• comment on a post LA-2: Zzzzzzzz over 7 years ago

    No 48 hour reports?  Perhaps he has it in cash?

  • comment on a post Democrats Should Reject Era of False Civility over 7 years ago

    I loathe the idea that we are supposed to "respect the office" of Presidents or Senators.  We should only respect those who gain our respect through virtuous conduct. W has failed to show  christian virtue, republican virtue, or even the Machiavellian version of virtue, though goddess knows he's tried hard at the last one. (Machiavelli a victim of torture probably wouldn't appreciate the sob!)

    One of the principles of republican government is that citizen's primary duty is to assume that those who hold power are sliding the government towards corruption and luxury and to do their best to expose them. While there is a strong argument that civilian control requiring the the military to respect the president and the presidency as a matter of course, there are strong reasons that civilians should presume that officeholders deserve no respect unless earned and should have no special privileges beyond those necessary to do their duty.  

    The American constitution today is diseased.  It has become undemocratic and the president has been turned into a monarch.  I've always opposed monarchy, but some time spent in Britain has convinced me that it's better to assign the ceremony and the palaces to a relatively powerless Queen, and keep the guy with power in cramped quarters where he has to pay for his own cook!

    Besides, the government would run so much more efficiently if the President just took rooms on K Street so his masters wouldn't have to walk so far to give him orders and feed him! Jim Webb gave him more respect than he deserved.

    --Dick Cheney Before He Dunks You!

  • comment on a post Where did the Party go? over 7 years ago

    I'm puzzled and saddened that no one here on a "liberal" blog has raised the racial dimension of Jeffersonianism. While not all exponents of Jefferson's ideas of liberty are racists, neither Jefferson nor his ideas can be segregated from the white supremacism that was integral to Jefferson's life and political ideas.  

    The Jeffersonian Democratic Party was primarily distinguished by its belief in white supremacy, which permeated the party from its founding through the New Deal. Woodrow Wilson, born in Va. and raised in Ga. during Sherman's March, presided over the segregation of government offices and praised DW Griffiths' film Birth of a Nation, which was propaganda for KKK terrorism.

    The role of white supremacy in constituting liberalism as we know it today is still seldom reckoned with.

    Ira Katznelson's recent book When Affirmative Action was White explains that powerful white supremacists in Congress were not simply obstacles for FDR (who despite Eleanor's urging wouldn't even come out publicly for an anti-lynching law). They were active advocates and participants in creating the core legislation of the New Deal.  Ever wonder why the Fair Labor Standards Act and Social Security exclude domestic workers and agricultural laborers?   It's because powerful members of Congress feared government programs that would aid African Americans, and so they excluded the economic sectors that most African Americans worked in.  

    I'm more toward the anarchist/libertarian part of spectrum than many on this blog, but the blanket condemnation of "Hamiltonianism" is inane.  Hamilton, and his heirs, after all, stood for the abolition of slavery, and radical Republicans like Thaddeus Stevens, an iron manufacturer, were the people who wanted to reconstruct the US after the Civil war as an integrated multiracial society.  Men and women like Stevens, vilified for generations by "Jeffersonian" historians, should be among our heroes.  

    Yes, there are attractive doctrines in Jeffersonianism, particularly Jefferson's commitment to individual liberty, if universalized to a greater degree than Jefferson himself would admit.  Jefferson himself (unlike many Jeffersonians) also grasped the need for pragmatic rational and radical change--a big breath of relief in a nation currently stymied by the religious worship of an outdated constitution that is one of the least democratic in the democratic world.   (Is there any good reason anymore that a citizen of Wyoming should have 71 times as much power in the selection of a Senator as a citizen of California?)

    Hamiltonians, despite an obnoxious commitment to hierarchy, also embraced communal values, such as the need for internal improvements, like national roads and universities, and their grasp of economics was far more realistic than that of the radicals of the day in the Jeffersonian Democratic Party.  
    Incidentally,  Bryan and Populism also have very contradictory legacies for self-described libertarians. Prohibition is one obvious example, and Southern populists like Tom Watson quickly turned from racial liberals or moderates into virulent racists.    

    So while it's important to look to history to understand our own evolution and identity, and to  recover from history certain strands of valuable ideas and political alternatives, it's an over-simplification to embrace entire narratives such as Jeffersonianism, which thankfully, are at their last gasp.  


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