Why I’m Not a Republican

Although I’m a lifelong Democrat, a former Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate, and in 1992 a Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives, I have for many years now denounced in writing the policies of the national Democratic Party. I have even written a book of denunciation: Can a Catholic Be a Democrat? (Sophia Institute Press, 2006), and for the past six months or so I have been giving exhibits of this denunciation on the web pages of InsideCatholic.
All this has led some Democrats to accuse me of not being a Democrat — of really being, in my heart of hearts, a Republican. To these critics my standard reply is that the United States is not Stalin’s Soviet Union: Here, party membership is not determined by ideological orthodoxy. It is determined by voter registration; and if you check the records at City Hall in my home town of Newport, you’ll find that I’m still, as I have been for nearly a half century, a registered Democrat.
On the other hand, a lot of Republicans, aware that I agree with them on many things, including my support for the presidential candidacy of John McCain, have asked me why I don’t take the final step in my evolution toward conservatism by simply registering as a Republican. I’ll try to answer that question in this article — cautioning the reader, however, that I’m not suggesting that anybody should follow my example. I offer my account simply as a case study. Maybe it will shed light on why many old Democrats, though disillusioned with their party, remain unwilling to cross the aisle.
So here goes. In no particular order, here are some of the reasons I am not a Republican:
1. It irritates me that Republicans have adopted the habit of speaking of the Democratic Party as the Democrat Party (dropping the final -ic). This is worthy of eight-year-olds hurling insults at a playground. Every time I hear a Republican say “Democrat Party,” I can’t help thinking to myself: “How childish, petty, and stupid Republicans must be to think that this is a clever thing to say.”
2. If I were to register as a Republican, I’d be aligning myself with the Rhode Island Republican Party, and for decades this party has been dominated by the Chafee family, John and his son Lincoln, both of whom served in the U.S. Senate. Indeed, for much of this time the Rhode Island Republican Party could be described, without much exaggeration, as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chafee family. While I have great respect for the Chafee family (especially the late John, who, as governor and later senator, was one of the outstanding figures in the history of the state), both father and son were solidly pro-choice.
Since one of the chief reasons I am disillusioned with the national Democratic Party is its support for abortion, what would I gain by switching from one pro-choice party to another? Besides, in Rhode Island, Democratic members of the state legislature tend to be conservative (like me) on issues of abortion and same-sex marriage; on such questions ours is probably the most conservative state in New England.
3. I am made suspicious and nervous by the animus many Republicans have for “big government” and the “welfare state” along with their superstitious belief in the virtual infallibility of market mechanisms. I’m old enough to remember FDR (I remember the day he died; I had turned seven three days earlier), not to mention Truman and Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. I can’t forget that they used “big government” to promote the general welfare (in Catholic thought, more usually called “the common good”).
Think of the roll call: Social Security, unemployment compensation, minimum wage, the TVA, the Wagner Act, the GI Bill of Rights, the FHA, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and so on. I grant that Democrats tend to have too much faith in big government and that they have the very bad habit of believing that you can solve all problems by “throwing money at them.” But that Democrats sin by going to one extreme doesn’t make me feel comfortable when Republicans sin by going to the opposite extreme.
4. Democrats, I concede, put too much self-congratulatory stress on the “compassion” they feel for underdogs. Many underdogs would be better off if, instead of being the “beneficiaries” of compassion, they were told that they live in a relentlessly competitive society and that they’d better get a grip on themselves if they don’t want to remain at the bottom of the league. Nonetheless, compassion for the underdog is a good thing, and many Republicans, I fear, have far too little of it. I am reminded of this almost every time I hear Rush Limbaugh on the radio: Limbaugh makes me laugh, but he also makes me cringe.
5. My fundamental reason for not turning Republican is something I learned reading Aristotle’s Politics. The normal condition of politics in a Greek city-state, as Aristotle saw it, was a struggle between oligarchs (the relatively small number of rich) and democrats (the non-rich majority). In order to maintain a peaceful and orderly society, it was necessary to maintain a balance between the oligarchy and the democracy, with neither party becoming so dominant as to drive the other to revolution-provoking exasperation. In a modern industrial society, it is normal that there should be two principal parties, one dominated by big business, the other by the “little people.” Ever since the presidency of General Grant (1869-77), the GOP has been dominated — and continues today to be dominated — by big-business interests. (My Republican friends, I observe, hate to be told this, but it’s true all the same.)
Now I have no objection to the fact that big business dominates one of our major political parties. It is right that this should be so — what a strange world it would be if big business, with its great intelligence and vast resources, were not able to dominate one of our two parties! It’s just that I, for reasons of temperament and personal history, prefer being with the party of the “little people.”
And this brings me to my fundamental objection to the national Democratic Party. It is no longer the party of the little people; it is no longer a (small-d) democratic party. The United States is today in the odd — and, to my mind, very dangerous — situation of being dominated by two oligarchic parties.

By

David R. Carlin Jr. is a politician and sociologist who served as a Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate. His books include "Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?: How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion" and "The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America." Carlin is a current professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island at Newport.

  • Joe H

    Especially with the last paragraph.

    Thanks for this article, it is a breath of fresh air after all this Palin stuff.

    One thing to remember about Aristotle’s Politics is that while his solution to the plight of the poor citizenry (excluding of course slaves, women and foreigners) is to try and help them acquire property so they can help themselves (A may have been the original distributist), his solution to the problems caused by wealthy citizens putting their own interests ahead of those of the polis is to run them out of town.

    It made sense then, and it makes sense now.

  • Margaret

    I was four years old when President Eisenhower was elected, and will always remember the day after the election. My Polish Catholic mother was muttering to herself about the results. While I sat at the kitchen table, she told me that the Republicans were for the rich and the Democrates were for the middle class and the poor. A few years later, I would understand that our family was something like upper-lower/lower-middle class.

    Fifty-six years later, after a good education and lot of hard work that allowed me to retire early, I consider myself well off, even rich. I’ve enjoyed advantages in this life that many will never know, through no fault of their own. If I pay a few extra dollars in taxes and someone’s life is made better as a result, that’s fine with me.

    In 2004, my mother died a Democrat at age 91. What a blessing it will be for me to do the same!

  • Bear

    Regarding point 1 — I heard another Democrat, err, member of the Democratic Party make this point the other day, and it was the first time I had ever heard the distinction. I imagine I have used “Democrat” and “Democratic” interchangeably for years without being conscious of a difference. Now that I know, I’ll try to use the preferred “Democratic”, but I bet many are just as ignorant as I had been. Don’t assume that anytime you hear “Democrat” it’s meant as a slight — most people probably weren’t aware there is a difference and that it bothered you guys.

  • Ginny

    Fifty-six years later, after a good education and lot of hard work that allowed me to retire early, I consider myself well off, even rich. I’ve enjoyed advantages in this life that many will never know, through no fault of their own. If I pay a few extra dollars in taxes and someone’s life is made better as a result, that’s fine with me.

    Margaret —

    This is the most sensible comment I’ve ever read on this site.

    Thanks for saying it so beautifully.

  • Rob

    David,
    Your points are well-taken and I believe you speak from your heart but like a another member of the DEMOCRATIC party, Zell Miller, all I really care about are the positions and principles one takes. I am a Catholic Christian before all things, then a conservative. It just happens that I adhere to the principles of more Republicans than I do Democrats. As a matter of fact, the Democratic party stands for just about everything that I do not.

    The party of Truman is certainly not the party of the Clintons, Pelosi, Reid and Obama.
    Being from Missouri, I believe Harry would be embarrased. You list ALL those govt. programs and truly when I think of the money spent on the Johnson “Great Society,” in hindsight of course, but what a sad waste of tax-payer dollars, $TRILLIONS of them.

    As for Rush Limbaugh, I love the guy. He has changed America for the better. Our country is in such sad shape, morally; I cringe at what it would be like without conservative talk-radio. The DEMOCRATIC party, the mainstream media (NBC,CBS,ABC, CNN), Hollywood celebrities are ALL one and the same. Talk radio is the one method that allows the rest of us to offer the TRUTH.

    People can believe whatever they want. People are entitled to their own opinion. They are not,however, entitled to their own facts. The Republican party if far from perfect but as a Catholic, they are clearly, hands-down, the absolute and ONLY choice.

    As has been said,
    “If what you say you want is contradicted by what you do, then you are lying to yourself and all you have said it to.”

  • Steve

    I left the Democratic Party 6 years ago (after nearly 30 years) and became a Republican mostly because of two reasons. First and foremost because pro-life positions no longer had a voice within the Democratic party. If the Republican Party becomes a predominantly pro-choice party like it is here in NY and like many neo-cons would like it to be I will change to another party or “no party” at all.

    For me and my wife we must vote, even locally, for that choice which will stop the slaughter of innocent people. I don’t feel we have a choice about this. The advantage of having George Bush as president has far outweighed the damage, or perceived damage, he has done. His appointments to he Supreme Court, his principled resistance to late term abortion, embryonic stem cell research, unmarried teen-aged abortion (not notifying the parents), support of abstinence awareness, and the fact he wasn’t a pornographic politician like Clinton, Spitzer etc. has made a material difference in the political conversation.

    We too studied Aristotle (St.John’s College) and Mr. Carlin does us a great service by pointing us in that direction. I would be particularly interested to read what his solution, or anyone’s, for making our parties and our elected officials much, much less oligarchic. Any ideas?

  • Rob

    Steve,
    The chastising of whom I think is a genuinely, decent man like George Bush is simply deplorable, especially in light of his very brave decisons in his first term. Since then, however, even a conservative like me have derided the president for simply foolish and pandering OVERSPENDING and for his ridiculous chummying-up (along with his dad) to the human stain and ultimate dirtbag, Bill Clinton. I do not get it.

    The selection of course, of John Roberts and Sam Alito, will always be lasting legacys for George Bush. The next president will most likely appoint 2, perhaps 3 to the highest court.
    McCain or Obama? The USA has already allowed 45 million to die. Of the two candidates, who do you think would do more to end the culture of death?

  • Kevin

    Thank you for your very interesting piece, Professor Carlin! Even if I disagree with some of your positions, I can appreciate the sentiment behind them and I respect your points. As a linguist, I would point out something about your first point on “Democratic” vs. “Democrat” Party as a label. Insofar as big “D” Democrat and small “d” democratic do not coincide in meaning, it’s more technically correct to refer to the “Democrat” Party, and it’s certainly not an insult to do so. Maybe some people do use it as an insult of some type, but I don’t, and it’s for exactly teh opposite reason. If one says “Democratic” Party, then there is an implication there that the Republican Party is not democratic (little “d”), which I do not believe to be the case.

    I appreciate and agree with your last point, as well. Anyone who pretends that either of the two major parties here in the US are not beholden to major special interests is fooling himself above all else. Republicans have Big Business interests, yes, while Democrats have teachers’ unions, workers’ unions, trial lawyers, environmental dictators, etc. We shouldn’t be so naive as to believe that reformers like Palin will rid Washington of all special interests, nor should we want that to happen in an open society like our own. However, I think Palin (and to a lesser extent, McCain, whose support of campaign finance reform has been disastrous and un-Constitutional)) have the right instincts overall when it comes to fighting for individuals and the little guy over the big special interests. Most importantly of all, I have to agree with you and all of the above posters that the Democrat Party has become a wholesale subsidiary of the abortion and contraception mentalities, and that the Republican Party (the majority of them) still fight for the unborn and their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Bear wrote: Regarding point 1 — I heard another Democrat, err, member of the Democratic Party make this point the other day, and it was the first time I had ever heard the distinction. I imagine I have used “Democrat” and “Democratic” interchangeably for years without being conscious of a difference. Now that I know, I’ll try to use the preferred “Democratic”, but I bet many are just as ignorant as I had been. Don’t assume that anytime you hear “Democrat” it’s meant as a slight — most people probably weren’t aware there is a difference and that it bothered you guys.

  • Joe Marier

    “Oligarchs”? What about Warren Buffett? George Soros? Angelo Mozillo/Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac? The entertainment industry? The major media? The hedge funds? The fact that the corporate money went right to the Democrats when they took over the House and Senate?

    I’ll concede T. Boone Pickens, but it seems to me that the oligarch knife cuts both ways.

  • August Driscoll

    But McCain and Palin are both Republicans in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt, who wasn’t afraid to use the Federal Government to solve problems. Did you see McCain’s speech Thursday night? He wasn’t pandering to an audience of party Republicans. He was offering himself as a leader, and from what I saw they accepted his leadership. McCain/Palin can remake the Republican party. It’s time to come on board Mr. Carlin, and help push the party where it needs to go. Because in this election there is only one party that will preserve and defend the American dream. As far as big government solutions to everything, never gonna happen. Did you see Obama’s speech last week? He promised us the world if only we’ll put him in power. Did that speak to your Democratic heart? Because if it did, that shows the problem with being a Democrat. The Republican party at its best is a party of and for small business owners, and McCain/Palin will accentuate that with their populist message. The best we can hope for is a world where people have a chance to do for themselves.

  • Jeff

    I don’t doubt the Republican Party was once aligned with Big Business. But we have a situation here where the Democratic Party talking point has lived on while the underlying reality has changed.

    The Republican Party is far more at home with Small Business. Who are the small business owners? They are your next door neighbors. They are the contractors, the chiropractors, the restaurant owners, the accountants, the plumbers — you get the idea.

    These small business people are Republican because we want to see them succeed, we don’t want to handicap them with the costly nanny state regulations Democrats impose on them, such as smoking bans, excessive benefits requirements, excessive insurance requirements, and the granddaddy of them all, punitive, obscene taxation that smothers most of them before they ever get a chance to succeed. We want those small business owners who survive and prosper, when they reach the end of their lives, to have the dignity of being able to decide for themselves what to do with their personal estate (such as bequeathing it to the Church, which many successful people do, or would like to do) without the nanny state Democrats confiscating half of it first — a final, heartless insult after taxing these folks mercilessly all their lives.

    Big Business, I can tell you first hand, is neither Republican nor Democrat. I’m sorry if that offends the Democrat mythology, but it’s a fact, and anyone on the inside of Big Business knows it. Big Business gives its money and its influence to whomever is going to WIN. Big Business has learned to live with government’s hostility toward them. Like an obedient vassal, Big Business pays its fees to its feudal lord in the hopes of getting favorable consideration. This is how the game is played, and again, I can tell you first hand, Democrats play it as well as Republicans.

  • Margaret

    Ginny wrote:

    Fifty-six years later, after a good education and lot of hard work that allowed me to retire early, I consider myself well off, even rich. I’ve enjoyed advantages in this life that many will never know, through no fault of their own. If I pay a few extra dollars in taxes and someone’s life is made better as a result, that’s fine with me.

    Margaret —

    This is the most sensible comment I’ve ever read on this site.

    Thanks for saying it so beautifully.

    Thank you, Ginny! We owe the “sensible” to my mother. For someone with an eigth-grade education, she was very literate and had a lot of common sense and compassion. Everything I am I owe to her and my dad.

    Thanks, again!

  • Teri

    I call it the Democrat Party because it is made up of Democrats.
    The Party itself is not Democratic. I point to democrat voters not being able to vote in the primaries in Florida, Colorado and Michigan and a few other caucus-only states as proof. I point to the powers that be allowing corruption in the Party in Chicago, Louisianna and New York to make the calls without democratic process or full disclosure because of a complicit media. When I speak about the Democratic Party, I say Democratic-Not Party. I say “Democratic” and “elites” with facetiousness.

    For instance how can the “little guy” be poor, uneducated, entitlement receiving (that they didn’t work for) and exclusively entitled “elites.” Excluding elites want to perpetuate their myth to control the clueless proletariat?

    I vote Republican because with the Democrat “choice-not,” the party has forced my “choice.”

    The common myth that Republicans are the party of the rich while being peopled by back country hicks and trailer trash just doesn’t hold water.

    The majority owner of evil big business are little old widowed ladies and retirement dollars, the stockholders. That’s a fact. It’s not called widow’s insurance for nothing. Most of those stockholders are Democrats. Many Democrats run these corporations, just look at the political contribution lists from your party.

    If Republicans are so evil, don’t be surprised when they move overseas to a better more business friendly climate or move up to better mechanization without costly employees, profitable to their owners, the stockholders. What do you think the pope was talking about when he spoke on globalization? Listen to the pope. Don’t be so naive.

    If you are a baseball player and another team makes you a better offer, nobody begrudges the opportunity taken.
    If you have a cultural climate of toxicity at work or in a marriage, and you have assets built up that you can live off of comfortably, you quit. Nobody says you have to work at all or stay in that place. That would be psychological suicide. Its the same for business.

    Lifelong study has shown me that those who make their money, position, or power way too easy are Democrats with a tendency to whine. Those who work, protect and defend their nest egg are Republicans. Democrats condescend to take their old, stained, torn, worn out stuff to Goodwill and call it “charity.” They also take the ‘entitled’ charitable deduction. Republicans use their things and throw them away when its time is up. Both folks pay taxes, but Democrats itemize all deductions; Republicans don’t take niddling deductions. Republicans accept the burden because joy and beauty are too precious to waste.

    Life is full of much beauty and truth, and the rare beauties of a well placed drive or great putt are a joy forever.

    Ronald Reagan was a Democrat at one time until he saw that the Dems had become what they hated. He moved because he had to stay consistent to his beliefs, whatever his newly adopted Party was calling itself.

    The only thing the world disrespects about the USA is its media that they see/hear/read; they love this country. Just ask them; they can’t believe the country actually laps up that media stuff.

    Its global world. Embrace the challenge. Travel and learn. Improve your position. Turn off the telly, pick up a book, do something for someone else and tell no one. Medicine won’t let you die til you’re 90. Stop being so parochial.

  • Mere Catholic

    Rob wrote: Since then, however, even a conservative like me have derided the president for simply foolish and pandering OVERSPENDING and for his ridiculous chummying-up (along with his dad) to the human stain and ultimate dirtbag, Bill Clinton.

    Rob- do you realize how even your cogent arguments for Republican principles get lost in statements like this? A human stain and ultimate dirtbag? At the heart of the prolife movement is the belief that every life has intrinsic dignity. All men fall short of the glory of God, some more than others, but no man is a human stain- he remains God’s creation. Charity towards all men is a Catholic obligation too!

  • Jeff

    Mere Catholic wrote: At the heart of the prolife movement is the belief that every life has intrinsic dignity. All men fall short of the glory of God, some more than others, but no man is a human stain- he remains God’s creation. Charity towards all men is a Catholic obligation too!

    Mere Catholic, I was one of the folks who was livid during the Clinton administration, not for his politics, but because he became a symbol to the country of the guy who could do anything and get away with it. Was he displaying courage and fortitude, as his admirers claimed, or was it narcissism? I thought it was the latter, because it involved what he later admitted were lies. And I felt that many in our nation were deliberately confusing character faults with virtues. They were calling evil good, and good evil. This was horrifying to me. It still disturbs me how willing so many were to look the other way, to abandon basic principles, for political advantage.

    Years later, I heard that Bill Clinton was gravely ill and required open heart surgery. Remember that? For what it’s worth, I prayed earnestly for him the day of his surgery. It never occurred to me that the man himself was anything other than God’s own; and to this day, I’ve never doubted that he was (and remains) capable of greatness, but I do believe he squandered his presidency, which is a tragedy on many levels.

  • William

    When members of my family or friends who are blindly Democrat NOI (No Offense Intended) accuse me of being a Republican WECIS (What Else Can I Say), my stock reply is that I’m a Roman Catholic and vote Pro Life ROPA (Regardless of Party Affiliation). And AHBL (All Hell Breaks Loose) when they insist that one is first a Democrat and then a Catholic.

  • Rob

    Mere Catholic…..
    Of course, your charitable thoughts toward Clinton are very nice but sorry, I cannot bring myself to be so understanding. If a punk like he would have just returned home to Arkansas and buried his head in shame, never to be seen again, I would never say anything about him but he chooses to be as public as ever. Of course, God created him and we all make our own decisions. So yes, Bill Clinton, the same guy who 2 weeks ago was met with adoration amid the glory of those throngs of all those goofy Democrats, all those awesomely intelligent folks out there in Denver, socialists all.

    I am highly flawed, I openly admit it but I am NOT politically correct.

    Being a Catholic Christian does not mean we just accept all the world chooses to try and impose on us. We are in a huge culture war and simply calming the rhetoric will not lead us any closer to anything but defeat.

  • Rob

    Mere Catholic…..
    Of course, your charitable thoughts toward Clinton are very nice but sorry, I cannot bring myself to be so understanding. If a punk like he would have just returned home to Arkansas and buried his head in shame, never to be seen again, I would never say anything about him but he chooses to be as public as ever. Of course, God created him and we all make our own decisions. So yes, Bill Clinton, the same guy who 2 weeks ago was met with adoration amid the glory of those throngs of all those goofy Democrats, all those awesomely intelligent folks out there in Denver, socialists all.

    I am highly flawed, I openly admit it but I am NOT politically correct.

    Being a Catholic Christian does not mean we just accept all the world chooses to try and impose on us. We are in a huge culture war and simply calming the rhetoric will not lead us any closer to anything but defeat.

  • Robert Mosby

    The notion that the Republican Party is dominated by big business, and its corollary, that the party is ipso facto oligarchic, square with my experience nor with policy bents of the parties.

    First, as matters both of fact and of public record, contributions to the Republican party come primarily from smaller donors and independent small business people. This has been true since Reagan. The reason is that these donors and voters see opportunity as well as the possibility of civic Aristotlean virtue through the power of conservative policy.

    Second, as a matter of general observation, really big business tends, as Smith observed, to seek government favor and protection in the from of monopoly. In our day, this most often means cooperation or collusion with the party of regulation and taxation, which is certainly the Democratic Party.

    Third, big business and the oligarchs of inherited wealth have a strong incentives to resist the hallmark conservative commitment to keep taxes low. This is because they already have theirs and high taxes nearly always reduce the likelihood of the innovation that ultimately reduces the valuse of their enterprises or financial assets.

  • Robert Mosby

    (1) The first sentence of my post #18 above should read:
    The notion that the Republican Party is dominated by big business, and its corollary, that the party is ipso facto oligarchic, squares neither with my experience nor with policy bents of the parties.

    (2) The consistent thrust of the Democratic Party since the late 1960s has been against any Aristotlean notion of civic vitrue. Instead, the party defines civic virtue in terms of absolute personal autonomism, the ultimate nightmare hangover of Kant and the Enlightenment.

    In pursuit of such autonomy, the Party at first emphasizes democratic (small “d”) procedural decision making. When the procedures do not yield the desired result, Democrats in general are perfectly satisfied with judicial override, despite the constitutional distortion it usually indulges. Abortion is, naturally, exhibit Number One.

    An appeal to Aristotle fails to bolster David’s case.

  • Mere Catholic

    I too was born a democrat and come from a wonderful family in the Midwest.
    I know what you mean about being for the little guy. I don’t really see that in the Democratic Party anymore. They seem to only cater to the special interest groups. The Democratic Party is too socialistic. You can’t pander to certain people without taking some of the Freedom’s away from other people. We can’t have a Robin Hood Society. What I see from the Democratic party is not what is good for the country as a whole and the people as a whole, but what is good for certain ones. The people that I see interviewed all think they are being promised something for them individually. The Federal Government does not need to take care of individuals. They need to empower individuals with their own means of taking care of themselves and society. Through our State’s and our churches and our communities we can make this the great country that it is meant to be. The Federal Govenment should protect us from harm and let us keep as much of our hard earned money as we can. I am pro life and I do not want my hard earned money used to pay for and profit a person who is taking the life of another. Our Country was founded on Life, Liberty and the Persuit of happiness. Life is the most important. If a person is denied that, he certainly can’t persue happiness.

  • Bridget

    I never met a Democrat who didn’t want a “freebie” from the government for themselves or others. It relieves their consciences of having to dig into their own pockets to help the poor and marginalized. Now I believe in helping the poor but I don’t expect government to do it ALL. Republican donate MORE to charities then Democrats. Nancy Poloesi, a very rich woman, says she’s for the poor yet her donation this year was to the “Arts”. Hmm, government should take care of them according to her policies.

  • Discouraged Voter

    When it comes to moral behavior, George W. Bush makes Bill Clinton look like a saint. Clinton made a stupid personal decision, then lied about it, hurting himself and his family. His party stuck by him because Clinton governed well, witnessed by the relative prosperity enjoyed by all Americans in the 1990s.

    Bush, on the other hand, repeatedly lied to the American people about matters of national security, sent 4500 Americans to their deaths in order to pander to his base, oil companies and the military-industrial complex, and by applying negligent economic, trade, regulatory and fiscal policies, flushed the American economy down the toilet.

    I acknowledge Clinton’s personal failing. Bush’s immorality led to his failed presidency.

  • Jeff

    Bush, on the other hand, repeatedly lied to the American people about matters of national security, sent 4500 Americans to their deaths in order to pander to his base, oil companies and the military-industrial complex, and by applying negligent economic, trade, regulatory and fiscal policies, flushed the American economy down the toilet.

    The Democrat Party took control of Congress since 2006.

    They did nothing.

    Now, either the congressional Democrats know full well that what you just said is nonsense, or they believe it and just don’t care.

    Either way, I think you have helped make it very clear that it’s time to remove the Democrat Party from power.

  • JC

    I like your idea about balancing interests: it’s definitely the foundation of the American system. However, Plato has far more in keeping with the policies of the Democrats than Aristotle. What strikes me about the _Politics_ is how Republican Aristotle is: for example, he insists that government hand-outs to the poor create laziness and drunkenness.

  • Ben

    In the US (and most places with just a few parties) there always have been several parties of oligarchs; it’s just that one plays at being tyrants who hand out trinkets to the mob, the other honestly panders to the wealthy.

  • Mere Catholic

    Being a Catholic Christian does not mean we just accept all the world chooses to try and impose on us. We are in a huge culture war and simply calming the rhetoric will not lead us any closer to anything but defeat.

    I never suggested that you should tone down your legitimate arguments about cultural issues. Of course, as Catholics we must debate issues and never surrender our moral claims. Still, I’m not sure how you plan on winning the cultural war by calling someone a human stain or a dirtbag.

    It never occurred to me that the man himself was anything other than God’s own; and to this day, I’ve never doubted that he was (and remains) capable of greatness, but I do believe he squandered his presidency, which is a tragedy on many levels

    Jeff, I agree with your assessment of Clinton’s presidency. I voted against his ticket for his second term, when I first gained the right to vote. I think his presidency was a moral failure with all the anti-life legislation, and the Lewinsky scandal only magnified his weaknesses. The intent of my post was not to defend his actions but to acknowledge that he has inherent human dignity, as do all of us.

  • Joe H

    Re. your first point: Carlin is also taking a panoramic view of history here. I mean, you can point out what may be true “since Reagan” but I think Carlin made pretty clear that this is what the Democratic Party has historically been, and has only began to loose recently. Read his last paragraph again.

    Additionally, the GOP has garnered votes from rural America on values issues mostly; even a lot of Republican pundits and commentators will admit that values trumped the economy in 2000 and 2004 (though I say if all the votes were counted, it would have been moot). Aristotle had no conception of a “culture war”; to him oligarchy simply meant the rule of the rich. So poor and middle class support of the GOP does not make it a non-oligarchic party.

    The Democratic party could be called a small d, democratic in the Aristotelian sense party against the oligarchic Republican party if you look it at in terms of budget priorities, the distribution of the national income, etc. Democrats do support programs that distribute the wealth of the country back to the poor and working class. Republicans support policies that, to put it bluntly, make the rich richer today, with the promise that everyone will benefit eventually. If we go by this criteria Carlin’s analysis holds up just fine, though, as he says at the end, the Democratic party IS becoming more oligarchic since the New Democrats came to town.

    Now I realize that people will object to taxation, to social programs in principle or on utilitarian grounds. That’s fine, but I’m not arguing for them in the positive sense here. I’m simply saying that, as long as we have taxes and someone is spending them, Democrats spend them on the lower classes (effectively or ineffectively) and Republicans cut them so that the wealth can “trickle down” (so they say).

    I think 30 years of supply-side philosophies have produced nothing but failure, but supply-siders will always say it is because their theories were never taken far enough.

    Re. your third point: come on. Big Business just wants one thing; to get the hell out of America. Why did we hear McCain and his pit bull talking about taxes leading to capital flight? Mom and pop’s corner store isn’t going to relocate to Mexico when taxes are too high; Wal-Mart is. Big business constantly threatens local, state and federal governments with the prospect of capital flight if taxes aren’t cut.

    But you guys just argue whatever works, right? To score a point against Democrats, big businesses can suddenly become friends of high taxes because of some distant reverberation effect against competitors that don’t yet exist. Give me a break. You’ve attributed a degree of diabolism to big business that a) isn’t very rational and b) not likely to provide any immediate, short-term returns, which is all they really care about, especially in America.

  • Joe H

    Why not just admit to being the party of oligarchy and making the case for it?

    Because we’ve become so obsessed with pandering in this country that we’ll stop at nothing to out-populize one another.

    For my part, I don’t care if an “east coast liberal” becomes the president, if someone who went to Harvard becomes the president, and to tell you the truth, I don’t think a small town hockey mom with a vindictive style of politics should be next in line for the presidency.

    This is what the GOP has done – it has shifted the axis of America’s dislike of elitism from elitist policies to elitist personalities. It has made a lot of flash and noise and got people to turn their heads and focus on petty, small issues. I don’t mean the social issues because they were barely mentioned at all during the RNC. I just mean the constant implications that Democrats hate small towns and want to bulldoze them into parking lots for their art museums and coffee shops. It’s insanity.

    If you believe in oligarchy, stand up for oligarchy. Stop cloaking it in phony small-town enthusiasm. Maybe the herd will hiss and boo you down, but I’ll respect you smilies/smiley.gif

  • nan

    I don’t see how calling your party the democrat party is insulting. Demoncrat I can understand. I find it depressing that the very elderly aunts and uncles I have left will pull the lever for that party without understanding what it currently represents. They don’t know that that party wants to take away their money and give it to people they would NEVER support. They don’t understand how that party has been overtaken by people who not only hate their values to the point of loving evil, but have made a sacrament of abortion.

  • Tony Esolen

    Joe,

    I know you don’t want to hear this, but the Democratic party policies since I was a kid have nothing to do with giving a helping hand to poor families, and everything to do with a self-perpetuating industry of dependency. The family is in their crosshairs and has been, all that time. Back in the 70’s you could at least have an argument with pro-marriage, conservative Democrats, whereof there were quite a few. That is gone now. I cannot vote for the party that considers that families are nothing but private associations of people, of arbitrary sexual composition.

    You want to help working class FAMILIES? Here are a few suggestions. All of them would make the left blanch:

    1. Raise the tax deduction for child dependents.
    2. Provide legislation for cheap catastrophic health insurance; most young families who have insurance have a good deal more than they reasonably need.
    3. Roll back the movement to require credentials for jobs that have nothing to do with the credentials required. In plainer language, make getting a college education LESS valuable than it is now, in terms of the future money the diploma can earn you.
    4. Replace money for college loans with money for start-up small businesses.
    5. Repeal all legislation requiring quotas of women on construction crews, road crews, and so forth.
    6. Reinstate shop, drafting, and other vocational-technical instruction in high schools.
    7. Teach trades in the prisons, over the objections of the unions.
    8. Repeal no-fault divorce laws coast to coast. Easy divorce threatens most those families that are already on the edge.
    9. Reward women who marry the fathers of their children, rather than punish them.
    10. Repeal compulsory schooling laws — which have the perverse effect of wasting some of the prime earning years of certain kinds of young men, who might otherwise at age 21 have five or six years of skilled labor under their belts.

    By the way, if you really like small towns (and I do), you will want to give them authority:

    11. Appoint only judges who have a severely modest view of what they are supposed to be doing. In other words, return authority from the judiciary to towns, counties, and states.

    A corollary:

    12. Eliminate every single department of education, coast to coast. You want a school? Build it, staff it, and oversee it yourselves….

    What we have in this country is a more or less old fashioned liberal party (the Republicans, cozy with both government and business, but still retaining a sentimental attachment to civic liberty and the family) and the party of sexual antinomianism, also cozy with big business, and trusting in the boundless capacity of Really Smart People to Decide Everything — the Oligarchs of the Media and Academe and the Judiciary, not to mention hard-left foundations (MacArthur, Ford, Rockefeller). They’ll decide who you can rent your apartment to, what drugs you have to prescribe even though they violate your conscience, what kinds of teams your school has to have even though they are expensive and not popular, what prayers your football players can say at halftime, what pictures will adorn your kindergartener’s textbooks, and on and on and on. I can’t vote for that party. And that doesn’t even get to the issue of killing babies.

  • Rob

    Discouraqged voter,

    Why be discouraged when you have a messiah to vote for? Those intellectually naive talking points stating all the negatives of George W. Bush lead to one question….has the USA been attacked since Sept 11, 2001. Many liberal Democrats wish we had although obviously they would never admit it. These are the same liberal Demons who were hoping. (notice not praying)
    that Hurricane Gustav would impose havoc on New Orleans. They could blame George Bush and totally mess-up the convention. One of your leading statesman, Michael Moore even acknowledged God anticipating the catastrophe. Then he went back to the cheeseburgers and donuts.

    One thing you must remember about the lowlife degenerate Bill Clinton is he was forever blessed in 1994 when Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America began.

  • Joe H

    Tony,

    I don’t mind hearing criticism of the Democrats. I sympathize with them on economics in that I believe their policies will do less damage than GOP policies, but I’m not in love with them.

    I actually agree with almost all of your 12 points – I wouldn’t get rid of college loan money, and would find something else to get rid of, such as tax breaks for the wealthiest 1%, to go into small-business start ups and especially workers cooperatives.

    The GOP “trickle down” philosophy is and has been a massive economic failure. What it really means is, “give corporate America everything it wants” – the more we give it, the more we cut taxes, the more we bust unions, the more we roll back caps on market share and anti-trust laws, the more we deregulate and fail to hold corporate America accountable, the more we spend BILLIONS in bail outs of rotten financial institutions – the more we do all of that, the more corporate America wants. It will NEVER be enough. So someone has to draw the line.

    And to me, it is plain that Obama is going to draw the line in a number of places to the best of his ability, while McCain is determined to continue feeding the beast. I don’t honestly believe that Obama would interfere with OUR grassroots efforts to improve our local communities in ways we see fit (never mind what the government does or does not do for us), but I do believe McCain is going to cater to and serve those economic interests which are directly involved in tearing up the economic foundations of communities.

    That said, I’m not saying I’m voting for Obama because I’m not done weighing the pros and cons. But I know I will NOT be voting McCain-Palin.

  • L.B.

    12. Eliminate every single department of education, coast to coast. You want a school? Build it, staff it, and oversee it yourselves….

    AMEN!! I work for an east coast state D.O.E. and sent my children to (not totally perfect) Catholics schools! If it meant changing jobs to make this country better I would do it in a heart beat – our children and our country’s future depends upon it.

    John McCain was absolutely right – school choice will be the civil rights movement of the 21st century. If you truly want to change America, if you truly want to uplift the poor, if you truly want to be globally competitive – this is the answer. This is change I can believe in.

    Obama definitely wants to change America all right… that’s why I’m voting McCain/Palin.

  • Tom

    I have always maintained the position that the very wealthy stand to benefit regardless of who gets elected. Now, there is nothing wrong with the rich getting richer in a capitalistic democracy like ours. What I do resent is the misleading perception that the Democrats are somehow going to redistribute the wealth in this country to include greater considerations for the poor and the middle-class. That’s simply nonsense. Wealthy Democrats want to stay rich and get richer as much as the so-called “big-business Republicans.”

    Barbara Streisand, Leonardo DeCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and countless numbers of other very wealthy Democratic lawmakers – are they so wealthy they need the Democratic Party to step in and alleviate them of their burdensome wealth? Many of the above mentioned have been wealthy and Democrat for quite some time, and are wealthier this year than they were a year ago.

  • Discouraged Voter

    Discouraqged voter,

    Why be discouraged when you have a messiah to vote for? Those intellectually naive talking points stating all the negatives of George W. Bush lead to one question….has the USA been attacked since Sept 11, 2001. Many liberal Democrats wish we had although obviously they would never admit it. These are the same liberal Demons who were hoping. (notice not praying)
    that Hurricane Gustav would impose havoc on New Orleans. They could blame George Bush and totally mess-up the convention. One of your leading statesman, Michael Moore even acknowledged God anticipating the catastrophe. Then he went back to the cheeseburgers and donuts.

    One thing you must remember about the lowlife degenerate Bill Clinton is he was forever blessed in 1994 when Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America began.

    Juvenile attacks, a Rovian trademark.

  • Robert Mosby

    We should let David defend his own theses, a task for which he shows real talent. However, consistent with the “panoramic view of history”, as Joe H presented it, the Romans should have believed that the Vandals would fail, Byzantines that Ottomans would fail and everyone believe that Christ had not risen from the dead. All were without precedent and likewise the Reagan makeover of the Republican Party.

    My point here, as in my posts 18 & 19 above, is that the reasons David gave for not changing parties run aground on such shoals.

    In addition, contra Joe, I did not “attribute(d) a degree of diabolism to big business”. It is simply that those with particular interests naturally form groups to influence politicians in what they perceive to be their benefits. This is as true of teachers as of pharma companies, of unions as of insurers, of arts agencies as of universities. There need be no diabolism, indeed there seldom is. But in point of fact, small business people tend to be Republicans for the reasons I gave.

    It is too easy to confuse oligarchy with the obvious fact that most of the people who work in politics in whatever party tend to be motivated, connected and talented. Some have money, most do not. Some position, most not. As it turns out, Republicans tend to have more small contriibutors. Just the other day about 6 miles from us, Job Bon Jovi held a $29,000 per person affair for Obama. There were ~100 attendees. It was preceded by a $3,200 reception for Obama. This does not suggest that all (most?)oligarchs are Republicans.

  • George

    Republicans, I find, are more in line with the principle
    of subsidiarity which is more in confromance with the basic
    philosophy and theology of the Catholic Church.
    The present Holy Father,the previous one, Mother Theresa and even non-Catholic religious leaders such as Dr. James Dobson
    have time and time again stated that abortion is the pre-eminent
    issue of our time and that therefore it takes precedence over
    any other issue. Benedict XVII, when he was a cardinal, said
    that one could disagree over issues such as war and the death
    penalty and still be a good Catholic. Not so with abortion
    and same-sex marriage. These have always and will be forevermore
    grave sins against God.

    Political contributions(this came out earlier this year)

    From OpenSecrets.org, some of the industries that have given Obama money: lawyers, $17.8 million; securities and investments, $7.9 million; education, $7 million; real estate, business services, miscellaneous businesses, health professionals and TV/movies/music, more than $4 million each. Computers/Internet, finance, civil servants and public officials, printing and publishing, commercial banks, hospitals and nursing homes, construction services, all ranging from almost $1 million to more than $3 million.

    Obama said he now eschews public financing because the devil (McCain and the GOP) made him do it; Obama supposedly is at a disadvantage because they are “fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special-interest PACs.”

    To which FactCheck.org replied: “We find that to be a large exaggeration and a lame excuse. In fact, donations from PACs and lobbyists make up less than 1.7 percent of McCain’s total receipts, and they account for only about 1.1 percent of the [Republican National Committee’s] receipts.”

    Here’s a final word from FactCheck: “[T]he Democratic National Committee has historically been far more reliant on PAC and lobbyist money than the RNC. In 2004, PACs provided about 10 percent of the DNC’s total fundraising and only about 1 percent of the RNC’s total. Obama, after he sewed up enough delegates to win the party’s nomination, sent word to the DNC to stop accepting PAC and lobbyist donations.”

  • Joe H

    George writes,

    “Republicans, I find, are more in line with the principle
    of subsidiarity which is more in confromance with the basic
    philosophy and theology of the Catholic Church.”

    How so exactly? You moved directly from this to the abortion issue without explaining how or why.

    If they are “more in line”, it is by a hair’s breadth, not a wide margin. The principle of subsidiarity applies as much to economics as it does to government; that which can best be done on a smaller scale, should be done on a smaller scale.

    We all know that the basic philosophy of the Democratic Party is that government can be a force for positive good – this philosophy taken to the extreme means too much government interference in our ordinary lives.

    But the basic philosophy of the Republicans is to enrich the rich, and that always, without fail, leads to greater concentrations of wealth. Neoconservatism especially worships the golden calf of global markets, which undermine and sometimes destroy the economic foundations of communities. This is not in line with subsidiarity, and the problem is no less real or important because it is impersonal market forces, and not government activity, that is causing it.

    The argument that competition undermines monopoly has absolutely no historical basis. We didn’t need anti-trust laws in this country because the market prevented the development of monopolies, or oligopolies that formed into cartels; we needed them because the unfettered market lead directly to them. Markets do not keep things small, at least not in the long run. That is why an FDR and a New Deal were originally needed – only a referee can keep the game “fair and balanced”. Yes, the size of government grew, and much too large at that, but the original idea was 100% valid, it was based on a completely accurate understanding of what markets with little or no regulation tend towards.

    And this is PRECISELY what the Catholic Church has called for since the middle of the 19th century. It isn’t a liberal innovation, a brainchild of Vatican II, no – the economic teachings of the Church go much further back than that. And the dignity of the worker is the FIRST priority in economic considerations, it is at the TOP of the Church’s hierarchy of values with respect to the economy. You don’t believe me, read the Compendium.

    In the end I think there is a better chance of Democrats scaling back the size of government and turning towards direct investment in communities than there is of the GOP lifting a single finger to address the economic problems caused by the excesses and disloyalty of corporate America.

    That is why I would rather try to make the Democratic Party pro-life than make the GOP pro-worker. At the end of the day, though, I don’t believe real change can come from either party. It has to come from us at the community level, we have to take the initiative where we live. We should never be depending on a political party to do what we can do for ourselves. So I don’t want the Democrats to give me a hand out, I want them to get a grip on the economic forces tearing apart the communities of this country and spend our tax dollars only on those projects which will enable us to help ourselves.

  • George

    No Republican is going to say that we can do without government.
    The dignity of the worker should be top priority. The federal
    government in this country has gotten way out of hand,though.
    Education and Energy are two departments that did not exist
    before Jimmie Carter became president. We are spending what?
    $500 to $600 billion(combined) each and every just on those two
    alone. Academic achievement has been on a downward slide in this
    country since the Dept. of Education was set up. I know a person who teaches in community college who told me he had to
    call a person in and tell her there was no way of getting a passing grade. This person was not college material yet the
    college’s lowered admission standards allows this to happen.
    The federal government pays for students such as this and thereby encourages this “open admissions” kind of thing.
    Either the school system she came out of did not adequately prepare her for college work, or she was not college material.
    Meanwhile, illegal aliens come in and do the work our working class use to do. We should uphold the dignity of all work no
    matter what it is and not allow an attitude of “college or nothing”.

    I’m sure the Dept. of Energy does some necessary things but
    I would think both of these departments could be cut back
    and perhaps reorganized to operate more efficiently. There are other obligations of the state which need to get funding priority.

  • Michael

    “If I pay a few extra dollars in taxes and someone’s life is made better as a result, that’s fine with me.”
    Margaret —

    “This is the most sensible comment I’ve ever read on this site.
    Thanks for saying it so beautifully.”
    [Written by Ginny)

    Very little is “sensible” about these comments… A substantial assumption is made here that paying “a few extra dollars” will ever make “someone’s life… better.” As an example, “extra dollars” clearly haven’t helped [and won’t help] our education issues.
    Can’t we agree that it is better to teach someone to fish…

  • Bear

    Joe H,

    “We all know that the basic philosophy of the Democratic Party is that government can be a force for positive good – this philosophy taken to the extreme means too much government interference in our ordinary lives. But the basic philosophy of the Republicans is to enrich the rich…”

    So you are allowed to define the basic philosophy of the Democratic Party positively and then the basic philosophy of the Republicans negatively? I could just as easily say that “We all know the basic philosophy of the Republican Party is that the government should encourage personal responsibility and independence, but the basic philosophy of the Democrats is moral relativism and creating a welfare state.”

    Such caricatures are not helpful.

  • Joe H

    What I really mean is that the basic philosophy of each party taken too far can be damaging or disastrous. Didn’t I say that the Democratic philosophy taken too far is a bad thing?

    The Republican philosophy of smaller government (and yeah, its a major simplification) is also a good one, but only when the reduced size of government is replaced with something tangible. In the last 30 years, government programs designed to help the poor have shrunk a lot (the overall size of government hasn’t really shrunk much), but nothing took their place. There is no reason why government can’t help people help themselves without growing too large and intrusive. A balance is what is needed.

    In fact what you said about the Democrats is true too. That is where they are at. I say let’s point out the flaws in both parties. I don’t remember any point where I said the Democrats have no problems.

  • Teri

    What do the readers think of the morality of the Bush’s federal bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? This is a strategic economic boost to help the poor and the subprime. The markets are loving it this morning. Falling real estate values will be turned around by buying season next March-August. I wonder if Obama will take the credit for that.

  • Teri

    David pls explain to me how doing away with ‘tax incentives for the rich’ (facetiousness emphasized) hurts the country.

    When Bush and the Congress lowered taxes, tax revenues to the Treasury soared to all time levels heretofore unheard of. What was sold to the voters as a tax cut, fueled unprecedented investment and employment in the private sector. Result- More tax payers and more revenue to the gov’t. Washington was awash in cash.

    Granted there are some sectors of the economy that are hurting as there always are. This last week it was mining, real estate and utilities. Yes some people are hurting because business is finding more efficient solutions to problems, but we all adjust our lives according to changing industrial revolutions when the old ways aren’t viable any more.

    If you look at CNBC or Investor’s Business Daily, IBD, the country is booming in Medical, Business Svcs, Retail, Energy (drill here,drill now), Computer Softwr, Consumer, Machinery, Finance, Electronics and Transports. these are the top 10 today; IBD ranks 33 sectors. Much of the business cycle now is the result of the end of summer break (always a lackluster season in productivity), and anticipating the year end as well as the autumnal back-to-business cycle.

    So much of the political buzz ingores the reality of many businesses in the USA. The world is going more and more high tech. To talk about some 1960’s rendition of the “little guy” shows that the Democratic Party is exploiting ignorance with blanket statements and catering to Special Interests.

    All of Washington knows that this is a country “to, by and for the Corporation.” As the corporation goes, so goes the country. This is a tricky sidewalk. You can’t run a country catering to Special Interests wobbly on perniciously evil morality and greed.

    Under the new light of Bush 43, Clinton’s hedonistic tone to activities (bribery, fraud, licentious, campaign finance abuses) brought long brewing business scandals out of the shadows and lots of people were hurt by a few corrupt men and their ways of doing business.

    When Bush opened the real estate market to subprime individuals in an already overvalued real estate market, the current situation was set in motion. His motive was noble, everyone owning their own home, but the lending industy was using irresponsible criteria – none. Historically whenever people start to flip real estate, the banking and real estate fall is not far in the future. That wasn’t a part of the Bush plan for ownership. Reform needs to be brought to bear to the Welfare state mentality. McCain has a long history at reform.

    For the gov’t to take over entire industries, like healthcare or energy, isn’t the answer. It leads to a different, uncontrollable set of problems to be paid for by you and me, the tax payer. I’d rather see the business take the hit, not all the taxpayers. I worry about the Democratic penchant to take over every industry in which they want to claim profits. Give me Capitalism, not Welfare.

  • ROb H

    What do the readers think of the morality of the Bush’s federal bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? This is a strategic economic boost to help the poor and the subprime. The markets are loving it this morning. Falling real estate values will be turned around by buying season next March-August. I wonder if Obama will take the credit for that.

    I doubt the poor will benefit very much, but at least foreign central banks will continue to buy U.S. Treasuries. We’ll need foreign creditors now that our national debt has gone from 9.3 trillion to (potentially) 13 trillion. Good thing those socialist Democrats aren’t in power.[smiley=wink]

  • Sidney

    Dear Professor,

    I am not a Republican because that party abandoned in the last 20 years its posture of liberty in favor of a war footing that invariably restricts liberty. I am not a Democrat because that party abandoned its posture of liberty about 80 years before the Republicans.

    FDR was a talented guy, but his programs were profoundly anti-liberty. I am often puzzled by the lack of support by Catholics for the political structure most consistent with the social teaching known as “subsidiarity.” FDR, and before him Wilson, and before him Lincoln, and before him Hamilton, all favored centralizing power in the national government. Most presidents since Wilson — Coolidge and Reagan excepted — have embraced the centralized power framework rather than a federalist system to reduce the role of government wherever possible. After nearly 100 years of near-socialist programs, do we not have enough data to show their futility? How many Black families do we have to destroy before we abandon AFDC? How stupid do our children have to become before we abandon centralized and uniform education frameworks? Every act of government restricts the liberty of someone made in the image and likeness of God; such a thing should be done with great care and only as a last resort for a limited time. Catholics should press for more liberty and less government. Instead, they hearken back to warm memories of life at age seven and suggest we need more of FDR. No, we need more of Alfred Jay Nock.

  • Ginny

    “If I pay a few extra dollars in taxes and someone’s life is made better as a result, that’s fine with me.”
    Margaret —

    “This is the most sensible comment I’ve ever read on this site.
    Thanks for saying it so beautifully.”
    [Written by Ginny)

    Very little is “sensible” about these comments… A substantial assumption is made here that paying “a few extra dollars” will ever make “someone’s life… better.” As an example, “extra dollars” clearly haven’t helped [and won’t help] our education issues.
    Can’t we agree that it is better to teach someone to fish…

    Sorry, Michael. I stand by my original statement. I’m also a public school teacher, and believe me: funding does matter.

  • d. denton

    I note that your list of Democratic Party accomplishments stopped with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Haven’t you noticed that there are no further accomplishments that you can point to? What does that say to you? And please don’t blame it on the Republicans. After 1968 the Democratic Party stopped being the Democratic Party and started being something completely different after the McGovern crowd took over. I continue to say I would vote Democrat if any Democrats were left but the last one, Robert Casey, died some time back.

  • Dave Carlin

    To d. denton:

    I agree. In fact I wrote a book (“Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?”) in which I make the case, at some length, that you are making briefly. And in 1992 I wrote an op-ed for the NY Times deploring the ban on Gov. Casey at the Dem Convention.

  • Seamus

    It irritates me that Republicans have adopted the habit of speaking of the Democratic Party as the Democrat Party (dropping the final -ic).

    This is not a habit that Republicans adopted recently. I believe they were doing it during the heyday of Sen. Robert Taft, if not earlier. (That said, I agree that it’s childish and ought to be stopped. I sometimes wonder if Democrats-turned-Republican like Strom Thurmond and Ronald Reagan kept calling the party “Democratic.”)

  • austin

    I don’t think you should consider being Republican. You would lose all your friends on campus & you’d be seen as a fool or worse. Having worked on several university campuses, and having friends teaching in several universities, you’d be in a minority of one. Not worth it.

  • Joe

    When it comes to moral behavior, George W. Bush makes Bill Clinton look like a saint. Clinton made a stupid personal decision, then lied about it, hurting himself and his family.

    Bush, on the other hand, repeatedly lied to the American people about matters of national security, sent 4500 Americans to their deaths in order to pander to his base, oil companies and the military-industrial complex, and by applying negligent economic, trade, regulatory and fiscal policies, flushed the American economy down the toilet.

    Bush didnt lie. He made his decisions based on the information provided by the experts. Bush’s first moral responsibility as President is the protection of the people of the United States of America. I think you should read “America’s Secret War” and you’ll have less of a “American Centric” view of the situation. You are very wrong in your pandering beliefs.

    Secondly, though the Catechism does teach the commandment “shall not lie” is mitigated by circumstance, President Clinton also committed the sin of adultery. The conduct of his “repentance” did far more damage to our nation’s children and the Office of the President than most apologist are willing to face.

    Clinton committed adulterous behavior, WHILE discussing on the phone military matters with a representative. I can think of no greater symbol or act of a President that demonstrates disregard for the members of our military or dereliction of duty to the same.

  • James

    Any one who votes Democratic approves and support Abortion. Abortion is the main Plank of the Democratic Party, that and Marxism.
    The Democratic shrills for power of the citizens, has intelligently divided this US into Black and White.
    Racist to the core, are the supporters and relatives,friends and money behind the Democratic ticket.
    Harry Truman is turning over in his Grave. The Republician Party reflects the policies and govenment of Democrats in Truman’s days. The Democatic party reflect socialists communism and the destruction of American Soverignity and Constitution Rights.
    The threats of Race Riots by Democrats and Racists will only inflame patroitic Americans, black and white.
    So, get a life, or find an nice nitch in Russia or the Middle East to propose your idiot reasioning.
    And I will pray for you.

  • pja

    Mr. Carlin – I was going to give you the benefit of the doubt until you hurled the usual liberal shibboleth that Republicans have a “superstitious belief in the virtual infallibility of market mechanisms”, followed by invoking the saintly JFK, whose beliefs and actions identified much more closely with what would be considered today a moderate Republican. As for “the party of the little people”? T’was never such a thing.

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