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comment by am_Unition
am_Unition  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 26, 2023

Your argument is that, because the executive has grown too powerful, and the Biden admin has done nothing to blunt its own power, that'll cost them your vote, despite not necessarily disagreeing with the policies they've implemented?

OK... in a world where Trump and the GOP were nothing like Trump and the GOP, I guess I could see how that might be a logical deal breaker. I'm not a fan of executive overreach, but we've sure as hell got "overreach" in the judicial as well. And overwhelmingly towards one side, to boot.

But we live in a world where e.g. Trump and his lawyers just implored the House to change the laws to legalize his classified documents hoarding and obstruction of justice. And the House GOP will probably try to appease him, performatively, at least, despite the dem(-ish) Senate and the presidential veto.

Does GOP vs. Democrat profusely affect your household income or taxation? Is your father-in-law Wormtongue and you're King Theoden in the first half of The Two Towers? Are you David Brooks Jr.? Because I can't think of anything else that explains your apparent confusion.

I will hold my nose and vote Biden. He's been OK, considering the times we live in. I'll hope for better options in the future, and try to figure out what else I can do outside of voting to expedite that future.

kleinbl00  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The biggest shift in my perception of the world, as I have decided to go "you know what, I'll bet there's a reason things are so stupid," is changing my attitude from "things are stupid" to "why are things so stupid."

It's extremely bad for democracy that the leadership of the United States since 2016 has been older than the leadership of the Soviet Union in 1984. That's not a consequence of Mitch McConnell bathing in the blood of virgins, though, it's a consequence of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, a consequence of Citizens United and a consequence of the Permanent Apportionment Act. LIkewise, it's extremely bad for democracy that the principle method for political action has become the executive order. But ever since Newt Gingrich determined that the Republican Party would never again act in a bipartisan manner, it's the only real game in town.

The fundamental problem, as I see it, is American democracy depends on a bunch of customs that one party has decided no longer apply to them so for 60 years, they've been attempting to pen-test the system into fascism. And for those 60 years, schools have been painting unicorns and rainbows and eliding bullshit like the Electoral College, Reconstruction and the Dred Scott decision. Americans have grown up thinking our government is this highly-polished, refined mechanism that rewards excellence and truth, rather than an archaic and outdated parliamentary nightmare with massive in-born advantages for oligarchy. And it doesn't matter to one side, because oligarchy is their whole goal... but the other side sees one punch that might not be according to Marquess of Queensbury rule and goes "that's it, I'm officially too cynical to participate in democracy and anyone who disagrees is a patsy."

It fundamentally comes down to loyalty: one side demands that it be earned, the other side can bank on it through anything. It's not even a Republican-vs.-Democrat thing: the Kennedys had no problems with racism and prejudice but LBJ figured there were more Black votes than Southern votes so he cut the Democratic Party off at the roots. It could have gone the other way. If LBJ had been happy to stick with the old guard, Henry Cabot Lodge might have won in '64 rather than the guy who moved to Arizona so the racists had a place to live. But since it's "earn my loyalty" vs. "it's gonna take a lot to lose my loyalty" Republicans became the party of racism in about half an electoral cycle.

alpha0  ·  222 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Some argue that the actual issue is the creation of the national security state, which created (effectively mandated) a disconnect between overt governance and secret control. For example note that some of the "bullshit" you cite did not prove an impediment to progress made prior to '64. In fact, one could argue that this focus on the political theatre is somewhat irrational given the implicit acknowledgement that the parties are disconnected from quaint notions of "American democracy".

It is reasonable to challenge that with the reality of actual political conflict in the socio-political arena. As for this cynic, I see the partisan jostling as internal dynamics of an elite that compete for available social, economic, and (petty) political advantages and resources, (ab)using demographic characteristics to marshall support.

tldr: I think the game of baseball perfectly captures the architecture of the american system. (hint: site sections can also be informative..)

b_b  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No, my argument is that executive fiat shouldn't be used to remake the huge sectors of the economy, and that being allowed to do so will be economically ruinous in the long run. The student loan debacle and now the beyond moronic EV mandates are both multi hundred billion dollar follies that Congress hasn't even rubber stamped let alone debated. I have no confusion on any of this--I have very carefully considered opinions that are based on learning and reason and a lifetime of trying to create products that help people, which is hard and requires tradeoffs. But basing opinions on Twitter soundbites is viable option too, I guess.

kleinbl00  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm legitimately curious about your opinion on Cash for Clunkers.

b_b  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don't have a strong opinion either way, to be honest. I thought at the time that if you want to give a backdoor bailout to auto companies, then fine. It juiced some sales at a time when they were at historic lows. But positioning it as a climate action was laughably stupid, given that the most efficient car (in terms of life cycle) is one that already exists. There's no world in which a brand new Prius beats a 10-15 year old car of almost any fuel efficiency on total carbon footprint. But the total appropriation was small and it was duly enacted by Congress, so I didn't find it offensive to anything but my sense of science. I think it's impact was minimal, it helped some people get a new car, and probably bought some goodwill from people who took advantage of it. So sure, whatever. It's been 14 years though, so my memory of all the details has faded somewhat, I'm sure.