Political independents and false equivalences

(a) They were outnumbered and had no power
(b) It was post-9/11
© Yeah, many of them are spineless opportunistic weasels. I guarantee that if the party of your choice came to power, 50 years later many of its elected representatives would be spineless opportunistic weasels. What’s your point?

Agree or disagree: If Gore had (officially) won the election in 2000, would we or would we not be at war in Iraq right now?

The two party system is badly flawed, yes. I’m not sure I’d agree that it’s “what’s wrong with this country”. There are plenty of other things wrong with this country. The pernicious and creeping extending influence of the religious right, for instance. It’s also not prima facie clear to me that the best way to proceed is to abandon the two parties and be a voice in the wilderness, as opposed to voting for honest candidates where you can find them, campaign finance reform, and other such things, while being in the party that best matches your beliefs. If there are three candidates running, two from a major party and one from a minor party, and your views on them are F-, C and B+, do you vote for the B+ who has no legimitate hope of winning this election, or the C to keep the F- out of the white house? That’s not a question with an easy answer. (I’m strongly in favor of some kind of instant-runoff balloting, or some other system which gives better alternatives in situations like this.)

I’m not arguing which one is a bigger douchebag. I’m arguing that it’s VERY unlikely that if you did a 100% perfect and objective job of rating them both on a scale of 0 to 100 in the category of douchebagitude, they would happen to come out at very nearly precisely the same level.

Find me a thread where I unreservedly sing the praises of Michael Moore. Go ahead. I dare you.

(And I’m still wondering who the leftist equivalent of Anne Coulter or Michael Savage is…)

See ©

See ©

Spineless opportunistic weasels do not represent anything. They are out for themselves and glom onto whatever power structure is most felicitous. This does not make the parties different, they are not out for us, they are out for their spineless opportunistic weasel selves. It’s too bad our congressmen are so weak that they couldn’t stand up for what’s right even after 9/11. I stood rednecks down on 9/12 who were talking shit about nuking the entire middle east. I explained to them, that not all arabs are terrorists. I mean, I had the fact that I was from New York and in New Mexico on my side certainly, so they couldn’t really get all righteously indignant. So why couldn’t any democrats stand up and explain that to congress about our rights? People who actually UNDERSTAND what the constitution is about.


Agree or disagree: If McCain had won the election in 2000, would we or would we not be at war in Iraq right now?

I think it’s more about congressmen taking their dicks out and playing swords than it is about actually doing anything, and that’s what the two party system facillitates. Watch Rome, both Caesar and Pompey were being egomaniacal pricks, only Caesar was more stylish and slick, so he won.

This is a qualitative issue not a quantitative one. This little game is setup to fail. I’m not interested.

Not gonna, but it’s funny that you’d defend that tapeworm simply because you feel a party affinity with someone you’ll never meet. Enjoy your cognitive dissonance.

If Bill Maher were a sexy piece of ass, I’d say he’s the leftist Anne Coulter. I don’t know who Michael Savage is. Bill Maher is witty, Anne Coulter is hot, but otherwise they are both partisan hacks.


The Iraq Liberation Act



Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 31, 1998
The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq’s history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.

My Administration has pursued, and will continue to pursue, these objectives through active application of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The evidence is overwhelming that such changes will not happen under the current Iraq leadership.

BTW The religious right’s influence is not one of values but one of money. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and George W. Bush have all tossed Christian values right out the window. Jesus dragged people from the temple for doing business there.


As for your question about voting, what i would do is completely eliminate party affiliations from ballots. If you want to affiliate with a party that’s fine, but it should have nothing to do with the ballot. What I’d like to see is a primary, where we vote from a pool of candidates regardless of party affiliation. Then the top four get chosen to run again. From the top four we can vote in a preference voting system. You rate your top three. Your first choice gets 4 points, second gets 2 and third gets 1. In the case of a tie, you have a special runoff where people vote for the tied candidates.

No party bullshit necessary, let them sling the party mud outside of the voting booth. Putting party affiliation on the ballot to me, is electioneering at the polls.


I think it’s easy to go overboard in condemning various politicians as spineless opportunistic weasels. I think it’s VERY hard to be a successful politician and truly remain 100% pure and true to one’s principles, assuming one has principles. But I also don’t think that every politician, even every politician who has compromised and screwed up and pandered, is just purely evil and self-centered and power hungry.

Take, as an example, Bill Clinton, post-1996. At this point, he’s in his second term as president. He’s already ascended to the highest heights that one can ascend to in American politics. So when he woke up in the morning, what motivated him? What was he trying to accomplish every day? Was he simply trying to be as popular as possible? Why? Or was he genuinely trying to do good things (as he saw them) for America? And if so, was it altruistic? Or was he just keenly aware of how history would judge him, and thus trying to do good things? Or is it a complicated question that can not be answered without concepts more complex than just “weasels vs. non-weasels”?

To take your specific example of the patriot act, I agree that it was wrong. And a lot of democrats voted for it. Why? There are various possible reasons:
(1) They truly thought it was the right thing to do. Decisions of that sort are a tradeoff between individual freedoms and collective safety, and (while I happen to opposed the patriot act) it’s not impossible for reasonable, freedom-loving, patriotic Americans to actually think it’s a good idea
(2) They got swept up in the need to do SOMETHING after 9/11. A perfectly understandable response.
(3) They knew it was going to win, knew it was going to be popular, and decided to live to fight another day, figuratively speaking. A cynical, but not necessarily unwise, decision
(4) They trusted Bush WAY more than (in hindsight) they should have, and got swept up in a feeling of national unity in the face of crisis. Unfortunate, but again, understandable
(5) They were purely weasels who knew that the patriot act was bad bad bad but wanted to vote for anyhthing popular to get reelected. And how different is this from (3), necessarily?

There’s a very fine line between becoming so desparate to remain in power that one abandons one’s principles entirely, and being cagey enough to occasionally bite the bullet and do something short term evil, in order to be able to stay around and continue to do good.

Agree. Agree or disagree: Of the two major parties, one nominated a member of the set of people who start wars in Iraq {Bush} in 2000, and one nominated a member of the set of people who don’t start wars in Iraq {McCain, Gore} in 2000?

You’re the one who came into the thread and said that it was in fact axiomatic that Limbaugh and Moore were equally bad. If you wish to instead say “they’re both very bad, and it accomplishes nothing to argue about who is worse”, I will have no argument with that.

Oooh, “cognitive dissonance”. Nice scary sounding phrase. You got me. What was I saying about independents being condescending?

I’ll spell it out here: I’m glad that Michael Moore exists. I’m glad that someone provided a focus (F911) for outrage and protest against Bush. And I think that he truly desires to do good.

In addition, I wish he was more careful about being precisely factually accurate at all times, I think that he’s a bit of an egomaniac who has let his success go to his head and can be an asshole, and I think he tries way too hard to find connections and evil where sometimes they just don’t exist.

If you view that as blindly and foolishly supporting him because of party loyalty, well, I suppose it’s possible that you’re correct. But if you want to make an accusation like that, it’s quite impolite not to be prepared to back it up…

Let me direct you to this post of mine comparing Anne Coulter to Al Franken, and briefly touching on who Michael Savage is. Note the quote there from Anne’s book. If you’d like to provide an equally hateful, divisive and idiotic quote from Bill Maher, particularly one which attacks not just republican politicans but republicans in general, be my guest. Until then, I will remain skeptical.

Alright, I am not going to find equivalencies for the celebrities you are putting up.

Though, I’d like to say one thing, I’ve listened to Rush Limbaugh a few times, and he’s not nearly as bad as Anne Coulter or Savage. I think he and Michael Moore are pretty equivalent. I don’t think Rush is as hateful as Anne Coulter, and I think he twists his partisan hackery as Michael Moore does.

Though I must confess, I still think Anne Coulter is fucking hot. I bet she’d be a firecracker in bed. That makes her better than any of your liberal pundits. :stuck_out_tongue:

There are SOME differences, but in my opinion, not enough.

Bill Clinton is not your average democrat. I’d rather see a party where people like McCain and Clinton are on the same side. Let all the nutjobs keep the democrats and republicans. I also think that a lot of the policies are kept from one administration to the next. I’m all for organizing, but I’d just rather see party affilliation taken out of the polls.

In my opinion the private sector can do a much better job with most things than the government can. If the Democrats made a swing toward less of a propensity for big government, toward a more pragmatic approach, I’d probably be down. The problem I see with the democratic party is that it doesn’t embrace some of who would be it’s most vocal proponents. Both sides allowed Nixon to frame the drug debate up until now. Nixon saw LSD as causal for the liberal protest movement in the 60s. If the Democrats would embrace the people who have been unappropriately labelled as “counter-culture” into their establishment, I’d register democrat. If not, I have no time for that party. I am tired of seeing my friends terrified of the government. I am tired of people not being represented by the democrats because of a successful divide and conquer technique by the Republicans 40 years ago. I am simply tired of the Democrats being spineless and weak, and going with where the wind blows.

I dunno, I largely see both parties as half an ethos. If either one of them embraced a full ethos, I’d jump on board.


Hey, last time I was on the straightdope was five years ago, arguing about the Supreme Court’s nomination of our president. But something made me want to throw down today and it was partly this thread. I’ll be previewing the post but go easy if I make any errors with my vB formatting.

I tend to hate Eagles vs. Patriots partisanship and it has become my life’s mission to make it stop. It hurts us.

Nobody has to go overboard. Nobody was really discussing individual politicians but what the parties themselves stand for and the fact that you admit that nobody remains truly 100% to their principles is itself a Q.E.D. on this discussion because you go right ahead and offer up that nobody takes a principled stand.

You might say it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition but I’d say it is. If it isn’t all-or-none, then the differences between the parties start to look rather cosmetic.

Eagles vs. Patriots.

To address the principles these parties claim[ed] to stand for:

Republicans in power don’t stand for small government or fiscal conservativism. The current administration, undoubtedly with support from the Legislature has overseen the largest government growth since, heh, Johnson. And they’re barely half done.

Democrats aren’t effective at improving social programs or really, sharing any values at all. They’re just teams. And the variety of pundits and celebrities who espouse views for each side are just players.

When people want to spice it up and avoid using a party name, they use “Left” and “Right” as if these are different ways of politically identifying. But we all know the terms Left and Right to refer to political affiliation originated early in the French Revolutionary era, and referred originally to the seating arrangements in the various legislative bodies of France.

I’m going to dig in on the Patriot Act. I’ll just respond to your items by number if I may.

1 – “Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
-Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

This tells me that while they may have thought it was the right thing to do, really they were all just dumbasses and roundly failed to provide a robust adversarial political process… or the Patriot Act would not have given rise to such rampant abuse.

2 – The need to do /something/ does not make the incorrect response perfectly understandable. It remains the incorrect response.

3 – They did not live to fight another day. They knuckled under and were ridiculed. A while back, the Democrats were the Party and the Republicans were the Mob. Now it’s merely reversed.

Refer to #1. To expand a little, if there was something the Democrats stood for that placed them in /opposition/ to the Republicans, the political process we’ve engendered should have produced clear results. It did not. Thus, the Patriot Act, it proved to be a cynical as well as unwise decision. Cynicism implies a belief in the lack of trustworthiness or integrity of people. There you go, if everybody’s a cynic, what is it they identify with exactly? Team mates.

4 – Bush did NOT author the legislation. He didn’t even vote on it in congress though I suppose he could have sent Dick down to break any ties. He merely signed it.

5 – It is reprehensible and that is precisely the point I think MsWas has been making about party-identification. You’ve now admitted another crucial point against there being merit in party-identification. It still comes down to individuals courting votes and rewarding constituencies with public goods.

That seems to be how the system works and it makes values or party identification nothing but a vain fancy, a caprice.

McCain ran as a Republican, yo. In fact, I registered Republican special just so I could vote him up in the primary. Little good it did. More moonbats like you should have done as I did in order to keep wingnuts from voting up Bush.

By the way, Bush didn’t start any wars with Iraq while he was Governor of Texas or as a private citizen. You want to start blaming people for what they daddys did when President? Now that’s not fair. Bush is the first President since J.Q. Adams to have had a father hold the office prior. Gore’s dad was only a Senator. Shit! Did you know Al Gore Senior voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Damn, these political families start getting complicated. Does Al Gore, 2000 presidential candidate, hate black people?

They are equally bad because they are partisan hacks, the lot of them, moonbats and wingnuts alike. If you wanted a true quantitative measure of it, just try to figure out how large their syndicated audiences are. That’ll give you a tangible idea of how much damage they are each doing, respectively. But everybody who puts up a shingle on either side of the street is part of the problem with that neighborhood.

Regarding Michael Moore, the fact that he went out and made the best propaganda film since The Fuhrer Gives A Village To The Jews is not a good thing. Here’s why:

-It promotes falsehood. This is bad.
-It insults peoples’ intelligence. This isn’t helping.
-It manipulates them emotionally. This gets people on their high horses for the wrong reasons and leads them to make inarticulate and unqualified arguments.
-It dilutes the real and factual critiques that can be made of government policy.

Disagreeing [even passionately] with an administration’s policy should not lead you to close ranks with a sanctimonious fuck like Michael Moore. That you do, regardless of his integrity is a third major reason you yourself show party affiliation to be cosmetic only.

I’ve read some of Ann Coulter’s quotes and while she’s totally nuts and I don’t agree with a word she says, she’s really not any farther from reality than Moore who you’d defend. I mean, when Michael Moore speaks, I assume he’s lying.

I worked for the company that repped and sold Bowling for Columbine and his own lawyers were appalled at some of the lies he stuffed into that film and that was before he turned his sights on the Bush administration.


Though I’m sure you’ve read it and as a matter of personal taste, you defend his work anyway.