December 10, 2003

Guest Column

the eyeranian has it's first ever guest blogger! ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you my cousin and just a great guy all around; May Moallemian.

First a bit of an introduction. My cousin (our fathers are brothers, English is so inadequate when it comes to explaining relationships, no?) May, is a couple of years younger than myself. The first few years of our lives, we were playmates (not the centerfold types) whenever we'd get a chance, usually at family gatherings and special occasions. The picture below, is from one of my birthdays:

Shortly after that picture was taken though, May's family moved to U.S. and we were almost completely separated. We didn't see each other, talked or wrote one another for well over 15 years. Even after re-uniting with one another after all those years, our contacts have been rather limited. I guess if you added all the time we have been able to spend with one another in the past 10-15 years, it wouldn't add up to even 24 hours. Not that we'd want it that way, but all the stuff we all keep ourselves busy with and call it a "life", plus the distance and other factors have really made it hard for the two of us to connect. So, imagine the delight in finding out that he's a regular reader of this blog, although I have no idea how he even found it. Now imagine the further pleasure of finding out that even politically, despite our separate environments, upbringing and experiences, we think along the same lines with many common inspirations.

When I saw May on thanksgiving, we talked much about his working from within the existing two-party system ideals and my Coke and Pepsi attitude. Quite honestly, I think he came out of those exchanges scoring better than I could. That's why I asked him to write a few paragraphs about the reasons for his solid support of Howard Dean. And here it is;

I'm With Howard Dean

By: May Moallemian

My politics have always been of the liberal persuasion. As such, I have generally voted with the Democratic Party as the only alternative to the shrill and corrupt Republicans. In the upcoming Democratic primaries, I have decided to support Howard Dean as the Democratic nominee to take on the monstrous Bush administration.

Why Howard Dean?

Initially, my support for Dean was based on his recognition of the truly corrupt nature of the Bush administration and articulating it publicly. Howard Dean actually gave voice to the immense groundswell of pure outrage and horror that ran through the Democratic base. Dean understood our anger and our DEMANDS that Democratic politicians stand up as the loyal opposition, regardless of meaningless push polls of "public opinion". Dean was as PISSED OFF as I was.

Then I learned a little bit more about Governor Dean and his record in Vermont. I liked the fact that he actually passed a basic health plan that covered all the children of Vermont while keeping the state budget solvent. Many candidates talk about it, but Dean did it. Health issues will dominate domestic policy in the next decade because of the aging demographic of baby boomers and i trust Dr. Dean to address this problem in a way that benefits the American people.

Dean also had the courage to sign the legislation extending the right of civil unions to gay couples, so that they may enjoy the same rights that married heterosexual couples have in their financial and personal affairs.

Howard Dean also expressed unequivocal opposition to the Bush administration's Iraq policy - from the very beginning. Dean never hedged his bets over this incredibly important issue. Dean articulated what many knowledgeable Democrats already knew - that the Bush administration was pushing an agenda of war on false pretenses and should not be simply trusted to do the right thing. Other Democrats in congress, like John Kerry, inexplicably decided to trust an administration that played loose with the facts from day one. They trusted Bush with dictatorial war powers and they trusted Bush on the Patriot Act. This is something that I find inexcusable. Dean has never changed his position on these issues. Needless to say that he's been spectacularly vindicated.

Dean has demonstrated his ability to raise significant campaign funds - an ability that will be critical to defeating an incumbent President who is awash in the mega-millions of big corporate donors. Unfortunately, our corrupt political structure demands this ability more than any other. And how did Dean raise the millions in his campaign coffers? From citizen donors like myself who sent in an average of $75 a contribution. Dean is not selling his soul to the filthy corporations that finance Bush and some of his Democratic rivals. Dean is beholden not to the corporate interests but to the people. I find this very attractive in the Dean candidacy.

Some other points include Dean's support of a balanced federal budget, a policy that helped establish the greatest economic expansion in U.S. history under the Clinton administration. His support of rescinding the most egregious aspects of the Bush tax cut for the wealthy that has contributed to record national deficits. Dean supports affirmative action and reproductive rights.

But most attractively, Dean doesn't take any shit. He's a tough guy with a good heart and he has the truth on his side. Dean has also created a genuine grass roots movement of actual people - a movement nobody else in the field can match. If this is not enough to dethrone king george, then the American people truly deserve whatever calamity this regime will "bring on" in a second Bush term.

The only thing that would make a Dean candidacy better for myself would be a VP candidate named Wesley Clark. With Clark's military and national security clout on board, Bush would be sent back to his fake ranch in Texas where, hopefully, we will never hear from him again.

Posted by Pedram at December 10, 2003 11:34 PM

I think Howard Dean is a very good candidate. But I think the most important reason to support him is that he will take the Democratic Party away from the "New Democrats" like Clinton, who are every bit as corrupt as the Republicans.

People like Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and Terry McAuliffe are more dangerous to liberals than Bush or Ashcroft. These Democrats are corrupt, dishonest, and have no integrity. They also have no backbone, and will never stand up strongly for anything if it threatens their power and the special interests who back them.

That's why I'm very dubious of Wesley Clark. Even though he seems to be a very talented and appealing candidate, he is very close to the Clinton machine (his campaign staff are all ex-Clinton operatives).

Even though the Democratic Party has suffered many losses in the past few years, there is a silver lining to this cloud. In times of defeat, new leadership can emerge, and old baggage can be gotten rid of.

We need an "outsider" like Dean to clean things up a little bit. Who knows, maybe Al Gore will decide to be Dean's running mate. He could become the longest-serving Vice-President (and recipient of the Most Dubious Honor Award for it).

Posted by: Mani Agha at December 11, 2003 01:05 AM

This analysis has a lot of truth to it. Gore came from the militant wing of the democratic party. In congress he spearheaded things like the Midget Man missile. Coming from a powerful political family and siding with conservatives on certain key issues, he was a power broker in the Democratic party.

Immediately after loosing the election in 2000 all of the 'Gore' people were somehow removed from key placements in the Democratic power structure and replaced with Clinton-istas.

It sounds conspiratorial but Dean faces what I like to call 'Hillary Inc'. Clark has allready said he would consider Hillary as a running mate.

Don't forget that the way elections work, If Dean wins, he will run again in 2008. If he looses in 2008, Hillary's next window is in 2012. However, if Dean wins a second term, his VP will run in 2012, meaning Hillary can't try until 2016. In that scenario, Dean is a two term president, his VP runs in 2012.

I think Gore's comments were vague but very telling, he said it was "Time to only just clean up politics in this country but also in the Democratic Party.

Posted by: A.H. at December 11, 2003 08:15 AM

Do you know that Dean refuses to meet Iranian-American or Arab-American donors?

Posted by: yahya at December 11, 2003 09:39 AM

I had not heard that Dean was avoiding Arab and Iranian -American donor groups. But he did cause quite a stir when he said something like "We need a more balanced aproach to the Palistinian Israeli conflict."

Unfortunately little things like this can alienate certain Christian voting blocks and other scattered constituancies commonly grouped into 'The Jewish Lobby' .

I have no way of knowing this for certain, but my sense is that Dean is not at all anti-Arab or anti-Iranian. Perhaps he has decided that his fear of the Religeous Right is greater than his affinity to the Arab and Iranian voters.

Posted by: A.H. at December 11, 2003 10:03 AM

For yahya ... That's a subtle but serious allegation, what evidence of this can you present?

Posted by: NoBody at December 11, 2003 10:08 AM

"People like Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and Terry McAuliffe are more dangerous to liberals than Bush or Ashcroft."

What does this statement even mean? Bill and Hill were throwing innocent people into prison without a trial and without even a charge? Unilateral wars based on lies? First ammendment zones? Unprecidented secrecy? Shredding the constitution? A free pass from the pathetic corporate press? Wholesale selling of government regulatory bodies to corporate lobbyists?

Clinton wasn't perfect by any means, but he was no imperial fascist either. You're mixing up unsavory politics with outright proto-fascism, described by Mussolini as a merging of the political ruling class with corporations.

Posted by: May at December 11, 2003 01:40 PM

The reason Clinton, et. al., are more dangerous is that they are fifth columns for the right-wing, who are, as you say, proto-fascists. The "New Democrats", by siding with corporate interests, weakening unions (through NAFTA), and letting corruption and campaign finance get out of control, have destroyed the ability of the Democrats to put up a strong resistance to the Bush onslaught.

On a more personal note, Clinton's sleazy antics allowed a coke-head, drunk driving, draft dodging daddy's boy to run on a platform of integrity and honor. I'm not talking just about Clinton's sex scandals, but also about all the little corrupt deals his cronies were convicted of.

If you hate corruption in the Republican party, then you should hate it more in the Democratic Party. Democrats have to focus on candidates who are honest and tough, and who can expose the Republicans' hypocrisy.

Posted by: Mani Agha at December 11, 2003 02:48 PM

I guess I don't blame Clinton and other Democrats as much as I blame the media. If we actually had a free press in this country there would actually be honest debate on the issues where worker's rights and other progressive issues could be discussed. Clinton was a centrist, nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately, political discourse in this country takes place between the center and the far right thanks to the spineless/lazy mainstream media and the well-funded conservative echo chamber.

There are things that Clinton supported that I completely did't agree with - like NAFTA, welfare reform and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. But the fact remains that Clinton always said he would sign campaign finance legislation if it came to his desk and the Republicans, who controlled congress for most of the 90's, failed to present a bill on this issue. Why? Because special interest money is the very life blood of the Republican party. Does this infect the Democrats as well? Of course it does. But I feel it's more out of necessity for Democrats - in order to compete. Check out the numbers, the Republicans reap more than twice the corporate bucks as Democrats. But if the press would give a fair hearing to publically funded campaigns, there might be a greater grass roots effort to bring it to fruition. As it stands, the public is simply ignorant of how big a problem campaign finance is.

As far as the "convicted Clinton cronies", I'm not sure who you're refering to. Clinton was the most extensively investigated man in the history of mankind and he was impeached over lying about semi-sex. Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate, Troopergate, etc. were pure fabrications and thoroughly investigated by 3 different independent councils (Robert Ray, Pillsbury, and Ken Starr). So, even though I don't find Clinton to be a perfect president, I also don't buy into RNC-created and media-pushed psuedo scandals either.

I feel that campaign finance is a huge problem, but it is a problem that is driven by the Republican-corporate alliance. Any Democratic candidate simply could not put up an effective fight without dipping into special interest money. It would be like getting in a knife fight against a guy with a gun. Clinton did what he had to do to compete with the GOP. Was it pretty? No. Was it necessary to win? Absolutely. I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm simply stating facts about the political process in this country.

This is one of the reasons I support Dean at the moment. He's raising money from citizens and avoiding the dirty corporate money for now. I hope he can continue to do that.

Posted by: May at December 11, 2003 04:12 PM

Someone once said that the Dean supporters are supporting him just because they have not yet heard Kucinich speak. And that was true back then when I heard it, and it is still true. If everyone who believes Kucinich does not have a chance to win the election were actually not voting for anyone else but voting their true feelings, Kucinich would be a major candidate today... but, since the realities are what they are, Dean is the one... so it seems.

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Posted by: arian_besting at December 17, 2003 01:38 AM