November 06, 2002
dark day

not encouraging words, but the best I've read today, from joe conason: "A party that will not criticize the incumbent president cannot defeat him, now or two years from now. A party that has nothing to say about unfair tax breaks, a vanishing surplus and a looted economy cannot expect anyone to listen when it asks for votes. A party without passion or vision is hardly a political party at all." But that doesn't mean vote for Nader.

Posted by dbrown at November 06, 2002 11:42 AM

i know it's the best system around, but it sure doesn't feel like much of a democracy when your side loses.

Posted by: elia on November 6, 2002 11:58 AM

The best system's weaknesses will always be found -- it's the nature of competition. The Republicans are exploiting the system better than the Democrats. Their ideology exploits concrete, tangible things like guns, money (tax cuts), and oil, and they keep pounding this agenda shamelessly, as ends in and of themselves, without further thought about the implications or consequences of such an agenda.

The Democrats, on the other hand, stand for ... well, there's the problem isn't it? They stand for abstractions, ideals, social security, welfare, peace, the environment. A hard sell in an economic climate such as this. Bubba had it easier. Hard to be idealistic on an empty stomach.

We get what we deserve. Usually.

Posted by: tmonkey on November 6, 2002 04:06 PM

But also, I was thinking in relation to elia's comment, that we sort of did have the best system, but that that system isn't what it used to be. Which is to say, and this has been pointed out by others and at one point was going to be pointed out by proxy by an eminent dutch architect, the gerrymandering situation has gotten out of hand. Someone on TV last week said that voters no longer choose politicians, politicians choose voters. Democracy should mean 98 percent incumbent reelection rates. I'll go dig up some links to prove this to you all.

Also, this quote from Josh Marshall: "Well, that really could have gone better."

Posted by: dbrown on November 6, 2002 04:35 PM

... should NOT mean...

Posted by: dbrown on November 6, 2002 04:35 PM

Maybe there is no best system. Is what we're saying here that the best system would not allow itself to be gerrymandered, jury-rigged, and jiggered to the extent it's being fucked with now?

I love your quote, about politicians choosing voters, because it's similar to an analogy I was going to make about democracy and free choice, which is that it's like believing slot machines are really random. The people who make and own and have access to the innards of the machine are making bank 100% of the time.

Posted by: tmonkey on November 6, 2002 04:55 PM

tangent: in casino towns (I'm thinking of the last time I was in nevada, long ago, so maybe it's different now, but maybe in AC too) the billboards actually advertise the slots payout rate: like "97.8% payout on dollar slots." Truth in advertising: Play long enough and you are absolutely guarfuckingteed to lose money. (Vs. well-counted blackjack, which gets you up to around 101.6% or so, or that craps bet that is dead-even always, how boring.)

Posted by: dbrown on November 6, 2002 04:59 PM

cotangent: i believe the phrase is "our casino has the loosest slots in town -- guaranteed."

and along the "politicians choosing voters" angle, i think it was NPR talking about how the true secret to campaigning is to dissuade the other guy's people from coming out -- not getting more people to vote for you -- that leads to victory.

Posted by: elia on November 6, 2002 05:15 PM
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