Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Back to the Future: a comment on Al Gore’s The Assault on Reason

Posted by Charles II on May 17, 2007

Al Gore:

“So the remedy for what ails our democracy is not simply better education (as important as that is) or civic education (as important as that can be), but the re-establishment of a genuine democratic discourse in which individuals can participate in a meaningful way—a conversation of democracy in which meritorious ideas and opinions from individuals do, in fact, evoke a meaningful response.” (via Atrios)

I doubt that many of the readers of this book excerpt will understand what it really means. Perhaps Al Gore doesn’t either.

I recently did a personal project which led me back through the 1960s and what happened in the domestic political scene. To oversimplify a lot, the Democratic coalition was comprised of liberals and populists. Financial interests, large and small, attached themselves to one party or another. Democratic policies, which emphasized middle class growth, were advantageous for consumer, technology, and export industries, while Republican policies, which emphasized jiggering tax and finance, were favored by other industries. On a local level, real estate and development interests were often attached to whoever was in power. In cities and in the South, that usually meant Democrats.

The civil rights movement, demanded by liberals, put deep strains on the Democratic coalition. But the decisive factor in ending Democratic dominance and ushering in the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon appears to have been, ironically, an obscure element of LBJ’s War on Poverty called the the Community Action Programs. and the associated impact of Legal Services.

“The program that generated the most intense controversies and came to dominate the politics of the early War on Poverty was the Community Action Program. Envisioned as a foundation of the War on Poverty in 1964, the CAP offered the most promise for reform, but also the most potential for turmoil. Administered by the idealistic and aggressive new OEO, the implementation of the program proved to be the most contentious part of the War on Poverty. Most controversies involved the distribution of power to poor people that often bypassed traditional federal, state, and local bureaucracies. By requiring the “maximum feasible participation of the poor” in Community Action Agencies, the Economic Opportunity Act substantially elevated the role of marginalized people and set off a daring policy experiment.”

CAPs were very uneven. Some were total boondoggles, in which local power politicians aggrandized themselves. But others created a space in which poor people could train themselves in the arts of independence and self-assertion that the middle class takes for granted. For example, CAPs might train people in shopping for value and organize people to go together to the supermarket, bypassing slum markets that charged high prices.  The poor learned to read leases and challenge unfair seizures of security deposits. They learned to challenge police excesses against the marginalized that continue to this day, as witness the anti-immigrant police riots in Los Angeles. Women learned to stand up to abuse, including how to file for divorce. And free or low cost Legal Services made it possible to go to court and win.

These were profoundly threatening to economic interests, especially predators on the poor such as slumlords. The poor are very important–vital– to the American economy. They are the people who pick up the trash, put up the drywall, take care of the elderly and the very young, pick the fruits and vegetables. Most important, they provide a visible person versus whom the other Americans can feel better. When employers threaten employees with dismissal, it is the face of poverty that generates the fear to keep people in line. When the middle class family finds itself underwater financially, they can point to “the less fortunate” and breathe a sigh of relief. If the poor did not exist, America as we know it would cease to exist.

And what a great day that would be, when people would no longer be afraid to speak truth to power.  

Now, this is a sketch of what was going on in the War on Poverty. There were parts of it that were dysfunctional or, at least, not optimal. Second, CAPs still exist. They simply lack the resources to do what they were doing in the 1960s. Further, the attack on CAPs and, in a broader sense, on the 1960s was not purely an economic phenomenon. Social conservatives were frightened by the idea of equality for African Americans, Latinos, women, and gays (who were not discussed openly, but for whom the hippies stood as proxies). But the revolt of the social conservatives would have failed if economic interests had not also opposed or co-opted the War on Poverty by diverting funds intended for community development into the pockets of developers.

To understand what it means to, as Gore suggests, have “a conversation of democracy in which meritorious ideas and opinions from individuals do, in fact, evoke a meaningful response,” one must understand the 1960s and the extraordinary phenomenon that organization of poor neighborhoods represented. The Dixiecrat wing of the Democratic Party, joined with opportunistic financial interests, bought another half century of residential segregation, unequal application of the law, and keeping the poor in line.

The cost was destroying the American Republic.

Now even the middle class of this country has a slave mentality: drowning in debt, working and recreating compulsively, ignorant of the basic facts needed to make good decisions, disengaged politically. To the top of the ladder have risen effete aristocrats like George W. Bush.

With the energy of the society diverted off into media frenzies like the Anna Nichole Smith paternity extravaganza and into Endtimes fantasies and into the culture wars, there is no energy left over to innovate, build, and compassionately rationalize economic activity. When we are running a current account deficit nearing 1 Trillon dollars per year, we are the careless grasshopper and the rest of the world the industrious ant. Like the mythic beast of Babylon, the United States and all its power is falling and there is nothing that the wealthy and powerful can do to stop it.

Except one thing.

Bring back the 1960s (without Vietnam).

19 Responses to “Back to the Future: a comment on Al Gore’s The Assault on Reason

  1. daveinboca said

    Great satirical comedy. Left out were little details like the dissolution of the black family into drugs and drive-by fatherhood. I worked in CAPs back then, and they universally succumbed to localitis in the Tip O’Neill darkside version—elevating grifters like William Clay in St. Louis to lifetime keys to the cashbox [Cong. Jefferson is just an update]. There was more than a bit of self-destruction that is left out in your elaborate construct above.

    Ronald Reagan wasn’t an “effete aristocrat.” And Bill Clinton was a “horny populist.”

    Broaden your perspective a bit and open the windows so that breeze of reality freshens the musty corridors of your mind.

  2. Charles said

    Dave, thanks for your wisecracks.

    However, since the personal project I did involved serious research as opposed to your driveby comments, I know whereof I speak.

    I did say that some CAPs were boondoggles. Since you clearly didn’t read it carefully enough to even catch that much, I doubt you’ll read this comment either: the so-called dissolution of the black family (actually, of the poor family of any race) was the result of three factors. First, the massive influx of cheap drugs from Vietnam to veterans who self-medicated to treat their PTSD. Second, high unemployment in the early 1970s that disproportionately impacted unskilled workers. Third, Nixon’s implementation of welfare, which refused aid to any household with an able-bodied man, whether there were jobs or not. Poor families, white or black, did the obvious thing. They had the husband live away from home so that the wife and children could collect government assistance.

    Drive on, in splendid snowblind ignorance.

  3. whig said

    “the re-establishment of a genuine democratic discourse in which individuals can participate in a meaningful way—a conversation of democracy in which meritorious ideas and opinions from individuals do, in fact, evoke a meaningful response.” aka blogtopia (y!sctp!)

  4. Charles said

    You know, whig, one of the red flags that came up when I read Gore’s statement was “result in a meaningful response.” His use of the passive immediately raised questions in my mind: response, by whom? meaningful, how judged?

    If I had written the sentence in the passive voice, it would have ended, “result in effective change, particularly through legislation.” That way, it’s clear that the response has to be by people who hold positions of power, through means that can be enforced in the courts, and causing change. If results are judged by paid-for-prose think tanks and Murdochized media, enforced by Republican activist judges like the Texas Supreme Court PW described in a previous post, and cause more of the same-old-same-old, they aren’t meaningful.

    Except maybe as Warholesque art.

  5. And don’t be so smug about blacks and drug use, Dave. Especially with the 30-year epidemic of meth among Southern whites, especially in rural areas. (The moonshiners branched out from one form of brewing to another.)

  6. whig said

    The drug war is still decimating the black community.

  7. whig said

    Drug use is arguably more common among whites, because enforcement is slight. Against the black community, the SWAT lays siege.

  8. CMike said

    **********
    [T]he decisive factor in ending Democratic dominance and ushering in the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon appears to have been, ironically, an obscure element of LBJ’s War on Poverty called the the Community Action Programs and the associated impact of Legal Services.
    **********

    Ha, ha, ha. To be fair you do mention the civil rights movement and its “strains.” That would include Brown(1954), the Civil Rights Act(1964), the Voting Rights Act(1965) and desegregation busing(1970s). White Protestants began to find common political cause with Catholics on the issues of private schools and Roe (1972). There was the pill (1960), feminism and the counter-culture. Throw into the mix the failed, divisive Vietnam War and oil shocks.

    Then there was “The Great Inflation from 1965 to 1984.” (In 1979 for the first time, a post WWII recession hit white males.) Community Action Programs and associated legal services the decisive factors bringing about the Republican ascendancy in our politics? I don’t think so.

    ***********
    I doubt that many of the readers of this book excerpt will understand what it really means. Perhaps Al Gore doesn’t either.
    ***********

    Well somebody doesn’t understand the excerpt, that’s for sure.

    ***********
    You know, whig, one of the red flags that came up when I read Gore’s statement was “result in a meaningful response.” His use of the passive immediately raised questions in my mind: response, by whom? meaningful, how judged?
    ***********

    Actually Gore uses a variation the word passive itself to explain what he means. He says an “assault on reason”, what I call Reaganism, has clouded the minds of a big chunk of the voting public.

    ************
    Gore writes:

    McLuhan was almost alone in recognizing that the passivity associated with watching television is at the expense of activity in parts of the brain associated with abstract thought, logic, and the reasoning process. Any new dominant communications medium leads to a new information ecology in society that inevitably changes the way ideas, feelings, wealth, power and influence are distributed and the way collective decisions are made.
    ****************

    It’s not the reactionary response itself to the Community Action Programs of the Great Society or the larger rush of events during the last fifty years which now endangers our democracy – it is that television is such an effective medium for advancing reactionary politics.

    ************
    Gore writes:

    By using focus groups and elaborate polling techniques, those who design these messages are able to derive the only information they’re interested in receiving from citizens—feedback useful in fine-tuning their efforts at manipulation. Over time, the lack of authenticity becomes obvious and takes its toll in the form of cynicism and alienation. And the more Americans disconnect from the democratic process, the less legitimate it becomes.
    *************

    Gore sees the Internet as a crucial medium to overcome the influence of television.

    **************
    Gore writes:

    We have created a wealthy society with tens of millions of talented, resourceful individuals who play virtually no role whatsoever as citizens. Bringing these people in—with their networks of influence, their knowledge, and their resources—is the key to creating the capacity for shared intelligence that we need to solve our problems.
    **************

    Oh, and there is a tie in between television and what you call “the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon.” Ever read The Selling of the President, 1968?

  9. CMike said

    **********
    [T]he decisive factor in ending Democratic dominance and ushering in the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon appears to have been, ironically, an obscure element of LBJ’s War on Poverty called the the Community Action Programs and the associated impact of Legal Services.
    **********

    Ha, ha, ha. To be fair you do mention the civil rights movement and its “strains.” That would include Brown(1954), the Civil Rights Act(1964), the Voting Rights Act(1965) and desegregation busing(1970s). White Protestants began to find common political cause with Catholics on the issues of private schools and Roe (1972). There was the pill (1960), feminism and the counter-culture. Throw into the mix the failed, divisive Vietnam War and oil shocks.

    Then there was “The Great Inflation from 1965 to 1984.” (In 1979 for the first time, a post WWII recession hit white males.) Community Action Programs and associated Legal Services the decisive factors in bringing about the current Republican ascendancy in our politics? I don’t think so.

    ***********
    I doubt that many of the readers of this book excerpt will understand what it really means. Perhaps Al Gore doesn’t either.
    ***********

    Well somebody doesn’t understand the excerpt, that’s for sure.

    ***********
    You know, whig, one of the red flags that came up when I read Gore’s statement was “result in a meaningful response.” His use of the passive immediately raised questions in my mind: response, by whom? meaningful, how judged?
    ***********

    Actually Gore uses a variation the word passive itself to explain what he means. He says an “assault on reason”, what I call Reaganism, has clouded the minds of a big chunk of the voting public.

    ************
    Gore writes:

    McLuhan was almost alone in recognizing that the passivity associated with watching television is at the expense of activity in parts of the brain associated with abstract thought, logic, and the reasoning process. Any new dominant communications medium leads to a new information ecology in society that inevitably changes the way ideas, feelings, wealth, power and influence are distributed and the way collective decisions are made.
    ****************

    It’s not the reactionary response itself to the Community Action Programs of the Great Society or the larger rush of events during the last fifty years which now endangers our democracy – it is that television by its nature advances reactionary politics.

    ************
    Gore writes:

    By using focus groups and elaborate polling techniques, those who design these messages are able to derive the only information they’re interested in receiving from citizens—feedback useful in fine-tuning their efforts at manipulation. Over time, the lack of authenticity becomes obvious and takes its toll in the form of cynicism and alienation. And the more Americans disconnect from the democratic process, the less legitimate it becomes.
    *************

    Gore sees the Internet as a crucial medium to overcome the influence of television (and media conglomeration).

    **************
    Gore writes:

    We have created a wealthy society with tens of millions of talented, resourceful individuals who play virtually no role whatsoever as citizens. Bringing these people in—with their networks of influence, their knowledge, and their resources—is the key to creating the capacity for shared intelligence that we need to solve our problems.
    **************

    Oh, and there is a tie in between television and what you call “the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon.” Ever read The Selling of the President, 1968?

  10. CMike said

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>[T]he decisive factor in ending Democratic dominance and ushering in the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon appears to have been, ironically, an obscure element of LBJ’s War on Poverty called the the Community Action Programs and the associated impact of Legal Services.XXXX

    This sounds like someone fell in love with their term paper topic. To be fair you do mention the civil rights movement and its “strains.” That would include Brown(1954), the Civil Rights Act(1964), the Voting Rights Act(1965) and desegregation busing(1970s). But…then there was one of those periodic Great Awakenings which saw, this time around, white Protestants finding common political cause with Catholics on the issues of private schooling and Roe (1972). There was The Pill (1960), feminism and the counter-culture. Throw into the mix the failed, divisive Vietnam War mythologized by a “stabbed in the back” bit of historical revision.

    Add in there was what economists refer to as “The Great Inflation from 1965 to 1984.” (In 1979 for the first time, a post WWII recession hit white males and demagogically blamed on affirmative action and unions.) Community Action Programs and associated Legal Services were the “decisive” factors in bringing about the current Republican ascendancy in our politics? I don’t think so.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>I doubt that many of the readers of this book excerpt will understand what it really means. Perhaps Al Gore doesn’t either.XXXX

    Well somebody doesn’t understand what Gore really means, that’s for sure.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>You know, whig, one of the red flags that came up when I read Gore’s statement was “result in a meaningful response.” His use of the passive immediately raised questions in my mind: response, by whom? meaningful, how judged?XXXX

    Actually Gore uses a variation the word passive, itself, to explain what he means. He says an “assault on reason”, what I call Reaganism, has clouded the minds of a big chunk of the voting public.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Gore writes:

    McLuhan was almost alone in recognizing that the passivity associated with watching television is at the expense of activity in parts of the brain associated with abstract thought, logic, and the reasoning process. Any new dominant communications medium leads to a new information ecology in society that inevitably changes the way ideas, feelings, wealth, power and influence are distributed and the way collective decisions are made.XXXX

    It’s not the ever with us reactionary forces responding to the Community Action Programs of the Great Society or the larger rush of events during the last fifty years which now endangers our democracy – it is television (and media conglomeration) that is the “decisive factor” in empowering reactionary politics.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Gore writes:

    By using focus groups and elaborate polling techniques, those who design these messages are able to derive the only information they’re interested in receiving from citizens—feedback useful in fine-tuning their efforts at manipulation. Over time, the lack of authenticity becomes obvious and takes its toll in the form of cynicism and alienation. And the more Americans disconnect from the democratic process, the less legitimate it becomes.XXXX

    Gore sees the internet as a crucial medium to overcome the influence of television (and media conglomeration) which is threatening democracy. What is needed at this time is the reestablishment of, in the words of Lincoln, “the strongest bulwark of any government, and particularly of those constituted like ours… the attachment of the people.”

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Gore writes:

    We have created a wealthy society with tens of millions of talented, resourceful individuals who play virtually no role whatsoever as citizens. Bringing these people in—with their networks of influence, their knowledge, and their resources—is the key to creating the capacity for shared intelligence that we need to solve our problems.XXXX

    Oh, and there is a tie in between television and what you call “the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon.” Ever read The Selling of the President, 1968?

  11. CMike said

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>[T]he decisive factor in ending Democratic dominance and ushering in the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon appears to have been, ironically, an obscure element of LBJ’s War on Poverty called the the Community Action Programs and the associated impact of Legal Services.XXXX

    This sounds like someone fell in love with their term paper topic. To be fair you do mention the civil rights movement and its “strains.” That would include Brown(1954), the Civil Rights Act(1964), the Voting Rights Act(1965) and desegregation busing(1970s). But…then there was one of those periodic Great Awakenings which saw, this time around, white Protestants finding common political cause with Catholics on the issues of private schooling and Roe (1972). There was The Pill (1960), feminism and the counter-culture. Throw into the mix the failed, divisive Vietnam War mythologized by a “stabbed in the back” bit of historical revision.

    Add in there was what economists refer to as “The Great Inflation from 1965 to 1984.” (In 1979 for the first time, a post WWII recession hit white males and demagogically blamed on affirmative action and unions.) Community Action Programs and associated Legal Services were the “decisive” factors in bringing about the current Republican ascendancy in our politics? I don’t think so.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>I doubt that many of the readers of this book excerpt will understand what it really means. Perhaps Al Gore doesn’t either.XXXX

    Well somebody doesn’t understand what Gore really means, that’s for sure.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>You know, whig, one of the red flags that came up when I read Gore’s statement was “result in a meaningful response.” His use of the passive immediately raised questions in my mind: response, by whom? meaningful, how judged?XXXX

    Actually Gore uses a variation the word passive, itself, to explain what he means. He says an “assault on reason”, what I call Reaganism, has clouded the minds of a big chunk of the voting public.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Gore writes:

    McLuhan was almost alone in recognizing that the passivity associated with watching television is at the expense of activity in parts of the brain associated with abstract thought, logic, and the reasoning process. Any new dominant communications medium leads to a new information ecology in society that inevitably changes the way ideas, feelings, wealth, power and influence are distributed and the way collective decisions are made.XXXX

    It’s not the ever with us reactionary forces responding to the Community Action Programs of the Great Society or the larger rush of events during the last fifty years which now endangers our democracy – it is television (and media conglomeration) that is the “decisive factor” in empowering reactionary politics.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Gore writes:

    By using focus groups and elaborate polling techniques, those who design these messages are able to derive the only information they’re interested in receiving from citizens—feedback useful in fine-tuning their efforts at manipulation. Over time, the lack of authenticity becomes obvious and takes its toll in the form of cynicism and alienation. And the more Americans disconnect from the democratic process, the less legitimate it becomes.XXXX

    Gore sees the internet as a crucial medium to overcome the influence of television (and media conglomeration) which is threatening democracy. What is needed at this time is the reestablishment of, in the words of Lincoln, “the strongest bulwark of any government, and particularly of those constituted like ours… the attachment of the people.”

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Gore writes:

    We have created a wealthy society with tens of millions of talented, resourceful individuals who play virtually no role whatsoever as citizens. Bringing these people in—with their networks of influence, their knowledge, and their resources—is the key to creating the capacity for shared intelligence that we need to solve our problems.XXXX

    Oh, and there is a tie in between television and what you call “the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon.” Ever read The Selling of the President, 1968?

  12. CMike said

    >>>>[T]he decisive factor in ending Democratic dominance and ushering in the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon appears to have been, ironically, an obscure element of LBJ’s War on Poverty called the the Community Action Programs and the associated impact of Legal Services.XXXX

    Odd the number of people who think their corner of esoterica is the Holy Grail. To be fair you do mention the civil rights movement and its “strains.” That would include Brown(1954), the Civil Rights Act(1964), the Voting Rights Act(1965) and desegregation busing(1970s). But…then there was one of those periodic Great Awakenings which saw, this time around, white Protestants finding common political cause with Catholics on the issues of private schooling and Roe (1972). There was The Pill (1960), feminism and the counter-culture. Throw into the mix the failed, divisive Vietnam War mythologized by a “stabbed in the back” bit of historical revision that became conventional wisdom.

    Add in there was what economists refer to as “The Great Inflation from 1965 to 1984.” In 1979, for the first time a post WWII recession hit the white male job market allowing demagogues to flame the backlash against affirmative action programs and unions. Community Action Programs and associated Legal Services were the “decisive factor[s]” in bringing about the current Republican ascendancy in our politics? I don’t think so.

    >>>>I doubt that many of the readers of this book excerpt will understand what it really means. Perhaps Al Gore doesn’t either.XXXX

    Well somebody doesn’t understand what Gore really means, that’s for sure.

    continued…

  13. CMike said

    >>>>You know, whig, one of the red flags that came up when I read Gore’s statement was “result in a meaningful response.” His use of the passive immediately raised questions in my mind: response, by whom? meaningful, how judged?XXXX

    Actually Gore uses a variation the word passive, itself, to explain what he means. He says an “assault on reason”, what I call Reaganism, has clouded the minds of a big chunk of the voting public and kept others from participating in electoral politics.

    >>>>Gore writes:

    McLuhan was almost alone in recognizing that the passivity associated with watching television is at the expense of activity in parts of the brain associated with abstract thought, logic, and the reasoning process. Any new dominant communications medium leads to a new information ecology in society that inevitably changes the way ideas, feelings, wealth, power and influence are distributed and the way collective decisions are made.XXXX

    It’s was a once sleeping, now aroused reactionary politics responding to the the Great Society Community Action Programs or the larger rush of events during the last fifty years which now endangers our democracy – it is television (and media conglomeration) that is the “decisive factor” in empowering reactionary politics.

    continued…

  14. CMike said

    [Whoops, that should have been: It’s not a once sleeping, then aroused…]

    >>>>Gore writes:

    By using focus groups and elaborate polling techniques, those who design these messages are able to derive the only information they’re interested in receiving from citizens—feedback useful in fine-tuning their efforts at manipulation. Over time, the lack of authenticity becomes obvious and takes its toll in the form of cynicism and alienation. And the more Americans disconnect from the democratic process, the less legitimate it becomes.XXXX

    Gore sees the internet as a crucial medium to overcome the influence of television (and media conglomeration) which is threatening democracy. What is needed at this time is the reestablishment of, in the words of Lincoln, “the strongest bulwark of any government, and particularly of those constituted like ours… the attachment of the people.”

    >>>>Gore writes:

    We have created a wealthy society with tens of millions of talented, resourceful individuals who play virtually no role whatsoever as citizens. Bringing these people in—with their networks of influence, their knowledge, and their resources—is the key to creating the capacity for shared intelligence that we need to solve our problems.XXXX

    Oh, and there is a tie in between television and what you call “the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon.” Ever read The Selling of the President, 1968?

  15. CMike said

    [whoops, that should be: It’s not a once sleeping, then aroused reactionary politics…]

    >>>>Gore writes:

    By using focus groups and elaborate polling techniques, those who design these messages are able to derive the only information they’re interested in receiving from citizens—feedback useful in fine-tuning their efforts at manipulation. Over time, the lack of authenticity becomes obvious and takes its toll in the form of cynicism and alienation. And the more Americans disconnect from the democratic process, the less legitimate it becomes.XXXX

    Gore sees the internet as a crucial medium to overcome the influence of television (and media conglomeration) which is threatening democracy. What is needed at this time is the reestablishment of, in the words of Lincoln, “the strongest bulwark of any government, and particularly of those constituted like ours… the attachment of the people.”

    >>>>Gore writes:

    We have created a wealthy society with tens of millions of talented, resourceful individuals who play virtually no role whatsoever as citizens. Bringing these people in—with their networks of influence, their knowledge, and their resources—is the key to creating the capacity for shared intelligence that we need to solve our problems.XXXX

    continued…

  16. CMike said

    Oh, and there is a tie in between this media theory and what you call “the Republican period of dominance that began with Nixon.” Ever read The Selling of the President, 1968?

  17. Wow, CMike. Interesting points, but methinks you still are carrying a grudge over getting proved wrong RE: Sandy Berger (here’s the latest on him, by the way), hence the vehemence of your determination to take down Charles (a vehemence shown in your multiple posts — apparently you’re so fired up over this you can’t compose yourself enough to, well, compose a single post expressing what you want to say). After all, Charles himself said right at the beginning (which you seemed to have skimmed over) that he was oversimplifying a lot (one of the sentences he used reads thus: “To oversimplify a lot, the Democratic coalition was comprised of liberals and populists.”). But if it makes you feel better, go right ahead.

  18. CMike said

    My vehemence is not due to some grudge I have over the Berger discussion, it was in response to the suggestion that Al Gore might not “understand” what he, himself, is saying. Whereas Al Gore certainly deserves criticism for some things, he’s about the last politician who should be accused of not knowing what he’s talking about.

    Actually, I tried to post this on the 18th but it kept getting rejected. I figured I was blocked from commenting here. But I got to thinking maybe my post was too long or the tags weren’t right. Without a preview feature it was hard to tell what might be wrong. Anyway I dropped some tags and submitted it in parts.

    As to the Berger matter, there are a lot of us who are aware, and were aware from very early on, that the former National Security Advisor purloined copies of, not original, classified documents. The documents themselves were several generations of the same after action report on the Y2K terrorist threat that Richard Clark had compiled.

    Those documents would have remained classified to this day even if Al Gore was president. They discuss the state of our counter terrorism capabilities – its strengths and weaknesses as they stood in late 1999.

  19. Charles said

    CMike, I am delighted to have missed this debate.

    Look: I provided information about a private project that I did. I’ve substantiated my view that the CAPs were the most controversial of the programs by citing an academic study.

    You’re welcome to disagree, but it would be much more productive if you would provide something in support.

    The best you’ve managed is quoting Gore blaming the passivity of American society on TV. I think the passivity is primarily the result of repression. It could be part one, part the other, even part something else. But you haven’t in any way disproven what I have said; you haven’t even really tried.

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