June 24, 2004

The Neo-Centrist Alliance

This passage from Christopher Hitchens' new Vanity Fair piece about the intra-Republican civil war really stuck with me. (No link, not online.)

It's not the only attack from the old right that describes the neocons as Johnny-come-latelies: chancers who had changed their party allegiance just in time to catch the Reagan tide, but who remained liberals and cosmopolitans under the skin. Indeed, William Kristol has proved Buchanan's point, by telling The New York Times that, if pushed, by which he clearly meant "in any case," he would prefer an alliance with liberal hawks to one with anti-war Republicans.
Sometimes I wish the neos could form their own party: the neo-liberals and neo-conservatives against the Democrats and the Republicans. Not gonna happen, I know. But that is the "party" I feel like I belong to these days.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 24, 2004 12:12 AM

Oh yeah. What this country needs is a conservative party: libertarian, frugal, and hawkish. That's my definition, anyway.

Posted by: chuck at June 24, 2004 12:23 AM

Amen Chuck

Posted by: freeguy at June 24, 2004 01:01 AM

I think you actually called it with an earlier article. It was the one about how the political division in the country really isn't as bad as it appears.

It just seems that somewhere along the line, the media decided that the best way to sell magazines, airtime, etc. was with conflict. As a result, the extreme views get the most attention. It kinda handicaps the Edwards, McCain's, Lieberman's, and the like. I remember that, during his campaign, Kerry made the statment, "It's Republican and therefore wrong". It was at that point I realized he wasn't getting my vote. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I can pull the lever for Dubya at this stage either.

It'd be real nice if we could give attention to those among us capable of building consensus as opposed to creating conflict. I don't necessarily need to agree with you, just show me that you can work and play well with others.

It's not just politics that gets this media treatment. There is a whole slew of "reality TV" shows that encourage people to be conniving and backstabbing. Not long ago, there was a "talent show" that duped people with no real talent into thinking they were stars in the making - that's just plain mean spirited. Heck, that one guy on American Idol might be a little harsh, but at least he's honest. Oh, and let's not forget the Olympics in Atlanta when the media decided that "Guy with Munchausen's Syndrome plants bomb" was a better story than, "Guy following procedure locates bomb".

Most recently, we're in a situation where civilians are getting kidnapped in Iraq. When the kidnappers threaten to cut thier heads off, the media lavishes attention on them. It's a total win-win situation for those guys. The behead the occasional "infidel" and get all the media attention they need for thier effort. Does anyone here really think an entire army will pull out for the sake of one person?

Forgive my bluntness, but is the media that stupid or just that greedy?

Ok...done ranting now...

Posted by: joekm at June 24, 2004 06:08 AM

Michael, I suspect Hitchens attributes too much influence to Buchanan. My own impression, for what it's worth, is that Buchanan's politics are marginal, and that while he is an entertaining figure to have on the cross-talk programs, he is so far out in in the outfield in terms of ideas that there is no real Buchananite constituency out there of any substantial size.

I think there IS a Kristol-like constituency, though: people who think the WoT is so important that it trumps almost all other considerations. And those people tend also to be the ones who value the most quintessentially American things: civil rights, civil liberties and free markets. I don't have data on this, it's just my impression. (or self-delusion, because those happen to be my views as well)

Posted by: Stuart at June 24, 2004 06:37 AM

I'm with you guys too. My problem is I live in a battleground state, Florida, and don't have the luxury of staying at home and registering a protest non-vote. As I don't trust John Kerry to prosecute the WOT, this leaves me little choice but to vote for Bush.

Posted by: Karen at June 24, 2004 06:55 AM


A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined,
but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a
status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them,
which would include their own government.
--George Washington

May we Suggest


-- Well, at least everybody who feels ready for the responsibility of self-goverment. Those who still need a Big Daddy or a Big Momma to discipline and dominate them should vote for whatever furhrer or saviour they like best. If you want self-government don't vote for the Two Lying Bastards of the Democan and Republicrat parties.....

or for any minority party that also wants to govern you....


We advocate
1 guns for those who want them, no guns forced on those who don't want them (pacfists, Quakers etc.)

[2] drugs for those who want them, no drugs forced on those who don't want them (Christian Scientists etc.)

[3] an end to Tsarism and a return to constitutional democracy

[4] equal rights for ostriches.

To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States:
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this Earth,
ever afterward resumes its liberty.
--Walt Whitman

I'm as mad as Hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!
-- Howard Beale

Posted by: Ratatosk at June 24, 2004 07:00 AM

What about the Washington and the whiskey rebellion? But hey, I'm all in favor of an end to Tzarism with a z.

Posted by: chuck at June 24, 2004 07:37 AM

... and returning the election of senators to the state legislatures (one of my long term peaves).

Posted by: Bill at June 24, 2004 07:57 AM


I am in agreement with you, this is the party I feel I belong to as well. The WoT trumps all domestic issues in my opinion. I am willing to compromise on many social issues, unlike those on the far right or far left. Issues like immigration, spending, medicare,etc. have solutions that exist in the center, not the right or left. The extremists' unwillingness to compromise is poison to the political process.

Posted by: Bill Roggio at June 24, 2004 08:05 AM

Bill -- can't think of a single good reason why giving state legislators (who already have the power to draw their own (reelection) boundaries every ten years, and who tend to be ambitious minor league pols angling for political favors from big shots) the power to pick Senators would do anybody any good.

Posted by: Markus Rose at June 24, 2004 08:12 AM


One route to this actually happening is for one or another of the existing parties to be so weakened that the renegades in both parties are confidently able to split ranks.

For example, if the "neocons" (stipulating that this term is at all useful) were confident that there was no threat that the Democrats might get socialists elected, they would feel free to break from the old right.

Likewise, if the neolibs felt no threat at all from the religious right and paleocons, they could split from the far left and attract neocons.

Either way, U.S. politics is revolutionized in a half-decade.

Posted by: Ash at June 24, 2004 08:20 AM


Unfunded mandate Among other things. The states' interests were originally supposed to be represented in congress - now they are not. I hardly think that reconstruction-era blocks on the south rising again need to clung to in what is a more federal republic.

And as for...

and who tend to be ambitious minor league pols angling for political favors from big shots

I don't see the point (asside from the sweeping generalization) but I have heard that argument before. Compare that to ambitious major league pols angling for political favors from big shots which is what we have in both houses. Am I supposed to trust a washingtonian cock-of-the-walk over a one from Nebraska to represent my interests in Omaha or Lincoln? To hold to your agrument on graft and such, you must demonstrate that a senator appointed by a state legislature (which is, in turn, elected by the general voters of the state) would be less virtous than more directly voted in. You're gonna leave a LOT of chalk on the board before you're done proving that one.

Posted by: Bill at June 24, 2004 08:32 AM

When I try to explain to friends that I am "Republican" only because I am "vehemently Anti-Democrat" which leaves no legitmate choice, I get blank stares from my Democrat friends. At least there is argument and disagreement and discussion of ideas among Republicans - they will argue with and resist the likes of the Buchananites and, if necessary, would leave the party over values. Democrats, on the other hand, seem to have no end of "embracing" the lunatic fringe and screaming anger. When is the Democratic Party going to stand up and resist the sort of useless crap that the likes of Ted Kennedy is spewing?

"Ewww! How can you vote Republican. Pat Buchanan is a Republican!"

Well, Ted Kennedy is a Democrat and from where I sit I can't figure which is more whacked out, him of Pat. At least I hear some Republicans denouncing Buchananism. I don't hear much in the way of Dems denouncing Kennedyism.

A third party would be a disaster if it happened before the Dems either collapse or regain some control of their party. The beginnings of a third party has to come out of the whatever is left, if anything, of the sane portion of the Dems.

Posted by: Knucklehead at June 24, 2004 08:44 AM

Buchanan is not a republican anymore and has not been for many years.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at June 24, 2004 08:48 AM

BTW, does anyone else have a nagging fear that the wingnuts at the angry fringe of the Republican party seem to be finding common cause with the moonbats at angry fringe of the Democratic party (is it a fringe?) My nagging fear is that the next political party we might have form would be the "wingbat" party and that the Democrats have gone so far down their path of anger and hatred that they'll join the Wingbats in some idiotic, destructive coalition.

Posted by: Knucklehead at June 24, 2004 08:50 AM

More Information on "The Guns And Dope Party"

The official flag: the Gadsden flag -- the oldest American flag of all

Official motto: "Like what you like, enjoy what you enjoy,
don't be afraid to make slurping sounds,
and don't take crap from anybody"

First order of business on assuming office:
Fire 33% of the Congress [names selected at random]
and replace them with full-grown adult ostritches,
whose mysterious and awesome dignity will
elevate the suidaen barbarity long established there.

Both the pro-gun people and the dopers
[medical, religious and/or receational]
feel like minorities, and the TSOG [Tsarist Occupation Government]
agrees with this estimate of their weakness.
Our contention holds that in the West both groups
working together make a MAJORITY.
Ergo, they have much to gain and nowt to lose in combining forces.
Each side only has to realize this and agree
"We'll tolerate their hobbies if they'll tolerate ours"
and we can drive the Tsarists back to Russia!

Posted by: Ratatosk at June 24, 2004 08:57 AM

bill - i'm just starting to read some essays about this 17th amendment issue that i've found on the web...as a citizen who DOES NOT want a smaller federal government, I won't agree with you, but the discussion does raise a lot of interesting issues.

My pet peeve is politicized redistricting and winner-take-all elections. A liberal in a conservative-leaning district, or a conservative in a liberal-leaning one, ought to have SOME legislative representation at the state and federal level.

Posted by: Markus Rose at June 24, 2004 09:16 AM

From Knucklehead:

'My nagging fear is that the next political party we might have form would be the "wingbat" party'

Recently, I heard that Ralph Nader was being endorsed by the Reform party. I was drinking some water at the time and literally did a spit-take at the thought of Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader at the same party. Could this be the "wingbat" party that you fear?

Posted by: joekm at June 24, 2004 09:24 AM

Maybe not a party, but a cross-party group that organized for antiterror politicians might be useful. Sort of like EMILY's list, but not restricted to Democrats.

Posted by: John T at June 24, 2004 10:03 AM

The "WoT." How will we know when we've won this?

Posted by: RoguePlanet at June 24, 2004 10:06 AM
Maybe not a party, but a cross-party group that organized for antiterror politicians might be useful. Sort of like EMILY's list, but not restricted to Democrats.

You'd need to be more specific in what makes an "antiterror" politician. That's sort of like having a list for people against putting puppies in blenders (if you'll pardon the borrowed meme). Better still to have a list of politicians that support unilateral pre-emption or some other rubber-hits-the-road criteria.

Posted by: Bill at June 24, 2004 10:08 AM

Rogue, you put it in quotes.

That tells me that you don't believe in the concept of the War on Terror.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at June 24, 2004 10:18 AM


I haven't looked at it enough to put people's names or "platforms" to it, but that's the kind of thing that concerns me to the point of "nagging fear". Its possible that our system, such as it is, could be moved in a sort of "paliamentary/coalition" direction. I've watched how that sort of thing works in a small, relatively homogenous population country such as Sweden but I'm not convinced it can scale to a country with the population size and diversity of the US.

A mere 20-25 years ago Sweden had less than 8 million people, 25% of them shared the same surname (Johanson), 75% shared the same 5 or 6 surnames (add in Svenson, Peterson, Olafson and one or two others) and 95% had blonde hair and blue eyes, nominally Lutheran (the state church) and "foreigners" were few, far between, exotic, "refugees", and willing to clean the streets and stairwells and made no loud demands for economic and political power. "Tolerance" is a remarkably easy thing to achieve where there isn't much out of the norm that needs to be tolerated. There were 4 or 5 political parties but one was roughly 60%, another probably 30% or so, and the others were piddly-ass and everyone knew what sort of little politcial bones to toss their way. Nobody so much as raised their voices for political discussions - they all were "centrists". A couple decades later and "foreigners" aren't nearly so cuddly and exotic, they demand political and economic power and coalitions seem to keep popping up aren't happy with being tossed a bone, they want to tear off the bone of their choice. And there seems to be some ugly behavior and screaming going on.

Here in the US we've always had these sorts of ethnic frictions, always some "new" group reaching the point of demanding some economic and political power, but somehow its always (I'm using the term "always" rather loosely here) been tempered by the two party system which has more or less allowed us to get to something close to "centrism" despite a whole lot of screaming and demands from varous groups.

So what happens, for example, if we get the "round up the immigrants and deport them and, oh BTW, sandbag the borders and lets start throwing those traitorous corporate scum in jail" Buchananites hooked up with the "sue everyone who has anything until nobody but the lawyers has anything" Naderite crowd?

Do we REALLY want to see what will happen if we send out police or feds or whomever to round up 6 or 14 million (how many illegal immigrants are there, anyway) people? Does anyone have any idea what that would look like? I don't think we really want to go there no matter how good an idea "populist sentiment" might think it is.

And do we REALLY want to hammer our corporations until they are twitching, bleeding wrecks that can't compete anywhere but here (who do people work for)? France+Germany/EU are/is quasi-corporatist and they'd love nothing better than for the US to seal its borders and leave the world's emerging markets for them to bribe and thrive in.

The wingbats scare me. I tell myself the fringes can't get enough power to pull that off, but I get out a little and listen to people and I think I detect a trend for "let's just close and lock the doors, pull up the drawbridges, toss the illegals out the windows and see what happens". I don't see how that can't get really nasty-ugly before it ever produces anything that could possibly look like something good.

Posted by: knucklehead at June 24, 2004 10:34 AM

Rgoue Planet,

Kinda like the Cold War in the sense that I can't describe it, but I'll know it when I see it. Or, rather than asking if you can figure out where the finish line is, ask yourself if you can create a scenario in which, at some point or another, you're definitely on the other side of the finish line.


Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at June 24, 2004 10:35 AM

Rogueplanet: The "WoT." How will we know when we've won this?

Take out the quotes and it's a good question. Too bad some people think we shouldn't bother fighting it for that reason.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 24, 2004 10:40 AM

Count me in. And can we nominate Dennis Miller as our first candidate?

Posted by: PurpleStater at June 24, 2004 10:41 AM


>> The "WoT." How will we know when we've won this?

We'll slowly but surely notice that the imams and emirs and kings and princes and "streets" have stopped seething about the Sons of Pigs and Apes and The Great Satan and have, instead, taken jobs and started teaching their children useful stuff. We'll find ourselves whondering when they stopped beating their wives. Then we'll notice that every single man, woman, and child within the "borders of Islam" will find something better spend their hard-earned money on than AKs, RPGs, and a closet full of US flags to burn on a moment's notice.

The signs will be subtle, but telling.

Posted by: Knucklehead at June 24, 2004 10:48 AM

Knucklehead quotes his friends as saying:

"Ewww! How can you vote Republican. Pat Buchanan is a Republican!"

Reality check - he's not. We threw him out years ago. David Duke too.

But Al Sharpton is still welcome in the Democratic party.

'Nuff said?

Posted by: ralph phelan at June 24, 2004 10:54 AM

Bill, I'm sorta there on the 17'th amendment. I started raising the issue several years ago, but mostly just to get peoples goat. What made me start to think about it were the meetings of state governers: there was no official forum in the US government for these people, they had to get together separately. They were the ugly stepchildren of government. I don't know that having state legislature pick the senators would solve this problem, but the state governments do seem under represented.

Posted by: chuck at June 24, 2004 10:57 AM


I think the way the realignment will happen is this:

Kerry brings the Democrats down in flames.

The Republicans split in two:
neocons & mild libertarians
the religious right & big government/"compassionate conservatives"

You could call it the Reaganites vs. the Bushies.

The remaining sane Democrats pick one of the above two groups to join (probably the Bushies are a better fit for most.)

The socialists, moonbats, multiculturalists and redistributionists get to ride the Democrat name down into the same graveyard as the Federalists and the Whigs.

The only question in my mind is whether there will be a direct split, or whether Bushies will do a "hostile takeover" of the Reform Party, or the Reaganites will take over the Libertarian Party and make it get serious.

Posted by: ralph phelan at June 24, 2004 11:18 AM


If you believe there may be no sane Democrats left, despite the fact that half the country votes Democrat, then you are most likely part of the wingnut fringe. Sorry.

Posted by: Oberon at June 24, 2004 11:21 AM

Markus Rose sez:

"i'm just starting to read some essays about this 17th amendment issue that i've found on the web...as a citizen who DOES NOT want a smaller federal government, I won't agree with you...."

However, your words imply that you do understand why it is logical for someone who does want a smaller Federal government to want to repeal the 17th.

In my observation inefficiency, ineffectiveness and corruption go up with the size of an organization. So when there is a job to be done I want to use an organization that is large enough to do the job, but no larger.

Which means if the States can do any particular task instead of the Feds, the States should be the ones to do it.

I'm curious - What general principle motivates your desire to shift power from the States to the Feds?

Posted by: ralph phelan at June 24, 2004 11:34 AM


There are lots of sane Democrats left. Lieberman, Miller, Clinton, Clinton, Ford.

Unfortunately they don't seem to be the ones running the show this year.

My wife is a 3rd generation Yellow Dog Democrat. She thinks she may have to vote Republican this year, even though the prospect is literally making her sick.

Posted by: ralph phelan at June 24, 2004 11:38 AM


No offense intended, but I think your wife overreacting. Voting for a Republican is not that big a deal.

Posted by: Oberon at June 24, 2004 11:50 AM


We will never vote for for any candidate
who advocates destroying the second amendment
or the tenth amendment. We will never, never, NEVER
cease or rest in our efforts to abolish Tsarism
and restore constitutional democracy in general
and especially the first amendment.


Little Tony was sitting on a park bench munching
on one candy bar after another.
After the 6th candy bar, a man on the bench across from him said,
"Son, you know eating all that candy isn't good for you.
It will give you acne, rot your teeth, and make you fat."

Little Tony replied, "My grandfather lived to be 107 years old."

The man asked, "Did your grandfather eat 6 candy bars at a time?"

Little Tony answered, "No, he minded his own fucking business."

The goal of the Guns and Dope Party --
return to constitutional democracy --
will probably remain unacceptable to many in this country.
Especially in the middle of the continent,
a majority seems to prefer the tyranny of TSOG
and its associated "faith-based organizations."
Thus, Western secession must remain on our agenda,
at least as a distinct "maybe".

We will end all "faith-based" bans on
scientific and medical freedom, including the
verbots against orgonomic medicine, LSD, cloning, stem-cell research etc.
Every citizen will choose the type of health care he or she wants,
just as they did in the old U.S. before the Tsarist take-over.
Every scientist will research whatever she or he finds most interesting.
In short, we will become full members of the "civilized" world again,
and ostriches will have the respect they deserve.

Meanwhile, the Tsarist states will probably
sink deeper and deeper into barbarism,
becoming more and more terrified of a world
that also feels more and more terrified of them --
until like all closed systems they choke
on their own entropy [communication jams] and perish.


Posted by: Ratatosk at June 24, 2004 12:04 PM


My own observations don't bear you out. It seems to me that city government is more corrupt than state government, is more corrupt than the US government. Corrupt is probably not the right word. Maybe "subject to influence" is a better phrase. I think it has something to do with visibility and the fact that at the local level, people have grown up together. This is not all a bad thing, perhaps. After all, if you and your pals can't run things, where's the return in government participation?

Posted by: chuck at June 24, 2004 12:07 PM

Here's a suggestion. If you really don't like partisanship, don't vote for or try to organize parties at all. Work to remove laws which grant special recognition and privilege to parties. This is doable and is the case today in many states and localities.

What this means is that general elections are completely nonpartisan. There is no party lever. There is no party listed next to a name. There is no requirement for a party nomination or legal benefit thereof. People get on the ballot only by collecting enough signatures. If no one wins a majority, have a runoff election.

Parties are free to have primaries, nominate and endorse candidates, but they must pay all the associated bills and any nominations have no legal standing or benefit in a general election.

You can work to remove special party rights from your local election laws. You can work to remove party levers. You can agree never to use a party lever yourself. All this is far more achievable than a viable, nationwide, third party. It's, also, far more valuable if what you really dislike is partisanship.

Posted by: Lewis at June 24, 2004 01:12 PM

Just some curiosity questions for those who feel we don't have enough "government".

Is it really more "government" you want? I have my local town government, my county government, my state governement, and the federal government. Additionally there are two or three other "authorities" who apparently have the ability to levy taxes on me (school district, fire district, and utilities district) through my local town government. That seems plenty to me.

Are there additional levels of government you'd like to have? Or would you like more of some/all levels, the same or less of others?

Is it more "government" or more "services" or "benefits" that you'd like? If services or benefits, are there particular ones that are most important? If so, what level of government should provide those benefits or services?

What is it that you don't have that the government (your fellow citizens) should provide for you?

Posted by: Knucklehead at June 24, 2004 01:42 PM

I live in a city where all the elected city offices are "nonpartisan"--but all that means is we have to deal with NPINOs, just like we deal with RINOs and DINOs at the state level, especially since you have professional pols who run for city offices when they lose at the state level or vice versa.

It seems true that the nearer the government, the more corruptible it is. There's a reason Justice is portrayed as blind (and can't be found on classmates.com). But the farther the government, the less efficient it is. So you constantly have a trade off between "more efficient but more corrupt" and "less efficient but less corrupt" and perennial cycles of centralization and decentralization. Maybe it's good just to shift functions between higher and lower levels now and then as a way to encourage sunset laws and force bureaucrats to rejustify their missions and means.

Posted by: Joel at June 24, 2004 02:02 PM

Is it really more "government" you want?

I've often wondered what the heck a county government is really good for, now that the horse isn't the only way to move people and news around a geopraphic area.

Seems to me areas still left unincorporated could be covered by state courts and services no?

Posted by: crionna at June 24, 2004 03:18 PM

Count me IN!

It is very lonely being a "Pro-war-on-Islamic-Fascism" liberal. All my friends (and family) are so proud of themselves for wanting to go see Moore, it makes me sick. People look at me like I'm some sort of idiot or traitor or dupe for supporting the Iraq war. If I support that, then I must be for banning gays from marriages or some other nonsense.

Let's do it! Let's have a party that represents some sanity and optimistic American values of freedom and pluralism.

Posted by: Narmer at June 24, 2004 03:28 PM


A reasonable question. Whether the services handled by my county government could be handled (for better or worse) by the state instead I don't actually have sufficient knowledge. But I can comment upon some of what the county does.

For the most part it seems to aggregate certain services for which many or most of the municipalities are not large enough. Some communications services, justice department services, etc. I suppose the county district attorneys and the like could be replaced by courts, but I personally have no issue with those services remaining a bit closer to the people they serve. Not every town can afford, or is large enough, to maintain criminal (I should use some other word, but I don't know what it is) holding facilities. Those in custody for "local" crimes are sent off to county detention facilities but I don't believe those facilities function as more than very short duration penal facilities (I don't think any serves more than 30 days or so in county jail - longer than that goes to some state facility). I'm not sure we have county courthouses other than that smaller towns don't need anyting more than traffic courts day in and day out. Big towns, of course, have much more comprehensive systems.

They also provide some educational functions that individual towns are too small to provide. The vocational/technical schools, some very interesting magnet schools, some special educational services, etc. I believe, but don't know for sure, that they also maintain some level of "oversight" or at least set minimum standards. Much of this could, I suppose, be provided by the state but, once again (and particularly when it comes to schools) I personally prefer that these sorts of things be as close to "home" as possible.

They also maintain a parks system that serves the entire collection of municipalities.

Posted by: Knucklehead at June 24, 2004 03:33 PM

I neglected to mention that my county provides what seem to me valuable "career" services. I haven't used those services but I've heard they are "not bad" and that's something that, it would seem, would need to be reasonably localized. No point taking a county resident who requires those services and training him for some job that doesn't exist within a reasonable distance (a state system might, for example train somebody for a job that exists within the state but that the person could not reasonably commute to). Yeah, I suppose they could move. There are other social-services in there but I don't know what they are, I haven't wandered around the county facilities all that much.

Posted by: Knucklehead at June 24, 2004 03:39 PM

Hmmm, the Neos could all be Libertarians. Right?

Overall I like it though. As a Reagan Republican I'd rather work with liberal hawks than Buchanan types..

Posted by: Thomas at June 24, 2004 03:41 PM
towns and/or county level governments:
  • School boards
  • Local law enforcement
  • Fire and emergency service
  • Social services and assorted licenses (I seem to recall marriage licenses are issued at the county level in Marylyand
  • Secondary roads (funding from the state, management at the county level, at least in West Virginia)
  • Stuff I'm not thinking of...
State level:
  • State school boards (setting standards and providing oversite)
  • State law enforcement (Generally traffic and correctional facilities, if memory serves. Oddly enough, violent crimes are usually handled at the local level.)
  • Environmental services (regulation and parks)
  • Tax collection and funds redistribution (to the counties and towns)
  • Primary roads and interstate maintenance
  • Stuff I'm not thinking of...
Federal level:
  • Social Security, Medicaid, and other FDR/Great Society progams
  • National Defense
  • Federal law enforcement (FBI, Coast Guard -- a combination law enforcement/defense function -- DEA, Secret Service, etc.)
  • Research funding (basic science and bad art)
  • Intellectual property protections and enforcement
  • Tax collection and funds redistribution (to the states)
  • Interstate highway funding
  • Stuff I'm not thinking of...
It's obviously a hodge-podge, and within the state level who is responsible for what probably varies. I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know how variable allocation of responsibility is from state to state, considering I've called four different states home.

With a couple of exceptions, I'm not willing to give up any of these services, and with a few more exceptions I don't think them amenable to privatization. Which is why I'm a small "l" libertarian.

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 24, 2004 05:13 PM

Bill --
I had to comment in a hurry. Obviously just claiming to be antiterror is insufficient. Unilateral pre-emption is a reasonable criterion but right now we need to talk about how to organize at all.

Posted by: John T at June 24, 2004 10:13 PM

The War on Terror will end when all major oil exporting countries are democracies. Individual whacko terror will always be with us, hopefully less than more, but organized terror depends on the oil wealth (selling valuable dirt).

Democracy, human rights, and especially creative capitalism are what Arabs need, in order to catch up and, possibly, surpass the West (50 years?). Prolly there will be a terrorist based WMD attack before this. I hope for the best, but expect the worst (could be Tolstoy, or Patty Hearst...)

The modern & tolerant Christian West needs to be preparing to impose regime change on all regimes which are not democratic, violate human rights, and have oil resources. The oil means they can "be rich" without adjusting their society in ways necessary to "create wealth". In this respect, neither Syria nor No. Korea are nearly the threat that Iran & Saudi Arabia are.

After Bush, either in 2004 or, more likely 2008, the Dems will prolly be tired of their silly Bush-hate love fest (in love with those who hate Bush), and the Dems will be available for leadership towards an honest, open, humanitarian anti-fascist internationalism. As long as they need to punish, er, tax the successful/ rich, they will have envy as their ally, but some problems.

I'm surprised Bush hasn't put a greater effort on getting some Black votes. When blacks finally stop being sheeple, following whatever the anti-God Dems propose, more Church going (successful) blacks will be able to support Reps and the Dems will have at least one, huge, election disaster. Doesn't look like 2004 (unless it's Bush-Rice, my own choice).

The three big philosophical issue intersect: pro- anti- God (close surrogate on abortion); pro- anti- War on Terror; bigger- smaller- "government". A problem with Bush is that he seems to be stealing the Dems "bigger gov't" (yet the Dems hate this), though he's pro-God, pro-Wot.

Buchanan is pro-God, anti-WoT, smaller/bigger gov't.
MJT here is anti-God, pro-WoT, bigger gov't.
I'm pro-God, pro-WoT, smaller gov't --yet feel pretty far from Pat B, who seems whacko to me; and I think mine is the Rep position (with Bush big gov't being a Rep problem).
Dems seem anti-God, anti-WoT, bigger gov't.
Libertarians seem anti-God, anti-Wot, smaller gov't.
Greens seem anti-God, anti-Wot, bigger gov't.

(I said Captain, he said Wot? I said Captain, he said Wot ... I said Captain, he said Wot you want?)

Posted by: Tom Grey at June 25, 2004 01:18 AM

I like it. Some other bloggers were talking about a "Federalist" party a few months back, taking it to mean limited government, strong defense, preemptive foreign policy where needed, and plenty of individual liberty & responsibility at home.

On the 17th Amendment: I rather like the argument that, most House districts having been gerrymandered into sclerotically safe seats, direct election of Senators is now the only meaningful avenue of participation for voters at the federal level.

Posted by: Ken Hall at June 28, 2004 10:57 AM

Forgot to add: "...and friends, they may think it's a movement." :-)

Posted by: Ken Hall at June 28, 2004 10:58 AM

"The "WoT." How will we know when we've won this?"

Some folks actually don't believe that each time we whack a terrorist, ten more are waiting in the wings to take his place.

Posted by: MildlyDisturbed at June 28, 2004 09:21 PM
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Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
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Looking the World in the Eye
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In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

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Jihad Versus McWorld
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Power and Weakness
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