Friday, June 11, 2004

Larry Sabato on parallels between 1980 and 2004

Larry Sabato on parallels between 1980 and 2004

Joe Gandelman brought this new article by the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato to my attention (Thanks,Joe).


Mr. Sabato's asking if this week's look back upon the Reagan years provided us with any insight about the 2004 Presidential campaign. He focuses on 1980, the year when Ronald Reagan achieved what observers at the time thought unlikely.

As the road to the 1980 election narrowed, Mr. Sabato points to these historical

Foreign policy seemed a mess.

Americans were unhappy about the economy.

Our primary international enemy (the the USSR) appeared to be on the march and achieving major goals.

A sizeable majority of voters said the country was seriously off on the wrong track and
questioned whether the incumbent President and his team were competent enough to handle the myriad challenges before them.

An independent candidate for President added to the confusion of the election.

The country as a whole was uncertain what to do.

In 1980, it was pretty much a dead heat between Carter and Reagan up until October, yet at campaign's end, everything came together for Reagan.

It goes to show us all that you never know what might happen..and this whole 2004 race just might come down to the fates. I think Mr. Sabato is dead-on-target when he comments:

Had Carter managed to free the hostages just forty-eight hours before the election, it is conceivable that he could have managed to win a narrow reelection. Surely, both George Bush and John Kerry are waiting with bated breath to see if certain events in late October (the capture of Osama bin Laden, a terrorist act on American soil, a fresh disaster in Iraq) will swing the election one way or the other.

Though some people may think a happy resolution of the hostage situation wouldn't have quickly erased the public's memory of the long gas-lines and the inflation of Carter's unfortunate political time, I think they would be off-the mark. The public is easily swayed by such events poured out over their TV screens like high drama with heart-wrenching music and happy tears of relieved family members. Levers would have been pulled for Carter had fate smiled upon him.

Fate never smiled on Carter that year. Reagan eventually (boldly and illegally) defied fate and decided to cast his sails with the political winds at his back by selling arms to Iran for the release of those hostages.

If Osama bin Laden is caught in October, CNN and FOX will surely create the 24/7 drumbeat..the sappy movie-quality dramatics, music and all...and the dynamics of Election 2004 could greatly change... leaning toward an easy Bush victory. As long as bin Laden remains at large, however, America is reminded how pointless and unnecessary the violent Iraq war really has been.

Mr. Sabato wonders if John Kerry might not win by a landslide if this set of seven points still holds true on November 2nd.

I happen to think there's going to be a hell of a lot of violence and death in Iraq this summer. I hope I'm wrong, but i don't expect I will be. Bush will lay the blame and responsibility on the Iraqis, since they're now "in charge" (cough-cough). I don't think the public will buy it, but who knows? The public's been fooled many times by the misleading Bushites. They seem to accept many of the lies without question. Will they willingly accept many more troops killed as a civil war rages in Iraq? (A recent LA Times poll indicates that a majority of Americans now thinks it was not worthwhile going to war in Iraq).

Outsourcing was not a major issue in 1980. Have any Americans been watching Lou Dobbs? Will they be patient while their jobs continue to leave their small towns as their state taxes rise? Does Kerry promise them any relief?

There was no fear of E-vote theft in 1980...and there hadn't been a stolen (ahem--Supreme Court-assigned) election in 1976. A lot of 2000-Gore voters are just waiting to prepare their ballots very carefully and correctly this time. Will Diebold be capable of giving us an honest vote-tally? Why should we trust them knowing their CEO promised to "deliver" Ohio to Bush?

What about the Saudi promise to lower those gas prices for Bush just before the election?

I think this country, as a whole today, is more certain of what to do than in 1980. The problem is, there is a Grand Canyon-sized gap between those people.

The irresponsible party-before-country (pig-headed) leadership in Washington is perfectly reflective of the gap. Last summer we saw Rep Bill Thomas call the police on his fellow statesmen. That gave the phrases "beyond the pale" and "over the top" entirely new meanings.

I don't think we're going to see any landslides unless Bush totally screws up.

(I can't believe I'm saying that--because I personlly do think that President Bush has already screwed up--far past my own political tolerance-point....yet I understand he has loyal and fierce supporters who practically live to see skeptics such as myself shut up and/or shut away.)

Note- See Joe's latest--Will the Bush Campaign's Use of Reagan Imagery Prove A Double-Edged Sword?

You can also see Joe over at Dean's World this week.

It's A Shame About Ray

It's A Shame About Ray

I'm not talking about Evan Dando's Lemonheads.

I'm talking about Ray Charles.

I think "You Don't Know Me" was my favorite song by Ray.

I'll never forget the warm night in June when I heard him sing 'Georgia' live from the stage at Jazz Fest in Clinton Square.

Man, I'm sorry to see him go...

Funeral Over-Maybe we'll get some real news now?

The Funeral's Over
Maybe we'll get some real news now?

Quote of the day:

"The great American news industry, the Pekinese of the Press with so much room and time and nothing to say, compared Reagan to Lincoln and Hamilton, they really did. This is like claiming that the maintenance man wrote the Bill of Rights."

--Jimmy Breslin


Charles Krauthammer on Optimism, Liberals and Reagan

Charles Krauthammer on Optimism, Liberals and Reagan

Charles Krauthammer cannot abide any liberal person's praise of former President Reagan, it seems.


Crediting President Reagan for his fine ability to inspire the average American is just not good enough. If you don't agree with Reagan's ideology lock, stock, and barrel, then I'm sorry, dear reader...Charles says you are a damned phoney.

I submit to you that Mr. Krauthammer sounds like a wounded little child who wishes to keep Reagan in his pocket for his selfish little self and won't let you hold him..even for just a moment.

Reagan belonged to all Americans and we can say anything we truly believe, if we believe the Bill of Rights. Of course, that doesn't mean idiots like Mr. Krauthammer won't try to prove us liars.

Now, I don't begrudge Mr. Krauthammer his own opinion. When he takes others' opinions and turns around to call the others fakes and liars, he only comes off appearing infantile, ill-mannered, and disrespectful....which is a terrible flaw in character I find common in many right-wing ideologues today.

'Vindicated' by history?

Mr. Krauthammer says:

"Rarely has a president been so quickly and completely vindicated by history."

History isn't over yet.

With no disrespect intended toward former President Reagan, if history was at its end, you could twist your facts around and turn even a farceur into a permanent mythical hero...but you'd know you'd have to ignore and omit many other facts. That, my friends, is what you call revision...which is exactly what Mr. Krauthammer is accusing liberals of doing (while doing a bang-up job himself). What a futile exercise.

We're looking back at Reagan from a narrow lens..all that will stem from Reagan's actions (or lack thereof) is yet to be.

I'm not sure about Mr. Krauthammer, but I know what I saw on September 11, 2001. The rest of you readers saw it happen, did you not?

If Mr. Krauthammer believes the murderous event that shook America in utter defeat at the hands of a popular Muslim fundamentalist leader on that autumn morning in New York City is disconnected from Ronald Reagan's failure (by his negotiating with the fundamental terrorists of Iran rather than stand morally strong) and from Reagan's failure to understand the future of the post-Cold-war world (especially after seeing 241 Marines suicide-bombed and Pan Am 103 in pieces on the Scotland ground), then I think Krauthammer had better think it out again.

Reagan's 'new peace'?

Mr. Krauthammer says:

"His policies of unrelenting toughness won the Cold War and brought a new peace."

A new peace.

September 11, 2001. That's all I can say about Reagan's new peace.

Bush 43 could never come close to Reagan's uniting abilities

Mr. Krauthammer mockingly discounts optimism in his column and I realize that's exactly what is missing in right-wingers today.

At the funeral service today, Margaret Thatcher talked about Reagan's grace under pressure..about Reagan's wit, faith, and optimism. It's a shame to see Mr. Krauthammer discounting such wonderful character traits.

GW Bush should have such abilities. He doesn't, though. He's far more like dead wood.

Reagan, through his abilty to inspire, was a brilliant figurehead.
Compare that to Bush--the wooden cigar-store Indian that cannot come up with an eloquent reply to an impromptu question from the press.

If Reagan was an "amiable dunce" (not my words), that would make G.W. Bush is a "non-amiable dunce", hostile to those who do not share his ideology (my words). Reagan was a capable uniter, even while pushing an ugly agenda of greed. Bush is a divider in the world and in his own country.

Perhaps that's why Krauthammer cannot abide a liberal's praise for a former President's graceful wit. He knows the current right-wing oaf in office will never win on "grace".

Who is the dissembler and a revisionist when it comes to an open discussion about Reagan, really?

In section 59 of Arlington National Cemetery, near the graves of 21 American soldiers killed by a suicide bomber in the line of duty in Beirut, there is a cedar tree with this marker:


Do you think I'm being a phoney, readers?

What Have We Become? Ret. Naval Officer Speaks

What Have We Become?
A Retired Naval Officer Speaks

Sen. James Inhofe, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rush Limbaugh, Kate O'Beirne, President Bush are named as some of the leaders in a zealot's parade.

Doesn't it ever occur to those zealots that something we do can be terribly wrong even if something else, somewhere else, is worse? I am very afraid that even that thin line will soon become so blurred we will be inured to anything, all in the name of patriotism.

I say this with the full knowledge that I'll be accused of "blaming America first." In this age of instant awareness of everything that goes on in the world, too many of us insist on being unaware of what some of us are becoming.

--Keith Taylor, retired officer, U.S. Navy

[LINK-Online Journal]

Newsmax is proudly encouraging censorship

Newsmax is proudly encouraging censorship

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I see the folks at Newsmax do not wish for Americans to be free to consider views alternative to theirs.

The spirit of censorship by a market force within our capitalistic political structure, my dear readers, is what it means to be run against the Bill of Rights.

Our troops defend freedom in wars promoted by these market forces, yet the markets are not promoting freedom.

In this manner, they betray the troops with false sermons about what it means to be American.

I'm American, and so is Michael Moore.

Michael Moore isn't an alien enemy. He's an American with a story to tell.

Newsmax is claiming they don't want Moore to "profit" from his film, but we know what they really do not want is for too many Americans to hear the "other side of the story".

The man who's leading the charge is Mr. Howard Kaloogian, the same fellow who made history as Chairman of the Recall Gray Davis Committee.

Kaloogian talks a pretty talk about supporting the troops, but he falls flat on his ass when it comes to promoting the spirit of a truly free America. He has "AGENDA" written all over his false face.

Newsmax is free to help Mr. Kaloogian try to recruit people to speak out in anger, but in the end, what they hope for is market-censorship of "Fahrenheit 9/11".

Freedom is freedom.

Censorship is censorship.

The forces behind the market known as "Newsmax" are trying to control the political system. They know the election is fast-approaching and their obvious agenda is damaged every time an American hears hidden truths.

America is a nation of non-market-based individuals (sometimes known as humans) born to the hope of freedom in a nation born with and raised on The Declaration of Independence.

Newsmax does not represent freedom in the spirit of our Founding Fathers.

They're much closer to acting as market-fascists with their censorship-crusade.


See Max Blumenthal June 14, 2004