"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, July 14, 2006

Open Letter from an Aspiring Democratic Party Voter

Dear Sirs and Madams In Charge:


You might have noticed that there's been a recent flare-up of violence on and from the borders of the state of Israel. I've noted many of you voicing some concern. Good on ya, mates.

Now, it's become a matter of faith among you that Bush Lies. I would not presume to interfere with anyone's faith. However, there's a whole non-governmental world of information out there for the serious consumer of democracy.

Looking for it is every citizen's duty, not to mention every congressmember's. If you don't, then shut up, and for godsakes, don't vote.

And if the Democratic Party can actually separate itself from the world left, which is entirely hostile to Israel and unwilling to face up to Islamism, then I could actually vote Democrat sometime soon.

But the left, and the (D) party itself, has been MIA in world affairs since Lyndon Johnson concocted that whole Vietnam thing. They have freed not a single soul from murder and tyranny, with the exception of Bill Clinton going into Kosovo (which was a cool thing, and done without the approval of that friend-of-tyrants the UN, I might add). Meanwhile, since Vietnam, it's been the (formerly isolationist) American right, aided by the alternately conservative and center-left UK and several other cool countries, that has been instrumental in freeing tens if not hundreds of millions.

My Dear (D)'s:

Are you leftists or are you members of the Democratic Party of Woodrow Wilson, Frankin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Jack Kennedy? Because I honestly don't know anymore.

The left sat out the last quarter of the 20th century in the fight against tyranny and was always pretty useless except for helping to install collectivist tyrannies over autocratic ones. But before that, the Democratic Party of these here United States was freedom's fiercest warrior. I think what Peter Beinart's been trying to say is that the Democratic Party could lead the entire world against tyranny and murder, as it proudly did once, because the world left would lose its ideological and partisan excuses for its own impotence.

But first you gotta get real. 9-11 was in 2001. None of this is about Bush or even Iraq. It's not even about Israel. The Sudanese genocide is Islamicist-based. The largest non-Western democracy in the world is India, and they suffer deeply at its hands as well, as y'all might have noticed the other day. And the Norks are a threat to world peace only as far as they help these guys.

Ignore what the Bushies say. Read up on your own. Pick up a Qur'an. Find out who Sayyid Qutb was. Find the backstory on the siege of Vienna. Join the real reality-based community. I'm starting to think Beinart's right, and it's why I object to the prevailing argument that all the left has the power to do is whine about Gitmo and the privacy rights of phone calls. Not that we don't need moral watchdogs, but what I'm hoping is that the claims are true that the Democratic Party (and liberalism) are not synonymous with "the left," which is by its own account capable only of protest, not action.

Until you advocate some action, any action, to liberate human beings from murder and tyranny, I must continue to vote for the other side. But it could be Beinart's right and that y'all are the only ones who can do what needs to be done, if only with well-chosen, sincere, and passionate words. The world, mankind, and civilization need you right now, today. There are millions of lives at stake here, and you can be the difference. You are called now not to "goodness," but greatness.

If you accept that call, I will vote for you. Promise.

14 comments:

Francis W. Porretto said...

Don't hold your breath while you wait, Tom. The political dynamics of the thing are quite definitely adverse to the preferred outcome.

First, the Democrats would have to be willing to agree with the Republicans on the most important public issue of our times, on which the Republicans have been right for years, while the Democrats have screamed and whined from the sidelines. Second, they'd have to stare down "international opinion." Third, they'd have to find some way to alter their position without admitting to having been tragically wrong for a number of years. Fourth, they'd have to let go of Vietnam. Fifth, they'd have to accept that the American military is a wholesome and useful thing, and that exertions of military force aren't evil per se.

I could go on, but I think you see my point. The Democrats face a choice between continued self-marginalization and the acceptance of a vast burden of guilt. The best conceivable outcome for them is a "Roosevelt Interregnum:" the GOP defeats the Islamic menace soundly after twenty years in power, during which the Republicans accrue a lot of blots on their escutcheon for other reasons, such that the Democrats can mount a "Had Enough?" campaign in a climate of national confidence and security. That's how the Republicans did it in the late Forties and early Fifties.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well observed, FWP, and we cannot forget Winston Himself Churchill, The Man Who Saved the World, getting tossed out for a Labour government before the smoke had even begun to clear on WWII.

I notice Kevin Drum (who is one of the very best guys in center-left punditry), drummed here. Like the left and so far the Democratic Party when it comes to the difficult things, MIA. Again.

"Let every nation know whether it wishes us well or ill that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."---George W. Bush

If only there were a Democrat who could be so inspirational. I wouldn't care if he even meant it.

Hunter Baker said...

I'd still have that little matter of the many millions of abortions to sweat with regard to the Dems, oh, and their complete disregard of wise economic policy. The GOP at least has it half right with cutting taxes.

Tlaloc said...

The question isn't "why is the left opposed to Israel" but "why aren't you?"

Israel has conducted a continuous war of oppression upon it's neighbors and the indeginous people it forcefully displaced. It has indiscriminately targetted weapons so that it has an enormous civilian body count even compared to the terrorists that DELIBERATELY try to hit civilians.

If Israel wants to be the new genocide machine (and they quite clearly do) why are we giving them billions of dollars a year in military aid to help?

Tlaloc said...

"oh, and their complete disregard of wise economic policy."

Lets compare the economic health of the clinton and bush years...


yeah, thought so.

James Elliott said...

Tom:

Check out the Euston Manifesto.

Nice to see that you've been reading Peter Beinart. He's a smart guy with a lot to say. I don't quite understand your Bush comment; it should be quite apparent to anyone with a pulse and two brain cells to rub together that Bush couldn't lead this country out of a wet paper bag, let alone a regional conflict on a downward spiral. In dismissing the last forty so years of Democratic politics, you blithely ignore the very real complicity the Republican establishment (most notably the banner-carrier Ronald Reagan) had in creating the world situation we face today.

To quote a friend's brother who just returned from his rotation as a DoD attache in Iraq - "We went in there without any regard for thousands of years of history, thinking that our good intentions and fervor for democracy would carry the day. And that's why it's a f***ing mess." Your argument, that you will not vote Democratic because the party as a whole hasn't signed on to a quixotic liberation movement, enables not just rank incompetency, but a criminal disregard for the lives of others.

Mr. Porreto:

I think you need to talk to some actual Democrats. You betray yourself as woefully underinformed about the diversity of Democratic opinion.

""Let every nation know whether it wishes us well or ill that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."---George W. Bush"

That's lifted straight from Churchill! Bush can't be inspirational without plagiarism.

tbmbuzz said...

Lets compare the economic health of the clinton and bush years...


Anytime!

For instance....

The unemployment rate is at record low levels. So far, this decade beats out the past four decades in spades.

Over the past 11 quarters, following the Bush tax cuts, the U.S. economy has increased its size by 20%, to the tune of $2.2 trillion. For some perspective, this output add-on is roughly the same size as the ENTIRE Red Chinese economy.

Since the 2003 tax cuts, tax-revenue collections from the expanding economy have been surging at double-digit rates, while the deficit is constantly being revised downward.

The list of positive economic indicators pointing to the most prosperous economy with the highest standard of living in history reads on and on to those willing to open their eyes to economic reality....

Tlaloc said...

"For instance....
The unemployment rate is at record low levels."

Not really because its been artifically depressed, but then again it was artificially depressed during the clinton years too, so I'll let that pass.

More important however is that people's purchasing power has declined because wages have been mostly stagnant while inflation has just kept trucking. When you add in the "hedonics" that economists use to massage the data things look even worse.

Read here if you want to learn about the myriad ways economic indicators get fudged:
http://www.weedenco.com/welling/Downloads/2006/0804welling022106.pdf



"Over the past 11 quarters, following the Bush tax cuts, the U.S. economy has increased its size by 20%, to the tune of $2.2 trillion. For some perspective, this output add-on is roughly the same size as the ENTIRE Red Chinese economy."

Which I would really care about if I were, say, the US economy. However I'm not and neither are you. We are private citizens and our portion of that pie has SHRUNK. Which means someone is getting rich but it ain't you and me (hint- its the big corporations).



"Since the 2003 tax cuts, tax-revenue collections from the expanding economy have been surging at double-digit rates, while the deficit is constantly being revised downward."

The deficit has been revised downward because they keep over estimating it with their initial review. Then they get to say "see it's not so bad!" That's an old old politician trick. Unfortunately they seem to have suckered you with it.



"The list of positive economic indicators pointing to the most prosperous economy with the highest standard of living in history reads on and on to those willing to open their eyes to economic reality...."

:)

Sure, if we make a distinction between "economic reality" and "actual reality" In economics land everything is great. In reality land the middle class and poor are getting heavily screwed while the rich and the corps make out like bandits. Strangely enough that is the usual case of affairs for republican government:

http://www.princeton.edu/~bartels/income.pdf

I'm sorry but if you live in the real world there is simply no comparison between how much better things were in the mid 90s as compared to now, economically speaking. If on the other hand you reside in the military or an insulated ivory tower think tank then I can see where you might have gotten suckered.

James Elliott said...

Buzz: Your statement above does not account for several things. Unemployment is low but the number of people who have stopped seeking jobs or unemployment assistance is higher than ever. The number of jobs created is millions less than the number of lost jobs plus the growth in demand from the expansion of the working population in those years. The numbers are rosy, but the numbers don’t tell the whole tale.

The economy has increased in size based almost entirely on investment income. That is, real-wage income is at its lowest in decades. It is an expansion based entirely upon debt. Now, I’m no economist, but even a grade-schooler should be able to tell that’s a bad deal.

The deficit revision occurs largely due to expanded deficit projections in the first place: Namely, it’s easy to cut a fictionally inflated number by half. When you’re ready to come out of your supply-side dream world, give us a call.

Hunter Baker said...

And the Bush economy has been with major acts of terrorism and without the dot-com bubble.

Devang said...

We are funding both sides in the war on terror. Happen to catch the Tom Friedman documentary on alternative energy on Discovery Channel? Washington is brain dead, and that includes the Republican leadership. I'm also for public funding in elections and media reform and alternative energy more than getting scared by your mostly accurate picture of Islamo-fascism. We need to do both, and we're not.

I read See No Evil (Not the cliff notes either, Tom. I'm a liberal college student, not a liberal HS student :)), and it painted a pretty bleak picture. I'm sure some readers of this have read it as well. Baer talked at length about oil-politics during the Clinton administration, and if you think that's reduced during the Bush 43, I think Iran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. In the afterward of the book he mentioned the pathology of a hijacker on 9/11 "In fact, Ziyad would've pointed out, in bringing down a corrupt secular leader like Saddam the United States would only be doing [fundamental] Islam's work for it. ... No doubt going after Saddam sounds like a good idea around the conference tables of Washington's think tanks and NSC ... Are we not hitting the target we can rather than the target we should?"

Meanwhile, Pakistan still has a military dictatorship as far as most Indians are concerned, a failed economy, and an intelligence agency which by all indications isn't being willingly controlled or can't be. It's a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend with US-Pakistan relations, which should be as failed a doctrine as pre-emption is by now in Foreign Policy. Everyone I know wants India to turn Israeli on Pakistan. As for fighting terroism... by giving Pakistan so much weaponry? The peace process there has been derailed because the ISI (Pakistan's Intel. Agency) has links to the bombing. The arms sale isn't fighting terrorism, and hasn't been for a while now from India's perspective.

As for the deficit, the economists have been getting it more and more wrong by the year. As for the economy, in addition to what James and tlaloc have said, the yield is inverted! and the amount of debt is quite a bit.

Tlaloc said...

"And the Bush economy has been with major acts of terrorism and without the dot-com bubble."

The bush economy has also been later. Since the tendency of the american economy is to grow it should be much larger and healthier now as opposed to then. But it isn't. Bush took the fantastic starting point that Clinton handed off to him and ran it straight into the ground. Clinton on the other hand took the weak economy pappy bush handed him and built it up substantially.

There's a lot of things I don;t like about Clinton but failing to build prosperity at home isn't something he can be fairly accused of.


Side note-

also turns out that the recent claims of vindication of supply side economics have once again fallen short:
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_07/009190.php

Devang said...

In the last paragraph of my comment, I don't mean economists per se, I mean the CBO or another office which does the yearly tax-revenue estimates. Also, it's the yield curve that's inverted.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, James I liked the Euston Manifesto very much. As all recall they were slimed by the leftosphere for it.

BTW, I intentionally misattributed to George Bush a quote from JFK.

Gotcha.