Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 2, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

A TALE OF TWO STORIES....Andrew Sabl notes two stories in the New York Times today:

One story potentially affects people with time on their hands and a penchant for political dissent. The other affects the kind of person who will finally have to give up his own apartment and become an inmate in a nursing home, or who will now have to choose between treating her diabetes and buying enough peanut butter for her toddler's lunch.

Andrew suggests that the liberal blogosphere should spend more time on the second story and less on the first. I don't think that's going to happen, but he's got a point.

Kevin Drum 6:22 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

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Comments

The right's claim that lefties are driven by Bushatred isn't all wrong (just mostly).

Posted by: Ugh on February 2, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'm driven by a sense of fairness. Bush is antithetical to that. That's not irrational Bush hatred - it's perfectly rational. He's earned my emnity.

Posted by: craigie on February 2, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

There is no reason that Democrats can't run on both sets of issues: fix health care and hold the Bush administration to account for their misdeeds.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 2, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Let me get this straight: Only people with time on their hands and a penchant for political dissent should care about the fact that the Bush administration is threatening the basis of our liberty, our constitution? Somehow, I thought that might be important information for all Americans, whether they're alert to it now or not.

And why would we have to lay off talking about that fact in order to also talk about the horrible things the Republicans are doing to the wealth, healthcare, education, and future of the average American? Can't we talk about both?

Posted by: Walter Crockett on February 2, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure his point is valid, except in the short term. If a chill is put on freedom of thought and expression, in the long term, the issues in the second story are not very likely to be addressed.

Defending the mechanisms of a responsive democracy means defending the means by which equality can be reached. I would note that the right is (or was) ascendant in the US by taking this sort of long view itself, although arguably by hobbling democratic mechanisms (gerrymandering, etc). The conservatives in Canada are (barely) back in the game by a taking a similarly strategic view.

The left has been hobbled, imho, by the a-political ideology of its anti-state fringe, and post-modernism's weakening effects on rational thought and coherent value systems. This is a practical symptom of that activity near the edges.

Going down the road that the author suggested is right in the that vein of strategic error, of specific atomized activist issues trumping progressive utilitarian principles. Those principles can then naturally serve specific progressive causes, but only if used as a foundation first.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on February 2, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's a false dichotomy and an attempt to disuade his readers from persuing the spy scandal.

The scandal is where the money is at. Power determins policy. Any pursuit of policy in this totalitarian environment courts disaster.

Team Bush/Cheney must be called to the carpet and the executive power grab must be reversed.

Realistically is there any hope of ever engaging a republican majority in creating, fixing or adminsitrating ANY social program? No way.

The pundits need to stop the mental masturbation and move to action.

Posted by: patience on February 2, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Spying isn't 'mostly political': they BROKE THE LAW. There's a word for people who break the law: criminals. I don't care if society made him do it. I don't care if he was scared, or desperate. You do the crime, you do the time. Why are Republicans so soft on crime when it's committed by Big Government?

That said, Andrew's got an excellent point. Though isn't this the Sudan Argument? How can you even be _talking_ about Medicare, when there's a genocide happening? I actually kinda believe that ... but practically-speaking, does it to anything but attempt to shut down discourse?

Posted by: adam on February 2, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

I agree. I am pretty passionate about child poverty. Most people on the left blogosphere probably want to reduce child poverty, I'm sure. They went loose on the Alito nomination, but I rarely see them blasting Senators on child poverty. Many children can't afford to "care" about "shredding the constitution" but that was the battle the lefties chose. They could have fought the budget battle with the same ferocity as they did the Alito nomination and could have stalled this bill. Instead, they are going to focus on the NSA thing, from what I've been reading.

Sad, sad, and sad. From my experience in non activist blue state America, the budget battle could have gained a groundswell of momentum and is exactly the kind of fight people in that part of the country want to see.

Strategically, weaken the GOP more on important issues that most Americans care about and that will help you in other areas.

Posted by: gq on February 2, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Having read both those stories, I gotta disagree with this analysis. Strongly.

Do you seriously think that most of the people who get arrested in NYC for no reason are upper middle class white protesters? Or could it be that poor black and hispanic people get arrested and held all the time, but it only happens to white people when they're protesting? Could that be the article's point, that no one with any power to change the situation has a clue that things like this occur? And that no one is doing anything to fix this problem?

Furthermore, if you knew what was happening in healthcare in NYS, you'd know that we've actually got a lot of people who are working to make sure that the only people in nursing homes are the ones who need to be there. It's called "eliminating the institutional bias of long-term care." State politicians are actually starting to take on some very powerful interests in order to achieve this reform. It's not an easy problem to solve, it is a problem that definitely needs a lot more advocacy and attention, but there is high awareness of this problem, and among decisionmakers, there is a genuine desire to solve it.

So, no, Sabl doesn't really have a point. He just made two stories fit into his stereotype of liberals as self-absorbed dilletantes who don't care about REAL people's REAL problems. And you freaking bought it.

The fact of the matter is, progressives need more of BOTH of those articles in the paper, because the preservation of civil rights and the reform of our long-term care system are two very important issues we should all learn more about and support.

Posted by: theorajones on February 2, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, now I gotta take it back--I read two totally dfferent articles, one on NYC police patterns of holding people arrested for minor crimes for a long time and one on long-term care (which I don't even think were in the Times), and I thought these were the stories Sabl was referring to.

Lesson: always click the link. Sorry 'bout that. But if he had been comparing these two things, this would have been a good rebuttal, eh?

Posted by: theorajones on February 2, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

This is asinine.

Suppose the second choice was 'making sure the trains run on time'.

You get the vacuousness of the argument.

Posted by: lib on February 2, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

And the MSM spends how much time on "those issues"?

Blogger ethics! We need a blogger ethics panel!

Posted by: cdj on February 2, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

I believe there was a highly recommended, heavily commented diary at dKos on this very subject a couple of days ago.

It's not as if the left isn't trying, it's just that the easiest stories to repeat make for quicker memes to churn. Slow trainwrecks involving millions of people are a little tougher.

Posted by: Thumb on February 2, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

What, is there a special on false choices this week?

Two related points: the first rule of politics is standing up for yourself. If you can't do that, nobody is going to believe you'll stand up for them. Second, this smacks of the moronic "Let's not contest any of Bush's 'strengths,' because it's hard" argument popular with Washington consultants and politicians. I'm not advising kamikaze missions in favor of (insert your favorite liberal caricature here), but the more Democrats shy away from confronting Bush - especially when he does blatantly illegal things - and *BRAGS* about them, no less! Repeatedly! - the more they imply that they're afraid to take a stand, that they'll put political considerations ahead of what's right, and that Bush is not to be challenged. Screw that. Screw all of that.

(I also get a strong whiff of the stereotypical liberal "if you're liberal, you should support my even-more-socially-conscious cause first, because it's even more important!" attitude, not to mention the Scalian "You can still exercise that right, just not the way you want to. We're not limiting you at all (I'm just telling you what to do)" argument)

Posted by: Chris on February 2, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you are a part of the L.B. Go for it.

Posted by: Keith G on February 2, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Most people on the left blogosphere probably want to reduce child poverty, I'm sure. They went loose on the Alito nomination, but I rarely see them blasting Senators on child poverty.

Human beings are selfish. Liberals, despite their protestations to the contrary, are no different. The types of liberals who populate sites like these are, generally speaking, non-poor. We've been seeing this phenomenon playing out with increasing force as time goes by. In affluent blue areas, the people who drive the debate are the same people who watch art house films and buy homes in sought-after school districts and listen to NPR and drink coffee in Starbucks and acquire degrees in fancy schools -- they're bobos, in other words. Can't say I blame them for not being overly concerned with their economic inferiors, because I don't blame them for being human. But it's certainly not a helpful trend if you're poor.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on February 2, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew suggests that the liberal blogosphere should spend more time on

I suggest that Andrew should spend time on whatever interests him. I'm not going to change my interests or my opinions to get Andrew's candidate elected.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on February 2, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

One more thing.

This argument flies in the face of what led to Republican victories of the last decade.

How many people are affected by gay marriage?

Leave it upto the Dem pundits to recommend that the party run on the platform of making sure that the french fries sold by fast food joints are crispy.

Posted by: lib on February 2, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

I suggest that the Dems run on a platform of providing free sexual education to everyone so that each sexual act leads to mind-boggling orgasm. I am sure that at least 75% of the population would be interested in that.

Posted by: nut on February 2, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

If there's one thing that will alienate middle America from Democrats, it'll be the Dem's insistance, contrary to five years of bedrock American tradition, that you shouldn't be arrested for wearing a t-shirt.

Posted by: Boronx on February 2, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

...flies in the face of what led to Republican victories of the last decade.

Charisma is what (significantly) led to victories for both sides on the presidencial level.

Providing bumber-sticker answers to complex problems is what (significantly) led to republican victories on the congressional level.

Posted by: Keith G on February 2, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

"[B]ut he's got a point?" Respectfully, Kevin, I think this is one of the times you type before thinking about an issue more fully. As others have pointed out, both these issues are vitally important, and to imply that one can only be pushed to the detriment of the other is false. And to state (or, Kevin, to quote approvingly) that withholding these documents matters only to political dissenters with free time is insulting and naive. At this late date, it is apparent (considering only what we know, let alone what we probably don't know) that Bush/Cheyney is quite deliberately sucking the air out of American democracy--and to great success. This is not--or at least should not, be a metter of interest only to political junkies.

Posted by: Marlowe on February 2, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the first story affects everyone who lives in a constitutional democracy. Law lives through people; the notion of a constitution as law is a mere ten generations old.

The second story is about social policy for the poor. Does anyone [i]really[/i] want to argue liberals don't focus enough on social policy for the poor?

Posted by: Max on February 2, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Second Issue on a liberal blog.

Posted by: NAR on February 2, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

No matter how insincere they are ( I think they utterly cynical), Republican leaders always talk about lofty ideals, ethical and constitutional principles and moral values.

Why Dems shy away from doing that is anybody's guess. I guess people are too young to remember the last time the competence over ideology meme got a humongous thrashing. But Dems keep on repeating the same mistake of a nerd riding on a tank.

Posted by: lib on February 2, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Sable is just wrong in stating that polling has shown that Bush has overwhelmingly strong support on this issue. The outcome of the various polls clearly show that they are strongly influenced by the wording of the question, which is why, in typical dishonest fashion, Bush has taken to referring to his illegal spying as a terrorist surveillance program. Despite the Republican talking points that permeate the MSM, polls asking if the president should be required to obtain a warrent before spying, or should not spy in contravention of law, have produced anti-spying majorities. This is what Democrats should be hitting--the Bush position that the President is, for all intents and purposes, above the law.

Posted by: Marlowe on February 2, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

What a false choice!

Where is the evidence that those us who care about the foundations of democracy don't also care about poverty? And how condescending to think that the poor and elderly are incapable of understanding the connection between these draconian budget cuts and the corruption in which Congress and the Administration are drenched.

Can we all please go back to ignoring Andrew Sabl?

Posted by: Andy McLennan on February 2, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't really matter. Any issue whatsoever will come down to the same thing for a Democrat: "How can we use this to bring down the Republicans and get back in power?"

Posted by: tbrosz on February 2, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

I feel as if I am under siege by false dichotomies this week. WTF?

Posted by: brent on February 2, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

The child poverty line works pretty well against Schwarzenegger and probably kept Dean in the Governor's office in Vermont, but honestly I don't know about the red states. Autism, Downs syndrome, and childhood asthma are pretty good signs that God is punishing you. If you can't make ends meet the only externally relevant causes are the capital gains tax and strict zoning laws that keep benevelent corporations from expanding their workforce at a high enough rate. Empathizing with minority segments of the population (sick and disabled people under 10 or over 70) and absolving children for the financial incompetence of their parents is quite frankly for pussies.

All you need to know: They hate us because we are free! No one can outcompete the American worker! Tax cuts Increase federal revenues! Gore wants to grab your guns and end gun ownership in America! Democrats want to surrender to the terrorists and withdraw back to our borders! Hillary wants to take your money and give it to out-of-work slutty single urban black women popping out babies like a middle aged guppies! If people are allowed to take retirement, education, and healthcare into their own hands through private accounts, vouchers, and HSAs Benjamins, job offers, and Viagra will drop down from heaven like locusts in the Sahara!

Posted by: asdf on February 2, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

At first I thought he was creating a false dichotomy. Both issues are very, very important. Liberals should be able to rub our tummys and pat their heads at the same time.

Then I realized that today poor and not so poor kids lost a critical vote by the slimest of margins. Very few on the left, or in the mainstream media, for that matter, seem to care.

What we care about is what we think affects us--the NSA spy scandal.

Yes the spy scandal is important, but the ability of poor mothers to pay for both diabetes medications and peanut butter for their kids is just as important. Somehow we have lost our perspective on such issues. Maybe it is years of being called soft by relentless and heartless Republicans. Maybe we feel personally affronted because the President is proudly running roughshod over our civil liberties. Maybe we want to win so badly we just don't know why we want to win. Maybe Sabl is right, we aren't able to pat our heads and rub our tummys at the same time.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 2, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

asdf

That is one of the biggest piles of prejudiced crap I have ever read on this site.

There is only one truly Red State -- Utah. The rest are shades of purple. Many, many people in those states are poor. Many more are underemployed. Many more need and deserve more from their local, state and Federal governments.

Most of those so called Red states can be characterized by one overriding feature--the Democratic party has gone to seed. Over a lifetime I have watched the Democratic party in my so called "Red State" -- Missouri collapse in slow motion. Don't blame the Republicans. Don't blame the victims. Blame the Democrats who have become soft and corrupt. Blame the Democrats who look upon the party as a birth right, or as a Union benefit. Blame the Democrats who are driven by one issue be it womens rights or the environment or any other worthy single issue. I virtually gave up on the Democratic Party in Missouri when I realized that most of the party regulars were just trying to win seats to a convention where they could party with old friends, or an office in Jefferson City that might lead to a State job.

In the so called Red States the Democrats have failed the people. They have failed them by failing to organize. They hve failed them by failing to reorganize. They have failed them by failing to care about their needs.

I am from Missouri. Harry Truman came from my state. He was a Democrat. My state was a democratic state. If the party were truly organized it could be so again.

Sorry to offend, but I had to protest your prejudice.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 2, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't really matter. Any issue whatsoever will come down to the same thing for a Democrat: "How can we use this to bring down the Republicans and get back in power?"

The writer of these sentences is using the same tactics as Islamic extremists: accuse your opponents of doing the same things that you do.

So by the Republican logic, tbrosz is an Al Queda sympathizer!

Posted by: lib on February 2, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well, tbrosz, it is certainly the case that getting Democrats back into power is a prerequisite for getting anything done about the problems that face the country, since the Republicans have shown what their agenda is.

So yes, step #1 has to be to get the Democrats back into power. I plead guilty.

But for me, it's a means to an end, not the end.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 2, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Most heartless republicans don't care about either story.

Posted by: Mazurka on February 2, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: Andrew suggests that the liberal blogosphere should spend more time on the second story and less on the first. I don't think that's going to happen, but he's got a point.

The point that neither of you (and few commenters here) understand is that they are the same story. It's the story of power and wealth being consolidated in the hands of a privileged few. The time for separating the various abuses used to accomplish their ends into standalone issues is passed. Only in the context of the larger issue of fascistic control do any of these matters have resonance much beyond those comparatively few who are aware of being directly affected by them.

As for weighing the political advantages of highlighting one issue versus another, that too is beyond being relevant. Winning races will not change our course unless the chart for that course is widely exposed for its detriment to the nation's and the world's well-being. Only twenty-five senators thought sanctioning warrantless strip searches of an innocent woman and child was improper judgment for an aspiring associate justice of the Supreme Court.

Those in power are devoted only to that power. Their motives must be painted black, not their policies. That is the formula for winning, not political races, but justice.


Posted by: jayarbee on February 2, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

That is one of the biggest piles of prejudiced crap I have ever read on this site.

That was a condescending Rove impersonation -- so thanks.

Posted by: asdf on February 2, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

"There is only one truly Red State - Utah"

Check out Idaho - Utah North - One Democratic office holder at last count? Could be gone by now - There are a few older Democratic artists and retired college types in the northern panhandle, but the state is virtually Repug.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 2, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Only people with time on their hands will care, not should care.

Of course, we wouldn't expect the average conservative hack to understand the difference.

Posted by: Crissa on February 2, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Cheap shot.

Posted by: NealB on February 2, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

I've been reading this blog for a while now and it's a great source for ideas, but please, tunnel vision ? There's a lot of whiney, bitchy garbage on here.....


The dems should fight for both points, no doubt about it. But get off the 'sensitivy' soap box for a while.... it's tiring.

Posted by: AC on February 2, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

asdf

You insulted everybody who lives in a red state. I thought you were being Rovian. Certainly you were spouting the standard cliches about "red state" residences.

Thethirdpaul, I take your point as to Idaho and stand corrected.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 2, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Can't we all just get along? Let's all just agree that Bush is a giant asshole deserving of our hatred and move on united hand in hand, democrats and republicans, liberals and fascists, lefties and righties....skipping down the road....whistling a happy tune....joyful in a common knowledge....BUSH IS AN ASSHOLE!

Posted by: murmeister on February 2, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Autism, Downs syndrome, and childhood asthma are pretty good signs that God is punishing you. If you can't make ends meet the only externally relevant causes are the capital gains tax and strict zoning laws that keep benevelent corporations from expanding their workforce at a high enough rate."

Or maybe it's one of liberals' favorite school subjects, Darwinism at work in the real world. Why is it that liberals don't ever believe in what they hold sacred?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 2, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sabl can safely be predicted to care much more about blogging disapprovingly on 'people with time on their hands and a penchant for political dissent' than on decrying the freeze in payments to home health care providers.

Posted by: adios on February 2, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'd love to comment, but I'm busy working on my "Piss Mohammed" artwork. Hoping the NEA will fund me.

Posted by: Red State Mike on February 2, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sabl should be reminded what Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural about the Union Army's progress in the Civil War -- it was that "upon which all else chiefly depends". So too with the rule of law.

I don't think we can build a stable, safe, fair economy without the rule of law, and I won't apologize for fighting for rule of law, transparent elections, free speech, and the rest of that whole "Constitution" thing. Because without that, in the long run social welfare is just bread and circus.

Posted by: Pondite on February 2, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

From One Who Fights Freedom: "Or maybe it's one of liberals' favorite school subjects, Darwinism at work in the real world."

What you refer to is Social Darwinianism. Apparently, you think it is indistiguishable from evolutionary theory.

"Why is it that liberals don't ever believe in what they hold sacred?"

Is this supposed to be some kind of Zen koan?

Posted by: Nagual Haven on February 2, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Honestly, he probably has a point -- my explanation might be that childhood and elderly poverty are things that have always been around, while illegal spying is a sexy new thing that is a great lightning rod for attention. Even as I think he may have a point, I can feel a more visceral response in myself to illegal spying. Don't know there's much that can be done about that.

Posted by: Chris O. on February 2, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter: Darwinism at work in the real world

Off the top of my head the only two examples that I can think of Social Darwinism being the philosophical basis of policy are 1) Nazi Germany and 2) modern day defenders of wealth disparity. Liberals tend to understand the role of social and environmental forces in the world, the need for a strong community, and the depravity of twisting science to justify a lack of compassion.

Posted by: B on February 2, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me, bloggers should write about what they care about and have something worthwhile to say about, not what Andrew Sabl thinks they should write about. Wouldn't it be a better use of Sabl's limited bandwidth if he wrote about the issues he claims should be preimminent directly rather than complaining that others might not write as much about these issues as he thinks they should?

Posted by: Nagual Haven on February 3, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Andrew does have a point. The bill passed by 2 votes. Perhaps if the liberal blogosphere had taken a break from the wiretapping issue, and instead focused on the budget bill for a day or two, it could have changed today's outcome.

sadly, too many of us seem too defensive and petty to take andrew's argument seriously...as well as to see how important things like the budget bill are.

thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention, Kevin.

Posted by: mattl on February 3, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

ya know Kevin,
If you really think he has a point YOU are in a position to do something about it. "I don't think that's going to happen" is a cop-out.
Sometimes your wishy-washiness makes me want to vomit.

Posted by: joe on February 3, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK


JOE: "I don't think that's going to happen" is a cop-out. Sometimes your wishy-washiness makes me want to vomit.

Well, sure, it's sickening. But give the guy a break. Kevin's just an observer with a strong stomach and weak opinions. It's not his job to actually look out for others. After all, he's got himself and his cats to worry about.


Posted by: jayarbee on February 3, 2006 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

The conservative/fascist version of social darwinism is pretty blinkered and envisions a population in a static environment where the fittest yesterday is the fittest today.

One of the hallmarks of evolutionarily successful populations is variation. It's not only a marker of success, but is valuable to future success, as the challenges that face the population are not known and the fittest variations today may be ill prepared to meet them.

The tendency to give the less fortunate a leg up, which is manifest in many species besides our own, is an effective way to maintain high variability.

Posted by: Boronx on February 3, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

I noticed the same thing, the lack of coverage of the important budget bill while the doomed filibuster sucked all the air from the lefty blogosphere.

In fact I commented on it yesterday in my blog, but I also noted that my home state newspapers didn't carry a word about it either. Forty-nine stories in the Baton Rouge Advocate, and not one on the budget bill.

And this isn't about child poverty, it's about elder poverty and student loans. And special interests reaping the savings while the poor and disabled pay the price.

Why the left isn't all over this is beyond me.

Perhaps many on the left are more interested in stretching their intellectual muscles rather than taking care of poor people.

Posted by: KathyF on February 3, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

Well no matter how little liberal blogs spend on issues pertaining mostly to the poor and vulnerable in our society, it is still greater by several factors than conservo blogs spend on these issues.
Numerous liberal blogs have spent a good deal of time on "economic" issues but then tend to be focused on union/labor issues - CAFTA, MTA strike, offshoring etc.

Posted by: liberty & justice on February 3, 2006 at 4:03 AM | PERMALINK

Kathy F,

Your point is a good one. I spent a fair amount of time over the last week calling and writing my Congressmen, to protest this obscene budget and the cruel and unChristian character of it. The Alito confirmation was a forgone conclusion, since this one-dimensional cut-out said absolutely nothing, controversial or otherwise, during his confirmation hearings.

There are so many outrageous and egregious things being done by this Administration, the left doesn't have the resources, time or energy to respond to all of them...

How sad.

Stephen Kriz

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 3, 2006 at 6:42 AM | PERMALINK


LIBERTY & JUSTICE: Well no matter how little liberal blogs spend on issues pertaining mostly to the poor and vulnerable in our society, it is still greater by several factors than conservo blogs spend on these issues.

But it accomplishes zero factors greater good unless it also decries the inherent wrong of a system which rewards preying on others.

We are either all connected or we are not. If not, then no criticism of the right's callous greed is justified, as selfishness and barbarism and treachery would be the only effective and intelligent tools for survival; and the guise of civilization would be but a means to control the masses. This is the state of the world as it exists today. At its best, we are at a stage of enlightenment equivalent to that of liberal blogs, with lip service paid to lifting the oppressions borne by the poor and vulnerable.

But if we are connected, if civilization truly has the potential to provide meaning beyond a race to the last man left standing, then the only effective and intelligent means to achieve that potential is to design a system of governance that promotes equality and altruism as the only avenues to genuine happiness. War must be declared on suffering, with all resources prioritized to its alleviation. Concentrated wealth and power must be decried for its corruptive influence and its inability to advance humanity as a whole. Corporations must forfeit their personhoods, even as they emerge anew as useful servants to humanity, meeting the needs of utility, productiveness, and dignity.

Utopia? Communism? Class warfare? Those are the jingoistic labels fascists use to preserve their selfish war against benevolence. Do you stop cleaning your house because you can never kill every germ? Do you lavish one child with gifts and neglect your other children because your boss is fond of him?

Not until the creation and maintenance of decent conditions of life for all people are recognized and accepted as a common obligation of all people and all countries - not until then shall we, with a certain degree of justification, be able to speak of humankind as civilized. - Albert Einstein


Posted by: jayarbee on February 3, 2006 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

"theres no valid point here. I don't care what healthcare csts if our country sinks into totalitarianism. That's the big difference really. The upper class is too fat and happy to get what's happening to this country, and so they see the less important issues such as healthcare and the economy as being superior to issues such as peace and freedom, which they could care less about. After-all, they're rich, they'll always be able to do what they want anyway. Why should people like Kevin Drum and Andrew sullivan care about our freedom. Only an idiot thrusts his head in the sand.

Posted by: Tim R on February 3, 2006 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, wild thought here: can't liberals do both?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 3, 2006 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

There is no reason that Democrats can't run on both sets of issues: fix health care and hold the Bush administration to account for their misdeeds.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 2, 2006 at 6:40 PM

Ops. Hadn't seen this one. But a little echo won't hurt.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 3, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

"One story potentially affects people with time on their hands and a penchant for political dissent."

Kevin,

The above comment is a strawman. What makes it all the more insulting is that it is a strawman that doesn't even come from the Republicans. For you to not acknowledge that this is in fact a false argument, especially with your background, says a lot about the current struggle within our opposition party.

How about my following analogy of how this observation should be stated within our opposition party:

One can either care for the individual tenants who are suffering from heat exhaustion or one can try to convince the landlord to turn down the heat. Each of these individuals is being productive. One is protecting the individual the other is fixing the root problem.

I can only hope that those like you who favor individual care will learn to embrace those who take their precious time to use their arguments (dissent) to fix the root problem.

Posted by: Jim on February 3, 2006 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

asdf: Autism, Downs syndrome, and childhood asthma are pretty good signs that God is punishing you.

Freedom Fighter: Or maybe it's one of liberals' favorite school subjects, Darwinism at work in the real world. Why is it that liberals don't ever believe in what they hold sacred?

Apparently the idea of natural selection got lost on you somewhere. Natural selection would tend to weed out asthma, Down's Syndrome and autism.

Posted by: tripoley on February 3, 2006 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Any issue whatsoever will come down to the same thing for a Democrat

Whereas for tbrosz, any issue whatever will come down to "how can I keep the Republicans in power and keep my tax cuts?"

Shame on you, tbrosz.

Posted by: Gregory on February 3, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Let me state this flat-out so people that are dense may actually pick it up. If I have to pick between the Constitution and food? I pick the Constitution. I can ALWAYS get food one way or another but freedom and civil liberties, once gone, do not come back without a major fight. I think the Founders knew something about this.

If I have to choose between getting medicine and having my freedom and civil liberties? I choose the freedom and civil liberties first because being in decent health is shit if you are not free. I think the Founders knew something about the absolute, overriding importance of freedom. The Rule of Law. Liberty. Shit like that.

I seem to recall some vague, wishy-washy statement about this from some historic figure...what was that? Oh yeah, it went something like this: Give me liberty or give me death. Yeah, I know, it is a vague statement open to all sorts of divergent interpretations. That is to be expected from such a broad, vague declaration, afterall.

In any case, this isn't a case of either/or. It is a case of BOTH. BOTH issues are clear illustrations of what is wrong with the GOP. BOTH show where their priorities and intentions are. They are inseparable. They are both addressable without breaking a sweat. Thus, I do not have to choose between liberty or food. I get to choose BOTH.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 3, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK


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Posted by: song on February 3, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

All of you saying "Can't we do both?" are missing the point. We AREN'T doing both. How many lefties called their senators last week to protest the nomination of Alito and didn't say a word about the budget bill? How many liberal bloggers bothered to mention the budget bill? How many avid blog readers even KNEW it was out there?

I wonder if our efforts might have been better spent.

And Praedor, they're not taking food from your mouth, or the bed from your nursing home. It's others who are less fortunate than you who are getting squeezed here.

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