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Civics & Society

Gullible, believe-any-talking point Democrats weren't visible in large numbers


Today we drove to Naselle for the Democratic Caucus for our three Pacific County communities of Naselle, Nemah and Bay Center. I had been keeping quiet about the caucuses after Lietta indicated earlier in the week that she'd be interested in going.

I thought that I had better things to do with my time and as one who had unofficially renounced membership in the party, I didn't want to go.

But Lietta did and since the flyer said folks could come as observers I went with her.

When we signed in Lietta advised me that the mailer she received previously had indicated that I was still a registered Democrat. So I signed myself in. However, on the right hand side where it said to indicate my presidential preference coming in, I left it blank. I had yet to make up my mind.

Although impressed with Obama's success and the sense of enthusiasm and acceptance of his candidacy sweeping the country, I was leaning ever so slightly in the direction of Hillary.

Principally - as I've joked with friends - I've felt that we baby boomers can't leave George Bush as our legacy to our children. Surely we get one more chance. Hillary is one of us. She'd be a hell of a lot better than Bush.

Hillary is experienced more than ANY candidate still running or who has been running. A Hillary resume based on facts and documented experience indicates that there is no other candidate this time that is/was more qualified to function from Day One as president.

But the reason my leaning toward Hillary was slight has more to do with leadership and the ability to move people to action; to inspire and provoke civic participation.

I signed in as "uncommitted" but inwardly was leaning toward Hillary, believing fully that I would hear no new reason that would sway me toward Obama.

I also vowed to merely listen and refrain from speaking since I was only a half-hearted party participant and knew I would vote for whomever of the two gets the nomination.

Lietta was among the first three to speak. For someone who's never been there to a caucus and done that previously, that woman was not one who hesitates. After listening to an Obama supporter followed by someone who spoke like she might be the head of the local Clinton support organization, Lietta made up her mind, stood up and gave an updated version of the powerful and important points she's been making now at least five years. She's never altered her emphasis on the importance of supporting those who seem most willing and able to end the Iraq slaughter as soon as possible.

Back and forth the speakers stood and offered their alternating opinions.

The Clinton supporters' lead speaker by that time had made three curious statements that caught my attention:

(1) Earlier in her political life she was caught up in support of an idealistic candidate, Jimmy Carter, who let her down; who demonstrated a lack of ability to deal with the Washington cesspool. She said she'd never take idealism over experience again.

(2) She told a story about Bill Clinton the idealist - right after he was first elected in 1992 - being taken aside by Republican politicians and/or party hacks who flat out told him exactly all that he could and could not do.

(3) She declared that Hillary had been working on Health Care reform for years and that such reform was not attainable given the political/economic climate unless there was a president who could function as a scheming dealmaker rather than an idealist.

Idealism would leave millions of Americans uninsured.

Note: I would be curious to hear from other caucuses as to whether or not the Carter and Bill Clinton stories were heard there. Those stories were presented in such an odd context that I've been wondering if they were Clinton Campaign talking points given to supporters beforehand to be used in each caucus.

Somewhat irked by a sense that she might have been trotting out campaign-directed talking points while posing as a wise voice of experience with inside knowledge, I finally put in my two-bits.

When Hillary's supporter followed up her Carter and Bill Clinton stories with a whack at Obama for an unrealistic idealism that would fail at health care reform I had heard enough.

The Carter story doesn't fit because Carter in 1976 - minus the excessive wealth - looked more like Romney than Obama. He emphasize his borne-again religious outsider shtick and brought a high amount of political naivete with him into the White House.

Which is precisely what a President Romney would have done.

To shallowly compare Carter and his 1976 ambush of the electoral system of that time to Obama in 2008 with his senatorial experience, his lengthy on-his-feet-in-the-street success and experience (not to mention having to deal with a more openly vicious and intense experience in campaign attack politics than Carter faced) is not a legitimate comparison.

As for in-power Republicans telling new President Bill Clinton how the cow ate the cabbage, neither is that a legitimate point for supporting Hillary over Obama.

The simple truth about that circumstance is this:

McCain is on the Right, has built an albatross out of his Bush/War support and advocacy that will hang around his neck and be totally visible and publicized to the same electorate that overwhelmingly repudiated Bush and his war in 2006.

Obama represents that same repudiation. Hillary does not.

Obama is much more likely to be elected in a landslide with long coattails.

Hillary - by virtue not only of her dubious war wisdom, but also her stubborn refusal to acknowledge error when she voted for the war authorization as well as her self-proclaimed 35-year linkage to knowing the Good-Old-Boy ways of doing business - is less likely to win by a landslide.

Her coattail dragging more Democrats into current Republican-held seats in Congress is less likely because like it or not, she does not represent change in the same context as Obama. She more likely will represent only a change of drivers on the Good-Old-Boy Bus.

Of the two, Hillary would more likely be subject to Republican muzzling than a victorious Obama.

The Bill Clinton story is only true because of the number of Republicans in Congress at that time and how empowered they were.

As for talking point #3,

I work in a Welfare office. Very few vocations in this state present such a broad picture of how many Washington residents actually are under-insured or have no medical insurance at all. Statistics and political talking points aren't what walk into my office literally begging for some kind of welfare medical coverage to allow them entry into medical treatment for something tearing them apart.

Health Care Reform, as was brought up by several Democrats at the caucus today, is a legislative event, not a presidential decree.

Whatever Hillary could do as the elected president, Obama could likewise accomplish; perhaps more easily since his coattails would sweep more Dems into office.

Also, since it is a legislative event, what evidence is there that Hillary has a better handle than Obama on medical coverage for the poor in this country?

She and Bill had 8 years to try to get something done and did not. In addition, when a Republican congress passed welfare reform with a stylistic tone and manner that vilified the poor and needy in this country, Bill and Hillary did not have megaphone voices supporting what Republicans were preparing to take away from the poor.

Hillary also has not demonstrated much ardor in enthusiastic vocal outrage over the Bush budget cuts for the past seven years so why would we think she has a greater wisdom about health care for the poor than does Obama?

Finally, I see that Hillary (whom I will vote for if she's nominated) was endorsed by the two most prominent Washington Democrats who have disappointed and failed to impress me over the past five years, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.

Obama was endorsed by Christine Gregoire who has demonstrated that she's a more aggressive and activist governor than her predecessor;

... who has demonstrated that she's a doer more than a talker who in her own elected venue has not made hesitation a standard procedure.

Meanhile in terms of opposing the lawless corporate American imperialism and slaughter in Iraq, the two Clinton endorsers, Cantwell and Murray, have both offered nothing more than excuses and alibis as to why they could not challenge Bush Republicans to a fight.

Obama doesn't have to defend that kind of weakness and timidity.

I agree with Gregoire.

One more thing. Among those Democrats the gullible, believe-any-talking point Democrats weren't visible in large numbers. If in fact the Clinton supporters were using talking points, those who rebutted those points were using their own personal scripts. They were thinking on their feet and originating their own thoughts, benefiting and encouraging all of us.

Our little caucus went for Obama.

Naselle will send 4 Obama delegates to the County Convention and 2 Clinton delegates.

Bay Center will send 2 Obama delegates (Lietta is one of them) and 1 Clinton delegate.

Well, that's my story.

I stood up mad and spoke up

... and sat down an Obama supporter.

We Were There: Thoughts on getting away with talking mean about the government

Part I

Photo is mine

About half way through the Hearing, my brain suddenly connected the dots of concepts from the American Government class I took as a 12th grader in 1964. Here we sat assembled talking about our government and what's wrong with it,

- perhaps a  majority of us taking for granted how that document (whose name gets tossed around like mustard and ketchup at a barbecue) protects us with more force and authority than had a brigade of troops standing guard outside the doors been present (unless necessary which then would make a military brigade a right of every citizen.)

What better demonstration that what all this is about is to live in one of the very few places on the globe where we can get away with it; that in a democracy some things lead to even greater manifestations of citizen power.

Here's what we got away with this past weekend:

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Being married to an activist who can get things done has its positive perks which include sitting up front where I can hear and see stuff a lot more thoroughly. (And even for an old Veteran who thinks he's seen it all and knows everything, sitting up that close is no place to be caught falling asleep!)

Photo  of Lietta is mine

So I thought I'd get my notebook and write down what I expected would be a thought, concept or cool quote that might enter my ears once every ...  oh, say 45 minutes. I'd hear something I could use as a talking point or theme for long-winded articles or rants.

So ready to take notes, both feet on the floor and somewhat alert,  I started listening and then began to write.

When it was over the old callous on my writing finger was back, having regressed some 40 years ago.

I don't have a laptop, just a calloused writing finger and  36 pages of talking points.

I'll leaving the laptopping and live blogging to Noemi who ought to get some kind of blogging award from somebody who knows a good job when they read one.

So no, don't panic! I'm not going to write up 36 pages of talking points.

But I am going to start writing over the next few weeks about thoughts the came flying into  my awake old military-Veteran mind as I  sat protected by a document.


What would a "Constitutional" model of citizenship look like?

Does a good citizen live in indifference to freedoms possessed by few and coveted by most who live on an entire planet?

Does a good citizen justifiably think that the pursuit of happiness includes mere patriotism of consuming American-made products, enjoying corporate sponsored shallow entertainment, going to work, giving up withheld taxes and living only for today?

Does a good citizen leave most of the important stuff to bigmouth politicians who talk down to an entire electorate that is far wiser that it itself realizes?

Does good citizenship stop at the door to a military recruiter's office?

Does a good citizen-soldier agree and commit to stop thinking and merely follow orders once a uniform is donned?

Hell yes!

  •  Hell yes, I will go!
  •  But don't tell me I can't think
  •  Don't tell me I can't discern
  •  and don't tell me I have to violate law and repudiate the Constitution to help some fool up my chain of command stay in the driver's seat.

Our assemby did not ask that question, but instead refused to wait for some sort of wise permission from any "higher authority" - elected or wannabe - that pretends to know more and understand more Civics than what we know and understand.

Our assembly waited for no one's endorsment.

  • We gathered

  • We deliberated

  • We will be heard

  • We will demand REAL American Constitutional justice for all!

We will ask, for example, of the Lieutenant's presiding Court Martial Judge,

if the illegality of the order to march out and kill is a concern included in the Consitution, why is it not relative to a thinking soldier's right?

By the way - to all fools who say "You signed on, you knew what you were doing, stop whining and get going!" - read an officer's oath.

That oath includes the primary and overarching vow to protect and obey the Constitution. Nowhere does an officer's oath -unlike an enlisted man's oath - include a vow to obey without question or assessment of orders from all superior officers.

So I'm already worked up but have to get going to work so I can earn more tax money to pay - among other things - other citizen soldiers to protect the rights of every other American citizen and their court marital presiders.

This then will start a series for me.

I'll close this morning with a quote from my distant relative, a much maligned (and deservedly so from my own reading of history) former president, but a highly admired, respected and effective military officer and commander of all American forces at the time. Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant's words in and of themselves, authorize any and all - past or present -  U.S. military  officers to think for themselves, even if they never run for president.

"one of the most unjust ever waged on a weaker country by a stronger." - On America's war against Mexico


More later ...

Arthur & Lietta Ruger 2002-2008. The American Choice is a  political internet journal based in Bay Center, Washington. The views expressed not authored by Arthur or Lietta Ruger are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of The American Choice or SwanDeer Productions. Permission of author required for reprinting original material, and only requests for reprinting a specific item are considered.