From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
The most important election in generations

September 9, 2004 10:20 AM

Michael Barone points out that "the coming presidential election may be the most important in generations." Yet the only thing we seem capable of talking about are the war records (or lack thereof) of Kerry & Bush.

UPDATE: Steven Johnson points out this is more the media's fault than the candidates': "[T]elevision is in the business of improving ratings, not civic discourse. Just don't complain about our declining political discourse when you're the one dragging it down."

More from the archive in Bush, John Kerry, Media.

The most important election in generations (09.09.2004)

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Read the 23 comments.

evil conservative666:

Neither candidate has the most exemplary combat record, I wish they would call a truce on it. Maybe then we'd get a chance to find out what Kerry really thinks about things, if he's capable of it. I honestly am starting to question if the party won't hang Kerry out to dry in mid-October if his support continues to erode at this rate. That said, I'd be amazed if it did, though I do think he won't gain much ground without some concrete statements. Is anyone else wondering if it's gonna be over before November?

Thu Sep 9 2004 12:07 PM

Matt E:

We should wait for the debates before anyone tries to call this early. Of course Bush won't agree to a 3rd debate w/ undecided

Thu Sep 9 2004 6:23 PM


No its a republic.

Fri Sep 10 2004 5:24 AM

Right Wing Robby:

Mock :of, relating to, or having the character of an imitation

Thats an interesting word choice. I think we will be seeing that word used over the next few weeks.

Fri Sep 10 2004 6:13 AM


What I want to know is what do we do to help the situation? On television the senators/et al, say the people will make their decisions heard. If the people want to see more broadcasted content of blah, then they will..

Reaaaalllyyy? Wow, I never knew I had a voice. Every time I write a letter to my congress lady she always tells me she disagrees with my view.. Well, thanks a bunch for not representing anything I think is of value.

So if I am valueless, and I do not feel I have been retarded politically, more of some strange hybrid of Libertarian/Socialist (isn't that one odd?), what do we have to do? Walking around with petitions seems to not make much movement, what are acceptable proven methods for altering the course of great beasts such as these?

I just want fact-checked-truths, I want to hear honest plans that will be checked along the way by the media and public watchdogs. I want accountability in our ranks, not back dooring of the people. All around me though people seem to sink into the misinformation and it gels into this quasi truth and gets as tough to fight as a religious argument.


Fri Sep 10 2004 7:49 AM


No, it's a DEMOCRATIC republic.

Our leaders might decide everything for us, but they are DEMOCRATICALLY elected.

For all those who retort "We're a republic" to people who use the word democracy when describing our country, please abstain from voting. Otherwise you may look like a hypocrite when you take part in a DEMOCRATIC process.

Fri Sep 10 2004 9:46 AM


Merriam-Webster defines "Democracy" as follows:

1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
2 : a political unit that has a democratic government
3 capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the U.S.
4 : the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority
5 : the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges

Why do so-called conservatives keep insisting that the U.S. is not a Democracy? What is the agenda behind such a bizarre position? I have heard this from several so-called conservatives, and I sort of assume it is a Rush Limbaugh talking point, but I don't know why so-called conservatives would be so up-in-arms about redefining America as a "Republic". Yes, the U.S. is a Republic, but "Republic" is insufficiently specific, so it is inferior as a descriptive for the U.S.

Here is Merriam-Webster's definition of "Republic":

1 a (1) : a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government b (1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government c : a usually specified republican government of a political unit
2 : a body of persons freely engaged in a specified activity
3 : a constituent political and territorial unit of the former nations of Czechoslovakia, the U.S.S.R., or Yugoslavia

Oh wait! I figured it out! Republicans want the U.S. to be called a Republic, because it's the same name as their party!! How lame is that?!

So it comes to this. We are arguing with a bunch of pre-adolescents.

Fri Sep 10 2004 11:09 AM


Neoconservatives are the Marxist ideologues of our time. Facts are merely something to be reshaped according to their politics, and their politics changes to match whatever brings them the most power.

Fri Sep 10 2004 11:13 AM


Progressives/Liberals are the Maxist ideologues of our time. Facts are merely something to be reshaped according to their politics, and thier politics changes to match whatever brings them the most power (James Carvile, CBS, Fahrenheit 911 to name a few)

Democracy is mob rule pure and simple
We live in a Representaive Republic

Fri Sep 10 2004 2:40 PM


Sorry for the type O's

Progressives are the Marxist ideologues of our time. Facts are merely something to be reshaped according to their politics, and their politics changes to match whatever brings them the most power.

Democracy is mob rule pure and simple
We live in a Representative Republic

Fri Sep 10 2004 2:44 PM

Paul Stone:


Your definition of "democracy" - "mob rule pure and simple" - doesn't seem to agree with Merriam-Webster's definition - "a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections".

How do you explain this discrepancy?

Fri Sep 10 2004 3:59 PM


Democracy :1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority

"mob" meaning the greatest majority willing to get out and vote.

In a pure democracy, gay marriage would never even be an issue because a majority of American's are against it. In a pure democracy, Al Gore would be President right now.

Republic : ... (1) a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law

I like the way they phrase it last in reference to our own gov't best. We live in a society where the citizens elect officers to represent them in governing according to the LAW. So we have a law, Constitution, that superseeds the majority rule (unless it is a huge majority constituting 3/4 of the elected representatives and the majorities in 3/4 of the States).

We don't live in a pure Democracy, never have! Republic much better defines our gov't.

Short article expanding on this idea:

Sat Sep 11 2004 11:29 AM

Ben Jerry:

I stopped in a Baskin Robbins the other day. The guy at the counter asked if I wanted some ice cream and I said yes. Before I could tell him which flavor I wanted, he started scooping whatever was in front of him. I said "No, I want chocolate." The man looked at me like I was crazy and said "Just a second ago you asked for ice cream. Now you want chocolate?"
I said "No, I want some chocolate ice cream."
The man said "there's chocolate and there's ice cream, it's that simple. If you want frozen milk cream, sugar and flavorings, that can best be described as ice cream. If you want roasted, shelled, and ground cacao seeds, combined with a sweetener or flavoring agent, that can best be described as chocolate. Now make up your mind. Ice cream or chocolate?"

I think I'll take two scoops of "Democratic Republic". That "Autocratic Republic" has too many nuts.

Sat Sep 11 2004 2:28 PM


For the same reason if you can tell me what the real meaning of "is" is.

I don’t know about you, but I vote for someone to represent me/my interests in government, I don’t directly vote on every: bill/law /code that comes into existence.

Sun Sep 12 2004 8:46 PM


Democracy is when two wolves and a sheep vote on what they will have for lunch.

Mon Sep 13 2004 8:03 AM

Matt E:

Glad to see I sparked such a long debate, complete w/ definitions. It's funny how the response was taken to my initial post. None of the conservatives responded to my comment on Bush backing out of a debate, instead they responded to my use of the word democracy. Let's stick to the issues.

Mon Sep 13 2004 3:34 PM

Roy DeMeo:

I’ve been thinking, a lot, lately about the state of politics and leadership in this country. Imagine the following scenario - Hypothetically, what if Gore had prevailed in the recount? I’m assuming the right wing echo chamber of talk radio and Fox News would still be challenging the results. There probably would have been a Ken Starr-like investigation into the balloting and subsequent recount that would still be on-going. The right would have NEVER accepted the results if they went the other way, NEVER. Every move made by the Gore administration would have been challenged and ridiculed.

If Gore had taken a huge surplus and turned it into a deficit in three short years – OMG!
If Gore had told the country Iraq had WMD’s and invaded when in fact no WMD’s were there – OMFG!
If Gore had spent money allocated for Afghanistan on Iraq….
The Ifs could go on and on here but I think you get the picture.

Now continue to imagine under a Gore win if the terrorists had hit the Chevron and Enron buildings in Texas rather than the twin towers in NY. Anything short of a nuclear reprisal on the part of the imaginary Gore administration would have been met with the clamor of treason from the likes of O’Reilly, Hanity, Rush and Coulter. Articles of impeachment would certainly have been forth coming from Dick Armey, Tom Delay, Rick Santorum-(a mixture of anal lube and poop), Bill Frist, etc. The country would probably end up in another civil war.

I’m very worried about the upcoming election. I’m worried about the state of the nation regarding the economy, civil liberties and safety if the neocons win. In the last election more votes were cast for Gore than Bush and look what has happened. If Bush wins and assumes that not only God is on his side but, now he has a mandate from the American people. Then the future looks mighty grim. However, I’m even more worried what the right wing nuts will do if they lose. Do you think they will settle down and turn over power to Kerry? What if it comes down to 500 votes in WV for 5 electoral points? I foresee a bitterly contested election if Kerry prevails, even in a landslide. And then I foresee nonstop shrill calls of traitor if he does not bully the world as this administration has. I foresee a hard rain falling either way the election goes. But still I pray for Kerry to win. And I plan to vote for him in November.

Tue Sep 14 2004 9:42 AM

Right Wing Robby:

Gore did tell the country Saddam had WMD's.

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

Tue Sep 14 2004 10:24 AM

raging red:

Why do the right-wingers who comment on this site ignore people's larger arguments and instead latch on to minutae?

Clearly RWR and his cohorts are not truly interested in CONSTRUCTIVE debate. Why don't you go hang out at freeper web sites where everyone agrees with you? You are clearly incapable of having civilized, intellectually honest and open discussions.

Tue Sep 14 2004 12:43 PM


Raging Red, I agree, go fuck yourself.

Tue Sep 14 2004 2:26 PM

Right Wing Robby:


You made a series of untrue "what if" questions; one of which was imagining Gore said something when the truth is he did. I simply gave you the quotes and said nothing more.

Sorry to let facts get in the way of your "larger" imaginary argument. Intellectual debates should contain a few facts here and there, dont you think?

Id rather debate facts then play make pretend. Despite being called names and being told to "fuck myself", I still engage in debate. Why would I go to a site that agrees with everything I say? Since your into your definitions, try this one.

Debate: to discuss a question by considering opposed arguments

Tue Sep 14 2004 2:58 PM

raging red:

RWR, thanks for illustrating my point that you possess an incredibly low level of reading comprehension. I didn't make any statements about Gore, that was someone else.

From what I have read of your comments on this site, you don't consider any opposing arguments. Why would you post comments that are just meant to antagonize people? You aren't trying to have constructive debates, you just attack.

I am perfectly willing to have constructive conversations with anyone about anything, but clearly that is impossible with you. I guess I just need to learn to ignore people like you. So from now on, I will.

Tue Sep 14 2004 5:52 PM


Activists rallied outside the UN to protest the slavery, rape and genocide in Sudan. With more than 50,000 dead and millions of refugees fleeing their homes many believe the situation in Sudan is the first genocide of the 21st century. Speakers condemned the UN, and Kofi Annan in particular, for their pitiful silence and failure to uphold one of the UN’s founding principles of “Never Again.”

Comment: Hey is there any oil in Sudan?….

Well the situation in Iraq is getting worse. Its very different bombing the crap out of a country where you have complete military superiority and then rebuilding it into a peaceful nation. Is there even an inkling that this country will settle down and turn into a democracy? Where is the Iraqi oil going? Can someone show me how we are rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure and economy? Are we pumping oil money back into Iraq or even pumping oil into the US to lower domestic gas prices? And don’t tell me we aren’t pumping any oil. Its gotta go somewhere.
If Bush can’t even unite the country when it is attacked and everyone in the world gave him tons of slack, then why does everyone expect him to do so much better in the next four years? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Basically once Bush gets in he’s going to do whatever the hell he likes. What does this mean? Basically this means that anything he promised at the convention is basically BS. Hey, he hasn’t listened to anyone since he got in, and he’s not going to change. If 75% of the American people disagree with him on an issue too bad. Quite frankly if he gets elected its ‘Katy Bar the Doors’. Just about every aspect of our country is worse in the last four years. Environment, economy, jobs, quality of life, immigration, health care, etc. (the war in Iraq went downhill as soon as we weren’t able to bomb anymore), more muslims hate our guts now than before, our allies are trying to hang in there but basically would love to see someone else with, well shall we say, an ounce of intelligence, who actually can listen, evaluate and understand what others say and then carry on an intelligent conversation. What the hell is this country thinking? That war is a sport? Lets just kick everybody’s ass? Yeah, I know the rap about the radical muslims and that you can’t reason with them. Well what's the deal, they seem to be like locusts. And you don’t think we are adding to their ranks every day. What are we going to do, start concentration camps for the thousands of muslems that may be thinking that they hate America. Its hard to hold a noble course when you don’t seem to be making any difference. Hard to be noble when you’ve invaded a country that isn’t a clear and present danger and then allowed Abu Ghraib occurrences. Yeah it isn’t easy. In fact the only easy thing was winning the war against the Iraqi army, which I guess had no air force. Did anyone consult historians about the Iraqi culture before we committed to this? Or is that not something Texans do. Excuse me, but I never saw John Wayne make naked pretzel sculptures out of his captives or stand by as innocent people were looted. What the hell has happened to this country. Where the hell is the good Republican party. The one that cared about this country and its place in the world. Who are these perverted uncaring soulless bastards who seem not to consider anyone’s suffering but their own. Who turn a blind eye to true justice and nobility. Who hide behind snide remarks and ignore the rest. Where the hell are they leading my country? These people who laugh in the face of peace and good will. Who will lie directly or by omission. Who smile as they lie. Who care nothing of people but rather for rules and doctrine. Who confuse rule of law for patriotism. Whose feelings soar only when they win. Who are not touched by compassion but rather wax cynical. Are these the strong noble men of the United States? Make no mistake, it is not the individual soldiers, who are patriotically following their orders, nor is it the construction workers, nor the factory workers who labor hard for a living and have rough exteriors not sensitized of intellect, but it is the leaders, the commanders, bosses, generals, and heads of state who by leading unconsciously bring us all into a lesser state of honor. Are we so hapless and helpless that our only answer to confusion is to relentlessly strike out with disregard and threaten anyone who would disagree. Has perversion misplaced honor. Has cynicism misplaced compassion. Has war become the answer of the impatient. Even Ronald Reagan would turn over in his grave at this debacle. Who are these bastards in the Washington DC, and what are they doing to my country?

Wed Sep 15 2004 10:43 PM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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