Sunday, November 06, 2005

Conservative = Republican, Liberal = Democrat

On it's face, the above statement seems to be true to fact. However, as I have been noting in a few previous posts, the Republican Party is abandoning it's true conservative base. But the Democratic Party is guilty of abandoning it's liberal base, as Naders performance in recent elections proves. Unfortunately, the level of political discourse in our country is on a level so low that everyone is now pigeonholed into one or the other. To the mass media Conservative = Republican and Liberal = Democrat. This merits further discussion.

One of the most bizarre examples (to me anyway) is the staunch opposition by "liberal" groups to private gun ownership. Funny that the word liberal is part of the word liberty. And usually that would not be associated with taking away the rights of the people as spelled out in the Constitution. Conversely, if you are on the other side of the gun debate, you are automatically branded a "conservative" or a supporter of the Republican Party. Keep an eye on this pigeonholing when hearing about it in the public discourse.

Another interesting issue that paints people into a corner is abortion. Supposedly, liberals are all for getting more individual rights for everyone. Everyone, that is, except for a viable fetus. Most hardcore liberals even voted against the partial birth abortion ban several years ago. How anyone could vote against this piece of legislation is beyond me, but those who did were almost exclusively Democrats, and most of them self described liberals. How is that liberal? That you could vote for a process that extracts an 8 or 9 month old viable human being and execute it does not sound very liberal to me for the fetus. As a matter of fact that is quite an authoritarian stance, wanting to let the state intrude upon the private affairs of a person. If you don't think an 8 or 9 month old fetus is a person, I guess there is not much I can do to change your mind.

I happen to believe that abortion is not a federal issue at all, rather an issue that is to be decided at the state level as the founders meant everything NOT in the Constitution was supposed to be. Note that your marriage license is issued by your state, not the US gummint. But because I favor overturning Roe v. Wade for ANY reason, those opposing this would immediately call me a conservative or Republican, just because I favor a true translation and implementation of the Constitution.

Liberals are supposed to be for more individual liberty - along with that, I would assume, would be that individuals could keep more of their own private property, i.e. money. Then why is it that the "liberals" in our government always fight tax cuts tooth and nail? To me that is not liberal at all, rather, again, an authoritarian view that is, to me, quite bizarre. We have seen what has happened when the free market has been regulated to death (Russia) and when government gets too much power (Germany).

I suppose this dead horse has been beaten quite enough for today, but as I watch the Sunday morning news shows my point is being made over and over again. Terms like right, conservative and republican are all lumped together to mean the same thing and terms like left, liberal and democrat have the same thing done to them. The level of political discourse in this country has sunk to the lowest levels I have ever seen, and the two party system is a joke. The American public isn't ready yet, but someday maybe a good third party candidate can make a good run at a big public office and make a dent. And help improve our political discourse.


two crows said...

You said quite a bit about a number of issues – I’d like to center in on one:

You said that liberals want to increase taxes. [in point of fact, this one doesn’t—but I don’t get to make that decision.]

I would, though, like to make one point about that [apparently] blindly held view by most ‘conservatives’.

I recently found a table online.
It listed the presidents back to Kennedy and showed the deficits they left behind.

Here's a summary:
Kennedy: $ 34 billion
Johnson: $ 38 billion
Nixon: $ 76 billion
Ford: $183 billion
Carter: $140 billion
Reagan: $282 billion
Bush I: $336 billion
Clinton: $ 2 billion surplus
Bush II: $356 billion and counting

The highest deficits weren’t associated with the lowest taxes. They were, however, associated with the highest unemployment, the lowest per-capita income, and so on.

On a personal level—although my income was approximately the same under Reagan, Bush I and Clinton, I was able to pay down my mortgage more quickly under Clinton than under either of his predecessors. That’s because interest rates were the lowest they’d been during the life of my loan. And, yes, it was during Clinton’s time that I got the blasted thing paid off—11 years early.

Conservative/Republican administrations [who point and scream shrilly about the Democrat’s ostensible tax-and-spend mentality] seem to believe that anything is better than paying as we go [something you and I have to do, btw]. So, they borrow and spend instead. And create higher interest rates, higher poverty levels [and cut welfare rolls] and staggering debts that our children and their children will have to pay for.

I thought conservative stood for fiscally sound policies. Apparently not. Note which Presidents left us with the largest debts. And which one actually created a surplus, albeit a small one. But that surplus was what gave us the ‘tax-cut’ during Bush II’s first term.

I may be just a bleeding heart liberal, but I’d rather have the lower interest rates and a paid-for house than a check for $300.00.

Dan from Madison said...

Actually I did not say that liberals want to increase taxes. You said that. I said "Liberals are supposed to be for more individual liberty - along with that, I would assume, would be that individuals could keep more of their own private property, i.e. money. Then why is it that the "liberals" in our government always fight tax cuts tooth and nail? To me that is not liberal at all, rather, again, an authoritarian view that is, to me, quite bizarre."

Those are two quite different things. You may have set up the strawman on purpose, but maybe not. Either way, the point of my article and a major focus of this blog the past year or so is how the Republican party has abandoned conservative principles. They have kept a bit fiscally, that is shown with the recent tax cut, along with your $300 or $600 check you got. But them not trying to restrain spending is, of course, not conservative.

You cite no link for your table you found online so I can't comment on that. Democrats DO tax and spend, there is no arguing that so I don't know why you would bother. But if you are a true liberal, that doesn't necessarily make you a Democrat, which is the point of my post.

two crows said...

point taken about the misquote. sorry.

however, I do hear that charge leveled at the 'liberals' an awful lot.

and I still don't see a problem with a pay-as-we-go mentality. after all, we need certain things that only a government can give us: roads, bridges, dams, etc. they don't come cheap. they'd probably be cheaper, though, if they weren't treated as vote-getters by Congress.

and, I think we do need to take care of the poor among us.

I'd also like there to be a Social Security system [the one I've been paying for all my working life] in place in about a decade when I retire. I don't think it will be, though.
and, no, I'm not a Democrat. tried it once--it didn't take. I'm 'no affiliation' as I haven't been able to find a good fit. I've voted Dem and I've voted GOP among others.
I THINK the table was in the Washington Post tho I wouldn't swear to it. Might have been the NY Times. one of those mainstream publications, anyway.

Dan from Madison said...

Two Crows,
Good comments!
Apology accepted on the misquote.

And as far as the table goes, if you can't cite the source, no need mentioning it on any blog worth their weight (like this one hopefully). Most times folks making points based on anonymous or masked sources are ignored as far as serious dialogue is concerned.

And we have more in common than you may think. I am a pay as you go guy and consider myself about as conservative as you can get. You consider yourself a pay as you go person and consider yourself a liberal. Kind of makes the point of my post, no?

I am also pissed about paying in to the social security system and knowing that, in fact, I will have absolutely zero to show for it when I retire. Interesting that "liberals" and "conservatives" can't get together on the thing. Liberals, I would think, would prefer we retain our private property (i.e. money) and conservatives should do the same. Note that the folks representing us on the hill can't do squat - making them neither liberals nor conservatives, more aptly put, they are politicians who are serving no one but themselves.

Wanting to take care of the poor is good, but with a caveat - if they can work, they must. Note the great success of the programs here in my state of Wisconsin - the feds should do the same thing. Like you said, we can't deficit spend in our private lives, why should they?

To sum up, wouldn't an interesting Libertarian spark both of our interests? I think so. And you describe yourself as a liberal and me a conservative.

Carl from Chicago said...

Ah, back to the Libertarian vs. Democrat vs. Republican plan...

I think like a libertarian except I can never get in bed with them because they'd immediately disengage from the world's problems and stick their heads in the sand, just like the Republicans used to when they were the "isolationist" party. We really can't disengage from the world right now, we need to engage our enemies, and fight them in their countries, not on our soil.

The libertarians are like the next Bears quarterback - everyone loves them because they never suited up to take a down and no one likes the currend QB very much. But really - what have they done? There is no "glue" to their ideology - nothing to make people die for it, which means that the dream that is America would ultimately come apart.

The Republicans have done many, many things wrong. I deplore their free spending ways. I deplore the fact that they can't stand by their ideals, such as the fact that they were only each supposed to be in congress for a while and then leave (remember the "contract with America") but instead they want to stay forever, just like famous democrats Jim Wright of Texas or good ol' Rosty in Illinois. And I won't even mention the ILLINOIS republican party, which is possibly the worst managed party, anywhere...

The Democrats, however, have done nothing to distinguish themselves in opposition, especially when they oppose social security reform just because they don't want Bush to take credit for it and things of that ilk.

The Republicans need reform, and I will fight for reform, but abandoning the party and joining up with CRACKPOTS like Perot is not a plan, either.

All said, the lack of Republicans in the Republican ranks sickens me. Look at Illinois, where the REPUBLICAN governor pardons all the bona-fide scum on death row and now is on trial for numerous charges.

two crows said...

I might like a Libertarian. I’d want to get to know the person first. Why do they want to be elected? What are their views—what do they actually want to get done?
Regarding another issue you brought up—that of abortion. [I’m reluctant to hit such a hot-button topic but it would be hypocritical not to.]

I believe the gov’t has no place in that debate. And, I bet most politicians wouldn’t get involved at all if they thought it wouldn’t bring in the votes.

I think the only people qualified to make such decisions are those with working uteruses. And then, only for themselves.

Both names on this blog are those of males—so I think you all should bow out of the debate.

So should I, now that my uterus is no longer working. There was a time though, when I had to think about the issue regularly. I believe I’m MORE qualified to have an opinion because I DID have to pay attention to it for a lot of years.

Back in the early ‘70’s I really hadn’t thought much about it. Then I took a medical ethics class. The teacher worked hard not to create clones of himself. He presented all sides of every issue, never told us his views, and left us to make up our own minds. During the abortion segment, he showed us pictures of fetuses and of women dead on motel room floors. That’s when I woke up.

Later, I had a friend whose alternatives were to 1] get an abortion or 2] never walk again or 3] die. What would you do faced with that decision? I’m grateful I didn’t have to make it.

Dan from Madison said...

You think all males should bow out of the abortion debate?!!? Then I think that you, if you are a female, should bow out of any foreign policy debate that involves our Marines on the front lines because they are ALL MALES. What a ridiculous statement.

I simply cannot believe that anyone would deny the right of a 9 month old fetus to live (remember those who voted against the partial birth abortion ban?), as I stated in the original post. Two Crows I am disappointed with this thought line because you were doing so well before.

Carl, I also think that the foreign policy of the Libertarians is goofball, but that doesn't mean that someone else can't come in under some other third party and make a good showing. I know you hate the fact that every vote the Libertarians get denies one to the Republicans (or against the Dems) but so be it. As of late there doesn't seem to be a ton of difference.

Carl from Chicago said...

Ah, abortion, the most third-rail issue of them all.

I personally don't find it to be a critical issue and not one I get that bent over.

I do find it amazingly hypocritical of the dems that they give rights to everything from the snail darter to the spotted owl and God knows they lecture the Republicans and everyone else from on high when the transgendered community or any other marginal group has their feelings hurt but...

a 8 1/2 month fetus has no rights whatsoever, in this case the mother's rights trump it all.

Aren't they the ultimate minority group that needs protection?

But once again this isn't an issue that I get that worked up over.

It would be interesting to see it put to a vote. The supreme court validated eminent domain and now the congress is overturning it. The whole issue may turn out in an odd way, possibly becoming law, certainly in many states it would get passed right away, and in some it would never pass. Probably the red state / blue state lines...

Back to the libertarians, it is not just the candidate, it is the whole party. They need a giant infrastructure and roots, just not a common disdain for what exists today.

And I do agree with many of the libertarian party goals, I hope that they seep into both the republican and democratic party ideals over time.

two crows said...

well-I said abortion was a hot-button topic.

and neither of you answered my question. what would YOU do if faced with: 1] abortion, 2] never walking again or 3] death? there are those who ARE faced with such decisions. and you can never be one of them. but—what if you could be? what would you do?

I’m not talking about 3rd trimester abortions, here. And I’m not talking about abortion as a form of birth control. I’m talking about NOT taking away a woman’s chance to survive if that is her only option.

birth is a dangerous procedure in many cases and there are times when abortion is the only safe alternative for the woman involved. why should she sacrifice her life? I sometimes wonder if some of the MEN who want to make that decision want to make it because there’s a 47% chance that the fetus will be male—and she’s only a woman, after all . . . .
as to my not having a view on foreign policy [war] I would agree with that to a certain extent. when I was of the age to go to war, there was a draft and I was exempt.

nevertheless--I worked to end the war because it seemed an unjust one to me. eventually, enough people in this country agreed with that view and we pulled out.

I feel the same way about the war we're embroiled in now. I believe we were led there wrongly. I think Hussein was vicious to his own people. but the US has never gone to war for that reason. when the WMD's didn't show up on cue, the White House put that forth as the reason we're there. It isn't. It never was.

Dan from Madison said...

We are way off topic here so if you want to discuss my post, discuss away. Lets save the abortion and foreign policy debates for more appropriate posts. Please feel free to comment on this post here, but if it gets any more off topic I will shut this comment thread down. Thanks.

two crows said...

I thought that, since the topics of abortion and foreign policy were brought up by the primary posters, they were fair game.

what topics are acceptable?

Dan from Madison said...

There is nothing in the original post about foreign policy. Abortion was brought up to show how conservatives and liberal alike are "pigeonholed". I give the example of partial birth abortion - certain "liberals" wanted to let the practice continue as seen by the voting record in the Senate on the issue. This doesn't seem too liberal for an unborn, viable, 8-9 month old fetus. Conversely, since I think it is a states rights issue, I am stuffed away as "republican" - which, in our current time frame is used in the same sentence as conservative. So the post really isn't about whether abortion is right or wrong or if gun ownership is right or wrong. The original post is how our current debate misuses words like "democrat", "republican", "conservative" and "liberal" and lumps them all together into one big heap. Bottom line, all conservatives are not republicans, and all liberals are not democrats - but don't tell that to any mass media.