Is this really happening?

Last year (look for it yourself) The Washington Monthly wondered if the Republican party could survive a second term of Bush. They compared the times to the Democrats situation in the late 60s.

The New Deal coalition fractured over Civil Rights and the Vietnam War. When McGovern, the candidate of amnesty, abortion, and acid (as someone who now resides in the lower circles of hell once put it) won the Democratic nomination in 1972, it allowed for the definition of Democratic party as weak on defense, weak on the economy, and weak on the family.

Of course, that definition is and always was patently absurd. Defense spending rose under every 20th century Democratic president except Clinton and shrunk under every Republican 20th century president except Reagan. The stock market performed better under 20th century Democrats, and the microstructures of the family are fracture much more forcefully by the economic pressures on the working class requiring two incomes than they ever were by the microscopic portion of spending that went to welfare programs (which were in themselves aimed at trying to keep families intact).

The enemies of the rump Democrats after 1972–economic libertarians, hawks, and christian neo-fascists, and the rich–all found common cause in the Republican party. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, as they say in the Middle East.

Of course, these different groups have little else in common. Economic libertarians are not at all concerned with the microstructures of the family, at least not primarily. They of course contend that Darwinistic economic processes will ultimately make more people prosper, but only as a consequence, not as a first principle. They are even less concerned with Biblical injunction, no matter how transcendental their faith in the invisible hand may seem.

Christian neo-fascists are concerned mainly with restoring the illusory “traditional family” whose breakdown they see as the root of all evils. But they also are unconcerned with the microstructure of the family as a first priority because homosexual or otherwise untraditional families are not allowed. A certain perfect order is their priority. They seem to be concerned with life, but at least tacitly sanction the use of war to further their worldview, and also tacitly sanction the death penalty (not universally, however).

The rich have no social agenda per se. They simply don’t want to be bothered with taxes on their estates and find the economic libertarians a convenient ally because they provide a pseudo-scholarly rationale for their selfishness.

But now, what was designed as yet another wedge issue to box in Democrats has turned into a lever to deepen the cracks between these groups within the Republican party: Terry Schiavo.

Bush and Congress have violated so many intellectual precepts of the Republican party in their action to “save” Terry in addition to the embarassing reality that they have lost. They violated “states’ rights” a key issue used to wedge away southern whites from the New Deal coalition. They violated the supposed sanctity of marriage by interposing the government’s decision making for the family’s decision making–“family” is only valid when it meets the definitions laid out by certain elements of the christian faith.

And the socially moderate Republicans — the wallet Republicans — want no piece of this. They are probably thinking a lot about Bill Clinton, and missing him.


It costs $80,000 per year to keep Veggie Schiavo alive with no brain.

Meanwhile, billions live on less than a dollar a day. God damn we suck.

Take that goddamn feeding tube out of that sack of shit and put it in some starving African kids that actually have an active brain.


The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong‘s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt‘s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.

“We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore”, In These Times, August 26, 2004

—If I could have written that, I would quit my day job.

The End of the Judiciary?

Will March 21, 2005 be the date we remember as the beginning of the end of the separaion of powers and/or the federal judiciary?

Man. The New Deal (70 years) , Brown v. Board of Education (50 years). Roe (30 years) Conservatives can really hold a grudge.

Kristof Doesn't Get It.

Nick Kristof today says it’s Hillary Clinton that gets it, today. He starts out saying that her recent one-liners on abortion are the correct position to win heartland voters, while claiming that 61% of Americans favor tighter restrictions on abortion and only 36% support the current position. He also says that her one-liner on prayer resonates with 60% of Americans who pray every day. But at the end, he says she’ll never get elected because she’s a liberal feminist (?)

I don’t believe Hillary Clinton will ever get elected President. At least not unless she’s the Jimmy Carter left to pick up scraps from a Watergate level fiasco we all think is coming from the Bush administration, but which never does.

And it will take more than her well distributed quotes to make this message stick; people associate Hillary with feminism–even lesbianism–and a few comments seen as brazen political positioning will not do the trick.

This has to be one of the worst columns I’ve read from in a while. First of all, the statistics presented by Kristof are highly misleading. 60% of Americans say they pray daily because 60% feel they should. I’m sure the real number is much lower; just like those who claim they watch PBS, or do any other thing they think they should. Second, his statistics on abortion are misleading, because a majority fluctuating anywhere from 55 to 66% favor legal abortion. “Tighther restrictions” really are meaningless in a national poll, since different states have different restriction either de jure or de facto, and most people have no idea about this anyway.

Even if that were misleading, and even if we weren’t talking about abortion, which is truly a complicated subject, imagine a major national columnist endorsing the following position 150 years ago:

The Republicans’ position on slavery doesn’t play well in the South. Radical abolitionists from liberal cities like Boston and Philadelphia are not acceptable to the voters in the South and the extra 3/5th electoral oomph they get from their slaves. In order to win the election, we must moderate our position on slavery.

Absurd, right? You’d be right to say abortion isn’t slavery, and that’s true. The point, however, is that when you have a principle that you believe in, you shouldn’t sell it out just to win, because when you win on those grounds you lose.

This kind of electoral “logic” claim makes me even more certain that Democrats simply must do better about their message, and quit trying to win a game stacked against them by a faustian bargain.

I believe in legal abortion. I believe in social security. And most important to me, in a clean environment. These things may or may not be as important as slavery, but I don’t think the thing to do is to moderate on these positions. It looks weak. Let them moderate.