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Old 01-18-2004, 11:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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So, why am I a Democrat anyway?

I just took that political compass quiz thing. Interesting stuff.

Economic Left/Right: 0.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.69

So I'm actually to the right of center, and pretty darn libertarian. Mabye that makes me a swing voter who doesn't really care about government? Or one who simply wants less of it?

I'm a solid Democrat, and I often think about what the best justification for my alignment is. I might start by saying why I'm not a Republican.

In my mind, the Republicans (and GWB in particular) have stopped caring about policy, and have spent more time caring about politics, perception, and power. Let me rehash the Iraq debate in about two sentences, and then leave it alone for the rest of the post. They justified the war with WMD, but ignored the multiplicity of experts that said their interpretation was dead wrong; the experts were right. Even though the war was justifiable for humanitarian reasons, the Republicans lacked the courage and honesty to sell the war in those terms.

It is difficult to see where their policies will lead. Deficeit spending will ultimately drag down our economy. We're borrowing something 5% of GDP per year right now, plus interest. If this continues, in the future we will see a massive tax increase, a massive government cutback, a financial collapse, or some combination of the above. I would hope that the government would give a damn about being financially responsible, but this one doesn't.

I could go on and on, but I'd rather not define a Democrat as an anti-Republican.

I'm a Democrat because I'm a social libertarian. I think the government should stay out of the business of regulating sexual behavior. I think gay couples should have the same legal rights as straight couples (things like medical visitation, equality in taxation, and inheritance). I think marijuana should probably be legalized to some extent (if not completely).

I'm a Democrat because I'm pro-business. Now wait a minute, you're probably saying, how is that possible? One, I favor some form of government health care for everyone. Why? Because getting businesses (especially small businesses) out of providing health care is a good thing for them. Corporate america should be all for this. I also think that environmental regulations are cheaper in the long run than cleanup measures are. These costs get passed on the the consumers, but rightly so.

I'm also a Democrat because I think there are things that government can do right. When you compare medicare with private insurance, it is much better at getting health care dollars to the people. Its administrative overhead is less than 5%. When people think bureaucracy, they think red tape and waste, but the bureaucratic model is actually very effecient. Governments around the world have been using it for a thousand years.

Finally, I'm a Democrat because I believe the playing field isn't level, and that action is necessary to make sure that a child born in Harlem has the same chance at success as one born in Malibu. The trick is education. It would be nice if we could change popular culture to be more friendly to nerdy pursuits, but we can't. The schools need to be improved, and the Bush approach of vouchers and increased testing isn't the answer.

And with that I'll take a seat and shut up. Let's not flame here (I might be asking for it though!), or get too deep into individual issues. I'm mostly interested in honest reasons for why you lean the way you do, and more so what party than what alignment.
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Old 01-18-2004, 11:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It soudns like you fit into a goo dnumber of categories of things Democrats stand for, and you have a good, moderate view of the world. Although you don't want it to define your party, both major political parties these days are filled with people who don't necessarily support their own party, but are against the other. That, combined with the fact that one party controls the executive and legislative branches (a recipe for disaster,) is why our government is getting out of hand.
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Old 01-19-2004, 12:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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In many ways, the Democratic party is a centrist party more than it is a leftist party.
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Old 01-19-2004, 02:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Scipio, you and I share a lot of views, and I've also been teetering back and forth as to which party I should be a part of. When I was 18, I registered as a Libertarian. But since then, I've realized that I definately have beliefs that should make me "social [whatever]".

One thing you didn't go through was reasons why you are questioning being a democrat. I'll list a few things as to why I didn't feel right registering with the Democratic party.

First off, I've never agreed with Affirmative Action (that may or may not be related to the fact that I'm a white male ), and Democrats are the first ones to push it. And as you said:
Quote:
Finally, I'm a Democrat because I believe the playing field isn't level, and that action is necessary to make sure that a child born in Harlem has the same chance at success as one born in Malibu. The trick is education. It would be nice if we could change popular culture to be more friendly to nerdy pursuits, but we can't. The schools need to be improved, and the Bush approach of vouchers and increased testing isn't the answer.
... and neither is Affirmative Action, in my belief.

Democrats also seem to be the first ones to implement censorship and degrade the idea of personal responsibility. They do this through legislation that blames the media for stupid things crazy idiots do. Some conservatives support similar initiatives as well, but for different reasons, I think. Conservatives find these things offensive and think they should be banned, Democrats think they breed serial killers and should be banned. I think they're both ludicrous ideas.

However, now I that I start to think about my problems with the Democratic party, I see how essentially petty and few my complaints are. The current political situation has other things at issue. As MSD said, things are a bit out of balance now, so maybe that should be the first priority. I'll support the Dems now, and when things settle down, then maybe I can concentrate on more specific ideals and find a party that fits me better.

Just some thoughts...
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Old 01-19-2004, 05:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I must admit I am one of thse people who is a solid Democrat because I haven't had an opportunity to vote for a Republican I believed wouldn't cause more problems than they solved. (Except once, and I turned out to be so very wrong.) So I am an anti-Republican, and, since I believe that the purpose of a third party in this political structure can never be more than that of a spoiler (except under very limited circumstances that have occurred maybe 2 or 3 times in our history) that makes me a Democrat.

I'm with Moskie on the petty problems with the Democrats: Harvey Waxman, Carol Mosley Brown, The Maryland State Legislature. Democratic legislaters need to get it though their heads that they are not our Mommies.

I think Affirmative action worked, but now needs to be modified so that it moves gradually from a racial base to an economic one. Frankly, I think it ught to stick around for a while longer just to counter the whole reparations bullshit, then maybe phase to an economic basis.

Scipio has the environmental reasoning I have been tring to get to for quite a while. Ditto healthcare. Prevention costs less than repair almost every time. It just makes good business sense.

Nuff for now.
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Old 01-19-2004, 07:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 01-19-2004, 07:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Just to let you know, the reason why medicaid and medicare sound good on paper is that #1 not all normal over head costs are included like a private company would, and #2 doctors basicly work for free with it unless they are crappy Drs who cut a lot of corners and risk the patients.

I worked in a public clinic for a while and what we got for a procedure was not even enough to pay for the anethetic, and to add insult to injury it could take six months to get money for that prodedure.

You thinking medicare is proof that government works well in these areas shows me that the public needs more information on how health care really works.
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Old 01-19-2004, 07:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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4% of this nations GDP is spent strictly on health care administration
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Old 01-19-2004, 07:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Superbelt
4% of this nations GDP is spent strictly on health care administration
Do you have a source for this? This isn't a challange, I'd like to read it.
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Old 01-19-2004, 10:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Right now, no. It's something I picked up and don't remember where I read/heard it.
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Old 01-19-2004, 10:30 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I too am in a political no-man's land.

While I have very strong libertarian leanings (personal responsibility and freedom to do what you want reasonates strongly with me), I do see reason for some government and I don't agree with all libertarian positions (such as wholesale legalization of drugs, although I think pot should be legal).

So right now I am registered as independent.
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Old 01-19-2004, 11:28 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't claim to know everything about the health care debate, but there are a few points that form the basis of my thinking on that issue.

1. We have a moral imperative to make sure that everyone in America has some kind of health coverage, or at the very least, that everyone is free from the danger of being bankrupted by medical procedures.

2. The status quo is unacceptable. There are too many people who receive no care, too many people who receive no preventative care, and too many uninsured children.

3. The government is the best actor we have to make sure that some kind of health coverage is extended to everyone. The private sector isn't working now, and there's no reason to think it will start working miracles in the future.

4. Everyone should pay for health care, to some extent. I'm not flatly opposed to making sicker people pay a bit more, but "healthy" people shouldn't be allowed to opt out of the system.

5. Socialized medicine isn't a good idea. Single payer might be. Some combination of the current system and a single payer system might be as well.

6. An improved health care system will probably result in somewhat reduced salaries for doctors, somewhat decreased profits for drug companies (at least until they stop charging Americans more than Canadians), and a somewhat greater focus on preventative care than on expensive high tech procedures.

This is getting to be kind of long. Let me say just two more things. One, I like the current system, as it produces the best care in the world (for people that can afford it). I worry that the improvements outlined above might somewhat slow the process of R&D, but there's no good reason for that to be the case. Two, as I said in a previous post, expanding health care coverage will benefit companies by getting them out of the business of providing health care coverage.

All for now.
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Old 01-19-2004, 11:36 AM   #13 (permalink)
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In response to above, a few things I don't like about the Democratic party.

1. Hippies. If I went to a Democratic central committee meeting in San Francisco, I might not feel at home! I'm from Arkansas, which is the most solidly conservative Democratic state around. (We'll probably go Red this year, but our entire state government is controlled by the state Democratic party)

2. Excessive political correctness. For a great example, see the controversy over the new Mel Gibson life of Christ movie (I think it's called Passion).

3. I'm wishy washy on affirmative action. On balance, I'm opposed, but only slightly so. Racism is still alive and well, but subtle.

4. On censorship, I'm opposed to just about all kinds. In my mind, the uber-conservative kind of censorship is worse, and the kind I seem to hear about more.
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Old 01-19-2004, 10:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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most of us are democrats because we rather not be republicans

i dont think i could ever look in myself in the mirror if i became a republican, a democrat is fairly disgraceful but more harmless
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Old 01-20-2004, 12:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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When I first registered to vote, I was a Republican. I grew up in conservative Arizona and while my father was/is a stauch FDR Democrat, my environment and associates led me to be a Republican. As time went on, and I became a student of politics and life I began to find that while I liked the fiscal conservatism of the GOP, I did not agree with the social, environmental and "states-rights when it suits us" philosophy(my opinion). I, like many people, tend to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. This is a tough situation to find yourself in. I believe that in a country that is as truely fortuate as this one, we can and should help take care of each other and our planet. I realize that may sound a little bit like a Green Party member, but I think it is true.

Why am I a Democrat? Because I feel that as a party, its views and goals are the one's that will benefit our nation and in turn, the world, the most.

But I still vote for the candidate. (Bush in 88, Clinton in 92 & 96, Gore in 00, in AZ I have voted for McCain twice (but you should see the schucks that have run against him.)
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Old 01-20-2004, 01:24 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ustwo
Do you have a source for this? This isn't a challange, I'd like to read it.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract

Quote:
In 1999, health administration costs totaled at least 294.3 billion dollars in the United States, or 1,059 dollars per capita,...
That's in 1999.

US per capita GDP of $37,600 (2002)
1059 / 37600 = 2.8%
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Old 01-20-2004, 02:15 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I'm a Democrat because I care.
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Old 01-20-2004, 08:27 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thing is, if you're fiscally conservative and socially liberal, you're already in the democratic party, with two caveats. One, you might have trouble shaking the notion that Democrats only want to tax and spend. As much as you hate paying taxes, is cutting taxes, and defeceit spending a better policy? In the State of the Union address, Bush suggested that if spending were constrained to 4% per year, the defeceit might be controlled. This from the administration that saw government spending grow by something like 12% per year (an off the top of my head number. I'm certain it's close, but I'm not sure if it's total spending or just discretionary spending.)

The thing is, even if you cut taxes, spending money you don't have isn't fiscal responsibility, fiscal conservatism, or even good government. So, unless fiscal conservatism means the Republican practice of irresponsible tax cuts, fiscal conservatism is now a Democratic principle.
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Old 01-21-2004, 07:42 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I'm not a Democrat. I'm an Anti-Republican.
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Old 01-21-2004, 08:06 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I am a card carrying registered member of the Libertarian Party. This is not to say that I march lockstep to every Libertarian position on every issue. Far from it. It just so happened that the Libertarian Party more closely matches my views on more issues than either the Democratic Party or the Rebublican Party. It seems to me that both of the major parties put their own interests above the interests of the country, as a whole. So much so, that once you peel away all of the rhetoric, the differences between the two become blurred. It's time for a third party to spice up the salad. I see more and more people espousing Libertarian leanings, yet would never vote Libertarian, for fear of "throwing their vote away". If you vote for the party, or candidate, of your choice...then you are never going to be throwing your vote away. Even if that vote just sends a message that enough is enough. We are sick of the status quo, and you are hereby served notice that we expect more from our elected officials than we have been given.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:34 PM   #21 (permalink)
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The Democrats and Republicans spend more time trying to get power than they do formulating policy. This is as it has to be, as power isn't allocated based on what ideas might work, but by who has managed to acquire it.

Basically, the Libertarian party will never be successful unless it becomes like the two parties we already have, and then succeeds in usurping one of them.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:45 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I've heard that the U.S. spends more per person on health care than Canada, despite their free health-care system. Can anyone tell me more about this?
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:56 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I'd be afraid to vote Libertrarian because of what they'd have to ideologically do.

Which is disassemble the entire government.

And even if that is a good idea, doing it quickly would be disasterous.

Stick a few libertarian senators and members of congress into washington, and let cook.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:59 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yakk
Stick a few libertarian senators and members of congress into washington, and let cook.
BINGO!!! And that's all we're really asking...
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