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The Democrats' Fatal Flaw

In case you hadn't gleaned it from this site, I'm a progressive Independent that almost always votes Democrat. So no one is unhappier than I to see the Republicans snag control of all three branches of government. But who can blame the voters, when the Democrats are so fractured that they can't rally behind a single person to articulate what little message they have? The most recognizable and respected figures in the party were so busy competing against one another for the 2004 nomination that they couldn't speak with one voice even long enough to stave of this major setback.

George Bush demonstrated in the 2002 election that you don't need a cohesive plan ("If affirmative action means what ... I'm for, then I'm for it.") so long as you have a personality to present it. But who has really gotten the Democrats fired up in the last two years? A loser (Gore, on the rare occasions when he pokes his head out of hiding and says something worth hearing), a Republican (McCain, during the flurry of reports that he might run on their ticket in 2004), and a dead guy.

Many have pooh-poohed the negative ramifications of the Wellstone Memorial-turned-rally, but its implications were more profound than just ghoulish opportunism. It showed that, while they wouldn't stand behind Wellstone and his progressive politics while he was alive, they would enthusiastically point to him and shout "that's what we stand for!" when he inadvertently procured three hours of prime time television. This desperation for a spokesman spoke volumes about the Democrats' paucity of vision.

Also, Buffy the Vampire Slayer wasn't very good last night, so it was kind of a double blow.

Update: Okay, I got kinda worked up about the elections there, but it's all better now. I just went to the gym and watched CNN Headline News where they didn't mention the election once. It was, like, wall-to-wall Winona Ryder verdict coverage for the entire hour I was on the treadmill. Oh wait, they did break away at one point to talk about -- this is true -- the sniper case.

Now I'm all distracted and apathetic again -- thanks CNN! Estimated Date Of Giving a Rat's Ass About Poilitics Again: April 28, 2004. See you then!

Posted on November 06, 2002 to Politics


Reverse psychology of the "fatal flaw"

In my state, Arizona, the Dems are about to claim the Governorship for the first time in 15 years. Based in large part because there was no message from the silent minority (democrats). The repubs had screwed things up enough over the last decade to allow the dems to get by without speaking up and unsettling the conservative majority.

How's that for depressing, but ultimately good news.

Posted by: mike on November 6, 2002 9:31 PM

I need to dissent a bit here. I hate the Republicans, what with their trying to make laws based on religion and their pretending to believe in free markets but then interfering with free markets whenever it suits their political needs etc etc etc. But I can't convince myself that the Democrats are any better. I firmly believe that people should be free to choose their path, but that they need to accept responsibility for their choices. The Democrats, on the other hand, seem hell-bent on undermining the concept of individual accountability. Whether it's taxing fatty food, suing tobacco companies, giving money to unemployed people who are unemployed not because there are no jobs available but because there are no jobs that they WANT, giving money to people to support children they never should have had in the first place, or propping up businesses that need propping up because they shouldn't be in business at all, the assumption is always that it's govt's problem to solve. I'm not saying that the children should be thrown to the wolves or anything; I'm just saying that these problems will never truly be solved until accountability for one's actions enters the conversation. And the Dems do all they can to keep that out of the conversation because it benefits them politically to do so. To an extent, their making their careers on telling people what they want to hear, not on doing what's right.

The Republican-Democrat duocracy is truly a lose/lose scenario for the American people. Reps and Dems are in agreement on a fundamental point: that govt should be huge and invasive. They just disagree on how and where to implement that invasiveness.

Posted by: rich on November 7, 2002 9:37 AM

I believe Rich is confused about what is causing the loss of "individual accountability." Our current civil legal system is based upon compensation for injury. Money is a universal commodity for compensation. One cannot blame the Dems, or anyone for using the legal system. I believe this to be a cop out. If Rich wants, we can blame the legal system for the loss of personal accountability. This may be true if we are all dilligent enough to loosen up our constitution every time we hear of the next civil court resolution.

Posted by: mike on November 7, 2002 3:06 PM

Well, I didn't quite follow that, but let me address the only part I understood. I have no problem with lawsuits per se; as a matter of fact, I think they are a vital element in keeping people accountable. The problem I have is abusing that system by (for instance) suing a company for selling people stuff that the people wanted to buy.

Posted by: rich on November 7, 2002 4:33 PM

For example, you are saying that it was okay for McDonald's to sell french fries laced with beef to hindus and vegans. They surely wanted the fries.

PS Rich there is more than one meaning for the word constitution.

Posted by: mike on November 7, 2002 7:32 PM

Yeah, actually, it is ok for McDonald's to sell french fries laced with beef to Hindus and vegans. It is VERY NOT OK, however, for McDonald's to lace the fries with beef and then tell people that the fries are vegetarian.

This is a good example to illustrate my point about accountability. If someone is a vegan, it is up to him to ask if there are beef products in food he's going to buy. What's the alternative? To pass a law saying you can't put beef products in anything, just in case any vegans buy it?

Posted by: rich on November 7, 2002 8:28 PM

Ahh, the truth is that McD's did not tell the public they were vegetable only. McD's said nothing for years, kind of like the Tobacco industry (nicotine in cigarettes) it was a trade secret/secret formula kind of thing. We aren't going to get very far as a society if we are always on the defensive. I believe the conservative politicos use the "accountability" position to avoid dealing with real issues. Because, if we were all perfect and accountable in every way we would be living in utopia... And that would be quite boring because my friend Rich and I would have nothing to write about.

Hmmm, here's an interesting wrinkle. Enron... large corporation controlled by a small group of conservatives. How can we relate to personal accountability? ***We are all in deep thought***


Posted by: mike on November 8, 2002 12:13 AM

I am not a conservative, just to clear that up.

I still stand by what I said about McDonalds. Some things are fried in lard. If you're a vegan, it's your responsibility to find out whether something you want to eat is fried in lard. If the answer is "yes," don't eat it. If the answer is "sorry, trade secret," don't eat it (the company is losing business so you'd assume they'd want to tell you if it's vegetarian). If the company says "no, there is no beef product," but there actually IS, then this is the only case where a lawsuit is justified.

Really, you accuse me of being utopian but it sounds more utopian to me to suggest that vegans should never have to bother finding out for themselves if there is meat in something. There is absolutely no practical way to make that happen.

As for Enron, personal accountability applies there too. Corporate executives are protected by limited liability, which basically absolves them of being held personally financially liable for the decisions they make. I believe that limited liability should apply for individual or private shareholders -- in other words, if you own one share of Corporation X, and they do something naughty, you shouldn't get sued. However, limited liability should NOT apply to high-level executives because as I said above it relieves them of accountability. If we got rid of limited liability for them, as we should, I think that there would be a lot less corporate malfeasance because it would be too risky for execs to do that kind of stuff.

Posted by: rich on November 8, 2002 7:19 AM

point #1- Actually McD's advertised that they were fried with vegetable oil (not lard), implying the integrity of vegetable.

Point #2- My definition of a utopian is playing with small religious figuries as one wishes.

Point #3- Enright my friend.

Posted by: mike on November 9, 2002 9:23 PM