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Well said, sir. Bobby Kennedy, more so than his brother John, also determined my political bent. I have been a proud dem for 4 decades, and still believe in fairness and justice for ALL of us - not a privileged and (too often ) just plain lucky few.
When I try to tell a repub that they represent the party of selfishness, of taking care of nr. one - and the hell with the rest of you - I get laughed at and derided. But they never deny it.
The democratic party is the party of basic decency. I have never believed this more than right now, with the crew in our White House at work dismantling everything that I believe in as to what government stands for, and should be.
Very good words you have said here - they help to remind us of what we should stand for - and against.
To this day I get extremely mad when I wonder how our country would have turned out if Bobby Kennedy had not walked through that L.A. kitchen many years ago.
And to those dems who are thinking of deserting our party, I ask you to do only one thing before you actually vote: consider what has happened to our country's well-being over the past 5 years under the current administration.


Thanks, Lance, that's a wonderful post.

I vote for my Grandmother.


Now this is a post I can get behind.

I don't have a Bobby Kennedy story; his name was never mentioned in my house. George Wallace was my father's god. But he hated Nixon more than he loved Wallace, and for that reason I'm a Democrat. (Well, lots of other reasons, once I figured out for myself what government was all about.)

I would like to add, if you don't like the candidates the Democrats send to the general election, have you voted (and volunteered, contributed, etc.) for a candidate in the primary? Unless you can answer yes, you really can't complain about the candidates who make it past the primary.

David Parsons

I'm not a Democrat. I'm a Socialist. I usually vote for Democrats (I've been known to vote Socialist for state offices, and back before the moral corruption of the Republicans was too plain to pretend away I voted for one or two Republican candidates for state office; on a federal level, I'm a pure (D) party line voter), but I do that because most Democrats try to turn to the side of the angels when they are forced to choose.

I've voted for the Democratic Party most of my adult life. I've contributed upward of $10,000 to various Democratic campaigns, and what do I have to show for it?

Well, my federal taxes have been lowered, so not so much of my tax dollars are going into the orgy of looting that the Evil Party is doing right now. This is like saying "oh, good, there's no wind, so I'll choke on the smoke before the fire gets me." It might be less painful, but the end result is the same.

I think a lot of the activists are tired of strategic voting, because it's not working. The Democrats may
contain multitudes, but they're not in a position where it's doing any good.

Who will I vote for? I'm in a _heavily_ Democratic district, which means that no matter who I vote for the most popular Democrat will win the local and state election. And on the Federal level, well, does it really help to vote for a Democratic Party that can't hang together?

Daniel Koenig

I vote for my grandfather who asked visitors to his home, "Are you a Democrat - or a no good son of a bitch?!"
And for my parents, who marched with Chavez because that's what Jesus would have done.
This one hit close to home. I'm very unhappy with the gutless approach I see now in my lifelong party. But I can't quit.
Too many are looking down from heaven...


Reminds me of a conversation that I had with a friend of mine last summer, before Black November, when one of us mentioned one of the many, many people complaining that John Kerry was neither the second coming of Bill Clinton nor saying exactly what the person complaining wanted him to say, in every moment of every day, and the other said:

"Yeah, the Democrats suck. They're lazy, cowardly or disorganized, or all three, and they almost never stand up when you want them to, and they toady and lickspittle to stupid famous people, and they don't spend a ton of energy alleviating the suffering of even poor children, and they never act like they have the guts to suggest that killing people is actually a bad thing that ought to be avoided..."

"But the Republicans are just plain evil."


David Parsons, it sounds like you have the ideal district for a progressive Dem to compete in. You should find one, convince him or her to run, and then throw everything you've got into the primary, which is where the real battle lies. You'll feel better, I promise.


I, too, am a life long Democrat. I learned it from my Mommy who was a Democrat and so were her parents once they became US citizens. My Mother worked for Senator Metcalf from Montana -- a true conservationist. My godfather was Ambassador Mike Mansfield who was the US Senate Majority Leader in the 60's, championed civil rights and was one of the three men who eulogized JFK.

While our party is in disarray (not helped by Dean), we need to find a way to come together to ensure that people have basic human rights, jobs and healthcare.

My personal beliefs tend to be socialist, but because I have worked in and around politics my entire professional life, I do see that we as a party need to come together and find ways to agree in roder to move our Country and the World forward into a better place.

Viscount LaCarte

A great post Lance, one for the Hall of Fame.

The Heretik

Who the Democrats are and who Robert Kennedy was are much the source of myth. Both parties and people change with time, some for better, some for worse. The Robert Kennedy of the Fifties was a hard line cold war anti communist attorney for Congressional committees that sought out the perceived enemy with a vengeance, the Robert Kennedy of the early Sixties was a resented favored son and brother, the youngest Attorney General of the United States ever, someone unafraid to squash anyone he thought stepped on his brother Jack's toes. Ruthless was the word most often used to describe him then.

Both the Kennedy brothers came late to the civil rights fight in Democratic circles, a circle southern Democrats never entered, and ironically one the Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson found himself in the center of when the great Civil Rights Acts of the Sixties came into being. The Great Society was more Johnson's construct than that of either Kennedy. Johnson's previous experience as Senate Majority Leader served him well until the Vietnam War sapped whatever moral leadership he might have had.

And Bobby Kennedy? Something died in him when his brother Jack died. He went into a depresson for perhaps two years after his brother died. In that time he ran for and won a United States Senate seat from New York, not Massachusetts, not Virginia where his family legendarily played football on Hickory Hill. Something died in Robert Kennedy with his brother.

Vengeance died and compassion came alive. How? The Robert Kennedy people remember and love came to this world some time in the middle of a most tumultuous decade. That man and that spirit in him breathed for a mere three years.

More on RFK at I NEED A HERO

Exiled in NJ

After my father died twelve years ago, I found a Roosevelt button in his house. I was sure it was his and not my mother's. She'd been the one that 1952 day to assure my sister that she too liked Ike, likes the delegates parading around on my uncle's television.

Dad never said much about politics, except for some grumblings about merchants of death and to never purchase anything made by GE. Even though he worked for a company union oil company, he had to sympathise with the workers in the violent GE strikes of the 40s and early 50s, when Philadelphia police used horses against the pickets.

Mom and Dad canceled each other's vote every election. I never could figure out my older brother's politics, but in my first vote, I gave my mother the plurality by voting for Barry. Then I went in the service, came back and convinced two friends that whatever his sins, Humphrey was not Richard Nixon. By then my sister was voting, so that the household was still split; she lives in a red state where she is disenchanted with her business dominated governor. I remain true blue and will vote for Corzine though I have no hope he will help this godly mess of a state.

It sickens me to see my future sons-in-law, both strong union men, talk up Hannity and company, no child left behind and the rest of that crock, but they are both the size of football lineman while I am a scatback gone to seed.

Melynda Renner

I don't consider myself a Republican, but it's posts like this one that make me consider signing on. This essay stereotypes Republicans as people who only care for the rich and hate everyone else as the "Other" group grows to include more subgroups. Hmmm. How many everyday Republicans do you know? I would guess not many.
The self described Republicans I know are busy helping with clothing drives, transporting individuals they know who can't drive, visiting with strangers in nursing homes because no one else is visiting them, and taking food to pantries. A particularly generous Republican has stopped doing foster care (a giving of herself that is far more valuable than money) because they finally adopted the last 2 needy children to come under their roof and their house is full now.
These people are busy doing good in their daily lives, being a blessing to their community, and are self identified Republicans. Their political convictions are informed by the same principles that inspire their daily acts of kindness.
Somehow I don't see any reflection of them in Lance's fugue. It's much easier just to despise the Other when you don't have to pay attention to the real individuals in whatever group. It is a hard temptation to avoid, even for Democrats.
By the way I also know Democrats doing these same kind acts, sometimes even with the same Republicans I referenced in my examples. Of course it's not the Politics that bring such diverse people together, but neither do the politics force a divide.


Melynda: Politics under bush/cheney/rove/delay, etc. HAVE forced a divide. A huge divide.
These people in our White House have taken our country in a direction that many of us do not agree with, or believe is morally right. You can present all the nice individual little stories that you want to - they do not change what is happening to us AS A COUNTRY under the present administration.
Like it or not, there is a huge divide in our country at present. The individuals in our White House, and their hardcore disciples, are responsible for this. I don't like what is going on, and I will fight very hard to reclaim my country from these people.

Kevin Wolf

I wish I could get behind the Dems 100% but I just can't. The party of Bobby Kennedy has long since lost its way; voting for them out of habit or on a ticket isn't an option for me because I dislike too many of the candidates.

Being better than right wing wack jobs is not difficult - being an actual alternative would be much better.

mrs. norman maine

I certainly agree about the 2000 election, and recall literally begging people not to vote for Nader that year. Many Nader-supporters thought that the Dems who took that stance had lost their souls, and better to be an idealist voting for the underdog than to make the more "pragmatic" (said with sneer) choice.

As you said (and we've alll said in the last five years, often while in our cups at some dark tavern), if you thought then there was no difference between Gore and the Shrub -- what'dya think these days? Huh? Huh? (Then of course comes the embarrassing fall from the stool).

Because of 2000, I have an irrational hatred of Nader, which is awkward given that I work at a newspaper in his hometown. I've covered events which he attended and I had to keep myself from glaring, or weeping, or something else inappropriate.

And half the town resents him and his family for town-related activities, and the other would kill for him, so one learns to keep one's mouth shut because these things are hard to predict.

But that's by the by (bye the bye? buy the buy?). I.e., good post, Mannion.


Didn't Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General, order the illegal wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Melynda Renner

In so far as Democrats vs the Republicans, Katrina could be a case in point. Quite aside from the botched/unattempted evacuation of those in need of help from their local government, the levees are a problem for considering. The New Orleans levees kept the water out through the hurricane but failed catastrophically when the pumps failed. The pumps were the responsiblity of the Orleans Levee Commission. The commission was more involved in casino projects than in their basic responsibility of keeping their city safe. Anyone care to guess the party dominating that board?
Now contrast that with Texas. The mayor of Houston could invite Katrina evacuees in, and issue a welcome to New Orleans school children (something that would cause howls in my community in a blue state) because they had planned for another worst-case-scenario for Galveston. Why could local officials make these kind of sensible plans in Texas but they couldn't in New Orleans or Lousiana?

I'd like to think that most Democrats do not present the same mixture of bungling/graft as Katrina showed (the Levee Commission was in charge of casino regulation???!! Who thought this was a good idea?), but I wish I were more surprised.

I do think the government ought to do things it ought to do--look out for the disadvantage and promote a strong and thriving society--but I care about actual results as well as grand ideals.

The real trouble with this is that because of a loss of civil discourse (an open mind and atleast a pretense at presumption of the other side's good will) I don't see any helpful debate on what the role of the government ought to be in helping the disadvantaged.

Please do better folks.

Self-righteous self-congratulations never educated any child, housed any family, or upheld any civil right.


I think the mayor of Houston is a democrat as well. Also, I'm not so sure Houston's response to Hurricane Rita was all that sensible, considering the traffic gridlock that trapped people in their cars for hours.


Loyalty to a political party is treasonous to the people of this country - it's that simple. If your dad was a racist and voted Democrat 60 years ago, and the Dems and Rethugs didn't switch places on which was going to be the racist party, would you still be voting for the racist Democrats?

Loyalty is a garbage argument - always has been - always will be. It's a cop-out of massive proportions. It's the "I've always been a [whatever]" line that keeps our nation running its disastrous course.

Unbelievable, the unthinking sentimental bullshit that passes for sanity these days.

Keep summoning thoughts of Bobby and dad to delude yourself into thinking the Dems of today are anything like them, while those *other* people you claim to want to help - those nameless/faceless people 'without something' - will continue to suffer because of your blind allegiance to a go**amn political party.

This argument is not about Green vs. Dem - it's about your sickening loyalty to a political party. Outrageous, and disgusting. Party before people, right? Brilliant.



60 years ago my father was 13 and mourning the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But thanks for the history lesson.



Your dad can mourn the death of whichever racist politician he wants - that's not my concern. My concern, which you have not addressed, is that of your very Republicanesque 'Party-Before-People' stance. Do you, or do you not, believe that you should continue to 'by loyal' to your party, even if it is not in the best interests of the people of this country?

It's a simple question. I, and others in the blogosphere I'm sure, would like to know your answer.

History lesson? Here's your history lesson:

Interior Secretary Ickes lobbied Roosevelt through 1944 to release the Japanese-American internees, but Roosevelt did not act until after the November presidential election. A fight for Japanese-American civil rights would have meant a fight with influential Democrats, the Army, and the Hearst press and would have endangered Roosevelt's chances of winning California in 1944. Critics of Roosevelt's actions believe they were motivated in part by racism. In 1925 he had written about Japanese immigration: "Californians have properly objected on the sound basic grounds that Japanese immigrants are not capable of assimilation into the American population... Anyone who has traveled in the Far East knows that the mingling of Asiatic blood with European and American blood produces, in nine cases out of ten, the most unfortunate results."

Yeah - FDR, the racist, eventually let them go. Yeah, FDR, the racist, eventually said that 'Americanism is not supposed to be about racism', but what about the thousands of innocents who were rounded up, beaten, humiliated, some killed, lost all liberty and property, had their families separated, and were generally traumatized by the whole racist experiment? Do you pretend it wasn't 'influential Democrats' who made this happen, Lance? Was FDR just an innocent bystander, unable to act because he "didn't have the power" - a la Michael Brown, of FEMA infamy?

Infamy, indeed. The day we started rounding up Americans and throwing them into jail because of their different looks. Infamy, indeed. The day Lance summons the nostalgia of whitewashed FDR history to deflect attention away from his own ignorant views.

Tired of people acting like they know, when they don't know. Don't we have enough people on the airwaves spewing nonsense, and now we have them on the internets, too?

Leah A


Good going; that's what the people of this country need, more talk of treason.

So you speak for "the people" do you? Or is it the Green Party?

I'm trying to keep the civil tone in which Lance's original post was written, but you don't make it easy.

In that post, Lance makes it clear that his loyality to this party is about loyality to set of values, personified by the way his father lived his life, and brought him to cry on the day that Bobby Kennedy died.

Nowhere in the post is there any indication that what is being advocated is blind party allegiance, either for reasons of sentimentality or of political expedience.

Nor, if you bother to read it again, will you find any of the incivility you seem to confuse with righteous politics. Lance was not exhorting anyone else to follow his path, he was only explaining why he is still a Democrat. How odd that you come so close to parroting Joe McCarthy; he might well have said that loyality to the Democratic Party is treason, "it's just that simple."

Heed a suggestion from someone old enough, though barely (she hastens to add), to have held the circulars while her father went door to door in 1948 on behalf of Harry Truman, while most family friends were devoting themselves to Wallace. I knew that my father's was a lonely vigil that year, even if I didn't understand why; my father always said if nothing else about Truman's second term justified that work and that vote, Truman's removal of General MacArther from his Korean command was sufficient. Nothing is ever just that simple.

The people I worry about, and from reading this blog on a regular basis, I'm sure the same is true of Lance, are neither nameless or faceless, and the central argument of his post was that enough of the Democratic Party is still the party of his father and Bobby Kennedy. I had the rare opportunity to look straight into the eyes of then Senator Kennedy, standing in a small crowd surrounding him joyously on a street in
Watts, Ca. I can assure you that the Robert Kennedy I saw that day would still be a Democrat today.

Leah A


And Jefferson was a slave-holder. The answer to that observation is not "so what?" But neither it is sufficient to write Jefferson off on that basis alone.

For heaven's sake, we know that Roosevelt was party to something awful that happened in 1941, and lots of people on the left have talked about the racist attitudes that Roosevelt held toward the Japanese, in particular. No one is perfect; all of us have deep flaws.

The question you ask Lance in your post is answered clearly in his post. Why do you insist on attacking him for having said something that only you seem to see in his remarks. Look again; they are not there.

Just curious; on behalf of what kind of politics is all this raging being carried on; if you think it's clear just what you are standing for here, it isn't to at least one regular visitor to this site.

blue girl

Leah A: I love your passion -- and the way you use it to write here.

cali dem

For me, this post by Lance and the discussion it has generated is what blogging is about. I'm too young to have been influenced directly by Robert Kennedy. Here's my story:

My parents weren't political. My dad was a member of the Teamsters union but I think they were registered as Republicans. I have to say 'think' because they treated this information with as much privacy as their religious affliation and bank account status. When I was old enough to register to vote, I registered as an independent. I was a pro-worker feminist and not really sure which party most represented my views nor did anyone from either party show any interest in me. President Carter was in office and I began to notice what he was trying to accomplish and the forces that worked hard to foil him. Carter is my Bobby Kennedy. Not only did I become a Democrat, I volunteered for his re-election campaign. I learned early that being a Democrat meant working hard and that many times the result would be disappointment.

Last year, during the campaign, my parents became very involved. They are now active Democrats and politically aware. Instead of being influenced by my parents, my political beliefs and active involvement have influenced them.

Isn't it amazing how many people missed the point made about perfectionism? And, before some pinhead feels the need to dig up every nasty thing they can drag out about Carter: perfect human beings do not exist. Never have - never will. For me, Carter represents the two democratic values Lance has identified:

* "...there is no heaven on earth and everybody can't have everything, everybody should have something. Some things. The things they truly need."

* "The second is that Government exists to help people secure those things they need."


Democracy, I am starting to believe, is a whole lot of false hope...

For example, I live in California. I never get to say who my candidates are. They are always decided by folks in other states (whose economic wealth does not even come close to matching California). So, here I am, I did not write any of the laws in place, I have no power over them.

In this wonderful Democracy, I have zero influence on politics. The folks that are most lefty of all pee their pants when it comes to representing me, and predictably cave in to corporate powers that rule them like the puppet tools they are...

So, I was a Democrat. They can have me back when they let me participate in the party and start representing me. Until then, I hope the Democrat party gets destroyed even further. It will server them a good lesson about being serious (working folks too). I confess I am not too worried if the working class is an apathetic bunch of thumb suckers, they will get what they deserve as I make my plans to move to a country that gives me something back in return for my taxes (I mean something other than a loosing war)...


Let's get one thing straight. Hero-worshipping is one of the worst practices available to us as would-be seekers of fairness/justice/equality/etc. - essentially, some of the things that Dems claim to stand for. So, don't do it.

I am guilty of this, too, but I've got it down to where it's just ignorance on my part - not dishonesty, too. I used to hero-worship Bill Clinton, too - like many who read this site, if for no other reason than I believed he just had to be better than this maniac, Bush, but my honest study of his background led me to a more-balanced view. So, I haven't settled on his legacy yet, but it's not the 'hero' category I suspect most self-described Dems would assign - far from it.

Stop hero-worshipping. It's not honest. It's not good for America, even if it makes for good partisan politics.

that's what the people of this country need, more talk of treason.

It wasn't I who rounded up/beat/killed/robbed/jailed/terrorised thousands of innocent Americans based on their looks. Talk to your boy FDR about the 'treason' label.

So you speak for "the people" do you? Or is it the Green Party?

I'm seriously thinking of jumping into the Green Party. You should, too.

I'm trying to keep the civil tone

Don't hold back on my account. I'm not afraid of confrontation. I've often stood up for what I believed was right - not always - but often, regardless of how much disdain was expressed by 'the establishement' on either side. My role models include the true leaders of world history and American history, in particular. If John Lewis can take a brick to the skull, I can deal with a little online sparring. Put up your dukes.

In that post, Lance makes it clear that his loyality to this party is about loyality to set of values

That's cool. I'm down.

Nowhere in the post is there any indication that what is being advocated is blind party allegiance, either for reasons of sentimentality or of political expedience.

Ahhh, but that is where you're mistaken. Bush doesn't have to explicitly state in a speech that he is an evil f*ck - I feel it in my bones, based on his actions and words. Here, I have only words to go on, and they're fairly clear.

Check it:

I'm not only a Democrat. I'm a Yellow Dog Democrat. I would vote for Disney's Pluto, who is really more of an orange dog, but nevermind, over just about any two-legged creature the Republicans choose to nominate.

What part of 'blind party allegiance' did you not see in these words?

How odd that you come so close to parroting Joe McCarthy; he might well have said that loyality to the Democratic Party is treason, "it's just that simple."

A more astute observer who have recognized my obvious reference to a quote by another Roosevelt:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

I especially like the second and third sentences, where Teddy is admonishing you for your hero-worship.

I had the rare opportunity to look straight into the eyes of then Senator Kennedy, standing in a small crowd surrounding him joyously on a street in Watts, Ca.

More unthinking sentimentality. While you cling to romantic notions of days gone by, do you ever even stop to think that what you experienced back in the day - that euphoria - was not well-informed?

I had some ideas about JFK. But new information helped me to see him in a much different light.

Don't hero-worship. It's dishonest. It's bad for America. It's bad for the world.

Next hero-worshipper/tyrant-apologist:

And Jefferson was a slave-holder. The answer to that observation is not "so what?" But neither it is sufficient to write Jefferson off on that basis alone.

Agreed. So, am I wrong for pointing it out? Am I wrong for say...not being overjoyed that Jefferson was a slaveholder? Is that supposed to be kept on the down-low? Use only the passive voice when describing Jefferson's and Washington's slaveholding and slavewhipping activities? This talk of slaveholding and whipping and sales of slaves for a barrel of molasses - all that kind of stuff is 'so uncouth', perhaps 'not appropriate for decent society talk regarding our forefathers'?

all of us have deep flaws.


on behalf of what kind of politics is all this raging being carried on

I'm not sure what kind of politics it is. Honest? Seeking justice? Something like that.

And, finally:

perfect human beings do not exist

It's more apologia. That mess is tired tired tired. Y'all need to just stop. Stop the madness. Listen, these people were not just 'not perfect' - they were 'deeply flawed', some would say 'evil'. Every time someone points out that one of your heros is, in actuality, an evil f*ck, you folks run to his defense with the 'but nobody is perfect' defense. Listen, I'm not perfect, either, but I never whipped another human being! I never advocated the genocide of Arabs, like Winston Churchill did. I never authorized the toppling of a democratically-elected government, like most (all?) U.S. presidents of the 20th century have done.

These 'flaws', folks, are not just 'flaws'. Touching your heel to the ice before you complete the triple toe loop is a flaw. Authorizing the bombing of civilians targets in Cuba, which were carried out to the tune of hundreds/thousands of casualties - including women and children - often explicitly targeting women and children - is not a 'flaw' - it is pure evil.

Stop the hero-worship. The Dem Party is not perfect - I realize this, but at what point are you going to take a moral stand against tyranny - whether imposed by Communist Russia on its satellite states of by Capitalist America on its client states? Whether meted out by Rethugs or by Dems?

As much as you might like to believe otherwise, your fate and the fates of your loved ones are linked to those of the people whose nations we invade and conquer. Are you surprised that the standard of living in the U.S. continues to plummet with our increasing foreign interventions? You wouldn't be if you decided to stop hero-worshipping and make an effort to find the objective truth - the kind not explicitly endorsed by the U.S. government for your ears. What you find will most surely make you think twice before you decide to throw your money at the next warmongering Dem candidate - be in Hillary, Spitzer, or any other candidate who doesn't seriously challenge the status quo. What you find will not make you happy, but it is your duty to do your best to find out the truth.

Let me repeat the very wise words of one Teddy Roosevelt:

Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

Like Captain John H. Miller said, in his death throes, to Private Ryan: Earn this.


Yo, Peter, you running for office? Have you any flaws we should know about? Other than being holier than thou, I mean...

Unless you're planning to run for office, I'm afraid you'll never find a candidate you agree with or completely admire.


Yo, Peter, you running for office?

Not right now. Been thinking about it, though. You should, too. Kos said, 'put your money where your mouth is', so I've been thinking out it. Need to settle down in one place, first.

But I'll tell ya what - even if I run for office, I won't be a racist, and I won't play the racist to win a few votes. And I won't whip humans. And I won't start wars. And I won't propose genocide. And I certainly won't carry out genocide. And I won't topple foreign democracies, including and especially functional democracies. But that's just me - my 'philosophy' so to speak. It's pretty radical, I know - no starting wars, no genocide - all that, but I think it's workable. And I think it's honorable, and decent, too.

If you can support that agenda, please go to my blog and donate. The mainstream press will not like me, so I'll need all the help I can get.

Have you any flaws we should know about?

Not in particular. Well, a bit of a short fuse. Sorta like McCain, but without the doubletalk, and without the profuse apologizing for our predecessors' evils. And my mom tells me I'm good-lookin', except when she's mad at me. Maybe she gets mad at me cause I still live at home, and I'm 32, but it's expensive out there.

Other than being holier than thou, I mean...

I know - that whole 'bash the old, dead, white, rich, racist, slave-owning/buying/selling/beating forefather' thing is not too popular around these parts. Do you ever get tired of defending slaveowners? Or people who lashed other human beings with whips? Or war criminals?

I'm not 'holier than thou', but it sure sounds like you would like our predecessors to be free from criticism/derision/scorn. It's a tough mold to break out of, for sure, but it's honest and decent - anything else is dishonest and indecent. Consider not being such an apologist for your predecessors - you might learn something about them, and about yourself, along the way.

Unless you're planning to run for office, I'm afraid you'll never find a candidate you agree with or completely admire.

Who knew it was possible to find such incredible wisdom on a blog? Bill O'Reilly told me blogs were 'vile'. Shows how much he knows. Heh.

mrs. norman maine

Shmooth/Peter -- Just a quick netiquette reminder. Try to keep to one identity within the same block of comments. I'm sure there's nothing sinister going on here; you're probably just switching back and forth from other boards or servers. We all have many IDs. I'm Mistress Domina in certain circles, but that's a whole 'nother story. Just thought I'd give you a friendly heads-up to avoid confusion.

Ted Raicer

Was FDR personally a racist? I rather doubt it, but America WAS racist in 1942, and hysterically so in regards to the Japanese, and FDR was unwilling to stand against that tide. Bad on him-it is a stain on his record that will never be erased. But that record also includes saving America from collapse during the Depression, and defeating the Axis in WWII. And those are kind of important achievements.

It's very easy to be "for" the right things when one is merely talking about them.


mrs. norman maine/Mistress Domina,

Thanks for the heads up. I'd never been to this blog before, and I must've signed-into TypeKey for the first visit and not the second, or vice-versa. I usually use my real name, 'Peter'. Maybe I can update my TypeKey/TypePad account.



I see your point, but I take issue with this statement:

Was FDR personally a racist? I rather doubt it, but America WAS racist in 1942, and hysterically so in regards to the Japanese, and FDR was unwilling to stand against that tide.

Fine, got it, more or less agree with the thrust of your arguments, but statements like 'FDR was unwilling to stand against that tide' are the kind that litter our history books and lead schoolchildren to believe that the POTUS is powerless against the will of the people. FDR wanted to stay in power. He had all the power he needed as POTUS to do the right thing. He did not. The notion that the POTUS is just some innocent bystanding watching events unfold around him, powerless, is absurd. I am more than willing to accept that humans are complex beings with complex personal histories, but I am not willing to diminish the significance of their treachery so that we may put them on a pedestal and worship their splendor - which every government in the world wants.

The government will propagandize us in any number of ways - hero worship of our 'founding fathers' is just one of many ways this current crop of elected crooks manages to gain legitimacy they have not earned. If we stop holding up unrealistic portraits of our past presidents (can anybody say 'Reagan'?), then we can start to more objectively criticize the government's decisions - and achieve a more democratic Republic. Clinton is not a god because he got us a surplus, and Reagan is not a god because he was a great communicator - they are both tragically flawed individuals who need to have their governing records criticized for what they actually were, in totality, not what we wished they were. Dems must be able to criticize Dems as strongly and honestly as they criticize Republicans. The current Republican in office wasn't the first President to commit war crimes - both parties have been guilty many times over. We need to call them on it.

Jimmy Carter, who has his own legacy of tyranny to contend with, said he'd get those hostages back home alive - no matter what - and it cost him his job. Whatever opinion I have about JC's presidency (he's big in San Diego - what's up with that?), I respect that he risked his job (and lost it) for 'being weak' and keeping his promise to those families with loved ones as hostages.

Compare Carter to FDR - who was right, and who was wrong? The guy who stood his ground on his principles and lost his job because of it, or the other guy who 'went with the flow' and supposedly went against his principles and kept his job? I'm siding with the guy who stood on his principles.

Seems like trying to figure out whether FDR was a racist is like trying to figure out if Lincoln was a racist. That statement he made was pretty vicious. That's not equivocation - that's a fiery, impassioned statement of belief. Whether he was lying or not, I don't know enough to know.

Too much. My bad.

Ted Raicer

My statement did not make FDR an "innocent bystander." He did indeed have the power to stand up for the rights of Japanese Americans and he chose not to. He chose not to not because he personally hated Japanese-Americans but because he was unwilling to spend the political capital to protect them. As I said, bad on him and something History will always judge him harshly on.

OTOH, much as I admire Jimmy Carter, I'm glad it was FDR and not Carter who led this country in WWII. I think FDR's leadership in WWII was a major factor in defeating the most monstrous tyrannies (including Japan-see Nanking) in modern history. I can judge FDR for his flaws, while recognizing that great as the negatives of his actions could be, the positives were greater still.


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