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Racing to the bottom

There's an old story about a king who wished to own the fastest horse in his kingdom. He invited the owners of the fastest horses to the castle to race, and announced that he would keep the winning horse for himself. Naturally, none of the horse owners wanted the "honor" of the victory, since it would cost them their horse, so they all planned to lose. That's when the king announced that each horse would be ridden by another owner's rider, to keep the race honest.

I am reminded of that story whenever I read or hear about the fighting between the Democrats and Republicans over who ought be trusted with governing the nation, but without the king's Solomonic twist.

The Republicans have had years and years to put their principles -- the ones they ran on -- in action, and through accident, design, or sheer ineptitude have done very little. They ran against profligate spending -- but pass out taxpayer money like a drunken Kennedy (but I repeat myself). they railed against Big Government intruding in our lives -- but embrace it. They denounced grotesque public spending and entitlements -- and jacked them through the ceiling. In short, they have become nearly everything that they fought against. Measured by that standard, they absolutely do not deserve to win.

But politics, for all its grays and nuances, is a binary equation. We have, for better or for worse, a two-party system. Almost without exception, a defeat for one side means a win for the other. (Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and -- with luck -- Joe Lieberman aside.) While the Republicans certainly seem worthy of losing, does that mean that the Democrats are entitled to win?

I'd have to say no. Sometimes when I look at the leading Democrats of today, I have to wonder if they've looked at the Republicans' failures and errors and mistakes and somehow connected them to the Republicans' electoral successes, and decided that they can somehow flop their way into power.

Let's look at the most prominent Democrats. Howard Dean? A flop as a candidate, a flop as a party fundraiser, most famous for his "Dean Scream" moment and an unending series of attacks, but never presents any alternatives besides vague platitudes and promises that "we can do better than they can." Hillary Clinton? Openly loathed by a large portion of the electorate, trying to juggle her own disdain for the unwashed masses and having to submit to their regular approval, her own far-left personal beliefs, and the need to present a "sane, rational" face for her factions? John Kerry? Please. Barack Obama? It seems his greatest selling point is his newness, his freshness, his lack of a definable platform or history -- very reminiscent of the first President Bush's Supreme Court nominees.

I don't give a damn about parties. Last election, I cheerfully split my ticket, with the top four slots (president, senator, representative, and governor) divided evenly between the parties. Next month, I'll most likely vote (again) for my sitting Democrat governor, and I'm still unsure about my representative -- I'm not that thrilled with the incumbent, Jeb Bradley (R), but what I've heard about the Democrat so far (which isn't much), he's pretty chummy with the moonbat faction.

All my adult life, I've defined myself as a moderate, a middle-of-the-roader. Since that time, the Republicans have pretty much held the same ground, while the Democrats have moved farther and farther to the left. As a consequence, the "middle of the road" has been redefined, geographically speaking, as farther to the left. Hence I find myself having not really moved at all, but the lines of demarcation have been redrawn around me, putting me in Right territory. I'm still in favor of decriminalizing drugs, against laws regarding "victimless" crimes, squishily pro-choice on abortion, supporting gay marriage, and holding many more "liberal" views, but that doesn't matter -- the far left has such sway over the Democratic party that they can -- and do -- demand absolute loyalty to a large number of issues, and deviance from the party line on even a single one of those issues is, to them, a political capital offense.

Again, look at Joe Lieberman. Six years ago, they were thrilled to have him as the number two man on their presidential ticket. Since then, he has remained rock-solid to his liberal beliefs and voted consistently with his party -- except on one single issue. And that one dissention -- although perfectly in line with the "old truth", the Clinton-era policies that everyone spoke in favor of, suddenly fell out of favor when Bush started putting deeds to words. That action, that consistency, by Lieberman has made him a pariah among his own party.

No, I'd have to say that, judged solely on their own merits, the Republicans certainly don't deserve to maintain their hold on power. But since the only alternative is the party of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, and those unworthies I mentioned above, it looks like they should keep it in the worst possible way -- by default.

And the worst thing about it is, we have only ourselves to blame. As they say, in a democracy, the people tend to get exactly the kind of government we deserve. We keep electing and re-electing these people.

So the next time you hear someone bitching about those miserable, cowardly, craven, licentious, disgusting, repulsive, greedy, power-hungry, noxious, deceitful, manipulative, hypocritical, thieving swine we have running our government, tell them to put the blame right where it belongs -- and go look in a mirror.


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Comments (21)

I was watching this documen... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

I was watching this documentary on how the magnetic poles of the earth are gradually switching. This happens every 200,00 years or so. During these swaps internal bits of molten ore are confused by the shifting polarities and become a confused and changing mass.

I was reminded of this because even though we share the same views on all the items you list, I think we would find ourselves identifying with opposite polarities in the political mass.

This is very troubling to me and I can't figure it out.

I can only give you an example. I have three friends that have returned from Iraq telling me the same story I have read in books like Fiasco, statements from Gen. Batiste, Eaton, Zinni,Newbold,Odum, McCaffrey etc, etc, about realities on the ground there.

A few months ago I was listening to a report by Michael Ware from Time, the Austrailian guy that has been on the ground and out of the Emerald City since the beginning. He was being interviewed on BBC and he was talking about a recent trip to Iraq by Lieberman whom he traveled with. Ware recounted the extremely grim reports from the military they were briefed by, the horrific scenes on the streets of Baghdad and in the hospitals. The incredible level of carnage and devastation that was consuming the country. At the press conference at the end of Liebermans visit Ware recounted how his jaw hit the floor when Lieberman started praising the war effort in sunny happyface terms totally ignoring what he had seen. Ware said he thought, "Is this man absolutely insane? What drugs is he on?"

When our guys are dying in the fucking desert over there for no reason truth is the most precious commodity we have. This is something that Lieberman and Bush have little experience with.

Jay, your concluding paragr... (Below threshold)

Jay, your concluding paragraph is true, but the truth of it depends absolutely upon the willingness of the citizenry to accept a state of affairs where it must accept either Tweedledum or Tweedledumber. That allows each of them to point to the other and say, "if you don't elect me, look at what you'll get instead!"

In effect, the citizenry can be -- and is -- denied the only alternative that can thwart a coordinated attack by dishonorable men: to choose neither of them. Third parties don't work well in our sort of system, as history has established fairly firmly. What remains is "None Of The Above Is Acceptable" -- a choice our political class has striven to prevent being offered us.

It's time to get this critical idea some air time and some column inches.

Pretty fair description of ... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Pretty fair description of my feelings too Jay. I don't think the Republicans deserve to win....but for me the Democrats even less so. While I disagree with several Republican positions there is simply nothing from the other party I agree with or support. A Republican lead government angers me often. A Democratic--lead by the extreme left that has taken over that party--absolutely frightens me. I'll be voting for for Republican senator this election---but I'm holding my nose while I do it.

Although the person in the ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Although the person in the mirror has a lot of blame, I say that the person in the mirror has not entirely has a fair opportunity to choose.

We have two semi-closed clubs that run politics in this country.

My formula for change:

1) True Campaign Finance reform.
- Cash donations from citizens only (No organizations, corporations, Parties, or foreign concerns). Congress should be focused on the concerns of the American Public
- Limit to 1000 dollar per person per candidate in their place of residence. Someone in Nevada should not be able to contribute to the campaign for Senator in New York. Righ now Parties help people get elected in districts that otherwise would never get elected on their own. That should end now.

2) Remove the Two-Party strangle hold on the election process and Congressional Control
- The two parties have entrenched themselves in the political process. That needs to be dismantled as much as possible. A third party never formed in the past, but that doesn't mean the possibility didn't have an effect on Congress' behavior. As the possiblity becomes more and more remote, we have two clubs that can go to hell in a handbasket together. And they know it.

Folks that think we dont ha... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

Folks that think we dont have a good reason (& need) to be fighting in Iraq need to learn about a few very crital issues including: history of evil-based expansionist dictators; wars in general; and geopolitics - as a start. Many times our nation has been challenged by those that want to rule the world - this time its worse because it's in the name of religion and they are driven by their interpretation of a higher order.

I love it when I hear that these religious warriors are coming to Iraq to fight our military - sure, no doubt we should be doing a better job at defeating this enemy, but the modern liberal instituted rules of war prevent that. Get a grip - war is hell - our nation, left & right, libs & conservatives do not want war - luckily we sometimes have leaders (Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush II) that understand what needs to be done to perserve (and, yes, expand) freedom.

We cannot negotiate with these religious fanatics (what do you negotiate? "we'll stop believing in Christ if you stop suicide bombings"?). Biggest problem: source of most warring resources (men & weapons) comes from Iran. If they get deliverable nukes, you all will be wishing for the good old days when blood being shed was primarily in Iraq. If you dont recognize these basic tennants you have absolutely no business trying to influence others.

Ultimately, I believe, this... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

Ultimately, I believe, this horse leaves the barn at the local level. What I mean is that the power of incumbency is rooted in school board, city council, mayoral, and state legislative elections. How often do we see the same exact people running for the same exact office election after election? And these people keep getting elected because very few people know what real impact these officials (their friends and neighbors) are having things like taxes and public policy. Also, how many people even want to spend the time to go to a city council meeting, let alone have to be there all the time and hear complaints?

The founders' ideas of leadership (and voting, for that matter) seem to be much different than what we have evolved into. Their model saw leadership as the duty of all landowners, not as a career for those whose egos would take command.

Now, with the busyness of everyday life and media at all levels blurring the public and the private, those who would be best at leadership want no part of it. Which one of us would want to be in the spotlight all the time, even while getting crap thrown at us (along with adulation)?

It seems that even many who start with the right view of leadership (public servant) eventually see their position as something of a birthright instead of a privilege. Those who started out as useful now have the need to be seen as important. Unfortunately, to make it to the highest levels of political leadership requires a massive amount of ego and money that could be better spent elsewhere. Pork projects that benefit a small group of people end up being paid for by all, and those who win that pork are seen as "effective", and laws are written to win votes instead of to protect people and property, which is what the federal government's primary job should be.

What's the answer to all this? I'm not sure that this system can be changed very easily, because it would take many people committed to reform at all levels, and frankly, I don't think we have the will, or even the attention span for it. My personal efforts at rebellion start at generally voting out incumbents at local levels. Unfortunately, my fellow citizens rarely go that same direction!

Well said GeminiChuck!... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

Well said GeminiChuck!

Like many posting on this t... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Like many posting on this thread I have held my beliefs pretty solidly over time, but watched the lines of demarcation be redrawn around me, leaving me looking further and further to the Right. Out here in California if you sing along with the National Anthem at a ballgame you are pretty much labeled a right-wing fanatic. Being a former Marine I still stand up straight (if not quite at "Attention"), and place my hand over my heart when the National Anthem is played. I have been sneered at for this at several sporting events in and around San Francisco.

and as for dr lava and his accounts of returning Veterans, I have had far more encounters that are just the opposite. I know quite a few Iraq War vets, and they provide a VERY consistent account: it is CONFLICT and we are WINNING. Period. It's not chaos, it's not America or even Iraq "on the ropes"...we are WINNING. Period.

We will LOSE in the Iraq and the entire Middle East ONLY if we withdraw prematurly and leave Iraq to the enemies of mankind, i.e. the IslamoFascists. again, PERIOD.

I agree with Justrand, as a... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

I agree with Justrand, as a 22 year vet I get to meet a lot of vet's from Iraq and have had several 'contact's' by email/instant mail. The antique MSM and liberal politicians spread a lot of lies that embolden the terrorists and get American Soldiers killed. The is a fact, not right wing hype. Read Usama and his leaders rants, they are losing and they know it. Their only hope is for the liberals in the U.S. (funny they never serve anyone but themselves) to lose the war like Hanoi John/Hanoi Jane did for Vietnam. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is a habit with cowards. Say it plain and simple, the democrats are cowards or they are anti-americans willing to get millions killed to satisfy they're wounded ego's. They are in the same bucket with the Idiot from Iran and the total insane leader of North Korea who has starved a nation to death in an attempt to make himself a hero. It doesn't work that way, he looks like the insane fool he is and history will make the democrats look the same way. Traitors and losers will not be displayed as hero's in the future. Funny how truth shakes out in the history books.

Jay 's take is about right.... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Jay 's take is about right. The Dem party today stands for nothing. All they offer is empty and deceptive rhetoric. The Dem party (and the liberal left in general) is now the home of anti-Semitism, racism (eg. condi Rice), and now openly anti-gay bigotry (they openly say that Mark Foley was gay so the Rep should have automatically suspicious of pedophillia). The dems don't care about women/children any more. Remember sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas? When it came to Clinton, they simply lied, made excuse for him, and attacked his victims. They loudly condemn as anti-gay anyone dare to criticize the ALCU for going after the boy scout and defending NAMBLA. Now they are openly bashing gays.

Jay is right. The Rep party deserves a spanking, but we simply cannot afford the sewage of the current Dem party.

My nephew returned from Ira... (Below threshold)

My nephew returned from Iraq recently. He was not in Baghdad and he spent most of his time helping to build schools for Iraqi kids.

He knows we're winning over there, and without American troops the terrorists would take over.

I've also heard Michael Ware on talk radio and he's the biggest leftie you've ever heard. I wouldn't trust him if he told me the sky was blue.

Hear! hear! to Scrapiron.</... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Hear! hear! to Scrapiron.

Michael Ware is hardly an o... (Below threshold)
IllTemperedCur:

Michael Ware is hardly an objective reporter. His reports on CNN from the past couple of months have been nothing more than "live from Bagdad" editorials. No sources cited, no interviews, no specific news events. Now, I don't have a problem with news organizations having political opinions (that's why newspapers have op-ed pages), but I'm very much opposed to injecting their politial opinions into their reporting. There should be a clear demarcation between opinion/analysis and reporting. And we just aren't getting that from the MSM right now.

Sorry to be a bit OT but Ware is one of my bete noirs.

When our guys are dying ... (Below threshold)
Clay:

When our guys are dying in the fucking desert over there for no reason truth is the most precious commodity we have.

My brother and cousin don't believe that they're over there for no reason. And they'd like nothing more than for guys like dr lava to STFU. But, that's the irony of it all. Guys like my brother have been spilling their blood for centuries so guys like dr lava can spit their version of truth.

Fells good to be able to say what you said in the warmth of your home with a full belly, eh dr lava? You're probably facing your toughest decision of the day: Do I want whipped cream with that latte?

Why is it, Jay Tea, that on... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Why is it, Jay Tea, that once a month
you have to advertise how sensible you are?

Shouldn't your writings reflect this anyways,
without you having to constantly claim it?

Unfortunately for you, they don't reflect
the writings of someone "moderate" or sensible.
As you have said yourself, you want
others to "embrace the neo-con agenda."

This is what your writings reflect - someone
who embraces the neo-con agenda. And - as
we have all seen - this agenda isn't moderate
at all. (And it doesn't work)

Carry on. I look forward for this repeat
post next month.

Jay's was a pretty luke war... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay's was a pretty luke warm endorsement of the ruling party..But if he votes to confirm them (as it appears ) it will only encourage the Republicans, even though as he states they have become nearly everything that they fought against. Measured by that standard, they absolutely do not deserve to win in other words 'Vote for the underserving'..this a great leason in the power of democracy. I say why bother exercising your franchise, if you are afraid of judging those in power. 'Throw the rascals out' (and take a chance on the opposition Dems who could be turfed out in the next election) seems to be the only conscientious course, for those who don't like the incumbents, otherwise why bother with having elections at all.

Based on what you have offe... (Below threshold)
Joab:

Based on what you have offered about your political views you are a libertarian. Libertarians (not necessarily members of the Libertarian Party as an entity, but as a mindset) are essentially what the GOP used to be, long ago, and still claims to be, but is not. Small government, less interference, state's rights, same as you on drugs and crime, etc.

I feel the GOP left me, not the other way around, and that's why I vote 3rd party now. We need a third alternative to the two major parties because all they care about is acquiring and keeping power.

A generally respectable pos... (Below threshold)
Brian:

A generally respectable post, but with one bewildering omission. You list example after example of how Republicans have strayed from the core conservative philosophy, but then you say they "have pretty much held the same ground, while the Democrats have moved farther and farther to the left". Those statements are incongruous. Even the father of the conservative movement says that Republicans are no longer true conservatives.

The fact is that both parties have moved more to their sides, and the middle has gotten smaller. The "center" is almost non-existent, and those who used to be true moderates have been forced to choose sides. The definition of a moderate is not one who has a disagreement with their party. Simply being pro-choice or for drug legalization does not make you a moderate.

Actually, I have to correct... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Actually, I have to correct myself. Profligate spending, government intrusion, jacking up entitlements,... one could say that the Republicans have moved to the left, and taken the microscopic center with them, eh?

The economy is much better ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

The economy is much better and stronger when compared to the Clinton years: based on more solid earning and productivity gain. Clinton years were known for the "internet bubble", more hyped than real. Anyone with some intellectual honesty must conclude that the economic news is quite good given that we have a GWOT to fight.

But again, the party that have to rewrite history to cover up for Clinton doesn't have any principle or any policy to offer. All they have is deception and sewage to offer America.

> I don't give a damn about... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

> I don't give a damn about parties. Last election, I cheerfully split my ticket, with the top four slots (president, senator, representative, and governor) divided evenly between the parties.

(the next paragraph assumes you're not a registered Democrat or Republican. If you are, sorry)
Jay, maybe YOU'RE part of the problem? If you were a registered Republican then you could be part of the process, the primary election, where you would choose which Republican ran in the general election. But you're an independent and you complain you don't like the choices you see on the general election's ballot.

Francis made a comment lamenting the lack of the "None of the Above" choice on ballots. I'd like to see that too with a added twist. If "None of the Above" won, the election would go to the candidate with the 2nd highest total but that candidate would be punished by have to serve a shorter term. Say, half-length. Ok, so there would be more elections. Small price to pay, I say.




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