Utah’s premier pollster, Dan Jones (who is a proud Democrat), gives a laundry list of reasons (here) that Utah leans so heavily Republican. He says that the Democrat desire to set some arbitrary date for leaving Iraq without a serious exit strategy “doesn’t work.” Jones suggests that Utahns in general are very solid supporters of a strong national defense policy.
Jones says that most Utahns haven’t been able to identify with a national level Democrat for a long time. He says that Utah Mormons “feel that Democrat policies are counter to church positions.” He suggests that Ronald Reagan’s immense popularity with Utahns still carries clout to this day. He also thinks President Bush’s two new Supreme Court justices are very popular with Utahns.
But it seems to me that Jones is merely whacking at the leaves of the matter rather going to the root. There is something that underlies everything that Jones discusses. I think that much of it is exposed in Michael Barone’s analysis of Senator Joe Lieberman’s (D-CT) primary election defeat. Barone essentially says that the vast majority Republicans believe in American exceptionalism—“the idea that this is a special and specially good country”—while Democrats increasingly do not.
Barone cites a 2004 poll that concluded that two-thirds of all voters believed strongly in American exceptionalism. But, when you look at how they voted, 80% of Bush voters were strong on this point, while only slightly over 50% of Kerry voters supported it. Joe Lieberman is an unabashed believer in American exceptionalism, while many of his party’s voters believe in transnaitonalism—the concept that “our country is no better than any other, and in many ways it's a whole lot worse.” Barone suggests that this sentiment goes far deeper than the war in Iraq.
One of Barone’s greatest strengths is his ability to connect the dots and understand the importance of demographic data. He says that the data show a marked shift in the Democratic Party over the past four decades, “from the lunch-bucket working class” to the “professional class … living a life in which they are insulated from adversity, [and so] feel free to imagine that America cannot be threatened by implacable enemies.” Barone shows how Lieberman was supported by the same kind of people that supported John F. Kennedy, while his opponent was supported by the same kind of people that supported Richard Nixon.
While Utah has lots of Mormons, state demography is shifting so that a steadily decreasing percentage of the populace is Mormon. Still, Mormons make up the largest single voting bloc in the state. While there is diversity in Mormon voting patterns, it is important to note that Mormon theology (even scripture and statements by leaders) is supportive of American exceptionalism.
However, Mormons weren’t always supportive of the United States. When they first came to the Salt Lake Valley, they thought they were leaving behind the U.S. and the persecutions they had endured under democratic governments. Then Mormons had a six-decade-long dispute with the rest of the U.S. over the practice of polygamy and religious control of public life. Once again, they felt oppressed by a democratic government.
Over the last century, through two world wars and a Cold War, Mormons in the U.S. became generally very patriotic and supportive of the American experiment. It would appear that this sentiment runs very strong among Utah Mormons, and it would be interesting to see the results for Utah of the 2004 poll cited by Barone to see if my supposition is valid.
Jones notes that Utahns were not always strongly Republican. The pendulum has swung back and forth. At times the parties have been somewhat evenly split. In the 1930s Utah became solidly Democratic. But, as Barone notes, back in those days, both parties were very strong supporters of American exceptionalism. Barone clearly believes that the two parties are increasingly being defined by their stance on this one issue.
While Barone notes a shift away from American exceptionalism among Democrats, what he fails to make clear is how the general populace is moving on this issue. For my part, I would be interested to know how the general Utah populace is moving on it. This dynamic will apparently have a lot to say about who wins and loses elections and which stances the Republican Party takes in the years to come.
Netroots BigMO Causing Death to Donor-controlled Democratic Party- Netroots is Real Revolution of People- Kalki Gaur
NewsWireUSA Kalki Gaur, 8/14/06 9:40 AM. (1) The Netroots BigMO Internet Blogosphere wrote the Obituary for the donor-controlled Democratic Party in Connecticut Senate primaries in August 2006. The Blogosphere will force Democratic Party to become democratic again and eject fat donors from top positions in Democratic Party and let people, netroots, voters and grassroots take control of the Democratic Party. The Netroots will snatch the leadership of the Democratic Party from corrupt big donors and empower the people and the voters. The netroots blogosphere is not about the ideology of political beliefs of the Netroots Democrats, Blogosphere is about the empowerment of the people, the grassroots and the voters by the revolution in Internet and rise of political blogging as a new media to mobilize masses and voters the role, print media, electronic media did for politicians with deep pockets. The Netroots BigMO is about the Crusades of Democracy inside the Democratic Party. The Wall Street and super rich had monopolized power in the Democratic Party arguing that in a Capitalist Democracy the voters, the grassroots and public didn’t count, only those with a ability to write big checks counted, as the elections were won or lost on grounds of paid TV and newspaper campaigns. The crooks of the America, the likes of Mark Rich came to dominate Democratic Party especially during Clinton era. The Wall Street Rich came to dominate the political landscape and the real politicians, the grassroots and the political activists got kicked out of the Democratic Party and replaced by crooks who could write big checks. The Money and Checkbooks became the sole criteria for political influence and political power in the Democratic Party. The charismatic politician Bill Clinton accelerated the process and Clinton replaced black leadership of the Democratic Party by Wall Street wiz kids. The Netroots Revolution will take back the control and leadership of the Democratic Party from, crooks of the Wall Street back to the people, the voters of the United States. The Netroots would empower blacks, Latinos, browns, Asians and immigrants in the Democratic Party and bring down the political power of the big check writers. The Grassroots Netroots not donors should control the Democratic Party.
(2) Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign galvanized a Third Party United We Stand that could attract more unpaid volunteers at its NYC 42nd street Lexington Ave HQ than the paid volunteers of the Lexington street HQ of the Bill Clinton in 1992. It took great amount of Ross Perot’s money to dismantle the Third Party that he gave birth. Then Ross Perot paid Pat Buchanan to finally destroy the Third Party United We Stand. The Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign proved that Third Party in the United States is awaiting its triumphal birth that may undermine the two-party political duopoly in the USA. The Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign rejuvenated the Third party in form of the political blogging that could also raise campaign donations. No wonder it unsettled the Democratic Party big wigs and forced Vice President Al Gore to join the Howard Dean campaign as a savior but only to dismantle the Howard Dean campaign organization and to dismiss the very team that gave Howard dean its first shine in the political limelight. The Democratic Party co-opted Howard Dean as the President of the Democratic Party with a provision that Dean would abandon his team of bloggers and abandon Dean for 2008 ambitions. No wonder that netroots are determined to prove to the Howard Dean and the Democratic Party as who is the real boss of the Democratic voters. Unless half of the top political posts of the Democratic Party are reserved for the Netroots and political bloggers, the Democratic Party would face a demise or decline in the new age of Blogosphere as Internet blogs replaced expensive TV and newspaper advertisements as more efficient way to mobilize voters and grassroots supporters. The Democratic Party would die as a viable political party unless it invited Netroots and bloggers into the top corridors of party power.
(3) Democratic Party ceased to be democratic in party organization when it expelled Blacks, Latinos, Brown and immigrants out of the top echelon of the political corridors of power in the Democratic Party and replaced them by corrupt political donors, arguing that in a capitalist democracy only donors counted as campaign donations paid for the expensive TV and newspaper ads. The revolution of political blogging changed all that. In the Internet age the voters are influenced more by blogs than TV and newspaper ads. The Democratic Party should learn from the defeat of Lieberman and summarily dismiss 50% of its top donors from top positions in the Democratic Party and replace them by Netroots, Blacks, Browns, Latinos and immigrants. Democratic party had been a party of Slave owners from the Civil War till the 1964 Bill of Rights signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Bill Clinton replaced the grassroots and political activists from tope leadership of the Democratic Party and replaced them by Wall Street donors, and perhaps he did it to make Hillary Clinton the next President. The leaders of the checkbooks replaced leaders of the grassroots voters in the Democratic Party’s corridors of power.
(4) The Netroots defeated the power of Jews through the defeat of Joe Lieberman and allowed majority WASP to take control of the USA. The ethnic support of the Jewish business community successfully catapulted many Jewish leaders into the top echelons of power as the Jewish community provided large number of election volunteers and campaign managers in elections throughout USA specially the in Tri State area. The defeat of Joe Lieberman is a reminder that representation of the Jews in Senate and the Congress would be in proportion to their share of population in USA.
(5) The Netroots Blogosphere defeated the political power of the religious organizations and Churches in the primaries. The large volunteer base of the Christian Churches and church leaders ability to influence campaign donations from the pulpit allowed religious activists dominate the primaries in the Democratic Party as well as Republican Party. It explained why pro-Life and pro-Choice activists determined the primaries in 2000 presidential elections. The Netroots BigMO has ended the dominance of Christian Church in American election process as voters in America more influenced more by Internet Blogosphere than the godosphere of the Churches.
(6) The Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere political dictum is that American elections in 2006 as well as 2008 decided by Netroots, blogosphere activists and political bloggers more than the paid TV or newspaper advertisements. The Netroots, the political Bloggers, the warriors of the blogosphere pulled it off, with the verified electoral defeat of Senator Lieberman in Democratic primaries in Connecticut. The Republican Party, the GOP may not gain from Lieberman's loss, if GOP remained blind and failed to invite aspiring new leaders of Republican Netroots and Republican Blogosphere to the top echelons of the Republican Party. Senator Joe Lieberman's loss in the Connecticut Senate primary signaled the ascendancy of a legitimate new power center in the Democratic Party, the Democrat Netroots or Blogosphere Democrats. It also signaled the ascendancy of a legitimate new power center in the Republican part the Republican Netroots or Blogosphere Republicans. Failure to recognize the political power of the new Internet based political groups the netroots or blogosphere could doom the political party that failed to see the rising sun, clouded by they vested interests and lobbying interests. It is simply stupid to argue that defeat of Senator Lieberman resulted out of his pro-Iraq war stance rather than the political power of Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere. Only a politically blind analyst would deny the rising sun of Netroots. The success of Netroots blogosphere has sent shock waves to the fat check campaign canvassers and dynastic caucus that had earlier relied on incumbency to retain control over Senate and Congress at the Capitol. Incumbents invariably won the primaries because of their clout over County Canvassing Boards and party apparatus. The revolutionary Netroots Vote4Me blogosphere threatens to smash and bring down this glass tree house perched high in the Democratic Party. Top Democratic Party positions would no longer sold to the biggest donors if Democratic Party wanted to win any future elections.
(7) Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere political movement will transform the election politics of USA, Britain and India and only a foolish politician and a foolish political party would fail to adapt to and salute the rising sun of Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere. President Reagan was the first President of USA made by Television. Being a Hollywood actor allowed Ronald Reagan master the Idiot Box to win elections in USA, and Reagan was a great orator. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was the first Prime Minister of Britain made prime minister by the advertising suaveness of Satchi & Satchi advertising agency. Reagan and Thatcher transformed the election politics of the democratic world and India followed their trend. The Netroots movement, Blogosphere movement and political bloggers have established itself as a power center among Democrats as well as Republicans in USA as well as in India. Failure of the Democratic Party to replace its corrupt leadership and dynastic leadership and invite Netroots Democrats and Blogosphere Democrats into the top echelons of political power in the Democratic Party could haunt the Democratic Party in November 2006 as well as November 2008. Presently Democratic Party’s top leadership is overflowing with corrupt fundraisers lobbyists and special interest group leaders, who have no touch with grass roots Democratic voters. All top leaders of the Democratic Party are selected by Democratic Aristocrats, because they belong to the Elite group, and are either the wife or son or someone big in the Party. Democratic party would be doomed in elections 2006 and 2008 if Democratic Party failed to replace the elite leadership selected by the corrupt coterie to the enterprising young leadership thrown upward by the Netroots Democrats and Blogosphere Democrats. Vice President Al Gore gave a kiss of death to Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and forced Dean’s campaign to dismiss the very same Netroots that had created the campaign. Netroots are very happy that the dishonest Al Gore no longer in the presidential nomination for election 2008. The only qualification Senator Hillary Clinton has to claim Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 is that she is the wife of President Bill Clinton and she can raise large funds. The fat Campaign dollars would fail to compete with netroots blogosphere political bloggers as “Vote Makers” in creating new votes by paying for high budget TV advertising and newspaper advertising.
(8) Joe Trippi as Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign manager was a pioneer in the use of the Internet as a fund-raising and election campaigning and organizing tool. The Internet activists of the Howard Dean presidential campaign, were booted out of Howard Dean’s Campaign 2004 on account of conspiracy hatched by pro-establishment vice President al Gore and all the $5 million raised by Joe Trippi and group confiscated and misused by the agents of Al Gore and new managers appointed by him. Al gore has sealed his political future forever.
(9) But in Senate Democratic primary in Connecticut, the Netroots Vote4Me political bloggers didn’t just get a win, but a victory no one could have expected even four months ago. The Netroots bloggers and Connecticut voters have for all intents and purposes kicked Joe Lieberman out of the Democratic Party. Joe Lieberman a three-term Connecticut Senator, on the verge of being the vice-president in a Democratic administration six years ago. Almost the entire Democratic establishment supporting his run against a virtually unknown businessman named Ned Lamont. Lamont admitted the support of Netroots Democrats was crucial early in getting the word of his candidacy out. Markos Moulitas of Daily Kos appeared in one of his early ads, former blogger and Internet organizer Tim Tagaris left his job at the Democratic National Committee to work on Lamont’s campaign and bloggers from the site mydd.com headed up to Connecticut over the last several days to call voters and encourage them to support Lamont. And MoveOn.org strongly supported Lamont despite pleas from Democratic leaders not to. Lamont's victory was about the rising vote making capabilities of political blogs, though pro-Iraq War stand of Lieberman helped Lamont.
(10) Now the main four interest group players in the Democratic party are: Netroots Democrats, Trade Unions, Black African Americans, and Pro-Choice Pro-Abortion Rights Groups. The Connecticut primary win means the "Netroots" now must be treated by Democratic leaders and politicians like the party’s other major interest group players — Pro-abortion rights groups, African-Americans and Trade Unions. There were signs before this race that the bloggers were already gaining respect. A bunch of presidential candidates showed up to the Daily Kos convention in June. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and other top party officials now have regular strategy meetings with MoveOn.org. And in recent weeks, Hillary Clinton has hired a blog outreach adviser. Now that the Netroots power has been cemented, any Democratic presidential candidate will have to consider how to woo these Netroots Blogosphere Internet activists, or at least keep them from hating him or her. MoveOn.Org is not fringe in the Democratic Party; they're the heart of the Democratic Party. The Connecticut Senate primary race sends one clear overriding message: in a liberal state like Connecticut, Democratic candidates defy the Netroots vote4Me Blogosphere at their own peril. The Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere has turned the tables against incumbents.
(11) American politics gets wired from Blogosphere Vote4Me Netroots movement. The Netroots Blogosphere Vote4Me Internet moves ever closer to the heart of US politics, and its resounding victory in defeating Lieberman in Democratic primaries, has given such a powerful aura to the Netroots Vote4Me, that some of those who have put it there are shying away from the claims others make for Netroots power among voters. It was Mr. Lieberman's attempts to dismiss his opponent as an "antiwar challenger backed by loony-left bloggers" that did most to cast Netroots Vote4Me bloggers in kingmaker roles. The general verdict is that Lieberman’s defeat is a great day for Netroots Vote4Me blogs.
(12) Hillary Clinton camp's strategy is reaching out to blogs, blogger Peter Daou was recently hired from Salon to "expand Clinton’s relationship with the Netroots Democrats, the Democratic blogosphere might start to behave very differently. Rival to Hillary Clinton in 2008 presidential race trying to repeat Howard Dean's feat of entering the 2004 primaries as the Democratic Internet candidate. The Democrat Netroots have become too large to be the exclusive agent of any one democratic candidate. With her Democratic front-runner status, Hillary Clinton doesn't need to actually win the blogosphere outright; she just needs to make sure her rival for presidency does not either. In 2003, the liberal Blogosphere Netroots rallied overwhelmingly to one contender, Howard Dean.
(13) The Audio Video blogoshere has great scope for viral videos to spread campaign ads and other clips across the blogosphere for very little money, something that has started to happen already - and it all starts to look very wired. Every campaign manager now expects more on the political power of the Netroots Vote4Me blogosphere. The defeat of Lieberman is just the tip of iceberg and tiny reflection of the "underlying reality," and the "chatter about the power of the Netroots Vote4Me blogospher blogs is probably more important than whether Netroots really had any power to begin with. Vote4Me blogosphere is important as it directly influences the minds of the Internet savvy American voter, without having to spend huge sums on Television and print media advertisements.
(14) Democrat Ned Lamont's victory in the Senate primary in Connecticut over incumbent Joseph Lieberman is the first major triumph for Netroots Vote4Me Blogosphere Internet political bloggers, who championed the challenger's antiwar candidacy. Netroots bloggers are being low key about their role in Lieberman’s outcome. Netroots Blogosphere is not a group to shy away from taking credit for things, but playing kingmakers in a world of real politics that has true national implications has made Netroots bloggers suddenly modest. Lamont would not have gotten where he got without the left-wing blogosphere. Yet there are just not enough bloggers for that to be the only reason Lamont won. Lamont's victory will make it difficult for politicians to ignore the blogosphere's power. Vote4Me Netroots blogosphere really does a good job of getting people fired up and engaged.' Eli Pariser, 25, executive director of MoveOn.org, which supported Lamont, said Lamont’s victory sent a message that voters wee sick and tired of being sick and tired. MoveOn.org bloggers sent out millions of e-mails on Lamont's behalf and attempted what the Internet has failed to achieve a number of times before: motivating people to get out and vote. The group set up a Web site, provided phone numbers of registered voters who hadn't gone to the polls much in the past, and offered a script for volunteers to read to them in support of Lamont.
(15) MoveOn.org bloggers sent out millions of e-mails on Lamont's behalf and attempted what the Internet has failed to achieve a number of times before: motivating people to get out and vote. The group set up a Web site, provided phone numbers of registered voters who hadn't gone to the polls much in the past, and offered a script for volunteers to read to them in support of Lamont. Netroots are Passionate Callers. Most campaigns use paid canvassers and paid callers to do this. Paid canvassers really could care less about who they are calling for. Netroots have people who care passionately doing the calling. The Netroots Vote4Me blogosphere also acted as both a megaphone and an echo chamber for Lamont: It boosted the volume of Lamont campaign and got him the attention of mainstream news organizations. The so-called mainstream media is the true target audience of the bloggers. The Netroots bloggers' No. 1 audience is not voters, it is pundits, it is reporters and it is media. But Democrats must welcome the energy and intelligence and enthusiasm of the Netroots bloggers. Netroots are a good counter to talk radio on the Republican side. The Connecticut race would not have gotten the coverage that it got without bloggers having the ‘shiny new thing’ quality that newspaper and TV reporters respond to. The Netroots bloggers help get the ball rolling for Lamont. Netroots bloggers talked up this race and Netroots deserve credit for that.
(16) Text messaging has mobilized voters in elections around the world. This once teen-centric technology has significantly changed American and Indian election politics also. “Vote4Me Inc” Blog is looking to use Vote4Me’s large electoral voters list database to help lobbyists and Interest Groups market their causes. Vote4Me would connect with young voters and young political activists and immigrants using a very Gen-X technology, the text message. Voter4Me Blog will peddle political Client’s policy, encouraging people in its networks and in the political crowds to use their cell phones to send the text message to a special number, or short code. The phone numbers of text-message writers will be compiled with specialized software, and Vote4Me Action Group will follow up with those enthusiastic texters to enlist support for its Campaign, and lobby for specific policies aimed at getting is politician clients get elected.
(17) Vote4Me Blog professionals are way ahead of the tech game here in the United States, text messaging, or SMS (for Short Message Service). The political and election usage of SMS and Blogs is hardly new in many democratic countries of the world. Opponents of Philippine President Joseph Estrada mobilized their supporters via text message as early as 2001. A massive SMS texting campaign was credited with boosting youth turnout in Spain's 2004 presidential elections. Mexico's president-elect Felipe Calderón launched millions of text messages in the days immediately preceding his narrow win over Andres Manuel Lopez Obradór.
(18) American political groups seem to be catching on the election usage of SMS test messaging and political blogs. Person-to-person text messaging was credited with rallying runaway support for the nationwide immigration protests this spring in USA. It was so successful that activist groups have expanded on the concept. Vote4Me Inc seeks to register young Immigrant voters, and would launch a nationwide text-message outreach program.
(19) Vote4Me would come up with the election campaign specific proposal, and Vote4Me does the homework. Vote4Me kids are texting in record numbers. This teen trend has turned into a election weapon of choice for politicos hoping to energize their constituents in a very cost effective manner as the television media has become prohibitively expensive and TV media is no longer election result wise effective. Many leading election campaign strategists are betting Vote4Me bloggers can be very effective in voter mobilization in US elections 2006 and 2008. NewsWireUSA. Kalki Gaur. 14 August, 9:33 AM Washington DC. email@example.com; Web Blogs are http://indiatalking.com/blog/kalkigaur ; http://clashofreligions.blog.com/ ; http://diplomacyofcivilizations.blog.com ; http://manifestoofneoconservatism.blog.com/ ; http://360.yahoo.com/diplomacyofcivilizations ; http://diplomacyofcivilizations.blogspot.com ; http://www.clearblogs.com/neoconservativeparty ; http://diplomacyofcivilizations.squarespace.com ; http://www.clearblogs.com/indianconstitution ; http://americannewswire.blogspot.com http://newswireusa.blogspot.com ; http://360.yahoo.com/hindustanempire ; http://members.nowpublic.com/neoconsusa ; http://constitution-india-template.manicfish.com ; http://www.123forum.com/2203 NewsWireUSA. Kalki Gaur. 14 August, 9:33 AM Washington DC.
Wow, it surely took serious dedication to type such a long and rambling message, especially given its multiple redundancies. It certainly took serious dedication for me to read it. Let no one say that Netroots folks aren't passionate.
Michael Barone discussed the emergence of the blogosphere as a significant political power here. He has a somewhat different take on what the blogosphere means for politics. He says, "The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media. Both changes help Bush and the Republicans."
The cyberspace crowd certainly are the new kids on the block in politics, but their impact is debatable. It all comes down to the abilities to raise funds and to get out votes. Right now, much of this depends on people that are passionate about it. But there is a logical limit to the number of people that can maintain passion about political issues. The number of political blogs peaked over 18 months ago, as did overall readership of political blogs. As the cyberspace medium matures, look for much of its political side to be subsumed into more traditional business-type models, causing it to lose some of its vibrancy.
The blogosphere has newfound political power, and that is causing some headiness in certain circles. But this passionate crowd overestimates its ability to appeal to broader America. Their passion pulls the political parties further away from the moderate center, where significant numbers of votes reside.
Perhaps this will lead to near permanent obstruction and deadlock in national politics. Some would be happy with that, as they think Congress is generally messing up whenever it acts. Perhaps it will give voters a more stark choice. Some would be happy with that. But that could also lead to opportunities for new parties to gain power. Whatever impact this new dynamic has, it will be interesting to see its effect.
Although not a Utahan by birth, I have noticed that there is almost a rebellous vote in Utah: do the opposite of whatever the Mormons might do.
Mormon's who know their Church history and understand the Book of Mormon and D&D, know that this is indeed a promised land. But we also know that unrighteousness can lead to captivity.
I encourage you to read "A City on a Hill" by Michael Signer at www.democracyjournal.org.
In it he argues that we need to replace exceptionalism with exemplarism. This progressive moral concept is something that I think Utahns could support.
Here are some excerpts:
We see a messianic strain of exceptionalism powerfully realized in the presidency of George W. Bush. His constant, post—September 11 injunction that the United States should democratize the world at gunpoint posits an America not only above, but apart from, the world. His exceptionalism frames the United States as an exception to the world, rather than as an exceptional–meaning excellent–nation within it. This ideology of separateness undermines our ability to translate our uniqueness into global leadership.
Nowhere has the vulgar exceptionalism of the Bush Administration been more devastating than on world public opinion about the United States. In his latest book, Überpower, German journalist Josef Joffe notes an emergent anti-Americanism in the world that bears striking and unsettling similarities to anti-Semitism, including thinking the United States is at the head of a great conspiracy, responsible for all the evil in the world.
States still matter–and among them, prestige and leadership still have weight, especially now that most of the world lives in democracies. But it is no longer only states that are important–the opinions and actions of their citizens matter as well.
Today, it is simply impossible for any country, even one as powerful as the United States, to ignore or neglect its interconnections with other nations, not because we want to win a global "popularity contest," as the President said in Coral Gables, nor because we need the world’s permission to act, as he implied Kerry believed. Rather, because today’s economic, information, political, and cultural networks are so inextricably intertwined, the threats we face–endemic poverty, epidemic disease, environmental destruction, or global terrorism–demand both multilateral solutions as well as solutions that require the enthusiastic and energetic participation of billions of ordinary people around the globe.
As the world’s superpower, we must fully engage in the world, actively leading and shaping it, if we are to improve it. And we must do so in a way that recognizes the interdependence of the current age.
Think of the quarterback of a football team. More celebrated than his teammates, he leads by his own example of excellence in the sport and is rewarded with the willing followership of his teammates. They follow, but they are woven with him into the fabric of the team. He cannot win without them, and he must constantly earn their help through admiration and respect, rather than awe and fear. When he succeeds, he collects more garlands (admiration, money, authority) than they do. He leads by example, but it’s the team that wins the game, not the quarterback. And he grows stronger, through the collective success of others.
The United States is still the "quarterback" of the global community–or, in the words of Bill Clinton, the "indispensable nation"–and it is in the American interest to remain in that position.
Ronald Reagan’s expression of America’s exceptionalizm is borrowed from John Winthrop’s "City Upon a Hill" speech, delivered in 1630 aboard the Arabella as it made its way from England to Massachusetts. A closer reading of Winthrop, however, shows that he believed the esteem of other nations is crucial. Winthrop also said in that speech:
If we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and byword through the world, we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for God’s sake; we shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into Curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whether we are going.
Winthrop's statement about the opinions of others divides the others into two groups: The enemies of God, who would glory in the failure of the colony, and the friends of God, who would be saddened by such a failure. He argued that they should not encoruage their enemies by failing, nor discourage their friends by failing. There is nothing in that statement that makes the opinion of their enemies a standard for their own actions. America today has both enemies and friends. The fact is that if America were as evil as its enemies claim, they would be afraid to say so for fear of retaliation. This is similar to the fact that, if Mormons were as depraved as many 19th Century critics claimed it to be, they would have been dead or silenced out of fear. Instead they went on lecture tours and were feted across the country, without any true fear that Mormons would ever rertaliate in any substantive fashion. Just so, ethnic prejudice tends to justify itself by describing the persecuted and hated party as a threat. Outside of Britain, most of Europe is politically and militarily impotent, and therefore naturally resents America, which is not. The animosity of Islamic fascism toward America is very much a reflection of the same jealousy that motivates the anti-Americanism of many Europeans. Over the past several centuries, many nations of Europe sought to dominate the continent as well as much of Africa and Asia. Islamic civilization tried to dominate Europe as well. America has in fact been the dominant pan-European force, so it is resented by both the Europeans and the Muslims who wish they had America's power and influence.
On the Democrats and Utah: The Republican Party started out attacking the Mormons just as vociferously as it attacked slavery. The carpetbagger arrogance exercised by the Republicans toward the South was also displayed toward the Mormons, with plural wives cast in the role of the slaves who were being "liberated". It took a concerted effort of the Church leadership to establish a viable Republican Party in Utah at statehood to compete with the Democrats and give both parties an incentive to court Utah's Mormons. Certainly from the time of Eisenhower through Johnson, Democrats were on an equal footing for political power in Utah. The radicalization of the national Democratic party, including its rampant anti-Americanism and rejection of America as having a divine charter, and its embrace of abortion and later homosexuality and rejection of religion as normative on matters of sexual behavior and family life, rejected the beliefs of Utah's Mormons and left them behind. The Democratic Party of the 1960s could still win elections in Utah, but the Democratic Party of gay marriage and abortion until the entire body of the baby is out of the womb has created an unbridgable moral gap between itself and the traditionally moral people of Utah. Blue State Democrats call themselves "progressive" and complains that people in Kansas (and Utah) are too stupid to know that Demo policies are better for the common people than the policies the people themselves believe in. This elitism and condescension is another wedge between Utah Mormons, who are still largely lower middle class, and the national Democrats.
The welfare state philosophy of "We will solve your problems for you" that is at the core of the national Democratic Party appeals to the habitually poor, but not to people who are used to managing their own lives successfully.
With all of these gaps, created by the Democratic Left, the activitists in the party cling to the belief that the solution to their lack of broad support is to be even MORE radical and uncompromising. They have become fanatics. They have become like the Islamo-fascists, who have faith that God will vindicate their unwavering faith. The progressive Demos have unwavering faith in the triumph of their principles as well, because they come out of the "Enlightenment" (i.e. the rejection of religious belief and embrace of materialism and human reason as capable of solving all problems, as long as the smart people get to tell everyone else what to do).
The secularism and materialism of the Democrats places the party at odds with religious people across the US. DEmocrats resent people who believe God requires men to be righteous, including them. They want to be able to rewrite the laws of the universe and of human behavior to a more "rational" model. While they constantly criticize religious believers as resisting the Copernican demotion of mankind from its exalted place at the center of the universe, they secularists actually see themselves as being at the center of things, and uniquely qualified to fix things, if people would only obey their brilliant innovative ideas. They don't like to see America at the center of the Universe, but would rather see themselves there. They love "America" as the potential embodiment of their ideal society, but they see the real America as flawed and in need of repentance, as not fair enough to suit them.
Democrats are more than willing to distort reality to fit their exalted view of themselves as saviors. The description of Bush as trying to bring democracy at the point of a gun no more applies to Afghanistan and Iraq than it applies to the defeat and liberation of Japan and Germany in World War II, in which the modern free world was created by American force of arms, or the freedom of Eastern Europe achieved by the defeat of Russian communism by the militarily competitive America. America's gun was used against the enemies of freedom, not against those who emnbraced freedom. The Democrats resent the fact that America even has a gun, more worried about America hurting itself and others than having confidence that America will use its guns to protect itself and its neighbors from the gangs that roam our world.
The Democratic Party basically believes the world is a high school, and that all problems can be solved by getting all the nations down to the principal's office for a chat. They are unwilling to acknowledge that even high schools have criminals who respond to appeals for mercy with a shotgun blast to the head, and that the approach of the sheriff to the Columbine attack--sit around and wait for the killers to be satisfied they have killed enough people before putting any officer at risk--is stupid and cowardly.
The value that Christians share with Muslims involve things like honoring God before self, and being willing to sacrifice one's self for the good of others. The national Democrats reject those ideals, so they will never understand Muslims nor be honored by them. The Democrats believe they can make the Muslims happy by being atheists. The Republicans know that the Muslims can only respect other people who believe in God.
Todd, Signer's commentary is interesting, but is seems to be merely fancy posturing for the position John Kerry defined in the 2004 presidential campaign as basically giving certain other countries veto power over any action America might take. While we do live in a global community, this is not a winning strategy. It reminds me of Aesop's fable about the man, the boy, and the donkey. You try to make everyone happy, and end up making no one happy. While we want to foster healthy alliances and be good global citizens, we ultimately must do what we believe to be in our country's best interest.
Coltakashi, some might disagree with the tone of your rhetoric, but you make some very strong points about why Utahns today vote overwhelmingly Republican.
It seems to me that for many people of faith, party choice comes down to three main points: social conservatism, fiscal conservatism, and national security.
The social conservatism of the GOP beats the secularism of the Democrats, as explained by Coltakashi. While many are turned off by the GOP's recent move away from fiscal conservatism, the fact is that the Democrats have much less legitimacy on this issue. The Democrats have demonstrated a poor track record on defense since the 60s. Many people of faith understand that their freedom to worship as they wish is only availble if our country can properly defend itself to ensure that right, so they are strong on national defense. While the GOP has its share of appeasers, and there have been some serious missteps in Iraq by the current administration, the GOP has a stronger track record on national defense.
So, I think that for many people of faith, the GOP beats the Democrats in all three of these important areas. The GOP doesn't align with all of these people's desires and beliefs, and in many ways it disappoints them, but it ranks higher on the issues that are most important to them.
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