Don’t leave, Kevin, et. al.

Former Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan wrote in another post that “all candidates and candidate spouses” should stop posting here until after the election “or the ‘dialogue’ will soon become mostly just a bunch of ill-disguised political pitches.”

While the intention is honorable, it’s mistaken.

One of the best things about a blog that works is that it provides a place for the community to talk to itself, to have candidates and residents discussing issues, to focus on problems and solutions. For the most part, that’s been happening here, no thanks to me. We have a highly educated, interested town that has taken advantage of this little gathering spot.

As newspapers dwindle into irrelevancy — something that saddens me — blogs and the like are the only thing that can take their place with any effectiveness. But they won’t do much good if officials avoid saying anything on them out of a misplaced sense of honor.

I admire Kevin for thinking about this. But I do believe he’s wrong to leave and I hope that other candidates stay, although if Joe Visconti feels the need to go….

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70 Comments

Filed under blog, campaign, election

70 responses to “Don’t leave, Kevin, et. al.

  1. David Jones

    Kevin, I must also disagree with you.

    Actually, I would love to see all the candidates posting here as often as possible. It is my belief that we know far too little about the candidates.

    The average voter is voting based on name recognition and party affiliation. The candidate literature doesn’t really tell us a lot. Usually every candidate is pro education, anti crime, etc. etc.

    Candidates, let down your guard and comment away.

  2. Joe Visconti

    Whdad

    Wild Horses (which I have access to) could not tear me away from posting here.

    BTW any blogger who uses a Pseudonym (even if they support my views) I will consider a Political operative until proven otherwise (that includes you Whdad), that should put Kevin at ease.

    Lastly, Kevin if you and yours will not participate on this blog please do not read the blog either, that way you can really remain in the dark as to what the Voters are asking, thinking and wishing for in a candidate.

  3. Anonymous

    Like Kevin gives a whit about what people think here or anywhere else. He’s got a new cushy job so what does he care. And who the heck is he to call the shots and tell candidates where to post or not. I’d like to think that our candidates have a mind of their own and wouldn’t be controlled by Mr. Sullivan or anyone else for that matter.

  4. Art Halloran

    I agree with Anonymous, it’s insulting for Kevin Sullivan to try to influence how and where candidates choose to speak to the voters.

    Didn’t the chair of the Democratic town committee try a similar stunt, trying to get the opposition party to agree to small signs only.

    It seems the Democrats are worried and are trying to keep Republican candidates as quiet as possible. Logical since the Democrats have the incumbents with the name recognition.

    Everyone should take a close look at the Republicans (except Visconti, we’ve all seen and heard far too much of him), maybe some of them have some ability and some ideas.

  5. Joe Visconti

    Hey Art
    You haven’t seen anything from me yet, and who is “we’ve” in your opinion, are you representing others now?

  6. I Love West Hartford

    Joe… do you have a website or blog of your own? I’d be interested in a quick bio/overview of “who you are, and what you represent”.

  7. TWC

    I agree with you wdad. This Town needs more democracy, not less. More debates, more discussions and more information leads to better choices by the electorate.

    So bring on the sock puppets, trolls or other ill-advised efforts to overwhelm or disrupt this blog. I’m ready to respond, as I’m sure the rest of the regular contributors are too.

  8. Joe Visconti

    I love West Hartford

    I have a website but it’s for my Music and Entertainment business, I am adding a front page to direct residents to a Political Page (It’s legal Kevin if your peeping), for now you can tune into the Republican Show on WHCT tommorrow evening(9/6/07) @ 8 pm where all of us Republicans will be introduced.

  9. Hey Now

    What next a ban on talking about politics unless you are a politician— Big Brother is watching you.

  10. LXD

    Maybe Kevin is afraid someone will put their foot and/or feet in their mouths. What’s that old saying about keeping quiet and thought a fool rather than opening your mouth and removing all doubt? By the way, as much as I like this blog, I think forums work better because people can start new thread topics. Any possibility of adding a forum to this page? Or is WordPress strictly for blogging?

  11. Joe Visconti

    LXD

    Very good idea. what say you oh blogmaster whdad? Better yet it would great to have a forum which is hosted by a known person, whdad likes to shoot from the dark and pseudoninsult, he probably doesnt have what it takes to give up control and work with a team.

  12. Dr. Freud

    … he probably doesnt have what it takes to give up control and work with a team.

    Clearly a case of projection.

  13. I like the idea of forums but for different reasons…

    A poster to my blog asked why there isn’t a good West Hartford forum to suggest/opine on “the best of West Hartford” (i.e. resturants, caterers, stores, etc).

    I’m not sure if wordpress allows for this functionality or not. But we couldn’t expect Whdad to monitor both these pages (hard enough to do) in addition to the endless number of free-form forum posts which would be filled with spam. So, all in all, he’d probably need help.

    Speaking of help… back some time ago, Whdad – did any ever step forward to offer you their help when you went off on vacation? Either you decided against giving away/sharing control or no one stepped forward.

    Joe, you can think me a political operative. That’s fine.

    Suggested gag rules on blogs are a joke. Of course everything is a political pitch… tv, speeches, etc. I’m surprised Kevin would suggest such a thing. He knows darn well that the minute the campaign election ends, the next election campaign cycle begins.

  14. Joe Visconti

    King

    You are exempt from being an operative.
    Where you been? I feel like Sampson here using the jawbone of an Ass ( someone come back with a good one here) fighting the Philistines. Hey is that who he fought off or was it The West Hartford Democrats?

  15. Gary Reger

    Is there any interest in the idea I posted a while back of a series of debates for candidates at the elementary schools?

    And I think Joe suggested that King and I write questions for the candidates. There needs to be more than just 2 people, and this would work best if someone organized real debates.

    Where is the leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties in Town?

  16. Art Halloran

    I have two questions for Judy Aron. Judy, why did you stop posting under your name and why did you choose The King?

  17. Those are two good questions, Art. I think I will avoid them this time around.

    Wondered if you are related to Mary Beth?

    Gary, where should we post the questions? And who should vet them so they are fair and unambiguous? And I agree, we should have more than two people participating. In order to avoid the typical – cut, paste, and slash of some of the participants on the forum – it would be great to have a balanced person to collect and moderate them. Any thoughts around this, or am I making this too complicated?

  18. eafinct

    What about the League of Women Voters? Anybody have any contacts there?

  19. turtle

    Gary, I think debates in the schools is a great idea, and I do know someone, eafinct, who I could ask about the logistics.

    Meanwhile, why should whdad host forums just to have ill-mannered bloviators like Joe Visconti and the King derail any discussion that threatens to become substantive?

    But congratulations, King, on finally getting someone to post on your blog. It must get lonely over there.

  20. 12:18am? Shouldn’t you be in bed?

  21. Actually, wrong again Turtle. Your liberal paranoia has you confused once again. As if, Joe and I would actually derail forums on the “best of” in West Hartford. Maybe you wouldn’t want to see the forums because there’d be less opportunity for you to cut and paste the words of others, then criticize them by twisting the intent. Perhaps your frightened of looking more foolish than you usually do.

    And for your kind information Turtle, I’m pleased with my blog traffic. Thank you. Very pleased for an adhoc site like the thousands of others out there.

    I’d expect West Hartford Blog to have the traffic it has for its genuine purpose of bringing people together to talk about West Hartford.

    Where is your blog by the way? Is that were you are storing all your intellectual capital?

    Face it, you are the Ed McMahon of this blog.

  22. turtle

    If I’m guilty of anything, it’s pointing out the obvious.

    Certainly no one needs me to tell them that you’re a pompous ass who says nothing at length.

  23. Wow, a post where you didn’t cut, paste and slash, Congratulations, Turtle. You’re on the rise!

  24. turtle

    My jabs at you seem to have hit a nerve, since you drone on and on about them.

    I wouldn’t bother, but I find your manner toward some of the more intelligent and thoughtful posters on this blog offensive and pathetic.

  25. Turtle, for the sake of the forum I will respond only one more time (to you) re: this tit for tat. (I can hear the cheers now!)

    I’ve looked back at your postings over the week, and you are accusing me of what you often do – attack anyone with a differing viewpoint then you.
    Or you cut, paste, and slash, or worse yet – the famed pile it on technique – “Yeah, go get ’em”. Where’s the value in those posts of yours?

    For the record, the only people who get ribbed hard by me are you (because you deserve it) and McCann (because he’s McCann). Notice I don’t get on Gary, Sullivan, Whdad, or the majority of left-wingers out there. So be careful not to pretend it is more than it is. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you need to find another hobby.

    I think most of the posters on here, right and left, are allowed their viewpoint, sarcasim, and humor. What you need to understand here turtle is that the topics, like taxation may be 50% factual debates, and other half is opinion. Anyone is entitled to want to tax their fellow citizens to death, as some of us want to reduce spending and taxation. You get upset when you see the latter.

    Ok, so there it is. All wrapped up in a nice bow for you. By the way, I’ve not once seen you agree with me by way of post – is it not in your nature to find any agreement with people once you’ve determined their political leanings?

  26. turtle

    For the record, the only people who get ribbed hard by me are you (because you deserve it) and McCann (because he’s McCann).

    You’ve been spiteful toward Gary Reger, who has been nothing but courteous toward you. But if by “because he’s McCann” you mean that Sean routinely throws your solipsistic pseudo-intellectualism into ever starker relief, OK. And please quit blaming other people’s humor, over and over and over again, for your own unfunniness and inability to argue in good faith.

    The only people I have ever personally attacked here are you and Joe, because I get so sick of your your rude and meretricious drivel.

  27. turtle

    What I meant to write was:

    The only people I have ever personally attacked here are you and Joe, because I get so sick of your rude and meretricious drivel.

  28. Gary Reger

    Since Turtle knows someone who might be able to arrange a series of debates for Town Council candidates, and King asks where to post questions, perhaps WHDad would be good enough to start a new string for posting questions, and Turtle could contact his/her friend?

    I would be happy to help if I could.

  29. Vince

    The King is lame. Long live turtle.

  30. Gary, I feel we are sort of working in a vaccuum here. I’m sure Joe would respond to the questions, but I would like to know if the other candidates would be willing?

    Some of the folks on this blog know the candidates pretty well. I know this from interaction with lurkers outside of the blog.

    There must already be a forum established for debate. The question is would that forum take our questions? If presented properly could a Hartford Courant reporter have the courage to write something along the lines of “I see that your local town blog has posted questions to you, have you responded to them?”

    Or perhaps, even West Hartford News could key into the questions.

    Just brainstorming here. But my experience (and I’ve worked on campaigns and elections for twenty years) is that most politicians won’t be willing to do anything more than they have to, or answer any question more than they have to so they aren’t exposed by having an unpopular or controversial line of thinking that may pursuade voters to not select them. Also, Joe V has everything to gain PR wise to get his name out there. Scott and those already elected only have ground to give.

    Thoughts Gary?

  31. Gary Reger

    King —

    I have no experience whatsoever in politics, so I defer to you. As a citizen, I am just tired of candidates who, seeking to hold a serious public trust, duck and weave when it comes to contentious issues of public policy. I would really like candidates instead to be compelled to show us how they think. The debate we are having elsewhere on this blog about the proposed tax relief for owners of 40+ mgp cars would be an excellent exercise, if candidates were required to take us, step by step, through the thought process that resulted in a position on that proposal.

    I really like the idea Newt Gingrinch floated on the presidential level, of serious debates where candidates talked to each other, argued back and forth, without artificial rules or time limits, in response to serious but broad questions posed by the moderator. I’d love to spend 90 minutes listening to candidates respond to:

    1. You identify with the Democratic/Republican party. Why? What does this identification mean to you? What’s the relationship between national stated party positions and your responsibilities on the Town Council?

    2. What is your position on the proposed tax reduction for owners of 40+ mpg cars? Take us through in detail the reasoning and evidence that has led you to your view. More broadly, what should be the response on a local level to major national and global problems like climate change?

    3. Let’s talk about long-term thinking. What should West Hartford be like in 50 years? What do we need to do now to achieve your vision, and why?

    4. What is your view of the role local government should play in residents’ lives? What implications does your view have for the way tax policy should be written and structured?

    5. What is the proper relationship between West Hartford and the region? How should we interact with the city of Hartford on the one hand, and our adjacent suburban neighbors on the other?

    6. Ideally, what kind of town would provide the best environment for teens? How does West Hartford measure up to that ideal? What would you do to move us closer to the ideal?

    7. The recent state-mandated re-evaluation of properties triggered a contentious budget debate in Town. First, explain in detail your understanding of the nature of the re-evaluation and the way it will play out over the next 5 years as the new valuations are figured in. Then, give us your assessment of the arguments on both sides of the tax debate: are they reasonable? why or why not? Finally, what measures would you put in place to rectify problems you see, and how would you convince residents to stop worrying about alleged problems that you do not think are realistic?

    8. How do you prioritize? Given a set of problems, or desirable goals, how do you decide which to address first, and how to allocate Town resources?

    But I haven’t a clue how to do this. I have no contacts at all in the party structures, and no close relations with anyone on the political scene. Even though I am by nature a sunny optimist, I doubt that the debates I’d love to see will ever happen.

  32. turtle

    Gary,

    I see no reason why, at the least, the candidates couldn’t be invited to post answers on this blog to your excellent questions.

    Live debates have been presented in the past in West Hartford, so perhaps your sunny optimism will be rewarded!

  33. I know I promised but this is pure info: The area League of Women Voters sponsors (1) candidate debates that will be taped later this month and then aired on WHC-TV along with each candidate’s brief personal statement, and (2) a “Scoreboard” that includes biographical information and candidate response to specific questions. In addition, some community (e.g. Bishops Corner Neighborhood Association and WH Senior Center are already scheduled in October) and PTO groups usually provide candidate forums.

  34. Mr. Bean

    Art – I know Judy Aron and she hasn’t posted here for quite a while – she told me that she sent an email to Whdad saying that she got fed up with the juvenile name calling and general vitriol she witnessed here.
    She also told me that she has even resigned from the Republican Town Committee as well.
    Too bad too, she had some good things to add to the mix.

    Kevin – ah yes you would be promoting the “unbiased” Socialist League of Women Voters and their make believe debates. That organization was hi-jacked by Leftists a long time ago. They are great friends with your buddies at NAMI and pushing the same agendas too.

  35. Gary Reger

    Mr. Bean —

    You tell us Judy Aron has abandoned the blog because of “juvenile name calling and general vitriol.”

    Then you write of the “Socialist League of Women Voters.”

    The irony is too rich for my blood!

  36. Elmwoodian

    Did anyone see the irony in that last post from Mr. Bean?

  37. Elmwoodian

    Dang you Gary! You beat me to the punch!

  38. turtle

    I know Judy Aron and she hasn’t posted here for quite a while – she told me that she sent an email to Whdad saying that she got fed up with the juvenile name calling and general vitriol she witnessed here.

    Oh that’s too funny. Judy Aron was always up for a little name calling and vitriol herself–until she got cornered in an argument, that is. Then she would throw up her nose and announce that she was above slumming with trash like us. Ha!

  39. Gary Reger

    Elmwoodian —

    So sorry, but great minds think alike….

  40. Art Halloran

    Nice try Mr. Bean.

    The King is Judy Aron.

    The writing style is unmistakable and The King appeared on the blog at the same time Judy Aron disappeared.

    Good bet that Mr. Bean is also Judy.

  41. Elmwoodian

    Who knew Judy Aron was such an English football nut?

  42. Vince

    Honestly, who cares about Judy Aron? I say good riddance. She offered nothing but mis-information and bitterness anyway. And if the King is she . . . eh . . . just another over exposed West Hartford nut raising rabbits on her front porch.

  43. Gary:

    Great post. Great questions. I agree with the format proposed by Newt. You would really get an insight into the person for whom you might cast your vote for. But you are also correct, politicians tend to shy away from such discussions.

    Since Kevin is reading perhaps he might help shed light as to why most politicians tend to shy away from open formats as suggested by Gary, and tend to go for the highly structured approach of a limited number of questions and stop watch approach?

    Notwithstanding his answer, your questions are pretty run of mill and the Courant or Herald or other press should be asking all of the relevant questions.

    I’m disastified with the sound byte process too. I can’t stand the spin masters who circle the press to try and re-explain a candidates position after the debate is over and after they’ve had time to analyze their own gafs.

    I really found it revealing when Hillary Clinton and John Edwards were caught on camera trying to conspire to lock out the other Democratic candidates from the debate structure. Sad state. Now we see debate engineering caught on camera. And the voters lose everytime.

  44. TWC

    King, I think it’s clear why the Democrats in this Town are eager to steer clear of open forums like the one proposed by Gary or The West Hartford Blog. It allows them to stay on message with a blueprint for political success that is working pretty well so far. Why risk saying something politically incorrect or unpopular if you can simply cruise into an elected office on the coattails of prior success?

    While I find myself in agreement with many of the policy decisions in this Town, I would truly like to see a more open discussion and debate on the key issues that this Town has failed to address (e.g., neighborhood speeding). I would also appreciate an open debate on the issues where I believe the majority party has lost touch with the middle-class in its efforts to appease every special interest group in this Town.

    And I think the solution might be a simple one.

    Why can’t the Republicans step up to the plate and actively (and loudly) challenge the Democrats to a series of debates like the one proposed by Gary? They are the party with the most to gain, and if the Democrats duck, dodge, and weave to try to avoid any true and open debates, then I think they might reap huge gains in the eyes of independent voters like me.

    P.S. – Don’t fall out of your chairs, but it looks like the King and turtle have finally stumbled onto something that they can agree on; i.e., more democracy in WH is good, not bad.

  45. WH Latina

    Forum, borum. Don’t get me wrong, forums are a ‘fair’ way to have voters get a better idea of where the candidates stand, but there’s a better way. In Portsmouth, NH, an organization called “Portsmouth Listens” hosted a couple of evening events at the town library and another location where those running for office sat at different tables surrounding by several chairs. Interested residents had a chance to stop by each table and ask their potential leaders questions, which were answered on the spot. Citizens were appreciative of an opportunity to see how well the candidates could think on their feet and appreciated not having to sit there and hope that their question would be asked by the moderator or chosen from collected cards. That, in my opinion, is much more democratic.

  46. turtle

    The Republicans have far more of an imperative to express their positions than do the Democrats, who, as TWC noted, have already performed well in a liberal town. For starters, local Republicans must overcome the wariness of voters who have watched in horror as the national party of neo-conservatives and culture warriors sold out the US to warmongerers, crony capitalism, and religious zealots, degraded our federal institutions, and rocked the nation with one scandal after another. For what it’s worth, I’m an independent who will be switching to the Democratic Party so that I can vote for Barack Obama in the presidential primary.

    I think we would all like to move past the poisonous political climate initiated during the Clinton years by Robert Mellon Scaife and his cadre of character assassins, but it’s clear that the Everreadys on the con bots keep going and going. Any Republican who’d woo my vote would have to convincingly distance themselves from the radical ideology represented by the Bush administration and explain to me which tenets of Republicanism are so compelling that they continue to identify with the GOP. Fiscal conservatism doesn’t hack it; after the last 7 years the Republican Party has no credibility whatsoever as the party of fiscal responsibility.

    The argument that national issues have little relevance for townwide elections is a canard. The GOP successfully insinuated itself into local political institutions to an extent that would have profound consequences nationally (example: the appearance of creationists on school boards that fed into the conservative backlash against science). As we have seen here on this board party ideology kicks right in on the town level (example: the reflexive association with “greenies” and “liberals” of the proposed tax incentive for fuel-efficient vehicles). It’s unwarranted to assume that political affiliation has less resonance for local politians simply because of their limited power.

    On a less grandiose note, I think something along the lines of what WH Latina suggests could be organized at one of the schools.

  47. Gary Reger

    Turtle —

    I second you.

    WH Latina —

    Great idea. I say, the more venues, the more different formats, the better!

  48. WH Latina

    I’ll call my contact in Portsmouth for more details about their planning of the candidate roundtables and let all interested parties here know. I’d be more than happy to help in planning this. The key word in the previous sentence is ‘help.’ Anyone else interested?

  49. Rick Liftig

    In the past, the West Hartford Vision Community Group (now deceased). Had sponsored several candidates nights. Two at Wolcott School and one at Sedgwick. The format was very much like that described above. There were roughly eight tables with two candidates per table (same party).

    Residents arrived, found a table and every ten minutes, a time keeper would alert everyone to rotate.

    It’s a great format because these candidates are truly your neighbors and you have ample time during the event and after to ask questions and get a feel for the person.

    Cost is minimal – just rental of the space and refreshments if needed.

    Our turnout was generally in the 60-70 range.

  50. Osemasterofdoom

    Turtle:

    Certainly your reasons for voting the way you do are your business, and if you want to lump West Hartford and CT Republicans in with the Bob Barrs and Bob Dornans of the world, it is your right to do so. However, it is also my right (and some would say my responsibility) as a moderate Republican to call you on it. I don’t know of any organized, Republican effort to eliminate Darwin from our classrooms, and if I heard of one, I would certainly repudiate it. There are those of us who try to reform the party from within, and believe that if we leave the Republican party only to the radical right, the more enlightened positions surrounding fiscal conservatism and social moderation will be left voiceless in the political discourse.

    That being said, I am glad to hear that you are joining a political party, even though it is not mine. As a former independent myself, in recent years I have gained a tremendous respect for the role parties play in organizing and amplifying the voices of the electorate. I think the decline of the parties and the increase of the independent voter is one of the reasons people feel so disconnected from the political process. Certainly, no one is obligated to join a party, but if more of us did I think we would be better off.

  51. Osemasterofdoom

    I should mention that I was referring to Connecticut in my comment about Darwin vs. creationism. Certainly that battle is being played out in other states, but I’m not aware of any such efforts ghere in New England.

  52. turtle

    Ose,

    My point was not to paint the West Hartford Republicans with a broad brush but to call on Republican candidates to articulate their political philosophy with respect to the national party.

    Also, my example of the effects of political ideology on local politics was not meant to suggest that the West Hartford Board of Ed is in danger of being hijacked by creationists. I would think that was clear.

    I’m interested by your remarks about political parties. I have never been a party loyalist and if not for the (highly unsatisfactory) primary system would remain independent. Insistence on party loyalty above the best interests of the country is one of the great outrages of the modern-day GOP; the multifarious Democrats are less likely to institutionalize hackery and incompetence the way the Bush administration has done.

  53. Gary Reger

    On the evolution (not Darwinism, which is like calling Catholicism “Papism”) vs. creationism matter, I will add just a little anecdote:

    I happened to be with a middle-school science teacher who did not know me a couple of years ago, and I asked him about the role of evolution in teaching biology in West Hartford. He visibly froze. I hastened to assure him that I see evolution as essential to understanding modern biology. He then told me that he downplayed evolution in his classes.

    So even here in West Hartford, the chill that blows from Kansas can be felt. Given the stance of the national Republican party on this issue, don’t voters have the right to be nervous about Republicans running locally — for school board, for instance — who won’t explain their own views on their party’s position?

  54. Gary Reger

    For me, phrases like “social moderate” and “fiscal conservative” are just slogans, empty screens (to change the metaphor) onto which voters can project their own views. When I hear “social moderate” I think of someone who means, “Hey, I don’t care what gay people do in their own houses, but I don’t want them getting married.” Is that right? Who knows?

    I don’t want some candidate, especially a Republican, telling me “I’m fiscally conservative.” I want him/her to:

    1. Tell me what his/her priorities are, and why. This too means no slogans. Not “I want quality education” but “Quality educations looks like this….”

    2. Tell me what tax policy would be required to achieve those priorities.

    3. Tell me how s/he is going to convince the voters that the priorities are right and worth the cost, or, if they cannot be achieved because the cost is too great, why s/he knows that is so, and how we will move forward given the disconnect between what we ought to have and what we can now afford.

    Such a discussion obviates entirely the need for appeal to any empty claim of “fiscal conservatism”.

  55. Osemasterofdoom

    Turtle:

    I never advocated blind loyalty to anything, least of all to a political party. All I am saying is that there are very few organizations out there which not only are dedicated to enhancing the public good (or at least their view of it), but also facilitate citizens’ putting their names on a ballot and help them go throught the incredibly time consuming effort of running for office. Too many times I hear people say “there’s no candidate who agrees with my stands on this issues.” Well, guess what: no two people think alike, and if a person is waiting for one to appear, they’re going to wait a long time. Along the same lines, I think the “I’m not in a political party because no one tells me what to think” crowd misses the point entirely (I should add that I do not put turtle into this camp). A party doesn’t tell anyone what to think. It represents the best consensus of its members. No one gets everything he or she wants, but the exercise of building consensus is crucial to our republican (small “R”) form of government. If we lose that ability to form consensus, we lose the ability to govern ourselves.

    On the subject of evolution, Gary, I did not see anyone use the term “Darwinism” in their recent postings. I’d be interested in hearing more about how you equate that term with “Papism,” since the latter clearly has a negative connotation. I wasn’t aware that “Darwinism” had a similarly negative bent, but if it does, I’d like to know the appropriate term. “Evolutionism” just sounds cumbersome.

  56. Gary Reger

    Osemasterofdoom —

    You’re right, no one wrote “Darwinism.” I read too quickly your “Darwin vs. creationism”. But here is the deal:

    To refer to the theory of evolution as “Darwinism” implies that it rests somehow on the authority of Darwin, and that Darwin is its “creator.” This would be like referring to the theory of relativity as “Einsteinism” because Einstein was the first to propose it. Evolution is a scientific theory, tested, refined, and changed by generations of scientists; much that Darwin wrote has been shown to be mistaken, although the core of his theory has held up remarkably well.

    “Papism” is indeed an insult, and I think creationists who try to get people to call evolution “Darwinism” are doing something similar — trying to make the theory of evolution all about allegience to a man (and so by implication idolatry) and implying that the thing rests on Darwin’s authority. This rhetorical move makes evolution more like a religion, and so changes the terms of the debate in favor of the creationists. But this is fundamentally to misconstrue and misrepresent science. That’s why I strongly object to reference to evolution as “Darwinism.”

    Here’s another analogy: it’s like the old term “Mohammedism” for Islam — shifting the emphasis to the human being, implying in effect that Muslims (“Mohammedians”) worship Mohammed, not Allah.

  57. turtle

    Ose,

    I did not mean to suggest that loyalty is mandated by party affiliation or to accuse you of complicity in lockstep Republicanism. Of course you are right that the democratic process requires an organizational apparatus and consensus in order to function; that is not at issue. I, like most independents, am strongly if unenthusiastically sympathetic to one party over another, and I must admit my party-hopping is effectively a symbolic act performed out of pique. But regardless, my party identification is pretty weak.

    I’m an American idealist. Who can best deliver for the United States (or West Hartford) in a way consistent with liberty and justice for all? That’s what matters to me, not whether a candidate is a Democrat or Republican. On the other hand, the Republican Party has become such an alarming, anti-democratic force in American life that it would have to undergo a tectonic shift before I could seriously consider it as an option.

    Needless to say, the Democrats are a centrist party; the left is marginalized in this country. A pity (and I don’t place myself on the far left, by the way), since if the left had any influence the US would never have invaded Iraq.

  58. Harry Captain

    if the left had any influence the US would” still be under the crown! 🙂

  59. turtle

    I’ll admit republicans know how to throw a party.

  60. There is little to party about these days. At this rate, we’ll be throwing a farewell party for ourselves. It’s long past “out of hand”.

  61. Osemasterofdoom

    Yeah, we moderates in the party pretty much have to wait for things to bottom out with the national GOP before we’re going to have a chance to truly change the direction of the party. I just wish the bottoming out process did not involve sacrificing the lives of US service men and women. It shouldn’t, and it didn’t have to.

    Harry, LOL on your last post. Made me think of the Lewis Black line: “the Republicans are the party of bad ideas, and the Democrats are the party of no ideas.”

    Gary: Thanks for the clarification. I’ve always been fascinated at how the words used in a discussion can frame the structure,direction and outcome of that discussion. Perhaps the proponents of evolution should begin to refer to the opposition as “creationistas.” That would certainly put them on the defensive.

  62. Gary Reger

    I could hear Lewis Black’s delivery in that line you quotes, Osemasterofdoom — thanks for making me laugh out loud!

  63. Gary Reger

    “you quotes” — I’ll be re-enrolling in first grade, I promise.

  64. turtle

    So Ose, if you could remake the Republican Party how would you spec it out?!

  65. TWC

    Might it look something like Rudy Giuliani, sans support for Bush’s Iraq folly?

  66. turtle

    Never mind Iraq, what about Iran?! Every last one of the Republican candidates except Ron Paul is game for a fight with Iran, and Rudy is the the most maniacal of them all (Joe Lieberman must be rubbing his hands). If Rudy becomes president, you better duck and cover.

    But since you did plead insanity for Rudy on that count I wonder, with all due respect, what’s Rudy got that should inspire a renewed GOP? Although he doesn’t look bad in a dress.

  67. As opposed to the Democrats who are willing to let the Iranians have their nuclear arsenal. Sure, why not.

    Tough choice…. premeptive strike on a fun loving bunch, or eventually retalitory strike.

    Great debate. Answer is that there is no right answer. It will play out one way or another, I’m sure.

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