6/14/2005

this just might be for real

(P) [For those of you that didn't read my 6/10 post, that means this is going to have more to do with a policy issue than how sore my arm is after playing baseball this evening]

Enough people might actually be starting to care about the antics of the current Administration that there is a movement to do something. Websites like afterdowningstreet.org and all the usual liberal blogger suspects have been openly discussing this issue for a while now. But it's as the "i" word starts reappearing in the daily conversations of people who don't devote their entire blog to how dumb (Republicans/Bush/War/Corporations/etc) are that things get really dangerous for Administration officials. Check this out: DVD talk forum has a general discussion area with a sub-sub-folder for political talk in which somebody posted about whether or not Kerry would support the impeachment movement and has gotten a ton of responses. And don't forget that over Memorial Day weekend, many newspaper editorial boards thousands of miles away from those hotbeds of conservatism Orange County and Wall Street started finding their independent voices, questioning Administration policies in light of the cost of American lives (among other reasons).

Presidents Nixon and Clinton each had something going for them that the Bush Administration lacks. With Nixon, the public didn't have a lot of information by which to judge the unfolding drama. In retrospect, that's what makes "I am not a crook" so rivetting; it's reality TV at its best. With Clinton, it didn't matter if he actually did it. Practically the only people in the country who cared were the President's family and close friends and the Republican leadership (this adulterer, in fact, is the Republican who introduced House Resolution 581, while this Speaker-elect of the House never bothered to inform the public he was an adulterer until, of course, that information became public). Heck, President Clinton didn't even lie to the grand jury. He never had sexual relations, because he never had sexual intercourse, with either Ms. Jones or Ms. Lewinsky. This and this make good background reading. In short, the American citizenry were smart enough to recognize the whole affair as nothing more than a man's private demons being forced into the public sphere.

These two factors are what make me wonder if the impeachment movement might really be picking up an unstoppable speed. First, we know virtually all the facts, and anyone who cares to stay informed has known them for some time. It's beyond the scope of my point to even detail the "misleading", as many have come to call it, because, as even a Presidential aide has acknowledged, the Bush Administration does not live in the reality-based world. It's not about facts; it's about the sales pitch. Anyone who has ever walked onto a car dealership's lot or spoken with a corporate PR employee can easily relate to this. You could present a Coke spokesperson with uncontrovertable proof that Coke causes cancer and Pepsi cures diabetes and she would deny it vehemently (and persuasively). Second, it does matter whether or not President Bush and his appointees are responsible for the things they've done. The scale of the deeds is truly daunting. It's difficult even to imagine the dollars wasted and lives lost and rights diminished and so on over the last several years.

This probably will never happen, but I think it's reached the point that it's not simply Bush-haters actively promoting this. There's a legitimate bet to be made that this sucker could get started and, if so, I'd say odds are it goes the distance. It will be really interesting watching the Administration respond to the increasing pressure over the summer.

On that note, it's part 10, my supposed liberal/conservative breakdown. The best part about this is that each section is based on all of four questions to get a 0%-100% figure. Quite thorough and nuanced.

Your Political Profile

Overall: 20% Conservative, 80% Liberal
Social Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

2 Comments:

At 6/17/2005 11:53 AM, Anonymous Alex said...

Although, I'd certainly love to be rid of Bush, I don't think impeachment is a realistic option. He was just reelected, which is odd since polling shows him to be fairly unpopular. The Downing Street memo and the more recent Cabinet Office paper (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1648758_1,00.html) are incredibly damning, to be sure, but this type of stuff has been coming out since shortly after Bush took office. So, there is no serious political support for impeachment. However, I think there's a real possibility of passing an Iraq withdrawal proposal. For example, see http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/16/us.iraqresolution/index.html
This proposal needs high profile public support. I'm open to any good ideas on how to provide that.

Finally, since you're getting into the online quizzes, I thought I'd reccomend http://politicalcompass.org/
I've never really understood what the terms liberal and conservative mean. In fact, I don't think they have a lot of meaning. Political beliefs are obviously more complicated than can be described by a one-dimensional continuum. Political Compass proposes a two-dimensional description that I think is a major improvement. However, a complete model would probably need to be nearly infinite dimensional. Nevertheless, I like their proposal if only because it may cause people to rethink the political labeling system.

BTW, my score is:
Economic Left/Right: -8.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.26

 
At 6/18/2005 9:09 PM, Blogger Nathaniel said...

Alex, I see where you're coming from and most likely you're correct. It's just that there's a part of me that thinks more people really are beginning to understand what has been happening over the last 3 to 4 years.

As to him just being reelected, I agree it is very odd. Although there's not enough (known) evidence to declare the election stolen, there's certainly enough evidence to warrant asking questions about why it looks like it was stolen. The head of a state's election commission shouldn't be allowed to chair the state committee for electing a politician involved in a race. Exit polling is extremely reliable and has been proven so time and again, across the US and Europe and elsewhere. Problems with electronic and optical voting systems have been described in exhaustive detail. Democrats in certain areas of Florida do not all of a sudden start voting in ridiculously large margins for Bush. The money trail between organizations involved in politics (think Swift Boat Veterans) and voting (think Triad) and media (think Sinclair) and Republicans running for office leads to all sorts of interesting associations. And of course there are the more systemic ways in which our election system disenfranchises huge numbers of citizens (who happen disproportionately to be young, poor, minority, and ex-offenders, the very people least likely to vote for authoritarian elites) The only--ONLY--reason for hindering people from voting or failing to provide an auditable paper trail is the desire to see an outcome other than one that was intended by the voting public. To put it differently, voting should be easier to do and easier to track than buying something at Wal-Mart.

About the political quiz, I completely agree that multiple dimensions are important. The 'liberal/conservative' continuum suits people who are in power very well; a classic "us versus them" scenario. Reality, of course, is much more complex. Essentially, I'm a social libertarian and a regulated capitalist. Or to say it differently, the government cannot regulate morality, but it should be in the business of addressing market failures (although it shouldn't be the market).

Here's what I scored:
Economic Left/Right: -1.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

 

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