Monday, February 9, 2004
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I'm omitting a ton of links in the post. Go check out the entire post at Electric Venom, which includes a hard look at the Democratic alternatives.posted by Dan on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM
As a lifelong Democrat who had been thinking of voting for Bush this fall but has been put off by every single aspect of the administration EXCEPT the war on terror, let me offer up a nugget of advice for GWB. Are you paying attention? Good, because this is da bomb.
Dump Cheney, make Powell Veep.
Think about it. It sucks the wind out of the Dems' sails. Yeah, Kerry was a war hero; Powell redesigned the entire military, while Kerry voted against ALL appropriations and interventions. The Dems are the party of minority interests? Don't think so! Europeans hate us? Yeah, but they LOVE Colin. He's a rock star over there!
It instantly would recast the administration in more progressive, user-friendly light.
Really, it's the only thing that would shake things up in W's favor.
Don't think KR isn't thinking along these lines already (why do all roads in the Plame investigation lead to the VP's door?).
Sometimes I'm so smart, it scares me.posted by: Kelli on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
“But I did not vote for four years - nor will I vote for four more years - of Donald Rumsfeld's worldviews in which so many "possible threats" are overstated while so many realities are misstated.”
Anyone that is not a warmonger who “loves the smell of napalm in the morning” prefers to believe that the terrorist threat is overstated. However, the overwhelming evidence is that Donald Rumsfeld and the neoconservatives following in the footsteps of the great Bernard Lewis clearly do understand the dangers confronting us. We are in a life and death struggle with the Islamic militants whether we like it or not.
“Dump Cheney, make Powell Veep.”
Is this some sort of joke? Colin Powell has proven himself to be incompetent. He is only useful as a “good cop” to mellow out things after the “bad cop” performs his duties. The man has no clue. His gross ignorance, for instance, regarding the Israeli situation has resulted in the murders of many people. Powell is a mealy mouther who grovels at the feet of the Old Europeans. He can get us all killed.
I've been throwing a fair amount of my energy / $$$ / time towarsd Blake Ashby - a REPUBLICAN protest candidate. He's a Jacksonian Hawk w/ a very strong libertarian domestic streakposted by: vinod on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Good thought, but would Powell take the job, and will the right wingers who are starting to get all frothy in the mouth about spending and gay marriage refuse to vote in 2004? Remember (i) Powell's wife has intervened in the past to keep Powell for running for national office and (ii) the rumor mill has Powell retiring in Bush's second term.
I think if the Prez wants a popular moderate more in sync with his approach, Giuliani would be a good choice.posted by: alonzo church III on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
I really do not see this as a difficult choice to make.
Bush has been pretty bad when it comes to spending but anyone of the remaining Democratic candidates would be worse because (a) they either voted for (or supported)the current levels of spending or a more costly alterative bill (e.g. the prescription drug benefit) and (b) are calling for hundreds of billions a year in new spending on top of what we are already spending. And the fact that we had a Democratic Senate who gave us the farm subsidies and education bill (and that the Medicare prescription drug benefit was larger to get Democratic votes) ought to put a stake in the “divided government is less costly” lie being offered as a reason to vote for a Democratic President with a Republican Congress.
More importantly, Bush is the only candidate campaigning in favor of Social Security reform (and did so during the midterm elections when Democrats thought all they had to do was scream “Enron”) and to his credit did introduce some competition into Medicare. In contrast, each of the likely Democratic alternatives are running against any sort of reform that makes sense such as PRA’s, phasing in a higher retirement age, COLA adjustments, means testing, or switching from wage indexing to price indexing. Entitlement spending is a much greater issue than non-defense discretionary spending and will only get worse when the Baby Boom generation retires. When we finally have a President who strongly advocates reform, it would be suicidal replace him with an anti-reformer especially since gridlock is not going to fix the problem which gets costlier the longer we put it off and harder politically the more people are on the system.
The solution to the spending issue is going to come with Congress not the President (although electing a Democrat would only make the problem worse). We need fiscal conservative candidates like the Class of 1994 who are willing to cut or slow the rate of discretionary spending and who are pro-reform on entitlement programs. This is especially true in the Senate where the threat of a Democratic filibuster has lead to more expensive spending (e.g. the prescription drug bill) while blocking reform.
Problem here is that it is February and nothing is happening. Chill out. Next week Pitchers and Catchers report. Then March Madness. Then Opening Day. August Football. September Pennant Races. October Playoffs World Series. Then you can worry about the election.
"I’m waiting for an ad that simply puts the matter plainly: who do you think Al Qaeda wants to win the election? Who do you think will make Syria relax? Who do you think Hezbollah worries about more? Who would Iran want to deal with when it comes to its nuclear program – Cowboy Bush or “Send in the bribed French inspectors” Kerry? Which candidate would our enemies prefer?"posted by: Robert Schwartz on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
“Yeah, but they LOVE Colin. He's a rock star over there!”
This is all the proof one needs to realize that Colin Powell hasn’t a clue. If the Old Europeans consider him to be similar to a rock star---then he must be doing enormous damage! It’s as simple as that. With friends like that, Powell doesn't need any enemies.
What do you think of Bernard Lewis and Edward Said? Your answer will almost certainly reveal your attitude towards the war on terror. I worship the ground that Lewis walks on and consider the late Said to have been a second rate intellectual mediocrity. Lewis contends that the embittered Muslim world is experiencing low self esteem resulting from its current third rate status in the world. The other gentleman thought that the imperialist West took advantage of the Muslims. What do you believe? It all comes down to that.posted by: David Thomson on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Lileks is corect, of course.
I think it might be helpful if Daniel, Kate, and some of the “fence sitters” who are on the Right would tell us which of the remaining Democratic candidates they think would be better than Bush on ______ and what their basis is for believing that.*
Keep in mind that most of us who are still adamantly pro-Bush agree with criticisms of him about the spending, steel tariffs, and the general expansion of the federal government. However we recognize that not only are any of the Democratic nominees worse than Bush on these issues, but Bush is also pro-entitlement program reform, favored more liberalization of trade with Latin America and Africa, and favors market-oriented reforms in health care and education which are essential to any long-term reduction or transformation away from the current Nanny State model.
* Yes, we know why the Democrats and others on the Left favor a Democratic candidate but those are not the target audience of my question.posted by: Thorley Winston on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
"Bush has been pretty bad when it comes to spending but anyone of the remaining Democratic candidates would be worse"
Bah, the Dems, at least on the Presidential level, have been moving away from the big spender syndrome since LBJ. Besides, more spending, less spending, at least the Dems are responsible enough to balance the books. You can always repeal their spending down the road if you don't like it, and that'll be that. With Bush, we'll be paying his tab for decades to come, whether we want to or not, because of the accumulated debt.
Someone finally wakes up and smells the coffee:
“My work was getting linked to by people I wouldn’t let into my living room. Raving pan-Arabists and Indymedia hacks from four separate continents used my work to support their positions. US interview requests were scarce, but I was sought after by Muslim radio station hosts in South Africa for my wisdom. Always, it seemed, the world’s problems were traced to the “war criminal” Ariel Sharon, while solutions turned out to be generalized support for the “Palestinian cause”.
Rinse, repeat, ad nauseum; I began to have serious doubts about my work that I couldn’t even verbalize. I started to wonder -- is my opposition to the US action in the Middle East, however noble and well-intentioned it seemed to me, actually playing into the hands of America’s enemies, strategic adversaries, and economic competitors?”posted by: David Thomson on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Thorley Winston asks the relevant question, which goes beyond whether conservatives like Bush to ask whether any of the alternatives are any better.
At the core of the question are the attitudes of the Democratic Presidential contenders toward terrorism. Like it or not the world is different after 9/11; the Clinton foreign policy that put terrorism (along with other significant issues) on the back burner is not a viable alternative to Bush's, so each of the Democratic contenders must to some extent clear his own path.
As a lifelong straight-ticket Republican voter I voted for Bush last time and expect to again. I just don't think John Kerry in particular has faced up to the challenges of national security policy in the post-9/11 world, nor does he seem to me inclined to free himself from abject subservience to the major Democratic interest groups where domestic policy is concerned.
But this, obviously, is a negative endorsement. I have very specific ideas about what the Republican Party ought to stand for in terms of both policy and of the skill, character and commitment to service it ought to demand of its leaders, and not many of those ideas are fulfilled in the person of George Bush, a lazy thinker distinguished mostly by his ferocious sense of personal entitlement and distinguishable in point of character from his immediate predecessor only in the detail that he is faithful to his wife. Moreover I have not forgotten that my fellow Republicans have twice in the last four election cycles had the choice between men of genuine character and accomplishment and the vapidity and shallowness personified by the Bush family, and each time voted overwhelmingly for the latter.
These are sobering thoughts for a GOP loyalist who has worked on Republican campaigns and served Republican elected officials going back to 1976. But whoever the Democrats choose to nominate still has a ways to go to demonstrate that he can do better, and in that feeling at least I think there are a lot of conservatives who agree with me.posted by: Zathras on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
If by reform you mean massive expansion then I suppose thats an accurate description. Though I do take your point that any of the Democratic candidates would be at least as bad and probably worse on spending. I don't know that much about Kerry's or Edwards' positions on trade liberalisation. Any information?posted by: sam on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Kerry on Trade --
Q: Should the US seek more free or liberalized trade agreements?
A: I support free trade, but I don't support what the Bush administration calls free trade. I will order an immediate 120-day review of all trade agreements to ensure that our trading partners are living up to their labor and environment obligations and that trade agreements are enforceable and are balanced for America's workers. I won't sign any new trade agreements unless they contain strong labor and environmental standards.
Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Trade" Jan 25, 2004
Edwards is protectionist (er, "fair trade") as well. See http://www.johnedwards2004.com/economy-create.asp
Google is a wonderful thing.posted by: alonzo church III on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Thanks for that, looks like extra tariffs if either of them get into office. The question is, who would the tariffs be against?
I just finished reading Michael Totten's latest post, entitled "We Are Not Doomed". I recommend everyone reads it.
I hadn't really thought about Giuliani--it certainly has some appeal (anyone is appealing next to Cheney). Rudy might draw some of the blue and white-collar men who would be tempted to go with Kerry otherwise. Less appeal to chicks and minorities, though.
Frankly, it's not about what YOU like--it's about what the customer (I mean, the voter) likes. If Bush is going down partly because his running mate generates fear and loathing almost across the board, why would he NOT lose the guy in favor or someone with broader appeal? Forget about Said and Lewis for a minute, Dave, do you "adore" Cheney? That's who we're talking about here.
This is what I do when Duke is not kicking the pants off everyone else in the ACC. But I get the point.
Looks like you've got the conservative accountant vote in the bag for Bush, what with your "he's an irresponsible SOB but the other guys are MUCH MUCH worse" argument. That still leaves about 99.8 % of the electorate to convince. Good luck.
You are closer than Thorley to understanding the thought-patterns of non-Republicans, but still may wish to expand your circle of friends and acquaintances.
Rinse, repeat, ad nauseum; I began to have serious doubts about my work that I couldn’t even verbalize. I started to wonder -- is my opposition to the US action in the Middle East, however noble and well-intentioned it seemed to me, actually playing into the hands of America’s enemies, strategic adversaries, and economic competitors?”
No gentle way to answer this, because the answer is "Yes". And alas, much the same could be said about those opposing previous conflicts, both armed and otherwise. One might logically riase such questions, for example, about one John Kerry, and come to the same conclusion.
“If Bush is going down partly because his running mate generates fear and loathing almost across the board, why would he NOT lose the guy in favor or someone with broader appeal?”
I reject your premise that Dick Cheney is weakening the ticket. The odds are still overwhelming that the Bush-Cheney ticket will easily win reelection. I am also not in the slightest bit interested in satisfying the “broader appeal.” These people are childishly immature and prefer living in La-La Land. Appeasing the Old Europeans and liberal American Democrats will merely endanger our country.posted by: David Thomson on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Who would al-Qaida prefer? That's easy. George Bush.
Ooh, I'm gonna get flamed for that one. Nevertheless, it's pretty obviously true. Terrorists *want* a hostile response to their actions. A major part of standard, by-the-book terrorist strategy is to try and provoke your opponents into actions that convince the populace that they have to make a choice between you and them.
With domestic terror, it usually fails because terror attacks make people more willing to accept government crackdowns. But when the people doing the cracking down are outsiders, it becomes a lot more effective.
Terrorists want violent confrontation. Like most radical groups, they're happier when they have strong opposition, because it makes it easier to portray the world in balck-and-white terms and force people to choose sides. Rightly or wrongly, they expect that the people whose support they're after will prefer them to their opponents.
I'm not trying to prove here that a agressive response to terrorism will always fail--historically, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, although most of the successes were against domestic groups. My point, really, was that Lileks's assumption that terrorist groups are afriad of Bush being re-elected betrays a profound ignorance of their thought processes. Al-Qaida would probably love to see more U.S. military intervetions in the Middle East.
If you want to find the president they're most afraid of, look for the guy who's best at getting non-Americans to like America, and the one who's most able to calm down the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If you believe that a hawkish policy is the right one for other reasons, OK, but at least keep in mind that your enemies want direct confrontation as well.posted by: Kevin Brennan on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Should I profess surprise that you are "not interested in broadening the appeal" of the Republican ticket? Y'see, Dave, we've got this system called a democracy...hell, nevermind. Anyone who confuses sheer obstinacy with virtue is beyond the reach of logic.
Never seen a war you didn't support, huh? Is that ALL wars or just the ones John Kerry had problems with?
You and DT make me wonder what kind of company my support for Bush's WOT has put me in.
It's time you guys got out of your foxhole of paranoia and power-tripping. You take far too much delight in pissing people off--it started off as a byproduct of taking a strong but unpopular position or two, but you've acquired a taste for it and now do it FOR ITS OWN SAKE. That doesn't make you righteous. It just makes you a**holes.
At the end of the day we all have to live together--yeah, that's right, even the pinheaded French have a right to be here. So do Deaniacs, so do Kerry supporters. Stop drawing lines in the sand and go make some friends.posted by: Kelli on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Kelli; Tell us one he's NOT had a problem with.
As for my stands and why they;re taken; they're taken because in my view, they're the right ones.
posted by: Bithead on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
For me, the choice comes down to one question: does the candidate grasp that we are at war with Al Qaeda? That is, that AQ are not a "criminal" organization or even a limited, territorial terrorist group a la the IRA or Baader-Meinhoff or the Red Brigades?
On this point, Kerry strikes me as clueless. I distinctly recall a TV appearance he gave immediately after 9/11 with, I think, John McCain in which he compared the 9/11 perpetrators to the mafia and said that international terror was like an international version of organized crime--"something that I suppose we'll have to get used to."
If my memory is correct, then no amount of war-credentialism or botox can overcome Kerry's fatal flaw: he simply doesn't get it. This is war. We can't entrust our fate to Interpol and the occasional half-assed cruise missile launch.
As much as Bush annoys and disappoints me, he's at least serious about the war. This Democrat will not vote for Kerry.
posted by: tombo on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
I hate to say I told ya so ... but I told ya so.
When I voted for Al Gore in 2000, I wasn't all that happy about it, though I've been a registered Democrat all my life. But I thought that the Republicans voting for Bush were delusional. I was hoping I'd be able to choose between Al Gore and John McCain, where the choice would have been a whole lot more difficult.posted by: p mac on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
“Should I profess surprise that you are "not interested in broadening the appeal" of the Republican ticket? Y'see, Dave, we've got this system called a democracy...hell, nevermind.”
You utterly miss the point. I interpret this so-called broadening “the appeal” with appeasement to those who will unwittingly do incredible harm. I do not consider either Dick Cheney or Don Rumsfeld as liabilities---but rather individuals with tremendous talents to offer. There is also no way that I can exclude Bernard Lewis’ insights from my own decision making. We must assist the moderate Muslims to form democratic governments in the Middle East. This is ultimately the only way to defeat Islamic terrorism. You are obviously influenced by Edward Said---and perhaps even Noam Chomsky. It is most unfortunate that you and the Democrat mainstream have chosen this nihilistic path to disaster.posted by: David Thomson on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
David Thomson is a idiot.
Proof: " I do not consider either Dick Cheney or Don Rumsfeld as liabilities---but rather individuals with tremendous talents to offer."posted by: JoJo on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Help, help! I'm drowning in the Democratic mainstream....!
I do not, however, put all my eggs in the Lewis basket, nor do I spit upon everything Said ever wrote or said. That, my dear, is the difference between us. Like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself, the feud that erupted between these men drove each of them mad over the years, and their work suffered as a result.
What's not good for scholarship is not good for democracy is not good for political debate--which is to say, excessive partisan zeal that admits no impediment to the final bloody solution.
John Kerry is a waffler. No doubt about it. It remains to be seen whether I can pull the lever for him in November. George Bush is no waffler. He is a leader. But most of his leadership is in the wrong direction. Should I ignore this because I agree with his strategy in the Middle East? Ask me in six months.
But here's the point, DT, while your support for GWB (and that of those who think like you, God help us)is a done deal, mine (and that of like-minded independents and Dems) is not. Do you not think,DT if you wish to bring US into YOUR camp, a gentler form of suasion than "I'm right and I don't give a crap what YOU think" is called for? No, I thought not. And that is why W is in trouble.posted by: Kelli on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Interesting point, but I'd amend it. The sort of aggressive response Al Q got in Afghanistan really did not help them. Losing your country and your safe haven tends to have a bad effect on your operations and morale.
What Al Q slobbers and drools for is an aggressive US response, followed by a prompt US retreat when the going gets tough. See Lebanon and Somalia. If Bush pulls out of Iraq, and it all falls apart, then Al Q will try to take credit for that, and score a victory in the propaganda wars.
Based on past performance, the president Al Q would want most is Geo H.W. Bush, the man who shafted the Iraqi Shiites and involved us for no good strategic reason in Somalia. As for the future -- I don't know. But I wouldn't choose a president based on who Al Q fears the most. Their performance, on a strategic level, has been pretty bad. They might just be wrong in their assessments.posted by: alonzo church III on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Nor would they stint their attacks if we were to actively take the Palestinians' side--remember our intervention on the side of that muslim terrorist movement called the KLA, in Bosnia?
Sure, let's win hearts and minds. But don't pretend that such efforts can take the place of direct, vigorous military action. This isn't a matter of kind words or good intentions; it's about smashing a totalitarian ideology.posted by: tombo on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
And while I'm at it, here's an informal glimpse at tomorrow's primary here in Virginia.
Our wonderful bus driver, Ernesto (originally from central America) is voting for John F. Kerry. Why? Because Bush gave us a deficit of $525 M for next year (he volunteered this accurate figure--which is why I live inside the beltway).
The bus assistant Maxine (african-American): also for Kerry. Why? "In four more years Bush is gonna have us all out on the street."
Nothing about electability. Nothing about the Iraq War (though both admired Kerry's war record).
I'll see what I can glean tomorrow at the polls and report back Wed.posted by: Kelli on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
David Thomsom - I think Mr. Drezner did the article a bit of a disservice; you may want to look at it - the criticism of Rumsfeld has nothing to do with any lack of willingness to confront terrorism, she just thinks he's doing a horrible job managing the armed forces (like a clueless CEO running a company into the ground).
Oh, and if Bush wanted to replace Cheney on the ticket (maybe Cheney just doesn't want to be VP any more), here's my own wacky candidate - and I know there's 500 reasons why it could never happen:
Bush-Liebermanposted by: Devin McCullen on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
“Do you not think,DT if you wish to bring US into YOUR camp, a gentler form of suasion than "I'm right and I don't give a crap what YOU think" is called for?”
One should always try to intially convert those who disagree with you. Eventually, though, when push finally comes to shove---a true leader must not “give a crap” about what they think. Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt were great leaders during WW II. Thankfully, we have President Bush and Tony Blair to guide us today.
I do not have any substantial disagreement with the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terrorism. So far, it deserves at least a B+. How can one tell if President Bush is doing a good job? That is a real easy question to answer: how upset are the liberal American Democrats and the Old Europeans? These folks are unwitting nihilists. They have contempt for Western secular values.posted by: David Thomson on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
That would indeed be a great ticket. Alas, it will never happen. I might add that Senator Joseph Lieberman should support President Bush in November. There is little chance that he will be able to morally back the Democrat nominee.
I do not blame either Cheney or Rumsfeld for Turkey not letting us invade Iraq from the North. This would have probably never occurred if the American liberals and the Old Europeans weren’t stabbing us in the back. A lot of soldiers have died because of this betrayal. The original plans had to be abandoned for a second rate strategy.posted by: David Thomson on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Take a deep breath and repeat after me: Some things are true even if GWB believes them (like the importance of WoT and the lack of viable Democratic alternative plans for it). But some things are also true even if Europeans, Powell, or Palestinians believe them (I categorically refuse to conflate all of these groups, if no other reason than Powell like a good boy went up and presented queasy intel to the UN).
"Sometimes I'm so smart, it scares me."
I have to side with you, and this has nothing to do with how sexy your intelligence is. There are allot of bitter Republicans out there (like me). Unlike me or Venomous Kate or Dan Drezner here, most of them won't contemplate voting Democrat. They may however just stay home come some November evening though. That is entirely plausible. The Powell switch may revitiate his campaign though. It's be best tactical counter GW has. It's time to see if GWB is really just a mendacious figurehead or if he's a ruthless political leader. If the latter, he'll go with Powell and let Dick "retire" on "medical grounds".
What scares me however is that Rove hasn't weighed in yet. He's got to play the "gay card". It's the only other thing that even remotely evens up the score. And something else that scares me too because Kerry has a ticking time-bomb in his background. I just hope the race for the oppo guys to find it doesn't work until November. I respect the heck out of Kerry, even if he is an Establishment status quo waffler ... but I suspect the very reason why he got all cagey was this thing in his past. He must have believed that he's successfully buried it. Hopefully he has.
Cross your fingers and we'll see.posted by: Oldman on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Why do I feel like Cary Grant just walked into the room?posted by: Kelli on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
"This is especially true in the Senate where the threat of a Democratic filibuster has lead to ..."
GOP control of the Executive, the Legislative, and apparently the Judicial. Yet, the illusion of some all-powerful DFL "threat" to rally around is so comforting, isn't it?posted by: wishIwuz2 on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
There's an old saying; Rattling a sabre makes noise.... drawing it does not.
How much of this is hollering about someone they're going to vote for anyway, in the hope of moving them a bit, I wonder?....
Why do I feel like Cary Grant just walked into the room?”
Kelli is probably thinking of Cary Grant’s 1949 comedy “I Was a Male War Bride” when he dressed in drag and complained about suffering from “female trouble.” Yup, that’s got to be it.
I think Rumsfeld is a tremendous asset to the administration, and I my support for the President would be shaken if he were to be pushed out. I listen to Rumsfeld and nod my head so much I must look like a headbanger. He gets France/Germany/BBC (anti-american realpolitic plus anti-american leftism) and the terrorist strategic threat (undeterrable non-state actors whose force is multiplied by the untraceable help of opaque ME regimes). And regarding overestimated threats: much better over- than under-. See 9/11.posted by: rds on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Dump Cheney, make Rice VP!posted by: RogerA on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
I wish that David Thomson (who I suspect is acting more like a strawman than expressing real views) was running the GOP. That is one move which would definitely put Kerry over the top in November.
Someone else wrote:
You know what strikes me about these positions? If Bush pushed any of these issues he would lose. These are not majority views in the country right now, and it is sad that we are stuck with minority views on Domestic policy because Bush has conned so many people into thinking that he is the only one who would fight terrorists (and Iraq too). And you know what is worse? That all those believing Bush are wrong.
You put anyone is the Oval Office, make them responsible for our nation's defense and that person is going to fight threats. Do you people honestly think that any of the remaining candidates would stand-by while America got attacked and say, "sorry...let's hope that does not happen again"? For crying out loud, by the end of Clinton's term he was doing far more to try to make Americans safe in the long-term than Bush did for the first 9 months of his term. The biggest beef with America in the Arab world is our support of Israel. Clinton was busting his big butt to solve that problem. When Bush showed up he total disengaged from the region. Some leadership. Threats were building, Bush was spending a month on a ranch in Texas. He could have been in another desert land trying to secure a deal that would have brought peace to the region (I would not blame him for failure, but I do blame him for not trying.)
So you should all just relax, and know that any leader of our country will fight to protect it.
If these were less dangerous times and if the alternatives weren't so scary, I'd be hoping for a serious setback for the Republican party so it could take a good, hard look at itself and get back to what originally brought me into the fold: Low taxes, small government, free trade, devolution of government functions to the local level, and strong national defense. The idea that government is the problem, not the solution. The idea that economic growth comes form the private economy, not government spending. The idea that a dollar spent by the government whether it comes from taxes or borrowing is a dollar that the productive economy was not able to utilize to create economic growth. The Constitution as the primary guiding document of our country. Not just the first or second amendments, but ALL of them, including the most disregarded amendment: the 10th (go look it up if you don't know what it says).
Without going in to detail, I think Bush has the right idea on the war on terorism. Just food for thought: who are the biggest trouble makers in the Middle East? Between Afghanistan and Iraq don't we have them pretty much covered? A giant wedge in between Syria and Iran, with Iran pinched on both sides and Syria in a stand-off to the South. Obviously somebody in the admistration grew up playing "Risk". Brilliant, but it's difficult to explain to Caty Couric in 2 minutes, hence the PR problem.
But this "compassionate conservative" garbage needs to be flushed, pronto. If the Republicans are for Big Government and the Democrats are for Bigger Government, then there is a huge void left for somebody.
Maybe I just won't vote at all. Who is the candidate for the Libertarian party?posted by: DSpears on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Well, I'm a lifelong Democrat and have never voted for a Republican in a presidential election -- and really haven't voted for all that many in state or local elections either -- and I wouldn't consider at this point voting for anyone other than Bush (Lieberman was the only other option) and I like Rumsfeld too!
Enough already with the mealy mouthed politics of the past. That time is over. A great many people out there want to kill anyone American, and they really couldn't care if you try to placate them with soft diplomatic words or not. The fact remains that this country is not planning on an Islamic revolution, and that's the bottom line, isn't it? We're infidels to too many death-cultists and trying to pretend you sympathize with their aims is a fool's errand. Too many of them just want to kill you.posted by: Anne on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
“The biggest beef with America in the Arab world is our support of Israel. Clinton was busting his big butt to solve that problem.”
It’s obvious that somebody enjoys indulging in erroneous moral equivalency arguments. We should not allow the Arab world to continue scapegoating the Jews. President Clinton disgraced himself by sucking up to Yasser Arafat. He unwittingly caused many deaths.
This is the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian situation: the Israelis are the innocent victims of those who wish to murder them. There will never be peace in that region until all the Palestinian militants are either killed or jailed.posted by: David Thomson on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Yo Jo Jo, here's another idiot that thinks Rumsfeld and Cheney are great assets to the Bush Administration. By the way, have y'all've had time to train the "smart" Democrats in Florida how to vote yet?
Oldman: I obviously don't know you, Dan or Kate but I doubt, if you stay home in November; that it will be this November,maybe with Lieberman--not with Kerry.
posted by: Rocketman on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
I can't go as far as to say that the Israelis are innocent victems, that is truely a rare occurance in world affairs. But there is no doubt that they have many enemies whose sole purpose in life is to eradicate them from the planet. The Palestinians are just pawns. The real trouble makers are in Tehran, Damascus, and ......oh yeah, Brussels. The EU has it's fingerprints all over most of the bloodshed in the middle east.
It still amazes me that the party of Political Correctness and racial harmony would so casually ignore the most blatant anti-semitic rhetoric and violence since Nazi Germany. Mein Kampf is one of the favorite textbooks in Palestinian schools, yet not a whiff of comdemnation from the left in Europe or America. To the contrary, Europe in particular has done much to support the destruction of Israel. You'd think that a continent with a 100+ year old reputation for virulent anti-semitism would be more worried the appearence of supporting countries and organizations who would like nothing better than to carry out Hitler's "final solution".
The reason that Clinton's peace proposal (which consisted basically of getting Israel to sell it's security down the river in exchange for a few worthless promises) ultimately failed is that Arafat doesn't want a Palestinian state NEXT to Israel, he wants a Palestinian state INSTEAD OF Israel. He has said it thousands of times and has never wavered in the least. He even told Clinton that, but for some reason he didn't believe him. So he basically brokered a deal that Arafat didn't want and that Israel couldn't live with (or through). So much for legacy.
Once you understand that the Palestinians are just pawns and that the Arabs and Muslims of the region want only one thing: the absolute destruction of Israel, everything that has happened in the last 60 years there makes perfect sense.posted by: DSpears on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Don't lecture me about anti-semitism.
And regardless of how you see the situation in the middle east, if we were able to neutralize the Palestian situation things would be a lot better. A lot of the air would go out of the windbags denouncing Israel and the US. I was not saying what the solution should look like, but if you don't think that solving that problem will be a part of the US' and the world's long-term security than you are a moron.
For all your talk about action, the Bush solution for 9 months was to ignore the problem and hope it would go away. Once we were attacked and the US public got angry was when Bush decided we were at war. That is not leadership, it is just (wisely) following the public's will.posted by: Rich on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
"Don't lecture me about anti-semitism".
Why not? What innoculates you from such a lecture?
If skinheads and Klan members in the US are reading Mien Kampf and are actively trying to carry out the "final solution" you are outraged, but if the Palestinians do the same thing it is excusable because they "oppressed"?
You aught to be condemning it as forcefully as you would in America. I'd rather be a moron than a hypocrit.
Just saying that the problem needs a solution is pretty easy. But there are a lot of "solutions' to the problem that would leave the world in a much worse state. But then again, what do I know, I'm a moron.posted by: DSpears on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
The terror issue is important to me, but the domestic issues are equally important, and those are getting worse and worse (and Bush's I'm-right-why?-because-I-say-so attitude on jobs and deficits and everything else is now more of a parody than anything on Saturday Night Live). If I'm homeless, or working 3 or 4 menial jobs, with no health insurance, which I very well may be after four more years of this administration, then saying, "well at least terrorists haven't got me" won't be of much comfort. His flip-flopping and lack of strong policy proposals are maddening, but 'll vote for Kerry, although I know the Democrats have no chance of winning. I do hope that they take back the Senate, if only for some semblance of balance in the government. The current hacks in Congress and the White House have trashed much if not all Republican ideals, and the many "Republicans are good because...um...Democrats are worse??" statements in this thread proves it.
How successful do you guys think the "gay" card will be for Rove? What a sad statement on this country today if so many people are willing to bankrupt their future solely because they despise and wish pain on homosexuals.posted by: James Barber on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Answer; DECISIVE! If you don't already realize this then you don't know that many evangelical christians. Many people who otherwise wouldn't even bother to vote--will.
Last time around millions sat out the election because of that silly DUI story on Bush.
This time around- all he has to do is position Kerry to the left on this issue and the Religious Right will crawl naked over broken glass in a blinding snow storm to vote against the,"pro-gay marriage candidate". Why-- I really don't know but--believe it.
If I'm wrong it might be a good idea for you to read up on first aid and practice tearing old sheets into strips to make bandages. Learning these skills will help you get your job in a Kerry administration.posted by: Rocketman on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
GOP control of the Executive, the Legislative, and apparently the Judicial. Yet, the illusion of some all-powerful DFL "threat" to rally around is so comforting, isn't it?
Sorry but we are talking national and not Minnesota politics. Do try to pay attention.
And yes, the Democrat’s ability to have or threaten a filibuster (as well as their control of the Senate for most of the first half of Bush’s first term) has had a deleterious effect on federal spending as we saw with education and farm bills (authored by Ted Kennedy and Tom Harkin respectively while Senate Committee Chairs) and the prescription drug benefit (about a $100 billion more in order to get Democratic support).
Looks like you've got the conservative accountant vote in the bag for Bush, what with your "he's an irresponsible SOB but the other guys are MUCH MUCH worse" argument
Actually while it is certainly true that any of the Democratic candidates would be much worse than Bush on non-defense discretionary spending; Bush is unquestionably the best candidate we have had in 40 years when it comes to being willing to propose any sort of reform to the massive entitlement programs of Medicare and Social Security which are of far greater concern than NDDS.posted by: Thorley Winston on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
If by reform you mean massive expansion then I suppose thats an accurate description. Though I do take your point that any of the Democratic candidates would be at least as bad and probably worse on spending.
Okay, show of hands people, who did not believe that we were going to have a prescription drug benefit added to the Medicare program? Anyone?(1)
Yes it is certainly true that Bush’s compromise plan (which became more expensive in order to get it through the Senate) even with the revised figures is far cheaper than the $600 and $900 Billion plans offered by the House and Senate Democrats. It also does have the added virtue of introducing competition (albeit limited) into the Medicare program, which is an essential first step to further reforms. The fact that the Boston Blimp is howling about any form of competition into the program ought to be taken as a good sign.
Also if you look at his last SOTU address, he took a decidedly pro-market reform stance on health care reform (contrast that with the call for further socialized medicine from the Democratic wannabees) with Health Savings Accounts, letting the self-insured deduct their health care costs, and expanding the ability of small businesses to pool together to purchase insurance (2)
On Social Security Bush has taken an adamant anti-tax increase stance (the only option the Democratic candidates have either come out in favor or have not opposed). He is the first candidate in forty years to campaign on Personal Retirement Accounts (even during the midterm elections when many GOPers shied away from it) and win which is the best reform proposal because it restores some individual freedom, has positive economic benefits (more capital investment, higher productivity), reduces the unfunded liability of the program, and creates a pro-investment counter-constituency to counter-balance those who will be on the main program and might demand further increases in benefits. His call for additional expanded savings and investment accounts would also build support for a PRA option as well as the positive economic effects of additional savings.
He has also not ruled out phasing in a higher retirement age which alone could fix the problem especially if we do the same for Medicare and his commission endorsed moving from wage indexing to price indexing (which also would fix the problem on its own). This is something that Republicans have been wary of talking about for twenty years and the fact that Bush is willing to at least talk about it is a good sign of his seriousness on the issue.
So yes, I do think that Bush is good on entitlement program reform and not merely because any of the Democratic nominees are so awful but because he has been the most pro-reform President ever.
(1) There are some people (and I am not necessarily convinced of this argument) who believe that it is cheaper to offer prescription drugs because “every dollar spent on prescription drugs saves X dollars on other more expensive forms of treatment.” I have heard this said consistently but do not know enough to evaluate if it is true or not.
(2) I think he should take this a step further and go beyond just small businesses and let anyone form their own risk pool so we can get away from the third party payer model entirely but this is a good move in the right direction and can be taken further.
posted by: Thorley Winston on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Thorley spoken: "It also does have the added virtue of introducing competition (albeit limited) into the Medicare program"
My information is that the bill includes language expressly forbidding Medicare from countering with competitive pricing. It's a completely one-sided competition in favor of private companies.
A DFL Medicare bill might have been equally or more expensive, but would have attempted to raise taxes to pay for it - actually pay for it. And THEN Congress could vote them down, or attempt a compromise.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
I'm not quite sure how Rove got connected with the homosexual issue, but I'll chime in on it with one point.
The comment's been made that this is an evengelical Christian issue, and perhaps that's true. But at best Evengelical Christians can, alas, only claim somewhere around half the population, depending on your definition of such.
However, since every single poll on the topic I've ever seen....(another one just last night)shows Americans as a whole against homosexual unions at around a 2 to 1 ratio... far in excess of the roughly 50% of the population that claims to be evengelical Christians, it would appear that there is far more than religion alone involved. This is a point that seriously screws up the world view of an Andrew Sullivan, for example... they can't seem to get their arms around the concept that the basis of the opposition to their positions is far broader than simply religion.
The biggest beef with America in the Arab world is our support of Israel. Clinton was busting his big butt to solve that problem.
He sure was; he started openly working against Israel,a nd for the Arab world, giving them just what they wanted, following the World Trade Canter bombing in 1993;legitimacy, to use as a tool against us.
He did this, among other ways by Inviting Arafat to the White House. Not just once, mind, you, But many times. In fact Arafat was the single most frequent visitor to the White House during the Clinton years.
Ironic; Clinton was supposed to be representing US. And to boot, we were ripping Israel apart for them. Easy to get terrorists to stop bombing etc. when they get exactly what they want. Makes you look good, until Israel dies. Which, since you'll be out of office by then, you can blame on the next occupant, who will likely be of the opposite
No, I don't think Clinton had destroying Israel as a basic motive, though I will admit there is much to commend the point. However, I have stated several times, that Clinton's sole purpose here was to save his legacy.
So lots of consessions were gotten by the negotiators... and how did that fall out? Barak offered Arafat the keys to the kingdom; just about all of the West Bank and Gaza, plus East Jerusalem and even Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount. How do the peace loving Palestinians respond? Yasser Arafat turned it all down, and gave us another few nights of headlines, filled with kids in the street throwing stones, and being shot, occasionally. He also sent his armed forces, (You recall, they're supposed to be policemen?) to fire at the Israelis, apparently hoping for an excuse to tell the rest of the world how Israel is a war-mongering nation.
Enter the election of 2000.... and America decides to elect George W Bush, who (rightly) supports Israel, and the Arabs aren't too happy... and here comes the planes.... Boom, boom, boom, and splat.
What I'm suggesting is that 9/11 is an indirect result of the appeasement of the Arabs by Clinton, in combination with the sudden shift back to reality.
they can't seem to get their arms around the concept that the basis of the opposition to their positions is far broader than simply religion.
Yes, it's called ignorance and fear of the unknown.posted by: Gay on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
well, that's certainly one way to view it.
I suspect further that calling three quarters of the population'ignorant' is not a very good way of winning them over to your point of view.
All Kerry supporters please feel free to put pressure on Kerry to take as left-ward a stand on this issue as possible. signed,
"A Bush supporter cruisin' to victory on easy street".
All Kerry supporters please feel free to put pressure on Kerry to take as left-ward a stand on this issue as possible. signed,
"A Bush supporter cruisin' to victory on easy street".
OK, I'll admit I said the "ignorance and fear" line only because it was true, not because I wanted to persuade. Let me shift gears:
There are a number of gay adults in this country. If you oppose gay marriage, would you mind telling me which kinds of gay relationships you support? Government sanction not necessary... I just hear people say that gay marriage would be bad for society, and I'm curious which gay relationships, if any, would be best for society.posted by: Gay on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
they can't seem to get their arms around the concept that the basis of the opposition to their positions is far broader than simply religion.True, there are many of us who are not religious who agree with the rather obvious point that while there are societal benefits (positive externalities) of encouraging marriage, there are comparable benefits to homosexual unions. In which case while we might award certain benefits (the conveniences of a standardized marital contract) to encourage men and women to marry each other, there is no reason to award these benefits to relationships which do not provide the same societal benefits. Which is why no doubt the proponents of redefining marriage as something other than a man and a woman have resorted to bogus arguments of “equal rights” (when it is actually about privileges to encourage certain behavior which can be awarded to some relationships and not others without any violation of rights) or in some case, silly name-calling about “ignorance and fear of the unknown.” posted by: Thorley Winston on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Thorley, your post is confusing, since you seem to say both that there are and there are not societal benefits to homosexual unions. I'll assume you meant that there aren't any. I wonder how you feel about gays who raise kids.posted by: gay on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Correction: "are comparable" should be "are not comparable"posted by: Thorley Winston on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Gay: I don't think you get it but that's OK!
Absolutely nobody cares about silly things like logic, facts reasoning or fairness. These people will put Jerry Springer on the VCR, hang up the ropes,pasture the goats,donate money to the other side they would normally spend on monster truck rallies AND THEY WILL VOTE AGAINST YOU.
What's hilarious is that as stupid as many of them are, they won't be any stupider than you because you (or others who agree with you )will decide that the "gay agenda" is actually more important than the outcome of this election.
By now I'm sure I've offended many other Pro-Bush people with my attitude but....TOO BAD!
I'm used to not often getting my way in the political arena. By my viewpoint I blame "stupid" for that. So you can imagine my glee when I calculate that the only thing I need to count on to GET my way in this election, IS stupid.
As long as the race stays reasonably close, nobody has to be persuaded on any other issue, no events have to occur or not occur. I could take full page ads out in major newspapers every day spelling out to everyone just what I've explained here and it wouldn't make any difference.
It'll all happen anyway because STUPID is a powerful force and it is everywhere! Some people have wrote that Florida will be a key state again, well maybe some of you are beginning to see why I'm not worried.
I'm sure someone out there thinks they can wreck my day. By all means go ahead and try, but please remember a few things.
This issue turns non voters into voters.
No money or time need be spent on explaining this issue.
These people care about nothing else and no stance on any other issue will buy their votes.
posted by: Rocketman on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
While I do not necessarily agree with your characterization of the actors, your analysis of the outcome is sound.
This is going to be a winning issue for Republicans in the fall and not only solidify but energize the conservative base of the Party while the Democrats are the ones who have to “run to the middle” and support the FMA or assure the public they don’t really want “gay marriage.”
Even those of us who do not care (much) about the issue ought to be gladdened in that it brings with it synergy for more important issues such as deficit reduction, entitlement reform, judicial nominees, national security, etc.posted by: Thorley Winston on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Rocketman: I have no agenda, this is just the obvious issue where generations in the future will look back on this time and shake their heads and wonder what we were smoking. Gay marriage is not terribly important to me, but I asked a question above to opponents of gay marriage: what do you think gays should do instead? I doubt it will be answered, because the real alternative to gay marriage is to pretend gays don't exist, and that just sounds silly to say out loud. In time, this will become more and more obvious to people, hence the desire for a Constitutional amendment -- otherwise, 30 years from now, gay marriage will be the norm.
Most people do not want to radically change our society, and so they're reluctant to cross the divide on gay marriage; but at the same time, most people do not really hate gays, and when they actually have to think about actual real gay people, they are more sympathetic than the polls that show strong opposition to gay marriage to indicate.
Of course Republican partisans are thrilled that gay marriage is a losing issue for the Democrats, at this point in time -- it absolves them of having to think logically on this issue, and they can focus simply on winning. Thorley Winston points out that this has wonderful side effects. Imagine, for example, if someone without the fiscal responsibility of George W Bush were President! Bush has been oh so disciplined when it comes to handling the federal budget -- didn't you see the SOTU speech, when he said he wanted to limit spending? That was an amazing accomplishment.posted by: Gay on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
Actually I have no quarrel with your post. The first sentence in your third paragraph describes me perfectly.
Actually, I long for the day when we live in such a perfect world that justice for gays will even make the top 50(i'm pickin' a number at random)problems that we have. Sadly, I doubt that you or I will ever live to see that day.
No doubt you think my verdict comes from a heterosexual perspective but my guess is that there are many homosexuals who would agree with my priorities.
As for what I think you should do, actually I don't much care. I say this only because I think the only good reason to get married is to establish property rights and an economic base for child rearing. Outside of the kids I've always thought it was kinda silly for HETEROSEXUALS to get married as well. The jury is still out on gays raising children. But the question for me is what is best for the kids,(orphanage or gay parents) I couldn't care less about any "right of gay parenting" that's for sure.
I suppose if I could be convinced that orphaned kids were better off being raised by gay parents then I would want them to be married.
As for the idea that we should consider the struggle for "gay justice" to be worthwhile because Dubya is less than perfect,--no. He's infinitely superior than the alternative at this time and that's way good enough and about as good a choice as we are likely to get in the real world.
For what its worth, as I implied in my previous post, I actually think that reason,logic, facts and fairness are, on paper all on your side on this issue. I actually have more fun tweeking my customary political allies on this than with the people on your side. It's a losing battle to fight and one of much less importance than the other ones we have now.
I doubt I can persuade you of this viewpoint, and as I've already explained in my previous post; I don't much want to. That's why the childlike glee. I'm going to get my way BECAUSE it's an imperfect world.
I've stated both in this blog and my own, my position. That being that there's a major difference between making an something that is normally considered outside of society, legal, and normalising it within society by means of force.
I support the former, not the latter.posted by: Bithead on 02.09.04 at 10:34 AM [permalink]
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