More Various

Owen asks:

Thanks for your book “Wake Up America, You’re Liberal”. It’s a very thought-provoking and encouraging read. As a Brit with more interest in US than British politics — blame `The West Wing’ for starting me

off on that — there’s sadly not that much I can do once encouraged! Still, I’ll be keeping an eye on the Democrats in case any of them show any sign of having read it…

One thing, though: in your proposed policy platform for a revived liberal Democratic Party, you suggest minimum wage reimbursement for Congressmen and Government officials. It’s a nice soundbite, but surely this would exacerbate the current situation where only the independently wealthy can afford to campaign for President and Congress? Wouldn’t it further lock in small-c conservativism?

That could occur, of course. I remember that, when I was a kid, Ohio state legislators earned nominal salaries that had to be supplemented by other professions to pay a mortgage on even a modest home. As a consequence, only wealthy people could afford to serve in the House of Representatives. But the big expense these days isn’t living; if you’re a politician it’s the ability to raise enough funds to run a campaign. That means you have to have rich friends even if you’re not friend–but, for the most part, only rich people have such buddies. So it’s already a rich man’s game. It just seems more than a little galling that the taxpayers have to provide healthcare and other benefits to Congressmen who don’t support the same benefits for them.

Perhaps my proposal should be supplemented by a “maximum wage” for politicians, to make sure they live just as poorly as a minimum-wage worker without benefits, regardless of where their salary comes from.

R writes:

I am amused at the condescension of Ultra Liberals towards those with whom they disagree. They think that insults takes the place of intelligent and rational arguments in the marketplace of ideas. You are on the way of becoming as useful as a buggy whip! Irrelevant due to your vitriol aimed at those who you should be trying to persuade to your viewpoint. I am a registered Democrat and see the hypocrisy of the Republicans who send off other people’s children to war while they hold their coats.

A diatribe of expletives is no replacement for sound rationale thinking or policy. You are alienating more of those who would consider your ideas Ted. Get a clue. Your anger is getting in the way of your message.

I get a lot of these emails, mainly from Republicans. Which makes me wonder: why should you care about my message being more effective? More to the point, what “diatribe of expletives” do I employ in my work? None. I can be snotty, sure, but my worst, most vicious slurs against the Republican liberals (you can’t call such big government, deficit-spending nation builders “conservative”) pale in comparison to the stuff Rush and Company crank out every day. I’m trying to, in my little way, counter a tide of BS running the opposite direction.

Sid asks:

I have read your last five pieces and I am convinced that you are French. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I would love to live in a world without violence, in a world not rife with insane religious positions, in a world where the political opposition is not hated. I would love to see two, or more, candidates for the presidency of the United States, actually debate issues rather than repeat talking points. Alas, I live here, on Earth.

Yes, I do have a point. You are extreme. Your words invite insane opposition, rather than intelligent discussion. You can influence people, that fact incurs responsibility. Could you please rethink your presentation?

I am French. I am also American. I’m a dual national, born here with a French parent. Anyone who wants to make that an issue is welcome to do so, with the caveat that there wouldn’t be an America if France hadn’t saved our butts from the British back in 1781. But I’m curious: How do my words “invite insane opposition”? All I’m doing is saying out loud what many Democrats say and think in private. And I’m totally, utterly unapologetic about being politically progressive. I am so damned tired of wishy-washy liberals constantly trying to reason with assholes who have no desire to be reasoned with. Jesus, people, grow a spine. We’re getting our asses kicked out there; let’s play as rough as they do.

Mark shows how it’s done:


I sent the following message to the ombudsman of the Washington Post after reading his editorial today…

Dear Ombudsman,

Your handling of the Ted Rall controversy troubles me. In my view, you have cow towed to those who don’t really believe in free speech (much less dissent). As you are probably aware, there is a well organized campaign (crusade) on the right to squelch the voices of people like Mr. Rall. Thanks to organizations like yours, it appears they will succeed. Please at least be honest and admit to yourself that your actions regarding Mr. Rall were motivated as much by fear than by fairness.

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