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Fla. Senate: GOP Insiders -- Anyone But Harris

Circle May 12 on your calendar.

That's the final day that candidates can file to run for Senate in Florida. And although Rep. Katherine Harris (R) is already in the race, both the White House and Gov. Jeb Bush (R) are sending clear signals that they want outgoing state House Speaker Allan Bense (R) to jump into the contest.

Katherine Harris
Rep. Katherine Harris speaks to a group of supporters last month in Sebring, Fla. Will she be challenged in the GOP primary? (AP)

On Wednesday, White House political director Sara Taylor praised Bense as a "class act" and a "very strong leader," adding cryptically that he "would be great in any office he ran for." The previous day, Jeb Bush said he had "doubts" about whether Harris could win again Sen. Bill Nelson (D) this fall. "There may be other candidates who aspire to the job who have a better chance of winning," he said

Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) said today that Bense has a "number of skill sets to prepare him to make the race instantly competitive." As for Harris, Foley said there is "alarming concern" that if she is the party's Senate nominee it could spell trouble for other Republican candidates on the ballot. "Something has to change here or we'll all spend our time explaining her candidacy to voters," he added.

Bense, who has previously rejected entreaties enter the race, is once again considering a run and may even be leaning toward getting in, according to sources both in Washington and Florida. Bense has said he will not make any decision until the legislature adjourns for the year, which is expected to happen either tomorrow or Saturday. Once the legislative session ends, Bense will have until next Friday to make his intentions known. He did not return a call seeking comment today.

With the courting of Bense in full flower, Harris has decided to run her first ad of the campaign -- the timing of which leads to speculation that she is hoping to intimidate Bense (or anyone else who may be considering a run). The commercial, which was produced by Wilson-Grand Communications, paints Harris as a proven leader who always stands by her convictions. "There's a big difference between Bill Nelson and me," says Harris toward the end of the spot. "I never give up and I never give in."

Although Harris hasn't given up on the race, most Republican strategists have given up on her. When Harris made her bid official last year there was considerable skepticism about her ability to win crossover votes given her divisive role as secretary of state during the divisive 2000 presidential recount. Harris has done little to dispel thouse doubts as she has watched as several iterations of campaign staff have abandoned her and the money she was expected to raise has simply not materialized.

Attempting to answer rumors that she would drop from the race, Harris made a surreal appearance on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes" show in March to announce that she would remain in the race and would donate $10 million of her personal fortune to her candidacy. Republican insiders scoffed at the pledge, insisting she would not ultimately dump that amount into the campaign. At the end of March, she had made a $3 million donation, which brought her cash on hand to $3.7 million -- still well behind the $10 million Nelson has to spend on the race.

Allan Bense
Republicans in Washington and Florida are hoping to convince state House Speaker Allan Bense to enter the GOP Senate primary. (Courtesy Fla. House of Representatives)

If Bense does get into the contest, fundraising will be a critical challenge. He begins in a nearly $4 million hole against Harris with the primary set for Sept. 5. The words of support from the White House and the governor of Florida seem to indicate that the party establishment would quickly unite behind Bense -- a development that should help him bring in campaign funds.

Foley pointed out that Bense has a "thick rolodex" from his time in legislature's leadership and also has the ability to write a personal check to fund the contest. "He has personal wealth and people up in the Panhandle [who] are legendary fundraisers," said Foley. One complicating factor for Bense's fundraising is the fact that he is on his way out as speaker, meaning that many people who might give simply to curry favor for their legislative agendas in Florida could well take a pass this time.

The next week will be a critical one for Republicans in Florida. If Bense runs, he provides a real opportunity to keep Harris off the November ballot, which may be as important to Republicans in the state as actually beating Nelson. Polls have shown Harris running far behind Nelson; one poll recently conducted in her own 13th District showed her favorability numbers slipping drastically.

Bense is a clean slate as compared to Harris, and while he would need to raise tens of millions in short order to be competitive with Nelson in the fall, he clearly offers Republicans a better shot at winning the seat.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 4, 2006; 3:48 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ohio's 18th: Analyzing Rep. Ney's Reelection Fight
Next: The Friday Line: Another Early Look at the 2008 Race

Comments

Circle May 12 on your calendar.
I do not agree.For more info go to System.String[]

Posted by: krakow apartments | September 27, 2006 4:43 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Tuki Medaber | September 20, 2006 11:55 PM | Report abuse

thank you very much for your help. You guys 77708 rock, thanks again.

Posted by: Tuki Medaber | September 20, 2006 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Carefully Considering a Government

that will move the Economy and its

Societies forward, is Key to Unity , and

Achievement for all .

Remember to be free means that

Unity is only needed when your rights

are Threated , and your Right to be

FREE to CHOOSE your DESTINY is why

ROCK STARS COME TO AMERICA , and

for generations movie stars didn't

become famous until they came to

America , to be FREE to CHOOSE THEIR

DESTINY ,

Don't put the Wrong Government in

power that will take these rights away

from us all , look at this website to be

informed about what representive

party is supporting you as a

Entreprenuer , as a Free Enterprizer ,

at the is website , www.nfib.com/hcv ,


and be informed today !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


With the International Change in

Monetary Policy , which has taken on a

more " Open Mindset " , in terms of

how they Regulate all Forms of

Markets Valuations , The fact that our

Free Floating Precious Metals

MARKETS ARE FOR THE FIRST TIME

IN 25 years , become Free of the

Obstruction that was place upon them

through most of the 1990s by the

Liberals / Socialists in the world that

thought to control by allowing Multi-

national Corporations to slowly take

over the Economic Markets of the

world through Consolidations of these

world markets , which lead to the

deteriation of the Mom and POP

stores , or what we called Small

Business sector

Has now in the past 4 years been

making a come back , because of

policy changes that have been made for

a more PRO Small Business platform ,

as you can see at the Pro Small

Business Leader , the NFIB ,

www.nfib.com/hcv . This trend is

going to advance the Societies in the

world forward , by allowing a more

Free Floating approach to helping

people set their goals for a Better

tomorrow . I have heard through

Public Economic Structures like CNBC

Squawk Box , that our Commodities ,

and Precious Metals Markets are the

next big Boom in our Fabric of Life , to

advance the People forward .

But if we choose the wrong

Government Regulators , they will lead

this trend back to what was a

Deteriation of our Free Enterprize

system , and a Overall world Economic

Shift towards Global Socialism , By

controlling our Free Floating

Commodities and Precious Metals

Markets to force this to Evolve . This

World is so Big and the Population is

so Tremendous , that to suppress the

People into a Socialist collective

system would be the begining of the

end for the Advancement of the

Human Race . These ideas of how we

are allowed to be self advancing in our

own lives is Key to progressing our

lives and childrens lives into the

future , Don't let Socialism be a

Dividing factor in our game of Life ,

because after all it is but just a game ,

and the game can be managed to be as

good as we the People choose it to be .

SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY AND

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM

(Comments: tony.papard@btinternet.com)

(Background music: The Red Flag - tune: Tannebaum)

'Socialist democracy' was the system which existed in the Soviet Union and its allies, alternatively known as the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. It consisted of either a one-Party State as in the Soviet Union and the Yugoslav federation, or a Marxist-Leninist-led coalition of political parties and democratic organizations, as in the GDR and CSSR (East Germany and Czechoslovakia), for example. Once candidates for election were nominated and chosen by the political parties/democratic organizations the electorate could only vote for or against them; there were no rival candidates to vote for.

'Democratic socialism', on the other hand, was a multi-party system with the various political parties putting up rival candidates in elections.

There were major flaws in both these systems. 'Socialist democracy' became very weak on democracy, in fact so weak it didn't exist at all, and Socialism also left a lot to be desired.

Meanwhile, 'democratic Socialism' quietly dropped the Socialism over the decades, and changed its name to 'social democracy'. It has now reached the stage in UK under New Labour where there is neither Socialism nor much democracy internally in the Party, although the country still has free elections, even if there is not much to choose between the three major political parties putting up candidates.

The Marxist theory behind Socialist democracy, or the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, was historical and dialectical materialism. This philosophy taught that society was constantly evolving, and that tribal or primitive communism was followed by feudalism, which in turn was superseded by capitalism. Inevitably, according to this theory, Socialism would take over from capitalism, and would eventually develop into Communism proper; a utopian society where the State and all artificial regulators would 'wither away'. Under Communism there would be no State, no money, no police, no armed forces. Everyone would work for the good of the community, there would be an abundance of goods and services, and the maxim on which this selfless society ran would be 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs'.

In order to progress from Socialism to Communism it was necessary to establish a classless society. More precisely, this meant the liquidation of all classes except the working class. 'No war but class war' was a popular slogan in leftwing circles. It was therefore thought necessary to crush all opposition to Socialism and all classes but the proletariat.

Marxists argued that this was perfectly democratic, since Socialism was a purer form of democracy than anything which had preceded it, and Communism would be absolute democracy; a completely self-governing society where nobody exploited anybody else.

In order to progress from Socialism to Communism, so the theory went, it was necessary to unite the masses in one Party, the Marxist-Leninist Party. Alternatively, as an intermediate stage, the political parties/organizations representing various class interests could be tolerated within a coalition led by the working-class Party, i.e. the Marxist-Leninist Party. The crucial factor in both these systems was that no opposition to Socialism was tolerated, and no rival candidates were allowed to contest elections.

The theory aimed to teach people to govern themselves, rather than elect others to govern them. 'All Power to the Soviets', an early slogan after the Great October Socialist Revolution in the Soviet Union, meant 'all power to the workers' councils'. They did not need opposition parties or a choice of candidates in elections because the people were meant to be governing themselves.

The aim was to abolish class distinctions. The Socialist maxim was 'to each according to their work'. In other words, everyone would become a worker, a member of the proletariat. Exploitation of one person by another would be abolished by taking into public ownership and control the entire means of production, distribution and exchange. In this situation, everybody would be encouraged to join the Marxist-Leninist Party and participate fully in internal Party democracy.

The Marxist-Leninist Parties, and the coalitions they led in some countries, all operated under the principle of 'democratic centralism'. In theory this meant that the ordinary Party members came together in meetings and Party Congresses to decide policy and elect people to carry out these policies. Once policies had been decided, the details of the 5 year plans, etc. were entrusted to the Central Committee, the Politburo and the higher echelons of the Party and the People's government.

Often a great deal of trust was put in the General or First Secretary of the Party, be it V. I. Lenin, J. V. Stalin, Walter Ulbricht, or whoever, who was expected to carry out the democratic decisions of the Party Congress and interim day-to-day decisions of the Central Committee and Politburo. Every Party member, and every citizen, was expected to abide by the decisions of the Party Congress, the Central Committee and the Politburo. So once decisions had been made, there could be no opposition, but debate would open up again at the next Party Congress and its preparatory meetings. However, in practice 'debates' were always based on a program drawn up by the higher echelons of the Party, which few dared to oppose. (It is not much different in New Labour today).

In these circumstances of internal Party democracy in which every citizen was encouraged to participate, it was not thought necessary to have opposition Parties, or to put up rival candidates in elections. The democratic process took place within the Party organization, or within the coalition, and all that was left for the electorate to do was endorse the democratically chosen candidates at election time, or reject them if they saw fit.

This system was meant to get people used to governing themselves as a united body, as the proletariat. Their interests all coincided in Socialism, and once policies had been decided democratically it was everyone's duty to abide by them. As people became more and more involved in the process of inner Party democracy and Socialist government, be it on a local, national or federal level, so the system would become ever more democratic, till eventually the State itself would wither away, and you'd be left with a society which governed itself completely democratically.

This system might work in a small-scale Socialist society, such as a small Israeli kibbutz. The problem was it couldn't work on a country-wide scale where the majority of the population had no interest whatsoever in politics, let alone Socialism, and where a great many people were only interested in furthering their own careers.

Coupled with the inefficiency of monopoly State nationalized industries and central planning, which resulted in shortages and badly produced inferior goods in many cases, the desire of careerists and opportunists to achieve power and allocate privileges for themselves became overwhelming. Marx said this would be impossible, because the broad masses of the proletariat would be vigilant and by their sheer numbers would always be able to prevent any new 'ruling class' of exploiters taking over the State.

In practice, it was all too easy for opportunists to take over first the Party apparatus, and then the whole State, playing on the political apathy of the masses who simply didn't want to be involved in the day-to-day running of their factory, their workplace, their local council or the State. Former capitalists flocked to join the Party, paid lip-service to the ideals of Socialism, and then used the system to look after themselves and their own families at the expense of the masses.

Genuine Communists and Socialists were either liquidated, imprisoned, or they themselves became corrupted by the trappings of absolute power, and awarded themselves privileges. A new 'ruling class' of exploiters soon ran all the Socialist countries without tolerating any opposition. They paid lip-service to Socialism and the ultimate goal of Communism, but the reality was very different.

However, it was not totally negative. This very imperfect form of Socialism at least provided the masses with the essentials: there was no unemployment, they had access to good health services, good education, they had cheap and efficient public transport systems, cheap rents (albeit in often overcrowded apartments), subsidized basic food-stuffs, trade-union organized holidays (within the Socialist bloc of countries) and a secure old age. However there were often severe shortages and lack of variety, and queues for almost everything due to the inefficiency of the nationalized, centrally planned industries and services.

A more successful form of Socialism was the Yugoslav model, which used a form of market Socialism. This involved individual public enterprises and consumer/worker cooperatives all competing in the market place. This resulted in a much wider variety of goods and services and better quality, as central planning was replaced by catering for what the market wanted, and what would sell. Yugoslavia, however, whilst achieving competition in the economy, never achieved it in the political sphere. The Yugoslav Communist Party controlled the State, and no opposition was tolerated.

As I describe in my article on Socialism in the 21st Century elsewhere on this website, I now believe the Communist ideal to be too utopian to work on a national or worldwide scale. It could only work in small communities of idealists, such as the kibbutzim or communes of like-minded people dedicated to the cause.

Society in general will always need the State and artificial regulators to insure that one class or group does not exploit another. The only way this can be achieved is by genuine multi-party democracy, with different political parties contesting elections and putting up rival candidates. This is the only way to insure one group does not gain absolute power, and to guarantee the electorate can always vote out a government by electing another Party or another coalition of Parties to take over.

It is perfectly possible to have this proliferation of political parties with free elections and rival candidates within the confines of a Socialist Constitution. Rival Socialist parties can compete in elections, each with their own programs for implementing Socialism. The electorate then has a choice, without having to get involved too deeply in internal Party democracy and in the day-to-day workings of local and national government.

Democratic Socialism is the preferred term for this system of multi-party parliamentary democracy based on Socialism, but with genuine free elections. Non-Socialist political parties may also be allowed to exist and participate in elections, but may have to uphold the Socialist Constitution until they can muster a sufficient majority to replace this Constitution with an alternative one. However, the example of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe testify how it is almost impossible to successfully turn the clock back from even an imperfect Socialist society to a capitalist one. Inevitably the means of production, distribution and exchange will end up in the hands of criminals, former Party bureaucrats and foreign capitalist/multi-national corporations. Unless you are going to go right back to primitive communism and give everybody in the country an acre of land, some crops, a plow, a pig, a few chickens and a cow, and allow them all to compete and eventually let some employ and enslave/exploit others, starting the whole feudal/capitalist/socialist cycle over again, it just won't work.

The people of the former Socialist countries lost most of their social security when they tried to turn back to capitalism. Many became unemployed, those who found jobs discovered they were now a cheap pool of labor for Western multi-nationals, yet they no longer had the subsidized food, rents, public transport and good pensions Socialism once gave them. There was now an abundance of good quality goods and services, but how many could afford to buy them? Certainly no ordinary working-class person could afford to set up their own company, or buy huge blocks of shares in a newly privatized industry. Many, however, were caught up in 'get rich quick' scams and bought shares which quickly proved worthless, investing and losing their life-savings almost overnight. The only ones to come out on top were the former Party bureaucrats and foreign multi-nationals who grabbed for themselves the industries which once, nominally at least, belonged to the people - to the Socialist State.

Socialist democracy is a term which has been tainted by the errors of the past, but eventually it may be used again to describe truly democratic Socialism, rather than a one-Party State, or one-Party dominated coalition government, which tolerates no opposition and is impossible to get rid of without a popular uprising or complete collapse of the economy.

Posted by: Anthony Newbill | May 10, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Carefully Considering a Government

that will move the Economy and its

Societies forward, is Key to Unity , and

Achievement for all .

Remember to be free means that

Unity is only needed when your rights

are Threated , and your Right to be

FREE to CHOOSE your DESTINY is why

ROCK STARS COME TO AMERICA , and

for generations movie stars didn't

become famous until they came to

America , to be FREE to CHOOSE THEIR

DESTINY ,

Don't put the Wrong Government in

power that will take these rights away

from us all , look at this website to be

informed about what representive

party is supporting you as a

Entreprenuer , as a Free Enterprizer ,

at the is website , www.nfib.com/hcv ,


and be informed today !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


With the International Change in

Monetary Policy , which has taken on a

more " Open Mindset " , in terms of

how they Regulate all Forms of

Markets Valuations , The fact that our

Free Floating Precious Metals

MARKETS ARE FOR THE FIRST TIME

IN 25 years , become Free of the

Obstruction that was place upon them

through most of the 1990s by the

Liberals / Socialists in the world that

thought to control by allowing Multi-

national Corporations to slowly take

over the Economic Markets of the

world through Consolidations of these

world markets , which lead to the

deteriation of the Mom and POP

stores , or what we called Small

Business sector

Has now in the past 4 years been

making a come back , because of

policy changes that have been made for

a more PRO Small Business platform ,

as you can see at the Pro Small

Business Leader , the NFIB ,

www.nfib.com/hcv . This trend is

going to advance the Societies in the

world forward , by allowing a more

Free Floating approach to helping

people set their goals for a Better

tomorrow . I have heard through

Public Economic Structures like CNBC

Squawk Box , that our Commodities ,

and Precious Metals Markets are the

next big Boom in our Fabric of Life , to

advance the People forward .

But if we choose the wrong

Government Regulators , they will lead

this trend back to what was a

Deteriation of our Free Enterprize

system , and a Overall world Economic

Shift towards Global Socialism , By

controlling our Free Floating

Commodities and Precious Metals

Markets to force this to Evolve . This

World is so Big and the Population is

so Tremendous , that to suppress the

People into a Socialist collective

system would be the begining of the

end for the Advancement of the

Human Race . These ideas of how we

are allowed to be self advancing in our

own lives is Key to progressing our

lives and childrens lives into the

future , Don't let Socialism be a

Dividing factor in our game of Life ,

because after all it is but just a game ,

and the game can be managed to be as

good as we the People choose it to be .

SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY AND

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM

(Comments: tony.papard@btinternet.com)

(Background music: The Red Flag - tune: Tannebaum)

'Socialist democracy' was the system which existed in the Soviet Union and its allies, alternatively known as the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. It consisted of either a one-Party State as in the Soviet Union and the Yugoslav federation, or a Marxist-Leninist-led coalition of political parties and democratic organizations, as in the GDR and CSSR (East Germany and Czechoslovakia), for example. Once candidates for election were nominated and chosen by the political parties/democratic organizations the electorate could only vote for or against them; there were no rival candidates to vote for.

'Democratic socialism', on the other hand, was a multi-party system with the various political parties putting up rival candidates in elections.

There were major flaws in both these systems. 'Socialist democracy' became very weak on democracy, in fact so weak it didn't exist at all, and Socialism also left a lot to be desired.

Meanwhile, 'democratic Socialism' quietly dropped the Socialism over the decades, and changed its name to 'social democracy'. It has now reached the stage in UK under New Labour where there is neither Socialism nor much democracy internally in the Party, although the country still has free elections, even if there is not much to choose between the three major political parties putting up candidates.

The Marxist theory behind Socialist democracy, or the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, was historical and dialectical materialism. This philosophy taught that society was constantly evolving, and that tribal or primitive communism was followed by feudalism, which in turn was superseded by capitalism. Inevitably, according to this theory, Socialism would take over from capitalism, and would eventually develop into Communism proper; a utopian society where the State and all artificial regulators would 'wither away'. Under Communism there would be no State, no money, no police, no armed forces. Everyone would work for the good of the community, there would be an abundance of goods and services, and the maxim on which this selfless society ran would be 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs'.

In order to progress from Socialism to Communism it was necessary to establish a classless society. More precisely, this meant the liquidation of all classes except the working class. 'No war but class war' was a popular slogan in leftwing circles. It was therefore thought necessary to crush all opposition to Socialism and all classes but the proletariat.

Marxists argued that this was perfectly democratic, since Socialism was a purer form of democracy than anything which had preceded it, and Communism would be absolute democracy; a completely self-governing society where nobody exploited anybody else.

In order to progress from Socialism to Communism, so the theory went, it was necessary to unite the masses in one Party, the Marxist-Leninist Party. Alternatively, as an intermediate stage, the political parties/organizations representing various class interests could be tolerated within a coalition led by the working-class Party, i.e. the Marxist-Leninist Party. The crucial factor in both these systems was that no opposition to Socialism was tolerated, and no rival candidates were allowed to contest elections.

The theory aimed to teach people to govern themselves, rather than elect others to govern them. 'All Power to the Soviets', an early slogan after the Great October Socialist Revolution in the Soviet Union, meant 'all power to the workers' councils'. They did not need opposition parties or a choice of candidates in elections because the people were meant to be governing themselves.

The aim was to abolish class distinctions. The Socialist maxim was 'to each according to their work'. In other words, everyone would become a worker, a member of the proletariat. Exploitation of one person by another would be abolished by taking into public ownership and control the entire means of production, distribution and exchange. In this situation, everybody would be encouraged to join the Marxist-Leninist Party and participate fully in internal Party democracy.

The Marxist-Leninist Parties, and the coalitions they led in some countries, all operated under the principle of 'democratic centralism'. In theory this meant that the ordinary Party members came together in meetings and Party Congresses to decide policy and elect people to carry out these policies. Once policies had been decided, the details of the 5 year plans, etc. were entrusted to the Central Committee, the Politburo and the higher echelons of the Party and the People's government.

Often a great deal of trust was put in the General or First Secretary of the Party, be it V. I. Lenin, J. V. Stalin, Walter Ulbricht, or whoever, who was expected to carry out the democratic decisions of the Party Congress and interim day-to-day decisions of the Central Committee and Politburo. Every Party member, and every citizen, was expected to abide by the decisions of the Party Congress, the Central Committee and the Politburo. So once decisions had been made, there could be no opposition, but debate would open up again at the next Party Congress and its preparatory meetings. However, in practice 'debates' were always based on a program drawn up by the higher echelons of the Party, which few dared to oppose. (It is not much different in New Labour today).

In these circumstances of internal Party democracy in which every citizen was encouraged to participate, it was not thought necessary to have opposition Parties, or to put up rival candidates in elections. The democratic process took place within the Party organization, or within the coalition, and all that was left for the electorate to do was endorse the democratically chosen candidates at election time, or reject them if they saw fit.

This system was meant to get people used to governing themselves as a united body, as the proletariat. Their interests all coincided in Socialism, and once policies had been decided democratically it was everyone's duty to abide by them. As people became more and more involved in the process of inner Party democracy and Socialist government, be it on a local, national or federal level, so the system would become ever more democratic, till eventually the State itself would wither away, and you'd be left with a society which governed itself completely democratically.

This system might work in a small-scale Socialist society, such as a small Israeli kibbutz. The problem was it couldn't work on a country-wide scale where the majority of the population had no interest whatsoever in politics, let alone Socialism, and where a great many people were only interested in furthering their own careers.

Coupled with the inefficiency of monopoly State nationalized industries and central planning, which resulted in shortages and badly produced inferior goods in many cases, the desire of careerists and opportunists to achieve power and allocate privileges for themselves became overwhelming. Marx said this would be impossible, because the broad masses of the proletariat would be vigilant and by their sheer numbers would always be able to prevent any new 'ruling class' of exploiters taking over the State.

In practice, it was all too easy for opportunists to take over first the Party apparatus, and then the whole State, playing on the political apathy of the masses who simply didn't want to be involved in the day-to-day running of their factory, their workplace, their local council or the State. Former capitalists flocked to join the Party, paid lip-service to the ideals of Socialism, and then used the system to look after themselves and their own families at the expense of the masses.

Genuine Communists and Socialists were either liquidated, imprisoned, or they themselves became corrupted by the trappings of absolute power, and awarded themselves privileges. A new 'ruling class' of exploiters soon ran all the Socialist countries without tolerating any opposition. They paid lip-service to Socialism and the ultimate goal of Communism, but the reality was very different.

However, it was not totally negative. This very imperfect form of Socialism at least provided the masses with the essentials: there was no unemployment, they had access to good health services, good education, they had cheap and efficient public transport systems, cheap rents (albeit in often overcrowded apartments), subsidized basic food-stuffs, trade-union organized holidays (within the Socialist bloc of countries) and a secure old age. However there were often severe shortages and lack of variety, and queues for almost everything due to the inefficiency of the nationalized, centrally planned industries and services.

A more successful form of Socialism was the Yugoslav model, which used a form of market Socialism. This involved individual public enterprises and consumer/worker cooperatives all competing in the market place. This resulted in a much wider variety of goods and services and better quality, as central planning was replaced by catering for what the market wanted, and what would sell. Yugoslavia, however, whilst achieving competition in the economy, never achieved it in the political sphere. The Yugoslav Communist Party controlled the State, and no opposition was tolerated.

As I describe in my article on Socialism in the 21st Century elsewhere on this website, I now believe the Communist ideal to be too utopian to work on a national or worldwide scale. It could only work in small communities of idealists, such as the kibbutzim or communes of like-minded people dedicated to the cause.

Society in general will always need the State and artificial regulators to insure that one class or group does not exploit another. The only way this can be achieved is by genuine multi-party democracy, with different political parties contesting elections and putting up rival candidates. This is the only way to insure one group does not gain absolute power, and to guarantee the electorate can always vote out a government by electing another Party or another coalition of Parties to take over.

It is perfectly possible to have this proliferation of political parties with free elections and rival candidates within the confines of a Socialist Constitution. Rival Socialist parties can compete in elections, each with their own programs for implementing Socialism. The electorate then has a choice, without having to get involved too deeply in internal Party democracy and in the day-to-day workings of local and national government.

Democratic Socialism is the preferred term for this system of multi-party parliamentary democracy based on Socialism, but with genuine free elections. Non-Socialist political parties may also be allowed to exist and participate in elections, but may have to uphold the Socialist Constitution until they can muster a sufficient majority to replace this Constitution with an alternative one. However, the example of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe testify how it is almost impossible to successfully turn the clock back from even an imperfect Socialist society to a capitalist one. Inevitably the means of production, distribution and exchange will end up in the hands of criminals, former Party bureaucrats and foreign capitalist/multi-national corporations. Unless you are going to go right back to primitive communism and give everybody in the country an acre of land, some crops, a plow, a pig, a few chickens and a cow, and allow them all to compete and eventually let some employ and enslave/exploit others, starting the whole feudal/capitalist/socialist cycle over again, it just won't work.

The people of the former Socialist countries lost most of their social security when they tried to turn back to capitalism. Many became unemployed, those who found jobs discovered they were now a cheap pool of labor for Western multi-nationals, yet they no longer had the subsidized food, rents, public transport and good pensions Socialism once gave them. There was now an abundance of good quality goods and services, but how many could afford to buy them? Certainly no ordinary working-class person could afford to set up their own company, or buy huge blocks of shares in a newly privatized industry. Many, however, were caught up in 'get rich quick' scams and bought shares which quickly proved worthless, investing and losing their life-savings almost overnight. The only ones to come out on top were the former Party bureaucrats and foreign multi-nationals who grabbed for themselves the industries which once, nominally at least, belonged to the people - to the Socialist State.

Socialist democracy is a term which has been tainted by the errors of the past, but eventually it may be used again to describe truly democratic Socialism, rather than a one-Party State, or one-Party dominated coalition government, which tolerates no opposition and is impossible to get rid of without a popular uprising or complete collapse of the economy.

Posted by: Anthony Newbill | May 10, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't Jeb run for the nod against Harris?

Posted by: bob from denver | May 7, 2006 8:24 PM | Report abuse

How about recruiting Gen. Tommy Franks?
Is there a chance of convincing him? And even if he enters the contest, does he stands a chance of defeating Nelson?

Posted by: Santorum Fan! | May 6, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

cunning ham has been associated with DealAide, Cheyney, Abraham-not, and Jim Baker and Tammy Faye, Porter Goss too and

now you tell me that Negroponte was seen sipping from the same glass?

who next will be implicated in this scandal?


oh my, it's too hard for my little brain....


could the president and all his appointees be next....


let's hope someone with an IQ greater than Jay Leno's is awake at the CIA, NSA, SS, or even the friggin FBI...


comeon boys, put the cuffs on 'em.

.

Posted by: why the | May 6, 2006 1:15 AM | Report abuse

"Yes. Have the oil companies done anything anti-competitive or illegal to achieve these profits?"

you'd have to wonder why they didn't want to be sworn into congress.

you would also have to wonder why seniors are told that they can't buy medicine from Canada or Mexico.

because that would be unfair to the Pharmaceutical industry, who would have to compete with other countries.


as outsourcing steals the customer service sector, begins to eat the computer/IT sector, starts working on...

healthcare benefits are a thing of the past for most non-government people, pensions non-existent, retirement if it hasn't happened yet it aint gonna..


thing of it is, the oil companies relationship with the United States is the same as your leaders and International Corporations.


EVEN THOUGH THEY GOT HERE ON YOUR BACKS

THEY DON'T OWE YOU A FRIGGIN THING, MUCH LESS AN EXPLANATION OR A FUTURE.

real American companies cooperate with citizens........not with big money.

.

Posted by: the real question is a little deeper than the one you're asking... | May 6, 2006 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Considering that his name is coming up more and more in relation to the Duke Cunningham bribery/prostitution scandal scandal, and that he just resigned so unexpectedly from the CIA.....probably not.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 5, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Might Porter Goss run for the Senate? He's a Floridian.

Posted by: Mark | May 5, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Nelson must pray every night that Cruella De Ville stays in the race.

Posted by: Aleks | May 5, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Thank You Greg-G,

You said what I wanted to say, but was afraid too. It is no accident that Chris interviewed Mark Foley about Harris. Mark Foley has a huge campaign fund of about 6 million dollars. He was going to run last time for Senator until a republican opponent attacked him and said that he was gay. So he had a press conference where he said that a person's sexual orientation is private and dropped out of the Senate race. Mark Foley would make a great senate candidate if it wasn't for the fact that a lot of republicans in his own party will not vote for a gay republican.

Posted by: Polling Fraud | May 5, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Mark Foley would definitely get "in" the race, but he knows it would require him to come "out" of the closet...which is a big no-no in the Republican party.

Posted by: Greg-G | May 5, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

What has been so truly odd about Harris's campaign is that so many official photos have been released that emphasize the size of her breasts. The Daily Show had one pic of Harris on a horse at a rodeo in which her tee shirt was so tight that she looked like an older, brunette Pam Anderson. It's a refreshing change, maybe, from women pols in sensible blue skirt suits, but it ain't too Senatorial.

Posted by: Jack | May 5, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I see F&B is up to his old tricks - 389 Reps are scared of their own shadows. They just want to look like they are doing something, even if that something is completely irrelevant to the issues at hand.
Nelson CAN be beaten, but not by Harris, and probably not be anyone, now that it's already May 5. Nelson is, as my wife the Democrat says, an empty suit. But you can't beat somebody with nobody, and that's what we've got with Harris. As a Fla R, I'd like her to get out of the race, so she doesn't contaminate the governor's race.

Posted by: butchie b | May 5, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

mizzoupol>>>Your comment is mostly right on, but why do you and others continue to assert that some sort of gas price fixing is going on?

How bout, um, take a look around.

mizzoupol>>>It's not true, it's not contstructive, and it doesn't get us any closer to real change.

Real change, like relaxing environmental laws to reduce the price of gas? Ha.

mizzoupol>>>Have the oil companies done anything anti-competitive or illegal to achieve these profits? Most informed people don't think so

Most informed people dont think so? How bout showing us a source for that? 389 Representatives voted to make it illegal (that's abt 92% of the House), so certainly a good number of THEM think price-fixing is going on, wouldn't you agree?

In FL...... a webcam of Bense preparing his own breakfast would probably win him more votes than Harris, who is I think the worst politician Ive seen in my life. But the effects of the Harris debacle, Jeb and the FL GOP and the GOP's national dilemma, will likely damage Bense's chances severely. I dont think Nelson has a thing to worry about.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | May 4, 2006 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I think Jeb and the Republicans know the race against Nelson is already lost. You can't challenge a well funded incumbent U.S. Senator by jumping in 6 months before the general election. Their concern is Harris dragging down the gubernatorial ticket. From their point of view, it would be better to run a place filler against Nelson instead of Harris. Probably the most pathetic thing about this is that Nelson is not particularly popular and would be toast if someone like Jeb stepped up against him. If Florida keeps its Republican tilt, expect Nelson to get a strong challenge in 6 years.

Posted by: Q | May 4, 2006 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Harris is genuinely nuts. I mean twirl your finger around your ear INSANE, Monty Python looney. The best thing I have read about her was from fellow Floridian, Carl Hiaasen, written last month. It's actually hilarious reading: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/columnists/carl_hiaasen/14124932.htm

Posted by: Mike Brooks | May 4, 2006 6:53 PM | Report abuse

To Toby-
Your comment is mostly right on, but why do you and others continue to assert that some sort of gas price fixing is going on? It's not true, it's not contstructive, and it doesn't get us any closer to real change. Is the oil business spectacularly profitable? Yes. Have the oil companies done anything anti-competitive or illegal to achieve these profits? Most informed people don't think so, and saying that they have only distracts from a much more important issue-the extreme amount of oil the United States is forcing itself to use every day. That's the real cause of high gas prices

Posted by: mizzoupol | May 4, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Jeb and Republicans do not think that Bense can win against Bill Nelson. It is to late to try to form a campaign 6 month out against someone who already had 12 million in the bank and counting and no primary opponent.
What they are worried about is Harris dragging down the rest of the republicans on the ticket into Her Loser Hell. There is a tight governor's race going on in Florida. And they don't need an idiot like Harris hurting the republicans hopes in the governorship. It is bad enough she has dug her own grave, but now she is helping to dig the graves of republican candidates across the whole state of Florida. YES, next week should be very interesting with what they do to Harris. Talk about your soap opera. She is on Life Support because her own republican family is plotting to kill her chances of being on the ballot. Talk about getting what you deserve. You can almost hear her saying "You to Brutus", as the the last knife is slipped into her. Kind of brings a tear to your eye !!! ( Because you can't stop laughing !)

Posted by: Polling Fraud | May 4, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

As a new resident of Florida, might I suggest Rep. Connie Mack of Fort Myers as an alternative to Ms. Harris? Many senior citizens will probably think they are voting for his grandfather, or his father, and many younger voters will be dazzled by his girlfriend. Besides, it's been a while since the last Cher farewell tour, so maybe Mary Bono could persuade the "other" widow of Sonny to make appearances on behalf of her new beau in South Beach, Orlando, Tampa and Key West. If we could only "turn back time". Hmmm. How much of this post is real, and how much is farce? I'll never tell.

Posted by: ET Fenton | May 4, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Ohio Guy, I think Bense's pitch has to be a combo of positive (experienced legislator; fresh new face for Florida in Washington) and brutally negative (Harris can't win; Harris is hip-deep in ethical problems).

I agree, though, that a cut-throat primary -- especially so close to the general election -- is bad electoral juju for the GOP no matter how you slice it.

Posted by: Hill rat | May 4, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I think Harris in the race is great.


Mostly because she deserves a BIG GIANT THANK YOU for the last 6 years.

9/11, Iraq, power fixing in California, gas price fixing, Enron, Katrina.....good times...good times....


Thank you Kathy, if it wasn't for you...there would be 3,000 19-25 years olds living a happy life.

Posted by: toby | May 4, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

At the moment it looks as though this will be a difficult year for the GOP. Having a weak candidate in a purple state like Florida obviously doesn't help. Nonetheless, to win this the Party probably needs an outstanding candidate. Jeb could probably win it. Maybe Tommy Franks. Not at all sure about Bense.

Quentin Langley
Editor of http://www.quentinlangley.net/

Posted by: Quentin Langley | May 4, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

As a Florida resident since 1979 I remember Paula Hawkins as a United Sates Senator representing Florida. She was an embarrassment to the state, served one term and returned to the anonymity she so richly deserved. We Floridians are not about to embarrass ourselves again by putting Katherine Harris in the Senate.

Posted by: Bill Whitaker | May 4, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Katherine Harris came clean for the press about the Bush Gore vote count...


you know like the Jim Baker/Tammi Faye thing some years back...


I'd love to see some mud wrestling or maybe a Hustler spread...

as she finds gawd.

.

Posted by: I think it would be nice if | May 4, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering if Bense getting into the race would be good or bad for Nelson....

On the one hand, he would obviously have a better shot than Harris in the general. But, the primary would be extremely brusising and costly to the republicans, and whoever won in September would likely be flat broke while Nelson will likely have $15 million by then as he has almost $11 million now.

And besides, what is Bense going to say about Katherine Harris to get repubs to vote for him in the primary? "Katherine Harris handed the presidency to George W. Bush!" Oh, wait....it's a republican primary...that's supposed to be a good thing.

Harris has got to be feeling like there is a knife in her back - the White House is actively working to get someone to challenge her in the primary. If it wasn't for Katherine Harris helping to steal the election in 2000, these same people wouldn't even BE in the White House!

Would Bense help or hurt? Thoughts?

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 4, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Harris is an unindicted constitutional criminal and I'm loving the show as she flames out!

Posted by: Long Beach, CA | May 4, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

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