mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

As I matter of fact, I don't eat hate for breakfast...

The National Review has an interesting collection of Quotes from Moore at the DNC where he has all kinds of fun things to say about Republicans.

He says that "The hate, they eat for breakfast." I'm a registered Republican, and I have to say I've never eaten hate for breakfast. Usually, I have toast and lots of coffee.

He goes on to say that Republicans "up at six in the morning trying to figure out which minority group they're going to screw today". I don't usually get up until 10am. Guess I'll have to turn in my "vast member of the right wing conspiracy" registration card.

Well, that and I don't think of myself as hateful (except against terrorists. Hate them). The thing is that the democratic party, especially Moore and his ilk, seem to think that anyone who thinks the U.S. should let people keep more of the money they earn, or should defend itself against those who want to destroy it's way of life, are evil. Maybe I read the wrong blogs (in addition to eating the wrong breakfast and not getting up on time), but I don't really see conservatives calling the liberals hateful - in fact, some are pledging way more in terms of niceness.

I don't think that Democrats or Liberals are evil or hateful for the most part. They are for the most part misguided. They don't see terrorism for the threat that it is. They want people to be better off, but they don't grasp that people are better served by the free market rather than by government programs. They want people to make more money, but they don't realize that the minimum wage will hurt, not help that. They want better healthcare, but they don't understand that (additional) socialization of healthcare will make most people worse off. They honestly feel like they are doing good, even when what they are doing is destructive.

Sure, there are some Republicans out there who are jerks, but I don't think most are.


At 2:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Republican's are for the free market? Maybe you need to pay more attention to reality and less to Republican talking points. I seem to remember pork-laden energy and transportation bills being passed by Congress this year. Similarly, I could have sworn Congress passed a massively expanded farm bill back in 2002 that disproportionately benefited large agribusinesses, with many GOP legislators voting down an amendment that would have capped payouts to the largest farmers. The energy policy bill the Bush administration drove through Congress this summer handed a further $2.9 billion to the coal industry, $4.3 billion to nuclear power and $1.5 billion to oil and gas firms for “research” and strangely enough with two oil executives running the country (who owe their entire fortunes to their connections to Uncle Sugar) they have presided over the most unprecedented 5 year string of good luck for the oil industry in history.

The current budget would slash Medicaid benefits by $11.9 billion and student loans by $14.3 billion, at a time when the poverty rate has risen four years in a row and the middle class is increasingly being priced out of college. All of this money, and more, will then disappear into the bank accounts of wealthy individuals, assuming the tax portion of the package is also enacted. Real deficit reduction will require curbing the pork and corporate welfare, the massive foreign policy spending that has been so generous to the oil barons in Texas and the social programs designed to enrich private industry.

If the middle class likes being drones that work for the bureaucrats and exploiters in society then I guess in the Darwinian scheme of things they are getting what they want. Lets give the Republican’s an even bigger majority in the next election and then lets turn on the Orwellian Fox news and Rush Limbaugh to find out how great the Boy Emperor and Tom Delay have really been for the middle class.

My family will end up paying thousands dollars as our share of the contribution to a war. Maybe it would have been nice in a democracy if I was asked whether I wanted to spend that money for Bush’s nation building project. And it also might have been nice if I could get an honest report of how they are doing with my money instead of propaganda and partisan attacks. It also might be nice if Bush and his cronies tried to protect the American public from get raped by profiteering war contractors instead of opening the flood gates and knocking down accountability programs.

It might also be nice if we acted like we cared about the principles of Democracy as we spend lives and money to spread it. Then maybe we wouldn’t have such a bitterly divided country and we wouldn’t be such an international pariah.

So yes maybe we will get some value for the quarter of a trillion dollars (and growing) and thousands of lives this war has cost but it might be nice to have had an honest discussion of whether that was the best way to spend those lives and resources.

People in America generally hate class distinctions. They consider them demeaning and an insult to their ego. This false pride is used to great advantage by “cheaters” who come up with fancy words to disguise their class based competition such as “supply side economics”.

An integral part of our political system is competition amongst interest groups. These competing interests can be categorized in many ways and one obvious one that reflects the reality of life in America is class.

I consider myself and my family middle class so I feel I have a stake in the success of the middle class as an interest group in American politics. Why in the world would I not?

It took me a long time to get over the brainwashing that the “cheaters” use to wring inordinate sacrifice from the working and middle classes. Of course the working and middle classes don’t mind and virulently hate the idea of class because it would hurt their pride.

Beyond my personal interest even if I wasn’t in the middle class I would be in favor of a strong middle class because I think the middle class is the driver of American wealth and innovation. I think that widely distributed opportunities for education and a social safety net that encourages risk taking by average citizens are vital to the overall health of the country.

I also believe that the country should be a meritocracy as much as possible. This is an incremental equation and will never be absolute one way or another but there is no logical reason not to strive for it. Everyone is not even and competition should be the driver of success but cheaters live on both sides of the scale and contrary to the current brain dead popular opinion it’s not the poor people who suck up inordinate amounts of unearned wealth.

If for example we are currently a three on the scale of being a meritocracy than it wouldn’t hurt to pursue social policies that increase middle class opportunities and reduce cronyism and corporate welfare so we could be a six on the scale.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger mad anthony said...

Wow, you've managed to write an incredibly long comment on a post that's 18 months old. Either you have a lot of free time on your hands, or more likely, you wrote this screed and googled around to find blogs with open comments that you could cut and paste it into.

As far as corporate welfare, I'm against it - and I've written posts agains such corporate welfare as restrictions on sugar imports in the past (although not as long ago as when I wrote this post).

But while I would like to see pork cut back, I'm also a big fan of tax cuts, strong defense, and limited restrictions on government. While the Republicans may not meet the libertarian ideal of free markets, I feel they are more conductive to it than Democrats.

They also seem to have a sense that terrorism is a real threat and needs to be fought, while the Democrats seem to see it mainly as a talking point.

I'm sure there's more stuff in your comment to argue about, but I dozed off somewhere in the middle.

And for the record, the only time I watch Fox News is at the gym, and I think Bill O'Reilly is full of shit. But so is pretty much every other newscaster. Which is why I read blogs.

At 2:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admit my post turned into something of a screed but it wasn't an organized plan to find an open blog to deliver it. As I was reading through your archives (when I was up too late and should have been sleeping) something just struck a cord. Contrary to most of the conservative blogs I've read you actually struck me as a fair minded person who could potentially be reached.

So just to revisit a couple of the points you made I think talking about “tax cuts” is meaningless without spending cuts and non-military federal spending has increased over 30% with Republican running everything. I haven’t seen a real spending cut since Clinton left office.

And I'm all for tax cuts but I really prefer demand driven growth and middle class tax cuts both from a personal perspective and a theoretical perspective. I think being pro-middle class on taxes, health care, and education is being pro-entrepreneur and pro-business. I despise the whole Republican supply side, trickle down theory but the Democrats need to do a better job of touting the benefits of consumer driven growth and middle class entrepreneurism. Business innovation and growth is overwhelmingly created by hard working, middle class entrepreneurs who take risks and build new businesses.

Most large companies and many older middle sized and small companies are run by bureaucrats whose primary ability is the ability to manipulate people within a bureaucracy. Many of these people are anti-entrepreneurs who are working for companies that may have had their last entrepreneurial idea a hundred years ago. Business bureaucrats are not on the same side as middle class entrepreneurs and the sooner middle class entrepreneurs pull their head out and realize this the better off they will be.

Being pro-business to me means making sure hard working middle class people who are the engine of wealth in this country have the minimal safety net and access to education they have richly earned so they can continue to fuel the wealth and success of this country. The inbred, inherited wealth aristocracy and the business bureaucrats are the enemies of business innovation and growth.

At least under Clinton and the Congress led by Gingrich there was a sense of general lassie-faire laxness that was more typically Republican and probably contributed to some actual innovation. Under Bush we have the worst kind of old style cronyism where there is just a diversion of wealth to favored parties who provide no innovation and who are often actually rewarded for producing worse consumer services. Why Bush is liked by conservatives or even claimed by conservatives is beyond me.

I’m also amazed how Democrats can seriously be considered weak on defense. Every major war in the last century was led by a Democratic president. Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy were all aggressive Democratic wartime presidents. They all led unified, effective wartime efforts unlike the shamelessly divisive and partisan effort from Bush. And I’m a Democrat who is not exactly a peacenik. I was born in a military hospital and my dad was a Green Beret who fought in Vietnam. As I said I think Iraq could end up being worth the effort but we would have been much better served as country if Bush had been honest about this being the national building exercise it obviously was from the beginning and if we had a national sense of this important cause and more shared sacrifice. To this day they are calling half the country a bunch of anti-American cowards for pointing out the obvious fact that this war was started for strategic geo-political reasons and not for the exaggerated military threat. Building the war on a deceptive premise was incompetent and immoral but Bush and Cheney are so committed to this deception that they would rather continue to attack their perceived adversaries at home and abroad rather than regroup and make an honest attempt to gain the domestic and international political support that could make a huge difference in helping the heroic efforts of the U.S. military. Maybe the military can still succeed despite the criminally incompetent diplomatic and policy support they have received.

I am actually for nation building in the right circumstance I just feel like this was the wrong place and time. Mostly because I think Bush Jr. was not competent to attempt it. If someone like Bush Sr. pursued this idea I would have trusted his judgment more and I definitely would have trusted his competence to build international support and to pursue the war effectively and with integrity which is essential to accomplishing our political objectives. If we don’t have that level of civilian leadership we should not start or continue to pursue something so difficult.

And I think it is a pretty wild stretch of the imagination to think Clinton would have gotten off as easy as Bush if he provided such incompetent diplomatic and policy support to the Iraq effort. And if Iraq had gone as badly for Clinton do you really think the media and Republican’s wouldn’t have given him a much more savage beating for the results?

And I can’t understand how a libertarian can support a bunch of guys who veil themselves in secrecy and avoid Congress when they stretch our privacy protections, who imprison and torture people without due process, who constantly attempt to undermine the ability of an independent press to function and who disclose national security secrets in order to attack people with inconvenient opinions.

So until we better understand why America has traditionally protected civil liberties and how that makes us different from Russia then I’m skeptical of giving Bush and Cheney more unaccountable monitoring tools.

And I’m tired of the scaredy cat national security excuses for the President’s undemocratic behavior. We have suffered through wars with 100,000’s of casualties against adversaries that had a real chance to rule the world and snuff out democracy as we know it, so to keep playing on peoples fears from 9/11 to roll back civil liberties makes us sound like a bunch of fearful cry babies. We can show our strength by sticking to our traditional values like protecting our democratic processes.

You didn’t hear Eisenhower, after World War Two, bringing up national traumas from years in the past as an excuse to decrease the accountability of the federal government.

So anyway that's the 2nd half of my screed. I actually don't post on any blogs very often so, as I said, I guess your blog struck a cord for some reason. So now you've got my semi-incoherent, sleep deprived version of the truth.

At 10:29 PM, Blogger mad anthony said...

"A fair-minded person who could potentially be reached" - that's going on my masthead. Right above the fake instapundit quote.

Obviously, I disagree with a lot of what you have to say. While Bush isn't perfect, I think he's doing a decent job with the war on terror, and I think that things like the recent NSA wiretapping on people with AQ connections is exactly the kind of thing that the government SHOULD be doing - and that Dems are exploiting it as political opportunism.

Yes, big business will seek to make money any way it can, and that includes what economists call "rent seeking" - using government to pass laws that make you money at the expense of consumers. And big business is less agile than individual entrepenuers, because they are repsonsible to more stakeholders than individuals or startups. Which is why I laugh when people talk about WAL-MART as the evil empire - 100 years ago general store owners were burning Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs because they were killing small business. Someday something will destroy Wal-Mart. It's the creative destruction that is capitalism.

As far as saying the dems are weak on defense, I'm talking about the last couple years. If everyone voted based on historical patterns, all Blacks would vote Republican because it was the party of Lincoln. I firmly believe that there is a small but dedicated group of extremist terrorists out there who want to destroy our way of life, and that that needs to be treated as a war. Pelosi/Dean/et al don't see it that way.

The other thing I haven't mentioned that I give Bush and the Republicans props for is at least making an effort - sort of a half-assed one, but an effort - to reform social security. Anyone with an elementary math education knows it will run out at some point, but the Dems seem to look at it as "we'll be dead by then". For young(ish) people like me, knowing how much of my paycheck goes into a system that probably won't be around when I retire is rather frustrating.

At 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The wiretapping Bush is doing may be logical and I could easily support its use. What I don't like is that it's potentially not legal and it's definitely not accountable. Under the astonishingly broad interpretation he is using we have no idea what kind of domestic monitoring he is really doing and we have no method to ensure that our privacy is protected. And this is from a bunch that has already demonstrated they will use national security secrets as a political weapon. Bush could legally get all the tools he needs but he prefers to do things in secretive and non-democratic ways. Saying that raising concerns about his methods is political opportunism is hilarious. Again for a libertarian you are amazingly deferential to some pretty unaccountable, big government methods. Grow the government, monitor our personal communications, hand out the pork. We love your swagger little George so we don’t mind.

And Wall Mart is not the example I would use for corporate welfare because they are low on the list of groups that receive it but there are tons of examples out their including big agribusiness, insurance, energy, and drug companies that are huge recipients of your money. But again for some reason you don’t seem to mind. And the love they get from Republican lawmakers is not a model for free market behavior. It’s basically old fashioned, large scale cronyism. But hey the Republican’s talk a good game about the free market and that’s what really matters.

And yes I understand that there are terrorists that are out to get us. But we have faced incredible threats throughout our history and based on history and we always will. Now that weapons of mass destruction exist do you think we will ever have a time in the rest of our lifetime that we don’t face a dire threat? This is a long term issue we will have to live with forever and it has as much to do with human nature as whatever boogie man Bush is currently whipping up to manipulate the masses. An open accountable government is the best way to know if our government is making smart choices. Not government secrecy and taking Bush’s word for things. Let’s understand what Bush is doing to protect us and let’s have him explain his foreign policy choices (rather than his bate and switch nation building) so he or any other politician can be accountable. Letting him make major decisions secretly and without oversight is a recipe for inbred decision making and failure. I’m sure you’d be clamoring for government transparency if Dean or Kerry had been elected.

So don’t think for a second I don’t understand the nature of the threat. I’m just not going to have someone play on my fears to lead me around by the nose and allow the government to become less democratic, less accountable and ultimately less effective.


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