Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

I know some friends of mine really respect Tom Edsall's work, and maybe he was good once.  I don't see it.  I read some of his book 'Building Red America', and it was an analytically useless description of why the Republicans will always maintain a narrow majority.  His book was uninformed by economics, and featured glib observations like 'The Republicans are the coalition of the dominant'.  Just looking at the acknowledgments, where he thanks his sources and friends, should give you an indication that this guy doesn't have a connection to non-Beltway denizens.

Now in journalism, your 'reward' for long service is being given an Op-Ed slot.  And since Edsall was considered one of the best courtier servants until he retired, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that this guy has taken up a position on the New York Times Op-Ed page for a month.  And it also shouldn't be a surprise that he's a liberal who doesn't believe that pro-choice groups, minority rights, and unions should apply political pressure to the political system.

To stay in the fight, Democratic leaders will have to acknowledge political realities affirmed by the electorate in 1994 and 2006. Many Democratic constituencies -- organized labor, minority advocacy organizations, reproductive- and sexual-rights proponents -- are reliving battles of a decade or more ago, not the more subtle disputes of today.  Public sector unions, for example, at a time of wide distrust of government, are consistently pressing to enlarge the state. For these players, adapting to a re-emergent center will be costly....

Only two members of the House leadership are intuitively attuned to such problems: Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic caucus, and Steny Hoyer, the majority leader. But Emanuel has limited influence, and relations between Pelosi and Hoyer are distant at best.

Still, the vigilance of Hoyer and Emanuel will be crucial to a party whose renewal could easily be stillborn. Congressional leaders are not all-powerful, but they can set the stage for a successful presidential candidate, or lay waste to the center-left, dooming the nominee.

The Democratic Party can secure its 2006 gains, but to do so will require abandoning a decades-long willingness to indulge pressure groups on the left that no longer command broad popular allegiance.

I've met Tom Edsall a few times, and he's always been cordial.  I remember one time in particular at a press conference with Howard Dean; he pushed to get Dean to answer a question about Hillary Clinton, which of course Dean would not.  This was just after Seymour Hersh had come out with an article about how the US was planning for a nuclear attack on Iran.  I decided to ask Edsall about this scenario.  Edsall said that he believes that we were going to nuke that country, and I asked him if he thought that might not be more important than trying to get Dean to slip up on Hillary.  Edsall just sort of shrugged his shoulders, and said that it's not his responsibility to focus on that story because he's not an editor of the paper and doesn't make the choices about what to cover.  

This is one of the Old Wise Men of Washington, or a Very Serious Person, as Atrios would say.  After that, I would sometimes read his work in the Washington Post and think 'who is this silly man?'  His sources are obviously heavily stacked towards neoliberal insiders on the Democratic side, and he dismisses progressive activists and voters alike.  Even though voters rejected an anti-labor anti-choice political party, the lesson for Edsall is that voters embraced an attack on labor and more restrictive abortion laws.  It's not hard to figure out why Edsall believes this - peer pressure.  Edsall's crowd is that of Harold Ickes, Rahm Emanuel, and Steny Hoyer, people who live in a rarefied world of Democratic elitism.  On the Republican side I assume his sources are equally DC establishment; that's where he lives and that's what he knows.  I remember his reporting on subjects I know a little bit about, like Democratic data infrastructure, were informed by people who knew nothing about the actual tools being developed.

So anyway, if you need evidence that journalists in DC adopt the biases of their sources and eagerly sop up conventional wisdom, you need go no further than Edsall.  Look at who he doesn't like in this article - pro-choice groups, unions, and minority rights groups.  These groups, if you are a Democratic insider, are annoying. They make you do work.  They force you to not cut deals with the other side, and they hold Democrats accountable for bad economic choices.  They make people like Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel uncomfortable because they demand good policy choices, and by and large aren't (or shouldn't) be willing to trade away core principles to the right for better parking spots.

Edsall of course didn't talk to a janitor who just got a raise in Houston, he didn't talk to a Goodyear worker losing his job, or a displaced New Orleans resident, or a NJ retiree with good pension and benefits because of his union.  Edsall talked to his friends, and his friends know, they just know, how important better parking spots are.  To these people, knocking labor unions just feels so right, doesn't it?  I guess it's a testament to how firmly the intellectual core of journalism has rotted that journalists now work strongly against their own economic interest.  Even as Edsall attacks unions as an out of touch 'pressure group on the left' that 'no longer command broad popular allegiance', his former colleagues are relying on their union to improve journalism and stop the job cuts devastating newsrooms across the country.

As the news industry slashes tens of thousands of jobs in pursuit of higher profits, it's bad news for journalists, bad news for readers and viewers and even worse news ultimately for American democracy.

That's the message The Newspaper Guild-CWA wants to send to media owners and all Americans on a day of action Dec. 11.

"Guild members must take the lead in the fight to preserve journalism and news industry jobs," Guild President Linda Foley said. "We're calling on news industry employees everywhere to stand up for journalism and to stand with their colleagues who have had their jobs and livelihoods slashed by corporate media barons."

I suppose in Edsall's world, corporate media barons are part of the coalition of 'dominant', and unions are not.  So even though the Republican Party was soundly repudiated at the polls in favor of a strongly populist Democratic Party backed by labor, and a touchstone abortion ban was popularly rejected in one of the reddest states in the country, Democrats have no choice but to reject unions and pro-choice groups, or they will face judgment at the polls.  

Ok, then.

Update: Oh wow. Edsall went on Hugh Hewitt and pulled a Halperin. Silly, silly man.

Tags: Editors, journalism, Media, Tom Edsall (all tags)

Comments

47 Comments

30%-40% profits just aren't high enough, I guess.

You would think 30%-40% profits would be sufficient, but I guess when big oil and big pharma are raking it in even faster, newspapers just have to make deeper cuts to keep up with the Joneses.

It's become an incredibly short-sighted industry, as I've seen firsthand -- cutting newsroom jobs, freezing hiring, pushing back raises -- with the only goal to make more money tomorrow. This obviously is undercutting the ability to deliver quality news coverage over the long run. I guess readers are just expected to not notice or to have no other choices.

Publishers with actual journalism experience have become an extremely rare breed. If you've noticed a decline in the quality of news coverage in your paper, keep in mind that it's all about the bottom line.

by MeanBoneII 2006-11-25 05:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

 At some point these "Democratic" beltway elites need to be challenged and confronted -- WHY, EXACTLY, ARE YOU A DEMOCRAT?

 We win the election, and certain "Democrats" immediately declare that we won't win again if we actually try to do what the voters put us in to do.

 For Democrats to pooh-pooh the importance of labor  -- which is only the 97% of Americans who work for someone else -- is both a betrayal of the party's core values and short-sighted to the extreme. If we don't stand up for labor, who will? And if we don't stand up for labor, why should labor vote for us?

 And as an aside, why is it so hard to get REAL liberals on the op-ed pages of major newspapers? You know, the kinds who WILL proudly speak up for labor?

 It's frustrating that these triangulating stand-for-nothings still have a voice in our media. That's why I spread the blog gospel (blogspel?) everywhere I go...

 

by Master Jack 2006-11-25 05:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

He's not a Democrat.

by Matt Stoller 2006-11-25 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

I think the point is that someone needs to start saying that they don't represent anyone but themselves. That  the sole mission when people get a shot to appear on any TV or radio programming is to call these people out, and to try to change the dynamic. THe likelihood of this, I assume, is slim because of who controls the decision to book guests, and the editorial decision making that occurs, but it would be the most effective way to deal with them.

by bruh21 2006-11-25 08:20AM | 0 recs
Harold Ickes?

I'm surprised to see Ickes lumped in with Emmanuel and Stoyer. My recollection is that he was the Clintons' link to labor, and a true believer on real health insurance reform?

by BlueinColorado 2006-11-25 05:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Harold Ickes?

I think you are right.  Harold is more of a real progressive in terms of his beliefs, but he does see himself as less of an ideologue than a macher or doer.  He wants to get things done and he will take what is at hand to do it, and if that seems to be neoliberal talking points then...so be it.  

But if he had other more effective progressive talking points, I think he would consider using them.  

by debcoop 2006-11-25 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

This is the sort of poke at the establishment eye that first brought me to MyDD.

If you're able to, post it on the HuffingtonPost.com.

by bedobe 2006-11-25 06:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

They make people like Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel uncomfortable because they demand good policy choices

The unspoken (unwritten) elaboration in that clause is about demanding politically risky policy choices... yes, they demand good choices, but those choices will require, y'know, defending.  Conviction.  Accepting & even welcoming serious opposition. Persuasion.  IOW, sticking their necks out, which is just too anxiety-generating for too many DC Dems.  Bottom line is that the positions Edsall takes are those of people with relatively weak convictions and not that much courage to defend the convictions they do claim.

Not that that's news here, of course.

by latts 2006-11-25 06:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

I think that an eye on Rep. Barney Frank is warranted. In a recent speech in Boston he stated that he is a capitalist and therefore in favor of inequality. He also talked about making deals with the business community to achieve certain goals many of which were progressive. Here's a point as chairman of the finance committee a simple think he could do would be to insure that the NLRB was staffed equally weighted with union and business people and that further NLRB rulings had teeth, enforceability. If unions were given a level playing field we would see a slow but steady drive to right the imbalance the Right has created and an increased visibility of the public dialogue that needs to take place. We don't need national pols steering the debate, we need worker reps at the State and local level doing it.

by David62 2006-11-25 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

being a capitalist doesn't make one in favor of inequality. being a capalitalist who doesn't believe in a system of fairness, and protections against the harsher elements of capitalism does.

by bruh21 2006-11-25 08:22AM | 0 recs
Huh?

How can you have capitalism at all without some inequality?

by delmoi 2006-11-25 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

Time to start thinking about our own Civil War:  Ickes, Shrum, and the rest of the Lieber-kind who attached themselves to the Clintons and Gore like remora, including Hoyer, are busy coalescing with the "moderate" GOP and now present a serious challenge to the New Democratic Party, the one which ran the table on the GOP a couple weeks ago.

We have one of their gunslingers, Carville, launching a pre-emptive strike on Howard Dean, we have a LOT of sniping and grousing and media-led witch-hunting of Pelosi, Murtha, Hastings, Kucinich:  we have a problem.  They are joining in with wingnuttia and the Media Wurlitzer in fostering this myth that the only reason we won is because Dems moved to the RIGHT?

We worked and worked and bled and fought and won and finally pried the keys from the cold dead hands of the Republicans, and now we're getting "Gimme the keys and move over, Junior, time to let the grown-ups drive"??!?

Bullshit!!  The NeoLibs and their tired wasteland of triangulation, dirty compromise, and K-Street lobbyist pandering are over.  They are goin' DOWN, baby.

And I will gladly pee on the corpses.

This is a new time, a new opportunity. WE, the young, the committed Internet-savvy Progressives hold the keys to the Dem Party's future, and we turn them over at our peril.  We've already seen what they know how to do, and I want no part of it.  America wants no part of it.  Like the Big Dog said:  We have no mandate, only a chance to make things better.

On a week when the Senate honored Paul Wellstone, let us similarly dedicate ourselves to honor the proposition that government FOR the people is too important to let these people have another try at it.  

It's them, or us.

THEY are responsible for Bush's apocalyptic 8 years in office, more than anyone else.

by dembluestates 2006-11-25 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

Bob Shrum has made tons of tactical errors of judgement and tone....and lost elections due to complacency, certainty end even too much civility but he is no Joe Lieberman in terms of his political convictions or who he's rooting for. He has been blasted in the MSM press for being too much of a populist.  For Al Gore's "fight for the little man campaign at the end of 2000 which did get Gore the popular vote.

He made be part of the MSM but he's a progressive in terms of his politics.

by debcoop 2006-11-25 08:48AM | 0 recs
I agree, Edsall is way out of touch

I saw him speak a couple weeks ago on a panel with other progressive leaders and he basically said what he said in this column, which I find not only amazingly pessimistic but really stupid.

If I have to abandon my ideals that people should be treated fairly and everyone should have a fair shot in order to gain power (as Edsall suggests) then why would I bother trying to gain power?

The point of the progressive movement isn't just to have power for the sake of it, it's to have power so that we can help people on an individual level and help our country on a national level - if Edsall doesn't get that, I can't help him.

by Nolan 2006-11-25 07:19AM | 0 recs
That's what they're paid for

Edsall just sort of shrugged his shoulders, and said that it's not his responsibility to focus on that story because he's not an editor of the paper and doesn't make the choices about what to cover.  

Well, he isn't and doesn't.

Newspapers have a big payroll, complex distribution, heavy fixed costs, a dying revenue model: little wonder that their standard fare is warmed-over CW for the toffs and tabloid sensation for the rest.

On the other hand, when did they last do anything else?

To talk about

how firmly the intellectual core of journalism has rotted

rather implies a time when the intellectual core of journalism was pristine and sound.

When was that exactly? Name the year!

Aside from that magnificently atypical period around the end of the Vietnam war and Watergate, the press was and is some mixture of partisanship, proprietorial ax-grinding, money-grubbing and official propaganda.

(Best treatise on the morality of journalism: Ace in the Hole.)

More broadly - who can say anything worth saying in the format of a 700 word op-ed? You're practically required to make inane or plainly counterfactual generalizations that are not worth the bandwith (even when not stuck behind a pay-wall!).

I think it's a interesting question to what extent the election was an endorsement of Dem policies as well as a rejection of the Iraq fubar and the general decrepitude in the regime.

(I'd certainly not take the point for granted.)

Similarly, I think it's valid to consider the influence of interest groups on Dem policy - and the public perception of such interest - both currently, and in a historical context.

But, in a 700 word op-ed, you can only shout slogans and retail gossip.

Last thing, related to this: just because an issue gets a crappy treatment in the media doesn't mean it's a real issue.

Harking back to Matt's earlier Pelosi/Harman piece, just because the Pelosi/Harman relationship can be portrayed in an utterly implausible cartoonish fashion doesn't mean that the relationship is not worthy of study, nor that it may influence important decisions for good or ill.

That gurgling sound coming from the plug-hole: is that bath-water or baby?

by skeptic06 2006-11-25 07:23AM | 0 recs
Re: That's what they're paid for

Name the year!

Heh. 1973. Some journalists and newspapers actually did a little reporting.

...That gurgling sound coming from the plug-hole: is that bath-water or baby?
I vote for rnc talking points.

by Michael Bersin 2006-11-25 04:00PM | 0 recs
1973? Wasn't that...

...Watergate?

I think I may have mentioned that.

by skeptic06 2006-11-26 03:10AM | 0 recs
Re: 1973? Wasn't that...

Uh, there were a few other things going on.

by Michael Bersin 2006-11-26 04:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

Hear, hear, Matt! Good show!

Additionally, I'd say what voters rebelled against in 1994 was the comfort and ethical transgressions of entrenched party elites, not any specific policy position deemed as 'too liberal'.

It was the culmination of the S&L scandal and the discontent of many whose wages had largely stagnated for twenty years because of the outstanding bills of Vietnam, of decades of exploitative policies towards oil countries (Iran and Iraq especially) that triggered the formation of OPEC and anti-Western extremism, and the Reagan overspending on the military (which the rightists have successfully spun as the Commie-killing maneuver, instead of the economy killing maneuver which took the tech revolution to overcome).

And the biggest impediment going forward now will be paying off the costs of Bush's war-profiteering gambits.

Big Labor, of course, had its own entrenched with ethical problems to overcome, and it's heartening to see the SEIU as the rising Young Turk in the mix today, to help defeat the lingering anti-union mood in right-to-being-exploited states.

The DLC strategy of eking out plurality wins in a badly polarized electorate was always a short-term campaign strategy, not a long-term vision for enlightened leadership. Keep on challenging guys like Edsall for their promotion of tactical maneuvers into a social ideology.

Americans seek economic security, but not at the cost of their civil liberties, their available time with family and friends, or at the cost of hard won social advances.

Keep on destroying their (DLC) paper-thin myths!

by KevinHayden 2006-11-25 08:01AM | 0 recs
Hey, He's The Enemy, Dude!

Vichy Dem, remember?

What's so complicated or surprising about that?

He's always been a Beltway insider, always will.  End of story.  He was, at one time, amongst the most perceptive of them.  For all I know, he still is.  But that no longer means very much any more.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-11-25 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

Edsall's not dead?

Wow, "behind the NYT pay-wall" isn't the polite euphemism I thought it was?

by TeddySanFran 2006-11-25 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

I don't know about you Matt but with a $9 trillion dollar debt I'm not in favor of expanding government. I'm in favor of fixing it after the last 6 years of disastrous Republican rule. Once we get costs and the budget under control and get a Dem president so we can replace all the "brownies" with professional managers then we can start talking about adding more services. Then we have to fix Medicare. But that's a long way off, probably a decade. Until that's done more services are out of the question.  

by markg8 2006-11-25 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

Ever think that NOT having universal health care is a monstrous drain on our economy and productivity and ultimately the budget?

Also, we could just stop going the occupation of Iraq and immediately have enough money for universal health insurance.

by adamterando 2006-11-25 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

I agree universal healthcare is the way to go and that's what I mean by fixing Medicare. But it'll probably take 10 years to convince corporate America
to publicly support us on that. It'll take that long because most of the grassroots and netroots need to be convinced too that corporate America can be more than an enemy.  

And no ending the occupation of Iraq which I support  
doing won't immediately give us enough money for universal health insurance. Hell that won't even come close to balancing the budget let alone prvoiding surpluses we can spend. We have to roll back Bush's tax cuts. Maybe all of them, which is going to be unpopular.

by markg8 2006-11-26 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

where exactly does this pure form of capitalism you speak of exists, and was that what he was referring to, or the kind that we have in democracies or the kind that they have in social democracies. my problem with the manipulations here is that you provide no context. capitalism without any regard to the rest of the world - yes- can be reduced to winners and losers- but to attack him because he says he is a capitalist without regard to the other things that he also values is dishonest, and that's putting it nicely.

by bruh21 2006-11-25 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

Sounds like you need some new friends.

by Stoic 2006-11-25 10:39AM | 0 recs
Harold Ickes

Harold Ickes is an uber-insider but he's not an elitist. He had a kidney beaten out of him for doing voter registration work in Louisiana in 1966. His worst sin is being a Clinton loyalist which is hardly a sin. Edsall might not associate much with labor but Ickes surely does as he spent the better part of his life representing labor unions as their lawyer.  Ickes is a New Deal Democrat, not least because his father was the point man for FDR pushing it through. Ickes might be a prickly SOB but he's a prickly SOB on our side.

More on Harold Ickes (ick'iss):
Profile from the Laborers-LIUNA website (NYDN)
http://www.laborers.org/nyd_Ickes_10-10- 00.htm

by joejoejoe 2006-11-25 10:52AM | 0 recs
Money goes to the head

A recent article by Todd S. Purdum in Vanity Fair contains some revealing information about Karl Rove, but nothing, I felt, was more revealing than the information about Purdom himself, who apparently lives in top-tax-bracket DC home near Rove's.

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/featu res/2006/12/rove200612

Guys making 200K above Guild Scale, the fuck do they care about unions?

Lemme tell you a story Years ago, an enterprising guy named Izzo who liked to eat wrote a book called, "A Forkful of San Jose," which was a collection of restaurant reviews. Lots of people were moving into San Jose back then, and since they didn't know shit from carbon paper about where to go out to eat, they bought up these books by the stackful.

The San Jose Mercury News hired this Izzo has its restaurant reviewer. They gave an expense account so that the owners of the spaghetti palaces and taco bars couldn't bribe him with free food.

Well, in a matter of time, Izzo lost interest in writing about where to get the biggest San Jose hero sandwich at the best price, and started checking out places in Palo Alto, San Francisco, even Los Angeles.

He would write, "we had a bottle of both the red and the white wines the waiter suggested and, although priced at $65 each, we felt they were quite reasonable."

This from a fat fuck who previously recommended taking the extra large pizza home so you could drink your own Safeway beer with it.

If a small-town chowhound can get corrupted within 12 months of eating off white tablecloths, what can we expect from NY Times guys who eat a hot dog, should they be confronted by one, with a knife and fork?

by stevehigh 2006-11-25 10:58AM | 0 recs
How To Properly Refer To Tom Edsall

Like this:

Thomas Fremantle Edsall

Arthur Fremantle was the Brit who, having observed the Confederate army in action in 1863, predicted their victory in a book that arrived on these shores in early 1865.

Like Edsall, his timing was just a wee bit off.

by RT 2006-11-25 11:30AM | 0 recs
Edsall's analysis is over a decade old.

It is good to see I wasn't the only one surprised at today's NY editorial.  Edsall does not deserve to be a columnist.  He is analysis is over a decade old.  

What he implies is preposterous.  What do these old liberals want?  Return to school busing?  70% marginal tax rate?  Resurrect the Black Panter movement?  Job and college quotas for minorities and women?

Thus the new liberals (Tester, Webb, Sherrod Brown) are advocating the same economic populism and protect-our-constitution that is consistent with old liberals like Charlie Rangel, John Conyers, Henry Waxman, John Dingel, and George Miller.  They have though updated the description of the countries problems in a way to convince voters to elect them.

However, as Edsall doesn't realize, the debate has changed.  Businesses are now advocating for government intervention in health care cost.  The concentration of wealth is so great now, there is a ground swell for minimum wage, fair trade policies, and fair taxation.  Pay as you go is fiscal responsibility.  Ethics reform is a Democratic issue as it is consistent with transparent government and fair elections and importantly not practiced by the Republicans.

This country may be center-right in rhetoric, but it is center-left in sensibilities.  The majority of the people know we need a government and there needs to taxes to pay for it, so tax-cut zombyism and extreme economic libertarians will never be accepted. On social issues I still maintain it is on average in the center, but with uncompromising factions on each side of the spectrum (especially on abortion). So the suggestions of the progressive movement are really proposed solutions to real problems.  What was "far left" is now mainstream or no longer seriously discussed.

by edonyoung 2006-11-25 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Edsall's analysis is over a decade old.

70% marginal tax rate?  Resurrect the Black Panter movement?
Both work for me. Let's just do it without the FBI's Cointelpro.

Sure, let's go back to the top marginal tax rates -  of the Eisenhower Administration - and when that happens you can watch all the wingnuts' heads explode.

Bobby Seale is doing good works and selling barbecue products.

by Michael Bersin 2006-11-25 04:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

And as an aside, why is it so hard to get REAL liberals on the op-ed pages of major newspapers? You know, the kinds who WILL proudly speak up for labor?

Okay, let's launch a campaign to get a real liberal (besides Bob Herbert or Molly Ivins) on the op-ed page.  Sam Seder, anyone?

by lauren 2006-11-25 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

Lauren: Thom Hartman. Robert Reich.

by KevinHayden 2006-11-25 02:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

and I understand him in the context of what a Democrat like Frank would mean rather than out of context of what I suspect as a democrat means

by bruh21 2006-11-25 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

A recent diary at Kos has a take on Edsall: <www.dailykos.com/story/2006/11/25/175634/24&gt;.  Sorry for the cold link.

Best regards

by hyperpolarizer 2006-11-25 04:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

capitalism requires a class system.

Marxism requires your caste system, not capitalism.

The fundamental belief in capitalism is that one can rise through their own greed in attempting to better themselves and at the same time benefit society.

Our classes have become so rigid with so little mobility that they have begun to rival India's caste system.

That surely isn't the capitalism that Adam Smith envisioned.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-25 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

Yours is also a false statement. There isn't one type of capitalism, or for that matter socialism. I thinkt he real problem is the simplisticy of these discussions. capitalism can lead to castes. Capitalism isn't per se concerned with betterment, but social democracies with capitalistic enterprises may produce that result.

by bruh21 2006-11-25 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

There isn't one type of capitalism, or for that matter socialism.

As Spock on Star Trek would have said, "That's illogical."

Capitalism is a theoretical concept as is socialism. There is no real type of either.  Neither exist in the real world.  

Adam Smith proposed that personal greed could be harnessed for the betterment of society.  Rather nifty idea don't you think?  Interference with free markets from any source harms the benefits of capitalism.  Obviously those who believe in "The Market" as some sort of divine concept like an Ayn Rand are idolators who perverted Adam Smith.  

Adam Smith remains great reading but few bother.  He is as distant from many proclaiming the virtues of capitalism as Jesus Christ is from Jerry Fallwell's evangelical heresies.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-26 12:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

okay b/c there has been nothing sense adam smith. like i said if you want to interpret everything your way then of course that makes the take down of frank right. anyway good luck with that approach.

by bruh21 2006-11-26 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

okay b/c there has been nothing sense adam smith.

When a Chinese comrade in Beijing explained that Chinese Communism's mission was to protect capitalism, do you think that was modern improvement of Karl Marx or something rather different?

then of course that makes the take down of frank right.

Pedantic mediocrities like myself are often sticklers for definitions but even my primitive brain can understand that nipping the ankles of giants does not make one taller.

Do try to understand, friend, that Divine Truth is the province of theologians only - and they are full of it.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-26 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

definitions without context such as the person talking about the concepts, their phisophies etc is lazienss. you can try to make it more by being snide all you want, but it is still laziness. we get on the right about their robothinking.

by bruh21 2006-11-26 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

Thank you for this post---I started reading that Edsall column earlier today, and blinked at about paragraph 2 and thought, "What?" I stopped reading and skipped to the byline. If I had to guess, his broken record act is like an attempt to sell books and stay pertinent for about thirty more seconds. When it's clear to everyone else that his clock on this idea has run out.

by fictioneer 2006-11-25 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

We are reliving decades old battles?

Well then who are the dumbasses that wave the Confederate flags - a century old battle?

by bushsucks 2006-11-25 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

I would add to that the assumption among democrats is that there are other factors like luck involved which can't be accounted for, that we need systems in place to protect against these forces, etc, but that at the end of the day, we aren't socialist. We believe that efficiency is a factor in economics for the private sector that must be preserved. Saying one is a capitalist doesn't preclude also sayign that one is for social nets, for fair trade agreements, etc. It merely indicates that one is a capitalist versus being say a socialist or communinist. Not what kind of capitalist one is. Are you a REpublican capitalist who just cares about big business. are you a dlc capitalist who thinks of only the corporate donors. Or are you a mom and pop small business capitalist that wants to help small businesses thrive in a competive, but fair environment. These are each different concepts.

by bruh21 2006-11-25 07:49PM | 0 recs
Egalitarianism

Are you suggesting that capitalism is intended to create economic equality? seriously?

If I had any such odd notion, I would have said so.

That is the ideal of socialism which is obviously contrary to capitalism.  Both are idealized systems that exist only in theory.

The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence make no mention of capitalism or socialism.  Equality is the very basis of the founding of this country but one should recognize that the "pursuit of happiness" was originally intended as enjoyment of one's own property. [In no way would any sane person argue that the ideal of equality was ever anything but a goal.  The founders obviously discriminated a great deal - against women, against slaves, against those who weren't landowners.]

The problem is that the goal of equality of opportunity has become more and more distant as mobility between castes has decreased to such an extant that America is more class-ridden than England even.

The sodden emphasis on a strange middle class that engulfs so many in defiance of math and reason is the greatest impediment to sober consideration of the problems besetting the nation and surely a perversion of any notion of capitalism.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-26 12:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

     Um, the shift in the total electorate was five percent from 2004. This was achieved by Hurricane Katrina, the War in Iraq, Foley, the Evangelical Ted teggard, poor economy, high gas prices, Bush approval at 35%-40%, etc. Now explain to me how this is a win for the Democrats, and not just a catastrophe that was going to hit the Republicans no matter what? It seems to me that the country is about fifty fifty. If it takes this much crap to switch the country by five points to the left, while it takes nothing to switch it to the right (1994, 2002), then I am very worried. Liberals won this time out, yes, but this was due to the fact that people just hated the Republicans. Do I think people hate liberal ideas? No, but I do think people are apathetic about them. I know the polls say so otherwise, but the polls say all sorts of random crap. I mean, hey, what was the top reason for married white women in 2002 to vote Republican? To protect SOCIAL SECURITY for crying out loud!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The idea that popular support in polls, or at the voting booth, means that the public is committed to this stuff is ridiculous. I just hope that Republicans and independents just tune out and stop voting. If they don't, then we're going to see the Democrats in trouble. Also, don't forget that the media is the Republican party's propaganda arm. Never forget that.

by alexsycara 2006-11-26 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Won. We Won. Get It?

Just want to say this is a fantastic article, Matt. Everyone should also check out Harold Meyerson's excellent piece The Fair-Trade Election" in The American Prospect.

Steven Josselson

by stevenjosselson 2006-12-03 03:48PM | 0 recs

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