I have never responded to a comment made in a thread with a whole new posting, but one visitor to this site, Joseph Marshall (with whom I share a common love of farce and Ella Fitzgerald) posted that he really couldn’t understand why some Democrats and former Democrats are pleading for a healthy, sane Democrat party. Since I respect Marshall as a fellow Wodehousian, I’ve decided to respond here, and bring his comments to the fore.
Sez Joe: The only thing WORTH opposing in Republican government is bad concrete results. Like the increasing levels of poverty and growing underemployment in this country. Like insanely ballooning deficts. Like the explosion of health care costs. Like sitting on our hands and allowing those Iraqis who don’t like us simply to loot incredible amounts of explosives and small arms to form an insurgency so we can have some “terrorists” to fight with. Like simply letting the Iranian nuclear arsenal get assembled while we “democratize” Iraq with 80% of our effective combat ground troops. We just went through a campaign where four years of bad concrete results were placed right out there on the public laundry line for all with any sense to see. Forty-eight percent of us had sense enough to see it, and are massively astounded and dismayed that Fifty-one percent of us can’t see sense.Your vote…vote told us one thing and one thing only. You all don’t care about concrete results.George W. Bush is YOUR DADDY, who will protect you from everything (terrorists, abortion clinics, gays trying to live sane and responsible public lives, ect. ect.) no matter how effectively he actually DOES anything.What on earth is there to oppose about that? And why do we need an “opposition party” to do it?
So let me get this straight, Joe. Not everyone in the Republican Party is a seething evangelical, homophobic bigot. We’re all just mindless children in search of a daddy to keep us safe, while we support troops who purposely allow Iraqis to gather weapons so they can get killed trying to take them away.
Thanks for clearing that up.
That statement, in a nutshell, is why you lost the election. You lost the votes of people who recognized all your sneering condescension and mad accusations for what they were: substitutes for ideas; camouflage for that fact that your party has nothing to offer except criticism. No solutions. Everything is bad, and everything is the fault of one man. What nonsense.
As to “Daddy” keeping us safe: Being safe is fundamental. If we are not safe enough to go to work, the economy collapses. If we are not safe enough to ride the subways, essential folk (not, as Geraldine Ferraro would suggest, the academics and philosophers, but the nurses, firefighters, hardhats and engineers) would not be able to get where they must be to help us if we are in need. If we are not safe, then none of the rest of your myriad concerns matter.
I am repeatedly struck by the members of the left who sneer at the whole concept of safety – people who obviously feel so safe from terrorism (thanks to no one, clearly, since they can’t say thanks to Bush) that they feel free to create boogeymen and cultivate other – much less concrete – much more unlikely fears. Concentration camps for gays! The draft! The closing of libraries! What nonsense.
And as to some of those problems you’re listing – climbing health care costs…what are you saying? That health care costs went DOWN under Clinton? Why might they be spiraling? Think about it, it’s not hard…health care costs are higher because of out-of-control lawsuits, out of control medical malpractice rates (my own OBGYN will no longer deliver babies because although he is a fine doctor, he simply can’t afford the rates or the risk) coupled with the need for hospitals to serve whole communities of folk who work illegally and thus have no insurance…all of this contributes to our hospitals charging 5 bucks for a Q-tip. The “insanely ballooning deficits” – well we heard about how they were going to destroy our children’s futures during the Johnson era. Until, of course, the Johnson deficits went away. Then we heard about the Reagan deficits bringing our children’s futures to their knees…until that deficit went away. These deficits will go away, too. What makes the deficits go away? Increased jobs which increase revenue. How do you increase jobs? Lower taxes; I learned that in economics 101, in twelfth grade.
For that matter what makes deficits grow? Well, if we’re ever involved with a major terror attack again, one that cripples our transports and threatens the economy on several levels, we’ll certainly see a growing deficit as people clamor for the government to save every industry and repair every city, compensate every victim’s family and, oh yeah…keep fighting because we need to be safe. Being safe is CONCRETE, Joe. It really is.
I see the left doing a lot of fear-mongering, and little else. Bush is going to get us all killed! (Kept us safe for three years so far, while Spain, Bali, Turkey and others have been attacked) Bush is creating a ballooning deficit! (Except the deficit is already a third smaller than it was a year ago, and we are in war – pretty freaking remarkable, when you think about it) Bush is going to make everyone come to Jesus! (Oh, cut it out, now..) Iran is going to kill us if Iraq doesn’t! (Maybe. You can only eat a bear a bite at a time, and the bear of Islamofascism is huge.)
So, what is your solution? Iran would certainly be less of threat with John Kerry giving them nuclear energy, wouldn’t they? That worked out really well for Clinton and Albright in North Korea…oh…except it didn’t. We could bring the troops home,because they’re just play-acting over there, there never were any WMD’s…except there were, but we ignore those reports as inconvenient.
I know! Let’s let the promise of Democracy, alive in Afghanistan (where women, free of their burquas voted – quite a concrete thing- ) and taking hold in Iraq, crumble and die – because…because…well, hell, you tell me, Joe, exactly how would that help? Why is bringing democracy to Afghanistan, ousting the Taliban, taking out Saddam and helping Iraq establish a democrat government a bad thing? Once upon a time, the democrats believed in all of that. I maintain that they would still believe in all of it if only, if only, if ONLY the President’s name wasn’t Bush and he didn’t have that troublesome R after his name.
What exactly are the Democrats offering by way of solutions? The world is a complex place – every one of these issues are complex issues. For all that we on the right have been derided as simpletons clinging to Daddy, what substantive ideas did John Kerry offer, that anyone believed? If you Democrats came into power tomorrow, what CONCRETE solutions would you offer that would create CONCRETE improvements? Are you going to socialize medicine? Yeah, let’s do THAT, that works so well in England, where heart patients are now being shipped to India because it’s cheaper to treat them there. It’s working so well in Canada that Canadians routinely purchase supplemental insurance so that they can come to America for treatment. It’s working so well in France that every summer Grandma dies, and the revenue base will not be able to meet the demand in ten years.
What else ya got? Peace marches? Dialogue? Summits? Yeah, let’s have summits. Let’s have dialogues…President Clinton had one dialogue after another with Arafat, almost gave away Israel, and still got nothing for it. Let’s all sing and be happy and tell each other how enlightened we are, and how the world would be so much better, if only ONE MAN were not in one particular office. Everything is bad because of one man, and we’re all so, so sad that he’s keeping the world from being perfect – why it’s even his fault that tufts of grass break through the concrete! What pathetic nonsense.
Why do I care about having a healthy Democratic party, Joe? Why does it matter? Because a healthy Democratic party would stop TALKING NONSENSE and actually get to work helping to create a better and safer world, a healthy Democratic party would stop sucking its thumb and would stop finding fault with everything – literally EVERYTHING – and would say “this idea over here is not so bad, what can we do to help? Why not try this? Have you considered THAT, let’s work together…” which would be a damn sight better than this incessant, “everything is bad, and we’re unhappy, and you people are stupid and we’re smart and nothing is good and it can never be good, and George Bush is a moron and you people are nazis and simpletons and we’re mad” refrain.
Perhaps that’s not “concrete” enough for you, but it would be a start. Even concrete needs something as ephemeral as air in order to cure. The Democrats need to stop doing the Chicken Little/We Hate Everyone But Ourselves dance and grow up.
They can start as soon as they stop talking nonsense.
UPDATE: In honor of the day, and at the urging of a friend, I’ll link to “Blessed are the Peacemakers” here.