Hot Air: Democracy, Or Something Like It

The Day After

Primary election results are in for Monroe County.

The takeaways:

  1. The Monroe County Democratic Women’s Caucus right now is the single strongest political bloc as far as the eye can see in these parts.
  2. Normally I’d be voting in lockstep with the likes of the DWC but this time some of the favored candidates of that gang left me cold — or at least feeling a bit chilled — resulting in a near shutout for my picks. For pity’s sake, after 2016 and now with yesterday’s results, I’m starting to feel the way I did before 1992 — that is, if I’m for a candidate and you’ve got money burning a hole in your pocket, put it all on whomever I’m against.
  3. I’m setting the over/under on when Amanda Barge declares for mayor in the 2019 primary at Nov. 30. My guess is she’ll wait out this current election cycle, give us all a few days or weeks to decompress, and then start the next one up with her announcement. And, harkening back to bullet point number one, she’ll have the DWC behind her. If I’m Mayor Hamilton, I might start chewing my fingernails.

[L-R] New Dem candidate for Circuit Court Judge Darcie Fawcett, County Dem Chair Mark Fraley, and Barge.

Now, let’s take a breath for a month or so and then start getting all het up for the general beauty contest in the fall.

The Hippie In The White House

A guy I know, an old punker form the La Mere Vipere days in Chicago, just called Richard M. Nixon our “last liberal president.”

Now, the orthodox among us on the left may be collapsing of heart attacks at this moment after reading the above line, but think about it for a minute. Was Nixon, the man, a liberal? Certainly not. But because the liberals of this holy land in the years 1969 through 1974 were so focused on the issues and so mighty in numbers — and that includes the tens of millions of American workers who belonged to labor unions — whoever was president simply had to bow to them.

So, during the Nixon administration the following extremely liberal advances took place:

  • The establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • The establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • The Clean Water Act
  • The 26th Amendment, mandating the 18-year-old vote in all elections
  • Detente with the Soviet Union
  • Opening diplomatic relations with China
  • The Warren Burger Supreme Court (he was nominated by Nixon) allows abortion, bans capital punishment, reaffirms both the religious establishment clause and school desegregation
  • Troop withdrawals and “Vietnamization” begin
  • The global Nuclear Non-Prolifertaion Treaty goes into effect
  • The first “Earth Day” is celebrated

Hell the US Army even named its first two female generals and Garry Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” debuted. I could go on and on, but you take my point. The Nixon years were a hell of a sight different than today is. Don’t get me wrong: the conservatives, the war hawks, the crypto-segregationists, and the burgeoning Randists all still held many — even most — of the strings that controlled this holy land back then.


And don’t get me wrong on this either: Nixon wasn’t the champion of most or even any of the above-mentioned steps forward. He was forced into acting on them, where and when he could, by public pressure. To credit Nixon with these historical landmarks would be the height of misunderstanding. Nevertheless, he signed the bills, he issued the executive orders, he created new departments and agancies, all of which we’d consider to to be ginat leaps for humankind — and the Radical Republicans would characterize as “socialist.”


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