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September 9, 2005

More about that “blame game” thing
Posted by Teresa at 04:16 PM * 87 comments

I have just arrived at a personal decision. I am not going to listen to any more crap about “blame games” and “not pointing the finger” unless the person speaking has first made it clear that he or she didn’t vote for Bush. I want it explicit, and I want it persuasive. Because otherwise, I’m going to figure that what they’re really saying is this:

“I knew what he was, I knew what he stands for and the kind of men he keeps around him, but I voted for him anyway. Now that it’s been made gut-wrenchingly clear that God won’t magically intervene to save America from its own stupidity and self-indulgent folly, I don’t want to see anyone pointing fingers. I don’t want to hear any talk about blame. Because I know that along with George Bush and Michael Chertoff and Michael Brown, they’re talking about me.”

Comments on More about that "blame game" thing:
#1 ::: Patrick Weekes ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 05:01 PM:

I didn't vote for Bush, and I do blame him.

What I find truly ironic is that, to the best of my knowledge, Al Gore has done more directly to help people than our president. As has the guy who founded California Pizza Kitchen, according to that article.

I look forward to reading about the generous personal donations made by the Bush family.

#2 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 05:04 PM:

Amen.

And while we're at it, Here is a question: Just how the hell is a democracy supposed to work, anyway, if no one is ever allowed to (a) point a damn finger; (b) determine who caused what; and (c) let the voters know about it?

Answer: It's not supposed to work. The people in power don't want it to work. They just want to keep their power. So they want to voters to avoid the blame game, pretend there is no one to blame, and just keep electing the same damned idiots over and over again.

And you know what? I think a lot of the voters don't want it to work either, and don't want to know who was to blame. The same people to blame gave them tax cuts. I know an awful lot of well-off, educated Republicans who are benefiting an awful lot from the fiscal policies of this administration, and although they claim to be "socially liberal," whatever the hell that means, they are the quickest, biggest apologists and the first to come out with a "now is not the time," or a "well, there's an awful lot of blame to go around," or a "well, it's Clinton's fault, too, and it's just now coming to bear fruit."

To them, I say: "Face it, folks. Look in your mirror. You like the status quo, and it's about your greed and comfort."

#3 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 05:07 PM:

There was a letter to the editor in the local major paper in Vancouver, Canada, by a cretin who said that the only reason Canadians are criticizing the Katrina response is because the critics are anti-American. We should all just help and Not Make Everything Political.The letter also implied strongly that all those nasty critics were actively denying assistance to the needy.

Some people are not prepared to admit the possibility of human, much less personal, responsibility for catastrophe, no matter what the circumstances.

#4 ::: Helleveeg ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 05:13 PM:

Hi, I read this blog occasionally and have been reading it (back) avidly recently. I respectfully wanted to bring this news item to your attention, because no matter how big it is (and it's big), I imagine it actually has a chance of being buried at the moment:

On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that José Padilla, a suspected al-Qaeda operative who US officials say was planning to carry out a terrorist attack inside the US, could be detained as an “enemy combatant” without any review by US civilian courts.

The significance is that this deals with a US citizen who was arrested on US soil who is being detained indefinitely without a review by US civilian courts. This, I think, comes awfully close to being disappeared despite the visibility.

#5 ::: Steve Burnap ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 05:31 PM:

The Daily Show got it right. People only talk about "The Blame Game" when they're to blame.

#6 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 06:13 PM:

I always thought it meant "How DARE you try to hold us accountable for our actions?", which usually seems to be this administration's favorite sentiment.

(Hi, by the way, I'm just a lurker)

#7 ::: Rana ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 06:35 PM:

Yep. No disagreement here. It's the latest stanza in a song Bush supporters have been singing since the election, starting off with "get over it" and "51% is a mandate" and continuing along with "support the troops" and the like. It's part of what made people scream at me and delink my blog when I raged against Bush and those who voted for him -- it was too naked and close to home for their comfort. (I'd say "I told you so," but there's no pleasure to be had in it.)

I think it's part of a larger trend of people not wanting to do the hard work of rethinking their comfortable existences or self-delusions, whether that takes the form of "Christians" shilling for a corporate Jesus, contestants on the Apprentice or American Idol shrugging off warranted criticism with "that's just their opinion," or news reporters promoting he said-she said "fair and balanced" coverage rather than acknowledging real, uncomfortable facts and their implications.

Unfortunately, I think it's going to take several decades, maybe a generation's worth, of cluesticking before we get out of this hole, if we ever do.

#8 ::: LP ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 06:43 PM:

I work in corporate America and I was full of storm and fury at this President who was going to run the Federal Government like a corporation, and the handling of this bungled rescue and aid effort is not how it works in corporate America.

When there's a screw-up, the first thing that the organization does is to get right to the bottom of the screw up, rap the right knuckles if called for (walk them out if necessary), ensure that it doesn't happen again and then move on.

Then I also remembered that there was always a problem of problem definition.

Example:

Service organization supports corporate web site.
Corporate web site goes down because drunken IT admin reboots the wrong core switch.
IT takes three hours to notice before bringing corporate site back up.

What's the problem?
Option a. Corporate web site was down.
Option b. IT hires drunken IT admins.
Option c. IT is so incompetent that it takes them three hours to notice the web site was down.

The answer is that it depends who you are and who you're talking to.

If you’re the drunken IT admin’s manager, your problem is your drunken administrator, and you focus on that. You fire him OR get him counseling OR designate a nanny if he’s brilliant enough etc.

If you're the head of IT talking down to the manager, the problem is the slow response time and you fix that problem. You presume that your manager is fixing the drunken IT admin so that it doesn’t happen again.

If you're the head of IT talking to the CEO, you focus on the site being down.
You never talk about the drunken IT admin and anyone who mentions it is shouted down so that it doesn't reflect badly on you. You gloss over how long it takes you to respond and maybe even lie that you responded immediately but the problem was so complicated that it took your crack team three hours to solve it. If the CEO’s not an idiot (can find oil in Texas), he won’t buy your lie and will dig a little deeper and make the IT head sweat a little bit more to ensure that it doesn’t happen again OR if it does happen again, the story is a better one.

If you’re the CEO talking to the market analysts, you talk about how great your IT team was in solving what could have been a month-long outage in mere hours – lying outrageously and counting on the fact that the analysts won't know an MTTR from a TTTR.

So I understood.

In our President's mind, the whole Katrina thing was handled magnificently. His people are right now telling him how good a job Chertoff did and how great Brown was in managing an unmanageable situation. Sure there were casualties (fortunately, none of the *good* people), but if not for their magnificent work, it would have been so much worse. And he’s buying it because it would be too unpleasant not to buy it.

And when heads do roll, he will do it with a heavy heart and be quite convinced that they are being sacrificed at the altar of political correctness, partisan politics, etc.

#9 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 06:51 PM:

It's surreal to me that it's been less than a year since Bush was re-elected. I remember I was in a training class the day after the vote and the whole class was so glum. And one colleague said, with savage sarcasm, "Well now they control all three branches of govt, so everything should be perfect, right?"
And they've managed to f*ck up so much in less than 10 months since.
Like Gunn (on Angel) said, "Don't tell me there's no place else to go but up, coz there's always more down."
I didn't vote for Bush, and I blame him, and most of all I blame Diebold and all the other electronic voting machine sin Ohio.

#10 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 06:52 PM:

They just want to keep their power. So they want to voters to avoid the blame game, pretend there is no one to blame, and just keep electing the same damned idiots over and over again.


Er, I just noticed that I must have been typing too fast and I clearly failed to proof, so that there sentence makes no sense whatsoever.

It should read: "So they want the voters to avoid the blame game..."

Sorry! (blush)

#11 ::: crystal ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 07:17 PM:

I don’t want to see anyone pointing fingers. I don’t want to hear any talk about blame. Because I know that along with George Bush and Michael Chertoff and Michael Brown, they’re talking about me.

Word.

#12 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 07:18 PM:

Is there anyone still out there who thinks Bush was legally elected either time?

#13 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 07:25 PM:

I didn't vote for Bush [ever]. But I don't blame him. Oh no. I blame all those Nader voters. It's all their fault this happened. Bush and his supporters just did what came natural to them. Those Nader voters on the other hand... they stabbed us in the back.

#14 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 07:34 PM:

The Katrina Timeline

Brown's Faked Resume

FEMA Chief Relieved of Katrina Duties

Actually, there's lots of blame to go around. And lots of people it can go to: Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, Rove, Norquist, Rumsfeld, Rhode, Morris....

And, for more light reading, the LJ of a nurse at Methodist/New Orleans East, with photos.

#15 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 07:40 PM:

I didn't vote for this Bush, or his dad, and won't vote for any of his siblings when they run.

It would be nice to see his deskplate. Because you know that, <sarcasm>English guru that GWB is</sarcasm>, he still somehow managed to miss the transfer of the terminal "s" to "buck" from "stops" when he had it refurbished.

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 08:19 PM:

Now, j h, a lot of those Nader voters have repented. I like to think of them suffering daily pangs of remorse.

KristianB: Welcome! If you're happier thinking of yourself as a lurker, go right ahead. (You do know you aren't one, right?)

Helleveeg, that's grim news. There's no way we can pretend any more that these guys respect the Constitution.

Steve, you know how it is. Something's screwed up. You call everybody together to try to find out what happened. If one of them immediately starts in on how we shouldn't go assigning blame, right there, you know who's responsible.

LP, that was interesting. Good points.

#17 ::: mg_65 ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 08:46 PM:

Teresa, I read you all the time, for years now, I can't think, and I read these comments too.

You said:

"Don’t stop believing in the ideals. Nothing about them made this outcome inevitable. They’re as good now as they ever were.
When you have freedom, you have the freedom to screw up. It didn’t have to happen, but it did anyway. This is just a country. Freedom, democracy, equality under the law, and respect for the common man will go on, whether we go with them or not."

I cried then, I'm crying now... a lot of crying, whatever. I wish I could read or hear something like this again. Because I swear to god my heart is breaking.

Not to put too much, you know, anonymous weight on your courage and intelligence. But I do seem to count on Internet writers an awful lot lately.

#18 ::: Temperance ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 09:05 PM:

I'm not playing any "blame game." There IS no "blame game." I don't know of any "game" that requires 25,000 body bags. I don't know of any "game" where grandmothers in wheelchairs die in the street and are left there for days. If Bush and his people had any souls, or hearts, or feelings for anything except themselves and their wallets -- oh, hell. Finish that sentence yourself. But I blame them, all right, and it AIN'T NO GOD-DAMNED GAME!!!!!

#19 ::: risa ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 09:12 PM:

it's an odd thing to watch. those conservatives who claim they're not playing the blame game seem to be slyly pointing fingers directly at Nagin. those conservatives i know who are honest about not wanting to blame anyone right now still think Michael Brown is a bumbling moron who needs pharmaceutical assistance to get back in touch with reality.

one way or the other, we need to know things like, oh, who actually made the decision to prevent the Red Cross from going into New Orleans. whoever made that decision should not be allowed to work in disaster relief ever, ever again.

#20 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 09:19 PM:

I bought Harper's last week, which is fast becoming my favourite read. Got good stories too. Their lead story is "None dare call it stolen".

I can't read it. I just can't face the possibility it's true. Because if they stole the last election, they can steal any.

#21 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 09:59 PM:

Teresa writes: Now, j h, a lot of those Nader voters have repented.

I know. I'm one of them. I campaigned against him in 2004. I'm one of the many people who helped make sure he didn't win the nomination from my party.

But I just know I'm going to apologizing for those Nader contributions in 2000 for the rest of my life. That dolchstoßlegende problem sure is a vexing one— and it ain't just the conservative wingnuts who like to play that card.

Here's what I'm saying: am I partially to blame for the current state of affairs? Yup. I know exactly what I did to help bring it about. Not proud. No, I don't really have a very good defense for it. And yeah— I often wonder when somebody I know is gonna lash out at me in person, because Nader's votes in Florida 2000 would have been enough to make a recount not worth considering. There's a long list of reasons I could trot out for why blaming me for the Bush 2000 "victory" might not be very productive, but when people get cranked up about being "stabbed in the back," they tend not to care about the virtues of being reasonable.

Gee, I'd love to join in the pointing of the Finger Of Accusation at all the people who seem culpable for the misery and death in New Orleans. There sure does seem to be a lot of them. Some seem more liable than others to me. The sailor in me says that Bush and the top three or four layers of Federal emergency management below him should be arrested and put on trial. He also says there's plenty of local and state blame to go around. Plus the media, the insurance companies, the fiends who hired Blackwater USA, the NOLA and Gretna police. And can I get an amen for giving Joe Lieberman a raspberry after how he let Michael Brown off so lightly in his confirmation hearing? OMG, I could keep apportioning blame all day long.

But I wonder how many people want to hear it from a guy who gave money to Ralph Nader for President in 2000. Just saying.

#22 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 10:06 PM:

Nice post, j h.

I like what commenter David Byron said the other day over at Factesque:

"How's this for a strategy "progressives": imagine the GOP were the far left and just lay into them.

Not too many GOP'ers spent five years blaming Perot for the Bush loss in 1992. They organized and pushed Clinton into a rearguard conservative black hole. I'm a big fan of third parties, and I'm rarely going to castigate people for voting for them.

I just wish there was a second party to vote for.

#23 ::: bob mcmanus ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 10:18 PM:

I swore in 1973 I would go to my grave never having voted for a Republican.

I do blame Bush. I have called him a "baby-killer" in public, meant it, and can defend it in cases of at least two nations. He belongs in Brussels next to Milosevic.

But I got to say I am extremely disappointed that this country doesn't look like Chicago '68. I do not like any Democrats who voted for the bankruptcy bill. We are in intolerable times, and we should not be tolerating them. Our kids will suffer for our aversion to confrontation, even violence.

#24 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 11:51 PM:

I'm skipping all the comments for a second to note that I couldn't bear to read the "Grieving Process" post again. I just couldn't. I wouldn't be able to do the rest of the things I need to do tonight if I start thinking about how close we came to dumping the bastard, and about how many people jeered when he won.

#25 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 12:04 AM:

I'm still not sorry--okay, yes, I am sorry, but not guilty--about voting Nader in 2000.

The difference between Gore and Bush didn't seem life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-happiness-threatening, and I don't know of anyone who claimed at the time that it was.

By election day in 2002, however, I decided to commit to the Democratic Party, for reasons both practical and principled. (And would I have voted in 2000 for the Al Gore of 2002? In a minute!)

If anyone wants to bash me, feel free so far as I'm concerned--I'm not going to suddenly become a Republican, or a Green--but consider whether you might get someone else's dander up negatively.

#26 ::: Saheli ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 12:14 AM:

I don't know of anyone who claimed at the time that it was.

Sigh. I wish I had had a blog then because I could then prove to you that I, at least did. Of course you didn't know me, but that's your own damn fault. :-)

Seriously, I still hear the same sentiment--"there ain't no goddman difference"--even now. And it's like, geez, did we really need to go through all this pain to prove there was and is?? Can't people just look at the voting records and the oversight committee work and donor lists and executive orders carefully instead of with the resolution of a 10-by-10 pixel screen?

But most of the voters are forgiven, at least in safe states like Cali & NY. I don't think I can forgive the ones in Florida though. And I don't think I can forgive Nader for misleading people about a lot of important stuff.

#27 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 12:47 AM:

Well, I was not in a "safe state"--Arkansas--but losing that one was Gore's own fault. And again, I'm not saying there is no difference, or that even then there wasn't any difference, but that the difference was sufficiently small as to make the risk of Bush vs. Gore worth the chance of getting traction for the Greens. The fly in the ointment: The Greens aren't politically competent.

Like I said: Sorry, yes. Guilty, no.

Honestly, I expected Bush to be another Reagan--bad, but not a break with the democratic tradition. If there was a flaw in my reasoning, it was that the right didn't need another Reagan.

Anyone who wishes to mock me for the word "If" above, feel free.

#28 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 01:36 AM:

This might more properly belong on an open thread, but, as it's certainly about blame, it belongs here, too:

The guy who heckled Cheney has made a DVD of the incident, and he's selling it on eBay to help pay for the house he lost to Katrina:

Go F**k yourself, Mr. Cheney

He tells an interesting story, too.

#29 ::: Alexis Duncan ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 02:34 AM:

adamsj:

Tellest thou me of 'ifs'? Thou art a traitor: Off with his head!

Actually, I voted for him too. My excuse is that I didn't have a working TV at the time, and only knew about the race what I read, and couldn't believe that a coddled dimwit playboy princeling with a lifelong history of failure was any kind of electoral threat at all, $40 million or no. I assumed my 2000 vote for Nader, as my 1996 vote for him, would be a futile protest in the face of a landslide victory for an increasingly rightist Democrat party.

Anyway, you can't pin a thing on me personally, as my state went Gore. :P

#30 ::: NeoLotus ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 04:17 AM:

Blame game? This isn't a blame game! It's about ACCOUNTABILITY you shitheads*!

*by shitheads I mean the Retardicans otherwise known as Republicans.

#31 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 08:16 AM:

Carol Kimball wrote:
Is there anyone still out there who thinks Bush was legally elected either time?

Yes. My father, for one. People who don't read blogs. Lots of them. I talked about it him, described Bush as not having been elected, and he said "Oh, you mean the voting machines or something?" like it was natural attrition and just a normal, all in a day's work thing, not a huge, culpable miscarriage of justice, let alone deliberate.

#32 ::: CJG ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 08:53 AM:

Hi Teresa,

As a former lurker around these parts, I'd just like to add some trans-atlantic support for your sentiments here.

We should be deeply, deeply suspicious whenever we are told that this is not the appropriate time for finger-pointing or political point-scoring (as we in the UK were after the London bombs, the de Menezes shooting, etc). Because, sure as fate, such pious finger-wagging is immediately followed by some guy in a suit - or a uniform - producing a 600-page dossier from under his desk, that he just happened to have prepared for a situation like this; a dossier that will almost invariably involve some combination of (a) exculpation of the government from any blame (q.v. Hutton enquiry); (b) proposals that would be highly controversial in any other circumstaces (e.g. recent proposed amendments to UK 'terror' laws), or (c) no small amount of finger-pointing of its own ('radical' clerics assumed the role of 'scapegoats of the month' after 7/7).

It's entirely intelligible that certain figures with politcal agendas of their own would rather those who noramlly seek to hold them to account responded to such events with unfocused emoting rather than questioning and analysis. But it's incumbent on us to keep our eyes on the ball, & to speak what we see, more than ever at times like this.

Sorry, this reply was longer than the original post. How rude!

C.

#33 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 09:01 AM:

I'm going to sound all old-fashioned here, but there's just no other way to say it: RIGHT ON!!!!!

I guess 'Word' means sort of the same thing, but can you imagine shouting it? Doesn't work for me. Right on^1000!

Also...I'm a Particle! I love it! Thank you!

#34 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 10:26 AM:
Asked Tuesday about critics who said the commitment of large numbers of troops to the Iraq conflict hindered the military's response to Hurricane Katrina, [Defense Secretary Donald H.] Rumsfeld said, "Anyone who's saying that doesn't understand the situation."

Meanwhile:

Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said that "arguably" a day or so of response time was lost due to the absence of the Mississippi National Guard's 155th Infantry Brigade and Louisiana's 256th Infantry Brigade, each with thousands of troops in Iraq.

"Had that brigade been at home and not in Iraq, their expertise and capabilities could have been brought to bear," said Blum.

And:

Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, whose waterfront home in Bay St. Louis was washed away in the storm, told reporters the absence of the deployed Mississippi Guard units made it harder for local officials to coordinate their initial response.

"What you lost was a lot of local knowledge," Taylor said, as well as equipment that could have been used in recovery operations.

"The best equipment went with them, for obvious reasons," especially communications equipment, he added.

All quotes from here.

#35 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 10:40 AM:

Regarding Nader, despite the fact that his ostensible political views probably match mine better than Gore's or Kerry's, a major reason I didn't vote for him either time is that it seems obvious to me that he'd be an absolutely terrible President of the United States. He's at least as much of a sociopath as George W. Bush.

#36 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 11:47 AM:

I really have trouble blaming Nader voters. Who else is there to vote for? There's the far-right party, and the Republican party.

#37 ::: Jon Stopa ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 11:54 AM:

Nadir was a GOP psy war op. Just the thing you should suspect from a family who included a former President who ran the CIA at one time. Next time take a closer look.

#38 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 12:22 PM:

My husband had me read this article before he let me read who wrote it. When I saw the author's name, I went out to check for the Second Coming. Please remember when reading this, the author was widely and strongly perceived as the person "hung out to dry" by the Bush administration for the spy-outing leak. The author, under very trying circumstances, has been very strongly supportive of the Bush administration. I'm not saying he's right, wrong or that any of the circumstances were right or wrong. I'm saying keep this in mind when you read this article.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/09/08/lawyers.katrina/index.html

#39 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 12:50 PM:

bob mcmanus: Chicago '68 is just what we don't need; it tipped enough of the fearful middle that Nixon got an absolute majority even with the South going for Wallace. (Compare with recent elections, where the US minus the South went Democrat.)

SeanH: demanding a popsicle when the choice is broccoli or brussels sprouts gets you nowhere.

#40 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 12:57 PM:

It lets you maintain your integrity and principles. For a lot of people, that's not nothing.

#41 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 01:10 PM:

SeanH: Politics is the art of the possible.

To be uncompromising, when one has a chance of winning, noble. To be uncompromising when losing isn't going to do damage, noble.

To be uncompromising when one can't win, and losing will to lots of damage, foolish.

To compromise, when losing will do lots of damage, and winning will make it possible to try again, without the damage having been done, laudable.

#42 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 01:14 PM:

I'm not really taking sides here - I'm not American, and I wasn't of voting age in either election. I'm just saying that I can absolutely empathise with somebody who couldn't vote for Gore and stand to look at their face in the mirror again.

#43 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 01:28 PM:

I agree with Patrick as regards Nader's personality. Of course, if I was going to refuse to vote for sociopaths that would somewhat limit my choices each time I went to the polls.

That said, I'm curious why, as this discussion gets hashed out yet again, the (ahem) elephant in the room again gets a free pass.

To wit: How many Florida Democrats voted for Bush in 2000?

#44 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 01:57 PM:

Terry, those abstractions do nothing useful.

They do not tell us *how* to compromise, and which compromises are only lures to damnation, and to be avoided like the plague, and which compromises are not compromises in the sense of each side trying to get what they can for their own self-interest, but rather, what the hell can we do with the few resources and tools and frail persons we have left to us in this shipwreck?

That, like the "all men are sinners, so none may criticize" of the godly, is deadly pablum.

It is time for passivity to end.

It is time for us to act.

Now. Before they finish the long-planned, long wrought theft of our country by legal, democratic, overt and covert subversion.

#45 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 02:06 PM:

Shrug...sorry but I don't repent voting for Nader the first time.

3rd party and all that. Plus I live in Colorado where, for the 2000 elections, we were basically told we were a Bush state regardless, (I have yet to met some one in this state that is for Bush and voted either time. I'm sure they exist, I can't find them though)

Last year it was Kerry simply because, well the reasons have been repeated forever.


#46 ::: Neil Rest ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 03:40 PM:

Real Republicans believe in personal responsibility.

Real Republicans believe in acocuntability.

Real Republicans have had my sympathy since 1980, when not just their party, but their entire vocabulary was stolen.

#47 ::: bob mcmanus ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 03:57 PM:

"Chicago '68 is just what we don't need; it tipped enough of the fearful middle that Nixon got an absolute majority even with the South going for Wallace"

1) Too many people focus way too much on the Presidential elections, and not enough on Congress.
2) An actual practical non-union non-socialist left was developed in the late sixties. Feminism, environmentalism, gay rights, etc. It wasn't only the fearful middle that was tipped.
3) I don't think change is going to come either thru the media or the ballot box. We have let it get too far, let them gain too much control. But that's me.

#48 ::: crystal ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 05:05 PM:

Lin: my head a'splode!!!

#49 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 07:50 PM:

Time for me to my exposition again on my post-libertarian take on voting.

No candidate with a chance of winning is going to get me what I most want. But candidates do differ significantly from each other a lot of the time. So I can vote on the basis of vectors - if this person gets their office, are we likely to finish it closer to or farther away from where I want to go?

I find this significantly more useful than "lesser of two evils" approaches because it allows room for positive change, even if limited, to be a genuine good. Since I think it is, the helps me move away from feeling futile toward feeling that I may have helped my long-term goals and values some, and done some good for others, despite the limitations of actually existing people.

#50 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2005, 11:15 PM:

The thing that is probably pointless but that I am now saying is this: I'm not blaming Bush because I want to have a reason to dislike Bush; I've already got those. I'm blaming the government and government agencies, which happen to be under Bush's oversight. If someone else had been President, I'd have just as much blame to hand them.

But no one who is talking about the 'blame game' is likely to listen to this, so it's probably a waste of my time.

#51 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 12:32 AM:

There were people claiming I was paranoid or worse when I fumed about Schmuck back in 2000 as being a threat and menace to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the US Constitution, also the environment, etc. etc. etc.

Nader got on my not-admired list when I was in college and he proposed that each college student involuntarily contribute to his causes fund/group.

#52 ::: Donald Johnson ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 01:15 AM:

The problem with the self-righteous approach to politics (which I practice quite often myself) is that if you want to persuade people you can't let your inner sense of moral superiority get out in the open, because that drives most people away. And perhaps rightly--people who are dead certain of their own moral rectitude are often quite dangerous.

On the other hand, this doesn't mean you shouldn't point out that Bush is a sociopath (probably along with most American presidents, only more so) and you should tell people that if they vote for a monster his sins are on their head. Just do it in a "hate the sin, love the sinner" kind of way. (Too bad that phrase has become associated with Christians who are opposed to gay marriage, because I think it's a useful concept.) I'm not sure how to pull this off--in practice I tend to either rant and rave or back off and get too nice.

On the Nader thing, which I assume came up because it's in the link, like the other Nader voters here I voted for him in 2000 and for Kerry in 2004 and I even thought of saying I'd have voted for the Gore of 2002 back in 2000.
In a way the Gore of 2002 demonstrates the legitimate portion of Nader's criticism of the Democratic party and our political culture in general (which he often overstated in campaign speeches)--Gore evidently felt free to say what he really thought when he wasn't really running for anything and he was trashed for it, if my memory is correct. Kerry was much more mealy-mouthed and voted to give Bush authority to go to war in Iraq and that's who won the nomination, in part because people were afraid of going with a more antiwar candidate. If Kerry really was misled by Bush, it shows extremely poor judgment on his part. It's not exactly unusual for Presidents to lie about reasons for war. They also lie about other things, like the human rights records of the killers they support. Kerry was around during the contra era, investigated contra drug smuggling and had a thing or two to say about the Vietnam War--he's not naive and knew darn well what was likely to happen if he gave Bush authority to go to war.

Anyway, I wish Nader hadn't run in 2000. At the time it wasn't so much the moral purity angle that had me supporting him, though that was a factor (I won't make that mistake again--it's lesser of two evilism for me for the forseeable future). What excited me about Nader was that finally there was someone in the public arena saying what needed to be said about the issues--I actually thought that would help shift the debate to the left. It turned out not to have the slightest effect that way so far as I could tell. Historically it's my vague impression third parties sometimes have accomplished some good pushing their issues, but if so it wasn't the case here. So, yeah, my political judgment in 2000 was way, way off. I noticed, though, that some people who take great pride in their political judgment were certain Kerry would win in 2004 (not pointing fingers at this blog, since I don't know what our hosts said about this.) Being wrong about that didn't have serious consequences (Bush didn't win because a really astute lefty blogger I sometimes read was assuring everyone he was sure to lose), but it goes to show that even smart people who understand politics can be guilty of wishful thinking.

#53 ::: Donald Johnson ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 01:19 AM:

Um, not that I meant that I'm a smart person who understands politics--I'm just pointing out that those types can be wrong too.

#54 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 06:06 AM:

I guess 'Word' means sort of the same thing

It's real popular with the kids these days. But I wanna say Wordy McWord, just becuz.

And yes, Ralph is sociopath. He has no fucking clue. He does bring up Important Issues, but Jeebus Christmas, he'd probably wind up being a worse president than Bush, 'cept differnt.

He hates anybody who disagrees with him a bit. I vaguely remember a story about some bill he managed to get before Congress, but Congress being what it is, it got tweaked and darted and stuff, but it was half a loaf, something at least toward what he wanted, and he raised a hissy fit.

It got voted down, and one liberal Democratic legislator punched the "No" button saying, "This is for you, Ralph," because he was such a dickhead.

Anybody who thinks Ralph would be a good president is a moron.

#55 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 06:41 AM:

Oh, and since we're on the subject, can I just reiterate how reprehensible I find people who vote to make themselves feel good?

When you vote for the President of the United States, you are voting for the Most Powerful Man in the Known World*. Our Constitution is set up so there are two parties. It is what it is, and I don't want to hear any cavilling about how nice it would be if we had a parliamentary system, because we don't.

Presidential elections are The Thunderdome: Two men enter and one man leaves.

It affects people all over the world, because we're the 800-pound gorilla of the world, and more than that, it affects the children in your neighborhood, and they can't vote. Tell their Bill Keane big eyes how voting for Ralph made you feel better.

Talk to me when you've built up an organization, when you've gone block-to-block all across America.


* Offer not available in dumbass countries that start wars for no fucking reason and let their citizens die on the fucking streets.

#56 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 09:06 AM:

Bruce Baugh, as usual, makes a great deal of sense.

That's the principle I've voted on ever since I've been old enough to vote. It doesn't always work though -- at least, maybe I'm just not good enough with plotting the vectors. I voted for Blair the first time.

It seems to me now that the worst possible situation is where someone is elected such that they can act as if they have been elected to a dictatorship where they can do whatever they want.

The best possible situation in a parliamentary democracy is a minority government or where one party has a small majority and the government can get thrown out at any time. That's when issues get examined and held out to dry, when everyone pays attention to what people think, when parliamentary votes matter and are scrutinized and when writing to your MP can really make a difference. Both parties stay hungry and careful. There is no complacency, and no ramming things through. Genuinely popular bipartisan bills are brought forward, because that's what can get passed.

This can allow tiny third parties to be influential. This can be bad or good -- good with the Greens in Germany in the eighties, bad with the Unionists in Britain in the late nineteenth century.

But the more I look at the alternatives, the more I agree with Churchill that parliamentary democracy is the worst of all possible systems except for all the others.

#57 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 09:12 AM:

The "feel good" news:

'This is the right thing to do':
Shaq urges others to help out victims of Katrina

He's collected a warehouse full of items, all the way up to beds and refrigerators, to go into the Katrina area. However, the trucks have to be unloaded when they get there, so the items can be distributed, and Shaq doesn't know how the distribution will be done.

And now the "don't feel good" news:

U.S. Envisions Using Nukes on Terrorists

WASHINGTON -- A Pentagon planning document being updated to reflect the doctrine of pre-emption declared by President Bush in 2002 envisions the use of nuclear weapons to deter terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States or its allies.

All I can assume is that the Shrub thinks (as Ronnie apparently did) that nukes are just a bigger form of explosive.

#58 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 09:32 AM:

So, I was watching this completely unbelievable piece of fiction the other day. It was about these reporters who investigated the president of wrongdoing, kept digging for the truth even after threats started coming their way, and in the end were vindicated when the truth finally got out, a big hearing happened to investigate, and the president resigned. Gawd, what unrealistic tripe. Everyone knows its all about "access".

#59 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 09:34 AM:

please select which of the following would be best:

Watergate
Katrinagate
Leveegate
LeaveTheGateWideOpenGate


#60 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 09:36 AM:

It's too bad, but

"IfThisHadBeenATerroristAttackThisIsTheBestResponseWeGotGate"

is just too long.

#61 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 09:56 AM:

"Traitorsgate"

#62 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 10:06 AM:

hamletta,

When you say:

Presidential elections are The Thunderdome: Two men enter and one man leaves.

I think you are being a bit simplistic.

The idea of a presidential election as a contest between two men is part of the problem. The whole party apparatus down to dogcatcher wins (to some degree) or loses (to a much greater degree).

To some extent, this colors my local thinking, since here in Arkansas, we have a remarkably civilized Republican Party power structure, at the state level. Of our three post-Reconstruction governors, two of them were remarkably effective in taking on key challenges of the time: It was the original Win Rockefeller who beat Faubus, and Mike Huckabee who took on school consolidation.

Looking back on the first case, I'd've voted for Rockefeller in a minute--the Democratic Party needed, and got, a lesson about civil rights that it otherwise wouldn't've.

As to the second case, though, despite having good things to say about Huckabee's performance, I still wish Jim Guy Tucker (who was framed during the Whitewater "scandal") were governor.

Anyway, I didn't vote for Nader in 2000 to feel good. I voted in the hopes of building an opposition party. The Democratic Party wasn't it, and it still wasn't it when it rolled over for Bush's vanity war in Iraq, but given that the Greens aren't politically competent, I decided to become a Democrat anyway. Now, we've got every chance to do it.

We'll see how it goes.

#63 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 10:51 AM:

Greg, I'm inclined to call the overall hurricane damage "the Gulf Coast Disaster," and the man-made horrors that followed "the Drowning of New Orleans."

#64 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 10:59 AM:

j h woodyatt wrote "I wonder how many people want to hear it from a guy who gave money to Ralph Nader for President in 2000. Just saying."

Most people who remember that they were once younger and even less well-informed than they are now will consider opinions from such a source, I think, and accept, modify, or reject them according to perceived merit of the ideas.
(Disclosure: I seriously considered supporting Nader in '00, being reasonably certain that the Republicans wouldn't carry California, but decided against it on the grounds that the Democrats were utterly fixated on the idea of gaining votes by moving to the Right, and of making sure the popular vote was clearly anti-Bush.) Even Nader supporters in Florida, if properly repentant, need feel no more guilt than approximately half of the other voters. America now has a lot of people who actually like what the modern Republican Party stands for, or who think they do. Maybe all (or the best) that the rest of us can do is try to make sure their understanding is accurate (according to our perceptions), rather than being based on PR-spin.


#65 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 11:55 AM:

Hmmmm... the government was keeping people in, and aid out. To me, that's not the drowning of New Orleans; that's the siege.

Besides, while it's not the intent, calling it "the drowning of New Orleans" plays into the rumor among the evacuees that the levees were deliberately blown to chase them away (by descendants of the same local uppercrust who did something similar in an earlier generation, blowing up a levee to flood out poor blacks, and keep the Mississippi flood of 1927 away from New Orleans itself). Then again, the local gentry doesn't do itself much good by telling the press (here and here) that that excluding their erstwhile poor fellow citizens is, in fact, exactly what they want...

#66 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 11:57 AM:

Xopher writes:

Also...I'm a Particle! I love it! Thank you!

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Although, since you seem to be in an excited state, I fear for your stability.

May the instant of your decay be far off.

#67 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 12:19 PM:

Xopher, that explains the particular admiration I've had for your posts.

Anyway. You know that little "clap your hands" song that went around a couple years ago, based on Tom Tomorrow's "Bomb Iraq" strip? From the looks of this thread, and the Nader-shaped wet spot on the pavement where the dead horse of the 2000 Election used to be, I think it's time to dust off my plans to re-rewrite it.

If the right steals an election, bash the left
If the right steals an election, bash the left
If the right steals an election,
Lieberman will need protection
If the right steals an election, bash the left.

If Bush restricts abortion, bash the left
If Bush restricts abortion, bash the left
If Bush restricts abortion,
And Delay does reapportion
If Bush restricts abortion, bash the left

If you have no more agenda, bash the left
If you have no more agenda, bash the left
If you have no more agenda,
Civil rights are in a blender
If you have no more agenda, bash the left.

Neocons are way too scary: bash the left
Neocons are way too scary: bash the left
Neocons are way too scary,
Hold your nose and vote for Kerry
Neocons are way too scary: bash the left

(Improvise verses ad libitum, if not ad nauseam.)

#68 ::: Lizzy Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 07:19 PM:

How about the Don'tLetTheDoorHitYaInThe AssOnTheWayOutgate?

No, I know it's too long.

If your dawdling drowns a city, bash the left.
If your dawdling drowns a city, bash the left.
If your dawdling drowns a city,
And the polls are none too pretty,
And your jokes don't seem so witty -- bash the left!

#69 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 07:55 PM:

"The drowning of new orleans".

Yeah, that has a nice literary ring to it.

#70 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 09:04 PM:

"one way or the other, we need to know things like, oh, who actually made the decision to prevent the Red Cross from going into New Orleans."

That would be the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, an office of the state government.

I'll be glad to point fingers, as long as they're pointed in the right direction. The state government kept out the Red Cross. The Gretna police kept people from leaving. The New Orleans city government proclaimed a "mandatory" evacuation a single day before landfall that 100,000+ people were physically incapable of complying with, and failed to use its own assets and follow its own plan to get them out.

The Feds showed up in force as quickly as they ever have, within the period of time promised (48-96 hours) after disaster struck, and things got a hell of a lot better damn quick after they did.

#71 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 09:20 PM:

hamletta: Our Constitution is set up so there are two parties.

Incorrect. If anything, I'd argue that the original provision of making the runner-up Vice President was one of many blows against the idea of having parties at all. Patrick has argued, and I to some extent agree, that the two-party system is a (predictable?) result of the Constitutional structure -- but that has nothing to do with the intent of the Constitution, which was a juggling act among many groups of people -- too many of whom did not see even after the war that Franklin was dead right when he said -"If we do not all hang together, we will certainly hang separately."- It is probable that a parliamentary system could make room for more parties -- but note how little actual power is wielded by the third party in England, which was more or less the inventor of the system. (I remember a Brit 31 years ago complaining about the parliamentary system, when many here were saying how much better off we'd be with one -- if only because it would have meant a faster exit for Nixon (or no entrance originally).

#73 ::: hrc ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2005, 03:51 AM:

Ken, how was it that the US govt could get relief to Banda Aceh 2 days after the tsunami then? What makes that closer than New Orleans?
Just wondering.

#74 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2005, 07:15 AM:

Ken, it's not like the hurricane was a surprise. The storm damage and flooding was expected, and FEMA had resources in place before the hurricane struck.

It's not like they had to ship the food from Virginia.

#75 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2005, 10:10 AM:

the two-party system could just as easily be explained as an outcome of the voting method that requires voters to vote for only one person, rather than using the condercet voting method. As soon as you have straight-voting, it becomes a strategic advantage to have a party big enough that can possibly get at least 50% of the votes. any smaller groups will automatically get shut out.

If the constitution had directed that voting be weighted like the australian method, then a party system wouldn't be neccessary to get yourself into office. Good people could get elected even if they aren't endorsed by the parties. with weighted voting, you might see multiple parties emerge, rather than having parties aggregate themselves until they reach a 50% threshold.

Of course, I don't know if australia has parties, or two parties, or many parties, but it would be interesting to know.

#77 ::: Jenny K ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2005, 09:15 PM:

hamletta, what CHip said

If anything our constitution was designed as if parties did not exist, not in order to create two opposing monolithic parties. Washington in particular was violently opposed the idea of political parties in general.

re: Nader

I was one of those new voters who also happened to be mad at the Democrats at the time and was considering voting for Nader, knowing that the state I was in would almost certainly got to Gore no matter what I did. I didn't because I decided to simply vote for the best candidate rather than trying to play politics with my vote, and because I realized that if I was that upset with the Democrats, then there were other things I ought to be doing instead.

Personally, I also think there's a lot more Democrats could do about Nader voters besides dumping all the blame on them. Part of the problem seems to be that most Nader voters were young voters, and neither party cares about young voters. Supposedly the parties don't care because younger voters don't vote in large numers, but I also think that those those in charge make so little effort to change that (and the abysmal voting habits of Americans in general) because they don't want to share the power or have to negotiate with another group. If young voters did come out in numbers large enough to "make a difference" that would force their elders to make room for them at the table.

#78 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2005, 10:24 PM:

Jenny: I have read that young voters turned out in record numbers for the 2004 election. Don't know whether it was particular efforts to call them, or having a campaigner who clearly meant what he said, or....

#79 ::: windypoint ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 01:48 AM:

Those who didn't vote at all are much more culpable than those who voted for Nader.

#80 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 02:04 AM:

Greg London wrote:

Of course, I don't know if australia has parties, or two parties, or many parties, but it would be interesting to know.

Here in Australia we have a great many political parties, far more than most people realise--until they go to vote in elections, and are presented with ballots featuring candidates for all manner of tiny groups they've never heard of.

The main parties here are:

The Australian Labor Party (once represented left-of-centre causes, including workers' rights, but have been moving ever rightward for some time);

The Liberal Party (who are actually deeply conservative tories);

The National Party (often in coalition with the Liberals, they represent regional and rural interests);

The Australian Democrats (a small group founded by a Liberal Party guy who left, fed up with corruption and party-machine politics--their original catchphrase was that they would "Keep the bastards honest" by maintaining the balance of power in the Senate);

The Greens (left-of-centre group in the Senate, interested in workers' rights, the environment, human rights generally);

You also see a scattering of independents in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. At times in recent political history, independents have actually had the balance-of-power, and found themselves courted by both mainstream groups (the Lib-Nat Coalition on one hand, and the Labor Party on the other) in order to get things done.

The other unusual thing about politics and elections in Australia is that voting in state and federal elections is compulsory for all citizens. There are always a few conscientious objectors who refuse to participate, and others who deliberately mess up their ballot papers, but these are a tiny minority.

Hope this helps. If I've got something wrong, my apologies. I know there are a few other Australians posting here. If you guys have anything to add, please do.

#81 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 03:26 AM:

Nicely explained, Adrian. Wouldn't it be great to say that our system for electing a head of state was infinitely preferable to the US one. Alas, our system at the moment consists of hoping the Windsor family will produce an appropriate heir. Mind you, some would argue that this system has worked better than the US one, at least in recent years.

#82 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 06:01 AM:

Adrian is absolutely correct to say that there are many more Australian political parties putting up candidates than anyone would think possible, but not many get representatives into Parliament. At the moment there are rather more small parties represented than usual, but the makeup of the Houses is: Lower House: 60 Labor, 74 Liberal, 12 National, 1 Country Liberal and 3 Independent (2 conservatives, 1 slightly less conservative.) Senate: 28 Labor, 33 Liberal, 5 National, 4 Australian Democrats, 4 Greens, 1 Country Liberal, 1 Family First.

Translations: Labor: Once social democrats with roots in the union movement, now more or less Blairite, nervously freetrader. Liberal: Socially reactionary, fiscally dry, populist, hate trades unions with a passion. Strongly freetrader. National: Liberals for protection. Democrats: Liberals for lattes. Greens: Socialist, environmentalist, protectionist, and will be elected to government the day Satan opens a skating rink. Country Liberal: What you get from five generations of cousins marrying. Family First: The same, but as the name implies, even more so.

#83 ::: flaring ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 02:13 PM:

Adrian said, "...voting in state and federal elections is compulsory for all citizens...."

What happens to you if you don't vote?

#84 ::: windypoint ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 05:06 PM:

What happens if an adult Australian doesn't vote? A fine, and if you don't pay that or give a good reason, more fine, a court case, a criminal record and possibly time in prison if the judge thinks you are trying to overturn the system of compulsory voting by your actions.
Compulsory voting in Australia.

Better details are provided in the link from that page to a PDF. The Australian Electoral Commission is the bit of our public service that does the hard work in organising polling places, counting of votes etc. They do a remarkably good job.

#85 ::: Jenny K ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 07:28 PM:

CHip

Young voters did turn out it record numbers, but I'm not sure about voting rates (remember that the current 18-24 year olds are a part of the baby boom echo). I do know that many papers erroneously reported the opposite, that young voters did not have a good turn out (which isn't true if you take recent history into account).

I also know that if 18-29 year olds had their way in the 2004 general election that Kerry would be president, and that they are the only age group for which this is true. Despite this, there were many blog posts and news articles proclaiming that young voters once again let the Democrats down. I also know that much of the hype about Arnold appealing to young voters was wrong - 18-29 year olds were the least likely to vote yes on the CA recall and for Arnold. It's possible that his running increased turnout, even among younger voters, but he certainly didn't win because of the support of younger voters.

I also know that it's not strictly true that younger voters tend to vote for democrats and older voters tend to vote for republicans. It's more accurate to say that younger voters tend to vote anti-establishment and older voters don't, and that there are observable generational trends. Baby boomers and the current 18-29 year olds tend to lean left, the 60+ crowd and the current 30-45 year olds tend to lean right. Which is (part of) why in '92 and '96, when today's 30-45's made up most of the 18-29's, the third party candidate was Ross Perot, but in '00 and '04 it was Nader.

#86 ::: flaring ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 07:44 PM:

windypoint said, What happens if an adult Australian doesn't vote? A fine, and if you don't pay that or give a good reason, more fine, a court case, a criminal record and possibly time in prison if the judge thinks you are trying to overturn the system of compulsory voting by your actions.

I think I like this idea. Do Australians generally support this or do they view it as an infringement on their liberty?

#87 ::: windypoint ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 09:43 PM:

Most Australians are OK with compulsory voting, except for a very few frothing mouthed ratbags at both ends of the political spectrum.

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