Monday, October 25, 2004
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What happens after November 2nd?
I'm crashing on several projects at the moment, so blogging will be very sparse this week. However, that doesn't mean you can't talk amongst youselves.
Today's topic: assume that next week's election ends cleanly -- i.e., it's clear to one and all who wins and who loses, and the losing candidate concedes defeat on election night. Does the country remain as polarized as it has been during the campaign season (or as polarized as the discussion thread in my last post suggests)? And can that question be answered differently depending on who the winner is?
UPDATE: Richard Rushfield's unscientific one-man journalistic experiment suggests that polarization will be stronger if Bush wins -- not necessarily because of Bush, but because of his opposition.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The ever-industrious Tom Maguire offers advice for Republicans if Kerry wins over at Glenn REynolds' MSNBC blog.posted by Dan on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM
When the Republicans win, no matter by how much, the Democrats will complain the electon was stolen from them... and facts be damned.
And so, yes, we'll still be polarized.posted by: Bithead on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Or, to put it another way, your commenters aren't representative of the population as a whole (though, I fear, perhaps are representative of political elites... which may be problematic in and of itself).posted by: Chris Lawrence on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Way to go Bithead. Leading this country back on the path toward reconciliation, and so soon before the election.posted by: zzi on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I tend to think a Bush victory will leave us polarized. There is a substantial minority in this countey who cannot abide the man under any circumstances.
A Kerry victory may or may not be less polarizing. Republicans may be willing to let the guy have a shot for a few months. Problem is Kerry is very negative in his rhetoric -- he's not the kind of guy it's easy for a Republican to embrace, even if it is good for the country.
A Florida type situation genuinely frightens me. The "playing for keeps" tactics that will be used by the victors will embitter the losing side, and the bitterness of losing the election in the court system will be used to keep the partisan embers burning until the next election.
Anyway, polarization benefits fundraisers. So, regardless of the outcome, partisan bitterness will be marketed to keep the campaign finance machine well lubricated with cash.
Somehow, I'm just terribly hopeful. It's going to take an organized revolt of us moderates to get the parties to calm down and respect the system of which they are a part.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Well bithead, if the Republicans were not so busy trying every trick in Rove's book to disenfranchise Democrats, and had they not stolen the last election, perhaps the Democrats wouldn't believe the Republicans had once again stolen an election.
The facts aren't damned, they're damning. The Republicans are attacking the very foundations of democracy, both in disenfranchising voters and perpretating such egregious lies as the Swift Boat crap. The lack of outrage from conservatives is apalling.posted by: kamajii on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I suspect that there will be substantially less polarization in the country when the Republicans win. I fully expect that the heads of the most left leaning Democrats will EXPLODE. Avoid Hollywood on Nov. 3...its going to be ugly!posted by: Stephen on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
A Bush victory will be largely status quo. The Left (broadly speaking, including the Dems, the MSM, etc.) will calm down a bit for a little while, but then things will go back to "normal". Eventually, as with Nixon in 74, Reagan in 87 and Clinton in 98, there will be a whack taken at removing Bush from office, but assuming the GOP holds Congress in this election, it may take a while to get there.
If Kerry wins? Well, with Rehnquist ailing we could be up for a colossal Supreme Court battle. And the GOP will start the drumbeat from day one, justly so, to keep the heat on Kerry to defend American interests overseas, while his base will do the opposite.posted by: Crank on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I respect your reasoning for voting for Kerry. Thanks for taking the time to share.
Non-Bush supporters will continue to feel marginalized if Bush wins. Like many historical-political trends, it is difficult to assess a starting point as strong partisanship has surfaced throughout our history. In recent times, the Clinton-Haters have done as much or more to create a polarized America as the those who believe Bush's wars in the Middle East are about oil profits for his family and friends.
If Kerry wins, the rightwing hate machine will waste no time in trying to disgrace the 44th president. As for the populace at large, I believe it will give Kerry a chance to prove himself before judging him one way or the other. There is a chance (hope) that Kerry may bring more Americans together than take them apart.
A Bush win means more of the same. He campaigned in 2000 as a moderate but has proven to be anything but. There is no indication that he will alter his style.
pjposted by: pj on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
If Kerry wins, the attack on him will make the attacks on Clinton look like a picnic. Consider this:
-- Clinton defeated an unpopular among conservatives tax raising President, rather than the Bush II, whom tax-cutters consider the 2nd coming.
-- Clinton, except for his first year, was largely a centrist President. KErry has a historically liberal record, so there would be more hate for him.
-- The right wing media was smaller then. There was Rush, becoming more popular, but there were few others until the closing days of the admin (Fox News etc.). Now, there's a huge list of talk shows and right wing nuts on the loose.
-- Clinton had ducked out of Vietnam, while Kerry had opposed it. Wingnuts don't mind fielding 2 people who tried their best to avoid Nam this time around, but you can bet they'll attack Kerry till their dying day blaming him of having lost a war that McNamara thought could not be won as far back as 1968.
-- Republicans feel (with some justification) that Bush has come in for a lot of negative press ala Iraq. Every move Kerry makes in Iraq will be scrutinized.
Kerry can try and unite the nation if he wins: absoultely no gloating, soem Repubs in key positons such as State or Defense (not in Transporation ala Bush), fulsome praise for Bush in the interim period, keep the more leevl headed Repubs around (like Armitage), offer Hagel or McCain some positions. Try and reach out to the veteran community, including the reachable mwmbers of the SBVT (not Hoffman and O'Neill, but others). Avoid making any changes on the social or cultural front. Don't touch gun control, which is bad policy and killed the Dems in 1994. Emphasize that Iraq is our problem (USA, not just Bush's problem). Avoid major new spending.posted by: erg on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
This latest story about the missing explosives will make it very hard for anyone who supports our troops and values the security of America to vote for Bush.
That's a lot of people. So I don't think a Bush win is likely. However, I do believe that if Bush does win he will see it as a validation of the incompetent decision making process that let 380 tons of the highest explosives fall into the hands of terrorists. He will not be humbled by victory. This will inevitably lead to further division as Bush goes off the deep end, no matter what is the initial reaction of Democrats.posted by: Boronx on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
If Kerry is elected the polarization WITHIN the Democratic Party will rival that between itself and the Republicans, as every faction scrambles to establish dominance within an administration that is defined by no real core values, other than "I'm not him." Remember, in 20 years in the Senate Kerry made no close friends on either side of the aisle in either chamber. That aloofness translates to no natural base of support, which will make for a shifting sands/ad hoc approach to every important issue from taxation to Iraq.
Republicans would still control the House and, most likely the Senate. Were I a Republican leader contemplating a Kerry victory, I'd just sit out the honeymoon phase and wait for even greater internecine warfare than the Dems witnessed in Clinton I.
If Bush wins, that internal Democratic struggle will be even sharper, as everyone looks to pin the blame on someone else. I don't actually think (apart from a lunatic fringe, well represented here this past week) there will be blood in the streets. No one will die for John Kerry. I'm not really worried.posted by: Kelli on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Some of what happens next will be driven by whether or not the "Republican Civil War", which many are forecasting, occurs. If Kerry brings back the post-Oklahoma City explosive regulations, will the NRA split over whether or not this is a good idea? Will the balanced-budget conservatives, who know that we can't have lower taxes without cutting social security, medicare, or defense, dump the anti-tax zealots because they can't do arithmetic? Will the party splinter over gays-in-the-military? It's unclear.
If it does occur, and the grown-ups start squabbling with the nihilists, the country will become less divided. Moderate Democrats will be able to say to themselves "hey, these guys like McCain and Hagel and Warner are reasonable people". Moderate Republicans will be able to say to themselves "well, at least someone is putting Tom DeLay in his place, finally". This will lead to more votes which cross-cut party lines.
Whether there will be more division also depends on what the President pushes first. There will be tremendous pressure for a first term President Kerry to push first for health care reform/expansion. The GOP, however, knows that if the Democrats get credit for health care reform it may mean long-term disaster for the Republican party, so they will unite in opposition to it. So, if Kerry persues issues on which there may be more bipartisan agreement, like energy policy, employment, and deficit reduction, the country will become less divided.
Rushfield's trips to Orange County, Bakersfield, an LA coffee ship and Beverly Hills aren't really representative. He need to go to Olathe, Kansas and Marietta, Georgia, and places like that wearing Kerry T-shirts. Farmers and country-club Republicans are pocketbook issue Republicans; he needs to visit with people who identiy with the GOP culturally to get the equivalent experience of going to hipsterville, California.
Nonetheless, I suspect that anti-Bush fervor would be higher than anti-Kerry fervor.posted by: niq on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I'm afraid so. Polarization will continue, no matter who wins. If Kerry is elected, he's only mandate will be that he is not Bush.
He'll quickly get blamed for escalating terror, and the humiliation we'll likely find as we try, in vain, to win over Europe. The challenge of a nuclear Iran will happen soon, and I'm sure Kerry will be hammered if we see Tehran test a bomb. (Not that Bush seems overly anxious to do anything about it himself!)
So, unless Kerry has a much more active and aggressive foriegn policy than we all expect from him, I think his victory will continue the polarization in the country.
That said, if Bush wins, we'll probably be even more polarized for obvious reasons.
Sigh.posted by: Narmer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I'm afraid so. Polarization will continue, no matter who wins. If Kerry is elected, he's only mandate will be that he is not Bush.
He'll quickly get blamed for escalating terror, and the humiliation we'll likely find as we try, in vain, to win over Europe. The challenge of a nuclear Iran will happen soon, and I'm sure Kerry will be hammered if we see Tehran test a bomb. (Not that Bush seems overly anxious to do anything about it himself!)
So, unless Kerry has a much more active and aggressive foriegn policy than we all expect from him, I think his victory will continue the polarization in the country.
That said, if Bush wins, we'll probably be even more polarized for obvious reasons.
Sigh.posted by: Narmer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I'm afraid that only Giblets will be able to unify the nation. That's why, despite his stance on cotton subsidies, he's got my vote.posted by: praktike on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
The political elite is going to be polarized regardless of the outcome. I'm not sure if bloggers count, but judging by the comments here, whoever wins, the other side will immediately hate (they probably already do).
I doubt the country is any more "polarized" than it ever has been. Look at the Viet Nam era or going back farther, the civil rights era. There was plenty of polarization. FDR was intensely loathed by a significant portion of the population. The difference is that increasing cogence of social issues, changing cultural mores, and gerrymandering has made it more acceptable for parties and candidates to engage in much more partisan and divisive campaigns. The bases of the two parties are much more geographically distinct so that candidates don't have to worry about moderating their rhetoric. So the rhetoric is nastier and we assume that the country is more polarized.
Even if greater polarization does exist, I doubt that whoever occupies the presidency has much to do with it. Each president represents a choice for a particular set of policies. In a closely divided electorate that has distinct views on social issues, this means that half the population is going to dislike whoever the president is. In the 50s, President Eisenhower could more easily straddle the divisions in the country because the political spectrum was not as wide. He didn't have to deal with abortion, gay rights, etc. and it was easier to govern as a moderate. What would that mean today? How can a president be expected to unify a country in which, for example, the South and the Northwest embody such distinct political and cultural identities?posted by: MWS on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
The polls show pretty clearly that Bush is somewhat unpopular even among some of the people who are planning to vote for him. They are voting for him because of his campaign against Kerry. Once that campaign is over and Kerry taken out of the equation, people will quickly refocus on their unhappiness with Bush. I don't know if you want to call it "polarized", but I think the country will be overwhelmingly against Bush pretty soon after the election. Expect approval ratings in the mid to low 30s.
Impeachment would be a distinct possibility, especially after the 2006 mid-term elections, which the Republicans might lose decisively, if Bush continues his policies and the economy takes another dive.
On the other hand, if Kerry wins, he'll probably do ok popularity-wise. I do realize that even more Kerry supporters say they are voting against Bush (as opposed to for Kerry) than the other way round, but that doesn't translate into outright unpopularity of Kerry. People don't know him well enough and they will measure him by what he does, not by what the Bush campaign has said he would do.
But I'm mostly worried about the possibility that some right-wing lunatics might have been taking their own campaign rhetoric a bit too seriously and will try to take matters into their own hands after the election. Just from reading a few blogs I've got the impression that threats of violence are increasingly coming from the right, whereas I haven't seen much or anything of the kind coming from the left (occasional insults, yes - but even those fewer from the left than from the right - but no threats of violence).
"If Kerry is elected the polarization WITHIN the Democratic Party will rival that between itself and the Republicans, as every faction scrambles to establish dominance within an administration that is defined by no real core values, other than "I'm not him." Remember, in 20 years in the Senate Kerry made no close friends on either side of the aisle in either chamber. That aloofness translates to no natural base of support, which will make for a shifting sands/ad hoc approach to every important issue from taxation to Iraq."
"If Bush wins, that internal Democratic struggle will be even sharper, as everyone looks to pin the blame on someone else. I don't actually think (apart from a lunatic fringe, well represented here this past week) there will be blood in the streets. No one will die for John Kerry. I'm not really worried."
Depending on how the handful of close Senate races shake out (LA, NC, SC, SD, FL, KY), the Senate will be somewhere in between 53-49 D and 51-49 R. 57-43 R is possible, but unlikely unless there is some Republican Perfect Storm.posted by: niq on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I think there has been a great splintering of conservatives over Bush since he fails to really please the Republican base that isn't evangelical. As such, I think a Bush win would keep things very divided, and I think if he didn't drastically alter his course in the second term, it could be damaging to the Republican Party in the long term and maybe the Libertarian Party would become a stronger force splitting power with a more socially conservative remnant of the Republican Party.
On the other hand, if Kerry wins, I think there is only a modest amount of the Republican support that would be truly hateful. While there is a large anti-Bush vote, there isn't a large anti-Kerry vote. Kerry would be forced into being a moderate president like Clinton due to a close or Republican Congress and things will be much less tense. Frankly, as much as Republicans hated Clinton, the country wasn't that divided. And with Bush II as comparison, a moderate Kerry will seem refreshing to a wider selection so Kerry could be very popular.
I think Kerry winning could benefit the Republicans though because they can regroup for 2008 and run a more moderate candidate like Guliani or McCain who would be a less divisive Republican. Maybe I'm a bit extreme seeing a Bush re-election as the end of the Republican Party and a Kerry win as a way for the Republican Party to move back to strength.posted by: Erik on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Kelli's point is well taken, and points to a serious potential weakness in a Kerry administration, the lack of a natural base.
I would expect Kerry to have a honeymoon; the vicious attacks some seem to expect from Republicans would go over very badly coming mere weeks after a campaign most Americans must be heartily sick of. And, in theory, Kerry could buy himself considerable room to maneuver by dividing his opposition. During his first term Clinton did this effectively on some key issues, including NAFTA and welfare reform. He didn't make GOP activists love him, but did make it more difficult to them to attack him in 1996 because he incorporated so many Republican ideas into his own program.
The difficulty with this, of course, is the unrest Kerry would stir among Democratic activists by treating with the enemy. Among Democrats the tendency to rally around a President has traditionally been less than among Republicans, and a serious effort by Kerry to address the deficit situation, for example, might well be opposed not only by Republicans who want to tax less but by Democrats who insist on spending more.
In the short term where Kerry will need the most flexibility is on foreign policy and especially on Iraq. And he should be able to get it. The Republican foreign policy spokesmen in Congress and especially in the Senate are not admirers of the way Bush has done things -- why would they be, since he and his team have so rarely consulted with them? -- and are likely to cooperate if they are given a role in the making of policy. And apart from anti-Bush rhetoric the Democratic Party is not locked into concrete about very many foreign policy issues. Prior to 9/11 most Democrats in Congress didn't think much about national security issues at all.
So in that limited sense Kerry can operate from a position of strength if he plays his cards right.
> ulsome praise for Bush in the interim period,
So if Kerry wins he should behave as the Radical Right would prefer, and not as his mandate would suggest? Heads Bush wins, tails Kerry pretends he lost?
Interesting theory, but I suspect it would be hard to find any national-level politican who would take it seriously. Indictments in the Plame and Feith investigations might put a bit of a crimp in too.
Crankyposted by: Cranky Observer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I didn't even have to reply to..."Way to go Bithead. Leading this country back on the path toward reconciliation, and so soon before the election. ... someone else came in and proved my point for me.....
"Well bithead, if the Republicans were not so busy trying every trick in Rove's book to disenfranchise Democrats, and had they not stolen the last election, perhaps the Democrats wouldn't believe the Republicans had once again stolen an election. "
As I said... facts be damned, the Dmeocrats are going to cling to this 'stolen election' nonsense... no matter how many times they counted... every single time it came up with Bush as the winner.
No matter how manyways the Civil Rights Commission looked at it, htere was no cause for the charge of "disenfranchised" voters.
I consider my point made for me.posted by: Bithead on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
This latest story about the missing explosives will make it very hard for anyone who supports our troops and values the security of America to vote for Bush.
It's only going to get worse. Much worse. In the unlikely event that Bush wins, people will start to talk, write books, the complete facts will come out, and even the Bush administration is not going to be able to spin it all away. Expect talk of impeachment to begin in 2005. Expect Bush to have a very damaging, long-lasting impact on the GOP. The debate over impeachment will lead to a similar partisan divide to what we have now, with even more conservatives going over into the anti-Bush camp.
If you're a conservative, and you want to avoid that, I'd suggest putting your faith in divided government. Vote against Bush, but vote for those Republicans in other races who are not diehard Bush supporters.posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Word on the street is that Kerry is going to win this by a margin larger than anyone is anticipating, whether they calculate a Bush or Kerry victory.
I've heard many voices within the defense and economic policy communities say that a Kerry administration will be better by default because of the political costs associated with a second Bush term.posted by: Observer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Who would those be, exactly, TLB?posted by: Zathras on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
The problem with polarization is the mere fact that the population has been conned into federal politics for every problem. As many of our problems are more effetively ironed out in state governments it would seem that is where people would turn. However, the media really cannot meet the demands of all knowing on every issue in every state. Concentrating only on the federal issues, thus pushing people to rely on the federal government for everything, is the only likely route the media can handle.
Polarization will continue for as long as we expect Tulsa Conservative Joe to convince Manhattan Liberal Jane that his way is the best way. It's really insane when you break it down when farmers taxpayer dollars from the city and city public transportation users get taxpayer dollars from farmers.
Furthermore, polarization has sold more books than ever before. It's made so called documentaries the highest grossing film in its category. It's sparked more interest in C-SPAN than ever before. In all, the polarization is fanned to keep the economic fires burning.posted by: Brennan Stout on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I've heard many voices within the defense and economic policy communities say that a Kerry administration will be better by default because of the political costs associated with a second Bush term.
In my view, those political costs are referred to as "save the Democrat Party". Another Bush term could see the Republicans do more to call the plays from the Democrat party playbook. More spending, more tax cuts, less credit going to Democrats. See Republican takeover of Texas for your case study.posted by: Brennan Stout on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I am afraid that the polarization is going to continue and perhaps get worse, regardlaess of who wins.posted by: m on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Disenfranchised Voters: When not enough convicts, illegals, and corpses are allowed to vote democrat.
If Bush wins by a large margin, the left will have a problem. IMO, the only reason Bush will win is that a sizeable segment of middle America doesnt want another Florida situation (the landslide vote). Since the democrats have mostly purged the moderates in their party or converted them to likeminded zealots, i cant see a situation where voter fraud isnt screamed no matter what the margin. That kind of rhetoric would seriously piss the exact people that put Bush in the White House, and probably alienate them from the democratic party for some time. In short, there is a very real possibility the Democratic Party implodes if Bush wins, and not because Bush was a particularly strong nominee.posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I think this was comment 311 on the last topic, but appears to me better placed here. This was in reference to Zathras' comment on how politics is conducted in this country." Here's my two cents on that, and what it means for the polarization issue. As for my response to the natural base issue, go see my my polemic post 312 for that..
You make an excellent point about the campaign and it's reflection of the country. I'm wondering how much of this is the politics of the campaign ("how politics is conducted in this country") and how much it reflects the end of the Cold War?
Now, I'm fairly young, so bear with me as I can only personally remember 8 presidencies. From what I can tell, the campaigns have always been politically ugly (remember old Ironsides, Andrew Jackson, and guy named Adams?) full of lies, damn lies, and more recently statistics. But the presidential campaigns I remember in the late 70s and early 80s were all "rally around the flag, capitalism, and anti-Commies!". Then came the Bush/Dukakis bruha, where we kinda ignore the Soviets. In 1992 election we came back to it a bit since the Russian Gov. had fallen. But by 1996, you'd think we'd never had a Cold War.
But now...well the great threat if fairly complex (see all the differing histories of the last 4 year on this comment section alone). So complex that a dominant meme about it and our role in in hasn't appeared. Sure, we won the Cold war but we immediatley launched into a new culture war. The binding american idenity of the last 50 years is kaput.
So what binds a country together when communism is gone? Terrorism, for a while, did that. But the biggest, baddest country in the world is more then capable of taking a couple knocks from Terrorists. And although we continue to fumble the ball when it comes to nation-building and long-term anti-terror strategies, we're doing ok short term, such that the home office in Sioux City Iowa isn't Falluja. Is it globalization? Well, we have a very high standard of living and the largest consumer economy in the world so unless you're being downsized or drive an SUV you're feeling not so great economically, but nothing like say poor Sudan. Or is it just the idea that it is the US against the world?
I think that's what's making this a drag-knuckle, scum sucking, politics of hate election. You see now if the opporuntity to redine the American identity in a globalized society were we are the hyperpower. In other words, right now we have nothing to fear but ourselves. Who ever wins this culture war in the US is going to end up setting the stage for this era of American history.
And when you're the biggest, baddest dude on the block your indentity plays a huge role in shapping the rest of your world. After all, we still talk about the Han and the Romans a millenia later. Heck we identify with them!
So another way to think of it is this - whose American do you want to live in - George Bush's or John Kerry's? Look at the American identity they are both claiming to represent. Look at the principles of that identity and compare the results of those principles. That's what this is about.
"So another way to think of it is this - whose American do you want to live in - George Bush's or John Kerry's"
The world operates strictly on perceived self-interest. All this kumbiya, lets hold hands and solve the worlds problems at the UN is dangerous nonsense. Sudan is the rule, not the exception.
Indeed. And it is to the self-interest of world leaders not to co-operate with a US President who is viewed more unfavorably than Bin Laden.
"Indeed. And it is to the self-interest of world leaders not to co-operate with a US President who is viewed more unfavorably than Bin Laden. "
Indeed again. And it is in the self-interest of the United States not to make policy based on irrational sentiment of foriegn populations fanned by irresponsible politicians and agenda driven medias. They wont like Kerry any better, but they will be happy to manipulate him.posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
All this talk about stolen elections would be a non-issue if each state had a truly independent electoral commission running the show. I have no doubt that Republican states try to rig towards Bush and the Democratic states try to rig towards Kerry in lots of subtle (and legal) ways.posted by: DM Andy on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I agree with both points. A Bush win will be highly polarizing, and mostly because of the opposition.
Dems will vent their frustration and sense of utter powerlessness beyond measure. The Bushies will be (slightly) less arrogant and infuriating, having achieved the single-most important goal on George's agenda - reelection.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
If you don't learn how to spell and pay at least some attention to syntax, do you think anyone will pay attention to what you say.posted by: Dr. Fager on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Indeed again. And it is in the self-interest of the United States not to make policy based on irrational sentiment of foriegn populations fanned by irresponsible politicians and agenda driven medias
Translation. Republican talk of spreading democracy and a free press abroad only holds so long as foreign populations do not oppose us (for the wholy rational reason that they're bothered about the irrational Bush in power), the moment they are even verbally opposed to us, they become 'irresponsible politicans and agenda driven medias'.
I kinda doubt that it was just irresponsible politicians and media that made vast majorities in friendly Ireland oppose Bush ...
I think the country will definitely become less polarized, simply because the American public will turn its attention away from politics once the election is over, assuming a clean election.
Whether Washington remains polarized is another question, and I think Zathras had a much more insightful answer than I could hope to come up with.posted by: fling93 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"And it is in the self-interest of the United States not to make policy based on irrational sentiment of foriegn populations fanned by irresponsible politicians and agenda driven medias"
posted by: Mali on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Much of the polarization question can only be answered by the opposition.
So, if Kerry wins, I will hope I was wrong about him, and support him if he tries to do good in Iraq.
If he cuts Iraq loose, I'll be convinced that I was right about his unwillingness to deal with the War on terrorism and will fight him on it.posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
If Bush wins, the left-wing will be so enraged at their rejection that I predict Bush will be assassinated. The UK Guardian has aready called for it, and combine that with the incredible violence being perpetrated by the left (the bullets fired into multiple Bush-Cheney campaign offices, the instigation of mob violence by unions, etc.). I'm not sure what to do about it -- giving in to fascist threats of violence isn't really a solution either.posted by: Al on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Here's why. (Yeah, yeah, I'm a Dem, but hear me out):
1) Bush isn't likely to clear 52-53% -- so you're going to have a large portion of the country that holds him in disdain.
2) 2nd terms are typically disastrous. In the last 40 years, you've had Watergate, Iran-Contra, LBJ/Vietnam, Monica. Part of that is due to the fact that scandals that occurred in the first term don't get aired until the 2nd, part of it is due to the hubris that occurs due to re-election.
3) Whoever wins has extraordinarily difficult terrain to navigate. Iraq is not going to get better short-term, irrespective of who wins in Nov. Nor is the fact that two dangerous regimes are getting more dangerous in North Korea and Iran.
More importantly, I think that we are heading into a recession (oil prices increasing being one cause) with very monetary and fiscal options available to the government.
If Bush wins, with 40% already predisposed to dislike him and #2 and #3 occur, yeesh.
PS: Not that #3 isn't going to be better with Kerry, but he won't be blamed nearly as much as he would be "new".posted by: Chris Rasmussen on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
The question is not who wins, but if the Senate is in the hands of the same party. I actually think there will be less polarization if the losers in the Presidential race think there is still one branch of government where they have some say. In practice, this is more likely to occur with a Kerry Presidency.
For Mark B.: We Democrats are just a little dismayed that your devotion to keeping Florida felons from voting led to
If the election result is litigated then it will be polarizing. If there is a clear winner in the electoral college then the anger will disapate. I believe that whoever wins the popular vote will win the electoral college too.
A lot of the Bush hatred is the "selected not elected" mantra. A clear win will take the wind out its sails. It will be the "people have spoken - The bastards" moment.
A clear win for Kerry will be a reprise of Clinton who rode into town as a minority candidate (who never got over 50% of the vote). As soon as he was elected the MSM just went after him on items they glossed over during the election. His honeymoon was very short. The different factions of the ABB crowd will fall apart and Kerry will have to do a balancing act. The Moore/Dean party will be throwing their weight around.posted by: Jeff Schaeper on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
If Bush wins, regardless of the margin of victory, we will have four extremely difficult years ahead. We will learn more and more about the scandals and screw-ups of the first term. And frankly, why should Democrats, who remember how Republicans treated Clinton in his second term, cut any extra slack to the GOP?posted by: Dale Peterson on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
So far, only one party has had agents criminally charged with election irregularities: the GOP in South Dakota. Stop using the Democratic Voter Fraud rumor as an excuse for your side's criminal conduct.
Which agents please?
All I can find is references to Becky Red Earth-Villeda who worked for the Democrats.posted by: Activist (not appalled) Moderate on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Criminal investigation ongoing:
"Larry Russell, who was chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party's get-out-the-vote operation, resigned this week after questions were raised about the validity of some of the 1,400 absentee-ballot applications gathered, largely on college campuses, by the program Russell led....Young men obtained their applications, but the notarization of the documents carried the signature of a woman...The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation has been interviewing several people about the matter."
Mr. Russell, meanwhile, has been hired by Bush-Cheney in Ohio.
Charges (misdemeanor, not criminal) brought against B-C campagin workers:
"Jeff Thune, nephew of Republican candidate for Senate John Thune (running a very close race against Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle) is under investigation for falsely pretending to be a Notary when collecting absentee ballot requests from prospective student voters. Additionally, even though he claimed 75 applications were notarized - the applications were never notarized or submitted to the county auditor. A number of GOP operatives/consultants have resigned. Six Republican notaries have been charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor. KELO-TV reported that the former governor and GOP congressman in South Dakota says the national GOP is encouraging campaign workers to cheat. "posted by: Palladin on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"For Mark B.: We Democrats are just a little dismayed that your devotion to keeping Florida felons from voting led to "
Can you name a single individual improperly denied the right to vote in either case? The real scandal is that thousands of felons vote as a matter of course in Florida, and any attempt to correct it is viewed as racist even though in fact more whites were removed from the rolls than blacks.posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I agree Al, I don't think Bush survives 4 more years. There's the curse for one thing, and the level of hate among the hardcore left is pretty amazing and frightening.
When 5 or 6 GOP HQs have been burglarized or shot at and violent tactics and intimidation become accepted tactics against Republicans, I think the more responsible elements of the Democrats ought to be doing more to condemn it instead of making excuses for it.posted by: Reg on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I think voting against the Democrats to discourage the tactics of hate and prevent those fringe tactics from winning would be a wise course for borderline moderates. (But tenure is important too.)
Yeah, Reg. In fact, there was recently a similar situation in Europe... there was a popular right-wing politician named Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands, whose policies also caused an extreme amount of left-wing hatred. He was assassinated by the left. If I were Bush, after the win next Tuesday, I wouldn't go anywhere where any left-wingers could get a clear shot.posted by: Al on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Assuming Bush is re-elected, the house would have to fall to Democrats in 06 for any realistic possibility of impeachment, which gives plenty of time for something to emerge as a possible impeachment candidate. But if Reagan wasn't impeached in the late 80s nor HW Bush over Iran Contra, I really doubt W Bush will be impeached unless Republicans start pushing for it, which means he'd have to have done something really terrible and obvious.
If Bush is to be re-elected, the polarization will worsen not improve until the Democrats recognize that the Anti-Clinton tactics didn't work & realize that the Anti-Bush tactics obviously didn't either. Winning is the best pay back but winning requires more than just "anybody but 'x'". And there will be plenty of fingerpointing at who's to blame in the respective party regardless of which candidate loses in November.
If Kerry wins, Republicans will have to decide whether to do this tit for tat game that wasn't very effective in the 90s (but worked this time around apparantly) and that will pretty much determine whether the polarization lessens or not under Kerry's watch.
Al: Another politician murdered for their views was Anna Lindh of Sweden. She was the foreign minister at the time of her death. Her killer was reported as wanting to kill her over her support for the US war in the former Yugoslavia.
She was also very pro-europe much like Fortyum.posted by: Brennan Stout on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I really doubt W Bush will be impeached unless Republicans start pushing for it
They might have to to save the party.
Buehner: The ultimate problem I have with Kerry is that I believe he has a fundamental disconnect with the Real World. ...They wont like Kerry any better, but they will be happy to manipulate him.
There seems to be a good amount of evidence that it's Bush that has the disconnect with the Real World. There is also a good amount of evidence that he's an easily manipulated puppet. I don't think either are true of Kerry, even including any flip-flops.
As for those Republicans who deserve support, I'd say that include most who support the borders of the United States rather than, for instance, giving Mexico de facto partial control of our immigration system. Here's a Republican who does not deserve support.posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"When 5 or 6 GOP HQs have been burglarized or shot at and violent tactics and intimidation become accepted tactics against Republicans, I think the more responsible elements of the Democrats ought to be doing more to condemn it instead of making excuses for it.
Posted by Reg at October 25, 2004 10:42 PM"
That's pretty precious coming from the party of Timothy McVeigh, the KKK, the family planning clinic bombers/doctor shooters, the death penalty advocates, the automatic rifle enthusiasts, the Atlanta Olympics bomber, the people who dragged the African-American man behind their truck in Texas, the Mathew Shepard murderers, the people fighting for the right to burn crosses on their neighbor's lawn, and the Abu Graib perpetrators.
The GOP has completely slipped its sprockets.
After 3+ years of running around screaming "Terror! Terror! Terror!" Bush-Cheney now accuse *Kerry* of fear-mongering.
After selling the country a bill of goods marked "Saddam Has WMD! Be afraid! Be very afraid!" Bush-Cheney now go "hey, no big deal" when 380 tons of high explosives are stolen because no one bothered to set guards on weapons caches.
After years of Bush supporters' calling critics and dissenters "unpatriotic" "unAmerican" and "traitors," suddenly those self-same Bush supporters say it's the critics' and dissenters' duty to be nice and heal the nation's polarization.
After revelations of vote machine chicanery by Diebold, yet more doctored voter lists in Florida, and Bush-Cheney operatives sent from state to state to sabotage voter registration, Bush supporters accuse *Democrats* of undermining the vote.
They don't just lie. They lie like the rest of us breath: automatically, without even thinking twice about it. They lie and then, when called on it, are either amused -- as if expecting them to tell anything remotely resembling the truth is oh-so naive -- or affect the false outrage of a con-artist caught red-handed.
Sorry, but it's not going to be my job to be nice and make up with these morally vacuous, intellectually bankrupt idiots.posted by: Palladin on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Sebastian Holsclaw: If [Kerry] cuts Iraq loose, I'll be convinced that I was right about his unwillingness to deal with the War on terrorism and will fight him on it.
And if Bush wins, and cuts Iraq loose? Will you continue to support him, as you appear to continue to support him despite your feelings of anger about extraordinary rendition?
Challenge, repeated: Before the election, write up a list of things you think the next administration ought to accomplish in the WoT. Long-term, major goals.
I'd just like to point out that Bush has hardly been a passive observer or neutral victim to the polarizing hate campaigns of the Democrats, as it seems some here are trying to paint things. Yes, there was residual bitterness with many among the left from the 2000 election. But Bush still had approval ratings aroud 90% in the months after 9-11 which he squandered away. So most of the country was, despite the 2000 election, willing to give him a chance to lead.
But both before and after the attacks, Bush and the Republican Congress made substantial contributions to the polarization of the country by running things in an incredibly partisan way. (Which is not the same thing as being right wing or radical, something many critiques miss.) I don't see that changing if he's re-elected.
WHy should Democrats cooperate with an administration that clearly doesn't care for anything they have to say, and which, while perfectly willing to accept their support, is unwilling to offer any compromise on its positions in order to obtain that support?
As long as they continue cutting Dems out of the legislation loop, rewriting bills in committee, ramming through their agenda, using the war on terror as a bludgeon in political battles against the Dems, putting Republican hacks in positions demanding non-partisanship, playing hardball with any critics in or out of the admin, blackmailing congressmen to get votes, using a political litmus test for lobbyist organizations, and so on, then yes, the polarization will continue to get worse.
Kerry has made some noises about being more bipartisan. But walking the walk is tougher than talking the talk on that front. There are a lot of institutional pressures on members of both parties pushing them away from bipartisanship.posted by: Doug Turnbull on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
OK, Mark, here's three mainstream press articles with names of non-felons wrongfully purged.
I know the right-blogosphere has some idea that thousands of felons voted, and I suppose some did, but Florida's databases are so screwed up that the atempts to quantify the number are GIGO. The right-blogosphere also claims that whites were "twice as likely" to be purged, but that's a confusion of absolute numbers and relative.
Now, do I have to list all six million Jews, or can we accept what happened happened.posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
This latest story about the missing explosives will make it very hard for anyone who supports our troops and values the security of America to vote for Bush.
Incorrect. The story has no legs whatever.
Somewhere - perhaps it was even this thread, I don't have the time to re-read it, someone suggested that, after the election, people like Yglesias, Marshall, Drum, et. al. - you know, the center left democrats - would calm down a bit, even if Bush was relected.
Well whoever said that just doesn't get it. You can dismiss people like me as the crazy fringe (though remember, I'm MODERATE politically; I'm exteme only in my anger), but what the Bush supporters fail to realize is the level of anger felt even by the reasonable center left. They seem to think that a certain amount of it is a pose for electoral purposes. Not so, not so at all. Rightly or wrongly, and of course I'm convinced rightly, a very large portion of this counrty is convinced that Bush, and a substantial chunk of the Republican party (not all of it; unfortunately, just the part that currently happens to control it) is actively evil, are wrecking this country that we love. The reelection of Bush will only harden this attitude.
Now, some Bush suppoters realize the that this is true, but think it will work in favor of the Republicans. Well, that certainly could happen. But I don't think it will. Angry worked real well for the Republicans over the past few years. The loony Clinton Hatred (and even many of the Clinton haters are starting to make some sheepish apologies for it) didn't turn off voters. Obviously, you don't want your spokesmen to come off as too crazed - e.g., Howard Dean - but extreme anger on the base, and a little anger among the leaders, doesn't turn off most voters.
So what will really matter politiaclly in the next four years? Well, if Bush gets reellected and his second term is a string of policy successes, then yeah, the Dems will have some serious problems in 2006 and beyond. But I don't expect that to happen, and even a lot of Bush supporters agree - there are a lot of mine fields over the next four years.
And the Dems won't, and shouldn't, make it any easier for him. Now, some might say that the Dems should put the nation before politics. And I'd agree with you. But the one good thing about the next four years if Bush is "elected" is that the interests of the Democratic party and the nation will be perfectly alligned - thwarting the Bush cabal at every turn will both help the nation and help the party.
It's ironic in a way. People like me get accused of being extreme partisans. But the reverse is true. As many people on both sides of the aisle have correctly observed, a Bush victory would likely help the long term prospects of the Dems, and vice versa.
But I care too much for my country to want it to suffer four more years of Bush for mere long term partisan advantage.posted by: Larry Maggitti on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I suspect a Bush win will be more polarizing than a Kerry win. I say this on the based on the fact that, rightly or wrongly, 65% of Democrats (10% of Republicans) have little or no confidence that the presidential election will be fair. (The Economist, Oct 23 issue). Again, I'm not taking a position on how fair or unfair, and in which direction unfair, things will be. Just reporting existing attitudes.
Of course, if Kerry wins, Democrats will ex post proclaim the election to have been fair and valid.
And, of course, if Republicans lose, they may ex post quickly find things that make them think the election was unfair and invalid. (Felons voting, say.)
IMHO, we need to get back to a place where, unless there is evidence of deliberate and fairly massive criminal activity, we roll with the punches and hope to beat the bastards (of whichever party) next time.
That said, I have one prediction: by 2006, one house of Congress will be in the hands of the non-presidential party.posted by: dubious on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Gee Larry, yesterday you were threatening blood in the streets if you lose, today you're a moderate. Maybe you should call yourself "Murderous Moderate".posted by: Anti-Larry on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Nice spin, Bithead. Do you actually believe this stuff yourself, or have you given up on that, too?
Some problems with your story are discussed by Josh Marshall here:
But apart from all that, it doesn't really matter when exactly the explosives were removed - the fact remains that we failed to secure them when this should have been one of the principal goals of the invasion. Securing dangerous weapons so they don't fall into the hands of terrorists, right? Just a question of time when Saddam would give them to terrorists, right? And now they got them - thanks to the Bush administration's criminal incompetence.
Given the level of hatred both extremes have for the other, and the volume of the vitriol coming from both extremes, the country will appear to remain polarized.
In reality, I think the country will become more polarized if Bush wins, because he is so poor on the issues that most moderates (who are the majority of the population) view important, like deficit containment, freedom from state control over their lives, etc...
If Kerry wins, given that it is unlikely that the Democrats will control either house of congress,
You're right flaime, Kerry's promise of 2 trillion in new health care spending won't affect the budget at all. He'll just confiscate all the wealth and property of the richest 1% to pay for it.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Hey Anti-Larry, try a reading comprehension course. As I said both yesterday and today, I'm a moderate POLITICALLY, but exteme in my anger. Anger that is entirely justified IMO.
And, just for the record, predicting, not threatening, blood in the street. And, to refine the prediction a bit, I don't see it happeneing if Bush is the clear winner (isn't going to happen), but if he wins in a close race, and if it looks like a stolen election, the results will not be pretty. If that happens, I stand by that prediction entirely.
Nice spin, Bithead. Do you actually believe this stuff yourself, or have you given up on that, too?
NBC certainly does.
Unbiased press my ass.
And yes, I saw Marshall's spin. But even he can't eny the story's been out there for over a year, and anyone with any understanding of the story at all simply cannot lay it at Bush's feet.
The only other option would be for us to go in sooner.
And guess who held back on THAT one, eh?posted by: Bithead on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
NBC certainly does
What you wrote bears no resemblance to what NBC reported (where exactly did NBC say that this was a "Kerry lie"? - where exactly did NBC say the story had "no legs"?). NBC's report in no way exonerates the administration. And, as Josh Marshall pointed out and you apparently refuse to accept, NBC's embedded reporters weren't the first Americans to arrive at that site.
Unbiased press my ass
I've given up on that, too. CNN's recent reporting has been so blatantly pro-Bush it's become almost indistinguishable from Fox News. Which is, of course, their goal, since they are trying to beat Fox in the ratings game.
What's desperately missing in this country is the investigate TV journalist who's actually willing to figure out the truth behind the spin rather than just reporting the spin.
But even he can't eny the story's been out there for over a year
You mean: The story has been suppressed by the Bush administration for over a year. I bet they are kicking themselves for that now. If they had just released it last year, hardly anybody would remember it now... - just like most of the other fatal blunders of this administration.
Hey, Matthew, even supposing that Kerry's health care program costs $2 trillion, that's also the estimated cost of Bush's Social Security privatization plan that you even think is too small. So, where the hell is the money for your program coming from?posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
What I wrote was from the report issued the day after the war started back in Apl of 2003, the day they got to the site.
Oh, I see..... you didn't know?posted by: Bithead on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Murderous Moderate Larry "predicts" blood in the streets because he is angry,angry,angry. Grr. Such is moderation! Pray tell who will be causing this blood to flow, if not you, my agitated friend? Whose wrath should I fear?posted by: Anti-Larry on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Has anyone bothered to think about how fast would it take to remove 300 (or 400? whats the precise number) tons of explosives?
How long would it take looters to cart away 300 tons of high explosives away?
This couldn't have been just a bunch of people seeing a warehouse full of tvs and going wild, can it? If this stuff is that dangerous as described, how the hell didn't a massive series of explosions occur when looters grabbed them and rushed out?
It's sounding less and less like looting and more like some sort of coordinated effort.posted by: Activist (not appalled) Moderate on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Yes, we have a lot of self-inflicted problems. Blame Bush? If you must. He couldn't have done it without the reflexive obedience of our Republican congress. Too much power held on one side is corruptive.
But he couldn't have done it without us, either. In a time of unprecedented corporate greed and CEO irresponsibility, it was simply reckless for voters to decide to choose their first CEO president. We've been paid back in kind.
Plus, we give the President no incentive to do a better job. With all the lousy news for Bush this last week (job numbers, stock dive, Iraq insurgency violence, theft of explosives, US murder rate up, etc...), he gained in the polls. Why should he see any bad news out there?posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Now, some Bush suppoters realize the that this is true, but think it will work in favor of the Republicans. Well, that certainly could happen. But I don't think it will. Angry worked real well for the Republicans over the past few years. The loony Clinton Hatred (and even many of the Clinton haters are starting to make some sheepish apologies for it) didn't turn off voters.
You're wrong about this working for Republicans. Clinton was re-elected easily and would've beaten Bush in 2000. And a Clinton run (instead of Gore) in 2000 might've cost the GOP more than the 5 Senate seats and 9 house seats lost since the peaks in 96 and 94 respectively. That's not my idea of working real well.
Most likely outcome: Kerry wins on a tide of
If Bush wins, it still looks as though he will
Check out this transcript from MSNBC that dispels the story that the explosives were already looted when the 101st arrived there.
So much for Bithead's statements. This has to be ranked along with this claim that the UN was responsible for the Taliban and alongside his claim that there was no job loss in the Bush era. I bet he'll come back now and claim that if MSNBC had said the opposite of what they did say, then I would not have reported it.
As far as organization goes, the insurgents in Iraq seem to have a frightening amount of it. There have been probably 2-3 car bombs a day for the last month in different parts of the country. Think of the organization required to stock 2-3 cars with explosives, find some murderous fools willing to kill themselves and ask these fools to drive out in different parts of the country every day.posted by: erg on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
If you knew anything about economics you would realize that the $2 trillion "cost" of privatization is a bookkeeping trick.
We already have $10 trillion in unfunded social security liability that is hidden through bogus accounting that has existed for decades.
It's a ponzi scheme. The fact that the ponzi scheme has screwed us over royally does not make it worth continuing it. A perpetual transfer program from the young (typically poor) to the old (typically rich) is not good policy, and as the ranks of the young decrease and the old increase it becomes more and more impossible to continue.
Realistically, the only option is gradual transition to partial privatization, means testing, increasing the retirement age, and pro-growth economic policy. Demographic trends make Social Security as it exists today utterly irrelevant for the future.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
No Larry you've threatened to put my blood in the streets in the previous thread here.
You're a psychotic nut job who ought to be locked up.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
It's sounding less and less like looting and more like some sort of coordinated effort.
Ah, very good. I wondered when one of you would pick up on this.
It would have taken, one presumes at least a few weeks to load up, given the sheer size involved. It would also have involved something on the order of 40 or 50 truckloads to move it.
So there no way it could have disappeared within say, the one day period we're talking about between the start of our invasion, and the time we had the army and NBC NEWS on scene.
And still, we have these reports, of a long line of trucks about 40 of them, headed toward Syria, just before the invasion.
All before we got there.
And Erq; Perhaps you'd better check out CNN, before you claim what I've said is wrong...posted by: Bithead on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Leaving the troll-ranting aside, there is still plenty of reason to assume that whichever candidate wins the 2004 election, the party of the loser will be in for putting itself through some SERIOUS political bloodletting. The level of polarization in Washington was raised to a new level by the famous Republican Congressional victory of 1994: and while the level of the GOP's effective control of Congress has subsided somewhat, their basic attitude toward governance hasn't. Today's Republican Party is still under the control of its Gingrichite faction: ideologically rigid, near-Stalinist in its attitude towards intra-party discipline; contemptuous towards the opposition, both ideologically and partisanly: and so firmly convinced of its own righteousness that it will probably view a Kerry Presidency the same way it did that of Bill Clinton: i.e., inherently illegitimate (since it isn't Republican).
Independent former Maine Gov. Angus King put my view to better words the other day (and I don't remember those words, so I'm going to garble as I paraphrase).
He recalled that the Bush 2000 campaign ran as "uniters, not dividers". Yet, those who disagree with the Bush Admin are treated not as those holding a differing view, but as an enemy - to be dealt with as an enemy.
Poisonous.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Sullivan endorses Kerry in his blog and TNR.posted by: zm on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Ah, Cromer, you are conflating two different posts. I was responding to a post regarding the post that I made stating the general response likely if Bush "won" again. I made no threat regarding MY reaction to such an eventuality; in fact, I stated pretty excplictly in another post that my reaction would be non-violent.
You're right that I did direct a very specific comment at YOU, but then you are a special case. And that comment was not dependant on a Bush victory. Of course, we are unlikely to meet in a dark alley, so you have little to worry about.
As for the ret of your comment, it should be obvious that I have zero respect for your opinion; I don't really care what you think.
I will ask you to think about, though, what you may have imagined regarding what you might like to do personally some of the terrorists. If you understand that I believe that you are on the same moral plane as the terrorists, you may understand where I'm coming from a little bit.
Anyway, thanks for sharing, asshole.posted by: Larry Maggitti on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Want to reduce polarization? Two options: either make people live near those who disagree with them (something we are increasingly unwilling to do on our own), or undo the increasingly scientific and profoundly undemocratic jerrymandering of congressional districts. Either of those, plus time, will heal the wounds of today.
The point is, despite the handful of looney tunes who march through Dan's comment boards (yeah, I'm talking to you "Larry"), most of us haven't yet given up on each other. That's a good thing. The problem is not that Larry gets upset when he can't make "wingnuts" like me see his bloodthirsty point; it's that Larry (I'm speculating here) got himself all lathered up in single-point of view blogs and websites, then can't modulate his tone anymore. The same is undoubtedly true of those who spend too much time reading LGF or some of the more extreme right-wing sites. It's even true of dear Dan, who felt compelled to include a variant of "fuck" no less than four times in his "endorsement" of Kerry.
We can all get ever-more hysterical then fret about all the psychos "out there" (every one of whom, Larry, counts himself a moderate, you can bet), or we can tone it down a notch and treat each other as sentient beings.
There will be no blood in the streets next week. Let's all say it together. Believe.posted by: Kelli on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I have no idea how to fund Social Security for middle-aged workers after privatizing the system for new workers, so instead I'll claim falsely that the whole situation is dire.
Even supposing your scenario was true, what would be your retirement plan for workers now middle-aged and up? Even the average returns on stocks won't help if you have only ten years to save up? No clue, young man, no clue.
posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
The link I posted is to the original source, the embedded reporter's transcript, not to a second-hand report from CNN. NBC is confirming that as well.
First hand-report from NBC, Bithead.
And we have another report now from MSNBC. The troops did not actually try and search the area because that was not their mission.
But you can continue to believe that the weapons were shipped away by Saddam to Syria. About to face a devastating war that would destroy his regime, lead to his capture and probable death, Saddam took the time out to move these sealed explosives in the few days between the time the inspectors left and the US army arrived there. And you can continue to believe that Alan Greenspan might have said the exact opposite of what he did say about the payroll survey.posted by: erg on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
In response to zm's report, I wonder if Sullivan and Drezner -- now that they've joined the opposition to Bush (and, I'm afraid, have accordingly taken sides with the leftwing bigots described in Richard Rushfield's piece) -- will have any credibility in criticizing John Kerry's foreign policy in the event the Dems win next week.
By that, I don't mean criticism of Kerry's bona fide prosecution of the war: Kerry's been purposefully ambiguous about his "plan" and has explicitly based his campaign on his competence in prosecuting the war. If the plan turns out to suck or Kerry does a crappy job at running the show, everybody -- especially his supporters who were sold a bum product -- should complain.
What I'm talking about here are those Kerry supporters who, like Andrew Sullivan, are hinging their support for Tall John on the likelihood that a Democratic win now will necessarily cause the Dems to become serious about the war and marginalize the Deans and Moores and other elements of the conspicuously unserious faction of the party. In light of Kerry's record and the people who've supported him in this campaign, this is a big-time gamble for folks who support the war. And, I submit, if the odds play out, Kerry will retreat from the fight, allow American power to recede as the multinational elite take charge, and essentially sit back as momentum swings the Islamists' way.
Drezner and Sullivan are betting that this what happen. But what if they -- and the rest of us -- crap out? Those of us who've been warning about electing a President that's been on the wrong side of every major foreign policy question in the last 40 years will simply shake our heads. Because we told you so. Drezner and Sullivan, I'm afraid, will only be able to say they're sorry. I just hope this apology won't be directed to some American family who lost a mother or son or daughter in an Islamist terror attack on the homeland and on John Kerry's watch.
I'm not a bigshot poli sci professor or journalist, but I've studied the odds. And I prefer not to gamble with America's national security.posted by: D.J. on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Well, Kelli, despite my profound differences with you, you are at least (this time) trying to parse out the reasons for my anger (and the anger of people like me), so I'll address you reasonably.
But you are dead wrong. I don't spend much time on the "single view point" blogs, Atrios, Daily Kos, etc. (well, more Daily Kos lately, but only for election analyis). I spend most of my time on moderate left blogs and conservative or libertarian Blogs. Frankly, some of what gets me most angry is what I see on conservative blogs. Instahack is always guarenteed to raise my blood presure, for example. (Well, of course I don't just read blogs, but I also have a wide range of non-blog surces of information).
Which really was my point that I was trying to express, albeit a bit intemperately. It's not just the extreme fringe of the Democratic party that is angry. You may disagree about whether that anger is justified, but it's there and you're going to have to deal with it. And it is not going away until the current leadership of the Republican party is replaced. And I don't even mean that I want or expect to see a more liberal republican party - just one that (a) plays by the rules, (b) is no more dishonest that the typical political party, (c) governs for all the citizens, not just their cronies (and I believe that a principled conservative can do just that: the problem with the current republican party is the lack of principled conservatives in positions of power) and (d) is willing to put the good of the country over the good of their party. Until then, the Republican party (not all Republicans, as some of my prior posts have made pains to point out).
And in terms of the 'everone thinks they are a moderate' thing, you are full of crap. Some people fool themselves, but most people on the extremes know it. They just think that that is the "right" place to be. I'm not going to waste my time deliniating my political views, but on most issues they are decidedly middle of the road.
Let me close with this - it took a while for me to get to this point. I used have a problem with the Bush haters; I was never a fan, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. But it's become increasingly clear to me that he (and his administration) is worse than even most of his angriest critics thought.posted by: Larry Maggitti on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"It's not just the extreme fringe of the Democratic party that is angry."
Its your extreme anger that puts you on the extreme fringe. Normal people don't react in such an extreme fashion to politics, especially when the distance between the professed positions of the candidates is so small.posted by: Reg on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Reg, Reg, Reg. You just don't get it. It goes a lot deeper than just the "distance between the professed positions of the candidates" (and, by the way, I also disagree with as to how close the candidates are on the issues, but that's a subject for a different thread). It's about a whole mode of governing, and way of approaching reality, that is completely unacceptable.
And Reg, let me buy you a clue. My reaction is a little exteme, I'll admit, but what you and a bunch of other wingers don't seem to realize is that there are MILLIONS of us seething with anger. Bush is screwing up my country, and making it MUCH LESS SAFE, and I am not happy about it, nor am I happy with his enablers, including you. And sorry Reg, we can't ALL be crazy.
(Oh, and one last pedantic point. Part of the problem is that many of us don't believe that Bush's "professed position" on many issues bears much relation to his real positions on those issues.)posted by: Larry Maggitti on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
So, Erq, you're willing to discount CNN?
"But you can continue to believe that the weapons were shipped away by Saddam to Syria"...
Ummm....at what point did mention who they were shipped by? Do just a LITTLE thinking here, would you please?posted by: Bithead on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Dan; Seperate note to you. I note your update regards Rushfield's bit, and agree with that assessment. Consider the words of Mrs' Edwards when one of their followers expressed concern over rioting...
"Well.... Not if we win."
So, let me understand this. We've been dealing with violent behavior from Democrats for months now. We have BC04 offices all over the country being stormed by union nutbags, and so on and so on.... and now, purely on the basis of this behavior these nutbag Democrats are demanding to be put in the White House, so the violence will stop?
I dunno about you, but that sounds to ME, rather oddly like the position being taken by the Islamic Terrorists we're fighting, doesn't it?posted by: Bithead on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
The poster above who said that most of us self-describe as "moderate" (whether active or appalled) seems to be correct in my view. I know that is how I describe myself.
Dan's assumption that the election ends cleanly removes perhaps the largest variable to increased polerization as a result of the election. Even with that variable removed, however, I think its going to get worse, not better. I know my anger level is higher this year than it has ever been in the past - for many reasons.
If we have another election decided in the courts, all bets are off. It seems to me that its the R's turn to "stand down" (as Al Gore did) in that event, and I see very little posibility that they will do that.posted by: TexasToast on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
You're not paying attention. Kerry will not get to enact those things with a Republican held congress. His role will be primarily reduced to vetoing obnoxious conservative legislation that sells out citizens rights to corporate interests. And, hopefully, vetoing bloated, pork filled budgets that have no value.
He certainly won't be able to get his health care plan through Congress.posted by: flaime on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
As I have voted for Bushs, Clintons, and Reagans in my wandering voting history, I think I'm entitled to my self-appointed moderate label. I have been appalled because -- I think I first used that handle in a posting about Iraq. Which seems to justify the name in and of itsaelf.
And I have to say that I have reached an unusual level of voter anger for me. Partly because I think we live in serious times but that serious issues are not being treated seriously.
WMDs is why we went to Iraq. But we don't send in enough troops to secure the major weapons sights. We went in to bring Democracy to the Middle east. Because we do not have enough people in Iraq, inadequate supervision at Abu Gharib creates an S&M show which Al jazeera is ever so happy to show to the Mid East. We know we have less troops then we did at the time of the Gulf War. We work hard at ticking off anyone who might be an ally. Bush has fine, fine goals, and not an ounce of willpower to stray from his stubborn steadfastness to do anything serious to try to attain them.
if you care about this country, it is hard not to be angry this year to the point of f star studded speech, even if your usual approach is a chatty wonkishness and an appreciation (if disagreement) with the other side's points. Because this crew, in four years, have demolished the budget for years to come, have made the use of soft power nearly impossible, and have spent our nation's political capital on a mess of pottage.
My only regret is that I cast my Kerry vote in a State that will make no difference in this race.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
OK, so who shipped them ? The Illuminati ? The Men in Black. If they were removed to Syria, then someone had to move them. If this was done before the US troops arrived at the site, it had to be done at Saddam's behest, or by someone very high up in the regime. We have practically all higher-ups in the regime and tons of documents. Who shipped those explosives if they were gone before the US army arrived, as you claim. ?posted by: erg on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I can't believe anyone's taking that Richard Rushfield piece seriously. Comparing a walk around slightly Republican suburbs in CALIFORNIA to entering the throbbing heart of a lefty coffee shop in California is, well, obviously convenient for Richard Rushfield since that's where he lives but I'd give the man $5 towards a plane ticket if he'd like to cruise around Alabama wearing a Kerry t-shirt.
Anyway, the real question to me is if the victor will go too far in pushing their partisan agenda. I don't think Kerry will; he won't have the House and Senate. Bush will, and then there'll be a backlash.posted by: Jennifer Brame on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"It would have taken, one presumes at least a few weeks to load up, given the sheer size involved. It would also have involved something on the order of 40 or 50 truckloads to move it."
It would appear that Kerrys buddies at the UN bought Saddam enough time to make off with hundreds of tons of high explosives. At least. So much for the global test.
Has anyone addressed the startling suggestion that endless diplomacy is not without its costs? I think we just tripped over a case in point, lets hope it doesnt literally blow up in our faces.
And when is Kerry going to stop spinning the falsehood? (Answer: Nov 3).posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
*It would appear that Kerrys buddies at the UN bought Saddam enough time to make off with hundreds of tons of high explosives.*
No clearer example of why there's no reaching across the partisan divide for honest debate this year.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I am not sure how well the Kerry supporters understand the position(s) of the Bush supporters, or even if the Bush supporters understand the positions of their fellow Bush fans, but I am fairly certain that the Bush supporters really do not understand where most of the Kerry supporters stand. The radical liberals that got so much attention in the 60s and 70s are pretty marginalized and irrelevant at this point, and for the most part consider Kerry much too moderate and mainstream. The increasingly vocal majority of the Dems are actually quite moderate, care deeply about their fellow Americans (not just the abstract ideal of America), will actively defend both the interests of this country and the principles of democracy and balance of power upon which this country was founded. Like Kerry, most of his supporters respect what the responsible and moderate conservatives have to say, and would like to see a more bipartisan and pragmatic approach to deciding America's future. Both the Republican and the Democratic party have changed quite a bit over the past 25 years or so, and I think it would be wise for all of us to pay attention to these changes within our political culture and think seriously (but not angrily) about how we can work together to make this country work for Americans. I realize I probably sound pretty sentimental, but I truly love and respect our great democratic experiment, and I believe that unless we are willing to actively support our democracy, rather than our little political tribe, we may very well lose it. I, for one, will be working to further nonpartisan causes (such as fair elections and a responsible media) after this election, whichever side wins. I hope others will join me.posted by: Jess on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Jess - 'ya big poop. Go save a whale ;~)posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"No clearer example of why there's no reaching across the partisan divide for honest debate this year."
I hear you, but its crunch time. Look at what Lockhart and Kerry are saying, obviously they arent waiting or interested in the truth. Get your licks in while you can. There is a strong element of truth to it. Hussein bought off the UN and the SC managed to foot drag extra months that Hussein apparently put to good use. That is the cost of the global test. The benefits, well I havent seen any yet in places like Sudan, but I'm open to the prospect.
I'm not sure I grasp D. J.'s point. Dan Drezner will have credibility after a Kerry victory to the extent that his views conform to mine, just as he does now.
Having dealt with that fairly obvious point, it might be best for people to withhold public meditations on what they might do or feel if the worst case scenario of another contested election were to occur. First, and most important, it probably won't. The remaining undecided voters are unlikely to split their votes evenly, or so evenly as to offset whatever edge Bush or Kerry holds in the polls as of this coming weekend. Even if they do, they are unlikely to do so in such a way as to produce an Electoral College tie or anything close to it. It is much more likely that the College will serve this year the function it did in 1960, 1968, 1980, 1992 and other elections too numerous to list here -- it will exaggerate the margin of the candidate with the most popular votes, making a close race seem to result in a clear victory.
Second, remember that outrage is overrated. Outrage ought to be reserved for things that depart radically from moral norms, and we are
Nations can face danger in moments of crisis, but also in less dramatic times when their leadership is something less than it needs to be. This isn't a matter of random chance; inadequate leadership often reflects broader inadequacies in the people. Americans for decades have known easy times, mostly peaceful and mostly prosperous. Peace and prosperity are the objectives of government policy, but they can lead to decadence in various ways, and have in our country: loose morals; emphasis on rights over duties, on self-expression and material wealth over constructive work, on entertainment over education; and chronic neglect of higher purposes.
It would be nice to believe a candidate in this year's Presidential election might supply a corrective, but I don't think that's going to happen. Americans have often achieved great things when the Oval Office was occupied by lesser men. Even when great men served there they did not do nearly as much for the people as the people did for themselves.
I'd like to think we are capable of remembering that. I do wonder sometimes. It's not a popular thought, this idea that we get the leadership we deserve and may not be capable of procuring for ourselves something better, but then again I'm not running for anything. Regardless of who wins next week we all have duties and responsibilities extending far beyond our right to vent. My hope is that we may be worthy of them.posted by: Zathras on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Yup - gotcha. That was my lick, missing teeth & all.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
1) The IAEA was the group that first verified the presence of those explosives and sealed them.
2) The IAEA verified most of the explosives and the fact that they were still sealed in March 2003 on their last trip there. In short, they were still there at about the end of the time the evil Kerry fans in the UN were supposedly allowing Saddam to make off with this stockpile.
3) The NBC news embedded reporter went on TV today saying that the unit she was embedded with did not carry out any real search when they arrived at the place. Their mission was to go on, the place was only a temporary halt for them, before moving on to Baghdad. In short, the army units did not carry out a search to see if anything had happened to the explosives. That wasn't their mission. So the explosives were very likely there at that point.
Here is something else worth pointing out. Saddam was obviously not particularly great at strategy, but why on Earth would he or other regime elements waste their time moving explosives around when the regime was on the brink of collapse and they were being bombed daily by American forces ? These explosives, mind you, were verified and sealed by the IAEA.
While I doubt the explosives in question are actually being used in some of the car bombs, the notion that they were somehow squirrelled away during the inspection period is tinfoil idea that makes Michael Moore's wilder ideas look positively sane.
*It would appear that Kerrys buddies at the UN bought Saddam enough time to make off with hundreds of tons of high explosives.*
No clearer example of why there's no reaching across the partisan divide for honest debate this year.
The UN did it!posted by: TexasToast on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
To do what exactly ? Hide WMDs that the Iraq Survey Group says he didn't have in trucks and ship them to Syria, somehow managing to do so without letting any of his regime members (almost all of whom are in our custody) know and without generating a paper trail (dictatorships love paper) ? Hide explosives that the IAEA knew he had and had sealed (in fact, their absence would probably have been a lot more suspicious).
posted by: erg on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I told you my plan: same as Alan Greenspan's.
Raise retirement age
The one difference that I would add would be transitioning away from the current ponzi scheme to one that actually allowed younger workers to fund their retirement instead of sucking up their money in a votes-buying scheme.
You may scream that some generation or other is going to get the short end of the stick. Yes, that is inevitable with any ponzi scheme. SS is headed to a demographic failure and there is no way to make the transition painless for the boomers. It's impossible.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Personally, I think both Bush and Kerry are too incideniary for the US right now. A national unity ticket would have been welcome. I would have voted for someone like Chuck Hagel for President easily.
Kerry did propose a national unity ticket of sorts, but really the power differential between the Prez and Vice Prez is so great that no ambitious politician would ever go for the VP spot.
Maybe we'd be better off with a Parliamentary system, maybe with proportional represntation. In such a government, multiple parties could exist, including local parties.
"While I doubt the explosives in question are actually being used in some of the car bombs, the notion that they were somehow squirrelled away during the inspection period is tinfoil idea that makes Michael Moore's wilder ideas look positively sane. "
So you are of the opinion that 'looters' decided to make off with 40 grain hopper trucks full of the stuff? Thats a more reasonable scenario?
But Hussein loading it up and sending it to Syria to sell or hold is less reasonable than the local cat buglers starting up a trucking line Jimmy Hoffa would be proud of?posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"Furthermore, given that it took several months to build up American troops anyway in the area, if Saddam had wanted to do clandestine stuff with his non-existent WMDs, he had plenty of time to do so in any case. "
Wasnt the old talking point that Hussein didnt have anything dangerous? Its hard to keep up. Plan B: We shouldnt have molested Hussein forcing the normally peaceful law abider to start moving his nasty weapons around. If only Bush hadnt incited the poor man.posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"Time is expensive, usually in blood. John Kerry doesnt understand that.
Who has cost us $200 billion (probably far more when this is all done) in treasure and the blood of 1100 soldiers killed and tens of thousands injured ?"
The fact that you dont understand what small potatoes that is considering the stakes says it all. You may recall we lost 3 times that many civilians in about 3 hours a couple years back. This is war, its not about money and the fact that you and Kerry keep putting a price tag on it shows how fundamentally unserious your pretense of supporting the war is. 'General Eisenhower, your amphibious landing is too darn expensive.'
I do recall that. I work in NYC. I saw the 2nd tower fall with my own eyes.
But unlike I you, I know who initiated that attack. I want them dead. I don't want our blood and treasure expended in a war that distracts from our main mission.
The fact that you seem to think that the cost of an elective war (in terms of lives, treasure) is irrelevant shows a lack of strategic thinking. What led to the collapse of the British Empire ? Several things, but one of them was meaningless wars fought in countries across the world.
Similarly, what led to the collapse of the Soviet Union ? Again multiple things, including a weak ecnomy, but certainly the bloody Afghanistan conflict and propping up client states like Cuba was one part of it.
Well, gosh. General Eisenhower was facing an enemy that conquered most of West Europe and much of the East as well, and had a huge industrial base and one of the best armies in the world. And a country that had declared war on the US at that.
Iraq was a country with a Potemkin army that could not control its North, had a no-fly zone. This was a country with a weak industrial base and economy, no Rommels or Models. This was a country that was scared out of its wits of its 2 neighbors Turkey and Iran. This was a country that was not at war, and was even willing to allow inspections to avoid war.
Indeed, war is all about opportunity costs. By tying a great chunk of our army down in a country that did not attack us, we've incurred a huge opportunity cost.
And what initiative did Saddam take, pray tell ?
While the United States passed the Global Test, Saddam sold or moved his weapons. The explosives WEREN'T THERE when American troops arrived. That's the first hand account. As for the other side, stating that Bush failed to secure the depots is just plain rubbish, just as this story is just plain stale. It's a desperate ploy by the Left who see a great opportunity to get a Leftist into the White House.posted by: Tim on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I don't know what happened. Unlike Bush, I don't have a direct line to God.
I'm simply pointing out that your claim that Saddam spirited it away when the inspections were taking place is dubious at best because the IAEA verified their existence prior to the war. Think about it -- without the IAEA we probably wouldn't even have known about this disappearance.
How come we did't know about it given that we have Saddam, practically all of his cronies and most documents ? Just curious.
Furthermore, very likely the explosives were still there when we arrived. Saddam's power was collapsing and it seems quite unlikely that he was in any position to organize anything more than a tea party.
Also, anyone who remembers the war will remember that we had inserted special forces in Western Iraq to seal off the main routes going West. They might not have been able to pick off small groups, but a large convoy of trucks going into Syria ?
Does the word non-existent above in my comment seem familiar ? Your claim was that the delay for international inspections cost us the chance to secure the explosives, but the fact is that we had already taken several months to move troops into the area and build up logistics.posted by: erg on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Really ? How come the IRaqi Survey Group report was unable to find any trace of this despite having access to practically all regime senior officials and documents ? And how come practically all Iraq officials say that WMDs were destroyed years back ?
Whose ? the NBC reporter on the scene said that no real search was conducted, that was not the unit's job.
Good god, are there still people claiming that Saddam had WMDs and he moved them to Syria ? No matter how many official reports are produced, one suspects they will continue to their dying days to claim 'there were WMDs, they were moved to Syria'.
I suspect that part of the reason any sort of healing after the election is impossible is because of such people who continually ignore reality. Yes, the left has these too, lots of them, but at least they aren't proud of creating their own reality.posted by: Jont on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
If Kerry wins a significant portion of the hardcore Republicans will go to the trenches to make sure his term is 4 years or shorter if we can impeach him. We simply won't abide by that traitor and we surely will not allow the left wing of this country to run roughshod over us.
I predict all out political warfare if Kerry wins. It is absolutely disgusting that the Democrats have put up this Anti War Freak as a candidate in this our countries most trying times fighting the most dangerous enemies we have come upon.
That they didnt nominate someone like Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh or someone similar shows how dangerous they are...they nominate a guy who spent his entire life being an appeaser. Perfect...
Yea all out political war.
Pierre Legrandposted by: Pierre on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Getting back to the issue of post-election unity or lack thereof, I would like to pose a question to Tim, Mark, and their cohorts: what would be your ideal plan for dealing with those of us who disagree with you? Would you want to exile us all to Siberia? Court-martial us as traitors? Bar us from any position of influence? Brainwash or intimidate us into agreeing with you? Support our right to free speach and representation within the government? Ignore us? Or even encourage our input in order to test, correct, and refine your own ideas? What do you think is the role of dissent in our democracy? I ask this not to attack you or start another argument, but out of curiosity as to whether any sort of bipartisanship is even possible in the future.posted by: Jess on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Re: Why Maguire's advice is BS
In the words of AS, "when you think of what is happening in the two major parties, the case for a Kerry presidency strengthens. If Bush wins, the religious right, already dominant in Republican circles, will move the GOP even further toward becoming a sectarian, religious grouping. If Kerry loses, the antiwar left will move the party back into the purist, hate-filled wilderness, ceding untrammeled power to a resurgent, religious Republicanism--a development that will prove as polarizing abroad as it is divisive at home. But if Bush loses, the fight to recapture Republicanism from Big Government moralism will be given new energy; and if Kerry wins, the center of the Democratic party will gain new life."
Moreover, if you're like Ramesh Ponnuru and think that "[i]n an age when politics remains a matter of identity and affinity, being against Bush--or for him--is culture war by other means," then it's like Martin Wolf says, "These wounds, so visible in this election, will not soon heal."posted by: Gerry on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I'd like to hope that if Bush wins the Alex Baldwins and fellow travellers will make good on their promise to move to Europe and/or Canada instead of trying to import there pathologies here and ruin the last bastion of relative freedom left with their ruinous socia lism. America really is the engine of progress that pulls the whole world along with its innovation, and the crushing regulatory and confiscatory tax regime that the Carter-Kennedy-Kerry axis would bring to play would be a huge log across the tracks.
We really need social security privatization and school vouchers so people on the bottom 50% of the income ladder can start participating in being capitalists, and so the socalist Democrat party brainwashing in government schools can come to an end.
Your team has already enacted its "paradise" in France and Germany. Feel free to go live the good life of 10% structural unemployment and 1% real GDP growth where people already agree with you. Kerry is the perfect European candidate and Bush is the American one. I wish the NPR set would just go ahead and emigrate -- then we can let some people from the third world who actually appreciate American values come here and fill any missing jobs.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Apparently you aren't allowed to post the word "Social ism" here anymore.
Is this part of joining the "reality-based community"?posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Yes, the anger level is incredibly high. At 50, I've never been this disgusted at an administration and the evil people that created and sustain it. The man may be more self-righteous than the rest of us, but he hides it so well. He's allowing moderates to think he's moderate, but we know how all the stops will be pulled out when there's no reason to be reasonable.
We are truely polarized right now. And we don't even realize how little it will take to slip into a civil war ourselves.
War on terror? Great... I see the bitheads and buehners all for killing the terrorists. It's easy to think of it. Just drop a bomb, blow up a hideout... give them some of the ol'e 'awe shocks.' But for each terrorist we might be killing, we're killing more genuinely innocent people. People who aren't likely to be appeased with your dismissive shrugs about "collateral damage."
And as much as you guys don't give a damn about what the rest of the world thinks, you can't be king of the mountain forever. And when the rest of the world unites to strike back at "America the Self-Righteous Pre-empters," you'll have an epiphany about what it means to bear the brunt of an explosion that takes out your house and family along with the "terrorist" you though was just your neighbor.
Yes, we are at war. And the enemy is rapidly becoming us.posted by: regm on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
It's because his blacklist has "cial is" which is a substring of "social ism".posted by: fling93 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Tell you what regm.
Why don't you leave this "evil" country so clearly don't belong to anymore and move to Paris. Then perhaps you can cut an oil deal with a middle-eastern butcher and become a centimillionaire while you applaud yourself and your compatriots with your deep and abiding morality and sneer at those evil yanks.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Thanks fling. How silly of me not to figure it out.
Somehow I don't think that is going to stop the spammers. They will just move to start selling cia~lis and the like, like they do on all the spam emails I get.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Oh, my apologies Matthew, for leaving you out of the list of those seeking an epiphany.
See what I mean, folks?posted by: regm on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Many conservative voters can't vote for Bush (fascist) or Kerry (tax&spend). Small government, liberty-minded citizens will vote for Michael Badnarik and this will cost Bush the election.posted by: VoteBadnarik on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
So you think a healthy and free society is one in which everyone agrees, and anyone that doesn't gets exiled? Does intellectual conformity led to innovative leadership? What if you're the one whose opinion is offensive to the ones in power (which might soon be the case)? Should you be encouraged to remove yourself from the scene? Would your input be worthless or even detrimental to society? How about that balance of power thing that our founding fathers were so hot on as an antidote to tyranny? How do you envision that working in a society without dissent?
No one is really comfortable with dissent, whatever their political position. I certainly wasn't, and then I lived in Europe (mostly Belgium) for a few years where localized conformity is really strong. It was very pleasent at first, but then then frighteningly complacent and stifling (kinda like our suburbs, but worse). I came to appreciated that one of our country's great strenths is its diversity and constant debate about how to live and govern ourselves. As infuriating as it is at times, this is the key to a vibrant, innovative, and adaptable society. You might want to look at what happens in society's that stifle dissent as a comparison (Communist China, for example). So whatever happens, I will always fight against those who try to shut up their opponants, whether they're on the left or right. That is, after all, the American way.posted by: Jess on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Well Matthew, the point is; I don't like what my country has become during this administration's reign. It seems there are a few more who think the same, in spite of how patriotic it sounds today to talk about killing terrorists "over there."
And since I'm not leaving my country, how long will it be before you start bombing terrorists right over here?posted by: regm on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
So there's no room for dissent anymore that those who don't agree with the direction the country is heading should pack and leave? What pathologies exactly are being imported here? Au contraire, they seem to be entirely homegrown.
If you're so insecure that people you disagree with = Unamerican, that's oh I dunno eerily of reminiscent of certain national-sociali... er, fascist tendencies still found in pockets around Europe. How... ironic.posted by: Gorgoron on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Apparently, thinking is beyond many in here.
And here's a news flash for you; The primary report was not just from NBC, but Fox who also had their people on the ground.
I'd be fairly careful, were I you... this stuff is going to open up on Kerry in a big way in the next 48 hours.
Then again, he usually looks like he's wondering what hit him anyway.
Jess I apologize for including you in the list of those I would like to see leave.
Misreading one of your comments I mistakenly thought you were taking sides with Larry who threatened to murder me in another thread on this blog, and the other folks here who say the Bush administration is evil incarnate.
Reading again I see you made only civilized statements. My apology to you (but not to people who make threats to commit murder, or people who talk about the evil babykilling Bush administration, who I do wish would leave).posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Social Security for members of the reality-based community.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I appreciate the apology, but we're all so frustrated and angry about our pet issues that we're all saying outrageous things we would never act on (I hope), so I'm taking everybody's comments with a grain of salt. But what do you think our prospects are in the long run if we can't get past all this anger? Or what if we get so addicted to it as a way of keeping anxiety at bay that we can't calmly and rationally work out a plan for the future? Not one of us has The Right Answer, so the only way that I see to get through this is to be willing to listen to each other and respect each other's concerns. How are we going to get there? What are you, Matthew, willing to do about it?posted by: Jess on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Good points Jess.
I don't know. But you have me thinking.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
If Kerry is elected the divisiveness in the country will subside somewhat. Kerry's policies will be based in reality and practicality so few people will be motivated to be angry except the true believers on the far right. Like the Clinton administration Kerry's approval rating will be realtively high while he will still be vilified by the far right. The far right doesn't care about the welfare of the country. They just want power. They will do all they can to drag down President Kerry no matter what it does to the country. If the Dems take back the Senate this will further add to the calming of the country as the Republicans will have less opportunity for mischief.
If Bush is elected then the polarization will get much worse. Bush et al are fanatics. They are not trying to manage the country for the good of all its citizens. They are on a mission. They don't care who's toes they step on. The Supreme Court will be packed with far right wing radicals. Expect more assaults on the environment and the economy. The dollar will continue to drop. The deficit will grow. The trade deficit will grow. It would not be surprising to see large street demonstrations against Bush. Possibly turning into riots. It will not be pretty.
People are angry at Bush but it is not hate of Bush which motivates them. The problem with Bush is that he doesn't listen. His administration is fundamentally anti-American. It is not inclusive. It does not reach out to all parts of America. People are angry that the administration is not responding to them.posted by: J. Konopka on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"I ask this not to attack you or start another argument, but out of curiosity as to whether any sort of bipartisanship is even possible in the future."
Whats with this obsession with painting republicans as closet fascists just waiting to 'silence' their critics (silencing in this day and age of course consisting of answering criticism). I love to debate, I love to challenge ideas and have mine challenge. Why else would I be here?
"But unlike I you, I know who initiated that attack. I want them dead. I don't want our blood and treasure expended in a war that distracts from our main mission. "
Them? The people that did it died in the crash. Does that mean the war is over and has been since 6 tenths of a second into the attack?
Why? There were hundreds of sites like this one and a very few inspectors. The seals had been broken once with no explanation. Again, Occam's Razor, whats the more likely scenario?
"How come we did't know about it given that we have Saddam, practically all of his cronies and most documents ? Just curious. "
Who says we dont? Do you expect to be told everything in war? The WH has been rather coy through this whole affair.
"The fact that you seem to think that the cost of an elective war (in terms of lives, treasure) is irrelevant shows a lack of strategic thinking. "
This was a war being fought since 1991, ask our pilots or troops in Kuwait. Everyone ignores the number of assets and dollars, not to mention political BS the Saudis put us through to keep thousands of troops all over the region in a vain attemp to keep Hussein contained. The strategy regionally was sound, our forces are now compact instead of spread through half the ME, a declared enemy is off the table, and our other enemies are very nervous.
" Hide WMDs that the Iraq Survey Group says he didn't have in trucks and ship them to Syria"
But the local teenagers did. I think you just proved that the explosive are still there.
That was a sincere question--to all of us, really--NOT an accusation. I have been posing the same sorts of questions to left-wing blog sites as well. I am well aware that the radical left, as well as the radical right, tries to silence opposing voices and block out unwelcome facts. I listen to a wide range of viewpoints, and test out all my positions by inviting honest debate. You say that you enjoy challenge and debate, but to what end? Just to win? or do you ever find that you need to reevaluate your position to something more (dare I say it) nuanced? Again, I am not trying to accuse you of anything, but I think it's important to back off and think about what the ultimate goal is here. Which is, I hope, to make this country work for all of us--an impossible ideal, I know, but worth striving for nonetheless.posted by: Jess on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I figure we're going to have a lot of trouble because probably 30% of the public is absolutely completely deadset against lying cheating thieving Bush, and another 30% figures that he can do no wrong. Whichever side is disappointed after the election will be bitterly disappointed. I don't see much way to palliate that.
I want to consider just one scenario. Suppose Kerry wins by a big enough margin that it isn't worth it to try to sue over the election, and suppose the House and Senate both stay republican.
I'm guessing that the republicans will keep their party discipline tight and will stay the course. Kerry can veto and we'll have a deadlocked government. Meanwhile republicans will be floating one smear after another at Kerry, starting with the idea that he's a traitor who should be convicted of treason and going on from there.
If Kerry has only the executive branch working for him, an obvious approach would be to set people searching the records for incriminating data about Bush etc.. They can start releasing all the various secrets that make Bush look so bad. Enron stuff. Torture stuff. Concentration camps set up in the USA to put hundreds of thousands of dissenters in, various things that haven't gotten into the media yet. In some cases the evidence will have been destroyed and all they'll have is junior civil service people who testify that documents were illegally destroyed, and who will say some of what the documents contained.
This would be profoundly polarising. On the one hand Kerry would have a whole lot of stuff that made BUsh look extremely bad, real stuff. But Bush's devotees would believe it was all fakes. And there would be lots of stuff revealed by random citizens to make Kerry look bad. People would take sides, and once they took sides they'd tend to discount the stories from the other side as lies/forgeries/etc.. So the evidence wouldn't convince. And once the wingnuts decided that Kerry was making up lots of lies and forgeries about Bush, they wouldn't be satisfied by anything less than impeachment and jail for Kerry, while lots of liberals would naturally want jail for Bush.
Moderate republicans? Either you're with the rabid ones or you're against them. And if you're against them, they'll try to make sure you never win another election. If you're with them, they'll try to make sure you act enough like a rabid one that no one can tell the difference.
When large chunks of the citizenry believe that one side or the other are bald-faced liars who'd say anything or do anything for political gain, there's no possible reconciliation. My best hope in that case would be that we throw out the republicans and democrats and try for reconciliation and a degree of unity among libertarians and greens.
Our host gets another chance to make up his mind over at Slate today.
But the other entries are more fun. One writer expresses her admiration for Bush this way:
*I wish I had his folksy charm, his fitness and energy, and his inarticulate clarity — no matter how he fumbles for words, you always know exactly what Bush is trying to say.*
"Inarticulate clarity" for T-shirt of the year! Jumbo shrimp, anyone? I wish I had this writer's ability to translate fumbles.
*Suppose Kerry wins by a big enough margin that it isn't worth it to try to sue over the election...*
JT - there is no such margin this year.
(ps - 3:39 AM??? Gawd, you people..)posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
..and yes, I just called Bush an 'oxymoron' two posts above. Like Markie B. says - it's crunch time.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"You say that you enjoy challenge and debate, but to what end? Just to win? or do you ever find that you need to reevaluate your position to something more (dare I say it) nuanced?"
Personally I try to avoid taking a position just to argue. Sometimes I fail. I've changed my views many times becomes someones convinced me otherwise. More times i've not agreed but acknowledged the possibility that i might be wrong, and thats the key. In my experience, the right tends to understand the lefts arguments and reject them. The left tends to be completely at a loss to the rights arguments, and therefore has to attribute malice or stupidity to the rights motives. After all, if i'm so clearly right, you must have an evil agenda to embrace such lies. That is arrogance.
Kerry has put himself in a terrible place. His criticisms have unintentionally indicted the military itself. Think about it, right now the debate is whether the 3rd ID or the 101st properly did this or that in the middle of a war zone, and how that reflects on Bush. What do you think is going to happen to Kerry if he is elected? _Every_ mistake, every miscue, every screwup, all of which are inevitable in war, is going to be torn apart and blasted to shreds in the Congress and in the right wing media. And Kerry will deserve it. But our troops wont, and our country wont. There will be no honeymoon for Kerry. If next March a car bomb goes off in Baghdad, or an army unit doesnt get their malaria drugs, it will be John Kerry's personal screwup, because that is the standard he has set. But it will be our troops that suffer the consequences, just as now.
I agree with your sentiment, but not with your prediction that Kerry's harshest war critics will come from the Right. He's going to have to watch his left flank far more closely. The Right, even if it loses the WH, will still represent that segment of the country which produces most of our fighters and their most ardent supporters. They'll make sure the money and materiel gets to the troops, whoever is CIC. It's the Left, which has hitched its wagon to Kerry's unlikely derriere, that will turn on him, almost immediately.
Let's suppose (as I posited earlier) there IS a massive attack early next year in Iraq, a test of President Kerry's steel. Do the widows and children of those slain soldiers rally round their president, or do they instead become the tip of the spear of the anti-war brigade? D'oh, I KNOW this one...
That's why Larry and other Kerry supporters are wrong to believe the Republicans will hold the new Prez's feet to the fire in Iraq--they won't have a chance to. That's not why the terrorists are working overtime to see Bush defeated. The irony is that Kerry will be the victim of exactly the same strategy he employed upon his return from Vietnam: the coordination between this nation's enemies and its sincere, but deluded peacenik class (now, alas, gone mainstream). We're all suburban radicals now. Kumba-fucking-yah.posted by: Kelli on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
I have a suggestion for those who can barely contain their anger, especially if they feel powerless and disenfranchised because they don't live in a swing state: drive to a swing state on Election Day and help get voters to the polls. I'm planning to do that.
If you can't make it on Tuesday, you can also sign up for some activities this weekend, including making phone calls.
Here is the link for Kerry supporters to sign up:
If you are a Bush supporter, go find the link yourself. ;-)
But whatever you do, please, please don't yell at voters or threaten them...
Just to be clear, Kelli sed:
"That's why Larry and other Kerry supporters are wrong" (in my opinion).
(I think) "Kerry will be the victim of exactly the same strategy he employed upon his return from Vietnam."
In the immortal words of Isaac Brock: And I said you shouldn't make facts out of opinions...
Do you see the difference?posted by: Gorgoron on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Kelli, I wish (wishI?) I could share your optimism that the GOP will give Kerry any breathing room if elected.
But after watching the Independent Council's ambiguous eight-year, $60 million witch-hunt of Clinton, where the focus of his investigation morphed almost daily from one sleazy rumor to the next, I just don't have such faith.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
If Matthew Cromer is still around, I have some questions for you regarding your statements about Social Security. You called Social Security a "ponzi scheme [...] that has screwed us over royally". I've heard this from several conservatives, but I never quite understood it. Maybe you can explain?
Let me tell you why I don't understand. A ponzi scheme promises large returns on investment and in fact pays them to the first people who sign up to lure more into the scheme. As more and more people sign up, it becomes impossible to pay them the promised returns, and the scheme collapses.
Social Security, however, does not promise any returns on investment. It's a tax paid by today's workers that's supposed to ensure a minimum level of income for today's retirees. In return, today's workers expect that tomorrow's workers will similarly pay for their retirement in the future.
As demographics shift, more people will be eligible for payments relative to those who pay into the fund. But the numbers are fairly predictable because you can't just "sign up" (as in a Ponzi scheme) unless you also contributed for a while before your own retirement. Social Security is a social contract, not a Ponzi scheme.
The main "problem" with Social Security is that its assets have essentially been stolen and squandered by the government. Social Security has built up a huge surplus over the years, but the surplus has been used to make the government's deficits look less horrible than they really are. The current President is the worst, but not the only offender in this respect.
If the problem of the stolen assets is ignored (and it should be since the government should be held accountable for the theft and give the money back), Social Security can be "fixed" in various ways none of which requires a major tax increase or benefit reduction. Increasing the Social Security tax rate by just 1 % (percentage point, that is) for both employers and employees would "fix" Social Security for the forseeable future. So would (on its own) making all earnings subject to the Social Security tax. (See http://www.ssab.gov/NEW/Publications/Financing/actionshouldbetaken.pdf for details.)
Some of these solutions may be fairer and more sensible than others, but the point is that solutions exist.
So why the dramatic anti-Social Security rhetoric? What exactly do you guys stand to gain from the abolishment of Social Security? If you are lucky, you may indeed have more money at retirement age with private investment accounts than you would have had with Social Security. But you are assuming - not much unlike in a Ponzi scheme - that you are either an incredibly clever investor or that someone, somewhere is going to pay you your higher returns. Someone who makes bad investment choices and will have less money at retirement than they need.
For myself, obviously I support the war on terror because of 9/11. But had it not been for 9/11, I would be one of those peace activists enraged by the actions of an imperialistic America invading any country. After 9/11, Afghanistan was a necessary evil, and from my earlier posts I guess you know how I think that Iraq was an UNnecessary evil even given 9/11. So, yes, I wasn't too proud of Kerry's comment months ago that given what we know now he'd vote again to invade Iraq, regardless of the situation that he said that. I just wish we could win/finish the war on terror and stop the imperialism.
But, that's just my idealistic "liberal" opinion.posted by: Democrat Dan on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Genuine question: Ok, the fact that we are 6 days from the election and I dont have a clue to the answer of this question is just maddening, but maybe some Kerry supporters have an educated guess:
I think that is the million dollar question and here is why: Kerry has made his case that we are terribly undermanned in Iraq, and that is why it is in such chaos. Perfectly tenable position that I happen to agree with to some extent. But if that is Kerry's position, logically he will have 2 options if elected (assuming we all honest enough to acknowledge a significant number of troops are absolutely not coming from other nations), send more troops to try to stabalize the situation, or start getting our troops out no matter what the result. The only other option is to continue with present troop levels which Kerry claims is disasterous. The answer to this question I dont doubt will influence many voters, which I suspect is why it hasnt been answered. Either Drezner and Sullivan are in for a big shock, or Moveon.org is. But how about some honest speculation from Kerry supporters (I think I know what Bush supporters assume, as I am one at present).posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
gw - that's always been my beef with private accounts. Winners usually require losers.
I understand it's not zero-sum, because market winnings also come from value increases. But market losses ARE a big factor in market winnings.
Aside from the fact that some people will make bad investments, in general, private accounts will harm some & help others. This is not being mentioned AT ALL in the President's sales pitch.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"private accounts will harm some & help others."
Kinda like the current system eh?posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Mark, please explain how the current Social Security system harms some people.
MB - assuming my disapproval of the Bush presidency makes me a Kerry supporter, I'll answer: no idea. He really has left it unanswered. No doubt a campaign strategy.
If this doesn't sit well, then it shows that maybe Kerry should have taken the Bush approach, and completely ignored the argument and asserted that everything is going fine.
Bush supporters seem very happy with that tactic. You yourself say you're in some agreement with Kerry's criticism, but admit it has no effect on your decision.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
As to your own question, Mark, whether Kerry will increase the number of troops in Iraq, the Bush administration has simply been withholding too much information to answer it properly.
Kerry will have to make sure he gets an honest assessment from the military and honest recommendations what to do. He will, of course, try, as he promised, to get help from other countries. In the short- to mid-term an increase in the number of troops is quite plausible, but I don't know by how much and for how long. I certainly don't expect Kerry to reduce the number of troops any time soon, unless he is very successful in getting other countries to contribute.
In any case, sending more troops to Iraq now will not undo the mistake of having insufficient troops in Iraq right after the invasion. I'm sure you will work hard trying to blur this important distinction, and you will claim that Kerry will blame Bush for everything and not accept responsibility himself. (Something you would have never done with respect to Clinton and 9/11...)
More on the nonsense of the "costs" of social security privatization.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Matthew, since you are back, why not answer my question to you a little further up about Social Security.
And rather than focusing on why certain arguments against your plan ("transition costs") are invalid, why not explain why 1) the current system doesn't work and 2) your system would work better.
GW, sorry I missed your questions. You have some good ones and I'll spend some time tonight answering them whem I have time.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"Mark, please explain how the current Social Security system harms some people"
Im a young, single taxpayer. Every cent I send to the SS fund is giving me a return on my investment (maybe! I dont actually expect to see it) far lower than virtually any other form of investment i could choose. Money I might be spending on a house (a _far_ better investment, and important to my lifestyle) is going to Washington where I might see it with a tiny return in 50 years. Luckilly I have health insurance, but plenty of people my age dont, and that money would far better serve buying them health insurance than in the SS ponzie scheme. Statistically, people are probably dropping dead because the government is forcing them to 'save'.posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Wish, gw, I think you guys make a good point, but it does bring up an uncomfortable reality for pro-war Kerry voters. Isnt there a very realistic possibility that Kerry is planning and intends to pull the rug from the Iraq project at first opportunity? Is there any reason to believe he wont? Lets look at this politically, if he stays and tries, it becomes his problem. If he leaves quickly, no matter what the outcome he can blame Bush. If he truly believes Iraq is a mess, as he says, isnt the logical answer to cut and run? This point is mainly address to the Drezner/Sullivan types, are they prepared for that possibility?
Mark, I think Kerry is planning nothing beyond next Tuesday. Everything past Inauguration Day is going to be straight improvisation. A lot of it will consist of reaction to what is in the morning papers, much as Kerry's daily statements on the stump have.posted by: Zathras on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Every cent I send to the SS fund is giving me a return on my investment
As I already pointed out further up in this thread, Social Security is not an investment. The money you pay is (supposed to be) used to pay today's retirees plus build up reserves for the future when there are fewer workers and more retirees.
Social Security is a tax with a special purpose. You don't (at least not literally) expect any ROI on the other taxes you pay, do you?
that money would far better serve buying them health insurance than in the SS ponzie scheme
I've also explained in my other post why Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme. Repeating empty rhetoric is not a substitute for real arguments, Mark.
The health insurance twist is a new one - I thought you were against government funded health insurance, no? But now you want to redirect Social Security taxes into that? Just because it's a convenient way to "prove" that Social Security (in some bizarre indirect way) "harms" people?
It's quite ironic that you use the shortcomings of one privatized system (health insurance) to argue for the privatization of yet another system (Social Security). Don't you think?
Isnt there a very realistic possibility that Kerry is planning and intends to pull the rug from the Iraq project at first opportunity?
Kerry has said quite clearly that the mess in Iraq has to be cleaned up. He hasn't said exactly how he will clean it up (neither has Bush), but he has said that he will do it.
I think there actually are ways that Iraq could still be turned into a significant success. They involve a lot of diplomatic effort and they require the World to trust America again. That's why these ways are not open to Bush. But they may be to Kerry.
Lets look at this politically, if he stays and tries, it becomes his problem. If he leaves quickly, no matter what the outcome he can blame Bush.
I think Kerry will see Iraq as a gigantic diplomatic challenge, and he will actually enjoy such a challenge. If Kerry did withdraw from Iraq, he would be held responsible for the consequences of that decision. If they are bad, which at this point seems quite likely, he would have committed political suicide.
Those thoughts aside, I personally believe it is more likely that Bush would cut and run than that Kerry would do the same. As the administration has already indicated, all it takes is a request by the Iraqi government, and they'll be out of there...
"Social Security is a tax with a special purpose. You don't (at least not literally) expect any ROI on the other taxes you pay, do you?"
Thats the reality, but thats not how it is sold. If its the way you describe, it is a massive transfer of wealth to the per capita wealthiest age strata from the demographic most in need of immediate cash. Which is true. Means testing is the only logical resolution, but, again, thats not how SS is sold.
"I've also explained in my other post why Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme."
Perhaps, time will tell.
"The health insurance twist is a new one - I thought you were against government funded health insurance, no? "
The only way to come to that conclusion from what I said is to assume all money belongs to the government and what they allow us to keep is what we get. I specifically said that money could be spent by individuals on their individual needs instead of shoe-horning the whole country into one fits all.
"Just because it's a convenient way to "prove" that Social Security (in some bizarre indirect way) "harms" people?"
Taking money from people now that they may need harms people. If I dont live to see my SS, what exactly benefit did I draw from it? The harm is immediate, the benefit speculative. Which is fine, except taht I have no choice in the matter.
"It's quite ironic that you use the shortcomings of one privatized system (health insurance) to argue for the privatization of yet another system (Social Security). Don't you think?"
Not really. I believe in choice and accountability. SS removes both, and not means testing is the most idiotic thing I can think of which murders whatever good the program does ethically in my eyes. Money is coming out of my paycheck that I could be using now to better my future definitively to buy Ross Perot a new bumper for his Rolls. That is immoral. I'd be happy to pay were the program means tested, and call it what it is, a welfare program for the elderly.posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"I think there actually are ways that Iraq could still be turned into a significant success. They involve a lot of diplomatic effort and they require the World to trust America again"
Please explain how the 'World trusting America' will change the situation on the ground in Iraq.
May I suggest a simple solution to the Social Security conundrum? Current payees into the system are given a choice: pay the current rate (the new max) and receive full benefits upon retirement OR pay a reduced rate, agreeing in writing to accept a smaller payout upon retirement with the understanding that the difference (plus, preferably, an undetermined amount at your discretion) goes into retirement investment account. A sliding formula can easily be devised to differentiate between those closer to retirement and near or at the start of their careers. Simple.
As for the debate about Kerry's intentions re. Iraq. It speaks volumes that Kerry supporters can plausibly be all over the map, as their candidate is a Rohrschach test of a policy maker. It'd be funny if it weren't so damn dangerous. I give up. It's game six. Go Sox.posted by: Kelli on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Game six? My bad. Hope that doesn't jinx us.posted by: Kelli on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
"If Matthew Cromer is still around, I have some questions for you regarding your statements about Social Security. You called Social Security a "ponzi scheme [...] that has screwed us over royally". I've heard this from several conservatives, but I never quite understood it. Maybe you can explain?"
Sure. Social Security is touted as a retirement program where individual are forced to contribute while young, and where they are given benefits when they are old. In fact it is a transfer scheme where young workers (who as a population have the least amount of wealth) pay money directly to old retirees (who as a population have the greatest amount of wealth). Originally the tax was tiny, only 2% total (1% from the employer, 1% from the employee. Today the FICA rate is seven times higher because of longer life expectancies and a greater number of retirees. Because of demographics, things will only get much worse. So basically what this means is that payoffs get worse and worse over time, while the amount confiscated becomes larger and larger. This is exactly what happens in a ponzi scheme.
This is exactly what is happening to Social Security. In this case everyone pays up, but as life expectancy goes up the number of people who live long enough to collect keeps going up. Hence what was a good deal in the beginning is a bad deal today and will be a terrible deal for folks retiring in 20 years.
"Social Security, however, does not promise any returns on investment. It's a tax paid by today's workers that's supposed to ensure a minimum level of income for today's retirees. In return, today's workers expect that tomorrow's workers will similarly pay for their retirement in the future."
That cannot work when the number of retirees goes up and up and the number of workers goes down and down.
There are several elements that exactly mirror a ponzi scheme.
1) The first ones in made a huge return on their "investment".
This is why I call it a ponzi scheme.
The president isn't responsible for government budgets, it is congress. In any event this bogus accounting has been in place for at least 30 years. And it is meaningless to talk about one branch of the federal government "investing" in government bonds. That's like me taking money out of my bank account, then paying money back in and calling it an investment.
No, it would reduce economic growth, and probably raise less than 1/3 of the amount that a "static analysis" would suggest by reducing employment, reducing hours worked, increasing non-compliance, and other effects This is why raising taxes is so deleterious to the economy -- you never collect anywhere near as much as the new rate would suggest.
"So would (on its own) making all earnings subject to the Social Security tax. (See http://www.ssab.gov/NEW/Publications/Financing/actionshouldbetaken.pdf for details.)"
That's an absolutely stratospheric tax increase on small business that would cripple economic growth.
If the "solution" damages the economy while making the transfer payments an even worse deal for everyone concerned, color me unimpressed.
About 2 million dollars more at retirement, for me.
For someone starting at a younger age, he or she could easily be better off by 5 million dollars.
More investment which aids economic growth which makes everyone better off.
Look, political, taxation, and economic systems *MATTER*. That's the difference between East and West Germany at Unification, one had 10x the per capita income of the other. Or look at N. Korea vs. S. Korea today.
Look at Western Europe vs. America today. Americans are far better off because we pay less in taxes, have less regulation, and more immigration.
"If you are lucky, you may indeed have more money at retirement age with private investment accounts than you would have had with Social Security. But you are assuming - not much unlike in a Ponzi scheme - that you are either an incredibly clever investor or that someone, somewhere is going to pay you your higher returns. Someone who makes bad investment choices and will have less money at retirement than they need."
Wrong. If you simply purchase index funds, you will do far, far better than stuffing it into a mattress or squandering it in the existing Social Security system, assuming the laws of economics continue to hold. No special skills needed.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
For an absolutely devastating indictment of the idea that "Social Security" is a good deal, check out this table.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Matthew, thanks for getting back to me.
This is why I call it a ponzi scheme.
Well, you listed the elements of a Ponzi scheme, so yes, that's a Ponzi scheme. You didn't actually relate those five points to Social Security, though. Points 4) and 5), in particular, simply don't apply.
This is why raising taxes is so deleterious to the economy -- you never collect anywhere near as much as the new rate would suggest.
As we have clearly seen as a result of Clinton's tax increases, whereas Bush's tax cuts led to a sustained economic boom and record employment. Yeah, yeah, keep believing what you want to believe in spite of the facts.
About 2 million dollars more at retirement, for me. For someone starting at a younger age, he or she could easily be better off by 5 million dollars.
Those numbers are absurd. To get to $5 million, you have to assume that someone is paying the maximum SS contribution already at age 20 (how many 20-year-olds make $85k+?), then works for 45 years and gets a steady 10 % investment return every year. Yeah, right!
Of course, that handful of lucky guys to whom that might apply would be doing just fine at retirement age whether or not they'd ever have to pay the SS tax.
Oh, and you also have to (incorrectly!) assume that the money you save by not spending on SS tax is not then otherwise taxed. (Alternatively, you could assume even higher returns than 10 % per year.)
You seem to have a lot of faith in the stock market. This faith is completely unwarranted. When people say that "historically" the stock market has returned such and such, they are going back over a pretty short "history", they are ignoring the fact that "historic returns" are completely irrelevant as far as predicting future returns goes and they also ignore long periods during which the stock market didn't return anything at all. In Japan, the Nikkei Index is today at just over 1/4 the value it had in 1990, and it has in fact been on a steady downward trend since 1990. Someone in Japan who started investing into Nikkei Index funds in the mid-80s has, on average, incurred severe losses and has no realistic reason to believe to ever fully recover from those losses prior to retirement.
There is also the issue of how redirecting SS money into the stock market will affect the stock market itself. The influx of so much extra money may artificially inflate stock valuations. There will be traders betting against these artificially inflated stock prices - short sellers happily selling stocks to the poor idiots blindly investing $200/month into the stock market to save for retirement. They'll be lucky to get those $200 out without losses 20, 30 or 40 years later.
And what if they don't? Who'll pay for their retirement? Are you going to make them sign something saying that they will own up to their "investment mistakes" and do the right thing (as in commit suicide?), if they end up short?
Or is the rest of us going to pay for their welfare?
Effectively, this is all about sponsoring the traders who would make money by short-selling to the fools.
Now, I'll grant you one thing. It would at least be worth discussing an alternative scenario. What if (most of) the SS taxes actually did get invested into real (!) long-term bonds (not stocks!) and paid for the retirement of the person paying into the fund as opposed to current retirees? The government would have to come up with the "transition costs", which, as some of the articles you pointed to correctly point out, is basically shifting future debt into current debt, or as I put it, making the government own up to the theft of the previously paid SS taxes.
One would have to set aside some money for emergencies like early retirement due to health reasons etc., but on balance such an approach might indeed see most people come out ahead. Might. Some people have to do some serious number crunching and analyze these and similar ideas without partisan goals. Whether that's even possible these days I don't know.
I'm not going to respond point by point to your post. Suffice it to say that US stocks have outperformed bonds for every 10 year period. BTW the average return I quoted was for the entire 20th century, so your notion that I "cherry-picked" the data is flat-out wrong.
Your Chomskyesque analysis of market capitalism is amusing, but for the more than 50% of American households who today own stocks or mutual funds, I suspect ultimately unconvincing. Getting well off is the American dream, not subscribing to an oh-so-dated class warfare analysis of the economy.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
PS -- The economic collapse you postulate that would wipe out equity values would obviate any possibility that social security transfer payments could survive. People living in hardscrabble conditions are not going to give up most of their income to pay for someone else's parents who didn't bother to save for retirement. Because social security is ultimately all about the promises of politicians living years or many generations ago -- and most politicians won't even live up to their own promises more than a few weeks old, if that.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Huh, Chomskyesque? Class warfare? If all else fails, resort to ridiculous accusations?
I'm sorry if my mentioning of traders and short-sellers has offended you. Such offense is the best argument against letting the average worker invest their retirement savings into the stock market: they have no clue about the realities of the stock market. You see, I wasn't actually criticizing traders and short sellers. There is no expectation of "nice" behavior in the stock market, neither explicit nor implicit. The stock market is a big free-for-all, and sending little investors into the fray is like sending a kid with a toygun into Iraq and then complaining that anybody who points out the dangers is unpatriotic and understimating the abilities of that American kid.
Your statement that "US stocks have outperformed bonds for every 10 year period" is not true, btw (take any 10-year period starting 1928, 1929, 1930 and 1931, for example), although you could replace "every" with "almost every" and it would be true. However, given the recent trends in the stock market, you can expect a bunch of new underperforming 10-year periods to be added to those statistics soon.
The dramatic increase of the overall stock market over the last 100 years was coupled to a number of unique events - mostly inventions and technological advancements. We simply don't know if the next 100 years will see a similar quantity and quality of inventions and advancements. They might. Or they might not. In the latter case, the stock market will languish along, and you will not see those "historic" returns anymore. You are simply betting on history repeating itself. But we can't invent the automobile again, and we can't invent the Internet again. At some point soon the mobile phone market will simply be saturated. Most likely new inventions will come, yes, but will they be as ground-breaking and spawn whole new industries? Maybe. Maybe not.
I haven't seen any plan to let people day-trade their investment portfolios. Nobody that I know of has even put individual equities on the table.
posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Part of the reason that stocks outperform bonds is that the stock of companies that go bankrupt is no longer counted in the total.
This is a form of biased sampling. A-rated bonds seldom pay off nothing. Companies like Enron look very good some of the time and suddenly go bad.
But if you look backward at surviving companies and how much they've increased in value, it looks great.
I haven't seen any plan to let people day-trade their investment portfolios.
Huh? I haven't suggested that either. The point is that workers investing their retirement savings into the stock market will put their money into a marketplace they don't understand and in which they can't participate on equal terms. Exactly because they won't be able (and probably not even allowed) to daytrade, not the other way round!
J Thomas makes a fair point. However, index funds would get around that objection, as Matthew seems to realize already. Indices regularly replace bankrupt or underperforming stocks with "better" stocks. That is indeed one of the main reasons that "the stock market" (as measured by the major indices) has achieved such stellar returns. As I pointed out above, for this to keep working in the future we need a steady flow of new breakthrough discoveries. Matthew seems to think that even thinking the thought that these might not come at the same steady pace as in the last century is economic heresy and akin to embracing communism. I'd call what he is doing blind faith with no backup plan for tens of millions of retirees who in 30-50 years might not find buyers for their index funds anymore, at least not at the prices they were hoping for.
You see, just as the influx of the new money will likely lead to an increase in stock prices in the short to medium term, the net outflow of the money when people start retiring from these plans will lead to more sellers than buyers being in the market in the long term. So short and medium term traders and investors (precisely not retirement savers!) might make a killing off the introduction of privatized retirement plans, while long-term retirement savers might end up losing out.
What do you think the result would be if you asked everyone under 40 whether they would like to buy into social security or invest the same percentage themselves, in say 401ks? We all know the answer to that, and the only way the system keeps running is forcing everyone into it. And the only rationale for that is that Americans are too stupid and reckless to be responsible for their own retirement. Anyone who doesnt find that a chilling POV worries me.posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Everyone should look at the chart I referenced above regarding the FICA tax since the inception of SS until 1996. Keep in mind that you have to DOUBLE the rate listed for a true accounting of the costs of this collossal welfare / ponzi scheme. From 2% at inception to 15.3% today and no end in sight.
It's unfathomable that people are defending it.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
And it's unfathomable that "libertarians" like Dan are voting for a demagogue who wants to preserve this monstrosity which is essentially a modern-day version of Goya's Saturn , the parents devouring the economic future of their children and grandchildren.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
You see, just as the influx of the new money will likely lead to an increase in stock prices in the short to medium term, the net outflow of the money when people start retiring from these plans will lead to more sellers than buyers being in the market in the long term.
This is true in general for the baby-boomers. They didn't reproduce themselves adequately, and so their children will have a much harder time supporting them when they're old than they have supporting their parents. That will be true regardless where the money comes from.
Unless we invest overseas, and the overseas governments let us bring the money back when we need to. Or invest overseas and overseas governments let aging americans retire there. Or bring in a lot of foreigners to work here to replace the children that didn't get born.
Or maybe we could do a whole lot of automation. There's no point doing that when you have a labor surplus, but if there was a labor shortage it might make sense.
More likely, the ongoing ramps of productivity gains from information systems and automation will continue until almost everyone is a "knowledge worker", writer, artist, entertainer, etc.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
Social Security is a tax with a special purpose. You don't (at least not literally) expect any ROI on the other taxes you pay, do you?
What taxes exist that promise to give you any kind of money when you reach a certain age, or you suffer the loss of a parent (if under 18) or lose your spouse?posted by: h0mi on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
You guys are looking at demographics trends and activities in a static way. They arent. Baby boomers are going to have their retirements smeared out over a much wider range of ages than preceeding generations. One of the dirty secrets of SS is that people are living far too long and expecting to retire far too soon for the system. When SS was started, the average lifespan ended where SS began. Now most people can expect to live 20+ years in retirement age. People will either have to retire later or save more, and thats just that.
Explorer will always be the best browser. Don"t you dare install Firefox or we will sue you.
IE Teamposted by: IE Team on 10.25.04 at 12:43 PM [permalink]
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