An Earnest Cry for a Third Political Option Which Sounds Pretty Much Like the Democratic Party


Good news for all those pollees cranky about politics as usual, Washington Post columnist Matt Miller has the aggressively moderate imaginary third party presidential candidate speech of your dreams

The heart of Miller's argument:

[T]he Democrats' timid half-measures and the Republicans' mindless anti-government creed can't begin to get us there. Both parties are prisoner to interest groups and ideological litmus tests that prevent them from blending the best of liberal and conservative thinking. And neither party trusts you enough to lay out the facts and explain the steps we need to take to truly fix things — in fact, their pollsters tell them that if they do, you'll vote them out.

Correct identification of national problems frequently leads to truly terrible suggested solutions. Such as: Children are getting screwed by the generation who is currently in power, so:

A crusade to amend the constitution to lower the voting age would inspire a generation that's being robbed by the adults in power to enter the arena and raise its voice.

Meaning we should definitely:

Require national service. The conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. was right: The proper response to the blessings that are every American's patrimony is gratitude. It's only right that this be expressed through a period of mandatory service of some kind by every young American…

Also, let's cut defense, sort of:

I'd insist we spend seven times more than China – but not nine times more, as our two political parties want; 13 times more than Russia, but not 17 times more; and 26 times more than Iran, North Korea and Syria combined – but not 33 times more. The result would be an annual military budget of $550 billion, not $700 billion.

 Capitalism is enriching the lives of millions in Asia, but we need tariffs against China and:

[W]e should use government funds to create millions of short-term, labor-intensive service jobs in fields like education, elder care, public health and safety, and urban infrastructure maintenance. I would also put Americans to work on the countless roads, bridges, airports, schools and sewer systems across the country that need to be modernized. 

But these are actually only the most entertainingly awful of Miller's ideas. Fellow Washington Post writer Greg Sargent helpfully points out that most of the bold agenda—calls for moderate solutions on health care and tax cuts; being a "smart hawk" –sounds an awful lot like the Democrats's platform already. Sargent writes:

I'm open to the claim that the Democratic Party has failed to do a few of the things these commentators would like to see a third party undertake. But I'd argue it's still incumbent on them to at least acknowledge and reckon with the fact that Dems are far closer than the GOP to filling the fabled ideological middle — as they themselves define it — that supposedly necessitates the need for a brave third party candidate to articulate a third way

Sargent is right that Miller's suggestions aren't radical enough to warrant a third party. But the implication throughout is still your between the radical GOP or the moderate Democrats. A real change from the political status quo is not even a consideration for either writer.   

Further Reason reading on third parties. Not to mention, a Reason-Rupe poll on their viability.

NEXT: Reason.tv: ManBearPig, Climategate and Watermelons - A conversation with author James Delingpole

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  1. The Democrats would be doing themselves and this country a service by realizing they’re attempting to kill the goose that lays those golden eggs. If they want to steal some of our money to fund pet causes, then allowing us to be wealthy enough to afford that would be prudent. If we have a juggernaut economy, we can afford quite a bit of largess.

    Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether government-run charity is a good idea.

    1. If we have a juggernaut economy, we can afford quite a bit of largess.

      That was the theory that Jimmy Carter laid out. Clinton to some extent brought it to fruition; but not until the Republicans took Congress, interestingly enough. 🙂

      Carter never had a chance with his attempt, though. His friends Ted Kennedy and Tip O’Neill fought him at every turn, with Teddy even mounting a primary challenge that even without all the other problems pretty much guaranteed that Jimmy’s viability was shot.

      1. Even the Soviets sort of tried that with the N.E.P.

  2. Matt Miller is George McGovern?

  3. [T]he Democrats’ timid half-measures and the Republicans’ mindless anti-government creed can’t begin to get us there.

    The lament of every partisan TEAM BLUE piece of shit hack. “The Dems are weak and the GOP is evil”. No, shithead; your side is just as depraved and disgusting as the other. Sorry.

    1. What’s odd is that if you listen very closely, it sounds like the Democrats think the GOP has such incredible power that the Democrats can’t do anything, ever, regardless of whether or not they have control of the government.

      Clearly, the GOP must be banned.

      1. It was amazing how the GOP managed to stop all of Obama’s plans (except Obamacare, apparently) even with the Dems having a majority in both houses.

        1. Anti-American terrorism, plain and simple.

      2. You don’t even have to listen very closely–they make that argument in a very open and blatant manner when things don’t go well and they end up looking bad.

        It’s like they have a complex that they’ve been a minority party ever since Reagan was elected, and going back to FDR-style politicking will usher in a new era where all Progressive dreams are realized.

      3. Clearly, the GOP must be banned.

        For the good of the many……

        1. …I’ll kill myself.

          1. As usual, only half of the solution is offered:

            Clearly, the GOP and the Democrats must be banned.

            FIFY’d. No charge.

  4. I hope he gets his wish, splitting the moderate “left”.

  5. [T]he Democrats’ timid half-measures and the Republicans’ mindless anti-government creed can’t begin to get us there.

    So he’s drafting Nader?

  6. [W]e should use government funds to create millions of short-term, labor-intensive service jobs in fields like Pyramid building, pigeon wrangling, condom distribution and forbidding, and urban achievement removal. I would also put Americans to work in labor camps where the tasks are hard, the air fresh and they can contemplate life on 300 calories a day.

    1. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between you and Obama.

    2. use the CCC model which provided teh good public [JOBZ]…per many of the enrollees interviewed on the NPS documentary

      1. Funny thing is, though, probably half, or even fewer, of the CCC projects could ever get built at all today.

        Government environmental and safety standards, not to mention private environmentalists’ lawsuits, would bring that whole enterprise to a screeching halt.

        1. The Rachel Maddow commercial where she’s standing by Hoover Dam is a great example of this. No way in hell that gets built today because the enviromentalists would litigate it out of existence before a single bucket of concrete was poured. The deaths that occurred would have ground the pace of construction to a halt. It would be FAR more expensive to construct due to all the regulations and minimum-wage pay scales.

          The Hoover bypass bridge is possible with our current system. Hoover (and Grand Coulee and the rest of the dams from the 30s and 40s) is not.

          1. The Hoover Dam was not actually a CCC project but a standard BuRec project originally planned and authorised before the depression started. The workers on it were mostly experienced construction hands who came from all ovewr the country.

            CCC projects on the other hand were makework projects using untrained and unskilled labor pulled from the masses of mainly young unemployed men some of who had never held a job at all.

            There’s no way they’d be let anywhere near a construction site today.

            1. I’d don’t know if I’d call all of them “make-work” projects (the WPA was probably closer to that, particularly those in the theater)–a lot of the land development projects they did ended up being pretty useful as recreation areas after the war was over.

              La Wik informs me that even though many of the workers didn’t have a high school diploma, the illiteracy rate was only about 3%. Compare that to today where even a lot of college kids are functionally illiterate and it makes you realize just how decadent this country has become.

              1. Good points.

  7. Both parties are prisoner to interest groups and ideological litmus tests that prevent them from blending the best of liberal and conservative thinking.

    One litmus test for whether a person truly wants a third party: Do you take the Tenth Amendment seriously?

  8. The proper response to the blessings that are every American’s patrimony is gratitude. It’s only right that this be expressed through a period of mandatory service of some kind by every young American…

    For some reason, this brings to my mind an image of rowers expressing their gratitude by propelling the Presidential trireme up the Potomac.

    1. The proper response to the blessings that are every American’s patrimony is gratitude.

      Screw you, old man. I didn’t ask to be born.

      1. “The proper response to the blessings that are every American’s patrimony is gratitude.”

        Thanks. Now leave me the fuck alone.

    2. Here’s a concept that I think is easy to understand: America ? the American government. I serve America plenty well by helping in my small way to keep the economy chugging along.

      1. America ? the American government

        ** rising intonation **

        What about “… of the people”?


        1. Fuck the people?

          1. Hey now ….

          2. I thought the whole thing was “…that government up the people’s, buy some people, and fuck all the other people – shall not perish from the earth.”

          3. Fuck the record, and fuck the people.

        2. That part was erased in 1865.

    3. Why just young people? Let’s require the wrinkled old assholes who are proposing this to give up a year or so of their lives to labor for teh state.

      1. This. With drug/alcohol/nicotine testing, of course. That way, they’ll be even more grateful for the blessings of improved health.

      2. wrinkled old assholes????


    4. I suppose he might have accidentally omitted it, but the bio on Matt Miller’s personal webpage neglects to mention any tenure with the armed forces, the Peace Corps, or anything else of that nature. Of course, he did have several stints as a White House staffer, and he’s probably one of those douchebags who considers that serving the country.

    5. From your lips to god’s ear. I would love to reenact Salamis or Actium on the Potomac.

    6. The proper response to the blessings that are every American’s patrimony is gratitude. It’s only right that this be expressed through a period of mandatory service of some kind by every young American…

      So the overwhelming prosperity created by liberty should require the ending of liberty through forced servitude.

      What is sad is the notion that this idea is in no way a radical change from main stream team blue thinking.

      ie “ask not what your county can do for you but ask what you can do for your county.”

      Asking the county (government) to do jack shit and leave everyone well enough alone is conspicuously out of the equation.

      1. But why pick on Team Blue? A big chunk of the GOP will support national service too, if you just recast it as some kind of actual military service, support-the-troops shit. Long as it doesn’t sound like some faggy bike path construction project, Republicans will eat it up.

        Fascism is popular.

  9. It’s only right that this be expressed through a period of mandatory service of some kind by every young American…

    There are no more sincere “thanks” than those forced. But you might want to rethink lowering the voting age if you’re going to be forcing servitude to the state from those youngsters.

    1. Involuntary servitude. Isn’t there a name for that?

      1. According to Obama, it’s “private sector employment.”

        1. We really need to steer this ship in a different direction. When did openly authoritarian and socialistic policies become acceptable?

          1. About the same time the entitlement mentality was directly targeted, encouraged, and subsidized. I personally think it massively ballooned under The Great Society, with little to deter it.

            1. So it’s Texas’ fault? Figures.

    2. Like today’s lefty quote on facebook:

      “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus is just as selfish as we are or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition. And then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

      ? Stephen Colbert

      I keep imagining an IRS swat team smashing in a door and screaming “We’re on a Mission for God!”

      1. I’m trying to remember the part where Jesus said to help the poor by forcibly stealing other people’s money.

        1. He didn’t. He preached charity, meaning voluntary, not altruism.

          1. Which, of course, was why he talked about rich people having a tough time getting into heaven. Because they had the freedom to do good things or not. If they should be compelled to give up their money, he’d have said so.

            1. Lefties enjoy citing the “render unto Caesar” bit, but typically leave out the “render unto God” part. The only time Jesus is shown paying his taxes, his disciples get the money out of the mouth of a fish, and the Gospels portray tax collectors as people to be redeemed, not emulated.

              I guess liberals are arguing that I should only pay my taxes when I recieve divine intervention.

            2. The thing I’ve always found ironic is that today’s poor are fantastically rich by the standards of 1st century Roman Judeah.

          2. Remember when Satan offered to make Jesus the ruler of all the empires of Earth? And Jesus of course said “hell yeah!”

          3. but its alot easier to give other people’s money away.

            1. Easier the Dark Side is.

              1. We have cookies!

      2. Ha, I was wondering if that was floating around on other people’s Facebook too. Since I drastically slashed and burned my friend list, I only had the pleasure of seeing 1 person post it. What a fucking obnoxious statement.

        1. Do what I did a few years ago and destroy your facebook profile. You will be much happier for it.

          1. I probably will soon, actually. It is more annoying than it’s worth. So far, Google Plus has been way more fun.

            1. Facebook hasn’t been the same since Anthony Wiener, has it?

              1. Tim, Twitter is for dick pics. Facebook is for your Terribly Concerned liberal friends to congratulate each other on their half-baked platitudes and for people you went to highschool with to talk about their kids. And sometimes for the family members whose friend requests you were foolish enough to accept to try to guess at your whereabouts/activities.

                1. I admit, I am not up on these things. You young people and your internet.

              2. There’s no telling what kind of jizz-laden, latent Twitter STD is floating around in the Twitter-verse thanks to His Weinership.

                1. One can imagine the enitre web as, well, sticky…

      3. I’d ask Colbert to point out where in any of the Gospels Jesus advocates forcing people to help the poor and needy. Jesus wasn’t big on coercion you know.

        1. That would be more of Jesus’ “timid half-measures…”

        2. its called tithing

          1. Yeah, and in the Bible the rich man gave a huge sum of money and the poor widow gave everything she had.

            Maybe the poor need to start coughing up–it’s the righteous thing to do, you know.

        3. I am no Bible scholar, but IIRC J-dog was into healing lepers and the like, right? I wonder if Colbert imagines there are hordes of shunned lepers or people starving in the streets here in the ol’ US of A, or if there’s some other definition of “the poor” we’re being asked to accept.

          1. Colbert imagines scummy, icky, provincial entitled people that his ilk professes concern for, but would never be caught dead actually talking to, much less help. That would be his definition of “the poor”.

            What you are describing Dagster are the deserving poor, meaning people that truly cannot take care of themselves.

            1. Let me be the umpteenth person to say: glad to see you around these parts, Groovster.

              What would liberals do without The Poor? Having a vague emotional appeal to bludgeon your opponents with is so much easier than making actual arguments for your preferred policies.

              1. Yes, welcome back.

                1. Thank you very much folks. You were missed as well.

                  “You like me…you really like me!” (sob)

                  /Sally Field

            2. The deserving poor- Alfred P. Doolittle ?

        4. Jesus wasn’t big on coercion you know.

          Except for that bit about going to hell if you don’t follow him.

          1. Link? (verse)

          2. That depends on whether he was doing the sending to hell or whether it was a (super)natural metaphysical consequence of sin, as the Bible seems to imply in some passages. I mean, if someone says “stop smoking or you’ll get cancer”, that isn’t a threat.

      4. If it’s possible to be sanctimonious and funny, nobody’s managed it yet.

        1. Well, not intentionally funny.

      5. You don’t have to be in Team Red to be a theocrat.

      6. Dear Stephen Colbert a.k.a. Dumbass,

        Maybe the version of the Bible you read is slightly different from the ones I’ve read, but your comment brings to mind story of Jesus and the rich young man. The young man states that he has kept the law perfectly, Jesus tells him that all that remains for him to be perfect in the eyes of God is that he give everything he has to the poor and to follow Him. The young man does not. Jesus does not sic the IRS on him, or encourage people to protest outside of his house.

        And then admit that we just don’t want to do it.

        And this shows just how far the point flew over your head. As much as it may offend your authoritarian sensibilities, God does give you the right to be a selfish dick.

      7. Jesus preached to people, not to nations.

  10. The result would be an annual military budget of $550 billion, not $700 billion.


  11. These writers just ripped off Jon Stewart’s old line that the republicans are crazy and the democrats are noble but weak-kneed or “timid”. If only seem REAL liberal would come along. Also, INFRASTUCTURE!

    Nothing new, except the recommendation to lower the voting age which seems pointless.

    1. “Also, INFRASTUCTURE!” (sic)

      It’s a really popular theme these days that “America needs to be put back to work fixing America”, but is there any actual hard evidence that our infrastructure is particularly bad, is worse than ever, or is going to cause us special problems? Or are people just taking the decay of America as more of a literal problem than a metaphor?

      1. You see any high-speed choo choos around? The chinaman has high speed locomotives but Obama doesn’t. That makes me want to vote for the third, or possibly a fourth, party.

        1. No tiki no washy.

        2. Dude, that is not the preferred nomenclature.

      2. Most of the evidence that evidence that our infrastructure is bad comes from surveys by groups like the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), that are routinely trotted out in lobbying appeals for more infrastructure spending.

        I for one would find it a lot more convincing if they would simply show up with one project as in, the Joseph Jerkoff Memorial Bridge in East Bumfuck, Pennsylvania is in urgrent need of replacement at a cost of umpteen million dollars for the following reasons.

        Instead they do a generic “80% of the country’s bridges are functionally obsolete”. Functionally obsolete can range from insuffient traffic capacity to in imminent danger of collapse).

        Solons and voters, seeing no bridges collapsing around them tend to go ho-hum.

        1. Actually, the Joseph Jerkoff Memorial Bridge in East Bumfuck is in fine shape.

        2. Of course we could actually get more road infrastructure taken care of if the feds didn’t steal about 25% of the highway trust fund to pay for mass transit boondoggles, greenways, bike paths, etc.

          Ditto for all the money wasted on overpriced union labor for the past 70 some odd years or so courtesy of the Davis Bacon Act.

    2. the recommendation to lower the voting age which seems pointless.

      I disagree. Let anybody who wants to, vote. It can’t be worse than the way it is now.

    3. The Democratic agenda is to subvert democracy by ensuring adding as many easily manipulated or coerced people to the voting rolls as possible. Technically, this makes things more democratic, but it also may explain why democracy has been so historically rare. Democracies are really only work with the demos is free and relatively independent, and yet most democracies without strong protections to tend slowly eat away freedom and breed dependence until the whole thing collapses into tyranny.

  12. He’s just fucking with us, right?

    First, let’s enter everyone who votes in a national election into a lottery. Prizes could range from $10 million for a winner to dozens of $1 million runners-up. For a modest cost, this would lift turnout from today’s pathetic 60 percent in presidential years, and one-third in off-years, closer to 100 percent every time.

    That might just be crazier than the mandatory national service slavery idea.

    1. If people won’t vote for good reasons, why is getting them to vote for bad reasons a good idea?

      1. What if we vote for bad people for good reasons?

      2. Let’s have 18 elections a year and treat the whole voting process like the McDonald’s Monopoly game.

        1. I scratched off three Obamas in a row:


          FUCK! I never win anything good.

          1. Brother, that gets you a McRib!

            1. I’d totally trade your for a free hash browns.

              And here’s the beauty part of it – we can print millions of Park Places and only one Boardwalk, and everyone will vote all year round!

              1. Who wasn’t excited the first time they got Park Place?

              2. Speaking of which, hasn’t the McDonald’s/Monopoly scamgame started again?

              3. Put your monocle back in.

                1. Don’t be too hard on McDonald’s. Back in 1980, they had a contest where people could win food anytime the U.S. won a bronze, silver, or gold medal in any event. With the Soviet boycott of the U.S.-hosted Olympics, we cleaned up. I must’ve eaten free meals at McDonald’s on ten different occasions during that contest.

                  1. You actually admit that you ate at McDonalds? I’d sooner admit that I slept with Sugarfree.

                    1. Well, I was 13 at the time, and the number of fast food options were limited, anyway. The only time I eat there now is for the occasional Egg McMuffin and very rarely on the road during family vacations.

                    2. 90% of people ate at McDonald’s.

                      The other 10% are liars.

                    3. I’d sooner admit that I slept with Sugarfree.

                      And how do you explain your encounter with STEVE SMITH? Hmmmm?

    2. Actually, I propose that the presidency itself be awarded by lottery. Couldn’t possibly be any worse than we’ve been doing for the last 20 years or so.

      1. We should have people debate why we shouldn’t vote for them. The least convincing should win.

        1. You mean the Monty Brewster “Don’t vote for me!” slogan? That’ll work in real life.

        2. Excellent, PL. Seriously, you should submit that question for the next debate.

          1. It would have to be enforced by a good moderator, though. Otherwise, it would be like the interview question where your “weakness” is working too hard for the company that you worship as a god.

            1. I just want to meet the one person who replies “Well, I can be a total douchebag to anyone who puts skim milk in their coffee because half & half is too fattening.”

              1. Think of how much it would’ve helped if, for instance, Dick Nixon had been asked that question: “Well, to be perfectly clear, my worst quality is likely my undying lust for revenge.”

                1. …Now I’ll try to think about it without picturing it done in Futurama’s art style and voices.

            2. You just have to make it like Vault 11. You get to be president, but you die when your term is up.

            3. Wouldn’t it be easier to hook all the candidates up to polygraphs or put them all on truth serum or something? Maybe for the latter you could get a drug company sponsorship out of it.

      2. With you all the way. Not only the presidency, but every elected position.

      3. convert to a parlimentary system wherein the executive IS part of the governing majority.

      4. Let’s see, a career politician or a retired janitor from Milwaukee with trailer full of unopened Cabbage Patch Kids from 1984?

      5. Actually, I propose that the presidency itself be awarded by lottery.

        “Oh, you’ve won the lottery? Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery!”



        1. +100 internetz for The Lottery reference, Wartington.

        2. Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.

        3. Someone should put that on a hat.

    3. Do a lottery like this to sweeten the increase in income taxes. “You gotta PAY to win!”

    4. So, a lefty wants to incentivize people who are looking for a handout?


    5. Wait, he wants to expand the stupidity tax to presidential elections?

      Nothing like truth in advertising.

    6. Exactly, why is it a good idea to encourage people who obviously aren’t interested enough in public policy to even bother to show up and vote to do so anyway? Is there an assumption that here 1000 idiots == a wise man, or what?

      1. The assumption is that 1000 idiots will most likely vote for the person who says “I will give you the most money, and pay for it by taking from the rich, who can afford it. Fuck those guys, amiright?” Which would be a liberal.

  13. As Keynes wrote to German readers when introducing his General Theory:

    The theory of aggregated production, which is the point of the following book, nevertheless can be much easier adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state [eines totalen Staates] than the theory of production and distribution of a given production put forth under conditions of free competition and a large degree of laissez-faire. This is one of the reasons that justifies the fact that I call my theory a general theory. Since it is based on fewer hypotheses than the orthodox theory, it can accommodate itself all the easier to a wider field of varying conditions. Although I have, after all, worked it out with a view to the conditions prevailing in the Anglo-Saxon countries where a large degree of laissez-faire still prevails, nevertheless it remains applicable to situations in which state management is more pronounced.

    Can’t we just have a National Total Party and get all of this messy democracy and freedom talk out of the way?

    1. Come on, Lenin had it right. Democratic Centralism is the way to go. It has all of the lies and misdirection that the people have a choice in how they are governed with the meaty, authoritarian taste that statists love.

  14. I’m going to start a third party, named the American Fascist Alliance for Communism, and it’s platform will be dedicated to ending regulatory burdens, the drug war, and removing gov’t influence from the economy and everyday life.

    I just want to see how many terribly confused people I can get to sign up.

  15. About the only viable election strategy left for Obama is to find a third party candidate to split the anti-Obama vote.
    Like a Ron Paul versus Romney versus Barrack deal.

    1. not needed w the wingnutz agiprop spoken at the debates. ineffective gets the [VOTZ] over lunatic

      1. o2 admitting openly Obama can’t do the job, nice

  16. but there is a dime’s fiff bet tim & FDR since the CCC provided teh good public [JOBZ]…or were they just breaking windowz?

    1. LOL at this–the average CCC salary was $6000 a year in inflation-adjusted terms (most of which was sent directly to their families), and those people had actual blue-collar skills.

      You really think most unemployed people–many of whom probably haven’t even picked up a rake since childhood–would work for $6000 a year? You really think the Millenials would get blisters on their feet and live in barracks for that kind of money? Shit, they might as well join the actual military.

      1. According to my exhaustive researchfive minutes of searching the internet, it was actually more like $12,000/year. Your general point still stands, though. I can’t imagine tons of young Americans rushing off to work in rural paramilitary camps for that kind of money.

        1. I ran the $30 a month (actual) through the inflation calculator here:


          $30/month in 1935 = Almost $500 a month in 2011.

          Even at $12,000/yr there’s no way it’s happening. Like John pointed out below, even if you cut the military, the logistical costs for housing and feeding all those people would be astronomical today, on top of what you’d have to pay for a salary. Plus, I can’t imagine some 20-year-old raised by a single mother being too happy about sending 80% of his paycheck home for her to spend.

          1. Try scrounging a few returnable coke bottles to buy a pack of smokes, or pay your iPhone bill.

      2. Dude, how the fuck did you even read that?

        1. You forget I graded papers as a TA in grad school–you’d be amazed at the gibberish and chicken scratchings a bunch of hung-over 20-year-olds will write.

  17. http://www.infrastructurerepor…..port-cards

    Grades ranged from a high of C+ for solid waste to a low of D- for drinking water, inland waterways, levees, roads, and wastewater. U.S. surface transportation and aviation systems declined over the past four years, with aviation and transit dropping from a D+ to D, and roads dropping from a D to a nearly failing D-. Showing no significant improvement
    since the last report, the nation’s bridges, public parks and recreation, and rail remained at a grade of C, while dams, hazardous waste, and schools remained at a grade of D, and drinking water and wastewater remained at a grade of D-. Levees, the newest category, debuted on the 2009 Report Card at a barely passing grade of D-. Just one category?energy?improved since 2005, raised its grade from D to D+.

    1. Reply to post below.
      How’d that happen?

    2. New Mex I hate to be the one to break it to you…but clean water standards have recently gone up.

      Water quality has improved but the yard post was changed. The D+ to D- or whatever is so much hand waving while the actual parts per million measure’s of pollution in water ways has dropped.

      Note: I know the standards have changed because as a developer I have to dick around with storm water requirements.

      1. New Mex I hate to be the one to break it to you…but clean water standards have recently gone up.

        You’re not “breaking” anything to me. Someone asked if there was evidence of a need for infrastructure improvements. I linked to a source that tries to provide that evidence.

        No advocacy/endorsement should be inferred.

        1. And we will pay for these improvements how?

          1. And we will pay for these improvements how?

            By nation-building at home instead of abroad?

            By shifting spending priorities?

            There is no automatic inference that spending money on infrastructure involves increasing total spending.

            1. There is no automatic inference that spending money on infrastructure involves increasing total spending.

              Maybe, but the last century of spending records doesn’t inspire confidence that actual reductions would occur, and annual deficits of over $1 trillion means that it would take a lot more than cutting nation building and “shifting spending priorities” to bring things into balance.

    3. Fair enough, but I do wish they explained more about how they came up with the grades. When you read things like “Drinking water again earned a D-. … Although Americans still enjoy some of the best tap water in the world…” you really have to wonder how to reconcile these things.

      1. I do wish they explained more about how they came up with the grades


  18. the Republicans’ mindless anti-government creed

    Did the people who keep saying this sleep through the last three decades’ worth of Republican administrations?

      1. creed != actions

        Apparently you did sleep through the last decade of Republican rule.

    1. Yes, when, precisely, have Republicans lifted a finger to dismantle Leviathan?

      1. Be fair, Bush Junior tried to partially privatize Social Security. Of course, he dropped that initiative to put all his juice behind the insanely successful Iraq war…

        1. That’s true, and I did credit him for taking on such a tough task at the time. Which, incidentally, his political opponents insisted was unnecessary, as magical pixie dust would fund Social Security forever and ever and ever!

          1. You just gotta shake them pixies harder, ProL. You can shake more dust out of ’em.

            1. Enslave them. For the good of the rest of us.

    2. http://crookedtimber.org/2011/…..said-that/

      Which tries to support the following claim:
      1) Sometimes Republicans (conservatives) make loud, radical, extreme ‘philosophical’ claims they don’t really mean. Democrats (liberals), on the other hand, don’t ever really do this.

      1. The one thing we all know to be true is that partisans of either stripe lie to get elected and do little to honor their lying rhetoric.

        1. I can’t help but smile every time I find a copy of Lying, Congressional Style in Fallout.

          1. That should be a TV show.

          2. Great idea, Pro L. Seriously. You could easily do a half hour show that cuts from clips of some Congressbag lying to clips showing them up for the scum they are.

            [CUE Pelosi speech on global warming].

            [CUT TO Pelosi boarding a private taxpayer financed jet to fly back to California].


            1. That’s what Penn & Teller should do if their new Discovery show is a bust.

  19. How do you square cutting the budget and the defense budget with compulsory national service? What are you going to have these people doing? They won’t be soldiers since you are cutting defense. And national service costs money. Even if you declare our young people slaves and refuse to pay them, you still have to feed and clothe them. You also have to train them to do something productive. All of that costs money. Any compulsory national service program would necessarily cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

    1. And nothing promotes productivity like the guarantee of no compensation.

      1. Incentives are a fascist myth.

        1. If they don’t want to work hard for the collective, they are just saboteurs and should be jailed accordingly.

    2. How do you square cutting the budget and the defense budget with compulsory national service?


      Excellent catch.

  20. The proper response to the blessings that are every American’s patrimony is gratitude.

    You know the more i think about this the more i like it.

    The best way to kill socialism in this county may be a forced draft of youth. What better way to destroy worship of government then to enslave an entire generation of American youths to the government.

    1. Put them to work in the fields every spring and summer. The Soviets and Chicoms used to actually do that.

      1. It’s a holiday in Cambodia.

    2. You may be onto something. Young educated liberals who just know the government ought to be doing this or paying for that if the government starting using the Army method of volunteering (I need two volunteers..you and you) and actually put Them to work. See Junior, you said the government should be building infrastructure, so here’s your shovel…get to work.

    3. This mandatory service should consist of spending their entire 20’s supplying baby boomers with care, since that’s basically what the current scheme of Medicare is.

    4. Like advocating for the draft because it (could) lead to fewer adventures abroad, it might work, but it’s pretty hard to condone it.

      And hell, I was a libertarian youth. So that would have just made me hate and resent people like you.

  21. [W]e should use government funds to create millions of short-term, labor-intensive service jobs in fields like education, elder care, public health and safety, and urban infrastructure maintenance.

    Yeah, because who better to teach kids math, take care of grandma, administer vaccines or repair bridges than currently unemployed drywall installers; and do so in the “short term”?

    Who the fuck is this idiot? Oh, wait. He’s about ninety-five percent of the Democratic voting block.

  22. Mandatory service is slavery….

  23. seful information, many thanks to the author. It is puzzling to me now, but in general, the usefulness and importance is overwhelming. much thanks again and good luck! welcome to visit us ,if you are interested in winter sports .jakke salg

  24. I remember reading a different board back when Obama was just the President Elect. On it, people were discussing this idea of compulsory community service and the possibility that Obama would implement it. Most of the discussion participants seemed to be in favor of the idea. I didn’t join the discussion, but I considered posting something like this: “I think Obama should do this. That way slavery will have been ended in our country by a white Republican and then reinstituted by a black Democrat.”

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