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Tuesday, June 06, 2006
This week is “motivate the base month” in the United States Senate. Republican voters are not exactly brimming with enthusiasm for their party leaders these days, so, with elections lurking in the shadows, the Republican leadership in the Senate has scheduled debates and votes this week and next on three “base” issues, gay marriage, the estate tax and flag-burning. Gay marriage is first, and it has no chance of passing, but it will create a contemporary record that voters might remember when they go to the polls. And, it could inspire some largely uninspired voters to vote when they otherwise might not. At least that’s what the party leaders hope – that a push for conservative issues will overcome growing antipathy, and some hostility, among usual Republican voters. Next week, the Senate will take up a permanent repeal of the estate tax. That too won’t pass, but some congress watchers think it might produce a compromise that will permanently increase the exemption. Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, who wants to be president, is proposing an $8 million exemption that would be indexed so it rises with inflation. The Senate has failed to pass the flag-burning amendment many times, and won’t pass it this time either. The cynics among us think less, not more, of the Republican leaders for using the Senate chambers as a “get out the vote” forum. Conservative activist Richard Viguerie, says the votes won’t make up for what he considers a pattern of wayward behavior. “No conservative is going to take this as a change of heart or as a newfound belief in conservative principles.” Bear in mind that Virguerie is a persistently grumpy conservative, who is never satisfied. He wasn’t even happy with Ronald Reagan. There are some Republican voters who, even though they are unhappy with today’s party leaders for bloated spending, and are growing weary of the Iraq war, immigration problems and gas prices, have core religious, patriotic, and economic beliefs that caused them to identify with the Republican Party. In politics, it’s often not what you accomplish, but what you stand for that counts
posted by Jack Mercer @ 6/06/2006 08:33:00 AM  
  • At 6/06/2006 08:39:00 AM, Blogger Smorgasbord said…

    In politics, it’s often not what you accomplish, but what you stand for that counts.

    I love that line. How true. You would think that what one stands for would be evidenced by what one at least tries to accomplish, but, alas, not with the Bush administration.

  • At 6/06/2006 10:37:00 AM, Blogger Helen Losse said…

    Aren't most conseravatives
    "grumpy" with their reactionary rhetoric about the "good old days," when we had values? (Anyone else think Jim Crow was one of those values?) Seems to me anyone with "religious and patriotic beliefs" could see beyond the "economic" ones that always, always favor the rich who made the laws and abandon the GOP in favor of something more inclusive. Progessive seems like such a good idea until you meet some of the hate-filled progressives. Maybe I'm a liberal after all. I sure don't want to go backwards.

  • At 6/06/2006 03:23:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    Hi Smorg,

    I think you and I had the same thought when posting on these issues. I will mention though that the Bush Administration has been consistent from the beginning. President Bush defined himself as a global socialist in the beginning and has demonstrated an amazing consistency in such in both his domestic and foreign policy.

    Helen, always good to hear from you here at the Snipet!

    I think one of the problems today is that the labels we use are no longer descriptive of what they once represented. For example an American political conservative was largely about small government and personal liberty--a fundamental belief that this nation should be about opportunity, not enforced outcome. What is being called "conservative" today by many really isn't--a more accurate term would be what you used: "reactionary". Also, as the terms "liberal" and "conservative" are relative to the time period and governmental structure in which they are referenced, they are often slippery terms to use. For example, many contemporary American liberals are libertine on social issues, but fascist/socialistic on political ones. Contemporary American conservatives are largely fascist/socialistic on social issues and libertine on political ones. Both are in error, and neither subscribe to the originalist view of government as given by the architects.

    There are few true originalist/conservatives in existence today.

    Now on to some specifics within your comments:

    Not sure I understand about economic laws always favor the rich. Commerce has always benefited those who engage in it--it is a an economic law that can only be negated through tampering(usually through government oversight). Economics does not happen without a transaction (seller/buyer) and it is naturally the business people who benefit by engaging in commerce. On the other hand, if you are saying that we do not engage in the redistribution of wealth in this country, that is truly a misconception--84% of all income taxes are paid by the 25% top wage earners, and the top 50% wage earners pay 96.54% of all income taxes. If one breaks down the spending of our government, the largest expenditure is on health and human services (welfare). If we did not have the rich paying the majority of taxes in the United States we would not have the money for social spending that we do. Of course, Helen I may be misinterpreting what you were referring to.

    Also, I think the GOP has lost its way and become the "inclusive" party you are referring to. They have increased social spending exponentially--(ie. spending more on aids research in Africa, domestic spending on child and women services, and foreign aid than any government known to America). True, they have alienated a few fringe groups like the 3% of the population who is homosexual, but they never had or will have the black vote (whose voices and representative politic are essentially my acquaintance Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton), the feminist women, whose rhetoric is largely controlled by NOW and the abortion agenda, or the utopian who thinks that the only answer to man's problem is government(which includes everything from the public education lobby, unions, government bureaucracies, etc.).

    Helen, I tend to avoid these labels anymore because they have lost their meaning. "Liberal" under fascism would be good--as it means one wants to progress away from fascism. "Liberal" under democracy is a bad thing because it means one is interested in taking human government toward socialism/communism then fascism (natural progression if one studies Stalin, Plato, etc.). On the other hand conservative under fascism would be bad but under democracy good. Since these terms are relative, they are not very good descriptors--and you as a master wordsmith recognize the importance of that. :)

    In summary, it is wise to have little or no confidence in either of our main parties as they are essentially the same dog struggling over the same bone.

    I know I have rambled but hope this helps.


  • At 6/06/2006 03:51:00 PM, Blogger Helen Losse said…

    Thanks, Jack. It did help. In some ways it clarified what I already knew. 1) Labels lead to false identites. 2) Neither major political party has it right. Politically charged words like "facist" and "socialist" often drive us away from some good ideas. And we mix it all up, confusing politics with ecomonics.
    But what no one ever says is this: Our nation has had, in succession, 43 white men as its president. Isn't it time for a change?

  • At 6/06/2006 04:04:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    Helen, having taught both economics and political science, I tend to use the terms fascist and socialist in a very clinical way. I think that the problem, as you point out, is that many people use these terms as insults--this is wrong.

    Also you are absolutely right about people confusing politics with economics. One of my lectures used to be on the improper usage of the term "capitalism"--a purely economic system which cannot be compared to political systems encompassing social, political and economic policy like socialism, communism, fascism, etc. Helen, you are one smart cookie to recognize the difference! :)

    As to you're last statement, I don't believe in discriminating based on race. I'm not a racist :)

    Take care!


  • At 6/06/2006 04:16:00 PM, Blogger Smorgasbord said…

    Could you provide me with some specific examples of how Bush "defined himself as a global socialist" in the beginning? - just for future reference, if it's not too much trouble.


  • At 6/06/2006 04:29:00 PM, Blogger Helen Losse said…

    I had a woman in mind.

  • At 6/06/2006 04:29:00 PM, Blogger Helen Losse said…


  • At 6/06/2006 04:42:00 PM, Blogger Helen Losse said…

    So your doctorate is in polical science, economics, what, Jack?

  • At 6/06/2006 05:07:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…


    Helen, I got caught up on the word "white" --> big grin :)

    I guess I would have to say I'm not sexist either. Ha! (Don't mind me, Helen--just trying to be funny:)

    Smorg, I'll get it started:

    President Bush's first political thrust was something called, "compassionate conservatism" (two concepts that are mutually exclusive). When defining it, President Bush said that the federal government is going to be "strong and active" in involving itself in the lives of Americans. Everything he did fit into this from his increased federal spending on local education, to his "faith-based" initiative to fund local religious charities, proposals for marriage counseling and teaching responsible fatherhood, etc. All of it adding up to the death of libertarianism. Bush said on his campaign trail: "It will be government that directs help to the inspired and the effective" something that resonated with neoconservatives who are essentially in favor of government power. Bush went on to say, "Those who steer the boat have far more power than those who row it (speaking of the federal government not needing to do everything, just control it) "Governments that focus on steering actively shape their communities, make policy decisions. They put more social and economic institutions into motion. They make sure other institutions are delivering services and meeting communities's needs. Now, either President Bush is naive and doesn't realize that federal funding (money is the power) will be determined politically and not by merit--or that eve if it were by merit the recipient organizations would be corrupted by growing dependence upon federal funds. (always strings attached).

    One of the scariest things he said everyone seemed to miss: "Prosperity must have a purpose. Prosperity uncoupled from purpose is simple materialism." Marx would have given his eyeteeth to make this quote--but wait, he probably did say it--or something extremely similar. Talk about moral legislation--the bulwark of socialism and its aims.

    Other than standing up to the Kyoto Treaty (psuedo-science gone awry) and miniscule tax cuts, President Bush has done little or nothing that can be called conservative in any form or fashion. Smorg, keep in mind, that government legislation concerning marriage (the current ban amendment on gay marriage) is socialism at its finest--it just so happens that it doesn't fit many liberals current emotional/moral state.

    Conservatives were lulled to sleep, not listening during these speeches, so caught up with their own agenda and its promotion that they didn't realize that the doctrine of the federal government having an active role in everyday American life was far from a conservative, libertine or democratic ideal but a full vestiture in socialism.

    A good example of this is education. In 1994 when the GOP took control they platformed a call for the abolishment of the Department of Education. (There is nothing in the Constitution about education and the federal funding or direction of it--education being the responsibility of state and local governments). With the advent of "No child left behind" fueled by "compassionate conservatism" federal spending on education has exploded--(see the headline "GOP Outspends Democrats on Education"?)

    As I mentioned to Helen earlier, social spending has increased exponentially under the Bush doctrine and under GOP control. There are many more examples...

    Smorg, I really hate that I lost all my articles at ebloggy. The Snipet started there and I had written a veritable book on the topic going into the 2000 election as a warning to conservatives to listen to what was being said.

    That is just domestically. I will be back for additional comment concerning foreign policy.


  • At 6/06/2006 06:03:00 PM, Blogger Helen Losse said…

    And the moral is keep paper copies of everything that you care about and lots of things you don't. Also, make your most brilliant statements on your own blog, so you won't get sued later for quoting yourself! ;-)

  • At 6/06/2006 07:36:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    ha! love it!

    to date i can't ever think of anything i said that would be classified as "brilliant". there are a lot of people out there but i don't hear them quoting jack all that often.

    have a good eve, all


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