Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Election Round Up

Every Arnold initiative goes down. Shame about redistricting.

Both gubernatorial races went to the Democrats. Kaine seems like a good guy, even if he's got the archetypal name of a gothic fantasy villain. Corzine on the other hand....

The anti-science school board in Dover, PA gets shit-canned. The school board of Kansas, on the other hand, votes narrowly to incorporate ID into biology curricula and removes the notion of "a search for natural explanations of observable phenomena" from their operative definition of science. So there you have it: in Kansas, "science," doesn't refer to science, but, um, something else. Our not un-Catholic pal Francisco Ayala says the move is "an insult to science, an insult to education and an insult to the American Constitution."

Othere referendum results are mixed.

And Shalek beats Livengood. No need to gloat, but being on the winning side in an election is a welcome, if unfamiliar feeling.


At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A victory for what? "Independent-mindedness?" Say what you will about the New Haven Democratic party being a machine or Rebecca Livengood being out of touch with "hard decisions," but her candidacy at least contained a kernel of substance. Nick Shalek's victory, on the other hand, can only be a cause for celebration if you are so hollow that you'd rather see a politician fuck up some attitude you dislike (this attitude apparently takes the form of Being Naive and Too "Good" and Slavish to Unions and Not Having the Balls to Get Shit Done that Obviously Needs to be Done--and you think you're so brilliant for realizing and asserting this truth while all those activists are too weak and narcissistic and flakey to realize the virtue they lack (I guess they forgot to read Machiavelli and Hobbes! Ha ha!) than actually do something of value.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

Give me a fucking break, anonymous. (Can I call you anonymous? Do you have a last name, or are you like Sting and Madonna?) The notion that Livengood's campaign stood for anything other than the perpetuation of the governing ideology and one-party rule that have led New Haven through the worst urban renewal program in American history is shameless cocooning bullshit.

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your problem is that you believe that any party or organization that has a powerful political presence must automatically be hegemonic and single-minded and therefore unworthy of support by someone who thinks political judgment should be autonomous and critical. You think that consensus and cooperation about a general framework for approaching politics is a contradiction, a myth that disguises powerful interests and unthinking slavishness to convention, and you look down upon the left's institutions for being stifling and oppressive, as if there were no possibility of critical discourse from within. That logic is itself stifling and shameless. It suggests that, though you may have many opinions about politics, you actually despise the activity itself and are incapable of commiting to any substantive principles beyond cynical sneering and contrarian grandstanding.

At 7:48 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

Never mind the bollocks, anonymous. I've broken your syllogism into parts for the sake of convenience

1) I look down upon the left's institutions as stifling and oppressive
2) From which it follows that I believe there can be no internal discourse within a movement
3) From which it follows that I am incapable of committing to substantive principles
4) From which it follows that I hate the activity of politics

The initial premise illegitimately extrapolates a view I do hold -- that the institution of the New Haven Democratic party is in fact hopelessly sclerotic (a true belief; I'll continue to maintain those are worth holding, thanks) -- to a view I do not hold: the left's institutions are oppressive and stifling. With a false inital premise you go on to draw a series of patently invalid inferences.

This is not, in fact, argument by syllogism. It is argument by strawman and innuendo. I claim that 50 years of unchallenged Democratic hegemony has done nothing good at all for New Haven, and that the political machinery that is obviously a precondition of decades-long, uninterrupted one party rule, is parasitic on local democracy. Your response is to attribute to me views I do not hold and have never endorsed. In other words, rather than address the issue at hand, you'd rather attack my worthiness as a commentator -- and do so based on first-order logic-violating extrapolations of my "non-views."

Yeah, I guess you got me. I have no substantive principles and beyond cynical sneering and contrarian grandstanding.

Now, let's just place on the table for a moment the manifest truth that I'm unfit to comment on politics -- do you have any normative thoughts pertinent to the administration of government in New Haven. Do you think that the Democrats' half-century of rule has been good or bad for the working class in New Haven? Do you think, in general, that a party that never has to compete to get elected is likely to give up on a platform with a proven record of failure when there no pressure, internal or external, to lead them to do so?

At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps “logic” was a misleading term; “language” is precisely what this is about, because you have yourself committed my alleged sin and chastised Rebecca Livengood for atttitudes she would never attribute to herself rather than engage with her stated principles. You attack her not because you think she espouses poor reasoning in the articulation of her political goals, but because she seems naive about the institution with which she is affiliated. She’s a bad candidate because the New Haven Democrat’s are bad is I think a fair approximation of your position. But that notion rests on a controversial and uncritical ontological assumption: that to be a member of the New Haven Democratic party is to be bad oneself. Using that sort of narrow language, there is no way any individual Democrat (even a college student with no prior political experience) could be anything other than bad. You preclude the possibility of a different kind of description that would open up space for an actual value judgment about the candidate: Because she is (or is not) a bad candidate, the New Haven Democrats are (or are not) bad. This is what I mean about your logic being "stifling and shameless;" you claim to give someone like Rebecca Livengood a fair assessment (which is what one would expect all voters to do), but you actually limit the terms of the debate from the outset by deeming her membership in the Democratic party a rigid, constitutive identity.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

I have not attributed to Rebecca Livengood any views other than ones she has publicly stated in print, viz. the cancer center, GESO, the UOC, etc.

I view the New Haven Democratic party as it exists in the actual world, not in terms of its essential properties or its existence in any possible world, as sclerotic, corrupt, and objectively harmful to the people of New Haven. Rebecca Livengood has chosen over and over again to align herself with all the available elements of the New Haven Democratic machinery, from the Ward 1 Democratic Committee to the Yale College Democrats to the mayor's office and beyond. Those were choices she made, freely and of her own will.

I can't believe I have to bother pointing this out, but a candidate who chooses, freely and of his or her own will to run on the ticket of a corrupt, sclerotic political machine is a candidate I will oppose. Someone who runs for Congress in Texas on the Tom Delay slate and for the explicit purpose of strengthening the hold of Delay's machine on Texas politics is a candidate I will oppose. That, incidentally, is a principle.

The New Haven Democrats were bad for New Haven before Rebecca Livengood got involved with them, and her involvement, by her own word and deed, was calculated to further perpetuate their current system and doctrine of rule, not to effect change from within.

You accuse me ad nauseum of assessing Livengood and the New Haven Democrats unfairly, yet you steadfastly refuse to assess them at all. Do you think that the 50 years of unopposed Democratic rule of New Haven have been good for it or not? Do you agree or disagree with Livengood's stance on cancer center construction? If you're not willing to answer these questions, I'm not willing to continue this debate any further.

(I note, also, that if you're the same anonymous who posted on a previous post, that your preference for junk-theory over concrete issues extends over a wide domain. The anonymous there attacked me for claiming that Livengood's position on gay rights is not a reason to vote for her for alderman. It is, however, not a reason to vote for her for alderman. As a matter of constitutional practice, state and not municipal governments make decisions on the conditions of recognition of marriage licenses. There is plenty of room for local activism on the issue, but it it just that, activism, not the holding of an office whose responsibility is to facilitate economic and social improvements in the lives of New Haven citizens.)


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