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Author Topic: Time for the message?
Digger
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A few months ago, I noted that Democrats were gathering a game plan to 'go positive' in time for the '06 races. Reading this makes me think that the first trial balloons for what that positive message will look like are being floated. Cartainly the timing is right - road test some ideas during the holiday season when most folks are too busy with day to day things to pay too much attention. Then, if the ideas flame out, they can be discarded and replaced with a new, improved model in time for primary season.

My thinking has been that the final message has to be battle-ready no later than March to give it time to catch on with the public by primary season.

It looks like today's theme is: Sacrifice for the greater good.

All well and good, but just to throw a couple of rocks, 'sacrifice' sounds like higher taxes and I don't see that as a winning campaign strategy.

And quotes like this one from John Edwards:
quote:
There is a hunger in America, a hunger for a sense of national community, a hunger for something big and important and inspirational that they all can be involved in
sound like there is a big program spending idea out there somewhere. A big project of some sort, intended to unify us behind it's objectives, if you will.

Seems to me we already have a big project we're working on. One that hasn't exactly unified us, as I think most of us would agree. I'll be interested to see what the Democrats are thinking.

Another interpretation of all this is that this particular message is intended more for Democratic politicians rather than the public at large. It may the opening salvo in a bid to enforce more ideological uniformity across the Democratic party. I've heard the case made that Democrats haven't 'needed' this kind of rigid ideological purity in the past, and I can accept that. But, maybe now that the Democrats have been out of power in both the Congress and the Presidency for a while, this line of thinking is starting to change. Maybe now there's a reckoning coming within the party.

Maybe and maybe and maybe. Any other ideas out there?

[ December 12, 2005, 10:29 AM: Message edited by: Digger ]

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Digger -

I think the idea of a 'big project' is not a poor one. The result will, of course, depend on the execution and the idea.

--Firedrake

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Adjudicator
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I agree with Edwards that there is a hunger for a sense of national community, but I agree with you that said hunger, if handled by the federal government spells a big spending program. The lack of national unity requires a culture change, not a federal program. Such things are notoriously difficult to engineer.
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Digger
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"The result will, of course, depend on the execution and the idea."

That's exactly my thinking. Obviously, anything with a political element will only further divide us. To be a unifying force, it would have to be apolitical and universally accepted as addressing a real need. Something akin to the space program under Kennedy springs to mind. Although, Kennedy's push for that was in response to Sputnik. What threat or obvious opportunity is out there to be exploited in this fashion? That's where I think the message could be interesting.

If the Democrats are just trying to couch a tax increase inside of altruisitic wrapping paper, I'm going to be very, very disappointed in them.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Digger -

That is exactly what I had thought of. There are several big programs that spring to mind. One program might be to simply enhance engineering and sciences R&D in the United States. Over the last few years we have been overtaken by several countries, and it is a true issue. If Federal funding is used to fund programs with real results and a staggering scope of operation, it could result in a 'big project'.

I have a feeling that the project would be too hard for the general population to get involved in. I could, however, be mistaken.

--Firedrake

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javelin
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If they announce a program for developing alternate energy sources (fusion, safe nuclear, hydrogen fuel cells, thermopolymerization, etc.) on par with the Saturn missions, then they might actually find me supporting them - even if it means we raise taxes.
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Digger
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"...developing alternate energy sources..."

And we have a winner. Should have thought of that one myself since it's a pet interest of mine.

Well played javelin.

Now we'll see if the Democrats are as bright as the nice folks on Ornery. [Wink]

Edited to add: And this dovetails nicely with what Adjudicator said. A program of this nature would, by necessity, require a large national investment in science and engineering to pull off. The public may not be able to be directly involved, but it's a tangible thing that the public can support. Who doesn't want to gain energy independence and reduce pollution at the same time?

[ December 12, 2005, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: Digger ]

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Everard
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*Grin* Jav and I are on the same page. I think I first mentioned building alternate energy power plants as a national project 4 years ago. Not that anyone in the democratic party listens to me [Smile]
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javelin
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Hopefully they will this time. If they do, I may go democrat for an election cycle.
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javelin
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Please note the list I gave. If they choose to be vague on where the money will go, or they have too narrow a focus, I'm not going to be interested.
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Everard
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Actually, my proposal has been slightly different. Nukes are a lot safer and more efficient then they used to be, and I've suggested implementing amassive building program for nuke plants... provides good paying jobs, and you can cut into our oil consumption to a decent degree.
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LoverOfJoy
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Everard, I think that's a great idea but I have a hard time seeing the dems pushing for it.
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Everard
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I agree. Too much left-over anti-nuke sentiment among environmental lobby.
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LoverOfJoy
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And too many Simpsons reruns. [Big Grin]
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Everard
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That too *Grin*

Seriously, back in 2001 when I was thinking of working for Kerry, I pushed this idea HARD to his staff. No real bite, obviously.

[ December 12, 2005, 12:40 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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Kent
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I love nukes too (nuclear power that is)! Everard, I had no idea we had so much in common.

[ December 12, 2005, 02:09 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Kent:
I love nukes too (nuclear power that is)! Everard, I had no idea we had so much in common.

Besides the bowtie? Of course ya do!
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Lewkowski
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Alternate energy sources won't work unless they find a real good one.

Nuclear power is out, because demos oppose it already.

Solar power? Eh possible but its been around for awhile.

Wind? It sucks. [Wink] Or does it blow? In either case the answer is no.

Furthermore if they continue on the "Global Warming causes Global Cooling" fad they have returned too its not gonna sell.

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Digger
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"Alternate energy sources won't work unless they find a real good one"

I concur with Lew, although I might phrase some things a little more gently.

Conventional Nuclear power will be a tough sell to the die-hard environmental base, but it really is a lot safer than it used to be.

What I would like most to see is a vision for long term research and development of fusion power.

<daydream mode>

I think fusion could potentially move out of the lab and into a pilot scale production facility within a decade. Within another decade after that, we could be ready to start putting plants into production.

</daydream mode>

But, that is too long a time horizon for the Democrats to sell the idea by itself as part of a 'big project' initiative. So if this an area where they are moving, I think there would have to be other things thrown in to the mix, like development of wind, solar, and possibly a resurgence of conventional fission power.

<reality mode>

We're all just daydreaming on the whole alternative energy idea anyway. There's nothing so far in anything that's been said that indicates this is the direction the Democrats are heading. It could be any of the other stuff I mentioned in the first post on the thread.

</reality mode>

But still, this is a really appealing scenario, isn't it? There's an angle to be played on the terrorism front, there's the reduction of pollution, and there's the move towards greater energy independence. In short, it's a great case to make in order to get Americans behind a 'big idea' and give us a purpose going forward that isn't driven exclusively by forces beyond our control.

So, who's calling Howard Dean, or whoever the Democrats are listening to these days?

[ December 12, 2005, 04:44 PM: Message edited by: Digger ]

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javelin
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quote:
I think fusion could potentially move out of the lab and into a pilot scale production facility within a decade. Within another decade after that, we could be ready to start putting plants into production.
Lucky for us, this is happening right now - in France, or Japan, I forget which?
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Adjudicator
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The plant is being built in France with parts supplied in large part by Japan as well as a few other countries. Funding for the project is provided by the US, EU, Japan, Canada and Russia, IIRC.
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Digger
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Yeah, that's the pilot plant I'm thinking of. Construction is just starting now, and I think it could be up and running within 5 years, then allowing another couple of years to run the gamut of operational scenarios which would lead to a final production design and set of operating parameters that would enable the construction of full-scale production facilities.

Again, allow 5 years to site and build the first production facilities. Another year or two to work out production issues and we could have several plants on line after that.

I'd throw in another 2 - 4 years as contingency time to allow for unforeseen problems at either the pilot or production operating level.

Anyway, that's where I get my very hazy timeline from.

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Mariner
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Huh, I missed this topic. Just a heads up people, if you're talking about a push for nuclear energy, you're really only talking about reducing our demand for coal or natural gas. Only about 3% of our electricity comes from petroleum, compared to 18% from natural gas and 50% from coal (and 20% from nuclear power, just for the record). You'll still have the environmental angle, but not the terrorism angle (and not the renewable angle either, although that's less important). If you want to talk about lowering oil consumption, you need to talk about the transportation sector. This means hybrids, fuel efficiency, hydrogen fuel cells (*shudder*) and ethanol.

As cool as nukes are, they probably don't have the same draw as lowering gas prices.

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DonaldD
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"hydrogen fuel cells (*shudder*)"

Why "shudder"?

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javelin
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I'd be glad enough to reduce our dependency on natural gas and coal, also, Mariner. I believe, however, that the East coast still relies pretty heavily on oil for in home power.
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WarrsawPact
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quote:
If they announce a program for developing alternate energy sources (fusion, safe nuclear, hydrogen fuel cells, thermopolymerization, etc.) on par with the Saturn missions, then they might actually find me supporting them - even if it means we raise taxes.
Wouldn't it be nice if somebody got serious about it instead of promising promising promising (and not delivering).

However, that's not what "There is a hunger in America, a hunger for a sense of national community, a hunger for something big and important and inspirational that they all can be involved in" sounds like. I doubt very much that he's talking energy. Energy scares away the environmental lobby. Energy puts them in the same semantic category as Bush and Cheney. Because the answers to energy are many, they're complex, you'll lose your audience if you talk about all of them at once, and unfortunately many of them are dirtier than we'd like them to be. It's a very hard sell, even though everyone's talking about it.

That said, if the Democrats were serious about energy, and promised not to engage in too quick a pullout from Iraq, they'd be contenders for some of my votes.
Fortunately for the Republicans, the Democrat leadership is composed mostly of idiots. So I doubt I'll be voting Democrat very often before 2008 at least.

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Mariner
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Why "shudder"?
Job security - I work with ethanol. [Razz] Actually, there's numerous issues with trying to make fuel cells a centerpiece of a new energy policy. The simple fact is that they're not ready, and we have no idea when they'll be ready. They're too expensive at the moment, to say nothing of the storage capacity. And then there's the issue of infrastructure on the consumer end. Fuel cells would require entirely new types of cars and, AFAIK, new fueling stations. Ethanol, in comparison, only has the problem of transporting the fuel; everything else is taken care of already or requires only modest adjustments. And, of course, fuel cells only shift the burden to electricity rather than liquid fuels, and so we need a stronger electrical infrastructure (more nuclear power would be nice) first. It just seems to me that the oil crisis will come into play long before fuel cells can make any significant dent in our energy needs. And I have a hard time believing people will get behind ANY message that won't see any tangible results for at least 5-10 years (and that's being optimistic).

Fortunately for the Republicans, the Democrat leadership is composed mostly of idiots.
And that's different from the Republicans... how? [Smile]

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
And that's different from the Republicans... how?
Fewer inditements?

Adam

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Jesse
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Whatever project they go with, it's going to have to be a "within a decade" Kennedy style message in order to succeed.

A clear, concise, easy to understand goal that can be explained in one sentence and that just barely sounds possible.

Currently we recieve what, 11 or 15% of our oil from the middle east?

That's it, right there. A 15% reduction in oil consumption by 2015.

Once you've got that message, you can talk about the details, about how it will allow America to once again be a technology leader, how we will bring it about through engineering scholarships and how it will provide jobs, how it will make our economy boom, whatever, but you have to have the inspiring goal first.

The problem, of course, is that there is no money shot, no "great leap for mankind" momment.

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canadian
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Engineer one. Power an entire city with alternative energy or something. A good marketer can find a wow moment, I'm sure. More than one wow, in fact.
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Redskullvw
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How about ths for a great national goal:

Prosecute the War on Terror successfully.

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canadian
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Bo-ring!
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Redskullvw -

One successful attack in many years. That's a successful prosecution of the WOT to me [Smile]

--Firedrake

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Redskullvw
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Firedrake

Yes it is.

It is also what has given the democrats the luxey to come up with a pie in the sky program that can garner votes, instead of a true agenda.

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Everard
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"Prosecute the War on Terror successfully."

Why? Fighting the "War on terror" doesn't actually HELP our country in any way. In fact, its only hurt us, so far. There's absolutely no evidence to suggest that the wars in either iraq or afghanistan have reduced the number of american civilians killed. But there is a LOT of evidence to suggest they've increased the total number of americans actually killed.

Bush laid this war out as "THey hate our freedoms, we must defend our freedoms from their attacks." However, since 9/11, the only successful assaults on our freedoms have come from republicans, and in particular the Bush administration. If it is our freedoms they hate, then they have less reason to hate us now, and therefore they are winning the war.

We've not increased our security at home. It is no harder, today, for a terrorist to enter the country, and blow something up, then it was on 9/10/01. If this war is about protecting American lives, numerically it hasn't worked, and there's no reason to think that our lives are more secure then they were, based on our security measures.

We've less freedom then we did before the war on terror, more dead americans then can be shown we'd otherwise have, no more home security, and we caused thousands of civilian deaths over-seas.

I've got a better idea. Lets STOP prosecuting the war on terrorism, and start beefing up the protections against our freedoms from over-reaching under-intelligent presidents, beefing up our security measures in our most vulnerable places, and impeaching our president who apparently hates our freedoms as much as he says the terrorists do.

In the war to protect our freedoms, Bush is our biggest enemy. Perhaps, since he said "The terrorists hate our freedom," Bush IS a terrorist?

(Note: I know there is excessive rhetoric here).

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Redskullvw
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Paul

Military forces have died. How many events, especially in the North East have been prevented? You'v had alqueada cells in New York broken, not to mention other events that would have effected you almost certainly.

I'd say, judging from the publicly known interceptions we have ideed made terrorism much harder now than at any time in the past. I have no knowledge of having lost a single freedom, and if you are refering to the Patriot Act, it is sunsetting just as other such laws passed in war time have dissolved.

As to causing international deaths to civilians, Yep we sure have. So have the terrorists. But in two dramatic success stories, the Taliban and the Iraqi dictatorships responsible for scales of death measured in terms of millions has ceased.

I think that so far Bush has made far more correct choices than incorrect ones. I haven't seen any other political leader more accurate define our enemy or state the goals of our efforts. He has increased security in our most vulnerable places, and demanded that it be improved more.

I acknowledge yopur rehtoric, I also find it totally disengenuous. You normally show a strong logical sense. Declaring our freedoms to be lost, our president a destroyer of the rule of law, and calling for his impeachment reveals that a personal hatred fro the man's political party has prevented you from acknowledging any of his successes which have been of benefit to all of us.

Sure he sucks giving speeches. He has problems with $5 words. Sounds kinda stupid because he has a south Texas drawl. But he has produced results. Your economy is massively robust. Unemployment is even lower than during Clinton. He has supported healthcare initiatives, wants to reform our social security. He is forcing underfunded retirement programs to become fiscally sound. In short he isn't a one trick pony. He just happens to be a pretty dam good President because his policies have materially improved American lives, and for that matter the lives of Afghanis and Iraqis.

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canadian
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Well, I know I want to give him a blo-...
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Everard
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" has prevented you from acknowledging any of his successes which have been of benefit to all of us."

I deny that he's had any successes which have benefitted americans in a manner other then political.

"I'd say, judging from the publicly known interceptions we have ideed made terrorism much harder now than at any time in the past."

Except we HAVEN"T made it harder then in the past. We've stopped terrorist acts over the last 50 years. Lots of them. We're continuing to stop them. There's no evidence that its harder to carry out terrorism in the united states then it was in 1997, four years after the previous major incident of terrorism.

"How many events, especially in the North East have been prevented? You'v had alqueada cells in New York broken, not to mention other events that would have effected you almost certainly."

And how many of these have anything to do with choices Bush has made, or our war on terror? Would we have stopped them in 1998, 1999? The evidence points to "yes."

"But in two dramatic success stories, the Taliban and the Iraqi dictatorships responsible for scales of death measured in terms of millions has ceased."

And yet, since we invaded, the death rate in Iraq is higher then it was under saddam. There are more civilians dead because we invaded then would be dead had we not. Afghanistan, I can't tell you whether thats true or not. I don't have the data. But its absolutely true in Iraq. And that doesn't show any signs of abating anytime soon.

" He has increased security in our most vulnerable places,"

You know the most recent report on internal security? Bush failed in almost every category. Our most vulnerable places were more secure for a fewe months after 9/11, but they are pretty vulnerable right now.

"Declaring our freedoms to be lost,"

No, I declare SOME of our freedoms to be weakened, and under assault. The patriot act, with its several freedom invading provisions is expiring DESPITE Bush, who is essentially calling the democrats who fillibustered the extension allies of the terrorists.

"our president a destroyer of the rule of law,

I didn't say he is a destroyer of the rule of law, actually.

"and calling for his impeachment reveals that a personal hatred fro the man's political party"

No. I'm calling for his impeachment, because whether or not violating our fourth amendment rights is legal, it is a violation of our fourth amendment rights to allow wire taps on United States civilians, living in the united states, without a properly obtained search warrant. The man has violated his oath to uphold the constitution... a far GREATER crime, in my view, since it provides horrible precedent for anyone wishing to strike down constitutional protections in teh future, aside from being a grave violation of the 500 or so americans that were wire tapped under this executive order, then clinton lying under oath about having sex. And yet, you felt that impeachment was justified, if I remember correctly. So why AREN'T you calling for his impeachment? Perhaps it is partisan blinders on YOUR part, and not mine?

Yes, I hate Bush. But I have NOT called for his impeachment to this point. Despite numerous instances that I felt were undermining his oath to uphold the constitution of the united states. This one is BAD, Greg.

And your list of what he has accomplished is a list of positive accomplishments only on the surface. That robust economy? Not really very robust, and a lot of very troubling indicators, as well as the average income having gone DOWN for the bottom 90% of americans. That, to me, is a BAD economy, regardless of whether unemployment is down or whether the top 2% are rolling in dough. Health care? Please. I've said since the beginning that the drug bill is a means to destroying federal health care. His desired social security reform? NOT good reform. Change does not equal good and does not mean you get points for proposing something destructive.

" He just happens to be a pretty dam good President because his policies have materially improved American lives,"

YEs, the material lives of approximately 10 million americans, at the expense of approximately 200 million americans. HOORAY!

"and for that matter the lives of Afghanis and Iraqis."

Yes, aside from the ones who are dead but would have been alive if not for Bush...


This man will eventually be seen as the president who ruined american hegemony.

[ December 19, 2005, 01:42 AM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Everard said:
quote:
This man will eventually be seen as the president who ruined american hegemony.
I disagree. While I do not think that we should have gone into Iraq, I do believe that our foreign policy under President Bush has been the best thing for the country since the cold war ended. We needed to get out there and do something - if we do not take an active hand in guiding the world, who else will?

I do not know that terrorism has decreased due to the efforts of the Bush Administration in Iraq and Afganistan. I honestly still view terrorism as a crime – not a war. I will say that the lives of those in Iraq and Afganistan are undoubtably better now than they were before our arrival. I can also say that I expect that they will continue to get better throughout the next several years (provided we don't pull out all our troops early).

Domestic policy under Bush has been poor. While unemployment is low, our freedoms are being eroded. I do not know that he has violated the Constitution, however. Many of the items which arouse the most anger are items which require a Supreme Court decision to settle all of the issues.

Did you happen to catch the Presidential speech tonight, Everard? Perhaps that will affect your outlook on the issues surrounding Iraq. There is another topic up regarding the speech – I'll add a link a transcription of the speech in that topic.

--Firedrake

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canadian
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An active hand is not always a constructive hand. Especially when it's a heavy one.
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