hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Friday, November 12, 2004
comment on winds of change:

re: the fixed price thing, doesn't it depend on the price the dealer was offering? What people hate is the feeling that the dealer is pretending that you beat him down, while in fact he's waiting for the ink to dry to whoop it up at the massive profit margin. Offering a fixed price guarantees you won't get jobbed in relation to other customers of the same dealer, but it doesn't assuage the fear that the dealer is offering a fair price on a reasonable margin (what's "fair"? Good question. let's not think about it.)

The biggest misconception among the bigshot Democratic politicos is the notion that they have to drive Bush's approval numbers down, and damage Bush's personal reputation, in order to win elections. It worked for the Republicans with Clinton/Gore, but they have a lot of advantages that we don't, among them more money, the corporate media, and a number of partisans in judicial positions willing to shamelessly abuse prosecutorial and subpoena power in order to damage Democrats, while either refusing to investigate Republicans, or simply letting them off the hook for the same offenses.

But I digress. My point is voters don't have disapprove of Bush to vote Democratic. They simply have to approve of the Democratic candidate more than they approve of Bush. That is, they have to be persuaded that they personally, and the country as a whole, will do better if the Democrat gets elected.

What's wrong with the DNC's current approach is that they're talking a great deal about how the Bush administration has failed, and how their motives are often malign, but it doesn't seem to talk very much about how much better the country will do if the Dems' get the keys to the car.

That said, I think an ideological Republican should be madder at the RNC than I am at the DNC.
Look, these fellas have control of all three branches of government. That's a big deal, and it's not going to last for very long. What has the current administration been doing with all that power?

F!@#-all, as far as I can see. I think the ideological conservatives are being kept in line with the message "Wait until 2004". Then we'll get started on that conservative utopia.

oh and on Iraq, I'm waiting for a Democratic candidate to make these three points:

1) the national security case for going to war with Iraq was very weak, and only looks weaker post-war

2)the moral/humanitarian case for removing Saddam was very strong.

3) Whether or not you supported the decision to go to war, all of us can agree that now that the war is over, it is very important to American interests, and the right thing to do besides, that we give substantial help in rebuilding Iraq, and give the Iraqi people every chance to make their country a success story

The two Democrats that have essentially been making these three points, thought not in these exact words, have been Gen. Wesley Clark and Al Gore (god, I love that guy!).

The other Democratic candidates have not made an explicit distinction between the humanitarian and national security cases for war, which I think is very important.

A personal expansion on point #2:

I do not say this with any smugness or certainty, but I do not believe that going to war in March 2003 was the wisest course of action, even from a humanitarian POV. The costs in war of American blood, toil, treasure, and prestige, and Iraqi blood and Arab humiliation & resentment, have been high enough that it makes sense to ask, as Nancy Pelosi did, whether we could have brought down those statues for a lot less, by pursuing a more patient, long-ranging, semi-covert, "surgical" policy of regime change, with a stronger and more authentic Iraqi opposition.

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