June 02, 2003

Loyalty and Politics

Finished another book over the weekend. This one is "Stickin': The Case For Loyalty" by James Carville. Another library find, it is a short book that I've always wanted to read. I don't like Carville a whole lot. He's one of the few liberals who acts like a conservative. He demeans the opposition, he oversimplifies things, he comes off as "just plain folks" when he is actually being quite sophisticated about pushing his political agenda (which I pretty much agree with).

So while I say I don't like Carville a whole lot, I'd say on a scale of 1-10 of my favorite personalities in politics, I might put him at a 5. Someone like Ann Coulter, I might put at a -158. So it's all relative. And the thing is, unlike most conservative shit-spewing blowhards, Carville is right. Not just about the policies he supports, but about the facts and logic. You may think, yes, well, that's a matter of opinion, liberal vs conservative, but actually it isn't. Facts aren't partisan.

Oh well, whatever. Carville actually addresses his book far beyond the political arena to talk about loyalty in lots of aspects of life. But one of the chapters that I like involves a discussion of political loyalty. He says that lots of conservatives tend to call him a sycophant, an unquestioning, unthinking follower and friend of Bill Clinton, and they ask Carville if the whole Monica thing wasn't enough to turn Carville off of Clinton, where would Carville draw the line?

Carville says he actually came closer to leaving Clinton when Clinton signed an unfair welfare bill that screwed over a lot of poor people, because at least that was something important. But on matters of sex and marriage and so on, he compared Clinton to someone like, say, Newt Gingrich. Newt also cheated on his wife, and he pretty much abandoned her and the kids while making millions (they ended up on welfare and only made ends meet with the help of a local church).

Carville said cheating is one thing, but abandoning your family is much more serious, so if you have to draw the line, then it would be somewhere between what Clinton did and what Gingrich did. "There, you happy now? There's your damned line," he writes. And of course there's the obvious line of argument of why Republicans drew that line for Clinton and not for most of their leadership, which had done the same thing.

I suppose I should get back to reading more comfortable fiction books soon, but getting all these current events books from the library is really fun. These are mostly books I would never consider buying (usually way overpriced), but I am interested in reading. So I'm on a real run with them, devouring them left and right. Next is Michael Moore, followed by Sidney Blumenthal. Ok, maybe left and left. Then maybe that New York Times look at 9/11.

On second thought, maybe I need some Child Psychology books.

Posted by Observer at June 2, 2003 08:06 AM

Comments on entries can only be made in pop-up windows while those entries are still on the main index page. Sorry for the inconvenience this causes, but this blocks about 99.99% of the spam the blog receives.

I didn't care that he porked Monica, I couldn't care less if he'd porked all his interns in the Rose Garden during a ceremony.

What seriously pissed me off was when he called a major press conferense, all the networks covered it, he went on TV, pointed his finger straight at the camera, (aka ME) and said he didn't do it.

And I believed him. Why not? He seemed sincere, and why the fuck lie about something so stupid? Every fucking polititian cheats on their spouse, it's part of the personality trait that makes them become politicians in the first fucking place.

I can tolerate a lot more political bullshit than a direct bald-faced lie.

I'll 10,000% agree that he should have either said nothing about it or admitted it or anything, but to go out of his and my way to lie basically to my face pissed me off to no end. I'll never trust him again.

Posted by: Humbaba on June 2, 2003 09:51 AM

To some extent I agree with Humbaba here, but then you have to ask yourself if you've ever seen a politican who didn't lie to you. Sure, I don't approve of what Clinton did, but I can't say that I am any happier with the lies of the current administration. And at least Clinton did it with something that was not anyone elses business...

I still love the Doonesbury cartoon where BD can't cope with the Reverend complaining about all the recent criminal prosecutions and convictions of administration officials and then having to correct him and point out that he is talkign about the Bush Sr. administration and not the Clinton administration.

They're elected officials. They system is designed to reward the man who can get on television and lie most convincingly about what he is not going to do once elected. You expected some other sort of behavior?

Posted by: Seattle Astronomer on June 2, 2003 01:30 PM

I can lie if a prospective employer asks me whether I'm pregnant, which is why I don't think it's such a big deal that Clinton lied about an affair. Nobody should have asked to begin with. That whole story was pathetic. But it was nice that those were the headlines back then.

Posted by: Conny on June 2, 2003 03:50 PM

They asked because it related to a trial, and he was asked in court. See, that was the lie that mattered -- the illegal sort.

Posted by: Polerand on June 2, 2003 04:30 PM

I never asked him, but he went on national TV and said it basically to my face. If it had just been lies off camera, I couldn't care less.

Posted by: Humbaba on June 2, 2003 05:19 PM

Are you madder about Clinton's lie (which had to do with his personal sex life and a perjury trap), or are you madder about the multiple documented lies in Bush's State of the Union address (which had to do with our nation's foreign policy and going to war)?

I find most conservatives will scream bloody murder about the former and say nothing about the latter (even going so far as to say there were no lies, which is the old 2+2=5 is a valid, rational position thing).

Posted by: Observer on June 2, 2003 10:17 PM

If by you, you mean me, I'm not really angry (or mad, as you said) about either. If you're going to keep bringing something up as an example, however, you might want to know the real reason people had problems with it -- i.e. that instead of simplying saying "I plead the 5th" he lied instead. Dumb thing to do.

BTW, I've never seen any use in a State of the Union address. It's tradition-bound political horseshit and never means much in the end. Find me a man who wil lsay "we're fucked" for that, and I might care.

Posted by: Polerand on June 3, 2003 06:32 PM

I will go to my grave with the belief that Clinton was very, very wrong in doing what he did to desecrate the oval office. It was horrifying. I don't care all that much about the perjury or the lie to the media, because I recognize at that level, it was all a big meaningless political payback battle anyway.

In the grand scheme of things, however, Clinton was a pretty good president for this country. He was the right guy for the times. To compare the level of wrongdoing, lying and corruption is his administration to Reagan or either Bush is like comparing a drainage ditch to the Mississippi River.

This is obviously not the way the corporate media has portrayed it, though, and it is definitely not the way the right-wing media (distinct from the mainstream corporate media, including Fox, talk radio, MSNBC, etc) has portrayed it. And this is to their shame. It has lead to the wrongheaded opinions of a very significant fraction of the electorate.

Posted by: Observer on June 4, 2003 12:36 PM

I wouldn't say he actually harmed the oval office, really. Look at previous Presidents -- it was just so much more public in the information age and all. Sure, it was a bone-headed sort of move, but it happens.

Posted by: Polerand on June 4, 2003 03:52 PM