Al Gore on The Assault on Reason

Al Gore’s next book is coming out next May, and The Washington Post sees it as possibly being the next step in his plans to run in 2008. The title of the book, The Assault on Reason,  certainly appears topical:

As described by editor Scott Moyers, the book is a meditation on how “the public arena has grown more hostile to reason,” and how solving problems such as global warming is impeded by a political culture with a pervasive “unwillingness to let facts drive decisions.”

While that may sound abstract, both the subject matter and the timing of the release have an unmistakable subtext. In 2004, Gore cheered liberals when he lashed at President Bush for allegedly falling captive to right-wing special interests and taking flight from “fact-based analysis.” If the book strikes a chord, it will produce new momentum for Gore to make another bid for the White House, presumably fueled in large part by anti-Iraq-war Democrats.

Gore has frequently said he does not plan to run, but has always left the door open. The topic, which leaves plenty of room to discuss issues which are likely to be on people’s minds as they look towards 2008. This might be a move towards running, or it just might be the obvious next book from someone who has decided to be a writer as opposed to a politician. Sometimes a book is just a book.

Posted in Al Gore. Tags: , , , . No Comments »

What It’s Worth–In Monopoly Money

Every wonder what a property would be worth if you wanted to buy it with Monopoly money? Probably not, but it is still fun to look at the new version of Monopoly Here and Now. The web site allows you to play a demo, or just look around.

The Monopoly board starts with the poorer properties, in this case with Jacobs Field in Cleveland, worth 600,000. Income taxes are one area in which the game was not updated, witih a flat 10% tax. Disney World falls just past one-half way around the board, costing $2,400,000. As you enter the green properties in the final stretch, The White House costs $3,200,000. Park Place and Boardwalk are replaced by Fenway Park ($3,500,000) and the most costly real estate at Times Square ($4,000,000). Build a hotel on Times Square and you can charge a rent of $20,000,000.

Should you find yourself low on cash, you can print some out here.

Barry Goldwater: Moderate or Liberal, but Definately No Longer a Conservative

The HBO documentary on Barry Goldwater which I previously noted airs tomorrow evening. His granddaughter, C.C. Goldwater, who made the documentary, has an article in Newsweek. It is always interesting to compare the views of Barry Goldwater, who considered himself a liberal in his later years, to those of current conservatives to see how far conservatives have gone wrong. C.C. Goldwater writes:

. . .while my grandfather didn’t leave his party, his party has left him. Though he’s often depicted as the father of conservatism, Barry Goldwater would be considered a moderate today. He was firmly pro-choice, a supporter of gay rights and, in his later years, said that he thought it was okay for gays to serve in the military.

Fundamentally, it’s clear that Barry would not have been comfortable with the increasing influence of the Christian right over the GOP. My grandfather would have been appalled by the whole political grandstanding of the Terri Schiavo mess.

The Constitution was Barry’s bible. He felt strongly about what it represented and the guidance it gave to establishing our government. And he thought that most U.S. citizens took it for granted. “Most Americans have never even read it and that’s a shame,” he once said. “Kids are not learning about it because it’s not honored the way it used to be.”

We need to remember the true values and freedoms the Constitution guarantees us. The main lesson I learned from my grandfather: “Government needs to stay out of personal lives, and do the job that we entrusted them with–to run and govern our country efficiently and truthfully, according to the laws our forefathers crafted.” That’s a message worth remembering today.

Barry Goldwater was not the right man to be President in 1964, but in retrospect things didn’t turn out that great with LBJ either. Liberty and Justice and The Moderate Voice question whether Goldwater would really be a moderate today. Moderate would not be the right label for the man who is famous for saying, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice…Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” Goldwater always had strong views and was no moderate, but his views no longer fit either the definition of conservative in the 1960’s or the stereotype of liberals as supporters of big government and higher taxes which conservatives have so successfully campaigned against. He was far closer to Arnold Vinick, Republican candidate for President on The West Wing, than any Republican leaders who actually exist.

Today the best way to predict how someone will vote is whether they go to church multiple times a week, or go once a week or less. The religious right turned the Republicans into something Goldwater would barely recognize. In the era where the greatest growth in government has occurred under Republicans, conservatives have abandoned the free market for corporate welfare, and social issues rather than economics more meaningfully differentiate liberals from conservatives, Barry Goldwater was neither a conservative or a moderate in his later years. He would much better fit into the big tent of modern liberalism or “small l” libertarianism.