Well, Tigerman, I’m not a big Kerry fan I’ll admit. I’d much rather have Edwards, Lieberman, or Gore. Shit, if I could really choose, I’d probably pick the late great Paul Wellstone (FNA Republican Enemy #1). But hell, let’s face it, I’ll vote party for whoever’s in. You’d probably choose another Republican over Bush, too, if you could, but what can ya do?
By the way, the reason I mentioned Kerry’s war record is that Repub mouthpieces like Limbaugh and Hannity have pasted the ‘traitor’ and ‘terrorist coddler’ lable (quite insidiously and erroneously, I might add) on such honorable men as Daschle (sp?) and Wellstone. Considering Kerry’s service to his country, it’s going to be rather hard to use this nasty, Nixon-esque tactic.
A Wellstone fan. Well you can have him and any of those MN socialists such as Humphrey and Mondale and… and…
I believe someone once labeled Wellstone as being a man interested only and taking a sick pleasure in his own moral farts. I believe translation: He was impossible to work with and always deliberately made other politicians trying to work with him look bad because he would never compromise and always took the moral high ground but in a way was most selfish since very few (did any?) of his bills get passed? No, but he could always congratulate himself on never having compromised his values. Did he help anyone? Nope, but again, no one could fault him for compromising his values. Are you starting to get the picture? Picture Carter with the male genitalia he so clearly lacked and you start to get the moral “manifest destiny” of Wellstone that we Minnesotans always found so tiresomely theatrical.
Sorry Fred I haven’t got the motivation to argue this point with you now - I’ve got a brief moment of repose here at work but am in more of a browsing than a bantering mood! I’ll get to it when I get back to your Clinton/terrorism thing… However, I would like to say that I just knew that name was going to irk you!
Paul Wellstone once said, “What all too often passes as “realism” is really moral cowardice and fealty to the money interests that make political careers run smoothly–or not.” Let’s look at an example of his kind of “non-compromising selfishness”:
(Wellstone) “One time there was a clash over this drug Lodine. It was the sort of thing you learn only from experience. Here they’re cutting Head Start and child nutrition and what-not, and then they put into conference committee a provision for one pharmaceutical company in Pennsylvania to get a patent extension for about five years on a drug that mainly old people take for arthritis. Which increases the cost to the elderly by a few hundred million nationwide, because people can’t go to the generic. I just caught 'em red-handed, and they had to knock it out. I embarrassed them. And I’m good at that. And some of these folks would like me out. So it’s a bit of an honor.”
Now compare Wellstone’s implentation of his political ideals to those of a paragon of conservative virtue, an Ayn Randian hero of the “Atlas Shrugs” mold. Take for example Rupert Murdoch, the gadjillionaire owner of the Fox Network, Readers’ Digest, the LA Dodgers, 20th Century Fox, TV Guide, the New York Post, and a whole slew of TV stations.
Well, Murdoch, a bigtime Commie-hater, started beaming anti-CCP propoganda into China via Star TV. At that time, he made the observation that “advances in the technology of tele-communications have proved an umambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere.” Very noble.
However, China, which happens to have a totalitarian regime and didn’t like being threatened in this manner, retaliated by banning satelite dishes. Did Murdoch, knowing he’s already richer than many countries, take the “moral high road” and tell China to piss off?
Nah… that would’ve been too uncompromising, to Paul Wellstone of him! Instead, he resigned himself to the unpleasant reality and assumed a let-us-say slightly pro-totalitarian stance. He told his detractors, “The
truth is - and we Americans don’t like to admit it - that authoritarian societies can work.” Bye bye principles, hello satellite dishes in China.
Just to show there were no hard feelings, Murdoch even took the BBC off his network. (The BBC had shown students being mowed down by tanks in Tiananmen.) He then launched a million-dollar joint venture with the People’s Daily, producing “Chinabyte”, an online news service that brought CCP propoganda into the 21st century.
Well, hmmm…is it just me, or does that sound ammoralistic and relativistic to you? FOR THE LOVE of GOD, Murdoch, owner of the Fox Network, must be a LIBERAL!!! Well, no, maybe those ‘-istics’ don’t exactly pin his behavior down. Maybe “crassly materialistic” would be more precise.
But do you see how closely that adjective relates to the others listed above? (IE, being ammoralistic and relativistic were, and generally are, a means to the end of being crassly materialistic, whereas being principaled and uncompromising would’ve been a means to losing contracts in the world’s largest potential media market…and perhaps being called ‘tiresomely theatrical’ by Fred Smith!)
And how exactly opposite to ‘ammoralism, relativism, and crass materialism’ are the principles that Liberals like Paul Wellstone represent. What do they represent? In a nutshell, here it is, in Wellstone’s words: “Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is
not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives.”
Well, first of all, Murdoch DOES happen to be the owner of such conservative mouthpieces as the New York Post, the London Times, and of course good old Fox – making him the patron of many a right-wing loudmouth like Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly (neither of whom I’m sure you’ll ever hear calling HIS behavior “ammoral”!) What’s more, in the Ayn Randian sense, isn’t he one the heros, the producers, the titans who hold up the world upon their mighty shoulders?
Be that as it may, you’re right. I can’t prove any conservative has called Rupert a paragon of conservative virtue. I mean, heck, the guy’s not even a politician to begin with! That’s not really my main point anyway. What I’m trying to show in a round-about way is how certain conservatives go after liberals all the time for being “ammoral, relativistic, nihilistic, etc.” - yet when a liberal genuinely stands by his principles and what’s more actually gets common people caring about politics again (note the 20,000-odd people who came to his memorial), he’s called, of all the nasty things, “only interested in hearing his own moral farts”.
I mean, this is a guy who, unlike Gingrich or Limbaugh or so many of those right-wing windbags, actually lived the family values conservatives so often hypocritically talk about. He’s a man who would drive up to anyone with a “Wellstone” sticker on their bumper and wave hello.
A guy who stood up for homeless veterans, the elderly, cancer patients - you know, people who genuinely need a little help and the kind of people that some on this forum feel the federal government is “wasting” money by trying to assist.
So when I brought up Murdoch, I was just giving you a very nice example of what exactly I consider the opposite of “uncompromising” political behavior to be. (And yes, Murdoch’s behavior was political, whether anyone elected him or not. When you’ve got as much power to influence the world as he has, you’re more “political” than most elected officials will ever be.)
What’s more, I was trying to show that, other than among a few fringe intellectuals (who are so often used as “strawmen” of the Right), being ammoral and relativistic is not motivated by liberal ideology,
but by flat-out good old-fashioned GREED. So if you’re going to cry about the lack of morals in the world, don’t – as Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity do – go blaming a few harmless, heart-bleeding idealists like Paul Wellstone. Take a look at the economic system we live in, and the values it sets for us. For all its flaws, I still love it (so don’t go calling me a socialist, Fred), but there’s the root of your problem.
Tigerman - I’ve got more to say on the Paul Wellstone issue when I get around to it, but there are too many arguments running on this thread. Could you stick the relevant Wellstone posts on a new thread for me? Thanks!
By the way, I’m frequently out of the loop around here, but out of curiosity, where’s Cold Front these days?
Well Paul Wellstone’s first priority as I see it was representing the best interests of the voters and citizens of Minnesota, not tirelessly strumpeting around, grandstanding to make himself look good. What did he accomplish other than these two things? What bills did he get passed? Unfortunately, the Left does not seem to understand that we do not live in a perfect world and that imperfect compromises have to be made.
For example, let’s say your first priority was health care. What compromises are you willing to make to get improvements in this area? Are you going to vote for increased defense spending or compromise with pharmaceutical companies and doctor’s orgnanizations? Sometimes this is necessary or are you going to stamp your foot, say no, insult the opposition and then paint them into such an impossible corner with your insults that there is no way that they can publicly agree to your proposals without looking like they are selling out their constituents and supporters?
More importantly on the Left are you going to fight off your trial lawyers to ensure that doctors can even get the malpractice insurance necessary to practice? It was my impression that Wellstone was not and given his strong “leftist” credentials, where was his outcry against trial lawyers and their bankrupting of small general practitioners. Where was the concern about the billions that lawyers were raking in on cases like smoking? I mean warnings had been put on cigarette packages for 40 years and before that they were commonly referred to as coffin nails since the late 1800s, but… principles where wert thou than?
So yes, Wellstone was concerned about taking on very high profile cases such as Murdoch and his media empire in China and quite rightly so but it did not have much of an impact for your average Minnesotan and these are precisely the people or should I say PEOPLE that Wellstone always claimed to be so concerned about. Be a foreign policy expert if you want but don’t keep running off at the mouth that you are for the people, blah blah blah all the time. The man was a leftie professor from Carleton and very idealistic. Just not the kind of person you want doing anything else except writing articles or books on zmag. For those of us who accomplish things in the real world each and every day, he was a tiresome ass.
Think of this. I imagine that if you are a Wellstone supporter here you are probably an English teacher. So you go into your Chinese family run kindergarten and start stamping your foot that principles are involved and you are only going to teach the way you want. I have met a number of these types of teachers and they usually learn or starve after they get fired the third time but did Wellstone? Nope. Did not ever learn the subtle art of compromise. Talk about unilateral.
A politician has a duty to his voters and he can quite easily claim that his voters chose him in part because of his personal beliefs.
A businessman has a duty to his shareholders. And he has no right to assume that they back him because of his political beliefs. On the contrary, he is supposed to make money for them.
So, you see, in some ways, you might claim that Murdoch’s public stance was simply the logical outcome of him applying the same kind of moral equation that Wellstone did. They both did what they believed their “constituents” required them to do.
(By the way, I am not a policitical admirer of murdoch. And I know little of Wellstone, but the drug story was a fine example of a thoroughly decent politician in action.)
The problem with Paul Wellstone was that he was not a Senator’s Senator. He was inflexible and rigid. He invariably chose a position, and argued for it strongly and without compromise on the Senate floor. This won him respect from both aisles, even from polar opposites such as former NC Senator Jesse Helms (the two got along very well on a personal level), but it definitely did not make him an insider. I don’t think he should be eulogized in his death as a great senator. I see him as being very similar to Eugene McCarthy in the 1960s. A sort of poetic loner. Interesting man, but not an effective politician.
In Minnesota, there was a lot of tension between the Mondale and Wellstone families after the plane crash. It is well known that Paul Wellstone disliked Mondale because he did not have the same moral principles as Wellstone. Mondale sits on the board of several multinational corporations (Target, Northwest Airlines etc.) and this earned him the ire of many of Wellstone’s backers.
[quote=“imyourbiggestfan”]The comments about PW are interesting. We hate politicians for being spineless and fickle in their beliefs. And we admire someone like PW for sticking so rigidly to his principles.
And yet, parliaments are messy places, full of compromise etc. Not because they are full of fickle people, but because compromises have to be made to get anything done.
So, on the one hand PW seems heroic - but on the other, he seems naive, even unhelpful, an obstacle… chewy’s comments seem particularly apt.[/quote]
Indeed. Politics in a democracy is an Art, not a Science.
Definition of Politics:
Who gets what where when and how.
Those who do not know how to, or are unwilling to compromise, often never get anything anywhere in any way.
Paul Wellstone was a political adolescent. This is WHAT he WANTED and he was not going to COMPROMISE. You know the college graduate who is convinced that x, y or z and then after five years learns that various things can be accomplished but only within the framework of swimming with various tides and fighting against various other ones.