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Posts Made By: James Brown

September 10, 2004 04:41 PM Forum: Politics

Party Trumps Person !

Posted By James Brown

A great deal of press and forum space is spent debating who is personally more fit to be president, Kerry or Bush. For example, words as countless as the stars in heaven have been spilled debating the candidates respective military careers from 30 years ago! In my opinion such exercises are at best an entertaining pastime.

I submit that discussions of a candidates' past or present foibles are irrelevant at this stage in the election game. The character of the candidate should be saved for the primaries. Come election time, political party trumps person. The following article adapted by me from a Mike Rosen piece sets forth the reasons I believe party trumps person. Mike Rosen is a Denver based radio show host and columnist. He is a fiscal conservative and social libertarian.

Party Trumps Person By Mike Rosen

A time-honored cliché heard every election year goes something like this: "I'm an independent thinker; I vote the person, not the party." This pronouncement is supposed to demonstrate open-mindedness and political sophistication on the part of the pronouncer. Of course it is your vote; cast it any way you like - or not at all. But idealism and naiveté about the way the U.S. electoral process and system of government works shouldn't be mistaken for wisdom or savvy.

For better or worse, we have a two-party system. And party trumps person. Either a Republican, George W. Bush, or a Democrat, John F. Kerry, is going to be elected president in November. No one else has a chance.

Minor party candidates are sometimes spoilers - like Nader costing Gore the presidency in 2000 - but they don't win presidential elections. Ross Perot got 20 million popular votes in 1992, and exactly zero Electoral College votes.

In Europe's multiparty, parliamentary democracies, governing coalitions are formed after an election. Party trumps person because in the U.S. constitutional republic, the coalitions are formed before the election.

The Republican coalition typically includes middle and upper-income persons, persons who prefer limited government, pro-market and pro-business forces, believers in a strong and/or pro-active national defense, pro-gun types, social-issues conservatives (anti-abortionists) etc.

The Democratic coalition is typically an alliance of social cause activists, labor unions, academics, persons who favor governmental solutions to society’s problems, lower and middle-income working persons, most minorities, feminists, gays, environmentalists, honorable leftists, etc.

Party trumps person because regardless of the individual occupying the White House, the winner’s coalition will be served.

The president, whether a liberal, moderate or conservative, can operate only within the political boundaries of his party and its coalition. The party that wins the presidency gets to staff all the discretionary positions in the executive and judicial branches of government. Members of its coalition are awarded vital policy-making government jobs, judgeships, ambassadorships and appointments to boards and commissions, as well as a host of plum jobs handed out to those who have political IOUs to cash in.

A vote for Bush is a vote for the Republican agenda and conservative players in key posts. A vote for Kerry is likewise a vote for the influence of the Democratic coalition.

The legislative branch is no different. After the individual members of a new Congress have been seated, a figurative nose count is taken and the party with the most noses wins. That victory carries with it control of all committee and subcommittee chairmanships, the locus of legislative power.

Now, let's say you're a registered Republican voter who clearly prefers the Republican philosophy of governance. And you're a good-natured, well-intentioned person who happens to like an individual Democrat, a Senate candidate, who's somewhat conservative. Colorado’s Ken Salazar for example. You decide to cross party lines and vote for him.

As it turns out, he wins, beating the Republican and giving the Democrats a one-vote majority, 51-49, in the U.S. Senate.

Congratulations! You just got Ted Kennedy, Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein and Hillary Clinton as key committee chairs, and a guarantee that your Republican legislative agenda will be stymied. The likable conservative Democrat Senator Salazar has no real power by himself. I don’t need to remind you what happens when you cast a symbolic vote for a third party candidate you admire, like Nader in ’00.

You can be a purist and cast your vote symbolically with a boutique party or “for the man,” or you can be a player and vote for the coalition that most nearly matches your philosophy, Republican or Democrat. Your vote, your choice.

September 12, 2004 07:04 AM Forum: Wildlife Photography

Big Dude

Posted By James Brown

This stud and his harem were an incredibly pleasant interruption of our barbecue this evening. He is still bugling now, as I am coming in from a very nice observing session.

Taken from my back deck at 30 yards with a Cannon 300D and a Tammron lens.


September 14, 2004 04:04 PM Forum: Politics

Handicap This Race Now

Posted By James Brown

Two years ago I could envision no way for Bush to lose this November...

Last month my gut told me that Bush was toast. There is just way too much hostility arising from the war in Iraq. There are too many Republicans upset with Bush and apparently no Democrats supporting him...

Now, as a Bush supporter, I am becoming cautiously optimistic again. The fact that Bush got a convention bounce and Kerry did not seems to indicate that more of the undecided middle will choose to give Bush another shot than I would have believed possible a month ago. Also Kerry seems to have lost a lot of traction. He appears to me to have failed to define a reason to vote for him other than "he isn't Bush."

So now my personal guess is that Bush wins in a squeaker....

We all should recognize that our guess as to the likely outcome of this horse race is biased by both our own desires and by the stuff we read and hear. I am curious who you think owns the momentum now, and is likely to win in November.

There is no need to discuss in this thread why one guy should or must win for the salvation of humanity etc. I think it would be fun just to get a diverse range of opinions on how people feel the race is going, from their unique perspectives, at this point in time.

- Jim -

September 16, 2004 02:26 PM Forum: Politics

World Class Stonewalling

Posted By James Brown

Statement by the President of CBS News, Andrew Heyward:

"We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of corroborating evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing."

(Emphasis mine)

Note how CBS is trying to shift the debate from "authentic" to accurate. They started doing this a couple of days ago. Does the whole gist of this statement read to you like an admission that the memos are bogus? What a fun spectacle!

- Jim -

September 16, 2004 02:33 PM Forum: Politics

Good for her!

Posted By James Brown

Seems like a level headed response given the circumstances. - Jim -

September 20, 2004 05:04 PM Forum: Politics

Re: CBS and Rather admit it false documents

Posted By James Brown

You beat me to it Jim.

Oh well. It's not like CBS has credibility anyway. According to Rasmussen, CBS ranks even higher than Fox in perceived bias.

Caveat Emptor! - Jim -

September 27, 2004 03:36 PM Forum: Politics

Bush Tax Cuts Extended

Posted By James Brown

I expected to see some serious grousing about this from our more progressive members. Why is everyone so quiet?

- Jim -

September 29, 2004 05:20 AM Forum: Politics

How Left Are Our Lefties?

Posted By James Brown

Here's a question for all of the non-conservative participants on this forum. Are any of you left wing enough to embrace the ultimate clause of this quote?

"Tomorrow I begin a little 20-state, 60-city tour to try and convince the fed-up, the burned-out, and the Nader-impaired to leave the house for just a half-hour on November 2nd and mark an "X" in a box (or punch a chad or touch a screen) so that America and the world can be saved. (I don't mean "saved" as in all workers will henceforth control the means of production. That's, um, going to take a few more years.)"

Maybe Mike is just kidding? I am truly surprised to read advocacy of straight up Marxism in modern day discourse. I admire his forthrightness on this issue. To me this seems kind of like seeing a dinosaur walk down main street, but I could be naive. Are any of you this left wing? - Jim -

October 6, 2004 03:20 AM Forum: Politics

VP Debate

Posted By James Brown

I thought Cheney showed much more depth and conviction, more "gravitas" as they would have said 4 years ago. Edwards relied way too much on platitudes. Probably just my bias showing through! wink I expect that this one won't change any voter's minds.

- Jim -

p.s. Cheney's zings about Edwards' lack of public service experience plus Senate absenteeism were pretty good, in my biased opinion.

p.s.s. don't you love how Cheney cited our own local second-favorite web site;! grin

October 7, 2004 04:53 PM Forum: Politics

Re: cross dressing Kerry

Posted By James Brown

GWB looks exactly like Dana Carvey as "The Church Lady!"

- Jim -