Desynonymizing the Dem/Repub "Business Party"]]]

JON ROBERTS jroberts at stacmail.stac.edu
Wed Jan 10 08:04:44 EST 2001


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From: JON ROBERTS <jroberts at stacmail.stac.edu>
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Karen, I'm sending you a few political post from a recent online episode
in the Kenneth Burke listserv on Nader bashing. Here's the first one.

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Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2001 11:03:42 -0500
From: JON ROBERTS <jroberts at stacmail.stac.edu>
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Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2001 08:03:35 -0500
From: JON ROBERTS <jroberts at stacmail.stac.edu>
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To: "Herbert W. Simons" <hsimons at astro.temple.edu>
Subject: Re: Desynonymizing the Dem/Repub "Business Party"
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I apologize for the lack of explicit Burke content in what follows though I
wonder what you would have to say about Burke's take on the "them vs. us"
appeal launched by Gore during the convention. Prof. Simons makes some good
points but I feel I must respond in order to prevent Nader's appeal from
being lost entirely.

Nader ran on a simple premise: he wants to reverse the trend toward what I
call "voter nullification" whereby campaign contributions and soft money can
effectively erase voter will. One reason why Ashcroft lost to a dead man in
Missouri was because he campaigned against the will of most of his
constituency for permitting people to tote concealed weapons. He was
remunerated for his services by the NRA. And, to be fair, Joe Lieberman has
3.5 million sitting in his war chest from any number of pharmaceutical
firms. Nader's issue was that there can be no self-governance if money can
nullify votes. Insofar as neither party is willing to end campaign
contribution from lobbies, interest groups, and corporations, period, they
both stand in the way of popular rule. Every other issue follows from the
question of whose being represented. Look at the energy deregulation fiasco
supported bipartisanly. Energy companies knew, as did member of Congress,
that competition would allow them to become secondary as well as primary
suppliers of energy. But congress told us that competition would bring
prices down. If then rate hikes were unforeseen, it was only we citizens who
did not foresee them. Do you think, deregulation would have gotten through
congress any other way?

As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, it should be remembered that
Scalia was unanimously confirmed by the senate and that Thomas could not
have become a justice unless less eleven Democrats voted for him.

And for Nafta and WTO stuff, Buchanan is simply an isolationist, though he
is quite happy to allow American capital regulate world finance from home;
Nader's stance is consistent with the opposite view, that America should not
impose it market values on the rest of the world as a form of economic
imperialism. We run the show but Nader would like us to stop rigging the
game. If his appeal, like Buchanan's, is primarily about jobs, it is because
he is trying to win votes. Most folks just don't care about America's
dominance in business. Anti-globalization no more describes the different
views of Nader and Buchanan than Anti-Hitler did America and the Soviets in
WWII, but I think that is Prof. Simons's point. That's why I offer this
explanation.

Professor Simons is right to point out that Nader did not make enough of the
differences between the two business parties but that's not his job. It was
Gore's job to do that and when he makes a "them vs. us" appeal at the
convention which scares the heck out of the Republicans who immediately
accuse him of trying to incite class war and back away from it in the weeks
that followed insisting how corporation friendly he was, he does not help
his own case.

Best, Jack Roberts


"Herbert W. Simons" wrote:

> Herbert W. Simons wrote:
>
> Noam Chomsky, then Ralph Nader, then Robert Wess and J. M. Duffy (among
> others) have alleged that the Democrats and Republicans are, as Duffy
> put it, essentially different branches of one party, the Business Party.
> There is surely something to be said for their argument, but now that we
> know what the two "branches" are a part of, Burke would enjoin us to
> desynonymize, seeing ways that they are "apart from" one another.
>
> Begin with the truism that the two parties aren't just concernd with the
> business of business. Each has a social agenda, the Dems typically far
> more liberal than the Repubs on such matters as a woman's right to
> choose, gay rights, affirmative action, treatment vs.punishment for drug
> offenders, prayer in schools, etc. While attention has been focused on
> the abortion issue in re George W's S likely appointees to the Court,
> the more consequential question is whether the next appointees will join
> the Conservative Five in behalf of "States Rights," thus further
> nullifying a host of gains for "have-nots," introduced by the pre-1994
> Democratic Congress and, subsequently, by executive orders and
> regulatory decisions under Clinton's rule.
>
> Then add that Dems and Repubs have had vastly different environmental
> policies under Dems and Repubs. Remember James Watt? We're about to get
> his protege, thanks in part to Brother Ralph's failure to desynonymize.
>
> Also kiss goodbye efforts initiated under the Dems to reign in Big
> Tobacco, the drug manufacturers, the gun sellers and manufacturers.
> Their lobbyists made it abundantly clear which presidential candidate
> they preferred in 2001.
>
> As for NAFTA and IMF (and World Bank and Gatt, etc.), I've yet to read a
> compelling argument that Nader is much different from Buchanan on these
> organizations. Were the Nader and Buchanan parties "branches" of the
> Anti-globalization Party?
>
> The same simplistic logic would seem to apply.
>
> --
> Herbert W. Simons
> Professor of Speech Communications
> 265-65 Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122
> wk: 215-204-1880  fax: 215-204-8543
> hm: 215-844-5969
> Coordinator Temple Issues Forum, http://www.temple.edu/tif
> Homepage, http://astro.temple.edu/~hsimons


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