Home > Political Ranting > Are You a Democrat?

Are You a Democrat?

January 12th, 2008

Today, what does that mean? A recent post by Paul got me thinking about that, and reminded me of some fundamental principles involved in being a Democrat–and how more people would probably vote Democratic were they only to think about things a bit more. Paul suggested we pose questions that would make that point, so here is an extension of what he did.

Usually, people ask questions like, “do you support abortion rights,” or “are you for gun control?” However, such questions focus on specific issues and not the general, underlying principles. The point here is that a lot of people think that their stands on issues are based firmly on those principles, when in fact the truth is less so. Often I see people who profess to principles that only Democratic politicians actually protect, buy they vote Republican, because they hear Republican politicians mouth the principles even though they clearly do not live up to them.

Here are some key questions which highlight important differences between Democrats and Republicans, in terms of the policies that the parties are more likely to support. The more you answer “yes” to these questions, the more you’re a Democrat. Some of these do not represent absolutes; a question might simply emphasize which direction you lean toward.

  • Do you favor paying as you go instead of going into debt? Do you prefer paying off your debts as opposed to continuously servicing them?

  • Do you support the Constitution, and I mean all of the Constitution as it currently stands?
  • Are people more important than corporations? Do you feel that corporations inevitably feed their bottom line at the cost of everything and everyone else?
  • Do you believe that people who have more should support society more?
  • Should all people be treated equally, even if their talents and background are not equal?
  • Can you respect other people’s privacy in all matters, so long as what they do is consensual and does not cause permanent bodily harm?
  • Do you agree with the idea that everyone in society should support each other, as opposed to everyone fending for themselves?
  • Do you favor preparation and prevention over waiting for something bad to happen and dealing with it then?
  • If you feel that a man is guilty, but cannot prove it, would you set him free even though it means releasing a man you believe is dangerous back into society?
  • If treatment for a crime works better than punishment, would you favor treatment over punishment?
  • Do you respect people more for being honest than for being effective?
  • Do you believe that true patriotism sometimes means criticizing your own country?
  • Could you support the statement “America is as good as anyone else in the world” over the statement “America is better than everyone else in the world”?
  • Do you believe that your leaders should be smarter and better than you are?
  • Would you rather hear true news rather than news that makes you feel good? Can you fairly easily accept the fact that you may be wrong, even on matters that might be important to you?

In making this list, I tried to limit it to questions that Democrats, and not Republicans, could truly answer “yes” to, to the extent of weeding out questions such as, “do you favor more job creation?” or, “are you against pork-barrel spending and political corruption?” Such questions absolutely apply to contrasts between Democrats and Republicans, but might strike readers as being too “slanted.” As Stephen Colbert said, however, “the truth has a liberal bias.”

Can you think of any other questions I missed?

Categories: Political Ranting Tags: by
  1. A Joe
    January 13th, 2008 at 03:25 | #1

    Do you believe inflation is a solution to debt financing?

  2. Luis
    January 13th, 2008 at 11:12 | #2

    Joe: Are you asking me that question, or suggesting it for the list? If you’re suggesting it, I’m pretty sure it does not fit; I think most Democrats would prefer the solution of paying off the debt instead of intentionally raising inflation to service it more easily (“monetization,” right?). As I see it, inflation would weaken the country, making it less able to pay off debt, even as it dilutes the amount of the debt and payments on it; paying off the debt with a strong economy and low inflation would make it harder to eat into the debt, but we’d have a stronger economy and be more capable of it.

    Doing a Google search for “monetization republicans democrats” seemed to indicate that neither Republicans nor Democrats favor monetization, though Republicans may oppose it more strongly.

    As for actual actions as opposed to stances, Democrats wanted to start paying off the debt in 2000 when we had the actual chance to; Republicans instead spouted off about how “it’s your money” and gave their usual magic-pony solutions to paying for everything (give tax cuts mostly for rich people because they are the ones with the money, balance those with with more tax cuts mostly for rich people, and as a result, money will pour into government coffers), while at the same time their surrogates were noting that some economists’ theories said that there were advantages to a large debt.

    But I am not superbly informed on economic matters–mine is a layman’s understanding at best. Could you be a bit more specific about what you mean?

  3. Joe
    January 13th, 2008 at 12:26 | #3


    I also have a layman’s understanding at best. That’s why I asked. Inflation has many forms. Inflation at the shops, inflation of energy resources, inflation in wages. Monetarist vs. Keynesian is certainly a fine debate.

    But in a layman’s perspective, if wages increase in proportion to the increase in cost of goods and resources, doesn’t that suggest a layman has nothing to lose? Things cost more, but we also earn more.

    With that in mind, debts can be a less burden because you are earning more to pay for what you borrowed, thus paying it back faster.

    However, perhaps we’ve done this so much that it’s contributed to the recent drop in dollar against other currencies, or is it just that other countries are simply doing better?

  4. January 14th, 2008 at 03:01 | #4

    The primary difference between the two major parties is about the role of government. Democrats generally favor a stronger safety net and an active effort by government to protect workers and consumers. Republicans tend to trust corporations to regulate themselves and believe that the “free market” can solve most problems. I am a Democrat because my party has traditionally defended the average working person.

  5. A Joe
    January 15th, 2008 at 02:12 | #5

    The concept of an “average working person” is an interesting one.

    Is that why you don’t support true national health insurance despite failed HMOs as seen in skyrocketing costs because the average working person isn’t paying for it, but corporations are?

  6. Jon
    January 22nd, 2008 at 17:02 | #6

    I actually would have to say that neither party can really claim to support the entire constitution. Both parties regularly attack the bill of rights, always(?) for the best of reasons, but the damage is done, in the name of “Fighting Hate Speech”(D), “The War on Drugs”(R), “The War on Terror”(R), and this tendency to force through laws at a Federal level to push them onto people who would never pass them locally(both).

    BTW: Do you have any current stuff on gun control? I am trying to find someone who is not an idiot to talk to on the ‘other side’.

  7. Luis
    January 22nd, 2008 at 19:26 | #7


    I would disagree less with the two-sides idea and more with the idea of equal degrees. Hate speech is a legitimate exception; like shouting “Fire” in a crowded movie house, it addresses the threshold where one person’s freedom begins to violate other people’s safety. However, I think you might mean to say “hate crimes,” which are the real controversy where we punish people for what they think when they commit a crime. That, however, is not controversial in constitutional terms as much as it is simply controversial in terms of the precedent over thought police.

    The real difference, however, is in terms of degree. I would be interested in hearing what other anti-constitutional themes are forwarded by Democrats, because I can’t really think of any. Republicans, on the other hand, wish to violate the First Amendment (separation of church and state, freedom of speech), the Fourth Amendment (search and seizure), the Fifth Amendment (held without indictment, self-incrimination, due process), the Sixth Amendment (right to trial, informed of charges, evidence, and witnesses), and the Ninth Amendment (unenumerated rights) especially (though they have been chipping away at the 7th and 10th as well). I have literally been astounded at the breadth of rights the Republicans are willing to take away and give away in the name of “national security,” especially when it is not hard at all to see that these sacrifices are far from necessary.

    So to address this as a “both sides” issue is a bit unfair I think; there is nothing close to a balance here, and when it comes to speaking out to protect constitutional rights, you have to admit is is almost always a Democrat doing to speaking.

  8. Jon
    January 23rd, 2008 at 12:07 | #8

    I disagree with your assessment regarding hate speech. People have a right to speak their opinion even when it is obnoxious, rude, and stupid. They do NOT have a right to call for harming others, but laws are already on the books for this. They do NOT have the right to do it in my living room, but again, the laws already exist. The new laws always go after ‘offensive’ language, but I don’t believe in the concept. The act of ‘being offended’ happens in the mind of the listener. A law that makes you responsible for the emotional state of a stranger who has the option of not listening is going way too far. Anything can be viewed as offensive. Anything.
    There is an old saying “Your right to swing your arm ends at my nose”. Hate speech laws change that to “You can swing you arm as long as I don’t like the look of it from across the room”. This is not free speech anymore.

    In regards to the relative balance between the parties, I agree and disagree. I consider the left-wing attack on free speech to be much more scary than flag burning bans. It has so much more potential to spread. The church issue is obnoxious, but they are loosing. Gun rights (which I attach to the second, I know you disagree) are a BIG issue for me, because it is so much in the balance. The fourth is DEAD AND GONE. I don’t recall who killed it in the ’80s, but it sounds like a Republican thing to do. The way they did it is terrifying, but that damage is basically done, and the Democrats aren’t trying to revive it. Parts of the fifth went with it. The sixth – the fight is on. The ninth – I am not sure exactly what you are referring to. The tenth – both parties, non-stop.

    In general, I see it as being in balance mostly because the Democrats look to have a much better chance to actually do damage. The Republicans have mostly shot their bolt.

    (BTW: Compliments on the most interesting blog I have yet found. I actually had to get up and walk around to organize my thoughts.)

Comments are closed.