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August 13, 2006

The Lens Of History

When thinking about current events I find the greatest challenge is to place the overwhelming flow of news in proper perspective; to sift through the chatter for significant facts which, pieced together, lead to some meaningful conclusion. It's easy to get lost in the moment, to become distracted by the hype; to forget that things will look quite different in a month, six months, two years. That the lens of history provides a vastly different view of events is a theme I've touched on frequently in my writing. This idea is supported particularly well by two pieces found in the WaPo yesterday.

One, perhaps unsurprisingly, was written over two years ago to commemorate the death of Ronald Wilson Reagan, but it sends odd echoes (or ought to, if only we were listening) into the present day:

Reagan was, quite simply, a far more controversial figure in his time than the largely gushing obits on television would suggest.

He took a pounding in the press after his first tax cut when a deep recession pushed unemployment to 10 percent and drowned the budget in red ink.

He was widely portrayed as uninformed and uninterested in details, the man who said trees cause pollution and once failed to recognize his own housing secretary.

He was often described as lazy, "just an actor," a man who'd rather be clearing brush at his California ranch and loved a good midday nap.

His 1983 invasion of Grenada was not universally applauded -- especially after his spokesman told the press the day before that the idea was "preposterous" -- and his withdrawal of the Marines from Lebanon after 241 were killed in a bombing brought blistering editorials.

He was often depicted as a rich man's president with little feeling for the poor, as symbolized by the administration's "ketchup is a vegetable" school lunch debacle. Detractors said he was presiding over the "greed decade."

Journalists had a field day digging into administration corruption. Senior officials in the Environmental Protection Agency and Housing and Urban Development Department, along with ex-White House aide Michael Deaver and national security adviser Robert McFarlane, were convicted of various offenses. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was indicted but later pardoned by the first President Bush.

Reagan's siding with the Nicaraguan rebels was enormously divisive, and negative coverage of the Iran-contra scandal devoured much of his second term. "Crisis Blemishing President's Hands-Off Style," said a 1986 Washington Post article by Lou Cannon, Reagan's biographer.

What the Great Communicator quickly figured out was that he could deliver his message over the heads of the Washington press corps -- often decried at the time as media "manipulation" but now an accepted staple of spin-laden politics.

Why was much of the coverage of Reagan so different from the way he is being revered today? Is it because many journalists were liberals appalled by his conservative philosophy? That may have been a factor, but something more fundamental is at work -- something also on display in the days after Richard Nixon's death, when Watergate was relegated to sidebar status.

There is a natural tendency in the media to say nice things after someone has died. But more important, a president's legacy looks very different 15 years after he leaves the White House, and following a long illness that took him out of the political wars. No one knew when Reagan stepped down that his military buildup would ultimately play a role in the demise of the "evil empire" he railed against. Critics denounced his legacy of record-shattering budget deficits, but in the resulting economic boom such shortfalls came to be viewed as less dramatic, another sign of how Reagan redefined the political debate.

The press, by its nature, tends to get down in the weeds of day-to-day controversies that envelop any president. But when the protagonist is off the stage and the camera pulls back, a brighter picture emerges and the setbacks tend to fade from memory. What is left are the big accomplishments and the inspirational qualities that Reagan brought to the office.

Howard Kurtz offers one view of Reagan - that of his political opponents. But most of the modern-day conservatives who now revere Reagan's memory are either too young, or choose not to recall, the controversy Reagan engendered even among his own party. They forget talk that he was senile, that he was simple-minded, that he was controlled by his advisors. That he wasn't a real conservative, that he was an embarrassment to the party. I was unable to find it, but years ago I remember seeing a reprise of a National Review piece from the 1980's contemplating the wisdom of a "conservative coup" to retake the White House. Truly there is nothing new under the sun.

Reading it, I couldn't help but recall the litany of grievances against the current administration. In fact, during Reagan's funeral, that very subject came up over at The Corner:

FAIR POINT RE BUSH & REAGAN [Jonah Goldberg] and one I should have made. From a reader:

You say that Bush and Reagan are a lot closer in ideology. How do you make that comparison? On tax cuts and some social issues I agree with you. However, on the biggest issue of them all, big government, Bush is clearly no Reagan. The idea of Reagan pushing for a massive new entitlement (prescription drugs) is laughable. This is why Bush is in so much trouble with his base. Posted at 03:46 PM

RE: BUSH AND REAGAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
But didn't Reagan do exactly that in his last year of office? Indeed, the catastrophic health care plan that passed in 1988 included a prescription-drug benefit. Luckily, the thing was repealed a year later.

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose, n'est pas cheries? Unless, of course, we conveniently choose to stuff it down the old memory hole in the name of auld lang syne. Real life is never quite what we'd like it to be. As Joshus Muravchik points out, there is many a slip betwixt our grand theories and the oft-disappointing reality that results when they are put into practice:

...for neocons or any other conservatives to turn against George W. Bush would be a terrible mistake. Presidents invariably disappoint their strongest supporters. Their powers are limited, and they must cope with Congress, public opinion, unwieldy agencies and, where foreign policy is concerned, other nations that can help or hinder us. The results never match the elegance of the policies formulated by people like me, who grapple only with editors.

Neocons and other conservatives revere the memory of President Ronald Reagan now. But at the time, we weren't satisfied. "To say that neoconservatives [are] disappointed . . . understates the case to an incalculable degree," Norman Podhoretz, editor of the neocon flagship Commentary magazine, lamented about Reagan's foreign policy in 1982.

Reagan's anti-communist actions toughened in the years that followed, leading to victory in the Cold War. But on terrorism they remained equivocal. In 1983, when Hezbollah blew up our Beirut embassy and followed with a suicide bombing that killed 220 Marines, the president ordered our forces to abandon their peacekeeping mission and slink away unavenged. In his second term, Reagan committed the sin of appeasement, trading arms to Tehran for U.S. hostages.

The contrast between Reagan's courage toward the "evil empire" and his faintheartedness toward Middle Eastern terrorists underscores the magnificence of Bush's achievement in marshaling our country for a war against terrorism. Middle Eastern terrorists had been coldly murdering Americans for three decades, but from Nixon through Clinton, no president dared face the issue head-on. The fight promised to be too nasty, and it required a strategy for changing the politics and psychology of the Middle East, for which there was no guidebook. So each administration had contented itself with shaking a symbolic fist or issuing some subpoenas while leaving the problem to metastasize.

But Reagan's sins of omission in Tehran were quickly forgiven when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. Only it's not Berlin, but Tehran which menaces us now.

How quickly we forget.

There is no way to know what kind of world Reagan's successors would have faced had he acted differently, then. Different times, different choices. But by the same token, the plethora of I-told-you-so authors who can't wait to announce the verdict of history in Iraq and Afghanistan without waiting for anything so tiresome as actual history to take place might care to take note: Dame Irony is always waiting in the wings for a final curtain call. It is far too soon to know with any certainty whether we are looking at a miserable failure or the dawning of something truly revolutionary in the Middle East: the birth of democracy, even if we do not recognize it in its present form.

I sometimes find it odd that the revisionist crowd who so lightly pronounce two hundred years of American history a capitalist, racist, patriarchal sham (but don't you dare question their love for America) cannot see that a nascent democracy might have some growing pains to work through, and yet might ultimately succeed:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

I submit that in 1776, those words were not worth the parchment they were scribbled on. Utter and absolute rubbish.

They did not become real until nine long years of bloody, miserable warfare breathed life into them. They were purchased, truly, at the cost of incalculable human suffering.

Bloodshed. Starvation. Sickness. Injustice. Abuse. Ugliness. Imperfection of every sort imaginable. And as Ignatieff mentions at the beginning of his piece, they did not apply equally to every American for a long, long time. Not to the Irish, nor to women, nor to Jews, nor Catholics, nor blacks, nor non-landowners. But this experiment we call America truly did 'light a fire in the minds of men'. And that fire was seen from a great distance.

It became a beacon to others, even with all its imperfections, because it was better than what had come before. This glorious dream: this democracy. It remains an imperfectly-realized ideal, because humans are still flawed and we bring all our sins and weaknesses with us on this journey. But we are vastly improved for having reached beyond our baser selves, for having dared to dream. We are still improving. And so will the rest of the world, if we can find the courage and the resolve to help them. We are on a road to the stars, but we progress one faltering step at a time.

I submit that in 1776, the men who wrote those words could no sooner have imagined present-day America than we can imagine what the Middle East will look like in 2075.

Will it be free and democratic? Looking the impetus of history, I'd say the chances are good, no matter how dark things may seem to our present day eyes. But so often these days, we seem mired in the instant, our feet stuck in the quicksand of current events. That, and not the tragic legacy of Vietnam, is the quagmire we do not seem able to escape from: persistent amnesia. We have forgotten our own history.

And a generation which does not learn, which refuses to build on that which came before, threatens to be the first generation to accomplish less than its forebears. That would indeed be a miserable failure.

Posted by Cassandra at August 13, 2006 10:08 AM

Comments

To pick a nit, the Revolution only lasted 8 years, and the fighting only 6. Sorry

Posted by: levi from queens at August 14, 2006 10:44 AM

Levi:

That is, indeed, a nit, but if it makes you happy I'll be glad to concede the technical point.

Anyone who is at all familiar with the military knows that war is mostly waiting punctuated by small interludes of fighting, and in any event more people died during the Revolution from starvation and disease than ever died from enemy bullets. So sadly, they didn't stop dying when the bullets stopped flying and even the official cessation of hostilities didn't entirely stop the bloodshed. It's interesting to note that the flight of Loyalists to Canada was accompanied with a goodly amount of what we would nowadays call "terrorist" acts. It's an interesting period in our history.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 14, 2006 11:04 AM

My Dad unearthed a letter (I think) from an ancestor of ours who fought in the Revolutionary War. I should try to find it - it was kind of interesting. I'm not sure my memory is accurate - he found a lot of interesting things while doing geneological research and sometimes I get them confused. I'll have to look through my papers.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 14, 2006 11:06 AM

Hey Cass, I think you should run for President.

Posted by: unkawill at August 14, 2006 01:52 PM

Netroots BigMO Causing Death to Donor-controlled Democratic Party- Netroots is Real Revolution of People- Kalki Gaur
NewsWireUSA Kalki Gaur, 8/14/06 9:40 AM. (1) The Netroots BigMO Internet Blogosphere wrote the Obituary for the donor-controlled Democratic Party in Connecticut Senate primaries in August 2006. The Blogosphere will force Democratic Party to become democratic again and eject fat donors from top positions in Democratic Party and let people, netroots, voters and grassroots take control of the Democratic Party. The Netroots will snatch the leadership of the Democratic Party from corrupt big donors and empower the people and the voters. The netroots blogosphere is not about the ideology of political beliefs of the Netroots Democrats, Blogosphere is about the empowerment of the people, the grassroots and the voters by the revolution in Internet and rise of political blogging as a new media to mobilize masses and voters the role, print media, electronic media did for politicians with deep pockets. The Netroots BigMO is about the Crusades of Democracy inside the Democratic Party. The Wall Street and super rich had monopolized power in the Democratic Party arguing that in a Capitalist Democracy the voters, the grassroots and public didn’t count, only those with a ability to write big checks counted, as the elections were won or lost on grounds of paid TV and newspaper campaigns. The crooks of the America, the likes of Mark Rich came to dominate Democratic Party especially during Clinton era. The Wall Street Rich came to dominate the political landscape and the real politicians, the grassroots and the political activists got kicked out of the Democratic Party and replaced by crooks who could write big checks. The Money and Checkbooks became the sole criteria for political influence and political power in the Democratic Party. The charismatic politician Bill Clinton accelerated the process and Clinton replaced black leadership of the Democratic Party by Wall Street wiz kids. The Netroots Revolution will take back the control and leadership of the Democratic Party from, crooks of the Wall Street back to the people, the voters of the United States. The Netroots would empower blacks, Latinos, browns, Asians and immigrants in the Democratic Party and bring down the political power of the big check writers. The Grassroots Netroots not donors should control the Democratic Party.

(2) Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign galvanized a Third Party United We Stand that could attract more unpaid volunteers at its NYC 42nd street Lexington Ave HQ than the paid volunteers of the Lexington street HQ of the Bill Clinton in 1992. It took great amount of Ross Perot’s money to dismantle the Third Party that he gave birth. Then Ross Perot paid Pat Buchanan to finally destroy the Third Party United We Stand. The Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign proved that Third Party in the United States is awaiting its triumphal birth that may undermine the two-party political duopoly in the USA. The Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign rejuvenated the Third party in form of the political blogging that could also raise campaign donations. No wonder it unsettled the Democratic Party big wigs and forced Vice President Al Gore to join the Howard Dean campaign as a savior but only to dismantle the Howard Dean campaign organization and to dismiss the very team that gave Howard dean its first shine in the political limelight. The Democratic Party co-opted Howard Dean as the President of the Democratic Party with a provision that Dean would abandon his team of bloggers and abandon Dean for 2008 ambitions. No wonder that netroots are determined to prove to the Howard Dean and the Democratic Party as who is the real boss of the Democratic voters. Unless half of the top political posts of the Democratic Party are reserved for the Netroots and political bloggers, the Democratic Party would face a demise or decline in the new age of Blogosphere as Internet blogs replaced expensive TV and newspaper advertisements as more efficient way to mobilize voters and grassroots supporters. The Democratic Party would die as a viable political party unless it invited Netroots and bloggers into the top corridors of party power.

(3) Democratic Party ceased to be democratic in party organization when it expelled Blacks, Latinos, Brown and immigrants out of the top echelon of the political corridors of power in the Democratic Party and replaced them by corrupt political donors, arguing that in a capitalist democracy only donors counted as campaign donations paid for the expensive TV and newspaper ads. The revolution of political blogging changed all that. In the Internet age the voters are influenced more by blogs than TV and newspaper ads. The Democratic Party should learn from the defeat of Lieberman and summarily dismiss 50% of its top donors from top positions in the Democratic Party and replace them by Netroots, Blacks, Browns, Latinos and immigrants. Democratic party had been a party of Slave owners from the Civil War till the 1964 Bill of Rights signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Bill Clinton replaced the grassroots and political activists from tope leadership of the Democratic Party and replaced them by Wall Street donors, and perhaps he did it to make Hillary Clinton the next President. The leaders of the checkbooks replaced leaders of the grassroots voters in the Democratic Party’s corridors of power.

(4) The Netroots defeated the power of Jews through the defeat of Joe Lieberman and allowed majority WASP to take control of the USA. The ethnic support of the Jewish business community successfully catapulted many Jewish leaders into the top echelons of power as the Jewish community provided large number of election volunteers and campaign managers in elections throughout USA specially the in Tri State area. The defeat of Joe Lieberman is a reminder that representation of the Jews in Senate and the Congress would be in proportion to their share of population in USA.

(5) The Netroots Blogosphere defeated the political power of the religious organizations and Churches in the primaries. The large volunteer base of the Christian Churches and church leaders ability to influence campaign donations from the pulpit allowed religious activists dominate the primaries in the Democratic Party as well as Republican Party. It explained why pro-Life and pro-Choice activists determined the primaries in 2000 presidential elections. The Netroots BigMO has ended the dominance of Christian Church in American election process as voters in America more influenced more by Internet Blogosphere than the godosphere of the Churches.

(6) The Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere political dictum is that American elections in 2006 as well as 2008 decided by Netroots, blogosphere activists and political bloggers more than the paid TV or newspaper advertisements. The Netroots, the political Bloggers, the warriors of the blogosphere pulled it off, with the verified electoral defeat of Senator Lieberman in Democratic primaries in Connecticut. The Republican Party, the GOP may not gain from Lieberman's loss, if GOP remained blind and failed to invite aspiring new leaders of Republican Netroots and Republican Blogosphere to the top echelons of the Republican Party. Senator Joe Lieberman's loss in the Connecticut Senate primary signaled the ascendancy of a legitimate new power center in the Democratic Party, the Democrat Netroots or Blogosphere Democrats. It also signaled the ascendancy of a legitimate new power center in the Republican part the Republican Netroots or Blogosphere Republicans. Failure to recognize the political power of the new Internet based political groups the netroots or blogosphere could doom the political party that failed to see the rising sun, clouded by they vested interests and lobbying interests. It is simply stupid to argue that defeat of Senator Lieberman resulted out of his pro-Iraq war stance rather than the political power of Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere. Only a politically blind analyst would deny the rising sun of Netroots. The success of Netroots blogosphere has sent shock waves to the fat check campaign canvassers and dynastic caucus that had earlier relied on incumbency to retain control over Senate and Congress at the Capitol. Incumbents invariably won the primaries because of their clout over County Canvassing Boards and party apparatus. The revolutionary Netroots Vote4Me blogosphere threatens to smash and bring down this glass tree house perched high in the Democratic Party. Top Democratic Party positions would no longer sold to the biggest donors if Democratic Party wanted to win any future elections.

(7) Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere political movement will transform the election politics of USA, Britain and India and only a foolish politician and a foolish political party would fail to adapt to and salute the rising sun of Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere. President Reagan was the first President of USA made by Television. Being a Hollywood actor allowed Ronald Reagan master the Idiot Box to win elections in USA, and Reagan was a great orator. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was the first Prime Minister of Britain made prime minister by the advertising suaveness of Satchi & Satchi advertising agency. Reagan and Thatcher transformed the election politics of the democratic world and India followed their trend. The Netroots movement, Blogosphere movement and political bloggers have established itself as a power center among Democrats as well as Republicans in USA as well as in India. Failure of the Democratic Party to replace its corrupt leadership and dynastic leadership and invite Netroots Democrats and Blogosphere Democrats into the top echelons of political power in the Democratic Party could haunt the Democratic Party in November 2006 as well as November 2008. Presently Democratic Party’s top leadership is overflowing with corrupt fundraisers lobbyists and special interest group leaders, who have no touch with grass roots Democratic voters. All top leaders of the Democratic Party are selected by Democratic Aristocrats, because they belong to the Elite group, and are either the wife or son or someone big in the Party. Democratic party would be doomed in elections 2006 and 2008 if Democratic Party failed to replace the elite leadership selected by the corrupt coterie to the enterprising young leadership thrown upward by the Netroots Democrats and Blogosphere Democrats. Vice President Al Gore gave a kiss of death to Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and forced Dean’s campaign to dismiss the very same Netroots that had created the campaign. Netroots are very happy that the dishonest Al Gore no longer in the presidential nomination for election 2008. The only qualification Senator Hillary Clinton has to claim Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 is that she is the wife of President Bill Clinton and she can raise large funds. The fat Campaign dollars would fail to compete with netroots blogosphere political bloggers as “Vote Makers” in creating new votes by paying for high budget TV advertising and newspaper advertising.

(8) Joe Trippi as Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign manager was a pioneer in the use of the Internet as a fund-raising and election campaigning and organizing tool. The Internet activists of the Howard Dean presidential campaign, were booted out of Howard Dean’s Campaign 2004 on account of conspiracy hatched by pro-establishment vice President al Gore and all the $5 million raised by Joe Trippi and group confiscated and misused by the agents of Al Gore and new managers appointed by him. Al gore has sealed his political future forever.

(9) But in Senate Democratic primary in Connecticut, the Netroots Vote4Me political bloggers didn’t just get a win, but a victory no one could have expected even four months ago. The Netroots bloggers and Connecticut voters have for all intents and purposes kicked Joe Lieberman out of the Democratic Party. Joe Lieberman a three-term Connecticut Senator, on the verge of being the vice-president in a Democratic administration six years ago. Almost the entire Democratic establishment supporting his run against a virtually unknown businessman named Ned Lamont. Lamont admitted the support of Netroots Democrats was crucial early in getting the word of his candidacy out. Markos Moulitas of Daily Kos appeared in one of his early ads, former blogger and Internet organizer Tim Tagaris left his job at the Democratic National Committee to work on Lamont’s campaign and bloggers from the site mydd.com headed up to Connecticut over the last several days to call voters and encourage them to support Lamont. And MoveOn.org strongly supported Lamont despite pleas from Democratic leaders not to. Lamont's victory was about the rising vote making capabilities of political blogs, though pro-Iraq War stand of Lieberman helped Lamont.

(10) Now the main four interest group players in the Democratic party are: Netroots Democrats, Trade Unions, Black African Americans, and Pro-Choice Pro-Abortion Rights Groups. The Connecticut primary win means the "Netroots" now must be treated by Democratic leaders and politicians like the party’s other major interest group players — Pro-abortion rights groups, African-Americans and Trade Unions. There were signs before this race that the bloggers were already gaining respect. A bunch of presidential candidates showed up to the Daily Kos convention in June. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and other top party officials now have regular strategy meetings with MoveOn.org. And in recent weeks, Hillary Clinton has hired a blog outreach adviser. Now that the Netroots power has been cemented, any Democratic presidential candidate will have to consider how to woo these Netroots Blogosphere Internet activists, or at least keep them from hating him or her. MoveOn.Org is not fringe in the Democratic Party; they're the heart of the Democratic Party. The Connecticut Senate primary race sends one clear overriding message: in a liberal state like Connecticut, Democratic candidates defy the Netroots vote4Me Blogosphere at their own peril. The Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere has turned the tables against incumbents.

(11) American politics gets wired from Blogosphere Vote4Me Netroots movement. The Netroots Blogosphere Vote4Me Internet moves ever closer to the heart of US politics, and its resounding victory in defeating Lieberman in Democratic primaries, has given such a powerful aura to the Netroots Vote4Me, that some of those who have put it there are shying away from the claims others make for Netroots power among voters. It was Mr. Lieberman's attempts to dismiss his opponent as an "antiwar challenger backed by loony-left bloggers" that did most to cast Netroots Vote4Me bloggers in kingmaker roles. The general verdict is that Lieberman’s defeat is a great day for Netroots Vote4Me blogs.

(12) Hillary Clinton camp's strategy is reaching out to blogs, blogger Peter Daou was recently hired from Salon to "expand Clinton’s relationship with the Netroots Democrats, the Democratic blogosphere might start to behave very differently. Rival to Hillary Clinton in 2008 presidential race trying to repeat Howard Dean's feat of entering the 2004 primaries as the Democratic Internet candidate. The Democrat Netroots have become too large to be the exclusive agent of any one democratic candidate. With her Democratic front-runner status, Hillary Clinton doesn't need to actually win the blogosphere outright; she just needs to make sure her rival for presidency does not either. In 2003, the liberal Blogosphere Netroots rallied overwhelmingly to one contender, Howard Dean.

(13) The Audio Video blogoshere has great scope for viral videos to spread campaign ads and other clips across the blogosphere for very little money, something that has started to happen already - and it all starts to look very wired. Every campaign manager now expects more on the political power of the Netroots Vote4Me blogosphere. The defeat of Lieberman is just the tip of iceberg and tiny reflection of the "underlying reality," and the "chatter about the power of the Netroots Vote4Me blogospher blogs is probably more important than whether Netroots really had any power to begin with. Vote4Me blogosphere is important as it directly influences the minds of the Internet savvy American voter, without having to spend huge sums on Television and print media advertisements.

(14) Democrat Ned Lamont's victory in the Senate primary in Connecticut over incumbent Joseph Lieberman is the first major triumph for Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere Internet political bloggers, who championed the challenger's antiwar candidacy. Netroots bloggers are being low key about their role in Lieberman’s outcome. Netroots Blogosphere is not a group to shy away from taking credit for things, but playing kingmakers in a world of real politics that has true national implications has made Netroots bloggers suddenly modest. Lamont would not have gotten where he got without the left-wing blogosphere. Yet there are just not enough bloggers for that to be the only reason Lamont won. Lamont's victory will make it difficult for politicians to ignore the blogosphere's power. Vote4Me Netroots blogosphere really does a good job of getting people fired up and engaged.' Eli Pariser, 25, executive director of MoveOn.org, which supported Lamont, said Lamont’s victory sent a message that voters wee sick and tired of being sick and tired. MoveOn.org bloggers sent out millions of e-mails on Lamont's behalf and attempted what the Internet has failed to achieve a number of times before: motivating people to get out and vote. The group set up a Web site, provided phone numbers of registered voters who hadn't gone to the polls much in the past, and offered a script for volunteers to read to them in support of Lamont.

(15) MoveOn.org bloggers sent out millions of e-mails on Lamont's behalf and attempted what the Internet has failed to achieve a number of times before: motivating people to get out and vote. The group set up a Web site, provided phone numbers of registered voters who hadn't gone to the polls much in the past, and offered a script for volunteers to read to them in support of Lamont. Netroots are Passionate Callers. Most campaigns use paid canvassers and paid callers to do this. Paid canvassers really could care less about who they are calling for. Netroots have people who care passionately doing the calling. The Netroots Vote4Me blogosphere also acted as both a megaphone and an echo chamber for Lamont: It boosted the volume of Lamont campaign and got him the attention of mainstream news organizations. The so-called mainstream media is the true target audience of the bloggers. The Netroots bloggers' No. 1 audience is not voters, it is pundits, it is reporters and it is media. But Democrats must welcome the energy and intelligence and enthusiasm of the Netroots bloggers. Netroots are a good counter to talk radio on the Republican side. The Connecticut race would not have gotten the coverage that it got without bloggers having the ‘shiny new thing’ quality that newspaper and TV reporters respond to. The Netroots bloggers help get the ball rolling for Lamont. Netroots bloggers talked up this race and Netroots deserve credit for that.

(16) Text messaging has mobilized voters in elections around the world. This once teen-centric technology has significantly changed American and Indian election politics also. “Vote4Me Inc” Blog is looking to use Vote4Me’s large electoral voters list database to help lobbyists and Interest Groups market their causes. Vote4Me would connect with young voters and young political activists and immigrants using a very Gen-X technology, the text message. Voter4Me Blog will peddle political Client’s policy, encouraging people in its networks and in the political crowds to use their cell phones to send the text message to a special number, or short code. The phone numbers of text-message writers will be compiled with specialized software, and Vote4Me Action Group will follow up with those enthusiastic texters to enlist support for its Campaign, and lobby for specific policies aimed at getting is politician clients get elected.

(17) Vote4Me Blog professionals are way ahead of the tech game here in the United States, text messaging, or SMS (for Short Message Service). The political and election usage of SMS and Blogs is hardly new in many democratic countries of the world. Opponents of Philippine President Joseph Estrada mobilized their supporters via text message as early as 2001. A massive SMS texting campaign was credited with boosting youth turnout in Spain's 2004 presidential elections. Mexico's president-elect Felipe Calderón launched millions of text messages in the days immediately preceding his narrow win over Andres Manuel Lopez Obradór.

(18) American political groups seem to be catching on the election usage of SMS test messaging and political blogs. Person-to-person text messaging was credited with rallying runaway support for the nationwide immigration protests this spring in USA. It was so successful that activist groups have expanded on the concept. Vote4Me Inc seeks to register young Immigrant voters, and would launch a nationwide text-message outreach program.

(19) Vote4Me would come up with the election campaign specific proposal, and Vote4Me does the homework. Vote4Me kids are texting in record numbers. This teen trend has turned into a election weapon of choice for politicos hoping to energize their constituents in a very cost effective manner as the television media has become prohibitively expensive and TV media is no longer election result wise effective. Many leading election campaign strategists are betting Vote4Me bloggers can be very effective in voter mobilization in US elections 2006 and 2008. NewsWireUSA. Kalki Gaur. 14 August, 9:33 AM Washington DC. diplomatkalkigaur@yahoo.com; Web Blogs are http://indiatalking.com/blog/kalkigaur ; http://clashofreligions.blog.com/ ; http://diplomacyofcivilizations.blog.com ; http://manifestoofneoconservatism.blog.com/ ; http://360.yahoo.com/diplomacyofcivilizations ; http://diplomacyofcivilizations.blogspot.com ; http://www.clearblogs.com/neoconservativeparty ; http://diplomacyofcivilizations.squarespace.com ; http://www.clearblogs.com/indianconstitution ; http://americannewswire.blogspot.com http://newswireusa.blogspot.com ; http://360.yahoo.com/hindustanempire ; http://members.nowpublic.com/neoconsusa ; http://constitution-india-template.manicfish.com ; http://www.123forum.com/2203 NewsWireUSA. Kalki Gaur. 14 August, 9:33 AM Washington DC.

Posted by: kalki gaur at August 14, 2006 01:56 PM

Dear God Kalki.

Wasn't that a tad off-message?

Was that even a comment? ...salute the rising sun of Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere...???

*sigh*

Posted by: Chinese-Jewish-Mexican-American Lawn Chica at August 14, 2006 02:02 PM

Sheesh' take a breath. There is somthing to be said for "PITHY"

Posted by: Unkawill at August 14, 2006 03:05 PM

Take pithy on uth sthmall commenters!

.....And now for something completely different.

Nutroots! A computer, a modem, and the willingness to organize with the rest of the stupid people in the world, and maybe, just maybe, change it for the worse!
If Ned Lamont was the answer, it was a really stupid question.
By the way, Cass (on topic), it's called revisionism (snicker! Like you didn't know!). It is amusing to no end how Lincoln and the contemporaneous history of the Civil War has been 'sanitized' for use by modern historians and teachers.
I think it keeps us from grinding axes for generations and generations over political disagreements.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at August 14, 2006 03:59 PM

Your constant comparisons between Reagan and Bush are clearly an attempt to make us think more of Bush's liberal spending/budget explosions and leftist social spending programs and policies. The comparison lacks merit.

A small part of a lame duck bill coming out of a Democratic Congress is hardly the Prescirption Drug Plan Bush gave us. Plus, Reagan cut one agency, reduced the power and scope of others at least during his tenure when he appointed the leaders, and he had the guts to appoint people like Bork and Scalia (admission: I never like Bork for the SCOTUS though he was clearly qualified) etc. Bush I was seen as the domestic liberal in the White House when Reagan was there and he proved that true once he was President.

Reagan was a social conservative for sure. He also fought to limit spending everywhere but national defense which needed being built up after Carter's destruction of our abilities. Reagan won conservative battles against opposition party controlled congresses.

How does this comapre to Bush?

Bush gives us more spending on everything, lackluster support for his "conservative" campaigne policies (when is the last time you heard about Social Security reform with partial private accounts? thought so) with more pork than a sausage factory.

Were there some grumblings by some conservatives during his presidency? Sure. But most supported Reagan for good measure. No one need wonder wheather Reagan had a generally smaller government philosophy. Look at what he did. It was obvious. Eliminate agencies. Reduce agency power. Eliminated lots of regulations of certain industries.

Bush has generated much more disappointment by conservatives than Reagan ever did. Increased the reach of the Dept. of Education. Increased Federal involvement in all forms of law enforcement - usually under the umbrella of the WOT, whether related or not. Increased Federal spending without once vetoing the pork coming across his desk. His first veto is 6 years into his presidency, and it is over an abortion-related issue.

Reagan actually followed his smaller government philosphy nearly all of the time. Purists bitched, but they always will. Bush has no discernable government philosophy, though he seems to only increase the size of government at every opportunity. I would love to know one area where it has been reduced. Just one. I'm not asking that much.

And to top it off, Reagan won his battles despite never having Rebpublicans control both houses, which means some compromise was necessary. Yet, he still ended up being a conservative hero. Bush has had both houses, and he seldom accomplishes anything conservative outside of tax cuts and his Iraq funding, which I guess counts.

Don't get me wrong. Reagan's legacy was primarily being the true catalyst to winning the cold war, and his stature is secure on that point alone. But I think it was Reagan's economic policies and tax changes (short lived thought they were) and other domestic policy changes that have had major impact all the way through today. Our economy is largely a function of the people, but Reagan helped the govt. get out of the way for 18 out of 20 years of great peace time growth. My point is, Reagan has proven to be a great President both at home and in the world.

Bush II may prove with history to be a great president b/c his legacy will be defined by the WOT. His domestic front, however, can be described as nothing but a nightmare. He has stood by his tax cuts (good), which have proven useful as they did for Reagan (who did much more than tax cuts to help the economy, as I said). But his spending so outgrew inflation that it is indefensible.

Bush has earned his criticism for his domestic policies. They are his policies after all, and he is responsible for the prescription drug plan, federalizing education, re-growing farm subsidies which were being nearly phased out under Clinton, etc. And to top it all off, Bush has given up on all of his domestic conservative promises, except of course for Federal subsidizing of stem cell research. That was a veto for the ages.

Finally, there is room for criticism of Reagan on his handling of terrorism. But that is a forgivable, if not even necessary, sin. No matter our issue, we are limited in our ability to take on multiple issues. Reagan had nukes, all pretty much owned by Commies, aimed at us. He fought the most pressing battle of that day (Commies), which had already resulted in two significant wars for the U.S. and promised mutual destruction. Terrorism, to Reagan's defense, was understandably an issue that was better left for a better day. In fact, had he taken it on, he might not have prevailed in the Cold War.

That defense does not apply to Bush I, Clinton, or Bush II. They needed to take up the war on terrorism, but they and a lot of other people didn't see the need. Bush II is to be commended for taking up the battle, though to a large degree he was forced to by 9/11. He had to go into Afganistan. He would have been run out of office if he hadn't. Whether he made the best decisions after that (would Iran have been a better second target? maybe) remain to be seen.

That Bush II has taken up this battle is no defense of his domestic policies. Reagan's success with a hostile Congress and a big foreign policy issue of his own has not been approached by BushII. Nor is the WOT justification for trying to over play the similarties Bush II may have with Reagan, whose legacy is established.

Posted by: KJ at August 14, 2006 05:33 PM

Nah.

They're an attempt to make you be more fair about Bush and Reagan, which I fully realize will never happen.

But that is not going to stop me from trying. You still won't admit my point, which I still find funny. As for a lot of people "not seeing the need to fight terrorism" in Reagan's day vs. Bush's", that is laughable.

Have you been asleep for the past 5 years? A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T SEE THE NEED TO FIGHT TERRORISM EVEN TODAY KJ. FOR Pete's SAKE.

I suggest you (and others) re-read this sentence:

No matter our issue, we are limited in our ability to take on multiple issues.

Reagan's success with a hostile Congress and a big foreign policy issue of his own has not been approached by BushII.

Ummm... yeah. Last time I checked, Reagan didn't take office after a hotly contested election where the fricking White House telephones and computers were vandalized by the outgoing staff, did he? And this is not at all the same Congress Reagan faced. Supermajorities were not then required to get bills through the Senate.

Bush took on the standards question in education (which no president in our time has taken on) and got NCLB passed. No one likes it, yet I notice no one had a better idea.

He got the prescription drug bill passed (which you hate, but as I pointed out, so did Reagan). It just got repealed so people quickly forgot.

He tried to take on social security, which no president in our time has tried to take on.

He has tried to take on the illegal immigration problem, and contrary to the bs spin of many Reagan hagiographers, his plan is far more in line with historical Reagan quotes than anything coming out of the Tancredo crowd. If you don't believe me, try reading the Wall Street Journal:

Some months before I declared, I asked for a meeting and crossed the border to meet with the president of Mexico. I did not go with a plan. I went, as I said in my announcement address, to ask him his ideas--how we could make the border something other than a locale for a nine-foot fence." So much for those conservatives who think the Gipper would have endorsed a 2,000-mile Tom Tancredo-Pat Buchanan wall.

It's true that in November 1986 Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which included more money for border police and employer sanctions. The Gipper was a practical politician who bowed that year to one of the periodic anti-immigration uprisings from the GOP's nativist wing. But even as he signed that bill, he also insisted on a provision for legalizing immigrants already in the U.S.--that is, he supported "amnesty."

In his signing statement, Reagan declared: "We have consistently supported a legalization program which is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America. The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans."

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008406

Time after time after time, when you check the historical record (which is the only thing that counts) you find people's fond memories being confounded by stubborn facts.

I might add that it's a heck of a lot easier to succeed on the domestic front when you're not fighting a war on two foreign fronts. But surely that has already occurred to you.

And I am not "overplaying similarities" between Bush and Reagan. I was making a point that a president's legacy seems different 15 years down the road, and the similarity in the description of Reagan by Howard Kurtz is about as striking as it is possible to get.

I am really not sure why it sends you high and to the right. I don't recall saying they were exactly alike anywhere.

Posted by: Chinese-Jewish-Mexican-American Lawn Chica at August 14, 2006 06:04 PM

Play filibuster hypos all you want, but having your party controlling all committees and both houses is better than not controlling any committees and neither house of congress (except the senate for 2 years).

I know some people don't see the need to fight the WOT today. I was talking about the issue in Reagan's day. And afterwards.

Yes, Reagan compromised on immigration. It was a smaller issue at the time, plus it didn't fit into the Cold War. Bush at least can argue that Mexico is also about the WOT, which he does when it suits him. Reagan also had a deal about enforcement included in the final bill, but those promises were never fulfilled. I would hope that Bush would learn from Reagan's mistake of giving in now for future consideration that will never come. I doubt he will.

Bush took on "standards?" Yes, he did. That is better than money flushed down the drain without standards I suppose, but it doesn't justify federalizing all schools under the DOE, which was not a compromise. Local govts should fund education. Education is not a power in the Consitution, and federalizing takes control away from the local boards. That was Bush's plan all the way. It is big govt suckitude.

And another thing. If I change my mind 15 years from now, there will be a good reason for it. Damnit.

Posted by: KJ at August 14, 2006 10:22 PM

Wow, this post generated a lot of lengthy responses that seemed to me to be rather irrelevant to what you were saying. Personally, my response to your post is: Thanks, I needed that. And with that I'm off to bed.

Posted by: Glenn Sutherland at August 15, 2006 12:27 AM

Some days it is like that.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 15, 2006 05:29 AM

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