The Kerry tax flap has managed to energize the movement to roll back the state sales tax to 3% - or the original “temporary tax” instituted by former Governor John Volpe to help meet the perpetual state budget crisis. Amazing how we constantly need to address revenue streams (taxes and fees) to balance a bloated budget. Almost daily articles appear about excesses in the management of state government. I certainly enjoy the exposés of “nation wide searches” that invariably result in a former hack or a party loyalist ends up getting a position for which their qualifications are nil. You see agencies and quasi agencies that have virtually family trees as the organizational chart. The failures of the pension system have been documented as has the government employee contracts that just defy common sense and fiscal sense. Is this mess a reflection on the one party system? IMO it certainly is and being a liberal state I guess it is liberals gone wild. I always have been wary of liberal issues since it is not the content that concerns me but the management - or lack of - and, of course, the continuing expansion of programs until they no longer recognize their original intent nor are sustainable. Good intentions gone bad.
With liberals I see a certain connection to that old saying “White Man’s Burden” in that a type of evangelical paternalism takes place in providing services to the downtrodden but there seems to be a flaw in the liberal mindset that is unable to separate the scam artist from the truly needed. This is one area in which conservatives have a remarkable ability to differentiate but, unfortunately, it seems to have now migrated into the realm of provide nothing for no one.
In the political climate of today I see liberals following certain agenda not out of any moral conscious but simply as a method to win votes. I see this in the immigration issue where the very last thing you wish to do is offend a large voting block and wouldn’t it be great to grant amnesty and add several million more to both the welfare and voting rolls. Nothing like maintaining a perpetual underclass to which they are beholding to a continuation of unmanageable programs paid for out of ever increasing taxes.
What really frosts me is this sense of using racism to describe opponents - Tea Party, Rush, conservative politicians - all seems to be a planned strategy and if you believe Jonah Goldberg of The National Review it is. But to me it is the condescending and smug attitudes that seem to prevail among liberals. A sense of intellectual and moral superiority and most notable the do as I say not as I do mentality that has been so front and center with John Kerry.
I once considered myself a liberal activist. In fact I was real high end especially in the latter stages of Viet Nam and Nixon. As I got older and started to observe and think for myself it became apparent that a quote by one of my favorites - Winston Churchill - comes to mind: “If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”
Now I certainly don’t consider myself a conservative as I could write a corresponding piece showing my distain for how they have functioned in the last thirty or so years. The influx and influence of the religious right, failure to cut from the herd the more radical elements, parsimony to the nth degree, and taking positions not based on philosophy but simply to be negative. Maybe there is some truth to the seating arrangement during the French Revolution with the Monarchist (ultra conservative) on one end of the table and the other end the radical Jacobins (ultra liberal). Since the table was horseshoe shaped they were actually closest to one another.
As much as I feel liberalism died 30 or so years ago so has conservatism. In fact when one examines the conservative-liberal element they no longer even fit the traditional meanings and that is why - IMO - we have so many who are (I) or drift in the middle looking for that occasional anchor and to display distain over how the government is being managed. Message of change in 2008 will probably be matched in 2010.
One trend I have noticed of late is liberals starting to call themselves progressives. I guess with the way things have gone since the Obama coronation it is better to try and disguise yourself. Reminds me of a programmer I knew in 1980 who was from Iran but would tell everyone he was Persian to avoid any connection to hostages being held. If liberals want to be progressives that is fine with me but be aware those progressives we once Republicans.