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Tags democratic party , political parties , republican party

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Old 8th September 2008, 01:13 PM   #41
PingOfPong
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First, all parties should have close to an even ratio of men to women. Nobody likes a sausage fest... unless you're gay, which is totally cool I guess.

Second, don't play techno/rap/pop garbage on the radio. Really, who listens to that stuff?

Third, would it kill you to get a party platter? Feed your guests!

Fourth, stop inviting Ron Paul over. He's creepy. I saw him hitting on every one else's girfriend and he double dipped his potato chips in the Ranch dressing.
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Old 8th September 2008, 02:05 PM   #42
DanishDynamite
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Originally Posted by stevea View Post
Finally ? The difficulty isn't realizing there is a problem, but changing the situation. The realization has been here for half a century at least.

The parties have evolved in that time, but not in any coherent way. In any case neither patry lives up to it's image and platform when we get down to specific cases.
I suspect the American public doesn't even realize that there is any problem.
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Old 11th September 2008, 06:42 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by DanishDynamite View Post
I suspect the American public doesn't even realize that there is any problem.
I suspect that if you are really Danish, that you don't have a clue. Everyone I talk to is aware that there are fundamental problems, tho' few clear solutions. The very real problem that you seem to be ignorant of is that a constitutional convention may be needed to correct the system and that's a complex and risky issue.

I think that if a national referendum was held tomorrow, then at a minimum we could eliminate the electoral college system and go to a direct majority (or some reductive plurality) system for president & vp. But of course the constitutional amendment process is quite risky.

Having said that - exactly why are YOU interested, foreigner ? Last time I looked Danes can't vote in US elections (that privilege is reserved to citizens and illegal mexican immigrants).

You certainly must know that your constitutional monarchy government is no panacea. 63% marginal income tax rates for income above ~$70kUSD, ~1% econ growth rate, The Danish gov't takes over 51% of GDP ! You have a brain-drain and a youth drain from excessive taxation. Do you realize how ridiculous Denmark seems when they permit female monarchs rather than eliminating this horrible, archaic, anti-egalitarian title ? The Danish constitution is chock full of rights and privileges of the Monarch !!!! Your country still has a state religion specified in the constitution - that is insane ???

OK, I was in Copenhagen briefly last January. Nice place to visit, tho 'I'd have no interest in living there ((al least beer prices were closer to reality than in Sweden)), but you are in no position to comment about the US implementation of democracy, and your condescension is insulting. A land of 5.5million of which 95+% are ethnically uniform is not comparable to the US. We have more Norwegian Americans or NYC residents as there are Danes. It's a different set of problems and a different magnitude of problem here.
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Old 11th September 2008, 09:44 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by DanishDynamite View Post
I suspect the American public doesn't even realize that there is any problem.
Hi DD,
I think you are right that the majority of Americans have not contemplated how winner take all elections leads to two party systems.

But I think you either exaggerate the advantages of political systems that tend to have multiple parties or you exaggerate the problems with the American winner take all system.

Perfect Democracies don't exist whatever they would be. Special interests will have more power than the general public on particular issues in any system. No system provides that exactly the will of the people is implemented in all cases. All systems that might be called a Democracy allow people to vote to oust leaders where a consensus has developed that the people want somebody else, but beyond that the people are largely dependent on the integrity of their leadership which given the human nature of that leadership can be problematic.

A system that leads to two significant parties like the American system is guaranteed to develop parties that most people are somewhat unhappy with because the leadership of both parties tries to move the party positions so as to capture the most voters. Ideology is not the primary driver for party leadership. But the same kind of compromises that are made within parties in a two party system need to be made between parties in multiple party systems. I don't see a major difference in how well the democracy functions as a result of this difference.

I happen to believe that the US has just suffered greatly as the result of the election of Bush and in my opinion the American system spent millions of dollars and vast amounts of human resources to select what was probably the worst candidate from either party. I am not clear as to exactly how a different political system could have prevented this.

I guess your thought might be that a system that chose the leader as the result of a coalition between parties might have broken apart given the various problems of the Bush administration and Bush would have been replaced before he could have done the damage he has done. You might be right in this case, but coalition governments seem to have produced some pretty bad leaders of their own. I am open to the idea that there are better political systems than that of the US but I am not sure the case could be made as strongly as your comment implied.

Last edited by davefoc; 11th September 2008 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 11th September 2008, 01:46 PM   #45
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Memory's gone.

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Old 11th September 2008, 02:04 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by stevea View Post
I suspect that if you are really Danish, that you don't have a clue. Everyone I talk to is aware that there are fundamental problems, tho' few clear solutions. The very real problem that you seem to be ignorant of is that a constitutional convention may be needed to correct the system and that's a complex and risky issue.
I assure you that I'm a 100% Danish.
Quote:
I think that if a national referendum was held tomorrow, then at a minimum we could eliminate the electoral college system and go to a direct majority (or some reductive plurality) system for president & vp. But of course the constitutional amendment process is quite risky.
It seems to me that it is only risky if more than a third of the US population isn't aware that there might be a problem.
Quote:
Having said that - exactly why are YOU interested, foreigner ? Last time I looked Danes can't vote in US elections (that privilege is reserved to citizens and illegal mexican immigrants).
I live in a functional democracy. I see the great benefits for a society if it lives in a functional democracy. I would therefore like the concept of a functional democracy to spread to other countries.
Quote:
You certainly must know that your constitutional monarchy government is no panacea. 63% marginal income tax rates for income above ~$70kUSD, ~1% econ growth rate, The Danish gov't takes over 51% of GDP ! You have a brain-drain and a youth drain from excessive taxation. Do you realize how ridiculous Denmark seems when they permit female monarchs rather than eliminating this horrible, archaic, anti-egalitarian title ? The Danish constitution is chock full of rights and privileges of the Monarch !!!! Your country still has a state religion specified in the constitution - that is insane ???
Denmark has a lot of faults, no doubt. But having a constitutional demcracy and a very good social safety net are not part of those faults.
Quote:
OK, I was in Copenhagen briefly last January. Nice place to visit, tho 'I'd have no interest in living there ((al least beer prices were closer to reality than in Sweden)), but you are in no position to comment about the US implementation of democracy, and your condescension is insulting. A land of 5.5million of which 95+% are ethnically uniform is not comparable to the US. We have more Norwegian Americans or NYC residents as there are Danes. It's a different set of problems and a different magnitude of problem here.
Yes, we are mostly a uniform population, though 10% of our population are foreign immigrants.

But I don't see how our mixture of population and their ethnisicity has any bearance on what constitutes a real democracy?
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Old 11th September 2008, 02:19 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
Hi DD,
I think you are right that the majority of Americans have not contemplated how winner take all elections leads to two party systems.

But I think you either exaggerate the advantages of political systems that tend to have multiple parties or you exaggerate the problems with the American winner take all system.

Perfect Democracies don't exist whatever they would be. Special interests will have more power than the general public on particular issues in any system. No system provides that exactly the will of the people is implemented in all cases. All systems that might be called a Democracy allow people to vote to oust leaders where a consensus has developed that the people want somebody else, but beyond that the people are largely dependent on the integrity of their leadership which given the human nature of that leadership can be problematic.

A system that leads to two significant parties like the American system is guaranteed to develop parties that most people are somewhat unhappy with because the leadership of both parties tries to move the party positions so as to capture the most voters. Ideology is not the primary driver for party leadership. But the same kind of compromises that are made within parties in a two party system need to be made between parties in multiple party systems. I don't see a major difference in how well the democracy functions as a result of this difference.
I'm not a democracy professor, I admit that. I just like living in a type of democracy where one can vote for a person or party, based on what that person or party claims it stands for, whithout having to vory about whether my vote might be "wasted". My vote will always count, even if the party or person I vote for gets just above 2% of the vote. If the party or person gets 2% or more, the party or the person will get seats in the Parliament and my voice will be represented.

That is what I care mostly about. That my voice, via my representative, has a say in the governing body of my country. It might not be a majority say, perhaps my viewpoints are not those of the majority, but the my viewpoint will be expressed and expressed in the Body making the laws of the land.
Quote:
I happen to believe that the US has just suffered greatly as the result of the election of Bush and in my opinion the American system spent millions of dollars and vast amounts of human resources to select what was probably the worst candidate from either party. I am not clear as to exactly how a different political system could have prevented this.
I have some ideas on this subject, but they are too long to express here. If you would like to hear them, open another thread on this specific idea. And give me a litlle time to prepare my answer.
Quote:
I guess your thought might be that a system that chose the leader as the result of a coalition between parties might have broken apart given the various problems of the Bush administration and Bush would have been replaced before he could have done the damage he has done. You might be right in this case, but coalition governments seem to have produced some pretty bad leaders of their own. I am open to the idea that there are better political systems than that of the US but I am not sure the case could be made as strongly as your comment implied.
I suspect it could.

But then, the glasses I wear are colored.

Still, I would love to engage in a such a challenge.
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Old 12th September 2008, 06:05 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Rika View Post
Well, when they present an attractive neough pattern to enough people, they have a choice. Until then, I will just note that Americans unlike Europeans tend to vote by the one element in the party they like.
Is this because Americans are "different" than Europeans, or is this borne out of necessity because there are only two options to choose from? Methinks the latter. I have 10 parties to choose from which are represented in Parliament, and none of them perfectly matches my views - that will always the case - but I can choose one that comfortably matches my views. The responses thus far in this thread corroborate my impression this is hardly the case in the US two-party system.

Moreover, the two-party system makes for strange swings: outside election times, the extreme wings of both parties will be more outspoken, whereas during election campaigns, the candidates will gravitate towards the center, as that's where the election is won.

To me, it seems, that you'd be better off having more parties instead of changes to the existing parties. The necessity of having to make coalitions will also make politics less of a divisive issue and more of a uniting issue, IMHO.

Originally Posted by Rika View Post
Also, for third parties to really work, we'd need a Parlimentary System.
Why? Suppose the US had three major parties - let's just call them Left, Center and Right - none of which have the majority in Congress. A president has to seek a majority for his law proposals in Congress, so s/he'll have to find support with another major party than his own affiliation to get the law passed. In comparison with a Parliamentary system, s/he has the added bonus that he can seek that support with another party on a case by case basis: a Center president can seek support with the Left party for one bill, and with the Right party for another. In a Parliamentary system, where two or more parties make a coalition government, it's nearly inconceivable for a minister to go against the wishes of the coalition partner and seek support with an opposition partner for his proposals.

AFAIK, there's nothing in the US Constitution now prohibiting a State from introducing proportional representation of its Congressmen, instead of having a district system with a first-past-the-post per district.

Likewise for the election of the president - some (small) states already use proportional representation in the election of the Electors. And in fact, in the first half of the 19th C., it was common that no single presidential candidate had the majority in the Electoral College.

Judging from the replies in this thread, a Center party that is fiscally conservative and socially liberal would garner quite a lot of votes.
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Old 12th September 2008, 05:19 PM   #49
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I suspect we are arguing with ears which are deaf.

I suspect most Americans simply cannot fathom the idea that more than two viable choices can possibly be available.

I'm not trying to belittle Americans, just offering an explanation.
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Old 12th September 2008, 06:52 PM   #50
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DD, please stop it with the clueless act. There are multiple parties, and the greater strength of the two embedded parties is not a structural imperative. The libertarians, Bull Moose, Green, and other third party adventures have had varying success in getting momentum (Ross Perot did OK in 92, and Jesse Ventura succeeded shortly thereafter in Minnesota as Governor a few years later) and sustaining a base from the bottom up.

America ends up with two premade coalitions, Dem and Rep, wheras most of the European parliaments make the coalitions after the elections to get anything done.

Not all that dissimilar. IN Germany, center right and far right have two, or more different parties, in America one, a premade coalition. Likewise, center left and left have two or more, America one, a premade coalition.

DR
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Old 12th September 2008, 07:56 PM   #51
DanishDynamite
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Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
DD, please stop it with the clueless act. There are multiple parties, and the greater strength of the two embedded parties is not a structural imperative. The libertarians, Bull Moose, Green, and other third party adventures have had varying success in getting momentum (Ross Perot did OK in 92, and Jesse Ventura succeeded shortly thereafter in Minnesota as Governor a few years later) and sustaining a base from the bottom up.

America ends up with two premade coalitions, Dem and Rep, wheras most of the European parliaments make the coalitions after the elections to get anything done.

Not all that dissimilar. IN Germany, center right and far right have two, or more different parties, in America one, a premade coalition. Likewise, center left and left have two or more, America one, a premade coalition.

DR
There is no clueless act, I'm afraid.

The US only has two viable parties to choose from. If this is incorrect in your oppinion, please tell me how.
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Old 13th September 2008, 12:47 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by IchabodPlain View Post
But this leads me to wonder; what would you change about the Major Political Parties in the US?
Disolve them.

The dirty little secret is that parties serve leaders more than constituents.
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Old 13th September 2008, 12:54 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by DanishDynamite View Post
There is no clueless act, I'm afraid.

The US only has two viable parties to choose from. If this is incorrect in your oppinion, please tell me how.
To what demonstrable degree does multiple parties serve over a two party system?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index

United States 0.951
Denmark 0.949
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Old 14th September 2008, 03:12 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by RandFan View Post
To what demonstrable degree does multiple parties serve over a two party system?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index

United States 0.951
Denmark 0.949
By having real choice. By not having to worry about whether your vote will matter. By having an actual democracy.

If you have the energy, you can also google the facts that Denmark is more creditworthy that the US according to Moody, a better place to live in, less corrupt, etc, than the US.
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Old 14th September 2008, 04:06 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by DanishDynamite View Post
By having real choice. By not having to worry about whether your vote will matter. By having an actual democracy.

If you have the energy, you can also google the facts that Denmark is more creditworthy that the US according to Moody, a better place to live in, less corrupt, etc, than the US.
HDI is a significant metric. Do you dismiss it?

DD, JFTR, I actually think Denmark does a great job and I don't dismiss Moody. But we are, demonstrably, a good place to live. Somehow, inspite of our not having any choice as you think, we manage to do pretty damn good. Not perfect of course.
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Old 14th September 2008, 07:37 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
DD, please stop it with the clueless act. There are multiple parties, and the greater strength of the two embedded parties is not a structural imperative. The libertarians, Bull Moose, Green, and other third party adventures have had varying success in getting momentum (Ross Perot did OK in 92, and Jesse Ventura succeeded shortly thereafter in Minnesota as Governor a few years later) and sustaining a base from the bottom up.

America ends up with two premade coalitions, Dem and Rep, wheras most of the European parliaments make the coalitions after the elections to get anything done.

Not all that dissimilar. IN Germany, center right and far right have two, or more different parties, in America one, a premade coalition. Likewise, center left and left have two or more, America one, a premade coalition.

DR
I disagree with your last paragraph. America has a centre right party leaning more middle, and a way right party. Neither can be described as left, except in comparison to the other.
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Old 14th September 2008, 07:46 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by RandFan View Post
To what demonstrable degree does multiple parties serve over a two party system?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index

United States 0.951
Denmark 0.949
Um, that's rather dubious evidence-wise.

Studies show that even the "losers" in proportional, multi-party, democracies still feel good about the election and the amount they can influence the government.

While in the US... no so much .

(See: How Democratic is the American Constitution?)

I don't think there are many other things that wouldn't be completely fallacious, like linking HDI with the number of parties...
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Old 14th September 2008, 08:15 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Tsukasa Buddha View Post
Um, that's rather dubious evidence-wise.
Why?

Quote:
Studies show that even the "losers" in proportional, multi-party, democracies still feel good about the election and the amount they can influence the government.
"Studies"? What studies? I give you a demonstrable metric of America's standard of living, one that is used by the UN and you counter with a phantom study? Really?

And people wonder why I'm getting peeved at the level of discourse on this forum.

Thanks dude.

Quote:
(See: How Democratic is the American Constitution?)
The book criticizes America for Slavery and not allowing women to vote among other problems. That's a fair criticism but, uh... America abolished slavery and women were given the right to vote.

I don't mind criticism but it at least ought to have some element of truth. America is a representative Democracy and we do a pretty damn good job of providing a good standard of living as is evidenced by HDI. Simply dismissing the metric and criticizing the job done by the founding fathers isn't really a rebuttal. And citing studies without providing any evidence or sourse as though your word is sufficent is rather disapointing.

Quote:
I don't think there are many other things that wouldn't be completely fallacious, like linking HDI with the number of parties...
What the hell are you talking about? Are you just rambling? Asserting that something is fallacious without even bothering to explain why a.) isn't an argument and b.) rather poor form.
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Old 17th September 2008, 02:48 AM   #59
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Quote:
I live in a functional democracy. I see the great benefits for a society if it lives in a functional democracy. I would therefore like the concept of a functional democracy to spread to other countries.
Why so condescending ? We have a functional democracy too. We have a different system of electing representatives that does create a different outcome. Some aspects are admittedly worse (the 2party-system problem). In other respects it is much better.

The US Congress, as you perhaps know, consists of two senators per state (100 total) and a number of representatives apportioned by population ((currently 435 total IIRC)). The representatives are elected based on vote within districts, so with only 2 parties in practice ((we often have 3rd party runs for a few % points)) this devolves to each tiny congressional district or state electing their respective representative or Senators by a 51% majority. This tends to lead to the 2party dichotomy (IMO).

Quote:
Denmark has a lot of faults, no doubt. But having a constitutional demcracy and a very good social safety net are not part of those faults.
Yes, we are mostly a uniform population, though 10% of our population are foreign immigrants.

But I don't see how our mixture of population and their ethnisicity has any bearance on what constitutes a real democracy?
You probably do find this hard to understand, coming from Denmark.

I live in Ohio - A medium size state with a population ~11mill - twice Denmarks. The state is a mix of industrial, and agriculture and has (IIRC) 18 congressional representatives and of course 2 senators. The Northern cities contain a large fraction of the state's black minority population and b/c of the geographical election scheme and the concentration of this population, often one or two of the states congressional representatives clearly represent these black communities. This is roughly proportional to their population. I often disagree with the political positions of these reps, but they aren't representing me; their constituents have different concerns from mine. The central part of the state has more agriculture and tho' with a small minority of the population, the central state congressional reps have a greater interest in agriculture issues. The SE part of the state has special interests too. So electing reps "at-large" across even this one state would largely drown-out these important minority interests. There may be some experiency in this, but overall I a very uncomfortable with such a solution. IF we had a more homogeneous population my concern would disappear.

The problem becomes worse when we consider what would happen with an "at-large" election across states. The interest of Hawaii and Maine have very little in common, ethnically, geographically, climaticallly.

These small districts with one rep each cause a problem, but the alternative is also a problem.

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Old 17th September 2008, 03:24 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by DanishDynamite View Post
By having real choice. By not having to worry about whether your vote will matter. By having an actual democracy.

If you have the energy, you can also google the facts that Denmark is more creditworthy that the US according to Moody, a better place to live in, less corrupt, etc, than the US.
You didn't mention Denmarks' ~20% lower per capita GDP.
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Old 17th September 2008, 05:39 AM   #61
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Thanks everyone!

I would like to make it clear, I don't have a problem per se with our (basically) two-party system; that is, provided they sway towards the opinions held by members of their party. I'm sure a topic has been made of this, but there are benefits of the American model, namely, an emphasis on moderation and pragmatism.

Take our current election: A moderate Republican and a pragmatic Democrat.

That said I think proportional representation reform in the electoral college would be a good idea. Abolishing it gives too much power to urban areas, and I think PR would build larger pluralities, and incorporate more states in national election strategies.

I'll post responses to those who have asked me questions (sorry Rika), but I again would like to thank everyone for their continued contributions.
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Old 17th September 2008, 05:52 AM   #62
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What would I like to change about our two major parties? Their existence.
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Old 17th September 2008, 01:06 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by IchabodPlain View Post
I would like to make it clear, I don't have a problem per se with our (basically) two-party system; that is, provided they sway towards the opinions held by members of their party. I'm sure a topic has been made of this, but there are benefits of the American model, namely, an emphasis on moderation and pragmatism.

Take our current election: A moderate Republican and a pragmatic Democrat.

That said I think proportional representation reform in the electoral college would be a good idea. Abolishing it gives too much power to urban areas, and I think PR would build larger pluralities, and incorporate more states in national election strategies.

I'll post responses to those who have asked me questions (sorry Rika), but I again would like to thank everyone for their continued contributions.
That's what we do. Good thread.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 01:51 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by IchabodPlain View Post
I would like to make it clear, I don't have a problem per se with our (basically) two-party system; that is, provided they sway towards the opinions held by members of their party. I'm sure a topic has been made of this, but there are benefits of the American model, namely, an emphasis on moderation and pragmatism.

Take our current election: A moderate Republican and a pragmatic Democrat.

I can't agree with that characterization. I see no evidence that Obama is a "pragmatic" democrat.. Would you care to explain why you say that - despite the extensive social programs and increases in gov't powers , the dubious statements wrt international policy ?

I see things a bit differently. In the primaries the far-righty's couldn't find a right-wing holy-roller, anti-baby-killer they could all agree on, which splintered the far-right and this permitted the moderate McCain to accidentally slip past the Republican primary competition. McCain is demonstrably a centrist - gang of 14 and the more recent support of the Kennedy immigration bill for example.

Obama, IMO, rode a huge wave of "American idol" popularity contest primary voters, appealing to both the moderates and the far leftys. He went to the left of Hillary in the primary ((immediate pull-out of Iraq, meet personally with Iraq, healthcare policy - for example)) and in the national has been forced to move hard toward the center and even retrench considerably on his far-left positions. I've repeatedly read Obama's bluebook & updates and the several white papers I consider important on his website (energy, economics, healthcare) and there isn't much substance there ((neither is there much substance in McCain website, but at least there is a history to judge by)). Obama does have a considerable list of government programs and increasing encroachment into what has been private sector issues. So - I have no idea what he really stands for, but I cannot call his positions moderate or centrist, unless we ignore his primary statements and his written policy positions.

More generally the parties attempt to pick a candidate that appeals to the majority of the party, and in polarized times this means a far lefty and a far righty - then in the national competition both are forced to shift hard to the center.

I don't think this is a good system at all. We should obviously distrust politicians who change their positions for political gain, but that is exactly what is demanded by the system. There is a considerable advantage to any politician who can avoid having a history and avoid saying much wrt policy (to prevent a change in position perception) - so running an issue-free popularity contest among neophyte politicians is one outcome [[Palin, Obama for example]].

[QUOTE}That said I think proportional representation reform in the electoral college would be a good idea. Abolishing it gives too much power to urban areas, and I think PR would build larger pluralities, and incorporate more states in national election strategies. [/quote]

All but two smallish states (Nebraska and ???Wyoming???) assign all their electoral votes to the majority winner across the entire state. No geographic districts in either, so your comment is puzzling. Can you explain ? I'd strongly prefer to see proportional electoral assignment (like in Nebraska). in all states, but it's entirely up to the state to decide. The states seem to think that winner-take-all makes their states interests more important to the politicians and I can't disagree. OTOH it is not good for the democratic aspect of things. The national representation is skewed and we always have the potential to elect a president who loses the popular vote.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 04:24 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by stevea View Post
I can't agree with that characterization. I see no evidence that Obama is a "pragmatic" democrat.. Would you care to explain why you say that - despite the extensive social programs and increases in gov't powers , the dubious statements wrt international policy ?

Sure. Let's start here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/ma...in&oref=slogin

I am not an Obama supporter, however, when you look at his health-care proposal for instance, it is not compulsory (for adults) which, to me is more pragmatic than trying to wrangle everyone into a government program. Also, on foreign policy, Obama has claimed he would not take any option (including military) to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He has also stated (in Germany no less) he insistence to devote more troops to Afghanistan, and ask for other allies to do the same.

If you can remember the whole Goolsbee incident about the NAFTA agreement, he quietly told Canadians that he wasn't serious about changing the nature of the agreement.

If you look at Obama's staff, there are many such as Goolsbee, who are more free-market oriented and disagree with Obama to some degree. He has not picked people who solely tell him what he wants to hear.

Also, his changes to make Social Security solvents is (I think) a pretty damn good idea: make the tax progressive.

Quote:
I see things a bit differently. In the primaries the far-righty's couldn't find a right-wing holy-roller, anti-baby-killer they could all agree on, which splintered the far-right and this permitted the moderate McCain to accidentally slip past the Republican primary competition. McCain is demonstrably a centrist - gang of 14 and the more recent support of the Kennedy immigration bill for example.
I view this differently. This year Republicans knew they had slim chances of winning (Bush's low approval ratings and all), and many people didn't want another candidate like him. Instead they pick a guy who (in)famously rides the straight-talk express; someone who voters feel will tell them what they don't want to hear. You're right, he is a centrist, and I think that is/was his most appealing feature.

Quote:
Obama, IMO, rode a huge wave of "American idol" popularity contest primary voters, appealing to both the moderates and the far leftys. He went to the left of Hillary in the primary ((immediate pull-out of Iraq, meet personally with Iraq, healthcare policy - for example))
His health-care policy was definitely more centrist, and easier to implement than Hilary's plan who made health-care mandatory for all citizens (her's cost more too). Meeting with Ahmedenijad is not, in itself, a far-left position to take.

Quote:
and in the national has been forced to move hard toward the center and even retrench considerably on his far-left positions. I've repeatedly read Obama's bluebook & updates and the several white papers I consider important on his website (energy, economics, healthcare) and there isn't much substance there ((neither is there much substance in McCain website, but at least there is a history to judge by)). Obama does have a considerable list of government programs and increasing encroachment into what has been private sector issues. So - I have no idea what he really stands for, but I cannot call his positions moderate or centrist, unless we ignore his primary statements and his written policy positions.
His energy policy is a perfect example of his pragmatism (notice I wasn't calling Obama a moderate or a centrist); he has softened his stance on offshore drilling if it would help push a larger policy through. His take on nuclear has not been rigid in that he has stated he would be on board with building new plants if safety issues were also addressed.

And his willingness to bend on these type of issues are also evidence of pragmatism: he doesn't have a fixed ideology imperceptible to (no pun intended) change.

Quote:
More generally the parties attempt to pick a candidate that appeals to the majority of the party, and in polarized times this means a far lefty and a far righty - then in the national competition both are forced to shift hard to the center.
Exactly. In the US, elections are won in the center, not the base (Bush is a counter-example to this, but W did win by two of the smallest results in history, not even winning the popular vote in 2000).

Quote:
I don't think this is a good system at all. We should obviously distrust politicians who change their positions for political gain, but that is exactly what is demanded by the system.
Yep, bending to popular opinion is a crucial factor in a Democratic system. There is a real world to deal with in the myriad of political ideologies, and I don't mind someone who does.
Quote:
There is a considerable advantage to any politician who can avoid having a history and avoid saying much wrt policy (to prevent a change in position perception) - so running an issue-free popularity contest among neophyte politicians is one outcome [[Palin, Obama for example]].
I agree that the "cult of personality" aspect of elections is a terrible one, but as far as not having a history, I think it is not a positive for Obama. It puts off older voters and doesn't bode well for someone who wants to know what a candidate can accomplish. He, instead, must be more specific regarding his policies and positions; something that McCain hasn't done.


Quote:
All but two smallish states (Nebraska and ???Wyoming???) assign all their electoral votes to the majority winner across the entire state. No geographic districts in either, so your comment is puzzling.
No state has proportional representation in national elections, so I have no idea where your comment comes from, perhaps you are thinking primaries?

Quote:
Can you explain ? I'd strongly prefer to see proportional electoral assignment (like in Nebraska). in all states, but it's entirely up to the state to decide.
I tend to think that it is not. "State's rights" only go so far, and does not extend to national issues. Voting for POTUS is a national issue. States that don't switch to proportional systems gain a huge advantage because there would be more electoral votes up for grabs to the winner.

Quote:
The states seem to think that winner-take-all makes their states interests more important to the politicians and I can't disagree. OTOH it is not good for the democratic aspect of things. The national representation is skewed and we always have the potential to elect a president who loses the popular vote.
You are making some of my points for me here. The current system is more important to politicians, but is that really an important feature? Yes, the current system has undemocratic aspects, and has allowed people to win the Presidency without the popular vote.
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Old 29th September 2008, 07:49 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by IchabodPlain View Post
So your definition of centrist is that arguably the most liberal newspaper in the land states that his position is moderate ? C'mon. Fox News thinks Bush2 is a swell guy too - but ....

Quote:
I am not an Obama supporter, however, when you look at his health-care proposal for instance, it is not compulsory (for adults) which, to me is more pragmatic than trying to wrangle everyone into a government program.
Ehh - that's a bit like saying receiving soc.sec payments is optional. We will all be paying taxes for this discounted basic insurance and in effect it will be cost ineffective to not use it, then add supplements. I am not saying that I entirely disagree with such a plan, BUT it ignores the huge mismatch in medical care supply/demand that will result ((again the policy is very thin on detail)).

Quote:
Also, on foreign policy, Obama has claimed he would not take any option (including military) to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He has also stated (in Germany no less) he insistence to devote more troops to Afghanistan, and ask for other allies to do the same.
I understand that there is a substantial logistics problem in supply lines which makes more troops in Afghanistan problematic - but I don't mean to argue the military issues. What would more troops do that the current contingent can't ?? They are looking primarily for one guy and a small cohort, and he is probably holed up in Pakistan. More troops may just mean a larger profile of "invaders" in Afghan life. Better surveillance and intelligence would be a huge plus, but more troops is questionable IMO. It's very unclear what the best approach is - so I'm not throwing stones. Just pointing out that "more troops in Afghanistan" may be a serious mistake too.

Quote:
If you can remember the whole Goolsbee incident about the NAFTA agr[eement, he quietly told Canadians that he wasn't serious about changing the nature of the agreement.
So he publicly says he'll unilaterally re-negotiate NAFTA, then when Canadians push back he quietly backs-down ? A clear gaffe I think, but what does this say abt Obama as a "pragmatist" ? Isn't that a bit like walking into a wall and deciding not to do so again ? Pragmatic yes, but not an accomplishment worthy of note.

[QOUTE]Also, his changes to make Social Security solvents is (I think) a pretty damn good idea: make the tax progressive. [/quote]

Socialists always find spending other people's money preferable don't they ? Exactly what sort of democracy will we have when the entire social costs are placed on a minority of the population ? A tyranny of the majority I'll suggest.

Soc.sec is not a retirement plan, it's a mandatory retirement insurance system. For that reason I think the republican ideas abt private accounts and personal account investing are silly. We will certainly have to make social payments to ppl who invest badly. We will have to make social payments for a lifetime whether the recipient lives to 66yo or 106yo. So privitization is nonsense.

But why should Bill Gates and Warren Buffet pay 500 times as much for the same amount of social insurance as I do ? They won't receive a nickel more in payment. This is strictly class warfare/ wealth envy issue. Obama wants to chop a hole in the s.s. payments for income from the current limit ($~100k/yr) to $250k/yr) then continue at the 15.4% ss+medicare rate above $250k. That is fiscal gerrymandering to avoid offending the <$250k income constituents. It boils down to Dillinger's "that's where the money is" approach to taxation, and has a extremely weak basis in either social justice or respect of property rights. Following this path, it's not a great leap to simply confiscating property "for the good of all".

The truly wealthy often have the means to live/work/receive income elsewhere ((consider the Sorbanes-Oxley flight to the Carribbean for a commercial example)). Another annoying feature is that Obama keeps suggesting >$250k is the upper 5%, but in fact a family taxable income of $177k is the correct IRS figure for the 95% percentile; I think he's talking about average gross income of $250k. Then there is the $500-$1000 "rebates" to ppl who don't even pay income tax; pure pandering socialism.

Ultimately why not just vote to make the top 5% of earners pay ALL taxes, soc.sec and medicare and then make $1k wealth-transfer payment to the non-payers too ? Why is that very different from Obama's plan for taxing OPM ?


...
Quote:
His energy policy is a perfect example of his pragmatism (notice I wasn't calling Obama a moderate or a centrist); he has softened his stance on offshore drilling if it would help push a larger policy through. His take on nuclear has not been rigid in that he has stated he would be on board with building new plants if safety issues were also addressed.
Actually his energy policy is something I find very unsatisfactory. He wants to spend $160B/10yr for unspecified funding of research. Now I'd be the first to demand the gov't do more, but I strongly believe that the gov't should primarily create the incentives and not "pick winners". Yes, improve University and national labs funding but $16B/yr in the hands of congress is more likely to pay off their constituents rather than create any real energy solution. Look at the grain-ethanol debacle - makes no sense unless you are a farm-state rep or an ADM lobbyist.

Similarly we have another example of lawyers pretending to be smarter than physicists and the free-market combined in Obamas "must have plug-ins" plan. Obama want's to convert quickly to plug-in vehicles. As I read the papers (and I am a physicist) we are approaching the theoretical limits to chemical cell storage and it's entirely likely that fuel-cell technology will be the more practical approach. Similarly Obama wants reductions in CO2 emissions from existing fuels, which if I am not mistaken - requires adding ethanol to gasoline. This not sensible if we need to use almost as much fossil fuel as is created to produce grain ethanol and then we have the additional environment and food supply costs associated with grain ethanol.

I see Obama's energy plan as a form of "central planning" by lawyers - foolish and far left. It removes market forces.

My personal opinion is that the only practical, proven, clean added source of energy at hand is nuclear - so Obama's grudging willingness to consider it is mysterious to me. Any national energy plan should clearly include nuclear and nuclear reprocessing in preference to storage.


Quote:
And his willingness to bend on these type of issues are also evidence of pragmatism: he doesn't have a fixed ideology imperceptible to (no pun intended) change.
But he seems to start from the point of ignorance and inexperience; several times stating rather odd positions, then retrenching. Perhaps he'll stumble on a decent "centrally planned" energy policy for example, but I have no confidence that this will be the case. Perhaps he'll bend and conform to political necessities of his party - like grain-ethanol-fuel. I'm not convinced that McCain won't have to buckle under in many cases too ,but at least he's stated his position clearly against further ethanol subsidies and for nuclear.


Quote:
No state has proportional representation in national elections, so I have no idea where your comment comes from, perhaps you are thinking primaries?
No - Maine and Nebraska have unique methods of choosing electoral college reps which is proportional (to a degree). These are not winner-take-all states wrt electoral college votes. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Electoral_College

Quote:
"State's rights" only go so far, and does not extend to national issues. Voting for POTUS is a national issue. States that don't switch to proportional systems gain a huge advantage because there would be more electoral votes up for grabs to the winner.
I agree about the advantage to the state of winner-take-all, but it makes the national election less representative. The states can choose electors any way they wish. The constitution leaves the matter entirely to the states.

Quote:
You are making some of my points for me here.
I'm not sure we entirely disagree.

I'm not a huge fan of either candidate. Each has some advantages but also some serious flaws. I'd be much happier if we had a parliamentary system where we could switch our buggers at will with a no-confidence vote rather than 4/8 yr intervals.

No matter - the roller coaster has left the station.
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Old 29th September 2008, 08:32 AM   #67
Oliver
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Originally Posted by Rika View Post
You mean, you'd amend the constitution to remove Freedom of the Press?

Well, when they present an attractive neough pattern to enough people, they have a choice. Until then, I will just note that Americans unlike Europeans tend to vote by the one element in the party they like. Also, for third parties to really work, we'd need a Parlimentary System.

Sorry, there's this principle called federalism. In addition, it would require rewritting the Constitution

(As for delegateS? That's up to the individual party. Fail.)

They don't have to in national elections.

If Freedom of press means "We are free to give a **** about
fair coverage and useful information for the electorate, yes - it
obviously has to change to something being more closely to
"We have the obligation to serve 'them, the people' ".

But hey, the Constitution was never meant to serve "We, the people".
I fully understand your point here.

As for Parties making the rules: Well, how many coverage do third
parties get? Yeah, it's a great democratic system. And as a Rep or
Dem, you fully support the Idea of 2 Parties sweeping the other
Parties under the carpet, don't ya?

Democracy on the other Hand....

No, People in Parliamentary Systems are voting for the Parties
Program - not some Clown with fancy Flag-Pins, a cool age or
the neatest skin color.

Democracy on the other Hand...

Why doesn't anyone being 18 and above automatically get an
invitation to the elections - why isn't anybody registered auto-
matically for whatever party they may prefer?

"You have to register for Party X to be allowed to vote". Ridiculous.

Democracy, on the other Hand....

Last edited by Oliver; 29th September 2008 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 29th September 2008, 08:54 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
If Freedom of press means "We are free to give a **** about
fair coverage and useful information for the electorate, yes - it
obviously has to change to something being more closely to
"We have the obligation to serve 'them, the people' ".
And who gets to decide whether or not the press is serving the people? Government? I'm sorry, Oliver, but this betrays a stunning naivety on your part. The idea that it's even possible to reconcile freedom of the press with government regulation of press content is simply wrong. You are not in favor of a free press at all.

Quote:
Why doesn't anyone being 18 and above automatically get an
invitation to the elections - why isn't anybody registered auto-
matically for whatever party they may prefer?
Because voting is handled by the states, not the federal government, and the states are not capable of doing what you suggest.

Quote:
"You have to register for Party X to be allowed to vote". Ridiculous.
This is simply wrong. You do not have to register with any party when you register to vote. It's amazing how judgmental you are about the American political system when you are so woefully ignorant about it.
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Old 29th September 2008, 09:48 AM   #69
Oliver
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
And who gets to decide whether or not the press is serving the people? Government? I'm sorry, Oliver, but this betrays a stunning naivety on your part. The idea that it's even possible to reconcile freedom of the press with government regulation of press content is simply wrong. You are not in favor of a free press at all.

Because voting is handled by the states, not the federal government, and the states are not capable of doing what you suggest.

This is simply wrong. You do not have to register with any party when you register to vote. It's amazing how judgmental you are about the American political system when you are so woefully ignorant about it.

Well, I assume that it is indeed the Government and Media that decides
what is the best information for you and their pocket. If fair and balanced
coverage dies, the Media doesn't have any useful purpose at all.

Now tell me how "Obama said. Hillary said. Obama said. Hillary said.
McCain said. Obama said. Hillary said. Obama said. McCain said. Palin
said"... is helping you in any way to make a wise decision about the
future of your own country?

It doesn't - because all of it is "political junk-food". It's useless information.

And not only that - you're actually flooded with this BS for almost 2 years,
while other democracies have their elections in less than 4 weeks -aka:
Presenting the parties program - and the citizen voting for the party which
has the most appealing program.

And you might confuse "free press" with capitalism. One thing is free
and doesn't have to care about money, the other thing has to obey
financial laws.

You know that those are two different pairs of shoes that have nothing
in common with you, the voter - don't you?
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Old 29th September 2008, 09:56 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
Well, I assume that it is indeed the Government and Media that decides
what is the best information for you and their pocket. If fair and balanced
coverage dies, the Media doesn't have any useful purpose at all.
So you're skeptical about what information the government wants us to hear... and yet, you want government to be in charge of making sure that information is "balanced", with the power to deny information to the public if it doesn't meet whatever definition they have of "fair and balanced". Do you not see the contradiction in your own statements?

"Free press" means exactly that: free. Free to be unbalanced and unfair. If it is not, it is not free. But you're a fool if you think you can trade that freedom for fairness. You will give up freedom, but you will not get fairness. You will get whatever the government wants you to get, fair or not.
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Old 29th September 2008, 09:57 AM   #71
Oliver
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Because voting is handled by the states, not the federal government, and the states are not capable of doing what you suggest.

This is simply wrong. You do not have to register with any party when you register to vote. It's amazing how judgmental you are about the American political system when you are so woefully ignorant about it.

No, I'm not woefully ignorant. There are states in which you actually
have to register republican or democrat to vote for them, and you know
that.

Also, the term "We, the People" doesn't make any sense if there are
no "united" rules for everyone. You certainly agree that individual states
regulations are rather confusing and not helpful for the electorate and
the running candidates at all, therefore rather blocking democracy than
simplifying democracy. Am I wrong?
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Old 29th September 2008, 10:02 AM   #72
Oliver
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
So you're skeptical about what information the government wants us to hear... and yet, you want government to be in charge of making sure that information is "balanced", with the power to deny information to the public if it doesn't meet whatever definition they have of "fair and balanced". Do you not see the contradiction in your own statements?

"Free press" means exactly that: free. Free to be unbalanced and unfair. If it is not, it is not free. But you're a fool if you think you can trade that freedom for fairness. You will give up freedom, but you will not get fairness. You will get whatever the government wants you to get, fair or not.

Well, so how does "Free to be unfair and unbalanced" help you, the voter?
It doesn't - does it?

And don't you wonder why the Government-sponsored BBC or ARD/ZDF
in Germany is able to be much more fair and balanced than "US free Press"?

What do you think does serve the public [We, the People]? : Sensationalism - or skeptical information?
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Old 29th September 2008, 10:55 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
Well, so how does "Free to be unfair and unbalanced" help you, the voter?
It doesn't - does it?

And don't you wonder why the Government-sponsored BBC or ARD/ZDF
in Germany is able to be much more fair and balanced than "US free Press"?
Major correction necessary, here. ARD/ZDF are not "government-sponsored", but state-sponsored in the sense that we have a legal framework that is trying to ensure that the public TV and radio stations do the "fair and balanced" act (not in the Fox News meaning).

It is sponsored, i.e. financed by everyone living in Germany who owns a TV-set or a radio by having to pay the "GEZ"-fees.
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Old 29th September 2008, 11:12 AM   #74
Oliver
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Originally Posted by Eskarina View Post
Major correction necessary, here. ARD/ZDF are not "government-sponsored", but state-sponsored in the sense that we have a legal framework that is trying to ensure that the public TV and radio stations do the "fair and balanced" act (not in the Fox News meaning).

It is sponsored, i.e. financed by everyone living in Germany who owns a TV-set or a radio by having to pay the "GEZ"-fees.

Yes, I should've explained it in a more detailed way. Could you explain
the differences between an obviously "unfair Media" and a State-Sponsored
"fair Media" to the voters in the US then?

It seems they rather prefer "free Press" than "free and fair Press".
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Old 29th September 2008, 12:56 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
No, I'm not woefully ignorant. There are states in which you actually
have to register republican or democrat to vote for them, and you know
that.
You are confusing primaries with elections. Your ignorance here is staggering.



Quote:
Also, the term "We, the People" doesn't make any sense if there are
no "united" rules for everyone. You certainly agree that individual states
regulations are rather confusing and not helpful for the electorate and
the running candidates at all, therefore rather blocking democracy than
simplifying democracy. Am I wrong?
You are aware that the "We, the People" was written by people who blatantly intended for states to remain reasonably autonomous under the federal government, right?
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Old 29th September 2008, 02:24 PM   #76
Ziggurat
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Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
No, I'm not woefully ignorant. There are states in which you actually have to register republican or democrat to vote for them, and you know that.
Oh, but that's not what you said. You said you had to register with a party to vote - you didn't specify that you were only talking about the primaries (and BTW, some primaries aren't even run as votes). Don't blame me if you say something other than what you mean.

Quote:
Also, the term "We, the People" doesn't make any sense if there are
no "united" rules for everyone.
Well, no. From the beginning, the United States has been a federal system, meaning states have significant autonomy, and with that autonomy significant differences in local laws. That's a feature, not a bug. It has a few drawbacks, but significant advantages as well. Advantages that you appear clueless about.
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Old 29th September 2008, 06:51 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by PingOfPong View Post
First, all parties should have close to an even ratio of men to women. Nobody likes a sausage fest... unless you're gay, which is totally cool I guess.
You guess? What does that matter? Btw, "I love sausage festival. Like in Vienna!"

I'm with you on representative numbers of women in power - trouble is the numbers who run just aren't enough to make it so. As long as their major point isn't "I'm gonna be the first woman *fill in the blank*, there's no reason why there shouldn't be proportional representation. Jesus fly-fishing Christ knows a majority male USG hasn't done wonders for this country in the last few decades.

Focus:

I'd like it if both political parties would force all candidates to put a cap on spending (both in time and money) for election/re-election. A very harsh edge. Let the pond scum spend more time on building a respectable track record that speaks for itself rather than months of costly mud-slinging smoke screens smearing the other guy and deflecting attention from how much they are unrepresentative parasitic turd sandwiches.

And I'd like to see both parties have all members work a real job once in a while. Something with low pay and zippo benefits (fast food, security, janitorial comes to mind). 4 years at such a job sounds good to me. No Secret Service details either. Let them accept the same risk as your average 7-11 clerk.
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Old 30th September 2008, 05:07 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by stevea View Post
So your definition of centrist is that arguably the most liberal newspaper in the land states that his position is moderate ? C'mon. Fox News thinks Bush2 is a swell guy too - but ....
Actually, I originally read it in my local St. Pete Times (my mother, an Obama supporter, gave it to me). I took from it the content and analysis, not who published it.

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Ehh - that's a bit like saying receiving soc.sec payments is optional. We will all be paying taxes for this discounted basic insurance and in effect it will be cost ineffective to not use it, then add supplements. I am not saying that I entirely disagree with such a plan, BUT it ignores the huge mismatch in medical care supply/demand that will result ((again the policy is very thin on detail)).
I think we are speaking past one another here. I was merely pointing out the contrasting points of his plan with Clinton's to show that his was more pragmatic, not to debate the merits of either proposal as a whole.

Whether or not you think either proposal is worthy of passage, compare for a minute the differences between the proposals themselves. Hilary's plan made heath-care compulsory, while Obama's plan does not, his plan is also less costly, both of which would make his proposal easier to pass and harder to attack (this is of course in comparison to Hilary's plan).

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I understand that there is a substantial logistics problem in supply lines which makes more troops in Afghanistan problematic - but I don't mean to argue the military issues. What would more troops do that the current contingent can't ?? They are looking primarily for one guy and a small cohort, and he is probably holed up in Pakistan. More troops may just mean a larger profile of "invaders" in Afghan life. Better surveillance and intelligence would be a huge plus, but more troops is questionable IMO. It's very unclear what the best approach is - so I'm not throwing stones. Just pointing out that "more troops in Afghanistan" may be a serious mistake too.
Once again, I submitted this to provide examples of pragmatism; that he is not some peace-and-love dove. Though I'm merely speculating here, I think that position is probably supported by public opinion (strikes into Pakistan to hit high level targets), and demonstrates that even though he was against the war in Iraq, he is not against the War on Terror.

Note: I am not speaking to the practical matter of whether such a plan could happen or not.
Quote:
So he publicly says he'll unilaterally re-negotiate NAFTA, then when Canadians push back he quietly backs-down ? A clear gaffe I think, but what does this say abt Obama as a "pragmatist" ? Isn't that a bit like walking into a wall and deciding not to do so again ? Pragmatic yes, but not an accomplishment worthy of note.
The pragmatism part was knowing the states like PA and OH are union states, and being able to assuage their bitterness over NAFTA, while recognizing that NAFTA was, by and large, a good deal for the US (especially between US and Canada) and thus quelling their uproar over the idea of changing the basic framework of the agreement.


Quote:
Socialists always find spending other people's money preferable don't they ? Exactly what sort of democracy will we have when the entire social costs are placed on a minority of the population ? A tyranny of the majority I'll suggest.

Soc.sec is not a retirement plan, it's a mandatory retirement insurance system. For that reason I think the republican ideas abt private accounts and personal account investing are silly. We will certainly have to make social payments to ppl who invest badly. We will have to make social payments for a lifetime whether the recipient lives to 66yo or 106yo. So privitization is nonsense.

But why should Bill Gates and Warren Buffet pay 500 times as much for the same amount of social insurance as I do ? They won't receive a nickel more in payment. This is strictly class warfare/ wealth envy issue. Obama wants to chop a hole in the s.s. payments for income from the current limit ($~100k/yr) to $250k/yr) then continue at the 15.4% ss+medicare rate above $250k. That is fiscal gerrymandering to avoid offending the <$250k income constituents. It boils down to Dillinger's "that's where the money is" approach to taxation, and has a extremely weak basis in either social justice or respect of property rights. Following this path, it's not a great leap to simply confiscating property "for the good of all".

The truly wealthy often have the means to live/work/receive income elsewhere ((consider the Sorbanes-Oxley flight to the Carribbean for a commercial example)). Another annoying feature is that Obama keeps suggesting >$250k is the upper 5%, but in fact a family taxable income of $177k is the correct IRS figure for the 95% percentile; I think he's talking about average gross income of $250k. Then there is the $500-$1000 "rebates" to ppl who don't even pay income tax; pure pandering socialism.

Ultimately why not just vote to make the top 5% of earners pay ALL taxes, soc.sec and medicare and then make $1k wealth-transfer payment to the non-payers too ? Why is that very different from Obama's plan for taxing OPM ?
There is a whole argument in here to be had with the difference between what is fair and what is just, and the differences between progressive vs. regressive taxation. We could start a new thread if you'd like about that.

Overall, if you are in favor of progressive taxation, then it only makes sense to make as many taxes that come directly from workers paychecks progressive (not because they are worse, but because accomplishing it is much more feasible and practical, there's that word again).


Quote:
Actually his energy policy is something I find very unsatisfactory. He wants to spend $160B/10yr for unspecified funding of research. Now I'd be the first to demand the gov't do more, but I strongly believe that the gov't should primarily create the incentives and not "pick winners". Yes, improve University and national labs funding but $16B/yr in the hands of congress is more likely to pay off their constituents rather than create any real energy solution. Look at the grain-ethanol debacle - makes no sense unless you are a farm-state rep or an ADM lobbyist.
You're not really responding to my points here. Again, I don't favor his energy policy, on the whole, when compared with McCain's. McCain has a stronger commitment to nuclear has consistently been against ethanol subsidies, but this is another topic.

I pointed to Obama's flexibility on offshore-drilling and nuclear power to demonstrate his pragmatism, not the merits of his proposals.




Quote:
But he seems to start from the point of ignorance and inexperience; several times stating rather odd positions, then retrenching.
I make that previous statement, with the knowledge of his advisor's (some of whom from the Chicago U. econ dept) who disagree with him on issues. These sort of things add up, at least to me, that Obama is open to multiple perspectives, and has a more non-insular world-view. I could be wrong here, but I think he has stated his "ideal" position, and then gone back in the vein of "don't let perfect be the enemy of good".

Quote:
No - Maine and Nebraska have unique methods of choosing electoral college reps which is proportional (to a degree). These are not winner-take-all states wrt electoral college votes. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Electoral_College
My mistake here, I did not know this. However, though this is not really a PR type system, it runs into the problem of being overlooked since the other 48 are winner-take-all. Why spend time in Maine to pick up two of the four electoral votes when you could go to a state like New Hampshire to win all four?

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I agree about the advantage to the state of winner-take-all, but it makes the national election less representative.
Are you saying that winner-take-all systems are less representative? If you are, then we are in agreement, but I could have misread something.

Quote:
The constitution leaves the matter entirely to the states.
Yep, and it is a (probably the only) Constitutional amendment I would support.

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I'm not sure we entirely disagree.
Probably not.

Quote:
I'm not a huge fan of either candidate. Each has some advantages but also some serious flaws. I'd be much happier if we had a parliamentary system where we could switch our buggers at will with a no-confidence vote rather than 4/8 yr intervals.

No matter - the roller coaster has left the station.
I'm pretty sure a thread on this has been made, and I don't really wish to stray the topic any further than I already have.


---

Maybe I could pose a follow-up question to everyone, which I am ignorant of - what is the catalyst for changing either of the major political parties platforms?

"Throwing the bums out" seems to be the popular answer, but do the bums really know why they're getting thrown out?
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Last edited by IchabodPlain; 30th September 2008 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 30th September 2008, 12:40 PM   #79
Polaris
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Originally Posted by IchabodPlain View Post
"Throwing the bums out" seems to be the popular answer, but do the bums really know why they're getting thrown out?
Doesn't matter, so long as the bums who replace them are well aware of it.
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Old 30th September 2008, 10:12 PM   #80
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Considering the spectacle I have seen the past two days, I would like the mouth of Hell to open up and drag down about 90% of the members of congress for both parties.
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