Are the Republicans dead?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by countezero, May 16, 2008.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    I don't think we have them in the U.S.

    One thing I can say for sure is that it would vary between jurisdictions. Last year there was a local election in ... Missouri, I think ... in which nobody won. Because nobody showed up to vote. If even one person—say, for instance, one of the candidates—remembered to vote, that one vote would have settled the election.

    In the sixteen years since I first participated in a voter registration drive (against Oregon Measure 9, 1992), while I've heard and read much about dismal voter turnout, I have never encountered discussion of minimum thresholds for voter participation. If we have them somewhere in the U.S., I haven't heard of them. And unless they exist at a federal level, they won't apply to a presidential election. (We cannot disenfranchise a single district here or there simply because it fails to meet a minimum threshold while other districts in other states might show even lower turnout.)
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The fact that W&Co were closely linked with Reagan's administration ideologically, and McCain would continue that, is something a lot of people don't want to admit.

    Reaganomics was an incoming catastrophe, avoided only by the circumstance that Reagan was unable to hold course at the time. W was able to hold course somewhat better.

    The question of whether the Republicans are dead (again, they are alive as long as they are useful) is not nearly as important as the question of whether the ideological approach that has taken over the Republican Party (and a good share of the Democratic Party as well) has been discredited by the consequences of its gaining power. It is fascist, and contrary to the propaganda image that is not good for getting trains to run on time.

    As we have seen - or should have seen.
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  5. countezero Registered Senior Member

    I don't think so. My understanding of neoconservativism comes entirely from Fukuyama (I know I am spelling his name wrong), and based on that, Reagan does not seem to subscribe to that ideology, nor do the main people in his administration or the policies all of the above crafted in unison.

    Bush I, as you somewhat suggested, was a pragmatist of the Old School, and very mush wasn't a neoconservative.

    And I think that's a load of conspiratorial rubbish. Nobody is trying to conquer anything, for oil or otherwise.

    I don't know enough about Strauss to comment on that, but the first chapter of God and Gold: How Britain and America Shaped the Modern World, opens with a speech given to parliament by Cromwell about the evils of Spain that sounds eerily like George W. Bush talking about terrorists.

    The author's point in this initial chapter is that Britain and American have always viewed their conflicts as existential and in neo-mythic and religious terms. Thus, I wouldn't label the current embodiment some kind of Neo-Con trick of tongue. Nations, especially western ones, by nature tend to think their right and everybody else is wrong, else why fight at all?

    Given the choice between Western power and Eastern power, I will take the former any day of the week...

    Amen. The Democrats, per my appreciation, aren't offering anything at the moment. And I can't wait to see the look on everyone's face when so little changes after November...

    There is, and the War on Terror certainly has been over-billed and cashed in on by politicians of all ilks. You will get no argument from me on this point. However, that does not mean the threat is not real. It certainly is, and if anything, it speaks of larger political questions, ones that couldn't be answered during the Cold War, that need to addressed in the regions where the terror is brewing.

    Politicians, of both coats, have always manipulating the intelligence they receive. It didn't start with Bush...

    Well, I don't think we need to go back to the days where we're not fighting them. I mean, it sounds as if you don't appreciate the current policy on some level, much of which is secret and appears to have been somewhat effective. So how would you deal with terrorism?
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  7. countezero Registered Senior Member

    You can say this until you are blue in the face, and indeed you have been, but until I see some real evidence that ideologically links McCain to Reagan I'm just not buying it.

    I also don't think W&Co are linked to Reagan in any tangible way either. Or at least their policies aren't. They can talk all they want about loving the man, but they've done several obvious things he never would have.
  8. oreodont I am God Registered Senior Member

    The 'mistake' most Republican leaders made (and still make) is the support of a 'pathetic' Presiident before principals. They are suppose to represent the interests of their constituents and not be groupies for a President that is in some ways the antithesis of what the Republican Party has stood for:

    -the rights of the individual in the face of governmnet intrusion
    -minimal foreign intervention
    -fiscal responsibility

    'If' Republicans had maintained these positions instead of supporting a goof-ball President, they might have made big gains in November, 2008. Instead they are going to be blown away.

    'Loyalty' to Bush has trumped any rational dealing with Iraq and on the economy. They sided with the Executive when their responsibility is to 'the People'.
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    His campaign finance director appointed last year was Fred Malek. That takes him all the way back to Nixon.

    Dick Cheney counts as a tangible being, however hard he is to locate and make accountable.

    Banking deregulation, defunding and politicization of enforcement, and staffing of oversight agencies with political loyalists and corporate shills, is familiar - no?

    So when do you think the plans for the US embassy and support buildings in Baghdad, and the huge military complexes elsewhere in Iraq - a physical setup obviously intended to be far more than a mere embassy and some advisers - were drawn up ?
  10. TW Scott Minister of Technology Registered Senior Member

    Nixon is not Reagan last I checked. Also Nixon, save the scandal he had at the end, was one of our best presidents. So you are again being compltely fallacious in your arguments. Senator McCain, a former Democrat, is not a Reagan wannabe.

    That is only good planning considering the forces moving around in the Middle East. Only a complete thundering moron would pull completely out of iraq now. Eliminating the 7% of the population that likes blowing up innoccent civillians and helping the 93% who actually want what were trying to give them is the best way to secure ourself a vital ally we will need in the upcoming century.
  11. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    TW Scott,

    When was Mccain a democrat?

    Even if it is 7%, how can we eliminate them? Preferable quickly as we got more important issues right now other than nation building (like making sure our nation survive the oil crunch).
  12. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    TW the only reason their are foriegn insurrgents in Iraq is because the United States is there. If the United States leaves, there is no reason for them to be there. Now the locals tollerate them to some extent because they are against the United STates...we leave, the locals toss them out. That is why bin laden wants us to stay in Iraq.
  13. countezero Registered Senior Member

    And here you go again, making inferences about people simply because they associated with other people. Forget for a moment that this is a fallacy and consider this: It's politics. People work for people all the time. The hacks work for whichever star is on the rise. It doesn't necessarily mean their ideologically linked. And the ideologies change, too. Al Gore is not the same Democrat now as he was 20 years ago, just as Republicans shift and slide on the political scale. There is not one faultless ideology that permeates the powerful and dictates their actions over 40 year periods. Again, you're starting to creep toward conspiracy...

    How does Cheney's presence in multiple administrations signify an idealogical connection? It's obvious the Dick Cheney of today is vastly different than the one from Bush I, let alone the Reagan days.

    Sounds like politics. And Neoconservatism really doesn't address these points, per my understanding of it.

    I don't know. After the invasion ended? Why does it signify? The fact US planners realized we could be in Iraq a long time in no way, shape or fashion "proves" some speculative theory about a larger move against the Middle East. It was an occupation setup to stabilize the country. If it serves in the future as a regional springboard for future conflicts that doesn't mean it was setup for that, either. Again, you're engaging in your old favorite: The causation/correlation fallacy.
  14. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    if there was a third party large enough i would say that the republicans as one of the two big parties would be dead
  15. TW Scott Minister of Technology Registered Senior Member

    Okay, can we say denial. The insurgents in Iraq are hoping to drive the US out for their own reason. The only changes that would occur is Allied troops left is a lack of allied troop casualities and an Increase in sectarian violence until one leader killed his way to the top.

    The Locals do not tolerate the people who blow them up. Try paying attention to who actually dies in these suicide bombings. They get ten times and many Iraqi's as they do Americans. The only reason any locals has insurgents around them is becuase they are being threatened/intimidated by said insurgents.
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    (Insert title here)

    Are you familiar with the phrase "half an emperor"?

    See, the emperor has power, the authority to make decisions. But how does that emperor make those decisions? How does the emperor know which decisions need to be made?

    And that's where the neoconservative influence enters the Reagan presidency. At no point is it necessary for Reagan to say, "I agree with these people who call themselves by this label." In the end, all it takes is certain people of a certain ideology to have certain proximity to the president. The myth of the Soviet Union that Reagan fought against was grotesquely exaggerated according to needs identified by political philosopher Leo Strauss, whose name is essential to modern neoconservatism.

    And I consider that an exceptionally narrow outlook. The Bush doctrine is an idea fashioned by people who are part of PNAC. The Project for the New American Century exists in order to promote this outlook. We should not be surprised, given Bush's adoption of their security strategy, that his administration has come to resemble PNAC designs for the future.

    The phrase "back to the future" comes to mind. I don't reject the common aspects; indeed, I'll have to go read the speech.

    To the other, however, it's Cromwell. I'm not sure as yet how to explain the significance of that fact to you.

    One can reasonably argue that what you're referring to is part of the historical process that Strauss identified and attempted to explain, that the neocons distilled in their revival of a centuries-old practice and fashioning of a new dogma. Indeed, one of Strauss' concerns was that a liberal society, in abandoning binding myths, would eventually fail: the center cannot hold, things fall apart.

    And given a choice between the drug dealers and corporate board members, I'll take the former. You help make the point. In both comparisons, what we'll take appeals to an idyll that is not necessarily real. I, too, believe in Western enlightenment despite significant produce that threatens to hijack its progress. And, as I really like smoking pot, I do enjoy a friendly, relaxed, open world that, frankly, the drug dealers themselves don't deliver. Western power, like the drug dealers, only delivers a certain form of inspiration to the idyll.

    And I hope you find pleasure in that. Shattered dreams are so delicious, aren't they? (Smile when you read that if you can.)

    Look: it's in the people's hands. At some point they will eventually take to the streets and bring down this order of lunacy that so ineptly represents Western enlightenment in its mad quest to demonstrate Western power. I just hope things don't go so far that we end up with a fundamentalist revolution that sets back liberty in the name of greed. We already know, from watching the experience of Islamic fundamentalism, and suspect by watching our own Christian fundamentalists at home, what trouble that kind of revolution can bring.

    One thing that strikes me is to wonder what you think those questions are. That in itself is probably a fascinating discussion.

    Beyond that, though, there are two points on which we seem to disagree. The first regards the politicians, and I'll come back to that in a moment.

    The other, though, is the question of what the threat actually is. Some, such as Adam Curtis would suggest that the radical Islamist movement was dying—perhaps a bit naîve in its overstatement—and that the neoconservatives, in finding their new Devil to pursue, inflated the threat to something akin to Ayman al-Zawahiri's ambition. I think it's probably an overstatement to say the movement was dying, but there remains an arguable thesis that it was in remission.

    Incidentally, this was the case with Reagan's War on Drugs: arrests, at least, were declining when the Reagan administration decided to start filling the prisons with possessors, addicts, mules, and petty traffickers. The Drug War would quickly get out of hand: street violence increased, and in the hysteria Congress passed a law setting a ludicrous federal possession standard for cocaine with a five-year minimum sentence set at a threshold that was a mere one percent of the threshold for powdered cocaine. In part because of this standard, and notably because of the violence that accompanied the crack market and the drug's low-cost appeal to poor minorities, it soon emerged that fully one-third of black males in the U.S. would die before their eighteenth birthday, and of those who lived to thirty, a full third would in some way be in the penal system. Reagan left office nineteen years ago, yet still we bear the debts and scars of this period.

    With the Drug War, there is no question that the cocaine black market was a threat. It is only these years later that we are starting to get a grasp on the nature and scale of that threat.

    In the case of Soviet communism, retrospect informs us that those who believed the system would spend itself and collapse in due time were closer to the truth of what was happening in the Soviet Union. Yet the Reagan policy envisioned a Soviet menace akin to the Team B delusion: the appearance of Soviet disarray was merely a clever ruse to hide how dangerous they really were.

    With international terrorism aligned to fundamentalist Islam, I would suggest a similar process is afoot. Terrorism is a threat. One of the reasons liberals are reluctant to make this point is the "Duh" factor. At some point years ago, people got tired of having to repeat over and over balbutive affirmations to satisfy their political opponents. You'll find a lot of the contempt you or others perceive about American liberals finds its roots in this or similar processes. Like our exchange in the Matthews/James topic. Patel's rationalization? We should shut up and accept it? It would be a strange leap if I wasn't so familiar with it. These days there is nothing about that kind of leap of rhetoric that surprises me.

    However, I digress. Terrorism is a threat. And the point of the digression was simply to consider how ridiculous it seems to feel obliged to reiterate an obvious point. In the end, though, the question is the nature and magnitude of the threat.

    There is this bizarre sense of political correctness about certain discussions both here at Sciforums and in the world at large. Apparently it is somehow unacceptable to consider the behavior of Republicans, conservatives, or neoconservatives without either bashing on Democrats and liberals, or else trying to spread the sins of the right wing around.

    Yes, politicians distort and manipulate. But different brands of politician use different brands of distortion and manipulation. This generic brand of distortion butter some people—in this case you—tend to spread around seems something of a dodge since it tends to overlook certain important differences between one and the other. To use an analogy: there is the psychopath who tortures his victims before killing; there is the girl I went to school with who coldly shot her father to death while he slept because she finally cracked under the strain of his unrelenting verbal and psychological abuse; and there is the enraged spouse who kills his partner and the illicit lover in a fit of rage after discovering them in flagrante delicto. In each of these cases, it's murder. There is no question about it. But leaving at that would be incredibly blunt.

    Likewise, there is a bumper sticker that reminds, "Nobody died when Clinton lied."

    Good to know.

    The key word is "appearance". David Copperfield once made the Statue of Liberty appear to vanish.

    (Okay, that was an awkward sentence. To the other, I think I just heard one of the greatest quotes of all time: "I have never seen a Statue of Liberty literally disappear the way this one did.")

    Frankly, even if I had a guaranteed solution ... well, it would be a really long post.

    I don't know exactly. But part of the reason I don't know is that the first thing I would do is try to figure out what the threat actually is.

    Most of the solution is long-term: We must, as a society, conduct ourselves with better integrity and decency. Now, before anyone screams appeasement, we should consider that even the neocons would agree (publicly, at least) that the point is to make the world a better place for Americans and all humanity. Simply trying to squash whatever scares us while going out of our way to piss people off isn't going to get the job done.

    What do we call victory? In the history of warfare, the one thing we have failed to defeat is warfare itself. And while this doesn't necessarily indict our history, neither does the lack of indictment mean we should do such stupid things again. It's time to learn from history in a conceptual manner. Never again will we hear a phrase like, "You take Iran, you take Iraq, and we'll deal with the Saud." Or whatever that discussion is said to have been. Why? Because it's not going to come up in the context of the end of World War II ever again. So the specific lesson is out. But what about recognizing that it's a bad idea to divvy up the people you're going to exploit is that much more difficult in our society?

    The easiest description of the plan to defeat radical Islamic terrorism is to defend ourselves from immediate and known threats, work in good faith to improve the standard of living around the world, and simply wait it out. The Soviets would have collapsed. The declaration of a jihad against the United States was a desperate act by a movement in shambles. And unlike playing brinkmanship with the Soviets, our continued exploitation of other countries and their peoples only helped keep a gasping, withering monster breathing.

    And we've only given them a blood transfusion by making Iraq the center of our war against terrorism.
  17. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

    Cheney has held pretty much the same ideological position during each administration that he has sucked from the teat of - what has varied is the level of influence he has had - as an ex CIA man Bush I was much more of a realist and pragmatist when it came to US foreign policy - he saw US interests best served by creating stability rather than enforcing regime change or forcibly exporting american values of democracy and freedom.

    He realised that Saddam - sonofabitch that he was - helped maintain a balance of power against rampant theocracy in the middel east - he saw well in advance the problems that would arise if a regime change was enforced - he was therefore content to merely contain him.

    The neocons hated Bush I for that

    They hate him all the more now that its turned out his instincts were bang on the money
  18. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member


    Let's get to the point, our presence in Iraq benifits two groups; bin laden and the US Military Industrial corporations...that is it.

    And let's watch where you are pointing the finger of denial, as I see it there are four fingers pointing back at you.
    Last edited: May 19, 2008
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Your notion of "obvious" and mine vary considerably.

    For example:
    McCain hasn't been just "associating" with Malek, sometime in the past. He's hired him to run his campaign financing, as of this campaign.

    This is the Malek of improper use of federal government office to support Nixon's campaign, the Malek who was partnered with W on the Texas ballpark improprieties, the Malek CEO of Northwest Airlines during some of its odd-smelling dealings with Minnesota and the Airport Commission there, the Malek who six years after the following exchange during his confirmation hearings as Reagan's appointee to run the Post Office -
    - found himself Director of the Republican National Convention, and four years after that head of HW's '92 Presidential campaign while managing "private equity" firms deeply involved with state and local politics (Thayer Capital et al), and a few years later in court agreeing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in SEC imposed penalties for those firms' roles in influence peddling and improper use of public monies;

    that Fred Malek.

    Ah, those pesky high standards of "proof" that some - but not all - assertions of administration motives and behaviors must meet to persuade the ever-rigorous right.

    Planning to install major governing and administration facilities backed by large permanent military bases and force projection infrastructure in Iraq would be planning a "larger move" in the Middle East. Carrying out those plans by fullscale military invasion and attempted installation of a client state would be enacting a "larger move" in the Middle East. But we are to accept that the similarities between what we have seen and such planned or enacted events are coincidental - the Baghdad embassy complex, for example, the biggest in the world and years now in the building, was just an ad hoc response to sudden twists of fate.

    And McCain's unwavering support of such ventures has nothing to do with his posse of bigtime lobbyists financially involved with oil and defense contracting and foreign governments, or his alliances with the likes of Fred Malek.

    There's no proof, see. And how do we account for this lack of proof, we conspiracy theorists who detect planning in large-scale coordinated events involving billions of dollars and years of effort ?

    Guess we're stuck there. Can't imagine.
    That was from a past time the Republicans "died" - that is, got caught.
    Last edited: May 19, 2008
  20. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    You are obviously not getting my point. The system is set up in a way that one person won't make a change.
  21. VRob Registered Senior Member

    If McCain defeats Obama in the General election, then the American public is even stupider than I thought......... and I already think they're just a few brain cells above brain dead.

    Luckily, I don't see it happen. I see Obama easily defeating McCain this Nov.
  22. VRob Registered Senior Member

    Which is why you vote for a 3rd party candidate. Doesn't matter which one really, but it says NO, to the Dems/Repubs. Sure they won't win, but if enough people did it, they would take notice.
  23. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Oh that a good one, that laugh made my day! Obama is going to lose, too many racist, its not going to happen, McCain has won already! You should revise your estimates on American intellect to lower IQ scores then a vegetable

    And this is why we ended up with Bush for eight years, enough people were like "well they are both evil, so I'm voting for Nadar, its not like one evil is more then another", WRONG!

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