Leo Caesius wrote:

>  However, Republicans will often
> argue for increasing the government's role in the lives of its citizens to
> champion traditional American values, especially as regards [...]

> people who do not speak english as their first tongue.

This is actually not always true. It's quite dependent on ethnic and regional
factors.  The Texas Republican establishment for example (which is to say,
most of the state's political establishment) since at least 1994 when George
W. Bush was first elected governor has been firmly against any moves to enshrine
English as the official language, either de jure in a Constitutional ammendment
or de facto through roundabout Congressional legislation. George W. Bush has been
somewhat instrumental in reinforcing that attitude even when it ran against the
grain of the party's leaders.  Most of these are from the Deep South, where
sentiment for an English-only ammendment to the US Constitution runs strongest.
The Republican national establishment only at times appears to speak with one voice
on this issue because virtually all its leadership is made up of reactionary Southerners
like Trent Lott, the Senate Maj. Leader.  [FWIW, it is precisely these Southerners who
have been excluded from prominence at the recent party convention in Philadelphia.
W. staged something of a palace coup, in reverse.] There is, in other words, a lot
more diversity there than you might think.

> Republicans will always champion free speech (unless it is unpopular speech).
>      Democrats, on the other hand, seem to think that the pathway to more
> freedom and liberty is through more legislation.

As my kakologist friend put it, "The Republicans are dumb but practical; the
Democrats are smart but naive."   That's an overgeneralization, but a fun one
to say!

> "The theme being unity in diversity, this convention
> featured African- and Asian-American speakers, and something I am SO
> GLAD has finally come -- a Hispanic presence!"
>     I love how the Republican party massacres the English language.  Unity
> in Diversity?  A Compassionate Conservative?   Sounds like newspeak to me.
> What an interesting Conlang idea!  "Republicano: learn to talk for hours
> without saying anything meaningful!"  A language composed entirely of empty
> slogans and idle threats!

To be consistently cynical, one should also attribute this to any organized
political party.  They all oversimplify issues because they want, at some basic
level, power, and so manipulate the majority of people who are uneducated
for political gain.  (I am of course totally against acting like that, but that's how
it works. )

(An aside: Here's a neat cynical statistic. According to _Der Spiegel_
Magazine, 26% of all internet users consider one of their life goals
to be having power and influence.)

>     Perhaps the reason the Republicans fail to attract Hispanic,
> African-American, and other presences is because they consistantly champion
> the majority in American politics and lobby to marginalize everyone else.
> Republicans are always behind "English as Official Language" bills and
> "Defense of Marriage" Acts and all the attempts to do away with Affirmative
> Action are sponsored by Republicans.

Like I said, you're overgeneralizing here.  The American political parties
should not be conceived of as parties in the traditional, more European sense.
They are not issue-based groups so much as standing coalitions of societal interests,
which shift subtly from time to time.  The Democrats of the 19th Century were mostly
freetraders, since, dominated as they were by the interests of Southern
white landed aristocrats, it was in their interest to help America's greatly more
efficient agriculture abroad.  Republicans at the time represented industrial
interests as today, but at that time American industry was extremely weak in
comparison to giants like the UK and Germany, and even France, and so the
Republicans were highly protectionist.  This reversed beginning in the 1930s or
so and came to completion in the 1970s.  Today, the Democrats, whose current
constituencies are dominated by big labor unions and working class interests, vote
about 2/3 of the time against free trade (as recently with the China NTR status).
In American politics, most of the time, issues are covers for social pressures.
(sometimes not, as with the Republican ideologues' impeachment of Clinton).  The
Republicans tend to be more open to the overt racist vote,  the Democrats more
open to the paternalistic patronizing vote.  Both of which added together reflect a
very large segment of the American public.

>   At least the Democrats pay lipservice to all the opinions represented in their party.

...except when it comes to issues like abortion, when there is a complete block on
all discussion.

Not that the GOP is any better.  When I was watching the convention the other
day, the words "Nürnberg Rally! Nürnberg Rally!"  flashed into my mind
briefly, so scripted and pro forma was it.  (Not that the Republicans are
Nazis -- the Nürnberg Rallies were just for propaganda purposes, and were
extremely scripted)

>     Both parties continually promote a certain class of individuals.  These
> individuals are always of Anglo-American background, with a political
> pedigree that extends back to the Revolution. In short, these are the
> people who have been running this country since day one.

Except the JFK, of course, who was of Irish descent.  And Martin Van Buren,
the scion of the old Dutch aristocracy of New York (his mother tongue was
Dutch, actually).  But the pattern is generally true, if you include the Scots and
Scots-Irish.  They are also usually Anglican, Episcopalian, Methodist or Baptist.
Kennedy was, of course, the lone Catholic.

>   They are all
> closely related to one another and often (as in the case of the Bushes) have
> links to the British Royal family as well.  These are the only sort of
> people who ever become candidates in the States, and they are all so similar
> to one another as to be indistinguishable.  It makes me queasy just to think
> about it.
> "The Presidential candidate, a Texan named George W. Bush Jr. (the Bushes
> are fast becoming the new Kennedys), and other members of his family speak
> excellent Spanish."
>     The Patriarch of this clan of clowns, George Herbert Walker Bush, is
> infamous for his ignorance of Spanish.

I believe Danny was referring to the likes of  Jeb Bush, W.'s brother, who is
also fluent in Spanish. Jeb's wife, naturally, also speaks fluent Spanish, as do
all of their children.   GHW Bush, having grown up in Connecticut before the
Latin-American vote became a major force in American politics, could have
had no conceivable reason to *need* to learn Spanish.  I mean, nobody spoke
the language (with the exception of parts of NY City) for 2000 miles or more.

>  And if
> the Bushes are really Texan, then I'm the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

So, are you? :)  It has actually always been the case, even in colonial times,
that most families have settled in several states over a period of several generations.
My family, for example, does have long roots in Texas on one side, but before that
were in Mississippi (ca. 1820s) and before that in South Carolina (ca. 1770s).  Today,
the average American family moves IIRC once every five or six years or so, increasingly
to a completely separate region of the country.

George W. Bush, except for short stints of education in Andover and Yale and Harvard,
has spent the entirety of the rest of his life in Texas.  To claim that he and other Bushes,
who have spent similar amounts of time here, should somehow be held to a different standard
than practically all other Americans is, IMHO, unfair.

>   Although George P. Bush is half-Mexican, that doesn't (necessarily)

> condition the views of his uncle.  As loath as I am to say it, I don't think
> the Dems have to strive hard to "out-do" the Grand Old Party on such issues,
> they've been out-doing them for a long time now.

I don't know about that... the Democrats had some incredibly racist advertising
in Dick Gephardt's district around St. Louis going on in the 1998 Congressional
elections.  The Dems' party officials don't seem to have much of a problem with
race-baiting,  it seems.

Tom Wier   |     "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero."