the fence to go Green weren't aware of that.

You pitch idealism when you have the stability to move forward. We don't have that. All we currently have is the struggle not to keep sliding back.

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From:mr_ducktape
Date:December 8th, 2003 12:02 am (UTC)
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You pitch idealism when you have the stability to move forward. We don't have that.

And thus is summed up the dilemma I find myself in - caught between my desire to vote for someone progressive ... and my desire to see the worst president in our history unseated.
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From:ke_jia
Date:December 7th, 2003 09:51 pm (UTC)
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Nnng. I hate posting this. I hate taking a single sentence out of a post with tons of very carefully expressed thoughts and asking a snarky question.

...

And yet, I'm doing it. I agree with Bilal; in for a penny, in for a pound. I don't understand how voting in the Democratic primary when you have no intention (well, very ... conditional intention) of voting for the Democratic nominee in the General is supposed to encourage the Democratic party to be more to be more responsive to your concerns. It's no different than Republican voters registering to vote in Democratic primaries (because there isn't going to be anyone challenging Bush on their ticket) and throwing their choice to the candidate they believe Bush can most easily beat. Why should the Democrats take your intentions any differently?

If you're serious about making the Democratic party more responsive to the progressive cause, do that. Don't pretend that voting in the primary means anything. You said it yourself: It takes more than votes. Hell, you cut a check for Kucinich a while back, which is more than I've ever done for a political campaign.

I'm not telling you anything you don't know. There are no good choices here. But as I see it, of the three alternatives, abstaining from the Democratic primary, voting in the Democratic primary then voting Dem in the General, and voting in the Democratic primary then voting Green in the General, the latter option is the one that most perfectly resembles the ideal of pissing outdoors in a hurricane.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 7th, 2003 10:32 pm (UTC)
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I have only marginal faith in electoral politics. I'm an anarchist most of the time after all. I know my people can't win. I treat elections as an organizing opportunity.

Here's the thing. Here's why you don't have to get so bent out of shape about me. Most people aren't as radical as me. I'm a tiny percent of the population. Me and my people try our damnedest to make alliances with large moderate groups (Sierra Club, AFL/CIO, NAACP, etc, etc) with the sales pitch that the Dems are screwing them over. They either feel screwed over and get fed up and join us or they leave us in the margins and we stay small and ineffective.

Now if we aren't here at all then the moderate masses have no where to turn when they feel screwed over then everyone has to start at square one. Organizers have to build a structure to the movement so that when the masses are ready to join the movement it is there for them.

The way 2000 went down, EVERYONE who was on the fence between Gore and Nader ended up voting for Gore. Nader had up to 8% in the polls a few months before the election and when push came to shove he got 2%, so HUGE masses of Nader supporters jumped back over to Gore because Gore convinced them with his last minute appeal that voting Gore was the right thing to do. And Gore won because of it. He did a better job of courting the moderate left than the Greens did and he profitted for it. The less than 5% of us that were left over were inconsequential, we wouldn't have voted for Gore whether there was a Green party or not. We'd have voted for socialists or not voted at all or something. We're the non-swinging votes that the Dems are going to have a hard time winning.

I resisted supporting Kucinich for a long time. But the man is AWESOME. How can I not support him? Democrats have been begging me to come back to the party since 2000 and if the party if going to run Kucinich I'm totally in. I think he'd make a fine president. I'm not hurting the party. I'm bringing people into the party by campaigning for Kucinich instead of the Greens. Kucinich has distracted me from my Green mission and I bet that at least 80% of the radicals that I bring into the Democratic primary to vote for Kucinich will stay on and vote for Dean if he's in the general. Just because I am not going to vote Dem in the general doesn't mean my campaigning isn't helping the dems. Like I said, you should be glad I'm even participating in the primary process.

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From:xymboulos
Date:December 7th, 2003 09:10 pm (UTC)
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One of the major concerns I have with the two-party system is that it blends the perceptions of individuals such that you get these generalizations of the parties. Since they are nothing more than convenient aggregations of political power, they lack the clarity and direction that would appeal to most. Of course, to be honest, I'm opposed to partisan politics on principle.

However, I recognize that the two-party system does serve to avoid divisions that could result in a second civil war by providing a natural mechanism for maintaining a roughly equal division of political power. As issues and the population evolve, the parties can shift the specifics of their general position to each cover half the (voting) population.

One such shift is underway now, and I think we are on the cusp of a major realignment. The Republicans are holding core conservative values, but still have not decided between the libertarian old guard and the new "compassionate conservatism" leadership. While they try to hold on to both elements, the Democrats are positioning themselves to pick up the side that bolts first. My guess is that the new leadership will win, making Clark or Dean the logical anchor for 2004. Either of them, with a more liberal VP, could pick up the "Rockefeller" Republicans while retaining the Democratic core. However, if the old guard reasserts itself, or if the ambivalence remains, Kerry or Gephardt can fight the good fight, probably lose, and turn the moral victory into a Congressional majority in 2006.

Overall, though, I have to say I am somewhat heartened by the Democratic slate of candidates. I find most of them to be acceptable, which may not sounds positive, but I tend to emphasize the executive element of the presidency. This means I don't need to agree with the candidate on everything; I just need to think that she has generally the right idea and will do a good job of representing the people, implementing the laws of Congress, and respecting the decisions of the Supreme Court.

I rather like Clark, because he seems to embody the principle I mention above. His "mistakes" so far seem more representative of a genuine reformer not used to the game than someone trying to fundamentally alter who they are in the public perception. However, my internal cynic has all alarms going over an opinion that is largely intuitive.

Sharpton - I just like him. Even if you disagree with his stance on gay marriage, he is the only Democrat to take a moral stance on the issue (and on the right side, IMHO). Also, I credit him with the same feeling I have for Jackson that he will follow principle over popularity and champion unpopular causes. Even though I disagree with many specifics of his positions, I genuinely feel that he would represent the people of the country.

I think I should like Dean, however, I have a natural reaction against demagogues of all political persuasions (my Jewish heritage probably has something to do with this). I find myself agreeing with him on many issues, but I have not seen more to his leadership beyond the ability to rally the anti-Bush sentiment. This makes me question his potential as a national leader. I will withhold final judgment until later in the campaign and take a closer look.

If her campaign and the media could get past the "time for a minority/woman president" message, I would be very curious to learn more about Braun. She strikes me as possibly the most effective administrator in the group (with the exception of Clark on military matters) and the allegations of corruption ring hollow to me. I am disappointed with her low polling as I would like to see more excitement about someone who exhibits a strong mix of idealism and pragmatic political awareness.

It is late - must finish later.
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From:boannan
Date:December 7th, 2003 09:46 pm (UTC)
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(posting while printing out a bunch of notes)
(dude! xymboulos! good to see you! :)

I think I'm with you on Clark. Didn't think I'd be inclined to support a former military guy, but I do feel like he's got more of an actual platform than Dean (who, I agree, is very Anti-Bush and IMHO not a whole lot else).

my husband, the staunch democrat, is gonna let God sort 'em out in the primaries before he gives it any more thought. ;)
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From:xymboulos
Date:December 7th, 2003 09:50 pm (UTC)
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Clark caught me with his sound bytes on immigration (something to the effect of "if people take the initiative to become Americans, why not let them") and gun control ("if you like assault weapons, join the army - we have them").

Ah, God bless the Chicago south-siders and their wonderful Machine.
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