Reformation of the Parties

Thanatoast

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Found this interesting article on the BBC.

The tension in the two camps is almost visceral.

Rove's revolution could be over this November

It is hard to imagine a political race freighted with greater significance than this one. As one of my colleagues in the American press said to me recently, "it's only going to decide the future of the free world."

It is the first election of the post-9/11 United States. It is a referendum on America's biggest military engagement since Vietnam and America's role in the world.

But for the two political parties, the result is critical to their survival.

Rallying the base

If the Republicans win a second term and retain their hold on Congress, the Democrats would probably be shut out of power for the rest of the decade.

On the other hand if the Democrats win, it will represent the failure of the Bush Doctrine, triggering a civil war within the Republican Party.

At the centre of this titanic battle sits Karl Rove, Bush's political advisor.

Rove has fashioned a unique political strategy around George Bush which relies more on motivating social conservatives than winning over moderates in the middle ground.

That's why George Bush has been unabashedly conservative in almost everything he has done, surprising even those within his own party.

He has clamped down on stem cell research, gay marriage and funding for abortion clinics abroad. He has portrayed himself as a tough, decisive, and, above all, principled leader.

When he lashes his opponent as a liberal on the "far left bank", Bush is not trying to win over the undecided voter.

He is firing up his base.

Pivotal

Liberal is one of those keywords that make social conservatives mad. Karl Rove believes there are more votes to be had in increasing the numbers of conservatives who go to the polls than in trying to bring in undecideds.

After the last election, he noted that four million evangelical conservatives did not bother to vote.

With a president like George Bush, he reasons it's easier to excite them than swing voters, for whom Bush's "with us or against us" view of the world might be a hard sell.

If Rove is right and he wins a second term for his boss, he will go down in the pantheon of great political operators.

If he fails, his boss will be remembered as a one-term Republican president who had no major impact on the course of Republican philosophy.

It's the difference between being a repetition of his father and being Ronald Reagan.

If Bush loses, "there will be civil war in the Party on November the 3rd," Pat Buchanan, the former Republican presidential candidate, told me this summer.

Conservatives will say that Bush's unusual mix of tax cuts and military interventionism failed because it departed from the straight and narrow of Conservatism which is small government, fiscal discipline and no foreign adventures.

And Karl Rove will be cast into the wilderness.

Where now?

In the Democratic camp, success will spell the same thing: proof that the Bush Doctrine was a failed experiment.

The Democrats will have to decide who to appeal to

Failure for the Democrats, however, will raise serious questions about their viability as a party.

Why can't they pick a populist candidate? Has America shifted permanently to the right?

Does the Democratic Party need to reinvent itself? These are the sorts of questions the elders will ask.

The Democratic Party lacks the cohesive unity of the Republicans.

It is a motley and sometimes fractious alliance of Deaniac anti-war protesters, blue collar union men, aspirant yuppies, retired Jewish communities and soccer mums.

Some will say that the Party must return to its roots - whatever they are. Others will say it should stay with Clinton's centrist approach.

Whatever the outcome, it is going to be extremely painful for the losing side.

The stakes could not be higher. So don't expect it to be over quickly. Unless there is a clear Electoral College victory one way or the other on 2 November, both sides will dig in for a long legal fight.

They have too much to lose.
Any thoughts? Now that it is pointed out, it does kinda make sense. The question is where will we go? Or do you all think the inertia in American politics is too powerful?

I would love to see a more moderate Republican party, if they lose. Then again, I would also love to see a more liberal Democratic party if *they* lose.

It's obvious that this election will determine a large proportion the direction the world turns in the next ten years. But if the Dems win, will they continue to be Republicans-lite? Or will they see this as an opportunity to push their agenda, rather than respond to and co-opt the Republican agenda, as Clinton did?
 

blackfox

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Feb 18, 2003
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Thanatoast said:
It's obvious that this election will determine a large proportion the direction the world turns in the next ten years. But if the Dems win, will they continue to be Republicans-lite? Or will they see this as an opportunity to push their agenda, rather than respond to and co-opt the Republican agenda, as Clinton did?
Interesting points. I take issue with the segment of your comments I have quoted above, however. I am not sure the characterization of Dems as being Republicans-lite or of co-opting the Republican Agenda is either fair or accurate.

To use the example of Clinton, much of his success, apart from the good economic climate he had as President was the Centrist road he traveled. This is not necessarily because Clinton's or the Dems ideology was Centrist per-se, but because to get anything accomplished they realized they must work with the Republicans in Congress and the voters whom they represent. I believe that this is what responsible leadership is all about...it is appropriate to follow and promote your ideology or that of your party, but you must also understand the legitimacy of the opposing viewpoints and the needs to temper what you think should be done, with what can be done, trying to maximize the benefits of both.

There is also the fact that most individuals are not solidly in a Partisan Camp, meaning they may be socially Liberal but Fiscally Conservative or along a spectrum for each individual issue. I believe in interests of unity and pragmatism, many Centrist politicians are abandoning Party ideology, which is not a watering-down, but an attempt to actually live in the "grey" area which exists in all responsible decision-making, rather than the balck-and-white of Party ideology and the purists that represents.

I believe there was such an attack on Clinton because he realized this fact and was subsequently effective. The fact that he was one of the better Conservative Presidents (as defined by record), was dismissed perhaps because he was a Democrat and the GOP could not afford to have a Democrat be associated with such success of the reasonable co-opting of their better principles.

One of the things I dislike most about Bush is his unabashed catering to the extremes of his Party and of the voting populace. Although I am a Liberal, I would not want a Candidate who appealed and catered to the Liberal Extremes either, as both ignore the variety of opinion within the populace and lack the flexibility to see the validity and the possibility of working with the other side's often fair viewpoints or at least those which garner support of part of the Public.

So, I would hope that with a loss in November, that the GOP would realize that their extreme approach needs adjustment, and would move back towards the center. Conversely, with a Democratic loss, the last thing I would want is a move towards an extreme. I do not think that there is much wrong with the Democrats at the moment, other than the fact that they have been so effectively smeared by the right.

Hope this makes sense...
 

Xtremehkr

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Cool

This has been discussed by various outlets since before the election. Karl Rove got low level media coverage and quite a few people know how he operates...

Compassionate Conservatism

Bush, Enron, and Karl Rove

The conservative platform has been simple for the last 20 years, destroy liberalism. Villify liberalism, twist the meaning, spin the virtues of unregulated capitalism.

The most disappointing part is that liberals for the most part have taken it, or backed away from their positioins. The only reason things are so divided is because some liberals are starting to fight back.

And I think that is the heart of the story, Roves tactics may backfire, leading to a resurgence of liberalism. Or, if Rove succeeds this time around, 10 years of regression is definately going to lead to a resurgence in liberalism.

When I heard the term "liberal pussies" in the past, I thought it was pretty childish, especially since it was never said to anyones face. But lately, I find myself agreeing in part, faced with the vehement attacks from the right, people are just backing away.

But that won't last forever, liberalism built this country after the great depression, I can't believe that people forgot that.

This new form of conservatism, the borrow and spend format, is going to get us into deep trouble. Hey, you either asked for it, or supported it. There were plenty of people trying to bring this up a long time ago, aren't you just a little bit curious as to why their voices were never heard?

Oh, in 1994 when the conservatives gained power they got rid of the 'Fairness Doctrine', they have no interest in being fair at this point. Which is why when somebody suggests that the media be more balanced or at least fact check some of what they play, conservatives get all upset and are suddenly concerned with free speech.
 

IJ Reilly

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Liberalism built the country, period. The founders were not "conservative" by any meaningful definition of the word. Liberalism is the great binding theme of Western culture over the last 250 years, and that will not change no matter how today's reactionaries try to claim the mantel of the founder's principles. They can't have it.

That said, the cited article is a bit melodramatic in its portrayal of the consequences of this elections. Sure, it's very important, but either way it will be decided narrowly. Neither side will honestly be able to claim a mandate for a decade of rule. Further, we hold national elections every two years in the US, and it seems almost certain that the party who wins the 2004 election will be set back in 2006, if only because that's what happens nearly without fail, historically. The stakes for the midterm election will be raised by the situation in Iraq, which is very probably going to deteriorate further. Whomever is in office is bound to be blamed. A Kerry win next month might be seen a repudiation of Bush-Rove, but will also be a very mixed blessing for the Democrats.
 

solvs

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When people speak of liberals, they seem to be talking about the PC thugs and feminazis that Rush speaks of. Which I don't subscribe to, nor do most of the people I know. Seems to be the extremists of the group (kinda like some Mac-addicts). Then people talk about the neo-cons. The Bible-thumping, gun-toting extremists of the other side. Also of which I do not belong. So where does a person in the middle look? Clinton let us down with the sex scandals, and no one seems to want to take his place.

I was behind John McCain because he seems like a pretty level-headed guy. We wouldn't be in this mess right now, but I can't blame him for supporting GW. Same with Colin Powell. Howard Dean looked like the guy to beat, and I think the margins would be smaller were he the one facing Bush. But I guess he wasn't liberal enough (or too liberal, whichever) to win the nomination. So we have 2 sides of the extreme fighting it out with people voting for Kerry simply because they don't like Bush.

I can only hope if Kerry wins, he will take the 50/50 polls to mean he needs to be a centerist like Clinton. Bush certainly is not getting it despite an overwhelming drop in support. So where do we in the middle go? We get screwed so the parties can fight among themselves to further their own agendas and nothing gets done. Or gets done right, at least. And don't both saying vote third party. Give me a viable candidate and I will vote for them. Nader has about as much of a chance as the Libertarians, God bless ya for trying.
 

Thomas Veil

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blackfox said:
Yes, though personally I'm not sure I agree with the last part of your statement. I'd like to see the Dems get back to traditional liberalism. But that's me and the Nader/Dean/Kucinich faction.

I do realize that the only way that could happen is if the Dems, win or lose, take the next four years to educate the people on what liberalism really is, instead of this pansy/flower child/tree hugger image the right has made of us.

In another thread, I blamed Reagan for a lot of what's wrong in America today, and I blame him for this too. I realize liberalism was falling a bit out of fashion already during Reagan's era, but when he said that line about the policies of his opponents being "liberal, liberal, liberal," he essentially turned it into a dirty word for the next twenty years. We are only now recovering from it.

Frankly, I think we've not only got to legitimize the idea of liberalism again, but we've got to turn the tables. We've got to make conservatism a bad word by equating it with huge deficits, joblessness, corpocracy, ineffective militarism, horrible foreign policy and loss of civil rights. Shouldn't be too hard after this administration.


IJ Reilly said:
Liberalism built the country, period.
A fact that seems to be lost on most voters, but amen, nonetheless.


pseudobrit said:
Hasn't stopped Bush from acting as though God chose him for the job for four years.
Interesting: there was a guy on Hardball last night talking about how Bush's faith was at the core of all his loony behavior. Just as no one can convince a Christian that Jesus did not die for our sins, nobody can convince Bush that tax cuts do not necessarily stimulate the economy, or that Iraq could be contained sans an outright war. For him, these things are articles of faith, and he'll stick with these beliefs, come hell or high water.

I don't know what religion Bush is, but he's really a fundamentalist at heart. And God protect us from fundamentalists in positions of power. :mad:
 

Desertrat

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There's a strong difference between the Classic Liberalism and the "Liberal" views of the upper echelons of today's Democratic Party leadership.

From what I read here, the people who post here and call themselves liberal are a different breed of cat, generally, from the national leadership of the Democratic Party. It appears to me to be a matter of degree. I don't see a bunch of "I know what's best for you!" here. I have the feeling that the arguments between the liberals here, and me (for instance), are not about goals (generally) but about methods of achievement of them. Folks here seem to really be looking for answers, separate from any "purist" agenda.

(I guess I see myself as "conservative" but not as "A Conservative". On one of the Internet Libertarian sites, a "political test" sez I'm a paleo-libertarian, whatever that is.)

From what I see from personal interactions with various political Democrats, local electees and state-level electees aren't really the same as those at the national level. Many don't seem nearly as leftist. They don't make the same kinds of statements about how things oughta be, or initiate the same styles of ordinance or legislation.

As far as reformation of parties, I feel both parties at the national level--and to a lesser extent the state level--have had the extremists be the more active and thus come into command. Seems to me that the 10%s out at the left and right fringes have been the ones who've come to control. The 80% who don't reach out to the limits have been shoved aside.

But until the centrists become active and really work within their party systems, the fringers will continue to control.

Anybody want to argue against the idea that "centrists" are a majority? :)

For many of the fringers, it seems to me, the whole deal is for power: Power to remake their world as they see "the good"; power to control the public money, power to order others around. The perks ain't bad, either.

'Rat
 

solvs

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Thomas Veil said:
And God protect us from fundamentalists in positions of power.
Just like he isn't a true Conservative in the Bill Maher, I'd be a Republican if only they would, way... I would also equate him more with the extremists. Religion is just a scapegoat for power. And using hate to silence those who disagree is nothing new. Liberals do it too, but to a different extent. I remember someone saying Liberals will call you stupid, and racist, but Conservatives will question your patriotism. Both cry freedom while attacking your opinions. Extremism is not good for anyone, and being blind to the opposing side can make you blind to the truth.

I'm reminded of another saying: fools are always so sure of themselves, and wise men so full of doubts. Apropos, no?
 

IJ Reilly

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I suspect most people would label themselves as "centrist" or "moderate," no matter where they fall in the ideological spectrum. I recently posted a quote from Ann Coulter where she describes herself as a moderate, and everybody else as "crazy." That's how distorted the political perspective has become. The mad genius behind all of this was Newt Gingrich, even more than it was Ronald Reagan. He was the one who understood the power of controlling language. We are living with his cynical legacy today.
 

IJ Reilly

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solvs said:
I'm reminded of another saying: fools are always so sure of themselves, and wise men so full of doubts. Apropos, no?
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. -- Bertrand Russell
 

mactastic

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'Rat, I find that you are quite different from the RNC top brass as well. You don't have the same 'daddy knows best' mentality as they do. You don't seem nearly as extremely right-wing as they do. You don't seem drunk on power like they do. Funny how that works eh? :p

I find local pols to be more centrist, while national and even state pols are more polarized by the demonic redistricting policies of the Parties.
 

Durandal7

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The parties will undergo some sort of re-alignment over the next four years.

If John Kerry loses, the liberal "activist" wing of the Democrat Party will accuse the centrist Democrats of failing to reach out to the American people. Part of why Kerry is having such a hard time is because he has to appeal to both wings of the party. Democrats are split on a number of issues including the War on Terror and Gay Marriage. If he loses, both wings will be at each other's throats. There will be an easily definable Left and Centrist wing leftover. Very little will get done.

No matter who wins the election, there will be a split in the Republican Party. There is the traditional Conservative wing, in favor of smaller government and the usual Conservative ideas.
On the other hand there are the Neo-Conservatives, they really don't care how much the government expands as long as it suits their purpose of an aggressive foreign policy. They don't care as much about social issues and are willing to be moderates. The odds are stacked in their favor. There is a reason that Arnold Schwarzanegger and Rudy Giuliani are the headliners of the party.

I would expect the Liberterian and Green parties to make unusually strong showings in 2008.
 

Desertrat

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mac, oversimplifying: Back before WW II, the way to power for most folks who wanted power was to make a bunch of money. With the rise in importance of the central government since WW II, the way to power has come to be within the realm of politics.

Homo Sap is a predator. Always has been; always will be. Predation is sublimated into business or politics, for the more agressive among us. Of these more agressive types, some just have feathers up their whatzits about telling others what or how to do.

Some are leftist; others go the other way. Pick your label; you'll find folks from the fringes tend toward more political activism. Shame we can't weed them out of the gene pool at an early age.

Me? I'm not interested in giving orders. I don't want the responsibility. Same for "advice". I'll try to explain what's worked for me, and if people think that emulating that will be helpful, fine. I often think I have AN answer, but I'll be damned if I'll ever say it's THE answer. (Well, guns and engineering are different. :D Even there, options exist.)

I'd like to see more liberals like Barbara Jordan, and fewer like Bonior. More conservatives like JC Watts and fewer like Trent Lott...

Nighty-bye,

'Rat

Sleepy-time. Gonna go up to Alpine, mañana; it's my mother's 94th birthday. :)
 

IJ Reilly

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Desertrat said:
mac, oversimplifying: Back before WW II, the way to power for most folks who wanted power was to make a bunch of money. With the rise in importance of the central government since WW II, the way to power has come to be within the realm of politics.
Tell it to Bill Gates, or to any of the other vastly wealthy entrepreneurs of the last thirty years.
 

Xtremehkr

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Conservative think tanks.

There was an interesting program on NPR the other evening. It was a book review and an interview with the author who has studied the conservative resurgence, and the language.

It was interesting to hear him explain how the new conservatives can justify having enormous wealth and be very pious at the same time.

Over the last 4 decades, 2.4 Billion has been spent by 42 different think tanks to develop a far reaching plan to socially engineer a situation more advantageous to their goals. That is how we have gotten language that is specifically designed to further political goals through combining them with social and religious goals.

"Partial birth abortions."
"The Death Tax."

An interesting discussion concerning Libs and Cons, and the differences.

Unfortunately you have to pay for that transcript. But UC Berkley News ran an article that is basically a repeat of the interview with useful links. There is an interesting part concerning the naming of liberals.

Lingusitics Professor George Lakoff

Why do conservatives like to use the phrase "liberal elite" as an epithet?


Conservatives have branded liberals, and the liberals let them get away with it: the "liberal elite," the "latte liberals," the "limousine liberals." The funny thing is that conservatives are the elite. The whole idea of conservative doctrine is that some people are better than others, that some people deserve more. To conservatives, if you're poor it's because you deserve it, you're not disciplined enough to get ahead. Conservative doctrine requires that there be an elite: the people who thrive in the free market have more money, and they should. Progressives say, "No, that's not fair. Maybe some should have more money, but no one should live in poverty. Everybody who works deserves to have a reasonable standard of living for their work." These are ideas that are progressive or liberal ideas, and progressives aren't getting them out there enough.


What progressives are promoting is not elite at all. Progressives ought to be talking about the conservative elite. They shouldn't be complaining about "tax cuts for the rich," they should be complaining about "tax cuts for the conservative elite," because that's who's getting them.
I don't agree with it, but it's clever. Time for everyone to know about it though, it's not doing the country or the world any good at this point.
 

IJ Reilly

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I heard the NPR interview with Lakoff. Thanks for the link to his Berkeley interview -- everyone should read it, IMO. I think he's right on the money, and I notice where some of his rhetorical ideas are being used by the Kerry campaign. Not enough, but some.
 

solvs

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IJ Reilly said:
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. -- Bertrand Russell
Thank you. Couldn't remember the exact quote. Does barre repeating, I think.
 

Xtremehkr

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Considering the foolish and the wise, the foolish should worry less about appearing weak and the wise should worry less about being wrong occaisionally. No one is infallible.
 

solvs

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Xtremehkr said:
Considering the foolish and the wise, the foolish should worry less about appearing weak and the wise should worry less about being wrong occaisionally. No one is infallible.
But those who are wise recognize the importance of being wrong, because they understand the consequences. Those who are foolish don't realize they are being foolish. And the crazy just don't care.
 

Xtremehkr

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solvs said:
But those who are wise recognize the importance of being wrong, because they understand the consequences. Those who are foolish don't realize they are being foolish. And the crazy just don't care.
true.

I find a lot of the time the foolish try to make up for it by being intimidating, which doesn't help you when you are wrong.
 

Desertrat

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IJ, guys like Bill Gates don't seem to use their money as a means to political power. Same for J. Paul Getty, for that matter, or Donald Trump. I find it interesting that many of the ultra-wealthy among today's entrepreneurs are doing the same as the wealthy folks of past eras: Giving it away.

Anyhow, what I was trying to say was that where once "merely" being rich inherently created political power and say-so over others' lives, nowadays there is more power in the upper echelons of government. People whose focus is on power for power's sake--as well as political agendas--are now heading toward government rather than toward accruing wealth.

'Rat
 

Xtremehkr

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Desertrat said:
IJ, guys like Bill Gates don't seem to use their money as a means to political power. Same for J. Paul Getty, for that matter, or Donald Trump. I find it interesting that many of the ultra-wealthy among today's entrepreneurs are doing the same as the wealthy folks of past eras: Giving it away.

Anyhow, what I was trying to say was that where once "merely" being rich inherently created political power and say-so over others' lives, nowadays there is more power in the upper echelons of government. People whose focus is on power for power's sake--as well as political agendas--are now heading toward government rather than toward accruing wealth.

'Rat
Or when they lack the necessary business skills, they go into politics and sell legislative favors to the highest bidders.
 

Desertrat

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Re "Elite", whether liberal or conservative or whatever: To me, anybody whose message contains any aspect of "I know what's best for YOU!" comes across to me as some sort of self-styled elite, at least in how they view our society.

That's why I have no use for such as Sen. Clinton. She comes across to me in just that fashion. I have the same view of most of the religious right, but I've been able to tune them out; I just never hear them. More decades of practice, I guess. :)

Now, I admit that some of these people are occasionally correct in their view that their Choice A is better than some folks' Choice B. Still, it's the holier-than-thou tone of the oration that makes my old red neck light up and glow, along with my view that even a blind hog finds an acorn from time to time.

As usual for me, I see "some", rather than "all". Not all liberals or conservatives in high position strike me as seeing themselves as oh, so much wiser than us poor drones.

I do see elitists as being more activist than the others, though, and that's the crux of the problem for me...

'Rat
 

IJ Reilly

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Desertrat said:
IJ, guys like Bill Gates don't seem to use their money as a means to political power.
That being a different argument than the one you originally made. Anyway, knowing the Gates bio as well as I do, I'd have to say the suggestion that he isn't after power is laughable. That was all he was after, from day one -- and it still is. Power and ultimate control. But he's just the most obvious example.