Thursday, December 30, 2004


I sent my friend Dan that piece of Michael Barone's. His reply:

Bob: I just couldn't read that crap without some


Baron sets up an interesting straw man. It
doesn't work. For example:

"...Government issued regulations were set up to
protect the environment. Few Americans want to
undo these changes."

Really ?? A perusal of the newspapers in
the past two weeks, not to mention the last four
years, would give lie to that. Ease air
pollution restrictions, weaken regulation of the
national forests and more, just recently.

"... Take black Americans, the most heavily
Democratic constituency -- 88 percent to 11
percent for John Kerry in the 2004 NEP exit poll.
Blacks have been voting for Democratic
presidential candidates by similar margins since
1964, when Republican Barry Goldwater opposed the
Civil Rights Act. ..."

Actually, its 1936 -- up until that time Black
American turned out
for the New Deal and rejected the pro-business
Republicans who insisted that "prosperity is just
around the corner." It was, its called World War
2 -- the New Deal didn't end the Depression, but
it alleviated a great deal of suffering while
causing some problems by its solutions.

"... That was a big issue, then. And never mind
that a higher proportion of Republicans than
Democrats voted for the bill in Congress --
Goldwater did oppose it..."

Nice trick -- shifting from "liberal" to
partisan labels. The Southern Democrats made
many Republicans look reactionary with their main
issue -- segregation. They gutted the New Deal
in the South, insuring that the 'niggers' didn't
get the aid. FDR was forced to accept their
death grip on legislation, until he went after
them in 1938 and got clobbered in the off year
elections by appeals to racism from Conservative
Democrats. The New Deal was DOA after 1938 as
the "Boll Weevils" bottled up progressive
legislation in committees dominated by
Conservative Democratic chairmen. I would submit
that the South has changed a great deal, and it
hasn't changed at all. Ever since Johnson signed
the Voting Rights Act in 1965 the South began a
shift in their partisan label from Democratic to
Republican. They had always been "conservative"
(a polite term for it) and LBJ did that they knew
those damned liberals would eventually do --
actually get the 'niggers' to vote. Damn LBJ.
And, wow, here's Nixon and then Reagan who dusted
off the idea of New Federalism and States Rights
(and called it 'forward looking') -- nice code
for you-know-what. George Wallace anyone? While
you're at it, get a load of Dubya's court

But "Dubya" takes it to a new level -- squeeze
the states and the social programs by cutting
them, running up the debt and cutting taxes at
the same time, shifting the burden for Medicaid
now (who knows what later) to the parsimonious,
regressively financed states, with subtle
references to class and race, while flattering
the rednecks that they're really "entrepreneurs."
Its good stuff, it works, largely due to their
immediate self-interest and the self-flattering
portrait painted of them by the Conservatives.
David Stockman laid out the plan in the early
80's, and it appears that Dubya and his cohorts
are following it. Soon, ketchup will be declared
a vegetable.

"... the antiwar constituency, an important part
of the Democratic coalition in 2004. These voters
denounce the war in Iraq in much the same terms,
with much the same arguments,..."

He's kind of ignoring something here, don't you
think? For example, the "Weapons of Mass
Destruction" that never turned up. We were lied
to about Vietnam, we've been lied to about Iraq.
Its painfully true that the liberals have their
troglodytes, just as the conservatives have them,
but please, the point of departure for the war
turned out to be a lie. Hello! Do we just write
that off? Do we not see also a parallel with
trying to "win on the cheap" (turned into "lean
and mean military"), not inconveniencing the
middle class, and not having an exit strategy
(Bush Senior wrote that he didn't invade Baghdad
because there was no appealing exit strategy more
than 10 yrs. before this mess) -- Richard Perle,
the neo-con guru, wasn't worried about an exit
strategy, nor was Rumsfield, Ashcroft or any of
the other "REAL MEN" enacting the neo-con agenda.
The irony is that the only veteran in the bunch
is the one they portray as a 'girly-man' ---
Colin Powell.

"...On the economic front as well, Democrats
seem to be looking more to the past than the
future. The Social Security system as it exists
is obviously not sustainable: ..."

Yes, and a nice qualifier: " it
exists..." borrowing from Clinton's pitch on
welfare reform. Bottom line with Social Security
is that it does need to be reformed -- too many
recipients (especially the recently arrived
immigrants -- that is a huge departure from the
intent of the program) and yes, more tax revenue
-- the great unmentioned -- the salary cap above
which the very wealthy do not contribute more to
a "social" program. No other industrial country
funds its social safety net in such a regressive
manner. Bush's "forward looking" plan it to
divide young and old and sell the fools on
playing the stock market -- apparently that will
always work --- except for 1987 or 1929 or 1921
or 1913 or 1893 ....etc. The Neo-Cons can't
stand any of the social safety net programs so
they alienate people on the basis of age or race.
They are proposing something "different" but do
not have a long-term answer. They'd just like to
give all of us a chance to bring out the real
entrepreneur, deep inside, that we've always
wanted to be. The strong will survive but they
don't say what will happen to the weak (or
imprudent or plainly unlucky investor). Neo-Con
is just another way of saying Neo-Social
Darwinism. And they call it "forward looking"
There's much more I could write about this
disingenuous article, but frankly, I'm just tired
of the dungeon of a mind this man exhibits. All
the problems are solved, its the best of all
possible worlds dear Pangloss, and the future is
ours. It'll all just happen. And then....the
government withers away because there'll be no
need for it (see Jeb's 2nd inaugural address,
FYI) -- just as the Dictatorship of the
Proletariat "withered away" --- after millions of
deaths and seven decades of repression and
Its always been interesting to me that the
purveyors of utopias, whether Herbert Spencer or
Karl Marx, have as their long-term answer, the
state will just "wither away." One sees it
occurring by evolution and the other by
revolution -- but the remedy offered by these
conservative and liberal extremes is most
unsatisfying and impaired by an unrealistic
otherworldliness. Opponents are characterized as
not being "forward looking" and chastised for
their imbecility by a gaggle of Amway salesmen,
thoroughly excited by the idea that "everyone"
can be a millionaire. Not good math, and
certainly not good for the overwhelming majority
of citizens in the republic.



Thanks Dan.Does this mean that I'm not gonna be a millionaire?