Saturday, July 24, 2004

Crap that bothers me

You know what bothers me? People who, in the most loaded presidential election in history, are still clinging to third-party candidates. What bugs me even more is that the people who are the most third-partisan are left-leaning types who are determined to spit on John Kerry.

Are there really those who are so uncompromising in their ideas that they are going to take the time to visit their polling station and cast a vote for Ralph Nader or David Cobb? In 2004? As if that's going to accomplish anything else besides securing another vote for George W. Bush? And all because they think Kerry is just too mainstream! Do the Democrats not deserve votes because they want to appeal to a broad base of constituents, the United States? That's a strategy and-a-half there, Cochise. Maybe if these third-party voters force us into four more years of Bush, maybe then we'll see just how evil Kerry is. Thanks for the head-up!

Yeah, I know and understand that they don't like Bush. Neither do I. But why all the hatred for Kerry? Isn't this exactly the kind of in-fighting that the Republicans are counting on to whip us? After all, it was the GOP that recently managed to get Nader on the ballot in Michigan. Think about that!

Of course, maybe it's just because they want to make a statement. How's about this for a statement: "We don't like Bush. He's bad for the country, so we're going to vote in Kerry. He's not our favorite, but he's better than what we have now. We're paving the way for our pick for next time." Because if they blow this one, I don't think the third-party types are going to get the same level of respect they got after the 2000 election.

You know what bothers me? Debating libertarians. It's easier to debate the most extremist political science professor than it is to debate the average libertarian. I have issues with the libertarian philosophy, which is basically two parts liberalism with a major dollop of right-wing FUCK YOU thrown in for good measure. I believe in self-sufficiency; however, I don't see the harm in helping another human being from time to time. Or the idea of community.

The reason I dislike debating libertarians is that they know everything. Everything. These people have so much historical text memorized and drown you in so many terms that even if you make a totally flawless point--one that would make Karl Rove fall on his knees and beg to the heavens for forgiveness--you'll get the stinging rejoinder, "Within the context of my piece, your statement makes little sense and given the brevity of your reponse I'll try and extrapolate what it is you are in fact trying to say. Forgive me if I'm incorrect." Then they'll ask you to define every word of your statement ("What exactly do you mean when you say, 'foreign policy?'") and inquire as to how your comment fits in with John Adams' interpretation of "The Leviathan."

What's most puzzling to me about all of this is that I have a degree in journalism with a minor in political science. I took five classes alone on political philosophy, and learned everything about men from Socrates to Hobbes to Machiavelli to de Tocqueville to St. Thomas Aquinas. And I don't know one-tenth of the shit that these guys spew! Of course, that's mostly the lousy libertarians; the really good ones actually have something to offer and don't cloud it as much. And at least they care, which brings me to my next point:

You know what bothers me? People who are proud of their ignorance. I actually overheard a friend of mine at a party say, "Well, I don't agree with a lot of things that Bush does, but he's all about, 'God Bless America,' so he's all right with me." Good--um--God! When you know enough people like that, you begin to understand why Bush is such a lock with people who normally wouldn't associate with the antichrist. God, God, God. Say it loud and there's music playing! Say it soft and it's like--well, you get the picture. Of course, when I say God, somehow the mere mention of his name fails to elevate me among my fundie friends. Funny how that works; why is it Bush can get away with atrocities in the name of God, yet I'm the heretic for voicing a different opinion?

Another example of ignorance is the half of America that takes pride in not voting. Now granted, two-thirds of these people are probably doing the country a favor by staying away from the polls; still, why do people brag about it? And what is the deal with the politically active who chose not to vote in 2000, because no candidate appealed to them? In other words, no one running agreed with them 100 percent on all issues. How petty is that?

You know what bothers me? That, in this new and improved Moral Murrika, Whoopi Goldberg lost her endorsement deal with Slim-Fast for making a Bush pun while that Master of Decency Dick Cheney can tell a Democrat "Go fuck yourself" and still keep his job. That, and the fact that Cheney has his job at all.


Nick said...

1. I would probably try to write in Joseph Farah for president if I didn't think that Louisiana might give Kerry their electoral votes. So my slogan, "Vote for Bush. He's less of a F*ck Up than Kerry."

2. You may not like debating Libertarians but you should become friends with them, as they might cost Bush this election like the Greens probably cost Gore in 2000.

3. Yeah, I also get pissed at people who gladly proclaim they're not voting. Many who want Bush/Kerry to win don't want Conservatives/Liberals to vote in this coming election. Even though I want Bush to win, I think every eligible voter should vote b/c people died so that we can have that right. However, I do think that along w/ being a citizen, you should also pass a test which shows you have at least some knowlegde of basic/simple American history and government structure. That way we don't have deadheads who watch nothing but MTV and reality shows making important voting decisions.

4. I could care less about what Woopie said or what Slim Fast does. But I thought it was pretty funny when Cheney told that guy to go f*ck himself. I think old Dick might have just come out of his shell. I could see it now:

Karl Rove: "Dick, you need to do really good in the VP debate against John Edwards."

Cheney: "Aww....go f*ck yourself."

That crazy Cheney, what trouble is he going to get into next?

Ian McGibboney said...

I don't know...a test for voters? That might not be the best way to get everyone to vote, or the best recruitment tool for the Republican Party.

What would this test be?
*A fill-in-the-blank on world leaders? (Bush would fail that!)
*A current-events quiz? Philosophy?
*Or would it be a one-time thing?

Who would create such a test?
*George W. Bush?
*Bill Clinton?
*Nick Bouterie?
*Pat Robertson?

But if I were asked to design this test, you bet I would!

Nick said...

Actually, I wouldn't make it where you had to know world leaders and all. I would just ask simple questions, like:

1. Name the 1st American President.
2. What are the 3 branches of government?
3. What is the Constitution?

And, I would even have it as multiple choice. The sad thing is, many people would fail a test that simple. However, those are the kind of people I wouldn't want voting anyway.

Also, this notion that it wouldn't be a good Republican recruiting tool b/c all Conservative are idiots is complete BS, and you know it. What if I'd say that Liberals are nothing but a bunch of drug loving hippies? I know you don't (at least to my knowledge) do drugs, and at the same time Rush Limbaugh did. Trust me, just as many ignorant people will pull the lever for Kerry as will for Bush, just b/c their friends say it's cool.

Ian McGibboney said...

How about we make it a standardized test? That way we could lower the voting age and No Child would be Left Behind!

Shannon said...

I'm sorry, but that test idea sounds downright scary... You'd be putting the decision of who votes and who doesn't in the hands of the government. Besides, less than half of Americans vote. Why whittle it down any more?

Re: Libertarians
I have the opposite impression of American libertarians. Most of them are actually traditionally conservative... Most liberals have ideals of a kind of weak socialism. They view the government as an effective means toward social change. Any libertarian worth his salt would spit on that idea...

In fact, I have a certain amount of sympathy with the libertarian position. Too bad they're all gun nuts. I hate guns, and I believe in environmental regulation. They won't take me.

Nick said...

Guns are cool. They help me keep my freezer stocked with deer and rabbit meat. Mmmm...rabbit stew. Anyway, as long as criminals have guns, why can't I?

Anonymous said...

Geez, this is the first post of yours that I've read that actually scares me. You sound so angry I was beginning to think I had stumbled upon a right wing blog.

I have a lot of respect for libertarians and third party candidate voters. Although I believe there are bigger fish to fry (BUSH) this election year, I think the single most important reason Bush was election is that people feel like they have to vote for a Democrat or a Republican. There's something seriously wrong with the way "the system" works when races are won by such a tiny majority and when people vote for someone because they are the candidate the voter "hates the least". It's not the voters fault that the public is brainwashed into thinking this is a two party system.

As for libertarians, they are simply a party thats views are not represented completely by either the Republican and Democratic parties. What's wrong with that? Are you simply intimidated by how intelligent their representatives are? That's a pretty lame rant. I honestly wish most party representatives showed a bit more intelligence -- it's time the bar was raised.

The ironic thing is from a lot of conversations I have had with people I think Nader will hurt the Republicans just as much as the Democrats this year. A lot of people who usually vote Republican don't want to vote for Bush, but they don't want to vote for a Democrat either. The sad truth is these people don't really know who they are voting for when they vote for Nader, but they still feel somehow they are voting for the "lesser of three evils" (Just a slight difference from most people who vote for Kerry, really). In my opinion, it's probably just because Nader doesn't get slammed as much since he's lower profile.

Ian McGibboney said...
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Ian McGibboney said...

Shannon, my point is exactly that; a citizen test really is a dumb idea. In fact, I've always found it amusing what a litany of tests and such that non-citizens have to navigate to become citizens. I mean, why do the people who actually want to become citizens have to deal with 14 years of red tape? Meanwhile, many people lucky enough to be born on U.S. soil (or to U.S. parents somewhere else)don't know dick about their country! So, yeah, I think we should have as many voters as legally possible. The key is getting them interested. How do you do that? I can't say that I know for sure.

About libertarians: I know that the danger of reading text is that you often lose the context in which it was written. In this case, I was half laughing, half mad. This is because libertarians are perhaps the most complex breed of politicos out there. While no two are alike (like snowflakes!), libertarians generally think like liberals on social issues (government out of my bedroom), but like conservatives on the economy (free market rules! leave it alone!). Basically, it's a distrust for government in general, a healthy skepticism. But, like I said, there is no real libertarian party line, which makes it frustrating to debate them at times. Whereas you can count on conservatives to parrot the same issues, alomst word for word ("Saddam was an evil dictator who had weapons of mass destruction and used them on his own people..."), libertarians can literally be anywhere on the map. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing! In fact, I welcome libertarians into the fold, because I think they share many of the same concerns as liberals. All I mean is that it's difficult to debate them. This isn't bad, it's just challenging. I will say this: between a libertarian and a conservative, a libertarian is more likely to concede a point or find common ground.

Anyway, my main point concerns the system more than anything else: while I fully advocate the benefits of a multi-party system, I realize that we don't have one now. And in 2004, we have to work within the system to be able to make it so in the coming years. The only way we can do that is to vote for Kerry, the one candidate who has a chance to defeat Bush, the man who has already proven his contempt for the electoral process. I have other reasons to vote for Kerry as well, but this is the one that I think all liberals and libertarians should agree upon.

Shannon said...

Yeah. As a Nader voter from the '00 election, I'm voting for Kerry this time around. The stakes are higher now, and we do need to work within the uniparty system.

However, what annoys me to no end are the Democrats who continue to blame Nader for Gore's loss. Number one: Gore won. I didn't support him, but I have to concede that he won, fair and square. Number two: there were more Florida Democrats who voted for Bush than anyone who voted for Nader. If Gore couldn't get everyone in his own damn party, that just shows how weak of a candidate he was.

You'd think that, after '00, the Dems would be seriously examining what went wrong. How could it have been so close? This was George W. Bush for Christ's sake!

Many did, of course, recognizing that by agreeing with everything Bush said, they weren't inspiring anyone. But just as many just sat, grumbled, and blamed Nader.

Ian McGibboney said...

Just playing devil's advocate here, but if my calculations are correct then Ralph Nader received four percent of the vote in Florida. If Gore had received even half of that bloc, his margin of victory would have been too large for the Supreme Court to steal.

I know, I know...Nader's candidacy sparked people to vote that wouldn't have otherwise voted. I don't know how to take that though; did that mean that those voters, who were astute enough to support Nader, would have ignored the election had he not been there? I doubt that seriously. I know this because I veered from Nader to Gore repeatedly throughout the 2000 election. I was faced with the same dilemma that faced most progressive voters: Do I vote for the ideologically pure man that might stand a chance but risks dividing the liberal vote, or the more moderate guy who does stand a chance? Had it not been for the bit of news in October that the GOP was starting to fuel the Nader campaign (like they are now), I might never have made it to the polls. And yes, I did vote for Gore. The bottom line was that I was going to find someone from the available field to vote for no matter what; I wanted to vote. Which is why I don't think that most of Nader's voters registered just to pick him, or that they wouldn't have voted for Gore otherwise.

As for this assumption of yours that Nader is siphoning off Bush's votes as well, I doubt that. That definitely wasn't true in 2000, and while your theory (GOP voters don't like Bush, but don't want to support Kerry) might make sense on the surface, I think it underestimates both the partisanship of the GOP and the consciences of Republican Bush-haters.

Of course, it IS true that Gore won the election and popular vote in 2000 in any case. And that Nader voters are less to blame than five Republicans in black robes. But now that we know of the peril in 2004, we must note even come close to letting it happen again. Yes, Bush is a moron. But there are enough morons in America to make this race closer than it needs to be.

Ted said...

Ian, As I explained to you in my response to your comments on, your analysis of the 2000 election outcome in Florida is simpleminded. You ought to read the article by George Priest that I posted on Rocco's web-site.

Another thing, please: you have a very limited understanding of philosophy (and a much smaller mental capacity than you believe you have); so you should try to avoid the references to philosophical texts.

Anonymous said...

Ian, I agree with your response and apologize if mine was unnecessarily hostile. I will not sit with the Democrats and revel in their own self-righteousness, however I will vote for Kerry this year.

Also, I don't mean to keep posting anonymously -- I simply do not want to make an account and keep forgetting to sign my name at the end. :)


Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shannon said...

Never mind. I see who you're responding to..