I been wordy today.

Today I found a couple of things to respond to, and I’m going to leave copies of them in here.  The first is a response to an article on the Nolan Chart website trying (and, IMO, failing) to create certain connections between Roman history and American history.  The second is a pair of responses to an article on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today overturning a challenge to I-872 which created a “Top-two” primary election.  I’ll put them all under a cut to be kind to your friend’s page. 

I did get a response from the guy at the Nolan Chart site (he wasn’t happy — shock).  I’ll probably post a brief reply before I leave, but I’m not sure I’ll have time to give it more.  I think my wordiness capacity has been used up.

Anyhow, here goes:


Your understanding of Rome assumes a healthy dose of “good ol’ days” which simply isn’t the case. The Senatorial class always represented its own interests before those of anybody else, and nobody in power ever gave a damn about the “common people” except when their power was dependent on those “common people,” whether then or now (and only then enough to maintain their own power). Republican Rome represented the interests of the elites at most. It represented a more diverse group of those elites than Imperial Rome, but, Cicero’s words to the contrary, it was not anything anybody today would consider a Golden Age. Cicero was an elite snob, and Gaius Julius Caesar was the darling of the common Roman man. The Senators caved to Caesar’s pressure not only because he had beaten them militarily, but also because of his wide-spread popularity. The world was a lot more vicious and dirty than most Americans would be comfortable with for most of the past — still is in most of the world.


The Founding Fathers were quite comfortable with an electorate limited to property owning (wealthy) white males. They wanted power for those people (themselves). This was quite progressive for the time — no place in the world was that inclusive — and I agree that these were great men who accomplished something great. But they didn’t walk on water, and they would not impress anybody today as paragons of inclusiveness and respecters of diversity. Your notion of a Golden Age that was stolen away by corrupt lessers is older than Rome — go read Hesiod to see it for the first time it was written down a little under 3000 years ago. It was no more true then than it is now — people are basically people across time and space.


And the notion that someone is more moral because they have less money is amusing, but empty. 


I second your recommendation that people study some history, starting with you. Real history, not something to support your agenda. Your grasp of Roman history and American history is way too shaky to support conclusions as half-assed as what you’re talking about here — at least to anybody who knows anything about history, which, I’ll grant you, damn few do.


“Bush has only started.”? Bush has served 86 of the 96 months he can serve as President — he’s almost done. Unless you’ve got some conclusive evidence to show otherwise, he will leave office in ten months. If you had that evidence, you would have presented that, rather than this silly presentist conjecture, so we’ll let it stand that Bush leaves office on-time, and your claim that he’s only starting is just plain wrong.


Looking forward to reading Empire.  Not sure when I’ll get to it.


And the second:

Okay. Perhaps it’s time for the parties to take a break and let the voters do their own vetting of candidates. Anybody looking forward to researching 50-100 candidates before August to figure out which are the best options? That’d be an election without party designation, or party participation. You don’t have the benefit of the judgment and experience of endorsement committees made up of interested people who will spend the time asking candidates tough questions to see if they’re competent and adequate representatives of the basic party philosophy. I’ll grant that these folks are far from perfect — I’ve supported candidates who did not get my party’s endorsement — but are you sure you’re willing to do the job they do and that you can do it better?

Anybody looking forward to one party rule? That’s what the top-two primary can be — that’s what it was in Louisiana for many years. This is not the blanket primary we had before — that allowed for one nominee per primary. This means you will *never* see a Libertarian candidate, or a Green Party candidate, or a Reform Party candidate. In some races, you’re going to be lucky to see a Republican — in others, you’ll be lucky to see a Democrat.

The blanket primary was struck down on the same constitutional objections as top two. If top two is constitutional (which the Supes say it is) then blanket is, and I’d far rather go back to that than be stuck with this dog.
        Blain |                                  03.18.08 – 2:34 pm |


On reading the majority decision in this case, it appears that the blanket primary remains unconstitutional, so my statement above contrary to that is inaccurate, and I withdraw it.

What the Court sees in the top two is a non-partisan primary, since it disregards the parties of the candidates and only qualifies them based on the number of votes they receive. It is only because the primary has this non-partisan nature that the Court sees no issue with the parties’ right to association — the party designation for a candidate is not claiming their representation by the party but, rather, indicates the party they indicate a preference for.

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/wp-…8/03/06- 713.pdf for those who want to read the decision and understand what the ruling does and doesn’t say, and does and doesn’t mean. 

This decision is not necessarily final, btw. The court holds the possibility that it might be challenged and overturned if it can be shown to have produced an unconstitutional result. The challenge was a facial challenge, essentially saying that I-872 was unconstitutional on its face, and that has different requirements for the challenge to be successful than other sorts of challenges have. I would not be surprised to see another challenge made when I-872 results in the ballot qualification for candidates at odds with their parties or, possibly, when a party is squeezed off of the ballot. Today’s decision does not preclude that challenge, and does not assure that I-872 would survive that challenge.

It would have been nice if the Ammons article included some of these details.
            Blain |                                  03.18.08 – 5:43 pm |

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