I Hate Liberals

April 26, 2005

I hate liberals. Well, no, not really! I am a liberal. Most of my friends are liberals. I just hate the reactionary purists who are trying to hijack the term “liberal” in the same way their rightwing counterparts hijacked “conservative.”
I used to believe I was as liberal as they come. (My in-laws still think so!) But then I met the litmus testing reactionary purist-type liberals who, without trying, convinced me I’m a moderate. A moderate liberal, yes. A moderate Democrat, YES! But still a moderate. This blog entry was based on this post by William Pitt at the left’s greasy truckstop, Democratic Underground:

I hate liberals

It’s funny.

Find me a liberal cause and I’m probably behind it.

Save Social Security? I’m there.

Save ANWR? I’m with you.

Equal rights across the board for tax-paying freedom-loving American citizens who happen to be gay and want to get married just like every other tax-paying freedom-loving American citizen gets to do without a second thought from anyone? I’m there.

Find me a liberal policy initiative and I’m probably behind it. Health care is a right easily attained by each and every single American once health care no longer exists as a for-profit business? Yo.

The military and their sucker-fish defense contractors don’t need eight billion gazillion dollars for a missile shield in space that can stop exactly no rogue airplanes in metropolitan airspace while millions go hungry all across the land? Yup.

Public schools need billions of dollars to stop the wretched fact that millions of children gratduate without knowing what the Supreme Court does for a living, to stop the push towards teaching our kids that creationism is the only truth, to stop the creation of stupid people as a matter of policy, said policy holding that stupid people make obedient consumers and compliant workers? Indeed.

Find me a cause, a policy initiative, a white paper, an idea, a belief, a theory or a protest that stems from the liberal philosophy. Chances are huge I’m on your side.

But man. Man o man. I hate liberals.

I agree with so much of what other liberals believe. All day, every day. But it seems like all I do is fight with liberals. I can’t have a mildly divergent opinion on a matter of import without being called a Republican, or a Freeper, or a sellout, or a whore. If I’m a Christian, I empower the fundamentalist Right. If I’m an atheist, I’m bashing, period.

Two examples of this happened tonight, though I could give 200 examples if I felt like writing all night. These two will do. Example One: I was honored tonight to introduce Dahr Jamail at a talk in Boston. Jamail, if you don’t know, got sick of the corporate news coverage of Iraq and went there himself. He got into Fallujah and let the world know what happened there. He is an amazing human being.

They gave me 15 minutes to say my thing and then introduce him. In my wee speech, I dared to forge beyond the self-righteous boundaries of ‘Out Now!’ to suggest the bare outlines of a plan on how to get out as soon as possible.

I used Howard Dean as a foil; he recently said we have to stay there, voicing the well-reasoned but argument-I-disagree-with ‘Pottery Barn’ argument. I think we can get out, we have to get out, but some kind of coherent plan/timeline is needed, because ‘Out Now!’ makes a good slogan but slogans don’t make coherent policy.

I called Dean a hero before I went into this, because he is, but this is more to do with example two, to follow. The point for now is that I called him a hero before I said I disagreed with him. We need to get out of Iraq, I said. As soon as possible.

About halfway through my bare outline – somewhere between getting the Houston contractors out so Iraqis can actually work for pay and invigorate their economy, and get the UN and the Arab League to create a massive mostly-Arab force to take over security/police duty so the Americans can be cycled out en masse and sent home – I met the hecklers.

They were both white, both around my mid-30s age, both with those white-and-black Palestilian militatnt scarves wrapped around their necks. One of them yelled “Shut up with your pro-war bullshit!” Another wadded up the program and threw it at me. They kept this up for a while. As this wasn’t my show, but Dahr Jamail’s show, I worked through the last two minutes of my introduction of him without starting a shouting match with these two. It galled, yes, but wasn’t appropriate to deal with it.

Example number two happened when I went out to have a smoke. A nicely dressed suburban fellow followed me out, and proceeded to scold me. Don’t call people heroes, he said with index finger a-wavin’. I had called Dean a hero, you see. I had described the life and death of Marla Ruzicka in my speech, who went to Iraq to count the civilian dead and died there, and called her a hero. When I introduced Jamail, who went to the most dangerous place on earth so we could get the truth, I called him a hero.

Don’t call people heroes, he said with index finger a-wavin’. It makes other people feel bad.

Liberals complain. They go to meetings with other liberals and listen to speeches filled with facts they knew before they got there, and complain to the person sitting next to them who already knows what they know and is ready to rock and roll with their own complaining.

All too often, liberals would rather complain and feel good about themselves than choke down the hard stones that sometimes have to be swallowed when seeking a solution that might actually work.

Liberals like to fight. They get into a room, either real or electronic, and wind up in huge, epic arguments about this or that while skating past the fact that the person they are arguing with and insulting agrees with about 90% of what they agree with. They forget the old rule: If you find yourself screaming in rage at someone who agrees with 90% of what you agree with, you might just be a zealot and therefore no good to anyone but yourself.

Conservatives used to be like liberals. They were out of power and fighting amongst themselves, the Birchers v. the Rockefellars v. the Nixonites v. the Reaganites v. the Fundamentalists v. the Internationalists. Somewhere along the line, they figured out how to quell all that, and whoosh! they were in power. I enjoy disliking conservatives and do not enjoy hating liberals, but since they both apparently share so many common characteristics these days, I am helpless before the tide.

I hate liberals. They do not get along, they enjoy disagreement for the sake of disagreement all too often, they are so hard to meld into a coalition that no one has ever, ever, ever managed to meld them into an effective coalition for any significant period of time. Liberals are the reason liberals lose elections nowadays.

I’m a liberal. I believe in the cause, the causes, the policy ideas. We ran the country for years once upon a time while winning World War II and salvaging the national economy by coming up with ways to help the helpless. Imagine it. The things we can do for the good of this country and the world positively boggle the mind.

But I hate liberals, because they won’t let that happen. They make me absolutely crazy.

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Bill Clinton, Ross Perot, and the Fringe Neoleft

April 24, 2005

The Moderate Donkey travels the political off ramps of the information superhighway on a daily basis. I have for several years now. What I find on the backroads in the tourist traps are fringe political revisionists who create “facts” to fill in the holes in their political theories.

Now, I could raise a few eyebrows at least and at most have you rolling in fits of laughter at some of the things posted at Free Republic, the far right Christian Taliban’s favorite stop on the net. But many blogs do that (and do it better) and since the goal of The Moderate Donkey is to reveal the fringe elements attempting to hijack the Democratic party, I’d rather point out examples of this at our greasy truckstop – Democratic Underground.

Democratic Underground, to be fair, isn’t really the antithesis of Free Republic. It’s a big tent full of people with varying degrees of leftness. But sometimes (well, often) the neoleft dispenses some of the “facts” I mentioned above and reminds the rest of us why we can’t allow them to hijack the Democratic Party.

Let’s examine one thread there and some of the claims made in it.

Almost any Democratic candidate would have won the Presidency (in 1992), because of the spoiler effect of the Ross Perot candidacy. Although he became President, Bill Clinton only took 43 percent of the vote in 1992, 3 percent less than much more left-wing Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis had taken in 1988.

Here, the poster attempts to downplay Bill Clinton’s popularity. His purpose is to show that a further left candidate would have done as well or better than Clinton. His entire premise is based on his belief that Ross Perot played spoiler for George H.W. Bush in the ’92 election. The fact is he didn’t.

Check out these two incredibly researched articles on the ’92 election and Perot’s effect on it:

http://www.swingstateproject.com/2004/05/all_state_votin.html
http://www.leinsdorf.com/perot.htm

Clinton didn’t run as a “new democrat”….They have kept a low profile for many years and really didn’t stick their neck out until Gore told them to take a hike in 2000.

This is some of the political revisionism I mentioned above. This poster tries to downplay the importance of the DLC in Clinton’s politics and in general by claiming he didn’t run as a ‘new democrat.’ Further, he claims that Al Gore broke with the DLC during the 2000 election. The former is completely untrue. There is no evidence to support the latter.

Here are some sources that “disagree” with the poster’s first assertion:

After losing a re-election bid in 1980, he came to win four more terms as governor gaining a reputation as a centrist, pragmatic New Democrat. In October 1991, Clinton announced that he was a candidate for the democratic nomination for president. source

He insisted on pragmatism and moderation in government programs, a centrist platform that emphasized opportunity, jobs, law and order, and responsibility. This meant that the government should provide opportunities for all citizens when the free market failed, but individuals had to accept the responsibility to work and to contribute to the common civil order.
This linking of the time-honored American enshrinement of work and individualism to a progressive view of the role of government became for Clinton a “New Covenant” – the philosophical perspective behind his reference to himself as a “New Democrat.” source

As for the Al Gore claim, I’ve never seen any evidence of it through my research or in asking those who make the claim. In fact, just as with the far right Christian Taliban, asking the neoleft McGovernites to prove their claims ignites an unending array of spinning, dodging, and flat out refusal to “divulge sources.” I imagine the Gore “rumor” began when Gore ran away from Clinton during his campaign and the neoleft’s belief that the moderate Gore is actually one of them.

The DLC literally wrote the 2004 Democratic Platform…

No, they did not.

… and, well, you get my point. The fear the neoleft McGovernites have of the DLC is quite irrational and often forces them to, a Al Franken would say, pull facts out of their asses to fill in the holes in their theories.


Clinton impeachment was retaliation for Nixon, says retiring Rep. Henry Hyde

April 22, 2005

I mentioned in an earlier post that President William Jefferson Clinton was impeached on unconstitutional grounds. In the past, on other blogs and among mixed ideological company, such a statement has drawn at least a few protests. The biggest one being that Clinton’s impeachment was justified based on his personal “malfeasance.” However, as I would always point out, personal malfeasance isn’t constitutional grounds for impeachment. Of course, most Republicans realized this when Clinton was acquitted of the perjury and obstruction of justice by the Senate. In other words, the Ken Starr investigation, which cost taxpayers more than $50 million, only revealed a consensual affair. Again, NOT constitutional grounds for impeachement.

I always commented to friends, foes, and family that the impeachment charade was revenge by the GOP over two legitimate impeachable scandals that the Republicans were caught in. The first being Watergate in which President Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment. The second being the Iran-Contra affair that almost brought down the Reagan administration. In fact, Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil once considered bringing impeachment charges against Reagan.

Francis Boyle, Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law, said “our system of government was in jeopardy in the Reagan Iran-Contra scandal.” The White House had “basically set up an underground government. But no one really made an effort to impeach Reagan over that — though documents show that Reagan and his people were concerned about impeachment.” They grew concerned, it’s rumored, after O’Neil assured Reagan the grounds for impeachment were there.

Now, why the brief history lesson? Because, as the title of this post indicates, The Moderate Donkey was right. According to ABC News, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde made some surprising comments Thursday on the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton. He now says Republicans may have gone after Clinton to retaliate for the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

He said, among other things, he might not try to impeach President Clinton if he had it to do all over again.

When asked if he would go through with the Clinton impeachment process again, Hyde said he wasn’t sure. It turned into a personal and political embarrassment for Hyde when an extra-marital affair he had in the 1960’s became public amid accusations of hypocrisy. He called the affair a youthful indiscretion.

Of course, the Moderate Donkey must point out that Richard Nixon was never impeached. He resigned the night before the House vote on the Articles of Impeachment.


Honorary Moderate Donkey Status for Sen. Jim Jeffords

April 20, 2005

Senator Jim Jeffords, a moderate independent who defected from the Republican Party four years ago and handed control of the senate back to the Democrats, has decided not to seek re-election in Vermont next year. As the Boston Globe said, this announcement has ricocheted through Vermont political circles Wednesday and quickly set up a scramble for the 2006 elections.

Because Vermont is a somewhat liberal Northeastern state, the Democrats have a great chance in officially capturing Jefford’s seat. I say “officially” because when Jeffords dumped the GOP, he began voting with the Democrats but was not officially a Democrat.

You really have to respect Jeffords. He had the balls to do what other moderate Republicans like John McCain and Lincoln Chafee haven’t. Back in 2001, he had a crisis of conscience. Having watched the Republican Party drift to the right for years, he finally had enough of the extremism that was beginning to take control of the party.

But there is the pivotal moment when he made his decision that you may not be aware of. Jonathon Alter wrote about it in Newsweek in June of 2004:

He woke up screaming in the middle of the night, yelling to his wife: “Watch out! The machine guns are firing!” Jim Jeffords’s nightmare then was about impeachment. As a friend of Bill Clinton’s, he was tormented by his duty to sit in judgment of the president, voting first with his GOP colleagues to move ahead with the trial, then with Democrats against Clinton’s conviction and removal from office.

Two years later the senator’s sleepless nights were back. In anguish, he informed a group of longtime Republican colleagues last week that his differences with his party on fundamentals were so great that he was leaning toward leaving the GOP.

Even if he hadn’t tilted the balance of power, he told aides, it was time to go. Peering across the aisle at Democrats talking about using the surplus for children’s health and early education while Republicans like Phil Gramm sought even deeper tax cuts, he felt hopelessly out of place.

I’ve always found this account to be amazing. I can see it so vividly. The impeachment trial of President William Jefferson Clinton is underway. Perhaps the decision against removing the President from office has been reached. Then the doors swing open, armed soldiers storm in, and begin firing “machine guns.”

I’m not an expert at interpreting dreams, but maybe Jeffords’ subconscious realized that an extreme fringe was encroaching on his party – one that would try any means necessary to seize and hold power. Perhaps he realized it was his duty as a civil servant to combat it.

And the wisdom? Listening to Democrats plan to use Bill Clinton’s budget surplus for education and children’s healthcare while his Republican colleagues schemed to give the wealthy deeper tax cuts… well… anyone with a heart would have chose the path he took.

Senator Jeffords is by no means the perfect politician. He’s made some questionable votes in his career, including the vote to impeach a President on what was clearly unconstitutional grounds. But he went a long way in redeeming himself by voting with Democrats on many important issues.

Senator Jeffords may have been a Republican for most of his career, but the Moderate Donkey is fairly certain that if he had to do it all over again, he would perhaps choose the Democratic Party. If he wants to send one last clear signal to the GOP that they’ve been hijacked by the Christian Taliban, my suggestion would be he endorse a Democrat for his Senate seat.


Blogger Calls Out Moveon’s Hypocrisy on Hoyer

April 19, 2005

I believe Moveon.org, the often effective neoleft PAC, lost some marbles in the last several days when it was revealed they were raising money and running commercials to help defeat Democratic Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) for his yes vote on the bankruptcy bill. I suppose they want to chance a Republican winning? I dunno… BUT… this is the kind of neoleft litmus testing that keeps kicking the Democrats back into the dirt. Now, though, organizations like Moveon invest thousands of dollars to push through their agenda and if it it benefits Republicans that Moveon is sticking to their principles, well, so be it I guess!

However, a blogger has called out Moveon for their hypocrisy in this matter. It’s really an eye opener. Here are some quotes:

Moveon defended its attack on Steny Hoyer in an interview with Raw Story, saying, “It’s not acceptable for a Democratic leader to take
a position opposed to protecting the middle class.” Really? Then what does Moveon propose to do with the $833,000 recently raised for Sen Byrd? He voted for the bankruptcy bill as well.

Not only that, he voted to confirm Gale Norton and John Ashcroft. He voted against ending timber company subsides to build forest roads and has a 68% LCV rating.
He’s voted against numerous abortion bills and only has a 43% rating from NARAL.. He voted for DOMA and only recently came around to voting yes to adding sexual
orientation to hate crimes legislation.

Steny Hoyer, on the other hand, has a 100% NEA rating, 100% APHA rating, 100% NARAL rating and an 85% LCV rating, Steny Hoyer is responsible for the passage of
the Americans With Disabilities Act and has been fighting the weakening of the law since Bush took office. He gets it right a lot of the time…

So what is Moveon’s problem? Maybe it has more to do with egos and
the recent snubbing from some quarters. That couldn’t have gone down well after Moveon’s outlandish statement, “ Now it’s our Party: we bought it, we own it, and
we’re going to take it back.”

Funny how a few months changes everything, because today they said:

“We’re not the party,” he said, when asked about charges that the ads were poorly timed, “We are going to take positions on issues… before we
acknowledge any sort of notion of Democratic fealty.”

Read more here.


Blogger Calls Out Moveon’s Hypocrisy on Hoyer

April 19, 2005

I believe Moveon.org, the often effective neoleft PAC, lost some marbles in the last several days when it was revealed they were raising money and running commercials to help defeat Democratic Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) for his yes vote on the bankruptcy bill. I suppose they want to chance a Republican winning? I dunno… BUT… this is the kind of neoleft litmus testing that keeps kicking the Democrats back into the dirt. Now, though, organizations like Moveon invest thousands of dollars to push through their agenda and if it it benefits Republicans that Moveon is sticking to their principles, well, so be it I guess!

However, a blogger has called out Moveon for their hypocrisy in this matter. It’s really an eye opener. Here are some quotes:

Moveon defended its attack on Steny Hoyer in an interview with Raw Story, saying, “It’s not acceptable for a Democratic leader to take
a position opposed to protecting the middle class.” Really? Then what does Moveon propose to do with the $833,000 recently raised for Sen Byrd? He voted for the bankruptcy bill as well.

Not only that, he voted to confirm Gale Norton and John Ashcroft. He voted against ending timber company subsides to build forest roads and has a 68% LCV rating.
He’s voted against numerous abortion bills and only has a 43% rating from NARAL.. He voted for DOMA and only recently came around to voting yes to adding sexual
orientation to hate crimes legislation.

Steny Hoyer, on the other hand, has a 100% NEA rating, 100% APHA rating, 100% NARAL rating and an 85% LCV rating, Steny Hoyer is responsible for the passage of
the Americans With Disabilities Act and has been fighting the weakening of the law since Bush took office. He gets it right a lot of the time…

So what is Moveon’s problem? Maybe it has more to do with egos and
the recent snubbing from some quarters. That couldn’t have gone down well after Moveon’s outlandish statement, “ Now it’s our Party: we bought it, we own it, and
we’re going to take it back.”

Funny how a few months changes everything, because today they said:

“We’re not the party,” he said, when asked about charges that the ads were poorly timed, “We are going to take positions on issues… before we
acknowledge any sort of notion of Democratic fealty.”

Read more here.


Expansive Foreign Policy/Defense Survey – Important news for Democrats

April 18, 2005

The newly-launched Security and Peace Institute (a joint project of The Century Foundation and the Center for American Progress) have released a survey conducted for them by the Marttila Communications Group, with an extensive accompanying report. This lengthy survey has a large sample size (1600 voters) which was split-sampled through most of the survey so that an exceptionally wide range of questions and alternative wordings could be tested.
The survey’s key findings (summarized below) indicate that, while Republicans retain a substantial lead as the party best able to deal with national security issues, voters’ broad foreign policy and security goals should provide a very significant opening for Democrats in the years ahead.

Several key findings:

* As a result of the Iraq war, a majority of Americans are now more reluctant to support the use of U.S. troops. However, there are several specific circumstances under which a majority do support the U.S. use of troops, including disrupting an attack planned by a foreign country or terrorists, to support NATO or UN peacekeeping, and to halt genocide.

* Large majorities of Americans believe that America’s international reputation has deteriorated since President Bush took office. Most believe that the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq badly eroded U.S. credibility and that this loss of status is a serious concern.

* Voters strongly support U.S. action to protect human rights abroad, prevent genocide, and check the spread of AIDS. They generally agree that the United States has a moral role to play in world affairs.

* Solid majorities of Americans believe that the United States should be active in world affairs and continue to play an active role in the UN.

In short, these survey data give every reason to suppose Democrats and progressives can compete effectively with Bush and the GOP on the terrain of foreign policy and national security. It would be an act of political malpractice to ignore this opportunity and cede these areas to the GOP.

http://www.emergingdemocraticmajorityweblog.com/donkeyrising/