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November 13, 2005

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» Bush Is Self Destructing from Shining Light in Dark Corners
Unless Bush does a stunning about face in tactics, he seems likely to do more damage to himself. Right now it doesn't appear that he has a clue how to pick of the pieces. He sees the honorable position of "staying the course" or as the song says, "I wo... [Read More]

» Bush Is Self Destructing from Shining Light in Dark Corners
Unless Bush does a stunning about face in tactics, he seems likely to do more damage to himself. Right now it doesn't appear that he has a clue how to pick of the pieces. He sees the honorable position of "staying the course" or as the song says, "I wo... [Read More]

» Bush Is Self Destructing from Shining Light in Dark Corners
Unless Bush does a stunning about face in tactics, he seems likely to do more damage to himself. Right now it doesn't appear that he has a clue how to pick of the pieces. He sees the honorable position of "staying the course" or as the song says, "I wo... [Read More]

Comments

The cartel capitalist point is a good one. I think it applies to Republican rhetoric in general, talk about the innovations of the marketplace, but really support only the entrenched interests.

Also have you noticed how more and more industries are adopting what I call the resource-extraction model, where instead of extracting oil or timber, they extract cash from the public directly and indirectly (gov't contracts etc). And they have the same concern for their "natural resource" that the robber barons did.

One of the self-propagating and unquestioned memes in business now is that customer contact is incredibly expensive and should be avoided like the plague.

Josh Marshall made the point about cartel capitalists, as did James Surowiecki in the New Yorker a couple of years ago. A lot of Republicans talk about "free market capitalism" but the leadership from Cheney to Frist comes from heavil;y regulated industries that depend on government largesse and/or intervention in their favor. Not so much emphasis on having to understand the public's tastes and if not cater to them, at least take them into account.

I think you are giving Arnold too much credit. Of course the $50 million election debacle demanded that he say SOMETHING contrite. But thus far he has retained his idiot right-wing advisers for one thing. For another, he is pursuing the same bankrupt agenda, only this time he's going to try it with the legiislature.

The agenda, of course, being the destruction of unions, the pilfering of public retirement pensions for his big business buddies, and redistricting that is more friendly to the right-wing crackpots that still infest this wonderful state.

Arnold faces a Legislature that is controlled by the Democrats

That is key, as it was the other way for Clinton with impeachment.

Ah yes. Cheney's business judgment. He probably doesn't much like talking about his purchase of Dresser Industries. Cost Halliburton close to $7.7 billion back in early 1998. In addition to acquiring a company, Halliburton also acquired a substantial number of asbestos-related claims. In 2004, it finally settled these for $4.17 billion. Not to mention the legal fees it had to shell out to get there.

Back in 2004, BusinessWeek, noting Cheney's "decidedly mixed record" at Halliburton, gave him a "C" for his overall job performance.

So do you think Arnold will stick around?

I expect Arnold to shift his emphasis more to the areas that concern people, like transportation and education. It will be interesting whether he retains all of his advisers into next year. I would not have expected him to blame them and publicly fire them, but they may not all last. The real question is whether he believes the rhetoric, like Pete Wilson, who had an abiding hatred for public employees, or not.

Is redistricting going to be worse for Dems? Some liberals think that geographic contiguity and breaking up the 80=90% Dem districts will result in MORE Dem seats. The real problems with Prop 77 were the attempt to redistrict before the 2010 census and the use of judges picked by politicians. A non-partisan or partisan-neutral commission might not be bad for Dems. After all, the 1990 redistricting was done to protect Republican incumbents just as much as Dems, to avoid lawsuits. A less gerrymandered redistricting might well result in mroe Dem seats, or at least more seats Dems have a good chance of winning.

I think Arnold will stick around, if only to prove he isn't the cartoonish buffoon the special election made him out to be. And who else do the Republicans have?

A lot of Republicans talk about "free market capitalism" but the leadership from Cheney to Frist comes from heavil;y regulated industries

Oh, it's 'industrial policy', don't cha know. When pressed, they'll make that argument - maybe not call it IP, but that's what they mean ('who else but Haliburton can DO this job?'). They take care of their clients, alright. Since, properly speaking, a regular citizen isn't a 'client' (or even only a consumer), too bad for them.

I know that the citizens-as-consumers figure of speech is often very descriptive, but I think it's something to examine. Part of the power of the Reagan regime (which is ending now) has been the vaguely libertarianish idea that everything is a market and everything must be thought of in market terms - everything has a price, and therefore everything MUST have a price IOW. That tends to kill off yer civic virtue, but that's corny stuff anyway, right? It's you and me against the world.

But of course everything doesn't have a literal dollar price. There's no 'machine level' language to compile to. And without some modicum of civic virtue (best call it something else), you're fucked. So we have to develop us some which isn't a.) boring, and b.) felt as intrusive or constricting. That's not impossible.

I like the phrases 'voting with your feet' or 'voting with your pocketbook'. It's a useful metaphor, but when you buy something, you aren't voting, you're buying something. A citizen is not just a consumer.

I know Wes Clark has a lot of good and even maybe excellent qualities, and I don't want to start a thing about him. But he said something I really didn't like. When asked why he voted for Reagan, he didn't say what many a Reagan Democrat might - some variation of 'Reagan is a strong leader who was tough on communism and the Soviets'. He said that, since he was in the military, it was to his benefit to vote for Reagan, since defense budgets would surely increase. I give him points for honesty, and he's not the only citizen who thought they were voting for Reagan for personal self-interest, but I think it's kind of a cheesy, debased concept of citizenship.

I have nothing against the guy Wes Clark. I just want a leader who is more than a technocrat, who understands the distinction I'm talking about. It's been 25 years, and it's time to turn the ship, and that includes digging down into our layers of assumtions (not being original here; Vidal's McDonald review): You'd never think twice about hearing the phrase 'voting with their pocketbook', but sometimes, precisely the things which are beyond debate ipso facto glitter suggestively.

I don't want to sound like Sirota, but this is not the time to chicken out, to lose nerve, or to let guys like our Tribune Dave occupy the vacuum. It's time for historic push-back, not mere reaction.

I'll trust the Next Hurrah to deliver on all the things I've called for. If they don't deliver, I'll know they're fake, traitorous dems.

Arnold is a liar, Bush is a liar. Liar, liar.

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