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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    Hear hear! You never see conservatives writing about an affirmative vision for health care–especially not one that’s politically viable (Norquistian slashing or health savings accounts don’t really count, since I’ve never been convinced that they would actually work in the real world). I’d be interested to see such an attempt made.Report

  2. Avatar Bob says:

    Maybe this is inappropriate, never stopped me before, but I would like to offer this as an alternative for the quote of the day.

    From Gleen Greenwald, “Put another way, the reason that Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of Democrats in the last two elections and overwhelmingly against Republicans is because they want Democratic policies and not Republicans policies. They drove Republicans out of office in massive numbers because they don’t want Republicans and their policies governing the country.”Report

  3. Avatar Cascadian says:

    I’m not sure exactly how to take your post Bob. It seems a bit unreflective. I consider part of liberalism the notions that one can and should intervene internationally to promote liberal values and that a unified Nation setting standards for the States was a grand thing. To me, Bush is representative of these liberal notions. Obama will have a hard time selling a softer more competent version of these policies anywhere, even ‘Blue States’.Report

  4. Avatar Bob says:

    Cascadian, To continue with my “unreflective” comment, What the hell are you saying?

    But, sorry for the slopy typing, that should have been Glenn Greenwald.Report

  5. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Hmm, I suppose this is my bad confusing Republican with conservative. I’m one of those weird people that think many of W ‘s policies were liberal. To the extent this is true, I don’t think that folk are tired of conservative ideas as much as they are burnt by poorly implemented policy and the apparent weaknesses of our system of checks and balances. I believe this manifests itself in a skepticism concerning foreign intervention and like the original post, the benevolence and competence of government in general… of either party.Report

  6. Avatar Bob says:

    “I’m one of those weird people that think many of W ’s policies were liberal.” Well you are certainly not alone in that boat. No Child Left Behind and the MediCare drug prescription entitlement are prime examples of the liberal, big government, approach on the domestic front.

    I honestly can’t think of a “liberal” foreign policy example but I bet some one can point to some. But it is clear that W. was a big government type in foreign policy.

    On the whole I think it is wildly off the mark to say that his administration was liberal. Big government? You bet. (On this topic Will Wilkinson has a post on his blog distinguishing between small government and limited government.)

    But here is where I think you are mistaken, if I understand your point. You seem to be saying that in the last three presidential elections the people voted for a liberal agenda, Gore in 2000, W. in 2004, Obama in 2008. I guess that makes America Left of Center.

    You write, “…I don’t think that folk are tired of conservative ideas as much as they are burnt by poorly implemented policy….” Is that “poorly implemented” conservative or liberal policy? But the question for me, How do you define “conserative ldeas”?

    I’m getting into places I don’t have the time to go, so back to the Greenwald quote. He is pointing out that President Obama won by a substantial margin, Democrats are in the ascendancy, for the moment, this is no time for Obama to pull his punches. That is my view, the voter has spoken, we will speak again in 2010, until then Obama has the floor, he should no surender it.Report

  7. Avatar Cascadian says:

    I guess that makes America Left of Center.

    I wouldn’t disagree with that. At the moment the Right is in shambles.

    How do you define “conserative ldeas”?

    Good question with all the factions fractured. A few important concepts for me are:

    The foundation of the social contract with the State is the Constitution which should be understood more as a contract than a mission statement.

    The closer government is to the people the more responsible it will be.

    People and systems are imperfectible in their nature. Any ideal that we may want to pursue has got to take these realistic limits into account.

    Nation Building doesn’t work. Don’t even think about it.

    Is that “poorly implemented” conservative or liberal policy?

    Both. No Child would be an easy example of the latter. I can’t actually think of anything that W. even tried that I would consider conservative. Maybe trying to privatize Social Security. (Which I acknowledge would have been disastrous given the faults that have appeared in the markets).

    Democrats are in the ascendancy, for the moment, this is no time for Obama to pull his punches.

    I would agree to a large degree. I think he needs to go for the best results possible. I believe you get better results when you have multiple perspectives arguing responsibly and in good faith. There is a real place in society for the Loyal Opposition. Of course, this isn’t really an option since, as most here would agree, the Right has gone off the deep end and shows no sign (outside of the usual suspects) of being able to even approach the table in good faith.Report

  8. Avatar Bob says:

    “The closer government is to the people the more responsible it will be.”

    I’d call that debatable. What is not debatable is that it is an 18th century bromide. (OK, that is also debatable.) But seriously, an honest question, dose the fact that we have moved from 18th century level of communication at least lessen the rational for “closer government”?

    One last point regarding your discussion of conservative ideals. I appreciate your philosophy but as a citizen and voter I am more concerned with policies. How conservative belief results in action or inaction. I think most voters want to understand how Right and Left will deal with specific issues. You say the Right is fractured,”gone off the deep end.” I agree, but I think the voter knowingly chose the Left in 2000, 2006 and 2008. Say what you will about President Obama, he did not run an opaque campaign.Report

  9. Avatar Cascadian says:

    But seriously, an honest question, dose the fact that we have moved from 18th century level of communication at least lessen the rational for “closer government”?

    No. My position isn’t about how long it takes to ride a horse to the capital. It’s more fundamental. I usually think of education. There may be somethings that can be taught in a large lecture hall but by and large small conferences are going to be better. The fact that Plato and Aristotle lived long before the 18th century doesn’t mean that we discount their thought out of hand. Sure there are things that they got completely wrong, yet still, we look to them for some truths that we believe are universal and are valid across time.

    I’m a fan of the early anti-Federalist thinkers, especially Jefferson. I believe that the dangers of unchecked gov authority are as dangerous today as they were then. I further believe that our system is based on and requires checks and balances. These checks include the separation and division of powers. They are important defensively, if you will, to protect against an encroaching, distant Fed. They are also required for the offence: the ability to take advantage of decentralized efficiencies and the creation of new thoughts and processes, expressed in the State-as-laboratory understanding are a good that we’ve done without for far too long, something I believe we will need to return to to be competitive as a ‘nation’.

    Say what you will about President Obama, he did not run an opaque campaign. If that were true, I wouldn’t be having as much fun teasing my Democratic partners and friends. I live in Seattle. Obama rather disappoints from the liberal perspective around here.Report

  10. Avatar Bob says:

    “I’m a fan of the early anti-Federalist thinkers, especially Jefferson.”

    I also am a fan of Jefferson, but Hamilton won.Report

  11. Avatar Cascadian says:

    A republic, if you can keep it.Report

  12. Avatar Bob says:

    I am familiar with the quote but not not sure what you have in mind by pointing it without those ” _” marks.

    Hamilton, to make it simple, championed a strong central government, his vision prevailed.Report

  13. Avatar Cascadian says:

    I figured you were aware of Ben’s remarks and just through them out.

    Without Lincoln we wouldn’t be living in Hamilton’s world. Ultimately, the anti-feds were right: what checks there are, are insufficient to check the destructive thirst for power.Report

  14. Avatar Bob says:

    “Without Lincoln we wouldn’t be living in Hamilton’s world. ”

    “Fur Sure! And gag me with a spoon!”

    And don’t forget the 14th Amendment.Report

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