The Aftermath... My Black Bear Hunting Excursion: [on Route 9 in Boston] went so-so. I think I got the bear in the knee. The bear acted as though it was only a nick. [The rabbit I ordered was good.]
The Bear attributes to me thoughts and feelings I do not have. The Bear seems to want to stay seven steps ahead of me. Says to me: 'Well that's the only logical conclusion of what you just said!'.... - when it's neither 'logical'.. nor 'the only'.
I came to a realization while chewing on my rabbit: The Bear wants me to put all my chips on either Black or Red. i.e. With the Bear, 'playing a number' is a very bad thing. e.g. I should not think that, on the whole, Regan, Bush-I and Clinton were good Presidents and that GeoW & JimmyC were not so good. Instead, I must chose sides.... either I'm a good-guy Dem - or I'm a dirty, no-good, low-down, tax-adverse Republican. [Note: I liked Geo-I... even after he broke his 'read my lips' promise.]
Seemingly, because I refuse to pick a side resolutely, the Bear tags me as "judgmental". I enter a plea of Guilty to the Bear's charge - I am judgmental. I judge our government's actions - case by case - based of what I perceive to be the merits of each action - or lack thereof... without regard to party. I - as most Americans - will continue to do so.
Note to Bear: Re: your earlier comment on 'being mugged by a bureaucrat': Let me harken back to the Greek philosopher who opined: 'Anyone under 25 who is not a liberal has no heart. And, anyone over 25 - who isn't a conservative has no mind.'
Along my judgmental lines, the House, out of which all spending comes from [unless someone held a Constitutional Convention when I was asleep] ... has been in the control of the Dems for a while. As such, BarneyF, whom I've long, long admired, needs to get used to being in responsible charge. And needs to begin governing effectively - and not just complaining/ finger-pointing. [p.s. You, too, Bear - Stop 'apologizing for the Republicans'. I can tell you as many Administrative horror stories from the Clinton days!]
Thanks for the Tom Friedman article..... on the whole, it seems to state the obvious.
p.s. I never remember professing to be a socialist in the 60's or 70's - seems you've been attributing things to me for some time. That said, if you want to put the tag of 'Marxist' on me... then or now, I may agree. There is a serious difference. Karl Marx had a clue - and gave room to capitalism... Lenin, Stalin Mao, et al... who professed 'socialism' did not. [These latter folks being the one's who were not in favor of a secret ballot.... a la President Obama?]
p.p.s I was not referring to the two page 'bail-out' bill/ act, but to the two page application to get the 'do-re-mi' !
[That's what I read... a two page "Application".]
p.p.p.s. Bear, If Congress cannot get a $700B spending bill right.... other than to make it hundreds of pages more.... - what is it you expect they can get right? Hmmm.. maybe it is time for a Constitutional Convention... - or at least a Presidential Line-Item Veto? [If not under President Obama... - then when?] -- Before or After the next Tea Party?
Next topic to juxtapose? -- FDR sounds a bit like Judge Bork & VP Cheney here.
FDR's Court Packing Speech Mar 1937 -- http://www.hpol.org/fdr/chat/
Great dinner last night as always....until that family moved in next door forcing us to moderate our tone.
Let's start with the factual issue. I won't put words in your mouth. Here's your statement verbatim:Along my judgmental lines, the House, out of which all spending comes from [unless someone held a Constitutional Convention when I was asleep] ... has been in the control of the Dems for a while. As such, BarneyF, whom I've long, long admired, needs to get used to being in responsible charge. And needs to begin governing effectively - and not just complaining/ finger-pointing. [p.s. You, too, Bear - Stop 'apologizing for the Republicans'. I can tell you as many Administrative horror stories from the Clinton days!]First off, there is no constitutional requirement that all spending comes from the House. Here's the relevant passage from the Constitution (Article 1, Section 7):Section 7. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.
Spending bills fall under the category of "other Bills." So, neither Barney's Committee on Banking nor the House in general have any unique Constitutional status as to the sequence of legislation on anything other than tax bills. All those bills come out of the Ways and Means Committee.
And the Democrats have been in charge for all of two years, after six years of complete Republican dominance in Washington, with a Republican President who can veto anything they do. I don't think they can be assigned significant responsibility for our current plight.
Secondly, while you may dispute my information on this, I can say without fear of contradiction that, in Washington, Barney Frank is considered one of the most effective and constructive legislators in the U.S. Congress, House or Senate, by practically all close observers of Congress. These include Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, academics, think tankers and the media. These opinions are based upon observations of him chairing committee hearings and markup sessions and negotiating legislation that actually gets enacted, not based on media interviews, during which he can be impatient, arrogant and rude. The fact is that he enjoys the respect, if not always the affection, of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. He gets things done. This is a fact, whether you accept it or not.
Here's how he's described in the Almanac of American Politics, the political Bible in Washington, which is edited by Michael Barone, a well known conservative commentator:“Frank listens to others’ arguments and engages them in his inimitable rapid-fire delivery. In the 2006 Washingtonian poll of staffers, he was voted the brainiest, funniest and most eloquent member of the House. He is admired even by Republicans for his intellectual rigor and honesty; at the same time he is a wily political operator. He does not profess to be a political theoretician, though few in the House exceed him as such.” Almanac of American Politics 2008
More broadly, I've been thinking since dinner about the real source of our differences and here's my theory. While we differ philosophically, of course, our deeper dispute is a forest versus the trees situation. It was telling when I asked you what political leaders you respect and your first answer was specific acts by specific leaders. When pressed, you then identified Reagan and Clinton. But even then you based your judgment on very specific achievements, not on their broader philosophical approach. I imagine you in a forest sitting on your - yes - judgmental perch, declaring that you like that tree, but you don't like that tree and, based on some information you've received, you are disgusted with a tree in the next forest that you've never seen personally.
In my mind, the more important questions are the approaches politicians and parties take to governing, not this particular decision or that performance in a press conference. I will acknowledge that Reagan had some good qualities and would even acknowledge that his handling of the Soviet Union was effective (although I would argue he was most effective in taking yes for an answer from Gorbachev, against the wishes of his more reactionary staff). But the "forest" of the Reagan presidency set us on a path that has led to this moment of crisis. Because government "is not the solution, it's the problem" we have starved our public infrastructure and schools, vastly increased the division of wealth and diminished our ability to compete economically in the 21st century, all on the altar of lower taxes.
One final point, as to Marx, my recollection of his view was that he "gave room to capitalism" only to sow the seeds of its own destruction. Mao, Lenin and Stalin sought to short circuit the process and go to socialism before capitalism ran its course. And FDR saved capitalism by using government authority to smooth the edges of capitalism and thereby prevent this process from leading to its inevitable destruction, as per Marx's forecast.