Wednesday, August 11, 2004

uniter, not a divider

Today the President rolls out an ad campaign that pledges to bring our enemies to justice before they hurt us again. About time.

THE TWO CAMPAIGNS:

I took a quick look at the homepages of the two campaigns. Bush's has Kerry prominently displayed -

1) noting that he turned his back on America's seniors by opposing the first-ever prescription drug benefit (not noting that he opposed the republican bill because it was a boon for big pharm companies and did not allow the govt (the largest purchaser of medication) to negotiate group discounts with suppliers, which would have led to much more help to our seniors he "turned his back on.").

2) It has a Kerry "gas tax calculator" but doesn't mention that this was an idea he suggested over a decade ago, and when it was fully explored he decided it wasn't a good idea (I guess brainstorming is bad - changing your mind when all the facts are in is bad - and claiming your opponent holds positions that he does not is good).

3) It has a "Kerry travel-tracker" that purports to explain why Kerry is bad for anyone anywhere.

4) It has a link to the "Kerry Media Center" which is an entire page full of attacks on Kerry, with numerous essays such as "Deliver Us From Evil" by Sean Hannity. There is a "Kerry flip-flops" link. It is very anti-Kerry. Of course, if you think Kerry is "evil" then how could you be for him?

Bush isn't running FOR something, he isn't running on his record (who would?) but he is running AGAINST something. John Kerry.

Kerry, the "anybody but Bush" candidate, has

1) one reference to Bush on his homepage. One. A "rapid response center" titled "Bush-Cheney wrong for America" that, instead of attacking the President, is a response to Bush's attack ads and misleading campaign statements. Kerry's homepage is full of plans, proposals, and is all about Kerry, not about Bush. The Rapid Response Center doesn't attack the President's character but his policies and his inconsistencies. It does not call the President names. Kerry's website is not anti-Bush, but pro-Kerry. It is full of slogans like "A stronger America" and "A Remarkable Promise."

I think that this shows the main difference between the two campaigns.

One defines itself by what it is against - gay marriage, Kerry, etc., and stereotypes Kerry and all democrats as "the wild-eyed left" who are socialists, soft on terrorism, less than "real" Americans. In short, Kerry isn't like "us," he is "out of the mainstream." He is scary Kerry. Be afraid.

The other defines itself by what it is for - equal rights, social justice, a national defense based on reality and not ideology. In short - let's see what we can do together. Quit being afraid and take action!

Bush seems to be running on "I'm not Kerry." Kerry is running on "here are my plans, let's get the nation back on track."

Just my opinion. Vote for whomever you want. We will get the government we deserve - of course, when I was a kid getting what I "deserved" was sometimes a whipping because I made bad choices.

I think Kerry should quote Reagan: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Well, are you? Oh, I know - it is all the terrorists' fault. Fine. Just one more question: Where's Osama?

11 comments:

ALa said...

This is a REALLY misleading post...not like you TWD! Both websites have almost exactly the same space dedicated to the other candidate --the only difference is Bush obviously has a better webmaster and a more aesthetically pleasing site. Bush has the Kerry media center where you can research his votes in the senate and Kerry has the 'Bush is wrong for America center' where he says that he wouldn't do anything different just better. If you go into both pages the Kerry one scrolls down WAY further than Bush's...TSK TSK TWD.... I know you guys are freakin' out --but that's no reason to start being Clintonesque...

vrangel said...

Choice is clear.
If elected Kerry will:

-bring back dot com bubble
-find everyone a rich wife
-take Osama for a ride in Ted Kennedy's car

If Bush is reelected:

-your dot com shares are still worthless
-same poor old wife
-Osama discovers deepest cave in the world

Vote for a change !

artbyruth said...

"I think that this shows the main difference between the two campaigns."

Uh, and the fact that Bush has 2 web sites: one for the Bush Campaign....and the other is www.whitehouse.gov which has TONS of his accomplishments and plans for the country's future.

"Are you better off than 4 years ago?"

4 years ago my hubby and I had tons of debt and my hubby just got laid off a well paying job.

Now we have NO DEBT and he has a great job, plus we are both only 2 semesters away from finishing our degrees and we are saving for a house.

Yes, we are better off than we ever were before.

My son and I just saw the President here in Phoenix...it was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

He is the best. It was a great speech and 14,000 people were there celebrating America.

He has my vote.

ALa said...

P.S. Have you heard anything about the bar yet?
Waiting anxiously...

91ghost said...

I enjoyed your comment on CB's site regarding the SF guys calling in the artillery on the Taliban...that was hilarious.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

TWD, I often feign shock at seeing a lawyer fall victim to gladhanding sloganeering and swooning at the emotional impact of maudlin speeches about "social justice", ad nauseam. After all, discourse about the law is supposed to be founded on Reason (which you probably understand why I capitalize if my suspicions of your readings are correct), and fallacy is easy prey for objections in litigation. Badgering the witness, leading, and so on.

But what I've found in social circles where my brother (a public finance attorney), and two friends (both commercial real estate attorneys) all navigate, is a string of stories where the poor soul embarking on a legal career did so driven after that quixotic windmill of "social justice" and to "right all wrongs". And then they step into James Carville's dialectic pit, and intellectually speaking, it's all over from there.

Upon getting stamps with the Clintonian "x" upon the forehead (or in the right wrist, so I hear), the lawyer is expected to view all Republicans as "bad for the country" (primarily because they support tort reform), and all Democrats as "the only hope of the nation" (because, predictably, they support anything at all that takes a jab at any productive commercial operation).

And so, in a world where I would have thought logic would prevail, it falls by the wayside. The knee jerks to leap onto the bandwagon and the lungs shout the appeals to convention, but the mind steers clear of a being equal to a and non-a not being equal to a. BUT, because of the enhanced reading level and erudition, lawyers still make for excellent discussion partners, even in areas of disagreement, or perhaps, especially so.

With that introduction, I will say that I support neither Bush/Republicans, nor Kerry/Democrats, and so while my discourse with you will appear to come from the viewpoint of a Republican, don't fall into such an illusion. I criticize Democrats, not because I am a Republican, but because I criticize Democrats. Vice versa for Republicans.

My minor complaints against the two mainstream parties are Legion, but the core issues are:

1) With Democrats, it's always a challenge to convince them that robbing from future generations to subsidize the lifestyle of the lazy, is not a good idea.

2) With Republicans, a similar challenge exists to try to convince them to back away from ridiculous social restriction efforts, corporate welfare, and military spending that is totally disconnected from the real exigencies of national defense.

And I may as well throw in:

3) With Libertarians, a challenge persists to convince them that not all restrictions on immigration or trade are necessarily deleterious; nor are some forms of governmental regulation of industry; nor taxation (with proper representation).

In your assessment of the bright shining Kerry camp on a hill, a Camelot standing against the Saxon hordes of Republicans, where is one to begin? Should I launch on a critique of how you say it's a "personal attack" when Bush criticizes Kerry's VOTING RECORD? No, that may have to wait for later. Or your glowing commendation of the Kerry camp's self-restriction away from the ad hominem fallacy towards Bush, while moveon.org gleefully publishes comparisons of Bush to Hitler, or Democrat luminaries are seen hugging Michael Moore and seating him at the right hand of the very godlike Jimmy Carter? Tempting, but here too: no.

I think where I will begin is your defense of flip-flops, because it's your most clever use of the language, and may lead to loftier forms of debate than simply the guttural ullulations of Springeresque campaign-year debates that normally unfold between partisans.

I must say I admire your facility for turning vice into virtue, by extolling the capability Kerry has to quite simply change his story, and to shift, chameleon-like, to fit new situations by totally reworking his core foundation of belief, and sell out what he once thought was right and embrace whatever New Clothes are being worn by the ideological Emporer. But I am curious: when one has spent a lifetime on a veritable crusade seeking higher taxes in all possible forms, in a way that suggests one is losing sleep late at night at the thought that the middle class might possibly be going untaxed in some area, how is one able to stop such banter on a dime and talk the "New Democrat" talk, without angering the Progressive base of the party? I know how Clinton did it: by charming his way into the wives' pants of his fellow party members, and using the power of the henpeck to train all the progressives up to the new Doublespeak. But Kerry is not a charmer, so how does he manage it? Is it, perhaps, Ted Kennedy's influence as a mentor?

I am in a sorry state now, because where I thought I was going to argue, I ended by simply asking a question out of curiosity. Maybe more contentious posts can come later, after a few initial ones to wear in the pistons.

this we'll defend said...

CigSmok: I don't think I've fallen victim, but if I have PLEASE rescue me. I attended law school with those who want social justice - and thus hate capitalism as if the two were somehow mutually exclusive. It's easy to do, though - all you have to do is ignore the weight of history and pretend not to notice which nations have the highest standard of living. Oh - and they usually have never worked and their education is paid for by mommy and daddy. Couldn't stand them. I'd love to right all wrongs, but Reason leads me to examine the cost-benefits of a course of action - rent control, for existence, benefits only those who already have a place to live while discouraging the production of new places to live for others. As a result more poor people don't have a place to live - and rent control is championed by those who claim to be most concerned with the poor. No, I don't think I've fallen prey. But I understand and agree with your point about those who have. They have blinders on and don't think the issues through completely. And if you try discussing it with them you are "part of the system, man." Well, I like our system. I think it is the best one yet - not perfect, just better than everything else ever tried. And the road to hell is paved with good intentions. After all, the original communists wanted social justice - which is of course a good idea - but their methods were "unsound." (I love Apocaplyse Now).

I don't view all republicans, or even most republicans, as bad for the nation. Or democrats. I view Bush/Cheney as failures because I don't agree with their policies, decisions, and most of their goals. I also don't think they represent the mainstream of the Republican party but are far to the right. The party stands for fiscal conservatism, and Bush destroys the surplus and runs up record debt in only 3 years. NO, I don't view ALL republicans as bad - but yes, I don''t like or agree with Bush.

Tort reform is an easy target, but it is much deeper an issue than the simply "McDonald's got sued for giving a lady hot coffee." Any kind of abuse of a system or a "get-rich quick at other's expense" lawsuit is wrong, but tort law serves a vital purpose in our society. Maybe we can discuss it sometime on another posting. Bottom line: innocents shouldn't be forced to pay settlements or risk ruinious lawsuits - that is extortion, and those who harm others through negligence or strict liability product production shouldn't avoid paying for the harm they have caused.

To claim that Democrats hate productive operations is not what I would expect from a bright guy like you. Don't fall prey to the Fox News characterization of the Democratic party as the Loony Left, all hippies and anti-capitalists. We have a socialist party, and I don't belong to it because I don't agree with it. We have a communist party and the same is true. We have a democratic party that I do belong to, so comparisons to the other parties are not accurate. The longest economic expansion in US history is not all the work of Clinton, as the right correctly points out - but it wasn't IN SPITE of him either. He did great things for our economy, made good decisions, and we all benefited. That "anti-business" claim is tired and should be retired. Logic should prevail.

I criticize Democrats, not because I am a Republican, but because I criticize Democrats. Vice versa for Republicans.

Your core issues against the two major parties:

1) With Democrats, it's always a challenge to convince them that robbing from future generations to subsidize the lifestyle of the lazy, is not a good idea.
I disagree with that characterization. Welfare reform came about under Clinton. I don't and my party doesn't subscribe to Huey Long populism. A free lunch equals a non-productive economy. Capitalism is good. The lazy should go hungry. The economy is not a zero-sum game - Bill Gates isn't rich because he oppressed others and took from them, he is rich because he created wealth and should be admired. The leaders of my party and my party platform seek to give more opportunity to Americans, not subsidize the lazy. As for robbing from future generations - tax cuts for the wealthy and the largest deficit in history do just that. They steal from our kids who will be stuck with the tab. Which is why my party (and myself) want Bush out of office.


2) With Republicans, a similar challenge exists to try to convince them to back away from ridiculous social restriction efforts, corporate welfare, and military spending that is totally disconnected from the real exigencies of national defense.

I agree that social restrictions (Gay Marriage amendment, for example) are wrong. As is corporate welfare and military spending that doesn't help our national defense. Right on. But, I have to say, it is not an issue confined to Republicans (although Bush is the worst offender ever). Dems might be against social restrictions - but tend to be pro-affirmative action (which, again showing I am anything but a knee-jerk liberal, I am against because it isn't fair to anybody). Corporate welfare is wrong - unless of course it benefits constituents from a democratic district (which is why corporations contribute to both parties). And military spending has often been wasteful regardless of administrations. Defense contractors don't lobby based on party affiliation - they lobby both parties, and strategically spread production out in politician's districts regardless of party. Southern California is primarily democratic, with large pools of republicans in Orange County and San Diego, yet all of Southern California contains defense contractors. No accident. The republicans aren't to blame for the ills you cite - but Bush should be help accountable for those that occur on his watch.

3) With Libertarians, a challenge persists to convince them that not all restrictions on immigration or trade are necessarily deleterious; nor are some forms of governmental regulation of industry; nor taxation (with proper representation).

True, but sometimes they make sense and propose things that only later make into the platforms of the other two parties.

You say: "Should I launch on a critique of how you say it's a "personal attack" when Bush criticizes Kerry's VOTING RECORD?" I never did say that. Voting records are fair game - twisting the truth of the voting records are distortions and not fair game. Big difference. Did he vote against the $87 billion? Yes. Did he fail to support funding for our troops - no, not at all, and to suggest otherwise is dishonest. But try and explain the mechanics of what took place and the right-wing calls out "flip-flop." So everything, including complicated issues that require "nuance," must be considered in light of what kind of 30-second sound bite may result? Not they way to run the railroad if you ask me.

Ad hominem attacks are wrong, and my posts seem to be based on facts and not personal attacks.

Moveon.org did show a video that compared Bush to Hitler - as part of a contest in which hundreds of videos were entered and the public chose the winner of "Bush in 60 seconds." When the outcry began they apologized and removed it. Then the Bush campaign showed the "hitler" part of the video in an anti-Kerry commercial - after they had demanded and recieved an apology from Moveon.org. We should strive to get the facts straight. The truth is that moveon made a mistake, admitted it, and then the Bush campaign did the exact same thing.

Michael Moore is a firebrand, no doubt. Is he 100% wrong about everything, or is that an ad hominem attack I detect? Just because the guy asking the questions is a fat sack of crap doesn't mean the questions shouldn't be asked. And Swiftvets seems to be just as bad as Moore, yet the President won't condemn them. I'm not saying two wrongs make a right. I'm saying two wrongs make two wrongs.

As for flip-flops, a wise man once said that "when the facts change I change my mind. What do you do sir?"

You say "I must say I admire your facility for turning vice into virtue, by extolling the capability Kerry has to quite simply change his story, and to shift, chameleon-like, to fit new situations by totally reworking his core foundation of belief, and sell out what he once thought was right and embrace whatever New Clothes are being worn by the ideological Emporer." I've never heard a better example of the way Bush changed the reasons for the war from WMDs to 9/11 to national liberation. He shifted, chameleon-like. Same for the tax cuts that he swore would not result in a deficit, and then only a small, temporary deficit, and then a huge deficit but it will restart the economy and pay for itself in the long run, to "deficits don't matter." Masterful.

You say: "But I am curious: when one has spent a lifetime on a veritable crusade seeking higher taxes in all possible forms, in a way that suggests one is losing sleep late at night at the thought that the middle class might possibly be going untaxed in some area, how is one able to stop such banter on a dime and talk the "New Democrat" talk, without angering the Progressive base of the party? I know how Clinton did it: by charming his way into the wives' pants of his fellow party members, and using the power of the henpeck to train all the progressives up to the new Doublespeak. But Kerry is not a charmer, so how does he manage it? Is it, perhaps, Ted Kennedy's influence as a mentor?"

That sounds pretty partisan to me. :) But that is ok, because as you can tell I love to debate with smart people and you obviously are one.

I have to go play with my son, but I want to engage in "more contentious debates" later. After all, if politics is the art of compromise neither of us will get our way, and that is probably a good thing. And debate should lead to better ideas and solutions all around. After all, the reason we have a two-party system is so that the party out of power can challenge the party in power, and ensure they don't get too comfortable. It helps prevent tryanny.

That is why I don't view the Republican party as the enemy, but as loyal Americans who think differently than me. I can detest Bush and his policies without disagreeing with everything the right-wing says or does. They are sometimes right. and the left is sometimes wrong. And America is better off when the debate is good, well-informed, and civil.

vrangel said...

And why do you write all the good stuff in comments section ?
Accidental visitor will read lame original post and leave, never to return.

In case of McDonalds it turned out that low grade cheap coffee tastes somewhat decent at near boiling temp. Of course after it cools down it tastes like crap.
So scolded old lady had a point. Doesn't mean she deserved to be paid millions for that .

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I must admit you've made it more difficult for me to find points of disagreement in the way you clarify your positions, but I will put on my nit-picking hat and go back through and find reasons to contend.

Before I do I'll voice consternation at your not defending the smarmy black-turtlenecked trust-fund-spenders. I had such ordnance saved for that demographic, and you'd gone and stolen my fire! ;)

I do understand that frivolous lawsuits are not always as frivolous as they seem--and they certainly didn't seem frivolous to the jury that ruled on them. One lawyer I met at a cocktail party even went into copious detail about the McDonald's coffee lawsuit, and how that had spun out of control into a lawsuit when initially the plaintiff just wanted compensation for medical bills, and the temperature of the coffee was known (by the plaintiff's husband as a McDonald's employee) to have been set at dangerously high levels by the corporation because they get more coffee out of the grounds that way (ever the penny-pinchers, those corporations!) And then on appeal McD's got it reduced from millions to about $600K--about enough to cover the contingency fees, the medical bills, and time lost from work. Yes, I am no stranger to the whole dynamic of tort suits. What I was expressing about them was that it's due to tort reforms proposed by Republicans (not by me but by Republicans), that lawyers tend to oppose Republicans. It's a matter of livelihood for "captiari ambulanses" (which is probably slaughtering the Latin!)

On the matter of Democrats and their aversion to productive enterprise, I think there is a little more contention here. I will grant that Clinton was not a sworn enemy to business, but you can't take Clinton's talk in a vacuum and ignore the general walk of the party. And on taxes, Kerry's own walk diverges from his talk. He voted against cuts in 2001 and and 2003 which put money in MY pocket, and I'm no "millionaire". My income's on the order of $90K, which for my cost of living is not that much. So $90K being less than $200K, what do we have here, simply a matter of Kerry's reacting to "changing facts"? Was there a time when $90K was MORE than $200K? I'm asking here. Does he anticipate gravity will change along with arithmetic, anytime soon? Perhaps more importantly WHEN (not if but WHEN) he gets in office and suddenly changes his mind about limiting his tax increases to those making over $200K, and redefines "rich" as anyone not below the poverty level, am I supposed to be in awe of his intelligence because of his ability to react to "changing facts"?

No, I think the "anti-business" claim remains, with the burden of proof being on the Taxation Death Star to show they are not what they have been in recent decades.

For Democrats to come to me and promise me they're not going to assault me with taxes....again....it sounds uncannily like the mumblings of an abusive husband promising his battered wife that if she'll ONLY drop the charges, he won't ever hit her again. I for one am, shall we say, "skeptical".

Good to see that you mentioned logic should prevail. Are we agreed on the premise that $90K is less than $200K?

You describe Clinton's welfare reform as if he eliminated all handouts to all who refused to take jobs, and that's just not the case. He dragged the nation into three government shutdowns over it because he wanted MORE handouts to go out, than what Gingrich did. Fortunately for Clinton, he had the news media in his pocket and was able to paint Gingrich like the villain in the matter. Those of us who aren't swayed, robot-like, by the subliminal commands of Peter Jennings, did not exactly fall for it, though.

I agree with you that tax cuts for the wealthy rob future generations. But at the same time, raising the nominal tax rate without removing shelters and loopholes, for said wealthy, isn't going to be much of a windfall for future generations either. Naturally it's easy for limousine liberals to bleat out "tax me tax me TAX me" from the safety of a creator/donor trust, or a Foundation whereby they can hug a few trees each day and then live luxuriously tax-free. Pull those shelters out from over them and THEN see how eager they are to be taxed. If Bush were smart he'd give them what they claim to want, but do it effectively (remove the shelters) rather than just generate hot Kerrian air about it.

But then I would never accuse Bush of being "smart". ;)

Point taken on Democratic corporate welfare. I guess it's just that on the D-side of the Official Mainstream Party, they generate more chatter about eliminating it. I suppose I should also be less quick to accuse them of ever walking their talk.

Libertarians are actually closest to my own set of beliefs, and I have the fewest objections to their world-view, so it is likely that if I opt not to write myself in (grin), I'll vote Badnarik, ignoring that the word "Bad" is the first part of his name.

On the $87 billion, are you saying he did NOT vote for it before non-voting, non-against it? Or that he was only lying about what he did half the time? Or what?

Flip-flops are not limited to the $87 billion. See above for his tax voting record versus what he's dishing out as empty promises this election year.

The Hitler ad. You know, you'd think that if the Sorosean Democratic Party (and let's face it, he who pays the piper is calling the tune this season) were sincere in its claim that they're not all about the Bush/Hitler accusation, that they wouldn't select the Hitler video as a FINALIST in the "Bush in 60 Seconds" contest. You're acting as if it merely slipped in and Soros' minions weren't even aware of it. And Soros himself made Bush/Hitler comparisons in his Washington Post interview on 11/11/2003, so what are his moveon drones to THINK? Of COURSE such comparisons are valid, because the Big Man himself made them.

Swiftboat Vets are just a matter of the Karma of lying: an eye for an eye, and a lie for a lie. Kerry says all his fellow veterans were war criminals, and now some of them are returning fire. But I must admit, the vets have him on the ropes at the moment over the pecadillo of claiming to have been in Cambodia on Nixon's orders at a time when Nixon wasn't even President. Maybe the Komrade Kerry Kamp can sit down with the Swiftboat Vets and work out a compromise deal: the Vets cease and desist pulling the threads out of Kerry's dime-store war hero costume, and Kerry returns the favor by announcing that in fact, no, not ALL of his former comrades were war criminals. A good group hug could be had by all.

Point taken in all your attacks on Bush. Good thing I don't profess to defend Bush, and explicitly stated I don't support him.

Perhaps only in Europe are people sophisticated enough to understand the possibility of more than two candidates running for an office, and each of them have something unique and valid to say.

riceburner147 said...

CigSmok re: "the guttural ullulations of Springeresque campaign-year debates that normally unfold between partisans." Wow, talk about "lofty use of the language" that is an impressive sentence (part). Do ya figure that bruce knows the meaning of Ululation ?

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I mispelled "ululation".

So much for my trying to look "all educated and stuff".

When I play with the language as I do, it's not to try to look "superior" in any way, but more to have fun with it, and see what sorts of pretty colors the word-bombs can make while impacting, not unlike the tank ordnance fired by the character "Oddball" in the movie "Kelly's Heroes".