Friday, November 05, 2004

On Politics

Well, Bush won, by enough that his victory seems outside the margin of litigation. I'm sure fraud still occurred, but it seems not to have affected the outcome of the election. I'm a little disappointed, though, that a conversation didn't develop on my idea for ending fraud in elections. It would work in eliminating fraud (I think), but it's so radical that there would surely be many unforeseen consequences. What are they?

I voted for Bush, even though Michigan as a whole did not. So, while I'm pleased about the outcome of the election, I'm thinking about rerouting the Detroit River down Eight Mile Road so that Detroit finds itself in Canada. Then it doesn't matter how screwy Detroit votes.

I've been lurking on some Democratic message boards the last day or two, and it's been interesting to listen to the chest-beating, the despair, and the what-next. The despair is the most telling; people who assume that people in Mississippi, Wyoming, South Dakota and Texas are illiterate hicks who believe anything they're told, which is why they "believe Bush's lies" and vote for him.

The chest-beating seems to be based around a number of conspiracy theories, most of which sound like grasping at straws. Perhaps the electronic voting machines were set at the factory to deliver precincts for Bush. Perhaps the networks called Ohio too quickly. (Fox and NBC called Ohio for Bush a little before 1, so I don't see this one at all—how would that affect the outcome in Ohio?) Perhaps they called Michigan and Minnesota too late. (Dunno about Minnesota, but the last precincts in Michigan to come in are always Detroit, so Michigan could have been called for Kerry when he had a lead with about 70% of the precincts in. But maybe someone could say the same about Iowa and New Mexico, I don't know.) Perhaps Republican poll-watchers intimidated voters into not voting. (There's a story in Michigan of a couple of UAW workers who attempted murder against two Republican poll-watchers. As I heard the story the UAW guys are clearly guilty of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, and probably guilty of a hate crime.)

The what-next is the most interesting. The most thoughtful posters are saying that they have to build a movement the way the Republicans did after Goldwater's 1964 loss. But if their success matches the Rs' demonstrated success after Goldwater, the Ds' won't take Congress back for thirty years. The slightly-less-thoughtful are advocating a sharp turn left or (less often) a sharp turn right for the Democratic party. Either one is disastrous for their party, but they can't stay where they are, either. And of course there are the people who advocate armed rebellion.

Strangely, I think healthiest for the country in the long term would be if they turned both right and left at once, even though it would split the party. The left-D's would become avowed Socialists, and the right-D's would become, mmm, I don't know what, exactly. Probably something like the "moderate" R's are now, kind of wishy-washy don't-stand-for-anything muddleheads, although it would be healthiest if they became a civil-rights party. In the short term, that would mean that the Republicans start winning every single election, because their party would hold for a while, but in the longer term they would also split into two factions, the "social conservatives" (religious right) and the "economic conservatives" (business interests).

Even longer-term, the (now) four major parties would find it in their interests to coalesce back into two parties, but I think (hope) it would realign so that the "economic conservatives" and "social liberals" coalesce into a libertarian party, and the Socialists and religious Right coalesce into ... well, remember Hitler?

Week ... um ... A-One?

I have reached the end of my first semi-pro week of poker, up $425 despite no play in the last two days of the week.

Monday night at work, I had an OK session where I ran myself up over $100, but came home for my "late" session (around 8:30 AM) and played so cosmically stupid that I didn't play for two days, pissed at myself. Fortunately, it only turned the day into an $11 loss, because I hit enough cards to keep me from throwing away all of my money, but I was annoyed just the same.

The hotel has about fifty strikebreakers staying there at the moment, who will stay there as long as a strike lasts at a nearby metals plant. Besides these guys being a giant pain in the ass, they're up really early (4-5 AM), which cuts into my poker time at work. They tell us right now that they expect to be in the area for 90 days, which, from my point of view, sucks; I took this job because it's supposed to be low-stress on the overnights.

During my off week, which I guess is Week A2, I expect to play a lot more live poker than I could during my "on" week. I'm hoping that my next couple of posts aren't titled "9ine" and "10en," that my streak of bad results at the casino finally ends. Tomorrow (really later tonight), depending when I awake, I will likely head to Chicago or Detroit, knowing that the games when I get there at Midnight or 1AM will likely be pretty good. If I get there earlier, though, it'll likely be to Manistee that I go, because I like that room better. It doesn't hold the advantage of being a 24-hour room, though. Monday or Tuesday, I'm attempting to talk Gil into a run to Manistee partially for their tournament, but mostly for the ring games afterward, which include a low-buyin NL game. I'm convinced I need work at NL, but Gil should do pretty well.


It astounds me how people who make their living through online gambling can vote for Bush, who appointed Ashcroft, who has vowed to try and stop online gambling.
No lamentations over the defeat of Proposal 1? I was really saddened by that one. Not as much as P2's defeat, but as a horse racing fan, lottery-run slots at the tracks would have helped keep Michigan's horsemen healthy, and maybe would bring a better level of racing (and thereby more action at the OTB windows across the nation, leading to bigger handle and even more health) to our tracks.

The horseshit that the P1 supporters were talking about slots in grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores was a looooooonnnnggggg ways from reality. Michigan already has more forms of legalized gambling than any state including Nevada. Still, our government has done a pretty solid job of keeping it from spreading further. I don't see how slots at the racetracks lead somehow to social chaos, like the P1 supporters wanted us to believe.

Sigh... and here was me hoping a card room could open up in Grand Haven in the next couple of years (yeah, right)...
Interesting post. Why can't the Democrats stay where they are, having come reasonably close to dislodging an incumbent who had the enormous benefit of a climate of fear on his side?

Your categorisations of social and economic liberals and conservatives interest me, since it gets me thinking that to be a Bush voter you must be both economically and socially conservative... is that a fair assessment of your views?
My lamentations would not be that Proposal 1 failed, but that it passed. Or, from our point of view, the campaign against it failed. It was an inspired bit of electioneering by the Indian casinos to cement their monopoly; how could you be against letting the people decide something? And though nearly everyone with a voice saw through their proposal, it still passed handily.

The best strategy against this is to remove poker from the definition of gambling; that does enough of an end-run around this proposal for our purposes. It might be possible to get that through the legislature if it could be done quietly, without an opportunity for opposition to develop. But that's a long shot; it would be easier to just move.

My post about a split of the Democratic Party was mostly wishful thinking; I don't really foresee a split. There might be some realignment within the parties (the Jewish vote going Republican and the Cuban vote going Democrat, for example), but nothing as radical as what I was suggesting.

However, the stuff about social/economic conservative, social/economic liberal, that comes right out of the work I did in the 1990s with the Libertarian Party. I'm (mostly) fiscally conservative and (mostly) socially liberal, like all Libertarians, but neither Bush nor Kerry fits that description. The Libertarian candidate does, but the single overriding issue in the 2004 election was the War on Terror, and the Libertarians are on the wrong side on that issue. Therefore, I cast my vote for Bush. I did cast some Libertarian votes downticket in 2004, mostly for my old cronies in my activist days, but the University of Michigan Board of Regents has little to do with the War on Terror.

I should probably also say that probably a majority of Libertarians active in the party at least at the time my involvement ceased came to the party from the right, as I did, meaning that we were disappointed in the Republicans' wishy-washiness in supporting fiscally conservative issues like tax and especially spending cuts. And while we were concerned by some of the social conservatism of the Republicans, those issues weren't as important to us, so we had supported Republicans. Thus, even if the War on Terror wasn't an issue, I probably would have voted for Bush if the election seemed close (as I did in 2000).

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