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You Decide in 2004: Kerry or Scary?

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Terror and Liberalism

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria


Polyarchy by Robert Dahl

The Nazi Seizure of Power

The Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen

Terror and Liberalism

Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman

In Association with

The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck



I Didn't Realize

Be honest, how many of you even knew France had a Defense Minister?

It doesn't seem to me that keeping track of one delapidated aircraft carrier would require the efforts of an entire ministry, but I suppose we should let the French have their delusions.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 11:45:00 PM

Saturday, June 14, 2003  


Dead End Street

With a headline like this, consider the Road Map dead on arrival.

The longer this back-and-forth goes on, the more I support the Israeli position. Abbas is exactly what Palestinians need in order to get their own state capable of having a prosperous future, but when will they realize it? Once Palestinians understand that supporting Hamas in droves and encouraging their teenage children to walk onto a Jerusalem bus as a suicide bomber and kill a dozen people is a detriment to their long term goals of freedom from Israeli oppression, the sooner there will be peace. Until then, all "roads" lead to a dead end.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 12:46:00 AM

Friday, June 13, 2003  


The Hillary Factor

Republicans are genuinely afraid of Hillary Clinton. They can't stand her. When the New York Senator pops up on the Senate floor for another empassioned speech about the benefits of public education or the injustice of the Bush administration's policies on unemployment coverage for those who have been laid off as a result of the current economic downturn, Republican leaders across the country can't flip the channel away from C-SPAN fast enough before going into convulsions due to their immense hatred for everything she stands for.

But what is it that bothers Republicans so much?

Surely a lot of it stems from how much she reminds them of the Clinton years. Nothing gets under the skin of true Republicans more than the thought of Bill Clinton as President for eight years. Why? I couldn't really tell you, because I thought Clinton was one of our best presidents. He probably could have even been one of our truely great ones had he presided over a national tragedy (That lesson hasn't been lost on Bush, but he's still failing at it domestically).

Bill Clinton's terms as chief executive of the country were a time of national mourning for the GOP. Every hip joke he told, every world leader he solemnly met with, every genuine sense of compassion for the nation's needy and poor that he emoted - it all drove Republicans crazy. For some reason they couldn't understand why a president who cared about all citizens of the world was so popular with America. To the rest of us it seemed pretty obvious, but the GOP couldn't see it.

Obviously they had a leg to stand on with the impropriety that was perpetrated in the west wing, but that shouldn't have been their business in the first place. Yes, it was wrong. But that's not a reason to detest the man's abilities as President. If Hillary was willing to stay with Bill and somehow forgive him, it certainly wasn't something worth impeaching a sitting president over. It has set a terrible precedent for future presidents. It can already be seen with liberal activists who want to impeach Bush simply because he went to war without their personal consent. That's something that wouldn't have happened if Republicans in their vengeful fits hadn't pushed to stain the presidency (no pun intended).

But anyway, I've gotten sidetracked from my point, which is this: The involuntary convulsions that occur every time a Republican hears the name Hillary Clinton. She has, as a result of her name-sake invocation of her husband's unwise deeds, become a tremendously polarizing personality. On the whole, Republicans hate her, Democrats love her. As a senator she's been highly effective and has actually pursued legislative success instead of celebrity success. She started out as a hard worker and that gained her even more praise. She wasn't just a former first lady who won an election based on popularity. She's done New York well so far.

This is what frightens Republicans most. They see that she actually can get stuff done in the Senate, that she's determined to accomplish something and not just use her position as a soapbox for her own agenda. Why does this scare the GOP? Because they know that her incredibly high approval ratings within her party make her a party favorite for president in the future. Even without being a candidate, she is capable of earning 40% of the voter share when compared to the 7% or so of the next highest candidate, who is actually running! Her solid approval is what frightens the GOP, because they know that that support isn't going anywhere. She's way too close to a majority of support for comfort for Republican leaders.

Everyone assumes that she will make her bid for the White House in 2008 when, presumably, Bush's second term will expire without him having annointed a Vice President as party favorite. As a recent optimistic Democratic pollster on CNN suggested though, if all goes well, Hillary could be relegated to simply endorsing the incumbant in 2008. Regardless, the prospect of another Clinton in the White House sends many Republicans running for the exits.

The success of her book then, is making many Republicans revisit their eight year nightmares. So many articles, editorials and magazine features are giving Hillary the attention and publicity that will test her chance of success in the future. And, with 200,000 books sold on the first day out, that chance of success will only frighten Republicans more.

But is Hillary worth supporting for the highest office in the land? I don't know. While I feel like I identify with probably 98% of Hillary's political positions, she's just so creepy. She's perfected the politician persona. She's a master of knowing the answer that the reporter wants to hear and then making sure that her wordy answer provides no actual substance that could be mistaken for useable quotation. She does that thing where she'll smile really big while the question is being asked, and then when it's her turn to answer, she puts up the shields and gets serious and prepares to spew her rehearsed non-answer answer. She comes off as so "politician," so fake, so unhuman. I don't know if that's what democrats really need.

Hillary for President? Let's not decide on this quite yet. Endorse the Democratic incumbent in 2008 instead.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 12:17:00 AM