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Thursday, October 28, 2004

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» 5 days to go from L.A. Observed
The late Richard Avedon's portraits of the election season run for 32 pages in this week's New Yorker. They are great. A slide show can be entered at this page, a 1958 profile of the photogrpaher who died on October 1. So, this is the point in a tight ... [Read More]

» 5 days to go from L.A. Observed
The late Richard Avedon's portraits of the election season run for 32 pages in this week's New Yorker. They are great. A slide show can be entered at this page, a 1958 profile of the photographer who died on October 1. So, this is the point in a tight ... [Read More]

Comments

steve

"As I’ve argued in the comments section the last few days, what America most needs is a radical populist re-alignment that shakes off the stale categories of the last half-century, transcending both traditional Liberalism and Conservativism. We can hope."

How do you do that and maintain support of key instiutions of American foreign policy, say? Are you calling for cuts in the military budget to accomplish this program? Or more military spending plus incresed social spending simultaneously?

Josh Legere

Could a right and left re-alignment find enough common ground?

It seems like it would be hard for either side to let go of the paranoia about each other and find some sort of national purpose.

It just seems that the intellectual community is too entrenched these days. The culture industry would have to be destroyed. Corporate power would have to be confronted.

These forces are awfully alienated. It would require a massive change.

This election is led me to believe that we are headed towards instability.

Ken

"As I’ve argued in the comments section the last few days, what America most needs is a radical populist re-alignment that shakes off the stale categories of the last half-century, transcending both traditional Liberalism and Conservativism. We can hope."

One thing that is clearly missing from American politics is a Liberal Democrat party (in the British rather than an American sense of the word), which is to say a party that combines the best ideas of classical liberalism with the best ideas of social democrats, and transcends the old categories of left and right.

Their party constitution is by far the most philosophically driven of any major (or I suppose semi-major in the case of the Lib Dems) party in the west, beginning and ending with a reverence for individual freedom, local governance, and a contempt for bureaucracy, while at the same time recognizing that ensuring individual liberty for all requires protections of minority rights, equal access, etc.

Until the geopolitical balance shifts though, and America is sidelined, or we see the democratization of a good portion of the world, this kind of a politics that transcends the old left/right dichotamies probably isn't going to have much of a constituency in this country. As it is even in a post-imperial country like Britain (which of coursegave up trying to rule the world a half century ago) both Labor and the Tories keep stealing ideas from the Liberal Dems, and keeping them at the twenties in the polls (both Tories and Labor poll in the thirties).

Ken

Marc,

You're right in your central point about W and conservativism, or at least conservativism as most people understand it. The post-Goldwater Republican coalition of religious conservatives, libertarians, country club types, and the last surviving Rockefeller Republicans and paleocons was held together by a confluence of historical good fortune (inflation, crime, the Vietnam and post-Vietnam but pre-end-of-cold-war split over national security in the Democratic Party) and smoke and mirrors (talking faith and values to appease the religious right, but not actually rolling back the 60s, and therefore appeasing everyone else in the GOP + many independents).

Although many conservatives have yet to fully grasp this fact, the GOP of George W Bush is not the party of Goldwater or Reagan anymore. To the extent that they ever did in actuality, the Republican Party no longer stands for individual liberty, limited government, fiscal responsibility and personal responsibility, but a kind of big government conservativism where the powers of the federal government are used towards conservative ends.

At the very least, this is an unsustainable fiscal strategy, but its not entirely inconceivable that a more populist (that is substantively liberal on economic issues, and substantively conservative on social issues) to keep white working class voters in their camp, peal off a significant percentage of Latinos, and fear monger just enough independents (terra-terra-terra) into voting for them, that they remain the de facto majority party for another generation.

steve

"It just seems that the intellectual community is too entrenched these days. The culture industry would have to be destroyed. Corporate power would have to be confronted."

hmm. the cultural industry would have to be destroyed. Long live Mao.


David Kay, Iraq weapons inspector for the Bush Administration, just appeared on CNN and was asked by Aaron Brown to review the new video filmed on April 18, 2003, one month after the invasion and 8 days after US Troops first arrived at Al Qaqaa.

He was asked about the video which shows the seal. He said that they are indeed IAEA seals and he's seen nothing else like them in IRAQ. He then went on to say that only the explosives in question would have been sealed because of their potency. He then said that other parts of the video show clearly that these were the types of explosives in question.

He was asked if it was "Game, Set, Match". He replied yes, "Game, Set, Match".

In a final blow to recent conservative spin he was asked if they were classified as WMD. He replied point blank, "absolutely not."

Josh Legere

Steve,

You hit it on the head. I was thinking of Mao when I wrote that the "culture industry being destoryed." I of course didn't mean that we should stop consuming the crap, I was advocating the murder of those that work in the culture industry (I work in the culture industry so I guess I would have to kill myself).

I am suprised that you have not pinned the failures of the Chinese Communist Party on US imperialism. I was waiting for that one.

Ken

If y'all haven't yet read about Steve Clemmons' conversation recently with a member of the 82nd airborne, you should. I don't for a second believe the guy's claims that Kerry is about to wipe Bush clean among military voters, but the rest of what the guy has to say is illuminating and horrifying:

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/000143.html

Kevin

Here is a link to the Liberal Democrats' website: http://www.libdems.org.uk/

"I am suprised that you have not pinned the failures of the Chinese Communist Party on US imperialism."

Who me? I'm with you all the way, Boris Yeltsin, Deng Xiaoping and free markets...long live reform.

"I of course didn't mean that we should stop consuming the crap,"

I can't think of a better strategy, power to the consumer man!

John Davies

What is killing conservativism is the lack of term limits and increases in longevity, both in the electorate and in Congress.

This from a New Hampshire conservative Bob Smith:

http://images.dailykos.com/images/user/3/102904_smith_letter.pdf

As someone who worked with you daily for 12 years as a United States Senator, I am acutely conscious of the fact that we disagree on many important issues. Despite our differences, you have always been willing to engage in constructive debate in an effort to forge sound public policy.

I deeply respect your commitment to our nation and your patriotism which, I believe, was forged when you-like I-proudly wore the uniform of the United States Navy in Viet Nam...

Because of the courage and character you demonstrated in Vietnam, I believe you when you say that you'll do a better job than President Bush to win the peace in Iraq, as well as to win the war against terrorism.

This story is amazing:
Herold,who is assistant to the senior vice president and provost at the University of Akron,was one of 976 Summit County voters whose registrations were challenged last week by local Republicans on behalf of the state party.

She went to the Board of Elections on Thursday morning to defend her right to vote and found herself among an angry mob -- people who had to take time off work to defend their right to vote.

After hearing some of the protests, the board voted unanimously to dismiss all 976 challenges.

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