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Politics 2004

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#1 GoldenCoal

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 09:05 PM

Like my title says: I have a dumb question: But this has been bothering me for a long time: Why do people dislike presidential candidates who try and do whatever is "politically expedient" aka, what they think people want them to do. Do we really want someone who goes against the combined will of the American people? Wouldn't that hurt our democracy?

   I never cared if Bush was a steady leader in times of change because staying the course when times change is stupid. Of course, Bush has changed his mind on issues after 9-11, so I don't agree with that assertion. But the fact that people see that as a good thing confuses me.

   I'm not saying that if you believe that such steadiness is a virtue in a public official that you are wrong, but... please explain.

  Edited for additional dumbness

   Actually, I have an even dumber question: why do people equate what Kerry will do in the Senate with what he will do as President? I know that is basically one of the only sources that we have, but both have massively different constituencies and thus a President would have massively different behavior than a Senator.

   I know that I'm confused mostly about stuff about Kerry, but I believe that this thread should be an equal opprotunity dumb question thread!  :hehe:  If you have a question about an assumption that people make about any candidate, feel free to post so (hopefully) someone can explain it!

Edited by GoldenCoal, 08 September 2004 - 09:10 PM.


#2 Drew

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 09:23 PM

GoldenCoal, on Sep 8 2004, 09:05 PM, said:

I know that I'm confused mostly about stuff about Kerry, . . .
That's okay. So is he.  :cool:
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#3 Delvo

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 09:25 PM

GoldenCoal, on Sep 8 2004, 08:05 PM, said:

why do people equate what Kerry will do in the Senate with what he will do as President? I know that is basically one of the only sources that we have, but both have massively different constituencies and thus a President would have massively different behavior than a Senator.
It depends on what characteristic you're looking at. Most people figure that being a legislator calls for more compromises than are required of an executor, so you could say that a history of making such compromises and policy reversals is only incidental to the job and wouldn't be that way if the same person had a different job. But if you look at what a legislator IS consistent about, then you're looking at stuff he really believes in, and then his past history demonstrates what he'll do in the future.

#4 GoldenCoal

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 09:32 PM

^^
   Ah, that is most informative, Delvo, thank you. I get the whole Senate-President converstion now.

   I think that I can also figure out why people dislike Kerry's Flip Flops, because that seems to indicate that he doesn't believe in anything...

   This is bringing up many thoughts... must consider...

#5 Mr.Calgary

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 09:39 PM

Delvo, on Sep 8 2004, 07:25 PM, said:

Most people figure that being a legislator calls for more compromises than are required of an executor,
Isn't the number of Senators who have become President extremely low?
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#6 Shalamar

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 10:07 PM

It's been said that all politics, all getting anything done in the political arena, is compromise. That a politician, of what ever level, city council, state rep, congressman etc has to bewilling to give to get.

And I can understand that...but to me a politician should have a core set of values, and platform that he won't give on. Yes he has to chose his battles, but those should consistantly be the same.

He shouldn't hop on the bandwagon just to get ahead in political office.
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#7 Delvo

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 09:42 AM

Here's another one I don't get: if it's OK to say your opponent's economic policies are bad for the economy, and it's OK to say your opponent's public health ideas are bad for public health care, and it's OK to say your opponent wants to spend too mcuh or too little money on whatever programs you want to talk about the spending on... why isn't it OK to say that your opponent's plans on terrorism aren't so good for fighting terrorism?

#8 Drew

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 09:57 AM

Delvo, on Sep 9 2004, 09:42 AM, said:

Here's another one I don't get: if it's OK to say your opponent's economic policies are bad for the economy, and it's OK to say your opponent's public health ideas are bad for public health care, and it's OK to say your opponent wants to spend too mcuh or too little money on whatever programs you want to talk about the spending on... why isn't it OK to say that your opponent's plans on terrorism aren't so good for fighting terrorism?
Because John Edwards says that it's "UnAmerican."

I know, I know . . . it makes no sense to me either, but John Edwards, you know, is allegedly qualified to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.
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#9 HubcapDave

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 07:29 PM

GoldenCoal, on Sep 8 2004, 07:05 PM, said:

Like my title says: I have a dumb question: But this has been bothering me for a long time: Why do people dislike presidential candidates who try and do whatever is "politically expedient" aka, what they think people want them to do. Do we really want someone who goes against the combined will of the American people? Wouldn't that hurt our democracy?

   I never cared if Bush was a steady leader in times of change because staying the course when times change is stupid. Of course, Bush has changed his mind on issues after 9-11, so I don't agree with that assertion. But the fact that people see that as a good thing confuses me.

   I'm not saying that if you believe that such steadiness is a virtue in a public official that you are wrong, but... please explain.

  Edited for additional dumbness

   Actually, I have an even dumber question: why do people equate what Kerry will do in the Senate with what he will do as President? I know that is basically one of the only sources that we have, but both have massively different constituencies and thus a President would have massively different behavior than a Senator.

   I know that I'm confused mostly about stuff about Kerry, but I believe that this thread should be an equal opprotunity dumb question thread!  :hehe:  If you have a question about an assumption that people make about any candidate, feel free to post so (hopefully) someone can explain it!
To me, politicians who do things solely based on political expediency, or sheerly on "what's popular" to me do not have the fortitude to do the right thing.

For example, Reagan had a goal of ending Communism. The general think at the time was it could not be done, the Soviet system was far too strong, the best we can hope for a co-existence founded on a policy of Mutually Assured Destruction. He was decried for being a saber-rattler and dangerously bringing us to the brink of nuclear war. In the end, his vision prevailed and the USSR fell. And all without firing a shot. He had been right, where all the supposed experts and the previaling political winds had been wrong.

#10 Bouree57

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 03:41 AM

GoldenCoal, on Sep 8 2004, 09:05 PM, said:

   I know that I'm confused mostly about stuff about Kerry, but I believe that this thread should be an equal opprotunity dumb question thread!  :hehe:  If you have a question about an assumption that people make about any candidate, feel free to post so (hopefully) someone can explain it!
For me, it comes down to where he was willing to put money and where he was not as a senator.

He didn't vote for any funding for military projects inspite of the fact that he was a war veteran.

He voted to cut intellegence spending and even tried to sponser a bill to further cut intellegence spending that no one (not even Democrats) would support. I have a problem with this for two reasons.

1) That's the biggest complaint that Democrats have against Bush. Poor intellegence that they claim resulted in Bush lying to the world about WMD.

2) It reminds me that he protested the Vietnam war and it brings to mind all those protests from the sixties. It reminds me of hippies and all the chatter about the government being Big Brother, spying on everyone and everything. I can't help but wonder if he's ever gotten passed that kind of thinking. I know a couple of "hippies" that haven't. But I realize this last point is just me wondering about who John Kerry is today. I just can't quite get a clear picture of him.

So when I compare what he did then to what he plans to do now, I don't expect to see such a complete turn around. He just comes across as being an "any way the wind blows" kinda politician.

Quote

I never cared if Bush was a steady leader in times of change because staying the course when times change is stupid. Of course, Bush has changed his mind on issues after 9-11, so I don't agree with that assertion. But the fact that people see that as a good thing confuses me.

It's not a matter of being steadfast in changing times. It's more a matter of holding your ground when everyone else is panicing. I just feel that Bush has stayed on the course he set for himself and our country when everyone else lost sight of the goals we hoped to accomplish. To me, he didn't give up because a task became difficult. He still feels (and I agree) that it will be worth the cost we have to pay.

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#11 Kosh

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 11:22 AM

Delvo, on Sep 9 2004, 09:42 AM, said:

Here's another one I don't get: if it's OK to say your opponent's economic policies are bad for the economy, and it's OK to say your opponent's public health ideas are bad for public health care, and it's OK to say your opponent wants to spend too mcuh or too little money on whatever programs you want to talk about the spending on... why isn't it OK to say that your opponent's plans on terrorism aren't so good for fighting terrorism?
I trhink it was more in the way it was said, then in what was said. If Chaney had phased it like you did, it wouldn't have been news.
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#12 Delvo

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 11:32 AM

It wasn't just that comment; it's a pattern from both sides to criticize the other side's apparent beliefs about how to fight terrorism, but then for their pundits to complain about when the same thing's done to them.

(I swore to only say stuff in here that's completely neutral about or removed from the fight for the election, and even THAT stuff still gets read as advocating one side or the other.)

#13 Drew

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 11:45 AM

Delvo, on Sep 10 2004, 11:32 AM, said:

(I swore to only say stuff in here that's completely neutral about or removed from the fight for the election, and even THAT stuff still gets read as advocating one side or the other.)
Time to give up and going back to fighting for truth and justice again.  :cool:
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#14 GoldenCoal

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 12:18 PM

He he he. I just thought of something... (just to give this thread a lighter touch) maybe a flip-flopper IS needed as President, the terrorists won't know what to expect!

   I can hear what hey would say now, "Is he going to use military force, use only police, nuke the world to oblivion, give us all amnesty, invite us to dinner, get on a swift boat and charge into us, join the Texas Air Nation Guard and bomb us personally, or just sit back and ignore us?"

"The pinnacle of military deployment approaches the formless: if it is formless, then even the deepest spy cannot discern it nor the wise make plans against it." Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"
   To further generalize, if we have no idea what a person will do, one must prepare for all possibilities, which is impossible.

My apologies if this isn't even remotely funny nor mood lightening.

#15 Harper's Cat

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 12:20 PM

I think it's funny and true!
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#16 StarDust

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 05:41 PM

Well, generally if someone is seen as an opportunist, that would be a bad thing, in any walk of life.  

I will try to sincerely answer why this matters to me, but it's not a one liner answer.

First, people want someone that they know where he stands and what he'll do as much as they possibly can.  That's rather the point of electing someone isn't it? That's the point of a democracy, making informed decisions, or I thought it was. If someone is consistantly changing depending on what is 'politically expedient' you have no idea what (s)he's going to do.  This week (s)he may be taking a stand you approve of, next week it may be something totally different because the wind in some back room changed.  That is not a leader.  And you are right, the jobs are different, and people in the senater are definitely not leaders.  Which is perhaps why we tend to vote for governers more than congressional people when it comes to the presidency.  We need people that know how to be a leader. Congress has 2 houses and hundreds of people to balance everything out.  

Second, most people know you can't govern by the mood of the week.  They want someone who is going to stand up and do what has to be done no matter how hard it is or how much criticism they take for it.  Some of what are now considered the most important and pivotal decisions in history were not necessarily popular at the time.  And considering how the mood changes from week to week, you just can't run things that way.  It's one of the problems with many of our companies these days, they are just thrashing around instead of having long term plans they stick to.  It's not that things fundamentally change, it's just someone is having a bad week, or the stock goes down because of something totally unrelated (ups and downs are part of life) and a bunch of people start freaking out.  It's often considered that is the difference between a statesman and a politician.  A statesman is trying to do what's right, not what's advantageous to his career.  That doesn't mean the will of the people should be ignored, but every little whim can't be catered to. Seeing the 'will of the people' and believing it makes sense is different than just trying to get or keep your next job.  It has to do with trust.  

Do you have the slightest clue where Kerry stands on Iraq, cause I don't.  And I don't say that in the interest of partisanship, I say that sincerely.  And the topic matters to me.  According to the polls it matters to most people.

And of course what Kerry did in the Senate matters.  It shows if he can be trusted. Does he take his job and responsiblities seriously, or is it a joy ride, ego thing where he's doing his constituents a big favor?  Can he be relied on to pursue the stands he took to get elected?  No one wants to elect someone that was lying to them just to get elected.  I know lots of Republicans, for example, that elected Bush Sr because he had always been a pro-choice moderate, but upon becoming President he turned into a flaming anti-choice person who did the most damage in that arena of anyone to date.  You don't see a problem of thinking you are getting A, but ending up with B?

And then there is Kerry's often cited "it's none of your business" replies.  You don't see a problem with an elected official having that kind of response?

The problem with Kerry isn't that he changed his mind, it's that he keeps changing it.  And then he tries to marry his various positions together to make it seem that he didn't change his mind, that they are all aspects of the same position, when we all know they are not.  It would be different if he said I believed A back whenever, but I now believe I was wrong and believe C.   But nooooo, instead he says he beleived A, then B, then D, and now C, but they all are really the same and he didn't change his mind at any time.  :eek4:  He isn't changing because of changing circumstances, he's changing based on what someone told him it'll get him that week.

That is insincerity and hypocracy.  People vote on issues, or most do, not the party line.  If you don't feel you can trust the person you voted to be mostly truthfull about where they stand and what they'll do, why would you vote for them?  I say mostly  because we all recognize that this is politics.  But even in politics there are limits.

I personally don't believe that Bush is being stubborn.  Is he perfect, no, but name me a president that has been.  But you know exactly where he stands, and he does what he says.  Most people find that refreshing.  And Bush has gotten credit for having the most 'transparent' presidency ever, which I think is a good thing. Even my friends on the left give Bush way more credit for integrity than Kerry.  They can't stand Kerry and seem to be willing to vote for him only because of the 'party', and I believe that is unfortunate, but then I'm an independent. I could give a crap about either party when all is said and done.  

What amazes me most, the very people who seem to like to denigrate politicians the most, who say they are tired of 'politics as usual', are the very people who seem to freak out when they get someone who doesn't play the game.  

So it comes down to which politician do you believe you can actually figure out what they are going to do, and do you approve of what that is.  Of course if you have a politician that you don't like what they are going to do , and another you have no clue what they are going to do, you are in something of a quandry.  If you have one you mostly like what you think they are going to do, then you vote for him.  But I've never understood the position "it couldn't be worse" because that's not true, it could be a lot worse.

I mostly approve of what Bush will do.  The areas I don't approve, I actually don't think he'll do much, abortion and gay rights.  But then from everything I've seen in action (as opposed to words), Kerry's position on those topics is no different.  As far as national security, some days he seems to agree with Bush, others he suddenly doesn't.  I actually think he'll end up doing what Bush has done, but in a more wishy washy, flim flammy, flip floppy fashion, thus being less effective and causing us grief for decades to come.  I think the reality is that Kerry agrees with Bush and is only taking an opposing stand because he believes it'll get him elected. That is dishonest.  And as said, while I mostly agree with that stance, I don't think Kerry has the backbone to see it through and will make a far more damaging mess.

On the domestic front, one thing about Kerry and the dems really bothers me.  They keep acting like this has been a normal 4 years and the economy is totally 100% Bush's fault.  I'll make some allowances for politics and trying to paint the other guy in the worst possible light.  But that just isn't so.  We were in a recession before Bush took office. They had been warning since 1998 that we were in a lot of trouble.  In many ways the end of the 90s were a lot like the 20s, and now is a lot like the 30s except we are better off.  The stock market was way over inflated. The government invested a lot of money into it in 1999 to avert it possibly crashing due to Y2K fears, and then pulled that money out in 2000, probably too quickly. And then there was this little event called 9/11.  It's a minor miracle that we are doing as well as we are.

And my concern is that the dems are either unwilling to discuss the real issues with the economy, or they really don't know and are completely out of touch.   Either way, there can be no real solutions put forth if there is no reality about the situation and what caused it.  So I don't see them as having any plausible solutions what so ever, and all their rhetoric and quick fixes are likely to only get us into more trouble.

Going so overboard to denigrate the other guy, being unwilling to discuss the realities, gives me absolutely no confidence in anything the Democrats say.

#17 Shalamar

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 05:49 PM

Excellent post StarDust and it is very much how I see things.

or...What StarDust Said!
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#18 Bouree57

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 07:01 PM

Very nice post Stardust.

StarDust, on Sep 10 2004, 05:41 PM, said:

On the domestic front, one thing about Kerry and the dems really bothers me.  They keep acting like this has been a normal 4 years and the economy is totally 100% Bush's fault.  I'll make some allowances for politics and trying to paint the other guy in the worst possible light.  But that just isn't so.  We were in a recession before Bush took office. They had been warning since 1998 that we were in a lot of trouble.  In many ways the end of the 90s were a lot like the 20s, and now is a lot like the 30s except we are better off.  The stock market was way over inflated. The government invested a lot of money into it in 1999 to avert it possibly crashing due to Y2K fears, and then pulled that money out in 2000, probably too quickly. And then there was this little event called 9/11.  It's a minor miracle that we are doing as well as we are.
Plus there is also the Enron and Worldcom mess. That surely wasn't Bush's fault. But both of them and 9/11 have made a mess of our economy. I agree with you. We are very lucky to be where we are today with all that mess going on.

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#19 GoldenCoal

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 09:42 PM

StarDust, I apologize for this inadequate response to your post. I tried several times to reply point by point but each time I got hopelessly lost commenting on one point while referring to another… and it got very confusing for me. So, while I will take some specific examples, I will also be speaking in more general terms. I will also be defending Kerry, to an extent, even though that was not the original purpose of this thread.

Quote

...someone is consistantly changing depending on what is 'politically expedient' you have no idea what (s)he's going to do.
   I've waffled on whether to comment on this, but it seems to me if you know what someone is going to do is 'politically expedient', then you know exactly what they are going to do, namely, whatever is politically expedient. It is a dynamic and constantly changing stance, but one that could be as easily determined as a static stance. I think this also answers your entire first point.

   For your second point, while I understand that your frequent phrase "mood of the week" is not literal, I fail to understand why you believe that public opinion changes so rapidly that one seemingly must change their opinion often if they want to stay with the "mood of the week." In practice, unless there is some signature event that makes people think about issues differently, statistics about issues aren't so transient.

   I'll agree with you about companies, though, they are so obsessed with the "now" and quarterly profits and so on that they cannot seek to determine what the long run effects are.

  I have a cynical reply to your your distinction between a statesman and a politician, do you notice we call all of our public officials "politicians?"

   Kerry's stance on Iraq: He voted for authorization of war, but expected the President to handle the situation differently. Now, he wants to get the UN and the international community more involved (this was actually a stance that the Bush administration was opposed to at first, but then came around to about the same thing).


  I think that you anecdote about Bush Sr. shows something very important: that whoever we think we are getting into office could be someone completely different. The simple fact is we are being spoon-fed bits and pieces of information in a calculated fashion by all campaigns. How can we even decide how a person is like through some speeches and sound-bites and commercials? All of these are pre-processed chunks of information specifically for public consumption. Is any of us going to be able to sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with either Kerry OR Bush? No. Thus, we cannot assume their character.

[rant]
   You make many assumptions about Kerry, that he thinks that being in the Senate is a "joy ride" and that he is both insincere and hypocritical. Yet you have never met the person. What if he tries so hard and takes his responsibility to so seriously that he tries so much to make the right decision that he trips over himself with all the pros and cons (as one who thinks too much, this happens to me frequently)?

   Just think, about what percentage of what goes on in your mind make it out to the world? My guess is not a whole lot. Now divide that by the amount of time we get to see each canidate and we get a good approximation of how much we are really getting to know each canidate. In short, we aren't. Notice that the speeches and commercials lack substance? That's because the substance is out there for anyone trying to find it, the rest of it is just a war for the heart strings of the American people: and whether you are a politician or a statesmen, that is what is required to win.
[/rant]

  Anyway, I don't have the energy to go on. I hope that made at least one lick of sense. :tired:

#20 Meepski

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 10:05 PM

What GoldenCoal said!

I would just add that we don't need to swallow the pre-packaged simplistic talking points  and attacks that are handed to us.  We can look at the issues.  We can think about things.  We can realize that it is a complicated world, and we can come to informed decisions instead of labeling people.

Because George Bush is not an idiot, and John Kerry is not an un-American flip-flopper, and if you are voting on the basis of these lame stereotypes then you are doing a disservice to your country.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great struggle. -- Philo of Alexandria



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