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Here I Go Again?
Wow, does this guy's opinions look familiar?
There are some excellent points on my most recent post. As I suspected many of you are smart enough to point out the obvious holes in my arguement left there due to my unwillingness to write a book on each subject ;-)
I hope to sit down soon and add some more to that post to clarify some questions people have. Right now I'm not at home and I need time to think about my ideas. If I write too prematurely I fear I'll make errors that I'll just have to retract later. Unlike professional pundits or idealouges that regurgitate party line CW I actually do try to formulate original debates for each post, and that means I'll sometimes make poor arguements or present good ideas poorly. I'm more prone (I hope) to do the latter.
Last night I stayed up and watched a rerun of the SOTU. It was about what I expected just short of Bush staring at his hands and going "whoa dude, my fingers are all wiggling around!". In other words, I think Bush lives in a fantasy land where we can always cut taxes and keep proposing new spending. I have some sympathy to the conservative arguement for keeping government spending in check. But its hard to take Bush seriously as one of those conservatives when he expects to single handedly fund the economy through increases in funding and tax breaks for everyone. This is a credit card president. I know he's used to saying "put it on the tab" but that doesn't work in the real world where other people don't pay your bills for you. Right now I'm listneing to McCain speak on the budget who actually seems to care about restraining spending, but you guys didn't want him, instead going with the pretty boy who couldn't even get his companies out of the red. (shrugs) Suffice it to say I would be happier with McCain in the Whitehouse even though he is a Republican.
How can we take Bush seriously as a leader on the terrorism issue when he doesn't even acknowledge the existence of Osama Bin Laden anymore. He still expects to fuel his strong leader image on the fumes of the Iraq debacle and the deception involved getting us there. There were no 16 words in this speech, just one deadly phrase. He said "... the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities." Ouch, damning. Have you ever seen such a massive downgrade as this? Program activities? What is that, did Saddam have a WMD coloring book stashed under his mattress?
Also, I kept thinking that what we were witnessing in Bush and his speech is exactly what we would have seen during the height of the British Empire as they bought their own rational about "bringing civilization to the savages". That was a disaster then and our own moral quest to save the world will end in disaster as well unless we realize a fundamental truth: people want self-determination above all else. They will tire of our meddling and unless we make a genuine effort to let them decide their own fate we will suffer repercussions. The problem arises from the possible results of giving the Iraqi people what they want. It might not be what we want. So what do we do? We have no choice in my opinion. If we're serious about democracy we have to learn to accept the results. Let the people speak.
In contrast to Bush's speech I also stayed up and watched a good four hours of various speeches. Standout among them was Howard Dean's speech in New Hampshire. I was relieved to see that he is back on message, spending more time pointing out the obvious flaws in the Bush policies versus trying to make his case against his fellow democrats. While I don't always agree with Dean I do have to admire that he can actually defend his case based on logic and reasoning as opposed to the Bush trick of resorting to preprogrammed language and "because I said so" statements. I challenge anyone to watch that speech and still discount Dean as an angry Democrat with nothing to offer.
I also realized, listening to Dean why the "angry" meme has been so effective. I recalled a friend's father who always seemed to be in a sour mood all the time. When he spoke I cringed and always thought that he was just moments away from kicking me out of his house and chasing me down the driveway. But to my suprise, not only did he not ever chase me away we got along pretty well. Even after their son, and my best friend moved away they would still call me to look after their house for them. I misinterpreted his communication style. I realized this while watching an interview with John Edwards followed by one with Dean. Edwards comes across as affable, relaxed, easygoing and in general, a nice guy. Watching Dean come after this I got the impression that Dean was cranky and abrupt. Once again I mistook delivery for content. You see, my friends dad was a native of Connecticut, a New Englander! As a native "southerner" I am used to the laid back soft delivery of the region. So we'll see how Dean plays on his home turf in New Hampshire versus his performance in Ohio. I suspect his brusque delivery will not play well in the red states as well. We'll see if people can get past their biases and focus on the issues. I don't hold my breath there.
This is by no means an endorsement of Dean, (I'll pull a Jimmy Carter!) I just thought I would share my "revelation" with y'all. I do like people that can argue their points without having to resort to rhetorical tricks. Hence my dislike of Daschle, Lieberman, Gephardt and (the 2000 election version of) Gore as well as Bush, Gingrinch and Trent Lott. I can't stand political speech that skirts the truth. I like straight talk, and Bush ain't no straight talker!
That's my quick take on politics. I'll get back to ya on the materialism topic. I hope!
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