Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Online Political Discourse.

Yesterday I was dismayed to discover that the chairman of the company that owns my favorite sports team is a public donor to Freedom's Watch. This might not matter much to me if I followed other teams. But I only follow the Philadelphia Flyers, and it is disturbing that Ed Snider (who actually helped found the franchise) is helping to fund such propaganda. It bothered me enough to post about it on a Flyer message board. You can read the complete thread here. I'd like to say that I found stimulating debate, but sadly that's not the case. I did find one individual whose response was worth meeting with a substantial one of my own. I'm including it as the bulk of today's post. Here is his screed:

"Actually, probably the biggest thing wrong with this country since 2001 has been the absolute unhingement of the Democratic Party/liberal Left in this country. There was a time with JFK and FDR where liberals were realistic, optimistic, and sane...but no more. You complain about discourse from the right, but...I'm sorry...but what about the liberals/Democrats, who have accomplished/contributed NOTHING to this country since 2001? All they've done is whined, complained, and b****ed about Bush this, Bush that, when they themselves have been huge failures.

What about the Democrats who call for Bush's death, or constantly trash America and the troops (go to mainstream liberal websites like the DailyKos and the Democratic Underground for such things). What about prominent politicians like Harry Reid calling the President a "loser" or John Edwards saying the WOT is just a "bumper sticker"? Or what about Dems who consisntely claim that we are becoming a facist police state? (On that topic - how many Bush/Hitler comparisons have we heard since 2001?...way too many, don't you think?). It's in some ways sickening, in other ways hilarious to see Dems absolutely deranged about Bush ("Bush Derangement Syndrome").

And even when he tacks to the left on some issues (Medicare Part D, immigration, etc.) and pisses off his base as a result, Dems won't give him any credit at all. At least many Republicans are willing to give Bill Clinton credit for welfare reform and NAFTA, why can't Dems give credit where credit is due? (Just as a side note - I'm against Bush on immigration and those issues where he is liberal, but I don't get why Dems can't support him on those issues, since he is obviously to the left of his part on those issues).I'm not saying everything Republicans/conservatives have said and done have been perfect. And everyone is entitled to have views about Iraq, Bush's performance, etc. But there is a very reasonable, polite, fair way to argue for your side and still be respectiveful and accomplish good things for the country . I have no problem with Bush being criticized, but too many mainstream Democrats are insane about it. Liberals calling Bush a thug and that kind of thing does absolutely no good for the country. It only perpetuates an endless cycle of partisanship that will tear this country apart."

And here's my counter-post:

In assessing Democratic legislative contributions of the last six years, one has to consider the fact that they have been completely disenfranchised in every branch of the federal government. Only for the last eight months have they had a majority in Congress.

But during that time they've raised minimum wage, instituted 9-11 commission requirements that were criminally ignored by the GOP since the report came out, expanded child health care coverage, increased financial aid to college students, and passed an energy bill that addresses global warming.

So you see... you are completely off base in your assumptions. In fact, without a Republican Party that is slavish in their devotion to the president- additional legislation would have been veto-proof, and thus passed.

I haven't heard a single Democratic legislator call for Bush's death. That's ludicrous. But private citizens say all kinds of extreme things. Just recently ultraconservative "rocker" Ted Nugent suggested that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi should "suck on my machine gun". Then he went on FOXNews and Sean Hannity defended those comments. Similarly, Ann Coulter suggested that "fragging" was invented for Congressman John Murtha (PA). I don't remember any of the conservative pundits taking her to task for that comment. And they still put her on television. So I really don't want to hear any sanctimony from the right.

The Bush administration (along with the rest of the GOP Kool Aid drinkers) HAS been chipping away at civil liberties since 9-11. That is a fact... not rhetoric. Illegal wiretapping of American citizens... the suspension of habeas corpus under the Patriot Act, suggesting that criticism of the war effort is "aiding and comforting the enemy"... the list goes on and on.Harry Reid was completely accurate when he called George W. Bush a "loser". If you analyze his professional life with any degree of objectivity, it will be obvious to you. Here's an extremely abbreviated list of items I am willing to give Bush AT LEAST partial credit for:

Barely maintained a "C" average in college.

Got the lowest acceptable passing grade on written pilot's aptitude test.Failed to meet his obligation in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

Arrested for drunk driving on September 4th, 1976 (at the age of 30).

Proved himself unsuccessful in every private industry job he ever held including:
Arbusto Energy
Harken Energy
Spectrum 7

Oversaw the trade of Sammy Sosa (for Harold Baines) to the Chicago White Sox while managing partner of Texas rangers.

Lost the 2000 presidential election.

Unable to capture Osama Bin Laden with the resources of the most powerful military that has EVER existed.

Squandered an enormous amount of international goodwill in the wake of 9-11.

Has insured that anti-American sentiment is at a historical high worldwide.

Has allowed the Taliban to regain control of many regions in Afghanistan. Has allowed opium production in the country to reach record levels.

Continually lies about progress in Iraq, after lying about why we should pre-emptively invade them in the first place.

Unwilling to address the actual cause of illegal immigration- American corporations systematically devaluing labor by hiring them.

Has taken no steps to address global warming. Promotes fantasies of hydrogen fuel cells instead of substantively confronting our dependence on fossil fuel energy.

Rewrote clean air and water rules to benefit corporate industry.

Vetoed stem cell research legislation.

Pushed for tax breaks for oil companies at a time when they were experiencing record profits.

Appointed political operatives and cronies who have done permanent damage to the integrity of the US Justice Department.

Commuted "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence.

Responsible for gutting FEMA, resulting in a tragic incompetence in the wake of the Katrina disaster.

Has set new records for discretionary spending and consistently run budget deficits that have ensured that the federal government remain on the precipice of bankruptcy.

Embarrassed and confused political observers with the unsuccessful nomination of Harriett Myers for Supreme Court justice.

Devised a medicare plan that is universally criticized by analysts of all political persuasion.

Has allowed the median income of the average American working household to fall in each year of his presidency. The share of national income going to salaries and wages is the lowest in recorded history.

Either destroyed, or has been unable to secure, critical oil resources in Iraq.

Unable to manage even marginal security in Iraq.

This (of course) is only a partial list because I have other things to do with the rest of this year. But click on any of the links below for more information-

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