Post by islander Post by mg Post by islander Post by mg Post by islander Post by mg
It might be impossible to convince either one of you, but I think it
would probably be easier to convince you than it would Islander.
Islander is an eternal optimist, who probably has more faith in his
fellow man than the Pope. When I die, I hope to have Islander manning
the pearly gates so that he can make a lot of excuses for me, and let
me in, whether I deserve it or not.
Sorry, I'm not going to be there! I'll either still be here or I'll be
As a self-admitted optimist, I don't believe that I have to apologize
for anyone. Like you, I think that it is clear that the war in Iraq was
motivated, at least in part, by the desire to control oil prices.
Unlike you, I see little benefit to criticizing the President,
especially just before an election that may determine whether he is able
to accomplish anything in his last two years. Political leadership is
all about making the best of what options you have. Given the
alternative, and considering the opposition that he has faced, he has
done a remarkable job, IMV.
You place way too much emphasis on the man while ignoring the larger
issues in play.
But, the bottom line is that I agree with Pinker that when we take our
current situation in the grand sweep of history, the human species has
never had it so good.
I remember when Lyndon Johnson left office, he took the opportunity to
inform us that "you never had it so good". He also wondered "why we
Americans enjoy punishing ourselves so much with our own criticism". I
guess that was his way of saying that we ought to overlook the fact
that he lied to get us into Vietnam and started a national nightmare
that killed about 58,000 Americans.
The fact that the world, in general, has it better now than they used
to and some housewife in Peoria, Illinois has a new dishwasher, that
never gave us the right to put an embargo on Iraq that resulted in the
deaths of about a half-million Iraq children and it didn't give us the
right to kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis based on Bush's lies.
I believe that the larger issue right now is that Obama is a (Reagan)
Republican and so was Bill Clinton and so is Hillary Clinton. I also
think that Hillary, for all intents and purposes can be considered to
be a neocon. I believe in the truth and I don't believe that it ever
pays to hide it. Nobody ever reads my posts and nobody ever reads
yours. What we say here isn't going to have any effect on the election
or Obama's approval rating. So, we might as well just speak our minds
instead of acting like this is a ball game or something where we are
automatically obligated to cheer for our home team.
You are a hard man, Max!
I think about my grandkids and great grandkids a lot. I made a lot of
mistakes when I was young -- too many to count, but that was back in
the days when life in America was pretty easy and forgiving. Now the
political system has made it so that young people can't make mistakes,
at least not very many, and then recover, anymore. They have to be
smart and they have to do things right the first time, or they're
That being the case, then, why should I be tolerant of the
politicians' mistakes when they are intelligent, educated adults (and
not children), who have created a country where my grandkids aren't
allowed to make mistakes?
Anyway, that's how I look at it.
Your grandkids and great grandkids are going to make mistakes. It is a
part of learning.
Better, I think, to concentrate on the kind of world that we would like
for them so that their mistakes are more easily survivable. To that
end, I focus more on the ideology that underlies leadership and the
people who are attracted to that ideology. Look at the people who Bush
surrounded himself with and compare that with the people who Obama
surrounds himself with. There is a world of difference.
It is too easy to simply blame the man!
There are two things that I don't like about Obama. The first is that
he is a Republican (see article below). I believe that Obama plans on
following in Bill Clinton's footsteps when he leaves the presidency
and becoming a multi-millionaire, like Clinton is. Bill and Hillary's
net worth is estimated at between $100 to $200 million. When
politicians get that rich, somebody pays the price and in the case of
Bill Clinton, I can think of a lot of ways that we paid the price. And
I believe we have paid the price for Obama, too. He just hasn't
collected, yet, but he will when he leaves office.
The second reason I don't like Obama is because he is incompetent
and/or lazy, and dishonest, and I think there's a lot of hubris
involved with that incompetence and laziness, too. Whether we are
Republicans or Democrats, I believe we should all have one thing in
common and that's in believing in working hard, being honest and doing
our job well. I believe that Obama flunks that test on all 3 counts.
"How Democrats Became Liberal Republicans
By Bruce Bartlett,
The Fiscal Times
December 21, 2012
Many on the left are puzzled by Barack Obamas apparent willingness to
support dramatic reductions in federal social spending. It is only
because Republicans demand even more radical cuts in spending that
Obamas fiscal conservatism is invisible to the general public. But
those on the political left know it and are scared.
Yesterday, left-leaning law professor Neil Buchanan penned a scathing
attack on Obama for abandoning the Democratic Partys long-held
policies toward the poor, and for astonishing naiveté in negotiating
with Republicans. Said Buchanan:
The bottom line is that President Obama has already revealed himself
to be unchanged by the election and by the last two years of
stonewalling by the Republicans. He still appears to believe, at
best, in a milder version of orthodox Republican fiscal conservatism
an approach that would be a fitting starting position for a right-wing
politician in negotiations with an actual Democrat. Moreover, he
still seems to believe that the Republicans are willing to negotiate
in good faith.
Others on the left, such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman,
former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and others raise similar
concerns. They cannot understand why Obama, having won two elections
in a row with better than 50 percent of the vote something
accomplished only by presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan in
the postwar era and holding a powerful advantage due to the fiscal
cliff, would seemingly appear willing to gut social spending while
asking for only a very modest contribution in terms of taxes from the
The dirty secret is that Obama simply isnt very liberal, nor is the
Democratic Party any more. Certainly, the center of the party today is
far to the right of where it was before 1992, when Bill Clinton was
elected with a mission to move the party toward the right. It was
widely believed by Democratic insiders that the nation had moved to
the right during the Reagan era and that the Democratic Party had to
do so as well or risk permanent loss of the White House.
It is only the blind hatred Republicans had for Clinton that prevented
them from seeing that he governed as a moderate conservative
balancing the budget, cutting the capital gains tax, promoting free
trade, and abolishing welfare, among other things. And it is only
because the political spectrum has shifted to the right that
Republicans cannot see to what extent Obama and his party are walking
in Clintons footsteps.
One of the few national reporters who has made this point is the
National Journals Major Garrett. In a December 13 column, he detailed
the rightward drift of the Democratic Party on tax policy over the
last 30 years.
In ways inconceivable to Republicans of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s,
Democrats have embraced almost all of their economic arguments about
tax cuts. Back then, sizable swaths of the Democratic Party sought to
protect higher tax rates for all. Many opposed President Reagan's 1981
across-the-board tax cuts and the indexing of tax brackets for
inflation. Many were skeptical of Reagan's 1986 tax reform that
consolidated 15 tax brackets into three and lowered the top marginal
rate from 50 percent to 28 percent (with a "bubble rate" of 33 percent
for some taxpayers). They despised the expanded child tax credit and
marriage-penalty relief called for under the GOP's Contract With
Now all of that is embedded in Democratic economic theory and
political strategy. The only taxes that the most progressive
Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson wants to raise are those
affecting couples earning more than $267,600 and individuals earning
more than $213,600 (these are the 2013 indexed amounts from President
Obama's 2009 proposal of $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for
individuals). Yes, some of this increase would hit some small
businesses. But that can be finessed.
I think that a lot of the Democratic Partys rightward drift resulted
from two factors. First is the continuing decline of organized labor
from 24 percent of the labor force in 1973 to less than half that
percentage in 2011. And the decline among private sector workers has
been even more severe.
When the AFL-CIO was strong, it looked out for the working class as a
whole. Its leadership understood that improving the pay and benefits
of all workers was ultimately to the benefits of unionized workers.
Labor support was critical to the passage of every important piece of
social welfare legislation since the 1930s. Hence the decline of
unionization has deprived liberals of their most important ally.
Secondly, the collapse of the Soviet Union essentially led to the
collapse of support for socialism worldwide. I think voters bought the
idea that the economist F.A. Hayek made during World War II that
socialism impoverishes people and necessarily becomes totalitarian
eventually. The disappearance of socialism as a viable political
philosophy deprived liberals of their ideological anchor, causing
liberalism itself to drift rightward with the tide.
There are other factors as well, such as the dependence of Democrats
on campaign contributions from Wall Street, but I think these are the
most important. But whatever the reason, the result is that the nation
no longer has a party of the left, but one of the center-right that is
akin to what were liberal Republicans in the past there is no longer
any such thing as a liberal Republican and a party of the far right.
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