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View Diary: The Ethic of (Ir)Responsibility (238 comments)

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  •  If I were a rightwing (3.40)
    Christian fundamentalist, I could substitute Perot for Nader and 1992 for 2000 in this analysis.  In their eyes, Clinton was practically the anti-Christ.

    If we were looking to choose a single national diet and one group wants cheeseburgers, fries and Coke and the other group wants hamburgers, ice cream and juice, and a third group says, you're all gonna get fat, have heart attacks and die on that diet and we should eat salad and drink green tea, would we label the saladists as evil?  Particularly when they suggested that they would join the hamburger group if they merely added salad and green tea to the menu?

    Approximately 50 million voted for GWB, 50 million for Gore, a 100 million didn't vote at all, and we are blaming a few million who voted for something else for our current state of affairs?  This is like GM and Ford in the 1970's blaming the pathetic state of the US auto industry on Toyota for poaching on their turf instead of asking what's wrong with their cars?

    As a DEM who has never voted third party and is unlikely to do so in the future, I find this Nader bashing -- this need to impute Nader with bad intent -- an unattractive face of DEMs.  Some of us may think DEMs have a better product than the GOP, but the sales record for the past thirty years indicates that we have moved from #1 to #2.  All the while the GOP shined up that chrome and added a bigger engine and fins to their model and the DEM only added a few RPMs and more tasteful fins to theirs.  Well, some of us think that those fins are gross and we just want basic transportation to get us and our kids around town without doing to much damage to the air we breathe.  The Democratic Party today makes the one of 1968 and LBJ look good by comparison -- IOW it sucks.  

    •  The problem with this analysis (none)
      lies in the fact that the hamburger group is convinced that, if they expand the menu as requested, the cheeseburger people will label them crazy PETA-loving vegetarians, and, unfair as it is, some of their group will defect to the cheeseburger side.  They correctly argue that they have removed the cheese and the coke, and added juice, and they don't understand why you won't give them credit for it.  Further, they assure you that they also want to serve salad and green tea, and that they will always be looking for a safe moment to add it to the menu.

      And, to make this analogy more fair, you are also demanding they everyone be served salad and green tea at the government's expense, even if they don't think they need it and will only throw it away.

      •  you lost me (none)
        but all of a sudden i'm really hungry.

        People are terrible. They can bear anything.

        by soulfrieda on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 05:06:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But if you're (none)
        convinced that if some of us don't start eating at least a little bit of salad and drinking a little bit of green tea now, we will all die only a tiny bit more slowly than if we all become cheesyburgerites, and the hambergerists are listening more to the cheesyburgerites who are willing to skip the cheese if they can have fries than they are to the saladists.  Plus the salad and green tea costs much less than the cheese and adding it to the burger menu more than pays for itself by the reduced consumption of burgers, ice cream and juice, not to mention the reduction in the amount of maalox everybody is consuming.  
        •  wow (none)
          I am now thoroughly confused and looking for a cow to slaughter.
          •  Actually "Dean Democrats" (none)
            wanted to hold the burger, make the bun smaller with whole wheat, serve a little real VT cheese and not that processed glop, bake the potato, add a bit of cooked brocoli and asparagus, add the salad and green tea, can live with the juice although nutritionally it gives little bang for the calories it contains, and do enjoy occasionally topping it off with a bit of Ben & Jerry's.

            And I know better today than I did in 2000 just how hungry I am.  

        •  Ah, but no one understands (none)
          what we just wrote but us.  So they will only pelt us with salad and green tea because we are obviously ivory tower nutjobs, and they will go off and vote for the cheeseburger-heads.  Now we've achieved nothing AND we're covered with food.

          I don't know what the answer IS, but I know Bush is not it, and he has to go!!  If we were running against a McCain, or even a Dole, I might say, what the hell... punish the Dems.  But against Bush?  No way.

          •  That's why real conversations (none)
            are always between only two people.

            If I were as sure as you are that in twelve years will be in worse shape if we first have four more years of cheeseburgers (with the Coke likely laced with arsenic or maybe some strychnine (sp?)) and whatever follows for the next eight years than we would be with four or eight years of Kerry with whatever follows him for four or eight years, then I could more easily vote for Kerry.  Unfortunately, I tend to think that we might be in better shape today if GHB had remained in office for a second term.  The Newtlet takeover of the House would have been harder to accomplish and the deficits would have remained so high that by 1996, DEMs could have critiqued the GOP more credibly -- BTW it was Perot and not Clinton who framed the deficit debate in 1992.  GHB never had his heart in the rightwing and would not have felt any great need to pander to them in his second term.  Maybe even TX would have held onto Ann Richards in 1994 if they didn't want to put too much power into the hands of a single family.
            GWB in a second term will so thoroughly trash the GOP that maybe we could take back Congress and kick them out of DC for twenty years like we did back in 1932.  Americans tend not to act until things are really bad, but when they do, they will have given the DEMs a mandate.  Short of that it will be more of the Clinton years, weaving and bobbing and appeasing the right wing.  The silent majority is speaking and until DEMs listen, this same GOP/DEM dance will just go round and round slowing moving to the right side of the ballroom.

      •  Actually, (none)
        I would argue that over the last 20 years or so they actually took the salad off the menu completely and are pissed at us that we are complaining about it.

        But the analogy is silly.  Basically, the Dems are moving to the right and are saying "But at least we are less to the right then the wackos who keep getting elected."  So what.  I'm veggie, and I ain't buying a hamburger, so put the salad back on the menu, or my hunger will be quenched elsewhere.

        I represent the democratic wing of the democratic party.

        Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil. Plato

        by Bokonon on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 06:52:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bingo (4.00)
      As another Democrat who has never voted third party, I think that this post articulates very nicely the fundamental problem with the Democratic Party.  

      In almost any other context, the reasoning of DHinMI's well-researched and thorough post would lead to a conclusion that most would find to be significantly flawed.  To continue with Marie's example, when GM put out overpriced and poor-quality cars in the 70's, many former customers stayed with GM and continued to buy out of sheer loyalty; others, however, jumped ship to better options (such as Toyota).  Now, suppose that the downward trend of GM's quality had continued unabated and that an ever-growing number of customers jumped ship with each passing year, until GM finally went out of business completely.

      One could certainly look at this situation and identify a number of "but for" causes of GM's demise.  We could point to higher manufacturing costs for GM attributable to increases in the minimum wage, relaxed trade laws allowing a greater number of imports, the presence of Toyota in the marketplace, and the "disloyalty" of GM's historic customers who jumped ship, to name just a few.

      I sense something more in the original post than coolly identifying "but for" causes of the 2000 fiasco, however, some sort of an attempt to ascribe a degree of blame to Nader.  And that, I believe, is unfair.  Turning back to the auto industry hypothetical from above, would anybody say with a straight face that GM's demise is to be blamed on Toyota?  Would anybody argue that GM's bankruptcy is the fault of its historic customers, who abandoned GM and purchased from Toyota?  No.  Everybody would agree that GM's plight can only fairly be blamed on GM itself; GM failed to keep an eye on what its historic customers wanted, and GM failed to keep an eye on the competition and to adjust its offerings/prices to stay competitive.

      And that is the position that I believe the Democratic Party is in now.  It has enjoyed the loyalty of its historic customers for quite some time, but if it keeps moving further and further to the center/right -- thus lessening the attractiveness of its "product" -- it can hardly be heard to complain that others with offerings better aligned with its historic customers' needs are taking away its base.  There is only one solution to this, and it is not to kill off the competition; it is for the Democratic Party to modify its product to stay competitive and hold on to its customers.

      •  Except... (none)
        It has enjoyed the loyalty of its historic customers for quite some time, but if it keeps moving further and further to the center/right -- thus lessening the attractiveness of its "product"

        Define liberal.

        Define centrist/right.

        And please tell me at one point in history do you think the Democratic party was really far left liberal.

        The only victories we have had have been when we've defined the debate, either by pushing new ideas or fixing old ideas.  When we sit there whining and defending the indefensible status quo, as you suggest, we lose.

        This doesn't have anything to do with left or center or right.  It has to do with attitude.

        I listen to GW Bush's rhetoric and you know what I hear?  I hear a highly distorted version of the rhetoric which came from Lyndon Johnson.  Bush is using liberal memes to sell his policy plans, and it's working.

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