would jkf find a home among today's democrats?
the fortieth anniversary of the kennedy assassination is fast approaching, and for about a week now, cyril wecht has been flooding local airwaves with announcements for an upcoming symposium he's hosting on "the great american murder mystery."
the commercial begins with a scratchy recording of kennedy uttering that famous phrase
ask not what your country can do for you. ask what you can do for your country.
i've heard that clip so many times over the years that i've sort of become immune to it. it's part of the background noise of civic life in america, like reciting the pledge of allegiance before school. but for whatever reason, this time it managed to burrow its way up from my subconscious and register in the foreground of my mind. what a shock it was when i realized that here was a man who for many represents the high-water mark of the democratic party, yet whose message has today found its home among republicans.
no one among today's democrats is more frequently compared with kennedy than bill clinton, yet their beliefs could not be more different. what has ask not! to do with clinton's statism, or, if we take our forty second president to be the embodiment of today's democratic party, the democratic platform in general? clinton wanted the government to do everything for you: the government educates your children, the government creates your jobs, the government provides your healthcare, the government prepares your retirement...besides NAFTA, the one notable deviation from clinton's watered-down socialism came when he co-opted a republican issue and, through a republican congress, passed welfare reform.
if today's democratic party, which is little more than a loosely bound coalition of eternally disgruntled victim groups, has a single, unifying message, it is that if the government doesn't do it for you, no one will. if republicans oppose an environmental bill, the seas will dry up and the mountains will fall. if the republicans argue for a 3% increase in social security, as opposed to a 7% increase, senior citizens will starve in the streets.
democratic constituents are trained from birth to ask what the government can do for them. one might be born into government-funded housing, fed on food stamps and welfare, educated in public schools, employed (if at all) on government make-work...or perhaps they'll just stay home, dream up a new disability, and collect SSI. those who rise up from within to question the dehumanizing effects of a life spent in utter dependency are denounced as sell-outs. those who rise up from without are compassionless monsters, racists, slaves to corporate greed, etc.
in a word, the fundamental disparity between today's democrats and kennedy is power. kennedy thought that the people should have as much of it as possible because he truly believed that the key to a brighter future lay in the ingenuity of each and every american. today's democratic party would have you believe that sacrificing power to the government is your patriotic duty.
the differences don’t stop there. in economics, kennedy brilliantly made the case for tax cuts, arguing that reductions in top rates freed capital to fuel our economy, thereby benefiting every american. in foreign policy, kennedy had some highs and lows, but through it all, he never failed to provide strong leadership based on what he thought was best for the united states of america, regardless of criticism both foreign and domestic. were he in power today, the democrats would denounce him as a unilateralist cowboy, whose belligerent, get-tough stance towards dictators poisons the waters of peace. kennedy is a renowned progressive on social matters, but what has the equality he fought for to do with the reparations and reverse discrimination that comprise the rhetoric of the congressional black caucus? or, with his strong roman catholic beliefs, would he embrace the vehement pro-abortion rhetoric of a barbara boxer? the closer you get to jfk's beliefs, the further you get from the current democratic party platform.
look at the states kennedy won in 1960: north carolina, south carolina, louisiana, arkansas, pennsylvania...today's democratic party complains of a republican power-grab and illegitimate victories instead of focusing on the real problem: their message, or lack thereof. have the voters in these states changed so much in the past forty years, or have they stayed the same while their party changed around them?
i'm not going to say that john f. kennedy, were he alive today, would be a republican. but if a john f. kennedy by any other name arose tomorrow, where would his politics find their home? current democrats have about as much use for a jfk as they do for the zell millers or bob caseys. even now, the real john f. kennedy is reduced to a symbol of the glory days of the democratic party, while the substance of the man is eschewed by all but republicans, who recently dug his economic views out of mothballs to sell president bush's. when rush limbaugh, of all people, played a speech where kennedy heralded the virtues of tax cuts, the democratic mood was captured by one shrieking caller who demanded limbaugh cease and desist his blasphemy at once. "how DARE you even speak his name," she howled. the reality of the man has become a horror to democrats.
locdog looks forward to continued democratic failure until they are willing to embrace jfk once more
it's not the size of the waves, baby. it's the motion of the ocean.
according to matt drudge who is guest-hosting for the rehabilitating limbaugh, the maharushie will be back in action on monday.
we never really leave kindergarten
also according to drudge, john kerry was totally upstaged last night by "poopy dog" on leno.
triumph the poopy dog, who has better name recognition in siberia than kerry does in his home town, is a character that first appeared on late night with conan obrien. he's a cheap-looking dog puppet who's shtick is finding as many ways as possible to work the word poop into his acidic commentary. don't roll those eyes at me, mister. it's devastatingly effective.
drudge says that the numbers for triumph's segment soared to a giddy 8.9, then plummeted to 3.8 for john kerry. one of triumph's ever-trenchant observations from the interview:
"jay, the poop i made in your dressing room has more heat than john kerry."
locdog thinks we may have found kerry a new campaign manager
happy veteran's day. now get lost
yesterday, fellow frayster betty the crow posted a link to a new york times story reporting on the administration's decision to deny POWs from the first gulf war promised compensation. you can read betty's excellent post here, along with a link to the times story.
betty also provided a link to the whitehouse.gov page where you can read white house press secretary scott mcclellan's comments in their entirety. i don't think that i can do a better job on this topic than betty has already done, but you'll pardon me if i can't help voicing my outrage here on veteran's day. i'll begin by quoting the pertinent section from mcclellan's press briefing in full:
Q Scott, there are 17 former POWs from the first Gulf War who were tortured and filed suit against the regime of Saddam Hussein. And a judge has ordered that they are entitled to substantial financial damages. What is the administration's position on that? Is it the view of this White House that that money would be better spent rebuilding Iraq rather than going to these former POWs?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know that I view it in those terms, David. I think that the United States -- first of all, the United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal torture to which these Americans were subjected. They bravely and heroically served our nation and made sacrifices during the Gulf War in 1991, and there is simply no amount of money that can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering that they went through at the hands of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. That's what our view is.
Q But, so -- but isn't it true that this White House --
Q They think they're is an --
Q Excuse me, Helen -- that this White House is standing in the way of them getting those awards, those financial awards, because it views it that money better spent on rebuilding Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, there's simply no amount of money that can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering --
Q Why won't you spell out what your position is?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm coming to your question. Believe me, I am. Let me finish. Let me start over again, though. No amount of money can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering that they went through at the hands of a very brutal regime, at the hands of Saddam Hussein. It was determined earlier this year by Congress and the administration that those assets were no longer assets of Iraq, but they were resources required for the urgent national security needs of rebuilding Iraq. But again, there is simply no amount of compensation that could ever truly compensate these brave men and women.
Q Just one more. Why would you stand in the way of at least letting them get some of that money?
MR. McCLELLAN: I disagree with the way you characterize it.
Q But if the law that Congress passed entitles them to access frozen assets of the former regime, then why isn't that money, per a judge's order, available to these victims?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I pointed out that that was an issue that was addressed earlier this year. But make no mistake about it, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the torture that these brave individuals went through --
Q -- you don't think they should get money?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- at the hands of Saddam Hussein. There is simply no amount of money that can truly compensate those men and women who heroically served --
Q That's not the issue --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- who heroically served our nation.
Q Are you opposed to them getting some of the money?
MR. McCLELLAN: And, again, I just said that that had been addressed earlier this year.
Q No, but it hasn't been addressed. They're entitled to the money under the law. The question is, is this administration blocking their effort to access some of that money, and why?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't view it that way at all. I view it the way that I stated it, that this issue was --
Q But you are opposed to them getting the money.
MR. McCLELLAN: This issue was addressed earlier this year, and we believe that there's simply no amount of money that could truly compensate these brave men and women for what they went through and for the suffering that they went through at the hands of Saddam Hussein --
Q So no money.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and that's my answer.
in summary, 17 former POWs filed suit against saddam hussein in a federal court and won. they were entitled, according to the court, to nearly 1 billion dollars in damages. obviously, this ruling was a pipe dream. saddam hussein does not comply with american courts.
but when saddam was ousted, president bush signed an executive order that made seized iraqi funds property of the united states, meaning that the POWs had, for the first time, a real chance at collecting their award. rather than making good on saddam's debt to 17 brave americans, however, bush administration lawyers have argued that the government is free from any obligation: saddam owes the POWs, and that money is no longer saddam's.
i'm not a legal expert by any stretch, but the lawyers seem to have a strong argument. the treaty of versailles taught us the dangers of saddling the new regime with the debts of the old, and even if it hadn't, the logic of the administration's position appears quite sound.
but so what?
does that make mcclellan's sleazy justification any less contemptuous? as betty put it, "'Money can't compensate these brave souls' so we're going to see to it that they don't get any."
what saddam owes notwithstanding, don't we as american citizens owe seventeen of our countrymen who were willing to sacrifice more than most of us could possibly imagine no small debt ourselves? it's disturbing to think that the united states government, as the agent of the people, could be so ungrateful of those who answered their call.
the bush administration has called today on american soldiers and sailors to place themselves in harm's way for a cause that, i believe, is just. but what will our troops who continue to risk their lives to preserve american security think when they learn of their government's callous attitude towards their suffering?
as an american, a republican, and a supporter of president bush, i'm outraged by this story, and ashamed of our treatment of these brave men. 1 billion dollars to the united states of america is like 100 dollars to you or i. it's a pittance. in a climate where every cent requested for iraq is fodder for howling demagogues, the administration's scrooge-like behavior is perhaps somewhat mitigated. yet not even the staunchest democrat would refuse bush one billion more for so pure a purpose. and even if they did, i've no doubts that the ninety billion requested for iraq, being under the management of the federal government, will be squandered at least by half. there is money enough to repay these vets what our nation owes them in the five-hundred dollar hammers and thousand-dollar toilet seats alone.
locdog hopes the administration will come to its senses
AP newsflash: gore won florida!
so there i was reading a story about ralph nader calling democrats whiners, or something, when what to my wondering eyes did appear but media bias in all its glory:
A media-sponsored review of more than 175,000 disputed ballots found that Gore would have won by a small margin if there had been a complete statewide recount.
uh...what is this "media-sponsored review" of which you speak? surely it's not the miami herald review--the exhaustive, state-wide, dimpled-chads-and-all, review to end all reviews? because that review found bush victorious in florida in almost every scenario. he won a straight-poker-nothing-wild recount, he won on overvotes (two or more for same office), and of the four different standards the herald used for undervotes (dimpled chads, hanging chades, etc.), bush won on two. gore won with a razor-thin margin of about 300 votes only with overvotes and the most liberally defined undervotes working in tandem. couple this recount with the fact that bush won each and every of the three official counts, and well, i'm pretty darned comfortable with the results.
it should be noted that there were several "media-sponsored recounts" in the months following the 2000 presidential election, although the knight-ridder/miami herald count was by far the most rigorous. there wasn't the rampant mathematical speculation that marred the others--this was a bunch of folks, locked in a room, counting chad after chad after chad. just like gore wanted. well, actually gore wanted a "full, fair, and accurate count," which he defined as a disqualification of postage-due military overseas ballots plus a recount held exclusively in the four most staunchly democratic counties. good thing shrub had pappy's supreme court, eh? how else could david boies have lost?
check out the herald article for yourself. how would you describe the tone of coverage? the pervading sentiment seems to be one of ambiguity, tainted somewhat by the revelation that under all but the most liberal standards, bush would have won. yet the AP boldly asserts a conclusive win for gore. do you find anything in that article that even comes close to justifying their certitude? i don't. perhaps this wasn't their "media-sponsored recount." but if not, why not? were they not aware of the herald's count?
they either chose to ignore it, which is inexcusable since it was clearly the best of the lot, or they grossly misreported its findings. either way, its no wonder that they didn't bother to name which "media-sponsored recount" they used.
locdog wonders if the miami herald cares, and doubts it