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We have a wonderful, rational, reasoned approach to evaluating our Presidential candidates in a diary by Teacherken this morning.  He dissects the strengths, and weaknesses of all 3 top tier aspirants.  But, in reading Ken's effort I was struck by something I heard last night that may make all of our hopes and analysis irrelevant.

I know Howard Kurtz is not a popular guy around these parts, and he is certainly not a favorite of mine!  But on BookTV, After Words last night, I heard him discussing his latest efforts to examine the media, and promote his most recent book.  Kurtz was interviewed by James Warren, Managing Editor of the Chicago Tribune.

After a lengthy discussion of a wide range of things from Katie Curic to the effects of the internet on reporting, Kurtz delivered the money quote:  (para)

Bill Clinton ran as the most Liberal/Progressive candidate in a generation, and was elected based on that.  But immediately after his inauguration he was pulled aside by Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin and told, "Now let's sit down and we'll tell you exactly how the system really works."

This led to NAFTA, evicerating welfare, the World Trade Organization, and a host of other policies that could only be considered very Conservative.

As Thom Hartmann has said, in summerizing the differences between the two opposing political philosophies in their current incarnations:

Conservatives believe that people are inheriently evil, and they must be controlled.  Liberals believe that people are inheriently good and can govern themselves.

Hume and Locke, still engaged in the eternal struggle to define humanity.

The link between these two ideas deserves our further consideration.  For, it seems that regardless of the inate Liberalism professed by the candidates, once they are given the reins of power those reins are firmly curbed by the Conservative power brokers who are anxious to control the actions of anyone who might place people before institutions - finanacial, legal, or military.

Remember your First Day in a New School?  You are unsure, feeling inadequate, anxious to please, willing to take directions from any of the Old Hands, and quite overwhelmed by the novelty of your situation.  

Now, imagine this feeling writ large.  You have just been elected President of the United States, the scope of your task is just beginning to intrude on your consciousness and, no matter who you are, no matter your great self-confidence, intelligence, or skills, you feel very much like your First Day in a New School.  You are ready, and willing to be co-opted by the BMOCs, and "experts" who promise to keep you from screwing up too badly.

Enter the Conservatives.  They live in the belt way, dedicated to expertly guiding the new President, or Senator, or Representative, into maintaining the status quo, insuring that nothing too Liberal slips through the cracks.  They are dedicated to convincing  the new office holder that they know the way things must be done.  Thus is the most Progressive Candidate in a generation subourned into doing the will of the conservative clique that just does not trust us to keep them wealthy, powerful and in control.

Regardless of who you support in the upcoming elections, regardless of how Liberal your candidate professes to be, no matter the promises made, or programs proposed, how do we as  Lockian Liberals keep the Humeian Conservatives from usurping our will and distorting the philosophical understanding of the next President?

Why are some candidates so anethma to the Party Organizations, the Media owners, and the power brokers?  Is it because they might be less malliable?    

We elect candidates that have been carefully vetted by those who don't trust us to elect our leaders!!  And, once we have chosen the "approved" candidate, they are quickly rush into meetings and told the "truth" of the Conservative governing philosophy.  In their confusion and disorientation at the enormity of their situation, they grab any advise and information the "experts" offer.

I'm not sure we stand a chance...

Originally posted to Granny Doc on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 08:02 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We've got to unite (21+ / 0-)

    and let whom ever is elected know that we've got their back.  They don't have to abandon their Liberal principles and conform to the Conservative "experts" provided by the Power Brokers.

    You want me to do WHAT? Not in these shoes!

    by Granny Doc on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 08:03:35 AM PST

  •  The thing about Bill Clinton's track record is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    groggy, Granny Doc, Nab

    that we tend to glorify him due to his remarkably lucky economic timing.  Clinton happened to be President of the USA during an unprecedented economic boom that was destined to happen -- it was largely fueled through a high-tech boom and a rush of new money into the stock market.  The seeds of that tech boom had been sown years if not decades prior... the Internet became suddenly commercially viable in the mid 1990s and a mania took hold among venture capital and other sectors.  

    I don't have figures for the % of Americans who were invested in stocks in 1989 vs 1999 but I can only imagine it went way up during a time when it seemed that any fool could throw $10K at any mutual fund and turn it into $20K within a few years.

    It is impossible to separate Clinton's actual policies from the fact that he was one lucky man to ride that unusual economic wave in his 2nd term.  As was Reagan to a lesser extent ('86-'88 were boom years as well).

    We tend to view our presidents thru the clouded lens of "how well was the economy doing then?"  But sometimes bad economies happen to good leaders, and good economies happen to bad leaders.  Not saying Clinton or Reagan was good or bad per se; but saying that America's economy is not primarily guided by who happens to be in the presidency at the time.

    •  I agree but, (6+ / 0-)

      The economic policies, such as NAFTA, and WTO, are the direct responsibility of whomever is in office at the time.

      You want me to do WHAT? Not in these shoes!

      by Granny Doc on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 08:16:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely, that's what I meant... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        groggy, Granny Doc, JFinNe

        The economic policies and their long term repercussions tend to be confused by a shorter-term view: "Well, but, the economy was good when he was in charge."

        People don't understand that often a boom or a bust is somewhat destined to occur no matter who is in the White House.  An argument can be made that the Fed Chief is just as powerful as the president in terms of effecting the economy from quarter to quarter.  

      •  So was the 1993 tax increase ... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        groggy, fhcec, Granny Doc, masslib

        Which put the budget back in order, and had a lot to do with the economic growth of the 1990s. It freed money for investment, and - much more important - showed that the government could get its house in order and be run effectively.

        Remember the background of all this. The Reagan era deficits were not just a spending spree - they were engineered with the deliberate intent of undermining government in the long term, setting the stage for the intended destruction of the New Deal legacy.

        For all the whining around here about NAFTA (how many of those lost jobs have gone to Mexico?), by far the chief legacy of the Bill Clinton years was restoring confidence in government. Bush has worked to reverse that, but it came around to bite him: Katrina showed that people expect competent government.

        The proof of the pudding is that Bill Clinton made Dems competitive in presidential races. Remember the "Electoral Lock?" Before Clinton, we'd taken three drubbings in a row, and four in five elections. After Clinton, the Republicans won only by theft and luck.

        The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

        by al Fubar on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 09:10:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Even without Bill's economic track record... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc

      ...he moved heaven and earth to bring peace to Northern Ireland, the Balkans and Haiti (and very nearly Israel/Palestine). Not too shabby for any president.

      •  well, (4+ / 0-)

        it's nice he was able to accomplish these things, they were great things. Clinton did some awesome things.

        But, er, he was supposed to be President of the United States, which, presumably, means heaven and earth should have been moved for his people HERE, regarding "the economy".  

        Instead, it turned into a train-wreck. I blame NAFTA, and I will never, ever, forgive him for signing off on that POS.

        Reality leaves a lot to the imagination--John Lennon

        by o the umanity on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 10:10:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As one who saw the pitfalls (4+ / 0-)

          of NAFTA from the moment I read the original bill, I never thought NAFTA would offer anything but a drive to the economic bottom in favor of corportaions determined to cut costs.  I always wondered who they thought was going to buy all the crap they manufactured at slave wages...

          You want me to do WHAT? Not in these shoes!

          by Granny Doc on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 10:14:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ross Perot was right about that one (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack, Granny Doc

            and many of us saw the Telecomm Act for the POS it was, too.

            Bill Clinton signed both of these things into law. I have to wonder WHY so many still can't see this for what it is, and why they still profess undying love for his "domestic legacy". That part of his legacy, IMO, can be summed up in two words: sell-out.

            Reality leaves a lot to the imagination--John Lennon

            by o the umanity on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 10:20:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  that's an important factor (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Granny Doc

        to consider. I mean, in part because of Clinton and his skillfull diplomatic team, the European continent is almost 100% peaceful for the first time in recorded history. I was in Dubrovnik this summer and people there see Bill Clinton almost as a hero for involving himself in the Balkans. (I would admit, to my chagrin at first)

        When looking at foreign policy, you know his wife would surround herself with the same people in her administration.

        It's not an endorsement of Hillary from me, but I can sure see what people are thinking.

    •  Think FDR. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc

      He assumed the presidency and was I'm sure firmly aware of the Cons-Power mandates. But due to several confluences, Economic Depression and threats of World War, was able to create the society which most of us enjoy and the cons have manipulated to their advantage.

      Now we are faced with another great economic crisis—of our own creation—and there is an equally great opportunity for a new populist movement to right the wrongs of the Bushovichs.

      Being a Baptist won't keep you from sinning. But it sure as Hell keep you from enjoying it. Jimmy Dean

      by Flippant on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 10:33:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The great irony of Clinton (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Granny Doc

      is that he was governing a "conservative" county, much more "conservative" in my opinion that today's America. The current Democratic majority, despite it's obvious flaws, may be the most liberal we've had since the 1960's, if even.

      Clinton never won 50% of the vote nationwide and it's questionable if he would've won at all in 1992 without Perot (I think at least 45% of Perot's votes would've went to him anyway, securing the victory) but that was always in question.

  •  Good v. Evil (5+ / 0-)

    When it was announced the Russell Means and a couple of other "leaders" of the Sioux were renouncing all treaties made with the US, I went to a Rapid City online newspaper and read their editorial take and comments.  From the commenters names, it appeared many were Native Americans.  The names not appearing to be NA were mostly all for the secession because it would get those Indians off our money backs for good.  I just sadly shook my head...

    As to your original point, we need an outsider and that, imo, would be John Edwards and he'll sure have my back.

    "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

    by JFinNe on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 08:16:23 AM PST

    •  I'm not sure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      groggy

      who we "need" is as important as staying engaged and making sure that the DC insiders don't hold complete sway over the policies of the new office holder.

      You want me to do WHAT? Not in these shoes!

      by Granny Doc on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 08:17:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At lot of that will depend (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        al Fubar, groggy, Granny Doc, JFinNe

        on the perceived public mood at the time.  Bill Clinton couldn't claim anything like a liberal mandate, because he won with 38% of the vote, and lost seats in the House, during an undeniably conservative era.  If 2008 is a landslide, realignment-type year, that will affect the balance of influence between the power brokers and the public.  And that would be the case for ANY of our top candidates.

        Supporting Obama, but defending Clinton and Edwards from stupid attacks. A futile attempt to set an example, I guess.

        by cardinal on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 08:23:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The list of men and women who could/would (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        groggy, Granny Doc, drmah

        be chosen to be Cabinet members from within the Democratic Party is staggeringly talented - Clarke, Richardson, Dodd, to mention a few.  They will know we are out there, but first we have to get their attention.  Question to a man who just socked his mule:  Why did you sock your mule?  Well, you have to get their attention first.

        "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

        by JFinNe on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 08:31:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But the punch line (0+ / 0-)

          to that old joke is that he then socked his wife!!

          You want me to do WHAT? Not in these shoes!

          by Granny Doc on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 08:32:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Three strikes you're out (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Granny Doc

            A new groom was taking his new bride to their house after the wedding.  He helped her into the buggy, and began the ride home.  His mule stumbled slightly and he said "That's one."  The mule stumbled again and he said "That's two."  The third time the mule stumbled, he got out of the buggy and socked his mule and said "That's three."  He then got back in the buggy and his bride asked him why he had socked his mule.  He looked at her and said "That's one."

            "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

            by JFinNe on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 08:38:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  People are greedy & selfish. reward good instead (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    groggy, Granny Doc

    of rewarding selfishness!

    what if you came up with an idea to heat / cool everyone's home,

    (oh, btw, I mean EVERYONE in the world, NOT just us fe hundred million in affluent north america / europe )

    why couldn't you be rewarded with enough wealth to sit on the beach forever?

    since the median family income is about 42 grand in the u.s.a, you could have 100 times that

    MAXIMUM

    of all the wealth your idea is gonna create.

    if you needed 3 20 million dollar yachts, instead of 1 yacht at 1 million - good for you!

    go back to work!

    However, you need to go work in the food industry or the roofing industry or the software industry, cuz

    we don't want you hooking up with your buddies, like Bob and Alan, and you all putting your wealth together to do the natural thing - feather your nests at the expense of everyone else's nest!

    people are fucking selfish and greedy - SO WHAT!

    and they are capable of selflessness - THAT DON'T GET THE CROPS PLANTED OR PICKED!  

    This struggle is part of our evolutionary heritage --

    a struggle between helping the family and tribe so all of do better AND helping yourself cuz it sure looks like a lot of your helping the family and tribe work goes to make the lazy fucks at the top even richer.

    let's reward creating social good instead of rewarding creating power for yourself and your cronies.

    just cuz the current crop of sell out 'leaders' can't come up with new ideas AND implement ideas, it doesn't mean it won't / can't happen,

    it just won't / can't happen with this bunch of insipid spineless chickenshit puke sell outs -

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 08:26:46 AM PST

  •  Hume and Locke were both right and wrong. (3+ / 0-)

    I long gave up on the dualism way of thinking a long time ago. The world isn't a binary system and neither are humans.

  •  Liberal and Conservative labels have no meaning (4+ / 0-)

    anymore. At least not to the general voting public.  I'm convinced that most Americans (the masses) are too "busy" to be bothered with the real issues.   They want cheap gas and low prices at Wal-mart and cable TV with the Home Shopping network.  The US could become fascist or communist or bomb other countries to the stone age, and majority of Americans would be OK with that - as long as they could watch their NFL game on Sunday.

    It's all about spin and scare and soundbites.  Which candidate will "protect" us from the terrorists?  Which candidate will lower the gas prices?  Promise them anything to get elected.  Dress up the candidate to look like something he/she is not.

    Remember what happened with Bush/Kerry and for that matter with Bush/Gore?  Rove and the neocons took a spoiled corporate nitwit, who knew nothing about running a country, and turned him into a "down-to-earth" guy who was "decisive" and "cared" about people and was "patriotic" and all that blather.  It was a complete fabrication!  Bush bought the ranch in Texas right before he started his campaign.  We know about his corporate and military past.  At the same time they made both Gore and Kerry into being cold, heartless, rich snobs who couldn't protect the US from those scary alien monsters that were ready to invade America.

    I guess my point Granny Doc is that it really doesn't do liberals any good to "stick to their principals" as far as campaigning is concerned , because the American public doesn't have that kind of attention span - everything nowadays has to be pretty white lies and spin packaged in short soundbites repeated over and over.  That's the only way to get to the general public.  Sad but true.

    •  remember that E. M. Forster story? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anna M, Granny Doc

      We've become like the character in that story, "The Machine Stops". So hooked into and dependent upon a wage-slave credit card economy and "infotainment" saturation environment that we're totally buffered from what's going on in the real world. As in the story, when the complex machinery that keeps everyone in their semi-conscious, pacified routine falls apart and people have to confront reality, it's going to be a very unpleasant shock.

    •  It IS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anna M, Granny Doc

      all about spin and scare and soundbites

      The only thing The People can do to wake up and save themselves is to tune out the Corporatized News and start thinking for themselves. And turn out at the ballot box in droves.

      Remember when The News was really news? I do. Once upon a time, we weren't quite so somnabulant. The advent of 'cable' teevee changed everything, and then Bill Clinton drove the last nail in the coffin with the signing of the Telecomm Act.

      Thanks a LOT, Bill! (/sarcasm)

      Reality leaves a lot to the imagination--John Lennon

      by o the umanity on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 10:17:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Candidate Matters (3+ / 0-)

    I am not campaining for any particular Dem., but I have made some observations.  I don't think all our candidates can be manipulated as you imply, but I agree some are more susceptable than others.

    Not to bash Hillary, but I have noticed that many of the establishment types climbing on to her band wagon and that she is graciously accepting their support.  I am sure they are not funding her without some assurance they will have a prominant seat at the table.  And giving her Husbands capitulation to the embedded conservative power structure I don't see any sign that she will be much different.  I think she feels she has learned a lesson from her attempt to take on the Insurance power structure at the beginning of Bill's first term.  She opposed them and got shot down.  Now I think she feels it is better to work with them than against them.  Big mistake!

    On the other hand there is John Edwards.  Nothing in his history suggests capitulation to conservative corporate power.  He has made his fortune by opposing it and beating it.  I think that's why they truly fear John, and why they and their friends in the MSM try to minimize John's chances as much as possible.  I think they truly fear that if John gets in, their embedded power structure will crumble.

    Lastly, with regard to Barrack.  I am not sure they know what to make of him yet.  They hear his speeches where he wants to bring all parties together and may be thinking that they will be a significant part of an Obama Presidency.  But I'm not sure that this is what Obama has in mind.  I don't think he intends to keep the status quo.

    Anyway, which canadidate we pick matters!  

  •  Historically, Liberals are warmongers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, Granny Doc, glaser

    Liberals believe that people are inheriently good and can govern themselves.

    The meaning of "liberalism" has changed a great deal in the last century and a half, but donot forget, please, thatit was the liberal establishment under Truman and FDR which created the warfare-welfare state, which methodically removed huge areas of government policymaking, esp. foreign policy, from any public scrutiny or control. This veil of secrecy under the pretext of security prevents any  democratic participation in policy making.

    The Cold War military buildup and its program of global interventionism was a liberal, Democratically-led undertaking. It is only in the past few decades that a militarized, aggressive foreign policy has become the property of conservatives and Republicans. Liberals invented it.

    Restore constitutional government in America. Impeach Bush and Cheney.

    by revbludge on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 09:27:41 AM PST

    •  A strong case can be made (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      revbludge, joe shikspack, glaser

      that the Cold War was the result of the MIC taking over the "training" of the new Presidents and convincing them that the arms race was the only way to go, in the name of "National Security".

      You want me to do WHAT? Not in these shoes!

      by Granny Doc on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 09:30:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A strong case could also be made (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack, Granny Doc

        that the Truman administration made permanent the WWII Military-Industrial Complex created by FDR's Manhattan Project. The atomic weapons project was generated by scientific research, not by industry.  This wartime project became a huge industrial weapons sector only because of FDR's executive orders to co-opt industries to build the plants, and a Congress that agreed to bankroll it. Most of the WWII MIC retooled for civilian production after the war--the atomic complex remained and became the core of the MIC.

        Truman's advisers who urged him to adopt NSC-68's provisions as policy were motivated primarily by concerns of security. Some of them were indeed highly placed business and financial officials, but such people have traditionally occupied cabinet and advisory positions in the US govt.

        You seem to want to let "liberals" or "liberalism" (or the Democrats) off the hook and hang the destruction of American democracy all on the business sector, or capitalism; my point is that historically this is a crude generalization and you cannot always attribute US officials' policy decisions to the wish to aggrandize business cronies. The doctrine of liberalism itself mutated under pressure of war and Cold War and became a rationale for the perpetual warfare state--a state that is a massively armored Leviathan on the outside and a welfare state within. The contadictions of this configuration have been undergoing a long, drawn-out implosion ever since I can remember.

        Restore constitutional government in America. Impeach Bush and Cheney.

        by revbludge on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 09:59:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not at all!! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          revbludge

          You seem to want to let "liberals" or "liberalism" (or the Democrats) off the hook and hang the destruction of American democracy all on the business sector, or capitalism

          I am, as always, asking questions about the power principles that determine US government policy, regardless of who holds the office.  I was juxtaposing two separate quotes and trying to gain some insight from, what seemed to me, to offer a potentially interesting view of the dynamic.

          You want me to do WHAT? Not in these shoes!

          by Granny Doc on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 10:04:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •   you HAVE raised interesting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Granny Doc

            questions. Your diaries are always good and interesting. I OTOH always seem to come off as more obnoxious and confrontational than I intended--can't imagine why...

            I will say in my favor that I never strapped my dog to the roof of a car.

            Merry Christmas!

            Restore constitutional government in America. Impeach Bush and Cheney.

            by revbludge on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 11:17:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Clinton as the Liberal/Progressive candidate?? (3+ / 0-)

    My memory of that election is not at all like Kurtz's. Clinton was running as a moderate, "electable" candidate with a Jimmy Carter-style non-racist appeal to southerners and evangelicals. That he took the establishment position on issues like NAFTA was not that surprising and he argued it well and convinced a lot of people (like me at the time) that maybe this was a good idea, that it shouldn't be rejected just because Bush-1 had gotten it rolling. I don't think he let Rubin or Greenspan strongarm him into any approach that wasn't somewhat in line with what he believed in to begin with.

    After Mondale did the 1984 version of Bob Dole's 1996 run (reward the loyal senior party figure with the nomination and let him flop), all the succeeding Democratic nomination fights through 2000 were dominated by candidates claiming to be "pro-business" New Democrats (as opposed to those nasty old union Democrats and promoters of regulation): Dukakis, Tsongas, Clinton, Kerrey, Gore, Bradley, even Gary Hart to some extent. The Democrats running on more populist or Old Democrat platforms like Gephardt, Harkin, Jackson and Simon were written off as unelectable because they were "too liberal", although between them they attracted large numbers of primary votes. (They may have been unelectable but probably not for the reason given.)

    Now the only Old Democrat type candidates in the race are Kucinich and Edwards in his current incarnation. Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Obama and Richardson are all from the New Democrat heritage, so the odds of any of them bucking the Wall St. masters of the universe are pretty low. I think Dodd and Richardson talk a better game on specific issues like the Constitution and the Iraq War than the others do, but how different they would be from the others once elected is hard to say. With Edwards it's also difficult to figure out how much his programs once in office would match his current rhetoric.

  •  Ah that explains the anti-Hillary by conservative (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    thinkers.
    She's seen all this before and they're scared that she'll have ways around all of them.
    At least that's a guess.

    A pity we don't have the votes to defend the Constitution.-me

    by RElland on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 09:59:29 AM PST

  •  This is a major reason I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    Support Obama. Because he has the strongest position on media reform, campaign reform and lobbying reform. Unless we get that kind of reform we will always be stabbed in the back.

  •  locke them all up and throw away the key... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Granny Doc

    but seriously, we (the people) have some other options than working inside the system. we may have to start using them.

    we (the people) are way ahead of our "leaders" on a number of issues, especially ending the iraq war. in the long run, a major gulf between the government and the people on policy is unsustainable. either the people or the government will have to assert their authority.

    i say that we (the people) assert our authority rather than letting the government rule over us.

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